It had been a while since Hektor had been tasked with active enforcement duties, let alone on the world he'd spent time presiding over as a Judge. He was pleased to say that, since his latest promotion, he'd not been a necessary component of the process beyond the natural administrative duties that came with governing an orbital system's force of Arbites - though he of course made time to keep himself in fighting shape, as was merely natural, and which suitable cybernetics further assisted with: a cybernetic eye bolstering his senses, a potent bionic heart and lungs for the body, and a Mind-Impulse Unit linked to his bolt pistol. It would never do to embarrass oneself by attempting to perform an execution with an empty weapon, after all.
That being said, when an Inquisitor declares an entire hive city in one's precinct Damnatio Memoriae, you don't send an Enforcer to lead the charge. Aside from anything else, Hektor knew for a fact that there were but five or six actual Arbites on-world, including the presiding Magistrate and at least one Verispex Adept. For the sake of certainty, and to facilitate interrogation and examination of the facts, another seven Verispexii accompanied him planetside, along with seven Arbitrators, a presiding Marshal by the name of Darius Lance (and the paperwork he'd have to fill out for requisitioning a Marshal for an execution team after the fact was going to be lengthy, certainly), and a cyber-mastiff handler who would not shut her damn mouth the entire way down. Really, was this the sort of thing to get excited about, a hive's inevitable destruction? Or was it just the fact she'd "finally", as she put it, get to put her "precious hounds" to use? She was a useful asset, not an inexpendable one.
Regardless, it was shortly after they landed and assessed the ground forces - Magistrate and Adept as expected, plus two Judges and two Arbitrators to spare - that the presiding official of the Adeptus Arbites was requested by the Inquisitor herself, a madame Hera by name. Nominally, that presiding official would have been the Magistrate, one Rheanna Kowl; with Hektor's arrival, the duty fell to him, which he suspected put her off a fair bit. Apparently, she sought to take her frustration out on Marshal Lance by claiming his lack of mind for the cases she presided over, and he in kind chose to take potshots at her lack of field skill compared to him.
That was something he had neither the time nor inclination to manage; leaving them to their bellyaching, he ordered the Arbitrators and Judges to decide who'd be staying behind to keep charge of the precinct-fortress, to arm up everyone else, including the Lockshields for this mission, and yes he knew they had Lockshields don't give him that lip; and the Verispex Adepts to follow on, before he accompanied the servitor calling for his attention to the intelligence room. Fond memories that he had of the location as a whole, this particular space was a bit barren compared to what they had in the orbital facility: nothing but matte surfaces, holo-screens, diagnostic tools and, after they had been put to work, a number of new Verispex Adepts working over what they knew of the situation in Hive IV so far, alongside the one who had been present already.
He allowed them their collaboration, and positioned himself before the largest screen in the room. Not long after, he found himself face to face with Inquisitor Hera; a number of other unknowns could see her face as well, though they were presumably all tied to the situation at hand if so. She provided a standard introduction for herself and thanks for their timely arrivals - though Hektor disagreed internally that martyrdom was the best fate, for in letting oneself die one could no longer protect His domain, His laws - and then got down to business. Amongst other, less crucial roles, the Inquisitor required a location to launch a more protracted assault of the Hive from, somewhere within the city proper; it transpired that one of the former governor's mansions suited this role perfectly, but that it was being guarded by... eugh. Enforcers.
Those louts. The precinct had taken steps to try and minimise corruption amongst them, notably by ensuring a given Enforcer did not serve on their own home planet as so many did, but it seemed the lax standards amongst them and the abstraction committed by the prior Justicar had taken their toll nonetheless. For if a superior could be seen committing such crimes of spirit freely, what stopped any but the most dutiful from doing the same? And when it came to planetary law and the minds of the corruptible, money often spoke louder than justice.
'I'll be sure to lay down the verdict they've earned for themselves,' he agreed, his tone a deep growl and his face nothing but contempt. With the backup of none other than the Imperial Guard and, it seemed, a group of assassins to boot, there was no chance the mansion would go unclaimed, though it'd need to be clarified to the Guard once they arrived that the Enforcers in question were likely armed and armoured similarly to the Arbites proper. The assassins would be better prepared by default, he imagined. With that, and he assumed announcements along similar lines from the other assorted leaders, the briefing ended there.
Now, the question was thus: what had caused this Hive to fall so far? What evidence could be gathered to ensure proper practice was being followed? And, at the back of his mind, the question every proper Arbites should ask themselves: did they actually have a case, or was this a framejob?
And even more quietly: if it was, then who should be punished for the framing?
