Notable Military Force

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Transcription datum +++ Sat, 2016-05-28 11:00

Forgeworld Bezoa

Adeptus Mechanicus
Notable Military Force

Located on the border between the Calixis and Ixaniad sectors, Forgeworld Bezoa or "The Hive", as those few of its inhabitants blessed with the gift of sentience call it, has long sought to restore its baleful influence to the glorious heights seen long before the Emperor's Great Crusade.

Settled by one of the first explorator fleets to leave Mars during the Age of Strife, Bezoa's sphere of influence grew quickly, like a metastasising cancer of iron and chrome, aided by tranquil warp currents, the absurd mineral wealth in-system and the discovery of several extensive but ultimately doomed STC systems. Before they coughed their last, the Bezoan tech-priests were able to tease out countless designs for incredible machines of near unique complexity and devastating potential.

Despite this bounty, life for the settlers was harsh, the planet's acrid, sulphurous-yellow soil making harvests poor. As time wore on and generations passed, careful gene-husbandry bore fruit, allowing once-Terran crops to flourish but not before the unending toil had driven Bezoan culture far from its Martian roots. To make matters worse, Unknown to the settlers, Bezoa was located right in the path of one of the largest Hrud migrations ever known. Culling the Hrud and countering the way entropy accelerated in their presence, required decades on a constant war footing and punishing maintenance regimes that taxed the laity to breaking point.

Individuality became a luxury, one that the ceaselessly striving masses could not afford. Freedom of thought, self-expression and time spent not in the factoriums became anathema to all but the most senior of magi.

Their independence so hard won, the Bezoan leaders were ill-equipped to cope with the arrival of the nascent Imperium. However so great and with the forces arrayed against them that they had no choice but bend the knee to Imperial rule. 

During the Horus Heresy, Hive Bezoa wasted no time in declaring its independence. By that time its defences had grown mighty and neither loyalists or traitors were willing to risk a conflict that might leave them too weak to resist the other.

The Bezoans deftly played both sides against the other, Choosing to act as mercenaries for the highest bidder, countless serried ranks of Thallax, Vorax, Castellex and Thantar warmachines sallied out to wreck devastation upon the forces of the 1st Legion resulting in a grudge that the Dark Angels carry to this day. 

Come the Scouring, the Imperium’s wrath fell on Bezoa in an unending rain of drop pods, landers and orbital lance fire. The Bezoans fought back with equal fury, but they were forced to fight a war of attrition they could not win. Eventually, their forces were broken, their mines exhausted, they had no choice but to submit to the nascent Inquisition’s judgement. Their secrets were plucked from them and shared with the Adeptus Mechanicus and their vassal knight worlds were given to other forge worlds which had proven their loyalty. 

Bereft and cast down, Arch Magos Zerliah Krol. swore an oath that Bezoa would be mighty once more. Under her direction, the forges resumed their output, but with a very different end in mind. Advanced communications equipment of unprecedented quality poured from the manufactoriums and priceless psi-equipment was donated to the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. The nearby Astropathic duct was enhanced and became one of the largest and most well-equipped in known space.  

Bezoa has benefited from its investment many times over in a new coin: secrets. Sooner or later every word uttered over the vox-nets, com-links, immaterial vanes and other devices supplied to worlds across three sectors makes its way to the data-vaults deep within Bezoa’s crust where countless ranks of cogitators and a workforce of 380 million lexmechanics sift the data-streams for valuable intelligence. Through proxy-brokered trade-pacts with mercantile houses, blackmail and Bezoa now sits at the centre of a staggeringly vast web of influence, which despite Apiza’s best attempts has not gone unnoticed. The Lords Dragon of the Lathe Worlds watch Bezoa’s antics with cold inhuman patience, waiting for evidence that the Forgeworld has fallen into tech-heresy or signs that it is seeing to encroach on the Lathes’ own sphere of influence. 

Krol and her inner circle are driven by covetousness. They long to return Bezoa to its former glory in all things. Wealth and domination is not enough cannot be enough for those reared with tales of the time when Bezoa stood free.   

Through its network, Bezoa has become aware of the Achilus crusade into the Jericho Reach and of the nature of the warp-gate that allows instantaneous passage between the Calixis Sector and the Reach. Aware only too well that the gate is guarded, Bezoa has sought out other gates that might bring fresh unclaimed worlds in reach of its Explorator fleets. While several have been sent into the Koronus Expanse, Krol’s true prize is the worlds that lay beyond the Tetragates of Storm’s End. Their existence and the access to the Antona Australis Sector they provide, coupled with that world’s hidden but immense deposits of adamantium are a prize that must be seized. 

Krol will stop at nothing to make House Temporis its vassal, but thus far all attempts to decrypt its communications have proven in vain. The reason for this is painfully simple. House Temporis uses a code based on poetic allusions and references and such whimsies are beyond the comprehension of any Bezoan. 

