By the grace of the Emperor, His Eminence, Cardinal Esau Gurney of Brimlock, has called for an Imperial Crusade to rid the galaxy of the insidious xeno threat known as the Tau.
From the balcony of the Cathedral of Imperial Saints, Cardinal Gurney railed against the xeno menace, declaring that only a campaign of genocide could cleanse the galaxy for the glory of mankind.
“One may ask why we must go to war against the xeno,” he told a cheering crowd of 80,000 citizens. “I ask why not? The alien is foul and unclean. If the human race is to prosper, the galaxy must be cleansed. And that means the xeno must be destroyed.”
Although the cardinal’s declaration, on 3 927 741.M41, was the first official expression of Imperial policy, Imperial military forces have been gathering for months in anticipation of a campaign against the Tau.
At least two dozen capital ships, accompanied by scores of escort ships, already have gathered at the Nguyen Naval Base in the Belliose System. Meanwhile, a number of Space Marine chapters and a score of Imperial Guard regiments also are preparing for the campaign that is scheduled to begin next year.
“The alien is an abomination,” he told the crowd. “His very existence creates the threat that humanity will be tainted by his inhuman spirit, his strange ways. We cannot maintain the purity of our genetic heritage, the purity of our dedication to the Emperor, with the presence of the xeno among us.”
The cardinal spoke of an insidious effort by the Tau to taint the loyalty of Imperial worlds on the edge of the Damocles Gulf, a relatively empty region of space to the galactic south of the Corvus Cluster.
Despite a low density of stellar systems, this vast region still contains scores of inhabitable planets controlled by the Imperium and Tau Empire.
The Tau presence is, however, a relatively new development and, to the alarm of Imperial officials, the Tau have made remarkable progress in infiltrating Imperial governments.
For example, as Cardinal Gurney explained, the Tau’s water caste have established trade agreements with multiple worlds, resulting in Imperial citizens gaining access to xeno goods and technology.
“Contact with anything xeno is a violation of Imperial law, and it threatens to taint these worlds to damnation,” the cardinal said.
In time, the presence of the Tau on numerous Imperial worlds has become commonplace and unremarkable to the local populace, he added, and the xenos have been whispering heretical ideas to weak minds.
“There was talk of turning the people’s eyes away from the Emperor, to cast off the wise governing of the Imperium,” Gurney said.
“This is horrific. I remind you of the warning of the great Sebastian Thor: ‘The strength of the Emperor is Humanity, and the strength of Humanity is the Emperor. If one turns from the other, we shall all become the Lost and the Damned.”
Public reaction to the cardinal declaration was immediate and enthusiastic. The roar of the crowd gathered to hear the cardinal could be heard 15 kilometers away, and hundreds of thousands of citizens took to the streets to celebrate the upcoming purge of the xenos.
Alas, the public celebrations eventually became overly enthusiastic, and riots broke out. At least 500 people were killed in fighting among religious factions with different interpretations of the Imperial Creed.
This civil unrest also provided cover for underhive gangs to take to the streets and begin looting and setting fires, and Arbites’ Enforcers took to the streets in riot gear. In the fighting between rioters and Imperial law enforcement, gunfire broke out and another 3,000 citizens died.
Yet Imperial officials generally expressed satisfaction with the public’s support for the upcoming military campaign—and dismissed concerns of civil unrest as an inevitable if unfortunate side effect of the excitable nature of the citizenry.
“The criminal element who died are of no concern, and the innocent now rest in the warm glow of the Emperor’s light,” said one Ecclesiastical leader who sought to put the rioting in perspective.
“What matters is that we are united in our hate of the xeno, and we are preparing to purify the galaxy for humanity.”
TheGM: As I read of the bishop’s horrific remarks about genocide and racial purity, I feel compelled to point out that the ‘Grimdark” of the 40K universe includes a not-so-subtle satiric commentary on the dangerous ideas of religious fanaticism, genocide, xenophobia, and authoritarianism. This is fiction, and the Corvus Cluster does not support or endorse such hateful thinking in reality.
(I just feel better clarifying that for someone who stumbles across this article and thinks, “What the hell?”)
Getting back to the fun stuff, we’re excited that the Damocles Gulf Crusade is upon us. When we started this campaign seven years ago and set its launch at 735.M41, we knew if we lasted seven years, we’d get to align our “history” with that of the official story line of 40K.
The troops of the Corvus Cluster will, by necessity, play a small role in the Crusade. The Knights of Altair are stretched thin across several war zones, for example, so only a company or two will be able to join the main Crusade. The 728th Cadian Regiment is mired in the fighting in the Sculptor System.
That will explain why these forces are never mentioned in GW’s official history of the Crusade. Many Space Marine Chapters sent sizable contingents to the Crusade, and more notable Guard regiments were part of the fighting. They naturally will garner all the attention of historians.
But, make no mistake, we will play a small but bloody role in the Crusade. In fact, I might even paint up a new Imperial Guard regiment or an Imperial Knights house to “celebrate” the war.
I can’t wait.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our hobby adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Damocles Campaign