++14:13, 143.M42, Dawn of the New Year. Inquisitorial Flagship Blackguard's Boon, orbiting Hatred IV, Upper Medicae Wing. Currently inhibiting all out-coming void-traffic from the planetside..++
++Thought of the day: Pain is a gift. Be thankful.++
Awakened by screaming, Hortense bolts upright, covered in a cold sweat, quickly realizing the vocal outcry was coming from her. A cursory glance put her in a Medicae Ward, probably on the Blackguard's Boon, the ironically named Flagship of Lord Inquisitor Ishmael Outremer.
With a groan, she pushes herself out of her bed, realizing as her feet touch the floor that she has no feeling in her feet and legs. Looking down, she sees a complex system of Metal joints, pulleys and splints covering her legs, with a few clusters of wires leading from her legs to her back. Her hand follows the wires, until she feels them hooked into some sort of metal apparatus over her spine, near where she was shot by the Cathedral. Without any clue as to what the system is or how it works, she simply stands up, noticing that the machine on her legs are providing the movement, not her legs.
She stares worriedly for a moment, before sighing and walking towards the door out of the Medicae Ward. But she is interrupted when the door opens and the resident Medicae, "Interrogator-Apothecary" Boleslav Desya steps in, medicae/pain illicitation mechadendrites wavering ponderously over his head. "Ah, looks like the girl can walk. Any pain, or did I do my job too well?" he asks in his mysteriously emotive mechanical voice. Hortense sighs and says "Whatever you did, it seems to be working fine"
Boleslav steps further into the room and looks down at Hortense's legs. "The machination I've put in place is a complex and, with complete honesty, brilliant system made to assist you in moving until a pack of reparation nanoservitors I placed into your spinal cord replace the damage it received in the shootout."
Hortense, who never cared much for Cogboy technobabble, says "Can you explain that more, but with terms that make some sense?", still not sure what Desya was talking about. The Techpreist nods and says slowly and condescendingly, as though he were speaking to a child: "The things stuck to your legs are connected to your central nervous system. When you try to make your legs move, which can't at the moment, they move instead, allowing you to walk."
Hortense stares at Boleslav for a moment, before saying "Go on...". The Techpriest continues "The slug that entered your back hit you in the lower portion of your spine, effectively paralyzing your legs. I put some machines into your back to fix it, but it will take a month or so. Until then the things on your legs will let you function. Do you get it now?"
Hortense says "Yeah, I think so...thanks, I guess. I'm going to speak to the team now, I'll let you...get back to work, or whatever.", before she starts walking out of the room. Boleslav waves her off disdainfully as he moves to his workstation.
Making her way through the masterfully crafted halls of the Ship, purpose-built to confuse boarders and lead them into killzones. Hortense had learned to traverse them, but it still took a lot of effort to make her way to the conference hall located next to the bridge.
As she opens the door she sees the rest of her team, a group of somewhat venerable acolytes, veterans of a multitude of missions given to them by High Inquisitor Outremer, as well as his cadre of lesser Inquisitors.
The first was Orville Eryuut, an ex-Deathworlder from the planet Wither, a particularly pestilent planet overwhelmed with poisonous bogs, volcanic seepages, shallow murky seas, and a host of horrible, swarming insects. Curiously, Orville's specialty in high-command military tactics and study of historical military campaigns, both Imperial and the odd recorded Xenos battle. Missing a leg, he wears a wooden peg leg, made from the heart of a Witherwood Tree, an almost legendary plant that has sparked centuries long armed conflicts on the Deathworld. His story as to how he found the Witherwood Tree, and then managed to cut it down and evade the Wither-Wasps that make their homes in them change every time he is asked, much to his amusement.
The second was Barney Trujillo, an ex-convict who by sheer luck, wit and force of will went from waiting for the gallows to serving aboard the Blackguard's Boon in a series of obscenely lucky events. Held on Hatred II for a series of crimes, climbing from muggings and petty theft to upper-hive white-collar crime. His reign of crime ended when he was caught by, ironically, High Inquisitor Argylle Cromwell, the Inquisitor who later trained Inquisitor Ishmael Outremer, and then later gave his Inquisitorial Flotilla to him. Gamble then spent 13 years in the Hatred II Penal Facility, before being sent to the planet Hatred to steel up the defense against the Batellean Offensive into the Gap of Sorrow. But when he was offloaded, the shuttle he was put to ground on was hit by a Zakkernian Screamer-Fighter's missile. Crawling from the wreckage, he managed to stow away on the closest vessel: The Blackguard's Boon. When he was ultimately found by Ishmael, the Inquisitor decided to hire him.
Third was a rarity among Conqvist sector Inquisitor Acolyte groups: A Xenos Mercenary, Anghkor Sukhon, a venerable Kroot Shaper that despite his age and considerable amount of scars, is still capable of killing most things with insulting ease, especially to a hardened soldier like Hortense.
As Hortense steps inside the room, Anghkor turns to face her, the mass of scar tissue making up the right half of his face making the hardened Ex-Guardswoman a bit ill even to this day. She remembers hearing that Sukhon was hit in the face with a Tau Battlesuit's railgun, and then ripped the pilot out of the suit and ate his heart before collapsing from blood loss. Anghkor says "It looks as though her wounds were not fatal. Almost regrettable, I would have liked to have tasted her"
“Sorry to disappoint you, Anghkor, but I'm still breathing” Hortense says, voice dripping with sarcasm. She appreciated the Kroot, but not his blunt sense of humor. Hopefully, she thought, comments like that were just humor. Walking still with some obvious discomfort, Hortense manages to find her seat.
Barney looked up from his dataslate and says “Oh good, you came out okay. I was worried when I dragged you into the vehicle back down on the planet. You feeling alright?”
Hortense blew a strand of hair from her face and says “As well as can be expected after multiple gunshot wounds and traumatic spine damage, Barney”
A laugh from across the table interrupted the conversation, emanating from Orville. “At least ye've still got yer legs, lass. I've only got one left.”
Before Hortense could respond, however, the door to the room opened. She turned to see who it was.
Lord Inquisitor Outremer.
(DUN DUN DUN!)