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Thread: Just Below the Surface

  1. #1
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Just Below the Surface

    Just Below the Surface
    An Adeptus Arbites Story

    Tercius, a hive world in the Segmentum Tempestus, in the Oreidium Sector of the galaxy and under the holy watch of the Adeptus Terra and the mighty Immortal Emperor of Man. Tercius is like most other Hive Worlds in the Imperium of Man. High habitation spires stab into the smog choked skies and The Adeptus Mechanicus manufactoriam churn out the war machines for the Imperial Guard and the many, varied and lethal arms of the Departmento Munitorum.

    Billions upon billions reside in the mighty hives that dot the continents. Upon the surface of Tercius there are eighteen such hives, the primary export is like any Hive-World, man-power, bodies for the eternal war machine of mankind, workers to mine the deep pits, to stoke the fires and the like. Some of these people will go on to be great soldiers in the Imperial Guard or the Planetary Defence force. They could become numbered among the great Magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus, they could even be governors of their own planets should they work hard enough for it. Even one may be chosen to serve in the most elite order of warriors, the Adeptus Astartes, the Emperor’s Angels of Death. But to think of the probability of such a thing is ludicrous.

    But this is not to say that the universe is their oyster, it is a harsh, cold time to be alive, it is the Forty-First Millennium, forget the promise of science and the understanding of your fellow man, in these times only the strong survive and the weak are either slaves or worse. Mankind is beset by aliens, traitors and heretics. The armies of man wage an unwinnable war against a myriad number of foes that would pillage and burn the worlds of the Emperor, to whom a single human life is nothing but a number to be erased in a tide of fire and death. To be alive in such times is be one among unnumbered trillions. Your passing won’t be remembered or mourned, for the tides of blood rise and fall with each passing day washing away thousands of lives. For each enemy without there are a hundred within, cruel, cold organisations mercilessly purge thousands to kill a single man, all in the name of faith.

    It is up to the men and women of the Adeptus Arbites to ensure peace and law is maintained among the general populace. They decide the guilty, they determine the punishment.

    In the grim darkness of the far future there is only war.

    - - - - CHAPTER ONE - Quiet Beginnings- - - -

    “Patrol Two-Three entering area six mid-level five.” Arbitrator Thall spoke into his armour’s vox as he and his partner indeed moved into the new area. He and Cairn walked through the hive as they had on their route for the past three months. The great mid-level of the Hive Lucius was almost as large as an old terran city, effectively that was what it was, a city within a greater city. The ceiling of the level was more than enough for a scout titan to stand without kneeling. The hab-blocks were sandwiched together to create the normal living conditions for the normal people of this level, they were not the unruly scum of the underhive nor where they highborn of the upper spires. Thall liked these people, they got up, they ate, they worked, they prayed, they paid their tithes and above all, they obeyed the law.

    The Arbites patrol team walked the pavements of the hive; watching the people and ensuring the lawfulness of the hive.

    Cairn waved a simple salute to the oncoming patrol team. They returned the gesture as they approached, the two looked bored, a good sign.

    “Much to report?” Thall asked hopefully. The opposite two shrugged “Eleven to twelve youths on 13th and Main, possible cause of a minor civil nuisance, none look over six and ten years.” Cadet Davis sighed. “Anything from your end?”

    Thall sighed heavily “Rush hour, lotta’ people in a hurry to get home tonight”

    Davis’ partner and observer during his training, Arbitrator Farrell turned to the two with a lit Iho-stick in his mouth. “Can’t say I blame them, big game tonight, I would love to see how the season ends.”

    Cairn laughed with his fellow Arbitrator, “Maybe Provost Krael will let us record the pict-cast”

    This sent the other Arbitrator in further laughter. “He’s too busy organising a marching band for our visitor”

    Thall sighed, it was true the big-wig from the Segmentum Solar had sent a wave of near-hysteria throughout the entire planet’s government and of course the locals had absolutely no idea what was going on.

    Thall began moving forward with Cairn in tow. “Keep a lookout” he waved over his shoulder. The other patrol returned their route.

    The two moved on by foot, usually not a problem on the mid-levels for the Arbites as it helped with their image as law-enforcers, it presented a clean, strong face of Imperial authority.

    In the lower levels then it was considered dangerous to your health to go down there in anything short of a Repressor. The upper-levels didn’t like the image of the dark armoured figures wandering their pristine streets and therefore the Arbites remained in their squad vehicles while on patrol. But Thall and Cairn didn’t mind the walk on the mid-level, the air was clean, the people where nice and the lack of crime was change of pace after pulling underhive duty.

    They made their way down the main road of the area, of the entire level even. The same beat they had walked for three months, past the same hab-blocks, the same shrine manned by the same smiling priest who delivers the same blessing on the two. The same groceries store...

    Thall sighed; he loved being on mid-level patrol but sometimes the sheer monotony sometimes got to him. Most Arbites were taught not to get too attached to the people they policed, but the Tercius Arbites could expect to be here for the next ten millenniums at least. While they still didn’t recruit from the general populace, the recruits that were drafted into the Tercius Arbites soon began to think of the place as their home. Taking a page from the book of the Imperial Guard, staying in the precinct and aloof only worked when you were moving every few decades but due to the permanent nature, soon even the marshal grew bored and allowed his footmen to wander the nearby grounds on their free time. Over the intervening centuries and eventual millennia this spread to the entirety of the hives. The Council of Judges had allowed the practise to continue as it seemed to lower the average crime rate of the planet.

    “You read this morning’s clips?” Cairn asked as the two sauntered on. The clips referred to the newsfeeds and headlines along with reports from the patrol units that gave the Adeptus Arbites and the Planetary governing council an overview of the current situation of the hive.

    “I took a glance, didn’t you?” Thall returned as he watched a couple moving along the opposite road with an eye honed by years of experience.

    Cairn chuckled innocently “I maybe got up a little late and had to rush to meet you.” He received a disapproving glance from his partner. Thall shook his head and continued his walk.

    “Things are getting worse in the underhive; the Governor has asked the PDF commanders to stand ready for suppression actions.” Thall muttered with almost disgust. While gang violence was indeed terrible, if the PDF rolled in then thousands of innocents would be slaughtered in the crossfire.

    Cairn hummed his distaste. “Anything nice today?” he asked.

    Thall looked to him with a look that told Cairn everything he needed to know for that question.

    Thall continued as they walked “The Bowl planetary finals are tonight, not that we get to see it.” He semi-moaned, “If the Provost is feeling rather nice, we may get to hob-nob with some big-wigs.” The Arbitrator shrugged “Like that gonna-“

    The Arbitrator stopped as something caught his eye.

    Thall groaned “Youths, there” he pointed a finger further down the street. Two large groups facing towards each other, and the two biggest going at it to the sounds of their friends cheering, the fight was spilling out into the main road, luckily there were no ground-cars coming. The two looked like they were really going at it, even at this distance Thall could make out the red markings on their faces.

    Thall began to sprint towards them, the pistol stayed in its holster for the time being, Cairn followed, the smirk from earlier lost as a wave of seriousness fell across the two.

    As Thall approached he started to make out individual marks, each boy and girl had a ribbon, cloth or some sort of clothing that set them apart from the other group. One group wore purple or blue predominately while the others had red.

    Thall broke through the outer perimeter of the children and got right to the two fighting. The carapace armour alone was enough to ensure that no one tried to stop him. The Arbites helmet struck fear and obedience into those who got a good look at the two.

    “Break it up!” Thall roared as he gripped both combatants and pulled the two apart. With a deft gesture the Arbite threw both to the ground away from each other.

    “Now that’s over” Cairn subvocalised as he pulled his Illuminator from his waist, “Hands!” He bellowed and the youths obeyed, showing the Arbitrator the backs of their hands. Cairn swung the illuminator over the small forest of hands; it was shaped like a standard torchlight but gave of no visible light when activated.

    “No previous crimes” Cairn said as he finished his sweep. It was standard practice on Tercius to brand all criminals with special tattoos that only showed up under an illuminator beam. It made on-the-spot judgements a lot simpler, primarily it found use in the underhive but it helped on all levels equally.

    Thall hoisted both of the two fighting boys to their feet where they looked suitably upset and shy. Thall noted that the boy with a purple headband also had incredibly pale skin, not unusual for hive-children but compared to the others in the group he was definitely in need of sometime in the UV areas.

    Thall looked the two boys over slowly and carefully, accentuating every action in order to scare the two more. “No previous crimes” he repeated slowly and loudly. He locked each boy with a glare that froze most perps dead in their tracks. Thall grumbled something as he made an obvious gesture to rest his hand on his marker, a glorified spray gun that applied the crime-tattoo. He had no intention of booking the boys when clearly this was nothing more than an argument that got out of hand.

    “You want this to your first?” Thall asked menacingly, modulating his voice to be like gravel, Cairn couldn’t help but smile; it was his Sergeant Bale impression. The two youths shook visibly, the severity of the situation started overwhelming the adrenaline from the fight.

