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Erwin Ramas was the Flag-Captain of the Imperial Navy Gothic-class Cruiser Drachenfels during the Gothic War at the beginning of the 41st Millennium. A naval commander of legendary renown amongst his peers, he captained the Drachenfels for over 50 standard years and won victory after victory against Ork, Eldar and Chaos opponents. A tactical genius in his own right, Ramas was nevertheless most renowed for the fact that he had been entombed in a Dreadnought-like life support system and cybernetically linked to his beloved warship after being mortally wounded in an engagement.
Like most officers in Battlefleet Gothic, Erwin Ramas hailed from the world of Cypra Mundi in the Gothic Sector. An officer with a knack for tactics and outmaneuvering his opponents, he quickly rose trough the ranks, first becoming Flag-Lieutenant, then Captain of his own Escort. Approximately 30 Terran years before the start of the Gothic War, the position of Flag-Captain of the Gothic-class Cruiser Drachenfels became vacant and Ramas was given command of the great warship. Ramas spent the next few years on convoy duty, protecting vulnerable Imperial Navy supply runs from opportunistic Ork and Chaos raiders. His tactical acumen served him well, and his success rate in escorting vulnerable cargo ships and troop transports to safety was one of the best in the history of Battlefleet Gothic.
Ramas's career would almost come to an end approximately 20 standard years before the start of the Gothic War, when one of Ramas' convoys was unexpectedly attacked by the Eldar. The Eldar's Holo-field technology played havoc with the humans' Auspex sensor technology, and allowed one of the Eldar starships to close in with the Drachenfels unmolested. Appearing seemingly out of the void, the Eldar warship released a full spread of Sonic Torpedoes at the Gothic-class Cruiser, gutting its command tower and taking it out of the fight. The Eldar then contemptuously spurned to finish off the blinded human Cruiser, and went to slaughter the convoy it was protecting instead. When relief parties finally reached the bridge hours later, they found their captain pinned through the hip to one of the bridge stanchions, visage and limbs charred, yet Ramas was still alive.
The extent of the damage done to Ramas' body made any reconstruction through the use of augmetics almost impossible, so the Magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus did the next best thing: they rewired what remained of Ramas' central nervous system and installed him in an armoured amniotic tank, similar to that of a Titan Legion Princeps. This so-called Strategium was then cybernetically connected directly to the Drachenfels' Machine Spirit, allowing Ramas to literally become one with his warship. Unlike a Titan Princeps or the Astartes pilot of a Dreadnought, Ramas had virtually no direct control over any of his ship's systems, as the sheer size of the Gothic-class Cruiser made this impossible for a single human mind to accomplish. Instead, Ramas acted more like a centralised hub to which all information derived from the ship's sensors went, and from which all decisions flowed. The major advantage for Ramas was that he could commune with his ship directly, receiving data and assessing situations much quicker than through the normal chain-of-command of a starship. This, combined with his own tactical genius, allowed him to pull manoeuvers and tricks that left his allies in awe, and usually resulted in the fiery death of the Emperor's enemies.
When the Gothic War broke out, Ramas was quickly reassigned to front-line duties. His first notable action was in command of the fleet charged to defend the planet of Helia IV. Working alongside Flag-Captain Leoten Semper's Lord Solar Macharius and three other Cruisers and their accompanying Escorts, Ramas managed to put to rout the an invading Chaos warfleet, destroying or severely damaging a half-dozen enemy capital ships while only losing one of his own. Working in tandem with the Macharius, Ramas and Semper co-ordinated their fire, with the Macharius ' broadsides stripping the enemy ships of their Void Shields before the Drachenfels' Lances gutted them. When the Macharius came under boarding attack from the Slaughter-class Cruiser Virulence, Ramas quickly interceded, chasing off the Chaotic warship with precision firing from his Lances before the Virulence could come about and launch another boarding wave.
After the Battle of Helia IV, the taskforce of Captain Ramas was ordered to oversee the evacuation of the planet Belatis. Belatis had been identified as the next target of Abbadon the Despoiler's Planet Killer. Unable to defend the world from that massive weapon of mass destruction and its accompanying armada of Chaos warships, the Imperial Navy settled for evacuating who and what they could from the planet's surface before its destruction. Ramas spread his task force around the planet, with himself patrolling the Belatis System's outer reaches.
