Deathwatch - Purgation
Vlterior is a cold, dark and lonely sector, which acts as the northern guard of the expanse. Small and lightly populated due to its abundance of dead and dying worlds, Vlterior reflects the encroaching darkness approaching the Lusitanian Expanse.
Only a handful of world’s here can sustain human life and even then, only rarely outside the oppressive and claustrophobic confines of one of the sector’s many hive worlds.
It is from one of these hives on planet Bracara where Lucius Mummius Achaicus controls the northern gate and its vast legions of guardsmen and ships.
Mummius’ rule over Vlterior is harsh but necessary. This is because the sector stares directly into the void along the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy. Beyond Vlterior’s borders is the inky nothingness between galaxies that serves to remind the people of Vlterior that regardless of man’s perceived dominance over this galaxy, the universe is a vast and unforgiving place. The Emperor’s light only stretches so far, and here it is dimmest…
As testament to the unforgiving nature of this sector, the Ordos Xenos of the Inquisition maintains a high level presence in the sector. Inquisitorial forces have ordered the blockading of numerous worlds here due to what once was, and may still be, on them. Xeno structures characterized by bizarre architecture likened to non-Euclidean geometry populate many of the dead worlds. Others contain the shattered husks of dead xeno civilizations built in measureless eons behind history by the vast, loathsome shapes that seeped down from the dark stars.
This ever present darkness has made madness and heresy exigent threats in Vlterior, which requires constant vigilance by imperial servants to countermand. Cults to all the Chaos God’s abound here and even the telltale signs of Alpha Legionaries have been whispered, but more threatening to Vlterior than the forces of chaos are the rising number of cults dedicated to a seemingly endless pantheon of eldritch beings.
In order to limit the spread of these cults Mummius and the Inquisition have put into place a terrifyingly effective police state where the people here live especially short, brutal lives working in the various foundries and smelters, even in comparison to the greater Imperium, which keeps the hives functioning and the tithes paid.
From dawn to dusk the people are expected to work and pray, all the while spying and snitching on their friends and family should they pause in their daily toil or fail in their devotionals for even a minute. After all, idle hands breed heresy and all living in Vlterior know this.
Through this brutal suppression of free will, fanatical indoctrination in the imperial creed, and endless government propaganda, the people of Vlterior are kept under control, but even this is not enough to stave off the intoxicating appeal of power, which so many dread things promise their servants.
To the north of Vlterior’s borders, and past the sector’s pole of inaccessibility, is a degenerate neutron star dubbed Moloch orbited by the planet Solomon and its moon.
Moloch is the stellar remnant of a Type II Supernova Event, 15 solar mass super giant. A part of the rotation-powered pulsars class, Moloch maintains an exceptionally fast rotation speed, which results in the emission of powerful gamma ray bursts along its magnetic axis with a burst speed of 15 seconds predictable to atomic clock standards and is within the visible light spectrum.
Solomon is a pulsar planet formed from the metal-rich debris left over from the supernova that formed Moloch. Harsh radiation prevents life as we know it from forming on it’s surface and only through the liberal use of technology can human life be preserved in any state on its surface. A small moon orbits Solomon dubbed the “Temple Mount.” The moon’s gravitational pull has modified Solomon’s orbit around Moloch enough to keep one side of Solomon always facing away and partially protected from Moloch’s harsh radiation waves. Solomon’s distance has also allowed a simple atmosphere to form from stellar remnants that adds to it’s protection.
Both were discovered by an Exploratory Fleet of the Adeptus Mechanicus in M35.41 as the survey and conquest of the Lusitanian Expanse by Imperial forces neared completion.
Initial scans conducted by Mechanicus planetary surveyors in Vlterior found and catalogued many mysterious artifacts, ancient alien civilizations, and a number of anomalous readings and signals throughout the sector. Like most of the Lusitanian Expanse, what could not be understood, catalogued or easily disposed of was erased from Imperial records and declared forbidden to all but the Inquisition.
One such signal, psychic in origin, led Adept Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, Magos Biologis to the Adeptus Mechanicus Explorator Fleet Experientia, and Galeazzo Maria Sforza, head of the Rogue Trader Dynasty of House Sforza and Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos, to the northern border of Vlterior on the edge of the void.
From beyond the Galaxy’s edge, something was calling out to the explorers. The message killed several of the fleet’s navigators with its raw power before seemingly transforming itself into a more manageable and receptive message for the psykers to decipher. The signal warned of a blight of nethermost confusion which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity from outside the ordered universe. The message welcomed all who would oppose what the navigators began calling the Nuclear Chaos and gave a series of normal space coordinates for ships to navigate into the void.
The message appeared contextually human in nature but their was a lingering sense of the unknown in it. There was xeno’s taint in the message but at Sforza’s orders, the explorator fleet plotted a course into the void.
Upon entering the system, seven of the fleet’s 10 ships were lost to a powerful gamma ray burst, which killed the crew instantly. The passage into the system lays over the rotational axis rather than the magnetic axis of Moloch, which placed the entering ships partially in the path of the star’s gamma bursts. It was at first believed to be a trap, but the adepts of the Machine God believed otherwise. The navigators, ship’s crew and the navy vessels were simply not good enough to follow the navigation relays to such exacting orders. Without accurate timing and intimate knowledge of the sun’s stellar quakes caused by Solomon’s orbit, any attempts to enter or flee the system would result in crew death by atomic decay.
It was the perfect shield for what the fleet found calling to them. Buried under the crust of Solomon was, what would become in the present millennium, Watch Fortress Purgation. This ancient construct of human and alien architecture was designed to be the first and last line of defense against the unknown, and a last gift from a people who failed in their endeavors.
What or who the explorators and the Inquisition found here is sealed to all except the senior most Inquisitorial Lords, but what they found reshaped the Lusitanian Expanse into a perpetual war zone against a slew of Eldritch abominations, which would begin to bubble to the surface as millennia passed.
Currently, the watch fortress serves as the primary base of operations for the Inquisition in the expanse and is the home to the current Inquisitor Lord, Caterina Sforza, and her newly established Deathwatch astartes team called The Nameless. From here, Sforza directs her tools in a losing war against madness.