As the group makes its way to the lift, more cyber-cherubs flutter down to them on mechanical wings. Their faces are a macabre mask of childhood innocence twisted by irrationality and something more sinister; it is as if the desire to make an artificial being was superseded by the need to make them irrefutably non-human. One in particular stands out as it gently descends upon the group. It carries a bronze cask etched in silver. High Gothic writings adhere to every surface and a large Inquisitorial “I” stands proudly in the center of it. The Cherub itself smiles at you intently, unable or unwilling to display any other emotions. Its teeth are bright white porcelain, pulled back on lips of soft peach with matching rosey cheeks. In typical unnerving fashion, its eyes have been replaced with bionics much akin to Sarlock’s. They constantly whiz and turn as they focus on each of you, wires coming out of the tops and sides of its optical cavities and stretching back across the small Cherub’s skull, through its golden hair and into its back. In its right hand it holds a small scepter which constantly bellows incense in the shape of the Imperial Aquila. As you pass under, it waves the scepter over your Holy Armor and heads seven times before upending the cask and drizzling the anointed oil on your foreheads. The oil smells of lavender, sandalwood and spices you cannot name. It feels cool at first, as it drips down the crests of your brow falling over your cheeks and down onto your chests. Then it warms up, intermingling with the inner-righteousness, honor and pride that comes with being Astartes.
You take your places in the lift next to your Watch Captain and equip your helms. With a nod of mutual understanding from Angellion, the lift takes off toward an unknown destination.
The digital readout flashes numbers and High Gothic lettering as you pass different levels and areas within the Fortress. With an abrupt stop it flashes and blinks. You have arrived. “Arriving at Docking Bay, Outer Landing Cradles,” buzzes a voice over the audio systems. You walk out onto a massive deck, lined on one side by plasteel and adamantine walls with busy servitors and Deathwatch serfs maintaining a variety of systems and automated defense systems built into the ceilings that covering choke points. The other side, however, is far more spectacular. A thick transparent material of some sort lines the entirety of the wall, allowing a spectacular view of a stretching starscape. From here, the blazing white dwarf and two of the six dead planets that orbit it, including the one the one that Watch Fortress Erioch orbits, can be seen. If one takes the time and effort to look out amid the sea of stars, they can see the distant red haze of the infamous Hadex Anomoly, a twisted maelstrom of horro where the Warp and realspace overlap. Landing docks stretch out from the Watch Fortress, granting passage and landing clearance to those few vessels that have a legitimate reason to be at such a classified location. Beyond the adamantine walls to your left, in between your current position and the Watch Fortress Proper are the massive Outer Wards – automated defenses that constantly shift and rotate. They make up a mechanical maze on a titanic scale and act as the first line of defense against those who would attempt to breach the Watch Fortress from the outside in. In all of its years patrolling the Jericho Reach, the Watch Fortress has never once been located by enemy forces, much less succumbed to enemy incursion, but the Outer Wards maintain their mechanical vigil regardless and some wonder if the great shifting cogs and gears that make it up are part of some unfinished, or yet unforseen, bigger puzzle. It is no question that only those with true intentions and appropriate clearance can ever hope to enter the Watch Fortress alive.
You make your way down the long hallway, noting the various Inquisitors, Interrogators and Black Clad Astartes that move to and fro. One ship docked at the nearest landing station catches your attention. You can tell from its design that it is a Cobra-Pattern Destroyer class Imperial Starship. Built in the same Gothic design as all Imperial ships, tall spires and towers sprout up from the back of the ship, making it resemble a small city painted entirely in black in places. Blue glows emanate from various windows as red lights blink and flicker randomly across the ships entirety. An enormous dome acts as a centerpiece to the top of the ship, maintaining dominance over other areas. The nose, the hardest point on the that doubles as a ram in the direst of situations, is painted the same black but with maroon undertones and gold trim. An Imperial Aquila with the “I” that you have all become accustomed to seeing sits proudly in the center. Smaller than other Destroyer class ships, the Cobra pattern is faster and sleeker and usually lacks the firepower of bigger Destroyers. Yet, as you look on at the ship you notice this is not the case. Mounted on the prow of the ship and extending out from under the ram is a massive Macrocannon. You have seen such weapons before, but usually on much larger vessels and you can only wonder at what powers such a mighty weapon. As you turn down the nearest docking bay, it becomes readily apparent that this odd and beautifully deadly ship is your destination.
