The Atalantos Worlds

From 1d4chan

This page details people, events, and organisations from the /tg/ Heresy, a fan re-working of the Warhammer 40,000 Universe. See the /tg/ Heresy Timeline and Galaxy pages for more information on the Alternate Universe.

History of Atalantos[edit]

Basilikon Atalantos
Basilikon Atalantos.jpg
Type

Fortress-Monastery

Population

10,000,000

Planetary Governor

Chapter Master

System

Atalantos

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Primaris

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Near the Galactic Core, life is harsh and brutal. Intense radiation coming from the tightly clustered stars and the monstrous black hole at the Galaxy's heart sterilize all life from worlds that draw too close. It is an all too common lament for many stillborn races that the vagaries of gravity draw their system's orbit into this tempest, burning them from existence in the uncaring glare. However, the Galactic Core is also one of the most vibrant places in a Galaxy that elsewhere is cold, dark, and all too dead, filled with a plethora of rare resources and ancient ruins that outlived their luckless owners. Many a planet in this region holds ancient troves of knowledge and relics, left behind after their masters demise.

It was these legends that drew Arelex Orannis and the War Scribes inward towards the roiling cauldrons of fire, flush with the successes of the early Great Crusade years and eager to bring back treasure and impress the Emperor. The quest to secure these planets was an arduous one, a slow slog of claiming dead worlds, armoring them against the Core's radiation, and then examining them in minute detail for anything useful. Slowly but steadily, the War Scribes pushed the Imperium's boundaries inward, facing off against hideous beings of pure energy, twisted monsters wielding gravity as a weapon, hellish mutants thriving in the wash of radiation, and other things too terrible to mention.

Though progress was slow and the number of habitable worlds claimed was small, the Emperor looked upon these unnatural, eerily powerful beasts with contempt and hatred, proclaiming that it was right and proper that the War Scribes dedicate themselves to their eradication no matter the cost or time required. Additionally, the War Scribes had uncovered many fragmented relics from humanity's past and the STC fragments had proven very useful for upgrading the armies of the Legiones Astartes as a whole.

These planets became centers of Imperial might, flush with resources and greedily exploited by humanity. Life on the surface was extremely difficult, though not impossible, and most of the habitats and industries were deep underground to protect the people from radiation. Each of the War Scribes' planets could match the industrial output of much larger Imperial worlds, and they became one of the primary producers of supplies for Imperial operations in the Ultima Segmentum, greatly shortening the supply chains that otherwise would have to run all the way from Terra or Mars.

Culture of the Atalantos Worlds[edit]

Once, Atalantos was a name to inspire wonder and joy among the Imperium, a shining beacon of what was possible for humanity and what might someday become standard for the entire Imperium. Such was Arelex's dream. In the modern era however, Atalantos is a shadowed realm whose struggles closely mirror the greater Imperium. Attrition has taken its toll here despite the population's best efforts, and the Imperium's enemies draw ever closer.

The glories of Atalantos still exist, but without the Primarch's guidance they have become nearly unsustainable. The ancient forges churn powerfully as they did 10,000 years ago and the finished goods remain marvels of technology, but more inefficient manufacturing techniques and the slow decay of time demand ever larger supplies of raw materials to compensate. It is not uncommon for an archaeotech foundry to require two, three or even ten times the material and energy to create the same item as it did in the 30th millennium.

Most of the Atalantos Worlds are merely enormous mining colonies, fed by an inexhaustible stream of expendable, barely sentient manpower from the seven Remnant Worlds and their associated Hive Cities. These people were mindless savages when the War Scribes discovered them, but through brutal genetic and bionic modification they were raised to the level at which they could use tools. Though useless for warfare, they are almost immune to radiation damage, the heritage of their survival near the Core, and they make ideal slave labor within the endlessly hungry mines. Though life in the mines is brutal, Atalantos at least makes it no harder than necessary. The Sector Administrators care nothing for the workers, but they do not impose punishments without cause for that would reduce efficiency.

As a whole, the Atalantos Worlds are a meritocracy enforced by the Scribes. Service above and beyond the call of Imperial duty is generally rewarded (so far as time and resources allow) and those skills are adapted for use elsewhere. Particularly exceptional citizens are often called to train the masses in mighty public forums. Few Imperial regions bother to educate even a small fraction of the teeming masses, but in this corner of space it was Arelex's will that this be made so. To the Primarch, a societal class of educated serfs was deemed vital in order to give the people just enough hope for their future to minimize the desire for rebellion. Of course, it goes without saying that poor service is rewarded in typical Imperial style. If a citizen fails to meet Atalantos standards, they are sent to the mines or executed outright so that their food rations can be given to more useful citizens.

The people are tracked and watched at all times, constantly gaining and losing "credits" based on service. Earn enough, and one can advance up the social ladder. In theory, a truly gifted person could rise from the lowliest gutter scum to become a Planetary Governor. As the Scribes are quick to point out, this has actually happened more than once, something unheard of in the greater Imperium without resorting to open rebellion. There is a tradeoff for such methods, of course. Social unrest is reduced significantly by permitting limited social mobility, but in turn the Imperium gives up some of the iron-fisted control upon which it depends.

The War Scribes have added a second layer of insurance atop their social engineering to protect stability, more important than any other. A sense of family. Much as their Legion considers itself one of the tightest-knit, where each Marine only feels truly at home amongst those who share his blood heritage, so too do the Atalantos Worlds consider themselves part of a singular unit somewhat separate from the greater Imperium. The principle element forging this mindset was colonization. More than eighty percent of the Atalantos Worlds were uninhabited before Arelex put Imperial boots on their soil. As such, there were few pre-existing cultures and social units to subjugate and eradicate, no genocides or re-education purges to undertake. Virtually every Atlalantan is descended from colonists or explorers who rallied together against the unforgiving environment they found themselves plunged into, whether they wished it or not.

Imperial Regiments from the Atalantos Worlds are commonly blended with one another after taking heavy losses or if the parent worlds are too few in population to muster an entire regiment on their own. Few worlds boast of "their" regiments for very long. Interplanetary travel is also highly encouraged and subsidized by the Narhadul Shipyard which produces almost half of the Atalantos Worlds' civilian commercial vessels on its own. By keeping the populace mobile, the Atalantos Worlds can drain manpower from overfilled Hive Cities and move them to frontier planets or mining colonies, bleeding away that critical tipping point of humanity which so often leads to terrible food riots. And of course the dockmasters of Narhadul make an absolute fortune selling their ships. For their part, the War Scribes police the spacelanes with relentless fury to fend off pirates and xenos, permitting trade and transport to proceed unhindered. Perhaps the best description of the Atalantos Worlds is therefore a "stable ecosystem" of worlds, one body of people with mostly common heritages sloshing back and forth across the spacelanes.

Isolation breeds divergence, and the Scribes are quick to crush divergence wherever it begins to rear its ugly head. They are no less intolerant than other Chapters, but perhaps they are more devious. The Atalantos Worlds are clamped firmly in ceramite gauntlets, yet the people believe themselves above the common dregs of the Imperium for they think themselves free. Such was the wisdom of Arelex, who knew that nothing pacifies the masses faster than giving them someone else to look down upon. But the War Scribes may have uncharacteristically failed to look at the broader picture. Like a blind spot in their ceaseless vigilance, they do not seem to realize that the entire Atalantos region itself grows more isolated by the passage of years. Imperial vessels travel to the Core less and less. Trade dwindles and allied Battlefleets communicate ever more infrequently. The High Lords' gaze moves to the Galactic North and East, fixating on the Eye of Terror and the incoming Tyranid onslaught. Little thought is spared for the relatively quiet Atalantos Worlds.

Indeed, Arelex and his Legion's unparalleled success in bringing stability to a chaotic Galaxy may someday destroy them, should a threat beyond their power to control suddenly emerge...

Hazards of the Atalantos Worlds[edit]

Necrons[edit]

Aside from the dangers posed by mundane threats like radiation, wandering singularities, rogue planets and supernovae, the Atalantos worlds are often beset by enemies of a more calculating nature. Though the low human population near the Galactic Core offers little food for the Ruinous Powers to feed upon, a significant number of Tomb Worlds have been located in the vicinity during the course of surveying expeditions.

Some of these Tomb Worlds are still inactive, but as the milennia have progressed, the Necron threat has grown significantly. Much of the War Scribes' time is spent containing and repelling these reawakening xenos, attempting to shield the rest of the Imperium from their predation. It is fortunate that the Necron Dynasties seem to despise each other as much as the Imperium, and their infighting has kept the immediate risk lower.

Several Tomb Worlds have been destroyed by the War Scribes, but each time it has come at the cost of a brutally devastating war, a long recovery time, and the depletion of what few Dark Age weaponry the Chapter still possesses. The War Scribes have become more frantic in their quest for relic weaponry lately, spurred on by the fear of being caught unprepared by a major Necron invasion.

Known Active Necron Dynasties[edit]

  • Ulkhesh Dynasty (Known for excessive proportion of Deathmarks. Escaped notice by larger Dynasties by basing much of their forces in alternate dimensions)
  • Zelrakh-Khemta Dynasty (Unusual Dynasty with co-ruling Phaerons. Believed by Imperial Scribes to be a merged Dynasty by the Necron equivalent of marriage.)
  • Il'Kholas Dynasty (Known for being largely fleet-based. Since activation of Tomb World, majority of forces have warred with other Dynasties for control of spacelanes and resources. Tomb World largely abandoned.)

The Codex Atalantos[edit]

Atalantos[edit]

Atalantos
Atalantos.jpg
Type

Agri-World/Space Marine Chapter Homeworld

Orbital radius

1.08AU ± .2AU

Gravity

1.05G

Temperature

Temperate

Population

5,000,000

Planetary Governor

An Veles Rezuhon

System

Atalantos System

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Primaris

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Atalantos is the jewel of the conglomerate of worlds that shares its name. More distant from the Core than most of the Atalantos Worlds, its surface is actually habitable for unshielded humans, protected by an unusually strong magnetic field. It is a young world, hot and tectonically active, and its biosphere is energetically fecund. Atalantos has few accessible resources, unusual for a Core World, and instead of producing mineral wealth, Atalantos feeds a dozen mining worlds as one of the most productive breadbaskets in the Imperium. Almost every scrap of land is dedicated to cropland, and the oceans have been channeled and mastered by the Scribes in order to ensure proper irrigation at all times. The light of the stars is bright enough that the night sky is never darker than a deep blue color, and plants grow at all latitudes year round.

The capitol city, known as the Basilikon Atalantos, is a fortress formerly constructed by Dark Age Man for purposes unknown. Though the people that lived within did not survive, the nearly indestructible buildings did, and it was these relics that first attracted Arelex's attention. Much knowledge was recovered from the deep catacombs, and Arelex was able to deliver these treasures to the Emperor personally.

It is here that the War Scribes test their recruits for physical and mental strength. The colossal Basilikon has endless rooms for exercising the body and the mind, and the Scribes have filled the building with everything they need to support the Chapter and its successors. Below the Basilikon are some of their mist advanced manufactorums, assembling the most powerful weapons of war available.

Other Agricultural Worlds[edit]

  • Kelemvor III
  • Belerog IX
  • Broken Stone
  • Dantolis

Yojan VII, Primary Mining World[edit]

Yojan VII
Yojan VII.jpg
Type

Mining World

Orbital radius

436AU ± 8.3AU

Gravity

1.24G

Temperature

Temperate/Irradiated

Population

10,000,000 (Miners) 20,000 (Rogue Traders/Others)

System

Yojan System

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Yojan

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Yojan VII and its massive moon Yojan Beta orbit a brilliant blue giant star of roughly 30 solar masses, only barely avoiding incineration by virtue of their distended orbit, more than ten times as distant from the parent star as Pluto is from Sol. It takes slightly more than 2,000 years for Yojan VII to circle its star, so no man ever celebrates his first Yojan birthday. Indeed, the Imperium itself is only five Yojan years old!

Though Yojan VII has less than four million years before its star dies, that is more than long enough for the Imperium's needs. No life exists on Yojan VII, though the planet does possess liquid water and a full water cycle. It is harsh and rugged, barely finished cooling its oceans and solidifying its crust. In the mines dozens of kilometers below the surface, it is said that one cannot fire a mining laser for more than 30 seconds without striking some valuable node of ore or priceless jewel, and the endless conveyor belts and smelters are full to bursting with wealth. No world in the Atalantos Cluster produces such value for the Imperium.

