- "Dark star, that hath no light;
Whither shalt thou wander,
If not back into the abyss
Where we must follow?"
- — Attributed to Saint Basillius the Elder
The Broken was a warband of Chaos Space Marines that was once the Viridian Consuls Chapter, a Second Founding Successor Chapter of the Ultramarines. They were corrupted by Chaos after entering the Eye of Terror in 321.M37 as part of the Imperial Abyssal Crusade. It is unknown what horrors they endured during their sojourn into the Eye, but by the time they made their way back into realspace, they had become the warband of Heretic Astartes known as The Broken.
The Broken were encountered by the Ultramarines Chapter in the late 41st Millennium as they investigated the Space Hulk designated Fury that broke from the Warp close to the Agri-World of Iax. As the Ultramarines ventured deeper into the Space Hulk, they were horrified to learn that their foes were once a Loyalist Chapter derived from their own parent Legion. The Broken are believed to have been eradicated by the Ultramarines and their allies amongst the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Inquisition during this campaign.
The Abyssal CrusadeEdit
Following the Ecclesiarchal Purges of 321.M37, a dozen star systems were engulfed by Warp Storm Dionys, its echoes rippling along the spiral arms of the galaxy as it raged through the Empyrean. Records of mutation and Chaos Cultist activity quadrupled virtually overnight. Worse yet, it was not only the citizens who were affected by the sudden influx of Chaos. Many of the Space Marine Chapters with homeworlds affected by the Warp Storm found that the secret imperfections in their gene-seed were writ large upon their new recruits, giving rise to a wave of disturbing manifestations both physical and psychological. The Viridian Consuls were one such Loyalist Chapter of Astartes that was affected by this Warp Storm.
When the Ecclesiarchy heard of this sinister turn of events, Saint Basillius the Elder demanded that all those Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes whose homeworlds had been touched by the Warp Storm be rendered unto his judgement. Such was the Living Saint's influence with the High Lords of Terra and the Inquisition that within a standard year this had come to pass. After a series of stringent tests and prognostications, hundreds of Chapters were deemed unaffected by the Warp Storm but no less than thirty were found wanting.
The Judged, as these fallen Chapters came to be known, volunteered for a redemptive Penitent Crusade. The most militant of their number demanded the right to purify their tainted flesh in the fires of battle, to make a noble end from tragic misfortune. To the surprise of his closest advisors, Saint Basillius agreed to this proposal. He saw it fitting to send the accused into the Eye of Terror, taking the fight for the Imperium's future to the Daemon Worlds inhabited by the Traitor Marines.
Representatives from each of the doomed Chapters held an emergency Council of Dismay to discuss the proposed Crusade. After scant solar hours of debate, they acquiesced to Basillius' demands, for they believed that martyrdom was preferable to an existence of suspicion and doubt. The last few days of 321.M37 saw a solemn procession of Strike Cruisers and Battle Barges pass through the Cadian Gate into the Eye of Terror, relay systems dormant and heraldic colours obscured by black mag-plates. One by one, the Chapters of The Judged disappeared into the iridescent dust nebulae that surrounded the Eye. As the Space Marine flotilla entered the Eye of Terror, they were set upon by a massive Chaos warfleet. The resultant battle was so fierce that the warships of The Judged were forced to retreat and were scattered to the furthest corners of the Eye.
After many Terran centuries within the Eye fighting the Forces of Chaos, the Viridian Consuls began to lose all hope and felt that they had been forgotten by the Imperium they served. By that time they had encountered and taken possession of a large Space Hulk designated Fury. Some of their number, including their own Chapter Master Phrynon, lost faith in the cause of the Emperor and turned to the veneration of the Dark Gods.
The rage they felt at their banishment paved the way for the worship of Khorne whilst their despair attracted the baleful attentions of Nurgle. Embracing the teachings of Chaos, Chapter Master Phrynon began to corrupt his own troops, trying to break the Astartes' faith in the Imperium by torturing them through diverse means. For his efforts Phrynon was granted ascension to daemonhood and became a Daemon Prince. He shed his mortal name to become "The Witness", a title taken in mockery of the Imperial justice that had condemned the Viridian Consuls to this fate. Having been broken both in mind and body before succumbing to the corrupting influence of Chaos, the remaining Astartes who became a part of the new warband took the name of "The Broken."
