Prophet or Loss

From Cetus
Jump to: navigation, search
Ecclesiarchy.png

Ash leads Max, Siveter, Nadiya and Adrian on a mission to investigate child prodigy in the Ecclesiarchy on Cetus Minor.

Contents

Briefing

Initial Communications

+++TO: Ashar Lear
+++FROM: Inquisitor Michael
+++SUBJECT: FWD: Something for the attention of the Inquisition

Ash,

I’m busy and this one is firmly I the Hereticus camp. I’ll be gathering the troops in briefing room two shortly, then sending you all off to deal with it. Just wanted to give you the heads up. I know Siveter has been speaking to Kovach about promotion to Interrogator, and therefore like yourself is an unofficial “senior agent”, but you have tenure and I trust you so it is my intention to put you in charge of this mission.

I’m not too keen on the way Kovach is handling this, there’s a damn good reason to have clear and evident rank structures, but I’m sure he’d say something laconic about letting talent show itself or some such. Nevertheless I have faith that you and Siveter will be able to work together amicably, you are a consummate professional and I’m sure he’s smart enough to know that if he is perceived to be putting personal glory ahead of the mission it will not look good for him.

This is a tricky political one and I know Kovach will be keenly examining the outcome whatever it may be. If you complete the mission well it will go a long way towards proving yourself as Interrogator. On the other hand, screw this up and it’ll do the opposite. If you’d prefer me not to specifically assign you as being in charge of the mission then I’m willing to do so. I’m not yet willing to explicitly put Siveter in charge however, I haven’t forgotten about the donkey. But setting you up as equals would, at least in theory, divide the reputational impact equally, be that glory or ignominy.

Mission details below. It’s your choice, but if you don’t want to be in charge for this mission you’d better let me know ASAP.

Gregory

>>>TO: Inquisitor Michael
>>>FROM: Gauis Umberto
>>>SUBJECT: FWD: Something for the attention of the Inquisition

Dear Michael,

Message attached below has arrived for Kovach but in his absence I felt you should see it as it may require some attention prior to his return.

Yours,
Gauis

>>>TO: Inquisitor Kovach
>>>FROM: Imperial Commander Aeliana Scaevola
>>>SUBJECT: Something for the attention of the Inquisition

My Lord Inquisitor Kovach,

Loath as I am to bother the Holy Ordos, something has come to light upon Cetus Minor that I fear cannot fairly be assessed by one such as myself and demands the attentions of the Inquisition. I shall summarise the situation as best I can, but I believe you will agree that this demands further investigation by one such as yourself, unbiased by personal involvement and fully authorised to intercede.

Cardinal Valerian Nikosia is head of the dioses of Cetus Minor within the Ecclesiarchy. He has recently adopted a young boy, perhaps five or six years old terran standard, named Sebastian. According to the Ecclesiarchy the boy was a beggar child that was pushed into the street and landed in front of Nokisia’s autocarriage. Nikosia felt pity towards the child and adopted him as an act of charity.

Since then the boy has risen rapidly to prominence and fame within the capital city of Minoris. He has given sermons to the public and debated complex theological theory with senior clergy, performances vastly beyond the capability of his years. The common people are enraptured of him and thousands more flock to the city daily in the hope of seeing him. That he is to be Sainted is not longer considered a question, the popular debate is now whether he is a reincarnation of his namesake Sebastian Thor, or if instead he is somehow directly connected to the Emperor. Some have call him “The Little Primarch”.

Behind this all Nikosia sits, carefully protecting and steering Sebastian and through Sebastian Nikosia’s power grows. I still hold the balance of power, and through me the Imperium. Were I to act soon I could crush Nokosia and Sebastian. Nokisia has command of the Adeptus Ministorum and Sebastian is beloved by the common people, but the other Adepta and the PDF are mostly still loyal to the Imperium at large and thus me as Imperial Commander. There would be great loss of life but order could be restored. However he preaches the Imperial Creed and does indeed seem to be some form of miracle. Beyond the petty concerns of planetary politics, if he is divinely inspired he could be a great boon to the Imperium, he could lead a holy crusade or perhaps He has some great destiny in mind.

It is not within my bent to determine the truth of the situation, and thus I must beseech the judgement of a higher power.