Yojan Beta has few of the mineral resources its parent carries in such abundance, much like Luna compared to Holy Terra. To conserve resources and save on travel time, the gigantic moon's crust has been all but hollowed out and replaced with city-sized smelters and ore purifiers of every type. Yojan Beta is larger than Mars, but even its titanic machinery can barely keep pace with the parent world's output.

Life in the mines is brutally hard for the indentured servants, but a large number of independent mining companies and even a few Rogue Trader dynasties have also made treaties with the Scribes to exploit Yojan VII's immense wealth. These individuals tend to be able to afford better equipment for their skilled laborers. Both groups, indentured and salaried alike, are required to provide the Scribes with recruits, and those Scribes that come from Yojan VII are tough, rugged individuals even by the standards of Space Marines, well used to backbreaking labor and other tests of endurance.

Other Mining Worlds[edit]

As time marches on, the Atalantos Worlds have become more and more dependent on increasing supplies of raw materials to maintain their ancient relics. To meet the demands, even the most barren, blasted planetoids are being examined for mineral wealth, and the War Scribes are claiming them at a breakneck pace.

Most Mining Worlds in the Atalantos Worlds are sparsely populated, largely given over to armies of tunneling machinery and transient populations of indentured servants, slaves, and criminals.

  • To-Lek Prime
  • Arphalos III
  • Delta Ophan II
  • Mologe Valonis
  • Fleshboiler (Penal Colony)
  • Tenalor II
  • Porit-Xen Alpha
  • Tikon Eklem
  • Firefall
  • Blackstone
  • Korvis X
  • The Bad Lands
  • Golden Cave
  • Boteh'nel VI
  • Ophachix I, II, III
  • Teleos V
  • Aklan Maklen
  • Uriel Prime

The Remnant, Primary Hive System[edit]

Bastion Orannis
Emperors Eye.jpg
Type

Fortress World/Galactic Core Observatory

Orbital radius

1.5AU ± 0.23AU

Gravity

1.11G

Temperature

Temperate

Population

14,000,000,000

System

Remnos System

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Remnos

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


The Remnant is a strange collection of seven planets, orbiting farther above the galactic plane than the other Atalantos Worlds. From this elevated vantage point the spiral of the Galaxy is readily visible, as well as a good angle on the Galactic Core above the clouds of interstellar dust. The Remnant worlds are ancient beyond the knowledge of the Imperium to discern, dating back to the Dark Age of humanity. Cut off from the rest of civilization for millennia, the human inhabitants devolved into complete savagery and barbarism, crawling through the colossal relics of their ancestors with no more comprehension of their potential than a grox has of the inner workings of a Plasma Drive. Indeed, when the Scribes first set foot in this system the humans they encountered had little more brainpower than the average Snotling.

When the Scribes came upon these planets they immediately set to work reclaiming them for the Imperium. After 150 years of brutal culling, genetic manipulation, bionic enhancement and relentless training, the people of the Remnant worlds regained just enough of their original humanity to be worth more than conversion to Servitors. While not truly "human" they are more than animals, too dull to think of rebellion yet smart enough to follow commands and operate crude tools. The Scribes lament that the regression of the Remnant Worlds' former inhabitants destroyed almost all relics of value, but nevertheless appreciate the bounty of seven closely linked hive worlds from which to draw an endless stream of indentured labor for the Atalantos mining worlds.

At the Emperor's request the Scribes also constructed a mighty observatory orbiting above the largest Remnant world, using its powerful optics to look deep into the galaxy and help guide the Great Crusade by spotting threats in its path through the Ultima Segmentum. Now that the Crusade has passed into myth and legend, these telescopes are used to examine the Galactic Core, seeking new worlds within its furious heat into space where the Imperium may harvest them.

Remnant Worlds[edit]

  • Thanden (Capitol world and later, primary Cardinal World of the Atalantos Cluster)
  • Keilos (Hive World)
  • Volgaz (Agri-world)
  • Beneumos (Manufacturing world)
  • Xivo (Hive World)
  • Cerelex Loja (Hive World)
  • Bastion Orannis (Fortress World, Observatory location)

Other Notable Worlds of the Atalantos Sector[edit]

Narhadul, Legion Naval Yard and Resupply Center[edit]

Narhadul
Narhadul.jpg
Type

Shipyard/Manufactorum

Orbital radius

1.2AU ± .025 AU

Gravity

1.09G

Temperature

35 C

Population

8,000,000,000 (Surface) 10,000,000 (Orbital)

Planetary Governor

Dock Lord (Title)

System

Narhadul System

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Narhadul

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Narhadul, azure jewel of the Atalantos Worlds. Narhadul, the Ringed World. Narhadul, supply world for the greatest naval fleet of any Legion. Primarch Arelex labored long and hard to forge the enormous naval base above Narhadul's atmosphere, and as the War Scribes' fleet expanded, so did the dockyards. By the time of the Heresy they had grown to encompass the planet entirely, forming an enormous broad ring of industrial might, capable of servicing any number of vessels.

For a time, the entire Imperial fleet for the Ultima Segmentum based out of Narhadul for resupply and repair, though as the Crusade pressed onward to the Galactic Fringes other hubs of industry would take up some of the load. The world is of immense importance to the War Scribes and to the Ultima Segmentum, and so it drew the eye of Hektor himself who had visited it on more than one occasion to see what his brother had created. Commanding the Sons of Fire and the Eternal Zealots to do whatever was necessary to remove the industrial power of Narhadul, Hektor Cincinnatus sealed the world's fate, though it would be Arelex himself who struck the most painful blows.

The two Traitor Legions descended on the world in force, choosing it as one of the first targets for the Burning Crusade. The vast naval yards were shot through and burned, though Primarch Aubrey well knew the ring itself was simply too massive to destroy outright. The true prize lay below. On Narhadul itself were endless ranks of manufactorums, producing Warp Drives, power plants, naval weaponry, armor, ammunition and ten thousand other essential ingredients for a functional naval fleet. All were put to the torch, defenseless in the War Scribes' weakened state.

Knowing that the planet could not be saved, Arelex ordered the few ships surviving in orbit to deploy their payloads of Phosphex torpedoes, condemning the planet to fiery contamination for a thousand years.



  • Narhadul: 009 M31, the Dawn of the Burning Crusade.

Aubrey watched as the first of the orbital strikes hit to the north. There was a blinding flash, and rising green flame mushroomed into the air beyond the horizon, heaving thousands of feet into the air. Others were coming down overhead, closer than the first. Aubrey sheathed his twin blades as he mused over this development. For the enemy to unleash world-killers was a stunning development. It was not a strategic possibility that he had even considered the War Scribes Legion undertaking. He had thought they would rather bleed and die to defend the enclave they had carved out for themselves then give in to despair, allowing him to give their souls to the Dark Gods and further the great path.

'This world is going to die, along with countless thousands of two Legions, yet you seem impressed my Lord,' said Master of Signals Cadauzes. His voice betrayed a note of unease. He did not know how they would get offworld now.

'I am,' said Aubrey, already reaching out for the power the Gods had granted him. 'I didn't think they had it in them.'

There was no way anyone would believe that Arelex would ever sanction the use of phosphex on such a scale, particularly against one of his own worlds. The blame would surely fall on him and Inferox for this. It matched Inferox’s MO, after all.

He had ordered the evacuation, but there was little chance that more than a fraction of the two legions deployed would make it off-world before the bombs struck. Now, the vox was awash with static.

Aubrey chanted the words he had learned in the heart of the void, and felt the power he had been bestowed come to him. His body became surrounded by a nimbus of corpse-light.

‘Is there any news of Inferox?’ he asked Cadauzes.

‘Nothing my Lord.’

‘Get to the ships. We’re far enough away that there’s still some time before the Phosphex reaches us.’

‘And you my lord?’

‘I go to find my brother.’


After the Heresy, the War Scribes suffered immense hardship trying to rebuild Narhadul, successfully bringing the dockyards back online after a century of labor.

The Phosphex bombs were eventually undone, though it took enormous effort to devise methods by which Phosphex fires could be slowly contained and extinguished. More than five hundred years would pass before the first manufactorum again rose upon Narhadul's surface. The battered world would never again regain its full glory, but Narhadul is still more than capable of servicing the War Scribes and many other Chapters and it is honored in their annals indeed.

Of all the Chapter Serfs none is more honored than the Dock Lord of Narhadul, charged with overseeing every aspect of Narhadul's operation from the lowest laborer to the mightiest war vessel. Though the War Scribes maintain a Marine presence in the system, day-to-day administration is performed by lesser men.

Volhak Seinal, the Power Core[edit]

Volhak Seinal
Power Core.jpg
Type

Research World/Power Generator

Orbital radius

.5AU ± 1.6AU

Gravity

.32G

Temperature

1200 C

Population

8,000 (Power technicians) 1,000 (Various researchers)

System

Seinal System

Sector

Volhak

Sub Sector

Volhak

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Volhak Seinal is a world forged in death and fire. A remnant of an ancient supernova explosion, the planet collected itself from leftover debris after the death of its parent star. The War Scribes took advantage of the pulsar's raging torrent of energy and set up facilities to tap that endless flow of power.

The planet, though small, is coated in row upon row of power collectors, and an endless stream of vessels plies the transport route to and from Volhak, collecting full capacitors and deploying new empty ones to be filled. The sheer quantity of electromagnetic interference is ruinous to machine spirits, so it is brute manpower that controls these vessels. Few crews survive more than a handful of trips into and out of the system, as no shielding is sufficient to protect the living tissue inside, and this duty is the final punishment in the Atalantos Worlds' codes of law and justice. Only the most heinous criminals are sentenced to this transport run, and their deaths are not lamented.

The Power Core provides much of the energy that fuels the technology of the other Atalantos Worlds, powering the mining equipment and the more power-hungry Dark Age relics, as well as fuel cells for the War Scribes' vehicles.

Strangely, the Volhak Seinal system is one of the few Atalantos Worlds to have never known the touch of Necrons. Something about the pulsar's radiation seems to disrupt their reanimation protocols, and they dare not approach. Were the system not so hostile to human life, it would be a valuable safe haven.

Gomelis and Wolasqu, the Frenzied Worlds[edit]

Gomelis and Wolasqu
Twin worlds.jpg
Type

Death/Civilized Worlds

Orbital radius

1.09 AU ± .03AU

Gravity

.96G

Temperature

Warm Temperate

Population

900,000,000 (Gomelis) 1,500,000,000 (Wolasqu)

System

Talek System

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Talek

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


These two planets appear very friendly and welcoming to human life from orbit, drifting around their parent star at a nearly ideal distance for habitation, and bursting with all manner of flora and fauna. Indeed, perhaps in some long-lost era of humanity, this system was engineered for use by humanity, but any evidence beyond vague genetic links has clouded the truth of this matter forever.

What is known is that Gomelis and Wolasqu are perhaps the richest worlds for 1000 light-years for biomass and species diversity. Some of them bear a passing resemblance to Terran life, causing hypotheses of a common origin, but just as many match no known species. Essentially all of them are deadly to human life though, and they violently slaughtered the original colonists seeking to carve out what they hoped would be a new pair of Agri-Worlds in the vein of Atalantos.

Instead of a garden of Eden they got a vicious pair of hells much like Catachan, but unlike Catachan, no native human population existed to make it worth their while to use as a recruiting world. Instead, the War Scribes blasted holes in the endless jungle from orbit, and the colonists put down armored fortresses and prefab buildings in the craters before the forests could reclaim them. For the past ten thousand years, the War Scribes and the colonists have waged savage war against the irrepressible biospheres, buying land a mile at a time with the blood of millions.

With the passage of time, several Hive cities sprang up on each Death World, armored and sealed against the probing tendrils of the biosphere. It is a tenuous balance, and on more than one occasion the War Scribes' fleet was required to clean the outer surfaces of the armored walls with orbital fire.

The Frenzied Worlds do produce valuable agricultural products, but most of their output goes to feeding the colonists rather than the rest of the Atalantos Worlds. Less than half of either world is remotely safe for human habitation, but the War Scribes have embarked upon this quest, and they will not stop until the Frenzied Worlds are tamed.

The battle for these two planets has entered a new, more intense phase of its existence because of the increased Necron predation of recent centuries. The War Scribes predict that without these two worlds and their potential output, the Atalantos Worlds will be unable to feed the manpower necessary to repel the xenos. Tithes have been increased Sector-wide, and a full quarter of the War Scribes' fleet has been dispatched, along with the entire 5th Company, to bring the planets to heel.

If they must, they will incinerate the entire biosphere and re-seed the world in the fertile ashes. The Atalantos Worlds can accept nothing less than success.

