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Aina Harker

Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus

0 · 399 views · located in Warhammer 40k

a character in “Warhammer 40k - Journey in the Dark”, as played by Hyperewok

Description

"I am the Emperor's reach. In His name, you will be his weapon, his shield, and his sacrifice."

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As one might expect from an Inquisitor, Aina Harker has the training and experience to deal with all manner of heresy and other assorted threats to the Imperium. Shrewd and analytic, she always investigates a threat fully before deciding what manner of force needs to be brought down upon it, this force usually being quite severe. However, she will not sacrifice the resources of the Imperium, human or equipment, without appropriate reason. On the other hand, those who impede her in her duty often find the terrible power of the Inquisition brought down on them.

Tall and muscled, Aina is quite fit and capable in combat, albeit limited by her fragile humanity. Her only enhancements are a cybernetic eye to replace the one lost in battle and some chemical alterations to enhance her strength and stamina, but nothing anywhere near that of an Astartes. Her hair is a pale blonde, loosely hanging down to her shoulders, and her skin is equally pale and pockmarked with the occasional scar. She looks upon her surroundings with a careful and stern demeanor, her remaining eye constantly darting about as she considers her situation. While she is able in combat, Aina understands the protection of the Emperor's grace is not as common as a wall of lesser men, and thus prefers to ensure she has the proper support before revealing her hand and moving towards an ultimate confrontation. Until that moment arises, she is an investigator first and foremost, gathering information and allies to be used and disposed of as needed in defense of the Imperium.

Unfortunately, whatever foul occurrence brought her upon the mysterious ship stripped her of her weapons and armor, as well as her memory of what she had been doing beforehand. Aina now only has a simple and woefully unarmored undershirt and pants, along with the concealed knife she kept strapped to her leg. The only other object she has is perhaps the most valuable, the only thing that marks her station, the Inquisitorial seal that she wears as a pendant around her neck. Armed with nothing else, Aina only remembers turning in for the night aboard an Imperial ship, and then nothing.

So begins...

Aina Harker's Story

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The stars everlasting, ever vigilant, surrounded the ship as it hovered in real-space, unmoving. The interior was lit only be the dim lights of emergency-lights. Deep in the bowels ancient machines worked ever so slightly to keep the life-support-systems working, providing reprocessed oxygen for its passengers.
Woken from terrible nightmares they knew they weren’t where they were supposed to be. Cold steel beneath their bodies, they lay sprawled upon the ground bathed in the red lights giving the scene an eerie feeling. The only clothing they wore on their bodies were scarce. A shirt, underpants, sleeping attire, more or less. It was icy. White mist hung over their faces like tiny clouds.
Sparks of damaged electric devices illuminated a corner in the room that could have been some quarters a long time ago. Now the stale stench of a room locked up for centuries lingered in the air and dust covered every inch of the long abandoned ship.

As Seth awoke the remainders of the dark dreams hurried away back into his subconsiousness where they had emerged from. Still he kept his eyes closed, unmoving. The steel beneath his body was cold as was the air. His fingertips played over the floor, while he listened. The humming of old machines, his own breathing and the crackling of some broken conduits were the most prominent things he noticed.
His mind was blank. He didn’t know where he was, not even where he had been before. Only one single name was left. Seth Vigilantes. His own name. An unwilling frown carved deep wrinkles in his features as he opened his eyes as. With a unnerving feeling in his belly he regarded his surroundings. Nothing. His frown grew deeper. He felt almost like a new-born. Without memories, without a past, he was on this ship which seemed to have been abandoned a long, long time ago.
Then his eyes fell upon a motionless figure on the floor. In an instant his instincts took over.
One single movement and he was on his feet, ready for anything. Not once his eyes left the stranger on the floor.