    “No sir” the two whimpered. Thall stood tall with his fists on his hips with a frown he had practised for his impression. “I thought so” Thall grimaced.

    Thall looked over his shoulder to his partner, Cairn shrugged, neither one of them really wanted to haul two dozen kids down to the precinct nor did they think that they deserved it.

    Thall looked to the two each in turn, he pointed to the pale one. “You and your friends will walk that way” he pointed behind them after which he turned to the other boy “You and your friends will go that way” He pointed the opposite direction to the purples. The reds nodded.

    “Either of you take a step back towards each other and I will personally haul you down to precinct for inciting civil violence. You understand?” Thall said plainly, the two boys’ nodded “Yes sir” they uttered. “Yes what?” Thall voiced with an air of authority. “Yes Arbitrator” they said louder. Thall nodded and waved both groups on their way.

    As ordered the groups went their separate ways with the two brawlers walking away with their tails between their legs. Thall smiled, he liked solving crime without having to brutalise someone.

    Cairn moved to Thall’s side as he watched the youths go. “Inciting civil violence?” He asked as he patted his comrade on the shoulder. “You weren’t really gonna’ arrest them were ya?” Cairn asked incredulously. Thall shook his head “Nah, they’re just kids”

    Cairn turned to his partner “You see those colours? They aren’t the bowl team colours” Thall nodded solemnly. “Ya, but I don’t remember seeing any hive-gang using those colours.”

    Cairn snorted “Let’s just hope it’s a fad those kids are going through.” Thall nodded again.

    Cairn lightly punched Thall on his arm “Come on, we have another two areas to patrol”

    As Thall moved alongside the main road he started thinking. Red and purple, what could it mean.

    They wandered on through the heart of the level. Each hive level was roughly divided into eight sections radiating around a central tower which doubled as a mass-elevator. It was also the primary way of transport between the three mid-levels. Levels one and two were loading docks that lead to and from the myriad foundries and factoriums. The nearby area around the hive was filled with such areas.

    Thall and Cairn moved in silence, Thall pondering the implications of children in gangs on the mid-level. The two stood at a junction. Waiting for the signals to alternate to allow the passage of the two, not that the ground-cars wouldn’t stop if the Arbites merely walked over the road, but is was advised the obey the road-laws as to limit accidents and waste of Arbite time.

    The armour’s vox crackled into life “All units all units, Section 22A on Namkain block, mid-level 5, all nearby units respond, multiple suspects, they are armed and dangerous, Cadet and Arbite wounded, proceed with caution.”

    Cairn turned “That’s us, let’s go!” He tapped the transmit button on his armour. “Patrol Two-three responding, ETA five minutes”
    Last edited by BladeWolf; 05-10-2010 at 07:01.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  2. #2
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    - - - - - - - - - Chapter Two (beta)- First Blood - - - - - - - - - -

    Thall followed diligently, Namkain block was only a short sprint away in area four. As they ran they could hear the sounds of rising violence. The distinctive crack of las-fire told the two a lot about their opponents. The sounds of the lasguns were intermixed with the roar of auto-weapons, probably rifles but he could hear the tell tale sounds of a handful of stub-guns.

    Cairn was few steps ahead when they rounded the corner into the danger area.

    “Frak!” Cairn shouted as he darted back around the corner a instant later, the pitter patter of auto-rounds danced up the pavement next to him.

    “You get eyes on the shooter?” Thall asked as he pulled his laspistol from its holster silently wishing he’d brought his shotgun. But three months of not being shot at did that to a person.

    “Nope, but I saw the wounded, its Davies and Farrell, idiots look like they walked right into the middle of it.” The Arbitrator breathed as he also brought his pistol from his holster.

    Thall edged his eye around the ceremite corner very slowly. The roar of battle meant that it wasn’t just them they were shooting at. Indeed it seemed the entire block was bristling with weapons, all firing at the block opposite who in turn was returning fire.

    “Block war” Thall grumbled.

    “Block War?” Cairn asked in a confused tone “On a mid-level?”

    “Not the first time Underhiver scum made their way up the mid’” Thall sighed as he started to analyse the myriad ways of getting to the two downed Arbites. Not many, was his answer.

    “With me” Thall said quickly as he crouched, went round into the miniature warzone and made a bee-line to a relatively undamaged ground-car. The two blocks were more interested in each other then two black-armoured specks cowering behind what little cover they could find.

    “What’s it with you and trying to get me killed?” Cairn hissed as he sided with Thall “First you talk me into fighting most of underhive pretty much single-handedly, now you drag me into a block war! This was going to be my four months of peace.” Thall just glanced at his partner of ten years.

    “Reason one; we're Arbites, this is what we do. Reason two, what fun is peace?” Thall half-grinned as he darted from cover again.

    “Fun as in not getting shot at” Cairn fumed as he followed diligently.

    “You were all gung-ho a minute ago, what changed?” Thall asked as the two dived behind a more wrecked ground-car, the windows and engine-block had been riddled with rounds.

    “I remembered I’m deathly allergic to bullets and las-bolts.” Cairn complained as the car shuddered under another cursory burst of gunfire. “That’s another thing, how did they get lasguns?” He swore as he rose to a kneel.

    Thall shrugged as he thought about that issue himself. But it was definitely over the heads of the two Arbitrators to try and bring order to this mini-war. The sheer volume of fire effectively demanded a full combat team. He clicked the vox open. “This is Patrol Two-Three, requesting back-up at Namkain block, we have a code 34.” He radioed with mild annoyance.

    Meanwhile half-way across the level, an Arbites bike growled as the engine sparked into life.

    Thall took another pot-shot at a gunner with a Heavy Stubber but again the shot just went wide, the return barrage from the gunner followed shortly and Thall ducked down with a grimace. Cairn had rolled out to a small door-alcove and had started to take shots at the occupants of Namkain block in a desperate ploy to buy time and draw fire away from their two compatriots. Thall swore as one of the stubber bullets ripped cleanly through the tiny cover the ground-car provided and scored a hit on Thall’s back, scraping along but not penetrating. Thall dropped to the floor completely and stayed still for a moment, projecting the illusion that the gunner had killed him with that barrage.

    While he lay there Thall thought over just how a man, even though he looked like a Catachan, could hold and fire a heavy stubber. Thall decided that the gunner was, among other things probably, some sort of Satrophine-Frenzon cocktail. The gunner was stood out in the open of a second storey window and bellowing at his enemies while firing a usually pintle-mounted weapon standing and with a thick strap over his shoulder and a great belt of ammunition sprawling out of the thing. How the recoil didn’t tear his arms off was beyond Thall at this point.

    Thall counted to six before giving a quick prayer to Him and standing valiantly, his laspistol swinging up with him. Thall had the Heavy Stubber gunner in his sights within a second. The gunner saw him too and started to drag his monstrous weapon back towards him. Thall snapped out a defiant shot an instant before the other man. The short sharp crack echoed in Thall’s ears as his heart held itself still for a moment, if he missed this was ‘it’.

    But the Emperor was watching him today as the shot flew true. The crimson laser penetrated through the thick grox-hide strap and into the huge muscle bound chest of the gunner. Dropping him like a puppet with its strings cut. It was almost humorous to see the big, brave, admittedly stupid man to fall so easily.

    The body fell from the window and went straight down, landing with a wet thud. Thall smirked as he ducked behind cover, the bigger they are he recited, the harder they fall.

    Cairn picked out another man with accurate las-fire and added him to his tally. From his position he could see the extent of the fighting. Two entire hab-blocks each as tall as they were deep, almost fifty storeys each and housing almost two hundred families apiece, gripped in this violent hysteria. Cairn scowled for a moment as he turned his eyes skyward. He could see the muzzle flashes of gunfire on the fortieth floor. He shook his head, this kind of thing happened on the underhive not here. Cairn pulled the depleted clip from his weapon and slapped home another. Something was going on here. He thought to himself, he was going to find out what.

    __________________________________________________ _______________

    Part II and hopefully something for people to comment on, as in hindsight I should have done both Chapters and posted them as one but... I didn't but now is all well and hopefully its starting to pick up.
    Last edited by BladeWolf; 03-09-2009 at 03:31.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  3. #3

    Re: Just Below the Surface

    i think if you keep it up at this tempo its going to be a really good story.
    BEARZERKER!
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    May Or May Not Be Alpha Legion...

  4. #4
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Thanks, Its a definite change of pace from my usual type of writing so its interesting for me to do.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  5. #5
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    - - - - - - Chapter 3 - First Blood part II - - - - - - -

    Thall watched with intense tension as Cairn changed position; the people in Namkain block had figured out his position and had started to pour fire into the alcove. A few bullets scraped off his armour but nothing much. Cairn dived into a roll as the ground around him sparked. He ended his roll next Thall, into the firing line of Feynman block but out of the line of attack for Namkain block.

