It is still not complete, but will be tinkering with it over the next few days. Unfinished sections are in horrible yellow, reasonably completed bits in the normal grey text and the most recent changes in orange.
Anyone who is interested, please feel free to read and get back to me with any feedback, including what to call the post heresy section, and what colour I should call the pre-heresy AL armour, as violet just doesn't sound right on an Astartes.
Index Astartes: Alpha Legion
The Dornian Heresy
Always the most secretive of Astartes, the Alpha Legion's name has long passed into apocrypha within the Imperium, with most, outside their Astartes brothers and the High Lords of Terra, believing they were destroyed by the vengeful Ultramarines after the Dornian Heresy. It is an idea they are keen to foster, the better to exercise their finely honed covert abilities. From the shadows, the Alpha Legion uses infiltration, deception and assassination to sow discord and anarchy within enemy territory, and root out insidious Chaos cults operating within the Imperium.
During the Great Crusade, the Master of Mankind and His armies spread out across the galaxy not only to unite the scattered diaspora of human colonies into the Imperium, but to locate the lost primarchs. Most of the primarchs were found by the Emperor Himself, although this was not the case for Alpharius, and it is perhaps appropriate that the most secretive of His sons was hidden even from His gaze. Instead it was Horus who encountered the final primarch, and according to the version of the tale told by the Warmaster, it occurred when Alpharius and his raiders attacked a Luna Wolves’ cruiser. That a band of un-enhanced humans could have boarded an Astartes vessel was in itself impressive, but that they could have evaded the search parties to assault the command deck told of an exceptional individual. Thankfully, the look of recognition which passed between the brothers as they prepared to attack one another was enough to stay their hands, and in the months that followed an unbreakable bond of friendship was forged between them.
Overjoyed at the news that his final son had been found, the Emperor and decreed that they, and as many of the primarchs as could be gathered, meet on Terra in honour of this momentous event. It was a meeting of special magnificence, and each brother spoke of the wonders they had seen and victories they had claimed in their father’s name. Alpharius heard many different examples of how an Astartes could fight, but was certain that none of them was his own. On taking command of the Twentieth Legion he immediately began to instil within each marine his own unique philosophy; that they would defeat their enemies not by the application of sheer brute force, but by cunning, subterfuge and deception. Alpharius also selected a name for them which better matched his intentions, and resolved that they prove themselves worthy of calling themselves the Alpha Legion.
Colourpiece 1: The Omega Legion
Guilliman jokingly suggests that they call the legion the Omega legion, as they are the last to be found. Instead, he says they will be the Alpha Legion, the first and greatest. Why would he be upset about this – it is his brother’s name, after all. Have him give pause, questioning if Guilliman could know of their secret – taunting him? Dismiss it as simply a dig at him, equating Omega as being the last and least. Guilliman condescendingly offers to give Alpharius a copy of his collected writings on organisation and tactics so that he might emulate him – this does not go down well.
Due to their chosen style of warfare, far fewer marines needed to be attached to each Expeditionary fleet compared to those of other Astartes legions. This meant that the Alpha Legion was able to lend aid to a great number of expeditions operating across the East of Segmentum Solar and the western borders of Ultima Segmentum. Rather than commanding the Expeditions, as was usual where Astartes were involved, they instead acted as a covert vanguard which operated far in advance of the main Expeditionary force. By the time the Imperial Army arrived, they found worlds in disarray, their defences circumvented, and powerless to resist the coming invasion.
So successful were these tactics that their Expeditions soon came into contact with those of the Ultramarines moving westward from their powerbase on the eastern fringe of the galaxy. Philosophical differences between the two legions caused significant ill-feeling, with the Alpha Legion regarding the Ultramarines as unimaginative and hidebound by the prescriptive rules laid down by their primarch. Ultramarine commanders such as Lord Kharta and Captain Orar publically condemning the Alpha Legion’s tactics as dishonourable, counter-productive and unworthy of the Astartes. They claimed the Alpha Legion had a callous disregard for civilian casualties their actions caused, and that this stirred up resentments against the Imperium long after they had moved on. Alpharius’ tally of victories was also dismissed as due to the valiant actions of the Imperial Army shoring up a weak and inexperienced legion. These verbal clashes came to a head during a meeting between the primarchs of the two legions, which reputedly resulted in Roboute Guilliman ordering the Alpha Legion “out of Ultramarine space”, and saying they should leave the Great Crusade to the real Astartes.
