He is one of the foremost of their Chapter's Apothecaries, a Veteran whose abilities saw him rapidly progress through the ranks of the Apothecarion and whose bravery in recovering the gene-seed of the fallen gained him great respect among the Chapter.
At the beginning of the Badab War, Shen was engaged in overseeing a new intake of recruits on Nocturne and answered Pellas Mir'san's call to join the Chapter's expeditionary force during the lamentable conflict known as the Badab War.
He fought at the forefront of the conflict, participating in Operation Sedna and the Invasion of Shaprias, but it was during the subsequent boarding of the Salamanders' Battle Barge Pyre of Glory by Secessionist forces that the Master Apothecary's greatest hour would come, defending the gene-seed vault against the predations of the treacherous enemy.
The Badab War, fought between 901.M41 and 913.M41, was one of the most insidious and dangerous internecine conflicts to wrack the Imperium of Man in recent history, made all the more lamentable because the unthinkable had occurred. As a result of a conflicting nexus of honour, treachery, politics and greed, several Space Marine Chapters turned Renegade against the Imperium and bloodshed and outright civil war ensued -- a war which turned entire armies of the Imperium's most powerful warriors against each other and in doing so swept millions to their deaths in its turbulence.
Initially, the Salamanders were reluctant to get involved in the internecine conflict, having fought alongside both the Astral Claws and the Fire Hawks as recently as the Lycanthos Drift Campaign of the 810s.M41, and the Chapter was greatly troubled to intervene on either side, despite direct calls to do so.
When proof was provided to them by the Legate Inquisitor in charge of prosecuting the war that the Astral Claws had broken faith fully with the ancient covenants of the Imperium and embraced the service of Chaos, the Salamanders were forced by duty to act. The Chapter could only send a small force consisting of one Battle Company (the 2nd Company) under the command of Captain Pellas Mir'san, as the rest of the Chapter was already committed elsewhere.
In one notable campaign of the conflict, Captain Mirsan offered to lead his own forces in a lightning strike against the Secessionist world of Lamptan. The Salamanders would rely on the element of surprise and the power of their potent Battle Barge Pyre of Glory, dealing a crippling blow to the enemy.
Chaplain Ivanus Enkomi, representing the aloof and secretive Minotaurs Chapter in the Space Marine war council, offered to take his personal guard and such forces as he could muster to aid the Salamanders in this mission.
So approved, the strike force, named the "Gift of Fire," was further augmented by a pair of Imperial Navy light cruisers and a frigate squadron. This force was dispatched immediately on the long voyage to the Lamptan System, there to meet the foe in battle.
The Red Hour
Following the successful campaign on Lamptan, the Gift of Fire task force was unexpectedly struck by a powerful Warp squall and scattered en route back to Imperial-controlled space. Calamity was averted by the formidable skills of their lead Navigator, and only a single frigate was lost to the predations of the Immaterium, while the Salamanders' Battle Barge Pyre of Glory and the light cruiser Admiral Gregorius were turned back into the Maelstrom riding ahead of the stormfront.
The vessels were forced to ford into realspace in the relative stability of the Calah Shoals within the Maelstrom's boundary to repair and refit. The Loyalists' arrival had not gone unnoticed, for soon news of their presence was carried to the Secessionists. The Astral Claws Strike Cruiser Hyrcania was still in the region, having found its home base on Shaprias destroyed. Its master, Arch-Centurion Carnac Commodus, craved vengeance and atonement for his failings in the eyes of his lord.
But Commodus knew that alone, his vessel stood little chance at taking on the wounded Loyalists. He sent an encrypted astropathic message seeking aid, which was received by an unexpected ally in the Phaeton's Wrath, the flagship Battle Barge of the Executioners Chapter, and her accompanying Gladius-class Frigate Escorts, which had been taking on supplies at the uninhabited Ocean World of Deluge on the edge of the Magog Cluster.
Their combined Secessionist battle group attacked the wounded Loyalist vessels as they moved toward the Warp Mandeville Point at Calah to embark once again. The light cruiser Admiral Gregorius was blasted to atoms in the opening salvo of the Secessionists' guns. The Pyre of Glory quickly proved to be far less easy prey. The Salamanders' mighty Battle Barge managed to repel the first boarding assaults against her and destroyed two of the attacking frigates.
But after a three-solar-hour-long running battle, the Phaeton's Wrath managed to entirely disable the Pyre of Glory's thrusters, leaving it dead in space. High Mortiurge (Master of Sanctity) Thulsa Kane vox-signalled the Salamanders' vessel and offered them the chance for honourable surrender, vouchsafing passage for them from the war zone under oath not to take up arms again in the conflict.