    Thall tapped his armour vox. “Farrell, you still alive?” He waited a moment before the reply came back. “Yea” the arbitrator groaned, “I’m holding my guts in but I’ll live”.

    Thall grinned as he heard the slight humour in his voice. “Hold on there, Medical teams are on their way.” Thall assured him. Cairn looked over the hood of the ground-car, luckily their attention span lasted as long as their ammo clip the way they were fighting.

    The growl of a combat bike entered the two’s ears.

    “Thank Him above, reinforcements” Cairn grinned. He rose slightly to catch a sight of the newcomers. He was swiftly pulled back down by Thall.

    Thall looked slightly apprehensive as he listened to the sound “Only one engine.” He looked to Cairn “Unless it’s an Astartes I wouldn’t get my hopes up if I were you, but keep praying.”

    “But any back-up is good back-up, right?” Cairn protested for a moment before he caught sight of said reinforcement “Oh frak.” He sighed a moment latter. Thall stuck his head over the parapet for a moment to see who had just pulled up, for a split second he actually hoped it was an Astartes.

    A figure clad in thick black plates of armaplas and ceremite swung his leg off the saddle of the bike. The Imperial Eagle was displayed prominently on his left shoulder. His face was locked permanently in a scowl. He looked around at the two blocks with contempt before he stepped forward, advancing on the two Arbitrators.

    “It would be Bale” Cairn groaned. Sergeant Bale was considered the most fearsome Arbite in the Hive Lucius precinct. A former Combat Team leader until he was promoted out to Sergeant. Noted for his taciturn, hardline and stoic personality.

    Bale stood over the two with a disappointed look, but then again, his face never seemed to change. He stood with his fists on his hips just like Thall’s impression. He was completely unfazed by the hectic gunfire or the slight pitter-patter of rounds landing around him.

    “They are using autoguns firing twenty millimetre case less rounds with a listed lethal range of two hundred metres.” Bale took another cursory glance upwards. “The majority of gunners are at three hundred metres” he looked back to the two “And the lower gunners are too busy shooting each other to care about you” He leaned forward “So why are you hiding Arbitrators?”

    Thall stood “Waiting for back-up” he said determinedly. Bale locked him with a soul-testing glare “It’s here” He growled before turning and moved back to his bike.

    Cairn followed at his shoulder “They are also using lasguns as well sir.” Bale turned and rapped his knuckle on Cairn’s Carapace armour. “Your armour is can withstand more than a simple las-bolt, and they don’t strike me as Imperial Guard marksmen, do they to you?” He retorted simply as he reached Davies and Farrell.

    Bale stood over the wounded Arbitrator. Thall could see the wound that afflicted him. It seemed as if a stubber round had managed unluckily to penetrate the armour and embed itself into the soft belly of the Arbite. Farrell still had a smile on his face as his other hand clutched a laspistol. “Morning Sarge” he strained. Bale looked him over, “Medical teams are en route, remain stationary.” Bale turned to the Cadet who, while wounded, remained mobile. Davies only had a bloody crease across his left arm. Cadets were issued flak armour similar to the local PDF. “Arbitrator Farrell, I will be borrowing your Cadet” He said quite plainly. Farrell spluttered out a laugh, “Of course sergeant, take him all you want”.

    Bale activated his armour’s vox with a deft gesture. Thall could hear the vox-caster on the bike cough a burst of static. Bale turned his head back up to the warring blocks.

    Bale bellowed “I am the law!” He took a moment to look at each block in turn. “Drop your weapons!” he ordered and to his credit, some of the perpetrators did indeed cease firing, whether due to Bale or to reload was unknown. “These blocks, are under arrest!” Bale shouted to finish off.

    Sergeant Bale waved the three mobile Arbites to follow him towards Namkain block. Thall and Cairn exchanged a worried glance, three Arbites and a Cadet storming a building. Not exactly text book.

    “Cadet Davies” Bale said “How would you enter this building?” Bale pointed towards a set of heavy doors that acted as the entrance to Namkain ground floor. Davies sharply responded “A form of directional explosive, a breaching charge or even a grenade wedge under the handles sir”

    Bale reached to his holster and unbuttoned it before yanking free his sidearm. Bale turned and looked to Davies, showing him his bolt pistol, Davies nodded eagerly “That would work sir. That would definitely work”. Bale turned the weapon on the door. A short sharp bang followed swiftly. The doors burst open in a scream of tortured metal.

    Bale entered through the wrecked entrance. “Sweep and clear, rendezvous on the fortieth floor” he ordered harshly.
    Last edited by BladeWolf; 29-08-2009 at 11:31.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  6. #6

    Re: Just Below the Surface

    This is interesting, let me guess, they found a Genestealer cult?

  7. #7
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Maybe... would I be that predicable? Actually yes I would be Perhaps Crull, perhaps.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  8. #8
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    - - - - - - Chapter Four - Omens - - - - -

    Thall and Cairn stood on either side of a rusted metal doorway. The sound on auto-fire boomed from within. Davies was stood a few metres back behind Cairn and Sergeant Bale was no longer with them. He had been last seen taking the stairs three at a time and kicking in a door shouting “He who is without sin on his knees!” and then repeated bolt pistol shots. The two Arbitrators let him do as he wanted.

    Thall checked his laspistol for what felt like the ninth time since they entered the building; the first few floors offered relatively little resistance. Only a few stragglers and wounded as the rest all went higher in search of more targets. From floor twenty onwards however, things got hairy.

    Thall signed to Cairn; ‘on three’ he mimed. Those three seconds passed slowly as the two prepared, Davies was tasked with watching the corridor.

    “Three!” Thall called as his boot collided with the metal. It yielded easily and was almost torn from its hinges. “Adeptus Arbites! Drop your weapons!” He shouted as he entered with his pistol raised, he already knew their response.

    As one ten pairs of eyes turned along with their weapons, ranging from small automatic stub guns to a lasgun. Cairn shot first, the crimson beam passing unperturbed through the lasgun wielding thug’s cranium. Thall followed it with a second, with the biggest threat out of the way. They started to pacify the others. The Arbites usually tried for wound-shots, to disable their opponents to facilitate interrogation. But these thugs just didn’t stop as the openly bleeding wound on Thall’s abdomen reminded him.

    The Laspistols slew the second and third gunners just as quickly but the others by then had time to regain their wits. A stocky yet clearly weathered man brought his simple stubber to bear on Thall. Thall could see the cold hatred in his eyes as the weapon barked. The Carapace armour saved him as the simple bullets danced across its surface but Thall felt the wind driven from him because of the kinetic power the bullets imparted. He fell backwards as another burst of proper autogun fire attacked into his flank. As he fell Thall instinctively drew his vambraces in front of his exposed mouth and eyes, the simple visor didn’t stop bullets as easily as sun glare. Cairn dived out of the way, firing as he did.

    Thall landed with a thud, the armour thankfully absorbing the impact. He fired blindly towards where he thought the shots were coming from. A resulting cry of anguish proved him right.

    For Cairn it was a shooting gallery, all their makeshift cover and barricades had been facing the opposing block, so now they were scattering and shouting looking for a relief from the accurate Arbites fire. Cairn gave them relief, perhaps not the kind they were looking for.

    “Room pacified” Cairn said after putting the last perpetrator down with a clean shot through the chest. Her finger tightened around the trigger as she died causing the magazine to empty into a nearby wall.

    Thall dragged himself to his feet; Cairn was already checking the downed suspects. Outside the window the cacophony of the Arbite Rhino Armoured Transports became apparent. The combat teams had arrived. Thall moved to the window and cast his gaze downwards. He would have been galled years ago by their methods but as of the throbbing pain in his lower body, frak ‘em he thought.

    “Next time we shoot them from the doorway” Thall moaned as he checked his laspistol.

    Thall watched as several Arbite squads piled out into the street armed with Arbite shotguns and other assorted weapons. From where Thall was stood of the thirtieth floor, he could make out a few bolters along with lasguns for the Cadets who arrived a moment later in their Chimera APCs.

    Several Arbites stood across the street and rose what looked to be grenade launchers. They unleashed hell. They poured photon-flash and take-down grenades into the lower windows with reckless abandon. The Rhino gunners raked the front of Feynman block with mass-reactive shells. The turret mounted multi-lasers of the Chimera watched the street for any stragglers.

    Thall allowed himself a slight sigh as he saw the medical team pull Farrell away on a stretcher into the specifically marked ‘Doc-Wagon’ or a Rhino with assorted life-saving equipment.

    He started to watch the assault but he was called away by a sudden shout from Davies. The two Arbitrators turned as one and started to move towards the errant sound of gunfire.

    Thall and Cairn exited into the hall to see Davies stumble backwards with a pained howl. Thall looked down the corridor to see a bulky heavy set man stood tall, in his grip was a raggedy looking shotgun. The man was nigh-on frothing at the mouth and his eyes full of rage.

