Lord Admiral Herschel Brightburg stepped carefully through the shattered bridge of the Imperial Battleship Relentless. Debris and shrapnel were everywhere. A fallen support beam bisected the bridge. That would all be cleaned up shortly; the desiccated corpses of the former crew had already been hauled away by the bio-purification team.
Around the Admiral was a buzz of activity. Young officers making observations and taking equipment readings. To one side, the space marine Captain Septimus stood silently with a hand upon his temple, no doubt conferring with his teams via his in-helmet comm. Similarly, Tech Priest Yanus stood with closed eyes, head faintly twitching as he digitally communed with his brothers around the ship. At last, both men stepped towards the Admiral and stood to attention.
Brightburg turned to the space marine first, “Report.”
“The vessel has been thoroughly searched. No stowaways or survivors. No void beasts or any other signs of demonic contamination. No xeno-contamination. No life forms of any kind. All teams have checked in: the vessel is secured, my Lord.”
Brightburg nodded and turned to the tech priest, “Vessel status?”
The tech priest closed his eyes again, presumably reading from some report in his mind. Brightburg bit down on his disgust of cybernetics. This is a necessary evil to serve the Emperor.
“Vessel is remarkably well-preserved, my Lord, despite the superficial observable damage. Vessel structure is sound. Vessel cogitator back online. Barring any hidden damage, main power can likely be brought back online within 3.6 days, weapons system and propulsion system shortly thereafter.”
This was indeed remarkable. The Relentless was recorded lost 750 years prior. For a vessel to spend seven centuries in the warp and emerge relatively unscathed, uncontaminated, that was very rare indeed. For it to appear in range of Imperial salvage operations, just when the Battlefleet was in need of more capital ships, THAT was truly a miracle, one that bolstered Brightburg's faith in the Emperor's guiding light.
“See to the repairs,” ordered the Admiral, “Any indication as to what happened?”
“As ironic as it may seem, ship's logs indicate that the Commissar of the Relentless engaged in a heretical rant, then subsequently attempted to take over the ship while at warp. Unfortunately, the ensuing battle killed much of the crew, including the Navigators. The ship was unable to leave the immaterium, and the remaining crew simply died off.”
This account left Admiral Brightburg agog. He began to shout and then quickly subdued his voice to an angry hiss, “A COMMISSAR... A Commissar went heretic? That's impossible! The Officio Prefectus trains them from childhood. They know nothing but loyalty to the God Emperor.”
For once, the tech priest met the Admiral's eyes, and was clearly uncomfortable about it, “Nevertheless, the senior officers' logs all agree on the series of events, and security footage corroborates the story.”
The Admiral ground his teeth for a moment, “Have your people download the logs and footage to a data crystal. Encrypt with level 9 security clearance. Then delete all logs and security footage from the ship's cogitator. RIGHT. NOW.”
The priest quickly closed his eyes and began twitching slightly. After about a minute he opened them: “Done, my Lord.”
Brightburg look at both men, “Neither of you will speak of this heresy.Ever. Am I clear?”
Both men answered at once: “Yes, my Lord.”
“Good... now, back to work: let's get this ship operational again.”