Greyland, the Ancient World[edit]

Greyland
Greyland.jpg
Type

Refuge World

Orbital radius

3AU ± 0.001AU

Gravity

.87G

Temperature

30 C

Population

100 archaeologists, occasionally a couple War Scribes Marines

Planetary Governor

None

System

Meleau System

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Meleau

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Greyland, orbiting the pale white star known as Meleau, is a strange world drifting in a lonely orbit around a lonely star. Two minute moons circle Greyland, along with a large, slender ring system of tumbling debris.

Greyland is the oldest known planet in the Galactic Core, an anomaly in a region of such tumult. Usually, planets in the Core are very young, just born alongside their parent stars, or reassembled after some cataclysmic explosion or impact. Not Greyland. This world is nearly as old as the Universe itself, at least ten billion years of age, if not more, and the Imperium cannot explain how it came to be here. Indeed, the planet is older than the star it orbits!

Imperial scholars suspect that Greyland was somehow moved into our Galaxy for reasons unknown, and this theory is supported by the ring system, which contains uncountable forcefield generators and null-stasis devices, all conspiring to keep the space around Greyland inviolate from all forms of stellar hazards. What is truly odd is that no habitation has ever existed on Greyland of any kind, but evidence of xenos industry, agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and storage is everywhere. It is as if the planet was moved here, ready to become an important world in some xenos empire, but for some reason was never used. These xenos ruins are very concentrated into small areas, and much of it is underground, so from orbit or from the planet's surface, it is nothing but a grey expanse of emptiness.

Though many have considered claiming Greyland for the Imperium, something causes any settlers that attempt to land to leave within a year. It is simply the most boring, quiet, unnatural planet that humanity might choose to live upon. There is no vegetation, no color beyond the black, white, and grey shades of the planet's minerals, and sound itself seems oddly dampened in the still, stormless air. Humanity cannot abide such thundering, crushing *absence*.

The War Scribes use Greyland as a mediation world, requiring prospective Captains to take a pilgrimage into the trackless emptiness and meditate on the Chapter's long history, the lore they've learned, and their place in the Imperium and the cosmos. It is a distinctly humbling experience, forcing the warrior to confront just how small a thing he truly is in comparison to the Galaxy.

A few Scribes return to Greyland time and time again, embracing the peace and stillness and using Greyland as a sort of sensory-deprivation chamber.



RECORDS FOR CHAPTER MASTER EYES ONLY: Greyland is also the cold storage facility for any Chaotic relics the War Scribes uncover but cannot destroy, as well as dangerous archaeotech. Something about Greyland exerts a dampening effect on rogue devices and Chaotic taint, just like it does on the flora, fauna, and any who try to settle upon it. The Inquisition maintains a small presence on Greyland to help keep an eye on such items, and to assist in research and purging efforts.

Hod's Hole: The Last Resort[edit]

Hod's Hole
Type

Hidden World

Orbital radius

12 AU Perihelion, 1,327 AU Aphelion

Gravity

.65G

Temperature

-300 Kelvin

Population

4,000,000 (Servitors/Cybernetica) 200 (System Overseers/Maintenance specialists)

Planetary Governor

Overseer Primus Rallim Feldus

System

-CLASSIFIED-

Sector

-CLASSIFIED-

Sub Sector

-CLASSIFIED-

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Hod's Hole, located by Rogue Trader Hod Wellmarn in the early 31st Millennium, is a tiny chunk of rock on an extraordinarily elliptical orbit around its small red dwarf parent star. A frozen iceball, the planet never reaches its star's warmth, and spends most of its existence alone in the vastness of the void. Normally the minute orb would never meet the Imperium's notice. It has no mineral wealth, no strategic position, no xenos stronghold in need of purging. But Rogue Trader Wellmarn was hunting elusive prey. The Void Krakens. His family had lost dozens of ships to the beasts, but with the help of the War Scribes the shoe was on the other foot, and Hod was on the warpath. Over the course of several years, he and the Marines hunted down almost a dozen of the titans and at last came to Hod's Hole where the Kraken broodmaster dwelled. Over the course of countless unknown years and generations, the Krakens had etched a hole completely through the planetoid, eating and feeding as they pleased. Inside were hundreds of destroyed ships from every race and time period in the galaxy, chewed up and digested. Their remnants were embedded in the tunnel's walls, encased in vile excretions created by the Krakens to strengthen the tunnel and prevent gravity from crushing their nest.

Once the void-beasts were slain to the last, the War Scribes took possession of this unique planetoid and sought what relics they could in its wreckage. Fifty years went by with no results. The Heresy came and went, and from the ashes of that horrible conflict, an idea was born. The myth that the Imperium was unshakeable and immortal had gone, to be replaced with a new and bitter pragmatism among the Scribes. And so they began to build in secret. Hod's Hole was a perfect hiding place, unknown to all and nearly invisible in the blackness of space. No wealth was ever found there, so no treasure hunters sought to trace its location through myths and legends. The Rogue Trader who discovered Hod's Hole died a satisfied man, full in his accomplished vengeance. But he died alone with his knowledge, the last of his Kraken-eaten lineage. This world would belong to the Scribes alone. Their tool of last resort, the ultimate trump card to be used when all else might be lost.

As the Scribes learned more of the dangers Chaos represented, they also noticed that the power of Chaos seemed to grow thin at the Galaxy's edge. Explorations across the Milky Way confirmed this. Perhaps beyond the Galaxy, there was no Chaos at all. Over the next ten millennia, the Scribes quietly diverted a small fraction of the Atalantos Worlds' immense industrial output, layering Hod's hole with vast arrays of cogitators, batteries the size of battleships, staggering quantities of capacitors and relays. And through the hole dug by Krakens, they embedded a colossal mass driver, Ultimum Dictamen Vernerum. A staggering two thousand kilometers long, an almighty Ordinatus engine capable of hurling a projectile out of the Galaxy's gravity well with brute force alone.

Knowing full well that the circumstances in which this gun might be used would likely mean that the Gods had tainted the Warp irrevocably, this launcher would obey Materium physics exclusively, rejecting the Warp's seductive swiftness. Though the journey might take two and a half million years or more in real time, the projectile itself and the inhabitants within would travel at almost the speed of light. For them, the time-dilated journey would be over in a few years. And at the end of the road lay the vast unknown called the Andromeda Galaxy. With this device, perhaps some fragment of Mankind could be saved. Or perhaps it was all a fool's errand, and those resources might have saved this galaxy instead of being wasted on another. But such is the way of the Scribes. If they deem it necessary, no project is too vast in scale to be considered.

For now the question remains unanswered. The supergun rests idle in cold storage, tended by a small army of servitors and cybernetica. Only a few hundred living beings reside here, having given their lives in tithe to monitor the facility in exchange for familial rewards. It is possible the Vernerum may never awaken, never be needed. And it is the fervent hope of every War Scribes Chapter master that this be so.

But only time will tell.


Slagshed Station, the Cleansing World[edit]

Slagshed
Type

Reclamation Facility

Orbital radius

30 AU

Gravity

1.64G

Temperature

-200C (darkside) +1,200C (sunside) +10,000C (during Flare)

Population

750,000,000 (mostly mutants)

Planetary Governor

Slagmaster Borx "the Burner" Chelmon

System

Philovia

Sector

Peltru

Sub Sector

Ortremen

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Deep in the Galactic Core lurks a behemoth star. Nearly eighty solar masses, Philovia boils with energy, shedding hot gases and ionizing radiation across a dozen Imperial sectors. It is a marvelous sight, a brilliant blue-white titan which humbles all those nearby. One could easily be forgiven for overlooking its much smaller partner. Just beside Philovia lurks the Slag, a tiny neutron star. The Slag is all that remains of another massive companion, Philovia's long-dead sibling. But the greedy dead still need to eat, and a tendril of indescribably hot gas connects the two. A vampiric umbilical cord devouring Philovia a little piece at a time.

The Slag is wasteful in its consumption, and the entire system is shrouded in hot gas and tumbling debris that missed its mark. From these ashes, a handful of planets clawed their way into existence at the system's fringes. Life would never evolve here, and even if it did Philovia would soon join its sibling in death, as do all massive stars. No time for evolution. The Slagshed is by far the largest of these remnant embers, significantly more massive than than Terra. It is barren and lifeless, awash in radiation. No useful minerals, no water. Slagshed cannot even boast an atmosphere despite its large size.

But there is one characteristic that the resourceful Scribes have found use for. The binary pair have a very regular history of abuse. Once every eighteen hours, clockwork precise as the finest Imperial timepieces, the Slag consumes too much. Its accretion disk overflows and a colossal shockwave propagates through the system at incredible speeds. By the time the outburst reaches Slagshed, it is spread into a gigantic cloud, and the planet's exposed hemisphere roasts for hours as it passes through. For unknown millennia this cycle has repeated itself, turning one half of the slowly rotating world into molten lava, while the other half remains perpetually frozen.

The Atalantos Worlds produce a titanic amount of raw material and industrial goods, but despite Arelex's best efforts they produce an equally tremendous amount of waste. No recycling or reclamation system in the galaxy could handle such a burden. Except for the Slagshed. Every day, thousands of merchant barges dump gigatons of material onto Slagshed's sunside. And every day, those gigatons go up in flames all at once. The repeated cycles of melting and remelting allow the heavy metals to sink and the lighter materials to rise, serving as a colossal molecular sieve for everything imaginable. Organic compounds are broken down, and everything is totally sterilized. By the time any given point on the surface has made it to the night side, it has seen hundreds of flares. As Slagheap's lethargic rotation finally brings cool relief to the boiling material, thousands of Imperial mobile refineries salvage everything they possibly can from the newly cooled slice, launching valuable payloads into the sheltering darkness of the Slagshed's shadow. As the dawn threatens to catch up, they move a few dozen kilometers, burrow as deeply as they can, and wait for the next flare.

The only law on Slagshed is that work means life. Most of the laborers are hardened criminals and Imperial deserters. Mutants are commonly shipped here in droves. The punishment for any crime is to be given a void suit and chained to the surface, awaiting the victim's final sunrise. And yet, Slagshed is a kind of refuge for many. Despite the danger, most of the work is maintaining machinery. The actual digging is done by colossal mining bores and dredge haulers, for no amount of human labor could do the job quickly enough. It is a harsh, unpleasant planet, but the Slagmaster is fair. Without prejudice or malice, he adheres to the one law of Slagshed absolutely. All workers are equal in his eyes, so long as they work. Philovia's seething sunlight provides them with all the energy they could possibly need to sustain life's necessities, and virtually anything can be synthesized from the slag residue. Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, and dozens of other raw elements feed into the recombinators, offering luxury undreamt of on most worlds. Inside the vast machinery, there is clean air, distilled water, and endless food. Everything is pure and unpolluted, for it is created fresh after each flare delivers new energy. Pollution never lingers long in a world designed from the ground up for reclamation and purification.

In this way Slagshed has become almost a holy site for mutants across the Atalantos Worlds. Though they are despised in the public eye, Slagshed gives them a safety valve when faced with execution, a bolthole to hide in. If one can get past the fear of living next to a routinely exploding star, caged in a shell of moving metal, Slagshed is actually a cut above many other worlds. Even the most wretched mutants can sometimes be purified here.

Freed of the environmental toxins from their birth worlds, many mutants begin to expel their poisons and heal, for the human body is more resilient than most would believe. For this reason, all mutants within the Atalantos Worlds are sent to the Slagshed as soon as they are identified and caught. One particularly successful policy enacted by the Atalantos government is that any mutant who willingly turns themselves in will also be given (experimental) medical care by Slagshed's best doctors, some of the absolute best in the Imperium thanks to hard-earned experience treating mutation day in and day out. Though no formal education exists on Slagshed, the master and apprentice system maintains a powerful tradition of oral history, and sheer weight of trial and error has produced libraries of useful information compiled into the vast Praecticum Purificatum, and Magos Biologis from across the Imperium make routine pilgrimages to Slagshed Station in order to get the latest copy.

Most importantly, deformed parents occasionally give birth to healthy children on Slagshed, to the celebration of all. The War Scribes use these lucky ones as propaganda, trumpeting the resilience of the human genome over all obstacles. Not everyone can be cleansed in such a way, but it provides something more essential than air, water, or food. Hope.

A most unusual world.

Precipice, the Point of No Return[edit]

Precipice
Type

Research Outpost

Orbital radius

3.7 Light Years

Gravity

Variable

Temperature

Variable

Population

100 researchers

Planetary Governor

Magos Entrem Go-Shang

System

Sagittarius A*

Sector

Core

Sub Sector

Core

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Welcome to the Precipice. Go no further.

