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  1. - Top - End - #241
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    "Need a bit of muscle for your sneaky scheme?" Annie asked Phaella?
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  2. - Top - End - #242
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeSwordfish View Post
    "Need a bit of muscle for your sneaky scheme?" Annie asked Phaella?
    Thanks for offering, but the plan kinda calls for being alone. I'm being 'vulnerable'. The quotation marks apparent from her tone, though obviously, I'm literally putting myself at risk. I do doubt, however, they'd try anything physically harmful - since I've made myself seem like a harmless, useful fool.

    I hope for either an opening from someone who wants out from Arcturos' gang - someone who thinks I'm safe to approach, easy to use ... or someone who tries to drag information out of me.

    Which, by the way, leads me to another detail: If an opportunity for misinformation presents itself - any suggestions what I should say? It's possible we'll manage to throw off their preparation for court if they think we're on an entirely different track.

  3. - Top - End - #243
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    Mouse bows her head, properly chastised by her Mistress' words. "Of course, My Lady. I won't pursue it further." She says, voice a little quiet. She lets Phaedra speak a bit as she considers her own course of action before speaking up once more to the Inquisitor. "My lady? Is there a way we can check to see if he made any astropath messages to see if he requested any assistance from other Ordos on his way to Landunder? I do feel we need to start asking why he was there hunting such a creature, let alone why he has a history with it. I imagine such transcripts, if any are kept, would be well above any sort of clearance we might obtain however."

  4. - Top - End - #244
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    When the meeting concludes, Phaella will go do her thing, as planned - and as described below. I don't know if everyone is done with the meeting or not, but now I'm getting the feeling that everyone is waiting for me, while I'm waiting for everyone else. This pattern may extend onwards into infinity.

    Furthermore, once I've made this post, I will proceed to finally rebuild Phaella's sheet, something I still have not gotten around to deliver on.

    I'm unsure, however, if I can even find her original rolls again?! I suppose they must be in the recruitment thread.


    Once the meeting with Valle is over, Phaella goes execute her plan for a nice bit of work on the balcony, in the sun. She goes unarmed and unarmored, trusting that she's left the opposition with the impression that she's harmless - someone it would be overreacting to attack, but maybe someone who could be useful.

    She brings along an entire pile of slates, carefully groomed to hold surface level intel - stuff that shows she's been looking, and that she's not entirely incompetent, but nothing that reveals how much we've managed to dig up, or what our plans are.

    She will put in a couple of hours of work, 'finalising her preparations' for the big trial. She'll bring along coffee.

    The very image of innocence, just waiting to be taken advantage of.

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    How much XP did we have? 4400? Is that way off?
    Last edited by Kaptin Keen; 2017-09-01 at 04:34 AM.

  5. - Top - End - #245
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    "Astropathic communiques are difficult to track, if both the source and destination are unknown." Valle stated. "Any calls he made to the palace could be easily checked, but finding others is less simple. Further, it is the duty of all Inquisitors to seek out and destroy threats to the Imperium. I cannot fault the desire to thwart a daemon, it is Arcturos' other heresies with which I take issue. It is not unusual for Inquisitors to come up against enemies outside the general purview of their Ordo. Multiple examples are on record. Though..." Something inside Valle's body clicked softly, and servos whirred as she shifted. "You do not have clearance for those records." Silence followed, the Inquisitor watching them with empty porcelain eyes. "Dismissed, if there is nothing further."

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    The balconies, at first, appeared to be empty. Stepping outside, however, Phaella was not surprised to see someone leaning on the railing to the side, half-watching the archway. It was a man, rather short, wearing an old and rather worn gray suit. He looked a bit like a clerk, the sort found in countless Administratum departments across the Imperium.

    "Beautiful view from up here," he said without turning to look at her. Indeed it was quite striking, looking out over Scintilla's broad oceans. It was clear out, a rare day on the capital world, but even if it hadn't been the balcony was equipped with a field generator to keep out weather and, Phaella suspected, prying eyes from below.
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  6. - Top - End - #246
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    Phaella has her various data slates, notes and other tools and props in a sling bag over her shoulder. She makes a show of convincing herself everything is safe in there, before joining the stranger at the railing.

    It's a wonderful view. I figured it would be - I was planning to do a bit of work here, just go over a few notes. I brought coffee,
    but sadly, only one cup.
    Then, as she retrieves the thermos from her bag, she looks at it - almost as if surprised, or only now remembering, oh wait - the cap serves as a cup, if you want?

    Mentally, of course, she's matching the man against her memory: Who is this, now?!

  7. - Top - End - #247
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    "No, thank you. I prefer to avoid stimulants."

