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"Unidentified vessel, you are trespassing within the territories of a fortified world; transmit clearance ciphers immediately or you will be fired upon."

—Final transmission received by the Vash'ya Skether'qan Ol'eldi

Wrath is an Imperial Fortress World within the Achilus Crusade's Canis Salient in the Jericho Reach. It acts as both the Achilus Crusade's secondary command centre for the salient, as well as the salient's primary source of internal security.

While the Fortress World of Spite drives the Canis Salient's forces onwards, Wrath guards the worlds already claimed and watches for treachery, sedition and the scourge of xenophilia.

Wrath oversees matters of security and defence across the salient, its gaze spread across dozens of worlds thanks to the arcane sophistication of the Eyes of Wrath, a multi-planetary surveillance system on a colossal scale covering many of the Imperial-held worlds in the Canis Salient.

A world of unrest, its primitive populace still not entirely pacified, Wrath is not universally fortified like Hethgard or united in defence like Karlack.

Instead, it is covered in countless smaller fortified structures, each housing some distinct facet of Imperial rule, defended not only from alien aggression, but also from the actions of recidivist groups.

This scattering of fortresses has produced an isolationist mind-set amongst Wrath's adepts, with each group working apart from others who serve Terra, separated by thick, blast-proof walls.

Lord Commander Sebiascor Ebongrave encourages this sense of mistrust and paranoia, for he believes it to be a vital state of mind when combating the insidious T'au.

Beyond the fortress walls, on the shores of the numerous islands that form Wrath's only land masses and roaming the vast seas in primitive ships, is the native population of Wrath, their world subjugated to the will of some distant Emperor.

Still retaining a fierce sense of independence, these people continue to struggle against Imperial rule where they can, and while many refuse the aid of outsiders who may simply replace the rule of the Imperium, some have chosen to seek assistance.

Adept presence is high on the planet. The Departmento Munitorum employs Wrath as a major command centre and supply depot for Canis Salient operations, while extensive Adeptus Arbites and Adeptus Administratum presences monitor Imperial activity within the salient.

Meanwhile, 65% of Wrath's population is engaged in actions of a military nature or in support of military operations. Actual armed forces (as opposed to support personnel) comprise 29% of the population, consisting primarily of the Astra Militarum and Adeptus Arbites.

A few groups return to the old gods who ruled long ago and whose realm can be seen as the glowering crimson star of the Hadex Anomaly that rules the night, while others find allies in the servants of the grey-skinned outworlders, the T'au, who speak of unity.

Wrath has no exports of any kind, and has high supply requirements in terms of munitions and food. The planet's water has an extremely high mineral content and is not regarded as fit for Human consumption without purification and filtration.

History

Never regarded as a particularly significant world during the time of the Jericho Sector, Wrath had been largely ignored for most of the region's "Age of Shadow" before the arrival of the first emissaries of the T'au.

These visitors offered the people of Wrath an opportunity to join with others of their kind, to sail the sea of stars and a return to the glory and might their ancestors once possessed.

This much can be gleaned from testimonials and interrogations performed shortly after the Imperial conquest of the world, though there is little more information on the event.

Operation Hammerfall saw the initial conquest of many of the worlds in what is now the Canis Salient, including Wrath. With several companies of the Adeptus Astartes at their head, crusade forces smashed into Argoth, Rheelas and Kaggeran simultaneously, subduing the populations and governments within solar hours of making planetfall.

Finding no evidence of a T'au presence on any of those worlds, Lord Commander Ebongrave ordered the next stage of the advance: Wrath.

Located a short distance from a major Warp route that led towards worlds known to have fallen to the T'au, Wrath had been earmarked by Lord Militant Tiber Achilus as a prospective Fortress World early in the crusade's planning phase, and was an obvious target for the Imperium.

The T'au, apparently, had come to a similar conclusion, and had placed elements of their fleet and ground forces within the system, concealing their presence with advanced technology so that they could ambush the crusaders. As the battlegroup's transports reached Wrath's orbit, the T'au struck, crippling half a dozen vessels before the Imperial Navy could respond.