Your servant,
Aeliana CLVIII, by the Grace of the Emperor, of Cetus Minor and all settlements and dominions within the system, Queen, Commander and protector of His faithful

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Inquisitor Micheal
+++FROM: Ashar Lear
+++SUBJECT: RE: Something for the attention of the Inquisition

Micheal,

Thank you. Kovach has explained his reasoning to me and I understand it. No pariah has ever even made it to the rank of Interrogator before, so I have to prove myself. Thank you for your faith in me.

I would very much like to be in charge of this mission, if you think I’m the right person to run it. Siveter and I work well together. I agree one person in charge makes things more efficient, but then we two are both military at heart. Siveter and I can take turns according to our strengths.

Ash

+++MESSAGE ENDS

Meeting Room Two

  • Inquisitor Michael briefed the team on the situation and added a warning of his own; that the Governor may sound sincere but any planetary ruler is a politician of the highest order and would not be acting in this way if they did not believe it would be to their benefit.
  • The team discussed the options and Ash decided they would begin their investigation undercover.
  • They created identities as pilgrims and dressed appropriately, but packed their "official" garb and wargear as well.

Phase 1

Cetus Minor.jpg
  • Upon arrival they learned that Sebastian was giving daily sermons from the cathedral.
    • These sermons were permanently oversubscribed with even room in the square in front of the cathedral (where vid screens had been set up to project live footage to the masses) filling up hours before the service began.
  • Siveter set up false identities and acquired suitable equipment for reporters from the Sejanus Herald.
  • Nadiya convinced the Cathedral PR staff to grant them press passes and room to record Sebastian.
  • During the sermon the young Sebastian appeared as a perfect young boy with blonde curls.
    • He spoke eloquently and at length, apparently from memory.
  • After the Service Nadiya tried to get an interview with Sebastian or Cardinal Nikosia but was denied.
  • The group requested stock footage from the church, who promised to deliver it later that day.
  • Upon returning to their hotel room the team realised they had handed over their location, so decided to hide their gear in a shipping container at the port and act their cover story in the room in case they were investigated.
  • Adrian headed out to find a public terminal to try some hacking.
    • Siveter detected he was being tailed and helped Adrian loss the tail.
    • Adrian successfully hacked the Ecclesiarchy's data net and downloaded a lot of data, making a few discoveries:
      • There was no evidence of the apparent origin story of Sebastian.
      • Nobody in the church knew anything about Sebastian until he was presented at a synod.
      • The local convent of Adepta Sororitas were told they would not be required to safeguard Sebastian so as not to disrupt their normal duties.
      • A force of Frateris Militia were raised as extra security two days prior to the synod.
      • An Arco-flagellant was requisitioned to be Sebastian's personal bodyguard three days prior to the synod.
  • The team ambushed one of the men following them and interrogated him.
    • He was Frateris Militia, sent by the church to watch over the foreign reports as possible heretics and was directed to follow them and report back on their activities.
  • Deciding there was little more they could accomplish undercover, Ash decided the team would now reveal themselves as agents of the Inquisition and continue the investigation in the open.

Phase 2

Inquisiton.png
  • The team approached Cannoness Assenta of the Cetus Minor mission of the Order of the Purple Shroud and asked her to accompany them to interview the cardinal.
  • They met and interviewed Cardinal Nikosia.
    • Whilst discussing Sebastian's take on holy writ, Sister Airi noticed that one example of new perspective Sebastian had raised upon the parable of the four and a half loaves was, whilst not one of the mainstream interpretations, not entirely unique.
    • When questioned about his travels, Nikosia told them he had travelled to Erydimae four months ago.
    • He explained it had been to meet a local dissident writer named Kado Dithe in the hope of turning him to the light and making use of his skills.
    • He said he was unable to find Kado Dithe.
    • They made an appointment to meet Sebastian the next morning.
  • Adrian researched Kado Dithe and learned he was a talented political writer on Erydimae who lived in the mutant slums and wrote largely about the Imperial oppression of the mutant workforce. He was himself a dwarf and on Erydimae they considered him a mutant.
  • Sister Airi, feeling guilty about her thoughts upon the four and half loaves, decided to go and pray at the cathedral.
    • Ash told her not to go to the cathedral in case she was spotted and either captured, killed, or followed.
    • Airi agreed to go to the convent of the Order of the Purple Shroud instead.
    • When leaving the convent Airi was approached by he Cannoness and passed a message from one Father Anan Hodiah.
      • The message simply read "Orthantash Menk".
  • Airi took this information to Adrian who quickly learned that Orthantash Menk was a talented reconstructive surgeon who had gone missing three months ago.
  • The team arranged to meet Father Hodiah to find out more.
    • Father Hodiah was very nervous and desperately wanted Sebastian to be genuine, however he had seen too many concerning things.
      • When Cardinal Nikosia went to Erydimae he returned with a guest who nobody was allowed to meet.
      • Father Hodiah passed Orthantash Menk in the corridors heading to the Cardinal's apartment, only recognising him days later when his face appeared in the news as a famous surgeon who had gone missing.

