"Who can truly return to the grace of the God-Emperor without the searing pain which accompanies having one's sin revealed in His just light? This brand I have here is but a small thing by comparison, but the pain you feel should serve as a sufficient representation. Now, shall we begin?"
–Marcus Danturian, Chastener of The Pendulum
The Arbitrators constitute the military might of the law, the hammer with which the Imperium breaks lawlessness, but Arbites doctrine accepts that not every reprimand must be lethal. Lord Marshal Goreman professes that perfection only belongs to divinity, and divinity only belongs to the Emperor---to claim otherwise is heretical pride. And if none can be perfect, then all must deserve rebuke, and if every rebuke brings death then what of humanity would survive? Death-dealing will always be part of the Arbites’ charter, but the many Judges believe it cannot be all of it. While not all Precincts make use of less than lethal punishment, the Scintillan Precinct trains some Arbitrators for less deadly roles, and occasionally sends them out to other Fortress Precincts to aid in legal investigations. The role of capturing, questioning, and punishing without killing falls to the specialists Goreman has named the ‘Chasteners’.
To be gunned down in the street, cornered by a squad of black-armored Arbitrators, is the deserved end for those who have threatened the stability and constance of the Imperium of Man, but some Calixian Precincts believe that this is not the only end. For every criminal who is laid out on a hive street by the blast of an Arbites shotgun, there are those who have warranted a different, though certainly no less terrifying, fate. To warrant such an end one must only show the briefest chance of rehabilitation or contrition, for this is what Lord Marshal Goreman’s Chasteners demand. It is the duty of the Chasteners to return the body and soul of such criminals to the service of the Emperor, which He so rightly requires. To achieve this, each Chastener is trained within the Precinct Fortress on Scintilla in a network of specialized simulation rooms to fight to subdue and restrain any prisoner, regardless of the environment. They are also skilled in torture and coercive force, the better to exact confessions and repentance from their wayward captives. For those criminals who would prefer a quick and heroic death, standing against the might of the Adeptus Arbites encountering a Chastener will put a quick end to their dreams of glory, for when one is sought by the Chasteners, death is an escape they will not be afforded.
The purpose of the Chasteners is rooted in the needs of Lord Marshal Goreman, who holds to the notion that each man's first duty is to serve the Emperor in life and deed. To act contrary to the law is to not only disobey this duty, but to spit in the face of everything the Emperor has built. It is for this reason that Chasteners seek to rehabilitate their prey rather than execute them right off, as it is not the Chastener's place to take from the Emperor one who might still serve the purpose for which he was born. If a Chastener succeeds in his task, not only will he have returned a wayward soul to the service of the God-Emperor, but he will have also saved a soul from damnation.
The Chasteners administer every aspect of the capture and handling of living prisoners. While any Arbitrator can take down a target in combat and bundle them into a strait-cape or barb-cuffs, a Chastener spends hours training beneath the Precinct Fortress on Scintilla learning how to disable and drag away a target in any situation and by any means: from harpooning them in the middle of a riot and winching them up to a coleopter hatch; to moving silently through a guarded mansion, drugging a sleeping mark, and spiriting them away without awakening the spouse or concubine sleeping next to them. Training rooms in a variety of locations, from the faux lava-slag flows beneath Gunmetal City to orbital drop simulations, can be created in one of the Precinct Fortress’ underground chambers, and no two Chasteners undergo the same regiment.
The ways in which crime is punished non-lethally are many and varied, but only a few outcomes exist for the criminal. In the eyes of the Lord Marshal’s Chastener, the most desired outcome is to return the prisoner to Imperial society, entirely free of his lawless ways and truly repentant of his crimes. This is a rarity, but it is not unknown. Less rarely, a subject serves the God-Emperor in other ways, as servitor candidates or service within the Penal Legions of Kommitzar are always a viable punishment. Some may think this a dangerous prospect, for who can say whether the Chastener's torments ever truly succeeded, but the minuscule number of released prisoners who have ever returned to their criminal ways speak to the validity of the Lord Marshal’s decision.
The ministrations of the Chasteners have a direct use for the Arbites, of course, since an important part of their work is obtaining confessions and information that will incriminate others in turn. Any citizen, a Chastener will say, has information of interest, no matter how unaware they may be of the importance of what they know. But these careful, will-destroying punishments have a deeper purpose. The Arbites punish crimes against the Imperium itself. To break their laws is to affront the Imperium and the sacred order it enforces, and so the punishments are not just correction, deterrent, or retribution, but a symbolic reassertion of Imperial sovereignty, the reconquering of a body and soul that rightfully belonged in service to the Emperor and was stolen away from Him by lawlessness and criminality.
For such a crime a simple eye-for-eye penalty will never suffice. By the end of the punishment the Chasteners must be sure that every last scrap of rebellious spirit has been burned away, and the prisoner reclaimed for the rule of law. The conclusion of a prisoner’s punishment (whether that be release once their criminality has been broken, passage into further servitude on a prison world or in a penal legion, or execution) is usually marked by a short ceremony proclaiming the return of the prisoner to the ways of the law. The convict is often marked in some way, usually a brand, tattoo, or sometimes the grafting of a plaque to the face or forehead.