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Aina awoke to the sound of heavy footsteps as she shivered against the cold metal floor. Her eye opened, darting around wildly as she took in the definitively foreign surroundings. This was most definitely not the ship she had previously gone to sleep on. Her gaze moved to the source of the footsteps, the man easily twice her size in both directions. He appeared similar to an Astartes, but of course Aina had never seen one without their even more massive power armor. On the other hand, he had no obvious signs of taint. Of course, whatever malevolent force had whisked her out of her own ship was definitively wrong. She tried to think of what she had been doing beforehand, but her mind camp up blank aside from the quarters of an Imperial ship, with no indication of it's destination. Foul magics were indeed at play here.

She slowly sat up, curling up in place. One hand slid down to her ankle, just below the sheath where she hid a small knife under her pants. Her other hand reached up to her chest, brushing against the pendant hanging from her neck that bore the seal of the Inquisition. If nothing else, she had the proof of her rank, and that gave her some small reassurance. "And who are you?" She asked the man, her voice low but steady and calm.

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The woman moved and Seth straightened his back, ready to do whatever was necessary. She was much smaller than him, in size as in weight, her hand reaching to her ankle. He didn't know if if was to retrieve a weapon, however, he didn't think it would make that a difference. However, she remained seated on the cold floor.
Her words pierced through the eerie silence as if the intruders had no rights to rip it apart after it had blanketed this ship. The words had a metallic echo to them, the echo of a room empty and unused.
"Seth Vigilantes", Seth answered after a moment. "At least unless I am only his memory, then I am probably dead."
He didn't know that woman. She could be everything. It would be easy to kill her, rip her trained but yet still smaller frame in half, but Seth regarded this idea as not necessary. It could be she bore some of the answers he longed for.
Still he didn't let down his guard.
"And you? What are you doing here?"

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Aina's brows furrowed as she tried to consider what exactly she was doing here, but her mind still came up blank. Her eye glanced around the room as their voices echoed across the room, but there was still no one else to be found. There was too many questions and not enough answers for Aina's liking.

She stood up, slowly as to not startle the man, straightening her back and speaking with a clear and commanding tone. "You have the look of an Astartes." She observed. "I am Inquisitor Aina Harker of the Ordo Hereticus. There is some manner of foul magic that has brought us here. By the authority of the Emperor's grace, I require your assistance to investigate this matter." Aina fought against the chill, making sure not to shiver as she stared boldly at the man. Whatever he was, she could not afford to pass up on his aid, at least not yet.

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Seth fell silent for a moment, watching the woman as she moved. He didn't like that tone in her voice but knew better than to criticise. Wherever he was, whoever she was, she seemed to be – or think herself to be – someone important.
Ordo Hereticus. Two words without a meaning to him. However, he kept that to himself, not seeing any reason to tell her anything but the obvious. Apart from the fact that he didn't know anything more than she did.

“Some manner of foul magic you say?” Seth made a slight step back and furrowed one single brow. “I am by no means magical and I doubt I can be of any help with this.” Though he was not quite sure with the first one. With this he crossed his arms on his bare chest, feeling the chill air creep upon him.
What made him uncomfortable, though, was not the cold but a faint remembrance of heavy armor and a heavy weapon in his hands. "I will assist you nonetheless”, he eventually continued. “I want to know what is going on here, Inquisitor Harker.” He met her single eye and a sly smile curled his lips, even intensifying the lopsided grin caused by his scarred face.

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Aina rubbed at her chin, hiding a faint frown. His tone was far from the reverence she preferred from her assistants, nor did he confirm or deny that he was an Astartes. Troubling indeed, but there was still too much unknown to spurn his help.

"The Warp's powers cannot stand against faith. Whatever is occurring here will be discovered and destroyed." Her tone was still steady, but she couldn't bite back the shiver as her bare feet stepped across the cold metal floor. "First we should ascertain the status of the ship and it's crew. We will also need to locate an armory." Aina glanced about the room for a working computer station, as well as an exit.

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Seth unfurled his arms and the wrinkles upon his brow disappeared, as did his smile which showed no hint of true amusement. “Don’t worry”, he said, voice steady, stepping to her side.
“There a things that can become worse.” With that he glanced at his surroundings.
The room was barely furnished. Apart from three beds, pallets more than comfortable sleeping accommodations, there were only a number of small lockers. Dust had gathered over the room and the only sign of life were the few footprints Aina and Seth had left on the floor.
There was only one exit. A door half ajar. The once gleaming surface had turned blind.
Seth looked at it, and then turned to his companion.

