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Trial By Fire

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Trial transcript M41 Year 365 6th Month. Robain Wilson's statement.



She jumped from the roof with a grace taught from years of practice and landed with legs bent, wearing a brown skin tight bodysuit that accentuated all the right areas, she had black hair down to her shoulders and brown eyes a soft face with full lips, she was beautiful. Her name was Clarity, well her true name was Clairissa but Clarity was what she called her self, I didn't know why she never used her real name, I suppose it was a sign of trust that I knew it so I didn't push the issue.

'Clear' she signed to me I jumped down after her landing almost silently, we made our way through the hab blocks, it wasn't pleasant, it was in my opinion the decay of Imperial society, the rich were feeding off the life blood of this place, but we weren't there to sort our the corruption and right the many wrongs dealt to these people, not that we could in one lifetime. Keeping low and in the shadows we made our way further down the street, I felt truly sorry for the people who lived there, there was human waste in the street, a corpse that was still where it had fallen, a bullet hole in it's head, the sparse light came from yellow stained lamps suspended from the ceiling on rotten lengths of rope, vermin was running rampant.

This was the bottom of hive Serebus on the world Tharapute IV, and I am Robain. Clarity and I were employed by Inquisitor Morientez primarily for our skills in espionage, Clarity had been in Morientez's employ for a year before I was recruited, her and I had become close, very close, we'd been together for a year and a half then.

As we walked further down the street I noticed we had gained a follower, +Clarity, cross the street+, she did without hesitation. This is an appropriate juncture to tell you I am a psyker, not a powerful one, but I got by. Our guest followed her across the street +go right, down that side street+, she did, and he followed her. He was new at this, the fact he couldn't recognise that he was walking into a trap showed this, so did what happened next. I followed him down the alley, I could see he was nervous, he was hunched, his movements forced, with my mind I threw a small stone down the alley, it clattered down, it's sound amplified by the silence of the rest of the hab block, he looked for the source of the noise, I took my chance.

I leaped at him landed on him pinning him to the floor, he threw a punch at me I blocked it with my left hand and threw one of my own with my right hand, it connected, I felt his nose break, he whimpered with pain , I grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and pressed him against the wall.

'You were following us, why?' blood was streaming down his face from his nose his words spluttered out 'nah, nah you've got it wrong' he was lying I didn't have to be a psyker to know that, I jabbed at his mind not enough to injure, but by the look on his face it was enough to scare the hell out of him, 'why?' I repeated, 'I was told' he said while he was fighting my grip 'by who?' he tried to knee me in the gut, I blocked it, he escaped my grip, I drew a Hecutare pistol from the holster under my arm and pulled the hammer back, it was an exquisite weapon, painted black with ivory grips, ten rounds in the clip, one in the tube, each the size of my thumb, each capable of tearing off an arm, it and another like it were gifts from Clarity. 'For thrones sake, don't run away, this gun tends to make a mess and I want something left to talk to' he stopped and looked round and saw the gun I was pointing at his face 'please I'm just a grunt, I don't know what they are up to I don't know why they wanted you followed'
'who do you work for?' I was sure I already knew the answer to this question 'Narlon, mate I don't know why you want him, but I wouldn't try it, he knows you're coming' I holstered my gun and started walking towards him 'obviously or he wouldn't be having me followed buy some wet behind the ears fop, guards, how many and how are they armed?'
'What guards?'
'Narlons guards you idiot' he started weeping, he was no more than 17, what had he done to get himself involved with scum like Narlon? 'He has 15 guards, 5 are out side, all armed with autorifles' I turned to leave 'you're letting me go?' he asked, the tears stopped. I turned to look at him, a lot of his face was obscured by blood, his blue eyes were filled with tears, I could make out a gang tattoo on his neck obscured by long blonde hair, 'you aren't going to make any more trouble for me are you?' He shook his head 'and when I am through with Narlon you are going to pick your life up and stop working for gangs aren't you?' He nodded, good I turned to leave and was joined by Clarity 'that was kind'
'he was just a kid, it's wrong, he shouldn't be involved in this kind of thing'
'this place, it reeks of hopelessness', I looked her in the eyes, 'well lets finish business here and we can leave'.

+Hurry up the rest of us are in position+
+we're on our way calm down+
+you should have been in and opened the door for us by now+
+we had a set back, besides it's not as simple as “opening the door” is it, like I said, calm down+
+I'll calm down if you hurry up+.
'Come on Clarity, boss is getting inpatient'.


