The Alpha Legion's name has long passed into apocrypha within the Imperium. Few beyond their Astartes brothers and the higher echelons of the Imperium's bureaucracy are even aware of their existence, yet the effects of their actions are felt throughout the Emperor's Realm and beyond. From the shadows, the Alpha Legion guards against insidious xenos and traitor taint within the Imperium while sowing discord and anarchy in the enemy's own territory.
The details of Alpharius' discovery by the Great Crusade have long been forgotten by the Imperium and any records regarding the matter lost among the detritus of the millennia. However, the grand occasion of Alpharius' arrival on Terra and the celebrations for the discovery of the last Primarch still reside in the tales of the surviving Legions. Arriving with his discoverer, Horus, Alpharius was met upon disembarkation on Terra by his assembled Legion. It is said that the uncanny resemblance between many of the marines and their Primarch, even in size, for Alpharius was not largely built, startled Horus into commenting that any of them could have been his brother. After reviewing his genetic sons, Alpharius was greeted by the Emperor privately. He emerged from the chamber wholly the Emperor's. It is said that The Emperor's welcome of Alpharius was second only to Horus' in terms of warmth and trust.
And yet the celebrations had still not finished, for all of the Primarchs had been summoned to Terra to celebrate the discovery of their last brother and the reunion of the Emperor's sons. A great feast was held by the Emperor and each Primarch met their newest brother. As the Fenrisian Ale and Calibanite wines flowed, each Primarch wove fantastic tales of the feats of their Legions, of the great battles fought under the banner of the Emperor and the sights witnessed on their voyages. Even the most reserved of the Primarchs contested to tell the most wondrous story, seeking to outdo their brethren's tales. The defeat of the K'Nib in their crystal caves was told by Vulkan, in a rare moment of openness from the scarred Primarch, while Russ spun his tribespeople's myth of Fenris' birth to his brothers and Dorn described the sights of the Berolinius system, where no less than three stars danced around a center of gravity, with several planets caught in an eternal tug of war. The night was a rare moment of quietness and brotherly camaraderie, one that would come to be bitterly remembered in years to come.
After hearing of the magnificent feats of his brothers and their legions, Alpharius was filled with a desire to equal, if not best, the achievements of his brothers. The Primarch took control of his Legion and began imprinting his vision onto every marine. Total tactical flexibility was demanded from his legion. Whatever happened on the battlefield, the Legion would never be caught short. No assumptions were to be held about the enemy's plan, no rigid chain of command obeyed. Alpharius changed the name of the legion before his arrival, from the Omega Legion, given due to their creation as the last legion, to one that better matched his name and intention. Alpharius fully intended for his legion to prove themselves worthy of being the 'Alpha' Legion.
Horus returned to his expedition and the majority of his Legion, parting fondly with Alpharius on Terra. Alpharius declared his legion ready for combat and struck out from Terra with his own expedition into the more unknown corners of the Eastern Fringe. As Guilliman had been campaigning for some time on the Eastern Fringe, it was not surprising to see the two Primarchs eventually meet on the battlefield. It was in the Girantian system that the two Primarchs' expeditions would cross paths. Guilliman's expedition was conducting a grueling campaign against the misguided human faction present on the world. The war for Girant had stalled while Guilliman pursued a separate campaign with the vast bulk of the expedition, leaving Khatar, the First Captain of the Ultramarines, to pursue victory in the Girantian system.
Throughout the campaign, tensions continued to rise between the two legions. The foe had stalwartly resisted all attempts to take the planet's main three hive cities while guerilla warfare raged across the remainder of the planet's surface, frustrating the Imperial Army's attempts to pacify the world. Alpharius placed the blame for the sluggish progress solely on Khatar's strategies of siege and containment. The two commanders grew ever more distant from one another, to the detriment of the war effort. Just as it seemed that the relationship reached breaking point, Guilliman returned. Alpharius immediately sought his counsel on the matter. The meeting of the two Primarchs did nothing to improve the situation, which escalated from cordial disagreement to divisive argument within an hour of the two brothers entering the room. An irreparable rift between the two brothers, caused by both party's accusations and insults, which culminated in Alpharius and his legion withdrawing completely from the Ultramarines' campaign.
