A novice by most standards, Sixx's promotion was dictated by dire need as the Raven Guard's Primarch, Corvus Corax, had been granted technological and arcane knowledge by his father on how to improve the XIX Legion's gene-seed and thus enable the Raven Guard to rapidly recover from its terrible losses at Istvaan V far more quickly than the Traitor Legions would readily expect.
The Emperor provided Corax with undifferentiated Primarch genetic material taken from His own laboratories, and the Raven Lord assigned Sixx the task of using it to perfect a new way to create Astartes rapidly. Unfortunately, the Raven Guard had been infiltrated by members of the Alpha Legion during the Drop Site Massacre and these Traitors proceeded to sabotage the project. Sixx was slain by the infiltrators even as he sought to rectify his errors.
Little is known about Vicente Sixx before the horrific events of the Drop Site Massacre on Istvaan V, when the traitorous Warmaster Horus Lupercal dealt a crippling blow to the XIX Legion and its allies from the Iron Hands and the Salamanders Legions.
During this massacre, the Raven Guard's Apothecaries were a designated target of the Alpha Legion Headhunter squads and suffered heavily. By the time Commander Branne successfully exfiltrated the Raven Guard survivors, only seven Apothecaries were amongst their numbers. With merely fifteen years of experience, Vicente Sixx was the most senior surviving Apothecary, and thus promoted to Chief Apothecary while still on board the Avenger.
Voyage to Terra
Having briefly stayed in the Istvaan System to confirm the utter destruction of the Raven Guard's faithful allies, the men of the Therion Cohort which had sacrificed their lives in a diversionary attack on Istvaan IV, the Avenger escaped pursuit and entered the Warp with a course set for Terra.
Corvus Corax intended to personally rally the Throneworld to inform his father of the calamity that had occurred in the Istvaan System, but more importantly, he would ask for the Emperor of Mankind's help in rebuilding his Legion. Although plagued by rising Warp Storms which severely slowed their progress, the Avenger reached Terra unharmed, giving the survivors on board time to reorganise themselves, patch their wounds and mend their equipment.
With so many of the Raven Guard's Apothecary now gone, it is generally presumed that Sixx had far too many patients to set foot on Holy Terra, an assumption which would later be confirmed. So it was, that while Corvus Corax sought the means to rebuild his Legion, Vicente Sixx stayed on board the Avenger, still struggling with his new responsibilities as Chief Apothecary, and still ignorant of the great task that lay ahead.
In his great wisdom, the Emperor had revealed to Corax one of His greatest and best guarded secrets -- the location of His old gene-wright laboratory where, in the distant past, He had created the twenty Primarchs. The prize Corax sought was therefore no mighty weapon but knowledge -- knowledge in the form of a pure strand of Primarch DNA - unaltered and un-tampered with.
With the assistance of one of the Emperor's most trusted advisors, Archmagos Genetor Nexin Orlandriaz, Corax would decipher the Emperor's works and thus be able to alter the Raven Guard's gene-seed, effectively creating a new breed of Legiones Astartes - one that could transform a human youth into a Legionary in a matter of weeks if not days, where the current generations of Astartes had needed years of training and careful genetic augmentations to become what they were.
Father of the Raptors
With the Avenger 's return to Deliverance, work on rebuilding the Raven Guard could truly begin. Corax had wisely decided to keep the project a secret and had therefor decided not to conduct the experiment in the more secure but also far more obvious location that was the Ravenspire, but in a quite isolated training facility known as Ravendelve.
Located deep within the radwastes of Kiavahr, its isolation would be of no consequence as unknown to the Raven Guard, other forces were already well aware of the XIX Primarch's intent. As new Chief Apothecary, Vicente Sixx was naturally informed of the project's exstence and brought in, although in truth his contributions in this first stage would be modest: while Corax used his psychically-imprinted knowledge on the Primarch gene-seed to unravel its secrets, its application fell to Orlandriaz. Still lacking confidence in his abilities, Sixx was all too happy this was to be the case and contended himself in a role of liaison between the enthusiastic Magos and Legion command.
Despite the extensive amount of data retrieved from the Emperor's laboratory, initial progress was slow, mainly due to the complexity of the Primarch gene-template. The Emperor had engineered the Legiones Astartes and even the Adeptus Custodes by selecting different strands of genetic materiel, but the possible permutations numbered in the millions and would have taken years to investigate. To add to this difficulty, a vigorous debate had erupted between Sixx and Orlandriaz, with the Martian Magos suggesting that the XIX Legion would best be rebuilt by creating an entirely new gene-seed from scratch rather than trying to improve the Raven Guard’s gene-seed.
If that was to be the case, the Raven Guard's number could quickly be swelled by the use of cloning techniques that would allow the Raven Guard to quickly recover from its losses. Corax, however, quickly resolved the matter, dismissing the use of cloning techniques as an ultimate resort and using his Emperor-given knowledge to narrow down the number of genetic-strands that would need to be examined before the implantation of the first altered gene-seed.
