|Battle Cry||"To the Galaxy's End!" "And to treasure untold!" "Beyond the farthest stars we go!" "There is no fear we shall know!" "FOR THE EMPEROR YO HO!"|
|Founding||Unknown (dawn of the 36th Millennium)|
|Successors of||Unknown (First Chapter Master was of the Novamarines. Geneseed stock information used for the creation of the marines was mysteriously expunged).|
|Chapter Master||Ahab, aka: Master Blackbeard|
|Homeworld||Fleet based. A combination of Nomad-Predation based Fleet system with elements from Crusader based Fleets (previously Crowe's World’s The Spire.)|
|Strength||Above standard Chapter numbers, yet due to the fleet being spread out among both the known Calico regions and the undiscovered areas beyond them, as well having a small force operating somewhere in the Ultima Segmentum, it is unknown how many of them are active (estimated 3000 with companies having varied numbers of marines within their ranks).|
|Allegiance||Sworn to the Emperor and the people of the Imperium.|
|Colours||Black, secondary colour varies from ship to ship.|
From the reaches of the Calico Stars, comes a Chapter that nobody have ever thought would exist. Once known as the Void Eagles, a Codex Chapter, they sail the Warp currents aiding the colonies of the known Calician Regions as well any Imperial planets and forces they come upon, hunting down the dangers that threaten them, and plundering everything that is not Imperial...or was once yet went completely renegade after getting drunk with power. They are both the Emperor's Space Marines, as well as privateers that travel the unexplored regions in search of a artefact only known as the Ultimate Treasure, and they will search for it, even if they would have to steer into the heart of the Eye of Terror for that. They are the Black Locks. And they are in it for the Emperor…as well the wenches, loot and rum.
- 1 ORIGINS OF THE BLACK LOCKS
- 2 LATER EVENTS
- 2.1 Waaagh! BlitzZappa and The Naval Battle for Maginote
- 2.2 Saving House Gentius
- 2.3 Defence of The Cradle
- 2.4 Aiding Fleet Tinkerer
- 2.5 The Ravenholm IV Tragedy
- 2.6 Captain Jones’s Betrayal and the rise of the Serpent Watch
- 2.7 Times of Straining
- 2.8 Taniwha Strikes
- 2.9 The Calician Colonies call for reinforcements
- 3 Chapter and Fleet Organization
- 3.1 The Companies of The Dread Fleet
- 3.2 Dread Fleet Organization
- 3.2.1 The Fleet
- 3.2.2 Chapter Organization, Members and Allies
- 4 See Also
ORIGINS OF THE BLACK LOCKS
"I did my share of deeds to ensure that the Chapter would become strong enough to protect both the Calico Stars, HIS people, HIS planets, as well as to find the treasure that would restore HIM to HIS former glory and launch a new Great Crusade...YET IF I KNEW BACK THEN HOW THE MARINES WOULD CHANGE, THEN I WOULDN'T HAVE STAYED ON CROWE'S WORLD." - Venerable Castor. Former Chapter Champion of the Novamarines, former Chapter Master of The Void Eagles, Venerable Contemptor Dreadnought of the Black Locks Honour Guard
The Space Marines of The Black Locks chapter are a unusual force of marines. Once known as a Codex Chapter of the Void Eagles, they were originally created in the earliest period of the 36th millennium to protect the colonies of the Calico Stars, a region that was warp-storm ridden, filled with void beasts and plagued with occasional and severe pirate raids, yet rich in resources and rife with archeotech to be discovered. The region itself was very close to the core of the galaxy, and it was located in the Ultima Segmentum.
The Void Eagles’s geneseed was of unknown origin, since any data on that was mysteriously lost. The chapter, thou having commanders of their own, still didn’t decide on a Chapter Master, and they didn’t know what awaited them in the regions. Thus they were assigned a group of Novamarines to have them properly adhere to the Codex Astartes. The group’s leader was a mighty veteran that once ventured into the Calico Stars in his younger days, and his name was Castor Virtillius. Originally sent in there in the 813.35M as part of a Novamarine strike group under the supervision of Inquisitor Horatio Amarello of the Ordo Malleus to hunt down a Thousand Sons Sorcerer by the name of Jyvs Odane, Castor himself didn't know what he was going into.
He visited and fought among the worlds of the Calico, slew the various void beasts and saw both wonders and horrors that no Astartes has ever seen. When the strike force finally cornered the sorcerer on the Shrine World of Crowe’s World in the Nautilus Sub-Sector, they struck into his sanctuary after defeating his Rubric Marines. The sorcerer wanted to plunge the sector into a warp storm to harness its secrets, but the Novamarines arrival made him use his warp crystal (that he was using to drag the sector into a warp storm) to transform into a Daemon Prince to combat them, yet when the marines barged in, they met Odane halfway through his transformation.
However, the half Chaos Marine half Daemon proved to be immensely powerful and obliterated most of the strike force and threw the rest of the members around with his telekinetic wave, either impaling them on the spikes in his sanctuary, or hitting them with such force that they lost consciousness. Only Castor and Horatio were still capable of fighting, yet the Inquisitor’s left arm was broken, and without it he couldn't properly wield his Daemon Hammer. The half daemon knowing that nobody would disturb his ascension, returned to finish what he started, as well to end his ascension. By doing this he lowered his guard, thus allowing Horatio to throw a melta charge at him. This reduced Odane to a mass of flesh and psychic energies. The sorcerer struck Horatio with a bolt of warp lightning, yet he didn’t saw Castor charging at the crystal with Horatio’s Daemon Hammer. Smashing the crystal, Castor severed Odane’s link with the warp, causing the encroaching warpstorm to receded, while Odane was reduced to a harmless pile of flesh (which was still conscious).
The surviving Novamarines grilled the Sorcerer and dug him deep underground (and further covering it with holy soil), where he’d stay forever. On the place where the Thousand Sons marine was dug, the Novamarines called the Ecclesiarchy to build a chapel there so that Odane wouldn’t free himself. Along the bodies of the saints that were to seal off the daemon, Horatio would also be entombed there along his Daemon Hammer in case Odane found a way to dig out. The Novamarines oversaw to the chapel’s construction. Until it was constructed, they wouldn't return to Honorum.
During the chapel’s construction, Castor went out to recon the area around him until he found himself at the seaside of the large island where Odane’s razed sanctuary was located. He found there a cave with a unusual dweller in there. It looked human, but it had coral elements all over its body. The being was not hostile, it was actually friendly towards the Astartes, going even so far as inviting him to eat with him the meal he cooked. Castor thought of it as a deception, yet despite being suspicious, he accepted the invitation. What he later found out from him was something he didn’t thought of.
The Coral Man’s name was Severus Trask, a former privateer from the colony of Port Royalty. A pious member of the Calician Fleets, he started a thorough project of claiming new worlds for the Colonial Powers in order to find new resources and STC. However there was a accident during one such colonization attempts and he got infected with small coral-like parasites that now inhabit his body (and partially mutated him physically). Because of this he had to go into hiding, which resulted in colonizing more of the undiscovered regions of Calico to slow down until the project nearly halted. Yet with what he heard from his still loyal crew members, all what happened to him was a sabotage, as if someone purposely made it so that Severus’s project would fail. The project itself was to eliminate the threat of stagnation that was slowly starting to become visible. The coral man was now perceived by Castor as someone completely different, and every few days he’d come back to visit Severus until the chapel was finished. Severus would always tell Castor about the customs among the colonies that the marine didn't have time to learn, about his days in the Navy and of his adventures of fighting renegades, aliens and void monsters.
On the 5th month, three days before the chapel was finished, Severus was very ill. He knew that his time was slowly coming to a end. The coral man told Castor that the Emperor is calling him to his side, yet he regrets that he’s departing with his work undone. If there were someone who could help the colonies to become strong, to help the Calician Navy and to do something about the raiders that constantly attacked the people of Calico, then he’d rest well in the afterlife knowing that somebody would attempt to continue his work. With his last ounce of strength, Severus pointed out into the deepest parts of his cave, telling the young Castor that there is something that would be of good use to him. To someone that he considered a good man that spent some of his time with a old void wolf like him. After this, the Coral Man known as Severus Trask died peacefully while Castor stood by his side.
After giving him a proper burial, Castor went into the deeper parts and discovered that what Severus kept in his cave. A golden suit of Cataprath Terminator Armour, filled with gemstones and other valuables. The marine wasn’t worthy to even think about touching it, so he instead hid it behind rocks so that nobody would find it. On the day when the Novamarines were to leave, Castor promised himself that one day he'd come back to the Sector, claim the armour and more importantly, continue Severus’s work.
Centuries later, after extensive and exceptional duty, gruelling fighting and climbing the chain of command, Castor became part of the 1st Company. A mighty warrior he became, Castor constantly thought about what he promised himself back when he was on Crowe’s World. Finally he got the chance, as with the dawn of the 36th millennium, a new founding was to begin, and new chapters were to be founded. Among them were the Void Eagles which were created to guard the colonized regions of the Calico Stars. The regions currently being too large to simply make the young chapter have a designated homeworld, it was decided that the Void Eagles would become fleet based. For this, Castor (who already had some experience with the Calico regions) and a group of Novamarines were selected to show the fledglings how to properly function as a fleet based chapter, as well to instill the Codex Astartes into them.
Troubles began when the Void Eagles arrived to the Nautilus sector. Over the years, strange offshoots of the Void Kraken made their home there. Void Cutlers. Small, swarm living beasts that looked similar to their larger and voracious cousin, yet shared the same appetite with it, attacked the Void Eagles ships. For some bizarre reason, as if controlled by someone’s will, the Cutlers struck at those ships where the captains and Novamarines were located, killing them in a single stroke. The marines fought off the void beasts, yet found themselves headless. Without someone to efficiently command them, the Void Eagles would have it even more difficult to adjust to the star regions. Miraculously, Castor survived the close contact with the beasts. Seeing this as a blessing from the Emperor, the Void Eagles declared the Novamarine their first Chapter Master. Now it was up to Castor to shape the Void Eagles into a force to be reckoned with. Taking examples from his home chapter, Castor ordered the establishment of a enormous space station, that was later known as The Spire, in the gravity well of Crowe’s World and set off the fleet into multiple directions to aid the Colonies and fight off the threats. Yet having already experienced fighting in the regions, he knew that he’d have to use alternative methods.
The Novamarines were one of those Chapters that adhered rigorously to the Codex Astartes, as well being of the Monodominant philosophy. That saying, they see everything deviating from Imperial norms as heresy. In Castor’s and the Void Eagles case, adhering to the Monodominant ideas (as well relying too heavily on the Codex) was actually ill advised, for the Calico planets forced adaptation on them. Castor back in his younger days learned that rule really quickly, as during the hunt for Odane, some vehicles were simply useless due to what kind of planets the Calico Stars had. Most of the planets by some strange turn of events were in slightly above 80% aquatic, with little land. Added that some planets had gravity that was either greater or lesser than that of Terra, resulted in each colony having their own unique structures. Some colonists build immense spires high enough to pierce to the exosphere and further, yet were sleek and tower-like compared to a actual hive-world. Others build smaller port city states ruled by larger, more powerful ones, and some built their structures in the form of giant underwater metropolises. Added that the fauna and flora were nearly always exotic, ranging from really small to titanic (often equal or bigger than a Warlord Titan). Such places required different tactics in order to not only operate, but to also survive, as quite some of the planets were classified as Death Worlds.
Use of vehicles larger than Rhinos and that couldn't fly was very difficult to apply, since the gigantic flora and terrain simply slowed the heavier machines. Predators were of little use since in order to quickly transport their brethren, the Void Eagles converted them into Rhinos and Razorbacks. Whirlwinds were simply useless since the thick, gargantuan foliage of some planets simply either prevented them from being fully used or simply couldn’t hit their targets and instead hit the enormous trees. Land Raiders…simply got stuck in deep pools of mud. In order to fight their enemies, the Void Eagles eschewed many of their vehicles for Land Speeders and Stormtalons, leaving only Rhinos, Razorbacks and Vindicators, as well their Dreadnoughts.
Over time the Eagles started to change in terms of mentality, which Castor, despite of all his capabilities, failed to stop. Even the recruits that were taken from the Calico colonies to be turned into Neophytes were difficult, as their independent and brash nature was slowly changing the Chapter. Even the murderous discipline set by the Chaplains, combined with extended psycho-conditioning and hypnosis failed to completely eradicate these traits. Deviations from standard Codex tactics were more frequent. Make-shift plans, reckless uses of jump packs, use of non-standard wargear was just the harbinger of changes that were to affect them. Castor thought that a crusade would be fine enough to discipline the Chapter. Thus in 045.36M, he amassed the entire fleet around the fortress of the Void Eagles, when something unexpected occurred.
A immense battleship that belonged to the famous Rouge Trader by the name of Nathaniel “Jolly” Roger Sinclair emerged from the depths of the Warp, hunted by Dark Eldar and sending distress calls on multiple frequencies. The battleship emerged from the Warp with such force and speed, that the Chapter fleet was unable to stop it in time from crashing on Crowe’s World. With Roger’s ship crashing down on the planet’s surface, the Dark Eldar ignored the Void Eagles and began planetfall. The Chapter couldn’t overlook this and they too made planetfall, engaging the xenos before they could get to Sinclair’s ship. Although the Dark Eldar had the element of mobility, to their surprise, the Void Eagles were equal to them in speed. Combined this with the flexibility of their recruits, they defeated the xenos and sustained minimal losses, albeit one was incredibly grave. Castor too took part in the fight and was grievously wounded by massed fire. The marines thought of their Chapter Master dead, yet by luck and sheer stubbornness, Castor somehow survived, yet his condition was deteriorating. The only way to save him was interment inside a Dreadnought, and the Void Eagles knew which vacant Dreadnought to use. Before departing for the Calico Stars, the fledgling chapter was given a single Contemptor Dreadnought as a sacred relic and a good luck charm for their new beginning (ironic considering what happened later when they arrived to the Nautilus Sector).
