The Inquisition is one of the most feared organisations in the Imperium of Man. Having been founded during the Horus Heresy in M31, it has the mission to work from the shadows as a secret police. It knows that treachery, heresy, mutation, unstable psychic power, the Xenos, and the Neverborn are everywhere. Only they stand to combat the shadow wars that take place behind the scenes.
The Inquisitorial Representative is the highest rank within the Ordo Inquisitors followed by the Inquisitor Lords. Many of the lord and even the representative is usually tied to two main branches, the Ordos Majoris, and the Ordos Minoris. The former is the most widely accepted, governing many elements of day-to-day life of the Imperium, working to stop the taint of the heretic, he Xenos, and the Daemon. They are primarily split into:
- The Ordo Hereticus. This Ordo deals with internal problems of the Imperium, making sure that Humanity follows the path of the Imperial Creeds & Laws. They all are generally known as Witch Hunters. With Humanity evolving ever further into a race of psykers, they are charged with keeping these beings under control and avoiding any unsanctioned psykers escaping the clutches of the Imperium. To do so, could easily condemn whole worlds, even whole star systems & sectors to damnation. This also follows on with the Inquisitors hunting down mutants in human societies so that these strange corrupted beings cannot attract the attention of more unsavoury beings. Many are skilled in the arts of the torturer, which allows the Inquisitor to extract information from those that would corrupt others. This Ordo is linked with their own Chamber Militant: the Adeptus Sororitas, the Sisters of Battle of the Ecclesiarch, and willing to use them as a fighting force when necessary.
- The Ordo Xenos. The Alien Hunters of the Inquisition, their purview is the external threat of the Xenos species that populate the galaxy. Each Inquisitor of this order looks to seek out & exterminate the taint of alien influence on Humanity, as well as the destruction of alien technology. This in part is due to the view of the Imperium looking as both the Xenos itself, and it's technology as being blasphemous in the eyes of the Emperor. It also is said that Xenos will happily prey on Humanity, and will gladly enslave or exterminate Mankind given the chance. To help with this, they make use of their own Chamber Militant, the space marines of the Deathwatch.
- The Ordo Malleus. One of the most secretive of the Ordo Majoris, the Ordo Malleus is the daemon hunters of the Inquisition. Their purview is the hunting of the daemon and the cults that spring up worshipping the Neverborn. Their role is highly dangerous as the any knowledge of the Warp and the Neverborn outside of specific individual persons or organisations, can easily lead one of the Inquisitors to release Exterminatus on a world, such is the corruption this knowledge is capable of. They have at their disposal a Chamber Militant called the Grey Knights, a secretive space marine chapter of daemon hunters, of which all are psykers.
- Ordo Machinum. The Ordo Machinum is the Ordo that investigates the Adeptus Mechanicus for signs of corruption. They keep an eye on them to stop the organisation from overstepping the bounds of AI & alien influence, and other Heretical works & deeds.
- Ordo Chronos. This Ordo was to investigate the act of time travel involving the Warp, and the ramifications of it, as well as preventing it. They have disappeared recently and others are investigating what happened.
- Ordo Militum. The Ordo Militum watches over the general military structures of the Imperium for signs of corruption, heresy, and rebellion. They deal with the Astra Militarum, the Imperial Navy, the Commissariat, the sanctioned psykers of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, the Adeptus Astartes, and with the Ordo Hereticus, the Sisters of Battle.
- Ordo Obsuletus. This Ordo involves monitoring unexplained phenomena & miracles. This is done to prevent any chaos influence, and other strange occurrences, such as the Legion of the Damned.
- Ordo Originatus. The purpose of this Ordo is to sift through ancient history and catalogue the history of Mankind, especially the past ten millennia. This is nigh impossible due to the following Ordo.
- Ordo Reductus. The Ordo is responsible for misinformation, especially the period of the last ten millennia. They do this to mislead those that would use the history of the Imperium against Mankind.
- Ordo Scriptorum. The "Unsleeping Eye" as it is known. It is based on Terra and it's purview is the works of the scribes of Terra's bureaucracy, making sure everything is filed & recorded correctly. In part it is to make sure everything runs smoothly and that when help is need it will arrive correctly.
- Ordo Sicarius. Tasked to monitor the Offico Assassinorium, after the Reign of Blood during the 36th Millennium.
- Unnamed Ordo. Tasked with monitoring the Adeptus Astartes, and neutralising any threat of rebellion from them. Set up during the Horus Heresy, and almost forgotten.
- Ordo Custodum. Created in M35, and tasked with monitoring the Adeptus Custodes.