The Fury Comes to IaxEdit
Four thousand standard years after The Broken took command of the Fury, the Space Hulk was detected by the Augur array of one of the many void stations guarding the Agri-world of Iax in the far distant Realm of Ultramar. A patrol ship was sent to investigate the matter, but failed to return, as it was caught in the gravity-well of the enormous Space Hulk, which over the centuries had grown to become the size of a small moon. As per procedure, Iax's void-control alerted the nearest Ultramarines vessel, the Strike Cruiser Rex Aeterna. While monitoring the situation, Iax's security officers received a garbled Vox transmission: a single, short phrase in archaic High Gothic, repeated over and over as if it was whispered by the darkness itself, "Insanista in tenebris".
Commanded by Captain Caius Galenus of the Ultramarines' 5th Company -- also known as the "Black Company" for their distinctive black pauldron rims -- the Rex Aeterna was promptly rerouted to the Iax System. After identifying the Space Hulk for what it was, the only recently promoted Captain Galenus deemed it prudent to relay the information to Macragge, for he had correctly anticipated that both the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Imperial Inquisition would take a keen interest in the Space Hulk. The former because it might house some invaluable archeotech, the latter because its Warp-taint might well endanger the spiritual and physical integrity of the worlds the Fury would pass while in realspace.
Lacking any true experience in inter-Adepta politics, Galenus preferred to defer the matter to his Chapter Master, Marneus Calgar. In the meantime, the Rex Aeterna would investigate the crash-site of the surveillance vessel on the slim chance that one of the crew might yet be alive. This meant landing on the surface of the Space Hulk itself. In order to acquire more data on the nature of the threat the Hulk presented, Captain Galenus authorised the deployment of a single squad of Space Marines to investigate the crash-site and the nature of the Space Hulk itself. Terminator Sergeant Caius Starn, formerly of the 5th Company before being promoted to the 1st, volunteered his squad for that mission.
While the initial reconnaissance quickly determined that there were no survivors, the Veterans of 1st Company -- which was still recuperating from the blow dealt to it by the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Behemoth -- found progress difficult and slow. The surface of the Fury was a mangled landscape of voidship wrecks and asteroids, the low gravity powerful enough to trap metallic dust and smaller debris in clouds of micro-particles that disrupted both Auspex-scans and communications. Despite the precautions they took, the Rex Aeterna soon lost contact with the four-man Terminator Squad as they ventured deeper into the Space Hulk.
In the meantime, on Macragge, Calgar had received Galenus' message. The nature of the event was such that he had immediately ordered news of Galenus' discovery to be relayed to both the Forge World of Gantz and the Inquisitorial Fortress on Talasa Prime. Both the Mechanicus and the Inquisition had soon after dispatched their own envoys to push their respective agendas. Calgar knew the first envoy, Magos Explorator Fane, from his previous dealings with the Mechanicus. But the second, an Inquisitor of the Ordo Hereticus who introduced himself as Lazarus Drake, was unknown to him.
Given the sheer size of the Fury, Calgar had ordered the Ultramarines' 7th Company out of reserve and Captain Ixion was already transferring his men and their equipment to the mighty Battle Barge Octavius, the most powerful vessel in the Ultramarines' fleet. Together, the Chapter Master and Captain Ixion would lead the 7th alongside Drake's Inquisitorial warband and Magos Fane's Skitarii to the Iax System. Chief Librarian Varro Tigurius, the Chapter's second-in-command, also accompanied the expedition, as his knowledge of Imperial history and his precognitive abilities would prove invaluable.
By the time the Octavius reached the Fury, Sergeant Starn's mission to the Hulk had yielded some rewards. The Terminators had successfully penetrated the Space Hulk, finding a deep chasm which -- with the proper equipment -- might be a point of ingress into the Space Hulk's core. On one of the corridor's walls, they had also discovered a withered inscription identifying this part of the wreck as a former Imperial vessel, the Centurius Sol.
Unfortunately, while venturing deeper into the heart of Fury, Sergeant Starn was lost when a portion of the ancient deck collapsed under the weight of his Terminator Armour. Captain Galenus had then deployed a second team to the Fury’s surface led by Techmarine Salvator to reestablish contact with the lost squad by erecting a communication beacon. Through Inquisitor Drake's contacts, the Ultramarines were able to quickly determine that the Centurius Sol had been allotted to Battlefleet Obscurus at Cypra Mundi before being lost in the early 41st Millennium. This confirmed their worst fears -- that the Fury had emerged from the Eye of Terror.
