Back to the Tri-Sector
The Drumnos Sector is a bustling place of commerce, travel, trade, and military activity, and is one of those valuable Sectors that sends more total resources to Terra than it receives in payment from the Throne. Its large and successful commercial systems can’t quite cover up the rot that has spread through its high society, but its standards of living are higher on average than they are in either of the two adjacent Sectors. The entire Sector is beset by pirates, crime syndicates, Orks, and the sin of pride, which poses at least as much a threat as the other three.
Drumnos has lynchpins of commerce and warfare that are as old as human colonization of the region. Evidence of non-human terraformation efforts dating back to many thousands of years before the Rise of the Iron Men indicates to Imperial Astrocartographic scholars that the region may once have been a planned colony site for a race of aliens that did not survive the madness of the Age of Strife. After all, just because humans and Eldar were hit hardest by the destruction of the area doesn’t mean they were hit exclusively. Untold hundreds of alien empires utterly collapsed in that time, their worlds and minds broken by the Warp turbulence of the Eldar hedonists or the guns of the disobedient human Robots. The colony preparations of these races outlived them. Adeptus Mechanicus terraformation efforts have furthered the expansion of human habitation in the area, as have the private ventures of some of the Dynastic Rogue Trader Houses nearby. Thus, Drumnos systems often possess whole swathes of micro-worlds. These are places that use combinations of terraformation machines and gravity-boosters to render livable moons and planets that would otherwise be too heavy or too light for comfortable human dwelling. The civilian population of the Sector is thus enormous, and has the enormous need that implies. Therefore, many of the Agri-worlds of the region employ whole-surface agri-processing, wherein the entire world is subjected to aerial dumping of mineral fertilizers from great barge-planes, then crops are sown in their enriched soils and harvested by whole legions of indentured workers. This is no substitute for the more precise and sustainable methods used by the Cloudburst Sector. Indeed, Drumnos is the primary destination for foods sold from the Cloudburst surplus. However, with the rise of population of Cognomen and Thimble, the Cloudburst surplus of food is shrinking (accelerated by the destruction of Chlorit). Drumnos may soon have to either stop expanding or create more sustainable agricultural practices if they wish to remain functional.
Great halls of commerce and learning fill many of the cities of the Sector. The Imperial Merchant and Artisan Guilds fill more roles here than any other Sector in the Galactic North. Trade unions, robber barons, wealthy industrialists, Adeptus Mechanicus Magi Artisan, and hundreds of freelance inventors and captains of industry do their business in these vast Guildhalls. The Guilds offer apprenticeships to students and progeny of the local nobility, as well as promising graduates of the small but influential trade universities of the larger planets. Such a small percentage of the local stars remains unexplored that there is little colonization work, and so instead the Adeptus Administratum turns to these humming warrens of mercantilism and education for much of its income. They have seen notable success in this. These Guildhalls often occupy entire cities unto themselves, with hundreds of thousands of Journeymen, Apprentices, Initiates, and contractors learning and buying from hundreds of elite Masters who take on contracts from the local governments. The Guilds aren’t the only shops in town, though. It’s a rare city in Drumnos that doesn’t have local businesses and great trade consortiums available for those who wish to buy goods without dealing with Guild practices.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is not fond of these inventors, of course, and has covertly sabotaged them in the past, to ensure the sin of innovation does not take root. This rarely comes to light, but not never. When it does, the doctrinal issues of the Mechanicus rarely map perfectly to the nuance of Imperial law.
On other worlds with smaller populations, the Imperial citizenry practice less artisanal work. Mining is a great source of wealth on some Drumnos worlds, especially those with deep oceans. The enthusiastic adoption of the Maskos machines here mean that veins of minerals and chemicals that have sat unused on the beds of seas, unreachable by traditional Adeptus Mechanicus methods, are now within arm’s reach of the mining companies that harvest their ores, pumping gigatons of manganese, silver, and other rare metals into Mechanicus forges and factories.
Being a Frontier Sector despite its relatively large wealth, there are still some Drumnos planets that deliberately eschew the hustle and dynamism of the core planets. These Frontier Worlds are the frontier of the frontier, at the literal edge of the Astronomican’s brighter gradients. While there are some truly gifted Navigators, such as those from the storied Houses Feracci and Belisarius and True, who can see the Astronomican from inside the Oldlight Exo-zone, no other psykers can perceive it clearly thanks to the Eye of Terror and other, smaller Warp Storms. Thus, there isn’t much of a way forward for Imperial ships past these Frontier Worlds. Between that and their own isolationism, these worlds are relatively quiet residences for the colonists at the Imperium’s border. They tend to be self-reliant and tough, these colonies, which is helpful for the Rogue Traders who sometimes press whole villages into service as crew for their expeditions into the Exo-zone.
