In the grand scheme of things it occurred in the blink of an eye. For most of you, your days had been spent earning glory for your Chapter and the Emperor. Planning planetary assaults, holding dug-in positions against overwhelming odds, dead-dropping from low orbit directly into the heart of an enemy force, or charging the front lines of a wave of Xenos filth – the sharp whir of your chainsword and the screams of the fallen assaulting your enhanced senses. And each of you survived; no, you did not merely survive, you thrived. Your enemies were smashed aside, great bastions of Imperial space and citizens were saved, and as a result, you were noticed.
It was not long before the summons came. It came in the form of an astropathic code with the highest security clearances attached to it. One by one you were called before your Chapter Master and given your sacred mission. Or it did not come at all, your Chapter Master personally sending you away on one of his fastest frigates out of your home system and on your way to Glory. For some, the night before your departure was one of silent reflection, kneeling before a shrine of the Emperor of Mankind in meditation and prayer, seeking the strength to fulfill the nigh impossible tasks you will be entrusted with. Others sat in similar reverence in front of their hallowed Codex Astartes, taking in its sacred words as absolute authority in matters of warfare, while simultaneously honoring the Machine Spirits of your trusty weapons and armor. One of you seemed disappointed – not because you would be serving in an elite unit of the best of the best, but because it would take you away from the hunt of your Chapters most hated enemy and on the hunt for new enemies. And yet still, one of you stayed up for twenty-four Terran hours, the entirety of your Chapter feasting and drinking and brawling, immortalizing you for one last time as the chances of your reuniting were known by all to be slim. And still they cheered, hailed your name, raised you up on their shoulders and swore to Russ that they would honor your name in battle, just as you honored the Chapter in missions that would never be retold outside of the fabled Deathwatch.
And then, silence. You sat alone on a small frigate, manned by servitors as Chapter serfs meticulously maintained primary systems and fidgeted with dials. As they sang hymns to the machine spirits of the ancient inter-stellar craft, you sat alone, unmoving, unblinking. Your weapons were racked near you, forever within reach. Your armor shined for the last time, for you knew that as soon as you arrived and took your Oaths to the Watch, it would be painted jet black – unseen, unheard, unknown. The only reminder of your past portrayed proud on your right shoulder. Perhaps you prayed. Perhaps you meditated. Perhaps you smiled a grim smile, content that no matter what became of your life, the flame of your ending would be told within the Deathwatch for millennia to come. A chill ran through your body, for if you were ever one of the mightiest beings in the galaxy it was now. You were one of the Emperor`s mighty Angels – warriors from the depths of space that appeared without warning; doomsayers to the enemies of the Emperor, the Primarchs and the Imperium. But as you envision your new life, with your proud armor painted a black reminiscent of a black hole, you know that you are truly now an Angel of Death: wrath incarnate.
One of you sits alone in a Spartan cell you call your chambers. Your armor sits magnificently on a rack built to display its might. This suit of armor is already the color of night, and from the battle scars across it, it has been for some time. You wear simple robes from head to toe, keeping with the tradition of your Chapter and covering your head. In silent reflection, you study the holo-file that had been waiting for you on the small table in the corner of the room. It is a new assignment. Recent activity within the Jericho Reach has deemed your relocation to a new Kill-Team necessary. Aside from the pain of separation and the unity shared by your previous Kill-Team, one word sticks out aside all of the others. You, a mighty Astartes, unnerved by one word contained within the data in your hands:
***New Assignment: Kill-Team transfer
Status……Integrated. Knowledge pertaining to -------- of --------: Not currently known. Need to know basis only. Oaths in place to protect assets. Make your Primarch and the Emperor proud. Good hunting, Marine.***
And so it began. You arrived on schedule and met before the mighty Watch Commander individually. It was within his presence you made your vows and oaths. You know the importance of your mission and have been briefed on how serious the Xenos threat to the galaxy really is. You now know the truth, and as a result, may never speak of your actions and involvement within the Deathwatch to anyone outside of it… ever. Your silence ensures a tiny amount of peace throughout the Imperium, for if the truth of the threats you face should ever spread, panic and chaos would surely ensue. You are the glue holding it together, you are the light in the dark. You are the shield against the unending waves of the End Times. You are the Deathwatch.
For one standard week you have called Watch Fortress Erioch your new home: training, studying, undergoing a brutal regiment of hypno-therapy entrusting you with vital secrets known only to the Watch and waiting impatiently or apathetically to meet the rest of your new Kill Team. You have been told little of them or their pasts. You simply know one thing: like yourself, they are the best. You know this only because they are in the same situation as you. As you sit and contemplate within your personal chambers, a single knock brings you out of your meditations.
A small servitor sits outside of your door, its twisted cybernetically-integrated form painting it as vaguely human. Or rather, what used to be a human now in eternal servitude to the Watch Fortress. A cracky monotonous voice emits from a grated hole where its mouth used to be.
In High Gothic it begins, “My Lord Astartes, you have been summoned by Watch Captain Angellion to meet in the eleventh level training grounds. Your orders are to come in full battle regalia. The Emperor Protects. Good day, my Lord Astartes.”
Without waiting for a response, the servitor rushes off on mechanized treads to accomplish one of many mundane, yet essential, tasks. As it whirs awar ignorant of its own existence, you hear the rustle of others donning armor and checking weapons. The Watch Fortress is alive today. Perhaps you will finally be allowed to meet your new Battle-Brothers.