“And things tend to become worse.” He dropped his voice, making it a mere whisper. “Much worse. Guard your back” With this he made his way to the exit, his heavy barefooted steps falling on the steel ground. However his attention did not once leave Aina. The Inquisitor was someone he did not trust.
“Come.” Seth’s voice was laden with command like a man`s who was used to giving orders – and has them followed immediately.

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Aina was well aware things could and likely would become far worse, her groggy mind already starting to recall old official reports on derelict ships spat out by the Warp, and the horrors they hid within the empty halls.

But she remained silent, quite content to let Seth go first. Even without armor, he could take many more bolter shells then she could. And she was willing to let him think that he could give orders. She only needed to find a working communication station on the ship's bridge and then the full might of the Inquisition could scourge this vessel.

Following Seth out of the room, Aina stepped carefully and slowly, her bare feet hardly making a sound against the dusty floor. She tapped at the settings on the side of her cybernetic eye, setting it to thermal vision. Hopefully that would easily find anyone else in the chill of the empty ship. Meanwhile her other eye continued to peer about, searching for signs of occupation or any sort of clue that could help explain the mysterious situation.

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Seth led her out of the room onto the corridors. Lit with the same reddish lights of emergency as the quarters the shadows were deep and many. Still he was able to discern doors leading into different rooms. At the far end the gangway led up into a room.
Carefully he made some steps forward as he saw the silhouette of a hulking figure, crouching in a corner. His hand reached for his side but found nothing but empty air. Growling slightly Seth raised his hands, almost clenched into a fist, battle-ready.
Whatever sat there, barely visible in the dim light didn’t move.

“Show yourself!” Seth demanded but there was no answer. Silence embraced the two intruders, as ill-boding as the constant humming of machines unknown deep in the bowels of the ship.
It was not fear that made Seth hesitate. It seemed too much a trap for his liking. Quickly he glanced at the doors leading away from the main corridor into rooms unknown. He had no idea what waited for him in there. Without a weapon he felt wrong, though he had no idea where this notion came from.

Still he raised his hands to signal the Inquisitor behind him to be careful, moments before he stepped forward, into the direction of the motionless figure to have a better look.
The rid light reflected upon the gleaming white Power Armor, adorned with black. A sign of circle sporting the head of a wolf, a crescent moon underneath spoke of times long forgotten. The Astartes grinned at Seth as he stepped closer. A grin from a skull, lifeless and uncaring. No life was in his empty eye sockets. The man had died a very long time ago.

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Aina tensed as she saw the shadowy figure ahead, ready to move at a moment's notice. She was far from concerned, though. The most dangerous of threats would not be so foolish as to reveal itself, and the second most dangerous would not simply stand there staring silently. However, she still let Seth venture forward first, just to be safe.

But it was only the corpse. But of a Space Marine, which did not bode well at all. She peered at the sigil on the body's armor. "Space Wolves, yes? Do you think the armor is still usable?" Aina glanced around the hall, in search of other corpses, and more importantly, weapons.

Either way, Aina shifted about restlessly, almost to a hint of nervous. Whatever could leave a dead Astartes was not something she wished to encounter with little more then her knife and an unarmed and unarmored amnesiac who may or may not have been an Astartes as well. "We should not linger here. We still must ascertain the status of the ship and find a communication device to contact the Imperium."

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Seth shook his head. In the reddish light the empty eyes looked at the two intruders almost scournfully. Slowly he dropped down to one knee, examining the dead Astartes. "I don't know if his armor is usable", he pondered, reaching out for the white plate. Dust had gathered upon it making it more greyish than white. Then he turned to Aina. "Space Wolves?", he glanced at the dead body and nodded. He didn't even know what this phrase meant, though a feeling inside him told him he should.
Still there was nothing.

