Promotion 000.310 M42
High resolution images project onto Little Horus Aximand's eyes. Twenty-four hours of hiding deep within a communication array on Solar Mariatus had revealed a rush of disquieting data. His brother had been defeated, and captured.
The images lighting up before him of yesterday's events were rerunning for the hundredth time. The ancient hadn't taken a break from observing, scanning and scrutinizing each digital detail. There had to be an opening; Ogryns were not known for their strategic genius.
A humpbacked human scuttles forward offering up a small device. Little Horus takes it from the wretch, waving it away. His giant hand thumbs a button that seems all too small on the side of the device. A screen comes to life with a chime, and presents a short count down. After a moment the screen shows an image of a small microphone. Aximand speaks at the device, "Live transmit, fleet Solar Mariatus, Vengeful Spirit, bridge 3A, Admiral Dovid Koresh, connect."
To the human crop raised deep within the Imperium's bosom these halls would be a horrifying, soul squashing ordeal, but Admiral Dovid Koresh belonged here. Like his parents, and their serf parents before them, he had spent his entire life dwelling within the great ship's hull; escaping only for short stretches to make war against the enemies of his dread-lords.
The sixth of eight monitors at his command station stopped what it was doing; marquee text read 'begin transmission'. His heart turns to promethium. Where before the screen had been displaying a great many gauges, and vector graphs, it now displayed a crystal clear image of the Lord Ravager, Admiral of the Black Fleet himself.
"Master Horus!", he manages through a throat paralyzed by a sudden case of anaphylaxis.
Aximand peers into the hololithic image produced by the device with ebony eyes. The visage of a human wearing a blue mask ghosts before him. "Ah, greetings my blue faced friend", he says. "How have your wounds from oh-one-thirty-eight mended?"
The hololithic man talks back at him, "The true gods look after their flock. It would seem that I am favoured among their keep."
Aximand laughs. "Yes!", he says, "It would seem that you are. In fact much more so than you know."
Dovid's monitor stares back at him with unknowable intent. It makes him deeply uncomfortable; he likens the feeling to not knowing whether a charging mongrel intends to lick his face, or clamp down on his life seeds.
"Are you aware of yesterday's events at the hive cities?"
"Yes master. Terrible what happened. Their leaders will feast on buckets of dogshit whilst we drown their cities in blood", he says.
"That's the spirit!", he said. The not-so-little Little Horus considered for a moment, and then he spoke. "I've heard stories of you. The serfs talk about about how you managed to slew an Eldar Farseer in hand-to-hand combat."
His hair stands on end. The fact that his master had heard of his exploits swells his pride.
"And I have not forgotten how you conducted yourself on oh-one-thirty-eight. You behaved admirably. Even caught on flat feet you retained control over your nerves. More importantly you reigned in your fleeing men", he says.
Dovid Koresh stares back from behind his mask. "My blue faced friend, what I am trying to unceremoniously convey to you," he continued, "is that I am promoting you. I pronounce you Arch-demagogue. Serf Master of our flagship."
Dovid tries to muster a reply, but nothing comes.
"However, there are some serious tasks that need seeing-to."
"I am listening, master", he says.
"First, I need all reserve battle brothers to make planetfall on my position. The imperial dog known as Slab is mobilizing, and he has our fearless leader in-tow. If he doesn't come to us, we will go to him. After you have forwarded my coordinates to all battle brothers I will need you to gather your closest, most trusted underlings. Gather them in one place, and form a cadre."
"A cadre?", he asks incredulously.
"Yes, and give them a decorative title. It can be anything. Dub them 'The Enforcers'. They'll like that. Send them into the underbelly of the ship to rouse all able bodied humans for field practicals. You will be making planet fall Dovid; you're going to need a full company. Recruit some men with actual field experience, and use them to marshal the rabble."
The hologram stares back exhibiting no emotion. "Are you following me Dovid? The situation is growing desperate down here, and it is imperative that you understand what I am conveying to you."
"I follow, master", he says.
"Good. I'm going to forward a security key, and an STC file to you. Use the security key to parlay with the Warpsmiths, and have them direct all manufactory power towards building the STC file I'm sending. It seems to be a an ancient yet powerful variant of the common Leman Russ; good for trench warfare, and defense I suspect. Have your regiment outfitted with as many of these battle tanks as possible.", he says.
"Any thing else master?", Koresh asks.
"Indeed, I'll need you to relay yesterday's events back to Urkrathos on Kasr Partox. He needs to understand that the Crimson Path has come to something of a halt here on Solar Mariatus", he says.
"Your will be done, master"
Arch-demagogue, he quite liked the sound of that.