Second time around after some tweaking. I hope you enjoy the first part?
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There is nothing like hunting a man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter..
* * *
Morthen Stroms... Leader and Arch-Veneficus
Deaglán Ó Báire... Bodyguard to Stroms
Mubarak Salih... Bodyguard to Stroms
Juliana Zadian... Head of Security/ Pilot
Garxan Mansmay... Ex-Mechanicum
Eadfrid... Ex-Mechanicum - Pilot
Sergeant Garcha... Mercenary
Bien Hoc... Unsanctioned Pysker
Fidèle Bouchaud... Apothecary
Marcellus Lucretius Auxientius... Head of Intelligence
Ezel Uzan... Navigator, House of Rollant
Shala Ia... Captain of The Alabama
Brother Ohlsson... Astral Claws Chapter (Excommunicate Traitoris
Brother Rothach... Relictors Chapter (Excommunicate Traitoris
* * *
Ferrand de san Martinez... Lord Inquisitor - Ordo Hereticus
Arch-Magos Flavius Cutov... Adeptus Mechanicus
Huan Hsue... Captain of The Wrath of the Emperor
Ingfred Wolf... Interrogator – Ordo Hereticus
Felícia Cortes... Scribe
Auxilium Quartinus... 2ic The Wrath of the Emperor
Vanzina Galina Makarovna... Sanctioned psyker
Lucas Grevenslag... Intelligence expert
Khafs-nofru... Interrogator (Ordo Hereticus) and pilot
Ruben Lawry... Cardinal of the Ecclesiarchy
Dieter Gustloff... Captain Inquisitorial Stormtroopers
Arruntia... Calculus Logi
Brother Zoran Berezovsky... Techmarine, The Crimson Sabres (Excommunicate Traitoris
Palatine Talanova Alisa Stepanovna... Order of the Silver Sword
Nunciate Advance Casandra Balakhnova... Order of the Silver Sword
Anastasija Lacitis... Captain of the Black Ship, Anima Nobiscum
* * *
The Wrath of the Emperor
HE AVENGER CLASS Grand Cruiser broke into real space like a hammer blow on the anvil of the old gods.
Its huge triangular prow crackled with massive energy waves and multiple explosions, driving back the dark and filling the area around it with brilliant light and unimaginable pyrotechnics.
The ship was only a quarter of its length out of the warp before a spray of tiny fighters fanned out before it, skipping and darting in all directions like children eager to please their mother and protector.
Before the hull had even started to cool, huge guns, weapons points, multi-lasers and bombards began swivelling in their mounts as auspexes searched desperately for any sign that an enemy might be lying in wait for just this opportune moment. Blast doors were lowered and the decks were cleared for action.
Almsmen and other combat-ready troops moved into pre-assigned positions and broke open munitions packs and readied close-quarter weapons, primed to repel boarders or protect vital points and machinery.
Within seconds the full measure of the beast was beheld as The Wrath of the Emperor
broke free of the warp and translated into the today. Chronometers and onboard computers immediately calculated Imperial time (adjusted) and all working systems were updated in the time it took to blink.
Five seconds later, another vessel exploded into being beside the massive planet destroyer, and took up position as escort to the Flagship.
Though only two kilometres in length, The Firestorm-class Frigate The Sword of Tizona
, bore all the marks and scars of a seasoned veteran. Blooded during The Third War for Armageddon and credited with numerous ship kills, this hunter wore its honours with pride, flouting Imperial Navy protocols, by proudly showing every lance strike, hard round and blast mark it had received.
The third vessel arrived almost at a silent glide, with none of the fanfare and pageantry of the other two ships. It was a Dauntless-class light cruiser for sure, its shape and configuration was well-known. It was however devoid of all the spikes, towers and paraphernalia commonly found along the hulls of regular Imperial Navy ships. This was sleeker, more aerodynamic, more a dagger than a blunt axe. It was also the darkest of black in colour, a deep matt impervious to light.
As it moved into position to the rear of The Wrath of the Emperor
, a distant star was reflected off an emblem on its prow, a solid silver Fleur-de-Lys, the standard iconography of The Adepta Sororitas, foot soldiers of The Ecclesiarchy and scourge of the heretic. The Black Ship Anima Nobiscum
heralded death and pain to the weak of mind and rotten of heart.
It was the figure in the shadows, the hidden terror that stalked the dreams of the enemies of the Emperor.
Ahead of them lay the vast, dirty brown and yellow cloud of the Uthiea Nebula stretching a staggering ten thousand light years from Galactic north to galactic south. It was an impressive sight, even for a seasoned space traveller. One might even say breathtaking, if one had the time to look up from the auspexes and data banks spread out in front of them. The hundred and forty thousand or so crew that manned The Wrath of the Emperor
did not have that luxury. Their revered guest did not consider sightseeing as a worthy, or efficient use of anyone’s time. Any infractions or lack of discipline would result in swift sanction.
+ INITIALISING +
“Oh Great Machine God, I implore thee to cast your benevolent gaze upon our systems, the Divine Right. Let your burning power seethe through its circuits. Let your undying wards lay upon its matrix and circuitry. Let your supreme intellect watch over this operation and assist me in my never-ending search for knowledge.”
+ LOADING SEARCH PARAMETERS +
+ LOADING +
+ INITIATING LORD MARTINEZ PROTOCOLS... VERMILION LEVEL +
+ LOADING +
+ SEARCHING +
+ ADD SYSTEM WIDE +
+ LOADING +
“The Emperor Protects.”
