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The xenos were marched into a large chamber, fillec with Adeptus Mechanicus, mostly Xenobiologists, and Inquisitorial Soldiers.
The Techpriest began to pair off the Tau.
"These two to Autopsy Chamber IV, these two to Interrogation Lab, Magos Nephax wants these four."
As the Tau were marched to their fates, the Techpriest's neuro-Auspex detected movement behind him, and turned around.
"Lord Inquisitor, we have successfully abducted the xenos populations of planet Phi-Sigma/4427."
"...but still no Ethereal, Techpriest."
The Adept paused, "no, not yet. However-"
"I do not tolerate failiure, Techpriest. Assemble a strike-team. I want an Ethereal, alive, and in our custody, and I want him now. Am I clear, Techpriest?"
The Adept nodded, "We will begin work immediately, Inquisitor."
Bidane Draconis nodded, and stalked out of the chamber.
"The colony was lost after an Astartes Chapter engaged in full strength. Where it not for a massive Ork Waaagh that formed elsewhere, I truly believe they could have crippled our Empire if luck was not on our side..."
Inquisitor Hlane, Englar Draconis nodded amicably. His long, ash-white hair was tied up in a ponytail, and his clothing was fashioned in a rough and ready style, coloured in browns and reds. He wondered briefly if he should order hair-dye from Rogue Trader Mathial, but remembered the obscene prices the man charged.
"Hmm?" Draconis replied.
"You were not listening!?"
Draconis smiled, and recited perfectly the last thirty words of the Por'La, "I am very good at listening when others think I'm, not."
The Por'La composed himself, "I'm sorry, but you understand that to have an entire colony enslaved is most troubling. Even here, on T'au, there is concern."
"I'm not suprised. By the looks of things, the Imperium is finally starting to realise the power of the Tau race, and they have deicded they'd rather have you as a threat than an enemy."
Draconis sat back and sighed, sipping his hot tea, "that's the problem with the Ordo these days... all the Imperium really; they seem to think the only way to serve the Emperor is through flame, blade and bolter. I have done more for the Imperium with a well-placed word, a trade negotiation, a favour called-in or outright blackmail than an entire Crusade force."
"...so will you help us?"
Draconis paused, "I am unsure what I can do. After all, I am a servant of the Emperor, and it is the will of the Ordo that these actions occur. However, the Tau are valuable allies, and have helped me many times... I will see what I can do. Arrange transport for me to Vior'La, I have associates there who can help me. With luck, we can finish this without starting a war..."
Shas'Ui Vior'La Kell'ays watched through magnocs as six filthy, malnourished Tau were marched into the courtyard. They stood, shivering in their rags as a Gue'La in black robes began to preach to them. Armed guards ensured they listened.
"It's a penitence camp," Draconis explained, "We have several of them. I served in one as a boy, a station where we kept Zlanitch soldiers. Bidane had me study under one of them, who taught me how to read the body-language of nearly thirty races. They have a gift for that..."
Kell'ays looked at the Inquisitor, "I cannot say I approve."
"I didn't say I did either," Draconis replied, "Why were you assigned to me anyway? I would have preferred Ui'Okon."
"He is dead, Inquisitor. He died trying to save those people your kind now enslave and torture."
Draconis was silent for a moment, "For what it's worth, I considered him a friend."
The Shas'Ui slid gently down the embankment, and out of sight of the base. He looked at the Inquisitor, "Is this the fate you had planned for us? Is this what you have worked for?"
"No... and yes. Better your people become this than are lost."
"I would disagree."
"Slaves can rebel, the dead cannot."
Kell'ays paused, "You are unusual, Draconis. Perhaps that is why Ui'Okon spoke so highly of you. I believe you do care for the fate of our race."
"I would have you as allies, if I were able."
A Pathfinder emerged from the trees, and crouched beside them, "Orders, sirs?"
Draconis shrugged, "No clue yet. The place is guarded by Stormtroopers, and Ordo-trained ones at that... and if they have Deathwatch, nothing short of a Mantra Missile-Destroyer has a chance in hell of getting in."
He sighed, and played absently with his ponytail.
"But an Inquisitor could get in."
Tanya sat beside Draconis, and smiled mischeviously at him. Draconis returned the grin, knowing her plan before she could speak it.