The Ultramarines continued the campaign alone with Guilliman at the forefront. Although one of the hives fell to the renewed efforts of the [X]th Legion, their Primarch was evactuated to orbit following a grevious wound inflicted by [something or other, poisoned blade?]. With this, the Girantians believed they had broken the back of the Imperial war effort. This belief was proven to be sorely mistaken as the Alpharius unleashed his own campaign. The first sign of this was as the capital hive's void shields fell, leaving the city open to orbital assault. However, while the doomed inhabitants fearfully watched the skies and formidable aerial defences activated, the blow fell from a far less expected direction. From the seabed roared a mighty Astartes armour column, which quickly spread throughout the city seeking key military centers and destroying any obstacles encountered. The city was soon subjugated, leaving a sole city left resisting the Imperial warmachine. It is said that this city was destroyed after the supposed capture of a squad of Alpha Legionnaires by guerillas led to the gates being opened to the waiting Imperial Army. After these emphatic victories, the Alpha Legion returned to its fleet. No word was spoken to the Ultramarines, the sight of the subjugated world the strongest possible rebuttal of Guilliman's words.
Each expedition passed onwards, Alpharius pressing towards the outermost regions of the Eastern Fringe while Guilliman forged towards the galactic centre. Alpharius brooded on Guilliman's insults, turning his thoughts towards proving Guilliman wrong. The Primarch emerged from his chambers and addressed his legion. The legion would be equal in its contribution to expanding and safeguarding the Emperor's Realm. No more would the Alpha Legion be treated as an inferior. Alpharius decreed that the legion would be split across the galaxy and use their abilities where they would be most needed. The Alpha Legion would be the difference between victory and defeat at the forefront of the Great Crusade, simply by lending Astartes strength and cunning where there was none. So it was that numerous squads and demi-companies were sent across the Imperium to those elements of the Imperium's expansion that lacked Astartes support. It was at this time that reports came from across the Great Crusade of the Alpha Legion's captains' great contribution to the progress of the Crusade. There was in fact many, many more reports of excellence from captains than the amount of captains the Alpha Legion was thought to have possessed. As the legion honed its new skills, the storm clouds were gathering around the steadily expanding Imperium. Soon the Great Crusade would be split thrice and brother would face brother on the field of battle as the Emperor's grandiose plans for humanity fell into ruin.
As Guilliman's line of conquests continued, discontent grew over his so-called 'Segmentum Ultramar'. From within the Adminastratum, many expressed views that the worlds conquered by Guilliman were not part of the Emperor's Realm but instead only answered to Macragge. Although Guilliman addressed these issues on a number of occasions, unease still existed among various factions. So when Dorn, the Emperor's Praetorian, came to his fellow Primarchs warning of Segmentum Ultramar's secession from the Imperium, many felt their views were vindicated. When Dorn approached Alpharius with his plan of conquest for Guilliman's upstart realm, Alpharius wholeheartedly accepted it, despite having to work alongside the overzealous Word Bearers. To Alpharius, the presence of the Emperor's Praetorian was an indication of the Emperor's will in this matter and more than enough reason not to question any of Dorn's information or orders. The animosity Alpharius still carried over Guilliman's comments was also not far from the Primarch's mind. There was finally a chance to prove the Alpha Legion was equal in skill to its brothers.
After the Word Bearers success in defeating the Ultramarine fleet in what would come to be known as the Battle for the Abyss, they struck onwards into the heart of the Ultramar Segmentum. This was where the Ultramarines had fortified most strongly, waiting for the loyalists to break upon defences worthy of Pertuarbo's and Dorn's praise. Any direct assault had no guarantee of success, given the Ultramarine Legion's swollen numbers and the task of confronting the remainder of the Segmentum's fleet. It was Alpharius who suggested the ploy of a decoy to lure the Ultramarines away from their home system's hefty defences. He reasoned that only the ultimate prize would be able to draw Guilliman to attack and that was the chance to cut off the head of the enemy's chain of command. Lorgar quickly agreed, although he insisted on the honour of assaulting the Macragge system first.
