The Naevus Heresy
Epilogue Mission 21
Epilogue Mission 21: The Night of the Long Knives.
Masters returned to Ostia that night while the senate was in session. Stood on the open ramp of a Thunderhawk drop ship, the wind buffeting his face and blowing his hair. Once again trapped out in the regalia of his office as he headed towards the Senate building, flying just a few metres above the main boulevard. Citizens, militia, soldiers and adeptus all dive for cover as the trio of drop ships plough towards the senate building. They fly past the Adeptus Mechanicus Temple, the Arbites High Precinct, The Grand Cathedral of Ostia, the enormous bureaucracy of the Administratum, past the Inquisitorial HQ, the court houses and every other major building of Government.
The Praetorian Guard of the Senate form a defensive ring about the building, baring all the entrances and manning all the gun emplacements. But no shots are fired.
The three drop ships slow as they make the final approach. The wing men peel off port and starboard around the vast Senate. But the lead ship lands just 20 feet from the door. Masters disembarks, Lustig follows bearing the banner of the Inquisition for all to see, then three full tactical squads of the 8th Company Ghost Raider Chapter led by Chaplain Mathias Balazar; then follows Gaius looking rather out of place.
Masters walks towards the Praetorians, he has not even drawn a weapon. The ranks of elite guard in front of him hold their ground. Balazar takes three steps forward, the tactical marines take aim. “Make way” booms Masters’ voice. The guard pause, and then there is a scurrying of motion as they create a space wide enough for a Baneblade.
The Senate is in full session when Masters and his entourage burst in. The nearly 600 senators present go quiet in the tiered seating that surround the senate floor. There Consul Domitius Macro who was addressing the gathered senators from his throne and his pair of senator aides slowly turn towards the intruders.
“You cannot be here” claims on of the aides “It is against protocol for anyone but a Senator to be present in the Chamber.” “But you forget yourself whelp, I am Cornelius Masters Inquisitor of the Holy Ordos Hereticus, and an Agent of the Throne of Terra itself, and by that right I claim the Senate seat that sits empty for any member of the Ordos to take up and address the Chamber” “B..b…but that position has never been claimed in a thousand years!” “I claim it now” Macro with gritted teeth says “True enough Inquisitor, it is your right, but as Consul I tell you to take up your seat and cede the floor as per the laws of the Chamber”
“I would Consul but first I question your right to rule.” “My RIGHT?” “Indeed I invoke article 338.76.8a of the Ostian Constitution that any Senator may at any time call for a vote of no confidence in a consul and propose another.”
At this the Consul betrays a slim smile from the corner of his mouth. “You once again are correct; if this measure should pass I will step down.” Then to Masters and not the whole chamber “I think your understanding of Ostian law has failed you, now you see how a real master plays it.” Then once again to the whole of the gathered Senators “but if you should lose this vote you are censored for a year and a day. I expect you will stand against me, oh no, wait you can’t, as a non-natural born citizen of Ostia you cannot stand for Consul for that is the law, who will you choose in your stead noble Inquisitor? Who will earn your required two thirds majority?” Macro’s face can barely hold back his pleasure when he points out this particular of Ostian Law.
“Gaia Lecrutia Vettia Legate of the 3rd Ostian Legion, Winner of the Golden Torc for bravery and recipient of the Ostian Gladius and liberator of Jarvanis IV”
A gasp goes up, the consul does not look so pleased with himself now.
“Legate Vettia is not in system, she cannot even take up her seal let alone stand for Consul, for all we know she is dead.”
“You might have hoped so Consul, but your plans on that front bore no fruit” Masters turns to the third tier of senate seats where doors fly open and Lecrutia walks onto the military senators gallery. Other legates stand up and congratulate her, shake her hand or clasp her in a warm embrace, old friends reunited.
