Secret War: Warhammer 40,000

Chapter 8

I grinned at the Inquisitor, “really? An Inquisitor? Whatever would have given me a clue?”

Edracian laughed, and I blinked as I realised that the sound was in my mind, “I see that your eye is as sharp as your wit boy, I am sure that will really get you far in your line of work.”

I frowned, finding myself unable to think of any good retort, I just shrugged and said, “So you wanted to talk, Nonin Edracian that is what you said?”

“Yes, yes it was.”

“Well was sending these axe-wielding psychopaths to kill me was that truly so necessary then?”

“Yes, yes it was.”

“Well, then why was it so damned necessary then?” I growled I should not have been so angry about this I was an apprentice assassin, working for a woman who has been in the business for a very long time. Someone sending people to kill me or to capture me to get to her was just a part of the job. I knew this, but I was tired and wasn’t in the mood after all the crap I have been through and now this development out of the blue.

“It was a test; I wanted to witness for myself the capabilities of the son of Serghar Kaltos.”

My jaw twitched, why was he was still insisting on speaking psychically?

“So,” I sighed, “was I up to those capabilities?”

“No, you still have a long way to go.”

I shrugged while as cool as I could, simultaneously sheathing my sword, took out a Lho stick, placed it in my mouth and lit it.

“Well then now you have your answer can I go free?”

“No, we still have much to yet discuss.”

I held the smoking Lho in between of forefinger and thumb, eyeing the well armoured Inquisitor.

“I did think as much, yes,” I said then suddenly I spun, stabbing the lit Lho stick right into the eye of one of the men guarding my back, the poor bastard let out a blood-curdling scream of agony and turned away, clutching at his face. I followed on by front kicking the next enemy right in the chest, sending his limp form sprawling silently straight to the rockcrete ground.

I drew my Auto pistol from the chest holster hidden under my flak jacket blowing out the backs the skulls of the remaining two men. Turned back to Edracian then emptied the rest of the clip of the semi-automatic pistol into him. The gunfire echoed in the alleyway as the manstoppers ricocheted across his armour, I had no real hope of killing him even at such close range, but the kinetic force of the bullets sent him reeling with each round, one managed to hit the gap in the knee, and the Inquisitor fell into a kneel.

In the blink of an eye I had my pistol reloaded and began to advance down the alleyway meanwhile laying down a withering hail of fire into Edracian’s large form then I fell into a sprint, straight past the stunned Inquisitor.

I slid to a halt as I approached the turn at the end of the alleyway pushing my back against the wall while carefully peering around the corner. I wasn’t surprised when two more men were advancing down the next street perhaps drawn by the fire, perhaps called here by the Inquisitor, both wielding high calibre auto guns and both immediately opening fire the second they saw me.

Forced back, into cover I glanced to Edracian who was now lying prone on the ground and slowly struggling to get onto his feet. I had very little time.

They had stopped their shooting, and I reached into one of the inside pockets of my flak jacket pulling out a mirror, one I kept on me, not for my rampant narcissism, but for moments like this when I needed to look around something during a firefight. Raising the mirror to reflect down the next alleyway I caught a glimpse of the two men approaching quickly but cautiously their rifles raised and sweeping through every possible angle.

I glanced back to Edracian, and it was then I saw more figures appear right at the other entrance of the alleyway, three of them and all wielding auto guns. I cursed savagely but luckily for me they didn’t open fire, perhaps afraid that they may hit their boss by accident, and the range was utterly terrible to try hit my small form anyway, as I crouched low in the shadows. Mooks like that could never make precise shots at 200 metres.

With a shaking hand and reaching again into my jacket, I tore out another auto pistol clip. Then threw it with all my strength around the corner immediately I followed suit my auto pistol raised and firing.

The two attackers were caught off guard for barely half a second as the ammo I threw bounced and clattered at their feet, but that was all I needed. With three shots I killed them both, my first hit the left sideman in the shoulder, then blew a ragged hole in his chest as he opened his mouth to scream, the third was a clean headshot.

Both corpses were barely falling when I was up, sprinting down the street meanwhile re-holstering my pistol. I stopped quickly at the bodies, snatching up one of the auto rifles, a few extra clips of ammunition and the one I had tossed then carried on through the alleyway as fast as my feet could carry me.