After awakening in his new mechanical form, Castor asked about what happened to Roger. The Void Eagles found him beyond rescue, and at least put him into stasis so that the Dreadnought could ask him why he was pursued by Dark Eldar. After getting Roger out of stasis, the Trader told the Dreadnought Castor why the xenos pursued him. “Jolly” Roger discovered a evolving star map of the regions so ancient, that it dated back to the times before the Age of Strife begun. The star map led to a great treasure. The Ultimate Treasure. A piece of archeotech so precious, so advanced, and so powerful, that it could heal even the most horrid of wounds, even those that could make even a Primarch come close to dying. The Dark Eldar pursued him to obtain information so that they would use it for themselves. The treasure was however hidden so well that only the Emperor himself knew its location, and only by collecting the twenty pieces of the Halcyon Disk, that when combined with the star map, would show the location of the treasure. The fragments however, were scattered over the whole known galaxy. Roger already uncovered one piece of the disk and found clues on the other two parts. The Rouge Trader gave the Void Eagles all that he knew on the treasure (as well his Warrant of Trade) with what little strength was left in him before his soul left for the underworld. If he had to die, then better if someone he entrusted with his legacy would find The Ultimate Treasure in his place. With that, he died, and the marines gave him a proper burial.
With such information, the Void Eagles were actually shocked that there was something this powerful. For Castor it was a sign. A clear mission for the Void Eagles to win the greatest of honours. Causing the God Emperor of Mankind to have his wounds healed, and rise again to walk among His people would be something that would bring a new and better situation for the Imperium, if not returning to the times of its Golden Age. But he also realized that something like that existing would invite powers that would misuse this arheotech artifact, and the galaxy had no shortage of such beings. From the clues that Roger had, it was apparent that the next two disk elements were hidden among the unexplored regions of the Calico Stars. That would be a very thought journey, for in order to avoid the Warp Storms and void beasts, the Chapter would have to become stronger, yet also would need to better protect the Calico Colonies when it wouldn’t search for the pieces at the moment. For that, some decisions had to be made. The unexplored parts were considered hostile to the point that even entire fleets after returning from them came back either devastated or were never coming back at all, and without the right equipment, it would be close to impossible to survive without taking casualties.
Thus Castor had to chose. Stay true to the teachings of the Codex and that of his Chapter, or to bent or even break some of them in order to gain the edge if they had to find those disk parts. After three days, he decided. The one hundred man strong companies would go in their own directions, travel the areas that are explored, as well the borders between them and the unexplored. After four hundred years, they would return back to Crowe’s world. During that time, they would expand their numbers, gather unique artefacts, master specific forms of warfare needed to fight in the regions, and return to Crowe’s World to become whole again. In the meantime Castor would remain on Crowe’s World to await his brothers. And so, the companies exchanged some of their troops in order to create balanced forces before leaving. With that done, the ten companies of the Void Eagles left Crowe’s World for a four hundred year long journey.
During that time, many things happened. The Age of Apostasy, The Plague of Unbelief, the death of Sebastian Thor. These were dark omens that signalled difficult times for the colonies, as xeno and Chaos raids were slowly becoming both stronger and even more frequent. The Calician Navy where doing their best, although they barely fought off the assailants despite them being barely at nominal strength and having some of their ships go renegade. There were also rumours of strange black ships that appeared out of nowhere and struck at the Navy’s enemies and the renegade elements before disappearing back into the warp.
Castor waited on Crowe’s World, going into stasis every couple of decades for one or two years while guarding the suit of Terminator Armour that old man Trask kept in his cave. Finally, after four hundred years of wait, the Void Eagles came back. Stronger, more numerous, and altered to look for the treasure. Castor was happy that the marines returned, yet he didn’t know how the voyage changed them. When he met the ten captains of the companies, his joy quickly faded. The Void Eagles did indeed come back different, but Castor didn't know that they changed to the point they became as if they were from different chapters. Added that each of the captains behaved…in a very special manner. Castor felt as if he fell asleep and was stuck in a nightmare. Each of the companies turned into some sort of Rouge Traders gone horribly unorthodox (from his point of view, being a Monodominant) in every sense. It was something that made the Novamarine’s eyes bleed when he looked on them.
Even though they did change in a drastic way, the Void Eagles did return to honour the promise set four hundred years ago. Yet there were some similarities. Although having various trim colours and heraldries, everyone in the companies shared the same black power armour and left the chapter symbol, a white eagle on a black background, unchanged. Additionally, despite the fact that they operated in various parts of the Calico Stars, they did maintain contact with each other (although it ranged from sporadic to frequent).
The companies were The Black Cutlasses (who had the Void Eagles’ original colours, with the exception of burgundy belts). The other companies incorporated different colours into their left arm and chest armours, as well the burgundy belts. The Crimson Blades (who incorporated red), The Holy Treasurers (who gladly added burnished gold), The Void Plunderers (who incorporated silver), The Rum Grails (who added honey yellow to theirs), The Myst Graves (who incorporated regal blue), The Warp Cutters (who added dark purple to their own), The Blazing Cannons (who added grey), The Hex Company (who incorporated cyanide blue), and the Corsair Hearts (whose were orange).
Each of them were led by fearsome captains native to the regions. Those were the captains that actually reformed the ten companies into what they become.
The captains were as followed:
- Alexander Warford of the Black Cutlasses
- Shaktu the Slayer of the Crimson Blades
- Obadiah Goldenroad of the Holy Treasurers
- Cog Master Gomez Armadillo of the Void Plunderers
- Lorius Westfall of the Rum Grails
- Bernhold Nightwalker of the Myst Graves
- Vasco Descubra of the Warp Cutters
- Jean du Marque of the Blazing Cannons
- The mysterious Samdi Baron of the Hex Company
- Carlos Embereyes of the Corsair Hearts
There was one small thing that did bother venerable Castor. In order to function well, the Chapter would need a Chapter Master that would exercise his capabilities in order to make the marines find the Ultimate Treasure, yet the Void Eagles didn’t select one in the four hundred years after the Novamarine was entombed inside the Contemptor. Castor thus suggested for one to be chosen. The Captains themselves thought about that, and accepted the Dreadnought’s advice. Soon that would drive the Novamarine raging…
The Captains wanted to vote the new Chapter Master. The voting took place on the fortress station that served the Void Eagles back before each of the Companies ventured in different directions. In a immense meeting room they were deciding on who would lead the Chapter. This however quickly spiralled into a one month long series of arguments, threats and random objects flying in all directions (not to mention that each of the captains that took active action in the voting were putting votes on themselves). Only Gomez, Bernhold and the Samdi Baron were completely neutral over it. Finally, on the 30th day, the Samdi Baron voted for Captain Alexander to become the Chapter Master, thus having the Black Cutlass winning with two votes (his and the Baron’s).
The Captains that were the most active went into a uproar and demanded another voting. This was the final straw for Castor who took part in it as a observer for the voting. The Contemptor smashed his power fist into the table, knocking down everyone (except the Baron who levitated above the ground). Castor then started to complain about the Captains being this bloody selfish and told them how he wanted to make the Void Eagles stronger in order to not only find the Ultimate Treasure, but also to fulfil the promise he made himself to continue the work of Severus Trask, centuries ago when he was still a young battle-brother. Thus with anger in him, the Dreadnought left the room grumbling curses under his nose.
The Captains after hearing the name of Severus Trask immediately stood up. They heard about the man that planned to make the colonies bloom by investing in a project that would expand their borders and make them prosper. His disappearance left the project nearly to a standstill. After a while, the ten marines sought out Castor to tell them more about how he met Trask. The Dreadnought told them how he met him and saw him dying. He told them about why he that quickly climbed the chain of command back in the Novamarine Chapter. He did all of this to continue Trask’s work. The Captains that went into a uproar saw how foolish it was to question the voting. Thus they accepted Alexander as Chapter Master, and the first one to do so was no other than the biggest rival of the Black Cutlass, namely Shaktu himself. Seeing this, Castor thought that there is still a chance for the Chapter to find both the treasure and to fulfil the promise to old man Trask.
The next day the Captains, their retinues, and Castor flew down to Crowe’s World, to the cave in which Severus lived. The Dreadnought, along with a group of serfs and Techmarines, took Castor into the cave. A hour later they emerged, and Castor presented the others with Alexander in the Terminator Armour that was inside Severus’s Cave. Its golden surface shining in the sun of the Nautilus Sub-Sector, the Chapter Master of the Void Eagles stood proudly in it. The other marines gasped at their leader with astonishment, while the Captains had various levels of impression (the one who was literally amazed was Gomez…justified because of being a Techmarine with a unhealthy obsession with everything technological).
With the companies reunited, and with him as the most important figure in the Chapter, Alexander decided that in order to celebrate it, there would be a great feast on which he would announce something important. The celebration took part on the fortress station. Everyone from those who were to become Neophytes to the Captains themselves took part in it (not to mention the Dreadnoughts and the Serfs). It all proceeded in a brotherly atmosphere.
There, Alexander announced that with the Chapter as a whole again, the marines were no more the Void Eagles that left the planet in order to become strong. They came back different, each one of them even different from each other, yet still sharing some similarities. For this, the Chapter Master declared a change in the name of the Chapter as a symbol of a completely new beginning. Thus he announced that the Void Eagles are no more, Alexander changed for this the title of Chapter Master into something befitting the marine’s current state. And thus the Black Locks were born, and Alexander became the first Master of The Dread Fleet (much to the grumbling dissatisfaction of Castor).
"Our Chapter's first action after we got reunited. And we did it in a quite showy way." - Brother Vaksi of the Holy Treasurers on The Naval Battle for Maginote. Chapter History documentation sub-department of the Company Vaudon Cove
After reuniting the companies, the Void Eagles, now calling themselves the Black Locks, left Crowe’s World to find clues on the Ultimate Treasure. After the Dread Fleet jumped into the Warp, they immediately received a distress signal from the 7th Colonial Fleet of Fort Parquet that engaged a Ork Waaagh! near the planet of Maginote. Although it wasn’t that big, it was enough menacing due to the Colonial fleets already strained over the borders of the colonized regions.
Master Alexander immediately told to set course for Maginote. At the time the Locks arrived, the battle raged on between the fleet that was further reinforced by the 9th Colonial Fleet of Port Royalty, and the Ork Waaagh! that was led by a infamous Ork Mek by the name BlitzZappa. If Maginote fell to the Orks, then the greenskin would’ve used it as a staging ground to launch their forces deeper into Imperial space.
The Black Locks charged their ships from the flank at the Ork Fleet immediately after leaving Warp space. With speed and surgical precision (as well with the aid of deception) the marines lured away from the Colonial fleet almost half of the Waaagh! into a trap, yet even with the Imperial forces now being relieved, the Orks still posed a threat as long as their leader was still alive. It was decided that BlitzZappa’s flagship would be boarded and the Mek dealt personally by a small strike force, while the rest of the fleet aided the Calician Fleets. Alexander, Shaktu and Lorius went to lead the assault on the flagship along with three Terminator lots, six Tactical lots and four Dreadnoughts, among which was Venerable Castor. The nine lots and four Dreadnoughts blasted their way inside the flagship, cutting and gunning down any Ork opposition. This slaughter continued until the strike force finally got to BlitzZappa’s extremely spacious command room.
The Mek was sitting inside a giant tower (on the very peak of it), wired in and activating the enormous gun-mounted arms that sprouted from it. The Black Locks knew well that killing the Mek was not going to be a easy task, but this was something that none of them expected. Apart of this, the Locks had to hold off new numbers of Orks that were pouring into the command room. The Ork immediately claimed six marines and three Terminators with its insanely powerful flamer weapons, and Castor was its next target. Knowing that there was no hope for dodging the blasts, Alexander braced himself for the attack, only to find to both the Ork’s and his own surprise that the flames didn’t incinerate him, nor melted the armour. It was the Cataprath Armour that protected him, as it was for some strange reason completely flame proof (including the helmet).
The Ork was stupefied and later on furious that his weapons had no effect on the Master of The Dread Fleet, thus the Mek concentrated all firepower on the flame-proof Alexander. Meanwhile Shaktu and both the Crimson Blades and Black Cutlasses held the upcoming Orks at bay. Lorius and his Rum Grails, with the support of their Dreadnought and Castor, looked for a way to bring down the giant tower, as normal weaponry couldn’t penetrate it...that is until the Locks found a crack in the tower’s armour. Lorius then proceeded to throw in a demolition pack inside and the marines ran away so to not be caught in the blast.
The explosives tore the insides of the structure, and the tower started to collapse. The Mek BlitzZappa was quick to eject himself, only for him to find out to his horror that he was landing directly into the opened power fist of Castor. The Contemptor crushed the Ork into a bloody pulp, resulting in the Waaagh! to go into disarray and infighting. This made it much easier for both the Imperial Navy of the Calician Colonies and the Dread Fleet to defeat the threat.
With the timed arrival, the Admirals of the Calician fleet were indebted to the Black Locks, and the Marines themselves won the trust of the military forces of the Calico Colonies.
Saving House Gentius
"Those Gentius fellas are actually pretty darn swell. They don't mind a good drink, though we do not allow for any when we're about to do warp jumps. Being light years off course is darn irritating." - Veteran Harsten of the Rum Grails
After the Naval Battle for Maginote, the Black Locks gained the trust of the Calician Forces that started to quickly spread the news of their actions against Waaagh! BlitzZappa. The Black Locks wanted to immediately search for those parts of the Halcyon Disk that were among the Calico Stars, yet as the Battle for Maginote proved, they needed to find ways to protect the Calico Colonies at the same time when they would search for the disk parts. The Locks needed allies. Loads of allies that would join them. Thus they needed to forge bonds with the rest of the factions that lived in the colonized parts of the Calico Stars. Although each company already had contacts and pacts with individual organizations, the Black Locks needed to make ties with the Colonial Powers and those who would aid them in their search...and there was one such that would help them navigating through the undiscovered regions and through the whole Ultima Segmentum.
It was a Navigator House that was known to produce especially talented Navigators and were also known to be exceptionally knowledgeable about Warp currents. That was House Gentius in general. A Navigator House that was once living in the Navigator Quarters on Holy Terra itself, due to a seemingly innocent incident, the House had to leave its holds and become a Nomadic House on the line of being renegade in terms of producing more powerful Navigators. That nearly caused them to bring horrid mutations on themselves, yet it resulted in their bloodline to have a unique link with the Warp. They however, for some strange reason, rarely give their members to fleets other than Rouge Traders and similar Privateers.
The Black Locks set out to find the house’s main base and home known as The Prophet’s Eye, a heavily modified Emperor Class Battleship, to ask them to lend some of their members to the Dread Fleet. Most of the time, the house would travel through the areas controlled by Port Royalty, thus it is these places that the chapter would look for them. Through the connections of the Holy Treasurers among Rouge Traders and the Merchant Fleets, the marines determined House Gentius’ location. The Locks entered Warp Space and travelled to the probable location of The Prophet’s Eye. When The Dread Fleet arrived, they were lucky that they found the ship that was home to the members of the household for millennia...with a fleet of Chaos Marines besieging the Navigators.