The Mystery DeepensEdit
As both Inquisitor Drake and Magos Fane argued over the expedition's fate, Sergeant Starn, once feared lost, found his way back the Fury’s surface. In the palm of his Power Fist he held a curious object he had discovered deep in the bowels of the Space Hulk -- a Mark V Heresy Pattern Power Armour helmet of the Adeptus Astartes. The helmet was truly ancient, its original livery long erased by the passage of time, but its discovery could mean only one thing: that Space Marines had been -- and maybe still were -- on the Fury. Yet again Inquisitor Drake's techno-savants proved invaluable, as the helmet's production stamp and number allowed them to trace the helmet back to its original owner.
With no means to determine if these mysterious Astartes were the remnants of some faithful Chapter's lost detachment, or the harbinger of something far more sinister, Marneus Calgar formally took command of the mission. His first orders were for the full mobilisation of the 5th and 7th Companies and the awakening of their Dreadnoughts. The Astartes cyborgs' brute strength would be sorely needed to clear the Fury’s surface and establish a forward base of operations on the Space Hulk.
Led by Sergeant Starn, an expedition composed of the Ultramarines, the servants of the Mechanicus and the Inquisition would venture deeper into the labyrinthine corridors of the Space Hulk and pierce its mystery. Marneus Calgar decreed that he would lead 5th Company's men and their Captain whilst Captain Ixion and his 7th Company would remain on the surface of the Hulk and secure the base. Tigurius would stay on the Octavius and command the fleet while using its powers to forewarn them if the Fury was about to disappear into the Warp again.
As the Imperials cleared the upper levels of the Hulk and made their way deeper into the Fury, installing Vox-relays every few Terran miles within the massive vessel's interior to maintain communication with their fleet, Marneus Calgar could not shake a sense of grim foreboding. Darkness was surrounding them, the Space Hulk's metallic dust clouds and radiation levels playing havoc with their Auspexes and even the targeting systems of the Space Marines' Power Armour.
Cut off from quick reinforcements, navigating the dark corridors only by sight, and relying on their built-in illuminators to shed light on the path ahead, left the party extremely vulnerable. Both Inquisitor Drake and Calgar understood that the further they travelled within the Hulk, the harder it would be to withdraw. They feared that an enemy might be monitoring their progress and would strike once they had been lured deep enough that easy retreat was no longer possible. At the same time, the further the Imperial party ventured into the vessel, the more signs of deliberate alterations of the Hulk became apparent. The interior of the Space Hulk was clearly inhabited, and even the oxygen levels in the interior's atmosphere approached breathable levels. The Imperials were clearly not alone.
As they ventured deeper into the Hulk, Magos Fane requested that he be allowed to lead a detachment of his Mechanicus personnel to investigate a chamber from which his superior Augurs had detected the power output of several systems that were still operational inside the Hulk. With the Chapter Master's permission, Fane left the main body of the Imperial column. While his Adepts began to work on several Cogitators still drawing power, an urgent transmission for Inquisitor Drake was relayed by the Octavius. Consultation of the Inquisitorial archives had yielded its reward.
Drake's archivists had informed him that the mysterious Space Marine helmet Starn had found within the Space Hulk was nearly three Terran millennia old and belonged to the Viridian Consuls Chapter. That Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes had been declared lost in the Warp in the wake of the infamous Abyssal Crusade. As a gesture of trust between them, Drake shared this information with Calgar, who promptly asked Tigurius to gather further intelligence on the matter.
Magos Fane then presented the results of his own inquiry. Fane and his Adepts had recovered a digital map that laid out the system of tunnels that comprised the upper levels of the Fury. These tunnels were extensive and had been carved out through the bulk of the massive voidship over the course of several Terran centuries. Magos Fane intended to study the rest of the data and the neighboring compartments of the Hulk, but Calgar refused.
He ordered the Magos to copy the map and rejoin the main Imperial column, denying him additional time in the Cogitator chamber. Frustrated by this decision to short-circuit his exploration, yet unwilling to openly disobey the Chapter Master, Fane programmed his best Artisan, Alt-seven, to return to the chamber and investigate the rest of the data and especially the hidden chamber they had discovered behind the Cogitator stations when an opportune occasion arose.
The Fury AwakensEdit
The lookouts of the Ultramarines stationed on the surface of the Space Hulk unexpectedly reported movement outside the base perimeter. Two-man teams of Scouts from the 10th Company equipped with Sniper Rifles had taken up overwatch positions and were surveying the surroundings. Brothers Malthus and Huthor were the first to spot the attackers. First in the dozens, then in the hundreds and finally in their thousands, the smaller figures rushed the Scouts' position, forcing them to retreat. The attackers were visibly coordinated for as they gave ground, the two Scouts found themselves outflanked. The enemy rushed on, looking to engage in close combat.