Only the swift retaliation of the 2nd and 3rd Companies of the Dark Sons Chapter, accompanying the battlegroup, prevented the total destruction of the Imperial forces above Wrath, allowing Astra Militarum and Adeptus Astartes forces to make planetfall and clash with the T'au Fire Caste forces on the surface.

The ground war was brutal and swift, with T'au forces continually in motion from island to island to elude the rapidly advancing Space Marine forces, and the Imperial Guard who followed behind them. After eighteen solar days of almost continuous conflict, the T'au withdrew completely, retreating back towards more securely held worlds.

While arguments raged about the next course of action for the crusade's forces, architects and engineers descended upon Wrath to begin its fortification, while the Imperial Guard turned its attentions to pacifying an aggressive and resistant native population, and the Dark Sons departed for newer warzones.

Within a solar decade, a veritable city of structures had sprung up along Wrath's equatorial archipelago and an army of Imperial adepts had arrived to take their places within the Jericho Reach's newest Fortress World.

Since then, little has changed on Wrath. Intermittent insurgent actions against the Imperium have caused disruption in some places, and probing attacks by the T'au and an assortment of itinerant raiders over the years have tested Wrath's defences, but no enemy of any strength has set foot upon Wrath as they did when the Imperium first claimed it.

Native Populace

Wrath's native population are a technologically regressed branch of Humanity, made aggressive by long millennia of confinement to a single resource-poor world.

Records indicate that Wrath has never been particularly well-favoured by the Imperium, even during the days of the Jericho Sector, and the ruins of an orbital way-station are the only significant and enduring Imperial structure remaining in the system from before the Age of Shadows.

The people of Wrath are tall, swarthy and heavily built, within prescribed Human norms, and well adapted to the planetary conditions, having a high tolerance for the mineral content in the world's waters, which otherwise causes illness and allergic reactions in non-native Humans.

The general lack of resources, and the scarcity of arable land, has resulted in a belligerent nomadic lifestyle focused around ocean-going ships capable of supporting an entire clan.

Imperial settlement has changed little; the natives regard outsiders as thieves for taking what little valuable land exists, and act against Imperial authorities when they can.

Contact with the T'au Empire before the arrival of the Achilus Crusade has led to small xenos sympathiser groups springing up, though most natives regard the T'au as undesirable outsiders, much as they view the Imperium.

However, what is worrisome is the increasing tendency of the natives to return to an old religion, focused upon the gods of a distant realm called Aithess, rather than accept the Imperial Creed.

Order Dialogous analysis suggests that this may be a mutation of the term "Hadex," in reference to the Hadex Anomaly that blights the heart of the Jericho Reach, leading to some unpleasant conclusions about the indigenous religion of Wrath.

Key Locations

The following are a number of significant locations on Wrath, ranging from overt manifestations of the monolithic rule of the Imperium, to locales intended for more clandestine purposes.

Bastion Ocularis

A spire standing almost a kilometre tall, the Bastion Ocularis is one of the tallest structures on Wrath, and one of the most significant. The Bastion serves two distinct, but interlinked, purposes.

The first is as the administrative and military capital of Wrath, home to its Imperial Commander and command centre for the world's garrison. The second purpose, which dominates the majority of the spire's internal volume, is as the heart of the Eyes of Wrath.

Colossal chambers filled with cogitators and infolooms, attended by thousands of lexmechanics and tens of thousands of purity-screened scribes and ordinates, fill much of the upper levels of the Bastion Ocularis, linked to vox networks, pict-thieves, spoor-trackers and every other conceivable form of surveillance device.

They are supplied with thousands of personal testimonies, mission reports and interrogation logs gathered every day from Arbitrator patrols and purity testing.

Above that is chamber after chamber filled with Sanctioned Psykers and astropaths in auto-séance trances or gathered in choirs to perform the vital task of sending and receiving this colossal amount of gathered and compiled data to and from every other world under the gaze of the Eyes of Wrath.

