“So what have you been up to lately?”
“Oh you know, escaped an Inquisitorial witch hunt, infiltrated the Inquisitions fortress on Lachesis, survived an attack by a naval fighter squadron, talked a member of the Astartes into diverging from standing orders to execute me, travelled through a warp-powered dimension gateway to a dead Xeno world somewhere on the fringe of the segmentum, stopped a traitor Inquisitor from destroying Calixis, killed a Demonhost, saved an Inquisitor Lord, blew up a planet (don’t worry, it was already dead), launched a Xeno spaceship by direct explosive propulsion, drunk my own piss for a week, hitched a ride with some Xenos to get back home, and arrived just in time for the Drusus Steps initiation seremony at the Cathedral of Illumination. How about you?”
It’s been a busy time for the Acolytes, and the pressure they’ve been under has been extreme. Hunted by their own for crimes they did not comit, exposed to matters best hidden from frail human minds, and faced by enemies of unspeakable origins and powers. Yet they persevered, and succeeded where lesser men surely would have failed. Time for a breather, a change of pace, yet the work of the Emperor goes ever on. A quick review, then:
- What was Brieger up to, and who was he working with/for?
- Who is Eloeholth the Faceless, and what is his connection with the Serrated Query?
- Where is Dr. Laurentz and the other Xenoarcheologist going, who is behind the Xeno-research and artifact smuggling?
- What are the plans of the Logicians, what was learned from your bust in the Fathomsound Mines at Sepheris Secundus?
- Who are the Slaught, what are their plans, and how can they be stopped?
- What are the glowing stones the Eldar seem so keen on, and just how inferior is their tech level anyway?
Inquisitor Brieger was behind the attack on Serpentis, and was planning a major attack on the heart of the Imperiums control in Calixis. His plan was to unleash a demonic entity, in the hostbody of Zerbe, to destabilize and cause chaos amongst the powerful of Calixis, and to set the Inquisition up against itself. He almost succeeded. But Why?
Your interrogation of Brieger revealed that he believes the Imperium has become corrupt and decaying. It no longer serves the purpose for which it exists, and works in spite of its massive organisations rather than because of them. Over time the morass of politics, factions, bureaucracy and the immense edifices of the Imperium must be pulled apart and reassembled in a new fashion that works better for Mankind. If the Imperium is allowed to continue to stagnate, it will eventually fall apart and humanity will fall prey to the unnumbered perils that it faces. His goals are to attempt to destabilise the Imperial organisations from the inside, replacing corrupt and/or conservative leaders and men of power with people who have more radical views and a will to change.
To this end he has worked with the Logicians and other “enlightened” factions that intend to end the Mechanicums strangehold on technological development and free mankind from the shackles of dogma, supersticion and opression.
However, it also revealed that Brieger has an inflated opinion of his own significance and abilities, and that he is clearly not the man pulling all the strings. It would appear he is being manipulated, and being led to do someone elses will, perhaps unknowingly. Zerbe and the full resources of the Inquisition will concentrate on revealing all possible information on this matter, but these things take time.
In the meantime, there is the matter of repairing Zerbes network, reestablishing trusts, recruiting new operatives, damage control, calling in favours, performing new ones, and genereally scheming and perforimg complex political manouvers.
You are therefore tasked with immediately going to Malfi, to aid the local Arbites command in investigating reported cult activities in the Stolven district of the lower hive of hive Venexia. Before that, though, you must deliver a letter to Magistrate Corwell on Solomon, with utmost haste and discression. Presented with a token of gratitude from your Lord Zerbe, you are off on the Jade Aspirant, headed to Solomon.
On route to Solomon is a scheduled stop on Dewdrop, an Administratum controlled world of savants, scriveners and archivists. It’s a pleasant enough place to spend 2 weeks of vacation, and Emperor knows you’ve earned it!
So far the journey has been uneventful, except a momentary flux in the Gellar Field that caused a widespread bout of nausea on the craft. This cargo transfer will take 2 weeks to complete and all passengers are encouraged by the Passenger Liaison Officer to take shore leave. The planet has some renowned beauty spots after all.
Luxury accommodation has been arranged free of charge at the Raphaelite Hotel (platinum-grade) in the capital city, Pergamum. The Raphaelite Hotel is a marvel of ivory and amber marble, dripping with ornate gold and crystal; and oasis of sheer decadence and luxury. It is also temperature controlled, a blessed relief from the average 39°C blinding heat of the white-rock planet outside (think Malta/Sicily/Southern Italy/Greece for planetary ‘flavour’).
Once settled into your chambers (each ‘room’ is a suite), one of the hotel’s gold-plated servitors enters with an invitation to dinner that evening in the Hotel’s Papyri Dining Hall with ‘Alexander Vellus’.
The capital is a warren of colonnaded civic buildings, statue and fountain-festooned plazas and cramped market streets, all in grey/white, bleached by the sun and palm tree boulevards. There’s a vibrant street life, with pavement eateries, performers and little vehicular traffic (aside from the faded black ‘micro-bug’ public transport carts). The olive-skinned local people seem relaxed and sociable. Most wear grey, white or beige robes with some form of affiliation to the Adeptus Administratum.
The locals are friendly, and more than willing to chat to the outlanders, who are evidently different. The hot topics of conversation are the recent debate reports from the Chamber and the Tauto challenges to the ICA cataloguing methods. There are also increased reports of stellar pirate activity and rumours that outlying settlements to the north have actually been raided.
Alexander Vellus is a false name. Your host is actually Director Nazianzus Grigorius, head of the Administratum on Dewdrop, and technically the planetary governor. Aside from the you, Grigorius and the dining servitors, the room is empty. An intimate setting amid the dozens of tables has been set with ambient lighting.
Grigorius apologizes for the deception and stresses that this is a situation of utmost delicacy. It must be resolved without knowledge of the problem, or his involvement in it becoming public knowledge. The consequences could plunge the planet into chaos and rebellion, shutting down the Administratum functions for half the Sector.
What’s the problem?
There are 78,000,000,899 books on Dewdrop (at last census 97 years ago), spread out over 1000’s of planetary libraries (many public leasing libraries), but controlled through a central cogitation system (the ‘catalogue’, referred to as ‘Felix’ (the cat’).
A single book has gone missing for the first time in 347 years. This is a disaster, as this will be seen as systemic failure and will be seized upon by Grigorius’ factional opponents.
The scandal could bring down the Director, his regime and cause chaos as the armed loan-wardens search for the errant tome. This potential chaos is likely to see societal fracture along the following lines;
The loan-wardens (local police / militia) and the Adeptus Arbites will likely settle long-running jurisdictional disagreements. There have already been several incidents of outright violence between the two agencies, although these events were ‘hushed up’ (removed from the main archives).
Also the Tautological Classificators (the ‘Tautos’), a radical Administrative faction will likely attempt a coup against the Imperial Classification Authority (the ruling system under Grigorius’ current stewardship), citing this failure as evidence of the need for change. At the Chamber (the planetary Parliament), there are growing debates and calls for change from the Tauto factions, unhappy with Grigorius’ regime.
Increasingly vitriolic exchanges between the two factions have seen more than one committee meeting descend into farce and fisticuffs.
Basically, if this failure were revealed, it could well split the planetary government and cause turmoil in the sector record-keeping.
Grigorius needs a neutral hand in the recovery of the book. He cannot trust his own agencies to do the job (they are information / administration specialists, not investigators – plus their loyalties cannot be relied upon), and he doesn’t trust the loan-wardens or Arbites to be discreet.
As the Inquisition, you are ideally placed to help him out.