As a major economic wellspring for the local Imperium and a net exporter of goods and wealth, the Drumnos Sector has a correspondingly powerful Chartist Captains presence. Their Warp-freighters and cargo-hauling starships are ubiquitious in the rich Sector, flying goods and passengers across the breadth of the asteroid-heavy region. Although even the Administratum can’t be quite certain exactly how many Warp-capable ships there are in the region at any given time, the number is well in excess of four thousand, and over six hundred of those have Navigators. Unlike the Cloudburst and Naxos Sectors, Drumnos has no Adeptus Astartes Chapter in residence. Also unlike those, it doesn’t particularly need one. Its threats are not the unrelenting violence of Nurgle, nor the cyclic blitzkriegs of the Glasians. Its predominant threats are more mundane and less centralized, and seek wealth instead of territory in the main.
There are other, smaller risks to Imperial life in the region, of course. Any place that accumulates money and business the way Drumnos does eventually must come under scrutiny for the perfidious presence of Slaanesh, or the less dangerous and far more common problem of major organized crime. The Orks are also a problem in the Drumnos Sector, naturally enough. Magi Biologis of the Adeptus Mechanicus suspect that the entire Galactic Northern Fringe was visited by Orks on a broad-scale Waaagh! at some time immediately after the collapse of the Terran Federation but before the Fall of the Eldar, and was then revisited by the Orks that scattered from the collapse of the Rampage of the Beast. This would explain the pervasiveness of extremely low-tech but nigh-omnipresent Feral Orks in an area five Sectors in volume. The Terran Federation and the Eldar Empire at their peaks were more than capable of destroying a Waaagh! with which the Imperium would presently struggle, but they were in no position to do so after the destruction of the previously safe methods of faster than light travel.
However, the largest threat to the area is not that of Greenskins or Slaanesh. Simple human greed has given rise to the largest threat by volume and firepower in the Drumnos Sector: piracy. Pirate flotillas numbering in the high dozens prowl the immense asteroid chains that crisscross the entire Sector. The Imperial Navy in Cloudburst is a fraction of the size of their southern brethren, and wars have erupted in the Naxos Sector that have claimed millions of lives that were smaller than the death counts of Naval clashes of the Battlefleet Drumnos.
Piracy isn’t just a mechanism of living or a pastime in Drumnos. It is an entire industry. Whole fleets of criminals, privateers, raiders, slavers, planet looters, buccaneer armies, and other spaceborne ne’er-do-wells trawl the Drumnos Sector, looking for blood, treasure, and sport.
These pirates answer to no one leader, and in fact would be offended at the very idea. Rather than stemming from a single centralized leadership, as the FCC and other small piracy groups in Cloudburst do, the Drumnos pirate fleets answer to individual Commodores and Admirals who style themselves kings of vacuum, and fly about the Drumnos Sector proclaiming their superiority for all to see. Some favor stealth, and conceal themselves in the asteroids that dot the navigable starlanes of the Sector, waiting to pounce on helpless victims. Others are more overt, and prefer to use brute firepower to get what they want out of life. The most dangerous, however, are those who feign legitimacy and even flaunt Imperial Letters of Marque, working for the Imperium when they aren’t assaulting it. Some of these Letters of Marque are even totally real, and are either gifts from the local Sector Administratum for conquering some minor foe of theirs or were stolen from their legitimate owners.
The true number of pirates in the Sector is impossible to ascertain, as some of them do not even consider themselves pirates at all. Some, like the historical Dark Winds pirate gang, are more of an Insurrectionist movement, complete with uniformed ground militias and manufacturing centers in great industry ships akin to the Factory-Ships of the Adeptus Mechanicus. These pirates tend to put on airs, not as sometime allies of the Imperium, but their inevitable conquerors, with the panache of swashbuckling action heroes and the delusions of Tau who look at Space Marine Chapters and try to recruit them to the Greater Good.
In fact, this is the only Sector in the region in which the T’au Fire Caste have a presence at all. The Tau of the Expedition, a flotilla of Tau vessels traveling across the edges of the Second Sphere territories that were sucked into a Warp Flux and thrown halfway across the Segmentum Ultima, are a rising threat in the area. Their willingness to rip apart human technology and study it horrifies the Adeptus Mechanicus, who dare not be so incautious with the few Tau trinkets they have captured. These Tau have few Auxilia of other species thanks to the age of their force, which by the estimates of the Adeptus Terra are now on their ninth generation separated from Tau Empire territory. Precisely how they are sustaining their numbers, or from where they are getting their small but apparently inexhaustible resupply shipments, is a complete mystery to baffled Ordo Xenos authorities. What is known is that they have beached two of their huge Merchantmen on a large iron-silica asteroid in the very outer edges of the Drumnos Sector to trailing. That is an inconvenience for their attackers, since that is the limit of the Astronomican’s immediate visibility in the region thanks to the interference of several Warp Storms between there and Terra.
