"Friend of Death. Brother of luck. Son of a **."
Major Rawne on his commander
Haridus looked at the bridge of the Inquisitors ship and decided he did not like it. It was larger than the bridge of The Lions sword and more open. The back of the bridge was made of the elevated cubicles where all of the command staff were seated, with the captain seated the highest and the communications servitors the lowest. In front of them was an open floor with the back wall dominated by the main view-screen, creating the illusion of a grand coliseum. It all seemed too open, spacious and luxurious to Haridus, it felt far too showy for a bridge of a serious warship of the Imperium.
The bridge on the Lion's sword was more enclosed, with every square inch used for servitors and serfs and their stations. Astropaths sat in vats of fluid built into the walls while the Captain and his staff were the only ones raised in their command pulpits. But maybe he didn't like the inquisitor because she had failed.
Her mission was the same as theirs: To find and recover the lost frigate, to ensure the safety of the crew and to return it to Imperial dry-docks so it could be repaired. The Inquisitor just admitted that if she had been in the place of her subordinate that she would have told any unknown forces to frak off and now thanks to that subordinate it would be more likely that they would have to resort to conflict.
While Haridus loved the thrill of combat he knew how to pick his fights. He had fought alongside the captain now for just over a century now and it was the captain that had taught him restraint (though he could be hypocritical). Haridus saw no reason to add to the long list of enemies of the Imperium even though he could barely stop himself from contacting Grias and telling him the best thing to do would be to open fire on the alien fleet.
He looked down at the smiling face of the inquisitor and stared right into her eyes, seeing past the false humour and joviality, at the distrust and malice she hid behind that smile. He was no pysker but living for over a hundred years you couldn't help but start to notice mortals and their complications.
"I wish to contact my Captain." She tilted her head to one side and her smile grew wider.
"Well isn't that a coincidence I wanted to do the very same thing. How about you give me the message you wish to pass and I will happily mention it to him." Grais noticed how much she had strained the letter I.
"What I wish to say to my Captain is for his ears only." Her smile grew wider.
"Then you shall talk to him when I have finished." She replied, then she turned on her heels and faced Caleb.
Caleb looked at Maria with interest, he knew that smile. It meant she had all the cards and she was keeping them close to her chest.
"Caleb go to the armoury secondary and pick up item two B and then meet me at hanger twenty-two after you gather the Harpies. I think we will say hello to these xenos and heretics the same way we said hello to that nice Governor at Hellios VII." Caleb's face split into a grin and he gave a small nod before exiting the bridge via the main double doors below the admirals command pulpit.
The inquisitor then turned to the main viewscreen and placed her hands behind her back, still smiling.
"Admiral if you would be so kind could so kind to tell Saint Squadron to get ready for launch on my command and tell the Invictus, Odium and the Bellator to raise their alert status to Vermillion please." The Admiral gave no sign of acknowledgement except the orders she began to issue through her speaker horn and the rest of the anybody on Home one could see the face of Maria Domor then they would have noticed that her smile had turned predatory.
"Bring Captain Grias on the main communications screen please."
Caleb secured item two B to his combat webbing before he left armoury secondary and began jogging to the quarters where the Harpies were billeted. The Harpies were the best of the troops that called the Mors Haereticus home; they had been a grenadier squad from the Vendolien 21st. An all female regiment that Maria had decided would be better off serving her purposes rather than Segmentum command. The Harpies themselves welcomed the career change with relish as it meant they got better equipment and their sergeant got to spend more time with a certain Inquisitorial bodyguard.
Caleb had not been looking for a relationship nor had he been expecting one, but it had happened and so far he had been enjoying it immensely. Any other relationship he had ever had failed miserably due to his dedication to the inquisitor that many mistook for something more than a working Sarah understood that while he did love the inquisitor it was more like a sibling than anything else so here he was three months later and it was still going strong.
He reached the door to the 'Harpy nest', removed his rebreather, tucking it beneath his armpit, and knocked on the door. It was opened instantly by a tall wiry woman with a shaven head and a face filled with laughter lines. Lilith the squad's sniper. She took one look at him before shouting back into the room.
"Hey Sarge! Lover boy is here to see you." This was followed by cat calls and Lilith being pulled out of the doorway and being replaced by petite women with a thatch of straw coloured hair and piercing green eyes who leaned against the doorway with a small smile on her face. Sarah.
"Has the inquisitor got a mission for us or are you here for more of me?" she said coolly.
"A mission I'm afraid, she wants the Harpies at hanger twenty-two, were going to do a repeat performance of Hellios VII." Sarah grinned and pulled him down for a light kiss, Caleb wanted to extend it but she pulled away and gave him a pixie smile.
"Meet you there." She said as she walked back into nest and closed the door behind her, leaving Caleb with a silly grin on his face.
