Where True Loyalties Lie
Lord Inquisitor Radkilff knew that he had become a legend. With a career spanning two centuries, he had slain countless foes in the Emperor's name. He showed his devotion by always fighting on the frontlines against the alien, the mutant, and the heretic. Cleansing the world known as Legalus VII was supposed to be no different.
The renegade Guardsmen tried to bar his advance, but their lasfire was useless against his force shield. Calmly, he walked forward in full view of the enemy, slaying foes using his plasma gun and power sword.
"Repent now!" Radkilff declared as he beheaded another Akkadian trooper, who had tried to impale him using a bayonet, "For the Emperor will soon judge you for your treachery!"
Suddenly, the firing stopped. Despite his long experience fighting the enemies of the Imperium, Radkilff was surprised. He didn't expect his words to have any effect on the Traitor Guardsmen.
But a figure emerged that promised to give an explanation. It was a giant encased in grey ceramsteel armor. A Steel Warden. A Space Marine.
"I was not aware that the Astartes have come to aid me," the Inquisitor said as he saluted the Marine, "Have you come in strength?"
"Enough with the charade, Radkilff," the Warden said as he aimed his plasma gun at the Inquisitor, "We know the truth."
"You dare raise arms against me?!" the Inquisitor shouted, only to realize that another Warden had appeared behind him, wielding a two-handed Psi-Sword.
"You created the cult that corrupted Legalus VII," said the second Warden, "And you declared Exterminatus on this world to cover up your treachery!"
Radkilff looked at the sword-wielding Warden and smiled sadly. He dropped his weapons and said, "These are all baseless accusations. Will you now execute an unarmed man to satisfy your pride?"
The remark caught the Warden off-guard. He hesitated from delivering the killing sword-stroke.
And it was all the false Inquisitor needed.
What was once Inquisitor Radkilff uttered a single word, whose origins could not have been human. The sorcerous word struck the Space Marines like an explosion, sending the exposed Wardens flying through the air and revealing the others in their camouflaged positions. Painfully, the Warden who hesitated tried to stand up, seeking to atone for his mistake.
But he didn't need to. The "Traitor" Guardsmen now sprang into action, deploying the heavy weapons they had held in reserve. The thing which was once a champion of the Inquisition screamed as it was pummeled by volleys of autocannons and rocket launchers. Two Leman Russ Tanks then entered the fray, and lobbed their enormous shells at the warp-thing which was now emerging from Radkilff's mangled form. It took fifteen shells in total before the monster was finally reduced to a pile of lifeless pus.
"If I had known you would hesitate, I would have shot the Inquisitor myself," grumbled Brother-Logis Cicero as he walked over to the sword-wielding Marine, "A plasma gun still has a decent chance of penetrating a force-shield."
"My apologies Brother-Logis," Veteran Brother Felix replied as Cicero helped him to his feet, "Fortunately, the Guardsmen prevented my mistake from becoming a fatal one."
The rest of the squad was now emerging, most of them hurt but none fatally. Felix could see that Brother-Sergeant Pontius was already conferring with the commander of the Guardsmen - a young Akkadian Captain with blonde hair and kind blue eyes. Felix felt his heart sink as his superhuman hearing caught their conversation.
"We must leave immediately," Brother-Sergeant Pontius told the Akkadian Captain, "Radkilff may be dead, but the Inquisition will still burn this world in two hours."
"We both know that my troops are never going to get off this planet alive, Warden," the Akkadian replied, "And even if we do, the Commissariat will simply have us shot. We're already traitors as far as the Imperium is concerned, it is better for us to die here as soldiers."
"There must be another way," Felix said as he joined the conversation, the Brother-Logis right behind him. But neither Pontius nor the Akkadian Captain said anything in response.
"Captain, what is the name of your unit?" Cicero finally decided to ask.
"The 105th Akkadian Rifles," the Guard officer replied with a shrug, "We're just a regular Guard regiment."
Cicero shook his head, "No you are not. You are part of the Fifth Founding of your world. You have campaigned honorably for seven years. You already have five battle-honors to your credit: Halon III. The Ma'Ten March. Skalantia. Dusanbay. Omikron Station."
"... And Legalus VII," Felix added quietly.
"And Legalus VII," Cicero agreed, "This is more than enough to confer them the honor of the Vir Omnibus, is it not Brother-Sergeant Pontius?"
There was a pause as Pontius considered Cicero's recommendation. The Vir Omnibus was an ancient and sacred tome owned by the Steel Wardens. Contained within were the names of countless non-Astartes units that had fought valiantly alongside the Space Marines – some of them dating back to the time of the Legions. Every year, during the Chapter’s Founding Anniversary Rites, the names are read out loud – as a reminder that one does not need to be transhuman to know no fear.
He understood the difficult consequences of what the Logis was asking. Nonetheless, the Sergeant nodded. He turned to the Akkadian Captain.
"I am sorry. We cannot save your men," Pontius said, "But this we vow: The Imperium may forget. The Imperial Guard may forget. Your home world and loved ones may forget."
"But we will remember," said the Pontius Team in unison, their voices speaking as one for the entire Akkadian 105th to hear.
The Guardsmen had no response save silence, and a few tears.
Finally, the Space Marines left the Akkadians to their fate. Every member of the 105th would die a soldier’s death
Besides the Akkadians, eleven billion people died needlessly at Legalus VII. The Inquisition would never admit to its mistake.
But the Pontius Team had told the truth to their Chapter Master. After many long deliberations, he decided to defy the rest of the Imperium and honored the 105th Akkadian Rifles by adding them to the Vir Omnibus.
Many times the Inquisition asked to have this decision overturned. It came in the form of rational requests, impassioned arguments, and even outright threats.
Yet each time, the Warden's reply was the same:
Your loyalty is to your good name. Our loyalty is to heroes.
Last edited by Zinegata; 08-26-12 at 03:40 PM.