    The man pumped the shotgun and growled as he targeted the two arbites. Cairn pushed Thall back into the room as he threw himself to the ground.

    This resulted in a semi-roar from the clearly drugged man. Cairn crouched and barrelled into the simple door on the opposite side of the hall way. A second shot skimmed the sole of Cairn’s boot as he rolled out of harm’s way.

    Thall leaned out of the relative safety of the room to take aim. Two crimson bolts flickered into the offender. He bore them with a feral grin. Thall was stood in shock for a moment. That moment almost cost him his life. A split second longer and he would probably be down a head. Thall retreated back inside as another hail of shards whipped past.

    Cairn mirrored Thall’s previous attack and fire two shots into the hulking meaty chest of the thug, the two arbitrators shared a glance as again the beast spat a curse but was still standing.

    “What’s this guy on?” Cairn yelled across to his partner. Thall shrugged before popping out for another attempt at killing this thing.

    Cairn tried at the same time, only to see the hulking warrior make a bee-line across to Thall, who was completely taken unawares by the attack. The mass of the impact was negated by the Carapace armour but Thall was still thrown backwards with a definite thump.

    Davies, who up to this point had been dazed by the close range shotgun blast, rolled onto his stomach and started to unleash repeated las-bolts into the beast-man. The man just growled and howled as Cairn joined it.

    Thall was almost crushed by the mass of muscle that rammed into him, it didn’t help that he was still effectively underneath the man as he started to wail on him with repeated blows from the meaty fists; it seemed the shotgun the thing had been holding had either run out of ammo or had jammed.

    Thall started desperately blocking the attack with a lone vambrace while still struggling to bring his own las-pistol to bear on his attacker.

    Thall could hear the crack of his fellow’s laspistols as they let loose on the back of the thug. Thall could feel the blows become weaker and weaker; it seemed the superman had his limits. The enraged howls soon became exhausted rasps and eventually silence. The rage Thall had seen was still very much alive in his eyes but clearly the body could not keep up with the mind in terms of energy.

    Thall jammed his laspistol under the chin on the still attacking muscle man. Who while weak wasn’t dead yet. “Attacking an Arbite with lethal intent” Thall growled through gritted teeth “Sentence. Death” He judged with the resounding crack of his pistol. The single beam passed cleanly through the bone and flesh, leaving the head more of less intact as the magenta beam passed through the cranium.

    The body dropped down easily at Thall’s feet. He sighed heavily as he stepped over the corpse. “Why is it always me that falls over?” He mock-whined while pulling Davies to his feet and inspecting where the Cadet had been hit, “Seems the armour took the brunt of it” Cairn patted Davies on the back “You’ll be fine”. Cairn cast a view to the corpse of their giant attacker.

    “Thall” He said in a sad tone and flicked his hand towards what he wanted his partner to see. The purple arm band the thug wore. Thall swore silently. Cairn took a cursory look back into the cleared room. He shook his head. They all wore purple or blue rags.

    Davies looked quickly between the two with a confused look. Thall turned to the Cadet and waved away any confusion “I’ll explain back at the precinct” the Cadet nodded obediently and followed the lead of Thall as he led them to the stair way. They had just finished clearing this floor, up to the fortieth.
    Last edited by BladeWolf; 30-08-2009 at 08:02.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
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    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  9. #9

    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Well-paced, discriptive, entertaining stuff And like I said earlier it's always interesting to see people's takes on the more esoteric bits of the background.

    Although, BladeWolf..."I am the law!"...I know you're not above the odd shout-out but that one was particularly blatant
    The story of craftworld Reia-Hal (recently updated, but please don't necro the thread)

    My =][= campaign logs:

    The Mar Sara Incident
    Phantom of the Fire

  10. #10
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Quote Originally Posted by FarseerMatt View Post
    Well-paced, descriptive, entertaining stuff And like I said earlier it's always interesting to see people's takes on the more esoteric bits of the background.
    Thank you Matt, I'll admit I took some liberties with the background.

    Quote Originally Posted by FarseerMatt View Post
    Although, BladeWolf..."I am the law!"...I know you're not above the odd shout-out but that one was particularly blatant
    The odd shout-out? *Looks at the story* Oh boy...

    The Arbites are based on Judge Dredd in first place so I thought it would be nice for it to come full circle.

    It works for Bale (who is in my mind is basically a caricature of the Judge Dredd character (with acceptable differences)) but the story is more about Thall and Cairn so I took some liberties with a few characters.

    Therefore I thought it would be a nice Shout-Out as you said.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  11. #11
    Commander guillimansknight's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Who's judge dread?


    Nice to see the police of the 41st millenium should turn out very dark and grim.
    Exactly as Planned...
    Quote Originally Posted by guillimansknight View Post
    Today in Biology we learned about mutations and mutants and how we shouldn't judge them - so I burned the Textbooks and then burned the Teacher for being a Heretic.
    Magnus Irish Warp Cider
    ~ Time. - is meaningless

  12. #12
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Author note: I just kept writing past the point I wanted to go to hence I'm declaring it a double chapter and taking a day off

    Second Author note to FarseerMatt: This was almost as long as the battle finale in the unedited form

    - - - - - - -Chapter Five and Six - Order and Punishment and Aftermath - - - - - - -

    The three Arbites pounded up the stairs taking them two or three at a time. Cairn was on point with his eyes darting around looking for targets but more likely downs perps’. Bale had gone up ahead of the others to speed up the clearing process and therefore had been a little higher than the others. For about seven floors all they found was clips, casings and corpses and a luminous green mark of the wall which was Arbite for ‘Area pacified on sweep’ and it meant that the Sergeant had passed through the area.

    Cairn crashed through a door at the top of the stairs with a shoulder barge. Thall was through a second later. Davies followed a little more conservatively due to fact he was reminded that he didn’t have as thick armour as the others.

    Cairn stopped mid charge by a red light that blinded him through his visor. He tried to swat at it as if it were a fly-bug. The growl afterwards informed him that the light was a laser-sight. Cairn flicked his head out of the light to see that he was staring down the barrel of a bolt pistol.

    “Cairn” Bale growled as he disengaged his aim. “There is only one room on this floor.” Bale indicated the door with a nod. “Penthouse suite” Davies remarked smartly to only receive a sharp glance from the grizzled sergeant. “Good observation Cadet” Bale complimented “But such observations are unnecessary in this situation.” Davies nodded obediently as if taking a lesson from schola tutor.

    The entrance to the penthouse was a large pair of double doors. Penthouse may have been a misnomer as it really wasn’t high-class but it referred to the highest and largest room in the block.

    Thall and Cairn moved to each side of the doors and started to test the handles. Cairn gave the sergeant the thumbs up followed by Thall. The doors were unlocked. Bale nodded as he checked his bolt pistol. Davies stood behind Thall with his weapon ready.

    Bale stood perhaps in the stupidest position, directly in the middle of the doorway. Cairn rolled his eyes behind his visor but kept his comments to himself, Bale was playing up the ‘invincible Arbite image’. He glanced to Thall with a nod. They raised their laspistols ready for the inevitable order.

    “Arbites” Bale started “On my order” The tension rose as the sound of gunfire on the other side of the door. “Bring order and justice” he growled and it was done.

    The two doors burst open and the Arbites entered, Bale bellowed out as he entered his usual line “He who is without sin on his knees!”

    Thall was taken aback for a nanosecond as he checked out his new battle area. The windows were massive panoramic plane glass windows, most of which were shot out by the twenty or so gangers that were stood up against the windows behind knocked over coffee tables, couches along with other pieces of furniture from the surprisingly-well furnished penthouse. This time however there was more cover then the previous room they had previously busted in to. Thall immediately dived behind a unmoved furred couch. He rolled to his knees and immediately popped up laying the laspistol across the soft top. He tapped off a set of shots into the turning mob of civil-rebels.

    A cloaked woman rolled next to what seemed like luxurious bed for a mid-level accommodation. She popped up over the top of it and sprayed towards Thall, the autogun rounds punched through the soft fabric but luckily the shots skipped off Thall’s shoulder armour but the others went wide.

    Another woman in a simple administratum drone-robe turned towards the group with a lasgun in her grip. She fired the weapon in a wide arc of crimson light before ducking behind a toppled table. The shots danced in between the majority of the Arbites. A small clump of shots dispersed on the black plates of the sergeant who returned the favour. The wooden table turned into the splinters and the woman was thrown to the ground, she grunted before the second bolt punched into her back in a display of gore.

    Davies kneeled next to Thall as another brace of stubgun rounds flew over their heads. Thall popped up and fired at the autogun wielding woman. A magenta beam speared across the flesh of her cheek, wounding but not killing the victim. She cried out and was sent to the floor clutching the wound. The sudden enfilade fire from a stubber forced Thall further down. Bale brought the ever-deadly bolt pistol around and trained it on the gunner, but a sudden barrage forced him back.

