In Lord Mai's Service, Mr. Jacoby's Tale
(the parts in italics are excerpts from Brendan Jericho's Tale, and tie this story into the same timeline)
The stench of the beast was atrocious, even from here, Brendan thought, until he looked to his right and saw the remains of Cpl McGreasley lying behind him, with his head and left torso covered in the molten slag of his plasma rifle. “Lieutenant! Man down!”
Suddenly the area was surrounded in blindingly vivid flashes of light, causing Brendan to hide his eyes.
“Pay attention, Brendan!” Jacoby stuttered as he fell into the foxhole, exhausted. “Those little blighters nearly had you. Oh.” The psyker said nothing more as viewed the corpse on the ground.
Brendan looked around to see nearly a dozen ‘gant carcasses littered to his left, just a pace or two outside of he foxhole. The Lieutenant, Sgt Gunter, Pvt Keso, and Lima Platoon’s spiritual leader Brother Simpleton were moving about the corpses dispatching any that may be capable of further trouble. “Thanks, Jake,” mumbled Brendan. “It does take a lot out of you, doesn’t it?”
“Enter!” shouted the Colonel from behind his collection of antique and archaic pistols.
“Lieutenant Arreyano, Sir, as you commanded,” was the response as the Lieutenant strode smartly into the room, assuming a ramrod-straight position of attention, and awaited his Commanding Officer’s pleasure.
“At ease Lieutenant, at ease. We have received a bit of disturbing news,” grunted the Colonel as he admired the craftsmanship of what looked like one of the first production laspistols produced on the Colonels adopted planet, Mordia. “It seems that word of one of your staff members, a Mr. Jacoby, has reached the ears of Lord Mai’s staff. How is Mr. Jacoby?”
“Sir, Mr. Jacoby is in good health and stands ready to do his duty. Might I inquire if this ‘news’ involves his difficulty toward the end of our last engagement with the Xenos Hive Fleet?”
“Yes you may, and yes, it does. Mr. Jarvis has informed me that Mr. Jacoby is currently residing in the infirmary. There is concern that Mr. Jacoby is not as fit as his position requires. As a Sanctioned Psyker, such weakness cannot be tolerated.” Mr. Jarvis, as a member of Colonel Butts’ staff, and the senior Sanctioned Psyker in the regiment, holds nominal authority over Mr. Jacoby. “Though, as of yet, no fault has been assigned. Mr. Jacoby’s history and those acts of courage and dedication performed while serving as a member of your staff have granted Jacoby a possible reprieve.
“I am expecting a visit from a Lady Antoinette de Beaucourt, an Inquisitor with the Ordo Hereticus, and her entourage tomorrow. According to the communiqué I received from Lord Mai’s staff Astropath, this group will soon determine Jacoby’s suitability as a Sanctioned Psyker in Lord Mai’s service. I thought you should know.”
“Lady de Beaucourt, at my Lord Mai’s request, my command is at your service.”
“I thank you, Colonel, though I pray we shall not intrude upon your hospitality long. Where might I find the ‘patient’?” The Lady’s tone of voice when she spoke this last word sent chills down the spine of Lt. Arreyano, who was standing erect toward the rear of the Inquisitor’s welcoming party.
With a voice barely betraying his uneasiness, Lt. Arreyano steps up and informs the Lady de Beaucourt that Mr. Jacoby, his staff Sanctioned Psyker and trusted advisor, is currently boarding in the infirmary.
“Very good, that will do. There are a few details to which we must attend before we begin, including the locating of an area that matches these specifics as closely as possible. The requirements listed are most necessary in order to perform the procedure with little interference. I trust these can be made ready soon?”
“As you request, my Lady.” Lt. Arreyano receives a datapad from an ornately armored assistant and quickly withdraws from the party, concerned that one of his own would soon find himself receiving the full attentions of an Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor, and knowing the penalty of death that such inquiries most often bring. Lt. Arreyano heads towards the infirmary, soon catching sight of an orderly. A few quick orders are given, and both men head off in different directions, each with a sense of urgency.
An attendant enters the room and hands a sheaf of documents to Brendan and turns to Jacoby. “Mr. Jacoby, the time has come for the next in your series. Follow me please.”
“If you need to find me, I’ll be next door. It seems that I didn’t make it through the battle in one piece, though physically I’m fine. They just want to see if my ‘thinker’ still thinks ‘correctly’. Always suspicious of outside influences, the Imperium is. See ya.”
“Girard, how many more do you suppose I must endure?” Jacoby was really getting frustrated with the seemingly endless ‘exams’, which were no more than child’s play, but became quite tedious and often painful when taken consistently. He knew that Jervis was not happy that he had lost consciousness at the end of their last skirmish with the Xenos bugs, not happy at all. But, how were these annoying exercises in futility going to help? Jacoby suspected that maybe Jervis was overreacting just a bit.
“Mr. Jacoby, I’m sure I don’t know, though I do know that the location for your next exam has changed. If you would please, follow me.”
Jacoby finds himself seated uncomfortably on a stone bench. This does not surprise him, though, as many such benches can be found within the base. He is surprised, and quite worried, about why he has been left unattended in such a deep cell in what must be the lowest level of the infirmary. Nothing has been made comfortable, and there is barely enough light to illuminate the hallway beyond the locked door of the next room. Of course, reasoned Jacoby, this is just another paranoid fear of Jervis’s becoming my reality. Why does he distrust me so? Does he plan to just leave me here? What kind of ‘exam’ has he got planned for me this time? Haven’t I already proven my worth?