There was a T junction not far ahead, as it came close I followed my training, pushing my back against the right-hand wall and sliding along cautiously, my rifle raised to cover the left side, which I knew led to a dead end.

Finding it devoid of any life I turned to cover my rifle the right quickly professionally switching around the alley, it too was clear.

Hearing a cry behind me, I glanced over my shoulder just in time to glimpse one of my many attackers emerging from around the last corner.

A mere millisecond before he opened fire I was into the cover of the turn-off. I had banked on them seeing the corpses of their comrades, for it to cause them to yell out and give themselves away, luckily for me my gambit had paid off. It seemed now that Edracian’s henchmen had a camaraderie of sorts, perhaps I could use that once again to my advantage.

The enemy’s full auto fire quickly died, and as it did, I leaned out returning my withering hail which forced the man behind his corner.

After that quick burst I did not wait to exchange more fire I was already moving on, sprinting almost recklessly. These back alleys were like a maze made of five-story high dull grey rockcrete walls. They were empty other than a few small piles of garbage strewn about it was as lifeless as the rest of Omnartus so they would afford no cover to cower behind other than all of the many twists and turns but I knew the path well having used this route on a few occasions. I had to head south, for half a kilometre that was toward the relative safety of Taryst’s base.

I had barely made it to the next turn before my pursuers were out in the open and shooting

My desperate dive only just carried me into safety. In cover, again I tried my microbead and again got nothing but white noise. I cursed before I had been able to use my microbead in this area with no trouble at all but now. Edracian must be using a jammer, either that or his psychic abilities.

This Edracian, just how powerful was he anyway? What was he doing here? Why was he trying to capture me? Why had he chosen to reveal himself now? Amongst all these questions I did have one thing I was sure of; that he was yet another player in this convoluted game a game that seemed to be growing ever more convoluted by the second.

I sighed and briefly leaned out, blasting back at my attackers on burst fire, forcing them again to cower around their cover.

This firefight was frigging awkward to say the very least; it would have been over a long time ago if I had a grenade.

Note to self, I thought, from now on carrying grenades on me when I can.

Luckily for me, the enemies seemed to have no grenades, or perhaps they did and chose not to use them.

As their gunfire paused once more I retaliated firing another blind flurry then once again was moving on, ejecting the almost empty clip and slamming fresh one home, I sprinted.

I realised then that no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t catch the bastards off-guard they were too well trained, used their cover too well. The reason why I seemed so intent on killing my attackers is that Edracian could have more of his henchmen waiting for me further through the alleys, just waiting to catch me in a crossfire.

There was another four-way intersection ahead I knew well that if I wanted to go to Taryst’s base that I would have to turn left but decided against it, as that is the way my enemies would expect. Skidding to a halt, I elected the right; instead, it led straight to the north back into the busy main streets. Intending to try to lose myself among the crowds of potential pedestrians.

The alleyway was long and like all the others utterly empty, as I sprinted my heart leapt in my chest, expecting at any moment Edracian’s men to shoot me in the back as I fled.

But I heard no shots ever echo through the alleys announcing my untimely death, and I managed to emerge out of the darkness out into the bright lights of the main streets.

It was five in the afternoon, and luckily for me, the street was bustling with activity. On my homeworld this street would have been classified as a highway, it was eight lanes and traffic roared past

I had forgotten the streets name, but I knew that it was one of the main supply roads through this part of the hive. It was then I realised that I was still holding my stolen Auto rifle, and the pedestrians saw me run out, a few glimpsed the gun in my grasp, and they halted their walking raising their hands and began to back away with fearful expressions.

Ignoring them, I skidded into another turn making my way east along the sidewalk and cursed under my breath, trying my best to hide my weapon from people passing by while dodging and weaving through the crowd.

Glancing over my shoulder, I saw no sign of my pursuers but I was far from any safety yet, I needed to find a way to hide my gun so not to attract the attention of the local authorities. I winced, I could have easily just dropped it when running through those alleyways but it was too late for that now.

My sword was legal though, the local law allowed citizens to carry bladed weapons but only for self-defence and as long as one has a license for it. I have one, a fake one of course along with my fake local identification, but I could not risk magistratum involvement, just in case that Edracian had them under his thumb being an Inquisitor he had that power easily at his grasp.