The two Scouts quickly identified the enemy as Adeptus Mechanicus Murder Servitors. Reaching for his Bolt Pistol, Brother Malthus felled many of the deadly cyborgs with headshots, while Brother Huthor's Combat Shotgun prevented them from closing. But once the Murder Servitors were upon them, Brother Malthus was injured by a vicious stab, the blade visibly coated in some kind of poison powerful enough to overcome the improved healing factor of their Astartes physiology. Only the timely intervention of a Tactical Squad from the 7th Company prevented the two Scouts' death. Other teams of Scouts reported hostiles closing in on the Ultramarines' base from all directions.
Captain Ixion mounted a tenacious defence, disciplined volleys of Bolter-fire mowing the mindless Servitors down like wheat in a field, but still the cyborgs launched themselves at the base defences. Even the heavy weapons of the Devastator Marines of the 9th Company proved powerless to stop the enemy tide from eventually reaching the Ultramarines' lines.
Captain Ixion of the 7th Company had little choice but to call in air support from the Ultramarines' complement of Thunderhawk gunships. Overwatch Flight, a trio of Thunderhawks, launched from the Ultramarines fleet above the Space Hulk, and flew over the enemy's ranks. The flight was tasked with identifying and eliminating the enemy positions. After a first strafing run with Hellstrike Missiles, the three Thunderhawks readied for their second pass when one of their number was hit by fire from Heavy Arc Rifles carried by enemy Kataphron Battle Servitors and lost.
Forced to disengage, the two remaining Thunderhawks returned to the Rex Aeterna for rearmament, promising to return in greater numbers. Meanwhile, the Ultramarines found themselves pitted against what they now assumed to be the creations of the Dark Mechanicus. Nine Battle-Brothers were severely wounded by the potent neurotoxins coating the Servitor's blades, two of them succumbing to it before Apothecary Rannick could stabilise their condition. The remaining seven wounded were quickly transferred to the Octavius’ Apothecarion by Thunderhawk extraction. It was only with the battle well underway that Librarian Belisar of the 7th Company revealed to Captain Ixion that the enemy they faced were not servants of Chaos, but forces of the Martian Mechanicus, tremendously old, but untainted by the corruption of the Dark Gods.
Elsewhere, Senior Artisan Alt-seven and his small party continued to explore the Fury. His orders were to gather enough data and return to Magos Fane before his absence was noticed by the rest of the Imperials exploring the Space Hulk. In the course of his wanderings, Alt-seven detected a code signature that had been active for two thousand Terran years. He ordered two of his accompanying Skitarii to investigate the chamber from which the program had originated.
Meanwhile, Alt-seven continued to analyze the traces of an ancient battle within the Hulk that he had discovered. Letting his auto-senses range over the area, he detected signs of Warp-damage, as though some gigantic force had taken the very fabric of the Space Hulk and shaken and twisted everything slightly out of frame. But there was more.
As the Tech-priest looked closer, he saw that some of the damage was explosive in nature; hull plates that were torn and blackened as well as buckled, and here and there a line of shell holes in the plasteel -- large impacts that had to be the work of Bolter fire. Interspersed with these traces were other relics of past conflict; including the long, searing furrows of Arc Rifle blasts. There had clearly been a battle fought on the Fury long ago, a combat between his own Adeptus Mechanicus and the Adeptus Astartes. Alt-seven knew Magos Fane needed to be informed of what he had learned. But while the mission lasted he had been ordered to maintain Vox silence. It would have to wait. Impatience seized him as he realised there had been no word from the two Skitarii; they had been swallowed up by the darkness ahead.
Suddenly, Alt-seven felt as if his brain had been filled with insects. Staggering at the sudden onset of the mental assault, he entered the next chamber and found the two Skitarii standing motionless without reacting to his presence. They stood before a vast, looming spire of wire-wrapped mechanica. The vid-screens on the pillar snapped into momentary life and displayed a haze of static. Reams of cable ran serpentine all around a floor from which billowed up a slowly boiling fog of vapour. The great pillar, composed of interwoven components of all kinds and drawn from many different eras, rose before them like some unquiet blinking icon, fifty Terran feet tall, a machine tree with limbs of cable and wire and plasteel supporting struts that rose up to grasp at the tall ceiling overhead.
