"It is a marvel, a testament to the power of the Machine God… but nothing has ever caused me to question my faith in the Omnissiah so much as that place."
- —Brother Aurelian Talach, Techmarine
Watch Station Phaedas is a largely automated, mobile watch station of the Deathwatch deployed in the Jericho Reach. It is essentially a Warp-capable void station, its structures constructed into a small asteroid.
Watch Station Phaedas is a relic of ages past. Not a true watch station in the conventional sense, Phaedas is an archaeotech voidcraft that bears no resemblance to any form of starship or void station within Imperial records. If the Adeptus Mechanicus know of Phaedas' provenance, they are not forthcoming about it.
The vessel -- if it can be defined as such -- seems to operate based on incredibly complex logic paths, turning augur data into plotted courses, even able to travel short distances through the Warp without a Navigator.
Phaedas is comparatively small for an object capable of self-sustained travel through the Warp -- massing far less than the smallest Warp-going craft in service to the Imperial Navy or Adeptus Astartes.
The watch station has space only to support ten Astartes, but contains a modest armoury and a supply vault sufficient for standard years of travel without requiring replenishment.
It is also equipped with a launch bay loaded with a single Stormraven Gunship and a Drop Pod bay equipped with a single Drop Pod, either of which is enough to deploy the Kill-team occupying it from orbit swiftly and with precision.
Its small size and cunning design allow it to avoid all but the most careful of observers, making it extremely effective at conveying its Kill-team while remaining unnoticed.
Though the true origin of Watch Station Phaedas has been lost to the millennia, many Techmarines amongst the Deathwatch, Harl Greyweaver included, believe it has ties to Watch Fortress Erioch and the Omega Vault.
There have been multiple recorded instances of the watch station dramatically changing course at almost the exact same time Techmarines aboard Watch Fortress Erioch recorded an Omega Vault event.
This seeming link between the two mysterious stations has led to not only a full acceptance of Phaedas within the Deathwatch, but an almost permanent garrison in its cramped halls.
Throughout recorded history, the watch station has travelled to all corners of the Jericho Reach. It has been present at some of the most major xenos events, and mysteriously it usually arrives prior to any signs that an incident is going to occur.
Kill-teams operating on board are practised in reading the movements of the station, and deducing when it has reached is destination. However, it is impossible to truly figure out the intentions of the arcane banks of cogitators driving the station, and Battle-Brothers act with extreme caution when using it for operations.
In 805.M41, Phaedas made a strange move that puzzled even Battle-Brothers who had served aboard it for solar decades. After astropathic messages regarding the conquest of Eleusis reached Watch Fortress Erioch the watch station radically changed course.
Almost leaving behind the Kill-team that was operating out of it, Phaedas left the coreward edge of the Reach where it had been operating for solar months and began travelling at great speed until it reached Jove's Decent near the rimward edge. There it stopped, much to the bewilderment of the Kill-team stationed onboard, and waited for almost a solar decade.
Most assumed its archaeotech cogitators had finally given out, its machine spirit faded from millennia of tireless travel. But as the Shadow in the Warp descended upon the systems of the Orpheus Salient, Watch Station Phaedas sprung back to life.
It is now a tool of utmost importance to the Deathwatch in the Reach, as it continues to move around the salient in spite of the Shadow in the Warp blocking all astropathic communication. It is currently the only way for Kill-teams to get a jump on the Tyranid swarm of Hive Fleet Dagon as it devours the salient.
Despite moving around the Reach as readily as a starship, Watch Station Phaedas more closely resembles an ancient void station, built into a small asteroid.
Clearly of Human origin, this archaeotech structure has no evidence of engines, or any normal voidship structures. How it manages to move through the void has remained a mystery to all who have used it over the millennia.
The majority of Phaedas' internal structure is devoted to its essential systems, all of which run with an efficiency that disturbs the servants of the Machine God greatly, requiring little in the way of maintenance rites or mortal intervention.
The only parts of the watch station that are readily accessible to its crew are at the fore -- the Kill-team's cells, the armoury, the launch and Drop Pod bays, and the strategium.
This strategium, a tiny chamber compared to its like aboard the starships of the Astartes, serves much the same purpose as a starship's bridge or a void station's command centre, allowing the crew to interact with Phaedas' systems and direct it.
- Deathwatch: The Jericho Reach (RPG), pp. 132-133