Beyond this point there is nothing. This is the final stop. The power within the Milky Way's heart has consumed all else. Only a handful of stars get anywhere near this close, whipping around the central black hole faster than any other natural object ever moves. Precipice is even closer in. Time flows strangely on Precipice. As does gravity. As does space itself. All are linked here, and all bear immense strain.

Precipice itself is largely a nickel-iron ball, probably the remnants of some ancient gas giant. Only a little rocky crust yet remains from its formation, mostly scoured off by stellar encounters of unimaginable energy. It has no parent star to give it light, only the countless points of flickering energy filling the sky. Precipice is a world awash in radiation of every type, spared from complete annihilation only by the remarkably quiet nature of the Milky Way's black hole. Though heavier than 4 million Suns, our galaxy is among the 10% that slumber deeply. Few flares emerge here, and no relativistic jets carve swathes through the heavens. Indeed, were it not so, life might never have evolved on Terra.

Precipice's one protection is its incredible rate of spin and massive molten core. The planet's magnetic field is hundreds of times stronger than Terra's, deflecting much of the radiation from reaching the surface. Inside this protective envelope, a handful of Magi have established a research base on the black hole's very doorstep. From here direct observation of Sagittarius A* is possible, and despite the planet's immense size and gravity, at the equator its incredibly rapid spin counteracts what would otherwise be tens of G's. Far too much force for even enhanced Magi to bear. There is even some thin atmosphere, though the winds regularly top 2,000 kilometers per hour, and are primarily inert noble gases.

This may be the single most dangerous place in the Materium, save for a planet orbiting an impending supernova or falling into the Eye of Terror. At any time, accreting gas or debris could cause an apocalyptic outburst, sterilizing everything for hundreds of light years around. No trade ships dare traverse this part of space. Only the Mechanicus' most hardened vessels can make such a journey, and only with rigorous preparation.

And yet there is much to learn. The Precipice is a physics laboratory beyond compare, where extraordinary events are laid bare for the observation on a daily basis. Every new mote of gas drifting past, every asteroid, every doomed star, all these and more offer precious data that could not be obtained in any manmade research facility. With the assistance of the War Scribes, a single Ark Mechanicus has been constructed to supply Precipice, the mighty Last Horizon. It carries no armaments, instead sheathing itself in adamantium plates a hundred meters thick, and powering dozens of shield batteries with genetoriums the size of hab spires. Ten colossal plasma drives propel the behemoth, each one capable of moving an Emperor-class Battleship on their own. Even such an immense force is barely sufficient to manage the tremendous gravitational load. A marvelous vessel, but nothing less could survive the trip. Every three years it makes the perilous trek, delivering sustenance and harvesting thousands of datastacks.

From these efforts, much fruit has been yielded. Few can say what exactly the Mechanicus have done with their data, but the annals of the War Scribes provide valuable historical context. Without the efforts of Precipice's scientists, the Legion's Jetbikes, Land Speeders, Centurions, and Grav-guns would long since have ceased to function. Their knowledge of the bending of space and time has allowed the Scribes to continue replicating the wonders of the past.

Step not beyond the Precipice. But do stop by and have a look around.

Govirex System, the Fountain Cluster[edit]

Govirex System
Type

Hydrological Supply Worlds

Orbital radius

Multiple planets

Gravity

Variable

Temperature

Variable

Population

10,000,000,000

Planetary Governor

Lord Sustainer Melia Veissner

System

Govirex

Sector

Volhak

Sub Sector

Govirex

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Many stars in the Galactic Core are vast giants, full of fire and power. Few of these stars serve Humanity's needs, for they are too luminous to tolerate, and destroy all that orbit them. The smaller suns usually offer more value, and perhaps none more so than humble Govirex, an orange-yellow dwarf star about ten percent smaller than Sol. Imperial Magi have firmly established Govirex as an anomaly, a star that should by all rights have been one of the titans. It is near a thick nebula full of gas reserves, which would have offered the infant sun ample fuel to grow.

Unfortunately, Volhak Seinal's progenitor star got there first. That long-dead sun aged, swelled into a red supergiant and died in a cataclysmic supernova. Though the shockwave likely triggered Govirex's formation, it also disrupted the primordial nebula and blew away much of the gas into long, looping streamers like smoke on the wind. And so Govirex came to be. But not all of that ancient nebula attained escape velocity.

Falling back towards Govirex, the gaseous strands entwined upon themselves, gravitationally collapsing just as their parent star had. Granted too much angular momentum by Volhak Seinal Prime, they could not fall into Govirex but instead entered orbit. After some millions of years, Govirex became the parent of a bountiful solar system filled with gas giants. Originally there were perhaps fifteen worlds, but orbital eccentricities and collisions condensed the crowded system down to a more stable six.

Hydrogen and Helium, being light gases, were driven farthest and fastest by the ancient supernova and hurled out of the system almost entirely. Heavier gases like water, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide remained closer to home. Accordingly, Govirex I, II, III, IV, V, and VI are all classified as ice giants, rich in useful elements. There are no equivalents to Jupiter or Saturn here, but rather they are analogous to Uranus and Neptune, even further enriched in heavy elements. Govirex VI is even considered a brown dwarf, or "failed star". It is by far the largest, weighing in at just shy of 75 times Jupiter's mass. Thanks to Govirex VI's enormous mass, Govirex Prime has a gravitational counterweight that keeps its planetary orbits stable in the congested Core environment.

All six planets are relatively warm, still filled with much of their birth heat. Their atmospheres roil and churn, regularly bringing vast plumes of fresh vapor from the deep interior. From these planet-sized rivers of moisture, the Atalantos Worlds drink deeply. Every year, thousands of atmospheric trawlers siphon gigatons of moisture from the Govirex System, conveying it to barren planets across the Ultima Segmentum. Without this lifeline, habitation would be impossible on many worlds.

Inside the ice giants themselves, countless floating hab-bubbles drift through the sky, harvesting heavier gases for transport. Billions of Imperial citizens call these wandering cities home, navigating through powerful storms and lighting bolts that could wrap around Holy Terra five times over. Mundane materials are simply collected for local use, but more exotic compounds get compressed and shipped onward. Many of the hab-bubbles are dedicated to hydroponics, and feed a multitude of worlds.

Even in the most unlikely places, the Imperium finds usable resources. Where there is water and sunlight, there is life.

The Cannonball, Fortress World[edit]

The Cannonball
Type

Fortress World

Orbital radius

35 AU

Gravity

1.85 G

Temperature

-270 C

Population

1,000,000

Planetary Governor

Lady General Militant Alissandra de Cherenev

System

Atalantos

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Primaris

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Deep in the Atalantos System's recesses hides a small, shriveled companion to Atalantos' green finery. Dark Age Man protected Atalantos itself with the Basilikon Atalantos' technological prowess, but either they ignored the Cannonball or they could not defend it from whatever cataclysm scoured the very crust from its surface. Almost all of the Cannonball's mass is metallic, only a few hundred meters of solidified mantle hide the dense interior from view. Once, the Cannonball was a small gas giant, perhaps the size of Uranus or Neptune.

The Imperium has sunk deep tunnels into the Cannonball, for it lacks a magnetic field and its burning heart has cooled and solidified with the passage of ages. No gaseous blanket meant nothing to keep heat from radiating into space. Once the other Atalantos Worlds brought their industrial capacity to maximum volume, mining the Cannonball became economically unviable, and the mighty drills and smelters moved on to more valuable hunting grounds. But the War Scribes do not like to leave potential resources unclaimed.

It fell to the War Scribes' second Chapter Master, a far-sighted Marine named Danilov Holmis, to make use of the Cannonball. A veteran of the post-Heresy Scouring, he had first hand experience of the many horrors the Imperium would now face. His thoughts turned back to the still-young Atalantos Worlds, and he resolved to do all in his power to protect them. Underneath the Cannonball's battered surface, Chapter Master Danilov constructed vast military storehouses, colossal docking bays, huge armaments factories, and everything else needed to supply an entire Imperial Crusade if need be. Here, they would be protected with hundreds of miles of hardened metal. What more could a warlord ask for? Anything that could crack the Cannonball open would not be halted by Imperial arms, and so was not worth worrying about.

One million Imperial Guardsmen are on station at all times, and at need the Cannonball can feed and house nearly ten billion within its endless metal warrens. In case of siege, food, water, and medical supplies sufficient to last 1,000 years are bunkered within the deepest catacombs. The only outward sign that humanity has claimed this desolate chunk of metal are the vast sensor arrays and shield projectors dotting the surface. Nothing comes within ten light-years of Atalantos without the Imperium knowing about it. Providing offensive capabilies are thousands of anti-voidship macrobatteries, tucked beneath retractable metal plates the size of hive-cities.

As a special request to the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Adeptus Ministorium, the Cannonball has been engraved both inside and out with anti-Warp wards similar to those used in Geller Fields and Warpsbane hulls. Tiny scuttling drill-servitors carved billions of miles of finger-sized tunnels, lining the planet's bulk with endless arcane filigree made from silver, gold, platinum and other precious metals. The task required 1,000 years of exhaustive labor, but the more the Scribes learned of Chaos' insidious nature, the more urgent it became that they do all in their power to create a strongpoint with at least a faint hope of resisting the Gods' twisted desires.

To this day, the Cannonball has yielded to no foe.

But the Gods have yet to take notice of it.

Morania, the Grudge[edit]

Morania
Type

Paradise/Maiden World

Orbital radius

.97 AU

Gravity

1.02 G

Temperature

20 C

Population

500,000 Eldar Exodites, 500,000 Humans

Planetary Governor

None

System

Morania

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Nolannov

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Morania should not be here. The Galactic Core should have destroyed this verdant world's vibrant ecosystem millions of years ago. Some invader should have burned it to the ground and looted the ashes in distant eons. And yet, Morania lives. First colonized by Eldar Exodites who chose to hide in the Core rather than follow most of their kindred into the dark Galactic Fringe, then receiving human colonists fleeing the Men of Iron, Morania rests in an uneasy balance.

Though unimaginably fertile, the planet offers few resources by which either party could return to the stars. The long ages have worn away its inhabitants technical knowledge. More than once, Ork raids have been turned aside by Eldar sorcery. And Necron attacks, equally blunted with Dark Age relics. And so both tribes have come to rely on one another for survival though locked in deepest hatred. The clans are descendants of fiercely independent pioneers and loathe that they must rely on another's skills. The population is held in check through a careful balance and whenever births outnumber deaths, both sides send their excess to fight and die in gruesome bloodsport tournaments. To the winners go status, wealth and breeding rights, to the losers a bed of earth.

Without this safety valve, the slow-breeding Eldar surely would have been overwhelmed. It is in the humans' interest to continue the bloodsport as well, for without Eldar management the planet would swiftly grow barren and die. Dark Age weapons the humans have, but not Dark Age terraformers. Despite mutual animosity, these ancient rituals carry far more force than any written law, and are adhered to absolutely.

When the War Scribes arrived on Morania, the Primarch's first thought was to exterminate these Eldar at once and remove them from the Galaxy like the vermin they are. At the advice of his command staff, he stayed his hand. They had a much more devious plan in mind. The Legion's hate for the Eldar runs deep and strong, and inspires their darkest brilliance. What better way to flaunt their superiority than to assume rulership over the proud Eldar's distant cousins? They would hold the planet in their hands like a priceless gem, daring anyone to take it from them. And what better way to keep some lab rats safely contained for experimentation? The tournaments produced plenty of invalids and corpses, after all. Greedy Mars might appreciate such... resources.

And for the Space Marines, they harvested recruits tempered against Eldar more physically powerful and savage than any others. Craftworld Eldar lived too deeply entrenched in their rigid caste systems to truly abandon restraint and unleash everything their xenos bodies were capable of, but not so their tribal brethren. Where else in the Galaxy could Marine Aspirants gain such valuable experience? No, even through the red haze of Arelex's hatred, the logic was beyond challenge. Morania became a protectorate of the Second Legion, and remains so to this day. Holding Morania has come at immense cost in gold and iron, and thousands of War Scribes have died over the long millennia to secure their rule, but to this day no Eldar strike force has been able to breach the perimeter and rescue their errant kin.


Seven Kings, the Clearinghouse[edit]

Seven Kings
Type

Imperial World

Orbital radius

1.2 AU

Gravity

1 G

Temperature

25 C

Population

4,000,000,000

Planetary Governor

The Council

System

Foldham

Sector

Atalantos

Sub Sector

Kingsrien

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Seven Hives touch the sky, seven thrones of old. Seven threads tie seven lands, where the void runs cold. And Seven Kings hums and rings, chasing after gold.