But with those people seeing me earlier the odds that of one of them using their vox unit to call the Magistratum was very, very high.

Violently I cursed my idiocy it seemed to be one mistake after another, first walking straight into Edracian’s ambush and now-

I didn’t see the person walk into me, too lost in my self-berating and I turned to them, finding myself face to face with a woman an attractive woman with long black hair, deathly pale skin and dark, dead eyes.

One glance was all it took for me to know she was not anyone normal and I attempted to break into a run.

But it was too late her hand was already right out in front of my nose and I flinched as she sprayed a brief pout of mist straight into my face.

“Ahh crap,” I managed to gasp. My vision went dark, and the last thing I thought before completely losing consciousness was on the sheer irony of it all.


Suddenly I awoke spluttering back into consciousness as my body racked with violent coughs.

I curled forward but not far, the movement constrained by the rope which bound me. I saw that were the room I sat in was mostly enveloped in darkness only I was illuminated by a weak light which hung from the ceiling just above me.

“He is awake right on schedule my lord,” a voice emerged from the darkness, a soft-spoken woman’s voice which eerily reminded me of the Eldar from my dream.

“Yes,” agreed another which I immediately recognised as Edracian’s, once again the words echoing through my very thoughts.

“Your mastery of poison would be inconceivable ever to doubt, Miss Ellak,” said the Inquisitor as he stepped into the light, he was still wearing his power armour his face still hidden behind that imposing mask.

“Hello, young Mr Kaltos.”

I was in mid-reply when interrupted by another flurry of coughs.

“What did you say?” asked Edracian.

I laughed and replied, “I said deja vu.”

I could not see Edracian’s face but could imagine him smile as he said, “yes I assume that you would feel way, would you?”

My jaw twitched, “what the hell does that mean?”

Edracian’s helmeted head shook in what could almost read as contempt, “I actually have a mole inside your organisation young man, and they have been in there for quite some time now, quite some time indeed.”

Glaring up at the Inquisitor I wasn’t sure what to think, perhaps he was lying as an attempt to gain my respect before they interrogate me, or if he was telling the truth?

“Who is it then?” I asked bluntly, although I knew he’d never answer and hardly in the mood for my usual deadpan snark.

Edracian laughed, “why just telling you Mr Kaltos would be inconceivable! Where would the fun be in that? You will just have to find out all on your own; I’m afraid.”

I sighed, “alright, whatever, so are you going to ask any questions or not? I’d like to get this over and damn well done with.”

The Inquisitor’s helmet tilted slightly a movement which reminded me of many of the native birds back on Elbyra.

“Oh, no young Mr Kaltos you quite misinterpret, my true intentions behind this little kidnapping of yours. I have no need to interrogate you, why would I when I already have someone in your organisation feeding me information? No, you are here so you can perform for miss Ellak and I a little favour, wait! No! That is the incorrect term, Miss Ellak what the word for it is? It’s a favour but one that no one could refuse? When they are forced to do it?”

“An order master,” answered the woman from the darkness.

“That’s right; an order, thank you miss Ellak.”

“The pleasure is all mine master.”

Edracian’s helmet turned back to me, “miss Ellak here is from the Venenum temple of the officio assassinorum, how they practice the art of death I am sure Miss Glaitis has already informed you that hasn’t she? Miss Ellak is also my most loyal servant. But all of my men are loyal to me though I bet miss Glaitis wishes she could say the same, am I right?”

“Yes,” I growled my patience was wearing thin now concluding that Edracian was completely insane, “now what the hell do you want me to do?”

“Oh!” cried the Inquisitor’s voice in my mind, “I apologise it seems I went a bit off track there did I not?”

With that, he suddenly spun on his heel so his back was facing me and he walked a few steps away.

“You have been to the top of Taryst’s tower,” that was a statement, not a question and his voice if you can call it that, suddenly changed into the epitome of seriousness which made me blink at the sudden change of tone.

“You have been in his quarters; you saw that big adamantium door of his.”

“Hmm yes, and let me guess. You want me to see what is behind it?”

Edracian suddenly turned back me so fast it caused me to flinch in fright.