The Denouement

Heresy.png
  • The team changed their appointment with Sebastian to just after his sermon.
  • They brought with them a Sister of the Orders Hospitaller to examine Sebastian and briefed her on what to look for.
  • During the examination the cardinal discussed politics with the team, and the need for hope and leadership in the troubling times caused by the Cicatrix Maledictum.
  • After the examination the Sister gave them the secret signal that Sebastian was, as expected, an adult dwarf who had been surgically altered and treated with hormones to appear as a young boy.
  • The team dismissed Sebastian and confronted the Cardinal with the truth and Siveter uttered the line "shut up, we know the child is actually a dwarf who's had plastic surgery").
  • Nikosia seemed to reluctantly accept his fate, but when he led them to Sebastian he activated the Arco-Flagelent.
  • Ash shot it in the head with her plasma pistol, Siveter captured Nikosia with a web pistol he had requisitioned from the Arbites and Airi disarmed Sebastian, now known to be Kado Dithe.

Aftermath

  • Nokisia and Kado Dithe were taken to the Obelisk
  • The official story would be that Sebastian and Nikosia, along with a trusted retinue, had been called away to the throne world.
  • A quiet purge of the church removed those others involved, their disappearances explained as being in Sebastian’s entourage.
  • Father Hodiah was recommended for promotion.

Cardinal Valerian Nikosia was interrogated at the Obelisk. It seems his motive had been to use Sebastian to gain rank and power within the Ecclesiarchy, perhaps even to ascend to Ecclesiarch himself. He felt the church needed him in the driving seat to defend its interests in the face of a regent who was not part of their faith. He was judged a heretic and Kovach asked Ash to sentence him. She simply shot him and Michael showed her how to use the incinerators to dispose of the body.

Kado Dithe was also interrogated. He freely admitted to be a political dissident on Erydimae. The Cardinal had captured him and he had been given the choice of cooperate or die. The Inquisition decided he could be useful as a propaganda writer and kept him under arrest within the Obelisk.

Communications

+++TO: Gregory Michael
+++FROM: Ashar Lear
+++SUBJECT: Mission

Gregory,

Thank you for giving me the chance to lead this one. It went smoothly, I got to shoot an archo-flagellant in the face, and we all got to hear Siveter say the phrase "shut up, we know the child is actually a dwarf who's had plastic surgery" which makes everything worth it.

Report attached - I'm not making this up.

<<<FILE ATTACHED>>>

Thanks again,

Ash

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Ashar Lear
+++FROM: Gregory Michael
+++SUBJECT: RE: Mission

Ash,

If I had read that message from someone like Max I would have dismissed it as some kind of obscure jape. O, brave new world that has such people in't.

I've skimmed the report, it sounds like things went well. Shame it was all a sham. Well done on keeping a lid on things. How is Sister Airi settling in? I gather you knew her from the progenium?

I'm on my way back to Cetus Major, but then I'm off to Hydraphur for a spot. Hope to see you before I go.

Yours,
Gregory

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Ashar Lear
+++FROM: A(|D
+++SUBJECT: WTF?

Ash,

There's a little kid with a bomb collar following me around. I think he's flirting with me. He's like 6. Why Ash? Why have your brought this thing here? Is this some kind of prank? WTF is going on?!

A(|D

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Acid
+++FROM: Ashar Lear
+++SUBJECT: RE: WTF?

Find a drink and read the attached report. He's not actually 6, if that helps? It probably doesn't.

Don't be afraid to punch him if he gets annoying. He's less precious to the Inquisition than you.

Ash

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Ashar Lear
+++FROM: A(|D
+++SUBJECT: RE: WTF?

Come on, I know I'm young but I'm not that naive. Did Max put you up the this? People have been taking the pissed out of me for being short my entire life but nobody has ever put this much effort into it.

I can take a joke but this is getting silly. Seriously, this kid is creeping me out. I can't imagine you guys would drag a kid in here for a joke so what is he really here for?

A(|D

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Ashar Lear
+++FROM: A(|D
+++SUBJECT: RE: WTF?

