Striding through the walkways of the Devil’s Due, Ajax and Kade parted the ocean of newly acquired workforce around them, headed to the gathered troops in the assembly area. An Imperial Colonel and the ship’s Captain respectively, drew cries of, “officers on deck,” followed by the clatter of tools and plates.
Kade, clad in his black layered carapace armor and furred cape, nodded to each group of saluting workers. His trademark Tri-Lock bolter pistols holstered at his sides. Next to him trod the armored figure of Ajax, whose armor’s polished cleanliness was in very stark contrast to the dirty grim encrusted face, which nodded in time with the Captain’s. The helmet rested in his left hand and a large tome dangled by a chain from his belt.
The pair marched down the long winding corridors in silence, until they came to a stop in front of a closed hatch. The words ‘firing range,’ stenciled above the door way. Kade looked up at his power armored companion, “no better time the present.”
Ajax nodded, “Emperor, protect us.”
With a chuckle, Kade activated the door’s opening mechanism. The familiar shout of, “officers on deck,” reverberated up and down the immense section of ship. A single slam of boot heels and rifle butts drowned out the echoing command. A smirk crossed Ajax’s face as he and the captain crossed the room to the front. Ajax watched the platoons out of the corner or his eyes, never turning to look. ‘They are well drilled, but too green. Hex and I will have to work double time to get them up to fighting strength.’ Thought Ajax.
Hex and her adjunct vox-master Major Drake stood at attention as they approached. Hex officer’s uniform displaying proudly the rankings of a Lieutenant Colonel, several campaign badges, and multiple metals of valor. Her years of fighting experience and the trust the men have in her, will be a great aid in getting these boys in shape. Assuming Kade can leave her alone to let her do her duties that is. The man to her side seemed a bit too small for his equipment as the master vox caster appeared to envelop his body. Yet even though he was outsized, he did not waiver in his salute or cringe from exertion.
Kade was a good man, perhaps a bit on the crooked side, but one of the few remaining individuals that Ajax could turn to. He was someone untouched by the underhanded Inquisitor Dagger, and in that they shared a commonality. Though born worlds apart, the months under Inquisitorial Duty had brought them to trust one another.
Just a few feet from Hex, Ajax and Kade came to a halt saluting the Lieutenant Colonel and Major, before turning to face their assembled audience of over 2000. The majority of the current workers and security forces had been pulled from the local Imperial Guard forces. Many of which made requests for positions in security.
Few of them however, had been in space beyond simple the transition between planets, and fewer still had combat experience in it. With Kade’s assistance, Hex and Ajax would run mach battles across different parts of the ship. That would simulate the tight confines of ship combat.
Kade and Ajax saluted the mass of soldiers standing before them. Hex, lifting the nearby vox-reciever, shouted “Regiment! Parade, rest!” The men simultaneously shifted into a more comfortable stance, using their gun to aid standing. It looked a bit odd to Ajax, but putting it off as other world military custom. Their timing was spot on however, and if Hex was to blame for it, she’ll deserve congratulations.
Dropping his salute Ajax gave a Kade a slight nod. With a smirk Kade stepped forward, and took the outstretched vox-reciever. With the wit and finesse of a veteran salesman, Kade whipped up the spirits of the men. Ajax stood silently and listened to Kade’s carefully played words. As inspiring and profound as Ajax had become, Kade’s silver tongue could run laps around him.
Kade finished his speech and a cheer burst from the soldiers. As the sergeants became choking out the revelry, Ajax took the receiver. “Wonderful speech my friend.”
“It better have been. I had to spend the whole trip here from the bridge, just coming up with it.” The two chuckled as Kade retreated to his post.
Clad in white power armor that glistened in the ship light, Ajax panned across the mass. He gently set his ceramite helmet upon the stand behind which he stood. “Men of the Devil’s Due. I, as you know, am Colonel Ajax, and although I recognize only a few among you. I will make it my duty to learn of each and every soldier that is under my command. To the point were I know you by face.”
“We are warriors of the Emperor and we are his mailed fist. I have fought on more battlefields and planets then I care to count. I have battled xenos, heretics, and witches. The Emperor has been my light and my guide. He has seen me through many a battle in which many good men have died. He to will see you through the battles you will fight in his name!”
“Hate is my sword and faith my shield. Know these words and live by them! Give no quarter for heretic or xenos, for doing so will only bring about ruin. Take the word of the Emperor to heart. Join me in prayer.” Returning the receiver and gripping the tome that hung to his side, Ajax opened it with practiced grace and held it face up to the heavens as though in offering. Ajax bowed his head as he spoke.
Although the tome was thrice the size of his hand, the power armor carried it as though it was nothing.
“Oh eternal Emperor,
who alone watches us,
and rules the tides and storms,
be compassionate to your servants,
preserve us from the perils of the warp,
that we may be safeguard to the domain of men!”
His unassisted voice bellowed out across the sea of bowed helmets.
After a moment of internal prayer Ajax returned the book to his side and took the receiver. “Amen.” A smattering of ‘amens,’ filtered up to him as he stood silently until most everyone had finished. “You are warriors of mankind and you are blessed by His vigil. The task ahead of all of us will be a difficult one and you’re skills and faith will be put to the test. Enemies of the emperor have infiltrated the Hive World of Scintilla. Their presence on such a world could wreck havoc among the population of not only that world but all surrounding systems. The Emperor is watching over us even as we speak. The traitor’s ship has been captured by local PDF forces. If your faith is strong all of you will see through this crisis that we face.”
Forming the Aquila across his chest and bowing towards the troops, “The Emperor protects!” The regiment returned the gesture as one.
Without much more formality Ajax returned to Kade, helmet in hand. As the two began to leave he motioned for Hex to follow. There’s much they needed to do.
“Get them back on training schedule, Major,” said Hex as she turned to follow Kade and Ajax.
“Should we tell the troops, that the ship had already made planet fall?” Kade questioned.
Ajax shook his head, “no, they’ll need their zeal. I’ll inform the officers of that fact and we’ll have to deal with it accordingly. How long will it take for you to acquire additional weaponry for the men? I know of some men that I can form into strike teams.”
“Not too long, I just have to make contact with the family and transfer the appropriate funds. Then it’s just a matter of delivery.”
“Excellent, lets hope it’s as easy as you make it sound. Hex, follow me we’ve some soldiers to train and plans to attend to.”