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post #29 of (permalink) Old 02-18-11, 04:18 PM Thread Starter
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The ship's brig was at the edge of the ships hull just inside the bulkhead inside of a part of the ship that was just barely livable for organic life because of the ambient radiation from the secondary plasma reactors. The cells were cramped and dark. The guards were mostly members of Osma's staff who'd proved to be too reactionary or too unstable to trust in the more populous areas of the ship. The detention cells weren't intended for long term care only temporary storage till the ship reached a planet with a properly unpleasant justice system in place.

Dogmatic loyalty was valued a great deal more than competence so a few of the ships Ogryn had been trusted with the role of patrolling the cells to make sure none of the prisoners escaped. Not that there were many prisoners left in the cell block, explosive decompression had killed a quarter of the ship's prison populations on the lower decks. When he'd reached the 53rd level detention block the desk clerk had merely looked up at the hard faced Inquisitor flanked by the Skitarii, the Ogryn, and the Savant before saying, "Sáclair said to expect you. He's in cell seven. If you kill him hit the button for the cleansing servitors. They're going to have to clean the mess not me. And if you don't kill him at least make the bastard not able to talk, he never shuts his beak. He doesn't even sleep for Throne's sake!"

The barred door buzzed then opened wide, creaking on its hinges. Jak twitched and fidgeted in place. He was an odd man. The process that made him into a repository of knowledge seemed to have made him a bit senile. He certainly started conversation in the strangest of ways, "Cannibalistic rituals are common within the Empire in spite of being near universally declared to be heresy by the Cult of the Emperor. If someone were to eat part of me I would prefer it were an arm."

Daul chuckled as he walked down the corridor looking through the barred windows at the huddled figures chained to the wall, "Good to know. I'll bear that in mind."

"An arm is the easiest part to replace augmentically. Esthetically and physically it is the least complex appendage to have full dexterity in after replacement," his eye twitched, "And it seems that there is a socio-cultural preference for augmentic arms in most societies. Having a mechanical arm is somehow seen as a sign of masculinity and virility. Having an augmentic leg is difficult to become accustomed to unless you've replaced both legs. Even then, they are rarely seen by others and are thus impractical for status. So I'd like it to be an arm."

Cairn's shoulders were shaking so hard Daul felt they might be in danger of cracking under the pressure of the Skitarii's laughter. Galut seemed to have missed the joke entirely, he was eying the prisoner's food inside their cells with wrapped interest. Daul was grateful for the narrow bars else he suspected the Ogryn would simply have reached in and stolen a bowl of gruel, "I've always been a big believe in keeping all ones limbs."

"I agree sir," Jak wobbled a bit, "But won't he demand a price of flesh from you?"

Ah, so that was what this was. It seemed even the Savant's were not immune to the power of rumor and fear mongering about xenos, "I wouldn't worry. Vira'capac's price was already paid long ago. We can trust his loyalty to his debts owed even if we can't trust him."

Cairn warbled unconvinced, he wasn't fond of the xenos.

"We need as many guns with us as we can have," he sighed, "And having a xenos with us will give us an air of legitimacy, even pluralism that might make trading substantially easier," he turned to the door marked with a massive VII, "Here we are."

A reedy whistling clicking sound was coming from inside the cell, avian and shrill. As Daul pressed the combination into the keypad and pushed the door open the whistling clicks subsided to a pleased trilling purr. A beam of light from the corridor shone into the inky blackness of the cell, highlighting a lean avian shape leaning against the wall. The xenos wore a simple white linen robe above mottled flesh. Razor sharp quills jutted out from every joint and poked through the linen. Quills Daul knew all to well to be full of a paralytic venom capable to stunning a man for hours. Vira'capac licked his fingers and clicked his beak loudly, "I am needed?"

Daul noticed idly that Vira had grown an opposable thumb, "More needed that you are in this cell. Tell me Vira'capac, how many of your cell mates did you consume?"

The yellow-skinned kroot crooned in what might have been a laugh, "Calm your mind and your fears. They only tossed the corpses to me after they were dead, as you no doubt instructed them to. A tool for getting obedience from prisoners fear is. A foolish one but a powerful one."

"You'll pardon me if I take the moral imperatives of someone I've watched eat men's still beating hearts with a grain of salt," Daul said dryly. The Kroot insisted upon trying to correct what he believed to be Daul's moral failings, though he was careful never to do so in public. He'd never entirely understood the social dynamics of Kroot culture but it seemed it was the duty of lesser members of the brood to question all decisions made by the Shaper, even if they obeyed his orders implicitly, "You'll soon be leaving his cell."

"Am I finally to die by your hand Inquisitor?" Vira'capac crowed hopefully.

"No," Daul shook his head, "Not by mine."

The Kroot's expression darkened, "Then leave me in peace to die of age like a coward. My brood is dead yet I live, unable to breed, unable to pass on what I am, what I have gained. Kill me before I gain more that I cannot share with the greater part of who we were. Kill me so that they might consume me and I might become them."

"I gave my word to your Shaper Vira'faola," Daul started.

"I know the name of my own brood father!" Screeched Vira'capac with contempt, "And I know the value of an Inquisitor's word. You were not the first of your order to contract the broodchildren nor will it be the last. You are an order founded on lies, dependant on lies, and designed to master lies. End me as you should have done years ago!"

"No," Daul shook his head, "I chose not to end you and I chose not to leave you be. You are still in my service Vira'capac, you will be in my service till you die an honorable death. I can at least promise your death will be worthy of the brood consuming you."

Vira'capac hissed and flared his quills.

"You will be accompanying me to a xenos port of call," Daul ignored the Kroot's posturing. The Inquisitors mouth twitched as an amusing thought popped into his mind, "You and your hounds."

The quills at the back of Vira'capac's head twitched, shaking the beads and bangles looped through them. His nostrils flared and he trilled in resignation, fingering the necklace of various humanoid bones around his neck. He had not seen his hounds in the better part of the year., "Very well Inquisitor. Very well."
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