Brother Atrius stalked along the side of the dark street. Physical light was scarce this deep into the under-hive, the Emperor's light was even scarcer. He kept the hood of his bone white cloak high up over his head, casting a shadow over his face darker than any part of this hellhole might be. From that shadow he looked out with cold, calculating eyes, searching right and left, studying each disfigured inhabitant of the wretched place with disgust. But they were not why he was here. The man he was looking for, the Traitor, he would be obvious among people like these. As Brother Atrius passed each pitiful excuse for a human, he watched their reaction to his presence. One elderly man, propped against a cane for support, averted his eyes from Atrius and stood staring at the broken ground, trying to find something interesting to hold his attention until the stranger had passed him by. Atrius stopped in front of the old man, towering at least two feet above the bent and crippled figure, but the man did not look up into the blackness beneath the hood.
'Where is he?' demanded Atrius in a powerful commanding voice. 'I....I don't know what you mean.' replied the old man shakily, still not daring to look up at the titanic being before him. Atrius could smell the sweet scent of fear, even without his genetically altered senses.
'Really?' asked Atrius. 'I wonder what our Interrogator Chaplains would make of that?' The Old man suddenly opened his eyes wide, but his attention remained firmly fixed on the floor. Tears of fear began to build up in those wide eyes, as he stuttered out 'Please I know nothing, in the name of the Emperor I swear'
'You have no right to swear in the name of the Emperor!' Atrius spat, drawing his pistol and aiming it at the man's head. 'Please' the old man looked up into the shadow covering Atrius' face, looking for some eyes into which he could beg for mercy, but finding only that blackness he would find within his own soul. 'Forgive me.'
Atrius knew what was happening. He had felt it stirring around him, the violence growing like a cancer amongst the people. Pre-meditated violence! He took a step back from the old man, who collapsed from fear and exhaustion, whimpering on the floor. Atrius took a slow glance first to his left, then his right, and watched the mob coming closer, surrounding him, each of them wielding weapons from crude clubs to old lasguns. The Traitor had no doubt organised this.
Atrius reared up to his full height, able to see over the heads of everyone around him. He saw a few hesitate for a moment, but the time for intimidation was over. With his right hand he tightened his grip around the cold, hard steel of his pistol. His trigger finger tensed, but he kept the gun aimed at the floor, for the moment. His left hand slowly reached up to the comm system by his right ear, careful not to startle those closing around him. Depressing a small button on the device, liquid metal ran down his cheek from his ear, settling a small distance in front of his mouth. He gave one last look at the growing mob around him; waiting until the clubs were raised high, the guns pointed at him. A tingle ran down his spine. But he was not afraid, for with a single word he could kill these men, these heretics of the Imperium, these who opposed the passage of one of the Emperor's elite. He uttered that word.
The very air around him exploded into blue-white lightning, throwing several of the closest men back into the crowd. Shots were fired into the growing dust in an attempt to hit Atrius, or to prevent whatever was coming from getting any closer, but the shots simply ricocheted outwards. To Atrius, it was as though five white angels had stepped forth from the clouds of heaven to save him. To those that stood in his way, they were confronted by five raging daemons, spawned from the fiery depths of hell to end their meaningless existences. The angel's guns roared their fury into the bodies of those around them, shells exploding from within, severing limbs and reducing bodies to waste, turning the badly kept road into a river of blood, clogging the drains with torn flesh and ripped organs.
Only once the mob was annihilated did the dust start to die down, and as it did Atrius saw the emblem of the Deathwing. It filled him with pride beyond all measure, but even as the pride filled him, the shame grew greater still. He lowered his head, heavy with the guilt, and as he did so he saw the crumpled old man in front of him whimpering quietly on the floor. I must remove this stain upon our honour. He picked up the man by the throat and threw him against the wall of his home, holding him there several feet from the ground.
'Now! Where is the traitor? And remember, whatever he has threatened to do' Atrius drew his face so close he could feel the man's hurried breaths, 'We can do worse.'
The old man seemed to see the error in his ways, and began crying hysterically. He looked up at Atrius and spoke, 'I I don't know. He left down the south road and we haven't seen him since.'
'A few days ago! I can't be sure.' His eyes again returned to the floor.
Atrius paused a moment, taking in the information, thinking about his Chapter soon being one step closer to redemption. He closed his eyes and wondered how great the Dark Angels would truly be. But then he returned his attention the man, the man that had helped and aided one of the Fallen. 'Repent, for you have earned swift death.'
'Forgive me please!' begged the man, trying to save himself. But even as he pleaded, he knew that not even the Emperor could grant him life now.
Atrius gave no reply other than the suppressed report of his pistol aimed at point blank range at the man's head. Releasing his grip on the corpse's throat, the body slipped down the wall crumpling in an unnatural heap at the bottom of a wide crimson streak.
Standing over the body, Brother Atrius stared down the southern road for several seconds contemplating their next move. The smooth whirring of Terminator armour drew his attention to the Deathwing, now surrounding him loosely in a defensive formation. He looked up at the mask of the sergeant. 'Thank you, Brother Sergeant Markus. It would seem that our prey knows we are coming.'
'Indeed. Perhaps it would be wise for my squad to remain with you. These were the last' Brother Markus took a look at what was left around him and decided to finish the sentence in the loosest possible way, 'people that he was in contact with. There should be little reason to try and maintain a low profile now.'
Brother Atrius nodded. Still, he stared down the road, wondering how much further they would have to go before the Fallen would have his chance to repent. He looked around him at the Deathwing, 'Let's go, Brothers.' The six Dark Angels moved quickly in the direction that the now deceased old man had pointed them in. The road narrowed, twisting through blackened and charred industrial complexes that had ceased to be of use decades or centuries before. Atrius couldn't help but see the irony that this place should be where the fallen Angel would make his last stand for he too was twisted and blackened, and he too had ceased to be of use centuries before. The steel nerves of the Deathwing were teetering on the brink of breaking. The very future of their chapter rested so heavily on the success of this mission. Failure to capture the Fallen was unacceptable, yet still the possibility was at the forefront of their minds. After a short time, the road began branching off into numerous paths; only one would be their path to redemption.
As the Dark Angels stood looking around them, studying their options in silent meditative thought, faint noises echoed around the deserted complexes. Atrius almost dismissed them as animals until his enhanced senses picked up a sound incredibly faint, but identifiable as a human voice. He looked around quickly and saw from the acknowledgement that the Deathwing had also heard them. Markus paused a moment, then with the help of his Terminator suit's auto-senses he pinpointed the sound's origin through the echoes. 'Over there.' He said. Atrius followed the gaze of the emotionless, glowing red eyes of the Terminator mask, and saw a large hangar made up more from rust than metal. The old signs were stained red with rust, and had been distorted by ancient gunfights, but still they informed the few who cared that this had once been a tank production facility long ago. He looked back at the Deathwing sergeant, and said, 'You should wait here Brothers. I think it would be wise to know what is in there before we commit ourselves. It may just be local inhabitants scavenging, in which case I will question them, without your presence being necessary.'
'And if it is Him?' asked Brother Uriel.