And so word of an Alpha Legion headquarters on Eskrador was leaked to Guilliman. Predictably, the Primarch's response was an attempt to annihilate the head of the enemy force. Even as the Ultramarines descended upon the world from the heavens, they had little idea of the trap that awaited them. The civilian population, incensed by a series of genocidal strikes by Alpha Legionnaires armoured in Ultramarine colours, rose against their lieges. The situation was further confused as the Alpha Legion began their attacks, some still wearing the heraldry of the Ultramarines. Although the Ultramarines were far numerically larger, the battle was poised evenly. It was in this situation that the two Primarchs found themselves facing one another. The two gods of war battled through the ruins of the once-prosperous world, blade against blade as the battle intensified around them. As exhaustion seeped into their limbs, it was inevitable that one's defence would slip under the other's relentless assault. And so it was that Guilliman's blade pierced first Alpharius' defences and then his heart, leaving only one brother to continue the battle.
Expecting the Alpha Legion to fall back after the disastrous loss of their Primarch, the Ultramarines were sorely surprised by the opposing legion's continued efforts in attack. In the chaos that occurred after Alpharius' supposed death, several prominent Ultramarine commanders including Captains Orar and Khatar met their ends, showing that even under the greatest strain, the Alpha Legion's tenet of ultimate adaptability prevailed. Eventually, Guilliman's superior numbers crushed the remainder of the Alpha Legionnaires as they fought to the last with no avenue of escape. Many have taken this last stand as a rare emotional response from the remaining Astartes as they died by their Primarch's grave while others have raised questions about the likelihood of Alpharius, an exceptionally gifted tactician, leaving no fallback for defeat. For whatever reason, the sacrifice of the Alpha Legion upon Eskrador tied up a great portion of the Ultramarine Legion, leaving the opportunity for the Word Bearers to strike at the weakened core worlds.
However, this blow was to never land. Rocked by the death of the Emperor, the Word Bearers began retreating to Terra in dismay. These actions were seen simply as betrayal by the Alpha Legion. They had upheld their promises, sacrificing the very blood of the legion, while the Word Bearers had squandered the opportunity to crush the renegade legion. The Ultramarines took advantage of this situation to retreat to their core worlds and to harry the Word Bearers fleet. With fully half of the Imperial force gone, the Ultramarines were able to concentrate on restricting the Alpha Legion's insurrectionist activities and attacks. Although the scale of the Alpha Legion's activities within the Segmentum were reduced when compared to during the Heresy, the threat has never been entirely quashed by the Ultramarines.
Since the Heresy, the Alpha Legion have continued their style of warfare against the forces of Chaos, xenos and traitorous Ultramarines. It is in the shadows that the Legion fights the Long War to preserve the Imperium. Few outside the Legions and the upper levels of the Imperium's bureaucracy are aware of their existence, let alone their operations. Within the Imperium's borders, the Alpha Legion's efforts are put toward rooting out malcontents, such as the so called 'Grey Knights', and the traitorous cancer of chaos. The majority of these actions are undertaken by human agents recruited by the Alpha Legion. No pre-heresy records mention any sign of the legion carrying out such a program, so it can be assumed that the Alpha Legion began recruiting during the restructuring period of the Scouring. An alternative to this theory is that the legion merely was so good at this practice that none noticed during the Great Crusade. This covert warfare ensures that the Imperium remains stable.