The Chaos fleet was identified as that belonging to multiple ones. The Foresworn, Angels of Ecstasy, yet the largest group was the Apostles of MinThras who coordinated the attack on the Prophet’s Eye. Their fleet numbered three Battle Barges, four Strike and two Retaliator Cruisers, while two Avenger Class Grand Cruisers and four Overlord Battle Cruisers guarded the Gentius Ship, yet even with that much firepower the Navigators would fall to Chaos. Master Alexander immediately called for a red alert and ordered the Dread Fleet to intercept the Chaos ships and secure The Prophet’s Eye.
The Black Locks immediately teleported in their Terminators and send in their Boarding Parties to aid the defence of the Gentius Battleship, while the rest of the Dread Fleet occupied themselves with eliminating the Chaos Fleet itself. The battle inside the immense Battleship was a heated one. Although well trained and equipped, the Gentius Bodyguards and Prophet’s Crew barely hold key positions while most parts of the ship fell to Chaos boarding parties. The arrival of the Black Locks turned the tide in favour of the defenders, yet the traitor scurvy dogs still occupied the areas of the ship that they overrun. These positions were however reinforced, and flushing them out would take the Locks time (not to mention the Chaos Marines teleporting in their own Terminators). The Myst Graves Scouts that took part in the fights used the ventilation systems to plant explosives and remotely detonate them right next to the enemy positions that were too heavily fortified, resulting in controlled damage and literally vanquished opposition. This allowed both the Locks and the Prophet’s Crew to take back the weakly defended elements and drive away the Chaos Marines.
Meanwhile in space, the Dread Fleet alongside the Prophet’s escort drove away half of the Chaos fleet back to the Warp and critically damaged the rest of it (including one of the Battle Barges). After the battle, the Navigators were grateful that the Locks appeared saving them and the people that worked for them. For what the marines did, the navigators became completely oathsworn to them. It was still unknown back then to the Black Locks on how did the Chaos Marines appeared this deep in colonial territories, not to mention why would the Apostles of MinThras and their allies attack the Navigators of House Gentius. Later on the marines would learn very soon that the attack on the Navigators was a part of something much more darker and sinister.
The Locks aided with repairing the damage done by the Myst Grave’s “pin-point bombing” and with giving the final passages to the dead. After this, the Navigators distributed some of their own members along with their families to the Astartes. Since then the marines gained a ally that would give them the edge in both fighting for the safety of the colonies, as well looking for the Halcyon Disk parts.
Defence of The Cradle
"Chaos can worm itself everywhere. Nobody is beyond it...save for The Emperor who is beyond the reach of the Great Enemy." - Executor Lombrasso of the Serpent Watch on Chaos
A decade after the Chaos incident with House Gentius, the Black Locks needed to forge relations with the Colonial Powers that governed the colonies, as well deepen those that were already forged by individual companies. For this, the marines needed to visit a certain place that was essentially the only place that was considered both neutral ground for all the colonies and the Seat of the Lords there, as well as the main trade route between colonial territories.
The Cradle of the Azurean Star System, as it was called, was the first planet of the Calico Stars to be colonized by the ancestors of the current colonists. It was from there that four colony fleets left onwards to settle among the planets that would be known respectively as the Hive Colonies of Port Royalty, Saint Rico, Fort Parquet, and Blessed Philip (which later would expand further to other planets). There were times when the Colonial Powers rivalled between each other for resources and influence, yet these rivalries turned into isolated firearms incidents at worst, for the Lords and Noble Houses (well, the more competent) that ruled over the colonists made it sure that these incidents wouldn’t escalate into a full blown war for territories and religion.
The Cradle was supposed to be a symbol that unified the colonies that were so different in customs, tradition and yet had many elements in common with each other. This neutral ground is where Master Alexander requested for an audience with the Colonial Lords. Soon the Master of The Dread Fleet and the other Captains got the permission for an audience and landed on The Cradle. The planet had enormous spires of gold sprouting from its surface, and on said surface below, were lush jungle forests. It was indeed a sight to behold. The Captains met with the Lords in one of the spires to discuss matters on mutual aid. However, the Samdi Baron felt that something was not right. Due to this Alexander ordered Bernhold to look up the situation after the Hex Company Captain’s psychic awareness flared up. The rest of the Captains realized this, yet they wanted to continue the audience with the with the Calician Lords. When the audience was coming to a conclusion, alarms blared as enemy forces attacked.
The Lords themselves were stunned with disbelief that the Cradle was actually attacked. The planet was defended with rings of long-range orbital torpedo launchers, anti-fighter emplacements, and more importantly, powerful fortress stations that were additionally defended with multi-layered void shields and aided by heavily armed battleships. The problem was that the attack came from the surface. How it happened was unknown. Additionally the defences on the surface were much weaker than the orbital ones since nobody expected that somebody would even try to attack the planet from space and pierce the aforementioned defences. How did ground forces appear was both not only a stupefying, but also a unbelievable thing. The Captains of the Dread Fleet called in their own men to aid the PDF against this unknown enemy. Soon the Black Locks found themselves facing the same enemy, yet even more terrifying than the last time.
The Cradle came under attack from a combined force of both Nurgle and Khornate armies made up from not only Cultists and Chaos Marines, but also of Daemons and Daemon Engines. The PDF fought bravely against the foul wave of Chaos Forces in the jungle areas, but even the bastions from which they were holding off the enemy were falling one after another. The Black Locks, along with detachments of Bondsmen, struck at the foul traitors and their daemonic allies without mercy, hitting them where it would hurt them greatly. Myst Graves and Warp Cutters sowed havoc among the flanks of Nurgle’s servants while Crimson Blades and Corsair Hearts clashed in melee with Khornate fighters. Rum Grails and Blazing Cannons immolated hordes of ravening Cultists and annihilated Chaos armour. Holy Treasurers and Void Plunderers supported all three groups from being outflanked, while Black Cutlasses guarded the Witch Doctors under the supervision of the Hex Company Doctors from daemonic attacks until the ceremony conducted by the Elder Doctors was complete. When the ceremony was finished, a tidal wave of ghostly warriors appeared out of nowhere, cutting down every Chaos worshipper and daemon alike. The heretics and warp spawns tried to retaliate, but their hits and shots simply passed through the ghosts while the latter’s weapons passed their protections and cut their flesh.
Meanwhile in the spire where the audience took part, the Lords still tried to find out how a Chaos Force of such magnitude appeared on the surface of the Cradle without planetfall, while some of them coordinated the movements of the remaining PDF. Three of them acted strangely, as Lorius observed it, after the heretics and their daemonic allies appeared on the planet. Suddenly the room’s doors broke open and a horde of cultists barged in. For some reason they were neither Nurgle nor Khornate, but had the symbols of Chaos Undivided. Although they were armed with Autoguns, they were no match for nine of the most deadliest marines of the Dread Fleet. Shaktu was the first to make contact with the heretics as he cleaved them with his Crimson Reaver. The other Captains also answered the tide with melee and gunshots. Jean especially tore into the Chaos worshippers by firing his Assault Cannon. After dealing with the cultists the Captains realized that Chaos Forces already infiltrated the spires. Another alarm went off. The powers to the orbital defence systems have been shut down.
When the defences went silent, a large Chaos fleet appeared out of the Warp. Dozens of ships against the Dread Fleet and the Calician Fleet that was stationed there. Even with the Black Lock’s support, the Chaos armada had a large numerical advantage over the Imperials, and without the orbital defences active, the defenders would be easily wiped out. The Captains called in their men they left in the Thunder Hawks they arrived in. Gomez himself volunteered to restore the defences along with a group of Cog Brother Techmarines he called down for from orbit. Shaktu and Jean accompanied him along with their own men they called for, while the rest of the Captains except for Lorius and Carlos set off to aid the ground forces. The race against time has begun.
The three marines and their men got to the generators powering the orbital defences that were in the shorter, bulkier looking spire. The traitors blew half of them while the rest shut down in order not to go haywire, but luckily the heretics overlooked the emergency generators when they left. Already presuming that the enemy will find out that they overlooked the emergency power plant, Gomez and his lads enacted the rites for activating the power plants and the generators, while Shaktu and Jean along with their men guarded the Techmarines.
Meanwhile in space the situation was dire. Despite utilizing long ranged weapons to blow up or cripple a large number of the enemy ships, both the Dread Fleet and the Calician Joint Navy of The Cradle barely even slowed down the Chaos Fleet. Both Imperial fleets knew that if the orbital defences wouldn’t come back on-line, then they and the planet would be blown to kingdom come.
The situation on ground on the other hand turned out differently. Both the Chaos Forces and the Imperials were matched, yet despite the heavy air support provided by the Black Locks (and that all cultists and Chaos Marines were dealt with), Chaos Daemons didn't seem to even have their numbers reduced. Instead the vile warp creations’ numbers were still growing. The Captains that arrived on the field got intel from orbit that the daemons are coming from a gargantuan cave in the centre of the jungle regions. In a normal situation the Black Locks would have bombed it from orbit, but the fleet was occupied with slowing down a incredibly sizeable Chaos armada until the Cradle’s powerful defences got back online and wiped the threat. The other problem was that due to the size of the daemonic incursion, the Locks were forced to limit themselves to entrenchment and hit and run tactics because of the amount of daemons that were flooding out of the cave. Add to this the even greater anti-air defence and it left the marines and the PDF with their hands tied down.
There was however a small thing that everyone forgot about. Bernhold was still out there. The Captain of the Myst Graves along with a small lot of Cutthroats infiltrated the jungles where the cave was located. When the marines got there, they discovered that inside the cave was a warp portal. From its looks somebody must have constructed it previously, as it was impossible for daemons to simply build it without making anyone notice it. Bernhold knew that something would go wrong after the Samdi Baron’s psychic awareness flared up and that there was a high probability that it wouldn’t be the last time the chapter would meet The Great Enemy. Normally the Myst Graves, master infiltrators, wouldn’t be capable to sneak behind the daemons without being detected by those of them that were more psionically attuned to sensing living beings, if it wasn’t for a ace up Bernhold’s sleeve that he called in when the invasion began. The marines were accompanied by a Culexus Temple Assassin that covered them from being detected with its null powers. Finding an alternative route into the back of the cave, the Myst Graves sneaked inside and planted powerful timed demolition charges. After the group quickly exited the same way they got in, the charges exploded, and the portal shut down.
After this, the Imperials could defeat the Chaos Forces that were on the ground, yet the battle in orbit was still raging on. While the Locks and the PDF fought the now finite numbers of daemons, the fleet above had it more difficult.
Despite the impressive barrage of Melta Torpedoes, the Chaos Fleet was simply slowed a little. Using the smaller frigates of which they had a abundance, the large core element of daemonic warships sped towards the defenders. Meanwhile the three Captains and their men that went to fix the orbital defence’s power issues came under attack by cultists, probably the group that blew up half the generators and came back just in case. Though numerous, the chaos worshippers were no match for the superior firepower of the marines. It changed when Khornate Berserkers suddenly joined the fight. The Locks went on the defence in order to protect the generators while Gomez and his lads were fixing them. The fighting was in favour of the Crimson Blades and Blazing Cannons, due to having variety when compared to the traitors who were kitted out for close combat. Jean’s Terminators shredded the madmen from range, while those who got close were cut down by Shaktu’s Vanguards.
Finally Gomez and the Techmarines activated both the surviving main and back-up generators. Above the planet, the enormous defensive rings and space stations came back to life and immediately started to open fire on the Chaos armada. The hailstorm of melta torpedoes and heavy guns blew ship after ship. Even the heaviest of Chaos vessels were blown apart or damaged.
After a very long time of fighting, both Chaos forces on ground and in space were either defeated or routed. When the captains that were in the field returned to meet with the Lords that were left along with Lorius and Carlos, there was a surprise waiting in the room the conference took place. Two of the Lords were dead, while a third one was beaten and tied up by both Black Lock Captains that were left. These were the Lords that behaved strangely when the Chaos Forces attacked. It was discovered by both Lorius and Carlos (after interrogating the surviving one) that they were actually the ones that set up the attack on the Cradle. The entire coup was meticulously planned, yet none of the instigators predicted the marines would appear. This forced them to simply hasten their plans. When the battle on the planet’s surface raged on, the three tried to actually kill everyone in the room with some bizarre warp pistols, yet Carlos slashed the nearest of them and Lorius shot the second with his plasma pistol, while the third was wounded by flaming chunks from the latter. Why did they wanted The Cradle to be claimed by Chaos was clear. If Chaos claimed the planet, then it would not only serve as a staging ground for various Black Crusades, but also to demoralize the Imperial Guard Regiments and Colonies. Added how close the Calico Stars were to the Galactic Centre, not to mention to Terra, it wouldn’t be surprising for the Forces of Chaos to try everything do something like that. They only needed to lure people influential enough with promises of power.
Now seeing how much the Black Locks did, the Lords trusted the chapter completely. Some would say that the Cradle incident was that one event that won over the Colonial Lords to the Black Locks’ side. If it went for the planet itself, then much purging had to happen. Many of both the PDF and the Locks needed to be mind scribed for corruption, as Castor himself taught them that everyone can be corrupted by being near anything Chaotic, or at least there would be a large possibility of this happening. The ancient jungles from which the Chaos Forces were coming from, had to be isolated and burned to cinders, while Chaplains and Witch Doctors further purified the purged soil with shamanistic rituals and holy prayers. The bodies of both dead Locks and PDF were collected and buried. In case of the first, the geneseeds that survived, the Apothecaries collected and screened for mutations so to create new Black Locks.
And thus the Locks gained a new ally in their quest.
Aiding Fleet Tinkerer
"Ya know what? I could understand a bunch of Tech-Priest tryin' to make an Imperial version of something done by xenos by removing anything that is even associated with aliens, and to purify said tech to be for Imperial use, that's what I have heard they usually do. But to blantantly ram xeno-tech into anything? That's both tech-heresy and being lazy." - Brother Nathaniel of the Blazing Cannons on using xeno tech by humans
After the incident on The Cradle, the Inquisition came to inspect the situation. Luckily for everybody, the Inquisitor in charge was not that zealous to put everyone on the witch pyre. Inquisitor Arianna Strigos was in fact impressed with what the marines did about the planet’s situation. Some of the Captains were distrustful of the Inquisition due to how most of them did their works (with a large emphasis on burning or planet-wide explosions), but Alexander trusted her. The Master of The Dread Fleet even gave her the copies of the reports that were given to him by the marines tasked with cleaning up what the Chaos Forces did. With that, Arianna suggested to be in contact. With the situation now under Inquisitorial control, the Black Locks left The Cradle in order to deal with a situation that cropped up immediately after the incident.