Despite this acrimonious exchange, the Great Crusade was a time of great optimism for the Imperium as worlds long-isolated from Terra were reunited, and the darkness of superstition was banished by the rationality of the Imperial Truth. The Emperor had chosen to do this partly to suppress any investigation of the Warp’s true, esoteric nature, believing that to allow the existence of Chaos to become public knowledge would be enough to lead some to their worship. Even His primarch sons were not trusted with this information, although some had gleaned a measure of understanding for themselves. Being particularly astute at determining the hidden hand behind events, Alpharius, was one of these few.
This was brought into sharp focus when the Chaos-worshipping inhabitants of a world they were fighting to bring into the Imperium used Warp-magicks to destroy the planet at the point of their defeat. Through painstaking and meticulous investigation of this new threat, they came to realise the destructive intent of the Ruinous Powers extended far beyond individual planets; they sought to bring down the entire galaxy in blood and fire.
"None shall make me break faith with my father. No xenos lies or false visions will convince me to turn from His light, no matter how deep the darkness in which I walk. This is the word of Alpharius, and so shall it be yours.”
Primarch Alpharius after the battle of 42 Hydra Tertius
The key to this was an insidious plan by a cabal of xenos breeds to ensure that Warmaster Horus would succumb to daemonic possession, thereby plunging the Imperium into a catastrophic civil war. Despite subjecting the xenos conspirators to their most terrible and persuasive of interrogations, they were unable to extract where or even when this possession would take place. They did however ascertain that the death of a Word Bearer Chaplain by the name of Erebus was vital to the alien’s plans. Perhaps it is a sign of their paranoia and love of secrets, but rather than simply inform the Warmaster of the threat against his life, they decided instead to shadow Chaplain Erebus and ensure his safety.
In this way, the ambush the aliens had set for the Word Bearer was averted, and Erebus reached the Sons of Horus fleet without ever realising his life had been in danger. When Horus was struck down on the world of Davin with an ailment inexplicable by even the finest apothecaries, Chaplain Erebus proved his worth a hundredfold. He recognised the affliction for what it truly was, and aided by the psychic might of Magnus of the Thousand Sons, was able to exorcise the daemonic entity and save the Warmaster. The Alpha Legion assumed that the threat had been averted, but had woefully underestimated the cunning and subtlety of their Great Adversary.
Upon the formal announcement of his name and position as Alpha Legion envoy to the Warmaster, Librarian Sladen approached the command throne. Erebus had warned him that the ‘malady’ had taken much out of Horus, but he was still taken aback by his sallow complexion and almost shrunken appearance. Horus Lupercal was legend amongst legends and a mentor to his own primarch. He had thought the man invulnerable – a force of nature – and yet the figure before him had little in common with the demigod he had seen tear apart an Ork war-walker the size of a building. He reached out to shake the Warmaster’s hand, but was stopped by a glowering bear of an Astartes.
‘No, it is all right, Ezekyle,’ Horus said. ‘Ekan Sladen and I are comrades of old. We fought side by side against that greenskin rabble on Kapos, wasn’t it?’ Right there and then, Sladen felt the urge to confide his mission to Horus, but wisely did not. As agonising as his primarch’s decision had been not to warn Horus of the threat to his life, he understood why it had been made. Without any tangible evidence of the plot, or even where or when it would occur, there was no way to prevent it. Worse, if Erebus was unsuccessful, if even a vestage of the daemon’s influence remained, the possessed Horus would never let them get near him for the threat they posed. Instead, Sladen had been charged with feigning ignorance, watching powerless even as Horus had been struck down on Davin. Now that the Word Bearers and the Thousand Sons had played their parts, it was the turn of the Alpha Legion to honour Horus Lupercal. He would watch for any trace of daemonic influence, and be prepared to kill him rather than allow it to plunge the Imperium into civil war. Even though he was confident of his mental shields, he pointedly did not think of the deadly devices hidden in strategic positions aboard the Vengeful Spirit...
