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"You realise that you are preaching mutiny?" Brother-Captain Tarvitz nodded gravely. "Betray Horus or betray the Emperor. What choice is there?" The Space Marine officers looked at each other in silence for a few seconds. Tarvitz leaned forward across the table, resting on his fists.
"Fact: in the five Chapters under his command, Horus has installed this system of feral-world warrior lodges that he picked up on Davin. The standard Imperial organisations and command structures laid down in the Codex have been completely disregarded.
"Fact: the bulk of the Marines in our five Chapters have repudiated their Marine's oath and sworn loyalty to the feral world deities. Further, they have sworn loyalty to Horus personally. Heresy and blasphemy.
"Fact: the Isstvan campaign has been conducted without even the pretence of orders from Terra. While I do not presume to speak for the Emperor, I cannot believe that the use of a virus bomb on Isstvan III was justifiable. A single Company from a single Chapter dropped on the rebel headquarters would have answered the case.
"I say the Emperor must know what is happening here. Who is with me? Varren? What say the World Eaters?" A red-uniformed officer stood.
"There are fifteen men I can trust. They are yours."
"Garro?" A Captain of the Death Guards looked up.
"A dozen. I wish it were more."
"Ten from the Luna Wolves."
"Twenty from the Thousand Sons."
"Be sure they are all trustworthy. If you have the slightest doubt, do not commit them. Of my own Emperor's Children, there are ten I am sure of, including myself" There was a pause as the paucity of their force sunk in.
"Seventy Marines," said Brother-Captain Varren of the World Eaters, "The sum of our five Chapter numbers - a good omen, perhaps?" A couple of the others smiled, and the tension of the moment was broken. "Seventy Marines," repeated Tarvitz, "Enough for any task, I think. So, to work. Varren, your men will seize control of the frigate Eisenstein in three hours from now. It is on the edge of the fleet, and should be clear for the jump to Warp Space." Varren nodded.
"The Eisenstein has been having manoeuvre-drive trouble," he said, with exaggerated innocence. "She's been falling behind the fleet all day." Tarvitz grinned.
"Good. The rest of us will arrange for our ships to lag behind with her in case of... further trouble with the drives. Three hours from now, we will all assemble full crew for an emergency briefing. Meanwhile, our trusted men take control of the systems on all five ships. Clear all remaining ships from around the Eisenstein and keep her covered until she makes the jump to warp space. Then, cause as much damage as you can to the rest of the fleet. History will vindicate us."
He turned to Varren. "Your World Eaters are our only hope," he said, "Do not fail." Varren's eyes became serious. "We cannot fail," he said, "There is too much at stake. Your deaths will be avenged."
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