Prologue Mission 11
Thought for the day – Suffer not the witch to live.
+++Subject: Secondment to Lord Inquisitor Viktor Aldermann – Holy Ordo Xenos+++
+++From: Team Leader Legate Quintus Horatius Gaius+++
+++To: Lord Inquisitor Cornelius Master – Holy Ordo Hereticus+++
+++Date: 703 977M41+++
As requested I supply this exposition of events transpired whilst working on your orders with the investigational team of Lord Aldermann. As discussed, his methods vary greatly from your own and I welcome the opportunity to gain experience in other facets of Inquisitorial work.
As you informed me when presenting me with this work, Lord Aldermann is currently engaged in the protracted situation upon the streets of hive Ostia. His requirement for a more subtle hand in gathering information in this regard stems largely from his investigational methods – with the very greatest of respect I find him and his acolytes to be somewhat heavy-handed in their approach. The very composition of his acolyte team reflects this disregard.
Thus, I was tasked with tracking down members of the network responsible for supplying the various street gangs with weaponry, this being used in their work to destabilise hive infrastructure and distribute their “Dust” drug (apparently still an issue in some slums despite your great efforts to stem the supply source).
Bemused by their lack of success in this venture, the acolytes’ leader Arrimun (a great hulking beast of a man from the Ministorum) demonstrated to me their methods. Aldermann came to them with a report of Scorpion activity in the lower reaches of precinct #43007 – Dust users had been detected and dealt with by the local Arbites. With this scant information in hand, the acolytes sped out to the slums in question, and proceeded to arrest members of the public at gunpoint (no doubt driving the real culprits firmly into hiding). I saw two imperial citizens needlessly shot merely to enforce the cooperation of their fellows, whilst local Judges looked on laughing. It goes without saying that no guilty parties were discovered on that trip, though plenty of “justice” was dispensed. While cruelty in our work certainly has its place, this misdirected action was simply inefficient.
Dogmatic, naive fools they were! They claimed the innocent had nothing to fear, but in my experience there is no such thing as an innocent man, merely lighter shades of grey.
Determined to show them the lighter touch, I made long overdue contact with Markus Ramirez (see report #14). Some time and several bribes later, I was able to take two faceless thugs, Raam and Craxus, from among the acolytes to a drinking establishment in the precinct adjacent to that visited previously. We were out of uniform and dressed as hive scum, yet they insisted on having back-up on hand (Guillaum Aurelius, another giant of a man armed with chain sword and beard, and a grim looking battle-sister named Sorcha).
Upon entering the establishment – Jemmy’s bar and grill, see attached – I proceeded to identify individuals matching the profile of network couriers. A fellow with the audacity to sport a scorpion gang tattoo upon his face was easily encouraged to step outside expecting to sell us some narcotic or other. He was soon convinced via some strategically broken fingers that directing us toward his Dust supplier would be better for his ongoing health. We left him unconscious awaiting Arbite collection.
The pain induced directions proved true, and little time past before we arrived at our goal, a heavily fortified warehouse in a nearby district. Arbite patrols were conspicuously absent as we approached, and the mood on the surrounding streets was one of overbearing oppression. One could literally smell the fear in the air, and having experienced such atmospheres in our previous exploits, I made no complaint when the four present insisted on summoning the remainder of their team. Arrimun promised to call in support from the 43rd should such be required.
Upon arrival, Arrimun himself insisted on taking charge for the inevitable frontal assault. He grudgingly thanked me for my assistance before directing me to the back of the force, to remain protected in the team’s APC. I gave him my thanks and introduced myself to Cothraxia, their driver.
As the assault team made their preparations, I took the liberty of secreting a handful of stun grenades, before slipping from the vehicle. I quietly made my way around the side of the building, past the block and across to the nearest sewer entrance, where I climbed inside and readied my shotgun and the flash-bangs from the truck. Within minutes the distant sound of gunfire could be heard above ground. My suspicions proved correct, and it was very little time before movement could clearly be heard further down the tunnel.
As twin figures turned the corner into the junction I was crouched in, I covered my eyes, tossed the flash-bangs out, and prepared to unload my shotgun into the knees of the approaching parties. The combination of grenades and fully automatic shotgun fire did the trick, and with a few well placed kicks to pistols and wrists, I was quickly in possession of two stunned, bleeding and sobbing prisoners in gang colours.