Back in the beginning of the Colonies, the need for advanced technology was highly in demand. As there were little Tech-Priests, and many worlds that needed more specialists was steadily growing, the Constructor Fleets were created. These specialist fleets were tasked with travelling from newly established colonies to newly established colonies and turn them into self-sufficient places where people could live without having to deal with extreme dangers that would wipe them out instantly under normal circumstances, or to maintain the many of specialized devices and mechanisms in existing colonies. Fleet Tinkerer was one of the smaller fleets, and a new player in these times. Indeed, it was created in the later second half of the 35th Millennium, while the first fleets were around in the first half of the 34th Millennium.
Despite its size, the small Constructor Fleet could turn any newly established colony, or primitive planet, into anything the governing body wanted it to be transformed into (a military city-fortress, a place of recreation or religion, or a economically or scientifically oriented place) in under a century, which was impressive without question. Tinkerer was also known for that it always repaired anything without charging any extra payment nor wouldn’t demand anything ridiculously high for their services. Additionally, they had the ability to design new STC by taking various elements from existing ones, and combine them into something new, not to mention that they even find STC near the Abyss in the Undiscovered Regions, without provoking the things that linger there. This won them new members as other smaller fleets joined them, not to mention that they gained popularity among the colonists for their more altruistic take. However, this didn’t go unnoticed by the larger fleets.
Fleet Ferro was the largest and influential of the Constructor Fleets. Dominating the many and monopolizing many useful STC, Ferro saw the rise of the upstart Fleet Tinkerer as a threat to their influences, mostly due to the fleet’s capabilities to create new STC out of existing ones and acquiring new ones from areas around the Abyss. Although they had many unique and rare STC, Fleet Ferro’s paranoia about being overthrown by a small fleet of beginners that seemed to be born lucky made it hostile towards the Techpriests. For ages did it include the smaller and some of the more larger fleets into itself, and Tinkerer was taking its turf and influence from it.
Fleet Tinkerer experienced some difficulties since Ferro saw it as a threat, sometimes turning into isolated fights or attempts to discredit Tinkerer by the larger fleet. Lately however it change into outright warfare in some places where elements of Fleet Tinkerer were stationed, not to mention that for some reason there were steady increases of pirate raids on them. This happened at the time when the fleet found an enormous Space Hulk with a incredibly efficient system of onboard factoria. Gomez felt that the pirate raids and their connections with finding the hulk by Tinkerer was connected with Ferro, for such a Constructor Fleet like them would clearly desire themselves something like the onboard factoria, and the fact that a smaller and relatively new fleet like Tinkerer would pose a threat to them with a Space Hulk of such incredible capabilities was understandable.
Since Tinkerer was responsible for the Lock’s shipment of new equipment and supplies, the marines could not refuse the call for aid from them, especially the Void Plunderers, since they had the strongest ties with the Constructor Fleet. Alexander thus decided that the Dread Fleet would divide into smaller fleets and help aid the elements of Tinkerer that were scattered among their places of influence, while the Myst Graves would use their contacts and talents to find out something about Fleet Ferro.
For about a couple of years the Black Locks did aid the elements of Fleet Tinkerer to fend off pirate raids with great results, but the raids themselves didn’t cease at all. Finally after these couple of years the Myst Graves, along with elements of Holy Treasurers, found out something about Fleet Ferro. When one of the Graves’ ships successfully boarded and plundered one of the pirate vessels that were attacking one of Tinkerer’s mining ships, the marines found dataslates where the Magos Council of Fleet Ferro gave instructions to the pirates to attack elements and subdivisions of Fleet Tinkerer. Previously none of the Black Lock companies got their hands on such information since when they did try to get their hands on the dataslates, then everything was destroyed before they could secure it. This time however, the marines were fast enough to secure the information.
That was enough evidence for Tinkerer, but there was more to what the Myst Graves found. The company also found out in what Fleet Ferro paid the pirates with. Cargo holds of weapons of modified construction. Lasguns, Shotguns and Bolters of Imperial origin, yet differently constructed. After the weapons were analyzed by the Techmarines, the results were that the weapons had xeno-tech included into their construction, and they had the registration numbers unique to Fleet Ferro. Just like in the case of the dataslates, these weapons were either destroyed, or had the registration numbers removed when the Locks successfully boarded a pirate vessel, and the fact the marines got these weapons into their hands intact was a sign of the Emperor’s fortune. That was more than enough to accuse Fleet Ferro of tech-heresy, as well as to call in the Inquisition.
Master Alexander after hearing about this didn’t hesitate to call in Inquisitor Arianna, as well the Magos Council of Fleet Tinkerer. With the proof the Myst Graves and Holy Treasurers found, Arianna and the Council came to the same conclusions that the evidence were sufficient to accuse Fleet Ferro. The information were send to both the Calician Lords on the Cradle and to the Calician branch of the Inquisition, and later to the other lesser Lords in all the colonies and to the various Calician organizations. Ferro was officially excommunicated after the word about their tech-heresy spread. When that happened, the Constructor Fleet simply vanished into thin air without a trace.
Four years later and there was still no sign of Fleet Ferro. Many of the places where they used to mine or to sell their services were already taken either by Tinkerer or by one of the other fleets. There were reports of mysterious ships attacking Constructor Fleets. No doubt that the hereteks were planning something, and those raids on Constructor Fleets were just the beginning of a bigger scheme. Some of the fleets, fearful of Ferro’s wrath that they took their sites, sought protection under Tinkerer’s standard, others entrenched themselves in large asteroid bases bristling with the heaviest available weapons and aided by elements of the Calician Navy by order of the Calician Lords. Gomez was sure that Ferro, in a feat of vengeance, would try to muster all they had left in order to claim Tinkerer’s Space Hulk. If what the Void Plunderer Captain said was true, then the Dread Fleet had no doubts where to set course.
During the Dread Fleet’s voyage through the Warp, the Astropathic choirs of Bodsmen Psykers caught out that something strange was happening with the Constructor Fleets that didn’t join Tinkerer and travelled to their core fleet. One by one, the asteroid bases where they entrenched themselves simply disappeared along with the Calician Navy elements. The only scraps of information that were caught from the disappearing bases were incoherent screams combined with high disturbances. That could not be good at all.
Fleet Tinkerer amassed all the surviving Constructor Fleets under its banner, and further reinforced it with the Calician Naval ships from the elite Battlefleet Vortex. In the centre of the fleet of ships was the Space Hulk Tinkerer claimed near the Abyss, known as The Factoria Eternal. When the Dread Fleet made it to Tinkerer’s staging ground, moments later after the Black Locks exited the Warp, hostiles emerged. The ships bore the symbols of Constructor Fleet Ferro, yet the last ship was something none of the Imperials were prepared for.
From the warp emerged an enormous Space Hulk, yet while The Factoria Eternal was refurbished to resemble something Imperial, the one that bore Ferro’s symbols was an irregular amalgam of both Imperial and xeno ships, and in its centre was a cannon the length of a Imperial Battleship. Seeing this weapon the Imperials, including the marines, actually panicked, but before they could react, it fired an enormous ball of energy at Tinkerer’s Space Hulk. Without any room to manoeuvre out of the projectile’s road, the Imperials braced for the worst. Yet something happened that both sides didn’t predict, as the Factoria Eternal suddenly raised up a enormously powerful void field that isolated the rest of the Imperial fleet from the projectile’s blast. One frigate however didn’t manage to hide behind the field and was struck by the shockwave generated by the projectile that impacted on the hulk’s void shield. The frigate was simply ripped to pieces, leaving only scrap and twisted metal. Now the Black Locks found out what happened to the other Constructor Fleets that remained in their bases.
Assuming that shooting one such projectile requires immense amounts of energy and time to fire and calibrate, the Dread Fleet immediately moved at full speed towards the Space Hulk of Fleet Ferro. The Calician Navy and those under the banner of Fleet Tinkerer took after them and charged full speed towards the hulk. The armada of Fleet Ferro was composed of not only their own ships, but also various pirate vessels. Although numerous, the ships were composed mainly of frigates and light cruisers. Their Magos Council thought that they would win so easily by shredding everyone with their super weapon, yet none of them even thought that Fleet Tinkerer had in store for them with that void shield.
The Black Locks immediately shot out boarding parties and teleported in Terminator Lots on board the hereteks’ Space Hulk. The Void Plunderers went so far as to board in with their Castellax Battle Automatas into combat, meaning that the company was dead serious on taking on the Ferro’s ruling class. Despite the incredible weapons and amazing tech, nothing could stop the rampage of the Locks. The deeper into the hulk the marines went, the more tech-heresy they found out. Now the Skiitari of Fleet Ferro did not care at all and actually used various xeno weapons and artefacts, revealing even more of the Constructor Fleet’s corrupt ways. The marines’ main mission was to disable the enormous cannon, but they additionally were to find and terminate or subdue the Magos Council of the hereteks. The Locks split their forces and moved out to their objectives each. The Corsair Hearts and part of the Void Plunderers ventured to apprehend the Magos Council members, while the rest took on themselves to destroy the generators powering up the main weapon.
The generators were quite well defended, yet the Skiitari defending them, along with the whole heavy equipment they brought, didn’t stop the Black Locks even when the marines started to sustain casualties. The Astartes focused their firepower on the cooling systems and the enormous gun emplacements before the enemy could do any serious damage to them. The coolants sustained enormous damage to the point that it was impossible for the generators to power the cannon. Ferro lost the capability to fire its trump card. The rest of the Locks, led by Captain Carlos, had to fight through Skiitari and bizarre machines in order to get to the Ferro Council. While en route, they gained unexpected aid in the form of uprisings inside the vessel, as Techpriests and their servants that were forced to join the hereteks rose and fought for their freedom. This was a good situation since the marines would’ve have less enemies to deal with.
When Carlos and company arrived to the chamber, they discovered that the hereteks simply turned tail and evacuated. After a long time of fighting in the confines of the enormous vessel, not to mention the fights in void space, the Imperials won. The situation was under control, the traitors were later executed and the Techpriests that were forced to join Fleet Ferro...their fates varied. It was later discovered that the Magos Council of Ferro escaped in a cruiser that entered warp space immediately after the Imperial fleet even managed to get to the Hulk. The hereteks’ pirate allies on the other hand either fled or were destroyed when their super-weapon attack backfired spectacularly. Many of the tech-heresies were purged and a many of the blasphemous artefacts either destroyed or taken to study.
With the events that happened, Fleet Tinkerer became the only technology provider among the Calician colonies. Yet there is this thought among the Calico Stars that Fleet Ferro will come back to exact it’s vengeance one day.
The Ravenholm IV Tragedy
"We do not go there anymore." - Brother Cadesh. Dreadnought of the Crimson Blades
Twenty years have passed since the Dread Fleet and their allies vanquished the hereteks of Fleet Ferro. The Calico Colonies slowly started to gain momentum as they resumed completely the colonization project of planets that were suitable for settlement. Problems were sparse so far. With the marines taking care of most of the Chaos and xeno raids, the colonies were safe and new riches were being send from one world to another. Nobody expected that anything serious could happen. Yet it happened, and it is considered by the Black Locks to be a tragedy for their Chapter.
It started from a simple call for aid that came from the planet of Ravenholm IV about a unidentified xenos incursion on a spontaneous level. The Locks being the Space Marines they are, answered the call. The entire Dread Fleet warped to the place, only to find out that the situation was on a wholly different level than they thought.
The planet of Ravenholm IV was being slowly overrun by Enslavers, dreaded warp creatures that existed to enslave the minds of lesser beings. The PDF was taking enormous casualties and already some parts of the planet were completely overrun. At the same time as the marines, a detachment of Imperial ships, under the command of a Ordo Xenos Inquisitor known as Xander Dagrasso, arrived near the planet also answering the distress call.
Both Alexander and Xander exchanged their opinions about the situation on Ravenholm. Xander wanted to simply initiate a Exterminatus of the planet, seeing it as a lost cause. Master Alexander on the other hand thought otherwise and told the Inquisitor to hold up the purging since there were still civilians and PDF that were unaffected. The Ordo Xenos member immediately guessed what the Lock wanted to do and he couldn’t stop him from doing so. Moments later the Black Locks descended on the planet, mustering two third of their entire force. Of the ten Captains, only Shaktu was left in space as to oversee the transports of civilians from the surface to the Dread Fleet’s ships. The Crimson Blade’s Captain would’ve rather joined the battle if it wasn’t for the fact that he lost via a game of rock, paper, scissor.
Meanwhile the ground forces quickly moved to engage the threats. With the vital information about the Enslavers that Xander gave them, the marines limited themselves to ranged weaponry (especially the heaviest ones) and aircraft raids, since the xenos took control of not only civilians as meat-shields, but also many PDF soldiers to back up their advance. The Witch Doctors were especially helpful in protecting the marines from being turned into mind controlled flesh puppets. While a substantial part of the detachment was busy holding the Enslavers at bay, the rest along with the remaining PDF loaded civilians for transportation. Even the Calician Navy sent in their own forces to help with the evacuation.
As time passed, more and more of the dreaded warp puppeteers were emerging from their portals. Not to mention the human puppet slaves pounding on the defences the remaining PDF erected to protect the civilians. At one moment, the Astartes were sustaining such casualties that they had to initiate a tactical retreat for better cover. Nearly all the cities were evacuated, except for the main capital of Viridia. The Black Locks were close to completing evacuation when a horrid event happened.
Somehow the Enslavers, knowing that their prey were escaping, unleashed a terrifying storm of strange particles that was sweeping through the planet’s surface with alarming speed. Long-range satellite surveys from orbit showed that the source of this was coming from the parts from which the Enslavers were invading. All who made contact with the radiation had their strengths sucked out and died a slowly painful death. For some reason, the xenos themselves were immune to the effects of their own weapon. The Imperials thus hastened the evacuation, putting everyone into the Thunderhawks and Cargo Vessels. There were still civilians left in Viridia and time was running out.
Not much time has passed and the radiation hit the capital. The marines locked as many of the civilians and wounded inside their own Rhinos as it was possible, as those were the only things that had radiation protection. All the marines could do now was watch helplessly how those that couldn’t be put inside died in agonizing pain as the particles sucked out their strengths. The Locks were made out of sturdier stuff that made them more resistant to the Enslaver’s weapon, yet even they started to feel the effects when time passed. The captains that were present on the planet knew well what had to be done. When the final transport left the planet, Master Alexander called in Shaktu to bombard the area with Virus Bombs as he thought the radiation could be contagious, not to mention what happens when the Enslavers find a way off Ravenholm. The Crimson Blades captain was shocked at first when he heard that, but in this case the Master of The Dread Fleet’s orders were absolute. Although hesitant, Shaktu ordered the planet to be viral bombed. At this moment, the Dread Fleet and the Imperial Navy bombarded the planet, the bombs reducing everything organic into goo and then using more traditional ways of bombardment to obliterate the Enslaver portals. With the gases that build up, and the heat from the conventional bombardment, the entire planet turned into a ball of fire.