Access to the Bastion Ocularis is heavily restricted -- visitors are subject to intensive purity testing and interrogation before they can access more than the spire's ground level, and permanent staff are subject to continual scrutiny and routine tests even more intensive than those imposed on the rest of Wrath's population, in order to ensure the absolute loyalty and purity of those who labour over this most vital and sensitive of facilities.

The Bastion Ocularis, as a sign of Imperial authority on Wrath, is an obvious target for terrorist attacks and seditious protests, and there have been numerous attempts each year to damage, interfere with or otherwise disrupt the Bastion or its operations in the three solar decades it has stood. Retaliation against these crimes is swift and universally merciless, with those responsible surviving only long enough to be thoroughly interrogated by the Adeptus Arbites, the Inquisition, or sometimes both.

Officio Redigire

Based within a small, unassuming building within the long shadow of the Bastion Ocularis, the Officio Redigire is ostensibly a minor office of the Adeptus Administratum on Wrath.

It is officially responsible for certain matters of doctrinal oversight within the salient regarded as being too obscure and overly complex for anyone not of the Administratum to care about, but which grants it access to a startling quantity of information.

In truth, the Officio Redigire is a front for the Inquisition, and while some in the higher echelons of the Canis Salient's chain of command have their suspicions, actual evidence is impossible to find beneath the mountains of official bureaucracy and legislation that surround the Officio and its function.

Rumours within the Inquisition itself suggest that the Officio is so thoroughly infiltrated by the Inquisition that even the lowest scribe has ties to the Holy Ordos.

Whatever the case, this minor but remarkably influential office is a façade for Inquisitorial activities, as are many like it across the Jericho Reach and Calixis Sector.

Headed by Praefect Primus Hannis Durander, the Officio Redigire building on Wrath serves as a safe house, prison and listening post for passing Inquisitors.

The interior of the building appears to be nothing more than what it claims to be, yet hidden passages and subterranean vaults lead to interrogation chambers, stasis vaults and even a substantial weapons cache, which has been expanded to contain small quantities of Deathwatch equipment at the request of the Master of the Vigil.

Access to the building is through the public entrance, guarded by Inquisitorial agents disguised as Wrath Planetary Defence Force, or via the subterranean Teleportarium, constructed decades ago by Inquisition-affiliated Tech-priests to allow unseen entry to the facility from anywhere on the planet or any suitably equipped starship in orbit.

The Teleportarium, for obvious reasons, is the main method of entry for Battle-Brothers of the Deathwatch, as entering an Administratum facility on foot would draw unwanted attention to both the Officio Redigire and the Deathwatch.

The Float

Rather than being a single location, "the Float" is the common name given to the ghetto-like settlements that exist on the shores of the islands upon which the Imperium has built its fortresses.

Consisting of rough floating platforms and lashed-together boats, these shanty-towns are home to most of the native population of Wrath, and are ill-regarded by the local Planetary Defence Force, the Adeptus Arbites, the Inquisition and most of the adepts present on Wrath.

With no discernably planned layout, and connected together by rope and chain from large floating sections, the Float is a maze at the best of times, and even harder to navigate when the population disconnect the platforms and rearrange their "district."

The populace of the Float has little love for the Imperium, and discontent within one of the thousands of ad hoc "districts" frequently flares up into mob violence or seditious activity.

This in turn spurs the local Planetary Defence Force or the Adeptus Arbites into action in order to quell these rebellious acts, though such purges are typically stymied by the irregular and unpredictable arrangement of each district.

It is common knowledge that the Float is a breeding ground for cults, rebels and heretical sentiment. While action to cleanse the area has been planned in excruciating detail, the overwhelming majority of Wrath's unskilled workforce comes from the native population, and to eliminate it entirely would leave the world lacking a vital resource, forcing those plans to be placed on hold indefinitely.

Sources

  • Deathwatch: The Jericho Reach (RPG), pp. 60-62
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