Since the most likely fate for one taken by the Chasteners is a term of service on a penal world or among the ranks of a penal legion, the criminals who deserve this end are largely those who serve the cause of the God-Emperor only under extreme duress. It is likely that this sort of recalcitrant scoundrel has thus far resisted the ministrations of the Chasteners and is beyond hope of voluntary rehabilitation. The final option left to criminals against the God-Emperor's Law is execution. When it appears that no amount of coercion or torture will have any lasting effect on a prisoner, they are instead put to death in order to ensure that their treasonous ideas and ways are eliminated once and for all. The Chasteners do not hesitate to put a criminal to death, often weighting the efforts a subject would require against more pressing duties, sometimes executing a redeemable citizen for the sake of expediency.
To reach any of these ends is no easy thing, for those who have started down the path of impiousness and criminality have already forsaken their duty to mankind in the Lord Marshal’s eyes, favoring their own desires, fears, and cowardice. In order to return a prisoner to the lawful path, the deviant mind must first be broken free of the taint of lawlessness. In order to do this, Chasteners are masters of not only physical torture but methods of psychological readjustment.
Once a prisoner is in custody, more macabre skills come into play, as the Chasteners go to work administering punishment and breaking the prisoner’s will. Physical torture is one tool in their armory, finely sharpened by instruction from some of the greatest Interrogators in the Calixis Sector. Often, these Inquisitorial Interrogators train Chasteners with the understanding that they will spend time with Acolyte Cells before returning to their Adeptus Arbites Precinct. While these Chasteners are schooled in the scientific application of force to the human body, it is only one tool in an array of careful torments that erode away the pretenses and unmask the lawbreaker underneath. The Arbites’ brutalized subjects suffer extremes of noise and temperature; stifling, claustrophobic spaces or frighteningly open ones; maddening solitude; or the crowded company of dozens or hundreds of other prisoners for days or more. They are deprived of sleep, paraded and humiliated before other prisoners or the masses, and made to deliver endless pleas denouncing their own weakness and criminality.
Breaking the subject's errant spirit is only the first stage of the process of rehabilitation, but an important one. Only after they have been reduced to little more than gibbering shells of the criminals they once were are the prisoners prepared to be reforged by the Chasteners into proper Imperial citizens. This process has been known to take years for truly heinous villains, but can be done as quickly as a few solid months for criminals less dedicated to befouling the Imperium.
However, a Chastener's job does not start in the interrogation room. While Arbitrators are perfectly capable soldiers of the law, they are merely that—soldiers. The art of capturing and detaining prisoners is one left to Goreman’s Chasteners of the Arbites, men who are trained with a mind to finesse and restraint rather than overwhelming force. As a result, Chasteners receive extensive training in all sorts of subdual weaponry, including shock-weaponry, stun grenades, disabling toxins, and grapple-nets. In addition, Chasteners are trained to use their bodies as weapons with which to restrain their prey. These agents of the Arbites are masters of martial traditions which focus on grappling and holds to subdue one's opponent. Chasteners are trained in a specialized form of martial art which combines specific aspects of several combat regimens in order to most effectively control and restrict their quarry without endangering their life.
All of these skills combine to make Chasteners dangerous foes to criminals and valuable agents of Imperial law. Indeed, for these reasons, Inquisitors of the Holy Ordos often conscript Chasteners to complete their retinues. Their collection of skills and training makes them uniquely capable for work as an investigator and interrogator for their Inquisitorial masters. Truly it is no rare thing for the target of a Chastener's mission to be the target of an Inquisitorial investigation; a convergence of goals which is rarely displeasing for either party.
The distinctive livery of a Chastener is a russet-brown sash, tunic, or cloak worn over the standard Arbites armor and helmet. Chasteners are also often marked out by their size: while there are exceptions, the typical Chastener is bullish and broad-shouldered, fully able to control prisoners through sheer brawn.
The Chasteners of the Calixis Sector know that in order to break the most hardened criminals it is important to carefully manage every aspect of their incarceration. A key early step in this process is to isolate and disorient them. Strait capes are used to achieve this. These are specially made heavy sacks constructed of strong synthetic canvas which are thrown over suspects. Their limbs are then pulled through holes in the sack, immobilised and hogtied using internal chains, and an attached hood containing a blindfold, gag, and earmuffs is then thrown over the suspect’s head. Completely helpless, the subject can then be attached to the exterior hooks and clamps on Arbites vehicles and roared away into the night to await the pleasure of the Chasteners.
Cost 100, WT 5kg, Scarce
Alternate Career RankEdit
Joining the ranks of the Chasteners is as much a choice as joining the cadre of an Imperial Inquisitor. While some may strive for the position, ultimately it is up to the Precinct Command on Scintilla to choose capable men and women for service. The time and effort placed into training these individuals (who may be called upon to perform alone or in the service of the Inquisition) makes recruitment a serious affair. Those in charge of putting prospective Chasteners through the program beneath the Precinct Fortress are encouraged to create tasks that escalate in danger and require ever increasing creativity on the part of the candidate. Arbitrators who have shown significant skill in interrogation and uncommon restraint in the apprehension of criminals are natural candidates for the rank of Chastener. Few chosen deny the position, for while many Arbitrators prefer a more straightforward approach to dealing with criminals, the rank and honor paid to a Chastener is a valuable asset to anyone wishing to one day command a Precinct of his own.
Required Careers: Arbitrator, Assassin, or Guardsman
Alternate Rank: Rank 3 or higher (1,000 XP)
Requirements: Inquiry and Interrogation Skills