Friday, January 19, 2007

The Skolarii Sector during the Great Crusade

Following on from my early history of the Skolarii Sector I explore the coming of the Space Marines.

The Great Crusade
Early in M30 the warp storms that had isolated the planetary systems of the Skolarii Sector began to recede but the shattered survivors were in no position to reunite their empire.

The Emperor's Great Crusade reached the Skolarii Sector in the year 559 M.29 when the Blood Angels made contact with the Adeptus Mechanicus on Manil, in sub sector 2. The Blood Angels had already brought the Kintaro sector under the Emperor’s control and travelled along the warp route to Windar to enter the Skolarii sector. Using this system as a bridgehead the Adeptus Astartes, with the help of the Imperial Army, and helped to re-conquer sub-sector two.

Ustra was the first target. The Adeptus Mechanicus provided vital information on the Ork Empire holding the world and the Blood Angels used that intelligence to target key Ork Warbosses. The Greenskins were paralysed, allowing the Imperial Army to mop up the remaining warbands with minimal losses. The Marines even made contact with the human survivors who had originally colonised the planet and they agreed to become part of the new Imperium. The Blood Angels established Ustra as the seat of government for the Sector and left an Imperial army behind to defend the system. Many believe that the name of this first Imperial Commander was Skolarii and this is the origin of the Sector's name. Others maintain that the name Skolarii is a corruption of Skitarii - the fighting forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus. The truth is lost in the mists of time.

The sequence of events was always the same as the Blood Angels rampaged through the sector. Once compliance was reached on a planet it would be handed over to an Imperial Army general. He would be expected to garrison the planet, repopulate it, gather further resources to supply the new battlefront, re-establish a new civilisation and collect tithes from the new population. Once Imperial control had been consolidated, the commander was expected to explore adjacent systems for possible integration into the Imperium.

Windar had similarly fallen to Ork invaders but had a much stronger human resistance movement. Some of the best Ork Hunters from Ustra had been inducted into the Imperial Army and they were used extensively by Sanguinius as he drew up his invasion plan. The Ork Hunters were amongst the first troops to drop to the surface, and while the Blood Angels again executed the Ork leaders, the Ustrans established contact with the human survivors. The planet was conquered in seventeen days and it's people declared for the Imperium unanimously.

Luzon II was uninhabited and was quickly resettled by new colonists. Bataan was altogether more problematic. It had been riven apart by internal power struggles and the original government had been toppled. The Blood Angels offered the people of Baatan a place in the Imperium if they would recognise the Emperor’s authority. They refused to comply, and the Blood Angels reluctantly declared war. The Marines enlisted the help of the titan Legion Avernus to crush the rebels. It was a symbolic choice as much as a tactical one. The fight was short and brutal and Bataan was brought to compliance.

The population of Cairn were cowed by this show of strength and capitulated on the appearance of the first Imperial ships in their system. Sub sector two had been brought to heel within two years and Sanguinius took his Crusade into sub sector one.

Borne was the first planet to be landed, and the Imperial Army hooked up with the human survivalists in the interior who declared for the Emperor. The least mutated people of Luzon were welcomed back into human civilisation, while the rest were exterminated. Celebes was subjugated next in the sub sector, the Orks engaged in a titanic tank battle. Sanguinius personally led the fight. At the forefront of the engagement his force became cut off and surrounded. They endured a terrible pounding until an Ustran relief column broke through and relieved them. The Ork Warlords were annihilated. An important warp route into Kualum was thus secured. Kualum's new ruling class refused to recognise the authority of the Emperor and were exterminated - a new governor installed in its place.

Sub sector three was reintegrated with similar speed. From Kualum, the Blood Angels invaded Naich. The Apocalypts had foreseen death from the skies and a drop pod assault allowed the Angels of Death to fulfil the prophecy. Hakoda was found to be uninhabited and quickly reclaimed. The survivors on Kore were contacted and were grateful to rejoin human civilization. Mias was still enveloped in a ferocious warp storm and was ignored. The Orks on Formo were destroyed and the system was captured for the Imperium. Tibe was repopulated.

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