The Ultramar Segmentum has been a constant target for the Alpha Legion and a prime example of the legion's ability to spread destruction and anarchy across an enemy's territory. It is the region in which some of the legion's greatest victories and worst defeats lie. While the memory of Eskrador and the loss of a primarch may never be forgotten, the Alpha Legion have not fallen into a mental trap such as a number of the other legions have with the fortress world of Istvaan. The targets of the Alpha Legion are varied across the entire Segmentum and no world safe from their activities. Such incidents as the infiltration and destruction of the Guilliman's Swords chapter, the Exterminatus of Prandium and even the antics of the 'Ultramarine Captain' Ventris have proved that the legion's abilities are far from hampered by the efforts of the Ultramarines.
There are many more enemies than the Ultramarines for the Alpha Legion. The fact that eight other legions betrayed their oaths to the Emperor has not been forgotten. However, the legion's normal methods of sowing confusion, infiltration and planted agents are much less effective due to the eternal, malevolent gaze of the Chaos Gods and the risk of corruption. Yet the legion has found ways around this seemingly insurmountable obstacle. With the use of psychic nulls and Librarians, the Alpha Legion's conspiracies are masked from the view of the enemy's diabolic patrons. Such techniques as memory insertion, fake personalities and subconscious orders are also all within the legion's capabilities. If such measures fail, then less subtle methods such as cold steel and primed boltguns will be used to excise the cancer of chaos from the galaxy.
The Legion still operates largely in squads or cells, as they have since Alpharius' splitting of the Legion across the galaxy during the Great Crusade. It is a rare occurrence when the Alpha Legion fights in anything more than company level. How united the Legion remains or even how they communicate remains unknown. It is likely that the chapter uses the only means of near instantaneous interstellar communication of astrotelepathy. The means of obtaining an independent network of such psykers would be almost impossible for any force in the galaxy to obtain and maintain. This means that the Alpha Legion must use coded communications across the Imperium's astrotelepath circuit. What degree of access this gives them to the entire network remains undiscovered, despite several probes by the Astro Telepathicus.
Some actions that harmed the Imperium are suspected to have been carried out by the Alpha Legion. Whether the evidence has been mistaken or whether it is a sign that the Legion has become splintered is not clear. The risk of fighting the taint of Chaos through infiltration is indeed great and throughout the legion's history, there has been individuals that have fallen to the Dark Gods. The duty of hunting down such renegades would be one of the most difficult for the legion. Given this, it seems likely that such a task would be given to the very best of the Alpha Legion, their first Grand Company. The knowledge each marine possesses is in no way enough to destroy the legion should the enemy come to possess it but any such defections can set the Alpha Legion back centuries in their planning for the affected sectors.
Even before the Heresy, monitoring the size of the Alpha Legion was almost an impossible task. With the legion's further withdrawal from contact and greater focus on misdirection, this task has become literally impossible. The legion also not only numbers Astartes among its dedicated fighting ranks but also serfs and whispers of much more mysterious troops. Many of the Scouring-era High Lords suspected the Alpha Legion of striking a pact with the Sisters of Silence that lead to the Sisters' disappearance from the Imperium. However, many others point out the losses sustained in the Heresy and the difficulty of finding suitable recruits is more likely to have led to the order's immediate decline. Whatever the truth, it can be sure that the Alpha Legion has agents throughout the Imperium of every conceivable kind.
As with all of the Legions before the Heresy, the Alpha Legion maintained the purity of their own geneseed through their Apothecarian. Indeed, the initial high purity of the geneseed was believed to be the main factor causing the extreme similarity between Alpha Legionnaires and their Primarch. The current status of the geneseed is entirely unknown due the little contact that Alpha Legion has with the rest of the Imperium. Indeed, the Legion could have descended into mutation and madness, and none in the Imperium would be wiser.
Several investigations by the Mechanicus have suggested that the human agents used by the Alpha Legion exhibit many of the traits normally associated with the Astartes organs. As with anything concerning the Alpha Legion, any evidence is likely to be subject to distortion, misinformation and fallacy. However, given the sheer number of incidents found by the various probes, there must be some truth to these claims. How these humans came to possess the benefits of an Astartes physiology is of immense interest to the Mechanicus. If these are indeed ordinary human recruits that have been implanted with only portions of geneseed, it points to an extremely pure geneseed or a knowledge that is thought to only to have been possessed by the Mechanicus. Another possibility is that these humans are simply recruits that survive the a failed implantation process and if this was true, the adepts of the Machine God would rest a lot easier.
