Áron Németh’s four-part novella set within the Inquisitor: Martyr ‘sandbox’, Above and Beyond continues with Episode 3 as Mercer and his team attempt to dig beneath the surface of Rengris VII’s government. Using the cover of an elaborate reception to spend some time investigating the planet’s ruling elite, Mercer looks for allies in his mission but soon finds that there’s more going on than he realised at first.
After an enjoyable start, this story is quickly deteriorating into something that’s both narratively flawed and tonally way off. There’s little sense of coherence to the overall plot; after three episodes it’s still unclear what the point of the story is, and people and places are introduced with no context to fit them into the story. Worse, the author continues to give us hackneyed, one-dimensional characters whose in-world knowledge and demeanour just doesn’t fit with 40k. It’s ok in many sci-fi universes for everyone to know all about the various races and cultures inhabiting the setting, but in 40k that’s just not credible. Once again there’s a core to the story that could have been interesting, but it’s as though we’re reading a first draft before it’s reached an editor. Disappointing.