The Tau seem interested in converting the local humans and even Orks to the Greater Good, and have had some very small successes, usually in exchange for promises of alliance with small human fleets blown off course in the void. They have had a noted lack of success compared to their counterparts in the main T’au Empire, however, presumably thanks to the disproportionately small number of Water Caste in their fleet: it is mostly Fire Warriors and Air Caste ship crewers. Lacking diplomats, they have few means of interacting with the outside worlds in any lasting way save acrimony, and they have given up on trying to turn the Imperium as a whole to their side after one too many ambushes by the Ordo Xenos. However, even the Tau, with all of their advanced technology and tactics, recognize the huge problems with piracy in the area. Pirates have far fewer compunctions against using xenotech than the Adeptus Mechanicus or Inquisition. Some have even attempted to rob the two beached Tau ships, only to fall apart at the seams after a hailstorm of missile and railer fire from the still very-much-intact Merchantmen.
Rogue Traders with a military bend, a large army of mercenaries, and fast ships could make a killing in the Drumnos Sector. There are many pirates to fight, and many, many chances to steal ships. However, the deadlier pirates of the Sector aren’t rag-tag loners with old vessels and weary crews; they are deadly and regimented fleets of dozens of vessels that fight in formation and accept no pity, surrender, or mercy. Thus, any Rogue Trader or Senatorial Privateer who wanted to expand their fleets in Drumnos would have to undertake extraordinary care and coordination in their planning, which some Rogue Traders just don’t have time or patience for. However, Battlefleet Drumnos has had some success with this, by using ships designed specifically for escorting larger vessels to fight in closely to enemy formations and herd enemy Escorts away to be boarded safely.
Many Drumnos worlds are self-contained stories of transformation. Of the dozens of inhabited systems and hundreds of inhabited worlds of Drumnos, the majority are either Paradise Worlds or industrialized Agri-worlds, which balance vast agriculture and ranching with a few compact, dense, and hugely populated Hives. These industrial Agri-worlds are able to support themselves and perhaps one other small planet solely with the output of their mines and factories and fields, and can often fuel the economies of their entire home systems. The other worlds in their systems tend to be more classical Mining, Agri-, or Hive Worlds as could be found anywhere in the Galactic North, and have as broad a variety of ecosystems, economies, and governments as the entire Naxos and Cloudburst Sectors. Some are Guild-run worlds of trade and learning, others are smog-choked slums, while others are gleaming shrines to the Emperor. One thing they have in common, at least in the main, is alliance with these industrial Agri-worlds, which are often their secondary or even primary food supply. Some of these old Agri-worlds have had soil failures or seen mines running dry, and thus have lived out their days as breadbaskets for the Sector, but the worlds are not abandoned when their have no more means of providing metals and food beyond their own sustenance. These worn-out worlds often find second lives as resort planets for the Drumnos merchant classes, and the extended families of hundreds of thousands of layabout heirs and heiresses who grow fat off the incomprehensible wealth of their relatives. These spoiled pseudo-nobles often camp out on these run-dry Agri-worlds, which have inevitable population drops after their resources run out, but are still perfectly habitable. The semi-depopulated worlds become playgrounds for the Drumnos rich, and their vast mining tunnels, abandoned farms and vineyards, and hardscrabble Hive cities serve as the new foundation for the local kingdoms of Imperial well-to-do.
Of course, these planets may struggle with earning any actual income once their primary residential bloc are idle rich playboys, but not all. Some retain ties to the very same Chartists and Guildsmen who were responsible for making the controlling families rich in the first place. Some of these worlds fall to indolence and hard stratification between the remaining original residents of the world who look out from crumbling hives at distant merchant manors with desperate hate and the frolicking socialites who live in them. Others become local hot spots for advanced Guild training, regional exploration efforts, fine manufacturing, or even wildlife preserves, where Chartist Captains collect rare beasts from other worlds and let laughing nobles hunt them from helicopters for sport.
Other planets in the Sector have more mundane origins, and several were former hub worlds for the tiny local fiefdoms of the ancient Terran Federation. As one would expect with small colonies so far from Terra and Mars, these worlds did not weather the coming of Old Night well. On these worlds, tech levels vary wildly, sometimes from planet to planet within one system.
