Main Group: Aboard Horizon's Pride

 
Brother Androcles

Androcles looked down his aquiline at the man being dragged onto the bridge. He kept silent and neutral for now, letting the crewman speak in his own defense. He seemed to be terrified enough simply to be in the presence of the fully armed and armored Kill Team, which hopefully would provoke the whole truth if only to avoid a harsher punishment.

Bennex nods. "It's true, m'Lords. I was workin below-decks, in spent fuel processing when I saw one of the servitors that handles the rods acting up. It was just there, moving an empty pallet back and forth. I went looking for a cogboy and found enginseer Kreth checking the montiors on one of the tanks."

The crew man licks cracked lips. "When I told him what was wrong, that maybe there was something in the servitor's programming, he. . .he went berserk! He tried to stab me with his mechadendrite, m'Lords! It all happened so fast, I. . .I didn't mean to kill him, I was just trying to get away. Somehow we got tangled up, and next thing I know I'm on the floor and Kreth's in the tank. I hit the alarm and a crew came to fish him out but by then. . ."

Lan clears his throat. "Kreth's augmetics were shielded against moisture, but not the radiation and heat coming off the spent fuel. His organic parts failed, and then the rest weren't far behind."

"I didn't mean it, m'Lords," Bennex pleads. "If I'd murdered the enginseer, would I have called for the emergency team?"

Brother Androcles

"We will have to verify this man's story, of course, but could it be that this Enginseer Kreth attacked him because he had been caught in some act of sabotage and wanted to silence a potential witness?" he ruminated aloud before his thoughts turned to another, darker option. "Or is it this heretek code affecting heavily augmented humans now as well?"

He scratched his chin with his thumb and forefinger as he pondered Crewman Bennex, examining the man like a bug on a plate. "Can the Adeptus Mechanicus confirm any of this through the ship's log recordings or analysis of Enginseer Kreth's mechanical parts?" he asked the Rogue Trader.

Lan nods. "That was our first move, but unfortunately surveillance pict-catchers in the fuel processing area are trained on the entrances and exits, with a few roving cameras to watch the rest of the floor. They didn't catch anything conclusive either way. Sounds of a struggle, a few flailing limbs, a splash as Kreth hit the water."

Lan reaches to a control stud on the table's rim and a holo image flickers into view at the table's center. It is much as Lan described; at the start Kreth and Bennex are in frame, apparently talking. The camera pans left, and just as the two figures go out of sight there's a flurry of blurred motion. Bennex hits the catwalk at almost the same instant you hear Kreth plunge into the water. Bennex scrambles to his feet, stumbles off frame. A klaxon wails, its shriek cut off by Lan stabbing at the controls.

"We thought perhaps Kreth's remains would yield some conclusive evidence. He had ocular recorders, for recording particularly complex maintenance rituals and the like. But the data units were slag by the time the emergency team pulled him out of the tank. I'm afraid once the ship security completed its investigation the remains were turned over to the Mechanicus representatives on the ship. You are welcome to ask them if you wish to inspect the components, but. . ." Lan shrugs helplessly.

At Androcles mention that Kreth might have been engaged in sabotage, Lan leans over the table. "It's not an outlandish possibility. And a troubling one. I cannot command you, my Lords, but I ask that if you pursue that avenue, be discreet as possible. I have enough problems with the Mechanicus as it is without word getting out that I suspect one of their own of heresy."

Brother Camael folds his arms thoughtfully. "Of course, Captain. We would not undermine your authority." The Blood Drinker addresses their squad leader. "I am inclined to trust the Crewman. Of the two suspected culprits, only the enginseer possessed the skills necessary for the corruption of so many servitors."

"Not to mention easy access to them while they were in maintenance." Eldgrim pointed out. He was both relieved and disappointed that there wasn't any sign of warp-corruption - none that he noticed at least; it wouldn't be the first time he'd missed it - relieved because then it should be somewhat easier to deal with (or at least safer for the human security teams when the proverbial hit the fan) and disappointed because now his powers wouldn't be much help unless they needed to kill something.

A flicker of relief passes over Bennex's features, replaced by the ever present expression of dread. He brings his shackled hands up into a clumsy looking aquila, closes his eyes and whispers a prayer.

"Then it seems you have your primary suspect," Lan says. "Any other questions for Bennex? He'll have to be returned to the brig of course, until such time as he's cleared. . .or his guilt is confirmed."

Brother Androcles

"If he merely protected yourself then the Crewman has nothing to fear. The process of ship's law will prove his innocence." Brother Androcles nodded to the man. "We may have more questions for him later, but for now I wish to speak to the ship's tech priests about Engineseer Kreth. We will have to obtain their cooperation in this matter as we do not have a devotee to the Machine God in our Kill Team."

He looked at his battle brothers, raising an eyebrow. "What say you, brothers?"

"Very well. Take the Crewman back to the brig." The ship guards spin Bennex around and march him away. Lan waits until the door shuts behind them before speaking.

"Genetor Chambers is the ranking adept aboard. Attached to us in order that he may ascertain the genetic purity of the human populations on the rediscovered planets in the Salient. He is. . .aloof, even by tech-priest standards. And not much given to overseeing the day-to-day maintenance of the ship." He inclines his head slightly towards Heth. "I believe the Brigadier knows the way, if you wish to speak with Chambers. . .or seek out more helpful sorts in the Mechanicus areas of the ship."

Heth nods. "Of course. Whenever you're ready, my Lords."

I would like to speak to this Genetor Chambers. wheezed a voice from the the entrance to the bridge. There stood Apothecary Artemis Marr. Two large punctures spoke of the battle he had with servitors, on his black cerimite, the crusted red of Astartes blood staining his already blue-stained armor.

Brothers, Lord Lan Artemis acknowledged as he entered the bridge. I do not know what information you have gathered so far, but if the servitors continue to assault Astartes or even your own crewmen, our mission will be cut short far before we reach planet fall. If There is any possibility of finding a clue, to those who are controlling these automatons, through an autopsy of the corpse of the slain engineer, then it is vital that we cooperate with the Mechanicus.

Artemis flicked his head towards the doors which Bennex left by.
I assume the young man in chains dragged out of this room, while i entered, was crewman Bennex?





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