“Of course!” he yelled so loud in my mind that it made my ears ring.

I shrugged “well I can tell you already, well assume really. That behind that door he is holding captive a member of your organisation an Interrogator-”

“That I know!” Interrupted Edracian, “what I need you to do is find the exact condition of Taryst’s captive, whether she is still alive or not.”

I nodded, “hmm, okay.”

The Inquisitor looked away, into the darkness and nodded to who I could only assume to be “Miss Ellak” and to my minimal surprise, the woman who had ambushed me earlier stepped into the light hold in her hand a very, very large syringe.

I struggled in my bonds, “w-what is that for?”

“Insurance,” answered Edracian, his attention still to the slowly approaching, Venenum assassin, “insurance to make sure that you will follow through with your end of the bargain.”

He looked back at me, “you of all people should have guessed that.”

Then the needle stabbed straight into my forearm, miss Ellak finding a vein as easy as I would find my way through a forest and agony erupted up my arm.

Agony which made me scream out but it was gone as quickly as it came.

“You have been injected with a special poison,” said Edracian, “one which will kill you in a few hours if you do not receive the antidote.”

I sucked in air through clenched teeth, my body shaking uncontrollably.

“Really? “A few hours?” Could you be a little more precise?”

Again I could almost feel Edracian smile, “why that would be inconceivable young Mr Kaltos-”

“Yeah okay “where would the fun be in that”,” I interrupted, “I know, I know.”

Edracian tilted his head again, “so once you complete your objective you are to meet a few of my men at an appointed rendezvous point, they will give you the antidote, but I will only give you the coordinates once I know you have accomplished the mission I have given you.”

“And how will you know that then?”

Edracian held out his hand, showing me what looked to be a small pict taker.

“With this of course young man, once you get through that door if you find the Interrogator’s dead you are to take a picture of her, it is set up that once you do it will automatically send it straight back to our cogitator and if you try to fake the picture we will find out.”

I sighed as I felt a sudden surge of desperation, “B-But how the hell am I to do this! I will be found Taryst has psykers which can easily read my mind see my true intentions I won’t even get near before being caught!”

Again that invisible smile, “you need not to worry about Taryst’s psyker young Mr Kaltos as she is very much unable to do anything now.”

I looked up at Edracian, “what?”

“Oh she isn’t dead, just hurt,” said Edracian lightly, “badly, not as bad as you were of course. Your colleagues ambushed her and her bodyguard during your little one man storm of the Twilight bar; they took advantage of the soulless being that was kept in that building as she lost her power and that made her easy prey, and that was why they took so long to rescue you. Because that Arco-flagellant was actually the blank.”

My eyes widened now it was making sense that is if Edracian is telling the truth of course.

“But still how-”

“I don’t care!” Edracian’s voice suddenly flared in anger interrupting me mid-sentence, “how you do it is not what I care about only that you do!”

“Alright! Okay,” I sighed, my mind desperately whirling through a myriad amount of potential plans, “so? I take a picture of her if I find her dead I understand that, but what do you want me to do if I find her alive?”

“If she is alive, why then kill her, of course, and then take the picture,” said Edracian simply, “what the hell did you think I wanted you to do?”


I was blindfolded as we drove through the streets of Omnartus, my hands tied behind my back. The ride was smooth, and the seating was very, very comfortable what I could only deem to made of pure high-grade leather.

The Inquisitor, he didn’t seem to do anything by halves, I’ll give Edracian that,

“The Camera will get through Taryst’s security,” said Edracian in my mind interrupting my thoughts I had utterly no idea if he was sitting near or even if he was in the vehicle at all, “It is made from a special plasteek that is immune most detectors.”

“Uh huh,” I replied, utterly disinterested having already guessed such a fact, “I have a more interesting subject that we could discuss.”

“And what is that young Mr Kaltos?”

“You said that my colleagues had injured Taryst’s psyker.”

“Yes, yes I did.”

I frowned, “until you told me that, I was under the impression that perhaps Glaitis and Taryst were working with more cohesion than what was initially let on and that was how my organisation got away with the incident of the Twilight bar. That was why we are still under the rogue traders’ employment, you seem to know everything so can you tell me why we are still here? I am sure that Taryst would understand if his prized psyker was hurt and who did it.”