    Phaella searched her memory. This man wasn't one of the Inquisitors in her file, and given the location he had to be Inquisition. That made him an acolyte, or a functionary. He had the sort of face that was eminently forgettable, but he did look familiar. Had she seen his pict, recently? He could have been a lot of people, but if she narrowed it down to specifically people known to be on Arcturos' side of the fence, the most likely possibility that emerged is that this was Morbent, Arcturos' mysterious party member of the many many weapons.
    Last edited by Destro_Yersul; 2017-09-03 at 06:01 AM.
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  8. - Top - End - #248
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    Oh, thought Phaella. Well, replying on a strategy of seeming harmless does have certain weaknesses, especially against competent opposition who might not be easily fooled. But .. surely, he wont resort to outright murder. Hopefully.

    Outwardly unworried, Phaella pours herself a cup, turns her face towards the sun and enjoys it's warmth for a moment.

    I'm Phaella, by the way. Recently transferred here from Malfi, to look over the ... legal side of the Valle/Arcturos thing. I almost assume you've heard of it, it seems to be all over this place.

  9. - Top - End - #249
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    "It rather does, doesn't it? News of the hour, I suppose." The man did not give his own name. "You're from Malfi, then? I know a few people from there."
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  10. - Top - End - #250
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    *Gulp!*

    Really? Malfi is such an interesting place. Clearly, working as Legate Investigator was a double edged sword - making friends on one side, and enemies on the other. But that really is the Malfian Dance, isn't it?

    So who is it you know?


    Despite a sudden and unexpected case of the chills, Phaella is utterly calm. Perhaps the calm of a deer caught in the headlights. But calm none the less.

    Meanwhile - unarmed - she struggles to formulate a plan, considering that she came unarmed. Perhaps distract him, and tip him off the balcony?!

  11. - Top - End - #251
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    The man nodded. "Friends on one side, enemies on the other, and the main trick, of course, is telling which is which. Who I know isn't important, but maybe what side they're on is."

    He seemed relaxed. It was hard to tell if that was because he was relaxed, or because he was very good at being ready without looking ready.

    "I have a question for you," he said, suddenly. "What do you think is more important? The letter of the law, or the spirit of it?"
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  12. - Top - End - #252
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    An interesting question. And like most of the good ones, it has more than one answer.

    Personally, I'd say the spirit of the law is what you should adhere to. But that's just it: A personal opinion. It's what you need to do to look yourself in the mirror. Make some sort of amalgam of the requirement of the law, and the requirement of your own conscience.

    The law doesn't care about that. It cares about the letter, first and foremost.

    And then - especially as it relates to Malfi - there is a third answer.


  13. - Top - End - #253
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    "Hm." The man considered her answer for a moment before replying.

    "Maybe that's the way the law should be. In my experience, door number three is the most likely option. With Old Stoneface presiding, though, there's not too many you can bribe. My personal opinion, though, it lines up about the same as yours. You do what you think is right, what has to be done. Then you hope you can face yourself when you come out the other end of whatever meat grinder the galaxy has dor you today."

    He walked towards the doorway leading off the balcony, brushing past Phaella as he left. "You know it's funny," he said as he left, "that one of the Inquisition's colours is black. Personally, I think it should be grey."

    With that as his parting remark, he was gone. When Phaella next checked her bag, she found that a couple of the dataslates were missing.
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  14. - Top - End - #254
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    Grey indeed, remarks Phaella. When she checks her bag, 'panic' strikes her, and she runs from the balcony into the corridor, making sure she's slow enough that the stranger has plenty of time to get away. As she returns, she keeps a smile off her face as she thinks to herself: Have fun with that, friends.

  15. - Top - End - #255
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    Chapter Two: Throwing Stones

    When the time came for the Conclave to begin, Valle sent for the acolytes. They were met at the door to their apartments by a minor functionary in flat black robes. He led them through the palace, making no small talk along the way. When they reached the Conclave hall, they were directed to a group of seats near the back. The hall was a vast, dimly lit thing, concentric rings of seats rising up towards the unseen walls somewhere behind them. The only lights in the room were down near the bottom, where a small podium with a microphone had been placed to allow one person to speak to everyone assembled. Primarily, of course, they were speaking to Argus Stone. The Lord Inquisitor was not yet seated when the acolytes entered; by long tradition, he would be the last to arrive. The first was Valle, who did not sit in the rows directly above the microphone podium, those designated for presiding members of full Inquisitor status. As the Accuser, Valle had her own special seat, but when the Conclave began the lady Inquisitor would open it with her formal denunciation, and so for now she remained standing, down next to the podium, as the other Inquisitors filed in. One wondered if she could get tired.