    Bale rolled backwards behind a fallen wardrobe. The small calibre rounds embedded themselves into the expensive wood. Bale grunted as a few shot plinked off his helmet. The bolt pistol returned the favour. It punched cleanly through the simple headboard the gunner was taking cover behind.

    “Why don’t they give us those” Cairn moaned under his breath as Bale picked off the gunners with ease. The grim efficiently of the veteran Arbite contrasted with the obvious inexperience of the young Davies, who fired repeatedly at a single opponent whereas Bale took single shots.

    Cairn was easily the most accurate of the arbites; he trained his shots and followed a single target at once unlike his partner who had the unfortunate habit to attempting to juggle multiple targets, which to his credit he had almost refined to an art form.

    “Good to see your marksmen skills haven’t diminished to much” The voice of Bale growled behind him. Cairn ignored him as he fired a brace into a lasgunner who spent too long in the open.

    Thall fell backwards as a autogun round struck him in the side of the head. He dropped and landed with a thud, all sound and feeling retreated from Thall for a moment. All senses failed him for a moment until slowly the feelings returned and his sense of balance stabilised. A cautionary hand moved to the side of his head. He could feel where the bullet hit; he could feel the dent but no penetration. He released a relived sigh, the armour had saved him. He shook away the remaining shock and rose up and fired repeatedly. The once luxurious penthouse was reduced to a mess. The las bolts that flickered between the two groups as well as the various projectiles and the obscene damage the bolt pistol inflicted. The once pristine white walls were repainted crimson by the gunfire.

    Despite the hit Thall took the Arbites were definitely coming out on top. The superior training and armour put them ahead of the gunners by far. The gunners however had a definite upper hand in the sheer amount of firepower they could pump out. The autoguns and stubber fired with reckless abandon and complete disregard for any sort of aiming. Another administratum drone with a large autogun blared away on full auto towards Cairn and Bale. His starch white skin shone through the deep red robe of his order. Thall showed him the error of his ways with a single las bolt to the chin.

    Thall rolled from cover as what was left of the couch evaporated under the withering fire.

    He landed next to the massive bed. Thall threw himself on his stomach and low and behold, he could see the feet of some of the pseudo-gangers. With expert accuracy he placed a single les bolt in about three of them before the tell tale sound told him that one of the said gun wielding crazies was rounding the headboard, or the remains of it, to kill him. Thall whipped his pistol up as he gazed down the barrel of an autogun. Thall unconsciously swallowed, he pulled the trigger as fast as he could only to receive a cough and a splutter from the pistol. Empty.

    The crazy dropped suddenly as three las bolts punched into his chest. Thall blinked, he hadn’t fired. He whipped his around to see Davies stood tall in the middle of the firestorm with a smoking gun in his grip. Thall chuckled as he pulled himself to his feet, the weight of the armour hindering him only slightly.

    “Thank you” Thall mouthed to the Cadet who nodded like he always did. Thall reached down, grabbing the autogun from the dead gunner. The weight was definitely different form the simple distinctive weight of the laspistol. He gripped the handle solidly and pulled it to shoulder. Thall had a sudden feeling of nostalgia. He breathed deep before whipping up over the quilted parapet and training the rifle on the nearest gunner. A millisecond later the head of the ganger was devastated by a short, sharp burst of fire. The kick of the rifle was rebuffed comfortably by Thall. He swung the rifle across the enemy gun line. The weapon barked again and shredded a simple man in simple worker’s overall holding a micro-stubber. The autogun felt familiar in the hands of Thall. He breathed in short, sharp breaths, mirroring the weapon he held.

    Another prolonged burst into another lasgun wielding thug and the weapon ran dry. Thall threw it forward and it bounced on the mattress. Thall crouched as he retrieved his laspistol and ripped the empty cartridge from the well and slapped home another, his last.

    The bolt pistol barked harshly as it started to pick off the remaining ganger. Sergeant Bale was unharmed throughout the fire fight save the few rounds that had dispersed or bounced off the armour. He growled as he put a bolt through a stubber and into the man firing it. The crack of Cairn’s laspistol declared the finale to the short, one-sided battle as it sent a rather big man sprawling out of the broken windows with a shot to the chest.

    “Good shooting. But I’ve seen better from you Arbitrator Cairn” Bale grunted as he reloaded. In the end he had expended twelve bolts.

    Davies started breathing heavily, in the midst of the battle all sense of self-preservation had vanished from him and he had stood unafraid in the face of enemy fire. He almost puked when the sudden realisation that had been seconds from an idiotic death hit him but a stern hard clap on the shoulder stopped him mid-heave.

    “Good work Cadet” Thall breathed as he passed him. “You did well today”

    “It’s a shame I can’t say the same for the rest of you” came a voice from the doors, almost as one the Arbites span with their weapons levelled.

    “My my, is that how you greet a superior officer?” A black-cloaked woman half-mocked.

    “Detective Calamar” Bale growled as she entered after they lowered their weapons. “Good afternoon Bale” she responded as she glided in, the cloak sticking to her figure like fine mist. “Blood bath as usual eh?” She asked pointedly.

    “They resisted arrest” Bale responded in an official tone. “They always resist arrest don’t they” she said with an annoyed look and a raised eyebrow towards the grizzled sergeant who just stared back. “Once, Bale, just once could you leave me someone alive enough to interrogate.”

    Felicia Calamar was one of Lucius Precinct’s top investigators. She was like most Detectives in the Adeptus Arbites, a psyker, a low level one but a psyker nonetheless. Her fine cloak hid her pale skin and blue eyes. Thall could see wisps of blonde hair appear form under the hood as she cast her glance around and he attempted to control his thoughts. She smiled slyly as she looked at him, he had failed. They didn’t call her the Lucius Angel just because of her insights and investigative skills.

    Sergeant Bale turned away from the Detective to look at Arbitrator Cairn. “Your marksmen skills are slacking, you should practice more” He said in his usual grunt. “Oh let the boy go” Felicia sighed “He escaped you, leave it be” Bale threw her an annoyed glare but she just smiled as if immune to Bale’s fearsome reputation. She was above his rank but even the Provost knew of Bale and his methods and respected them accordingly.

    The Detective reached forward and flipped a toppled but intact chair over and slumped down into it with one leg crossed over the other, displayed her black, slim grox-hide boots that connected to the rest of the body-glove she wore instead of the normal carapace armour she was issued. The brown grox-hide holsters for her bolt pistols were clearly visible as she sat. She rested her elbows on the armrests and meshed her black gloved fingers after flicking the hood off her head, releasing the golden tidal wave of shoulder length hair. She cast a sideways glance at the bed and shook her head “What a waste”, a comment that sent a visible reaction throughout Cairn, Thall and Davies. Bale however remained unchanged, if anything his scowl grew deeper. "Useful for interrogation purposes" she finished which made all the men more uncomfortable, except for Bale of course.

    Thall moved away from the two powerhouses of authority and moved to Cairn who was stood over a dead gunner. Thall picked up the gunmetal lasgun and checked it over. He was looking for the stock-seal used to mark the weapon. “PDFA5” he whispered under his breath. “What?” Felicia asked quite sharply to Thall who immediately spooked that the Detective heard him but he continued.

    “This weapon came from the fifth planetary defence force armoury Detective.” Thall responded in a straight tone. He also noted the purple headbands and other assorted colours on all the combatants but decided to say nothing at that point.

    “That’s the current PDF staging post outside the hive proper” Davies put forward without thinking, he slapped his hand to his mouth. The Detective was here to deduce things, not him.

    “Correct Cadet Davies” Felicia smiled kindly to the teenager-in-uniform. He blushed; this prompted another raised eyebrow and a slightly amused chuckle from the Detective. “For bonus points, can you guess how the weapon got into the hands of a civilian rabble?” she questioned.

    Davies looked stunned for a second before saying in a unsure tone. “The sudden influx of troops means higher influx of supplies, in turn the higher chance of theft or...” he stammered before falling silent.

    “...or some of the PDF troopers are selling their weapons and replacing them by taking them from the convoys from the Manufactoriam or Departmento Munitorum stockpiles.” The Detective finished the Cadet’s unfinished hypothesis. “You have a good head on you Cadet” she complemented.

    “That’s a massive breach of security” Bale half-bellowed “Military equipment falling into the hands of underhivers or other villainous scum.”

    “But that makes no sense” Thall said as he continued to check the bodies, sure enough almost all the weapons, save the stubbers had come from the PDF armouries. Cairn was using the Illuminator to check each person, so far they were mostly clean, blue and white collar workers with one case of minor sexual harassment between the lot of them, and of course the new assault charge they had all incurred.

    Felicia and Bale both turned to Thall who continued “Why sell weapons to the people you may have to fight in a few days?”

    “Exactly” Felicia responded with all the previous warmth gone from her voice. “Exactly indeed”
    Last edited by BladeWolf; 31-08-2009 at 01:39.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  13. #13

    Re: Just Below the Surface

    The plot thickens........