Again that strange smile, “a good question young Mr Kaltos, an excellent question indeed but one that has very little to do with your mission sadly.”

My jaw set, “What do you mean it doesn’t have anything to do with my mission? If something has happened to Taryst then if I am to get through him and then through that door I’ll need all the information I can get.”

Then it hit me, and I smiled, “you don’t actually know, do you?”

Or you are just choosing not to tell me, I thought.

“No I shall admit that I do not,” sighed the Inquisitor’s voice, “but it does not matter, in the end, I just need for you to take that picture, that is all.”

My jaw twitched, after I potentially murder this Interrogator, of course, I have killed a few throne agents in my career, but an Interrogator? The potential consequences for that could be quite dire indeed.

I could only hope that she was already dead.

“Do you have a plan yet?” asked Edracian.

No, I thought sullenly, “some semblance,” I said instead.

“I am sure you will think of something.”

There was no mistaking the edge of threat in those words, and I barely held back a sigh, really Edracian did you need to threaten me even more? You held all the cards; you’ve got me right where you want me so just leave me alone.

But why does he want this picture anyway? What exactly would he do with it?

“How long have I been away for?” I asked, deciding that attempting to asking those questions was utterly pointless.

“Half an hour,” answered Edracian, “you will have to decide on the excuse you will use for your absence.”

“Of course I will,” I muttered, a little surprised at the short amount of time gone by since my kidnapping.

Then the vehicle came to an abrupt halt.

“Well this Here is your stop young Mr Kaltos,” said Edracian.

“Why me?” I said abruptly.

“Excuse me?” asked Edracian.

“Why did you spend time and resources to kidnap me instead of using your mole for this job?”

“Questions, questions it is always questions with you isn’t it? I do have my reasons for that young Mr Kaltos, reasons that you do not need to know.”

With those words, suddenly rough hands grabbed me by the arms and hauled me from my seat, I heard the familiar sound of an opening door then someone cut my bonds.

Suddenly I got shoved out the vehicle, barely turning my body in time to keep the tarmac from breaking my nose on impact.

I heard the deafening squeal of tyres as Edracian’s transport abruptly drove away, and I pulled off my blindfold while slowly getting onto my feet.

They had dropped me in another alleyway one which I did not recognise it was completely devoid of any life, but I could see quite clearly Taryst’s tower looming over the surrounding six-story buildings. Quickly I calculated that I was less than half a mile away, at least during my walk I could try and come up with a plan of some description. At least I hope I can.


I paused at the turn toward the alleyway entrance into Taryst’s tower and with a quivering right hand reached up to take the smoking Lho from my mouth.

I was scared, utterly terrified the only thing helping my nerves was the Lho, having smoked through my entire supply on my trip here. Edracian had thrown me straight into a situation that was unfair to say the very least, damn him!

But life isn’t fair; I reminded myself quickly while signing out smoke and I could not help wonder what my father would have done if in this situation.

The answer was as clear as day, he would have slaughtered all of Edracian’s mooks and killed the Inquisitor without even batting an eyelash, but for me that wasn’t an option at all, lacking the skill and hard-earned experience of Serghar Kaltos.

Cursing under breath, I began to march toward the hidden door. During my walk over here I could only conjure up one plan; I would tell Taryst that I had reconsidered his proposal, that I would spy on Glaitis for him but only on the condition that he allows me to see what is behind his door.

Honestly, I doubted it would work, suspecting that Taryst had given me that option once and only once.

It was the only semi-realistic plan that I could think of, what else could I try? Go in there guns blazing? Try to use my considerable skill in stealth and guile to sneak in? None of those considerations could come close to ever succeeding and so, no way in hell.

Ignoring the cameras watching my approach I roughly tore open the hatch concealing the keypad and with clumsy, shaking fingers typed in the password.

Barely waiting for it to open all the way before moving on and starting up the hill, through the hive of activity at a quick pace my face a grim scowl of determination.

Many of Taryst’s mercenaries actually nodded to me in respectful greeting as I made my way to the tower entrance and I tried my best to nod back convincingly; it was getting a whole lot harder to mask the fear I felt.