Warily, Abaddon took a step back, and allowed Sladen to continue. ‘Yes, my lord. To see you fighting the foes of the Imperium was a great honour, and one I hope to repeat as soon as you have recovered.’ Every word was true, but it would not stop him carrying out his duty. Sladen stepped forward and shook the proffered hand, his senses alert to any hint of darkness within the Warmaster’s aura...
With the Warmaster saved from the threat of the Ruinous Powers, the Alpha Legion turned its attention back to the events of the Great Crusade in Ultima Segmentum, or, as many of its inhabitants were increasingly coming to call it, Ultramar Segmentum. With every month that passed more worlds, including many the Alpha Legion itself had brought into compliance, petitioned to make ever-closer ties with the Ultramarines and its confederation of Ultramar planets. There was something more to this than simple expediency.
Through their connections, the Alpha Legion became aware of a steadily growing Ultramarine force moving like a wave from the East. The fleets were growing ever larger, and yet were passing through areas of space which had already been pacified by the Great Crusade. Wherever these fleets passed, Ultramar ‘advisers’ were left behind in positions of power. Though there ostensibly to improve organisational productivity, they also imparted a measure of cultural control. In addition to the Administratum tithes the planets paid, these advisers also saw that funds and goods were funnelled back into Ultramar.
The Alpha Legion recognised the signs of Guilliman attempting to usurp control. These worlds had more allegiance to Guilliman than to the Emperor, and that, if left unchecked, this creeping expansion would see the Ultramarines grow too powerful to be stopped. Alpharius transmitted this damning information directly back to Terra, and when the call went out to mobilise fully half of the Astartes legions to bring the Ultramarines to heel, the Alpha Legion was amongst the first to volunteer.
With Warmaster Horus still recovering from the events on Davin, Rogal Dorn of the Imperial Fists led the bulk of the Astartes forces against Guilliman at his newest Ultramar world of Istvaan V, while the Alpha Legion and Word Bearers were sent to destabilise the renegade realm from within. Lorgar set course directly for Macragge, but the Alpha Legion scattered to infiltrate each world they came across. Unlike the Great Crusade, where they had the support of the Imperial Army, their aim was simply to spread anarchy and disrupt their war efforts so that Ultramar Segmentum would respond as isolated planets rather than as a unified entity. Only later, once the Imperial Army had properly been mobilised, could the worlds be reclaimed back into the Imperium.
Despite their initial successes at paralysing large areas of Ultramar Segmentum, the Alpha Legion came under increasing pressure due to large numbers of Ultramarines moving in from the direction of Istvaan. The war had rendered them virtually cut off from the Imperium, but at great cost the legion’s astropaths were eventually able to penetrate the aetheric howl. With each fragment of intelligence they gathered, the situation became increasingly dire. Against all expectation, the Ultramarines had triumphed at Istvaan, destroyed many of the legions sent against them, and were now moving against them in force. Eventually the reason for the Istvaan disaster became clear; Rogal Dorn had betrayed the Emperor’s legions to Guilliman, and now sought to claim the Imperial throne for himself. Although Warmaster Horus had been saved, the Ruinous Powers had found another Primarch through which to work their will.
Dorn’s cunning had seen both the Alpha Legion and the Word Bearers mired so deeply inside enemy territory that neither would be able to get back to Terra in time. Alpharius was convinced that their best course was to continue as before, keeping Ultramar Segmentum in turmoil and preventing Guilliman from sending aid to Dorn’s traitors. He was concerned of how the Word Bearers would react to the threat against their God-Emperor, but on meeting Lorgar, found him to be of the same mind. So unshakeable was his faith in the omnipotence of the Emperor that Lorgar would not even countenance the idea their father could be defeated. He held an unshakable belief that the loyal legions, led by Warmaster Horus, would crush the upstart Dorn, and that the Word Bearers must prove equally worthy by conquering Macragge and tearing the heart from the rebellious Ultramarines.
Though a noble ambition, the flood of Ultramarine reinforcements from Istvaan meant that any frontal assault on Macragge would be drowned in its own blood. Alpharius proposed that they lure away the defenders with something they could not resist; the chance to finally face the elusive Alpha Legion in open conflict. This was done by subtly revealing the existence of a major Alpha Legion base on the planet of Eskrador, further sweetened with the promise of being able to face Alpharius himself.
