+++Ordo Sanctae Inquistinis Imperialis+++
+++Vastus Sector, Fortress Aquilia+++
From: Explicator Tertius Julian Vernax
To: Lord Inquisitor Halo Macreithe
Time stamp: M41.619.87385
+++Thought of the Day: A closed mind is a pure mind.+++
My Lord Inqusitor Macreithe,
As commanded by your honourable lordship, may I humbly present my report into the research conducted by myself and my fellow novitiates regarding the history of our Adeptus Mechanicus within the Vastus Sector.
As is often the case, much that was once common knowledge is now lost to us. Facts of history that even the youngest child could once recite with ease are now the deepest of mysteries. Time and change are powerful detergents, and can cleanse the truth from the cloth of knowledge with great ease.
Imperial doctrine most wisely holds that "knowledge is power" and bids us to hide it well, and as a result, my colleagues and I have found ourselves continually frustrated in our efforts to uncover suitable evidence. It is undoubtedly the case that much of the primary material we sought is still within the possession of the Mechanicus, Ministorum, Ecclesiarchy and other institutions, but the perennial obsession with secrecy and the hoarding of knowledge impeded our every effort. Of course, the display of an Inquisitorial Rosette is frequently sufficient to unlock most doors and open most archives, but we have refrained from use of your lordship's authority where possible, knowing the inconvenience that would be imposed upon you as a result.
Therefore, we beg your forgiveness if the following report fails to meet with your expectations, and ask that if you fail to be fully satisfied by our treatise, that we be given the opportunity to rectify such faults as we are able, if the Emperor wills it.
Your lordship will no doubt be aware of the established record regarding the history of the Vastus sector in antiquity (by which we mean the time prior to the end of Old Night and the beginning of the Great Crusade). To briefly summarise, we know that at least fifty worlds survived the Age of Strife, although many more perished as their civilisations fell to mutants, psykers, and simple degradation. Of those worlds that did survive, most reverted subsistence agriculture, as they were no longer able to maintain the technology required to sustain their previous level of sophistication. Many of these worlds developed societies based on the worship of warp entities, Xenos invaders or human charlatans. Others fell into the equally pernicious and heretical belief in that absurd political regime known as "democracy", but these deluded societies quickly fell to ruin and despair.
The most successful of these surviving worlds were those which developed feudal systems, in which the vast majority of the population willingly and happily entered into a blissful state of indentured servitude beneath a righteous and benevolent aristocracy. Your lordship will no doubt see in these societies a mirror of our own wondrous Imperium, in which we, the humble subjects of our immortal and benevolent God-Emperor, toil unceasingly and joyously in His name.
Such was the condition of this sector when it was discovered by the explorator ships of Mars. These ships had set out from the Sol system at the beginning of the Age of Strife, and wandered deep space for centuries, swept along by the massive warp storms which beset the galaxy: vast, self-contained ecosystems supporting an entire population of colonists, tech adepts and their machines.
The explorators of Mars first made planetfall on the world now know as Lustrum Furvus. It was here that the (unknown) magus who commanded Sentinel Of Apollinaris, the fleet's flagship, decreed that the fleet would end its centuries-long pilgrimage.
Lustrum Furvus was an ideal location for a forge world colony to be established: it is a large planet (somewhat more than thirty percent larger than Terra) and rich in minerals, ores and heavy metals. Soon, the explorator ships were dismantled and brought to the surface to form the first colony-forges on the planet.
Fully aware of the risk of attack from Xenos raiders, the colonists were quick to fortify their new home world, establishing an orbital defence grid and a large space dock on Lustrum's primary moon. Much of this facility still remains intact, making it one of the oldest constructions in the sector.
It was at this time that the Legio Pantera legion - known in Low Gothic as the Black Panthers legion - was established. The Black Panthers were the backbone of Mechanicum military might in the sector, and a righteous hammer of the Emperor's foes they remain! In addition to the war engines manufactured by the colonists in their nascent forge, the legion was bolstered by a number of god-machines brought from Mars; one of these machines, the venerable and glorious Imperator class Titan, Machinator Formidabilis, walks to this day, a terrible and awesome weapon of destruction still, more than fifteen millennia since its creation on Mars.