Finally, after what seemed like an hour I reached the peek of the service way, and I had to say I was a little out of breath.

There I found Major Olinthre standing at the security station, two of the elite Stormtroopers standing at his sides he was looking at me with a determined expression on the major’s handsome face.

I liked Olinthre he was in many ways which I would want to be one day, laid back, charismatic, friendly and an utter womaniser. I wished that I could have half as much influence with women as he did.

Still, I could not comprehend why he wasn’t the commander of Taryst’s private army instead of that sycophant Barhurst, actually, yes, yes I can.

He saluted me with a sharp snap of his boots, “Attelus.”

Taken off guard by his uncharacteristic formality I managed a weak salute in return, “major.”

“I need to talk to you,” he said in a tone which would brook no argument.

My heart turned to ice, did he know what I was planning?

“S-sure, okay,” I managed.

His expression still hard, Major Olinthre nodded and turned on his heels, walking away with the two Stormtroopers following suit.

“Follow me,” he said over his shoulder, “and you can keep your weapons.”

My eyes widened in exasperation, why could I keep my weapons?

Well, this said something, that he more than likely didn’t know what I was here to do.

Allowing myself a slight sigh of relief, I followed.

Without a further word we walked through the top checkpoint, the detector never went off as I went through it and I could not help but nervously eye both of the enormous Servitors standing guard.

I could not help sigh slightly with relief as we passed through the doors without me being reduced into bloody, smouldering chunks by autocannon fire.

It was when we were halfway through the large cargo bay, heading toward the elevators. That perhaps Major Olinthre was the spy who Edracian had bragged about?

It made sense; it certainly would explain why the major allowed me to carry my weapons inside.

But from the way, the Inquisitor said it I was under the interpretation that the spy was part of Glaitis’ organisation, not Taryst’s.

Could Olinthre be like me, a triple agent? Be working for Taryst while spying on the rogue trader for Glaitis while spying on her for Edracian?

Frowning, I eyed the captain my brow furrowing. Never could I claim to be the greatest judge of character but Olinthre always seemed a soldier first and foremost even after turning into a merc he still seemed to cling onto some semblance of his old honour.

I clenched my teeth glancing sidelong at a mercenary as he walked close by and I could not help briefly wonder what they thought of me just walking in here with my full armament.

No, Olinthre couldn’t be the insider there must be something else behind it, perhaps he has found something and for some strange reason decided to trust me with it? But why me? I was the much very last person to trust with anything.

Two more Stormtroopers waited at one of the eight elevators, seemingly holding it for us.

I noted that as all six of us filled in that it wasn’t the one lift which led up to Taryst’s office and glancing up, I found that it was devoid of any obvious surveillance.

One of the Stormtroopers keyed the destination level where exactly I could not quite see, and the elevator began its ascent.

My attention plastered on the growing numbers, nerves playing at the pit of my guts and I said to Olinthre next to me, “anything wrong?”

Olinthre’s expression stayed neutral, “you will see,” he only growled.

The elevator finally found its destination abruptly the stormtroopers, and Olinthre filled out into the foyer beyond, but I stood still frozen to the floor.

Olinthre turned back to me grim-faced, “you coming then damn it?”

“S-sorry,” and jogged to catch up; it was the 31st floor, Vex’s floor.


Unsurprisingly we silently headed northward making our way through the thin corridors in an exact echo of the route I had walked months before. The five Stormtroopers formed an escort formation around Olinthre and I and the many of Taryst’s serfs walking the other way where very eager to make room for us.

My heart thudded in my chest, my fear threatening to overwhelm me.

I’m pathetic! I decided with a wordless snarl, I could fearlessly face down a dozen gangers as they attempted to murder me but when forced to face up to some stupid kid who I had almost killed! But killing was in my nature it is what I get paid to do on a daily basis why should I have to apologise? Why the hell should I have to feel guilty damn it!

So was this, is, was the major making me talk to Vex now? Was this because I had forgotten to stop in when I had promised to apologise?

But, why would he let me keep my weapons then?

Unless he wanted me to kill Vex, it didn’t make much sense.

Again I came back to and with some relief that this was about something else, something more and Vex was just a part of it.