Nonetheless, some in-roads have been made. Temporis’s Queen, Elizabeta has graciously granted Bezoa access to the Tetragates in exchange for rare Cerastus-pattern knights, a decision that she may later come to regret…

Bezoa has wasted no time in launching expedition after expedition through the gates, their ongoing mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new resources and technology, to boldly plunder where no tech-priest has plundered before. 

One of the stranger tales told about Bezoa, is that each year, its magi gather together, exloading their consciousnesses or decanting their brain jars into fresh cybernetics forms. They then wear these new bodies to a great masquerade ball where they dance for days on end. Each dance is laden with the subtlest of meanings. As they move the dancers shed secrets through coded gestures along with subtle hints as to their true identities. At the ball’s end, great status is awarded to those who have provided the revellers with the most delicious and valuable mysteries while revealing themselves with subtlety and élan. 

In battle, Bezoa’s forces are a curious mix of what would be considered current technology and much older automatons dating back to the Horus Heresy. This has led the Lords Dragon to suspect the forge of tech-heresy – specifically that of the silica animus. After all, the artificial minds of old often skirted or bent that degree absolute: “thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of a human mind”. To maintain such technology and worse, duplicate it, suggests that is a darkness at the heart of Bezoa beyond that cast by simple avarice and ambition. 

Those that suspect Bezoa of such crimes would do well to note one of the most frequent targets for its ire: the strongholds of the Dark Mechanicum that lay on the outskirts of the Screaming Vortex. While the urge to slay those who have turned away from the Omnissiah’s light is understandable, there are disquieting reports of victories being followed by the arrival of more mass conveyors than those needed to reembark the forgeworld’s armies. There is also the small matter of Krol’s legendary longevity…

As part of the Degree Misericordia that was signed when Bezoa fell to the wrath of the newly reforged Imperium, the forgeworld is forbidden from maintaining a titan legion of its own. The once proud banners of Legio Caedis lay in the dust, seemingly forgotten, the glory earned by their princeps long gone to time’s unkind embrace. Yet in the bellies of Bezoa’s explorator craft and its sole Ark Mechanicus, the Deus Creatio, new god-engines lay dreaming, their manifolds slowly coalescing. For Krol knows the Degree better than its authors ever will – should new forge worlds be founded, no matter their loyalty, they will be exempt. 

The Deus Creatio has begun its voyage of discovery within the Antona Australis Sector, led by Magos Apianna Krol, the youngest and most accomplished of Zerliah’s six clone-daughters. Shunned by her sisters who claim that underneath her bionics and robes lurk features that belong to another genetic line as well as those of Zerliah’s, Apianna is possessed of incredible drive and a commendable willingness to get her hands dirty. Her love of battle is also well known, as is the unusual regard in which she holds the Kings Martial and its chapter master, Phethek Ekeneth. While Zerliah’s fondness for Ekeneth is well known, Apianna seems to regard him as something of a father figure…

Apianna’s status was hard-earned for her mother pitted her six daughters against each other, setting them ever higher manufacturing quotas, challenging them to develop new technologies and steal the choicest secrets. Zerliah then demanded that they found cyber-gladiator storicos and pit their creations against each other. Apianna’s creations attacked their opponents with a barrage of meme-viruses, sprays of sensor-retardants and oxidising venoms to great success, while brutally blocking their assailants’ blows. The third and final trial required the six to each forge a knight armour to be gifted to House Temporis in return for the right to pass the Deus Creatio through the tetragates of Storm’s End and into the Antona Australis Sector. So, it was that the Cerastus Knight-Arapos, Reginae Obscurae, became Apianna’s greatest creation and now Queen Elizabeta’s favoured armour. While the Reginae Obscurae is undoubtedly a masterwork, the acclaim it received rankled with Jelah, the oldest of Zerliah’s six daughters, for it lacks the sheer mass and power of her own gift, the Knight Porphorion Gloria tenebris.

The search for a world worthy of Bezoa’s bounty has been an eventful one and led to significant clashes with the dread Ork pirate Gobertz. Apianna is currently investigating rumours of a long-lost world said to have been adopted by the VIIIth Legion during the dying days of the Great Crusade as a staging ground. Said to be tidally locked to its star in the same manner as lost Nostramo and equally rich in priceless adamantium, the world (given the monicker “Dark Promise” in hexametric code), if it exists, would be the perfect candidate. Through cataloguing the sites of ancient atrocities, Apianna hopes to triangulate Dark Promise’s position, a task aided by her navigator’s affinity for the dark shadowed places where the Astronomicon’s light wanes.

No matter the cost, Apianna will do anything to ensure the success of her sacred mission. To anything less would betray her forgeworld, her mother and her god.