Vespasia is an Agri-world found within the Acheros Salient of the Achilus Crusade in the Jericho Reach. Due to its close proximity to the Hadex Anomaly, it has become a protectorate of the Stigmartus Chaos Cult.
The Cellebos Warzone has been deemed critical for the Acheros Salient and any attempts to expand beyond this battlefront have been put on hold until the situation in that zone stabilises.
For this reason, the Imperium has yet to begin a formal push to recover the world of Vespasia even though the planet was scouted some time ago.
This planet is a verdant place, friendly to Humanity's colonisation, and home to a rich bounty that could greatly assist with the crusade's resource difficulties.
Much of the planet's surface is actively used for agriculture in addition to substantial aquaculture and a preponderance of wild game.
Terran species that were introduced during the ancient Jericho Sector's golden age remain plentiful, though they have diverged from the source stock.
Vespasia was never densely populated, and its time apart from the Imperium has not changed that. Its proximity to the Hadex Anomaly, however, has had a substantial effect.
The natives have completely forsaken the Imperial Creed. The planet's vast agricultural resources are managed by slaves descended from Imperial citizens. A ruling class of mutants holds the population in check. The forces of the Stigmartus provide the system's defences and security, in exchange for a generous tithe of the planet's harvests.
These slaves live under the threat of starvation and constant degradation from their overlords. Because of the numerically superior underclass, agents of the Ecclesiarchy have begun an unauthorised initiative to infiltrate the slaves' culture. They hope to trigger a rebellion in the name of the God-Emperor.
The risks of arming a culture that has not yet pledged its allegiance to the Imperium is substantial. So substantial, in fact, that the Ecclesiarchy agents have not attempted to garner the approval of the crusade's command elements.
If the attempt fails, the arms and training could be commandeered by the Stigmartus or could create an entrenched local government that would need to be overthrown later. Word of such a failure could lead to a further breakdown between the factions that make up the crusade.
As these agents are operating without the support of the crusade, they have had to make sacrifices that might otherwise be deemed unacceptable. Few of the natives have been subjected to any sort of genetic screening for mutation.
They are currently operating without fleet elements, even though the Stigmartus have a small fleet patrolling the system. The training provided to the slaves is based upon Ecclesiarchy standards, rather than the more rigorous methods advocated by the Adeptus Munitorum.
These challenges may doom the effort to failure, particularly if Stigmartus forces can be reallocated to deal with the uprising.
There is minimal evidence of any xenos threat on Vespasia. A few marble-like arches have been noted in some of the deepest parts of the planet's wilderness. Their origins are unknown but likely predate Human colonisation. No other ruins are mentioned in Imperial records. Many believe that if the taint of Chaos is cleansed, the system could be ripe for Imperial Compliance.
The threats to the Imperium on Vespasia cannot be easily resolved with brute force. The Ecclesiarchy has created an awkward situation that is unlikely to be resolved in an effective manner. The situation could come to a head and begin deteriorating quickly.
The Deathwatch has considered the need to take a direct hand, if only to prevent further strife within the forces of the crusade. Rescue missions, tactical strikes, or the assassination of Ecclesiarchy agents to eliminate the evidence are not beyond possibility.
- Deathwatch: The Achilus Assault (RPG), pg. 75