After the bombardment, the Black Locks landed to find if anyone of their Captains and brethren survived. There were no survivors. All of them died, either from the raging inferno or by the virus bombs. The only thing that was left were the pieces of wargear and the belongings of the Captains.
Shaktu was furious of what happened. He blamed his brethren, the Imperial Navy, Inquisitor Xander...but the person he blamed the most than everyone else was himself. Everyone knew that the Crimson Blades Captain was furious over his helplessness that he couldn’t help his fellow Captains, and more importantly, the man that he considered both his greatest rival and friend, Master Alexander. Before they left the planet after the Exterminatus, they build a monument to those who died risking their lives to save innocent civilians from an eternity as flesh puppets of warp-spawned xenos.
With Shaktu becoming the new Master of The Dread Fleet by default, the Crimson Blades Captain swore to regain the losses the Black Locks suffered during the now titled Ravenholm IV Tragedy. Only after he set the stage for the rebuild and leaving detailed instructions to his successors did the Black Locks regain the numbers they had before. Near the end of the 37th Millennium, the marines rebuild their numbers long after The Master of The Dread Fleet’s death.
Before dying, Shaktu passed over his Crimson Reaver to his First Mate, and much earlier distributed the wargear of the late founder Captains to the new Captains after he became Master, starting the tradition of the Founder Captains wargears being passed down from Captain to Captain. The Golden Terminator Armour that Alexander wore became the symbol the Master of The Dread Fleet, and thus every Captain that would achieve this station would wear this armour.
The Black Locks never again went to Ravenholm IV as a whole since then. The only exception was when they buried Shaktu on the planet so that he'd join his fallen Brother Captains.
Captain Jones’s Betrayal and the rise of the Serpent Watch
"The only way we can be completely forgiven is when we finally wipe out these parodies of our brethren from the face of the galaxy." - Serpent Watch Captain Pedro 'The Vengeful'
"If only dat could have been avoided. Compassion sometimes leads ta damnation. And da forma me failed in stopping dis because of belittlement." - The Samdi Baron on his predecessor's choices
The first half of the 38th Millennium was a time when the Black Locks were at their finest with all Imperial factions. The planets within the Known Regions were colonized, new goods circulated through established trade lines and new ones were created with newly established colonies. Even the boundaries of the Undiscovered Regions were pushed further as new planets were included to the colonies. Still, everyone kept away from the Abyss that lurked in the centre of these parts of the Calico Stars. These times were one of those that could be called a golden age for the chapter. Apart of Chaos, Xeno and Renegade incursions that were immediately dealt with, nothing wrong has ever happened. That is until a series of events that nearly made the Black Locks become targets for the Ordo Malleus.
Captain Jones of the Corsair Hearts was chosen to be a liaison for a couple of months between the marines and the Inquisition. Much to his dislike, he accepted it with bitterness due to the fact on how he held the Inquisition, especially the Ordo Malleus. The Captain arrived with a retinue of his trusted men to the planet of Keiserberg in Saint Philip controlled space that was under complete Inquisitorial control, in the facility known as Keisersers Onberispelijk Strong, in the low gothic of the colonists of in this part of the Colonized Regions. The facility was a place where psyker savants were trained and distributed among Inquisitorial forces and the various factions working among the colonies. The conditions were bad and the psykers mistreated more than usually. No wonder since the Inquisitor in charge, by the how relevant name of Erik Forfølgeren, wasn't fond of psykers and treated his current occupation as a punishment, thus venting his irritation on the unfortunate occupants. This disgusted the Captain. He may have had some superstitions towards psykers, but he would've never treated them in the way they were in the facility. The only thing that he wanted is to end this damnable meeting as quick as possible. Until he saw her...
She was a delicate and gorgeous lass, with silky dark hair and a sleeveless psykana robe adorned with sigils and hexagramic wards. Something suddenly hit the Captain in the back of his mind and felt a strange warmth in his chest. For the first time in his life he felt something that Space Marines usually (or to be more precise, never) experience. The psyker girl was called Calypso, and she was the personal savant of Forfølgeren. At first the Captain maintained his distance from her to not arouse suspicion. When he managed to find a way to meet the psyker girl one on one every day, the two started to talk to each other. At first Calypso was shy, but the more the two talked, the closer they got to know each. Calypso was a orphan that grew up on the Feral World of Lemnos in Port Royalty controlled space. When her psychic powers awakened, she was picked up by the Black Ships and sent to Terra. After being judged strong enough, she was shipped back to this facility. The Captain could see that she was actually pulling off a cheerful facade. In reality Calypso was being mistreated by Forfølgeren because of her psyker origins. She could conceal the marks and bruises, but she couldn’t fool his sharp eyes. Jones decided to give her support for the time being. He knew that it wouldn’t last, but at least some warmth would raise her spirit.
One day while walking during the late evening, Jones saw from a distance that the Inquisitorial henchmen were transporting something on large wheelbarrows. The Captain, out of sheer curiosity sneaked towards the henchmen to find out what they were transporting. After a couple of minutes, the marine finally had his answer. Corpses. The savants were piling up corpses of dead psykers into a giant mass grave. For the Captain this was suspicious in the extreme. Jones waited until the area was safe, silently moved towards the nearest of corpses and ripped a piece of flesh in order to eat it. Thanks to his abilities granted by the implant allowed him to see into the memories of the dead psyker. What he found out horrified him.
The Inquisitor Erik already was known for being very intolerant towards psykers, but when he’s around other Inquisitors, he’d always tone down his dislikes. However, nobody knew how far his hatred towards them was. False accusations, manipulations towards simply tormenting the psykers, those were all but a fractal of what the Inquisitor did to them behind the curtain. Jones wanted to free Calypso from this hell-hole, yet doing so would make the Chapter target practice for the Inquisition, as well the possibility of being excommunicated was blatantly visible. The Inquisitor wouldn’t hand over the girl due to her being his personal savant, as well being the property of the Inquisition. On the day before his depart, Jones promised Calypso that he’d come for her.
When Jones returned to the Corsair Hearts, he immediately asked the current Samdi Baron, who was also the current Master of The Dread Fleet at that time, if there was a way to gain Calypso. The first thing the Baron did was scolding him like a child for putting the very existence of the Chapter over a psyker girl. The Baron understood the youngling, yet what he desired was way too risky. The Hex Company Captain told him to be patient and wait until the situation was beneficial for them. Jones however didn’t want to hear about this and returned to his flagship. In order to monitor his behaviour, the Master of The Dread Fleet sent in someone who wouldn’t arise suspicion such as a Myst Grave and he knew whom to sent in.
An Old Timer from the Rum Grails, Old Quartermaster Gibbs was sent to the Corsair Hearts as under the reason of meeting an old friend of his, the infamous 2nd Mate known as Brother Sparrow. Secretly he reported to the Baron about Jones’s moves for about four months when suddenly all comm. messages from Gibbs ended. When the Chapter tried to hail The Corsair Hearts, there were no signals nor signatures. Fearing the worst, The Samdi Baron declared the Corsair Hearts lost and broadcasted this message to the rest of the Calico Stars. Everything went silent as if the company simply disappeared into nothingness. Three years have passed as the entire Dread Fleet searched for the Company, yet there were no signs nor clues on them.
One day everything has resolved itself as a Malleus Inquisitor by the name of Otto Ritterman, with a whole company of Grey Knights, appeared demanding explanations from the Baron on a attack on Keiserberg’s facility that occurred two and a half years ago under mysterious circumstances. That attack was a mystery due to the fact how the assailants managed to attack without the personnel sounding the alarm nor contacting the nearest Imperial forces. As a result of this attack, many psykers escaped either into the wilderness of Keiserberg or fled to seek shelter into the human settlement, and Inquisitor Erik impaled on a enormous pole. After a long time of investigation and analysis of data that was collect from the more undamaged servitors, it was discovered that the attackers were Space Marines who had no insignias nor Chapter symbols. Although Space Marine strike forces from various Chapters appeared from time to time in the Calico Stars, but the sole ones who lived here were the Black Locks themselves. The Samdi Baron immediately realized who did this and why.
The Baron, by carefully picking his words, explained to the Inquisitor that during that time when the facility came under attack, one of their Companies disappeared exactly two years ago. All communications were lost since then and the Dread Fleet repurposed all its resources in order to find the Corsair Hearts. When Inquisitor Otto wanted to ask questions, a Astropahtic message came that a Warp Cutters frigate located and pinpointed the location of the Corsair Hearts fleet. Immediately did the Baron order to contact the rest of The Dread Fleet and make them travel to the location of where the Corsair Hearts were. He also told the Inquisitor that if the disappeared Company of theirs and the attack on the facility have something in common, then both of them would figure that out on the spot. The only thing that bothered the Baron was that why didn’t the Corsair Hearts even reacted when the Warp Cutters frigate spotted them and pinpointed their location.
When the Dread Fleet and Grey Knights arrived to their destination, a moon that belonged to a yet unclaimed jungle planet. Around the Calico Stars there were a number of systems that were on the borders between areas controlled by the Colonial Powers. In the past there were even proxy wars between the colonies over who would claim said systems, but after lengthy negotiations between the Colonial Lords resulted in these kind of conflicts to end as long as nobody would try and colonize them. The drawback of it was that various raiders and pillagers used these planets as hideouts in order to lay low when pursued. Immediately when the Marines exited warp space, they teleported in Terminator boarding parties into the Corsair Hearts ships. The Grey Knights were not slouches either and teleported in their own forces. Nothing however happened when both Chapters teleported in. No alarms, no resistance, no commotions. Only deathly silence was present overall.
The boisterous privateers and the daemon hunters split up their forces. The marines that teleported into the frigates and cruisers reported that there was not a single soul left except of the servitors that were set into standby mode. The Locks concluded that if there was nobody on either the cruisers or frigates, then everybody from bondsman to lad would either be on the flagship, or disappeared. The latter however was thrown aside when a squad of Grey Knight Terminators discovered the Corsair Hearts and their bondsmen.
Everyone was in the grand hall. Every Black Lock Company had one on their flagships for great feasts after major successes. Everyone from bondsman to Corsair Heart, from child to adult, was present in the flagship hall. Problem was that none of them was moving, nor was there any sign of Captain Jones nor Old Man Gibbs. Every single person was frozen in stasis, time completely stopped for them. The forces that boarded the flagship were struck down in disbelief, more so the Grey Knights. Nobody expected this. The Techmarines that came to take a look at the situation discovered that the entire floor had stasis field generators under it. This just piled up questions on the already bizarre situation.
When the lads and bondsmen were freed from stasis, they themselves were struck for a moment when they saw the Terminators of other companies along with the ones from the Grey Knights. The Samdi Baron and Inquisitor Otto, along with the other Captains, arrived to personally question everyone from the Corsair Hearts about what happened prior to them being frozen that day in stasis. Everything became clear on why the company broke all contacts.
During the celebrations that were held when the Company successfully destroyed a well known fleet of pirates that were the thorn in the side of traders for a very long time, Captain Jones made a speech on how well the Corsair Hearts did with offing the pirates and taking their booty. But when he finished the main point, his mood changed suddenly from a proud, filled with energy, to a somewhat morbid and sad one about having to leave the Corsair Hearts one day. Before anyone realized it, everyone went into stasis. There were all those, apart of the marines that joined Jones, that were listed as currently active, yet there was no sign of Quartermaster Gibbs. He either joined Jones or the former Captain did something to him.
After the very long streak of questioning, The Baron and Inquisitor were both sure that the stasis field generators were ordered by Jones to be secretly build under the floor, but that still did not answered Otto’s question about the Keiserberg case. A moment later one of the Hex Company Old Timers called The Samdi Baron to Jones’s cabin. The marines there found something about what Jones was planning, as well as certain items in regards of Lord Otto’s investigation. The Baron had no choice but to tell the Inquisitor about it and ask him if he could call in a conclave of his peers, for that what the Hex Company found is something that would require more than his individual judgement. And indeed, for the amount of evidence was more than the Inquisitor could have handled on his own.
The Inquisitorial Conclave took the evidence from Inquisitor Otto and studied them. Among them was a recording of Jones that was telling that he did attack the Inquisitorial Facility on Keiserberg, but not before leaving the Company and freezing everyone in stasis so that neither them nor the rest of the Chapter would suffer from his escapade. What he did was his and his doing only, and a few trusted marines and bondsmen. It was him who bought some of the least loyal of Inquisitorial savants due to Inquisitor Erik mistreating them. This way there was little resistance and the gates were opened for his men. It was him who planned for a long time the attack and used the savants to collect proof on Erik’s misdeeds. When they finished with the attack, they took all the documents and recordings they got from those they cooperated with and returned back to the flagship one last time to deliver these and the Sabre of Flames, the weapon of Carlos Embereyes, before departing for good.
After analysis of the materials, the Conclave was surprised and shocked due to Erik’s excesses. They knew that the late Inquisitor had bad experience with psykers, but what he did was too much. After the current case would be resolved, another investigation would be committed afterwards.
The final verdict, despite of the protests of some of the more zealous members, the fault was only that of Jones’ and those who joined him, while the rest of the Corsair Hearts and the Black Locks were decreed not at fault here due to being put into stasis. Still, if the Locks allowed for something like that to occur, then the probability of another bunch of renegades to appear would rise. Thus the Inquisition put the Chapter under watch and send them on a Penitence Crusade to fight off a Eldar invasion of a Mechanicus Forge World to the north west beyond the Calico Stars. The Corsair Hearts however, got it much harder, as they became the prime suspects for going rouge, thus Inquisitor Otto was permanently attached to them. The new Captain of the Corsair Hearts, the former Second Mate Wallace Figures, swore than something like that would never happen. Before the Chapter moved out, the Grey Knights mindwiped their minds as agreed with the Samdi Baron.
