Consequences (Short Story)
|Collected in||Legends of the Space Marines|
Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines has saved the world of Tarsis Ultra from the monstrous tyranids, but at the cost of his honour. He has broken faith with the holy tome of the Codex Astartes, the worst crime an Ultramarine can commit. The masters of the Chapter call for his death, but there may be one last chance for Uriel to reclaim his honour and save his life.
The 4th Company of the Ultramarines returns from Tarsis Ultra after their narrow victory over the Tyranids. Shortly after their arrival, Captain Uriel Ventris and Sergeant Pasanius Lysane are both placed under arrest and charged with breaking from the Codex Astartes, a crime punishable by execution.
During their trial, before Lord Calgar and the other Masters of the chapter, Uriel and Pasanius are questioned closely and admit to several actions not sanctioned by the Codex, including Uriel's decision to relinquish command of the company and lead the Deathwatch kill-team aboard the Hive Ship over Tarsis Ultra. Throughout these questions, both Ultramarines insist that they had no other choice to achieve victory and save lives, but Captain Sicarius and several others dismiss this as irrelevant.
After the first day, Uriel and Pasanius are both visited in their cells by First Captain Agemman, who explains to them what is at stake: the Ultramarines are not just the finest warriors of all the Adeptus Astartes, they are examples of virtue and discipline to the rest of the Imperium; the Codex is more than a set of rules, it represents their respect for order and their willingness to acknowledge a higher authority; without these, they are no better than the Traitor Legions. If a Captain is seen flaunting the Codex, the lower ranks will take notice, and it will not be long before the Ultramarines are renegades, enforcing their version of the Imperial will as they see fit.
Taking his words to heart, Uriel and Pasanius appear on the second day of their trial, and waive their right to defend themselves or their actions, and agree to accept whatever judgment is passed. Lord Calgar, who sent Agemman on his errand, gives a subtle nod of approval, but says he has no choice but to sentence them to death. However, it would be a sin to waste the lives of two warriors who might still bring grief to the enemies of mankind, so he orders them to depart the chapter on a Death Oath: a suicidal journey into the Eye of Terror to combat the forces of Chaos on their home ground.
Shortly before they set out, Lord Calgar confides to them that Chief Librarian Tigurius had a vision of them on an evil world, where Chaos was at work. He orders them to destroy it. On their way out of the Fortress of Hera, every Ultramarine assembled there turns his back on them - except for Sergeant Learchus, who reported their dereliction of duty, but takes no pleasure in their exile. He swears to look after the 4th Company in Uriel's absence, confident that they will return.
- Captain Uriel Ventris
- Sergeant Pasanius Lysane
- Sergeant Learchus Abantes
- Chapter Master Marneus Augustus Calgar
- Captain Severus Agemman
- Captain Cato Sicarius
- Captain Caito Galenus
- Captain Ixion
- Captain Antilochus
- Fennias Maxim, Master of the Forge