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Cabal

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The Cabal is a secret organisation dedicated to the eradication of Chaos whose operatives are drawn from more than a thousand different intelligent xenos races, including the Eldar and humanity. The Cabal claims to have battled the forces of the "Primordial Annihilator" (Chaos) for a time longer than the existence of Mankind as a thinking species. The Cabal is a hidden organisation, covertly predicting the future and steering the intelligent races of the galaxy towards their ultimate goal of wiping Chaos from existence within the Empyrean. They are chiefly known for involving themselves in the development of the Horus Heresy by using their foreknowledge of the Warmaster Horus' actions to seemingly suborn the Primarch Alpharius Omegon and his XX Space Marine Legion, the Alpha Legion, to their cause before the Great Betrayal took place in the 31st Millennium.

Organisation and Abilities

The Cabal is a collection of disparate alien species not readily identifiable to Imperial authorities. They are known to include mechanical life-forms as well as those that are energy-based and non-corporeal. Other member species variously resembled insectoid, avian or reptilian creatures. One species definitively identified as having a member in the Cabal is the Eldar. The Cabal is also known to have made use of a number of human agents, with at least one, John Grammaticus, active at the time of the Horus Heresy, although the individual in question appeared to act as more of a subordinate of the organisation's Inner Circle than an equal.

The Cabal is a nomadic organisation that constantly travels all over the galaxy. There is very little information about their starships or other modes of transport -- the only known Cabal starship type is a huge, hive city-sized flat disk that is capable of atmospheric operations, including planetary landings and take-offs. It has a stealth or cloaking mode that is undetectable using Imperial auspexes, and the ability to interrupt and jam all communications, both physical and psychic. This vessel also possesses the abiliy to unleash an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that can temporarily disable the systems of any other spacecraft in its vicinity.

The Cabal is known to have "halting-sites" in particular star systems, on planets where they maintained a secret presence. These worlds had their topography altered to suit the needs of the Cabal, who constructed identical landing-zones on every world that interested them. Planets that the Cabal had used as a base of operations were therefore always identifiable if an observer knew how to look at the terrain. Two such worlds used by the Cabal were the planets Nurth and Eolith, both of which had played host to the Cabal for a time. Apart from their advanced terraforming abilities, the Cabal possessed atmospheric alteration technology and the ability to extend or renew life, even in dead tissue. This was used to create functionally immortal individuals that were referred to as "Perpetuals". But the Cabal's most important ability is an enhanced form of psychic farseeing called the Acuity, through which they attempt to foresee the course of events across thousands of Terran years of galactic history. The Acuity is far more potent than the more limited and uncertain precognitive abilities available to Eldar Farseers and could be accessed while ship-borne.

An "Inner Circle" of Cabal members existed that acted as its governing body and that controlled and shaped the Acuity. The only member positively identified by Imperial sources was a being named Gahet, a xenos from a race that was ancient before even the Eldar had come into existence, and who may have been related to the Old Ones, as Grammaticus referred to him as one of the "Old Kind".

The Cabal and the Emperor

The Cabal knows something of the Emperor's true nature, and also knows that he is, like themselves, a primary foe of Chaos; it was even thought by high-ranking Cabal members that the Emperor could have been, in other circumstances, a member of their Inner Circle. However, unlike the Emperor after the Age of Strife who chose to act openly and aggressively against the Dark Gods, regardless of the moral consequences that would ensue from his launch of the Great Crusade, the Cabal always acted in a covert manner, never showing its hand unless absolutely necessary.

The Cabal and the Horus Heresy

Thanks to the Acuity and their advanced, almost god-like technological abilities, the Cabal was able to foresee the corruption of the Warmaster Horus and the advent of the terrible interstellar civil war that was the Horus Heresy. They claimed that unless proper action was taken, this could become a catastrophic event that could doom the galaxy and all of its intelligent races to the eternal servitude of Chaos. Using the Acuity the Cabal's Inner Circle eventually distilled all possible eventualities into two outcomes.

Outcome One: Victory for Horus

The Cabal believed that, after the Heresy, a scintilla of the honourable being that Horus once was would remain within the Warmaster, eating at him over what he had done and fuelling a self-destructive sense of self-hatred and loathing that would see Horus fall on his own subjects in an acceleration of the violence of the Heresy, creating civil strife amongst the Forces of Chaos that would culminate in the final extinction of Mankind. The end result of Horus' conquest of the Imperium would be the total extermination of the human species within two or three generations. However, if humanity were to disappear from the galaxy, the Ruinous Powers of Chaos, whose own existence within the Empyrean depended upon the baser collective psychic emantions of humanity, would be extinguished with it.

