|Founding||Unknown, possibly 10th Founding|
|Successors of||Unknown; tactics and armor ornamentation indicate Dark Angels, but the colors and Chapter structure scream Ultra-Smurfs|
|Successor Chapters||Tiger Claws, two unknown|
|Chapter Master||Lugft Huron, "The Tyrant of Badab"|
|Homeworld||New Badab, formerly Badab Primaris|
|Strength||Badab War: 1,500 and 3,000
Chapter Extinct - see Red Corsairs
|Specialty||Fast attack, artillery. Don't question it. (artillery and fast-attack Astartes working together is terrifying)|
|Allegiance||Imperium of Man, post-M41 Huron Blackheart and Chaos|
|Colours||Silver, Blue, and Gold|
The Astral Claws were a Space Pirate Marine chapter of unequaled badassery and the top dogs in ship-to-ship fighting and boarding actions. After having served the Emperor faithfully for over 5,000 years, decided they'd had enough of the ungrateful fuckheads who ruled the Imperium and would rather do it alone. Their ensuing war of secession, known as the Badab War, dragged dozens of Spess Mahreen chapters into the fray and killed countless millions of innocent civilians and worthless Planetary Defense Forces. Overall, it was pretty cool.
After having been royally facefucked by the vastly (numerically) superior Loyalist forces, the surviving 200-or-so Astral Claws
got the fuck out of Dodge fled Badab Primaris for the relative safety of the Maelstrom, from which they currently operate as the pirate renegade space marines, the Red Corsairs.
Enter the Astral Claws
The Astral Claws saw their first depiction in a publication covering the Badab War, printed sometime in the mid-1300's. Unfortunately, the poor bastards looked like they were designed by a blind Jackson Pollock, sporting an atrocious tiger-stripe color scheme. Needless to say, most people didn't give them a second glance. Not to mention the fact that the fluff surrounding the Astral Claws in the first Badab War book was hella weak, even by Games Workshop standards. Anyway.
The Astral Claws received a much-needed makeover in Forgeworld's Imperial Armour Volume IX: The Badab War Part 1. The 'Claws got a new, significantly less horrifying design, and the old Tony the Tiger pattern was pushed off onto one of the Astral Claws' successor chapters, the unfortunate Tiger Claws. With IA nine came a slew of new background for both the Astral Claws and the Badab War itself.
The Tyrant's Own
In Imperial Armour IX, the history of the Astral Claws was expanded upon considerably. For those of you that give a damn, the chapter was formed sometime in M35 as a crusading chapter, and was responsible for kicking ass from one side of the Imperium to the other. Eventually, the chapter racked up enough victories and battle honors that even the Ultrasmurfs would have have a bitch of a time being unimpressed. When the High Lords of Terra decided that the Maelstrom zone was becoming disturbingly rife with tomfoolery, they looked to the hardest motherfuckers they could find to put things in order: The Astral Claws. Together with the Mantis Warriors and Lamenters Space Marine chapters, the Astral Claws formed a collective known as the Maelstrom Wardens. And, to quote a historian of the 38th millennium, "they got shit done." This is what happens when chapters that are honestly devoted to destroying threats are founded. Unlike nearly every other chapter who basically sit around all day doing nothing while waiting for a “worthy” threat to appear, these three chapters and the few others like them threw themselves into the Eternal War mind, body, and soul.
When suddenly, Lugft Huron.
Huron was (and still is, if a bit loony) the spiritual love-child of Arnold Schwarzenegger and a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The first mention of this sonnovabitch comes in the form of an account of his having killed an Eldar Warlock with his bare hands. While he was still a scout. No, I'm not making this shit up. From that point on, Huron enjoyed a meteoric rise to power, ascending in rank and prestige from Devastator Marine, to 1st Company Veteran, to 3rd Company Captain, to Pope, to Lord of the Dance.
It should come as little surprise then that when the time came to elect a new Chapter Master in the wake of old Chapter Master Placeholder's death by Ork choppa to the face, the majority of Astral Claws entered their vote as "Fuck yeah, Huron." Huron led his Chapter to all new echelons of facerape in the name of the Emprah, riding a mechanized polar bear into battle at the forefront of the mighty Astral Claws.
Huron and his allies quickly set to work in crushing Chaos cults, Ork incursions, and all other forms of bullshit that plagued the Maelstrom zone. However, not even the greatness of the three chapters was enough to keep a lid on the brewing shitstorm that was bubbling up all over the Maelstrom zone. An attempted coup on Badab Primaris, the Astral Claw homeworld, led to a short-lived civil war on the Hive World. Huron's boys quickly put the rebels in their place, and proceeded to mete out swift justice upon those involved via bolter. In the wake of the conflict, Huron decided he'd had quite enough of little shits throughout his system trying to take what was rightfully his, and proceeded to execute most of the existing body politic on the planets his was bound to protect. Taking on the utterly awesome title of "The Tyrant of Badab", Huron made the Maelstrom zone his personal pocket empire, and began ruling it with an adamantium powerfist.