Jacoby continued asking such questions to himself for several moments before realizing that someone else was nearby. Or was that it? No, what is that?
Constant pressure was building inside Jacoby’s mind. Not his head or brain, his mind. He was startled to realize this and quickly began countermeasures to close off his mind to outside influences when he finally became aware of faint shadows from under the door. Suddenly the door flew open, allowing two forms to stride purposefully through the door, followed by a third.
Before Jacoby had the time to form a single distinct thought through the psychic barrage assaulting his mind, the first of the two to enter the door began her procedures as well. Questions such as ‘To whom do you owe fealty and service if not our Lord Emperor?’ and ‘If it is absolution you crave, why do you not ask?’ were constantly asked of Jacoby. The second of the two immediately began to bind Jacoby’s arms, legs, and head upon the stone bench. Once this was accomplished, various needles were inserted into his veins. After a tool kit was opened displaying various devices and utensils, some cruelly curved, others straight and sharp as monomolecular blades, Jacoby wished for release, but the request could not form in his mouth. He was assaulted in body, mind, and soul, never giving thought to the unknown third person observing the procedure on all levels.
It was several moments before Jacoby first screamed. It was longer before his lungs finally ceased drawing the breath required to scream.
“Colonel, may I have a moment of your time?” The Lady de Beaucourt pulled her vestments about her as she entered the Colonel’s office.
“My Lady, of course, I am at your service. How fares the investigation?” The Colonel instantly knew that he had shown too much concern by asking so suddenly, but that could not be helped now. The Inquisitor did not look pleased.
“Colonel, my investigations have led me to conclude that there is no fault of Heresy or Mutation within your Psyker, Mr. Jacoby. Though the possibility exists that he was under attack during his last engagement. We are aware of Tyranid Xenos with Psychic ability, and these Xenos may have had a part in the events that led to this investigation. At this moment, by my orders, your best chirugeon is attending Mr. Jacoby. For one of his meager talents, he has proven himself loyal to the Emperor, and faithful to his calling. I pray he recovers fully.
At this the Colonel was filled with satisfaction and dismay. It is not often that a patient survives an inquest such as this. Though Mr. Jacoby was found ‘not guilty’, he may still die from the treatment such an interrogation requires.
“I do have another investigation to complete before I depart. I would like to know who first contacted Lord Mai’s staff concerning this incident.”
Brendan can only take so much garrison duty. How many times can one perform routine maintenance on a Las-rifle before holes are polished right through the hand-guards? Needing a break, and not feeling up to a bite without a friend to chat it up with, Brendan headed over to the infirmary to see if the Gunny was doing better after his surgery, and of course, to check up on Jake. “He should be released anytime now,” thought Brendan aloud, “how many exams must the guy take before they see that he’s as fit as I am? Besides, Brinelles was being a real pain without Jake around.”
Jake was not in the room he was originally assigned to, and the Gunny was not receiving visitors so soon after the surgery. The orderlies and nurses outside of his room were chattering about cybernetic advancements excitedly. That should have been expected, considering the amount of damage to the sensitive tissue within the Gunny’s neck. A tang of guilt still pierced Brendan; he had yet to speak with the Gunny. An orderly informed Brendan that Jake had been relocated to another room 3 levels down, and may not be receiving visitors either, but that by now, he may. “What kind of test did he take?”
The room number given to Brendan led to an open door. The room was kept dim and a nurse was in attendance. When asked, she gave Brendan just a short moment to converse with Jake before his next med-cycle took him under again.
Brendan received a shock when first seeing Jake laid up in bed. He could see no serious physical injury, though there were several patches of what looked to be small incisions all over his exposed shoulders, arms, cheekbones and scalp. His fingers were tightly bandaged and his eyes were swollen and bruised. His lips were severely bitten.
“Good news, Brendan,” whispered Jake. “I have been evaluated by my superiors, and I am found worthy.” The caustic tone of Jakes voice, weak as it was, still had a ring of triumph to it.
“What?” No words could be found to express how he felt at seeing his friend left in this condition by his own command. Before he could speak again, he felt a hand on his shoulder and nearly jumped though the ceiling.
“Calm down, Corporal. I’m just here to explain a few things to my advisor here and I don’t see why you should not know as well, though this information does not leave this room.” After seeing that the statement was received as an order, the Lieutenant continued. “Mr. Jacoby, there was nothing I could do to prevent what transpired. Those who performed the inquest did so at the request of Lord Mai, and were themselves of the Ordo Hereticus. An accusation of Mutation has been leveled at you, Mr. Jacoby… Jake. My own investigation has led to the apprehension of your accuser, who will no longer be a member of our fine company. Apparently Mr. Jervis has become prideful of his position and feared that your achievements of late would overshadow his own and that you would eventually usurp his position as the senior Sanctioned Psyker within the regiment. Such pride and jealousy have turned Mr. Jervis into the Traitor that now undergoes his own rites of absolution aboard the Cruiser orbiting above. His fate lies with the mercy of our Lord Emperor.
Your treatment, I’m told, will not be swift, but our best medical officers and staff are emphatic that you will make a full recovery, given time. You also have the respect of the Ordo Hereticus. To be found worthy by one such as a Witch Hunter Inquisitor is an honor, though not one often sought out. The Colonel has assigned you to his staff, though I have asked permission for you to remain within mine. The Colonel has left this decision to you Jake. Mr. Chanticlere will be assuming Mr. Jervis’s former position until you have recovered. You are both valued members of my staff; so don’t make me kick your flippin arses for failing to report in full health after the next skirmish. And that goes for the flippin Gunny, too.