“Marines,” Angellion says as he stops before the airlock leading to the Destroyer. “This is our new home for the time being. After we make our entrance we will meet the ship’s Commander Inquisitor Carmillus. Make no mistake, we are Astartes and I am the direct link between Watch Commander Mordigael and you. However, it is important to recognize and come to terms with the reality of our situation: while on this ship we are on Inquisitor Carmillus’ sovereign territory. And she has the authority to give us missions as she sees fit, by right of the Holy Ordo Xenos of the Emperor’s Holy Inquisition. In essence, she is an extension of the Watch Commander during our tour of duty.” It is clear that Angellion expects no questions. Orders are orders and playing the game of politics is just one of a Watch Captain’s more subtle jobs within the Deathwatch. As if on cue, a servitor moving on treaded rollers instead of legs makes a bee line toward the Captain, two mechanical and one biological arm cradling something to its chest with great care. As it arrives it bows slightly and raises the object to the Captain. Angellion lifts his helm from the servitor which scuttles away quickly. He speaks slowly under his breath, chanting to the ancient machine spirit of his armor as he attaches it, making it complete once again. For the first time, you lay eyes on the warrior angel that is your Captain in full armor. Artificer plate and shining swords, draped in black compliment the blazing silver of his left arm and shoulder pauldron adn the bright ruby that sits atop his chest. His helmet is even more impressive. Blacker than the soul of Slaanesh with soft glowing red eyes, two silver wings raise up from both sides of the helm. The wings connect at his cheeks, where a sword of gold lances down, culminating at his chin, red rubies lining the gold weapon's blood groove. Above the crest of his head and through the two silver wings you can see the ancient Iron Halo protruding up from the back of his armor, and you can imagine a halo forming over his head when it is activated.
He turns and places his armored gauntlet against an access rune on the wall and with a pressurized hiss the door opens into a room large enough for the entire squad to enter. As you do, the door shuts behind you and the pressure equalizes. A second door opens and you take your first steps onto the deck of the Destroyer. The entrance onto the ship is typical for an Imperial vessel. Inside it is noisy as servitors and serfs move about, frantically getting things in order. The Serfs-Astrotechnis move to bow in your presence, but you hardly notice, and they quickly move along to continue in their duties. Angellion leads you down a corridor that eventually opens into a large deck covered in ornate decorations. Various silks and more exotic cloth from around the galaxy line the walls, while sculptures and gothic art find space in the areas in between. Illuminators of various shapes and size move about, creating optimal lighting while some remain stationary, and yet it remains oddly dark among all the illumination. Incense pours from various burners as some cyber-cherubs fly by, with picts, data slates, incense and other items of various import. You realize quickly that you have entered the ship’s main promenade and bridge and that those gathered are doing so for your arrival specifically. Beneath the decorations the walls are silver and climb up to three stories high, with the highest level obscured from view, but you imagine that you are now under the massive dome that you viewed from outside just moments ago. Gathered above you on balcony are a group of various people. Only one is Astartes, but almost all are well armed and armored and a few are obvious high ranking crew members. At their front, standing tall in a suit of modified, yet ornate human exoskeletal enhanced Power Armor is a woman with hair as white as snow and silver eyes to match. If the size of her Power Armor is any indication, the woman is blade thin and lithe underneath. She appears both athletic and improbably young, as the wisdom in her eyes speak of battles won, decades passed, and a calm violence that would chill mortal men to the bone. For whatever her slight and attractive appearance dictates, you know there is much more to this woman. The power her mere presence exudes clearly indicates as much. Without an introduction, you know that this must be the famed Inquisitor Carmillus.