Alt-seven called up his internal Vox in an attempt to contact Magos Fane, but the techno-tree that stood before him took control of his augmetic components. Alt-seven's cybernetic hardware became useless as his mind was invaded by foreign code. The Mechadendrites attached to his body and those of the Enginseers who had accompanied him fell limp with metallic clangs. Alt-seven's mind became a whirring blaze of uploading data, his head shaking on his shoulders as it flooded him. His warding incantations and protective protocols were swept aside like so much chaff, and a massive, blinding, enveloping stream of data coursed through him, realigning all his thought processes, rerouting programs, rewriting the sacred base code that made him who he was. It was over in only nanoseconds.
The Mechanicus agents accepted the commands of their new master, who had finally shown them the true meaning of perfection. Elsewhere within the Hulk, Marneus Calgar reviewed the reports of contact with an unknown enemy while most of his Ultramarines were still fighting the apparently Renegade forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The Chapter Master inquired of Magos Fane if he knew anything about these Dark Mechanicus forces that they had encountered. Fane objected that he and his techsorcist had detected no malign code that would indicate that the Heretek forces of the Dark Mechanicus were present on Fury.
But Fane did confess that he had sent a small party to investigate a major logistack of Cogitators nearby, though his servants had strangely not yet returned. Inquisitor Drake accused Fane of withholding vital data, but their quarrel was ended when by Chief Librarian Tigurius contacted Calgar. Tigurius informed his Chapter Master that the Fury was powering up its Geller Field and preparing to make a Warp jump.
Captain Ixion relayed his findings over the Vox to Marneus Calgar. The Chapter Master confronted Magos Fane with the reports from the surface. Faced with the Chapter Master's ire, Magos Fane revealed his duplicity and told Calgar and Inquisitor Drake all about the secret mission he had tasked Alt-Seven with and that whilst he had detected some traces suggesting an Adeptus Mechanicus presence aboard the Fury, he had no means of predicting their reaction. As Alt-Seven had not yet submitted his report, Magos Fane regretted he could not shed any light on that matter.
Inquisitor Drake accused Fane of withholding vital data, but their quarrel ended abruptly when Chief Librarian Tigurius contacted Calgar. Tigurius informed his Chapter Master that power readings inside the Fury were rising quickly, the energy signature consistent with Imperial Geller Field technology. The Fury was obviously preparing to make a Warp jump!
Located roughly 6 Terran miles inside the Space Hulk, Calgar, Inquisitor Drake, Magos Fane, Captain Galenus, the 5th Company and the remaining Inquisitorial and Mechanicus forces had no hope whatsoever of escaping the Fury in time. But those Ultramarines on the surface were not so trapped. With a heavy heart and yet without hesitation, Calgar ordered Captain Ixion to evacuate the Space Hulk. Tigurius was left in command of the mission whilst command of the Chapter would be passed on to Captain Severus Agemman, the commander of the Ultramarines' elite 1st Company.
Not knowing if they would survive entering the Warp or be able to return, Calgar bid is old friend to stand by Agemman's side and advise him as well as he had Calgar. Calgar opened a last Vox-channel to Brother Honorus, the former Captain of 5th Company, now interred within a powerful Castraferrum Pattern Dreadnought. Too bulky to follow them down the deep chasm and narrow corridors of the Hulk's interior, Brother Honorus had been standing guard over the expedition's exit route. Calgar ordered him to make all haste to the surface and evacuate as well, an order the Dreadnought tried to fulfill, but he arrived too late.
At the same time Tigurius detected the rise in energy from the Space Hulk, the Mechanicus phalanxes broke off their attack. Unexpectedly freed, Captain Ixion and 7th Company quickly embarked upon the arriving Thunderhawks. They would have to leave most of their ammunition and materiel on the Fury, but that prospect pained the seasoned Captain less than the feeling of abandoning his brothers and his Chapter Master.
With the Octavius’ Augurs carefully monitoring the Space Hulk's rising energy levels, Captain Ixion reluctantly departed on the last Thunderhawk to fly out. With barely sixty solar seconds to spare, the Octavius and her accompanying vessels reached minimum safe distance. With the last words of Tigurius to his trapped brethren -- "Courage and honour" -- still ringing in their ears, the Ultramarines trapped on the Fury braced themselves for Warp-translation before the Space Hulk disappeared from the Iax System in the blink of an eye, its destination unknown.
