News doesn’t travel fast across the vast Imperium of Man. If the years of the Indomitus Crusade were chaotic, then the years following it were nothing short of a logistical nightmare. Forces became separated as they crossed into the Imperium Nihilus, sometimes showing back up decades later. Many fleets were never heard from again, many more were left stranded beyond the Great Rift to fend for themselves. Strike Force Theta-IX was one such fleet, bearing nearly a thousand of the Unnumbered Sons and the firepower to bring entire systems to their knees. They were sent to found a new Chapter and tasked with the guarding the very edge of the known galaxy from xenos threats. Little was heard from the fleet, just the occasional mention in the records of Imperial worlds along their path. Worlds were rescued, heretic fleets broken, and countless souls were saved.
Those acts of heroism were not without their cost however. The Dark Imperium grants no respite, and the warriors of Theta IX soon came to realize what it meant to live in those far reaches of the galaxy. Isolated and abandoned worlds and systems suffered like never before, struggled to keep starving populations in check. The Strike Force itself dwindled in size, as casualties mounted and supplies became scarce. Warships floundered with their munitions decks barren and their human crew reduced by hunger and disease. Despite it all they did not shirk their duty. Each battle reduced their forces and supplies further, until a time came that but a tenth of their original number remained. They had been forced to utilize stealth tactics whenever possible to conserve ammunition, but the change came naturally to the brothers of Theta-IX and so it went on. By then they were known as the Grey Saints, a name given to them by a world saved along the journey due to the state of their armour. With so much paint chipped, blasted, and burned off of it the dull grey of bare ceramite was all that remained.
Then nothing. At some point the name vanished from history, the last remnants assumed dead. Until now, of course. More than a hundred years after the disappearance of the Grey Saints the star system they had made their home, the Idean System, was nearly overrun by a Necron splinter dynasty. Nearly, but not quite. A few dozen members of the Death Spectres chapter had rallied the remaining Imperial forces of the region for one last stand, to slow the advance and buy time. This beleaguered fleet stood no real chance, but somehow they survived. At least, some lived long enough to send word of what happened next.
From nowhere an unknown force shows up in the skies above Idean-II, and not just any force but an entire chapter’s worth of space marines. The battle is intense, but the tide has been turned and the Necrons are defeated. A wonderful tale of heroism you would think, no? So who are these heroes, the survivors ask themselves. Which chapter’s colors are those? Blue-green, trimmed with silver, bearing what looks to be an overlapping white Alpha and Omega encircled by chains. Perhaps they just like XX’s, but that twentieth legion marking is all over their iconography too, how interesting. Here’s the thing though, they were clad in the same patterns of Mark-X power armour as the Death Spectres. Their strike cruisers never identified themselves, just turned their guns on the remaining Imperials and eliminated them mercilessly before too many questions could be asked. It’s a miracle we got this report at all, to be honest.
So what do we have then? I don’t know. Could be a mistake, a bold lie, a trap to lure us in, or it could be an entire army of traitors with the secrets of primaris gene-seed and our newest armaments. I leave it to you, are you willing to take that chance High Inquisitor?
“Calm yourselves. We have not come to chastise you, not today. Today the divine Emperor calls you to action. You will muster your forces and you will join this holy crusade as we cleanse your realms of those traitorous heretics. You have one month.”Justinia Crane
High Inquisitor, Ordo Hereticus
“The masses are timid, fearful and rightly so. To send them to war we must bolster their faith, remind them just how brightly the Emperor’s light shines upon them. I beg of you, think of the good it would do our cause if only they knew His angels march alongside us. I will do what I can of course, and pray it is enough.”Alba Ross
“Well, they’re more ambitious than we thought. What’s this, the fourth assassination attempt in as many days? They keep up at this rate we might not even need to bother with hunting them down. Ha!”Greta Marburg
Inquisitor, Ordo Hereticus
“I was under the impression these were Unnumbered Sons, Inquisitor. How did those shattered remnants get their hands on such ancient relics? A damn Leviathan dreadnought! No matter, we know what they’re capable of now and they won’t catch us by surprise like that again.”Lillian Karafa
“My Lady, the Shield Company has reached the Idean System. I am told we are to declare a victory for the Imperium of Mankind.”Evangeline Demetriou
“Brother Martinus, that’s his name. Likes to terrify the masses with his stories. You know, the Great Devourer coming to eat worlds that lose their faith, that sort of thing. He’s from Catachan though, used to be a jungle fighter back in the day, so he might actually know a thing or two about the Devourer. See that there? He’s still carrying around his old chainsword and everything.”Lillian Karafa
” … “Armon Petralia
“Please form an orderly queue to the left. You will be called forward one at a time for examination, those bearing the taint of heresy will be purified immediately. Have no fear, holy promethium is extraordinarily effective in the cleansing process.”Vasili Nero
“When they forget their duty they are become less than beasts, no longer human like you and I. They have no place in the bosom of humanity nor in the heart of the Emperor. Let them die and be forgotten!”Franz Degenhardt
I hope you enjoyed this little story here as an introduction to my next 40k army! The Theta Companies have caught the attention of the Inquisition, and they’ve begun to muster their forces. A Shield Company of Custodes, Sisters of Silence, some assassins, Sisters of Battle, and plenty of Inquisitors will make up this collection that I’ll be running as Talons of the Emperor.