The building we were supposed to be infiltrating was owned by Narlon Arthell, a local crime boss. We weren't here to sort out his illegal business affairs, that was not an inquisitors work, we were here to investigate rumours of cult activity that had cropped up from previous investigations.

'Nice place' I said as Clarity and I surveyed the building. Take away the external wall and the pair of box turrets in front of the building and it could have been a mansion owned by any of the faceless aristocracy of this planet. It was built from grey stone, two storeys high it was an imposing building. 'Reckon our man cut the power?' Clarity asked, referring the the energy shield that normally protected the compound from visitors such as our selves. 'Only one way to find out' I said as I crouched down to pick up a small stone, I flicked it against the wall, it just ricocheted off harmlessly. 'Looks like' I said as I walked towards the wall. It was only about 7ft tall and easy enough to climb, I jumped up grabbed the top of the wall and pulled my self up, as soon as I hit the floor on the other side I flattened my self against the floor, Clarity followed suit, we were not seen. We waited a moment and got up, still keeping low, and started across the grounds. +Okay we're in, how are things on your end?+ I sent to Morientez. +All is well, we are still undetected, the PDF are getting bored though+.
+Hint taken, we're going as fast as we can+
+go faster+
+you're so kind to us+
+of course+.

The kid was right, there were only five exterior guards, and they were easy enough to sneak round. +Robain, there is some one approaching the grounds, a child, no more than 18, blue eyes+
+what's wrong?+
+He was tailing us earlier, I let him go, he is just a kid+
+a kid who by the looks of it is about to land you in a world of trouble, if he comes in now and blows your cover, the operation is down the drain, and so are you+
+I'm well aware of what's at stake here, we'll deal, don't worry+.

'What's wrong' Clarity asked, I sometimes wondered if she was a psyker. 'Nothing, let's just get on with the task at hand'. There was no garden, and precious little cover for our journey, it was barren all grey concrete, the owner of the house wanted it to cut an imposing figure, it certainly did.

Mid way down the west wall there was a vent entrance to a cellar, this was how we infiltrated the house. Clarity slid her fingers through the vent and moved it aside I drew one of my pistols and jumped down. It was dark, I moved out of the way for Clarity to follow me, and took a second for my eyes to adjust to the low light. The accusations of Chaos Taint were correct. Drawn on the floor, dead centre of the room was a symbol, I believe it related to the Chaos God Slannesh, it made me gag to look at it for more than a second. I looked away, my eyes found the left wall, it had blood spatters up the height of it, like some one had flicked a paint brush drenched in red paint at the wall. The rest of the walls were covered in book shelves, filled wit heretical texts, each old and dusty except for three books next to each other half way down the right wall, they looked freshly disturbed. I didn't want to know what they pertained to. We moved on quickly.

I slowly pushed open the door and walked out leading with my pistol, the rest of the house clashed with the exterior, it screamed money, it was not a poor person who lived here. The walls were white with lights spaced every 6 feet down the length of the wall. The carpet was red, and luxurious, soft, probably cost more than the low level habbers earned in a year. Clarity went the opposite way to me. She had to deactivate the defence turrets on the grounds, if they were active they would shred Morientez and his team the moment they crossed the threshold. My job was to open the way for them. I needed to get to an office just off the main entrance hall.

I proceeded down the corridor, I was about to turn a corner when I heard voices. Two guards were coming down the corridor I was about to step out into, I pressed my body to the wall, they walked past without looking past my hiding place. I stepped out and smacked the butt of my pistol into the base of the skull of the first guard, he fell to the floor. His partner turned round and started raising his auto rifle, his face was a mess of tattoos and piercings. Before he could get his rifle up to shoot I grabbed the side of his head with my free hand and smashed it against the wall, he swung the butt of his rifle into my gut. I pulled a powersword from the sheath between my shoulder blades and ignited it as I swung it round in a graceful arc, he was about to shoot me when he realised blood was pouring out of his throat, he clamped his hands round his neck to try and slow the flow, he started wheezing. I left him to die.

The microbead in my ear crackled. 'Okay I'm done, where are you?'
'Give me a sec' I said as I opened the door of the security office, the guard turned and saw me. He wasn't like the others, he was young, not simple thug muscle. 'I am an agent of the Inquisition, and this could go two ways, either you sit quite still, and don't say anything, or I kill you now.' He reached for a gun, 'I really wouldn't' I said as I pointed mine at him. He froze, he was terrified, he wouldn't stay quiet, not a chance. I rammed the butt of my pistol into his face, straight between the eyes, he fell unconscious to the floor. I didn't want to kill him, he was just another kid. I tapped in the sequence to open the front gate and the front doors. +Okay+ I sent to Morientez. I looked around the room, there were 50 small monitors arrayed in the room, dominating one wall, each with a code in the top right corner of the screen to denote it's location in the house. One of the screens showed the two guards I had taken out earlier. 'Shit' I said to no one in particular.