"You're a mad one, Tanya."
"I'd have to be, to sleep with you."
Draconis laughed, "Kell'ays! Shas'La! I need you to do something."
"What is it?" Kell'ays asked.
"I need you to let Tanya knock you out."
* * * "Authorisation please."
Draconis looked at the servitor-guard, and quickly psi-probed it.
The doors slid open, and the two wandered inside. Stormtroopers stepped forward to greet them.
"Take these two Tau to a holding cell, I will call for them shortly."
The men nodded. Tanya stepped forward to stop one from leaving, "And you will provide the Lord Inquisitor with chambers. Now."
* * * Shas'Ui Vior'La Kell'ays awoke, and cursed all Gue'La.
The cell was simple enough, filled mostly by the concerned face of Shas'La Vior'La Mal'Caor.
"Sir, what should we do now? They took our belongings... we won't get far naked."
Ui'Kell'ays reached into his jaw, and removed the patch of syn-skin that hid a small electronic device. The Shas'La watched in awe as he removed several others from his kneck, palms and joints. He assembled them into a small, ugly spider, which seemed to resonate electronic malice.
"I hope the Inquisitor wasn't lying..."
The device skittered forwards, climbing the wall and latching onto the controls. There it sat... and did nothing.
"By the path! He betrayed us!"
"Maybe we have to wait..." the Shas'La replied hopefully.
Kell'ays said nothing. He made himself as comfortable as he could on the cold floor, and watched the machine.
Draconis checked his chronometer. If he was correct, the Tau should have activated the Spyder half an hour ago. By now, it will probably have accessed the central logisticon of the station. All hail the Adeptus Mechanicus for venerably linking every electrical device together. They could learn a lot from Tau technicians... or common sense.
He was also sure that by now, the Inquisitor running the place knew he was here. Chalk another one up to the Ad-Mechs: they took three months to get a station running, when the Tau could do it in a week.
Draconis stood infront of the door, and calmed himself. The tired, heavy weight of age met the firey excitement of youth, and started throwing punches, whilst deep in the back of his mind, he felt the chatter. He was old, approaching one-hundred, but the mind of a Psyker takes a greater strain than most. His body may have endured a century, but his mind had suffered a millenia.
He felt the calm. Time to make an entrance.
* * * Bidane span, focussing on the dark reflection in the doorway. The figure was slightly taller than he, and wore loser, more ragged clothes. His hair was longer, and white. His features were similar, but bore a heavier look, one of a man who had seen too much, and knew his visions were not over.
A Stormtrooper near the vox-control jerked and cried in pain as his internal organs were twisted. Another was slammed violently through a ceiling panel, and stuck fast. A third, stood out of sight, raised his gun to fire, only to have the weapon jerk out of his hands, and slam up into his face, knocking him out.
The figure stepped forward, and drew a Tau pistol.
The lights flickered, and klaxons sounded. Vid-links watching the cellblock showed the doors swinging open. Two Tau emerged, as if expecting the event, and began gathering their comrades.
Bidane turned to his father, snarling.
"Hlane Englar Draconis... traitor to the Ordo Xenos, and the Emperor..."
Bidane went for his gun, only to find it was gone. Hlane smiled, holding up the ornate Bolt Pistol.
"I'm glad you never got my psychic gifts, Bidane. They are a terrible burdeon... but then, they can be so useful..."
Hlane approached, and Bidane retreated. They both stopped, Bidane backed against the window that overlooked the exercise yard.
"So... what brings a traitor to this holy place."
"Your mother sends her love."
Hlane shrugged, "Why should I? You don't really care, you're just buying time, hoping some damn-fool plan will save you."
Bidane smiled, "Indeed, and perhaps that is 'damn-fool' enough..."
He pointed to the view-screen, and Hlane watched his deepest fear unfold.
* * * The bolt-shell struck the Por'La in the back, splattering his remains across the corridor.
"Back into your cells, Xenogen!"
Ui'Kell'ays turned, and stared at the Deathwatch Marine. Two more emerged at the other end of the corridor.
"Draconis... whatever you're planning, I hope you can cope with this..."
* * * "So,father," Bidane spat the word, "what will you do now?"
Hlane paused, then smiled, "call your bluff."