Sculptor is a heavily populated star system located in the Messier subsector of the Corvus Cluster. The system is notable for four gas giants (out of seven) that orbit within the narrow habitable zone of the single Class G star—and for the system’s contested status between the Imperium and the Tau Empire.
More than two dozen habitable satellites orbit the four inner giant planets. A number of these satellites were settled by humans—with others terraformed for later settlement—during the Dark Age of Technology. Contact was lost with Terra during the Age of Strife and not restored until the Great Crusade arrived in the Ultima Segmentum in the latter years of M30.
Until three years ago, the system’s loyalty to the Imperium was without question. But in 732.M41, the governor of Media III (third satellite of Sculptor III) announced the world’s succession from the Imperium and offered its allegiance to the Tau Empire. Although loyalists within the Planetary Defense Force (PDF) resisted this political coup, much of the world’s population appears to have willingly accepted the role of Gue’vesa, the Tau term for “Human Helper.”
The political and military situation has since become more complex. Two years ago, an ork Rok crashed onto the southern hemisphere of Hegira, the fourth moon of Sculptor II. Since then, the moon’s PDF has been fighting a containing action against the growing ork population, while the Imperial governor has sent increasingly desperate calls for military reinforcement.
Imperial control in the system now is being challenged on a dozen worlds. The Imperial Navy has intercepted several small ork spacecraft in the space between Sculptor II and III, and orc raiding parties have destroyed asteroid mining facilities and isolated communities across the system. Meanwhile, orbiting sensors have identified six Tau escort and frigate-class ships that have deployed between Sculptor II and III, suggesting the Tau have raised the threat level of the ork presence and seek to reinforce their Gue’vesa allies.
IMPERIAL NAVY INTELLIGENCE ASSESSMENT:
EST 01/631 INI OFFICE OF STRATEGIC PLANNING
INPUT DATE: 5 272 734.M41
INPUT CLEARANCE: Commodore
AUTHOR: Captain Titus Gareth
TRANSMITTED: Imperial Dynasty (frigate) in orbit around Sculptor VII
TRANSMITTER: Astropath Romulus Sartis
Military action against the Tau in the Sculptor system cannot be initiated at this time. Active military threats across the Sector have stretched naval forces to the breaking point. Two navy frigates have been assigned to the system to assist with the ork threat on Sculptor II, which is viewed as a greater military priority than the Tau. Until the greenskin menace is neutralized, it is advised that the Imperium maintain a fiction of peaceful relations with the Tau.
EST 02/841 INQUISITORIA
CROSS FILE: Sculptor System; subfile: Eastern Fringe political/military analysis
INPUT DATE: 6 284 734.M41
INPUT CLEARANCE: Inquisitor Level
AUTHOR: Inquisitor Serillian
TRANSMITTED: Sculptor IV (Metis-third moon)
TRANSMITTER: Astropath Primus Szar
The ork threat is a military issue that does not require the attention of the Inquisition at this time. However, the presence of Tau forces—particularly after instigating treason among the Media III aristocracy—is a political threat that cannot be ignored. All efforts must be made to prevent further Tau communication with Imperial citizens.