I tapped my microbead 'Clarity get out, the bastards knew we were coming, the kid wasn't bluffing Clarity, get out'.
'You sure?'
'The security office, it has about 50 camera feeds routed to it, including cameras that must have caught our location numerous times',
'oh no, okay, meet me at the rendezvous point',
'will do Clarity, be careful'. I tapped the microbead again, +Morientez it's a trap, do not, repeat, do not advance+. As I finished sending this I saw him and his strike team of PDF troopers walk through the front door, the PDF wore grey battle dress with all badges dulled down with boot polish. As if on cue Narlon Arthel walked into view at the top of a large staircase that dominated the entrance to the house, he was surrounded his men.

This was not the Narlon Arthel I had remembered from the pict feeds. His skin was pale, almost grey, he had symbols etched into his flesh, they were hideous, signs of the ruinous powers. He was broad shouldered, with long matted black hair, hygiene was evidently not at the top of his list of priorities now. His eyes looked blood shot, there was not a hint of white in them, just red, with black pinpricks for pupils. They were piercing, it was like he was probing us, he fixed his gaze on me. I could feel him drilling into my head, I threw up mind walls, he swatted them aside like you might swat away a troublesome fly. I let out an audible gasp as he probed further, reading me, my relationship with Clarity, why and how Morientez and myself had tracked him. I saw Morientez looking at me, he knew what was going on, the PDF troops had frozen, they hadn't moved since they walked through the door.

'You are an interesting man Robain, do you know that?' His voice had a smooth quality to it, it flowed like silk. 'You wouldn't be the first to say that' I said, talking was a struggle, he shot a mind dart into the centre of my brain, I fell to my knees, I didn't break eye contact. 'Ahh well, the game is up now, you have been good fun, but there comes a time when the games must end' he said as his guards assumed firing positions, 'and, just for you Robain, a parting gift, to test your formidable skills against'. As he finished saying this I felt the temperature drop, ice started forming on the walls like snow flakes at first, but it kept expanding. One of the PDF officers fell to the floor weeping as his bladder emptied its self. A bright flash, and in the room with us were 6 Daemons. Purple skinned, lithe, almost beautiful, intoxicating.

The remaining PDF troops who had not fled began firing on the daemons, 'no' I shouted, 'get the guards, the inquisitor and I will handle these'. They took cover behind what ever was available and began firing their las weapons up at the guards, bright flashes of red light, pure energy. In response the Guards at the top of the stairs started raining solid slugs down at us. I put my first pistol back in it's holster, and drew the second one in my left hand, with my right I drew my powersword. 'Three each Robain, reckon you're up to it?' Morientez said, pre battle banter, it was a habit of his, I replied by firing three shots into a daemon who had just cut a PDF trooper in two at the waist with what looked like a whip, fused into her arm. The bullets hit her she screamed in pain for a second then exploded. This was why I had two guns, the second had a special ammunition loaded, carved with runes of warding, and blessed by the Ayanti.

The daemons advanced upon Morientez and myself, I fired two more shots into another and lunged at a third with my sword, she wrapped her whip arm around the blade, it began to smoke, she cried out with pain, the blade had also been blessed. She lashed out at me with her whip arm, it caught me across the face, it seared, the wound cauterised, like a las wound, it burned like the fury of the warp its self, which is of course what it was.

I fired at her, but she was ready, she ducked out of the bullets path, like a coiled spring she jumped up into the air and landed behind me, I swung my sword over my shoulder to deflect her attack, as I turned round I swung the sword again, in a horizontal arc, it caught her across the stomach, the wound radiated blinding whit light, it was impossible to look at, it did not slow her down. As she lunged for me I fired again twice, two hits, she went down. She exploded like her sisters before her, not a fiery explosion, but pure energy, the warp. I was closer to her than I was the others and got caught in the blast, it threw me flat on my back, I felt the heat singe my face. I got up, Morientez was in a duel with the one remaining daemon, I ended it quickly by emptying my remaining bullets into her.