    The lower Inquisitors all entered at once, alone. There were six of them, the members of the Calixian Conclave who were near enough and free enough when the call went out to make it in time to attend. Technically there were others above them, but aside from the presiding Lord Inquisitor, none of them were expected to make it. The seat reserved for Lord Caidan was typically empty, as even were the notoriously secretive head of the High Council present, he would never have taken the seat known to be reserved for him alone. The others gave this seat a wide berth, settling into the first row above the podium. Phaella, of course, knew all of their names. There was Inquisitor Helm, who they had met on the first day, with her hair done up and her shotgun at her side. She looked like she expected a fight to break out at any moment. Next to her was Inquisitor Carthus, who had changed into a more subdued dark grey suit for the occasion, abandoning his rich jackets and lacy cravats in the name of ceremony. Stanford was there, in his uniform, sitting upright and scanning the room left to right and back again, over and over, never looking at one thing for long. On the left, an Inquisitor in Judge's armour was sitting talking to a long-haired man in a leather jacket and waxed mustache. Next to them, and looking none too happy about it, was a rather short Inquisitor wearing round spectacles. He was wearing formal robes and a gilded reliquary, and looked very much like a cross between a preacher and a scholar. Somewhat anomalously, his weapon of choice appeared to be a large halberd, its blade stylised to look like the wing of a large bird.

    Once the Inquisitors were seated, Arcturos entered, hands in his pockets and cloth-wrapped sword at his belt, striding nonchalantly up the aisle towards the defendant's box. He bowed theatrically to Valle as he passed her, taking his seat and folding his arms. His acolytes weren't with him; Mouse managed to pick them out of the small crowd of retainers and hangers-on who were seated in the rest of the the hall after several minutes of looking. They'd been spread out, instead of sitting together. The unobtrusive man from Landunder was the hardest to find, but eventually he was spotted near the back on the far side of the room, standing with folded arms and watching the party. Lastly, Argus Stone entered, taking his seat at the center of the other presiding Inquisitors. He made a short call to order, checked to see everyone was sitting, and gave the floor to Valle. The Conclave had begun.

    The Lady Valle's verbal attack on Arcturos opened with an account of the Investigations she had undertaken to determine Arcturos' culpability in heresy. Some of these were familiar to Cell Sigma, their own cell being the one that had carried them out. The relatively brief section detailling what had been found on Klybo was enough to bring back some very unpleasant memories for everyone who had been there. Mira's death, the trail of Malfian bounty hunters and documents initialled RA, everything was there. Some things the party hadn't heard about; Valle had been busy, assigning other cells to related investigations. Klybo, Sepheris Secundus and Landunder had not been the only pies with Arcturos' finger in them. According to Valle, many recent incidents of research into heretical xenotechnology had been linked to the Inquisitor. The speech went on, and on, as these things typically did, lapsing into rhetoric on more than one occasion. Through the whole thing, Valle's mechanical voice droned emotionless. When she was finished, she looked up at the acolytes in the stands.

    "Here to provide additional evidence, I have Cell Sigma. Acolytes, to the floor."
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  16. - Top - End - #256
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    For this occasion, finally, Phaella has done away with the illusion of being harmless, and comes instead in her splendid and very visibly custom crafted carapace armor. Over her shoulder, muzzle down, hangs a state-of-the-art autogun, targeter attached. When called, she moves center stage with the rest.

  17. - Top - End - #257
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    Mouse, unlike Phaella, felt that it was perhaps unsightly to be armed within the middle of a chamber with so many high ranking Inquisitors, but at the very least she still had her wit. She wore her favored white bodyglove, and while she only had half a head of hair, she'd taken the time to brush it and get it looking nice as that half went down to her shoulder. Once she is in the middle of the floor, she gives a deep bow towards those passing judgement. "Lords and Ladies, we are the members of Cell Sigma." She explains when the others finally reach her side as well before going into introductions, naming all of the others before finishing with her own name. "We are here to serve."

  18. - Top - End - #258
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    "Wotcher." Annie said, when Mouse mentioned her. Annie hadn't willingly gone unarmed in years, and was wearing her full panoply of weapons now. She paused, though, letting one of the experts do the talking.
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    I fear this is where our esteemed game master expects us, the players to collect and present the evidence our characters have brought to light. And I sadly fail to have any sort of coherent grasp. I know there were xenomorph battlebeasts, and xenos artefacts, and secret bases and shady business - but I just don't have the top-down on it =(

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    Joss, too, was armed and armored, though he had left his bow and quiver back in their rooms. He wore his sword and an assorment of knives, as well as a flickbow, all mostly hidden under his armored robes. Most obviously, and oddly similarly to one of the Inquisitors, he carried a halbered in the shape of a great black wing. When he is mentioned by Mouse, he bows deeply to the Inquisitors.
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  21. - Top - End - #261
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    "Cell Sigma has been instrumental in the investigations against Inquisitor Arcturos," Valle said to the Conclave, as the acolytes stood at attention behind her. Briefly, the Inquisitor listed the investigations headed by Sigma, and then, with a glance at Mouse... "as well as some additional research. There is a small matter that must be resolved. Inquisitor Stone, I request that the Conclave require Inquisitor Arcturos to present his sword."