This is another distinct point of note in the Drumnos Sector, and separates it from the other Sectors of the region: its preponderance of multi-world systems. It is actually more likely in this Sector for a system to have multiple inhabited planets than for it not to, which is especially remarkable given that fewer than half a dozen worlds in Cloudburst can say the same despite it being literally adjacent. Few of these systems are what the Adeptus Administratum calls true Pasture Gate systems, wherein there are more than two shirtsleeves-habitable worlds naturally present in a system. The majority have only two worlds, or one naturally habitable one and many terraformed ones. This includes the capital system, Sardineos, which has an astonishing eighteen planets, every single one of which is either terraformed to human standards, or orbited by a moon or two on which humans can live. These in turn enjoy vast orbital rings of space stations, the system is dotted by Void Platforms, and the Lagrange points of its moons hang heavy with defense firepoints and hydroponic shells. Despite not being a Hive system, the Sardineos system has a mind-boggling one hundred nineteen billion residents. Those Drumnos Sector systems that do contain Hive Worlds may have as many as a fifth of a trillion residents just on their Hive Worlds, and as many as three hundred billion residents total. The most heavily populated planet in the Sector is the sprawling Hive World Trebizon, with a third of a trillion residents on the planet proper, and another fifty billion on other worlds in the system, its moons, its orbitals, and a chain of connected asteroids in orbit around its distant gas supergiant.
Both the Drumnos and Naxos Sector Adeptus Sororitas have common traits that lend themselves to specialization. The Convents of the region were all founded by the same group of expatriated Ophelian Sisters, who traveled to the two Sectors after the rise to power of Sebastian Thor. Their specialty was of the Orders Hospitaller and Famulous, which goes to explain why those two Orders are disproportionately large in the overall roster of the Adeptus. The various Hive Convents of the Drumnos Sector and the more isolated Cathedral-Academies of the Naxos Sector both enjoy exceptionally high-quality gene-labs, psy-screeners, and therapeutic centers, all of which serve to screen prospective candidate girls for any latent biological or mental contaminations. However, those women who do make it through the screening process are of the finest stock, from the street urchins swept in during routine purges of the poor, to the volunteer Highborn who had no other prospects in their lives, to the offspring of martyred heroes. The Drumnos branches of the Adeptus Sororitas specifically practice careful but invasive relationships with the Officio Munitorum and Adeptus Administratum offices that oversee the military and peerage of the larger Drumnos worlds, including all of its Hive Worlds.
The commercial needs of a Sector with such a large number of human worlds are titanic, and into the void of Necessity marched the enemies of Invention: the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Sector is blessed with not one, but three Forge Worlds, with two being subordinate to the enormous hub world of Syracuse. This is the oldest Forge World in the Tri-Sector area, with a population of well over forty billion humans and four times that of Servitors. The planet is physically enormous, being three times the total volume of Terra, but has a core of irradiated ferrous metals that renders it safe for human habitation despite its slightly low gravity. Syracuse is the foil of rapidly-expanding Cognomen and Solstice, or of the fortress Fabique and its huge orbital trains. Syracuse is a gigantic data core, and although its groundside and vacuum manufacturing capabilities are nothing to take lightly, it delegates much of that work to its subordinate Forges Punic and Monégasque. Syracuse itself is more than an industrial nexus of an industrial Sector. It is the repository of knowledge of the entire Drumnos civilization. Even members of the Adeptus Mechanicus from other wealthy Forge Worlds have looked in genuine awe at the lightning-wreathed, sky-scraping towers of brass, stone, and Adamantium that ring the single, central Pinnacle Citadel that soars over a mile up into the red-stained atmosphere of Syracuse. Equally shocking is the architectural miracle of its basement. The sub-surface layer of the building contains a master data sieve that contains literally all of the Mechanicus blueprints, STC fragments, and data files that any Adepta Mechanicus or Astartes personnel in the entire Sector and many colonies beyond in the Exo-zone possess. In this endless data vault, hundreds of prospective Magi, those Techpriests who seek advancement in rank or a deeper understanding of the Machine God, pour eagerly over the millions of exabytes of 3D renders, starmaps, manifests, assembly logs, scientific surveys, experimental results, code scraps, information files, and inspiring speeches contained within. Entire cities on the surface of Syracuse devote themselves wholly to the documenting and glorifying of data, on the Machine and its works. Of course, glorification in a Sector that is given over entirely to war and trade is glorification best expressed at sword point, and indeed the Skitarii legions of Syracuse are unquestionably the best equipped, best trained, most loyal, and most terrifyingly powerful in the entirety of Imperial Space north of the Gothic Sector. The millions of gold and grey-clad Skitarii and Guard of the planet work together to drive the pirate fleets and raiders back from the immense treasures of Syracuse.
