The Raptorus Rex was the vast, mobile pre-Imperial Star Fortress of the Fire Hawks Space Marine Chapter that served as their primary base of operations and fortress-monastery. During the Badab War this vessel was the largest warship operating within the Badab Sector and is indeed one of the largest warships ever used in the Imperium of Man's service. The formidable firepower of this colossus of war was capable of scouring the surface of a world within mere moments of its emergence from the Warp or challenge an entire squadron of Cruisers alone. The Raptorus Rex and the entire Fire Hawks Chapter Fleet was officially declared "Lost in the Warp" by the Imperium following an attempted Warp jump from the Piraeus System to the Crow's Word Sub-sector in 963.M41.
During the Wars of Apostasy circa 378.M36, the Fire Hawks Chapter was still young. They bravely joined the stand made by the Imperial Fists, Black Templars and Soul Drinkers Chapters, along with the Martian Tech Guard against the corruption and enormities of the megalomaniacal High Lord Goge Vandire. The Fire Hawks went on to fight valiantly in many major battles against the Apostate forces of the insane Vandire. Their defiance was paid for with the loss of their first homeworld, Zhoros, to mass thermal bombing by a Frateris Templar fleet loyal to Vandire. Refusing to relent in their opposition to the Apostates, the Fire Hawks helped play a key role in Vandire's overthrow, taking part in the attack on Terra which finally unseated the mad High Lord. Left in tatters, the Fire Hawks' diligence and valour was not in vain, as it is believed that it was at this time they received command of the Raptorus Rex as a gift from the hand of the reforming Ecclesiarch Sebastian Thor himself.
The Raptorus Rex was a truly immense and ancient vessel, believed to be pre-Imperial in origin and constructed some time during the Dark Age of Technology and to have participated in the campaigns of the Great Crusade. Like the Imperial Fists' Phalanx, the Raptorous Rex was a legend long before its involvement in the infamous conflict known as the Badab War in 904.M41. The powerful mobile Star Fortress served as the Fire Hawks primary base of operations throughout that campaign. The massive space station possessed more firepower than an entire squadron of Imperial Cruisers and could devastate the surface of any world within only minutes of its arrival in orbit. The Raptorus Rex's most dreadful reputation was as a destroyer of worlds, its hull studded with scores of orbital bomb racks enabling it to seed a planet's atmosphere with clusters of hideous thermic bombs. But its greatest power lay in the sheer durability lent to it by its size and ancient design, which allowed it to shrug off the heaviest fire all but unscathed and smash aside defence lines and attacking fleets with arrogant power.
Fate of the Raptorus Rex
The Raptorus Rex, along with the entirety of the Fire Hawks Chapter, was officially declared "Lost to the Warp" and assumed dead by the Convocation Astartes after they disappeared following an attempted Warp jump from the Piraeus System, 120 light years from the Crow's World Sub-sector in 963.M41. The Raptorus Rex and five starships of the line, with a complement of approximately 800 Battle-Brothers (the greatest strength the Chapter had attained since the end of the Badab War) and some 2,000 other support personnel vanished without a trace. It is believed by some Imperial savants that the Star Fortress may have been recovered by the mysterious Warp-tainted Astartes who call themselves the Legion of the Damned and that it was used during the unexpected defence of the Imperial Cemetery World of Certus-Minor against the predations of the Chaotic Cholercaust Blood Crusade.
In the Horus Heresy novel Battle for the Abyss by Ben Counter, there is a Word Bearers vessel known as the Raptorous Rex, a vessel formerly devoted to the Emperor, who had plucked their Primarch Lorgar from Colchis during the Great Crusade and placed the Word Bearers at his command. It later became a profane temple to the Ruinous Powers, following the Word Bearers "illumination" during the Primarch's pilgrimage into the Eye of Terror, known as the Pilgrimage of Lorgar. Their faith subverted to the worship of the Dark Gods, the traitorous Word Bearers henceforth had any images or iconography related to the False Emperor of Mankind stricken from its corridors. It is highly doubtful that this is one and the same vessel, as the Fire Hawks' flagship is a mobile star fortress of unknown class, and the Word Bearers' vessel is an unknown class of ancient vessel utilised during the Great Crusade and Horus Heresy eras. This may have simply been an oversight as the author may have been recycling a name used in other Warhammer 40K fiction, or it may be the start of an unusual new backstory for this ancient vessel.
- Imperial Armour Volume Nine - The Badab War - Part One, pp. 23, 39, 49, 66-68
- Imperial Armour Volume Ten - The Badab War - Part Two, pp. 44, 48, 202
- The Legion of the Damned (Novel) by Rob Sanders
- Battle for the Abyss (Novel) by Ben Counter, pp. 246-247