The superior training of the PDF won out over Narlon's guards, he remained standing at the top of the stairs. 'Well, that was impressive, though not unexpected. Dragoheim' he said, directing his attention now to a daemonhost standing on a crystal chandelier suspended from the ceiling. 'Time for us to leave I think'
'you sure boss?' the thing said, his voice just as smooth as Narlon's, in fact, he bared a striking resemblance to Narlon. 'Ahh, you noticed it' Narlon said, evidently still in my mind, listening to my thoughts. 'Well, you know how when you summon a daemonhost, you have to sacrifice a human, well, the human I sacrificed was Jago Arthel, my brother, fitting don't you think. Any way, time to bid you good day', he said, he clapped his hands sharply and in a flash of light like the one which had birthed the daemons he and his daemon brother disappeared.

Morientez turned and looked at me, he looked tired, his purple robes torn where the daemons had got him, his long black hair was drenched in sweat. He had dark eyes, I couldn't decided if they were dark brown or black, he had wore a permanently pious expression, a product of his inquisitorial training no doubt.
I taped my microbead as I walked over to collect the tags of the fallen PDF officers, 'Clarity, you still alive?'
'yeah, are you?'
'Just about, though it was touch and go for a second there, you missed the fun, daemons, big nasty men, a daemon host, the whole nine yards.'


Clarity caught up with us en route to our base of operations, we were working out of a dilapidated room two floors from the top of a habstack, very few people still lived there, and none of them were of sound mind. We set up intrusion detectors at intervals on the lower floors, if any one tried to sneak up on us, we would know. The rooms we lived in were in as poor a state of repair as the rest of the stack, wall paper was hanging from the wall, I couldn't tell what colour it used to be before it was stained yellow from lho stick smoke. Marl, Jenkins and Sutch were already back from their opp when we returned. They had been out trying to find other information on just how far this taint had spread, the results were worrying. Half the higher echelons of society on Tharapute IV were corrupt. We would have our work cut out for us.

'As far as we can tell, Narlon is just the symptom of a larger problem here' Morientez said with his team assembled. Clarity and I were sharing a large brown chair, Marl and Jenkins were sitting next to each other on a matching brown sofa that looked like it might collapse at any second, Sutch was perching on the edge of a desk on which Augure (our tech specialist) had set up his work station. My attention was focused on a rat making it's way across the stained hard wood floor, it's claws made a chattering sound as it went, +you with us?+ Morientz sent, he noticed my attention was else where. I didn't reply.

'Thanks to my hidden patch, I've managed to get a list of names from the local Arbities computer system' Augure said, his pale face bathed in the green glow from his workstation. He had a thin drawn face, and a shaved head, I always thought this was wrong some how, some one with a face as thin as his should not shave their head, as if to accentuate the fact. Everything about Augure was thin, he had no bulk to him, his lips were thin like two pieces of red string on the front of his face, and he had beady brown eyes, I could never quite bring my self to trust him. There was just something about him. He wore black trousers and a white shirt with ruffles at the end of the sleeves 'I could pull a list of names out of my ass too, what's so impressive about yours?' Marl said, he didn't trust Augure either, and he didn't try as hard as I did to hide it. Marl was a scary man, well, he would be to some one who didn't know him. He was over 6 foot tall, and broad shouldered, all muscle. His blonde hair was in a military style buzzcut, his blue eyes sunken behind the bulk of his face, his nose showed signs of being broken and healing again badly. He wore a black body glove, Jenkins his twin sat next to him, identical down to every detail except the nose, his was fine, unbroken.

'Well, my list of names are those of suspected cultists in point of fact.' If Augure was getting frustrated at Marls comment he didn't let it show. 'The scary thing is, the local arbities are way out of their league, look at that list, it contains names high up the hierarchy of this system, right up to the second in command of this system, Garent Rentum, Grand Chancellor of the Therapute system'.

I was the first to break the silence, 'I don't see that this changes anything, we are here to root out a chaos cult, our mission has not changed.'
'not but how we are to execute it has, dramatically.'
'Think we should meet with the System Lord?' Asked Sutch, this was the first thing she had said all night, she was dressed in a skirt that was much shorter than the kind she usually wore, this played a part in her opp tonight, she was to go and visit a potential cultist, and get information out of him in ways “only a woman could”, her white blouse had blood stains on it, evidently her opp had not gone to plan. She had her blonde hair straight as a blade. Her blue eyes were bloodshot, I remember being worried for her.

The meeting ended half an hour later, with nothing more decided, we were talking in circles, it was frustrating. Everyone went to their own rooms tonight, even Clarity, who normally sleep in my room. There was a bad atmosphere about the place, it felt like a defeat, tonight's opps had gained us the information we were after, but it was demoralising.