The Black Locks left the colonies for the besieged Forge World of Caalma. When they arrived, they indeed met the Eldar forces that were attacking the Mechanicus, but they also met something nobody expected. A enormous Chaos Force struck at both Eldar and Imperials, their forces mostly compromised from a mix of cultists and Chaos Marines. The Locks did not lose any time and made planetfall. Both xenos and humans, united temporally to fight the constantly rising waves of heretics and traitor marines. The warband of Chaos Marines was something unusual. Jet black power armours, golden visors and various colourings. Something was strange about them when the Black Locks engaged them, and rightfully they did, for the horror of what they discovered about them was tremendous. Apart of the more standard weapons used by both loyal and traitor marines, these ones were using the same pattern of bolt pistols as the Locks themselves. This was not a normal coincidence. As if the pistols were not already something to be shocked about, the next discovery shuttered the Chapter even more so.
The symbols the Chaos Marines were painting all over where they went were the very same ones that Captain Jones used to mark many of his belongings. Now the marines, along with Inquisitor Otto, found out what happened to the former Corsair Hearts Captain. No marine can go onwards without the Emperor’s light, and it seemed that Chaos found its way to Jones’ heart. The Corsair Hearts, especially their current Captain, fell into a enormous rage after seeing this. They broke all protocols and moved onwards into the traitor marines. Cutting, shooting, evisceration and worse, the company relentlessly moved cutting down every single heretic they met.
All of a sudden, the Chaos Marines and their allies started to fall back. They left the planet as fast as they appeared, looting as much as possible before that. The Eldar themselves retreated back to their ships and disappeared.
The Black Locks were struck down. Their members fell to the corruption of the Ruinous Powers. The honour of the Corsair Hearts was tarnished. Captain Wallace was furious on the fact that Jones betrayed the Chapter. Due to this, the Captain did something that only Carlos Embereyes did back in the past. First he asked the Inquisitor Otto to teach him and the company everything on how to better combat the Forces of Chaos, for the Captain wanted to regain his and his men’s honour and bring Jones to justice by sending his severed head to Terra. At first Otto was against this, but after seeing the flames in Wallace’s eyes, he quickly changed his mind.
Wallace send a message to the Samdi Baron that the Corsair Hearts will leave for a unset amount of time the Dread Fleet in order to find clues on Jones’ doing. The Baron agreed to that despite the fact that Jones was the problem of the Chapter as a whole, yet this even more so to the Corsair Hearts. And thus the company left the Dread Fleet for some unknown direction in order to gain new strength to fight against the Chaos Marines under Jones’ command, those so called Hearts of Corruption as they called themselves.
Two centuries has passed since then. When the Corsair Hearts returned to the Chapter, they were changed individuals. Gone was their boisterousness. Gone was their flaming passion. Now a cold and calculated mind was present. Single-minded in purpose and vigilant to the core, the company grew greatly under the guidance of Inquisitor Otto and his later successor. Now calling themselves The Serpent Watch, taking their name from the Morgawr of Port Royalty, these marines of the Black Locks returned with a thousand skulls of traitor marines of various warbands. At first the companies saw them with a measure of distrust, but changed their minds when they saw that despite their radical change, they were still one of theirs.
With the Black Locks complete again, the Dread Fleet would resume their quest for the Ultimate Treasure, and to bring down Jones to justice.
Times of Straining
"Omens. Omens of uneasy times." - Elder Witch Doctor Rimsit of the Holy Treasurers
The early times of the 39th Millennium was known as The Redemption Crusades, where heroes rose and pushed back the darkness that threatened the Imperium. The period between the late 39th and early 40th Millennium in the Calico Colonies was known as the Times of Straining where after a rather peaceful time of prosperity and expansion, there began what one would call a series of proxy conflicts against xeno species and occasional rouge fleets that turned rapidly into outright warfare against the Colonies. The Black Locks took part in multiple battles on the western parts of the Calico Stars as it was there were the battles were the fiercest as Ork Waaaghs!! and Chaos Warbands were hitting hard at the fringe sectors controlled by both Port Royalty and Fort Parquet. While these areas were being attacked frontally, Eldar and Dark Eldar raiders used the opportunity to start attacking unprotected colonies controlled by Saint Juan on its borders. As if that was not enough, rebellions and heresies erupted out of nowhere and took its bloody toil.
Even the local Eldar became more active. Discovered in at the beginning of the 37th Millennium (and causing many trade ships to disappear), Craftworld Ill-Zanath which was the home of exceptionally bold Corsairs and the world-ship’s leader, Lord Ramman, became more active than usually as they appeared in multiple sectors sowing havoc among both the Calico Colonies and their enemies. Having a Craftworld known for its fleets of Corsairs being suddenly active is not a good sign.
After a series of gruelling campaigns while aiding the Colonial Regiments, the situation with the raids has stabilized, yet the affected regions of space are still being attacked to this day by either aliens or heretics that seek to claim the resource rich planets of the Calico Colonies. Luckily they are not frequent after they were resolved, but they would grow in strength when time passed. When it came to heresies and rebellions, the Ordo Hereticus started to ‘cooperate’ extensively with many of the more lenient Governors so that none such incident would occur anymore.
What was the reason for that many enemies to come to the Calico Colonies, apart of the abundance of resources that were available, was unknown. As if something was luring them to the region.
"We did meet Tyranids before, but these were something completely different." - Brother Marcel of the Blazing Cannons
The later part of the 41st Millennium was the beginning of The Times of Ending. A period where the Imperium of Man would be tested for its rights to exist, these events did not ignore the Calico Colonies nor the Black Locks. Especially one such event occurred near the end of this Millennium and which would change the Calico Colonies forever.
The Colonies send out newly formed regiments to fight somewhere on the other side of the galaxy without any of the soldiers ever seeing their beloved planets again, while the nearly Chapter nominal Expedition Force the Space Marines formed (and which also included multiple volunteers from many Imperial organisations) sought out the location of other Halcyon Disk elements and aided Imperial forces outside the Calico Stars. Even among the Colonial Lords, the information about the Tyrannic Wars and the appearance of the Tyranid Hive Fleets have stirred enough panic among them. The Colonies faced against renegades, xenos and heretics, but fighting against something like these Tyranids required changes in tactics as the damnable monsters rapidly adapted to any situation they found themselves. The addition of them would strain further the already thin defences of their domains. In order to counter this, The Colonial Lords asked the Ordo Xenos for every detail on this new threat, as if the Calico Colonies were to fight it, then with sufficient preparations. It’s enough that they have to fight off aliens and heretics.
The Black Locks themselves experienced at firsthand in the capabilities of the Tyranid menace as the whole Chapter was called in to fight a large tendril of Kraken along four Imperial Guard Regiments and two other Space Marine Chapters. The lads never fought an enemy that hit in such enormous numbers nor adapt this fast to their tactics, but the Locks being Locks, even they adapted to the menace when they found out how the swarm functioned. With this newly acquired experience by the Chapter at fighting these monstrosities, the marines themselves were ready for future confrontations with the threat, but the next time the Black Locks met the Tyranids, it would be a completely different situation.
There came in reports of disappearing trade ships and patrol vessels. Not even distress hymnals were sent out. The only things that remained were misshapen and twisted scraps that remained from what was left of the ships. As if that was not enough, contact is lost with three fringe colonies in the mostly lifeless Mobius cluster. At the time the Navy arrives, nothing but lifeless rocks remain. The Black Locks were asked to aid a joint Colonial Navy and Ordo Xenos investigation fleet in order to analyze what could possibly cause that much damage. After analysis of the ship wreckages it is concluded that Tyranids are present in the Calico Stars, and that turning three entire planets into lifeless rocks were was also their doing. The information is send to every single outpost and it wasn’t long after it spread that the foul xenos attacked. This time it was a heavily defended colony in Saint Juan controlled space. The colony’s name was Maria’s Bulwark, or as the Colonists of Saint Juan called it: Baluarte de Maria. The fleet stationed there suffered a attack from a Tyranid Fleet that was never encountered before. The very bio-ships were light-greyish with a small black dotting, yet the style they fought wasn’t like that encountered while fighting Hive Fleet Behemoth or Kraken. Instead of directing the whole fleet towards the planet, two third of it engaged the Imperials, while the rest of it went straight for the planet. It wasn’t a large fleet, but its assault caught the Imperials by surprise. Ramsmiter Krakens hit the largest ships and deployed broods of Genestealers and a unique type of Tyranid Warrior brood that were armed in something akin to armoured shield-like shells and biomorphs designed for combat in tight corridors.
When the Black Locks finally arrived, the situation snowballed into ship to ship and boarding to boarding combat. The marines send to the nearby Imperial ships lots of their own to strengthen the crews while the Dread Fleet’s ships engaged the bio-ships. The land invasion was being held off by the PDF, but with the equipment they had it would be hard to fight the xeno ground forces. The Crimson Blades and Blazing Cannons made planetfall to aid the defenders. The fights in both space and on the surface were equal despite the Black Locks giving the Navy aid, but that changed the moment when it appeared...
A giant Hive Ship emerged from the dark void of space, ramming and crushing everything that was in its pathway, even its own ships. The Hive Ship was going straight for the planet, but a Battle Barge, the Pequod, belonging to the Black Cutlasses fired its payload at the beast, only to irritate it and be swapped by one of its tentacles. The monstrosity was finally stopped by a Calician Battleship. One of the members of the Pequod, Captain Ahab E. Teach, despite losing a leg in battle, managed to crawl to the weapon’s console and manually activate the ship’s auto-loaders along its targeting system, firing a melta torpedo into the one element of the monstrosity that couldn’t withstand the power behind it. Within a couple of seconds, the torpedo flew out and hit it right in what one would think of as the beast’s eye, causing it to flee in excruciating pain.
After the beast’s departure, the remaining forces dealt with the remains of the fleet and the Tyranids on Maria’s Bulwark. After further analysis of the recordings that were cannibalized from what remained of the Mobius Colonies and ship wreckages, it was discovered that the attacks on the convoys were done by the white Hive Ship all by itself, and that after it build up enough biomass, it produced a fleet to attack the outer rim colonies. After analyzing them, the Hive Fleet it produced was nicknamed Taniwha, while the white Hive Ship that was its flagship came to be known as the Mobian Terror. How a Hive Ship like it appeared light years away from the place where the first Tyranid incursion was unknown, and would remain a mystery to this day.
The Imperials suffered casualties from Taniwha’s attack, though they were lucky it was still a small fleet of ships. The Black Locks also suffered the loss of their own brethren, but the biggest of them was the death of the Dread Fleet’s Master as he died from fighting Tyranid boarding parties and was completely overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and brute force of the assailants. Captain Barrabas of The Serpent Watch was his name. The council of captains met along with the newly elected Serpent Watch Captain, Captain Pedro, to appoint a new Master of The Dread Fleet. After hours it was Captain Ahab who became the new one who would don the mantle of the supreme leader of the Black Locks.
Additionally the Serpent Watch made an outstanding discovery when they were repairing their flagship after the battle. They discovered two marines locked in stasis under the floor in the grand hall. It was confirmed that one of them was the lost Quartermaster Gibbs, while the other marine was no one else as Brother Sparrow. It was discovered that the Corsair Heart tried to stop Jones along with Quartermaster Gibbs and reason with him, yet the two were put into stasis and locked under the grand hall's floor. Gibbs wanted to return to his crew, while Sparrow seeing that his original company changed past all recognition, he asked the Quartermaster if he'd join the Rum Grails.
The Calician Colonies call for reinforcements
"JUST DON'T LET THEM TOUCH ANY OF OUR RELICS! Tell them they are all haywired with explosives." - Brother Chaplain Nathaniel of the Rum Grails. Excerpt from "Meeting of Chapters", Chapter 21, Blood Ravens
A few decades after the Battle of Maria’s Bulwark, activities of non-Imperial forces rose to the point that even with the Black Locks’ active aid, the Colonial Fleets were strained to their limits in places that were marked as those of constant xenos and heretic activities. Even the Colonial Regiments, despite their courage and determination, barely could contain Ork Waaagh!!!'s and Eldar raids. The Inquisition also had much work with hidden cults and sudden rebellions in the slums arenas on certain planets.
There were also rumours of Tau expeditions that arrived to the Calico Stars and were probing the Colonies’ defences. To add more olive to the fireplace, there rose additional rumours of new Chaos Warbands appearing, some even deep in Colonial spaces (not to mention the fact that Captain Jones and the Hearts of Corruption re-emerged with a sizeable fleet and that the Hereteks of Fleet Ferro came back aiding him). The Eldar of Ill-Zanath yet again bursted into activity and targeted trade and supply line.
There was also the fact that there appeared reports of the Mobian Terror re-surfacing with a newly formed fleet. Some theorized that the monstrosity retreated decades ago to the areas near the Abyss and preyed on smaller void monsters to build up its force.
As if that wasn’t enough, another threat appeared on the horizon as two systems were taken over near the Abyss by beings known as Necrons. Two rivalling dynasties awakened and started to expand into the Neutral Zones that border with said Abyss that remained unclaimed and with most of those between Port Royalty and Saint Juan controlled spaces. The first, called the Tykran Dynasty, only expanded into the worlds that were not controlled by the Colonies and heavily entrenched and fortified themselves. The second, the Zakhran Dynasty, revealed themselves to be aggressive expansionists that not only took over the other worlds in the Neutral Zones, but also Colonies and enslaved their populations. The good thing about this situation is that both are fighting each other. Or to be more precise, the latter Dynasty wants the first one annihilated. This would also the reason why the Zakhran Dynasty conquered so many worlds and suddenly stopped.
Due to these facts, the Colonial Lords decided to call in for reinforcements from neighbourhood sectors since the situation was becoming too straining despite their force’s best efforts. Space Marine Chapters such as the Space Wolves and Ultramarines answered the call as both send a single company. Even the Novamarines send reinforcements despite that in the past, they were not on good terms with the Black Locks due to an incident involving some of the marines going into a fight between each other over Venerable Kastor (the Novamarines insulted him due to non-Codex actions and the Lads didn’t take it well). Soon many more Chapters send in companies of their own to aid the Calico Colonies.
Of the Imperial Guard, many such regiments like the Catachans and Krieg Death Korps appeared, followed by the likes of Elysians and Vostroyans. The regiments quickly adapted to the Colonies, among them the Catachans were the ones that were the quickest to do so. Now they are fighting along the Space Marine Companies and the people of the Colonies.
What future lies for the Calico Stars is unknown. But it will be a miracle if this is set under control.
Chapter and Fleet Organization
The Black Locks differ greatly in terms of organization from other Chapters. They don’t follow the Codex Astartes thoroughly like the lion’s portion of existing Space Marine Chapters do, yet they do look into it as a universal guide for tactics and strategies. In the end they will utilize certain tactics the Codex does not support if the situation requires it.
Just like any Chapter, the Black Locks are divided into ten companies. The similarities however end here. Each company differs in size and are always above nominal strength when compared to Codex ones.
