arachnekallisti: (river song)
[personal profile] arachnekallisti
The Official Version
From the records of Watch Station Erioch:
"...The source of the psychic plague affecting the Deathwatch Librarium was eventually traced back to the Laeran artefacts discovered in the ruins on the world of Iphigenia. It appears that the work of Inquisitor Albertine Hoffmann and Brother-Codicier Ardashir in studying the sonic weaponry that had been recovered exposed them to the corruption carried within the very language of the Laer.

Kill-Team Claritas Pennata pursued the daemonic infestation tirelessly: first destroying the corrupted Brother-Codicer Ardashir and purging Watch Station Andronicus of the taint he had introduced; then purging the daemonic taint from the library of the Sisters Dialogus at Babel XVII, whilst cleansing corruption within their own Kill-team; later hunting the daemonhost that was all that remained of Inquisitor Hoffmann to the battlefleet near Iphigenia, where they succeeded in not only destroying it but recovering the Emperor-class battlecruiser that she had commandeered and rooting out an infiltrator within the ranks of the Deathwatch itself.

Finally, under the command of Brother-Chaplain Siegmund Salenar, they pursued the taint back to the Laeran sites on Iphigenia, ran the Tau blockade, succeeded in destroying Watch Station Skapula in order to keep it out of the foul xenos' hands, and succeeded in destroying all three Laeran sites. Brother-Librarian Agravaine reports that it appears that the Laeran ruins appear to have been sucked into the Immaterium, and that the Warp appears to be uncommonly still and calm in the vicinity of Iphigenia.

Kill-Team Claritas Pennata and the Kill-Marine Tacitus, last seen hunting a Tau Ethereal in the vicinity of Iphigenia, are presumed missing in action. They are remembered as heroes of the Deathwatch. May the Emperor's light shine upon their souls."



The Deathwatch are the best of the best, selected by their chapters for their unparalleled abilities in dealing with the xenos threat. Or possibly they're just the Astartes whose brothers felt they ought to go and die nobly for the Emperor somewhere a good long way away. Kill-Team Claritas Pennata consisted of Brother Siegmund Salenar, the imperium's most laid-back Black Templar; Brother Calibos, the chattiest Dark Angel; Brother-Techmarine Zariel, the least bloodthirsty Blood Angel; Brother-Lexicanum Aemilianus, who had reacted to the Tyranid attack on Macragge by developing an obsession with such Ultramarine virtues as filing systems and jam; and Brothers Koris and Ramiel, also Blood Angels. More on them later. It's complicated. Very complicated. There was art history, flagellation and a lot of denial and repression involved.

Destroying Brother Ardashir was not problematic, apart from the whole embarassing incident with the entire Kill-Team bailing out of a crashing Aquila lander hanging onto Brother Ramiel, who had a jump pack. The situation only really went downhill at Babel XVII, after a daemonhost posing as an art historian convinced Brother Ramiel that selling his soul to Slaanesh would be the only way that his feelings towards Brother-Apothecary Koris could ever be requited. To be fair, She Who Thirsts did deliver, and Ramiel did eventually find himself naked in Koris' arms - he was dead at the time, but you can't have everything. Meanwhile, the Kill-Team rescued the Space Wolf Iron Priest Brother Thorgrim, along with his sacred wolf hammer for hitting technology till it works properly, and Brother-Lexicanum Aemilianus broke a nun (because how was he supposed to know she was a latent psyker who might be activated by any intense nearby Warp activity, such as a battle between a Librarian and a daemonhost?)

After the death of Ramiel and Koris' departure on a Bloodquest to purge himself of his failings, the Kill-Team acquired a new Apothecary, the Black Shield Brother Kalaziel, and another Librarian, the Consecrator Brother Elyas. Aemilianus, meanwhile, was pining rather over the unfortunate Sister Guinevere, who had been charming and clever and interested in his opinions on the Codex, and was now facing a future involving either the Inquisition or the Black Ships. Having set off to the battlefleet, the Kill-Team pursued Inquisitor Hoffmann through the battleship, rescued the seemingly incorruptible Flight Lieutenant Daria Tereshkova, stole a Rogue Trader's sister (because she was a blank, not just for the hell of it, although you never know with Claritas Pennata), and discovered that Brother Kalaziel was in fact an Alpha Legion infiltrator who had joined the Deathwatch because another Chaos Marine betted him he couldn't. Whilst the rest of the Kill-Team battled the Daemon Prince Mara on the bridge of the flagship, Kalaziel arranged a mass sacrifice to the Changer of Ways and nipped off into the Warp.