'Sutch' I said before she retreated to her room, 'what happened tonight? Are you okay?' she sat back down on the couch the twins sat on moments ago. 'Contus was expecting something, I think he knew I wasn't who I said I was when I met him in the gambling den, when we got back to his things went downhill fast'.
'Everything about tonight went downhill from the start, we were expected as well, we spent so long planning that opp, only to be busted, we need to plug our leak. But what about you?'
'I've been better, I just want to get this damn mission over with, we've been cutting off the branches of this cult for so long, and now we're near to the root, I don't know, it just feels like we are to late'. I knew exactly what she meant, everything about tonight reeked of a set up, like our enemy was forcing us to show our hand. They would by now no doubt know that our hand was extremely poor.

I retired to my room shortly after that conversation. It was not a nice room, by any stretch of the imagination. I turned on the light, it did little to improve matters. The room was dominated by a double bed against the back wall, worn and old, I didn't care to think who inhabited that bed before I did. There was a full length mirror in the corner of the room, coated with dust too stubborn to come off. The walls were stained that same yellow colour as the main room. I took off the knee length black leather jacket and hung it on the door. The scabbard for my sword was sewn into the jacket. It was a special blade, psychically matched to me, Eldar in origin, I'm sure any other Inquisitor would have had me shot for heresy, but Morientez had streaks of the radical about him. I took off the shoulder rig with my holstered pistols and hung it with the jacket. I looked at my self in the mirror, the same familiar face stared back at me. Shoulder length brown hair, brown eyes and a hansom face if I do say so my self. A strong jaw, and of course the scar given to me by that daemon hours before. I had a lean figure, thin, but well muscled, kept that way be a regime that was, sad to say, slipping at that point. I had become depressed with the state of our mission, and it was showing. I was wearing a black bodyglove, un-armoured so as to not hinder flexibility. I walked over to the bed and collapsed onto it staring at the ceiling, staring at the cracking yellow plaster.
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Trial transcript M41 Year 365 6th Month. Clarity Charlson's statement.



I put the small las snub on the table beside my bed, a small green light in the handle indicated it was loaded. I took off my brown bodyglove and just left it on the floor, tidiness was too much effort tonight. Not that dropping my bodyglove on the floor made this dismal Emperor forsaken hole any worse. There were small patches of black carpet on the floor, like islands amid a tranquil sea. The walls were stained yellow and my bed reeked of piss. I felt like this place was infecting me, tainting me as sure as chaos could, and the vermin, the damn rats, the chatter chatter chatter of their claws on the wood floor could drive you insane. I laid back and tried to find a rhythm to synchronise my breathing to, to help me sleep, I could not.

I heard something from the main room, no, I didn't hear something, I felt it. I got up and put my bodyglove back on, (I was not going out there half naked). I picked up the snub las and walked into the main room, the screen of Augures workstation was glowing green and beeping to it's self every so often, it bathed the room in a dull green glow, it was quite surreal. I saw Robain slip out of his room, 'good, I didn't think you got the message' he whispered, 'that was you?'
'yes, I needed to get your attention without creating much noise'. I noticed he had a small auto pistol with a silencer attached, a hold out model he rarely used since I bought him the Hecutares, they were good weapons, but they were anything but quiet. He had his jacket open and I could see the pistols in the rig under his arm, what had got him so spooked?

I heard a chattering sound, if you weren't listening you would have mistaken it for a rat, but we were listening. Robain moved slowly out of the door way, he was being stealthy as was humanly possible, I could barely keep track of him, but I had a horrible feeling what ever was in the room with us was having an easier time. The chattering had slowed, like it, what ever it was, was stalking Robain. I wanted desperately to call out to him, tell him to hide, but I had to trust that he knew what he was doing. I caught a glimpse of something in the green glow of Augures workstation, it was like nothing I had ever seen before, it had 8 legs, and a body the size of my head, a spider. My mind must have been playing tricks on me.

I had lost Robain.

The room was tiny, how could I loose him?

The next 7 seconds were both the fastest and the slowest of my life.

I saw the thing pounce in my peripheral vision, it had pounced at me.

I raised my snub las, but to late, it was on me, then, before it hit me Robain lunged at it and pinned it to the wall. I was right, it had eight legs and a segmented body in two pieces, each the size of my head, it was bigger then I thought, it was a sandy brown colour, it had no eyes, how had it tracked us? He drew a warknife 8 inches in length and plunged it into the thing, there was a scream of pain. But it wasn't pain. It was metal on metal, the protesting of a motor. It was mechanical.

