"The Threat Within"

The Dretch Report, pt 001

Or, We Could Just Rake the Building With Bolt-Fire

Having received Yr. Puissant Honor’s briefing and associated materials, we proceeded to develop our false identities for infiltrating the system. Our two Tech-Priests quite creatively decided to present themselves to the Mechanicus hierarchy as new recruits for whatever it is that the Mechanicus does on their worlds. Upon planetfall these two were taken aboard separate transport, and so pass beyond the scope of my narrative for some time.

The remainder of the burly, armed bravos elected to sign up with the local Adeptus Arbites precinct, in various training and patrolling capacities. Therefore I accompanied them, posing (as Yr. Puiss. Hnr. may recall) as an Administratum auditor investigating various fictional errors among their inventories.

The archive access thus provided was rather useful. Coinciding with the statistical drop in Black Ship consignees was a dramatic increase in local kidnappings, both of unmutated citizens and individuals known to be latent psykers. Psyker kidnappings have been recorded on at least two of the three settled satellites in this system. Arbites case reports indicate a notable level of skill and resources in the execution of these abductions, though they have gathered no further useful leads.

Arbiter Cortez was quite interested in gaining access to the local Arbites Cold Vaults. Wishing to look for evidence of specific cult activities, I submitted the necessary paperwork to be granted such access pursuant to my duties. Much of the inventory therein is unremarkable: artifacts of moral degeneracy and mutation of a sort to be expected (though of course not tolerated) in a settlement of this size. However they also possessed three tomes of clearly heretical and Warp-touched nature; I made no effort even to examine them closely, much less remove them from their secured vaults. Additionally, the Cold Vaults contain many examples of a peculiar local fetish: diamond-shaped metallic pendants, with gemstones and inscriptions, which also exuded a most uncanny aura. They come from many sources—they must be common among the populace—and they share an interesting similarity to an artifact of local legend: a chipped fragment of armor from a Saint, worn as a necklace and considered protection against psykers or ill superstition. The unsettling nature of these amulets gave Arbiter Cortez no pause; he has appropriated a few and carries them on his person.

Approximately two weeks after planetfall the Arbites station received word of another kidnapping in progress; many officers mobilized to the scene, including yr. humble servant and other acolytes. Through some coincidence a kidnapper had been cornered in his victim’s hab, his escape vehicle having fled without him. I remained within the transport to observe; the other acolytes entered. I relate the following events based not on my own observation, but reconstruction after the fact:

Cortez, Sicarious, Rathmoor, & Ajax all immediately breached the front door of the hab while the Arbites were yet securing their perimeter. Upon entry, the kidnapper unleashed some sort of psyker power upon them; yet they managed to close with the man despite this attack. Before he could be subdued or disabled, the kidnapper then took his own life with his stub pistol. Cortez then disabled the would-be victim (a latent psyker child) with his shock-maul, according to some principle of action I cannot fathom. The remainder of Arbites thus entered the building to find Sicarious attempting to place the shock-maul in question in the hands of the deceased kidnapper, and the sort of legal misadventure that one might expect from such an observation thus ensued.

We have no further leads; I should perhaps impress upon Cortez the desirability of obtaining subjects for interrogation who are capable of being interrogated; though my words will no doubt seem small and frail as they vainly attempt to penetrate through the great quantity of bulk which is his person. Aside from disputes between the local Arbites leadership—which may prove useful, or disastrous—no further activity has been noted.

I remain yr. most humble & obedient servant,
Obregon Dretch

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