The Inquisition is beholden to no-one, and if they are it it usually the High Lords of Terra. Even then they are not above turning their gaze to the High Lords if they think one of them is in some way corrupt. Inquisitors are usually split further into two generalised groups, the Puritans and the Radicals. Both believe that Mankind needs to be watched thoroughly and any rot from within or without needs dealt with swiftly & if need be violently. The former are very narrowminded, highly religious, and zealots of the highest order. They are not above whipping up a crowd to root out witches, heretics, Xenos and Chaos, no matter the cost. They will happily kill other Inquisitors they deem as not pious enough. The latter, the Radicals, will happily is psychic powers and / or weaponry of the alien or Chaos, believing that to fight a threat, you must use their own tactics. Xenos species & Daemonhosts can sometimes be found in their retinues helping them. Both are beholden to no other organisation, and will regularly demand that all other branches of the Imperium of Man for help. If refused, they will happily turn their attention to that organisation instead.
The Inquisition is effectively a secret police force of sorts. They have carte blanche to look into any aspect of an individual's life or organisation, all under the purview of working for the greater good of Mankind. No area is off-limits and anything they feels threatens Mankind's manifest destiny to rule the galaxy is at odds with their beliefs. Given power in M31 at the height of the Horus Heresy, they have existed long enough to become highly influential, they are feared and/or hated by all other factions in the Imperium. One word from an Inquisitor is enough to see one individual to a whole star system obliterated if some treason is suspected. Rarely will any force turn down a request to work with them, mainly for the fact they may be next in line to be investigated, even accused of being heretics for not helping the Inquisition. Usually an Inquisitor works alone, or with a small retinue. The odd time it will be with anything from a squad of one of the Imperium's military branches or local Arbites squad right up to a capital Naval ship, a Rogue Trader ship, or a full scale military force of several hundred or more assets. The reputation of Inquisitors, especially more established members, is enough to cause most people terror. A regular occurrence is an outpouring of all types of information, most of which is incorrect, but in many aspects with an Inquisitor, belief can be more important than cold hard facts. Sometimes Inquisitorial Wars break out, usually between the Puritan & Radical elements. This is as much to do with their respective dogmas, and can happen well within their own sides if two viewpoints diverge too much.
The Inquisition can be quite small in number. Nobody knows just how many there are, though a base line is normally a few thousand at least of different ranks. This could be far higher depending on turnover of members. Most have a base of spies, technicians of different types, military, and psykers at their disposal. These usually fill all manner of roles, whether working inside other organisations, follow up work, filing, information gathering, or muscle. When more specialised roles are needed, the Inquisition is not above using other Imperial assets as they see fit. All it takes is an Inquisitional Mandate and the assets are turned over, usually on a temporary basis. Sometimes though, they end up becoming permanently attached to the Inquisition, or a specific Inquisitor.
The Inquisition was started in M31 during the Horus Heresy by Malachor the Sigellite. With that turbulent time Inquisition is shrouded in mystery & time. It seems that they were set up to watch for rebellion, and eventually took up the role of secret police during it. They were then given Militant Chambers over time, the first of which was the Grey Knights chapter, one specialised in fighting the Neverborn, in early M32. Roughly the same time or slightly later the Deathwatch fortresses were created and tied to the Inquisition. This gave them access to space marines from different chapters all specialised in hunting Xenos threats. Finally, in M36, during the time of the Age of Apostasy, and the resulting Reign of Blood & Plague of Unbelief, the Inquisition was given access to the final Chamber Militant, the Adeptus Sororitas. From that point it has been able to persecute wars without having to maintain it's own military forces, drawing primarily these three Chambers Militant, and then expanding outwards as appropriate.
"I can destroy you, or I can destroy this world completely. You're choice. After all, you did come to my attention for you're 'little indiscretion'. That power you wield, you attracted the wrong type, the nobility. They may have been tempting targets for a cult, protecting their dalliances, thinking they can get away with it. No, no they couldn't. When my agent felt the pull of the Warp, and contacted me, I knew there had to be more. A mind behind it, attracting the Neverborn here and the opening of that rift. It doesn't matter the size, or if I keep 'extracting' information from you, you will break and you're soul lost. So, what is it to be? You're last breath or a world's last breath? I would advise the correct answer here, as only the Emperor can ever help you here." Inquisitor Mansk, talking to a rogue psyker on Sirius IV.
The 31st Millennium
Government, Secret Service
Holy Order of the Emperor's Inquisition
Related Ranks & Titles