Shrewd as the original colonists were, they know the importance of defence in depth, and so they reached out to neighbouring systems with the aim of fortifying them to provide a shield against Xenos incursion. This brought the Mechanicum into contact with the aristocracies of the surviving human worlds. These noble rulers, no doubt recognising their new Mechanicum neighbours as the heralds of a new order, quickly pledged their allegiance to Mars, and formed an alliance with their new neighbours which remains to this day.
As part of the alliance, these new worlds (known to the Mechanicum as "knight worlds") provided the forge world with raw materials, labourers and, most importantly, food: as the surface of Lustrum Furvus gave way to manufactorums, open-cast mines, and hab blocks, its ability to feed itself diminished, and eventually the planet was dependent on local planets to provide sustenance for its populations. The knight worlds, largely feudal agrarian societies, were able to drastically increase their crop yields thanks to equipment and biotechnology provided by the Mechanicum, and became prosperous and successful thanks to trade with the Tech-Priests of the forges.
The greatest gift to the knight worlds came in the form of giant one-man bipedal fighting machines, which came to be known as Knights. The Mechanicum supplied these fearsome machines to the aristocratic warrior classes of the knight worlds. Pilots were (and still are) selected through a rigorous process of training: to be eligible for the trials, a novice had to complete a number of gruelling challenges, culminating in a Trial in which candidate pilots fought each other for the right to claim a place as the esquire apprentice of an established pilot.
With the forge world's defences secured, and with the military assistance of the Knights, the Mechanicum set out to explore the surrounding systems. We know of at least eight colonised worlds which were contacted during this period, although there were undoubtedly more. As mentioned previously, many of these worlds had fallen into heresy and barbarism, and no doubt there were many engagements between the Mechanicum and the dark forces which held these worlds in thrall.
2. The End of the Age of Strife and the Great Crusade
As your lordship is fully aware, during the 31st Millenium, the psychic cataclysm that was the result of the fall of the Eldar brought an end to the warp storms that had beset humanity for so long, allowing human civilisation to be restored. As our blessed and immortal God Emperor set out from Terra to reclaim Humanity's birthright and build his Imperium, he did so with the Tech-Priests of Mars at his side.
The Great Crusade swept through the Galaxy. Thousands of worlds were discovered, liberated or brought to Compliance with the Imperial Truth. The Emperor and his Primarch sons led a vast army of Astartes warriors, supported by the Mechanicum and teeming billions of Imperial Army soldiery.
The Great Crusade reached the Vastus Sector around 80 years after the start of the Great Crusade. The 2,011th Expeditionary Fleet, commanded by Captain Bucephalas of the Blood Angels' 56th company, entered the Vastus Sector with a force of three Blood Angels battle companies (around 1,500 battle brothers), supported by Imperial Army auxiliaries and Mechanicum heavy support.
Having detected signals from Lustrum Furvus, a Mechanicum delegation was swiftly dispatched to make first contact with their wayward cousins. The re-establishment of contact between Lustrum Furvus and Mars was greeted with ecstatic celebrations throughout the forge world's demeans, and compliance with the Imperial Truth was apparently swift and generally thorough.
There were a few exceptions, however. A number of knight worlds, and many of the more feral vassal worlds were suspicious of their new Imperial overlords, and resisted compliance. Some of the more ambitious adepts of Lustrum Furvus, similarly opposed to the new order, joined these elements in their heresy. The Blood Angels and their new allies in the Legio Pantera embarked on a campaign to bring these worlds into compliance, fighting scores of battles across dozens of worlds. The combined arms of the Angels of Death and the god-machines of the Mechanicum brought a swift and terrifying retribution, legends of which persist to this day. And so, once the stain of rebellion had been purged from the Sector, the newly consecrated forges of Lustrum Furvus turned their focus to the production of arms and armour for the Crusade, and the Legio Pantera, affiliated Knight households, and the newly-founded Imperial Army regiments from Procyon XII, joined the Blood Angels' Crusade Fleet.
The Horus Heresy
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The Age of the Imperium
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