We Have Not The Luxury To Count The Cost
“One cannot consider the fate of a single man, nor ten, nor a hundred, nor a thousand. Billions will live or die by our actions here, and we have not the luxury to count the cost.” – Inquisitor Kryptman
The Inquisition is a secret organization that exists outside the standard administrative hierarchy of the Imperium of Man. The Inquisition acts as the secret police force of the Imperium, hunting down any and all of the myriad threats to the stability of the God-Emperor’s realm, from the corruption caused by the Forces of Chaos, Heretics, mutants and rebels, to assaults from vicious alien species like the Tyranids, Orks or Dark Eldar.
Inquisitors also have absolute power to judge and execute supposed heretics, mutants, unsanctioned or rogue psykers and the like, with no appeal save the intervention of another Inquisitor. Practically, all possible verdicts are death sentences, although the means by which they are achieved differ. Traitors, the worst grade of offenders, are considered irredeemable and will be quickly executed. Heretics may be redeemed, often after considerable amounts of torture, and may receive absolution through death in service to the Imperium.
Certain traitors deemed useful to the Inquisition may in extremely rare cases be mind-scrubbed, their old memories and identity erased and replaced with one loyal to the Inquisition. If it is beyond their means to track down and kill a particular individual or organization, an Inquisitor can simply declare the offending entity Excommunicate Traitoris, stripping them of whatever rights they may have had and as such marking them as a target fit for extermination by any and all loyal servants of the Emperor.
If the Inquisitor deems it necessary he or she can attach an official stigma to a dangerous heretic, Traitor or alien race. Each of the major Ordos has a different official stigma which pertains to their primary enemies. These stigmata include the Extremis Diabolis for the Ordo Malleus, the Xenos Horrificus for the Ordo Xenos and the Hereticus Abomini for the Ordo Hereticus.
The Inquisition does not have a formal organization and is, at the most fundamental level, dependent upon the authority and skill of the single Inquisitor and his team of Acolytes. New Inquisitors are frequently former Acolytes themselves who proved themselves capable enough to be trained and commissioned as fully-fledged Inquisitors.