The first test-subjects were however not to be human, and the first batch of tests were thus conducted on animals which were kept in the lower levels of Ravendelve. During this time, Sixx grew increasingly into his new role as Chief Apothecary, implanting the modified gene-seed into the test subjects and generally keeping the over-achievious ardours of Orlandriaz in check.
Overseeing the procedures and protocols of gene-seed implantation in Ravendelve led the Magos to divise a mean to increase productivity by at least ten percent, whereas as a staunch traditionalist born of Deliverance, Vicente Sixx had to dissuade him from enacting his plans. With the Primarch pressing for results, Orlandriaz began pressing Sixx and Legion command to bring in the Kiavahrian Mechanicum and use its vastly superior ressources to further the project, a step from which Sixx always had to discourage him, for the secrecy of their current endeavours had to be maintained.
However the animal tests were nearly disastrous. Most of the test subjects had heavily mutated under the influence of the Primarch-gene-seed, growing over-sized slabs of muscles, bony protusions and even in some case additional limbs. Most had become true aberrations such as a bicephalic giant snake with a barbed tail, or a green mouse the size of a dog and with the claws of a wolf. Yet amongst this cabinet of horrors a few successes had been attained: perfect specimens, healthy and strong which had matured from infancy to adulthood in less than forty solar hours.
Based on the analysis of these subjects, Sixx and Orlandriaz established that it would only take seventy to eighty hours to grow a boy into a Legionary. While encouraging, these results did not satisfy Corax, who ordered animal-testing stopped while simultaneously requiring from Sixx and Orlandriaz to increase pace. With something approaching relief, Sixx set out to euthanise the first test subjects while resolving to return to base cell-analysis.
Orlandriaz was confident that he would be able to eliminate some of the most mutagenic gene-strands by this step, which was fortunate as Sixx would never risk the life of a human by implanting anything less than a perfect genetic template.
He was quite sure that Commander Branne would also never allow it, and Corax's appointed messenger, Commander Agapito, also seemed to validate his decision. He understood that the Primarch wanted to press the matter and return to the battlefield as quickly as possible, but while he was still in charge of the implantation procedures, Sixx would never risk the recruit’s lives.
However Sixx's misgivings were only short-lived. Thanks to the increasing involvement of Corax the work on the gene-seed quickly progressed until eventually Orlandriaz deemed it safe enough for first human implantations. Ten recruits were selected to be the first to receive the new gene-seed and thus become the first of the new Raptors. To limit the risk of rampant cell reproduction, the candidate were put in a short-lived cryobiotic state, for the accelerated cell-growth put the recruits' bodies under heavy stress.
In stark contrast to the previous generations of Raven Guard, the Raptors would be grown with every organ and their valuable Progenoid Glands fully developed. Despite their precautionary measures, one of the candidates died as the rapid growth of his organic tissues led to complications with an undetected minute heart defect.
Despite this first casualty, for which Sixx secretly blamed Orlandriaz's haste, the initial nine Raptors, or the First Nine as they would soon be called were all perfect specimens of Legionaries. With the introduction of a new, refined version of the gene-seed that would cure its host from an previous physical weakness, the numbers of potential recruits would be near limiteless.
With the Primarch's blessing, implantation of the Raptor gene-seed was increased, but due to the limited capacity of Ravendelve's infirmary, each generation of Raptors was limited to a hundred individuals before steps could be taken to increase productivity. Unknown to Sixx and indeed a great part of Legion command, including the XIXth Legion's Primarch, Ravendelve's garrison had been infiltrated by Alpha Legion Legionaries having taken the face and identity of fallen Raven Guard.
These double-agents most notoriously included one of the Raven Guard's senior Commanders: Commander Agapito, designated messenger of Corvus Corax and military liaison between Sixx, Orlandriaz and Legion Headquarters, or so at least some were led to believe. These infiltrators were in constant contact with other elements on Kiavahr, namely one of the XX Legion's twin-Primarchs -- Omegon -- which directed the operations from afar.
Calling upon his allies within the Dark Mechanicum, Omegon devised a mean to sabotage Sixx's work. Well hidden in the underground network of Nabrik, Kiavahr's main city, wheels were set in motion to unravel the Raven Guard's efforts. Whilst this operation largely stayed secret, Commander Branne was tipped off as to the rise of non-Legion and non-Mechanicum communications clearly indicated something was bound to happen.
For reasons of his own, Branne chose neither to warn Corax, nor Sixx or any other commanding officer of the Raven Guard. By this time, the Raptor company already numbered five hundred warriors and they had been tested in battlle against a outpost of the Word Bearers traitor Legion.
Thanks to the continous improvements of Sixx and Orlandriaz - both on the gene-seed itself and its implantation procedures, the overwhelming majority of recruits had been transformed with no physical consequences or side-effects, even rejection rates were non-existant as the gene-seed allowed the organs to be grown naturally inside the novitiate’s body.
