Fleet Base Metis is a Ramilies-class Starfort that serves as a bastion and base of operations for the Imperial Navy vessels of Battlefleet Koronus. Originally commissioned for the Achilus Crusade into the Jericho Reach, Fleet Base Metis was towed to System 028-3B8-4D, in preparation for transport through the Jericho-Maw Warp Gate. But due to technical oversights, the massive Starfort had to be left behind, where it was reassigned to Passage Watch 27-Est almost by default.
System Designate 028-3B8-4D is a barren collection of rocks orbiting a guttering red dwarf. Besides several rings of asteroids (the innermost being semi-molten), the only worlds in the star system are several marginal telluric rocks with thin, dusty atmospheres of inert gas. In fact, its only appealing feature besides the Warp Gate is that it is near the centre of a relatively large region of space where Warp Storms do not intrude. Fleet Base Metis does not orbit any of these worlds, instead following an orbit amongst the outmost asteroid ring. Imperial strategists cunningly calculated the placement of the voidstation so the approaches are limited by the surrounding field, and several seemingly accessible approaches are covered by minefields and Macrobattery emplacements built into the larger rocks. The shifting orbital paths of the asteroids, coupled with the formidable perimeter defences and Battlefleet warships on station, make simply approaching the Fleet Base an onerous task.
Even if a foe could reach Metis, they may well find themselves outclassed by the firepower the voidstation can bring to bear. The base itself is an extremely powerful bastion, a Ramilies-class Starfort. Originally designed by Artisan Magos Lian Ramilies from STC components, the Ramilies is as heavily armed as a squadron of warships and can remain self-sufficient for decades if not indefinitely. More importantly, a Ramilies can erect a Warpbubble over the entire structure, enabling it to enter the Warp and be towed by fleets of tugs to different star systems.
Originally commissioned for the Achilus Crusade into the Jericho Reach, Fleet Base Metis was towed to System 028-3B8-4D in preparation for transport through the Jericho-Maw Warp Gate. However, last-minute studies of the gate and its properties by the senior Magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus determined it would not survive the journey. Transit through the gate is extremely turbulent, too much so for an unwieldy convoy of tugs and supply ships towing an unwieldy Starfort. Unfortunately, just passing through the Maw had proven extremely dangerous for the procession, and the risk of taking Metis back into the Calixis Sector was deemed too great. After the strategists who suggested using Metis in the Crusade had been punished for incompetence, the massive Starfort was left in System Designate 028-3B8-4D, where it was reassigned to Passage Watch 27-Est almost by default.
Since its accidental arrival, Metis has proved incredibly useful to the Achilus Crusade and Battlefleet Koronus. Not only is it a vital resupply and staging point for Fleet-Captain Nathaniel Horne's fleet, it also serves as a transit point for a large portion of the supplies still flowing through the Warp Gate to the Jericho Reach. Although some ships travel directly to the gate, many others off-load their cargos at Metis and depart, never knowing the ultimate destination of their supplies. In turn, other ships make a continuous run through the Warp Gate to the Imperial Fortress Worlds on the far side.
Station Defences and Installations
Fleet Base Metis, like all Ramilies-class Starforts, is an extremely powerful adversary. The voidstation is divided into four "quadrants," each able to be sealed from the others and capable of fighting as near independent entities. Each quadrant is heavily armed with multiple long-range Lance turrets and Macrocannon broadsides rivalling the strength of a Navy Cruiser, as well as multiple launch bays for Attack Craft. The four quadrants surround a central bastion, itself heavily armed with additional weapon batteries and torpedo silos.
Though the most prominent portion of Fleet Base Metis is the Ramilies at its heart, in the decades since its arrival a number of smaller installations have grown up around it. These include several space docks, over a score of orbital supply depots, several hab-installations dedicated to food production, and a number of auxiliary weapon platforms for defence. Each share a close orbit with the Starfort, as to never be outside the protective reach of its guns. Though it does not have facilities to construct new warships, Metis can repair any warship in Battlefleet Koronus. The Navy is extremely cautious as to who may travel to Fleet Base Metis. However, several trusted Rogue Traders have been allowed to journey there, and even repair their ships and resupply. Almost always, these are ships operating with the authority of Fleet-Captain Nathaniel Horne or his immediate subordinates, or equally powerful institutions such as the Inquisition.
Fleet Base Metis Notable Personnel
Metis and its surrounding installations have a large crew of nearly 500,000 individuals, the vast majority Imperial Navy crewmen. The following is a list of the more notable personnel that occupy this Starfort:
- Captain Jaghatai Haxtis - The perpetually overworked commander of Metis (and in fact, the individual responsible for all of Zone 15, the secret location of the Jericho-Maw Warp Gate) Haxtis nonetheless regards it as no less than his sacred duty to keep the ships of the Battlefleet Koronus armed and supplied. If a Rogue Trader operates by commission from the Navy, he extends this viewpoint to their vessels as well. Haxtis is an elderly career Navy man, no longer mobile without a complete bionic bracing frame. However, his mind is still sharp, and he's the rare Navy officer who would rather run a voidstation than command a warship.
- Commander Atraxia Clarion - Haxtis' second-in-command, Clarion handles the day-to-day station operations and keeps a weather eye on the station's personnel as well as those from other ships. She's canny enough to know when to turn a blind eye to technically illicit but harmless activities, but comes down brutally hard on anything that may endanger the station. While slight in stature, few make the mistake of underestimating this woman twice. Clarion rose from the rank of Petty Officer to her current position, no mean feat in the Imperial Navy, and is as tough as any dock labourer.
- Lieutenant-Commander Fellig Von Prim - A taciturn and withdrawn man, Von Prim only comes alive in the cockpit of a Fury Interceptor. The Lieutenant-Commander commands Metis's extensive fighter and bomber squadrons. As a leader he is unimpressive, doing his duty with little eagerness and less empathy for those under his command. However, his impressive kill-tally of over 100 enemy Attack Craft ensures that at least for now he retains his position.
- Rogue Trader: Battlefleet Koronus (RPG), pp. 61-62