'Oh no' he said aloud, no longer caring about remaining quiet he drew his Hecutare and fired it into the ceiling. The sound was horrendous in the confines of that small room. 'That should have everybody awake, please Clarity, get ready to move, and make sure every one else is'. He looked into my eyes, I nodded still gripping my snub. With that he drew his sword and left the hab.
I went through to Sutch's room she was up with a pistol in her hand looking dazed. 'what was?'
'Get the inquisitor' I told her and left her room. When I went back to the main room I was greeted by the twins, each gripping an identical bulpup style las carbine, 'Marl, get Augure, Jenkins, guard the door'
'Who or what put you in charge?' Marl asked, 'The fact that I'm the only one in the vicinity that has the foggiest what's going on'. As if to emphasise my point I heard Robains Hecutare fire twice, the shots were close. 'Shit' Marl said as he went to Augures room. I went into mine and got my rig, a belt with a holster attached which hung down to my hip with an auto pistol inside, an exquisite model, polished black metal, it shines like obsidian still to this day. Caseless ammo, 55 rounds to a clip, capable of firing full auto. A scabbard nestled in the small of my back with a sliver dagger sitting inside, waiting to taste blood, with a spare mag either side of it. I went back through to the main room.

'Plan?' I asked to the room at large when I saw the entire team assembled, 'Jenkins, set Augures equipment to blow, we don't have time to move it, then, you, Marl, Augure and Sutch go down to the Cargo 8 and get it ready to leave, Clarity, with me and find Robain, the Emperor protects' Morientez said, then turned to leave. I saw Augure grab a data card before Jenkins set the charge.

As we left the hab we heard two more shots, it was like he was directing us. +Down one floor, west corridor+ I heard in Robains familiar voice, but it wasn't familiar, it was weak, he was hurt. Morientez sped up, clearly he had reached the same conclusion. The halls were dark, we could barely see anything, more than once we tripped over a corpse. But who's corpse? Who had attacked us? That question was answered soon enough.

Something came at us from an alcove, I could not make it out clearly, it was humanoid, about my height, that was all I could tell. Morientez thrust his sword into the things chest, that did not stop it. It grabbed the blade with both hands and pulled it's self closer towards the Inquisitor, I put two las rounds though it's head. It died. Morientez let it fall and wrestled his sword free. And started running again. We had not heard Robains voice again since first time, I was worried. I half fell half ran down the west staircase, the corpses were getting less sporadic now, a something moved, I fired at it. 'You trying to kill me?'
'Shit, Ro, I'm sorry, are you okay?' I knew the answer before he replied, his speech was staggered, he was wounded. 'Been better' he said 'what were those things?' I asked, 'the Inquisitor knows.'
'I do?'
'Yup, we fought them once before, when Clarity was on Fortia Minor chasing up another branch of this cult'.
'That would explain why they are so hard to kill' Morientez said with grim resignation in his voice. 'Any one care to enlighten me?' I asked, getting worried, both because of these creatures, and for how laboured Robains breathing had become. 'Not especially' Robain said, he shared that same grim tone. 'They are called vampyres Clarity, a filthy half breed, half daemon, half human, don't ask me how such a vile thing came into existence, I don't know. Horrifically hard to kill, inhuman speed, determined, and perhaps most disgusting of all, they drink blood'.
There was a moment silence, then the microbeads in our ears clicked into life, the voice on the other end was Marls. 'We have contact, bastards don't stay dead' then I heard Sutch shout 'nade out' the line fizzed and went dead for a second then spluttered back to life, 'when you're ready guys, but make it quick' Marl said, I could hear his las carbine firing on full auto. 'Lets got moving' Robain said as he lead the way, limping.


The garage was better lit, I could see what I was killing. The walls were grey rockcrete with a light suspended from the ceiling. The twins were taking cover behind the bulky grey figure of the Cargo 8, covering us as we scrambled in. Robain stood by the west entrance we had come through moments before, he was decapitating anything that came within reach. 'Ro, get in the truck we aint hangin' round for you' Marl shouted above the sound of his rifle. Robain retreated to the truck emptying his remaining rounds into the nearest vampyre. As soon as he was in Jenkins revved the engine and sent us crashing through the gate.