The method of recruitment that the Alpha Legion uses is also unknown. Whether or not Alpharius ever returned to the planet where he landed as an infant remains shrouded in mystery. If the Alpha Legion do indeed possess a homeworld, it has never been discovered by any within the Imperium. Without a homeworld to recruit from, the legion would have to resort to recruiting from the battlefields that they find themselves upon. Given the seemingly split organization of the Alpha Legion, it would seem unlikely that central recruiting would suit their modus operandi. The Legion recruits not only potential Astartes but also for other needs, such as access to organisations and information. There is no sign of who might be an agent, no physical mark or abnormal behavior to betray their affiliation.
The most complete picture of the Alpha Legion's combat doctrine is in their pre-Heresy activities. The legion's tactical flexibility was reflected in the greater initiative given to squad commanders. This trait of squad focused warfare was only magnified with the splitting of the legion across the fledgling Imperium during the Great Crusade. Given their small forces, the Alpha Legion concentrate on infiltration, misdirection, sabotage and pinpoint application of force as their choice tactics. Every marine lost greatly impairs the ability of the squad or taskforce to function in the longer term, so every strategic action taken by the legion is tempered by caution and patience. However, the legion is ever ready to seize either tactical or strategic opportunities if presented.
It should not be forgotten that the vast majority of the Alpha Legion's work is not carried out on the battlefield. It is done by the vast network of human operatives, who range from simple scribes to those who govern entire planets. From this the legion gains technology, information and influence. With such tools, an Alpha Legion cell leader can root out chaos cults, prepare an ignorant planet for war and secure raw materials such as munitions and potential Astartes for the legion's cause. This shadowy struggle ensures that the Imperium maintains its stability despite the cunning efforts of both alien and treacher.
With the vast majority of their number spread thinly across the entirety of the galaxy, the Alpha Legion must rely on other methods to bring large military forces to bear. Often the most readily available force for these purposes are those of xenos empires such as the ever common Orks. This can be achieved by various methods, whether it be through provocation by covert military actions or simple bribery of leaders. The best demonstration of this tactic can be observed in the Ultramar Segmentum. The Ork empire of Charadon has launched Waaagh after Waaagh into the Ultramarine's realm and each has wreaked great damage to the Segmentum, requiring the mobilisation of a number of chapters in order to stop the Orks' rampage. The previously friendly alien race of the Tau turned viciously against the Ultramarines, claiming that a campaign of extermination carried out on their Third Sphere Expansions had been carried out by forces clad in the livery of the Guilliman's Swords chapter. While the chapter denied all knowledge of its supposed atrocities, the chapter's homeworld was the first world to taste the full fury of the Tau's burgeoning military force. Some even whisper that the Tyranids' direct incursion into the realm of Ultramar was engineered by the Alpha Legion.
When the Legion fights by itself, it rarely fights in anything above squad level. However, the Legion will not hesitate to unleash the full might of a Company or even several of them to accomplish its goals. Such use of these brutal tactics by the legion is relatively rare when compared to other loyalist legions' use but they are no less effective. The majority of the Legion's combat actions do not even directly involve full Astartes but are instead carried out by recruited forces or the Legion's serfs. The serfs of the Legion appear to have a much higher level of respect within the structure of the legion, as evidenced by their increased involvement in all levels of the Legion's activities. This is not surprising for a Legion that prides itself on subterfuge and infiltration of organizations, given the serfs' more human appearance lending an easier ability to excel in the legion's speciality.
Though the phrase is more often whispered as a recognition code rather than shouted on the battlefield, the legion still uses its Pre-Heresy warcry of "Hydra Dominatus".
Edited by Sigismund Himself, 08 July 2010 - 11:33 AM.