The Chaos Cults on Belatis seized the capital's defence laser grid as the signal for the Chaos vanguard to attack, and Ramas soon found himself under attack from the Murder-class Cruiser Charybdis and his 4 escorting Infidel-class Raiders. Keen to do battle, Ramas started by retreating toward Belatis at speed, luring the Infidels away from their heavier but slower capital ship. When he judged the gap between them sufficient, Ramas led his crew in performing a shortened U-turn, by burning his retro thrusters along with his directional thrusters. This dangerous manoeuver was not often attempted by Imperial warships due to the stress it puts on a ship's superstructure: if the deceleration was too brutal, the ship might simply snap in two. But thanks to his cybernetic link with his ship, Ramas could feel its behaviour and led the Drachenfels into a perfect half-turn, first presenting and opening up with his Lance-studded flank, obliterating two of the Infidels, while taking only two torpedo impacts which did minor damage. Completing his half-turn, Ramas pointed his own torpedo-armed prow toward the Charybdis. Ramas watched as the Charybdis' commander prudently ordered his remaining Infidels back and slowed down, unwilling to face off against such a canny opponent now that his primary objective of securing the system's Warp exit point was complete.
With the Charybdis unwilling to pursue further, Ramas managed to return to Belatis to find the situation on the ground had devolved beyond any hope of control, and he ordered the convoy to depart the system. Ramas was contacted by Flag-Lieutenant Hito Ulanti of the Macharius who reported that his captain, Leoten Semper, had not yet returned from Belatis. The young Lieutenant beseeched him for the authorisation to launch a rescue mission to the world's surface, but Ramas sensibly refused him, softening his harsh words with a few words of reassurance that Semper could and would be avenged another day.
Later during the evacuation of Belatis, Captain Semper managed to contact the Macharius with the telepathic help of an Astropath. Ramas again refused to allow the Macharius to go back to Belatis, stating that the Macharius had no hope of fending off the Planet Killer's escorting armada on its own, but matters were taken from his hands by the Adeptus Arbites Marshal Byzantane, who, having learned that the Imperial traitor who had lured the Planet Killer to Belatis still lived, commandeered the Macharius and ordered it back to the world. Ramas then Voxed to his First Officer to have the battle repairs the Drachenfels had undergone after the Battle of Helia IV and the duel with the Charybdis double-checked, carefully phrasing his words so that his Flag-Lieutenant would understand that he actually wanted an immediate full stop. Ramas knew that the Macharius would need help when it returned from its rescue mission, so he resorted to the trick of having his crew report battle damage to the Drachenfels ' Plasma Reactors in order to be allowed to lie in wait.
Ramas' precaution would prove immensely useful, for when the damaged Macharius tried to rejoin the Imperial convoy, it was harassed by the Slaughter-class Cruiser Virulence, whose crew was intent on avenging themselves of past humiliations. Ramas waited until the last moment, then powered his warship up and put a full spread of torpedoes into the Virulence, destroying it, and allowing both Imperial warships to make good their escape into the Warp.
A stern and harsh taskmaster, Erwin Ramas was considered a stone-hearted, flint-edged terror by his underlings, equals and superiors alike. Irascible and plain-speaking, the master of the Drachenfels never hesitated to put any who he considered erring in his place, and demanded excellence in all things. However, his crew was honoured to serve under him, for he did not ask of others what he would not ask of himself, and if one could look past the irascible facade and the battle-wound disabilities, they would find a rather congenial man who enjoyed discussing tactics. Due to his entombment in his amniotic Strategium shell, Ramas was permanently linked with his ship's Machine Spirit. As such, he could no longer truly sleep or be off-duty, for the Drachenfels ' systems were always operating. In those few moments where his attention and command were not required, such as during Warp transits, Ramas spent his "off" time analyzing his past engagements and formulating strategies for future ones, often running simulated engagements in the Drachenfels ' banks of Cogitators.
- Execution Hour (Novel) by Gordon Rennie