We came out from the corridors, into the cavernous cogitator room with the cacophony of constant clashing of keys causing me to cover my ears.

But still, I could not help smile, with all the hell that I have gone through, with all the death and destruction that their colleagues were put through still these serfs will sit and type, it reminded me of the ancient idiom, “the more things change, the more they still the same.”

Not that much has changed at, all we are still chasing out tails searching for this Brutis Bones, which actually just further emphasises my point really and there it was, Vex’s small box office that sat in the midst of it all.

Just outside Olinthre came to an abrupt halt and turned to his men yelling over the deafening sound.

“You two guard the door, make sure no one gets in not even if it Taryst, especially not Taryst,” he turned to the remaining two, “you guys check the room make sure there aren’t any hidden bugs! Make sure you are damn thorough you got that?”

I stood shocked, my jaw open dumbly but the four Stormtroopers didn’t hesitate they simultaneously saluted with ‘yes sirs!’ and moved swiftly to perform their appointed tasks.

Olinthre then turned to me his face distinctly lightening, “these are men I know I can trust Attelus, they are loyal to me, over Barhurst or even Taryst.”

“But how can you tell?” I blurted out.

“What?”

“How can you tell that they are the men that you trust if you can’t even see their faces? For all, you know they could easily be someone else.”

The captain smiled and shrugged, “true, but I choose to have faith and believe that they are who they say they are.”

My jaw set slightly at his mention of “faith.” Faith was an utterly idiotic concept that didn’t, ever, fit within the realms of reality.

The door into Vex’s office opened and one of the Stormtroopers stuck his head out, nodding to us the all clear.

Olinthre nodded back, “let’s go.”

We both began our approach, and it was then I realised that none of even the nearby serfs had ever noticed the presence of the six fully armed and armoured figures in their midst and I could not help but shake my head in contempt.

I walked into the room just after Olinthre, and one of the Stormtroopers abruptly closed the door behind us.

A few of the large cogitators had been pulled from the walls and moved about, and the room was almost a complete mess, most of it being snack junk food packaging and Vex stood among it his face contorted in anger.

“Frig it Olinthre!” he yelled with alarming force, “your men didn’t have to be so rough with my equipment! Do you have any idea how much this all costs!”

“I apologise,” said Olinthre calmly as he ripped off his leather gloves, “I didn’t want to do it but you know who we are up against and the precautions we must go through to make sure we survive, and frig who taught you such dirty language?”

Vex stood simmering then he turned his back to us and began to work furiously on one of his cogitators.

“I see you have Attelus with you,” said Vex quickly.

“Yes, I believe we can trust him.”

I could not help but flinch the words cutting more in-depth than I cared to admit.

“Okie dokie if you think so, you’re the one who’s got the gun and the soldiers so I can’t complain can I?”

Both Olinthre and I glanced at each other each of us assuming the question to be rhetorical.

I could not help but see that Vex had changed he seemed a whole lot tougher with the way he was talking to Olinthre, he used to be far more timid and shy.

Far, far more timid and shy and I could not help think that my assault might have something to do with this new character development.

“But I’m guessing,” carried on the young hacker quickly, “I’m guessing the reason you choose to trust him was because of what he did at the Twilight bar is that it?”

“Could be,” replied Olinthre with a smile that seemed to suggest he was humouring the kid.

“Okie dokie then now are we tell him of our findings then?”

I stood there a little confused, why wasn’t Vex mad at me? Why wasn’t he demanding for an apology? It was the very least that he deserved.

“Yes,” said Olinthre turning to me, “what you said a few hours ago piked my interest, so I decided to hire Vex here and begin my own investigation.”

“Yes that he did,” confirmed Vex needlessly, “but be honest it was more than just that wasn’t it?”

Olinthre sighed, “yes, yes it was ever since you were forced into a coma few things have gone... ”

“Awry?” I finished turning to Olinthre; it was the first word I uttered since walking in.

The major nodded, “ever since that night the psyker under our employ, Karmen Kons, she has gone missing, just disappearing seemingly and Taryst refuses to explain why or to sanction any sort of search for her.”

Olinthre looked nervous, “also he granted permission for your master Mamzel Glaitis to call for that psyker to heal you. Even though he had a very strict edict right from very the start of this operation that Karmen Kons would be the only one to use any psychic abilities among us, my suspecting something wrong was there, but you made me act on it.”