The ploy proved more successful than they could have hoped, with Guilliman committing large numbers of forces to the assault. Instead of the sober, measured campaign they had anticipated, the Ultramarines were far more reckless, committing a massed drop-pod assault onto the mountainous slopes near the supposed Alpha Legion base. For another legion this might have thrown their plans into disarray, but instead they adapted, and turned this development to their advantage. The unsupported infantry that emerged from their drop-pods were punished mercilessly for their hubris, and many Ultramarines, including several high-ranking commanders, were slain before their relief columns broke through from the lowlands.
The Ultramarines tell the story of Eskrador as a glorious victory, but all they gained were the bodies of but a fraction of the Alpha Legionnaires actually present, and a base filled with intentionally misleading information. Of their most prized ‘victory’ - the supposed death of Alpharius - that too was denied them. Whoever Guilliman fought that day, it was not Alpharius, as he still commands the legion to this day. Most likely it was a ruse to lull the Ultramarines into a false sense of security that the threat of the Alpha Legion had been ended.
+++ I have argued with myself about this, and yet agreement eludes me. Half of me longs to face Guilliman, wants it beyond reason and logic. The other knows that there is nothing to be gained from such an act – that I am being blinded to the situation by hatred. By coming here to Eskrador in such numbers and leaving Macragge open to attack, Guilliman has already lost. To face him now in open battle would only play into his hands, and needlessly risk handing him a victory. +++
+++ There is no more time. Their army approaches. I must be of one mind in this. +++
+++ It is decided. I will leave the Ultramarines to enjoy their hollow victory, even as their homeworld is razed. I have vowed to myself that I will not to rest until Guilliman is suffering the endless torment he so rightfully deserves, but it will happen on my terms... it will not happen today. +++
Although Eskrador had proved a great success as a diversion, before the Word Bearers could assault the weakened Macragge, news filtered in from the Imperium which broke their resolve. While putting an end to Dorn’s Heresy, the Emperor had been mortally wounded, and in their grief Lorgar’s Word Bearers fled back to Terra, the assault on Macragge forgotten. The Alpha Legion was left to battle on alone against the might of Ultramar Segmentum.
For many decades after the end of the Heresy nothing was heard from the Alpha Legion. The Word Bearers were instrumental in raising crusades to breach the Ultramarines’ heavily fortified borders, but were unable to find any indication of their fate. Eventually, and with great sadness, the Alpha Legion was classed as having been destroyed. Then, unannounced and unheralded, Alpharius appeared before an assembly of the High Lords of Terra with a dire warning. He apologised for his absence, saying that he had made a solemn oath to himself to see Guilliman pay for his crimes. Out of pride, Alpharius had hoped not to return to the Imperium until his vow was fulfilled, but events had forced his hand.
In the time since their disappearance, the Alpha Legion had honed their skills at covert warfare to razor sharpness, and had kept Ultramar Segmentum from turning its gaze upon the Imperium. Guilliman, however, had grown tired of this state of affairs and was planning, under the flag of diplomacy, to take that which had been so long denied him. Barely a month later, the High Lords received a communiqué from Guilliman, who begged forgiveness for Istvaan. He claimed to have been deceived by Dorn, and offered a strategic alliance against their true enemies – the forces of Chaos. Forewarned, the High Lords saw this for what it was; a ploy to allow the Ultramarine war-fleets to pass deep into Imperial space for an assault upon Terra.
Using their extensive knowledge of Ultramar Segmentum, the Alpha Legion was able to turn the peace conference on Prandium into a trap. By providing the supposedly unarmed Imperial Astartes with weapons, equipment and intelligence, they were able to ensure that Roboute Guilliman was mortally wounded, imprisoned within a stasis field and returned to Terra so that all could witness the traitor’s just fate.
As the last of the servitors scurried away from the stasis chamber, two figures remained standing in front of the newly installed shrine. One was magnificently clad in gold and purple artificer armour, the other in a simple, hooded cloak over armour which gleamed blue-black, but both dwarfed the subservient machine-slaves. The first was instantly recognisable by his profile, heraldry and bearing as Fulgrim, the Primarch of the Emperor's Children. The second seemed to have the uncanny ability to melt into the background even when in plain sight.