So he rose, his attention on the corridor. "Well, a communication device should be found on the bridge", he mused. "However, I'd like to find some means of weapon somewhere. A dead body here does not bode well." With that he glanced at the Astartes and put his big hand on the white Power Armor. It made a crunching sound, something akin to a short and violent fit ran through the armored body then the skull fell over, clanking as it met the floor, before it cracked in two.


OOC: Actually it's not Space Wolves. Maybe I'm not good in describing insignia. Image

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Aina grimaced at the horribly sound sound of clanking and cracking. "A functioning computer station should be able to provide us with directions to the armory, lest we wander aimlessly until we are as rotted away as this poor fellow." She paused, glancing around to make sure nothing was immediately attracted to the racket. "But that presumes the killer of this man does not find us first. Let us be moving. That which has the capability to slay an Astartes is not something we want to encounter in our present state."

While she would have preferred to examine the corpse for a sign of what may have killed him, Aina gave it only a quick lookover before continuing down the hall. Hopefully the strange man would follow. If not, he would be a good distraction for whatever foul creature was on the ship, but Aina preferred not to sacrifice that card just yet.

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"Considering the only difference between him and us is that he is dead we could very well be dying right at the moment", Seth mentiond and looked at Aina. "Apart from that chances are whatever killed him is dead as well, considering the state his body is in." Still, he followed the Inquisitor down the corridor. Before he examined the body he should make sure there was nothing that could attack him in an ambush.
"You do not happen to know which way leads us to the bridge?" With a few steps he had closed the distance and was now walking beside Aina.

The doors they passed were closed most of the time. On the walls old banners decorated the hallway, telling of won battles and fallen heroes of a time long gone. Here they passed a tapestry describing the events of a compliance action against some strange world during the Great Crusade, there they walked by a banner of a Legion of old supporting the same insignia they had last seen on the old Mark IV Power Armor, beneath the Gothic number XVI.
However, time had taken its toll on the fabrics and they had gathered dust and they color were bleached; threadbare now but betraying a time when this walk was grand and reminding of the sacrifices of heroes now long forgotten.

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"The Ninth Legion..." Aina murmured as she gazed upon the empty hall. Her face paled, not that it was of much notice with her already pale skin, and her jaw dropped only for a moment before she regained her composure. This was no longer a mere simple case of Chaos trickery aboard a derelict hulk. The involvement of the legion of Horus was the darkest of signs Aina could even begin to imagine.

Aina took a slow breath to ensure her voice was steady before she spoke. "We must find a functioning computer station or a way to restore the ship's power if there is none. Then we can arm ourselves and take our next move." She was already considering her report to the Inquisition. A full team of her fellows would be needed to investigate, with at least a full company of Adepta Sororitas to put every hint of heresy and corruption to the flamer. "In the name of the Emperor." She muttered, peering about with even more wariness then she had before.

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Seth stalled mid-step and looked at Aina. "What do you mean by that?", he asked “The Ninth Legion?”
He did not like her reaction. She was shaken by the mere sight of the insignia.
Slowly he stepped towards one of the banners and regarded it with suspicion. It was one of those tapestries that spoke of deeds long passed and mentioned names he had never heard of, all adorned with the black wolf and the crescent moon. It was this sign that made him ponder.
It was the same when she had mentioned the Space Wolves. Seth knew it should bear a meaning to him but still his mind was a blank slate.
Disappointed he growled slightly.
He felt truly uncomfortable. Bringing his fingertips up and brushing over the old banners, he didn’t turn to look at the Inquisitor.

“As I said, try the bridge”, he answered, his attention still fixed on the tapestries. “However, I am not sure I can repair broken power supplies if this is the case.” Only now he turned around.
“You seem to know something about this ship. Tell me, is there anything I should know?” Again his voice was demanding, seemingly not used to having to ask.

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Aina scowled momentarily, mentally chiding herself for speaking her thoughts aloud. She turned to Seth, slowly raising an eyebrow. "You truly do have no memory, then. The Ninth Legion was the Astartes once called the Luna Wolves, then the Sons of Horus. Now they are the Black Legion. Once led by the Warmaster Horus, greatest of traitors, favored son of the Emperor, who betrayed him when his wicked ambition led him into the sway of Chaos and he made war upon his father and the Imperium in the great Heresy that bears his name." She sighed as she looked him over. "Does none of this sound familiar to you?"