The above Codex size can be explained due to two factors. The first being that any of the Companies may suffer great losses and thus each of them are larger than usually, and even then they don't send down all of their members. The second reason for it is that parts of the Calico Stars are safe heavens for various renegades, heretics and xenos that constantly raid the colonies, while the Calician Fleets on the other hand has to deal with Chaos incursions and xeno invasions coming from the Maelstrom and both the eastern and western parts of the Calico. The Dread Fleet can thus split up this way. One aids the Imperials in fighting the enemies of the Emperor, while the smaller elements of theirs go on a hunter killer tour in order to either eliminate the raids, or to drastically lower them if the Locks cannot immediately pinpoint the source.
Each company is responsible for its own wargear, vehicles, recruitment, training and more. How they do it with the first two varies. Either by trade, barter or doing certain missions for the Constructor Fleet Tinkerer. Additionally, due to their extremely mobile take on warfare, the Black Locks have no tanks of their own in their motorpool except for certain Land Speeder patterns they managed to produce with Fleet Tinkerer and Vindicators being the only ground-based heavy hitters. Most emphasis goes on Flyers of every type from Stormtalons to Thunderhawk Gunships, and utilizing Rhinos, Razorbacks, Land Speeders and Bikes.
Each company specializes in rapid assaults and raids, yet each one takes a different take on this, as well as the selection of tactics they employ from the Codex or the non-supported ones in case the first won’t work in a specific situation. Planning plays a vital role in every operation committed by the Chapter.
The Companies of The Dread Fleet
Masterminds, Disciplinarians, Stubborn Lot
Tacticians, strategists, planners. The Black Locks put large emphasis on planning, but the Locks of the Black Cutlasses take it a step further. These marines always try to anticipate the movements of an enemy and utilize counters while fighting thanks to their Witch Doctors. Of all the companies, they are the second largest one.
When it comes to devising plans that include multiple members from other companies, then the Black Cutlasses mark positions from which the other companies should start from and simply do what they are good at.
They are also one of the most disciplined and balanced organization-wise.
Current Leader: Ahab 'Blackbeard' Eduardo Teach. Master of The Dread Fleet, Chapter Master, Captain of The Black Cutlasses.
Courage, Blood, Silent Rage
The largest and most assault oriented company. The Crimson Blades have a reputation for being courageous and uncompromising against anyone they fight against and are known for their reckless yet devastating attacks (which usually start from hitting strategically important targets with an Assault Marine strike, sowing havoc and then steamrolling their enemies while still confused). Due to the amount of casualties they produce, the Crimson Blades have a larger than nominal number of Apothecaries. It is also common for said Apothecaries to join their lads whenever there will be a probability of large collateral damage among them.
While Black Locks go the additional length to save civilians and make sure there will be as little collateral damage as possible, the Crimson Blades take this to a higher level. Even suggesting harming civilians or even not caring about collateral damage among them is more than enough for these Locks to go ballistic as certain Imperial and Space Marine Commanders found out the hard way.
Current Leader: Peter 'The Blooded'. Captain and Head Apothecary of The Crimson Blades.
Lords of Fortune, Dealers of Misfortune, Filthy Rich
Well trained, incredibly lucky and disgustingly wealthy. Those are the prime characteristics of a Holy Treasurer. These Black Locks are known to be capable traders as they are warriors. Although they have a well balanced force, they aren’t that capable like the Black Cutlasses when it goes for discipline.
Despite that, they are incredibly lucky when it comes to finding their ways through and convenient situations while on the battlefield.
Thanks to their talent for trade (combined with quick thinking), the company gained many highly exotic weapons that their elites and command structure use.
Current Leader: Captain 'Booty Maker' Michiel.
Epicurean Brawlers, Keepers of Holiness, Camaraderie Personified
Competent in battle. Gourmets of various alcoholic beverages and lovers of both shanties and parties. Rum Grails are the more easygoing marines and even more approachable by others. Though despite being more approachable due to this easy going nature, the company has a larger than nominal number of Chaplains to motivate the marines into doing things other than fighting, training or hosting parties, so it’s common for Novice Chaplains to lead Lots into combat and make them more useful instead of sitting in the Solitarium.
Rum Grails are specialists in medium range combat, thus they always carry large numbers of flamer and melta based weapons. The Chaplains are also responsible for the production of the Chapter’s most holy drink. The Lock Rum.
In addition, the Company Chaplains guard the Great Relic Vault, where the weapons of the first Captains are held along with Chaplain representatives from other Companies.
Current Leader: Brother Captain Sparrow.
Tireless Craftsmen, Hard Working Cybermancers, Ship Hunters
Technologically the most advanced of the ten companies. The Void Plunderers have tighter connections with Constructor Fleet Tinkerer and are tasked with gaining new ships for the Dread Fleet. While every other company can get one or two new ships in battle with heretics or renegades, it is these marines that gain the most ships. The best they leave for the Chapter, while the rest they give to the Calician Fleets. Hard working, disciplined, and in some cases stubborn and resolute. These are the characteristics of a Void Plunderer.
Due to the amount of equipment they have, the Void Plunderers have a larger than nominal number of Techmarines (among them known as Cog Brothers), and thanks to their connections, they can even afford certain techno-artefacts that only few have.
Current Leader: Dreadnought Marv 'The Mutilated' (Officially), 1st Mate 'Iron Drake' Francis (acting in Marv's name).
Assassins, Cutthroats, Warriors in the Dark
A company known for its cloak and dagger tactics, as well as its mastery of guerrilla and psychological warfare. The Myst Graves are grim and stoic individuals with a somewhat pessimistic and cynical point of view on the state of the Imperium and galaxy in general. Although they are who they are, these Black Locks will fight for the Emperor regardless of what they think.
Of all the companies, they are the only ones that still use Scouts. Additionally they can afford to have Officio Assassinorum Agents among their ranks, even going so far as letting them walk around their ships (with the sole exception of Eversor Assassins) without the Assassin’s handlers. How they did this and what pacts they made with the Assassinorum Temples are completely unknown.
Current Leader: Captain Rackham.
Hailstorm of Devastation, Fortress Killers, Fortifiers
The heavy weapons specialists of the Chapter. When the situation requires it, the Blazing Cannons can deliver as much firepower as they can blades to clash with their enemies.
Masters of rapid redeployment, as well as great besiegers and defenders, these Black Locks will unleash hailstorms of devastation on anyone who strikes at the Imperium.
Current Leader: Captain Chantal de Sores.
Riders of The Warp, Lightningborn, Adventurers
Curious, adventurous and lightning fast. The Warp Cutters are the Black Lock’s reconnaissance specialists, as well as a force that puts even more emphasis on lightning strikes and hit and run tactics.
Thanks to their advanced sensors, and being the only proud owners of their own light jet-bikes, the Warp Cutters are extremely mobile adversaries for any enemy of the Imperium and difficult to catch off guard.
Current Leader: Captain Henrik Morganius.
Mystics, Necromancers, Spirit-Tongued
Of all the ten companies, the Hex Company is one of the most mysterious and smallest of the companies. While the Black Cutlasses and Crimson Blades hold positions of the two largest companies, while the other ones are smaller yet still quite numerous, it is estimated that these Black Locks number somewhere in 200 Astartes. Of all the companies, they have the largest number of Witch Doctors and it is common for Aspirants to lead their lads to battle.
This company got the Inquisition’s eyes on them. Once even a Inquisitor tried to inspect them only for him and his acolytes to go native. Rumours have it that they have mastered arts of raising the dead. Some eyewitnesses even managed to have a glimpse of how Hex Doctors raise prepared dead bodies from coffin-like containers. More importantly is that any records of them are either damaged beyond recovery, or heavily distorted. Whatever the situation, the Inquisition will never rest until they’ll find out more about this.
Current Leader: The Samdi Baron, also known as the 'Shepherd of Souls'.
Bane of Traitors, Atoners, Eternal Hunters
Once known as the Corsair Hearts, now one of the most unforgiving company when it comes to anything that is even remotely associated with Chaos. After the betrayal of Captain Jones and his fall into the service of the Dark Gods, the remaining Corsair Hearts under the guidance of Inquisitor Otto were reforged after a century into a lethal fighting force only second to the likes of the Exorcists Chapter.
Serpent Watch Black Locks have access to unique wargear that allows them to have certain advantages against Chaos Marines and Daemons, not to mention a more extended knowledge on the Ruinous Powers (though they always exercise caution when looking into it). When not in combat, they sometimes visit the other companies in order to monitor for corruption among the Locks.
Due to that drive to hunt down Chaos, the Inquisition sees them as the first people to contact when investigating rumours on heretical activity among the Calico Stars. Thus the marines have connections to the Inquisition, yet only with those that are considered trusted by the company. The Serpent Watch will try to avoid overzealous Inquisitors and those that are considered Radicals (although they do make rare exceptions in case of these two).
Current Leader: Captain Pedro 'The Vengeful'.
Dread Fleet Organization
"Listen here laddie. If it wasn't for that much manpower then the entire Dread Fleet would be impossible to operate. We may be Marines, but we ain't the Emperor. We can do many things better than yer common folks, but we can't run all of this on our own. If we could, then we would not have this many bondsmen to help us run it." - 2st Mate Reggar of the Warp Cutters on the functioning of the Dread Fleet.
Each of the companies have one Flagship (usually a Battle Barge or anything similar to it) and several smaller ships from Heavy Cruisers to Escorts. Additionally each such company strike force has many specialized voidships that can both fight and maintain other ships. Still, when the Black Locks require it, then they'll land on one of the human populated areas or the dock with the space stations of the Calico Colonies in order to trade or recruit (or simply taste the local beverages and flirt with the tavern wenches).
However, the Chapter’s company fleets are powerful enough to not bother most of the time with selecting specific targets unless the enemy they face is exceptionally powerful.
Despite their Nomad-Predation pattern, there are present elements of a Crusade Fleet pattern akin to that among the Black Templars. If a company swears an oath, then it doesn’t matter how long will it take them to accomplish it, they will fulfil it. Of course they don’t take such oaths easily. If it is something of extreme importance, then they will do it without a second thought.
Most of the time the Dread Fleet will travel through the space eliminating dangers such as renegades, outlaws, pirates of any kind, xenos, heretics or void monsters that terrorize a vital part of a slower-than-light-speed route. Sometimes the Black Locks are asked (or more like hired) by influential trade guilds or trade-oriented Rouge Traders to guard their shipment when they travelling to faraway systems. These people contact the marines by various ways and always offer them wargear of greatly above good quality. Though most of the time they can actually meet the marines by drinking with them in a tavern in one of the colonies.
In later times the Dread Fleet created a smaller fleet made out of multiple members from all the ten companies and volunteers from around the Calico Colonies. This Expeditionary force was made to go into neighbourhood systems (including those far away) in order to look for the remaining Halcyon Disk Fragments, as well to aid Imperial troops they meet or to eliminate dangers that are plaguing other sectors.
These Expeditionary Fleets do periodically return in order to swap company members and volunteers, to resupply and re-equip certain elements and to generally make check-ups on the ships before going back on another journey beyond the Calico Stars.
Chapter Organization, Members and Allies
"Well we do have formalized force organizations and our tactics. Yeah m'lady, we do have markings and we do read the Codex from time to time. Then again, there are no Chapters that are completely adherent to it since they all pick up all that is fitting to them. We? Each one in the Dread Fleet have their own takes on it, though we love to hit hard and hit fast every heretical scurvy dog that is unlucky enough to turn his back on Him in the great lighthouse of His realm." - Brother Vinci of the Rum Grails to Colonel Varna of the Valhallan 209th during a chat in the mess hall in the Regimental Command.
To differentiate between the members of each company, every Black Lock has the left side of their chestplates and their arms and gauntlets in different colours. The left pauldron where a company number should be is replaced with a company emblem, whereas the right pauldron has the chapter symbol.
In order to differentiate which marine belongs to what type of squad/lot and to which squad/lot he belongs, the markings are implemented on the marine's kneepads. Left one for squad/lot number, the right for markings indicating tactical, heavy support or assault roles. In case of veterans, they get a crux terminatus marking on their right kneepad. In case of Terminators, the right kneepad is where the company symbol belongs.
Master of The Dread Fleet
"Our enemies are many. They often have weapons and tactics that makes them think they have a chance against The Emperor's finest. Let them come and we will put this to the test." - Attributed to Ahab Eduardo Teach. Chapter Master of The Black Locks, Master of The Dread Fleet, Captain of The Black Cutlasses. Also known as Captain Blackbeard.
To be a Captain is already a enormously responsible task. Being someone that is the Master of The Dread Fleet is even more difficult, as such an individual must not only mastermind his own company’s movements, but also those of the rest of the Black Locks.
In battle, a Master of The Dread Fleet is always accompanied by a squad of Honour Guard Terminators. Such a group led by the most powerful Lock in the Chapter is indeed an inspiring sight. Additionally, by having access to the rarest and most powerful artefacts in the Dread Fleet, and having it combined with his centuries of hard won experience, only short of the most powerful of enemies can actually hope to match the Master of The Dread Fleet.
"Ya have to admit. Being part of a Chapter is something not everyone is privy to. To be a Captain even more so. For me? I get all the rum I want." - Brother Captain Sparrow. Excerpt from "That what you are allowed to do as one of the Captains of the Dread Fleet".
To be a Captain is of a great responsibility, for such warrior decides where and when to go and fight with his company. Additionally it is they who lend their warriors to others and they vote for a new Master from among themselves.
In battle, Captains are terrifying warlords that lead their lads into combat. Although they can take care of themselves, they are always accompanied by a group of Old Timers (their equivalent of Veterans) that act as bodyguards. Only the most powerful (or luckiest) enemies may hope to actually face a Captain and survive the experience.
"Being the 1st Mate is not an easy task as many think. You often have to aid your Captain. Mind you apart of doing what the other 2nd Mates do, I have to do extraordinary paperwork along with leading and fighting. Sometimes even going so far as to lead it in person when the Captain suddenly has something that makes him occupied. Still not so much as Captain Peter has to do, but that requires a Space Marine to deal with it. If only our brothers didn't jump before thinking, then I wouldn't have this much to do. But that's the life in the Crimson Blades Company for you." - Excerpt from the Memoirs of 1st Mate Hagthorpe of The Crimson Blades Company
The Second Mates are the actual equivalents to a Codex Captain. These Locks are drawn from the veteran cadres of each company based on both their leadership skills, as well as both brains and brawn.
