From Official Recordings of the Inquisition


Inquisitor Lord Gabel pours himself another drink as he listens to Inquisitor Musgrave give his report. "So you say he mishandled their initial encounter with the heretic?"

Musgrave nods eagerly, "Of course! He had the creature alone and outnumbered, had a sniper placed for a killshot, yet instead chose to put on some elaborate facade. He claims in his after-action reports that there was no way to tell if a strike at the time would be enough to neutralize the heretic, and that they were unarmed. He also claimed his plan was to get the entire cult at once. Personally, I believe he was just covering for cowardice at best, and considering joining the heretic at worst."

"Serious charges." Gabel said in tones of warning, "Not to be leveled without serious evidence."

Musgrave swallowed and noddes, "Yes, of course sir...but what's not in question is what happened next. After winning the heretic's confidence, he set about to enlist the support of a pack of degenerate techno-heretic thugs, as part of some grand plan to let them do The Emperor's Work for him..."


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From the Journals of Augustus Torchwood

            We'd made our connection and found out who we need to contact to help us out with the mission. This Red Chrome Legion sounded promising, and I knew just to send to shake prosthetic hands. I sent Bolt along with Otto, just for good measure. I see myself in that boy, sometimes and I'd be doing him a disservice to deny him the chance to be mocked and abused by Otto as often as possible.

What's more, the day following our meeting we received an engraved invitation to a religious service he'd been planning for the following week. He made it clear in the invitation that Professor Talsorian, the self-proclaimed Magos of the Red Chrome Legion was to be a guest of honor if we could arrange for his transport. It was all there in black and white, along with what little he knew about the movements of said guest of honor...I love it when people are too clever for their own good...

"So where in this skag-ridden sump are we supposed to find a gang of mad religious cyborgs, anyhow?" Bolt asked, kicking a bit of debris at a scurrying sumprat.

"That's an easy one, boy." Otto said, sucking on a stubby cigar end, "Just follow yer ears, assumin' that gospel yer always listenin' too hasn't deafened ya." Otto himself had lost his natural sense of hearing decades ago after a career spent in the special weapon teams on the front lines of the IG, but with his record of courage and gallantry on the battlefield he was always first in line for half-decent augmetics...the kind that doesn't constantly whistle and pop when you're trying to sleep. Heightened hearing range, autosense filtering and noise dampening, the works. Otto could tell you what denomination of coin you just dropped, and whether it landed heads up or not.

"What do you mean by that?" the young ex-initiate said, not bothering to turn down the volume on his pocket mediaslate "And for the record, my hearing is still far beyond baseline human norms...one of the earliest blessings you receive from the geneseed is the ability to pick the finer notes out of the concherto of battle without ever losing your sense for the song."

Otto snorted and rolled his one good eye, "Which is ta say, they breed ya so's one of yer battle brothers can let rip with a boltgun next to yer ear and you can still hear Sarge bawlin ya out."

Bolt scoffed a bit, but had to admit it was basically true. "What am I supposed to be listening for?" he asked, deigning to pop one earphone out so he could focus better on the noise outside of his own head.

Otto grinned, "Machines, o'course...and not jus yer regular background noise, but the sound of a machine that actually works properly. These boys are wannabe admech acolytes, right? Well, anyone who wants the blessin' of the Omnisiah is gonna do their damnedest to suck up to every machine spirit they can lay their hydraulic rams on in the hopes that one'll put in a good word fer 'em. I'm hearing a nice regular sound in the edge or my spectreum right now...about a hundred yards into the warrens ahead of us...sounds like a pump...it's clicking over every stroke like clockwork and sounds like it;s even lubed. Find a machine that works worth a damn in this rakk-infested sump an' you'll find a Red Chromer."

And so it went, the pair of them keeping an ear out for the sound of that pump as they cautiously picked their way through the labyrinthine tangle of underhive infrastructure. Immediately they sensed that they were being watched, and after about ten minutes, the watchers finally made themselves known.

As the duo entered a relatively large enclosure the lights came on with a flickering buzz, and before them stood a hulk of a being. Bolt had seen fully-fledged Space Marines who were smaller than the beat before them. Shirtless and hairless, his huge chisseled torso was laced with scars and implants. His arms were crossed at first, but as he uncrossed them there was a sputtering roar as the giant industrial chainsaws that had replaced his hands came to life. There were pullcords attached to them, each hooked to the opposing arm so the act of throwing his arms open pulled both ripcords at once. Otto had to admit, it was fairly clever...though as he was about to point out, a far more clever thing would have been not to replace your hands with saws.

"Oi, charlie chainsaw..." Otto said around his cigar butt, "how'd you piss with yer hands in that state? You get one'a the junior associate Legionaries ta hold it fer ya, or'd ya jus' have 'em replace yer tonker with some sorta' waste reclamation system?"

Bolt was surprised by the old man's approach to the situation, but he'd been working with the Torchwood crew long enough to know not to let it show. Instead he just crossed his arms (where his hands could easily dip into his jacket for his holsters) and sniggered, "Bet'cha his first day after the upgrade he chopped the bloody thing of himself on accident."

