Author's Notes: Hey everyone, I hoped that you liked the last chapter and will like this one as well. I own nothing Games Workshop and Fantasy Flight do.
Anders and his master had come to Oloph Primus hunting a group which called itself the Order of Progressive Reason. They claimed to be a group whose purpose was to improve the lot and lives of the citizens in an effort to improve productivity and better the worlds of the Imperium. The Inquisition; however, had long suspected that there was more to it that that and at last Ebo and Anders had been sent to investigate further. It had not taken long before their worst fears had been confirmed.
Members of the Order were moving among the mutant population and inciting them to rise up against the High Executive and the ruling families. They told the mutants that they, as the ones who toiled and slaved to keep the manufactorums running they should be the ones ruling. The Order was clearly heretical, possibly worse. While not directly involving the Maintainers of Order directly they had remotely accessed the files and reports which they had compiled on the Order and had learned several of their meeting places. Ebo had chosen the one which appeared to be the most isolated. Once the leaders of that particular cell had been apprehended then it would have been Anders's task to extract the location of the Order's leadership from them. With that knowledge they would either attempt to take them out or summon reinforcements. Ebo had always favored the more aggressive and solitary approach and would have likely gone it alone if he thought it at all possible. Anders, on the other hand, saw things differently.
He had always been more cautious than his master and felt that recent events had more than justified his stance. Thus, he would make use of local resources and contact the Inquisitorial Conclave to request aid, though he was certain that whatever was going to happen would happen long before the Conclave could send help, forcing him to rely on the local forces to complete his mission. These, he was pleased to note, were far more impressive than he had anticipated. The world had not seen a major conflict for some time and in Anders' experience had led him to assume that the Planetary Defense Force, PDF for short, would be inferior, both in quality and equipment. While he could not speak to their quality until he saw them in action, he had to admit that he was quietly impressed by the quality of their equipment, which was easily on par with any line regiment of the Imperial Guard. His request for units trained in urban warfare was easily met because, as with most PDFs, the main purpose of Oloph Primus's PDF was to suppress any threat to the High Executive and the ruling families and was thus geared around street fighting.
After the battle at the manufactorum Anders was pessimistic that the Order could be entirely dealt with. They would have been alerted and the leadership was likely even now either going into hiding or fleeing the planet if they had the means to do so. No, his only hope was to break the strength of the Order on the world.
From earlier investigations he had a reasonable idea where many of the Order's strongholds and meeting places. They would strike these simultaneously and break the power of the Order, at least for a time, which would give the Conclave time to truly rout out the organization. He would personally accompany the force which would be raiding the place believed to be one, if not the, main known headquarters of the Order. Anders owed his master that and he owed the Order as well.
Anders sat in the back of truck as it rumbled towards the target, a home of a wealthy merchant named Mordax suspected of being one of the ringleaders. In the truck with Anders was Captain Pankiw, commanding officer of the Third Company of the Fourth Regiment of the Oloph Primus PDF Capital Army as well as his command staff. In a convoy of trucks behind them came the rest of the company which was accompanying them, with the rest of the regiment being assigned to other targets. Not having any military experience himself Anders was content to simply tell Major Pankiw what he wanted done and let the officer do what he was trained for and as far as Anders could tell the man knew his business as he consulted a pad containing the blueprints of Mordax's estate.
"Right," he said addressing his fellow officers; "The main house and its out buildings are all surrounded by a wall twelve feet high. There are only two gates, the main one and one in the back for deliveries." He started pointing at other officers, all lieutenants.
"Ibdah and Kriek, your squads will secure the main gate and outbuildings. Imam, you will secure the rear gate. Bulnes, you will accompany me and the Inquisitor into the main building." Anders had been introduced to Pankiw as an inquisitor and had seen no need to complicate matters by correcting the misunderstanding. Pankiw continued speaking.
"According to records Mordax has a contract with StrongArms Security to provide him with a twenty-strong security detail. StrongArms has a reasonably good reputation for the quality of its personal. They're as well equipped as the Maintainers, but not as well as we are. We also outnumber them considerably." Anders stirred at this, remembering his and his master's last encounter with the Order.
