Faith and Betrayal
"The Fall of Solace"- Unwilling Reinforcements
The unexpected arrival of the Dark Angels strike cruiser, the Pride of Caliban, was a relief, at least that was what Inquisitor Sand initially thought as he headed to the meeting room of his mid-hive command center to meet the commander of the Dark Angel forces, Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai. The Adeptus Astartes of Kill-Team Kronus had pointed out to the Inquisitor that the strike cruiser most likely carried a company-sized force of Dark Angels and two squadrons of Thunderhawk gunships. The faltering campaign on Solace against the Necrons was in desperate need of these reinforcements. Little did the Inquisitor know that this hope would be the closest to getting what he wanted.
Asmodai was one of the most fearsome-looking figures that Sand had ever seen. The gaze of the Interrogator-Chaplain’s cold hard skull-helm, the black of night colored power armor exposed from the bone-colored monastic robe and the massive incense burners on the space marine’s shoulders would shake the facilities of even a hardened man. Asmodai, and the massive armored forms of his bodyguard made the huge meeting hall seem claustrophobic.
“Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai” greeted Sand as he and his acolytes approached the space marines. “I am pleased that my numerous requests for reinforcements was finally granted. You and your force have arrived at a crucial time. The enemy, this new Xenos threat, is unlike any we have seen before- technologically advanced, numbers seemingly without end and fearless in battle. In collaboration with my Tech-Priest and a Tech-Marine of the Salamanders Chapter serving under my command in the Deathwatch, we have developed a plan that we believe will deal a massive blow to the Xenos and their continued ability to wage war. We are hoping that your ship has a Vortex Torpedo amongst its payload that we could utilize. With the torpedo and the might of the Dark Angels we will be able to save this planet.”
“We are not here to reinforce your campaign” Asmodai replied harshly. “I have been tasked by our Chapter Grandmaster himself to prosecute a mission of great import. I will need all the men that I have brought to execute this mission and intend to start immediately. I only agreed to this meeting as a courtesy” though there was no courtesy in the Interrogator-Chaplain’s tone.
“What is this mission you say is your charge? Does it have to do with the sightings of the Space Marine clad in the colors of your Chapter that was responsible for sabotaging the planet’s manufactorums?” Sand inquired.
“I am not at liberty to discuss my mission Inquisitor. Not even to you” Asmodai stated with a dangerous undertone.
Something strange was going on, Sand thought to himself, perhaps it was related to the disappearance of Dante. “You should know,” Sand started “one of my Deathwatch, a Dark Angel by the name of Dante, has been missing for some time.”
“Brother Dante is safe” Asmodai replied. “We have located him. He sustained serious wounds and is now aboard my ship receiving medical treatment.”
“What happened to him? I had tasked him with a scouting mission.”
“I am not at liberty to say. Now if you’ll excuse me Inquisitor, I have important matters to attend to.”
“Important matters? More important than the salvation of an Imperial planet and the protection of its citizens?” Sand raised his voice.
“Yes” was Asmodai’s simple emotionless reply.
Sand took a step toward the Interrogator-Chaplain, accusation in his eyes, “One of the Emperor’s worlds is on the brink of falling to the enemy and you refuse your duty to defend it!!”
“I know what my duty is,” Asmodai replied in retort, “I have killed men for merely insinuating otherwise!”
“I am no man!” Sand shot back, “I am an Inquisitor of the Imperium! I hold the authority of the Emperor himself and no servant of the Imperium can deny me- not even those of the mighty Adeptus Astartes!”
A long moment of tension hung in the air as Inquisitor Sand and Interrogator-Chaplain Asmodai locked unflinching gazes. Stances shifted slightly in preparation amongst their entourages. Hands hovered near the grips of melee weapons. Fingers tightened on the grips of firearms.
Seconds ticked by and turned into minutes before the harsh voice of Asmodai broke the tense silence “The Dark Angels will assist in your defense of the planet Inquisitor Sand. I will detail some of the elements under my command to submit to your authority but the rest will continue to prosecute the mission we were originally sent here to accomplish- that part is non-negotiable.”
“And the Vortex Warhead?” Sand pressed the Interrogator-Chaplain.
Asmodai’s terrifying skull-helm glared down at the Inquisitor “If my ship’s inventory includes one, it will be yours. I will send word within the hour.”
The tension was no longer in the room but relations were far from friendly.