The Lost CathedralEdit
With something approaching relief, the members of the Imperial expedition remained alive and unharmed following the Space Hulk's translation into the Immaterium. The Hulk's Geller Field was obviously strong enough to keep the denizens of the Warp at bay, for no daemon manifested itself, ready to tear them apart. The translation itself had been mercifully quick, though it had changed the mission's parameters. With the Space Hulk clearly controlled by an unknown and hostile faction, the Ultramarines needed to seize whatever served as a control centre for the Hulk and guide the Fury back to Imperial space. This meant venturing even deeper into the Hulk's interior. Even as he gave his orders, Marneus Calgar could not shake the feeling that his forces were being herded somewhere, like animals to the slaughter, even though 5th Company had yet to meet the unseen enemy.
The further the Imperials advanced, the more Calgar's experienced eyes could discern the tell-tale signs of conflict. Some walls were pock-marked with small holes, clearly the impact and detonation craters of Bolter weapons. In some instances the party even found spent bolt-casings littering the ground. Had the Viridian Consuls and the Adeptus Mechanicus fought each other? And if the answer was "yes", why?
Another concern was that the Imperial column stretched out though the Hulk's depths for the better part of nearly two Terran miles. This left it clearly vulnerable to attack. Marneus Calgar consulted his downloaded map to find any area within the Hulk large enough to present decent lines of fire should the worst unfold. The map indicated that if the Imperials ventured further along the corridors they were bound to emerge in a great hall of some kind, a suitable location to rest and reevaluate their present condition. Calgar decided to grant the Terminators who had been taking point for the Imperial party some rest and ordered Captain Galenus to designate one of his squads to carry out reconnaissance of the chamber ahead.
What the scouting party discovered took them by surprise, for whilst the temperature had been steadily rising before, the newly-discovered chamber was ice-cold. Some micro-climatic quirk had even produced a steady fall of snow. At the heart of the chamber, the reconnaissance squad found a structure, obviously man-made, although it lay partially in ruin. Thick columns and walls of carved stone were still standing, an unbroken Gothic arch allowing entrance to the great edifice.
With no enemy found within, the squad gave the all-clear before venturing deeper into the chamber. Their next discovery was more unsettling. Some four hundred Terran yards from the structure, there were eight human bodies, all standing locked in ice. They were the size of Space Marines and still wearing their Power Armour. Beneath the ice, the Chapter badge could still be seen: an Ultima icon like the one worn by the Ultramarines, bisected by a sword and flanked by two wings of flame, on a green background -- the heraldry of the Viridian Consuls Chapter.
Faced with these new revelations, Marneus Calgar, Inquisitor Drake, Magos Fane and their respective retinues quickly gathered at the building's entrance. Magos Fane's scans indicated that the rock used to erect the strange building within the chamber had not been mined in the Ultima Segmentum, as its molecular composition was similar to the rock found at four quarries within the Segmentum Obscurus. The closest match was an old mine in the Dartaris System, not far from the Cadian Gate. He added that while the rock itself was several billion years old it must have been mined only at some point in the previous five millennia.
The building had obviously been desecrated, even though the remnants of an Imperial Aquila were discernible on the arch's front. The keen eyes of Chaplain Murtorius were the first to note that the form of the Aquila was not the standard Imperial icon, but the Imperialis symbol beloved of the Adeptus Astartes, an Aquila centred on a skull, though the skull had been blasted to nothing. In the rubble gathered at the base of the great arch, Chaplain Murtorius further discovered the remains of Imperial statues: an angelic wing and a Bolter-fragment whose votive scroll read Imperator Fidelis. Not a phrase a Heretic would tolerate on his ship.
Understanding started to dawn upon Calgar and his officers. The structures within the large chamber were the ruins of the Viridian Consuls' place of worship, the heart of their Chapter cult, a true Imperial cathedral taken with them during their Penitent Crusade into the Eye of Terror. The hall they were standing in must have once been the cargo hold of one of their Battle Barges. The eight dead Space Marines supported this theory, but there was no indication of what had killed them. Nor was there any evidence of who had desecrated their sacred space.
The Fate of the Viridian ConsulsEdit
Almost on cue, the scout party reported contact with a lone Space Marine -- visibly injured -- approaching their position near the eight dead Viridian Consuls. His pauldrons were dirty but one displayed the emblem of a sword. Believing they had located a survivor, the Ultramarines did not open fire at once but let him draw closer. It was only when the unknown Astartes had halved the distance between them that it became obvious he had been corrupted by Chaos.