“As well as that we have received no word from Colonel Barhurst after he left for the recruitment drive,” added in Vex.

Olinthre nodded, “that’s right; usually we’d be getting very accurate and daily reports from the colonel, I always suspected he did it to make sure that we didn’t forget about him but this time, nothing.”

I listened intently to this information, but I could not shake a nagging feeling of familiarity at the name “Karmen Kons” so that was the name of the faceless behind the scenes psyker, and it wasn’t even a cadre as I had initially thought but just one woman apparently.

“How many people know of this information?” I asked, placing my chin between my thumb and forefinger.

Olinthre and vex glanced at each other, “as you know of the psychic ban, everyone,” said the major, “of Karmen Kons and her operations only me, Barhurst and Taryst and of her disappearance only me and Taryst. Barhurst’s communications only come to Taryst and me; Vex only knows this because I told him earlier.”

“You also must know the secret behind the psychic blocks then?” I asked.

At that question Olinthre’s face immediately turned white as chalk, “y-yes,” he sighed, “I knew that someone would find out eventually, I don’t know the technical crap, but I know they are designed to block out almost any intrusion but...”

“But-but what?” said Vex.

“But for one psyker they can be bypassed,” explained Olinthre, “only Karmen Kons can get through the block and not just that but she finds it easier, it allows her to read thoughts without expelling as much energy as she would normally.”

“How are they implanted into the mind?” I asked barely holding back a triumphant smile, I was right! Finally right about something through all this convoluted crap!

“I don’t know,” Olinthre sighed, “all that I know is that she does it, somehow.”

That also begs another question, how could have these blocks gone unnoticed by the Omnartus Verispex technicians of the local Adeptus Arbites when they had studied the dead bodies we left behind? How hadn’t they been tracked back to Taryst and his private army? Not just that but how was Edracian able to talk to me through my thoughts if my mind was blocked? Was mind talking a different thing than reading thoughts?

“As far I know,” said Olinthre interrupting my train of thought, “the only minds inaccessible from Karmen Kons are mine, Taryst’s and Barhurst’s.”

I nodded, briefly checking my wrist chron, it had been roughly three-quarters of an hour since I was dumped out of Edracian’s vehicle, I still had some time, I hoped.

“Alright I can see why your suspicion peeked,” I said, “but why are you telling me this now? Is there something else? Something that Vex found perhaps?”

“It was indeed, first I have to inform you that I don’t have complete access to Taryst’s systems his own personal ones to be precise, so I attempted to hack into his database.”

“Also,” said in Olinthre, “the cameras in his elevator the feed can only be viewed by him.”

“I don’t know who had installed the security of Taryst’s files, but it is good, very, very, very good maybe even the best I have ever seen, maybe it was a priest of the mechanicum that would be the only explanation that I could think of

but I am me and me being me the genius that I am I was able to access some of Taryst’s database.”

“Did you find the surveillance feeds?” I asked.

“No! No no no no! That would take a long time, for anyone else it would take months but for me a week or two but I was able to gain access to the log of retinal scans, which are also only accessible to him for the people accessing his floor for the past few months.”

“Hmm, right,” I said.

A grin spread over Olinthre’s face, “as far as we know,” said the major, “only once he has left his suite, and that was to visit you briefly, Attelus when you were in a coma.”

Vex turned back to us “I have also checked into the medicae logs and found that Taryst had in fact arrived at exactly the right time that would take for him to walk from the elevators to the medicae bay.”

My jaw set slightly, wondering where the hell this was all this was going.

Next to Vex’s cogitator a printer suddenly began to print off something, the elevator log I could only presume, and the young hacker reached over and tore off the paper and handed it to me.

“Look at the local calendar the eighteenth day of the month of Estarius and the time of 2:53.56.24,” he said.

I complied reeling hurriedly through the well organised and precise log and saw something which made my heart turn into ice, and my hands went clammy with sweat.

“It’s-it’s,” I managed.

“Yes, yes it is,” said Olinthre grimly.

There it was as clear as day the retinal scan wasn’t actually recorded as belonging to Taryst.

It was Barhurst’s.

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