Sunday, June 10, 2007

BACKGROUND: Exigators. Treachery at Knardlone

Chapter records deposited at Jalein in 377.M34 show the disposition of the Exigators as follows.
  • HQ Chapter Master: Silas Bettanez
  • HQ Chief Librarian: Jayat Queroz
  • HQ Master Techmarine: Snarvat Rime
  • HQ Master Apothecary: Ramone Amos
  • HQ Chaplain: Vann Morr
  • 1st Company Captain: Tchoi Guerez
  • 2nd Company Captain: Badalementi Astrid
  • 3rd Company Captain: Jaxxe Sebastian
  • 4th Company Captain: Orton Jorke
  • 5th Company Captain: Rea Gomez
  • 6th Company Captain: Coxon Guillemot
  • 7th Company Captain: Cullum West
  • 8th Company Captain: Keene Silek
  • 9th Company Captain: Rev Mylo
  • 10th Company Captain: Finn Keys
According to the records, the chapter boasted 1015 marines in total. This chapter organisation was shattered irrevocably in what has become described by the survivors as the Treachery at Knardlone.

When the Exigators succumbed to spontaneous genetic mutation their apothecaries produced a serum which stabilised the marines long enough for them to reunite and seek more advanced medical assistance. Unbeknownst to the Exigators, they were not the only chapter to suffer from unstable geneseed. The entire founding was affected and later became known as the cursed founding. The council of Terra convened and decided upon a drastic course of action.

The Exigators were instructed to make for Knardlone, an isolated system in the Arlehk system. There, they would rendezvous with senior apothecaries from a dozen other chapters and their geneseed would be healed.

The Exigator's battle barge Mighty Hammer broke warp in the Knardlone system, together with the strike cruisers Swift Justice, Emperor's Promise and Silent Hunter. The fleet travelled in-system for two hours before the strike cruiser Indomitable arrived having experienced difficulties with its Geller Field. It hurried to rejoin the fleet.

Without warning, an Imperial fleet emerged from the dark side of the fifth planet and engaged the Exigators. The Emperor's Promise was destroyed instantly in a hail of torpedoes, while the Mighty Hammer exploded with a nova cannon shot to its plasma reactor. Chapter Master Silas Bettanez and Chief Librarian Jayat Queroz perished in the inferno.

Captain Rev Mylo of the 9th company was aboard the Swift Justice which was protected from the initial assault by the bulk of the Mighty Hammer. Together with Silent Hunter they turned 180 degrees and made for the warp exit.

The Indomitable came steaming in from the opposite direction and scattered the Navy fleet. It was an heroic sacrifice as the Indomitable was annihilated by multiple broadside salvoes. 6th company captain Coxon Guillemot is still reckoned a hero by the surviving Exigators to this day.

It seemed like the two strike cruisers would escape the ambush. But the Navy had two Grand Cruisers waiting to close the net. Swift Justice was badly damaged and left drifting, so Silent Hunter became the hunted. It survived for a further 42 minutes, leading the Grand Cruisers a merry dance before being cornered by the rest of the Navy fleet. The Silent Hunter was boarded and it's crew slaughtered.

The distraction gave Swift Justice enough time to repair it's warp drives and escape the system.

The ambush cost the Exigators 596 marine lives, their battle barge and three strike cruisers. It left the survivors bewildered and angry. Why had the Imperium abandoned them? How would they stop the mutations?

I'll explain what happened to the survivors in my next installment.

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