In hopes of ending strife within his territories once and for all, Huron petitioned the useless bureaucrats on Terra for assistance in taming the Maelstrom, hoping that the powers-that-be would see the merit in dedicating several more Space Marine chapters to the defense of a critical system of the Imperium. The High Lords, being the useless pricks that they are, denied poor Lugft's proposal, stating that the Imperium's resources would be better spent on augmenting the Lords' already substantial personal supply of prostate massagers.
This made Huron angry. And if there's one thing you never do, it's piss off an Austrian dinosaur.
Also, the Tiger Claws, one of their aforementioned 3 successors, suffered devastating casualties and had their last fleet go MIA at this time. The survivors were absorbed into the Astral Claws.
The Badab War
Seeing that the useless fucks on Planet Shitforbrains would rather focus their efforts elsewhere, The Tyrant of Badab took the defense of the Maelstrom into his own, massive, metal hands. Huron reorganized the Planetary Defense Forces of the Maelstrom Zone (or, at least, all of those who hadn't been killed to a man) into the so-called "Tyrant's Legion", a Huron-approved parallel to the Imperial Guard. Furthermore, the Astral Claws Chapter Master decided that if the Imperium didn't give a Kroot's ass about the Maelstrom Warders, he wasn't going to give an Emperor-damn about them. Huron began withholding his chapter's gene-seed tithe, using the delicious Primarch-goop to make even moar Astral Claws! This practice swelled the Astral Claws' numbers to well above codex-imposed norms. Though the final tally of Huron's warriors is a matter of speculation, it's estimated that the Astral Claws were between 50% and 250% over-strength at the outset of the Badab War (1,500 and 3,500, for those of you who don't speak fluff).
Oh, right. The Badab War.
Well, as some wise asshole once said, the only things certain in life are death and gene-seed tithes. Eventually, the Space-IRS came knocking in the form of an Administrative fleet from the Kathargo sector. Huron and the Tyrant-loyal Maelstrom Fleet detachment saw to it that they were never heard from again.
Shortly thereafter, Huron wrote and delivered the Articles of Just Secession, which declared the Maelstrom zone independent of Terran authority. Thomas Jeffhuron assured the High Lords of Terra that he and his battle-brothers would continue their duty in defending the Maelstrom, but would no longer recognize the authority of the Imperium in dictating how they went about their sacred duty. And so The Maelstrom Warders gripped their giant, steely balls in one hand, gave the Imperium the finger with the other, and told the whole of the galaxy to come at them. And come at them it did.
For twelve long, bloody years, the Maelstrom Warders, backed by the considerable power of the Maelstrom Fleet and the Tyrant's Legion, weathered the wrath of Imperial retribution. Before the war was out, the Astral Claws and their band of merry men had crossed power swords with the Fire Hawks, Marines Errant, Novamarines, Minotaurs, Salamanders, Red Scorpions, Exorcists, Carcharodons, Executioners (after they had had enough of Huron's shit), Raptors, Howling Griffons, Sons of Medusa, Star Phantoms, the Ordo Hereticus, Ellen Degenerate, the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. While the war remained in flux for a good number of years, with the Secessionists holding their ground against the Loyalist onslaught, the end result of the conflict was something of a foregone conclusion. Outnumbered, outgunned, and surrounded, Huron's allies capitulated to the Loyalist forces one by one. But the Tyrant would not be bowed.
Screaming his defiance from his seat of power on Badab Primaris, the heavily fortified Palace of Thorns, Huron and the Astral Claws made their last stand. Standing atop one of the palace's countless spires, blaring Iron Maiden solos on his gold-and-blue electric guitar, Huron watched as the Loyalists assaulted his stronghold. The remaining Astral Claws fought tooth-and...well, claw, to defend their Chapter Master and their homeworld, but were ultimately overrun. While scooping the eyes out of an unfortunate Son of Medusa's head with a melon baller, Huron took a multi-melta blast to the side from a Star Phantom company captain. Those Astral Claws still fighting rushed to defend the Tyrant, and managed to escape with Huron's broken body. The survivors fled their dying planet for the "safety" of the Maelstrom itself, vowing to return to reap vengeance on the Imperium that abandoned them, apparently having forgotten that they were the ones to start shooting at said Imperium in the first place.
Yo Ho Ho, a Pirate's Life for Huron
Unsurprisingly, Huron survived the shot that could have crippled a Land Raider, and after Lord Apothecary Garreon and Forgemaster Armenneus Valthex applied a little technomancy here and a little black magic there, he was back on his feet and angrier than ever. After a quick change of paintjob, Huron traded his former epithet for the equally awesome "Blackheart", and the Astral Claws took on the name of the Red Corsairs. And so, with a cry of "fuck bitches, get money", the remnants of the Astral Claws set out to reclaim what was once theirs, initiating a campaign of plundering, pillaging, and piracy that has lasted to the latest iteration of the Warhammer lore. Abaddon even gave him a freaken Blackstone Fortress just to get on his good side for the 13rd Black Crusade.