Otto let out a raucous little hoot at that, "Aye, fess up laddie, that's how it happened, didn't it?"

The massive cyborg glared with his one flesh and blood eye and growled in a voice like a vox at the bottom of a pipe, "Your tech is old and outdated. Go home, relic, you are of no use to the legion...and take your fleshling with you."

Otto laughed, "Oh, I bet my rusty old tech can do one thing yers can't." he held up  his left fist with the back of his hand facing the biomechanical monster, then with his right hand he made a cranking motion as h slowly, methodically raised two fingers from his left fist before reversing the invisible crank and winding them back in. "I don't give two tugs'a whatever they replaced yer borghood with what you gotta say. Me an' the boy here got a message for yer Magos, an' we means ta' deliver it. Now you can either get outta my way, or else I move ya outta my way."

The hulking brute let out a terrible, gurgling laugh, "I like you, relic...When you're dead, I'll ask the Magus to put your parts to better use." And with that he let out a megaphone bellow and charged, saws swinging ahead of him. Bolt immediately leapt right and drew his pistols, but before he could do much else with them, the beast recoiled, just out of reach of Otto. His head snapped back on his thick, bullish neck and he raised one whirling, chainbladed appendage up perilously close to his own face in an instinctive reaction that nearly cut his own head off.

Bolt stared, dumbfounded as Otto, now without his cigar, took two long strides and closed the distance with the screaming cyborg. Faster than even Bolt's finely tuned senses could fully register, the old man's iron fists snapped out and back again and again, like the pistons of a great wrecking machine. The impacts were like bolter rounds going off. Shattering the motor of one chainblade, snapping the bar of another so that the whirling chain slashed up and bit into the beast's own arm for a moment before coming completely off the wheels. A series of fleshy smacks like a meat tenderizer followed as he worked over the creature's exposed abdomen, then at last a stomp to the inside of the brute's artificial knee shattered the mechanism and toppled the giant.

Before Bolt knew it the fight was over and Otto was standing on the thing's great barrel chest. He reached down and plucked the end of his cigar out of the smoking ruin of his one eye socket and frowned disapprovingly, "Damn thing's gone out..." he said, flicking the soggy remnant away. "Any'a you boys watchin' got a light?" he asked as he produced a fresh stogie from within his flack vest.

Bolt watched as several pieces of machinery seemed to detach themselves from the walls and shadows around them, exposing the presence of a half-fozen other cyborgs who had been watching the entire time. One of them, wearing a tattered red robe approached them. From his back sprouted a servo arm and several mechadendrites, one of which housed a blow torch whose pilot light flickered to life as the tendril extended towards Otto. Heedless to the peril of having his face torched off, the old man simply leaned forward and puffed a few times, drawing the pilot flame in and building up a nice little cherry on his cigar before nodding and leaning back, "Much obliged, padre."

The Magos simply nodded the mass of augmetics under his hood that stood in for a head, "It is I who am in your debt." A machanical voice rasped from somewhere inside the frayed red robe, "Brother Ripperjack was due for a lesson regarding hubris. It is one thing to embrace the new, but one must always respect and revere the technology of the past, for only in understanding it do we have a chance to improve upon it."

Otto grunted and nodded, "Somethin' like that." He knew enough about cogboys to know that what the supposed Magos just said as tantamount to blasphemy. Most of the othrodox cult of the Omnisiah revered old tech above all, devoting itself to the upkeep and pains-taking replication of ancient designs. Anything new and so-called improved was something like heresy to them...he could see why they were little more than an underhive gang as opposed to a fully ordained arm of the Adeptus Mechanus...but techno-heresy wasn't really their department, and right now they were the closest thing to well-armed servants of the god-Emperor as could be found under the circumstances.

"Got someplace private we can talk, padre?" Otto asked, stepping down off the wheezing pile of metal and meat that was Brother Ripperjack. "Come along, boy, pick yer damned chin up or a sumprat'll make a nest in yer gob."

Bolt snapped his mouth shut and fell in step behind the old sergeant, flush with newfound respect for the wily old veteran as the Magos led them into his sanctum.

They wound their way through the tangled warren of old service corridors until they found themselves in an ancient workshop that had become a chapel to the Red Chrome Legion. All around them, untold dozens of mechanically augmented gangers watched as they made their way inot the heart of their turf. From the looks of them, they'd do nicely for the job at hand. Even the least among them was a hardened underhive ganger, veteran of a hundred dark and dirty little skirmishes in the bowels of the hive, and nearly all of them sported heavy duty industrial or combat augmetics. Most of the toughs like Ripperjack could pass for combat servitors after a lobotomy.

Otto nodded to himself as the Magos led them into his private chambers, these boys would do nicely. Once they were behind closed doors, Otto laid out his master's master plan, starting with the note from Father Blak, and ending with talk of how great it is to have the favor of an inquisitor when your beliefs may...stray from the norm...


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 TO BE CONTINUED...

Part Three 
Part Two 
Part One 

 
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