His entrails spilled openly from a deep wound in his abdomen, a dark red smear on the dirty green of his Power Armour. The arm he was clutching, mimicking a wound, was no arm at all, but a slimy tentacle, coated in some kind of transparent fluid which proved to be acid. Worst of all was his face, the lower part of his Mark V Heresy Pattern helmet replaced by insectoid mandibles. Upon seeing this abomination the Ultramarines opened fire, cutting the Heretic Astartes down. A roar of rage answered from the darkness and soon the scouting party faced heavy return fire.
After requesting support from their brethren, the Tactical Squad of 5th Company moved to hold their position. They accounted well for themselves until Marneus Calgar personally led a demi-Company to their aid. With the Chapter Master's arrival, the remaining corrupted Chaos Space Marines retreated back into the dark, giving the Ultramarines the time needed to analyze their foe -- their first unwitting contact with The Broken. The signs of corruption were obvious and written large on their former brethren's bodies, the curse of mutation running rife among them.
The original heraldry of the Viridian Consuls had been subtly altered, the Ultramarines' own sigil having been inverted to form an Omega, an ancient Terran symbol for the end of all things. Some of the corpses also displayed the mutational "gifts" of the Plague God Nurgle, having been transformed into the feared Plague Marines. Others wore the blood-encrusted crimson armour of the Khornate Berserkers usually encountered amongst the World Eaters Legion and other servants of the Blood God. To see Heretic Astartes dedicated to two separate Chaos Gods fighting side-by-side outside of large campaigns such as the Black Crusades was extremely rare -- and disturbing.
Into the Heart of DarknessEdit
In the wake of this encounter, Marneus Calgar realised that the oppressive atmosphere of the Space Hulk was beginning to affect him. He and his men were on edge, their words often harsher than intended, as if the darkness surrounding them was slowly creeping in, nurturing the embers of hate and sharpening the pangs of desperation. Perhaps the Viridian Consuls been brought low in this same way, affected by the Warp-tainted essence of the Hulk. The intensive training and psychological programming of Calgar's Space Marines and Inquisitor Drake's retinue kept the whispers of darkness at bay, whilst Magos Fane's soldiers and Adepts were too far from human to be affected. But if the fate of the Viridian Consuls was a lesson, it would not take long one of their number to fall prey to it.
While Inquisitor Drake and the Lord of Ultramar were planning the expedition's next move, Magos Fane had other preoccupations. His trusted right-hand, Alt Seven, had returned. Though Calgar noticed that the little party was one Skitarii short, he did not press the matter when Alt Seven explained that the cyborg had fallen through the deck plating. Secretly contacting his superior by means only open to the Adepts of the Machine God, Alt Seven informed Magos Fane that he had established contact with the Adeptus Mechanicus faction present on the Fury.
Magos Fane was thus the first to learn the true identity of the Fury, its purpose, its long history and its importance to the far-off lords of Mars. Although motivated by their own agenda, the goals of the Mechanicus and the Ultramarines were aligned: to seize control of the Fury’s main reactor and steer it back into the Imperium. Yet now Magos Fane had become a spy for the Renegade members of the Adeptus Mechancius living on the Space Hulk.
Whilst the wounded Space Marines were treated by Apothecary Philo of 5th Company, Calgar and Drake discussed their options. With the Ultramarines trapped between two enemy forces and in hostile territory, establishing a base at what they were already referring to as the "Lost Cathedral" made little sense. Although the location was easily defensible, it was also too far from their true objective.
The only alternative was to press on, venturing deeper into the heart of the Space Hulk. Calgar conceded the point to Drake that his retinue were far better employed as scouts than his own troops. The Chapter Master allowed the Inquisitor and his Acolytes to lead the way, taking point for the Imperial column. As the Inquisition forces departed, the Ultramarines burned their dead and held a commemorative service under the guidance of Chaplain Murtorius.
As the Inquisitor and his small retinue of Astra Militarum and Adeptus Arbites veterans ventured further into the darkness, they moved forward with caution, for each chamber of the titanic Space Hulk seemed to possess its own ecosystem. After leaving behind the Lost Cathedral, the temperature began to steadily rise as did radiation levels. In some parts of the labyrinth network of corridors and halls, an unaugmented man would have been irradiated to death in only a matter of solar minutes. Calgar's Space Marines could easily ignore this threat with their transhuman physiologies, but Inquisitor Drake's Acolytes could not. Several times, the insistent pings of the Imperials' Auspex indicating lethal ambient radiation levels would force them to double-back and seek an alternative route.