    Arcturos, for the first time, raised an eyebrow. He'd likely not expected this avenue of attack. Clearing his throat, he sat up straight in his box, his hand straying to the sword at his belt. "An unusual request, Lady Valle."

    "Unusual indeed," Argus Stone looked down from his chair. "On what grounds do you ask this?"

    "I have reason to believe that the sword is, in actuality, a Xenos artifact. Carrying such an item would be further evidence of Heresy. Additionally, one of my acolytes had some questions regarding the blade."

    "Very well. Granted. Inquisitor Arcturos, your sword, if you would."

    Slowly, Arcturos stood up, drawing the blade from its cloth-wrapped scabbard. The blade shone, even in the dim lighting of the council chamber.

    Valle eyed the sword, mask expressionless, and turned to her acolytes. "Mouse, if you would?"
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    Mouse stands up a bit straighter, fixing her bodyglove collar with a small cough to clear her throat. "If the sword could be kept on display for all to see it, I will continue." Mouse says before gesturing towards it. "While I do not serve Ordo Xenos like some here do, I am at least familiar with Imperial construction and capable of a great deal of research. It is with a high degree of certainty that I can assure everyone present that the blade shown here is of Eldar make rather than Imperial, noted especially by the spirit stones implanted upon its surface." Mouse says, bringing attention to the weapon's details.

    "While I can attest to its effectiveness as a weapon capable of damaging and slaying warp entities, I must call into question the decision to carry this artifact into these sacred chambers without warning or cause, especially as it was wrapped and concealed so. At the very least it is a dangerous weapon of Xenos manufacture that I am sure many of us would prefer to be kept out of here during these proceedings, and at the very worst it could be malicious rather than benign. Either way, the research I have done affords me with no answer to a pressing question. Due to the presence of Eldar souls inside those spirit stones being a likely event, are we to treat that blade as if it is alive? Or at the very least as a potentially living Xeno rather merely a sword?"
    She asks.

    "The reason I ask is because everything I have read remains inconclusive or undecided upon the matter. While it is believed that the spirit stones are likely inert, the Xenos species itself is widely known for their tricks and witchery. The Inquisitor has been in possession of the blade for a lengthy period of time and while I imagine many might find my query to be a silly matter I believe in at least making sure that the crimes committed and the charges laid out are accurate. This could mean the difference between possession of a likely unsanctioned Xenos artifact...or guiding Xenos into our most secure and confidential domain."
    She reasons.

    "A while ago, I was reminded to always remember who our true enemy is."
    She says after a moment's thought. "To me, that would be complacency and willful ignorance. It is by such that we let our enemies gain the upper hand and win. Knowing how to proceed in regards to the weapon, and deciding on whether or not the blade should be removed from this chamber entirely, would be a good start to alleviating that fear."

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    Phaella, sensing an option to play upon the professional paranoia of the Inquisition, steps forward:

    If I may, lords and lady, I should like to add my voice to that of Mouse.

    We have no method known to me to discern whether a living eldar soul resides within this blade. Therefore, it feels prudent to assume that one does.

    Further, we have no method to discern whether this soul is capable of communicating with the eldar host. Therefore, it feels prudent to assume it does.


    Hence, obviously, we should assume that we are - right now - under eldar surveillance. And Inquisitor Arcturos has been so for years. This weapon has proven effective at fighting the enemies of the Imperium, but the Imperium has many such weapons. Or Imperial make. It seems suspect that Inquisitor Arcturos would chose to forego Imperial weapons over an eldar one.

    This strange decision itself may warrant further investigation. Can we be sure Inquisitor Arcturos made that choice himself?

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    Arcturos kept the sword out for everyone to see as Mouse made her pitch. His expression remained unreadable. Once the adept, and Phaella, had finished speaking, the Inquisitor looked to Argus Stone to make a decision.

    "An interesting question," Stone said. "Though not my area of expertise. I agree that the matter of the sword should be answered before we continue."