"Be cautious Captain," he said, put all the authority of his office into his voice; "Do not underestimate them. Mordax has indeed aligned with the heretics and he will be far stronger than anticipated. If he is as high in the ranks of the heretics as I believe him to be there will most likely have members of the Order to supplement his official security." His words appeared to have the desired effect on the captain and he continued his briefing in a more subdued tone of voice, though in truth there was not much more to cover.
They would strike as soon as they were in position as the situation did not lend itself to a prolonged siege. Mordax was to be taken alive if at all possible, while anyone else who resisted was to be killed immediately. The truck halted a block away from Mordax's estate to allow the other officers to join their units. As they waited for the other units to move into position Pankiw dispatched several troopers in civilian clothing to perform reconnaissance.
Anders sat back and waited. He did not like waiting and he had to fight the urge to pace, it was a habit which his master had tried repeatedly to break him of, but never quite succeeded. He was eager for revenge and to crush those who had killed his master. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of the voice of one of the scouts coming through the comm bead in his ear.
"We are in position across the street from the target. We have the main gate in sight. Over."
"Acknowledged." Pankiw replied; "What does the security look like? Over."
"There aren't any guards that I can see. Over." That caused Anders's breath to catch.
This was not right. There should be guards at the gate. Where were they? He pressed the comm bead deeper into his ear as Lieutenant Imam joined the conversation.
"We are in position, no sign of guards here either. Over."
"Does anyone see any movement inside? Over." Pankiw demanded. All reported back in the negative. They were fleeing, that was the only explanation. He turned to Pankiw and spoke in a voice which booked no argument.
"We are going in. Now." With that he leaped from the truck and began headed towards the estate. Behind him he heard Pankiw hastily ordering all units to move in.
Seeing the wisdom in Pankiw's shouted request Anders slowed down and allowed a number of the troopers to get ahead of him. They were braced for enemy fire, but received none, further confirming to Anders that Mordax and his people were indeed fleeing. Reaching the gate several troopers, after doing a quick sweep for boobytraps, pushed on the gate and, to their evident surprise, found it to be unlocked. They quickly threw it open and the troopers poured through. They made their way up the drive and towards the main building, again without opposition.
They arrived at the front double doors and found them slightly ajar. Anders was now convinced that they had all made good their escape and while outwardly calm inwardly he was roundly cursing. Inside they saw the first indication that he might be mistaken. The bodies of three armed men, all with slit throats, lay on the floor. It appeared that all of them had died before they had had the chance to draw their weapons.
Seeing this Anders and the others slowed their pace and proceeded with greater caution. As they proceeded onward they found more and more bodies, some of guards and others who appeared to have been members of the household staff. They made their way up the stairs and towards the rooms on the second floor which it was believed served as Mordax's offices. Along the way they detached troopers to secure passages and other stairways. At last the arrived at the doors leading towards their target. At a command from Pankiw two troopers kicked them open and the troops rushed in. They fanned out to form a half circle around the door so they could fire in all directions, taking a knee while they did so. A second was formed behind them of men standing, but again they were not fired on. There were more bodies, but there were people who were very much alive.
There four women wearing full body gloves who all sported an impressive number of blades. There were five men dressed in the distinctive armor of Tempestus Scions. It was the final figure; however, who drew Anders's attention. She was a tall woman with black skin and gray hair garbed in what appeared to be armored Ecclesiarchy robes. She looked at them with supreme unconcern for a moment and then smiled, making the devotional tattoos inked in gold on her face crinkle.
"Interrogator Stefanus Anders." As was proper when addressing a superior Anders bowed.
"Inquisitor Bethel Blackington."
Author's Notes: Hey everyone, a bit of a plot twist eh? I hope that you liked it. Will try to make chapters longer, these were more of an introduction and I am also trying a little bit different writing style. Let me know in the comments what you think. Good day and may Jesus bless you.