The votes come in, and the returning servitor announces them “388 votes for the motion 196 votes against, four abstentions in the first round: you have not met the required two thirds majority”
Masters addresses the senate “Before we vote again I note there is a vacancy in this senate which you has been remiss in leaving empty. After the death of Senator Pulcher the office of Legate of the Cohortes Urbanae or Arbites as they are often know remains unfilled. I use the powers invested in me as an Inquisitor to promote Quintus Horatius Gaius to the Position of legate and thereby Senator.”
“You are still two votes short you Inquisitorial scum, I would like to see even you persuade the Mechanicus or the Adeptus Astro Telipathica to do anything other than abstain, they have never voted on an issue in the history of the senate. Now is the final vote, and you will still lose!”
“One moment.” Masters says as he un-holsters his bolt pistol and raises it. The Consul’s Senator allies do not realise what is happening until it is far too late. Two loud cracks blast out through the Senate Chamber and the bolts blast into the two aides and their bodies crumple to the floor.
“You can’t do that!” cries the Consul.
“Perhaps not” replies Masters “But that is not for you to judge. We vote again.”
The returning servitor once again announces the result. “515 votes for the motion 68 against and four abstentions, the motion is carried.”
Domitus’ face becomes ashen; he staggers forwards out of his throne and towards the Inquisitor. “Senator Domitius Asinius Macro, you have no protection of the exalted position of Consul, I hereby declare you Hereticus Majoris, I strip you of all rank and title, I strip you of citizenship of Ostia and the Imperium of Mankind.” Domitus is now on his knees, tears freely flowing from his eyes over his tired looking cheeks. “I cast you out and curse your very existence, you pathetic pox on humanity. Driven by greed and hubris you have caused untold damage to this system and beyond, you have treated with the alien and the daemon, you have conspired against your hive and the Imperium as a whole, you have failed the Emperor. Do you have anything to say before you meet your justice?”
The once proud Consul can do nothing but whimper.
“Then I sentence you to die!” Masters lifts the limp body of the traitor in his right hand until his face is level with Masters’ eyes. Arcs of lightning fire from Masters’ eyes ripping the very flesh from Macro’s face. Soon all that is left is a bloody skull and the body is thrown to the floor. The new Consul steps over the corpse and takes her new seat on the Consul’s Throne in the centre of the senate Chamber. Her first decree is that “Nobody leaves this building until the Inquisotor’s work is completed. Praetorians you will not offer resistance.”
The 8th Company Ghost Raiders move into the chamber. Panic grips the senators and some try to flee. The Raiders swiftly move through the chamber making arrests, any who resist are cut down mercilessly by the angels of death. The Praetorians stand and watch as nearly one half of the senators they were sworn to protect are either arrested or killed.
Gaius has a busy night. He personally signs over three thousand warrants, and authorises many more. Galia has a busier night, she personally carries out the three hardest assignments. The Cohortes Urbanae kick down thousands of doors and arrest or summarily execute the inhabitants. The Emperor’s Scourge Battalion of Aldermann fight their way into the private empires of hundreds more traitors, and finally the Ghost Raiders eliminate the most well protected of those on the lists.
All told that night 47,690 citizens were arrested and 12,457 were executed, of those who got in the way: bodyguards, household retainers and personal soldiers there were 78,261 injured and 14,728 dead. It wasn’t just restricted to Ostia or even Naevus, hundreds in front line units were taken, arrests were made in orbit and even in tens of other systems in the sector. The purge was complete. Every name on Masters and Aldermann’s lists were accounted for, every name from Solent house or whoever had worked with the Naevus Heresy, every name, bar two.
A few days later Masters was back in his offices in Inquisitorial HQ “What is it sir?” Interrogator Gaius asked “We have accounted for everyone on the lists, everyone except Talus.”
The Inquisitor nodded, but he did not look pleased at his work.
“What is wrong? We’ll get him M’Lord, you’ll see.”
Masters pondered this “I know, it is just… it is just I hate working in the open.”