The great data-catches and data-sieve of Syracuse enjoy a unique form of leadership referred to as the Data-mechanic. These Techpriests are in charge of finding and implementing the most efficient possible means of transmitting data and energy through the enormous stacks of computers and information library cores, which is no small task in the ever-growing server farms of Syracuse. To become a Data-mechanic, a Techpriest must pass rigorous skill and security tests, but to succeed is to place oneself on the very altar of the Omnissiah, and serve directly under the Lord Curator of the huge archives. Over a third of the Lords Fabricator of Syracuse have arisen from this vaunted corps of Techpriest veterans.
Syracuse specializes in the construction of waste reprocessing equipment, the Gorgon combat transport, and Geller Field Projectors, all of which fit perfectly in the Sector’s historical style of mass agriculture, expeditionary war, and Warpflight. The Forge World also has a favored ship hull: that of the Falchion class frigate, which it often sells to enterprising and wealthy Chartist Captains and Rogue Traders who like its combination of speed and forefiring guns.
The Adeptus Mechanicus does not merely field its own armies or supply the armies of its Guard allies, of course. At the heart of Syracuse’s residential districts sits a massive fortress, incongruously looming over the rows of identical blockhouses and tenements for the menials who slave inside it. The building is a manufactorum and shrine at once, for it is the building in which new Titans are built, and the nearby military base houses the command office and dispatch hangar of the Legio Tuetur. This mid-tier Legion is an ancient one, with battle honors dating back to before the public knowledge of the Emperor’s existence, and has six Knight Houses pacted to its name. The full might of the Legion and its Knights numbers to well in excess of eight hundred bipedal combat walkers, most of them Knights of the Houses White Iron, Glorificus, and Questor Deus Machina. These Houses pledge from nearby worlds, and only the relatively small House Qilantor stages from Syracuse proper.
The pride of the Legio Tuetur, however, is not its wealthy collection of loyal Knight allies, however useful they are. The pride of the Legion is its brace of Warmonger Titans and their five supporting Warmaster Titans, which represent more firepower in total than any other force under arms in the Tri-Sector area can bring to bear under one banner. Their Fire Support Warmongers are packed with every single plasma weapon their arms and carapaces can mount, but of course their primary weapons are the racks of city-killing rockets they can fire from their backs, safely liquefying whole populations from across a vast distance, from beneath the defensive layers of ICBM shields. After all, the entire point of mounting artillery on Titans is that its missiles can be fired only a few tens of meters above ground level, below the flight floors of interception missiles.
These two Warmongers were built during the Great Crusade, when Syracuse fell in under the banner of Mars. At first, they found merit in the traitorous whispers of Kelbor-Hal, but after bearing witness to the brutal murders of entire systems at the hands of their former brethren in the World Eaters, Syracuse refused any further partnership with the Red Planet. After the Scouring, when Lord Regent Primarch Roboute Guilliman tasked the new Fabricators of Mars to begin knitting the newly minted Adeptus Mechanicus together from the remnants of the Mechanicum, Syracuse asked to become a part of the greater whole again. They were granted this permission, contingent on their dissolution of their sizeable Taghmata. Reluctantly, the Magi of Syracuse allowed their entire Taghmata to be shipped to Mars to be rebuilt into Skitarii and their attendant vehicles to be re-tasked to the Ordo Reductor, and since that acrimonious moment, Syracuse has remained perfectly loyal to the edicts of the Red Planet.
Today, the Corpus Secutarii of the Legion focus most of their efforts on the Hoplite formations of their defensive Titan Guard. They have diversified their arms as much as the Martian order of battle allows them to, and occasionally make use of tank destroyers dispatched from Syracuse to fend off any enemy vehicles that approach their charges too closely. They also work closely with the various Guard and Skitarii formations of their home system and those of their subordinate Forges in other systems to coordinate advances under covering fire, especially with the Manticore MRLSs of the Syracuse Skitarii and Imperial Guard.
Although the Magi of Cognomen do not suspect it, Syracuse Magi have had a hand in both of the unexpected communications from Mars that Cognomen has received. The Magi of Syracuse saw the increasing power of Cloudburst as something of a relief, since they were no longer responsible for essentially securing the entire Oldlight Proximate Circuit and northern Oldlight Exo-zone with the local Navy. Therefore, when Cognomen asked to be given rights to a Legion of Titans of their own, Syracuse Magi urged Mars to grant that request. However, the Magi of Syracuse are not entirely beyond the petty urges of territorialism despite their loyalty, and so they have covertly pressured Mars not to respond to Lord Fabricator Beraxos’s increasingly urgent requests to build his own Knight House. They are not aware of ABX202020 yet, and would probably be aghast if they learned of it, despite having several Questor Houses themselves, simply because Beraxos defying Mars but staying loyal is not an outcome their leaders have ever contemplated.