Seven Kings, known to Imperial scholars as Foldham VII, is one of the oldest inhabited worlds in the Atalantos region. As the War Scribes mapped out the Core's often treacherous Warp currents, they found themselves returning over and over to the unassuming Foldham system. There, a multitude of Immaterium ripples converged, creating a sort of natural harbor where Imperial ships might make port. Some long ago catastrophe has stripped the Foldham system of any large planets it might have contained, leaving the yellow dwarf star with only a handful of small rocky bodies to call children. Of these, only Foldham VII is large enough to naturally support human life.

As the Atalantos Worlds expanded into maturity, Foldham took on new importance. Much of the Core is isolated by vast Warp Storms and radiation belts churned up by the tumultuous stars, and Foldham sits astride many of the safest entryways. Seven major Warp routes run within easy travel of Foldham, leading deep within the Galactic Core. Accordingly, the otherwise unremarkable system entered a gold rush of Imperial trade from which it still benefits to this day. Vast numbers of immigrants flooded in, looking to take their cut of the Atalantos Worlds' torrential streams of mineral wealth. And the most cutthroat, brutal, clever and aggressive among them rose to the top with frightening speed.

Though the remaining 6 Foldham planets were naturally barren, desperate settlers staked their territory nevertheless. Hab-domes rose into airless skies, and endless tunnel-warrens snaked their way below primordial stone. Each of Foldham's planets became host to an entire human ecosystem, and upon each grew capital cities flush with Imperial Thrones for the spending. Families grew from individual success. Before many years had passed, a nouveau riche oligarchy dominated the Foldham system, seven clans ruling a planet each. But only one of those cartels rested contentedly. Only those who ruled Foldham VII could truly say they ruled a planet, the others ground their teeth in envy staring at its green and blue colors.

When the Heresy brought turmoil to the entire Imperial Galaxy, matters likewise came to a crescendo on Foldham. As soon as Arelex's watchful eye turned towards Terra, savage inter-clan warfare threatened to destroy Foldham and countless millions lost their lives a the behest of greedy masters. Unfortunately for the families, their pent-up rage blinded them to greater responsibilities. By throwing Foldham into war, they put a tight squeeze on the War Scribes' supply lines and became a maximum Legion priority. Less than six months into their conflict, 7,000 Legionnaires made planetfall across the system, slaughtering anyone in their path as they took the Hive Spires back under control.

Within weeks, Foldham burned to the ground. The War Scribes showed none of the mercy they might have extended in gentler times, for their hand was forced and time drew critically short. Virtually every member of the ruling houses was summarily executed, and one in every three citizens that survived their civil war lost their lives during the Scribes' subsequent intervention. Martial law was imposed with terrifying brutality. It took less than a month before war materiel flowed freely once more. When the Legionnaires broke orbit to rejoin the war against Hektor, they left a promise behind. If any man, woman, child or animal threatened the trade route again, the Scribes would burn the planets to ash, slaughter every living being in the Hives, and rebuild with new immigration. For the remainder of the Heresy, not a whisper of rebellion was heard.

After the Heresy ground to its inexorable conclusion, the remaining Foldham elites once again extended their influence. Twice, they tested the Scribes' resolve by fomenting revolts and hiding in the shadows. With no proof of the families' involvement, the Scribes merely crushed the rebel peasantry and withdrew deeper into the Core. It was clear that the Legion, soon to be Chapter, was exhausted. Under most circumstances, what followed would have been unthinkable, but the tradesmen had chosen their time flawlessly and struck without remorse.

They presented the War Scribes with a treaty of "loyalty", stipulating that so long as all tithes were met and resource throughput maintained, that the Foldham System was effectively beholden to none but itself. They would see to their own internal affairs, they would raise their own armies, and if they so chose could even wage war against one another in-system. Many other Atalantos Worlds were in support of this treaty, for without Foldham's approval they could not barter for vital resources. In ancient times as in the modern era, a hydraulic empire held vast strength over its vassals, and this is exactly what the merchant lords sought to obtain. Foldham would be an enclave within an enclave, an autonomous region inside the Atalantos Worlds sitting atop half a dozen vital trade lines. Their tactics were perfect. Their support, ironclad. Their advantages, unmistakable and potent. The time was ripe.

But the oligarchy forgot one thing. Above all else the War Scribes hated traitors, and never more so than having trod the ruins of Holy Terra a handful of months before. That these petty wretches dared to antagonize the Legion during their mourning time was beyond obscene. Critically low on munitions, the Marines struck at the hives with tooth and nail, fist and improvised hand weapon. It was a sobering reminder of just what exactly a Marine was capable of even without bolter or chainsword. 2,000 Marines lost their lives in Foldham, but the battle was won nevertheless.

The hives burned. And new masters sought to ascend the charred thrones. But this time, the masses spoke out. They demanded democratic elections, and an end to the suffering imposed from above. Many times now they suffered the lash of madmen and tyrants, and it could be borne no longer. And the Scribes agreed. Perhaps control could be more easily achieved from below. A ruler was elected for each planet, chosen according to the people's will. One Legionnaire stood watch behind each throne in perpetuity, tithed from the Chapter in order to keep things orderly. It fell to this Marine to ensure that corruption never took hold again. None were permitted to hold firearms or blades in the new Grand Council chambers on Foldham VII, save for these seven Marines. At a word, they could legally decapitate any coup attempts.

As time passed, the people grew more comfortable with self-rule. By holding regular elections, the tribal nature of Foldham slowly ebbed away, replaced with a more nationalist attitude. Immigration was encouraged, and the seven planets entered commercial agreements with one another as often as they traded with the larger Imperium, further diluting the old cabals. But corruption is ever vigilant for opportunities. This time it came in the form of greedy bankers siphoning colossal funds into their own pockets. Flush with cash, they exerted such undue influence on the people that they had become kings in everything but name. When the Administratum investigated the embezzlement, Foldham erupted into rebellion once more.

This time, the war was fought largely in space. Huge mercenary fleets clashed with Imperial Navy cruisers, and both sides received a beating. Privateers roamed across the Atalantos worlds, looting and pillaging as they went and distracting the War Scribes with assaults from every angle. Inexorably the War Scribes' vast fleet mobilized and the noose tightened, though final victory required nearly three long years of war.

Petty tyrants became Foldham's downfall. The people could not rule themselves. And the merchants could not choose wise kings. What was to be done? Foldham fought three separate conflicts with the Imperium in less than one hundred years, the system was a cauldron of instability. Privately, the Scribes suspected Chaotic influence from the many Warp lanes running so nearby, but nothing could be done about that. Ultimately, the decision rested with the Chapter Master, who chose a decidedly unusual approach.

Across the Atalantos Worlds, dozens of Rogue Traders sought wealth and fame in every nook and cranny of the Galactic Core. Not all of them were particularly noble individuals, but on the whole they had proven their loyalty to the War Scribes' satisfaction. Indeed, many of their siblings had become Marines themselves. Seven of the most deserving Trader Houses were rewarded with governorship of one of the Foldham planets, valuable commodities for anyone seeking influence beyond Atalantos. To ensure their loyalty, the War Scribes would hold many of their family members as Chapter Serfs aboard the fleet. They would be treated well, but they would be hostages nonetheless. Should the Traders rebel, they could count on their precious lineage being scoured from the stars.

Though relations have become strained from time to time, this system has endured the passage of millennia well. The Seven Kings rule from a distance, and gain considerable advantage over other Rogue Traders by virtue of a well-fortified home base and the direct support of a First Founding Chapter. In turn, the War Scribes have eyes and ears across the Imperium, a well-managed import-export hub, and a ready-made merchant fleet that can be conscripted at need.


Kellstone Tertius, the Lost Hive[edit]

Kellstone Tertius
Type

Hive World

Orbital radius

1.3 AU

Gravity

.88G

Temperature

30C

Population

7,000,000,000

Planetary Governor

Lord Protector Michael van Dreis

System

Kellstone

Sector

Uralis

Sub Sector

Kellstone

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


There are many worlds which the War Scribes and their allies have pulled from the clutches of decay, barbarism, and the grasping hands of filthy xenos. Those lucky planets grace the screens and holovids of a thousand Imperial worlds, courtesy of the Imperium's ever-vigilant propaganda arm. Worlds like Kellstone Tertius on the other hand, third of five benighted rocks, are rarely spoken of by decent Imperial citizenry.

There were high hopes for Kellstone when the van Dreis family first settled there. They raised tall towers, built vast industrial works, tapped the resources of the other four planets to feed their growing population's needs. The economy grew resilient and diversified, producing refined goods to be shipped across the entire Segmentum. Indeed, few among the Atalantos Worlds could claim such a vaunted position in the hierarchy.

Over time the van Dreis clan extended their reach to the Galaxy at large, and with the Emperor's blessing founded a Rogue Trader house of their very own. It is rare in the Imperium for citizens to elevate themselves to such a position, no matter how deep their coffers, but the van Dreis family's ambitions were boundless. With an entire planetary system under their thrall, it was childs' play to outfit dozens of mighty voidships to spread their influence far and wide.

And so the merchants of Foldham VII took note. This was a bridge too far, and the van Dreises threatened to undermine their economic power so long in the making. And they went to war with knife, legal writ, and Throne gelt. The Imperium keeps few records of the titanic struggle between Kellstone and Foldham, for nearly all was kept behind closed doors and inside back alleys. Even the document-loving War Scribes can shed precious few insights into these mercantile affairs.

What is known speaks volumes though. Within eight years Kellstone Tertius' industrial output had all but collapsed. Internal sabotage, state-sponsored terrorism, economic brain drain, and the vicissitudes of the Heresy all coalesced to bring down a mighty House. Fortunately for Kellstone Tertius, the Foldham merchant guilds met their own obstacles and were crushed mercilessly by Legio Secundus before all was lost. This was little consolation to the returning Rogue Trader family members, expecting a hero's welcome rather than warning shots.

So much had been lost that the Hives themselves were teetering on the brink of social and physical collapse. The effort to rebuild would bankrupt the van Dreises utterly, and their success was no sure thing. Almost as one, they voted to take what they could salvage and leave, abandoning billions to their fate and virtually gutting what resources remained on-planet. Today the van Dreis are one of the most infamous Houses in the Imperium. Though ostensibly loyal to the Golden Throne, they skirt the bleeding edge of legal technicalities at every turn and think nothing of destroying entire worlds for a handful of jewels or the favor of a well-placed noble. For ten thousand years they have been little better than mercenary predators.

All that is, save one. Eric van Dreis, future First Lord Protector of Kellstone Tertius. Lord Commander of the 912th Imperial Expedition Fleet. A thirty year old stripling, tactical and strategic genius, and familial black sheep. So far down the line of inheritance he would need binoculars to see those illustrious names at the forefront from where he stood.

Eric charted his own course through life, and through the Heresy. He rose to prominence rapidly as the Heresy consumed his superior officers like kindling, but proved himself an able commander of men. Performing such "dirty work" was considered beneath his exalted line. He was all but disowned. But when his homeworld teetered on the brink of damnation and Chaos cults seemingly sprang fully formed from every destitute laborer and disillusioned merchant, Eric answered their unspoken cry for help. In fire and wrath he rallied the 912th Fleet to his banner, claiming the authority for independent action in the midst of clear and present Traitor threats.

For five years Kellstone Tertius felt the pain of open conflict. But at the end of it all, Eric stood victorious. Much of the 912th Expeditionary Fleet was broken up and sent elsewhere in the Imperium as were all Army units, but many of its soldiers "voluntarily re-enlisted" in the newly founded Kellstone PDF, and a surprising number of voidship captains transmitted "extended repair and re-armament" requests to Terra.

Ten thousand years and a host of van Dreises have come and gone. Kellstone Tertius has yet to regain its former glory, and almost certainly never will. Most of its hives are damaged, some totally destroyed and fit only for the occasional nomad band's shelter. Industrial output is dismal, barely enough to keep the Hives self-sufficient, to say nothing of profitable exports. Chaos cults are repressed but never truly eliminated. Occasionally the War Scribes deploy a squad or two to crack down on the worst problems, but their resources are stretched thin since the Heresy, and Kellstone is far down on their list of priorities.

To the outside observer Kellstone is a failed world in every way, contributing little to the Imperium but Guard Regiments. But the people believe. Because someone came back for them. Not every van Dreis has been a good leader or a good person. None have clean hands or consciences. But they all put their shoulders to the grindstone and did what they could. Sometimes that just meant staving off total collapse for one more day. And that is enough.

