The Terminus Est was one of the first capital ships assigned to the Death Guard Legion of Space Marines by the Emperor of Mankind. It was of a unique design that pre-dated the Great Crusade and which was copied in the 36th Millennium as part of the Gareox Prerogative to create the Despoiler-class Battleship. As might be expected the older vessel was considerably more powerful than the later copy.
Nothing definite is known of the pre-Horus Heresy configuration of Terminus Est. References exist that suggest it was primarily employed as a planetary assault ship. This is not unusual as it conforms with the role assigned to the warships of the Space Marine Legions. Many of the vessels used in the Great Crusade were, however, handicapped by system failures that the Imperium lacked the ability to repair. Often this would result in many systems being replaced with less efficient but more easily maintained alternatives.
The role of Terminus Est during the Horus Heresy is better known. At Istvaan V the Terminus Est engaged and destroyed the Shadow of the Emperor, the flagship of the Raven Guard. It is argued that this engagement was the earliest recorded conflict between Battleships specialised to carry Attack Craft. The engagement was swift and deprived the embattled Loyalist forces of any air support in the Drop Site Massacre that followed.
When the Terminus Est was sighted as part of the armada that followed Horus to Terra it had changed. The Mark of Nurgle was upon it and all the other vessels of the Death Guard. When Mortarion led the assault on the Lion Gate starport, Typhus controlled the Plague Fleet of the Death Guard and it is suspected that he actually began the orbital bombardment of the Emperor’s Imperial Palace. Following Horus’ death and the arrival of Loyalist reinforcements, the Terminus Est ’s formidable reserves of Attack Craft were expended as a rearguard while the Death Guard were evacuated back to their ships. Along with the rest of the Traitor Legions the Death Guard fled to the Eye of Terror and disappeared from human knowledge for centuries.
In the Eye it is suspected that the Traitor Legions fought amongst themselves. It is the boast of the Death Guard that their Primarch-turned-Daemon Prince Mortarion conquered a mighty empire within the Eye and transformed it to his own tastes. Typhus and the Terminus Est were among the first of the Death Guard to be sighted again when they brought plague to the Agripinaa system in the 35th Millennium. The success of the Terminus Est in defeating the battlegroups sent against it had a major effect on the thinking of the Imperial Navy. In the 36th Millennium an Adeptus Mechanicus expeditionary force succeeded in finding schematics of its design on the Perdita world of Barbarus, the ancient homeworld of the Death Guard Legion, and began building the Despoiler-class Battleship based on these designs. Little were they to know that the core architecture and design of the class’ Gellar Field Warp shields hid a fundamental flaw. Only when in the following centuries the vessels of this class were either lost in the Warp or turned Renegade did the realisation strike home.
The Terminus Est and Typhus did not assume a central role in the Gothic War. A single sighting near Anvil 206 was the only evidence of their presence. However, considering the later incidents traced back to Anvil 206 it is clear that a particular mission was accomplished.
Typhus and the Terminus Est assumed a more protracted role during the 13th Black Crusade. Resurgences of the Curse of Unbelief and the large number of Plague Ships sworn to Nurgle amongst the many Chaos Warfleets unleashed during the conflict led to sightings of the Terminus Est coming in to Cadian High Command from all over the Cadian Sector. The exact nature of Typhus' participation in the 13th Black Crusade is unknown, as the only Inquisition-certified sighting of the Terminus Est was above the Shrine World of Kathur. During the battle for that world, the Terminus Est destroyed the Imperial Dominator-class Cruiser Depth of Fury and its Escorts, as well as the Raven Guard Strike Cruiser Second Shadow. The Terminus Est suffered over 30% structural damage in the process, half of that from the impact of the Depth of Fury's Nova Cannon. Typhus had no worry, for he knew his ship would simply regenerate the damage as if it were a living thing thanks to Nurgle's blessings.
In the 41st Millennium, the Terminus Est is one of the oldest starships known to the Imperium, the power of Nurgle holding its ancient hull together while the most virulent plagues seethe through its dank corridors. The Terminus Est is a part of Nurgle’s realm within the Warp given license to travel the stars, spreading death at the behest of its damned captain. There will be no rest for the Imperial Navy until it is finally hunted down and its foul stain cleansed forever from the universe.
Miasma of PestilenceEdit
The Terminus Est is surrounded by vast swarming clouds of the same Warp-spawned flies which buzz and howl through its interior, and which first transformed Typhus into the Host of the Destroyer Hive. This miasma permeates outwards from the ship, through blisters, boils and fractures in its surface or through corroded, useless discharge tubes and weapon barrels. The miasma replaces the ship’s turrets, and works in exactly the same way as turrets against Attack Craft, but has no effect against torpedoes. The miasma is so thick that it obscures and distorts the shape of the Terminus Est, meaning that vessels within close proximity find that their Augurs and other sensorium cannot lock on the ship when firing at the Terminus Est.
Hives of NurgleEdit
Along either side of the Terminus Est, row upon row of festering pustules, hives, boils and sores erupt outwards from the ship’s cankered skin. These growths cover the rusted remains of what was presumably once the ship’s main broadside batteries, growing in a diseased parody of these weapons like coral over rock. They seep and bloat, periodically erupting violently and hurling a mixture of corroded debris, ammunition and filth out into space. The Hives of Nurgle function in exactly the same way as standard weapons batteries.
- Battlefleet Gothic 2010 Compendium, pp. 109-110
- Index Astartes III, "The Death Guard Space Marine Legion"
- Flight of the Eisenstein (Novel) by James Swallow, pp. 118 -120
- Cadian Blood (Novel) by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, pp. 74 - 128