The man nodded in acknowledgement of Cristan's show of respect, but paid Mae's lack of it no attention, his hands clasping together under his nose and remaining folded on the table, revealing a thin, humorless mouth and a clean-shaven face.
"I am Inquisitor Wyrwa," the man said as abruptly as if someone suddenly activated a speaker, his voice free of the tired drawl that had haunted it before. "That is, for the moment, all you will need to know about me. In time, shall your worth be deemed high enough for me to take personal interest in you, then I shall see fit to inform you more. Until then, you are Mae Odelia and Crisan Vorel, servants under me and me alone." he gave each of them a piercing glare, "You answer to no one else and will die rather than betray me. Through me you serve the Emperor and His divine will, and nothing is of greater importance." he paused once more and stared at them with unblinking eyes. "It is a duty I do not expect you to find enjoyable or easy, but it is only through the scorching fires that steel will be purged of its flaws."
He let the words sink in, then a sudden smile flashed across his face, the ghost of it lingering long after the brief expression had passed. It was the grin of a predator, of a creature revealing itself to its prey because it was completely in control of the situation. It was the cold grin of inevitability. Then a sudden twitch as his left hand raised, held at chest height it swivelled in place, and the lenses of the holo-projector hummed to life once more, revealing the slightly distorted image of a planet, the image of too low resolution to make out more than three continents and a body of water separating them.
"Khorz III," he said and swivelled his hand once more, "its system," the image panned out to reveal four more astral bodies circling a star, "and the Calixis Sector." he clutched into the air, and the image zoomed out completely to show the Sector in all its glory, a silent testament to the Will and Dominance of Man. "I am certain you have heard of the plights that has haunted Khorz III in its past, the Proclamators made a rather significant point of spreading the word." he chuckled dryly, as if the suffering of billions of people was to him a private joke. But there was no smile on his face.
"What you do not know is that two weeks ago, Khorz III proclaimed independece of the Imperium of Man," the word could have been the foulest curse imaginable. "Any attempts to contact them through the normal channels have merely shown that they are unwilling to bend under the reign of His most glorious." he stood suddenly, long robes draping around him, a dry shuffle betraying movement as he motioned in the air once more, drawing up the picture of Khorz III. He stepped up to it, passing Mae and reached out, hand stretched out towards the small, gently spinning orb. "In better times, we may have room for doubt, but the Imperium of Man is beset on all sides by the jealous and insidious threats of the Galaxy." his face twisted into a look of disgust as he imitated the motion of crushing the planet with his hand, disrupting the projection. The act would have seemed almost childish, playful, but there was naught but anger in the man's eyes.
"Some may question your right to destroy ten billion people." he muttered, walking back to his chair once more, "those who understand know that you have no right to let them live. Death is the only punishment of traitors and heretics," his eyes fell upon the two again, suddenly calm, "but that is a task far out of your abilities. It is left to others, more trusted." he folded his hands once more, index finger of his left hand suddenly extending and waving, the image of a man appearing where the planet once was.
"This is Colonel Ibrahim Alabaster. He is in command of the primary artillery forces of the former PDF of Khorz III and overall a man of very little importance to the war-effort of the Khorzian Liberation Army." he spat out the name, "but he is of some use to us. He is in possession of information that will severely weaken the Khorzians and leave us in a position of great advantage. It is therefore of some interest to the Imperium that Colonel Alabaster is retrieved from the fortified bunker complex serving as his field headquarters and brought to the hands of General Drane, commander of the 39th Army and the one set to bring Khorz III to its knees, dead or alive." he motioned again and the much-familiar face of the general flashed briefly past, before a map of the planet appeared.
"The primary staging area of the 39th Army will be on the small moon of Khorz V, the outermost planet of the system. It once served as an observation outpost until the colonization of Khorz III, and has since fallen into disuse. The 39th, however, are more than capable of readjusting it to fit their needs. Therefore, the very first step of your undertaking will be to link up with the 39th Army, at Khorz V or before, and there receive further orders from the staff of General Drane." he gave them both a stern look before continuing, "Drane knows Khorz III intimately, and will know the locations of the Colonel. He will aid you, but he is also the only man there who knows who you truly are. To everyone else, you are merely specialists of the Imperial Guard, what manner I leave for your own creativity or preferences to settle on."
"I am well aware of your... backgrounds, and I know of your capabilities in martial matters. It is therefore imperative that you do not undertake this mission alone, nor as one where force will be victorious. I will not advice you on strategic details, for such a thing is fickle and in constant flux, but I warn you that you will be alone, and should you fail in your mission you will be left to the mercy of Khorz III, and it is something I believe they have in very short supply."
"Before we continue, I want you to voice any matters of concern," he leaned back the slightest in his chair, eyes half-closed, "shall I find any merit in them, I shall answer."
(Hooray! Was at work, said 'fuck it' and started writing. Much better than this (I'm only awake right now 'cause of a headache), but I accidently wiped it clean from the browser.)