"Immortality is not quite the same as invulnerability, but it is close enough."
More so even than other Necron skimmer vehicles, a Ghost Ark bears a resemblance to its architects both in skeletal appearance and in its slow, inevitable progress across the battlefield.
Looking somewhat like a fleshless floating rib cage pointing skyward, a Ghost Ark lacks the overwhelming firepower sported by many Necron vehicles; however, the rows of linked Gauss Flayers along each flank are more than capable of defending against most attackers.
As with many Necron vehicles, a Ghost Ark’s delicate appearance belies its robust manufacture, constructed as it is of living metal and protected by layers of Quantum Shielding.
Ominously trawling the battlefield in the wake of a Necron advance, Ghost Arks provide yet further insurance that the legions continue their fight until the foe is utterly overwhelmed.
There have been Ghost Arks since the very earliest days of the Necrontyr race before the biotransference which forever changed them. These first Ghost Arks were simple wooden carriages pulled by toiling beasts of burden, commissioned by the families of the dead to convey corpses from their homes to their place of internment.
Thousands of Terran years later, at the time of the Necrontyr's bio-transference into their new, undying bodies of living metal, the now-motorised Ghost Arks took on darker connotations. Guided by grim-faced soldiers, they prowled the streets of the Necrontyr’s great cities. No longer were their businesses with the dead, but with the living; for they were the means by which unwilling citizens were dragged to the great transformative machines.
Though the leaders of the Necrontyr had pledged their allegiance to the C'tan, few of the common people wished for the change that was upon them. So did the Ghost Arks often convey the broken bodies of those beaten near unto death by the government's enforcers, for only a spark of life and memory was required for the bio-transference to be successful.
As resistance grew, Ghost Arks were no longer crewed by soldiers of flesh and blood, but the first wave of converted Necrons; and with that, all pretence of mercy and compassion ended. With each load of living cargo claimed, their reputation grew ever more dark and their aspect more bleak.
By the time bio-transference was almost complete, the mere sight of a Ghost Ark was enough to provoke terror in those observers who could any longer feel such things. Those still living who saw the Ghost Arks about their work swore that the tortured souls of their victims flew thick about the wagons, haunting the air with their mournful voices.
Much has changed for the Necrons in the countless millennia since their transformation, and the role of the Ghost Ark has changed with it. No longer the gaolers of the living, they are now the redeemers of the fallen, tasked with trawling battlefields for remnants of Necrons no longer able to reconstruct themselves. While these sinister vehicles can serve as ordinary troop carriers, the true potential of the Ghost Arks only becomes apparent once the battle is in full tilt.
As it glides ponderously across the battlefield, a Ghost Ark stops for each downed Necron, a veritable tide of minuscule repair Scarabs swarming over the dismembered soldier and carrying its components aboard the Ghost Ark. As the Ghost Ark continues its mission of dark mercy, so the scarabs continue their work with near-silent efficiency, rebuilding all but the most thoroughly demolished Necrons in short order, returning them to full function.
Once its contingent of passengers is full and safely locked in stasis, the Ghost Ark will either return its salvaged cargo to their Tomb World, or travel to wherever reinforcements are most needed to disgorge its payload, much to the dismay of the Necrons’ foes.
Ghost Arks are often pressed into service as conventional transport vehicles, conveying Necron reinforcements to some vital area of the battlefield, or allowing Necron forces to attack from an unexpected quarter. The enemy’s predicament is made all the worse by the fact that Necrons deployed in this fashion are, to all intents and purposes, accompanied by their own mobile repair station. Only by destroying the Ghost Ark can the foe have any hope of victory.
While Ghost Arks seldom pose a direct threat, they often prove to be one of the greatest weapons in the Necron arsenal. Even when a foe begins to thin the ranks of the Necrons, a Ghost Ark has the potential to undo all of their hard-won progress. For this reason, enemies of the Necrons who have previously encountered these high-technology hearses tend to make them a priority target, even focusing fire on them before turning weapons on the advancing Necron infantry.
- Ghost Strider Phalanx – Ghost Strider Phalanxes are employed when the Necrons need to capture ground swiftly. They are most effective when fighting at full strength, where the overlapping layers of their Ghost Arks’ Quantum Shielding reinforce one another in a quantum zone. Should a powerful attack be detected, the Ghost Ark’s abnegation protocols seize control of one of its Tomb Blade escorts and hurl it spiralling into the path of the shot, preserving the valuable Ghost Ark from the enemy’s wrath. The formation is invariably guided by a ‘Walker in the Ether’ – a Ghost Ark helmsman who can see pocket dimensions as clearly as he can the physical world. With suitable preparation, the Walker can breach these pocket dimensions, allowing the forces under his command to bypass any foes that stand in their path and cross the battlefield to wherever they are needed. A Ghost Strider Phalanx typically consists of one to three Ghost Arks with embarked Necron Warriors squads, and one to three Tomb Blade units.
- Two Gauss Flayer Arrays –Ghost Arks are each armed with two separate arrays of five Gauss Flayers -- one located along each flank -- enabling it to "broadside" enemy units across its sides. These two arrays enable the Ghost Ark to repel any enemy assaulters who manage to flank it, as well as those approaching from the rear due to the Ark’s swift turning speeds.
- Necrodermis - The armour of a Ghost Ark is made up of the same living metal Necrodermis that makes up all Necron bodies and vehicles. Its remarkable regenerative properties allow it to automatically repair damage to itself; whether this is the regeneration of parts of its hull, the reknitting of metal plates, and the reconnection of circuits and other delicate systems to bring its weapons online again.
- Quantum Shielding – Ghost Arks are also protected by a layer of Quantum Shielding which exists out of phase from the rest of the vehicle until the moment of deflection. It can deflect the first shot that would otherwise penetrate the Ark’s armour, after which it cannot be used again for some time.
Ordo Xenos Departmento Analyticus Technical Specifications
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pg. 53
- Codex: Necrons (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 165-166
- Deathwatch: The Outer Reach (RPG), pp. 140-141
- Warzone: Damnos, pg. 58