The Guardsmen from Kellstone are not particularly well-equipped, nor are they well trained. Many of them have friends and family who turned to the Ruinous Powers, or sought a better life with privateers and brigands. Quite a few of them harbor unorthodox thoughts regarding the Imperium and the Emperor, and many bear the Inquisition's brand or the Ecclesiarchy's whip-marks on their backs. But they believe in hard work, and a better tomorrow.

As a Hive World, the demanded tithes of manpower are terrifyingly high. Most planets would bleed themselves dry and empty every prison cell to fulfill such quotas.

Every Kellstone Guard Regiment is composed entirely of volunteers.

Not for ten thousand years have Kellstone's requirements gone unmet.


Velim II, The Madhouse[edit]

Velim II
Type

???????

Orbital radius

1 AU

Gravity

.95G

Temperature

30C

Population

100,000

Planetary Governor

Whoever is fastest

System

Velim

Sector

Tygros

Sub Sector

Velim

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Many planets in the Galaxy are Chaotic with a capital C. The Gods have claimed them for their personal toys, and each day the tortured hunks of rock are wrenched asunder in mad whims of chance. The most famous of these are surely the doomed planets near and within the Eye of Terror, for whom peace is a myth and tranquility only a dream.

And yet there is also chaos with a little c. It is rare but not unheard of that altogether more bizarre fates might befall a world, and one such planet is Velim II, tucked away in a quiet corner of the Atalantos Worlds. Primarch Arelex often made note that Dark Age Mankind sought to push into the Core sectors, but by and large abandoned such attempts for reasons unknown. If they succeeded, a new habitable world joined the human sphere. If not, their wondrous machinery simply lifted off to orbit and disappeared forever. But on Velim II something went wrong.

It is beyond the means of Imperial scholars to determine why, but on Velim II there are hundreds of Dark Age terraforming vehicles still in operation, wider than Emperor-class battleships and taller than Hive Spires. These moving mountains roam the planet at all hours of the day, stopping, starting and changing direction seemingly at random. Mountains are raised and leveled and raised again, seas gouge themselves into trenches where plains once rolled, misty rainforests spring from blackened volcanic debris. The air is constantly roiling with energy and storms of immense power whip themselves into a frenzy only to blow out in hours.

Tech adepts have journeyed to Velim II for ten thousand years trying to make sense of the machines' patterns and deduce their security passcodes, but to no avail. It is hypothesized that Chaotic scrap-code infests them, or that the Core's radiation has driven their machine spirits mad. Perhaps there are Abominable Intelligences at work within the gargantua, or maybe they are simply obeying conflicting orders from men long since dead. All that is known for certain is that anyone foolish enough to approach them is captured, shredded, and used for fertilizer or spare parts. And yet hope springs eternal and the adherents of the Machine God willingly dare the hazards even so.

During the 32nd millennia, to the surprise of absolutely everyone, a handful of human tribes were discovered on Velim II. Although the planet is technically habitable, it was thought impossible that any form of advanced life could sustain itself within the maelstrom. Multiple attempts to contact these people and spread the Imperial Creed went in vain, for the tribes are always on the move. Indeed, when placed into captivity they are quickly driven mad by the stillness, and cannot abide solid floors and walls for long. Anticipating disaster that never comes, their fight or flight reflex drives their hearts to burst.

The fastest and quickest witted among them rule, and their word is law. As soon as warning shouts are raised the people awake from deepest slumber, pumping their legs like machinery before their eyes even open. On Velim II, situational awareness is life itself, and its people can read changes in the air or earth to a degree bordering on precognition.

The War Scribes have largely ignored Velim II, allowing the Mechanicus to make such pilgrimages as they see fit and permitting the ancient machines to continue their tasks. After all, who can say what the minds of ancient Man intended? To destroy the terraformers might be to destroy an ineffable plan millennia in the making, and that possibility is enough to stay the Marines' hand. But they do reap a certain bounty from Velim II nonetheless.

As with any human population, there are children, though childhood is preciously short on Velim II. And though infants know nothing of the world, and adults are so imprinted with the need for constant motion as to be incapable of rest, their young children are a balance between both. They have learned many useful talents and developed immense endurance, but their brains are still mostly pliable enough for hypno-conditioning, and thus can be transformed into a Marine.

The Velim II population is and always will be small, so few Marines are born here. But of those that pass the gene-seed trials, truly exceptional Marines are made. They rarely rise high in the ranks, and they tend to be poorly suited for life aboard the fleet or assaulting enemy positions, but for the Wandering Chapters they are tailor-made. No War Scribes are mentally faster, quicker of foot or reflex. None have keener eyesight or superior situational awareness. Even for Marines their endurance is legendary, it is often said that a man from Velim II could run a thousand years and circle a planet fifty times over before growing tired on the march.

Their restless spirit is tempered into swift but well-planned action, a decisiveness to be envied. It is by no means guaranteed despite their genetic heritage, but almost every Chapter Master of a Wandering Chapter hails from Velim II. They are ruin-raiders, explorers, cartographers, and trailblazers beyond peer in the Imperium, wise in their breadth of experience and much respected among their more sedate brethren.

Thus is the legacy of ancient Man.


RJ-874-S9 Iota Prime, "Object Eighteen"[edit]

Object Eighteen
Type

-CLASSIFIED-

Orbital radius

-CLASSIFIED-

Gravity

-CLASSIFIED-

Temperature

-CLASSIFIED-

Population

-CLASSIFIED-

Planetary Governor

-CLASSIFIED-

System

-CLASSIFIED-

Sector

-CLASSIFIED-

Sub Sector

-CLASSIFIED-

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Even the War Scribes' librariums do not contain the sum of all Imperial knowledge.

Within the vastness of space is ample room to hide almost anything, and the Atalantos Worlds are no exception.

In the early 34th Millennium, a growing number of Inquisitors became concerned that the War Scribes might be operating too independently. It was well known across the Imperium that the Atalantos Worlds were largely self-sufficient, possessed of a hearty resilience both industrially and in the people's mindset. Forged by a commonality of purpose, the Atalantos Worlds traditionally presented a unified front to external threats, even if they often quarreled amongst themselves. What then might happen if they decided the Imperium itself was an "external threat"? No human could be above suspicion, even less so a collection of worlds capable of stifling Imperial trade and communication to the Ultima Segmentum!

The War Scribes too came under the Inquisiton's baleful gaze. Though Primarch Arelex had long ago consented to break his Legion apart and form Codex-adherent Chapters, the "familial" mentality never truly died. His Successor Chapters regularly communicated with one another, and would often rally together to defeat larger foes. Chapter Masters traveled to Atalantos in order to share their knowledge with one another, and Marines occasionally exchanged themselves across Chapters to foster cooperation and renew ancient trust. To many Inquisitors, this reeked of covert Legion-building. Something would have to be done.

Quietly, without alerting the ever-vigilant Scribes, Inquisitorial operatives gained access to many of the oldest surveys of the Galactic Core. Some of these were even penned by Arelex himself! Scouring these maps took decades, but at last a suitable world was chosen for the Inquisition's purposes. RJ-874-S9 Iota Prime, "Object Eighteen".

Notable for its utter non-notability, RJ-874-S9 Iota Prime is the eighteenth and final planet discovered by Imperial survey probes in a mostly empty sector. Nothing is known about it, for the Inquisition secretly erased virtually every trace that the planet ever existed in Imperial records. It can only be assumed that the planet is now some sort of listening device, and most likely a forward operating base deep in the Atalantos Worlds. But a single planet could never truly threaten the War Scribes or their Successors through force of arms or naval power, even stocked to the brim with weapons and men at arms.

But the darkest rumors whisper of mysterious vessels sighted from time to time, flickering in and out of sensor images like ghosts. Every so often, a crusty old voidship captain or jaded planetary defense officer will tell tall tales of such things in local drinking establishments. And usually, the crowd buys such people a drink or two in appreciation of their tall tales. But some people, wiser and more knowledgeable of the Imperium's capabilities discern more from these riddles.

The Inquisition works subtly and quietly most of the time. But occasionally they cannot. And ancient vessels are dispatched, a single one per rebellious world. Then they are gone, doomed world and midnight-black voidcraft alike.

These vessels have yet to be unleashed upon the Atalantos Worlds or the War Scribes, if indeed they are real. But the Inquisition never sleeps. And tomorrow is a new day.

Anomaly Sagittarius-Scaramanzo 384, The Riptide[edit]

Sagittarius-Scaramanzo 384
Type

Debris field

Orbital radius

None

Gravity

None

Temperature

2.7 Kelvin

Population

Varies

Planetary Governor

None

System

None

Sector

Scaramanzo

Sub Sector

384

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


It is an all too common phenomena in the Galaxy that Warp currents ensnare voidships, both intact and destroyed alike. Many Imperial record speak of claiming valuable salvage from these derelicts and bringing them to new purpose serving the Emperor's needs. Anomaly 384 in the Scaramanzo sub-sector is quite a bit more unusual though. A complex interaction of gravitational fields from the Galaxy's central black hole, the nearby stars, and a rapidly orbiting binary neutron pair have aggregated billions of tons of twisted metal and drifting asteroids together. Like the tail of a comet but a trillion times more massive, this streamer of wreckage stretches for almost a light-year, trailing in the neutron stars' wake.

Approaching the debris is perilous indeed, for at any moment some hapless piece of ancient garbage might impact one of the neutron stars, releasing unimaginable quantities of energy. Nearby Warp routes also suffer from the enormous gravitic strain, snapping and reforming themselves in new patterns on a daily, even hourly basis. The handful of Navigators who have entered this tortured space and lived to tell the tale describe navigation here as "dancing from circus tightrope to tightrope as they snap beneath your weight, all while blindfolded and falling down a mountain".

Though their lust for treasure knows few bounds, even the adventurous War Scribes do not journey too close to the Riptide. More than one Strike Cruiser was been torn apart before the Marines admitted defeat. Regrettably, the price is just too high to risk valuable Marines and their equipment on this sort of treasure hunt, especially when more lucrative pickings lie elsewhere. The Adeptus Mechanicus continues their efforts to plunder the Riptide though, bolstered by their gravitic research on Precipice. With their advanced equipment they have been able to retrieve several small relics, and hope to achieve yet more in time.

A handful of pirates and Rogue Traders have also dared the Riptide's embrace. Almost all have found themselves part of its lifeless entourage, along with their precious voidcraft. Life is tenacious and even here a small community has arisen from these unfortunates. They huddle inside their adamantium shells and scrounge a day to day existence using radiation collectors to fuel hydroponics and water reclamation in place of a proper sun and planetary ecosystem. They are virtually cut off from the entire Galaxy thanks to the Riptide, and few can even begin to speculate what changes the radiation, gravitic anomalies, and more mundane hardships may have wrought upon their bodies and minds.

Someday perhaps the Imperium may learn of their fates, but it will likely not be any time soon.

Protoplanetary Disc Emmen Prime/"Mork's Eye"/"Gork's Heart"[edit]

(Name INTENSELY disputed)
Type

Ork-infested asteroid field

Orbital radius

Varies

Gravity

Varies

Temperature

Varies

Population

Billions of Orks, 30,000,000 Humans

Planetary Governor

General Quro Rimlin

System

Emmen

Sector

Tuchaniv

Sub Sector

Emmen

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


A star's youth passes quickly even in geologic time. Planets are born over the course of some millions of years, the star slowly begins to warm up as more helium is fused in the core, and the excess debris is purged by T Tauri winds driving dust and ice particles to the solar system's fringes. Emmen Prime is in the midst of just this process. It is a small whitish-yellow star not much bigger than Sol, with an enormous disc of tumbling rock and ice escorting it through the universe. Someday these lumps will coalesce into planets of various types, but for now they are simply drifting at random.

Some of these protoplanets are molten hot from previous impacts, but many have cooled and solidified through the whims of chance. It is here that Ork upon Ork have chosen to make their fortresses, bursting with fungus life in a million isolated ecosystems. They wage war on one another constantly, destroying anything they can get their green hands on and bickering at the slightest provocation. The Imperium has cordoned off Emmen Prime with a vast net of orbital fortresses carved into asteroids orbiting near the system's outer fringe.

Millions of Guardsmen and naval vessels stand permanent vigil here, remaining hidden until the last possible second to avoid giving the squabbling Orks a target to rally against. When a particularly ambitious Ork gathers a nascent WAAAGH! to himself and threatens to leave the system, concealed weapons extend from unsuspicious rocks and blast the crude Orkish vessels to smithereens, then retract to become invisible once more. The Imperium would love nothing more than to purge the Emmen Prime system of its green infestation, but the sheer number of hiding places and Orks renders this a difficult task at best.

