Phaeton is a major Forge World of the Adeptus Mechanicus located in the Segmentum Solar, close to the island world of Tahnel, which is famous for their Astra Militarum regiments of Drop Troops. This vitally important Forge World is home to the Legio Osedax ("The Cockatrices") Titan Legion and is notable for being the originator of the common pattern of Leman Russ Tank.
Much of the early history of Phaeton has been lost due to the passage of time, but with the end of the Age of Strife and the launching of the Emperor of Mankind's Great Crusade into the stars, one of the first tasks of Imperial expansion from Terra was to link up with a number of key domains within the Segmentum Solar identified as vital to the Great Crusade's success. Crucial among these were several Forge Worlds with whom the Mechanicum of Mars had maintained some relationship throughout the tribulations of the later centuries of Old Night. In many cases, these inclusions went without difficulty, and the newly-contacted Forge Worlds willingly bent the knee to Mars without qualm, but in others such as Phaeton, inclusion in the Imperium was the matter of some negotiation and difficulty, and the final acquiescence bought with considerably more autonomy than the Fabricator-General of Mars would perhaps have preferred from a vassal-domain.
What began as a coldly cordial relationship quickly grew into one of veiled and open rivalry, with Phaeton's position further strengthened by its quickly becoming perhaps the second-most productive Forge World of the Great Crusade until the later discovery of mighty Anvilus. Although never faltering in its committment to the Great Crusade, machinations by the authorities of Mars brought matters close to outright conflict over doctrine and subtle accusations that Phaeton was building its military assets to threatening levels, and this began to have a corrosive effect on the Forge World's reputation -- to the point where the storm clouds of hostile censure and perhaps even armed retribution gathered. At last, the Revered-Comptroller of Phaeton Prime, realising that his domain could not stand before such power, brokered a compromise, offering publicly to give up a full third of his world's engines, armed forces and chattels in the interests of equanimity with Mars. This was quickly agreed, but as the Fabricator-General, no doubt with some lust for the task, despatched an assayance taskforce to Phaeton, he discovered that he had been outmanoeuvred.
Rather than give up its lore and dominion to Mars, Phaeton had created a fleet of vast Explorator Arks, and into these were divided an equal third part of its priesthood, chattels and machineries, and even as the Martian emissaries looked on, they were despatched into the void. Conflict was averted, Phaeton diminished and its subservience assured, but it and its allies gained a long-burning antipathy towards Mars and its masters. After a long and perilous journey through the Warp, the Phaetonite Covenant alighted in the vicinity of the white super-giant star Atarath, on what was then the edge of known space. Here they founded the fledging Forge World of Atar-Median in its shadow, on one of the many rogue planets caught in the colossal star's gravitational pull.
The Bequest of Phaeton
In the final year of the 38th Millennium, the lords of Phaeton were stunned when their primary manufactorum produced a variant hull of the Land Raider not described in any archive of known machine canon. Outwardly, the hull differed little from the thousands produced before, yet its internal systems were constructed to such a high tolerance that, once the artificers had completed initial machine supplications, the result was declared superior amongst war machines. Subsequent investigations determined that the forge was operating under a deep-core automated production protocol that took millennia to cycle through, thus no Tech-priest had ever witnessed it before. It seemed that at the dawn of the Imperium, some unknown Magi had coded a slow-burn quota sequence into the forge's automated production nodes, so that it produced variants of common patterns of vehicle according to his pre-cognative calculations regarding what would be needed in the future in order to prosecute the wars of the Imperium.
To date, the forge has produced seven more variants of common Space Marine war machines, some exceptional examples of existing patterns, others entirely novel and never seen before or since. An entire sub-cult has emerged in recent years based around this, a body of Tech-priests devoted to predicting the bounty of Phaeton's primary forge and working to ensure that its creations are given all due reverence. There are some within this cult who would enshrine such lordly war machines that all might adore them, while others hold that such engines are clearly destined to do great deeds and should be released into the service of the Adeptus Astartes that they might realise their glorious potential. The matter has yet to be settled, and it is likely that the next Bequest of Phaeton, when it comes, will precipitate a schism within the Tech-priests of this mighty Forge World.
As a major Forge World of the Imperium, Phaeton is known to produce an array of arms, vehicles and equipment including: Earthshaker Cannon Platforms, Sabre Gun Platforms, the powerful Demolisher Cannon, Lascannons and powerpacks, as well as several patterns of standard Leman Russ Tanks including the Leman Russ Demolisher.
- Codex: Adeptus Mechanicus - Skitarii (7th Edition), "Bastions of the Machine God, pg. 17 (Map)
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Imperial Guard & Imperial Navy, pp. 8, 11, 15-16, 97, 185, 251
- Imperial Armour Volume One - Second Edition: Imperial Guard, pp. 10, 13, 25, 189, 207
- Imperial Armour Volume Two - Second Edition: War Machines of the Adeptus Astartes, pg. 12
- Imperial Armour - Imperial Vehicles for Warhammer 40,000, pg. 30
- The Horus Heresy - Book Two: Massacre (Forge World Series) by Alan Bligh, pp. 156-157
- White Dwarf 318 (UK), "Arming for Medusa - Part 1: The Imperial Muster," pg. 94