The Theta Companies: An Overview

The Alpha Legion has always, always been for the Emperor. The same cannot be said of any others, so we must be his ghosts in this dark night of the Imperium. There are still those among our number that remember the man who fought for unity and reason, we will not allow the Truth to be forgotten. For the Emperor!

Alpharius of the XX Legion

Summary

              The Theta Companies are a fleet-based force of renegade Astartes genetically descended from the Alpha Legion’s gene-seed, roughly half the size of a standard Space Marine Chapter. There are five Theta Companies in total, each initially numbering exactly 100 marines. Over the last centuries their numbers have grown only slightly, as being a renegade, fleet-based force imposes many limitations. They were initially successors of both the Raven Guard and the Alpha Legion, their gene-seed being an experimental hybrid of the two. In the 32nd Millennium the entire force was stranded in the Warp upon the cruiser Trident, the only survivors of a crippling Raven Guard ambush. When they finally re-emerged into the Materium thousands of years had passed. In the time since the Theta Company survivors have been able to recruit a large contingent of Primaris brothers descended from the gene-seed of Alpharius himself. With their aid the Companies have acquired a sizeable fleet and work to enforce the True Will of the Emperor across the Ghoul Stars. They are fanatical in their devotion to the Truth, but not to the Imperium itself or the Ecclesiarchy.

              The Theta Companies have no set homeworlds, instead maintaining mobility and secrecy by voyaging endlessly through the stars upon large cruisers accompanied by dozens of support vessels. They operate using Nomad-Predation strategies, and have made a habit of ‘resupplying’ by diverting shipments intended for other loyalist chapters that they feel aren’t doing enough to further the Emperor’s true vision for the Imperium. For the most part the Companies are now equipped with stolen Mark-X patterns of power armor, though some choose to continue using the older components, particularly helmets, out of necessity or reverence.


Origins

              The Companies were secretly founded in M31 by the renegade Captain Hektor Sarkis of the Alpha Legion. Using stolen, untainted Raptor gene-stock to create a hybrid gene-seed, he planned to found his own legion and carry out what he termed the True Will of the Emperor. As his plan neared completion the full wrath of the XIX finally caught up with him. The sons of Corax obliterated his fleet and boarded the flagship Trident in an attempt to recover the gene-tech. Sarkis was forced to attempt a desperate warp-jump to flee amidst the boarding action, nearly destroying the Trident in the process. He fell in the hours that followed, as brutal conflicts raged throughout the cruiser. In the end his renegades managed to purge the invaders, only to find themselves adrift in the Empyrean, hundreds of their brothers lying massacred in the corridors. The few survivors attempted to rebuild the Companies in the time since but never truly succeeded, until they were able to track down a Primaris Greyshields force of loyalist brothers descended from the Alpha Legion’s own gene-seed. The bonds of kinship and righteousness united their causes, as the Greyshields were relieved of the shame their gene-seed carried when they discovered that the true Alpha Legionnaires still held firmly to the Emperor’s Truth. The newly inducted Primaris marines were immediately accepted into the ranks as long-lost brothers. They willingly shouldered their burden as renegades from both Imperial and Heretical forces, for the good of Mankind and the glory of The Truth
              Over time they gained a crew of servitors which then expanded to include four other strike cruisers, each accompanied by a small flotilla of supporting crafts, servant populations, and thousands of selectively recruited human operatives.


Goals

              The Theta Companies strive to further the initial goals of the Emperor of Mankind, what they call the True Will of the Emperor. This is primarily interpreted to be the eradication of chaos and protection of humanity, though in their view the Imperium itself has unfortunately strayed far from that vision. They operate independently, considered renegades by both loyalists and heretics, but have networks of operatives spread across regions of the galaxy. Some of the Alpha Legion battle brothers entombed within the Company’s dreadnoughts are old enough to remember the Horus Heresy, and have greatly influenced the rest of the Companies with their stories of former glories and the tragic fall to chaos, though even they never saw the full glory of the Imperium of Mankind. They blame the chaos gods for the Heresy more so than any of the traitor Primarchs or their legions, perhaps as a way of reconciling themselves with their heritage and the fall of so many they considered brothers. The Emperor himself is viewed as the greatest man ever to live, a titan of progress and innovation, who was tragically too human to protect his sons from the gods of chaos.


Physiology

              Just as the Raptors had been larger, stronger, and more capable than a standard Astartes, the original legionnaires of the Theta Companies bear similar traits. In addition, they possess a startling resilience to the warp’s corruption not present in either the XIX or XX legions. In the current age of the Imperium, they are roughly comparable to their Primaris space marine brothers in both size and physical capabilities. Due to imperfections in their gene-seed, their Omophagea (memory-eating), Neuroglottis (tracking by taste), and Betcher’s Gland (acid spit) are only minimally functional.


