Narthax Gets His Man

(As told by Aristarchus the Seer)

"I don't want you to get the impression that every single mission you are going to go on is going to be filled with blood, las blasts, and carnage. Not every mission is like that, and not all of them go horribly wrong either. The reality of life in the Inquisition is that you will all likely spend far more of your time traveling from place to place, following up leads that don't pan out in the end or researching in dusty archives or spending months or even years establishing cover identities - many of which will never be used for anything. Protecting the Imperium isn't entirely glamorous, and sometimes it is downright tedious and boring.

Of course, telling the tale of how we spent three years going through Mechanicus maintenance records trying to find a lost Warhound Titan, or the memorable 18 months we spend as dung traders in the fungus farms under Scintilla trying to locate a member of the Administratum who had absconded with Imperial funds would just as likely put you to sleep as teach you anything. Still, sometimes it is that plodding, methodical approach that pays off in the end. And that's exactly the sort of activity that Narthax is best at.

Our master had sent us to Tranch on the trail of an assassin who had killed a Quaesitor. It was a tenuous, cold lead - one of about a dozen unlikely possibilities that needed to be checked out. This was long before the Tranch war broke out, and the planet was a bustling industrial hive world, and we had very little to go on. A description that might or might not be relevant, a few known personal habits that might or might not have been affectations, some knowledge of the assassin's biological modifications gleaned from the manner of the killing and the scene of the murder, and little else.

At the time we were about at our lowest ebb as a team. Nobody liked anyone else. I thought Skane was a cold-blooded psychopath, Narthax was still furious at being assigned to the Inquisition in the first place, Astrid thought we were wasting our time and hated Tranch and everything to do with the mission, Thakka was twitchy and bored - a feral world killer with no skills for investigation on a hive world. Only Torqq seemed happy - and that was mainly because he had no useful skills either, and so got to spend all his time attending services with the city Tech Priests. Plus, he had been put in charge so he got to order the rest of us around. After six months none of us were even speaking to one another and after a year we barely even saw one another anymore. The only reason we were still there, so I thought, was that Torqq didn't want to go back to report failure.

I was saving the throne gelt to buy a ticket back to Scintilla, and Thakka told me later that she had started stalking Torqq, when Narthax voxes us all one day and asks for a meeting. We all grudgingly show up, and there at our safehouse is Narthax - with the assassin all wrapped in shipping foam from the neck down and boxed up for transit! Neeless to say, we were suprised (and in my case thrilled) that we had cracked the case, caught the traitor, and could get off Tranch, but we were also a bit curious to say the least, Narthax not being the sort of person we would have expected to catch a rogue assassin single handed. I can still remember that arrogant, superior, snide tone in his voice as he explained how he did it.

He had gotten into the records of all of the hives and hab units on the planet and had started running an analysis trace on the water and air systems, looking for specific chemicals released by the assassin's altered metabolism. That took him six months. Once he had narrowed down the area he needed to search he did a second round of analysis on the amount and rate of the chemical release to get an idea of the assassin's height, weight, and activity level. That took another four months. Once he had that he cross-indexed the activity levels with that of various professions in the area where the assassin was, came up with a list of the various businesses and manufactories that fit the activity level, accessed their personnel files, and got a list of personnel of the correct height and weight. That took another month and a half. He got into the hive maintenance records and sent servitors to check the air and water quality at each residence, and located where the assassin was hiding. That took a week. Then he got into the Adeptus Arbites file system, got the security information for that residence, and hired some servitors from a local shipping firm. He had the assassin stumm gassed, then had the servitors wrap him up and deliver him!

I think that most of us couldn't decide whether to thank Narthax as our savior, or shoot him for doing all this behind our backs. Torqq was furious of course, since Narthax had infiltrated Adeptus Mechanicus file systems, and Astrid wasn't pleased that he had co-opted Arbites security. But after a lot of yelling and accusations and recriminations and complaints things finally settled down enough that I could as the question that was on all our minds - why hadn't Narthax asked for our help in catching the assassin?

Narthax smiled when I asked him that - and I think that was the first time I ever saw him smile.

"Because you are all IDIOTS!" he replied, "This is understood!"

Thakka whooped and tackled him, then we all got very drunk, and things got better after that.

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