The truck swerved violently, the inside was damp, there were metal rings hanging from the roof on lengths of rope Robain was holding onto one to keep him self upright. 'Marl, get on that firing step, and give them some love' Robain said trying to keep a steady tone. Marl forced open the top hatch of the Cargo 8 and stepped up onto the makeshift firing step, which was actually a crate we liberated from a market and bolted to the floor. Robain hit the vox. 'Morientez, you got a plan?' he asked above the roar of the engine and the percussive cracking sound from Marls las rifle. 'Split up, make them think we're dead, no vox contact, not a thing' he said, his distorted by the vox. 'Think it'll work?'
'Has a better chance than continuing this chase for much longer'. As if to prove a point the Cargo 8 swerved wildly to the left throwing us to the floor, Marl fell from the firing step, our pursuers took their chance, we heard a dull thump from the roof of the truck, then we were joined by a vampyre, it pounced on Marl. It wore black robes that flew about as it slashed at Marl, its skin was grey, I caught a glimpse of its eyes as it jumped down, they were white, no pupils, just a cloudy white colour. In one smooth movement Robain drew his sword, ignited it and plunged it through the creatures skull down the length of its spine. As it fell into its death spasms another fell through the hatch. This one launched its self at Robain wrenching the sword out of his grip. Robain fell backwards, he hit his head on the side of the truck. He fell unconscious to the floor, the truck swerved again throwing the vampyre off of Robain, I drew my knife and plunged it into the things throat, it wrapped a hand round my neck and threw me back into the wall. It pulled my knife out of its neck and turned its attention to Augure who to this point had just sat whimpering. Sutch put 5 las rounds into it from her las pistol, it was set to maximum power, the 5 shots had emptied the clip and temporarily blinded me.

When my vision returned I saw Sutch close the top hatch. She got down from the firing step and checked Marls pulse, 'steady and strong' she said. Robain slowly got up, he hit the vox again, 'can we rig this thing to blow?'
'maybe, but what good would it do?' Morientez replied,
'at this rate we will be dead before we out run those rutting things, if we can rig it to blow, then get out quickly and blow it, we might be able to convince the vamps we went up in the explosion, they aren't that bright are they.' There was silence over the vox, 'it's worth a try. If we can get down an alley, we might have some cover to get out under. Augure, rig something, there should be a grenade or two in the arms bin back there'.
'We're on it' Robain said and hit the vox again, cutting the signal. Robain opened a small metal compartment Augure had been sitting on before the vampyre incident. He pulled out a bulpup style las carbine like the ones the twins had, along with three spare cells. 'Putty explosive there Augure, that should do the job' he said as he loaded and checked the small las weapon. Augure pulled out a grey lump of putty about the size of my fist. 'Augure, set the detonator, I've got an idea. Augure put a small radio receiver chip and detonator on the explosive. Robain pulled his sword from the corpse of the vampyre, he re ignited it and thrust it through the floor just left of centre, he cut a small portion of the floor out. 'What in the name of the Emperor are you doing?' Marl asked, 'glad to see you're awake. I'm fixing this to the fuel line, no half measures, this is gunna go boom'. Robain brought his hand back up through the floor, he walked across to the vox. 'Ready when you are' he said 'good, make sure every one's up and ready to run' Morientez said 'brace your selves' he said. The truck swerved to the left, the air was filled with the smell of burning rubber. The Cargo 8 slammed to a halt, Robain threw open the side hatch and we filed out, we ran through a broken doorway to the adjoining building. 'Get down' Robain said as he flicked the switch on the small radio transceiver in his hand, my world went black.


I woke up on my back to see Robain sat against a grey rockcrete wall, we were in what looked like an abandoned manufactorium, dilapidated machines littered the area. He got up and walked over to me, crouching down beside me, 'hey, you okay?' he asked, this was the first sign of the caring Robain I had seen since we found that robot spider thing. 'Yeah, ears are ringing a bit though',
'that tends to happen when genius here puts the explosive on the fuel line' Marl said, he looked the worse for ware, his body glove was torn from when the vampyre attacked him and he had dried blood on his forehead. 'I'm guessing the vamps bought our trick then?'
'Yep.' Morientez said as he walked over.

'The plan still to split up and hide under the radar for a while boss?' Robain asked. 'It is, Robain, you take Clarity and Sutch' I was happy the inquisitor teamed me with Robain, though I didn't let it show. 'and if we find more vamps?' Robain asked, 'slipping under the radar might be harder than it sounds, we know the kind of resources our enemies have available to them'.
'What other choice do we have?' Morientez asked, his voice rising with his temper, 'it is not yet time for the killing blow, we need more time'. They both went silent, I knew what was going on, the ambient temperature dropped ever so slightly, they were psyking each other, what ever they were saying now they didn't want us to hear. Then all of a sudden the temperature dropped again and I heard Robain wince with pain, my hand slipped down to my auto pistol. 'tonight has been stressful, so I'll let that slide, but remember, I am an Inquisitor, and I will be treated as such'. Robain got up and walked off, Sutch and I followed, sure we would get an explanation from Robain soon enough.