Claritas Pennata were, nevertheless, despatched to Iphigenia to track down the source of the Laeran technology, with the assistance of the Flesh Tearer Assault Marine Brother Darquiel and the Imperial Fist Brother-Apothecary Strygg (who was sent out as penance for losing his last Kill-Team, which should tell you something about the reputation of Claritas Pennata), and with a mind-scrubbed Lieutenant Tereshkova acting as their pilot. They did succeed in destroying Watch Station Skapula, and made it onto the surface in time to discover that some kind of plague was transforming humans and Tau alike into violent impulse-driven mutants. Zariel, meanwhile, was developing a disturbing obsession with railguns. With the assistence of a small group of gue'vesa who were brought back to the True Faith of the Imperial Creed (Siegmund could be very inspiring like that), they advanced towards one set of Laeran ruins.

The journey was not straightforward. Some of the gue'vesa succumbed to the memetic virus in the caves on the way there, and the remainder were left to administer the Emperor's Mercy. It needed to be explained to Darquiel on more then one occasion that "eat the chaos-tainted mutants and see if I get any useful knowledge" was in fact not a plan without any flaws, even if eating the flesh of the Chosen of Slaanesh did make you think faster and see pretty colours. Brother Aemilianus made involuntary psychic contact with the daemon, and had to be snapped out of it by Zariel's brilliant plan to inject the mingled blood of the rest of the Kill-Team directly into his omophagea; said plan did in fact break Aemilianus' link to the daemon, but also left him with fragmentary memories and personality traits of his entire Kill-Team rattling around inside his head. This did not do much for his mental stability. Eventually, Brother Zariel succumbed to the virus encoded in the Laeran language, and had to be destroyed by his battle-brothers - but not before he had succeeded in exposing Brother Calibos to the language too.

Fortunately, the remains of the Kill-Team made contact with the mostly uncorrupted Kill-Marine Tacitus (formerly of the Novamarines), who had been stalking the Tau Ethereal, before plunging into the Laeran ruins. Deep in the vast semi-living temple complex, they discovered the last living gue'vesa, Corporal Briers, who had somehow had the language centres of her brain carved out of her. After Briers caught the backwash from a sonic attack and was left blind, deaf and haemorrhaging as well as aphasic, Brother Calibos administered the Emperor's Mercy. Further in, Brother Darquiel succumbed to something like the Black Rage whilst fighting corrupted Tau Drones, and tore off to get to the Emperor before Horus did (being very careful of the wings he didn't have in the narrow passageways). Tacitus finally found what was left of the Ethereal he'd been pursuing, and killed the part-Laer hybrid monstrosity before it could be unleashed to further subvert the Tau.

At the heart of the temple, the Kill-Team managed to keep the warp portal connecting it to a Slaaneshi daemonworld from expanding enough to suck them in, and then battled another manifestation of Mara. Having destroyed her physical form, they then realised that they were standing inside a very large living structure that also had a very angry and disembodied daemon loose in it. The Kill-Team immediately proceeded to attack the structure in every way possible, with the exception of Elyas, who allowed the temple to absorb him and released himself as a memetic virus of his own, created out of the "convert or burn" aspects of the Imperial Creed. Darquiel attempted to eat chunks of the raw and bleeding temple's flesh, and was briefly possessed by both Mara and Elyas before being exorcised by Aemilianus. As the Elyas virus slowly vitrified the temple, Siegmund finally activated the potential within himself to become a complete psychic null, and set about forcing the warp portal to implode on itself.

Strygg, Darquiel, Tacitus, Calibos and Aemilianus escaped from the temple with Elyas' power armour, and were picked up by their Storm Raven gunship in time to see the entire complex collapse into the Warp. It was Aemilianus, however, who first noticed that Tereshkova's speech patterns were not her own, and that she had acquired a lot more augmetics and a railgun from somewhere. The Kill-Team had not succeeded in destroying Zariel before he had a chance to upload his mind to the Storm Raven, and then into Tereshkova's brain via her MIU. As Zariel emerged from the cockpit with his railgun, Calibos powered up his lascannon...

...and history, even the secret variety, does not record what happened after that.

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arachnekallisti

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