Michael says you're serious. What the actual fuck? This is ridiculous.  I can't decide if this is better or worse.

A(|D

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Gregory Michael
+++FROM: Ashar Lear
+++SUBJECT: Re: Mission

Gregory,

Acid tells me she had to check with you before she believed it. It's definitely one of the stranger missions I've ever been on.

Airi and I were at the Schola together, yes. I think we're both very different from how we used to be. She's not very happy with how un-trusting we are. I was never the kind of person who believed people immediately - being a pariah doesn't really allow for that - but I think she's more like where I was when I joined. She's been cloistered away for the last few years.

Though Max and I are taking her for rat burgers so we'll broaden her horizons. I'd invite you but I'm imagining the face you're pulling and it's not a happy one.

See you later. Just try and leave without seeing me first, won't happen.

Ash

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Acid
+++FROM: Ashar Lear
+++SUBJECT: RE: WTF?

I'd be offended if the story wasn't so ridiculous. I'm not exactly tall myself. Also I went to the Schola, if I was going to prank it would be more along the lines of Sarge and his toilet grenades.

Rat burgers later? Max and I are taking Airi. Amon's coming too, he keeps talking about deep fried fondant fancies. Nope, I don't know either.

Ash

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Acid
+++FROM: Siveter Lund
+++SUBJECT: Our new friend

Guys, if you’re going for rat burgers, could you take our new charge with you please? He’s from the hive and I’m sure he’ll like them. I’m pretty sure he’ll appreciate getting outside as well. I think he’s struggling to adjust and a trip outside might help.

Take a webpistol in case he tries to run, but then he is 6 shaped so shouldn’t exactly overpower you.

P.S. don’t forget to remove his collar before you leave.

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Ashar Lear
+++FROM: A(|D
+++SUBJECT: RE: WTF?

I… I’m not sure. When are you planning to go? Let me talk to Gaius and see what he thinks.

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Ashar Lear
+++FROM: A(|D
+++SUBJECT: RE: WTF?

Ash,

I think this was maybe meant to go to you? If you’re taking the little creep I’m definitely not coming. Babysitting is not on my resume.

A(|D

>>>TO: Acid
>>>FROM: Siveter Lund
>>>SUBJECT: Our new friend

Guys, if you’re going for rat burgers, could you take our new charge with you please? He’s from the hive and I’m sure he’ll like them. I’m pretty sure he’ll appreciate getting outside as well. I think he’s struggling to adjust and a trip outside might help.

Take a webpistol in case he tries to run, but then he is 6 shaped so shouldn’t exactly overpower you.

P.S. don’t forget to remove his collar before you leave.

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Siveter Lund
+++FROM: Ashar Lear
+++SUBJECT: FW: Our new friend

Hi Siveter,

If Acid comes – no because he keeps flirting and it makes her uncomfortable. I’m going to have a chat with him about it.

If she doesn’t – yes of course.

Though on this note, he looks 6 so any bars or clubs are off the menu. Which might make socialising difficult for him. Is there anything we can do about his appearance?

Ash

+++MESSAGE ENDS


+++TO: Ashar Lear
+++FROM: Siveter Lund
+++SUBJECT: FW: Our new friend

Probably. It’ll almost certainly involve more surgery with its attendant risks though.

I’ll go up-hive this afternoon and see who’s available on Quinn Street - presumably there are some good surgeons in Sejanus.

Thinking cynically, If we left him as is, we could use him as a field agent. No-one will recognise him entirely out of context - particularly on C Major. And who would suspect a 6 year old child? Of course, this will wear off as he ages...

Either way, we’ll need his consent to do either.

Longer term, we can’t confine him to the Obelisk forever, because he’ll either go mad or kill himself.

In sparing his life and bringing him into this life, I think we take certain ethical responsibilities on board as well. We can’t effectively imprison him forever, as that feels like the equivalent of torturing him. Similarly, we can’t just let him go as-is, and his talent could be used. Certainly I have one or two things he could be bending his mind to, but I doubt we’ll get much good product out of him if he’s unhappy and resentful.

We need to give him an opportunity to prove his trustworthiness to us, and to do that we have to start trusting him. I think one of the first things we can do is replace that awful bomb collar with a smaller and more discrete tracker.

I’ll talk to Kovach about this.

+++MESSAGE ENDS

Personnel Involved

Personal tools
Namespaces

Variants
Actions
Navigation
Toolbox