Through Sixx's and Orlandriaz's efforts, the newly named Raptor Company began to form at a rate never attained before: fifty solar days to turn an unaugmented human into a trained and combat-ready legionary. As a diversionary attack was launched against Ravendelve to disturb the implantation progress, Sixx unwillingly helped the Alpha Legion gain access to the gene-seed storage as the Raven Guard Sergeant charged with securing the infirmary was in truth also one of the infiltrators.
Handing the infiltrator his personal data-spike so as not to be disturbed whilst he implanted the new gene-seed into yet another batch of recruits, Sixx gave the Alpha Legion access to what they coveted the most. Yet the gene-seed was not stolen on that occasion, but tampered with: the infiltrator introduced a genetic virus which would lay dormant within the gene-seed, awakening only after implantation had been successful.
Its true effects were unknown to the infiltrator, and perhaps even to its creators within the Alpha Legion's Order of the Dragon, but the Raven Guard and those recruits implanted with the corrupted gene-seed would quickly discover the truth of what was intended.
The next one hundred recruits to be augmented received the corrupted gene-seed which triggered uncontrollable genetic mutations in the Raptors' bodies that manifested simultaneously and in the same way for all the afflicted: a tightness in the chest and a flaming agony that locked limbs tight in place which inevitably caused the Raptor to fall to his knees before a creeping and burning pain crawled up their bodies.
Horrified by these sudden changes, Sixx and Orlandriaz suspected a sudden manifestation of non-human genes that had lain dormant in the gene-seed and did everything to alleviate the pain of the Raptors: conducting emergency operations to those worst afflicted, amputating vestigial tails that had unexpectendly grown, cutting claws, filing teeth that suddenly pierced gums.
Some Raptors were mad with pain and as a precautionnary measure, Corax ordered the Raptors put in the cages of Sixx's former lab-experiments. Choked by this turn of events, Sixx promised the Raptors that he would do everything to revert their condition, but even with the Primarch's help he did not know where to start looking and even to his own ears his words rang hollow.
With more than a thousand Raptors now incapacitated, Legionaries from the Talons were ferried down from Ravenspire to secure and guard the compound. This proved to be a wise decision as within the week Ravendelve was attacked by secessionnist elements.
The first sign of enemy activity was a long-ranged bombardment of the Magnus Casei, an Imperator-class Titan of the Legio Vindictus which had been standing guard over Kiavahr for several centuries. With the Raptors still indisposed, the Talons garrisoning Ravendelve's quickly manned the walls and the facilities Macrocannon towers. With the looming form of the Imperator-class Titan, only sporadic fire could be directed towards an armoured column of Guildsmen, escorted by four Warhound-class Scout Titan that were approaching the curtain wall.
Divided between the need to repel the Magnus Casei and scare off the more agile Scout Titans, the defence turrets were soon overwhelmed, allowing the insurrectionists to close in upon Ravendelve. Much to Sixx's disappointment, neither Commander Agapito nor Commander Solaro, which were both present, stepped up to coordinate the defence. Commander Branne's transport had been confirmed en route to Ravendelve but failed to arrive before the attack began.
Emmitting a distress signal that was directed at the Ravenspire, Sixx's call was immediately put through to Corax himself, who was even now boarding his own transport to reinforce Ravendelve. Sixx warned Corax that the attack was likely aimed at Ravendelve to seize the Primarch gene-seed and he asked the Raven Lord for permission to destroy it.
Yet Corax would not so easily destroy the sole means he had of rebuilding his Legion swiftly and he ordered Sixx to seal the infirmary and put the gene-vault under lockdown. The curtain wall continued to hold the enemy at bay when the first reinforcements began to arrive.
A Thunderhawk bearing the colours of the Raven Guard which had just delivered its complement of troops veered off course and attacked Ravendelve's gatehouse, killing many Legionaries and allowing infiltrated Alpha Legion Astartes to take both the gatehouse and the landing pad, thus cutting Ravendelve off from further reinforcment.
Enacting Corax's final orders, Sixx began the lock-down procedure of the Apothecarion and gene-seed vault. But with no one to turn to, he resolved to personally make the short trip to the next armoury to fetch the necessary demolition charges should circumstances require him to ensure the destruction of the Primarch gene-seed to prevent its capture by the Traitors.
Sixx was immensely relieved when upon reaching the elevator that would take him directly to the armoury he encountered Commander Solaro, flanked by a squad of Raven Guard Legionaries, a relief that quickly turned to shock when the Commander stabbed him through the chest with his Power Sword.
Left for dead by the overeager infiltrators, Sixx managed to crawl into the elevator and descend to the Raptors' holding cell. With supreme discipline, the Raptors had stayed in their "quarters" when the attack began, and the bleeding Sixx handed over his access keys to the armoury and tasked a young recruit named Navar Hef to ensure the gene-seed was kept safe.
Too weak to go on, and confident he had done his part in safeguarding the Legion, Sixx died as the recruits he had helped to turn into monsters took the fight to the Alpha Legion.
- Deliverance Lost (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
- Horus Heresy: Legions (Mobile CCG) (Image)