She paused again, shaking her head. "The specifics of history matter little in this moment. What is important is that we are trapped on a ship belonging to the darkest of traitors to the Imperium, the most twisted thralls of Chaos. We must find the bridge and contact the Imperium, and quickly."

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Seth pondered. Something within his subconsciousness stirred, however vanished within the dark only moments later. Again an unwilling growl escaped his mouth, before he shook his head. “None of this”, he answered finally, throwing a last glance at the threadbare cloth.
“Though I have the feeling I should know about this. I remember nothing before waking up with you in that room. A few dark dreams maybe, but nothing more.”
Seth’s voice was steady, though quiet and dark.

“You can tell me on our way. I think you should enlighten me what this Chaos thread is about.” He pointed along the corridor. “Let’s try this way.” On the end of the hallway there was a room though Seth could not discern what it was.

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Aina sighed again. "Chaos cannot be explained in a few mere sentences. It is the powers that inhabit the Warp, foul magic and corruption that twists men's souls and turns them against the grace of the Imperium as their minds and bodies are mutated into monstrous creatures."

She peer down the corridor as they continued further. "The taint of Chaos what the Inquisition seeks to defend the Imperium from. If we do not remove the heretic, the mutant, and the xenos, they will destroy the Imperium from within and without, and drive humanity to extinction. Does that explain enough?"

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Seth fell silent for a moment, thinking about her words. “So it should be easy enough to spot anyone who has been twisted by Chaos”, he mused before he shook his head and set his attention back to the doors leading away from the main hallway.
Without another word he continued down the corridor until he stepped into the room at the end. It was grand. A window opened to the stars. A single world floated in the darkness of space, greyish and seemingly nothing more than a giant rock amidst the constant twinkling of the stars.
A console surrounded the bridge. Most of the countless buttons were dark, only on the right side some lonely lights indicated the working of the life supporting devices. A screen situated in the middle of the room was dark. On a normal basis hectic life had embraced Seth and Aina as they entered; however, the silence they encountered was almost eerie.

No footsteps in the dust spoke of other visitors, not there were many places to hide behind. So Seth turned to the Inquisitor. “You try to get a message out, I guard the door. Hurry up though.”

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"Sometimes it is easy. Mutation is rarely subtle, but the most dangerous tool of Chaos is the heretic that hides among us and plots the doom of the Imperium." Aina said as they entered the bridge. She immediately looked around, murmuring a praise to the Emperor as she saw the working console. She could only continue to silently pray to the Emperor that it would work enough to send out a message.

"Ensure I am not interrupted and then we will have the support we need soon enough." Aina set to work on accessing the computer, attempting to power up the systems in order to determine the ship's status and utilize the communications to reach the Imperium.

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With few steps Seth went back to the door and glanced into the dimly lit hallway. “Chaos or not, I will kill anything that comes too close”, he whispered, a sensation of eagerness flooding him as he thought of the battle that would then follow. But nothing moved in the half-shadows. Glancing to the dead Astartes, Seth leaned on the wall, his arms crossed on his chest. Then he waited.

Behind him on the bridge most of the computers were shut off. It took a time until a golden-yellow lamp flashed slightly as if woken from a long sleep. It was not much as the vessel was long before being fully operational; however power supply was back up. One after another the most important systems started their work. Even the monitor for the communication system flickered for a moment before its display stabilized showing the last recorded incoming and outgoing connections, none of them from a recent date. They all dated back to the time of the Great Crusade.

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"That will do fine for now." Aina said quietly, her attention focused on the computer screens. She thanked the Emperor once again as the systems began flickering on. Her eye glanced to the date on one of the screens and she suppressed a shudder. Dark and strange matters indeed. Whatever had happened to this ship, she did not wish to encounter the perpetrator until she was well prepared, well armed, and well behind a wall of others well armed and armored.