A mighty Crusade will eventually descend upon the myriad Orks, the War Scribes at its head, but such plans are as yet merely paper tigers. There are several prominent backers of this embryonic Crusade though, chief among them the inhabitants of the Govirex system. They would love nothing more than to haul Emmen's nigh-infinite geological wealth to their drifting hab-bubble homes, for they are always in need of mineral resources to forge repair equipment. All the Govirexians need is the support of a prominent Inquisitor or Administratum notable, and the tide of war will turn towards Emmen.


Anomaly Centroid R-391/C-6[edit]

R-391/C-6
Type

Stellar Remnant

Orbital radius

N/A

Gravity

385,000 G

Temperature

-270C

Population

0

Planetary Governor

N/A

System

N/A

Sector

Peltru

Sub Sector

Deep Core 81-Gamma

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Within the Galaxy's burning heart, stars are born with reckless abandon. Their light shines through the cosmos, boldly proclaiming the temporary triumph of matter over entropy. And with equal frequency stars die, casting off their outer layers to seed the cosmos with resources. A certain subset of stars, including Terra's own, take the middle path. Large enough to burn helium into carbon, yet not massive enough to go beyond and fuse heavier elements, these stellar bodies live long, placid lives. They swell up into red giants, and gently shed themselves into a planetary nebula, leaving behind a single brilliantly hot white dwarf.

After many cosmic aeons, longer than the Universe has currently existed, these planet-sized embers will cool and go dark. They will cease to emit light and become invisible to all but gravitic scopes. According to the Imperium's finest scientists, some 14 billion years are required for this process. In theory, a star that was dying as the Universe was born might have reached this inert state in the present Imperial era. Of course, no reputable Magos believed in the possibility. Until a newly established mining colony in the deepest reaches of the Atalantos Worlds reported something mysterious distorting Warp travel and causing orbital disturbances in their system.

The search took more than twenty years and required exhaustive multispatial triangulation to narrow down the anomaly's possible location, but the Scribes adore a good puzzle and took to the task with gusto. And eventually the stellar remnant was identified. Anomaly R-391/C-6 weighs as much as Sol but occupies the volume of Holy Terra, its gravitic pull at the surface nearly four hundred thousand G's. Virtually invisible, its entire mass is composed of molecular carbon left over from stellar fusion, with trace elements captured from interstellar space.

In effect, it is a single quasi-crystalline diamond the size of a planet. And it should not exist.

Though implausible, the Mechanicus and the Scribes came to but one conclusion. Something in the distant past artificially aged a small star to death, carefully controlled its fusion pattern, and cooled it rapidly through means unknown. The anomaly's crystal structure is riddled with stress fractures and compression facets, but no meaningful pattern has ever been identified. Psychic probes have failed to return any useful information, and despite their best efforts no Magos has ever been able to pry physical samples from the terrifying gravitational pull.

Through their network of contacts among Rogue Traders, who will converse with xenos the Scribes refuse to tolerate, a strange fragment of lore does offer tantalizing clues, if true. The Eldar Empire's long-dead bonesingers sung of this object, calling it the "Last Tear of a Dying Realm". It was their belief that R-391/C-6 does not belong to our universe, that another realm's peerless scientists learned of our universe's physical laws to come and crafted a nigh-indestructible capsule that could exist within those strictures. Casting their payload into whatever maelstrom might have come before the Big Bang, their message in a bottle might one day be read by new life and new civilizations. A way to cheat the ultimate destruction, and prove that they existed.

Sadly, both Eldar and Mankind have fallen far, and neither will likely ever have the technical skill to decode a planet, if indeed there is anything to be decoded. It is entirely possible that some strange Warp anomaly leached the life out of some hapless star during a massive Warpstorm, spitting out nothing more glamorous than a useless rock. Perhaps it is some craft of Tzeentch the Great Deceiver itself, devised for no greater purpose than to drive men mad and cause them to waste their lives on a fool's errand But the quest for knowledge is ever tantalizing. Imperials, Xenos, and the forces of Chaos alike venture here from time to time, in order to take their shot at its secrets.


Voidwrack[edit]

Voidwrack/Pallamox
Type

Spatial Disturbance/Red Supergiant

Orbital radius

N/A

Gravity

N/A

Temperature

N/A

Population

0

Planetary Governor

N/A

System

N/A

Sector

Pallamox -FORBIDDEN ZONE-

Sub Sector

Pallamox Centris -FORBIDDEN ZONE-

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


In the Galactic Core there are few living creatures and few sources of Warp energy to be found. The Maelstrom is perhaps the most famous, dominating its region of space with merciless wrath. There are some few regions near the Atalantos Worlds where the Warp runs fierce however, and the Voidwrack is well known to the Scribes as a place of ultimate hazard. It is well known that planets fall into these Warp rifts from time to time. They disappear from the Materium for years, sometimes millennia, and emerge wholly changed by their unnatural experience. Continents unravel, oceans boil, the air is filled with shrieking daemons and all is rendered uninhabitable.

The Voidwrack on the other hand is about to experience a very different fate. Within the Galaxy's heart are millions of vast stars, and their supernova deaths outshine the entire Galaxy as they explode. One such star, a bloated supergiant 90 times the mass of Sol named Pallamox, is on a collision course for this rift. Stars travel slowly in the Galactic fringes, but in the Core they move with great haste. Pallamox is due to enter the Voidwrack and pass from existence within three years, and the last embers of its stellar fuel are surely running out. In all the Imperium's records and studies, nothing gives even the slightest indication of what might happen should a giant star die within the Warp.

For now, this stellar region is absolutely forbidden to all travelers. Even Rogue Traders and Inquisitors are to be shot on sight without hesitation. If some sort of Warp-spawned terror is stirred from the deepest bowels of hell by this cosmic alarm bell, then it will take all the Imperium's power to contain it.


Magodan Delphi "Heaven's Ashes"[edit]

Magodan Delphi
Type

Planet/Temporal Disturbance

Orbital radius

1.3 AU

Gravity

1.13g

Temperature

22 C

Population

Unknown

Planetary Governor

N/A

System

Magodan

Sector

Nemuroid

Sub Sector

Magodan

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Long before the Imperium, long before Humanity itself, long before the coming of Slannesh and the formation of the Eye of Terror, there were the Eldar and their eternal Necron foes. Though their apocalyptic war has passed into the dimmest catacombs of history, even in the modern era its ripples and afterimages can still be discerned for those clever enough to hone their archaeological skills. But on rare occasions the scars are more obvious, and few more so than upon Magodan Delphi.

Magodan Delphi is a modest and unassuming world, once a pretty jewel in the night sky and home to millions of Eldar. A Maiden World it was, and one of the last battlegrounds in the war's final stages. Magodan Delphi had little strategic or military value, but the Silent King was wroth and even as his armies lost ground to Eldar sorcery he desired to remind them what true pain and suffering was. it is beyond the means of Imperial scholars to determine exactly what techno-sorcery the Silent King unleashed, or what Warp-spawned power the Eldar summoned to try and counter it with, but Magodan Delphi was torn from causality as we mortals know it.

For more than a light-year surrounding Magodan Delphi in all directions, time runs at random. Imperial vessels entering these tainted spaces risk aging to dust in an eyeblink, or seeing their clocks unwound past the point of conception. Causality means nothing here and even the creatures of the Warp will not enter into it. Though daemons are normally immune to time's ravages, nevertheless they can be truly undone upon Magodan Delphi, helpless as the ripples of hatred or despair or lust that birthed them rewind upon their progenitor and evaporate. Or perhaps the opposite, they could be cast so far forward that they meet their end dashed against the bitter shoals of a time where no creature yet lives to feel emotion, and the daemons wither away for lack of sustenance. In theory even a God could meet its end on Magodan, unraveled and bled out through a thousand shards of broken time.

Most frightening of all are the shades of Eldar and Necron from fifty million years ago still locked in their ancient struggle. They flicker in and out of our existence at random, chasing one another eternally in a battle which to them is still ongoing. Occasionally fragments of their technology and artifice drift out from the Magodan Delphi distortion zone, and the fortunes of entire Rogue Trader Dynasties have been born from a single such relic. The Eldar too venture here from time to time, sheathing themselves in their most potent witchcraft and praying that their Farseers can navigate the temporal fractures. Though many Eldar lives have been lost in this endeavor, their goal is to return some of their deadliest warriors to safe harbor and perhaps begin to reignite the powers their species once had. So far however, there has been no success.

Likewise, Necron ships are summoned here as well, clad in arcane technology and guided by shards of the hateful C'tan who can see what mortals cannot and unravel three-dimensional snarls with multi-dimensional logic. They seek the wisdom of ancient Phaerons, uncorroded by the long sleep that has crippled the minds of so many of the Necrons' finest leaders. Magodan Delphi's voidspace is littered with Cairn ships that have tried, and failed. It is the Imperium's hope that the Necrons never find what they seek.

And in miniature, the War in Heaven is refought around Magodan Delphi. Even as shades of the past duel in ghostly apocalypse, their descendants and successors wage that ancient war over and over, interfering with each other's rescue attempts even as they seek to reclaim their distant kin. The Inquisition keeps tight watch on Magodan Delphi, intervening with deadly raiding strikes whenever it looks as though Eldar or Necron has at last achieved the upper hand. Countless Imperial lives have been lost in this endless raiding party, but the peril of letting even a single ancient warrior return from their temporal exile is so great that no other response will do.

Though the War Scribes and the Inquisition often fail to see eye to eye, in this their cooperation is implicit and absolute.


01-Magnis "The Big One"[edit]

Void Wreckage 01-Magnis
Type

Space Hulk

Orbital radius

N/A

Gravity

Variable

Temperature

Variable

Population

Not Fully Catalogued

Planetary Governor

None

System

None

Sector

Varies

Sub Sector

Varies

Segmentum

Usually Ultima Segmentum, has been spotted as deep as Segmentum Solar


Every Space hulk is a colossal pile of wreckage, laden with terror and treasure from an unknowable number of origins. Some are smaller than an Imperial Battleship, others are larger than Hive Cities or even Craftworlds. But at the center of every hurricane there is an eye, at the hub of every vortex there is a point of calm where objects may gather. In many respects then, the emergence of anomaly 01-Magnis should have come as no surprise to the Imperium, yet even the ever vigilant War Scribes had no warning of its arrival.

01-Magnis must have been accreting in the Galaxy's central gravitational well for thousands of years, continually refreshed and expanded by the monstrous black hole's leftovers which escaped its maw. An endless rain of material from every civilization ever to travel near the galaxy's heart, all crammed into one ever-growing nucleus. Eventually, 01-Magnis grew too large to maintain its spiraling orbit and inertia broke it free, tumbling through the Warp and realspace intermittently. It is difficult for such a large object to remain in the Immaterium, and Imperial scholars have long noted 01-Magnis' capricious nature even among Space Hulks. The longest recorded time spent in one spot was less than a week, and on many occasions the Hulk has dropped back into and out of Warp-space almost as soon as it arrived, flicker-dashing across entire sectors in hours like a stone skipping across the water, a feat impossible for all known Warp engines.

It was almost inevitable that so many ships converging into one area should have some survivors, and within a planet-sized mass of metal there are surely dozens, if not hundreds or thousands of warring empires defending themselves from each other and from daemonic incursion. Every time 01-Magnis emerges from another of its skitter-hops, xenos of every variety hurl themselves from its gravity well by any means they possibly can, riding ramshackle ships cobbled together from whatever can be had on the Hulk. Still others pursue them, determined to prevent any resources from being stolen from their metal dominion. Needless to say, any Imperial worlds nearby become prime targets for these suicidal refugees. Though not mindless beasts like the Tyranids, the hellscape they flee from is incomparable to anything save perhaps the depths of Commorragh itself, and so they fear no opposition. Freedom is the only thing they crave, even more than life itself.

Most of the time these unknown xenos from a thousand worlds are little threat to the Imperium save for their numbers and ferocity. However form time to time one or more of them will unearth some ancient relic of true power, and more than one Imperial world has been laid to ruin by their vile touch. Accordingly, an entire battlefleet of the Imperial Navy has been dispatched to follow 01-Magnis as best they can, spreading themselves far and wide in an attempt to build a net wide enough to catch the wildly wandering planet. Sometimes they are successful, but the casualties are immense even still. In recent millennia 01-Magnis has wandered amongst the Atalantos Worlds, and the beleaguered Battlefleet Laqueus has received some much-needed reinforcement.