The most important looking I slapped into a semblance of consciousness (having bound his wrists behind his back and giving him a pat down for concealed weapons), before dragging his partner into view and messily slitting his throat. My point well and truly made, I made firmer my prisoner’s bindings. The Emperor’s kindness shone through however, and I eventually applied tourniquets to his ragged knee stumps. I dragged his wriggling form above ground and into the shadow of a nearby building. I considered calling in back-up from the acolytes, but decided to deal with this filth myself.
“Name?” I asked of him, wishing to gauge the amount of coercion required. His erstwhile colleague had folded with merely a few broken bones, but this specimen had risen to lead a whole cell. My expectations were met as he spat bloody phlegm in my face, his agony stricken face twisted in zealous hatred.
I realised that my excrutiator kit was back on board The Sacrifice, and cursing my lack of foresight, I made do with what was on hand, while chaos reigned behind me at the warehouse. Gunfire still filled the air as the acolytes went about their bloody business. Every scream was echoed on my subject’s face.
I untied his hands, and pinned one to the floor beneath my boot. Stim patches ensured his continued awareness as I inserted his own knife between his second and third finger on the free hand. The flesh suitably weakened I then applied increasing stress on both halves of the hand and forced him to watch as the appendage unzipped before his eyes. Pain he could likely endure, even draw strength from, but the numb recognition of the irrevocable damage being dealt would do much to crush any resistance offered.
“Name?” I asked him again, as his whimpering threatened to drown the sound of tearing sinew. “Give me your name, heretic scum.” My eyes bore into his as he looked on in dismay, and with an almost audible sensation, his spirit cracked.
“Jammer” was his half choked, half sobbed response, and I knew then that he would answer my questions truthfully. I proceeded to interrogate him in the darkness while the battle raged on with his underlings in the background. After he began to repeat himself in a frantic babble, I judged his usefulness spent, and disposed of the body before wiping my hands and quietly returning to Arrimun’s APC.
I later learned that Aldermann counted this event as a full success in stamping down one cell of the network, and indeed they did succeed in drying up the Dust supply in the immediate area, however the intelligence collected that night far outweighs (in my own, most humble, opinion) such gain.
I learned that the man I questioned had been known to his gang members as Jammer, though this was not his given name. As with many street gangs lifestyles, the gang would have been formed for mutual self protection, and consisted initially of a very small number of closely linked confederates. Having established themselves as a force in their local area, Jammer rose to prominence after murdering his predecessor in a fight for leadership. It was then that territorial skirmishes ceased as smaller local gangs were brought under the banner of the Scorpions. Jammer then became a lieutenant within the wider organisation, with immediate authority within the near area, while following broad policy delivered from higher up. Upon being so assimilated, his cell began to be involved in the trafficking of narcotics and other controlled items, and the distribution of such, receiving weaponry in exchange. The substance Dust was a reasonably new thing to this Network cell, as were the Xenos weaponry they sported (I shudder still to think of our encounter with the Lat), and while distasteful, Jammer expressed an inability to resist orders from above, especially when threat of the dreaded Scorpion himself was suggested.
Lately the cell seemed to be dealing with a slower flow of Dust, which correlated with our efforts to stem the tide, however the overall Network traffic was relentless, and they had seen a marked increase in Xenos weaponry. The final piece of information Jammer had, however, outweighed all the others; he was particularly concerned that his cell had been left out of a lucrative underground railroad for latent Psykers who pay a lot of money to be smuggled out of the city away from the arbites and inquisition. He heard of the scam from a drunk ganger with a loose tongue one night who works at a scrap yard in a nearby district.
Thus it is that I humbly submit my recommendation that our next move as a unit be to intercept and detain these individuals. I stand by my decision to withhold this information from Lord Inquisitor Aldermann, for better or worse – I feel that his direct approach would likely fail to produce any further leads beyond their destruction. Clearly this matter lies in the jurisdiction of the Ordo Hereticus, and while his grace is rightly beyond reproach, my loyalty remains yours.
I remain, your dedicated servant
Legate Investigator Quintus Horatius Gaius