Previously, Syracuse was the major supplier of machinery and sole supplier of Robots to the new Forge Moon of Solstice in Cloudburst, and indeed its current Interim Fabricator is a member in good standing of the upper hierarchy of the Council of Magi of Syracuse itself, a man by the name of Sneth who was a personal friend of the Lord Fabricator Syracuse. In fact, the current Legio Cybernetica cohorts of Syracuse are the only Imperial Robot force active in the region aside from the token guards of Solstice. The Legio here is a force under the direct authority of the Archmagos Dominus Florencia, one of the highest-ranked Magi Dominus of the Sector’s Mechanicus. Their Cohorts of Battle-Automata have had some significant successes in expanding the Drumnos Sector up to the very edge of the great shadow that defines the border of the Oldlight Exo-zone. Because of their total lack of need for air and lesser need for gravity, they can safely march alongside vac-hardened Data-Lords and Skitarii on the asteroid bases of the many pirates of the Drumnos Voids and Star Shoal asteroid drifts on the rimward reaches of the Sector. This means that cohorts of the Cohort Robotica Syracuse often accompany Rogue Traders, Pirate Hunters of Marque, and even the Imperial Navy on missions to patrol or expand the borders of the region. Beyond the obvious benefits of closer ties to the other Imperial forces of the region, the Adeptus Mechanicus also benefits from the technical benefits of sending veteran Techpriests along with these people to better gauge the value of pirate booty or alien caches.
Despite the advanced technotheology and power of Syracuse, however, the planet does have some dangerous areas. It has done a better job corralling the pollution and waste of its industries than Fabique or Cognomen, but its buildings are ancient, and some have passed beyond the knowledge of its safety overseers. The Wild Data Stores are one such place. They are a catacomb of truly out-of-control data siphons and stacks in the oldest parts of Syracuse, where brave Techpriests with retinues of laypersons and explorers delve, in search of lost data. Some vanish into the data stores, only to be found dead by the next team to pass through. For the courageous or the fortunate, however, there is much to be found. Data has been lost in those stores that has passed out of the hands of all other members of the Priesthood, including Mars. The rewards for bringing home lost knowledge can be great indeed. They include lists of expeditions into the region when the Imperial presence here was young, the results of the mapping programs performed by the residents of the world before the Emperor added it back to the Imperium, and even blueprints for household goods and starship components that no other Forge World possesses. This has led some archaeo-historitors to conclude that Syracuse may have actually been built to serve as a repository of sorts for Mars’s data in case Mars did not survive the attention of the psyker warlords that were busily carving up the rest of the Subsector Solar after the collapse of the Terran Federation. The planet was, after all, issued colossal amounts of advanced data storage cells on its colony ship, but only one STC that didn’t even survive the Age of Strife, much less the Great Crusade.
Syracuse’s wealth comes from more than manufacturing and helping the local Navy, however. The planet was once absurdly rich in crustal minerals. Talc, cobalt, lithium, gold, uranium, and rich veins of platinum once filled the soils and stones of the planet. Although their mineral wealth is long since mined dry, the extra money provided by these resources allowed the first few generations of post-contact Syracuse leadership to purchase all manner of goods and data from local Imperial colonies and passing Expeditionary fleets. The planet dutifully filed this data away, and so when it was spared the chaos of the Horus Heresy and subsequent Scouring, the planet was well-positioned to aid the other members of the newly renamed Adeptus Mechanicus nearby. Both of the other regional Forge Worlds in the area had been crippled by civil war, and the damage of their reconquest by the Adeptus Astartes. This meant that Syracuse was in prime locale to take advantage of the glorious reconstruction that followed the end of the Scouring. Its two subsidiary Forge Worlds have prospered under its guidance, and its own vast forges have been able to supply nearly every expedition to explore nearby regions of Imperial space to coreward for eleven thousand years. Every Guild, every Chartist Free Captain, every Rogue Trader that operates to coreward for dozens of light years buys all of their goods from Syracuse, except perhaps clothing, which most prefer to get from Cognomen and Thimble to rimward. These ties of commerce and convenience have ensured that Syracuse often gets first glimpse at the alien treasures and starmaps of their partners, and they eagerly add the findings to their data sieve.
Because the Naxos and Drumnos Sectors are so well-mapped, Rogue Traders in this area tend to be of a more military and less exploratory bend than those of the Cloudburst region. They often lend their forces to the Adeptus Terra for money, and coordinate the hiring of mercenaries for Crusades and colony ventures. Others employ their flotillas as Senatorial Privateers, hiring their ships to the Senate Imperialis to protect vessels dispatched by the Imperial and Segmentum governments. Of course, some Rogue Traders just like to stage from worlds near their own homes, and travel to the Cloudburst Circuit or Oldlight Exo-zone to do their work. These tend to spend the extra money to hire the very best Navigators to be found, allowing them to traverse the star lanes as fast as possible, shaving travel time off of their trips.