"Get in to your Furies girls." Jenna looked up from the card game she was playing with Eva. Her commander, a stern woman in her late forties, was already wearing her combat helmet, the dark visor hiding her steely eyes. Eva dropped her hand and ran towards Metus, her co-pilot already climbing the ladder that led into the cockpit. All over the hangar Jenna saw her squadron mates doing the same. She scrambled up the ladder into the dark interior of the cockpit. She moved to the front of the cockpit and strapped in. her co-pilot climbing up into the seat that was situated above her.
"Ready." Eva's voice crackled in the helmets inbuilt vox as soon as they were settled. Soon the voices of the rest squadron filtered through alongside her own. "Launch time commander?"
"We launch on the Inquisitor command." The steely tones of the commander flowed through the vox.
"And that will be when?" Eva asked.
"Don't know." This followed by numerous swear words coming from Eva.
"Frakking typical. All that exercise for nothing, what does think we are? Groundpounders!"
"Eva, that "exercise" was barely ten metres!"
Hanger twenty two was the inquisitor's personal hanger. It was a huge square room with a dimly lit arches that gave the impression of being watched unless you were used to that feeling. Gargoyles leered from the walls with pipes snaking out of their mouths filled with coolant and promethium which all flowed to the sole craft that occupied the hanger.
The Inquisitors personal was matte black and it surface seemed seamless till you looked closer at its skin. Every bolt and square inch was covered in the litanies of the hatred of the heretic and the traitor. Each shell that was fired from its main cannon was inscribed with the prayers of a hundred pilgrims and the Lascannons were cooled by holy water blessed by several priests.
Caleb was leaning against a heavy bolter mount with his helmet and rebreather hanging off the heavy bolters and trying to light a Tobacco stick, he had been habit since he was sixteen and had been trying to cut down but he didn't seem to have the will power. He had just got it lit when a loud crack echoed through the hanger and the majority of the stick vanished. He stared at the remains in shock before his combat reflexes kicked in and he dropped to the deck, his head whipping around trying to find the source of the sound. Standing in the door way was Lilith grinning like a maniac loosely holding her now smoking Longlas with her camo cloak draped over the oval shoulder pads of Vendolien 21st.
"I thought you said you where trying to quit." She said as she walked towards him. Caleb struggled to his feet, his legs shaking due to adrenaline. Just as well he went to the toilet before he went to the hanger.
"What the hell was that!" he shouted.
"That Lover boy was motivation. Every time I catch you smoking I'll do that again." she walked over to him and offered him her hand, he accepted and she pulled him up. "Besides Sarah does not like you smoking" Caleb scratched the back of his head ruefully.
"Yeah well I'm finding it hard since I ran out of patches and the Medicae hasn't got any more." Lilith gave him a sympathetic smile.
"Groxshit!" a new voice rang out, both Lilith and Caleb turned to the newcomer. It was the Harpies demolitions expert Rosie; she was a women of medium height and was dressed in the standard "Harpy armour". A midnight blue chestplate and greaves with black fatigues and the signature oval shoulder pads. What wasn't standard was the multitude of explosives she had strapped to her belt and the bandolier of grenades for her grenade launcher. Her black hair was pulled into tight ponytail.
"You could quit anytime you wanted." She said prodding his chest with one of her fingers. "If I could do it then so can you and I did it without using any of those patches!" Lilith shook her head.
"Of course you did it all by yourself and the fact we had to chain you to a chimera to stop you getting at your sticks had nothing to do with it." She said dryly.
"That has nothing to do with it!" Rosie exclaimed. "It was willpow..." Rosie was cut off by the fourth member of the Harpies.
"Shut up Rosie." Lexus sneered as she entered the hanger. Lexus was the only member of the Harpies that Caleb did not like and he didn't see why the other Harpies put up with her."The only reason I want boy here to stop smoking is so the sergeant will move out and I can have her closet space." Lexus was taller than Caleb she was carried the squad's voxunit and she had hated Caleb from the first time she had met him for reasons unknown to the rest of the squad. She also hated everyone else as well. "The quicker she moves out the happier I will be."
Caleb was about to retort when he noticed the Inquisitor and Sarah walk in so he snapped to attention, the Harpies followed suit even Lexus. Maria merely smiled and shook her head.
"I thought told you to stop antagonising the Harpies Caleb."
"We though the same about him smoking" Rosie muttered under her breath but was silenced by Lilith jabbing her elbow into her ribs.
Grais liked the inquisitor's plan, it was almost like she planned what would happen from the beginning, however he did not like the way she assumed he would follow blindly like one of her minions.
"Shall we do what she asks captain?" Lennon asked. Grais knew it that the inquisitor's plan was sound, but he could not forget his wounded pride still burning in his chest.
Oooooh mystery what did the inquisitor say to Grais? This my longest chapter so far and hopefully they will continue to get my chapter format seems odd blame DOX manerger and not me nor my beta reader.
Lord sia- The review god like Omnissah is a manifestation of the Emperor's will