The small party was attacked twice by the creatures that dwelt in the dark bowels of the Fury, great slug-like beasts of slime and filth whose bodies were coated in the same highly concentrated acid as the tentacles of the fallen Viridian Consuls. Bolters proved next to useless against the beasts, so the Inquisitor's retinue had to rely on their Frag Grenades and their sole Flamer to defeat the hungry abominations. Each of these encounters led to the death of more Acolytes, but Drake would not relent. The Inquisitor maintained regular communication with the Ultramarines Chapter Master over the Vox as the Mechanicus Tech-priests continued to establish communications relays through the Hulk's depths to guarantee a modicum of coordination between the Imperial forces.
But far above, a second column of humanoid figures arrived on the surface of the Fury and began to follow the Ultramarines' trail into the Space Hulk's interior. They were the same foe which had forced the Ultramarines' 7th Company to swiftly retreat from the Space Hulk's surface. The columns of Adeptus Mechanicus troops followed the path Calgar's expedition had taken into the Hulk. Quite unexpectedly, they were met by the heavily armoured form of Brother Honorus. Too slow to reach the extraction point, the Dreadnought had reverted to his last standing order, determined to defend his brothers' only egress point at all cost.
Lying in wait at one of the corridors' many turns, Brother Honorus rushed into close-combat, his armoured sarcophagus and frame impervious to the Skitarii's melee weapons and the short-range fire of their Galvanic Rifles. With all his acumen as a former Captain of the Ultramarines, Brother Honorus used every choke point to his advantage, and retreated down the corridor, unleashing maximum havoc on the Mechanicus troops. To further delay the enemy advance, the Dreadnought collapsed the entire corridor upon his foes, buying his brothers as much time as he could.
Ultimately, Brother Honorus knew his second life was forfeit. As the Renegade Adeptus Mechanicus brought up Kastelan-class Robots to clear the debris and deal with him, Brother Honorus knew his time had come. Although the valiant former captain of the 5th Company acquitted himself well, ultimately he was pressed back to the chasm leading into the Fury’s inner levels and fell to his long-delayed death.
Assault on the Blood KeepEdit
After fighting the Forces of Chaos for many Terran years in the Eye of Terror, the Viridian Consuls lost all hope and felt betrayed by the Imperium who they believed had sent them into the Warp rift only to die. That anger and despair ultimately drove The Broken to turn to two of the major Chaos Gods to seek succor in their angst: Khorne and Nurgle.
The Broken accepted Khorne as the manifestation of their anger towards the Imperium that had betrayed them. Nurgle represented the sense of hopelessness that had come upon the Viridian Consuls as they fought within the Eye. Despite their veneration of the two Ruinous Powers, The Broken seem to hold Nurgle in somewhat higher regard and devote themselves to his worship more fervently. Those Astartes of the Virdian Consuls who refused to accept the Chapter's turn towards Chaos were crucified alive, Nurgle's maggots gnawing within their rotting innards while the Plague God refused to let them die.
- The Witness (Chapter Master Phrynon) - Formerly the Chapter Master of the Viridian Consuls, the noble Astartes once known as Phrynon led his Chapter alongside the other Space Marine Chapters of "The Judged", whose gene-seed was deemed to be impure by Saint Basillius the Elder, the corrupted Living Saint who initiated the infamous Abyssal Crusade. After centuries of warfare against the servants of Chaos within the Eye of Terror, Phrynon lost hope for his Astartes' redemption. He and some of his fellow warriors felt as if they had been abandoned by the Imperium to die a worthless death. Phrynon then began corrupting his fellow Space Marines, seeking to convert them to the service of the Chaos Gods since the Emperor no longer cared for them. Those that did not accept the new truth either fled or were killed. As a reward for his corruption of his own Chapter, Phrynon eventually was allowed to ascend to become a Daemon Prince of the Dark Gods known as "The Witness." The Witness met his end when he confronted Chapter Master Marneus Calgar in the heart of the Space Hulk Fury. Though though Calgar was wounded and exhausted by the relentless battles against the Space Hulk's corrupted inhabitants, he was able to slay The Witness with the help of the Terminators of the Ultramarines' 1st Company.
The Broken warband's colours were red and green.
The Broken warband's badge is a subtle but meaningful alteration of their former heraldry. The Viridian Consuls' badge was an Ultima icon like the one worn by the Ultramarines, bisected by a sword and flanked by two wings of flame, on a green background. The Broken inverted the Ultima to form an Omega, a symbol signifying the end of all things and the finite nature of existence.
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines (6th Edition), pg. 19
- Calgar's Fury (Novel) by Paul Kearny