The Adeptus Administratum of Drumnos is massive, as it needs to be to oversee the borders of Imperial space and trillions of people. The sheer number of worlds on which humanity dwells in the sprawling Sector means that the Sector and even Subsector Overlords simply can’t focus much of their attention on their homeworlds. However, unlike Cloudburst Sector Administrators, who got around this by hiring Planetary Governors to serve under them, the Drumnos Adeptus Terra (most of the time) simply appointed local Imperial Commanders from the ranks of the noble and Adept families that already exist, and assigned these hundreds of Commanders to individual inhabited regions, with a remit to keep the taxes flowing, report all pirate and alien sightings promptly, and not skim too much off the top.
Some Imperial Commanders (including Fortress World Governors Militant) selectively ignore this last order. Their families may have arisen to noteworthiness on the backs of trade or agriculture or shipping, and thus been reluctant to give it all up to somebody else to serve the Emperor. Some families serve Terra willingly, others grudgingly, and some serve themselves first and the Emperor second. It is not uncommon for these regional Commanders to operate their family businesses while holding office, sometimes without even paltry attempts to hide it, and collect the vast wealth of their industries while also ruling the planets on which those industries were built. The blatant conflicts of interest irk some Adeptus Arbites, who see it as an obvious sign of corruption, but there is little Arbitrators or Marshals can do against their own leaders without signs of the Commanders’ corruption hurting Terra’s Tithes. Of course, greed and power breed complacency, and the Adeptus Terra isn’t totally blind to the flaws of their local solution. Thus, there have been times when tides of woe have descended on indolent Imperial Commanders hereabouts, on the wings of dark warships and on the faces of grim Stormtroopers, come to take a family to heel for their thefts.
Imperial commoners welcome these rare but brutal purges, for two reasons. First, it is a sign that the Emperor cares, or so they conclude, since He has sent His warriors to break the reign of the tyrants who take as they please in His name. The second is it that is common practice for the Administratum to ship the embezzled goods and money to Terra or Kar Duniash Fortress, to help cover tithe costs, thus drastically lightening or even removing the tithe cost for several worlds in the Sector at a time. This, in turn, provides an instant boon to the economies of those Drumnos worlds whose tithe quotas are covered by these huge payments, since they need no longer send a percentage of their product off to pass from sight forever. Of course, in time, tithe payments resume, and the pattern continues.
The Master of the Administratum for the Drumnos Sector is Doctor the Overlord Carl Haebling Jr, a scion of the House Haebling of military nobles. He makes his home in the Sector Fortress on Sardineos 3.
Other Imperial institutions and Adepta of the Drumnos Sector include their large and well-supplied flotilla of Adeptus Astra Telepathica Black Ships, which scour the huge population of Drumnos for prospective psykers. The region suffers from the same proportionately low psyker birthrate problem as Cloudburst, but not to the same extent; this plus its far larger size means that its psyker tithe is over twenty times that of the entire Cloudburst Sector and Circuit combined. It is also closer to Terra, which makes the harvest faster, and it has no Space Marine Chapter to skim Librarian candidates from the pool.
The Inquisition of Drumnos headquarters from a large complex of office buildings and dungeons on an island on the moon named August, which orbits an Agri-world in the Sardineos system. The Inquisition here has the Ordo Hereticus as its largest branch, just as in Naxos, and spends much of its time scouring the various grotesquely wealthy Highborn and merchant clans for any sign of the mutant, the secessionist, the heretic, or the witch. The resources of some of these families are so great that they can actually defy the Inquisition in private and live to tell of it, although there are few stupid enough to try it. The Ordo Xenos here has many options if they need a force under arms given the raw number of Imperial Navy and Guard forces in the Sector, but they lack a significant Deathwatch presence locally. There are no Watch Fortresses nearby, and given how far the Watch Fortress Dascomb is from Sardineos, any dispatch order generally comes from that Fortress itself, sending Kill-brothers to pre-emptively aid the Drumnos Inquisition against threats it learned of on its own.
The Adeptus Ministorum here is very much a shadow of the one on Terra itself, with its sprawling cathedrals and huge civil management duties. The Ecclesiarchy of Drumnos lends aid in eugenic screening to nobles here through its aides in the Adeptus Sororitas, but it also oversees the spiritual wellbeing of worlds in states of decay. After all, the ‘suck it dry’ model of mining and agriculture in Drumnos leaves few options for safe expression and survival on those worlds that are not privileged enough to become the playgrounds of bored nobles or cheerless Guilds. The civil upheavals and civil wars that occasionally wrack Drumnos worlds when whole shipments of goods and passengers simply disappear into the pirate-infested voids are sometimes lessened or even halted by the careful application of soothing words from the Priests and Confessors of the Ministorum, or shows of force from the small Convents of Battle Sisters on the Sector’s few Hive Worlds.
