Author: The Lord J
Silence descended on the cargo bay. Even though there had been little to no ambient noise anyway, the place seemed to get even quieter. The thought that not only was this a strange xenos hybrid, but that the ruinous powers were involved was a sobering one indeed. Three of mankind's most hated enemies combined into one foe? It sounded like a nightmare scenario that only the most vicious of minds could bring to life.
Eisenhorn looked around at the horrific creature's dead body. Now that he had a bit of time to think about it, he could sense the presence of chaos here too. It was subtle, almost unnoticeable unless your attention was drawn to it, but there was something there, and it seemed more…pure? Was that the right word? Could such evil as the taint of chaos be called pure? It seemed more…concentrated than normal. Subtle but concentrated. He turned back to look at Willow.
"There's a warp seed in there, Gregor, but i-it's dormant. It's just a seed, it hasn't taken root or expanded yet," Willow explained.
Warp seeds were something that Willow prided herself on having discovered during her time with Eisenhorn. Probing the mind of anyone or anything that even dabbled with the Warp was always a dangerous undertaking, and usually only done long after the warp's influence had already infected the subject's system thoroughly. By this time, the seed no longer existed - it had become part of the subject's consciousness.
Willow had discovered - quite by chance - that sometimes a seed of pure chaos could be deliberately planted into any creature's mind. It was a simple theory that had evaded the Imperium's finest until Eisenhorn's party had chanced upon a cult ritual on Thracian Primaris some years before. At first it had been hard to figure out what they were doing - even Aemos was at a loss, but Willow's brainpower had come through in the end. It explained a lot; not only how chaos seemed to spread like a virus, but also how the apparently incorruptible could turn to the dark powers overnight; the prime example of this being Brother Arkio of the Blood Angels space marine chapter; a traitor inquisitor had - unbeknownst to the marine and his chapter - implanted a seed of chaos deep in the marine's mind, which eventually led to a massive religious civil war inside the chapter itself.
But this was a little different.
"Dormant? Most perturbatory…" Aemos' catchphrase made an appearance.
"Yeah, it's like…totally contained. I mean it's not just in the early stages - we've seen that before, it's actually completely kinda barred-in by something. Like whoever put it there didn't want it to manifest."
Eisenhorn, peering into the remnants of the beast's dead mind could just see the vague outline of the seed, but the mind was decaying fast, and there was very little left to see. In the next hour or so it would vanish completely.
"Is there anything else you can tell me?" Eisenhorn asked her.
"It's…there's some sort of psychic booby trap in there. Hence the ouch." Willow pulled herself up with the help of Aemos. "I think I pulled out just in time - I sensed something was wrong and got out of there as fast as I could, but I guess I still caught the backwash. I think if I'd stayed there a second longer I'd probably be dead."
Eisenhorn toyed with the idea of doing a full mind-dissection, but to rush it so would most likely result in somebody's death if the booby trap was as powerful as it seemed. No, the corpse was as good as useless to them now for anything other than physiological study.
"So…we have the dead carcass of a crossbreed of two of mankind's most vicious alien enemies that has a booby trapped dormant seed of chaos in its mind."
"Another day at the goddamned office, then." Betancore now stood in the doorway, disgust evident on his face.
"We need to research this. We need to know three things: how this was done, who did it, and why it was done. Make that four - we also need to know if the responsible party has the capability to create more of these."
"I would have thought the why was pretty obvious." Betancore observed from the door.
"Not necessarily, I mean, why booby trap it? It's not like anyone's gonna get the chance to remove it, right? It'd probably kill you before you before you got close enough." Willow pointed out.
"Indeed. But what worries me the most is who we're dealing with here. None of the three groups involved here would ever work together. No-one's ever been able to initiate any sort of co-operative dialogue with the Tyranids, the Orks are frankly too damned stupid to come up with something like this, and as for the forces of chaos..." - Eisenhorn paused - "They could well be twisted enough to come up with something like this. But the question is: who exactly out of the uncountable masses of heretics in the sector are we dealing with?"
"What makes you think they're from this sector? They could be from further afield," Betancore noted.
Aemos adjusted his glasses a little. "This beast is most probably a newborn - little more than a few days old, I would guess from the state of its anatomy. I would put large sums of money on a bet that this creature was created on this planet. If I were a gambling man, that is. The shortness of the limbs, the relative bluntness of the claws all indicate a short lifespan so far, which is more than likely due to-"
"Enough, Aemos. If it's been created on-planet, I want to know who and where it came from as soon as possible. Midas, get Fischig; you two and Rosenberg are going back to where we found this damnable creature and scout around the neighbourhood. Anything looking like chaotic cult activity, I want to know about it. Bequin, you, Aemos and I are going to pay a visit to the local Arbites to see if they've had any reports of anything similar in the area; but we'll be going undercover. No symbols of office displayed, please. I don't want an army of Arbites destroying our only link to whoever created this abomination. As adept as they are at their job, I get the feeling the locals are a little heavy-handed. Let's go." He turned to Willow. "Are you up to this?"
"I'm fine, just a slight knock to the head. Had plenty of those," Willow reassured him.
Eisenhorn would have smiled if his face permitted it. "Good. Look after Fischig, I think one of the hyrids got a good swipe at him earlier, but he's trying to hide it. I'll see you back here later." With that he checked the clip in his autopistol, reholstered it, and followed Bequin and Aemos out of the cargo bay door and into the inky black night of Araganon V.