The Scribes do not take kindly to xenos incursions, but 01-Magnis is surely more than they can handle. Nevertheless it is the nature, though some would say doom, of the Scribes to consider the impossible as merely another problem to be solved. Even now the Chapter Master is drawing up preliminary plans for a vast assault, deploying nearly the entire War Scribes fleet as well as many of their Successor Chapters. It is said that certain wise Magi allied to the Scribes know methods by which a naval vessel may deploy "anchors" that stabilize the Warp in a small area, and that with enough such anchors perhaps the Scribes, the Battlefleet Laqueus, the merchant navy of the Atalantos Worlds and as many other allies as can be mustered might draw a net around an entire planet.

And purge it forevermore.


Remelon-In-His-Light, Ecclesiarchial Dominion[edit]

Remelon
Type

Shrine World

Orbital radius

.96AU

Gravity

.79G

Temperature

35 C

Population

4,000,000,000 (Surface) 100,000,000 (Lunar)

Planetary Governor

Cardinal Deswali Blannos

System

Remelon System

Sector

Holomoran

Sub Sector

Remelon

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


The Atalantos Worlds have never held as strongly to religious teaching as the rest of the Imperium, for they more than most remember the Imperial Truth passed down from the Emperor Himself. The War Scribes have thousands of documents, vox-recordings and pict-captures of the Emperor's speeches and are not averse to promulgating them amongst the masses when necessary. Nevertheless the Ecclesiarchy maintains a moderate presence in this galactic region, using rhetoric, wise counsel and populist movements to sway hearts and minds that tend to reject fury and fanaticism. Some of the Imperium's greatest religious thinkers have come from Remelon in millennia past, expertly patching holes and erasing flawed logic in the Imperial Creed.

Regrettably Remelon's time as a local hub of the faithful is coming to an end. Cardinal Deswali is the 118th holder of her title here and she will very likely be the last. Long-range scans and Astropathic surveys indicate that a nearby star has run out of fuel and died quite spectacularly. While the blast debris will not reach Remelon for thousands of years, the radiation pulse will arrive in less than eight and the Warp is becoming tumultuous even ahead of that. Evacuations have begun in earnest thanks to hundreds of Ecclesiarchial pilgrim ships diverted from their normal routes, but it is anyone's guess how many will be saved.

Concerningly, the Eldar have also appeared in-system in numbers unheard of by Imperial scholars. The War Scribes tried to engage this fleet immediately for their hatred of xenos surpasses almost all other Astartes but at every turn they were beset by horrendous luck and improbable circumstances. Finally, the Warp became so tumultuous around them thanks to the oncoming supernova that they were forced to break off pursuit lest they lose an entire fleet. The Eldar however slipped through the storm with barely a whisper.

Most of Remelon's people were carried away on Imperial transport, but nearly a five hundred thousand stragglers, including Cardinal Deswali herself were rescued by the Eldar for purposes unknown. It is beyond the Imperium's capacity to reason out why this should be so, but their only clue are a few cryptic words from the Corsair in charge of the armada.

"We do not like your kind, Mon-keigh. We like your religion even less, preacher. But the celestial balance, the sphere of stars, the void which I call home has been violated by the ancient foe, and must now be repaired. You are incalculably lucky that to preserve harmony, you too must be preserved. Had I my own choice in the matter you would all have burned."

Cardinal Deswali has softened her tone of late when preaching. She has redoubled her frenzy against traitors and heretics, but not a whisper has she spoken against xenos. Whether this is the result of some fell mental manipulation or undue admiration for the Eldar it will bear watching. She has crossed no line, for it is a Cardinal's sacred legal privilege to choose the subjects of their speeches, but she stands precariously close to betraying the Imperium. The Ecclesiarchy and the Inquisition will be especially vigilant with her from here on.


Peregard IX, the Preserve[edit]

Peregard IX
Type

Uninhabited World

Orbital radius

.4AU

Gravity

2.85G

Temperature

98C

Population

0 (Surface) 10,000,000 (Moons)

Planetary Governor

High Maester Immec Xela IV

System

Peregard System

Sector

Ullamak

Sub Sector

Peregard

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Even from distant orbit, travelers can readily discern that Peregard IX is an unusual world. Its surface is suffused with colors of every possible hue, mixing and mingling in wild patterns which trace the outline of long-dormant fault lines and mountain ranges, high above which orbit several modest moons. Once upon a time, Peregard IX was a gas giant, mighty and full. It must surely have dominated the early years of the Peregard system. As many gas giants do, it fell inwards towards its primary and roasted for billions of years under the glare of an uncaring sun, not much farther from the parent star than Mercury is from Sol. As solar energy purged its atmosphere of hydrogen and helium, the pressure steadily dropped, bringing vast quantities of mineral-infused water from the deep mantle to the surface. Titanic storms must have raged across all of Peregard IX for eons untold, endlessly churning and roiling with latent thermal energy.

Still, Peregard IX's sun shone on unperturbed. More water than ever existed on Terra boiled away into space, and Peregard IX began to dry out. Immense quantities of salt had been dissolved into that hot brine, and century by century it came free once more, leaving vast drifts of every sort of compound imaginable as fields of beautiful crystal structures. Deep within the crushing weight of salt are massive gemstones, and stunning geodes which could hide a Battle Barge. On the surface are ranges of crystals larger than Terra's tallest mountains. Some of Peregard IX's former ocean trenches are filled with layers ten miles deep and a hundred miles wide. Many former shallow basins are nothing more than salt flats which could fit all of Luna comfortably inside their circumference.

Eventually the atmosphere stabilized, Peregard IX's gravity too strong to permit complete escape. It is mostly oxygen and nitrogen, thanks to so much water being split into hydrogen and oxygen by ultraviolet light. Normally a planet's iron reserves will absorb most free oxygen without biological and hydrological cycles to liberate it. In Peregard IX's case, there was simply far too much oxygen available to be absorbed. With no living matter on the surface, even very high oxygen levels compared to Terran standard do not cause fires, there is no combustible material. For brief periods, men can breathe Peregard IX's air. But only very brief periods. The temperature is very near the boiling point of water, and there are many heavy gases like argon, radon, and bromine which cause respiratory damage.

The Imperium does not bother to mine Peregard IX at this time, the effort too great and the rewards too sparse. While the salts are very beautiful and do contain some valuable elements, hauling them out of Peregard IX's gravity well is quite difficult. Instead Peregard IX's many moons play host to such Imperial citizens as do dwell here. Long ago this system was a major trading hub and supply depot where hundreds of Imperial vessels could find ample berths around each moon. Unfortunately traders rarely come to the Peregard system in the modern era, for Chaos raiders have taken to stalking these spacelanes in search of prey. In typical Administratum style, they have dubbed Peregard IX an "Imperial Grandeur Preserve" and try their very best to pretend they choose not to mine it, rather than admit they are impotent to do so, not even controlling the planet around which they orbit. A small number of tourists do visit each year to see the planet's natural wonders, but as often as not they are killed by pirates before leaving the system. Unless something is done, Peregard IX will wither and die from starvation or conquest.

Peregard X is the largest moon, and once it was beautiful and verdant. Only slightly smaller than Terra, this moon caught a decent share of its parent planet's leaking water. For a time there was a lush biosphere perched safely above Peregard IX's endless tumult. Sometime during the Dark Age, a Knight House established itself here, pledging to defend the realm against all comers. Sadly, they could not stave off geology's steady assault, and Peregard X dried out along with its progenitor. Conditions are not so bad as on the salt flats, but greenery is a thing of the past, possible only in deep caves carved out by Knight weapons millennia ago. Here there is still moisture, and life. Unfortunately that also makes them a prime target for hungry raiders, and House Peregard's swords are rarely sheathed. They have put out a call to the other Atalantos Worlds, offering anything they have if only someone with voidgoing vessels will take up station duties here and keep the marauders from making landfall.

The War Scribes and their Successors have ignored these summons, for their other enemies are greater and more pressing, but they have given aid to Rogue Trader House Windam, led by the adventurous Edric Windam. He is young and rather reckless, eager to prove his strength and not given to considering the risks. Fortunately his late father was a shrewd businessman and former Imperial Navy officer who managed to leave Edric a plentiful inheritance by Trader standards. With five vessels under his command and a single squad of War Scribes on temporary support detail, Edric believes nothing is beyond his grasp, and aims to prove it by freeing the Peregard system himself.

Time will tell.


Xae-Jol IV, the Dark Heart[edit]

Xae-Jol IV
Type

Paradise World

Orbital radius

1.3 AU

Gravity

.95G

Temperature

32C

Population

0

Planetary Governor

None

System

Xae-Jol System

Sector

Domman

Sub Sector

Xae-Jol

Segmentum

Ultima Segmentum


Xae-Jol Prime is a benevolent yellow star, very close in size and intensity to Sol. It plays host to almost a dozen planets, all uninhabitable rocks except for the fourth, roaming the spacelanes slightly further from its parent star than Terra from Sol. From orbit, Xae-Jol IV is staggeringly beautiful, with colorful rocks, oceans of many green and blue hues, dense vegetation bursting with life and abundant patches of open grass perfect for building habitation. The planet has been settled at least three or four hundred times, so far as Imperial scholars can ascertain, and even digging a few meters into the soil is sure to turn up all manner of artifacts from an unbelievable number of xenos and human civilizations. Something about Xae-Jol IV inflames the spirit of all sentient beings, causing them to grow ever more decadent, paranoid and hostile. They begin to covet their world as a jewel beyond price and slowly sabotage all other life forms who settle there. Inevitably, all settlements descend into infighting and warfare, spilling their blood upon the soil.

Many theories have been proposed as to why this is so. One faction of scholars hold that Xae-Jol IV is Warp-tainted in very subtle ways, a tantalizing lure placed there by the Prince of Excess itself for sadistic amusement. Others claim that much as the Eldar created Maiden Worlds, so too did their Dark Eldar brethren and this planet is that dark fruit, as beautiful on the outside and as tainted on the inside as that vile race. The third popular theory is that Xae-Jol IV itself is alive and hungry, presenting its radiant beauty and easy living to draw in sentient souls upon which to feed, like a carnivorous plant makes itself irresistible to insect life. None of these theories have yet been proven though.

Accordingly, Xae-Jol IV has been placed under Inquisitional Edict, forbidding all Imperial citizenry from traveling here on pain of death. The Inquisition and Mechanicus maintain a single temporary research installation in orbit, sending down small squads of explorers and archaeo-scholars to pick over the remains an inch at a time in hopes of unraveling the mystery, or perhaps finding artifacts from humanity's Dark Age. Upon their return to the space station, the scholars are screened mercilessly by teams of the Inqusition's finest. At the least hint of deviancy or whim of the Inqusition, they are immediately terminated with extreme prejudice, lest whatever curse inhabits Xae-Jol IV take root and spread.

The biosphere also holds immense interest to Genetors across the Imperium, who dearly wish to retrieve biological samples for experimentation. Xae-Jol's flora and fauna are among the most resilient known to all Imperial science, even after dozens of interstellar civilizations try to drink the planet's resources dry, the ecology recovers within a handful of years as strong and lush as ever. Dump out a barrel of deadly toxins on any given acre of Xae-Jol IV, and a year or two later all the plants and animals will have subtly adapted to break down and make use of those chemicals. Many Magos Biologis have petitioned to transplant these species onto Imperial worlds which have been destroyed by human industry and attempt to regenerate those planets, but thus far the Inquisition has blocked every such attempt. An informal bounty of millions upon millions of Imperial Throne gelt stands to be claimed by anyone reckless enough to bring even a few viable specimens back, but so far none have lived to earn the reward.

The planet is maddening to the Mechanicus, who wish nothing more than to strip mine it at once and greedily plunder its ancient reserves for holy technology. Mars has nearly come to blows with the Inquisition multiple times over Xae-Jol IV, and the War Scribes are beginning to suspect that perhaps Xae-Jol IV has somehow breached the containment protocols. Though the Scribes will not touch Xae-Jol IV with a hundred-foot adamantium rod, they have made preparations to perform Exterminatus on Xae-Jol IV at a moment's notice should they deem it necessary, and to the Warp with the political consequences.

And quietly, a fourth theory has been proposed. Very softly, very tentatively. Few will dare even speak of it, though many have thought it in the back of their minds. There are those who believe that Xae-Jol IV is exactly as it seems. Wonderful in every way. A true Garden of Eden, a paradise hidden by the universe itself in this distant corner of the galaxy. Perhaps it is merely the darkness dwelling within the hearts of all beings which poisons Xae-Jol IV, as such goodness cannot exist amongst filth that craves it all for themselves. No containment can be successful, for all bring the contagion with them.