Deathwatch - Purgation
Often referred to as the breadbasket of the expanse, the systems of the Citerior sector are a mixture of agricultural and industrial worlds devoted to producing Lusitania’s food stuffs and manufactured goods.
Ruled by Praetor Decimus Junius from planet Olcades, the sector possesses a relatively easy-going society concerned more with crop rotations and their harvests than the larger concerns of the Imperium or the crusade of its neighbor, Tarraconensis.
Little of the sector’s day-to-day operations are directly overseen by Junius himself. Instead, he prefers to leave most decisions to the planetary governors beneath him, which is in stark contrast to the more heavy-handed governorship used by his neighboring praetors.
So long as tithes are maintained and the systems are at peace, Junius is content to leave things in others’ hands.
At present, his hands-off approach has proven beneficial to Citerior and its systems’ agrarian peoples, because the sector’s key decisions are made by local planetary leaders who are intimately familiar with the varied problems farmers and ranchers face in their work. Better government closer to home than light years away.
This approach to governorship has helped to create a freer population in Citerior who are used to local-rule and self-determination and less amenable to the heavy-handed dictates common to most under Imperial rule. Unfortunately, because of this liberal streak within the sector, Citerior has suffered two major rebellions on planets Carpetani and Edetani in recent past linked to a political extremist group called the Democratists, which required the intervention of Lusitanian Astra Militarum regiments, from planet Llici, to put down.
This organization continues to grow in popularity among the planets’ serfs. Its promises of a better, freer life have found fertile soil here, and this rhetoric has the praetor worried. If the strife continues, Junius will have to take a more active role in the sector to ensure its tithes are met, which will likely cause more unrest. If he doesn’t act, the caesar will, and the people of Citerior will suffer the fate of all heretics.
Junius hopes a political solution can be found to deal with the Democratist movement sweeping Citerior. Open war will give his neighbors an excuse to interfere in Citerior’s affairs and war would devastate his system’s production capabilities, and make the sector from meeting its tithes.
The greater Imperium only cares about its tithes being met, and the caesar and his sector praetors might not be so appreciative or understanding of Junius’ hopes for a peaceful solution. Afterall, rebellion often begets more rebellion.
Peace is especially important to Citerior because it has the weakest military presence within the expanse. Its tithes are paid in food and small appliances, not people and arms. Its planetary defense forces are poorly trained militiamen more comfortable carrying pitchforks than lasguns.
The reason for its lackluster defenses is due to Citerior’s position in the expanse. Its northern borders are protected indirectly by its neighbor Tarraconensis, whose ongoing crusade has successfully engaged the Ork and Eldar threats plaguing Lusitania, and its southwestern border is protected by Baetica who is similarly engaged with the Necrons. The only unprotected Citerior border rests along a region of space known as the Praeteritus Zone.
The Praeteritus Zone is a dark and surreal place where death has made its home. Only a handful of stars near the end of their life still burn here while being orbited by dead worlds. Even the soup of life, gas clouds and element rich nebulae, were swept aside in some great event eons ago, which left the zone almost as barren as the void. Even the Emperor’s light from the Astronomicon is completely eclipsed in this region making warp travel even more dangerous than it already is in Lusitania.
This poorly understood and dangerous sector of space is given a wide berth by experienced void captains and navigators. Tales of lost ships and dread horrors filling Praeteritus are common enough to the people of Citerior that only fools and madmen would try to navigate through the zone. Even the Eldar and greenskins fear the Praeteritus Zone.
The Inquisition has ordered the entire region, which is larger than many of Lusitania’s sectors, quarantined. Some insist the quarantine has been put into place to hide a new threat forming within the Praeteritus Zone’s vast nothingness. Ship crews foolish enough to break the quarantine frequently report detecting strange signals and anomalous readings where there is nothing, and describe an almost tangible madness that permeates the region which will, in time, drive entire crews mad. Others claim the forces of Chaos rule here and are a breath away from tearing through the veil to invade the Imperium.
Whatever caused this inky blackness in the Centaurus Arm to form is unknown, and is likely to remain that way, but its presence has acted as a natural shield for Citerior’s eastern border. Junius suspects this will not last and it is only a matter of time before his sector becomes the frontlines to a newer, greater war.
Unknown to Junius is the fact that the Inquisition has begun construction of a fortress, with the aid of the Explorator fleet, within the zone.
The truth of the Praeteritus Zone is that it’s the last remnants of a once powerful interstellar alien race called the migou. These large, pinkish, fungoid, crustacean-like entities the size of a man once possessed an interstellar empire, which all but died out before man dominated the galaxy. The Praeteritus Zone is the remnants of one of the race’s final battles against the Old Ones. This battle scoured the zone of life and most of the gaseous elements which fills space. What the Old Ones are is unknown to the Inquisition but radical inquisitors with Eldar connections do not believe the term references the Old Ones, which once seeded life in the galaxy, but something more ancient and evil.
The Adeptus Mechanicus discovered signs of the Migou and their advanced technology during the Lusitanian Expanses’ initial colonization. Little is known about the aliens but the Ordos Xenos believes they still live. Remnants of their species have been found on several of the dead planets and moons here and the Explorators have found telltale signs of a planet, which beats like an atrocious heart, hidden deep in the Praeteritus Zone. Punitive expeditions by the Mechanicus have all failed to find and map the planet but ancient reports found in Watch Fortress Purgation describe the planet as a “living” world that possess three moons. the Records refer to the planet as Yuggoth (XO-1) and the moons as Nithon (XO-2), and Thog and Thok (XO-3).
Of special interest to the cult mechanicus are references to the Migou mining a metal called Tok’l on Thok, which the Migou used in the manufacture of their high technology and their rituals.
What these rituals are is still unknown but the Ordos Xenos fears witchcraft and will do anything to prevent the migou from returning and using their loathsome powers. The mechanicus are less reluctant to explore and toy with the Migou and their tools, which could lead to conflict between the Inquisition and the Explorator fleet.