The Naevus Heresy
Prologue Mission 5
Thought for the day: “Revere the Omnissiah, for it is the source of all power.”
Five weeks after your return from the Cathedral of St. Ophelia you are back in Ostia. The skies are filled with huge quantities of shuttle traffic. The troop ship Ostia Endurance has arrived along with a flotilla of other smaller ships carrying the Ostian VII Legion to a triumphant homecoming from the Xenos wars. The Battle of Trarcis was a resounding victory for the Ostian forces, the VII legion broke the backs of the hated foe and ensured final victory.
The celebrations are vast, the senate has declared a public holiday to properly welcome the victors home. The forum itself is packed with celebrating citizens as you try to push your way through towards the Adeptus Mechanicus Temple. You can see the procession of thousands of soldiers, veterans, marching in formation down the promenade topwards the Basilica Octavius and the Senate building at the end of the forum, each row containing gaps where the soldiers who will not be returning would have marched.
Century after century pass you by interspersed by hundreds of vehicles of various types as part of a column many miles long. The noise is phenomenal, there is of course the marching troops and the processing vehicles, but on top of that are the cheers, the bands, the people swinging rattles around their heads to celebrate. The forum must contain a few million citizens, and there are billions more watching it on the pict.
“Target is heading south south west, Xantus you should have visual” Talus calls over the microbead.
“Negative, I can’t see him.” Xantus calls.
“Xantus cut him off, he is making a break for it, Bram, Dieder, the target is in your sector can you see him?”
“I can’t see anything, Dieder?”
The twins bump into each other and Xantus at almost the exact same time, confused looks on their faces. “Hell, we’ve let him slip by!” exclaims Bram. “Shit” says Dieder.
There is an uncomfortable silence as it sinks in that the chaos worshipping cultist has slipped by into the crowds and there is no telling what sort of damage he can cause. Talus looks resigned that weeks of tracking down cult after cult, plot after plot intent on disrupting this return has ended in failure. The two dozen in custody will not be remembered, only the one who they failed to capture.
Over the microbead there are sounds of a scuffle, then “Hedeon Spiakov, by the authority invested in me by the holy ordos of the golden throne you are under arrest for heresy and attempted murder.” Gaius had left his vocaliser on.
“Blessed Emperor, you got him?” Talus asks in his mechanical monotone.
“Was there ever any doubt? Thadeus is analysing the transmitter now, he believes he can disarm all the devices from this one.” Gaius said trying hard to keep the smugness from his voice. “The Emperor protects.”
That evening you are all gathered back in the Inquisitorial headquarters located just off the main Forum. Masters raises his glass “A toast to my acolytes, good work on rooting out the Sons of Grath, you have saved untold lives and most importantly done your part in making the parade safe. May the Emperor bless our holy work!”
You all know how hard everyone has been working since the news four weeks ago that the fleet was returning came via astropath. Every Inquisitor and their informants have been working overtime in order to stop anyone who might do something to disrupt the celebrations. Fortunately the inquisitorial jail cells are full and there have been no major incidents.
“Now, I know you have all been working triple shifts on this parade case, but we must not forget we had cases before this came along. Our more insidious quarries will not have been resting in the time we have been tracing every crackpot and minor cult in Ostia who thinks they have a point to make. We still have leads to track down and the day after tomorrow I expect you to get back to the legwork I pay you for. We have several weeks before the III Legion ships out to join the XIV, I expect there will be a lot less trouble for that one. In the mean time I’d like us to make some serious progress on our case files.”
Two days later you find yourselves back on the promenade of the forum. This time there are far fewer people. Hundreds of Administratum workers queue up to start their shift, but you are looking towards the enigmatic Adeptus Mechanicus Temple. Its huge doors with cog and skull motif, though dwarfed by most of the forum’s buildings, is still a dominating sight. You say a quick prayer and hope half the stuff you have heard about the mechanicus isn’t true as you start to ascend the steps.