    I did't know all Arbites detectives where psykers, is that in the Calpurnia novels?

  14. #14
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    The what Novels? I get the majority of my information from the Adeptus Arbites Codex which may have been retconned out of existence by this point.
    Last edited by BladeWolf; 31-08-2009 at 01:44.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

  15. #15
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Author Note: After a more action-focused chapter, this chapter is more about getting Characters from A to B and setting for the next, dialogue heavy chapter.

    - - - - - - -Chapter Seven - Returning Back- - - - - - -

    Thall, Cairn and Davies had all hitched a ride from the returning Combat teams after they had cleared the other block, back to precinct. Usually the Arbitrators were assigned to a sector house for the duration of their patrols but those two, along with Bale and quite a lot of Arbites had been asked to return to precinct. Davies was however stationed at the schola in the precinct and therefore had tagged along. Detective Felicia had remained to wait for the forensic and investigative teams.

    They had sat in the back of one of the rhinos with the other arbitrators on their way back. They were of course welcomed warmly and offered the spare seats. Combat teams were little more than three or four patrol teams’ shoved together and issued boltguns under an experienced Proctor.

    “Anything good happen to you guys?” Thall had asked the team on the way ‘home’.

    “Most of the gangers were armed, incredibly stupid and completely off their fraking faces on whatever they were taking.” Arbitrator Gerax laughed “One poor fool tried rushing me with a table leg.” He laughed even more, “Easy pickings” the Arbite next to him finished off and Thall left it, still mulling over the implications of the ‘purple gang’ on the mid-levels. He silently prayed that the red group was an isolated group.

    The ride through the various roadways that linked the levels took about thirty minutes to traverse in the all-terrain armoured combat vehicles until they arrived at their destination, the monument to law and order in the hive, Lucius Precinct. While the main Fortress-Courthouse of Tercius was half-way across the planet in Hive Ferron, it was considered the secondary command centre for the Tercius Arbites.

    The Lucius Precinct was situated on mid-level three inside what could be called the ‘defended district’. It was home to almost three thousand Arbitrators and their support staff. The Precinct was surrounded by a strong rockrete wall and at each corner of the perimeter stands a drum tower of some fifteen metres tall from ground level to spire. Within it are two Arbitrator guards, usually an off-duty patrol team. One of them operates the turret-mounted assault cannon whilst the other functions as backup or spotter. From this position the Arbitrators have a clear fire arc of the surrounding area. The perimeter wall along the top, from tower to tower, is patrolled by one Arbitrator with a boltgun. After a two hour stint the Arbitrator will be relieved by another from the barracks to continue the patrol. This routine continues incessantly and is something of a religious task.

    Thall could see the great gates of the precinct as they started to pull through the street towards the doors; an arbitrator on gate-duty waved them through without much question save looking at the vehicles.

    The gatehouse occupied the front of the perimeter wall above the main doors. It consists of two chambers. One chamber is home to two cadets under the watch of a single Arbitrator. It is their job to ensure that, when commanded to, the gates below them are slammed shut. The main chamber functions as an area to pass through and adds a strong defensive position to the perimeter. A section of the floor can be opened to allow defenders to fire down onto any would-be attackers. When under attack Arbitrators can mount a strong defence from this position. The gates are incredibly strong made of reinforced armaplas and can be closed with little effort and aid of the great mechanical devices. However, the gates are always open to promote a fairer face to the Arbites. But should danger threaten, in the form of rioters or ganger attack, they will be immediately shut by the Cadets. Flanking the gates are two Arbitrators who are be ready to meet any visitors along with a handful of tarantula turret lining the road up to the gates.

    The rhino peeled away from the main drive to the vehicle bay and dropped the rear ramp allowing Thall, Cairn and Davies to exit. As soon as the three were all clear the machine pulled away easily.

    The courtyard was paved with smooth rockrete and Thall could see Menials sweeping meticulously, clearly the Provost was going to provide a good image to the big-wig from the Adeptus Terra. Cadet Davies snapped a salute to the two Arbitrators and turned towards one of the barracks at one end of the courtyard. The two arbitrators returned it as they turned to move to the main doorways into the precinct proper.

    The great, grand doors parted easily as the two stepped through in their armour, now heavy with sweat and dirt. Their boots banged and thudded, loosing clumps of bloodied carpet and dirt along the previously spotless floor. Thall was barely aware of one of the menial’s groan and his shoulder’s slouch. The two drew to a stop at the front desk of the precinct. The Arbitrators passed the queue of civilians each gripping a waiting ticket. The woman on the front desk sighed with relief as Cairn slid in front of a frustrated man who looked on the edge of hysteria.

    “Arbitrators, how may I help” she asked with a smile. The man however was not happy. “Wait just a minute here, I’ve been waiting for two hours to get my car-unclamped and-“. Cairn turned with a disarming smile “Don’t worry; we’ll be out in just a sec”. The man quieted but was still clearly unhappy but the shotgun wielding Arbites by the desk stopped him from protesting any further.

    “Arbitrators Thall and Cairn, Patrol Two-Three, Provost Krael sent for us” Thall leaned on the desk as the woman tapped away on her cogitator. She nodded “Yes he did, meeting hall two in two hours” she smiled.

    “Thank you” Thall smiled back as he pulled away and indicated for Cairn to follow him. Cairn nodded thankfully as they left. They manoeuvred to the left past the desk towards the door to the Arbite inner area. The Vigile on the door nodded to them as he turned the handle on the simple metal door and pushed it open. The two arbitrators passed through.

    As the two wandered down the corridor, passing by uniformed Arbites with a smile and a nod, Cairn removed his helmet as they went and held it under his arm. His thick blonde hair and green eyes where revealed to air for the first time after five hours of patrol and combat, Thall saw the sweat that held to his forehead quite firmly. “Two hours?” Cairn sighed “what to do for two hours?”

    “Sounds like a general call in to me” Thall mused, “‘Blood Bowl’ league final tonight” he shrugged “I would guess riot-prevention and stadium protection?” Cairn shrugged at that. “Maybe” he conceded.

    Cairn turned to Thall after side-stepping a rather hurried looking Cadet. “I’ll see you at the meeting hall probably, I got loads of paper work to catch up on” He sighed. Thall nodded “See ya there” He nodded before turning away.

    Thall walked the halls of the precinct alone on his way to the prep rooms, Cairn had opted to remain in his armour as he preferred from his days as an Arbite sniper so he was used to sitting still in his armour for hours on end. Thall on the other hand didn’t like sitting in the heavy armour. The simple corridors were lined with offices of various departments, each important to the smooth running of the Adeptus Arbites and their endless war against crime.

    Thall palmed open the preparation door. The sudden wall of odour and heat assaulted his senses. The noise of the showers roared quietly in the background. Row upon row of lockers and weapon racks lined the room and dozen upon dozen of Arbite meandered around the room in various states of dress, somewhere finishing their shift, some were starting and some where just passing through as a shortcut to the other areas of the precinct.

    Thall quickly discovered his locker. He thumbed the unlock rune and after a second a light blinked green and pulled the door open. The sector house held a temporary locker for his equipment whereas the Lucius Precinct was his home base. His trusty shotgun hung by its strap where he had left it two months ago. Thall pulled his helmet free allowing him to remove the gorget and in turn the rest of the armour.

    He went about his business as other went to and fro, he shared a word with the occasional one but otherwise he continued unbothered until.

    “Arbitrator T-Th-Thall?” a young voice asked. Thall turned to see a rather nervous looking woman in a black robe of the Arbites. “Yes Marion” Thall said plainly as he changed into his ‘normal-office’ clothes after cleaning the sweat from the firefight.

    Marion Calamar was Lucius Precinct’s local resident, she wasn’t an official Arbite nor had she passed the test of suitability. She was brought to the Precinct by then Proctor Felicia. She had rescued a young girl from a burning building and brought her back to the precinct to heal her wounds. After several attempts to discover her surviving family failed she was eventually affectively adopted by Felicia and she became part of the Precinct’s family. She was three when they found her twelve years ago. This also started the nickname Lucius Angel for Felicia.

    “Y-yo-you asked to be k-kept aware of Arbitrator F-Fa-Farrell’s condition” She stuttered as she tried to look away. Thall turned to her and smiled “Yes I did”.

    “D-d-d-doctor Roffain s-says h-he’ll be f-f-fine” She swallowed hard. Thall placed a hand on her shoulder to which her head snapped around and stared at him. He smiled warmly, “Thank you” She blushed heavily before retreating quickly from the prep room after saying “Good bye Arbitrator”.

    Thall shook his head, something had happened to that poor girl that had affected her for the rest of her life. Thall shook his head again; five and ten year old children should have more aspiration then to run messages between departments and personnel.