Outcome Two: Victory for the Emperor

If the Imperium defeated Horus and his Traitor Legions, the Cabal foresaw the Emperor giving his life to kill Horus, but then becoming a howling, undead rictus trapped within the cybernetic life-support coffin of the Golden Throne, his soul fighting an endless but ultimately losing battle against the influence of the Chaos Gods as his power steadily waned across the millennia. The Cabal's Inner Circle believed that this path would lead to technological and cultural stagnation for the Imperium of Man, and this stagnation would ultimately conclude in irreversible decay. This decay would accelerate and enhance the human misery that contributed to the power of Chaos, allowing the Dark Gods to grow in power and spread their influence across the galaxy, until after ten or twenty thousand years of increasing misery, the entire galaxy and all of its sentient species would be consumed by the unrelenting hunger of Chaos.

The Cabal and the Alpha Legion

Having studied the development of the human Primarchs over some decades, the Cabal was able to determine that the most important of them in the determination of galactic events were the "oldest" (Horus) and the "youngest" (Alpharius Omegon). They foresaw that the Chaos Gods would ignite a galactic-level civil war within the Imperium of Man by corrupting and using Horus, and claimed that what "Horus would do, Alpharius would undo". They also claimed that, while the outbreak of the Horus Heresy was inevitable and could not be altered, the Alpha Legion was perfectly placed to control and direct it to one of the two possible outcomes the Acuity had foreseen for humanity and the galaxy. The Cabal's Inner Circle tasked John Grammaticus, a human Perpetual agent of the Cabal, to arrange a meeting with the Alpha Legion's Primarch, which eventually took place on the planet Eolith about a standard year-and-a-half before the start of the Heresy at the Battle of Istvaan III.

The Horus Heresy Decision

The Cabal, operating with its knowledge of the extreme long view through the power of the Acuity, sought to bring about Horus' victory by convincing Alpharius Omegon of the truth of their predictions. They asked the twin Primarchs to place themselves and the forces of the XX Legion under the banner of Horus and Chaos Undivided, despite their sworn loyalty to the Emperor, and do all they could to ensure the Warmaster's victory, thus sacrificing humanity to destroy the Chaos Gods once and for all. The Primarch of the Alpha Legion appears to have acceded to this request, believing that such a sacrifice is what the Emperor would have himself wanted if he had been presented with a similar choice. As the Heresy ended with the victory of the Emperor's Loyalist forces and the second outcome foreseen by the Acuity, it appears that the Cabal's machinations failed and that, if they are to be believed, the galaxy is ultimately doomed to be consumed by Chaos not long after the end of the 41st Millennium.

The Raven Guard Mission

With the power of the Acuity, the Cabal was able to inform Alpharius Omegon that the Raven Guard was going to come into possession of a highly valuable secret asset of the Imperium that needed to be destroyed if Horus' rebellion was to prove successful. The Alpha Legion then made sure that some Raven Guard Astartes, including their Primarch Corax, survived the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V in order to obtain the asset: samples of the original, undifferentiated Primarch gene-stock enginneered by the Emperor for the original Primarch Project, and related information about its use and function. The Alpha Legion had no intention of destroying the sample, and after stealing it from the Raven Guard they kept it for themselves for later use. They then unceremoniously eliminated the Cabal's representative who was supervising the mission. What the Alpha Legion chose to do with this extraordinary genetic material remains currently unknown to the Imperium.

Notable Members of the Cabal

  • Slau Dha - Eldar Autarch who served as a member of the Cabal's Inner Circle and offered John Grammaticus the chance to become an agent of the Cabal and to become a Perpetual in the 30th Millennium.
  • Gahet - Gahet was a member of the Inner Circle of the Cabal and a member of a xenos race whose origins predated even that of the Eldar.
  • G'Lattro - G'Lattro was an unknown xenos who was a member of the Cabal's Inner Circle.
  • John Grammaticus - Human psyker who served as a Perpetual, a being genetically engineered by the Cabal to possess the ability to reincarnate whenever death occurred, granting him functional immortality.
  • Athithirtir - Athithirtir was a xenos and a Cabal representative to the Alpha Legion who informed the XX Legion that the Raven Guard was to come into possession of the undifferentiated Primarch gene-stock. He was slain after the Alpha Legion stole the genetic material from the Raven Guard.

Sources

  • Legion (Novel) by Dan Abnett
  • Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe

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