We caught up with him just outside the old manufactorium, we were back out in the poverty stricken lower stack, a good place to loose your self in the crowd, however I suspected Robain had other ideas. 'What's the plan then Ro'? Sutch asked, 'you heard Morientez, run and hide' he said, not even trying to hide the resentment in his voice. We were walking through the industrial district, surrounded by huge, hastily erected manufactoriums, now all standing empty. The main export from Tharapute IV was iron, estimates said the planet had about 20 years worth of iron left in it, at which time the planets economy would likely collapse. This was already happening in hive Serebus, the surrounding area was stripped of iron, and the hive was stripped of jobs. The hives economy had collapsed, it was like an illness, an illness that would spread in time. As we walked through the dark, damp, depressing alleys the full horror of the situation both we and this planet faced hit me. We were lead into an alley by odd moaning sounds, what we saw made me gag. There was a man, no older then Robain lying on the floor, naked, a stab wound in his chest. He was laid still, as rats ate into his leg, he didn't have the energy or the will to fight them off. Robain walked up to him, looked him in they eye, pulled out his silenced pistol and out a round through the dying man's head. The rats came back the moment Robain moved on. It was an act of mercy, but never the less it made me feel sick, and actually made Sutch vomit, through I think it may have been the rats more than the shot.

I'm not sure what was dictating Robains actions, they seemed to have no rhyme or reason, we were just walking, aimlessly as far as I could tell. Maybe he was just sorting things out in his mind, working through tonight, I don't know. I wanted to know what was said between him and the Inquisitor, it seemed to have shaken him. Without saying a word he pushed open a door to a small two storey building made from corrugated iron. When we got inside I realised it was not small at all, it looked it from the outside, it was long, at least a kilometre. It was full of what looked like huge kettles, almost as wide as the building, all down the length of it, smelters I presumed. They looked like they had not been used in some time, they were burnt black from the heat, a small door hung open at waist height on one of them, I looked inside, it was too dark to see, but for a moment, one chilling moment I would swear I saw a pair of eyes staring back at me. I was rooted to the spot, I wanted to see them again, I wanted to know they existed, I didn't want to be haunted by half glimpsed spectres. 'Something interesting in there' Sutch said as she walked up behind me, I jumped back she scared the hell out of me, 'it's nothing' I said and ran to catch up with Robain.

He was walking up a flight of metal stairs, the foot steps reverberated around the dead manufactorium sounding like a marching army. There was an office at the top of the stairs, there were two upturned hardwood desks, paper was scattered everywhere, anything of value was looted long ago, Robain looked out of the window, except is wasn't a window any more, it was a hole in the wall with spikes of jagged glass where there used to be a window. 'This will do for tonight' Robain said as he leaned against the wall opposite the window and slipped down to sit on the floor. He clutched his side, I noticed it had started bleeding, 'Ro, what's happened?' I asked, unable to hide the panic in my voice. 'I got stabbed in our fight with the vamps in the hab block tonight, I stopped it bleeding in the Cargo 8, it started again 5 minutes ago, which is why I decided to rest now, personally I'd have liked to get a bit further from the corpse of the truck, but needs must. It'll be fine' he said as he saw the look in my eyes, he pressed down on the wound. He took the las rifle off from round his shoulder and placed it on the floor next to him. 'Sutch, you armed?' She held up an ornate las pistol, it seemed oversized for such a compact person, there were intricate engravings on the handle. 'Half a cell give or take a shot' she said, Robain pushed the bullpup las across the floor to her, it threw paper up, like the wake of a fast boat. I don't want to risk it tonight, but when our trail has gone cold I'll start a fire and we'll see if we can cook some power back into those cells, how many cells do you have by the way?'
'One in the gun and two spares'.

I sat down next to Robain and rested my head on his shoulder. He drew one of his Hecutares and held it loosely in his right hand, his hand was resting on his knee. 'Ro?'
'Yes Clarity?'
'What went on between you and the Inquisitor tonight?'
'A disagreement, he's running when he should be fighting, he has backed us into a corner, we have no where left to run, and he thinks now is the time to divide our strength, when I told him this he got fassy and sucker punched me with his mind.'
'Oh' was all the reply I could muster. Sutch had fallen asleep, I closed my eyes, sleep came quickly.
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