Hito Ulanti was a Flag-Lieutenant and the First Officer of the Dictator-class Cruiser Lord Solar Macharius of the Imperial Navy during the Gothic War at the beginning of the 41st Millenium. Young, hot-blooded yet supremely competent, Ulanti was one of the key players in the many successes the Macharius earned over the course of that conflict.
Hito Ulanti hailed from the Necromundan Noble House of Ulanti. Possessed of a restless character, the young noble scion applied and was accepted for training to serve in the Imperial Navy. Gifted with a keen mind and great ambition, he quickly rose through the ranks, and ultimately was assigned as Flag-Lieutenant to Flag-Captain Leoten Semper so he could get a first taste of true command and learn from the experience of that more senior and seasoned officer.
Ulanti's first taste of command would prove to be bitter, however: ancient, hidebound traditions within the Navy stated that any human hailing from a Hive World was trash; scum only fit to be press-ganged into slave labour. Ulanti found it almost impossible to have himself and his authority respected by his underlings. The only person to actually respect him from the very start was his Captain, but due to Semper's stern and formal personality, this respect was not apparent, and Ulanti believed himself thoroughly disliked by the whole of the Macharius' crew.
This lack of respect would not prevent Ulanti from doing his duty to the best of his abilities, and, when Captain Semper asked for opinions during the confrontation between the Macharius and the Chaos Hades-class Heavy Cruiser Contagion, he did not hesitate to oppose the general consensus that retreating into the Warp was the best course of action, and stated that if their opponent was truly the man he announced he once was, he was renowed to never give up a chase, and that daemons were better at navigating the Warp than human Navigators. Ulanti was proven right, for the Macharius was unable to escape the Contagion, and when Captain Semper gave the suicidal order to weaken his ship's Gellar Field in order to lure the Contagion closer, Ulanti did not hesitate to interpose himself between Semper and the Macharius' Fleet Commissar, who objected to Semper's action. Staring down the barrel of a Bolt Pistol, Ulanti calmly stated to the Commissar that he could shoot both Semper and him, but they were all dead anyway, and that Semper's stratagem at least gave the ship and its crew a chance. Ulanti's resolve made the Commissar hesitate, and when the Macharius' senior Tech-priest confirmed that there was a remote chance the stratagem could work, the Commissar backed down and allowed Captain Semper to proceed.
This show of bravery did not win Ulanti much respect amongst the Macharius' crew, and somewhat later he snapped, and accepted a challenge to duel from another officer. Due to his past on Necromunda, Ulanti was an impeccable swordsman, and he easily bested his opponent, cutting him down in one calculated stroke. This only served to inflame the crew further, and Semper called Ulanti for a private discussion in his quarters. During that discussion, Semper sternly told his younger ward that further duelling would not be tolerated, and that respect was not a blood-prize collected from slain enemies: it had to be earned through hard work and dedication. Bristling with fury, Ulanti stiffened, but Semper continued, explaining to him that they were now tasked with finding the mutinied Dauntless-class Light Cruiser Bellerophon, and asked his second-in-command how he would proceed if he was in charge. Assessing the situation, Ulanti considered the star chart for a moment, and determined the most probable course of escape of the Bellerophon, guessing that the Renegade ship would no longer possess a Navigator, and thus would only be able to proceed with short Warp "hops" to Chaos-controlled space.
Returning to the bridge, Semper allowed Ulanti to proceed with the chase. They caught up with the Bellerophon, and when the mutinied warship was damaged by the Macharius' Starhawk Bombers, Ulanti surprised everyone by volunteering to lead a boarding action to reclaim the ship rather than destroying it outright, since it was a better option for Battlefleet Gothic in the long run. Semper inwardly smiled, satisfied that his dressing down to stop acting like a Necromundan noble and start acting like a Fleet Officer had had the desired effect on Ulanti.
During the boarding action, Ulanti chanced upon the Bellerophon's Flag-Lieutenant, and engaged the other officer in a duel. Ulanti got the first blow in, piercing his opponent's side, but the other officer grabbed his sword arm with his free hand before Ulanti could pull his sabre back, and delivered a terrible cut to Ulanti's shoulder. Severely wounded, Ulanti was saved in the nick of time by the enlisted crewman Maxim Borusa, who prevented the Renegade from finishing Ulanti off before dispatching him, and dragging Ulanti to safety. Once patched up, Ulanti sought out the man who had saved his life, and promoted Borusa to the position of his personal bodyguard.
Later on, the Macharius was assigned to an Imperial Navy battle group tasked with the liberation of the planet Helia IV. During that battle, Ulanti performed admirably, anticipating his captain's needs and ensuring his orders were carried out. When the Macharius was boarded by attackers from the Slaughter-class Cruiser Virulence, he volunteered to lead the ship's armsmen in repelling the boarders. His courage and dedication had finally starting paying off, and the crew of the Macharius finally started to accept him.
After the Battle of Helia IV, the Macharius was sent to the planet of Belatis to oversee its evacuation, since it had been identified as the Planet Killer weapon's next target, and mounting a defence capable of repelling that massive warship and its accompanying fleet was not feasible. When Semper was called down to the surface of Belatis on a diplomatical gesture, he trusted Ulanti with running the Macharius in his absence.
When Captain Semper was presumed lost on Belatis' surface, Ulanti argued passionately with the other captains in the fleet to at least send a rescue mission to ascertain the truth of Semper's demise, but Flag-Captain Erwin Ramas of the Gothic-class Cruiser Drachenfels sensibly overruled him, stating that risking the safety of a whole convoy of ships to save one man, even one as brilliant as Captain Semper, was simple folly, and that the better course of action was for the Imperial fleet to run for it and live to avenge him another day. A dejected and heavy-hearted Ulanti then gave orders to the Macharius' crew to join the retreating Imperial convoy.
Afterwards, when Captain Semper managed to indicate his survival through astrotelepathic communication, Ulanti hailed the other captains again, and once more requested to be allowed to mount a rescue mission. Ramas refused, and such was the loyalty of Ulanti and the Macharius' crew toward Captain Semper that they almost mutinied. Luckily, matters were taken out of their hands by Adeptus Arbites Marshal Byzantane, who, upon learning that the Traitor who had allowed Chaos Cults to flourish on Belatis was still alive alongside Semper, simply commandeered the Macharius, and ordered it back to Belatis.
During that rescue mission, Ulanti was forced to assume effective command of the Macharius in a dangerous combat situation, and while he perfomed superbly, rescuing his captain and destroying or forcing back several Chaos warships, he realised that he was not yet ready to assume command of his own vessel. The pressures of taking major decisions and facing their consequences, rather than merely assisting the man who did take them, left a deep impression on the young officer, and added yet another layer to his respect for Captain Semper.
A young, hot-blooded human male with an expressive visage and sharp features, Hito Ulanti was ambitious and keen to prove himself. Educated amongst the decadent nobility of a Hive World, he was a gifted diplomat and an accomplished swordsman, having developed both skills in order to survive the treacherous politics of his homeworld of Necromunda. When first joining Battlefleet Gothic, Ulanti had an overall bad relationship with his fellow officers, his Hive World background and expectation of being treated like the scion of a noble house working against him. He did, however, temper his brashness with experience, and quickly grew into a competent and respected officer.
On a more personal level, Ulanti remained a noble: used to luxury, he did not hesitate to partake in all his lofty station could offer while off-duty: games of chance, drinking, keeping a concubine, luxurious quarters and even duelling were all on his agenda. He was, however, a man of honour, and he never allowed his pleasures to infringe on his ability to effectively carry out his duties.
- Execution Hour (Novel) by Gordon Rennie