Standing to the sides of the woman is a small retinue that you imagine is never far from her. Directly to her left is a young woman with a sweet face and a sweeter smile. She is armed and armored, but not to the extent of the silver eyed matriarch. She smiles as the Kill Team enters, seemingly at all of you at once. Opposite of the sweet girl is a heavily armed and armored middle aged man. Apparently, he is the polar opposite of the girl as he does not smile, nor show any emotion whatsoever. His eyes are studying you all, gleaning as much information as possible, and he never seems to blink. The Astartes stands behind the three, which makes since given his superhuman size which is only amplified in his armor that easily identifies him as a Techmarine. His armor has a slightly worn look, but the multiple arms that emerge from his back speak to his skill and rank and it is obvious to you, as Astartes, that the machine spirit of his armor is as sharp now as it has ever been. Unlike you, his armor is not black nor is it adorned with the Silver Shoulder Pauldron. It is the color of rust, further marking him as a follower of the Omnissiah and his Chapter colors – that of the Raven Guard – are displayed on his right shoulder. He has a holstered Bolt Pistol and stands proud holding a massive Cog-bladed Power Axe with the machine skull in its center. His helmet is on and you cannot see his face. Just to his right, behind the group but still in sight is a palid, gaunt grey skinned man. His physical features mark him as a member of the Navigator class; tall, with webbed hands and long nails, he wears long black robes with a pair of multi-lens goggles covering his eyes and a multitude of various mechanical instruments adorning a small metal harness over his chest and neck. He leans on a heavy Navigator’s staff and you wonder if he will fall over as you make your way into the room. Perhaps the strangest person of all is a young woman wearing barely any clothes. Her breasts and crotch are covered in some sort of red cloth. Her skin is olive and her eyes are completely white and devoid of Iris'. Her "hair," if you could call it that given that it was made of electrical chord and techno-fibers that end in tech-interfaces is pulled back and hangs behind her almost touching the ground. Electro-tattoos cover her arms, chest, stomach and legs and light dances through the circuitry beneath the skin. You are not compeltely sure why, but something about her puts you on edge.
Below them all, you stand. A gathering of Serfs-Naval and Serfs-Chamberlain flank you on either side. They are all kneeling with their heads down in your honored presence.
Angellion breaks the silence. “Inquisitor Carmillus,” he says offering a slight nod of his exquisitely helmeted head.
“Oh, Leonarus it is good to see you again, my friend.”
The woman with white hair. Inquisitor Carmillus.
“I am Inquisitor Hezika Carmillus of the Ordo Xenos. You may address me as Inquisitor Carmillus." Her tone indicates that use of her first name will not be tolerated. With a smile she continues, "You have been assembled by Watch Captain Angellion for a very specific purpose. Unlike many of your brethren taking their Vigils, the Watch Fortress will not be your home. Our mission will be one of mobility, speed, silence and when it is called for, wrath. You are now aboard the Destroyer ‘Doomsayer.’ As you have noticed, it is smaller, faster, quieter yet hits just as hard as ships much larger than it. We will traverse the Jericho Reach carrying out missions as they reach us from Watch Fortress Erioch or as they present themselves in real time 'on the ground.' Should an opportunity present itself to bring the Emperor’s divine justice to the heretic, xenos or mutant, we will be the first to respond. The Doomsayer is outfitted to support one full tactical squad of Astartes indefinitely. As your team is half that size, you should have no problem appropriating whatever you need for any mission. We have all the trappings of an Astartes Strike Cruiser at half the cost." She smiles again, taking pride in her vessel of destruction. "Your quarters will be in the Brass Palace, which you will be shown to shortly. There you will find everything from the medical bay to training quarters to the Church of the Emperor Ascendant. Should you require anything out of the ordinary, the Serfs-Chamberlain are here to assist you at anytime. However, knowing Astartes, I am sure you won’t need too much special treatment.” She offers a cordial and welcoming smile.
“Welcome aboard, Kill Team Doomsayer. Have you any questions?”