The Sector Ministorum is not as self-imposedly poor as the one in Naxos, however, and often aids local Rogue Traders. These Ministorum personnel design and even help build modular Cathedral Blocks, which are nothing less than entire prefabricated temples that Rogue Traders can affix to their hulls and drop whole on worlds they wish to convert to Emperor-worship. Obviously, this is somewhat expensive, but these buildings are the ideal headquarters for new forces of Missionaries in the Exo-zone or the distant Circuit.
The Convents of the Drumnos Sector tend to be built right in to the structures of the buildings on its Hive Worlds, and there are strong trends towards medical study, although not as much as in Naxos. The Sororitas here maintain great towers in their convents, packed with genetic screening gear and tutoring rooms. Here, members of the Dialogous Sisterhood, the Hospitallers, and of course the Famulous are educated in all the various means of communicating with the Imperial hierarchies. Special emphasis rests on the Famulous Sisters being able to keep up with any private geno-clinician or even lesser Biologis Techpriest or Genetor, so that they can screen the Highborn families that consent (or not) to gene-screens for the best marriage matches. The Hospitallers are no slouches, either, with the very best of their students equaling the justly famous Rampart Battlefield Surgeons for medical skill, diagnostic speed, and self-defense capability. Given the fact that nearly all potentially habitable bodies in the Sector have been thoroughly charted and colonized, the Ordo Dialogous Sisterhood spends much of their time outside tutelage for their Sisters assisting the Inquisition. The Battle Sisters of the Sector spend much of their time deployed internally, corralling Heresies and burning corruption clean in the vast Hives, but the Dialogous Sisters find themselves in constant demand from Ordo Hereticus and Xenos Inquisitors who wish to canvas abandoned and wildcat human colonies in the Oldlight Exo-zone for signs of wrong thoughts or alien enslavement. Others work with Rogue Traders to locate caches of treasure on ancient human maps, spread the word of Him on Earth to the primitives of the Exo-zone or Circuit in their own tongues, or translate High Gothic texts from Terran governmental and Ecclesiarchal edicts to the common languages of Drumnos.
The fact that the Cloudburst Sector is doing such a bang-up job expanding the grip of the Emperor into the northern wastelands and wildernesses of the region is a huge relief for the Drumnos Officio Munitorum, who previously had to patrol an area over twice the size of the Sector for threats that didn’t need the Astronomican to fly faster than light. Now that the Cloudburst Sector is active and well-protected (for such a backwater, anyway), the forces of Drumnos are turning their sights inwards. They have already driven many pirate gangs into the dark spaces on the map before – or Cloudburst if the former proved untenable – and seek to do so again, so that the commerce of the Sector can flow even richer. Naturally, this requires many men, and the ship-building and anchorage systems of Drumnos often have complex drafts and levees in place to recruit the manpower needed for these expansion and crewing projects. The Imperial Guard of the Sector is an eclectic mix of regimental types, from the cave-dwelling brutes of Maskur 1 to the high-tech cybersteed dragoons of Klein’s World to the elite Scion Tempestus Shock Troopers of the Sardineos Saber-Teeth. There is a notable absence of Adeptus Astartes in the region, as the Drumnos Sector lacks both a Deathwatch Watch Fortress and a local Chapter of Adeptus Astartes. There are a few Deathwatch Marines stationed in an Officio Munitorum facility in the capital system, but it is merely a Watch Station, not a true Watch Fortress. It is codenamed Watch Station Riverbed.
The Adeptus Arbites in the Sector are nowhere near as involved in the anti-piracy functions of the region as they would like. The Imperial Navy hogs the glory and the job, they mutter, and they may have a point. Well-armed the Navy may be, but they are not a law enforcement body, and the Arbites are supposed to have a place in the apprehending and punishment of those who steal military goods or other government property from the Imperium and its worlds. The Arbites are not idle, however, and their customized patrol ships often trail pirate fleets silently through the void, then spring into action when the pirates enter a Warp-jump formation, picking off a few ships as the rest escape into the Warp. However, sometimes these pirates fight back, or even attempt a counter-boarding of the Arbites Enforcement-class law cruisers. When this happens, the Arbites strap on their Syracuse-built Lockshields, heft their master-crafted riot guns, load their corridor-clearing Webbers, and get to the business of cracking heads.