    Thall finished redressing. He felt his stomach rumble in protest; he patted his belly and sighed. He turned and went out to find some food.
    Last edited by BladeWolf; 01-09-2009 at 08:53.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
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  16. #16
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    - - - - - - -Chapter Eight - New Orders- - - - - - -

    “Arbites” the Provost said to the assembled group as he took to the podium. He was a large, tall man with a shaven head and hard brown eyes. The raven black cloak hung from his shoulders over the silvery metal of the power armour. Upon the breastplate was emblazoned with symbol of the Adeptus Arbites. A great pillar representing strength crossed with a balance representing order and disorder gripped by an iron fist. The wood of the podium seemed tiny in the gauntlets of the Provost.

    He looked over the number of proud officers of the law in front of him. He allowed himself a modicum of pride as he formulated his thoughts. Almost three hundred and fifty Arbitrators, Proctors and Sergeants were sat in rows in front of him awaiting his words. An Inspector and his underling Detectives were stood at the back with a look of boredom.

    Of to the left of the meeting hall was the Mechanicum detachment attached to the Precinct by the local head of the various manufactoriam. The red-robed Tech-Priest was also surrounded by almost a dozen lesser Enginseers. In a hall where black robes were considered standard attire, they stuck out like an Ogryn in a beauty pageant.

    To the right was a small contingent of ancillary staff made up the various non-arbite departments within the precinct primarily the white-robed Administratum drones, they wore white in deference to the Adeptus Mechanicus’s customary red robes to help ensure compatibility and ease of communication between the two entities. Of course they had focused on the completely wrong aspect but the Provost held his tongue. Among them were the Ecclesiarchy agents that acted as the chaplains of the precinct despite that the Arbites had their own chaplain in each precinct.

    Behind the Provost was a golden statue of the Emperor of Mankind, standing tall and proud as a defender and ruler of the galaxy, as he should. Around His waist was the Book of Judgement, the tome to which all laws and punishments are decreed. Each Arbitrator had in his possession a data-slate version unlike the grox-hide bound version on the statue.

    “Arbites, today will see the final being played at the Lucius Faith Stadium in approximately two hours, our friends in the Administratum are expecting crowds upwards of five hundred thousand from our own hive alone, with another three to four million coming from the various other hives on our Emperor-blessed planet” He stopped as many of more devout Arbites made the sign of the Aquila and some of the priests muttered under their breaths.

    “Combat teams will be on roaming patrol for immediate control should the crowds get out of hand.” The Provost looked to his data-slate to double check his information “The stadium organisers have requested a visible presence within the stadium so Sergeant Tratius will lead his men inside the stadium and take up position to overview the crowd.” He stopped to look at the sergeant in question. “I am under no false impressions that if the crowd turns ugly, that the twenty or so Arbites will be able to contain them longer then it takes them to be surrounded. If things look like they are going to flare up, do your best to hold them down but call in back up.” The sergeant nodded earnestly.

    “The surrounding bars and clubs should be considered hot-spots the number of supporters could triple in a few minutes so watch your rear” The Provost warned “Sniper and Chastener teams are also stationed ready to suppress any uprising.”

    “Armoured Sentinel teams have been dispatched with multi-lasers and heavy flamers should they be needed in crowd control but the last thing we need is a massacre. Repressors with heavy webbers and water cannons will be following the combat team’s Rhinos.” He turned his head to the Tech-Priest who nodded enthusiastically “The Omnissiah has blessed the vehicles and they function as you have requested Lord Provost.” The Tech-Priest warbled through the vox-caster that replaced his mouth.

    Krael nodded to be polite; personally the entire Mechanicum gave him the spooks, they had their own internal policing agency outside the watch of the Arbite and worshiped some clockwork version of the Emperor which just rubbed him the wrong way.

    The Provost turned back to the sea of faces. “Some of you have voiced a wish to actually see the match yourselves.” He sighed silently “I have spoken to the Lord Marshal on this matter” He stopped for a moment to see the barely hidden expectation in some of the Arbitrators faces. “He has, in his grand and wise judgement, has allowed the match to be recorded for viewing after the today’s deployment.” The Provost finished the sentence a moment before a cheer started to break out. They brought themselves under control a moment later.

    Krael coughed into his gauntlet before moving on to his next item of this briefing. “The most divine Adeptus Terra has dispatched a representative and emissary to review and inspect the planetary government at all levels. They will be touching down on landing pad five in almost an hour and a half, their ship has been seen exiting the warp and is being guided in by the SDF (System Defence Force) as we speak.” The Provost announced proudly. “As customary the Arbites will provide an honour guard for the representative.”

    The Provost’s chest swelled metaphorically “For his fearless leadership in the underhive suppression action this morning, Proctor Frenius will lead the honour guard and show the emissary the strength of the Tercius Arbites” a round of applause roared as the Proctor stood “Thank you Lord Provost, I will not fail you” He bowed low causing the black cloak slipping from his back and hitting the man next to him.

    Krael nodded and then went to the next two names on his list. “For rescuing a fellow Arbite while under-fire and bringing the block war on the mid-level to a swift end, The team Two-Three, Arbitrator Thall and Arbitrator Cairn will be part of the honour guard and show the emissary the courage of the Tercius Arbites.”

    Thall felt an aura of pressure fall around him as the applause started up again. Cairn, who was still in his armour looked to his partner with a pair of raised eyebrows and a slight chuckle. Thall stood first and faced the imposing giant of the Provost. Thall had never seen an Angel of Death, but the stories said they were almost a full foot taller than a man, as he looked at the Provost, he imagined that what it must be like to see an Angel. He bowed and recited as the Proctor before him “Thank you Lord Provost, I will not fail you”. Cairn followed suit and the two sat down quickly, the two rife with awkwardness as the eyes of the entire assembled task force bore into them with the scrutinising glare shared by all veteran Arbites.

    Again the Provost nodded quickly before moving on “For excellent skill in eliminating the Jokerz Gang leader ‘Mr J’ this afternoon. Sniper-Arbitrator Sven will be part of the honour guard and show the emissary the precision of the Tercius Arbites” The sniper stood as his name was read, again Thall and the others clapped enthusiastically as he bowed and pounded out the same line.

    Krael groaned inwardly, ‘precision’, that was terrible, he hated long briefings, last one he thought, “For his dedication under fire and stalwart commitment to justice, for foiling an attempted robbery on a Departmento Munitorum arms convoy nigh-on single handed this morning, Arbitrator Grasis will be part of the honour guard and show the emissary the determination of the Tercius Arbites.”

    Krael smiled as the Arbitrator stood, it was over at last. “That is all, may the Emperor guide you” He started to wrap up, “Ave Imperator!” The hall shouted back. “Inspector Harron, may I have a word” he finished as he left the podium and bowed toward the Emperor before leaving with the man at his shoulder.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
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  17. #17
    Commander guillimansknight's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Is the Provest a SM?

    Also aren't they over 2 foot taller than most humans?
    Exactly as Planned...
    Quote Originally Posted by guillimansknight View Post
    Today in Biology we learned about mutations and mutants and how we shouldn't judge them - so I burned the Textbooks and then burned the Teacher for being a Heretic.
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  18. #18
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    No, power armour is stated to increase your size when you wear it (IIRC), the Provost is human who is a tall man anyway so the Armour just emphasises it. The description of the Marines seem to change from writer to writer.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
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  19. #19
    Commander guillimansknight's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Quote Originally Posted by BladeWolf View Post
    No, power armour is stated to increase your size when you wear it (IIRC), the Provost is human who is a tall man anyway so the Armour just emphasises it. The description of the Marines seem to change from writer to writer.
    Ok. ( what's IIRC? )

    I just got confused when you kept putting angels of death around the provest
    Exactly as Planned...
    Quote Originally Posted by guillimansknight View Post
    Today in Biology we learned about mutations and mutants and how we shouldn't judge them - so I burned the Textbooks and then burned the Teacher for being a Heretic.
    Magnus Irish Warp Cider
    ~ Time. - is meaningless

  20. #20
    Librarian BladeWolf's Avatar
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    Re: Just Below the Surface

    Author Note: A BladeWolf's Birthday special, I wasn't going to write but I decided that I should as I hadn't updated in couple days, the second part of this will hopefully be up later (depending on parents/others)

    - - - - - - -Chapter Nine - Preparation - - - - - - -

    “My Armour!” Thall half-shouted as the newly-appointed honour guard returned to their preparation hall. Frenius said “Gone?” as he opened his locker further down the row, “Don’t worry” he sighed “It happens, probably to be cleaned” the Proctor grinned “Gotta’ put on a nice image for the big-wig.”

    Thall looked to the Proctor as he prepared his under-clothing, Thall followed suit by grabbing at the black undershirt folded at the bottom of his locker.

    Cairn stood of to the side, his locker swinging gently open. He still had his armour on therefore it hadn’t been spirited away while they were in the briefing. The Arbites shotgun was slung over his shoulder as he watched the others prepare. “Frenius, what does honour guard duty entail?” He asked to the veteran who turned as he pulled on the balaclava.