Before he could consider these details in too much depth, he received another message. This time, it was keyed to him. Him personally, rather, given that it appeared on a much smaller wrist projector - quickly snatched up, put on, and finally tapped to receive a message of great apparent importance. And yet it was merely a message from the assassin in question, presumably their leader at that, essentially suggesting that all three members of the mansion assault would be prepared to kill the targets on sight, and that the assassins would assist in putting down the enforcers where they could. And, of course, the images of the three targets again, thankfully in a distinct file for reference. Whilst he was at a level where knowledge of the Assassin Temples was appropriate to possess - and if they'd made their way into official Arbites comms, they were surely no mere death cultists - he could only imagine how many perfectly good Arbitrators might find themselves unwittingly deceased if they learned too much.
On to other matters, though. The data needed to be passed on, and he needed somebody to assess the evidence. Who better than the Verispex who'd been here to start with? Seeking the face that hadn't accompanied him on the shuttle- one he knew, in fact, which hadn't aged as much as he'd have expected at that- he approached the man in question, who noticed belatedly, and promptly made a noise like some sort of strangled bird before composing himself.
'Verispex Adept Frea. Michael.'
'Justicar Autark- uh, Hektor, rather? Juh... erk. Emperor, I thought I was never going to see you again.' To his credit, he was clearly pleased. Despite his eccentricities, Hektor did fondly recall time spent examining cases as a Magistrate alongside Michael. The man was reliable, at least when it came to examination of evidence, and occasionally made some wry observations to boot; for now, however, it had to be business in full, and his own expression clearly showed that to the man.
'Do you know who these three are?' Hektor showed the three images, to which Michael's face immediately lit up with recognition.
'Ah, yeah, they're the governor's three children, sir! Well, former governor, is what I imagine, else the Hive wouldn't be marked as Damnatio Memoriae.'
'Indeed. Former children, too; they've been marked for death.'
'...ueh? Uh, oh-'
'You keep making those noises. They're as grating as ever. Anyway, follow me, you'll be joining us on the field.' Before the Verispex could fully process the order, Hektor had turned and walked off, making his way out of the intelligence room and back toward the central hall of the precinct-fortress. Verispex Frea ultimately found himself trailing after Hektor at about a meter's distance, and apparently couldn't help but ask 'Uh, Justicar Autark, is my presence needed?'
'You know better than to ask that question, Michael,' came a harsh reprimand. 'Even if an Inquisitor has declared an entire world unfit to exist, let alone a singular hive, we as adjudicators of Imperial law are bound to seek the evidence that damns it so. Such is our remit, lest we fall into the trap of abstraction, as you are aware.'
'Right, yea- yes, sir.' The reminder of their last case together was clearly sobering for the Adept, though it did not stop his mind working at incredible rates as always. 'And, well, since I am in that role... only, if the verdict's been passed already, sir, doesn't that mean the evidence has been gathered by the Inquisitor?'
'It may. This doesn't mean we cannot make certain. And if the evidence is missing, then we need to ask why.'
'...ohhh. Right, because if it's not-'
'And keep that thought to yourself, Verispex,' Hektor suggested, quieting down the conversation until they returned to the rest of the team. By now, all the Judges were armoured up, and all save one Arbitrator was armed to boot. Lance, having come down with it, was not overly out of place with a heavy stubber at his hip - they were, after all, on their way to fight a full hive city. By contrast, Kowl... had a bolt cannon. He recognised the design, for certain - the Vengeance bolt cannon, a Yunnalin-specific weapon with origins on the nearby forge world of Destructor. And not to mention the two-handed version of his own power maul pattern, which precluded use of a suppression shield... what was Rheanna playing at?
'Sir, all Arbites are equipped and ready to proceed, two Lockshields spare for yourself and Verispex Frea,' she announced, grinning widely beneath her helmet's visor. She seemed to relish the idea of heading out and cracking some skulls, if Hektor had to guess. 'Three Rumblers and a Repressor have been equipped for transport into the Hive City, and Arbitrator Vimes will be holding the fort along with the servitor and Verispex contingents; just tell us who's going in what, and we can be on our way.'
'Well done. Well done to you all,' he declared, folding his arms behind his back authoritively. 'Our work over the coming days and weeks will be tough, and against the multitudes of lawbreakers, even we may die. But, to die upholding the Lex Imperialis is to die protecting the Imperium itself, and it is to die doing the God-Emperor's will. Thus, it is up to us to ascertain Hive IV's crimes, and to pass our judgement upon it even at risk of our own lives. Mere heretics will not sway us; they will not bow our backs; they will not get away with defrauding the Emperor's own laws. Are we clear?'
'Yes, sir!' came the unified response.
'I said, are we clear?
'Then,' he concluded, 'let us move out.'