The strange case of the rock in the night time

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The Journal of Eldred Oric of the Adeptus Arbites.

Planet: Crucible, City: Perdition, Stationhouse: 73.

I tried to make sure I was early for my first day on the new Counter terrorism task force. I'm just a street Judge but any assignment which increases my chances to give those crazy separatist bastards a short sharp shock with a power maul is all right by me.

Another 4 judges joined me in the briefing room as we waited for the Proctor to show up. I'd done a few street patrols with Judge Karrik, a reliable Arbite, the others I wasn't so sure about. Judge Fowles was some sort of sawbones in Med Div., Judge Standfast had been on some undercover operation which is bound to send a guy screwy and Judge Jason is with the Psy Div. which means it's a given that he's a guaranteed grade 1 weirdo.

Proctor Crager showed up and began running down the latest craziness to bubble up in the big city. The Maschieri were kicking up trouble again, following up the recent library bombing with what looked like their fingerprints all over a new bombing in a Schola, the Grey Shadows were recruiting again and some scribe over at the Administratum had got himself killed in a locked room.

We made quick time to the Administratum, me and Karrik on our Heracles pattern bikes, Standfast and Fowles in civ cars and Jason ... Jason requisitioned a Chimera. Judge McGinty met us at the Admin building and gave us a rundown of the crime, most of which we knew from Crager's briefing. The scribe's name was Hewitt Sung, shot to death in his office apparently with his door locked and no sign of an attacker on the building's pict-corder system.

We searched the room, at first glance it looked like the victim had been shot in the head with some sort of las gun. Judge Fowles made a more detailed study of the body while we had a look around. While we were investigating the head Adept of the department, name of Salversen, showed up. The Adept told us that Sung had been working on some meteor rock that had been in storage for the last 50 years. Apparently the rock was something special with some very odd reactions to the array of tests Sung had performed on it.

Unfortunately the rock, along with Sung's work journal relating to it, had all been removed from his office. Salversen also mentioned Sung had some private funding but he couldn't or wouldn't tell us through. The last tid-bit the head Adept had for us was that apparently sung had visited the Astropathica shortly before he died and sent a message, presumably off-planet.

Some digging by Fowles and Standfast into the departments systems got us some more Pict-Corder info, including an apparently unaccounted for visitor in the small hours of the morning. They also turned up a sealed file relating to the meteor rock but couldn't get past its encryption.

Standfast had just finished suggesting that the body's position looked wrong, as if it had been moved after it had died, when we got a call in over our com beads. There was a 10-86 in progress at the local munitorium. Fowles stayed behind to study the scene and escort any evidence back to the station house, the rest of us headed for the robbery.

The last thing I wanted was to be stuck behind Judge Jason in a Chimera so Karrik and I took the lead. We hit the back of the munitorium hard, the perps were in a courtyard come loading bay with only one way out for a ground vehicle. As we shot down the alley into the yard we could see a handful of perps moving equipment into a van while three others kept the munitorium guards under supressing fire from a heavy stubber and las-rifles. As we came in, Jason's chimera making a hell of a racket behind us, the perps on the heavy stubber swung it round trying to bring it to bear on us but before they could we had their van between us and them. Just as we swung round from behind the van Jason ram into it with the chimera and it flipped onto its side where we had been moments before.

Karrik let loose with her bike's combi bolter and took down the goon with the heavy weaponry. Still skidding to a stop I lobbed a stun grenade into the pack of perps who had been loading up the van and gave them all a headache they wouldn't forget in a hurry. I'm not sure what Standfast was doing but I heard him shouting something over his car's megaphone.

The two perps who weren't either dead or suddenly hard of thinking were trying to get the heavy stubber set up again but it didn't seem to be their day as there was only a horrible clicking coming from the weapon. Not giving them a chance to get the thing working again I used the bike's guns to cut them down.

Getting off the bike I could see the Judge Standfast had got one of the perps and was giving him a swift beating the knocked him out cold. Me and Karrik made short work of the others, encouraging them to submit with the power maul and then getting the manacles on while they were still disoriented. It was pretty much a text book takedown, they could use a pict-cording in the academy, or they could have if that Psi-div simp hadn't almost made judge pancakes of us with that van and then turned the chimera's water cannon on Judge Standfast. I'll say this for the guy from the wally squad, he managed to stay on his feet, which is something against one of those cannons.

We left the dead perps for the meat wagon and got the rest into the back of Jason's chimera. The security guards were grateful but some of the others thought that security must have been a bit too lax if these gangers could just waltz in and steal a whole lot of heavy weapons ammo. Now that things had cooled down we could make the perps for members of the Grey Shadows, I guess recruitment wasn't the only activity they were stepping up in Redemption.

When we got back to the stationhouse Judge Foyle was waiting with a more detailed analysis of the scribe's body. Turned out Standfast's instincts had been right; the las burn in the vic's skull came post-mortem, the actual cause of death was the insertion of two very fine prongs or probes into the back of his neck which seemed to have severed his spinal cord. He'd also found trace evidence under the vic's fingernails, some form of very old auotsanguine blood substitute such as the Adeptus Mechanicus frequently augment themselves with. Foyle had asked the station's resident mechanicus if he could shed any light on the matter but he wasn't much help.

Judge Jason went to pay a visit to the Astropathica while the rest of us looked over the materials Foyle had brought back from the Administratum. The pict-cordings from inside the building seemed to have suffered a systemic series of glitches, mapping out the location and timing of the glitches we seemed to have a trail entering the building shortly before Sung was killed and travelling towards his office. The cameras on Sung's office door were active at the time of his death and there were two distinct flashes of light visible through the sides of the door frame. Foyle managed to pick out one actual frame showing the intruder before the glitch kicked in, it was a cloaked and hooded figure with only one arm showing covered in some strange cyberised appendage or perhaps holding a large metallic object.

Confirming the intruders existence Judge Standfast managed to find some signs of tampering in the entry log records for the Administratum building. There were records for Sung and Salversen's entrances to the building but coincident with the first glitches on the pict-corders he found traces of an entry that had been erased from the logs. Jason returned and reported that the Astropathica couldn't reveal the details of the sending without clearance from the office of the planetary governor.

Standfast headed down to the lock ups to interrogate the gang members that we captured. While he was gone the Tek-judges came round with some interesting findings. One of the cleaning servitors in the Administratum building, the very one that had found Sung's body in fact, had some sort of transmitting device. The signal was sending on a tight beam and heavily encrypted, the target was somewhere in the local area but the Teks couldn't be more specific than that. By this time it was almost the end of our shift, I don't think it was a bad first day, though I'm sorry we never made it to the Schola site to investigate, hopefully they've kept the scene intact for us.