The Alchemy of the Word

Brother Koris - Deathwatch Journal - #1

Official Journal of Brother Koris, Deathwatch Apothecary, Blood Angels Chapter
Entry One – Watch Fortress Erioch

Assigned to the Deathwatch and sent to Watch Fortress Erioch for training, along with my dear Chapter Brothers Ramiel and Zariel. On arrival I am reunited with Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus of the Ultramarines, whom I have not seen since the Scouring of Ultramar. Emperor be praised, truly this is a favourable omen that bodes well for my term of service with the Deathwatch!

Along with many other Battle-Brothers we begin months of Deathwatch training, hypno-induction and teamwork exercises. We are taught how to spot the subversive heresies of the Tau, we study the weaknesses of the foul Tyranid creatures, we learn much about the other contemptible Xenos races of this sector, and we hone our skills and synergies to new levels of perfection. Every day here makes me a stronger weapon in the service of the Emperor, yet cannot compare to the joy of doing His work on the battlefield.

Three months after arrival, we four and Brother Siegmund of the Black Templars are called to a mission briefing by Brother-Epistolary Axineton of the White Consuls. Also present is Brother-Lexicanium Origen. Brother-Epistolary Axineton briefs us on Watch Station Andronicus, a surface installation on a dwarf planet approximately 2,500km in diameter. The planet is composed of sand and rock, is a lifeless world with an unbreathable atmosphere, and has a craggy terrain of rocky outcroppings, low mountains and asteroid impact craters. The Watch Station’s sensor net extends over much of the planetary surface. The Watch Station itself is defended against aerial assault by a close range lance battery, with an internal layout designed to enable a single Battle-Brother to hold it effectively against superior numbers of capable foes.

Records indicate that the station was established long ago, was left inactive for a long period of time, was then occupied intermittently for several centuries, was then left inactive for a further hundred years, and was then reactivated ten years ago when other Watch Stations in the area were lost to Tau actions and other incidents. In all this time there are no records of any anomalous incident at Watch Station Andronicus.

Brother-Codicier Ardashir of the Fire Lords (a small and consistently loyal Ultramarines successor Chapter specialising in orbital assault) was sent to reactivate the Watch Station after the Inquisition requested monitoring of several nearby worlds, in particular a Shrine World in the Babel System and the Tau-occupied world of Iphigenia (where those Xenos are using brainwashing techniques to corrupt Imperial citizens). A skilled Brother-Codicier was selected for the post so that he could use astropathic communication to deliver regular reports to the Deathwatch and to relay information to the nearby Imperial Fleet.

After over nine years of successful operation, contact with Brother-Codicier Ardashir and with Watch Station Andronicus was lost six months ago. An automated drone ship was despatched to the location but was lost without transmitting any useful data. Other matters took priority until one day ago Brother-Lexicanium Origen received an astropathic message that appears to be from Brother-Codicier Ardashir. At this point Brother-Epistolary Axineton asks Brother-Lexicanium Origen to repeat the message to us. Brother-Lexicanium Origen proceeds to relate a stream of surreal nightmarish nonsense, primarily composed of violent and highly symbolic visual imagery, and as his recitation continues he appears to be increasingly distressed. Eventually his distress forces him to curtail his recitation of the message, and when I ask if he wishes medical assistance he reacts with mild alarm and backs away to spend the rest of the briefing sat off to one side, visibly suffering from acute unease and probable cranial pain.

Brother-Epistolary Axineton is rather alarmed by these events and can offer no explanation for them, as neither he nor Brother-Lexicanium Aemilianus can detect any psychic activity. Brother-Epistolary Axineton informs us that on first receiving the message Brother-Lexicanium Origen reported it differently; at our request Brother-Epistolary Axineton reads out a transcript that is similarly nonsensical but is of a considerably more metaphysical and philosophical nature. At our further request he then reads out the transcript again, and though it starts off identical to his previous utterances and remains of a similar nature, subtle changes begin to emerge as the recitation continues.

Following a brief discussion of these matters, Brother-Epistolary Axineton gives us our mission objectives:

Primary Objective: Locate and return Brother-Codicier Ardashir. If we do not believe we can safely return him, terminate him and recover his geneseed. If we believe his geneseed has been corrupted, destroy it.

Secondary Objective: Recover all unreported data from Watch Station Andronicus.

Tertiary Objective: Ensure that Watch Station Andronicus will remain secure after our departure. If unable to assure security in our absence, contact Inquisitor Albertine Hoffman in the Babel System to request assistance. If unable to contact Inquisitor Hoffman, contact an Inquisitor with the local Imperial Fleet. If we do not believe that these measures will suffice to ensure the Watch Station’s security, destroy it.

Brother-Epistolary Axineton informs us that we are to be transported from Watch Fortress Erioch to Watch Station Andronicus aboard the Gladius class frigate Thunder’s Wrath, with an astropath on board to facilitate communications, and gives us our requisition allocations. After a brief discussion of approach tactics, Brother-Epistolary Axineton authorises the use of an orbital drop aboard a Rhino transport so that we may avoid the Watch Station’s aerial defences and make a rapid surface approach. We are also authorised to requisition combat servitors as required. The Kill-Team is given the designation Claritas Pennata.

Once the briefing ends we convene for a debate over squad leadership and tactics. Following some discussion we select Brother Siegmund as leader of our Kill-Team, for his zeal and tactical flexibility. It is decided that we shall swear an Oath to the Emperor, that the discipline of prayer and the strength of our faith in His Light shall strengthen our wills against whatever corruption assails Watch Station Andronicus. We then repair to the Watch Fortress armoury to present our requisition requests to Brother Tabiblik.



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