Faith and Betrayal
Lu'Nasad- Part IV
Hadrian was lost in wonder at the sights and sounds that greeted him upon entering one of the grand lounges of Bonner’s Reach. Located on the fringes of Imperial controlled space, Bonner’s Reach was far from the authority of the Emperor and this allowed the deep space outpost to operate with impunity. Tiers upon tiers of booths and standing space were filled with humans and a variety of Xenos- many of which Hadrian had not seen or heard of until now. Hrud, Eldar, Orks, Kroot and others freely interacted with humans socializing and negotiating business transactions while eating and drinking the fine food and spirits provided by the Order of Vigilants- the cybernetically and genetically enhanced humans that operated and maintained order on the outpost as a safe trading place for all who follow the rules.
One of the Vigilants’ main rules was the prohibition on ranged weapons and Hadrian had seen first hand how this rule was strictly enforced with deadly consequences. Without his rifle, Hadrian felt vulnerable relying only on his Omnisian Axe, which he was barely proficient with. He glanced back at the ranged assassin, Rylak, who appeared noticeably uncomfortable having been stripped of his deadly sniper rifle and pistols. The assassin attempted to look professional and intimidating with the sword and collection of knives sheathed on his body but his body language and posture betrayed his unease.
Hadrian stopped to study an odd abominable form of an opal-shelled mollusk creature, which hovered on a lifter dais and fluttered its eye stalks and elongated mandibles at a rogue trader in a red blast coat. The rogue trader and the creature appeared to be involved in silent conversation though it was in no method that Hadrian could discern- perhaps it was psychic in nature?
“What are you doing?” Hadrian heard Rylak’s voice ask him “catch up, we’re falling behind and it doesn’t look like they’re gonna wait for us.”
Hadrian stopped his study of the mollusk and rogue trader and looked to where he last saw his master. He could barely make out Inquisitor Sand and his massive bodyguard, Red, trudging through the crowd approx. a hundred and fifty feet away. Their direction of travel appeared to be a collection of booths with a grand view of the crowded terrace below. Hadrian hurried to catch up with Rylak following close behind.
As Hadrian got closer to Sand and Red, he could now tell that the Inquisitor was striding purposely toward a particular booth occupied by a massive bald-headed man wearing lightly armored traveling attire with a finely-crafted servo-skull hovering over his shoulder. This man appeared to be engrossed in conversation with a strangely thin, almost emaciated-looking man wearing a glittering suit of carapace armor. Near the booth, two massively vat-muscled combat servitors stood guard. With Sand and Red’s approach, the servitors and booth occupants took notice and studied the newcomers.
“Xeno-arcanist Tuck,” Sand stated while he continued to walk toward the booth, “I have need of your services.”
The bald man with the servo-skull apologized to his companion before addressing Sand, “I’m sorry sir, but I am currently involved in a business transaction at the moment, but I would be happy to assist you when I have concluded my business with his gentleman.”
“Tuck,” Sand replied, I assure you that my offer is more enticing than whatever you are currently working on. I cannot linger long, so I must insist.”
With Sand and Red almost to the booth, Tuck’s companion addressed Sand in a hiss-like voice, “you don’t listen too well pal, do you. Get lost!” With that, the two combat servitors stepped forward to bar the Inquisitor’s path.
Hadrian barely registered just how fast Red was, and would have to playback his visual recording to fully appreciate the melee prowess of the Crusader. As the servitors moved to block Sand’s path, Red had already stepped in front of his master, shield checking one servitor off-balance while two quick slashes from his now-drawn power sword connected with the other. A backward swing came back to connect with the first servitor and both servitors simultaneously toppled to the floor in four halves of fused metal and cauterized blood. Not missing a step in his stride, Sand stepped over the bodies and past his bodyguard while drawing out a large impossibly smooth red gemstone from a satchel.
He showed the gem to Tuck before stating, “The Emperor needs a voice.”
Tuck recognized the Revivificator code phrase and gave the response, “and we shall find a way for him to speak” before turning to his dumbfounded companion who was staring at Red and the pile of body parts that was left of his servitors. “I’m sorry, Ordago, but I must speak to this gentleman. Important business that can’t wait but I will like to talk further about our transaction at a later time if you are still interested.”