    "Very well, then." Arcturos placed the sword down in front of him, and stood. "I believe I am the most senior member of the Ordo Xenos present today? In any case, as the accused, I claim the right to defend myself. My sword is, indeed, of Eldar origin. I will not insult anyone's intelligence by claiming it isn't. I will enter onto the record that I claimed the sword from a defeated enemy. Reference file..." he paused to think, here, before continuing. "278X KP, I believe it was. I recognise the concern that it could be actively malevolent, but I believe that this concern is misguided. There is no possibility that the sword could be considered alive."

    "First, extensive study has been made of the spirit stones by trained Imperial psykers. There have been, to date, no successful attempts made to reach the spirits held within. Due to the... suspected purpose of the stones..." here, Phaella noted, Arcturos made a significant glance towards the acolytes. It was probable that they didn't have clearance to hear what that purpose was. It was likely something the other Inquisitors could access, though. "...it is likely that the Eldar have made them to be an active barrier between the spirits and the outside world. There have been instances of wraithbone constructs driven by spirit stones, but the sword is not wraithbone, and that is the only known material capable of interfacing with them. Observers to these instances have reported that once the living Eldar present has been killed or incapacitated, the constructs became unfocused in their movements and actions. This next is purely conjectural, but I believe that even with wraithbone the stones have extremely limited perception. Without it, they have nothing."

    "As for being alive, clearly not. The stones are containers for dead Eldar. If that alone does not satisfy you, consider that the composition has been determined to be a sort of psychoactive mineral. Would you call a force sword alive?"

    "Finally, on the subject of surveillance, I have, as you say, possessed the sword for years. It's a well-established trend that Eldar actively seek out and attempt to reclaim this sort of weapon at all costs. If I were under surveillance, that would mean they know I have it. If they knew I had it, they would try to get it back. They haven't, therefore they don't, therefore they aren't. Quod erat demonstrandum."
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  25. - Top - End - #265
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    So, let me get this absolutely straight.

    You say that this psychoactive spirit stone cannot be used to spy on you, Lord Arcturos, and that the proof of this is that the eldar have not tried to reclaim the sword - thus ending their own ability to spy on you.

    Can you please confirm that such is the argument you're trying to make?


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  26. - Top - End - #266
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    Mouse makes a small gesture with her left hand, holding it up gently towards her companion to calm a little as she addresses the Inquisitors. "As I stated, it is currently believed for spirit stones to be benign, but that does not mean it cannot become a liability in the future without our knowledge" She remarks clinically. "A tumor might be benign. A cyst can be as well. But do we not exscind them regardless not for the safety of the present but for the safety of the future?" Mouse asks before pausing a moment and then continuing. "It is our duty to question things and seek answers before fulfilling our duties to the hilt of our blade if we must. Perhaps my query could be viewed as naive, but I do ask that we consider things not as they are but as what they have the potential to become."

  27. - Top - End - #267
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    Default Re: House of Glass (Dark Heresy IC)

    "You assume that spying on me is worth more to them than reclaiming the sword would be. It isn't." Arcturos said, leaning forward in his box to better address the conclave. "I have a better analogy than a tumour. You say to consider what may be, rather than what is. Do you consider that shotgun you carry might suddenly start to fire lasblasts instead of shells? Of course not. It is counter to the nature of its being."
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    "Yeah 'cos xenos don't try and trick people do they?" Annie said, with perhaps a touch of sarcasm. "One of 'em says what's what, you know they're gonna keep to it, aye?"
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  29. - Top - End - #269
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    Default Re: House of Glass (Dark Heresy IC)

    I feel a duel of 'who has the better metaphor' is unworthy of this court, inquisitor Arcturos. I believe the question is whether due diligence was considered in regards to the sword you wield. Such a dicision is clearly not for we mere acolytes - I'm sure the lords and lady inquisitors will make that distinction for us.

    And it's not like it's the only item for review, either.

  30. - Top - End - #270
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    "The difference would be that we truly understand the nature of a shotgun and the shells it normally fires. Though if you learn of one that is capable of firing lasblasts, I believe many of us would truthfully like to see such." Mouse says with just a hint of a smile before nodding. " There could be many reasons the xenos don't seek the sword back as yet, but I imagine only a few are even remotely what we would call "good". But...perhaps my point has been lost through this dialogue and I have taken up too much of this Conclave's time. I had merely wished to bring attention to the blade and Inquisitor Remus' acceptance of its use. While it might not be against regulation, acceptance of its use for an extended period of time should not be taken lightly. Even if one grows comfortable in its use, they shouldn't become overly complaisant with it." She warns before turning fully to the other Inquisitors and giving a slight bow of her head, silently telling them that she has finished talking on this particular point.

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