Captain Mir'san conceded to this demand, despite the misgivings of some of those under his command, knowing that to do so would risk his force being destroyed without being able to strike back at their foe. Having himself fought alongside the Executioners centuries before as a Scout Neophyte, he trusted to their oath of offered surety.
Both the Phaeton's Wrath and the Hyrcania drew alongside the battered Pyre of Glory and docked, Thulsa Kane personally leading the Executioners boarding party and accepting Mir'san's sword in surrender as the Salamanders stood down their arms. It was then elsewhere within the great ship that the unthinkable occurred.
Thanks to the conditions of the surrender, Arch-Centurion Commodus led his own boarding party to seize the Pyre of Glory 's armouries nearly unopposed. Heedless of the consequences, Commodus sought to breach the warship's sanctum vaults and seize not only the recovered gene-seed from the caverns of Shapiras, but also the Salamanders' own recovered genetic stock from the fatalities sustained during the conflict.
When the Salamanders' Apothecaries resisted, led by Master Harath Shen, Commodus cut them down. He then unleashed his unfettered wrath upon the Salamanders, ordering the massacre of those Salamanders the Secessionists had taken prisoner. He commanded his "Corpse Takers" to strip them of their gene-seed whether alive or dead. A pitched battle quickly broke out across the decks.
As reports reached the bridge of what was happening, Thulsa Kane was incensed with murderous rage. Seeing this reaction, Mir'san wisely divined that the Executioners may not have possessed full knowledge of the heresy and blasphemy committed by the Astral Claws, perhaps having been deliberately deceived by the Tyrant of Badab.
Controlling his own outrage, Mir'san poured deliberate scorn on the Executioners' leader, both for this breach of his word and the dishonour of standing by and allowing the Tyrant's sins to go unchallenged. With the reports of his Executioners' own eyes giving the gravity of truth to Mir'san's claims, Kane's wrath was terrible to behold.
He declared that the blood oath binding his Chapter to Lufgt Huron's cause had been violated, and the dark stain of infamy the Astral Claws had brought upon them could only be washed clean by a river of blood. Those Salamanders Battle-Brothers that survived what was to come have since given witness that a bleak madness came upon the Executioners at Kane's pronouncement, and that they tore into the Astral Claws with a murderous vengeance, heedless of the risk to their own lives, satisfied only that their former allies would die by their hands regardless of the cost.
Captain Mir'san rallied his surviving Salamanders brethren and mounted a defence of the Battle Barge's inner sanctum, unleashing the power of the mighty Ancients, led by Bray'arth Ashmantle upon the apostate Astral Claws. First the corridors and vaults of the Pyre of Glory and then the Astral Claws' warship Hyrcania ran red with blood.
This dreadful battle became known in the legends of war as "The Red Hour," as every single Astral Claw, Chapter Serf and Servitor present was relentlessly hunted down and slaughtered. The Hyrcania was left a charnel house of decapitated bodies, as the Executioners took more than 200 heads from their former allies.
Thulsa Kane came alone before the Salamanders' commander, Captain Pellas Mir'san and knelt in the light of the burning sanctum braziers. Offering him no words, he presented a single gory object which rolled at Mir'san's feet -- the head of the Arch-Centurion Commodus.
Without further comment, the Executioners withdrew, leaving the stricken Salamanders Battle Barge and the empty Astral Claws Strike Cruiser docked alongside. The Executioners' maddened desire for vengeance had not been satiated, and soon its message reached every corner of the Maelstrom Zone. From this point onwards, the Executioners Chapter became a rogue element in the conflict, not only seeking out and descending with suicidal fury on the Astral Claws and their agents wherever they could be found, but also refusing to surrender to Loyalist forces when encountered.
The most notorious incident of this kind occurred when the Executioners destroyed the Sons of Medusa Strike Cruiser Warspite in the Grief System in 911.M41. But there were other incidents as well.
Beyond these lamentable events, the Executioners Chapter's attacks on wider Imperial shipping ceased almost immediately. These unusual developments were only explained some solar months later, when the badly wrecked Pyre of Glory finally limped into port at the Loyalist battle station at Surngraad with their strange and bloody tale to tell.
Harath Shen survived the carnage of the Red Hour and went on to serve as his Chapter's Chief Apothecary until the turbulence of the Era Indomitus.
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 25, 30
- Forge World - Download: Master Harath Shen
- Forge World - Space Marine Badab War Characters Update Version 2 (6th Edition)