    “Lotta’ pomp and ceremony if I recall, I did it once a few years ago, not much to it” Frenius said cleanly “Just shut up and stand still.” He smiled as he pulled his shotgun from its hangings and raked the slide.

    Cairn took a glance down his armour; it was covered in filth and detritus from the block war. Not the best image to present. He brushed and experimental hand down his chest. The grime came off easily. Several silvery scratches criss-crossed the armour from when the shots of the civilians had grazed him.

    “How long we got till we roll out?” Cairn asked as he thought of a quick blast under a shower to wash away the filth.

    “Not long enough” the Sniper stated from behind Cairn suddenly, who just smiled. Sven always did that, appeared behind people without warning, but Cairn was used to it by now.

    Cairn turned to his friend and chuckled “Shame, perhaps the big-wig would like to see how the Imperium is outside the palaces and courts?” Sven shrugged “I could talk; I fight at several hundred metres if I can help it.” Cairn chuckled again “Don’t forget under the cover of darkness, with a high-powered gun and with all the targets in bright colours.” He finished. Sven sniggered grimly “And with no idea you’re there.”

    The two shared a grim laugh over the profession. Thall turned to the Proctor with raised eyebrow to which the Proctor shook his head and pulled on his gloves.

    Grasis was opposite to the Proctor as he closed his silvery locker. His shotgun also in his grip, he looked to his fellow honour guards, he was also without his armour. He leaned up against the locker with an exasperated look. “When do we get our armour back?” he crossed his arms “It’s my armour dammit” Thall could see why he was so annoyed, he was primarily a rapid-pursuit Arbitrator, meaning he was at home in the saddle of a combat motorcycle ripping through the streets in hot pursuit of some unlucky perp. He would have converted his armour to perform adeptly at the job he needed.

    Grasis laid his shotgun standing against the locker as he sighed. “The only way I’ll give away my armour is if they will trade me for some power armour.” The Proctor laughed openly to that. “Amen to that” he agreed.

    Thall pulled on final garb and closed his locker, the shotgun looped over his shoulder. He listened to the noises around him, the ad hoc Task Force ‘Carnodon’ was suiting up for battle. The various weapon racks were emptied of their ammunition stores and firearms. The reassuring sound of the Arbite shotguns echoed around the hall. The occasional click of bolters joined in but were almost overwhelmed by the trademark weapon of the Arbites.

    “Excuse us” a few Arbitrators said as they passed by the idling honour guard, they obliged. The Proctor lightly tapped his fist against the meaty, armaplas covered arm of one of them “Tell me the score of the game and I’ll tear your head off” he warned with a smile, the Arbitrator returned it and continued onwards.

    Thall yawned uncontrollably for a second as he watched another platoon worth of Arbites leave all ready and armoured with their weapons slung over their shoulders. The little man that followed the Lord Provost had told the five to wait in the preparation hall and they obeyed. No need to annoy the big man.

    Thall nodded to Sergeant Bale who passed after having a slight word with the Proctor.

    Thall was brought out of his thoughts by the sound of metal on metal. Cairn had resorted to lightly tapping his head against the locker behind him to pass the time. Thall glanced to his partner with a look of mild amusement. How Cairn ever made it as a sniper was beyond Thall.

    The plodding footsteps of someone coming didn’t raise the attention of the five as the entire hall had been moving a moment before, but the booming voice did. “Arbites.” The Provost declared. Thall and the others span as once, coming to a crisp courtyard stop. “Lord Provost” they bowed. The Provost was still within his mighty power armour and if nothing else looked more deadly with the monstrous Storm Bolter in his grip. Beside him was a young woman holding the Provost’s helmet solidly in her hands. She didn’t like any older than four and ten years. Her dark robe covered her figure outside her thin arms. Her blonde hair framed her pale face, a defining aspect of a hive-child, probably the child of a ganger given up as punishment to the precinct or taken in after their execution.

    Another, this time a boy of about the same age, held the scabbard of the power sword of the Provost’s office. The scabbard was engraved with images typical to the Arbites, images of execution and punishment, above it all was a skull faced executioner holding a sword and a book. With the gold on black made it easy to see the images from this distance.

    “As you have noticed, I have taken your armour from your lockers and at my behest I have ordered the Machine-Priests and our own Chaplain to clean and bless each suit.” The Provost thundered. “You are to represent the Tercius branch of the Adeptus Arbites” He smiled theatrically “We must put on a good show.”

    As if and probably awaiting a cue, a member of mechanicum walked through the doors of the preparation hall with a line of simple servitors in tow.

    Between the servitors was a set of containers with clear fronts. Inside was their armour. Thall felt his heart miss a beat when he saw his veteran suit restored. The chips and gashes from hundreds of patrols and dozens of heavy fire fights were not removed, only cleaned up and polished like marks of honour. The badge of the Arbites was clipped to a thick black cloak that rode on the shoulders of each suit. The Imperial Aquila on the helm was polished to mirror sheen and detailed in gold.

    Cairn looked suitable annoyed as he took another glance at his armour. “Arbitrator Cairn” the voice of the Provost said quietly, “As you remained diligent, ready for action, your armour was not free for restoration.” Cairn turned back to the Provost. “As such would you please stand towards the servitors?” Cairn did so; a pair of former-humans broke away from the line and moved to the sides of the Arbitrator and raised their hands. Cairn noted each finger of the servitors was either bristled or some other sort of brush. The two looked like the cleaning servitors that usually spent their time strung up from harnesses and cleaning windows or shuffling around the living quarters cleaning up after the Arbites.

    In a blur of motion the servitors went to work. Their hands becoming almost invisible as they vibrated against the surface of the black armour, jets of liquid erupted from nozzles in the wrists of the two and soon the surface of the armour was bubbling. Cairn resisted laughing as the Proctor had begun. The Proctor chuckled behind a glove, “I have a dream to something like that affect, just not with servitors” Cairn shot him a glare “With all due respect, shut up Frenius” which only sent the Proctor into fresh gales of laughter.

    Thall risked a chance look at the Provost; the giant man was smiling openly. Even his two followers were openly giggling like the children they were. Sven remained silent but a lop-sided smile rose.

    Grasis however was completely unaffected, he was too enthralled in his own armour to notice the anxiety of his fellow Arbite. It was probably the first time it had been properly clean since his first patrol on a bike.

    Eventually the pair stopped with a harsh burst of sweltering hot air from their mouth-grates. The heat-retardant balaclava protected Cairn from the worst of it.

    The attendant Tech-Priest warbled “Lord Provost, due to the set chronological limits, we do not have sufficient time to perfect the Arbitrator’s armour to your pre-set standard as laid down in the apocrypha of-. “ He was cut off by the raised hand of the Provost. “It will suffice Tech-Priest.”

    Thall stood in front of the capsule that contained his armour. The door slide back easily, he touched the gauntlet and prepared to pull it off the rack that held it in position. However it was not meant to be as he pushed back by the claw of a four-armed servitor. The servitor removed the gauntlet instead along with the chest plate and shoulder pauldron. The machine turned to Thall and started to lift the chest armour above his head. The piece of carapace was lowered slowly and Thall stood still as it did. Of course it fitted as it had for the last ten years he had wore it. The fourth arm clipped the two underarm pieces together swiftly as the shoulder pauldron was fitted by the others. Within two minutes Thall was completely armoured and was handed his helmet.

    The Arbitrator stood in his resplendent armour with his helmet in the crook of his arm. The others were being armoured just the same. The Proctor seemed to relish the whole experience. He did however seemed to twist against a servitor as his shotgun was taken away by another servitor.

    “Do not fret Proctor. It’s about time that were issued a new weapon.” The Provost said calmly. To prove him right a servitor trundled forward again this time holding a Godwyn-Deaz pattern Boltgun. Frenius’ scowling veteran to that of a grinning juvie on Emperor’s day. As the final armour clasp locked, Frenius reached forwards and gripped the gun and pulled it close. The black plating on the weapon fitted in with the normal attire of the Arbites. “This is fine Lord Provost, thank you my lord” The Proctor bowed to the Provost. The Provost nodded “May the Emperor guide your shots” The Proctor and the other Arbites called back “Ave Imperator”. The Provost turned again to the Proctor “If I may recommend using the boltgun on single fire. It is advised that only the Astartes fire more than one shot at a time” The Proctor nodded again as he checked the straight clip, twenty standard rounds.

    The Provost moved forward “I will not hold you from your duties Arbites, go now, your rhino is awaiting you. I have a task force to command.”
    Last edited by BladeWolf; 05-09-2009 at 13:50.
    On Hiatus - RL to take care of.
    Grey Knights don't go to heaven: they go to hell and regroup.
    Just Below the Surface: An Adeptus Arbites Story- on semi-regular updates. Now another place you can find this story.
    The Silver Wolf of War - New story, comments welcome
    Brothers of the Lance - advice/comments welcome - may be necro'd in the near future

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