Heraldry

              The colors and iconography of the Theta Companies resemble a bastardized version of the Alpha Legion’s, just as their cultures does. Each of the five companies utilizes a different variation of the blue/green scheme, as follows:

Theta-I: Green Helmets, Red-Orange Lenses
Theta-II: No Green Armour
Theta-III: Green Left Arm
Theta-IV: Green Right Arm
Theta-V: Green Left Shoulderpad

              Each marine’s personal beliefs and accomplishments influences their heraldry, but common themes include the many-headed hydra, silver chains of office, the XX numerology of their predecessors, chequered bands, skulls, the Alpha, the Omega, and other ancient Terran symbols.


Organisational Structure

              There are five Theta Companies in total, each initially numbering exactly 100 marines. Over the last several hundred years their numbers have only grown slightly, but they have grown their fleet to include four other strike cruisers, each accompanied by a small flotilla of supporting crafts, servant populations, and thousands of selectively recruited human operatives.

              Each Company is led by two Captains working in concert with one another, though each has distinct responsibilities, in an echo of the manner in which Alpharius and Omegon once led the Alpha Legion. Otherwise, the command staff structure is essentially the same as that of their codex-compliant brethren.

              Theta-I rarely conducts military operations as a collective force, instead reinforcing the other Companies with detachments of their elite veterans. Theta-II, -III and -IV serve as the battle companies, striking in force and with overwhelming firepower. Theta-V is the vanguard company, deploying covertly to discreetly contain threats or to weaken enemy infrastructure before the arrival of their battle company brothers.

              Individual Companies rarely number more than 150 Astartes, since only the most promising of their agents are recruited and they seldom make planetfall to retrieve those assets. Furthermore, the small company fleets have no way to consistently replenish military supplies and must raid Imperial stockpiles to arm and equip themselves, making it difficult to maintain greater numbers. At any given time, there may be between 20 and 50 of their number deployed as Infiltrators on key planets to gather intel, recruit agents, and influence events.


Tactics

              Should an Infiltrator decide that things have progressed to the point that large-scale, decisive action must be taken, the roaming fleet will come to their aid. Typically, vanguard forces will deploy first to join the Infiltrator in dismantling infrastructure, as well as arming potential allies. Ideally the threat will then be eliminated in a single, coordinated assault by overwhelming force, destroying the opposition from within and without. If such action is deemed beyond the Companies’ ability to achieve these vanguard forces will instead withdraw with their most useful assets, and then attempt to use their wider network of agents lure a larger, appropriately motivated force to deal with the threat at hand. For instance, loyalist chapters or Imperial Guard regiments in nearby sectors might be informed of widespread chaos worship, or rumors might spread about a desirable or dangerous relic’s location.

              Despite extensive planning and caution, the Companies do sometimes encounter an unexpected or exceptionally dangerous threat which forces them to abandon an objective and retreat. Once such a decision is made it is final and all-encompassing. All forces completely abandon their previous objectives, evacuate the planet, and leave the system as soon as possible. Both out of the desire for continued secrecy and the extreme scarcity of equipment the recovery any fallen Astartes and their wargear is of paramount importance in these situations.


Relics

Armour of Sarkis
              The ancient, mastercrafted suit of cataphractii armor worn by Captain Hektor Sarkis on the day of his death is the most venerated of all the Companies’ relics. It is kept in a shrine dedicated to the man responsible for both the founding of the Companies as well as their preservation. It has been fully repaired from the state in which it was discovered and on extremely rare occasions of dire need this wargear may be worn into battle by a Captain deemed worthy.

Relic Dreadnoughts
                The Theta Companies also possess a handful of carefully maintained Contemptor and Leviathan dreadnoughts, each of which is a treasured connection to their past. Four of the venerable brothers initially entombed within them still live, the many centuries of stasis-sleep having preserved their bodies and minds. All four are veterans of the Great Crusade and the Heresy itself, Alpha Legionnaires that once stood before the Emperor himself, and fought beside legions of their brothers. The shifting timestream of the warp spared them enduring the ravages of the last ten thousand years, ghosts of another time. Hundreds of years old even before their entombment within the sarcophagi, they know their remaining years are numbered and all have already begun to feel their bodies and minds succumb to the incomparable pains of interment within such a tomb. When awakened their every word is recorded, for it is from these wise ancients that nearly all of the Companies’ knowledge of the Emperor and his Truth comes.

Tomes of the Ancients
                In addition to the recordings themselves, which are made available through the Chaplains for every brother in search of guidance, the audio files have been painstakingly transcribed into beautiful illuminated tomes. Filled with depictions of the heroes and battles described, these books are displayed in the Hall of Relics alongside the Armour of Sarkis.

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