She set the communications device to transmit to any Imperial vessel within range. She could only hope that the ship's communications would still function properly with modern transmission codes and that another ship would be able to receive it.

The report was clear and precise:

Inquisitor Aina Harker, Ordo Hereticus, trapped aboard derelict vessel at attached coordinates. By the authority of the Emperor's grace, all Imperial military vessels within range of this transmission are to immediately converge on location for retrieval. This is a class five priority, all previous orders of lower priority are to be postponed until ordered otherwise. No vessel is to make direct contact without a fully armed support team. This transmission and all attached information is to be forwarded to the Lord Inquisitor of the nearest Imperial system.

The rest of the report was encrypted with the Inquisition's own codes:

To the Lord Inquisitor. Have become trapped on pre-Heresy vessel with Luna Wolves markings. Previous location unknown, suspect Warp powers at work. Only other is one man, presumed Astartes, but amnesiac. Know nothing but name, Seth Vigilantes. Request immediate support to secure and investigate vessel. Suggest full Inquisitor team to investigate for information and technology of use to the Imperium and to secure and destroy and signs of heresy. Also suggest at least one commandery of Chamber Militant Adepta Sororitas to purge vessel of any threats.

As she sent out the message, Aina let out a relieved breath. Help would arrive soon.

If no one else intercepted the transmission and arrived first.

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Seth waited. Nothing moved along the corridor and his mind began to wander. What had he been doing before he had woken up earlier? He didn't know and this still unnerved him. He glanced over his shoulder to the Inquisitor who was sending her message. A sigh escaped his lips, when he turned away back to the hallways. In the distance the dead body sat immobile, his broken skull still on the floor, watching everything with dead eyes.
However, he set his attention on the threadbare banners, trying to discern the names and locations. They were hard to make out, indiscernible. Still Seth stared at them as if waiting for an answer.
He didn’t get one.

So he eventually turned around, back to the bridge. “Are you finished?”, he called out. “Here is nothing that moves, apart from our own imaginati-“ Seth didn’t finish that sentence as he realized something moving in the corner of his eyes. He swung around and saw the man in the power armor stand up, his head still intact. He pointed out to him, nothing more, as if accusing him of something. Then it was over.
Seth had taken a battle stance, ready to engage in melee combat. However, as he blinked everything was at it was supposed to be. There was only the dimly lit corridor and the dead Astartes in the corner. He cursed under his breath, not sure if his mind had played a trick on him or if something indeed had happened.

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"I have sent a communication to the Imperium. Support will be on it's way, but it will take time." Aina answered, then blinking and immediately tensing as she saw Seth's abrupt reaction. But whatever he saw seemed to disappear after an instant.

Aina kept her musings to herself. If the man was having visions, that did not bode well. Of course, him actually seeing something that slithered off rather then striking was equally concerning.

"In the meantime, we must arm ourselves." She continued. "And we will at least need to find clean water, or the Imperial aid will find another pair of corpses if they arrive a week's too late." Aina returned her attention to the computer, bringing up a diagnostic of the ship's systems and a set of schematics. They would need to find the armory and any water filtration system, preferably without stumbling upon a damaged section of the ship devoid of life support.

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Seth let out a slight growl, throwing a dark glare to the dead Astartes, before he turned around. "Nothing's there," he told the Inquisitor and left the hallway without looking back. "Maybe the Astartes is not dead, just scared", he mused as he stepped towards her, eyeing her over. Then he had a look at the innumerable lights and buttons. It was as if their meaning was not quite lost to him. Still, he concentrated more on the computer with the blueprint of the ship which his companion had brought forth.

It showed countless hallways and rooms. Quarters designed for countless people. An army. One grand hangar bay was located not far away from the bridge, little green dots signalling for some means of transportation still available. The armory was only a few corridors away. The whole rear of the ship was sealed off with no life supporting systems at work. In its current state, only the front was partly operational. Oxygen and water supplies were stable.
“Seems like we can arm ourselves”, Seth commented on the schematics and pointed to the green colored section of the bridge and the armory, leading up to the hangar.
If they followed the map it was not difficult to pass the shut down sections.