The First Mate however is something different. To be one is to become the right hand man of the Company Captain (or Master of The Dread Fleet). When the Captain has business to do, then it is the First Mate that takes over command if the Captain is not present. A Second Mate becomes a First Mate if he distinguishes himself in battle and will prove himself very competent.
If the actual Captain dies, then his First Mate becomes the new Captain.
"Even marines such as we need spiritual support. My brothers need much of it after they deal with the blasphemies of those that were considered once our brothers." - Chaplain Alaric of The Serpent Watch to Inquisitor Pontus
"I swear if they are still partying in the hall instead of doing something productive other than training, then it will not end on bashed skulls!" - Chaplain Rotusmund of the Rum Grails
In battle, the Chaplains drive the Locks to even greater feats of zeal as they plunge into enemy lines, crushing or slicing everyone that crosses their path with their unique Anchor-headed Cronzius.
Just like in the case of the new Master of The Dread Fleet, the eldest Reclusiarchs choose the newest Master of Sanctity via vote from among them.
"So ya wanna learn da arts de vaudon eh? Das not gonna be eazy lad. First of ya need ta lis'n to da spirit realm. BUT! But ya must be cautious. For the arts are bout' communicating with da spirits. The real ding is if said spirits are not daemons. Dat. Dat is something one must learn how to differentiate. If ya will not learn fast, then do not complain when I hafta exorcise ya with da help of a Chaplin." - Elder Vaudon Mombusu to Sanctioned Psyker Hekatio
A form of psychic discipline that includes a broad selection of specialties and paths, it is said that the Arts de Vaudon died out many millennia ago due to Ecclesiarchy activity in the Calico Stars because they saw it as no different from Chaos Sorcery, which was proven wrong after a series of researches conducted by certain Ordo Hereticus Inquisitors. Despite this, there are now very few Vaudon users other than the Black Locks. The marines have this thanks only to the efforts of the legendary Demetrius Hex who is believed to have refurbished the Arts and taught them to those of the Void Eagles that would become the Hex Company. It is not a wonder since the first Witch Doctors came from this company and taught the others the Arts. Each of the companies adapted specific aspects of the Vaudon, but the Hex Company Witch Doctors practice them as a whole, including the unique to them Path of Smoke and Spirits.
A fully fledged Witch Doctor always wears his suit of power armour that, apart of the heraldries of both the chapter and company they belong, also wear ornament masks made out of animal skulls and bones, further adorned with tribal-like markings. The older the Witch Doctor, the richer the mask is adorned.
When not in battle, Witch Doctors craft talismans for their brethren to ward off the evils of the Warp, probe the minds of everyone in search of the seed of Chaos, enact rituals to produce various effects such as summoning the spirits of the dead, and with the coming of Tyranids, detection of the encroaching shadow across the warp.
In battle, these psykers manipulate the warp in a different matter when compared to more traditional Librarians. Through their lives, the Witch Doctors subtly accumulate warp energies while simultaneously harnessing them openly from the warp, yet not in such quantities as Librarians do. This way they can unleash enormous amounts of power with a smaller probability of the Perils of The Warp happening. In more critical situations, the Witch Doctors may harness the optimal amounts of warp energies and unleash all the accumulated ones they stored into one, enormous psychic storm, yet with a high risk of Daemons assaulting their minds. Additional tasks of the Witch Doctors are also detection of warp abnormalities on a planet the chapter is stationed on.
Interestingly, all Witch Doctors are considered to be linked with the Hex Company and made into honorary members of that company. Since the Samdi Baron is considered both Captain and has the same status as a Codex Chief Librarian, the most powerful Elder Doctors from any of the companies are thus relegated to the Hex Company if they are chosen as the new Baron.
"Here is yer leg. I built in a small hidden container that holds an additional grenade just in case you need an additional throw. It opens from behind, and the tibia part has been further reinforced with additional layers of armour. Just be careful that a plasma blast won't wipe it out. I have enough work with the motor pool and a dozen other lads of ours, and that leg of yours is quite the artwork I did." - Cog Brother Marcus of the Void Plunderers
The Techmarines are a tightly knit group, and they aid each other even in the most direst situations, as well as sharing their researches...most of the time.
The Cog Brothers of the Void Plunderers are known to be the busiest of the Dread Fleet’s Techmarines.
The Black Locks in general
"Well brat, here we are. Ya went through a lot, this is a fact. You survived and Ork onslaught and Dark Eldar raids. You avoided being snatched by heretics and you even killed two of them. And...have to say, ya actually helped me back there with getting out of this here uncomfortable situation I got myself BECAUSE OF YOU. But the fact ya helped me get out of this mess makes me forget about it. Welcome to the Myst Graves kiddie. Ya can say it's something of a family. A tight knit one you can say." - Cutthroat Veteran Erasmus to the child that will be known later as Brother Captain Rackham
The Novices, or Kiddies as they are called by the older members, are the youngest Black Locks that are in training. Novices are, depending on the company, recruited from various places over the Calico Colonies as young warriors and soldiers or as even younger children. In case of the latter they are mostly orphans that can be found in the slums of the major colonies or on the few war worlds that are present in the star cluster. Some of the young recruits are either from feral or civilized planets, or slaves (either freed ones or those who managed to escape their overseers). Some are even infants whose parents died in battle or in some accident (this varies greatly among the colonies). The kiddies undergo a brutal training after being screened for corruption and genetic capabilities to become space marines. After receiving the geneseed and their first implants, the recruits are given Grog to drink. Grog is a medium strength alcoholic beverage that has a strong stench and is simply put...disgusting. On the other hand, Grog has many substances that are extremely toxic to normal humans, but not to the kiddies since the implants absorb the substances that are present in the beverage. This is used so that the implants wouldn’t be considered by the will-to-be Black Lock’s body as something alien and wouldn’t try to reject them.
When a kiddie ends his training, he becomes a Lad. The lads are actual Black Locks who finished their basic training, gained their power armours, and fit for their combat tours. These warriors make up the core of every of the ten companies. Just like in Codex compliant Chapters, each newly induced lad goes through Devastator, Assault and Tactical training. Though some of the companies take a different take on it. Myst Graves, being the only company to practice the use of Scouts, make their recruits go through it before they can become full-blown Locks. Crimson Blades for instance take example from the Blood Angels and make theirs train as Assault Marines before they can advance further. After their training routine finished, the freshly baked Crimson Blades keep their jump packs. Some lads do not stay as simple battle brothers and become full-time pilots or drivers. Although all Black Locks can pilot and drive any aircraft or vehicle, it is these aces that deliver the Black Locks to their destination, no matter if it’s the battlefield, the ship they are orbiting, or they are transporting civilians to a safe zone.
The smallest, but considered as a elite, are the Old Timers. These old marines saw a lot, fought a lot, and killed a lot. Each company has their own veterans that lead the lots or are bodyguards for either the Mates or Captains. Old Timers accumulated enormous amounts of experience thorough their centuries of active service and know well how use it against the Chapter’s enemies. Having access to the best armour and wargear the armouries have to offer, these veterans make a great difference on the battlefield. In combat, these Black Locks can be seen either leading lots, spearheading the rest of the marines into where the battle is fiercest, or serving as the bodyguards of one of the Mates or the Captain himself. In a similar fashion to the Space Wolves, promotion to the veteran cadres of a company isn’t solely based on experience and years of service. On certain occasions, even the youngest of lads will be promoted based on acts of exceptional courage. When not in battle, the Old Timers will be telling stories of their efforts to children and younger members of the Chapter. In the case of the first, they do change certain things in some of their stories, since how will you tell a child that you slew in the past a Champion of Chaos or blew up a daemon engine?
"How should I say? I grew up here and know this place since I remember. The other bondsmen are not too shabby, and the marines? Cannot complain about them. They cannot be complained about at all. Yeah, we do multitask, but some of us do one job more often. And these people do not change this often between tasks. I would love to talk more about this, but I must go. The children are waiting." - Bondswoman Angie. Nursery staff of the Black Cutlasses Company
"Darn. Not diaper duty again..."' - Brother Farel of the Black Cutlasses. Given the task of working along with twenty other Bondsmen in the nursery after an unfortunate accident in the hangar involving a Storm Talon, its missile launcher, and rotten Void Kraken meat
"Got myself a new life after they saved us from being Dark Eldar slaves after our commander wrote us off as dead. The only thing we need to is just help them with their duties. Not bad of a new start, right?" - Bondsman Patches, former Imperial Guardsman of the Cadian 279th
Bondsmen, as the Black Locks call these men and women, are normal humans that help the Black Locks in various ways. From cooking, cleaning, paperwork and archiving, to ship and machine maintenance and taking up stations that require both responsibility and competence. In return the bondsmen get very good education and better living conditions that are equal to those seen on few Imperial worlds. They range from multi-generation wide families that started out as serfs back when the Black Locks were still known as the Void Eagles, to people that were saved by the marines from either purges initiated by the Inquisition, or from places and situations where the Imperium simply abandoned them. Thus among the bondsmen there can be found former guardsmen, priests, tech-priests, psykers or even untouchables.
Despite their position, bondsmen are treated equally by the Black Locks. Not to mention that the above works the aforementioned bondsmen do aren’t done purely by themselves. The lads get certain duties they have to do, and bondsmen are here to help them in their duties. That is seen as odd by others outside the chapter. Especially by other space marines.
This even goes to the point that all the Lads (barring the Old Timers, Mates and Captains), share the same space with the Bondsmen. Even living in the same sections of the ships quarters.
Bondsmen make up a gargantuan part of the Dread Fleet. No wonder here since a large fleet like that the marines have, not to mention the number of aforementioned marines and vehicles at the chapter’s disposition would require enormous aid in maintenance. Compared to serfs from other chapters, bondsmen can take part in battle (and get their own share of loot). The Locks give them better wargear that would be seen among those of the Tempestus Militarium and can utilize their own motorpool. These combat forces are utilized as fire support and to hold objectives of tactical and strategic values.
"Aye, I know the Black Locks. Done many deals with them, as well gave them my services. And they payed well. These Lock Doubloons of theirs are made of some valuable metals and gems. And the craftsmanship and details that were put into them...this will fetch a delicious price on some worlds." - Attributed to Rogue Trader Jarwell
Being individuals unbound by the tight system of the Imperium, rogue traders can go everywhere (unless their warrant of trade tells them and their descendants to stay in a particular sector), be present where there is an opportunity to strike business, or to simply do whatever they want to. To be granted this much freedom is tempting in the extreme, as there are rogue traders that either are pious members of the Imperium, doing their work in HIS name without neither the Ecclesiarchy nor any institution hampering them, or those that went drunk with aforementioned freedom to the point of turning into piratical renegades that pillage and plunder everything that crosses their path.
It is unsurprising for the Black Locks to have contacts with these colourful personalities. There are times when both traders along their own crews fight side-by-side with the marines. Some of them have strong links with the Black Locks and therefore both sides aid each other in difficult times. Not to mention that there are Rogue Traders that constantly travel with the Chapter.
Having contacts with Rogue Traders means additionally that the Black Locks get not only military assistance from them when needed, but also a reliable source of information and certain wargear.
"If you would keep a little silent? I'm trying to focus here. You would not want to suddenly end up dangerously near a sun...or a black hole...or in the centre of the eye?" - Navigator Elsham
Thanks to a breeding program via carefully arranged marriages (and applying powerful fertility increasing substances to both males and females), Gentius produced many stable navigators. Thanks to their nomadic style on the other hand, as well as their knowledge of warp currencies and navigation skills, their members are truly uncommon in terms of quality. That is unless they won’t drink any alcohol while travelling through the warp. Appearing light years off track can be insanely irritating, thus they are forbidden from drinking anything alcoholic before a warp jump. For some reason they ceased all contacts for three centuries until the incident with a Chaos Fleet led by the Apostles of Minthras. If it wasn't for the Black Locks arriving on time, then the navigators wouldn’t live another day, or worse...
Grateful, the Navigators gave a number of their own members to the Chapter.
Sometimes the Navigators will actually take the fight to the enemy and use their abilities to aid the Black Locks, no matter if it is direct combat or using their abilities to pinpoint where a enemy will be teleporting in his troops or summoning warp creatures.
Fleet Tinkerer Tech-priests
"Aaaah. Some fine STC you found here. As agreed. After we finish analyzing it we'll give you certain data from it for personal use. Meanwhile could you and your brothers help us out? Unfortunately our Grav lifters broke down for some reason. When I get my hands on the dimwit aspirant who forgot to check on one of the Omnissiah's blessed creations then I will..." - Magos Dissel of Fleet Tinkerer to Cog Brother Verisius
The Mechanicus at that time were thoroughly enraged by this, but the Colonies found a way for them. Instead of building large Forge Worlds, they should instead invest into large, self sustaining fleets that would travel the colonies and present their services, harvest the rich in resources asteroid fields and dead worlds, look for STC among the systems, and supply the Calician Guard Regiments. Thus the Constructor Fleets came into being.
Previously the most dominant Constructor Fleet was Fleet Ferro, yet due to their dabble in tech-heresy, and slaughter of other fleets after the Black Locks revealed said tech-heresy, they were nearly annihilated and forced into the warp. Since then Fleet Tinkerer took over and made sure there will never be a monopolization on technology, and even goes to such lengths as to encourage rivalry and competitiveness between the other Constructor Fleets in order to avoid them going into stagnancy, yet will terminate everyone if they are blatantly using xeno-tech instead of trying to create Imperial alternatives without the alien taint. This is in order to avoid creating another incident like in the case of Fleet Ferro.
Fleet Tinkerer has strong ties with the Black Locks due to how much the marines helped them, and even greater with their Void Plunderers company.
- Warp Cutters' assault on the Orkz and Col.Collin's excerpt - A short on the Warp Cutters Company.
- Battle at Ressax Prime - Another short. This time featuring marine to marine combat.
The symbol of House Gentius. A Navis Nobilite house of Navigators that left Terra after a "small" misunderstanding. They have close ties with the Black Locks, are even more eccentric (by Navigator standards), but they produce competent members (unless they'll drink rum, then traveling to the wrong star system is not that rare).
The first batch of Black Lock weapons made by Venerable Brother Rana (now known as SirFrog). Presenting the close combat weapons that the Locks use. Cutlasses and Sabers are used by the typical Locks, the Cog Axe is used by Techmarines, while the Red Talon is used by the Crimson Blades' finest crew members.
Goddamn the thread isn't archived
Original Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/20144621/
Second Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/20160608/
Third Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/20176298/
Fourth Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/20191144/
Fifth Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/26788660/
Sixth Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/26805144/
Seventh Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/26837893/
Eight Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/26859067/
Ninth Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/29464006/
Tenth Thread: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive/44372521/