“So no deal?”
Danentho was taken aback. How could these people possibly think that they would be able to hold out much longer?
But the other remained adamant.
“No deal.” she said, “and if you ever come back, Danentho, you scumbag, I’ll have you flayed alive. Go tell your master what I told you.”
“Mistress Inanna” Danentho began, “don’t be unreasonable, my mast…”
The feeling of an gun muzzle being poked somewhat ungently against his back silenced him.
“I said,” Inanna leaned forward, eyeing him closely, “go tell your master that this is my land. Mine. You understand? We’ll never help your miserable little gang of thieves and that disgusting witch. We’ll sooner die.”
Danentho suppressed a “and so you shall, bitch” and merely bowed before the gang leader, before retiring.
He didn’t need this. His master would shout at him, even if he was probably more pleased at the prospect of destroying the Syndicate, rather than bullying them into becoming his vassals.
“Frag it,” he thought, as he walked away, “a good old shootout is always fun.”
Inanna watched him go. She knew Numerius X would react violently, but she didn’t care.
A few months ago, this area of Humilis, lovingly nicknamed Gallowhills by the locals, had been split in two equal portions. The Widowmakers, a phony self-styled civic militia, led by Numerius X Regillus, had controlled one part, and Inanna and her Syndicate, had controlled the other.
Then came the great insurrection. That despicable sect (for lack of a better word), led but that horrible witch queen Inguza, had risen out of nowhere, and thrown everything into chaos.
Inanna was baffled by the shameless brazenness of Inguza’s followers. They had even dared to ambush the Emperor’s Angels. One thing is running a few petty crimes under the noses of the Arbites, there are some things you just have to do to survive in this unforgiving universe, but open all-out revolt? To Inanna, that seemed not only stupid, but also downright suicidal.
After the great shootout in the Forum Amoris she had been probing her contacts as to the fate of these lost Asartes, but they seemed to have vanished utterly. Nonetheless, she knew that the hammer of the Emperor would come down, and it would come down hard. Better then to play the side of the government, even if it meant helping the law.
Numerius and his Widowmakers liked to play both sides, a risky gamble, and one that Inanna was sure he would live to regret.
But Numerius was only an irritating obstacle. He would die, of course, but Inanna thirsted most for vengeance against Inguza, the bitch that had scarred her so deeply.
And when Inguza’s followers erupted into revolt, Inanna saw her chance. She dispatched some of her most trusted agents to infiltrate the cult while they were preoccupied with fighting the Arbites and the military.
She was so close to learn the location of Inguza’s lair when Numerius struck. With new and powerful weapons, the Widowmakers quickly drove the Syndicate back to the very edge of their old territory. Close to the filthy bowels of Humilis, that horrible sewer called Despair. Inanna regrouped, counted her losses, and prepared to hold out.
Of course, and now she smiled, there was a reason that she could afford to insult the sly sycophant Danentho. The Angel that had contacted her had been very keen on knowing everything she knew about Inguza and her ilk. She had duly promised him the full support of the Syndicate, if only he would send one of his Angels to parley. He had said nothing more, but Inanna knew it was a good offer. They both needed Inguza, and the Angel knew it.
And perhaps, just perhaps, Inanna could kill two rats with one shot.
- Extract Astartes team to safety.
- Inflict as much damage as possible on traitor assets.