The Adeptus Arbites
Only through constant watch and the execution of brutal law can the Imperium survive, and it is the Adeptus Arbites who carry out this function. While the armies of the Imperial Guard struggle to hold back the aggression of alien empires and protect worlds from without, the Adeptus Arbites roots out rebels, recidivists, and threats to the stability of the Imperium from within. They operate as they best see fit, using their greater training and weaponry to tackle foes that might be beyond the scope of local enforcers, or in many cases to deal with a government which has itself become corrupted. Remorseless and single-minded, Arbitrators do not forgive or forget any crime, and pursue their quarry relentlessly until the Emperor’s Justice has been served.
The laws of the Imperium are a complex web of tradition, obligation, and local custom. Thus, they can vary from world to world or sector to sector, with each planetary governor, local prefect, or headman pronouncing his own laws. Arbitrators care little for such trivialities, and enforce the serious crimes against the Imperium while leaving such petty matters to local officials. Murder or theft, for example, are considered inconsequential unless they affect the Imperium directly, are perpetrated against Imperial officials, or somehow fundamentally threaten a world’s
security or safety.
Arbitrators have little pity or compassion for the transgressions of Imperial citizens. Years of dealing with the scum of the galaxy has made many of them cynical and bitter. Others have become zealots, seeing the Emperor’s hand in the letter of the law and only death is deserved for those who would break it. A few might maintain idealistic notions for bringing order to the Imperium, but realities of endless, sometimes horrific crimes constantly erode such notions. The arrival of an Arbitrator patrol is seldom welcome, given the brutal way in which they operate during their investigations, arrests, and executions, even though it might mean an end to viscous criminal enterprises or corrupt officials.
Arbitrators must deal with ineffectual or corrupt local agencies. These are often an Arbitrator’s greatest foes as he must clean up a local situation, taking over the enforcers of a hive city, orbital station, or even entire planet to purge it of crime and corruption in a series of bloody and unforgiving sweeps.
On Imperial worlds the Adeptus Arbites are the last, most absolute law, answering only to their commanders and the Judges of systems and sectors, and not to local authorities. It is a thankless task, for the anonymous, helmeted Arbitrator usually only receives fear and hatred for his actions. They are the final bulwark against heretical uprisings and other major threats. Their precinct-fortress is the often last bastion of Imperial rule during revolutions or invasions, holding out to the very end whilst alerting outside agencies of the dire situation. Each member knows that should they fall, so follows the planet. To merely survive in such a hostile environment, Arbitrators must show no hesitation, regret, or compassion for those they protect, and they must consider every citizen guilty until they are proven innocent.