Extremis Diabolus

Into the heart of the betrayer

The band of would be inquisitors stepped out of their transport into a furrow carved into the earth from one edge of the horizon to the battered remains of helm of the ship lying in the distance. Clods of earth and soil were strewn on both sides of the furrow, rocks as large as Land Crawlers were pushed into the ground, dark striations along the sides where the metal of the hull had pulled along them.
Cautiously, the band walked along the sides of the furrow, stepping carefully over the loose soil. Pistol stopped occasionally, drawing a bead on the ship ahead. They did not approach stealthily as Bandarch had directed them to make contact with the Captain and all had been too dumbstruck to question the order. Despite the ‘diplomatic’ nature of the mission, nerves were frayed and Scumlord kept glancing off into the tall grass, claiming that “something was watching, something was following.” Of course, no one paid any heed to these claims, Scumlord wouldn’t feel safe even at the side of the Emperor himself!
Pistol again drew his long-las to his shoulder, gazing down the scope at the ship. Suddenly he stiffened. “Eight, no twelve targets. Civilians. Shall I engage targets?” “Hold your fire” Zharkov barked “We are here to talk… Initially at least.” With a readily visible air of disappointment, Pistol lowered his weapon.

The troop walked forward, weapons at their sides but still accessible if the situation deteriorated. When the crewmembers aboard the ship came into view, Zharkov called out to them, requesting to speak with the Captain. Apparently alarmed, the crew scurried into hatches to hide in the dark bowels of the ship. Approaching cautiously, wary of an ambush they circled around the hulk of the ship. The soft earth was packed up around the front of the hull and as they skirted around it, it became apparent that the ship would never again return to space, not without significant repairs at least and with the inquisition bearing down on the ship, that wasn’t likely to occur.
Stepping onto the hull they spied several hatchways, all appeared to have been locked from the inside. Pulling out their trusty Arc-welder they began working on the hatch that most of the crew were seen to enter through. The locking mechanism rapidly melted to the intense heat of the welder and seconds later they were in. A dark corridor stretched out in front of them, wide enough only to move in single file. Moving stealthily down the corridor, Zharkov lead the group into the darkness. A dry caustic smell hung heavy in the air. Suddenly, out of an alcove, a figure appeared. Aware of the diplomatic nature of the mission, Zharkov took a step forward, greeted the man and announced that they were there at the behest of Bandarch and they sought an audience with the Captain. The figure paused for a second in indecision before a shadow of a smile crept over his face. “Follow me, I will show you the way” as he spun around, Scumlord noticed a bulge under the man’s greatcoat. “Hes got a gun! Scumlord screamed” as he pulled out his hand cannon and fired it over Zharkov’s shoulder in the direction of the figure. Reacting quickly, Zharkov pulled his greatsword and pinned the man against the wall. Ears ringing, Zharkov turned to Scumlord with fury on his face “By the Emperors beard! You krulling fool! You could have killed me, for certain you have damaged my hearing. Try that again and I will end you myself!”
Turning back to the man, pressed against the wall Zharkov demanded answers and fast! The mans mouth moved silently, or at least he did not utter any sounds that Zharkov could hear. Taking this as a sign of resistance, Zharkov pressed the blade of the sword more heavily against the mans neck, the fine mono edge bringing a trickle of blood where the mans adam’s apple rested against fine blade. Before another word was spoken, a massive explosion erupted to Zharkov’s left and in front of him, the mans face disintegrated into a mask of gib and gore. Stunned, Zharkov turned to the source of the explosion and saw Scumlord’s hand cannon with a thin whisp of acrid smoke curling out of the barrel. More angry at the order being disobeyed than his eardrum being violently assaulted he slammed the hilt of his sword into Scumlords stomach, and as the ragged man collapsed, he whipped his pair of cuffs around Scum’s wrists. He turned to Pistol growling “If he tries anything else, execute him.” A thin smile touched the corner of Pistols mouth “With pleasure” he whispered.

They continued down the corridor finding no resistance moving in the direction of the foredeck of the ship. Rounding one final corner they came to what was clearly the C&C centre of the ship. In front of them was a raised section with a low glass barricade and to either side lay banks of computational equipment. Huge magnetic reels sat idle and panels with gauges and dials that would normally be fluttering with shipboard activity were frozen.
The party spread out, creeping around the edge of the room. Pistol crept forward, and slowly lifted his head to the raised platform. Peering through the glass he saw two heavily armed guardsmen protecting a well-dressed Captain. Beckoning the Psyker forward, he pointed at the Captain and made a choking motion. The Captain collapsed to the ground, grasping at his throat and in one fluid motion, Morias raised his two pistols, felling the two guardsmen before they could react. The gang charged up onto the raised platform, restraining the Captain before he could fully recover. Though questions were asked of the Captain about his association with Bandarch, who gave the fleet its orders and where the ship had obtained its technology from; the Captain declined to answer. In a cold fury, Morias held his bolt pistol inches from the Captains temple whispering “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you”

He pulled the trigger.

There was a small explosion as the initial detonation pushed the .75mm rocket out of the barrel. As this occurred, the explosion ignited the propellant, hurling the rocket forward out of the barrel. The bolt accelerated forward, puncturing the Captains temple. As the bolt accelerated it ploughed deeper and deeper into the Captains brain and as it passed the cerebellum it detonated.
The fragments of the bolt ripped through the soft grey matter, shattering the bone, throwing it across the room. Specks of grey matter, facial tissue, fragments of bone and cerebral blood and teeth were thrown across the room, showering the group in a mist of gore and cruor.

Turning his back on the scene, Zharkov wiped the film of blood from his face and ran his fingers through his hair, flicking out the pieces of bone and flesh that had landed there. “Well, I guess we are done asking now.” He muttered to himself. “I swear that the next person to fire a gun near my head will have to explain themselves to the sharp end of my sword.”

“We have little time left before the Sword of Terra finds this ship and destroys it from orbit. We must separate. We have to search the ship and communicate with the Orions Fury. Lupus and Castila you’re with me. The rest of you, go back to the ship and try to make contact with the Sword of Terra.
p.

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