+ PRAXIS GATANIA SUBROUTINE IMPERIAL COMMANDER +
+ ACCESS DENIED +
Hunt the heretic, cleanse the unclean
+ ARBITES MAINFRAME +
+ ACCESS GRANTED +
+ PLANETARY DEFENCE FORCE SUBROUTINE +
+ LIMITED ACCESS +
Patience, He that has patience can have the will
+ ADEPTUS ADMINISTRATUM - ACCESS GRANTED +
+ ERROR - FIREWALL INITIATED +
+ ACCESS LIMITED +
+ MARTINEZ ACCESS OVERRIDE +
+ ACCESS GRANTED +
Patience is a gift to the truly anointed
+ Arch-Magos. This is station 31/20. Long range Auspex has detected ships approaching. We are being scanned +
+ PROXIMITY ALERT +
+ AUSPEX SCAN +
+ INCOMING VESSELS CONFIRMED +
+ Two thousand Kilometres and closing +
+ Where are our fighters? +
+ Recalled and secure by order of His Lord +
+ Lower shields. Send out Standard Imperial Greeting +
+ Unknown vessels. This is The Admiral Swinton of the Praxis Gatania Outer-Rim Flotilla. Heave to, lower your colours and prepare to be boarded +
+ ACCESSING NAVAL DATABASE +
+ Greetings Captain Zorich. We are unregistered vessels on Imperium business. Sending our clearance now +
+ Unknown vessels. You will immediately cease your scans and Heave to. This is not, I repeat NOT a request. You will comply or face ultimate sanction +
+ I am sending you our clearance now Captain +
+ TRANSMITTING +
+ Instructions received. Thank you for your co-operation. If there is anything we can assist you with, do not hesitate to ask. The Emperor Protects +
Indeed he does
+ You will remain in contact and await further instructions Captain Zorich +
+ ALL SYSTEMS SEARCHED - STANDBY +
+ 13 OF 14 PARAMETERS FOUND +
+ AWAITING INSTRUCTIONS +
Knowledge is power
RCH-MAGOS FLAVIUS Cutov noted the position of the Flotilla and then checked their position with readings he had already inputted.
There was a pattern here which they had not anticipated.
He flicked a long tendril that had snaked out from within the folds of his robes, and brought up a blitz of intricate lines, spirals, shapes and machine code which seemed to float in the air before him.
There were literally hundreds of ships in this system alone and from their designation markers, a great many of them were military.
With quick flicks of his only human hand, he cast off erroneous information and lesser input and with his other, extensively modified bionic limb, he pulled in items that were of interest or items he could store away for further use.
+ INPUTTING THE ADMIRAL SWINTON TRANSMISSION LOGS +
Very interesting. He will not be happy
A small comment on a Administratum file drew his attention.
+ EXPAND +
+ Post 4AA/9L- Transit: Ucscurn trading vessel seeking permission to pass through the rings of
Otravis Secunda. Fears of Reaver activity in area + + Draianus - Rophus Inbound Tripartite fuga salutem: Permission Granted + + QUERY; UCSCURN, Eislorix SYSTEM, ULTIMA SEGMENTUM +
+ VESSEL NOT LISTED ON IMPERIAL MANIFESTS +
+ ACCESS RECORDS ON ABOVE PARAMETERS +
+ NO RECORDS FOUND +
The Arch-Magos stepped back from the hololithic display.
No records found?
The vessel was unknown, that is, it was not listed on any database that was used locally.
No records found?
If the Arch-Magos had facial muscles, he would have probably frowned. But as his face consisted of an oval diamond covered in a thousand compound eyes, this was quite impossible and anyway it was an inefficient use of his time.
He allowed himself a scratch of machine code instead.
Unknown vessels like this were not uncommon. The vast Imperial machine was sometimes fallible and there were anomalies that let things slip through, but with all the other information he was receiving, a form was growing before him.
Without notice, he suddenly detected a rise in blood adrenaline levels in the frontal lobe of his brain; this immediately caused a rush of pleasure throughout his body giving him a feeling of lightheadedness and well-being. The Arch-Magos, in a previous lifetime would have called the word...excitement.
Note: Check Frontal lobe functions for signs of decay or possible infection
His pneumatic legs raised him up to his full height and twisting at the hip, he moved away from his station and made his way to the Sanctum
+ Lord Martinez. This is Arch-Magos Flavius Cutov. Are you awake? +
There was a pause, no more than two seconds, before a gruff, deeply-accented voice returned.
+ I have only slept one hour in the last twenty-four so technically I am still asleep +
Cutov absorbed the remark and passed it through his behavioral dampers.
Why do these mortals insist on using the wasted method of communication called sarcasm
+ My Lord, I have a 13 out of 14 template result for you +
The message was blunt and without any emotion. The information he had collated appeared to be of the utmost importance to the Master of this fleet.
+ You asked me to inform you if any of my findings were verified. Everything leads me to the conclusion… +
The Arch-Magos heard what he thought to be a spluttered cough, followed by items being dropped or knocked over.
+ Cutov, a 13 of 14 is very rare, are you sure? +
The Arch-Magos momentarily halted and considered the question. He was absolutely certain that he had checked all the systems… several times. The information he had gained was correct. The margin for error was within acceptable parameters .
+ I have run a quick diagnostic my Lord; my systems are functioning at 99.97 per cent. I am almost certain that the information is correct +
There was a longer pause this time and then a deep baritone burst of laughter.
+ Almost 99.97% certain + Came the reply + From a an Adept of the Mechanicum, that is not very reliable +
Cutov ran the sentence through his behavioral systems again and realised that Lord Martinez was being… sarcastic… again. He would however, run another diagnostic if Martinez required further confirmation of his findings.
+ My Lord, I will shut down and purge my systems and I will essay again +
This time the reply was quick and without humour.
+ No, no, for the Emperor’s sake Cutov, do not purge yourself, I am more than happy with the result. Meet me in the Stratagem
most expeditiously +
* * *