"Your plan worked perfectly, brother, and in return, the artefact you desired. As you said, the traitor was wearing it as a trophy," Fulgrim said as he offered the cloaked figure an ancient ring. Light flashed off its polished surface, revealing the engraved symbol of a hydra. The other figure took it with a silent nod of thanks, and slid it onto his finger alongside an identical ring. Silence filled the room as the two gazed upon the agonized face of Guilliman. Both were lost in thought, of what had been, could have been and would be.
"What now for the Alpha Legion?" Fulgrim enquired.
"We will ensure that this does not happen again,” replied the hooded figure grimly. “We will find them, and we will punish them. All of them."
That eight other legions besides the Ultramarines had also betrayed their oaths to the Emperor had not been forgotten, and with Guilliman at long last having paid the price for his crimes, the Alpha Legion’s self-imposed penance could come to an end. As the legion is at its most effective when the enemy does not even suspect their presence, they officially remained casualties of the Dornian Heresy, with only the upper echelons of the Imperium and the loyalist legions made aware of the truth. Ever since, the Alpha Legion has put its skills to use against the Ruinous Powers by monitoring planets close to the Eye of Terror for signs of cult activity and as the vanguard of Imperial crusades to oust the Traitor Legions from the Emperor’s worlds.
Where the Ultramarines followed strict rules and a rigid, predictable organisational structure, the forces of Chaos were, by their very nature, an ever-changing chimera. This meant the skills the Alpha Legion had used to such great effect in Ultramar Segmentum often proved to be completely useless. Similarly, their methods of infiltration proved to be far more vulnerable to detection by sorcery and the eternal, malevolent gaze of the Ruinous Powers. Having prided itself upon the ability to adapt and outwit the enemy, the Alpha Legion took to this fresh challenge with aplomb. With the aid of certain highly specialised Imperial organisations, they have found ways around even these obstacles. It is with these weapons as much as with primed boltguns and cold steel that the Alpha Legion works to excise the cancer of Chaos from the galaxy.
As successful as the Alpha Legion has been at keeping the forces of Chaos hemmed within the Eye of Terror, it has come at a cost to their operations inside Ultramar Segmentum. While it remains a prime example of the Alpha Legion’s ability to spread destruction and anarchy within an enemy's territory, their numbers are too few to do more than slow the Ultramarines’ implacable advance. In recognition of this disturbing fact, the Alpha Legion has had to become ever-more creative, and destructive in its plans.
When operating within Ultramarine territory there is no chance of support from the Imperium, and so the Alpha Legion frequently relies upon less conventional methods to bring large military forces to bear. Whether through provocation by covert military actions or the simple bribery of leaders, the ubiquitous Orks have proved to be valuable, if unwitting, allies. In particular, several Ultramarine campaigns against the Imperium have been averted by timely uprising of the Ork Empire of Charadon. Another valuable technique the Alpha Legion has perfected is to fracture alliances and set them at each other’s throats. Be they shaky coalitions of Chaos warbands or the technologically advanced Tau and the Ultramarines, nothing sows discord like an unprovoked attack from Astartes in the livery of an ally.
Given their secretive nature, all manner of outlandish theories have been attributed to the Alpha Legion. There is even speculation that the legion has become so fragmented that its convoluted plots and schemes war as much against each other as they do the enemy. It seems certain that the truth is more prosaic, and at the same time more unbelievable than even the most ardent conspiracy theorist could imagine. The only person to know the whole truth is their primarch, and Alpharius has proven extremely good at guarding his secrets.
As the captain tapped away distractedly at the data terminal, his thoughts were drawn back once more to Malodrax. The Iron Warriors had tried to break his body and spirit, little realising that their tortures were as nothing to the scourging embrace of the pain-glove. And yet, despite their uninspired attempts, he found that it preyed upon his mind. He remembered the elation of escape from the black armoured Astartes and had evaded their search teams, boarded a shuttle and fought his way back here to reclaim his title from the petty pretender who had taken it in his absence...
... Black armour? They had worn burnished iron... even as he focussed on the memory he could see their hated faces in every detail. He screwed up his eyes and willed away the fatigue, and returned to the mass of schematics, inventories and readiness reports before him. Cadia was the cornerstone of the Black Legion’s grip on power, and as Captain of the First Grand Company, he was responsible for its defence.
Drawn back inexorably to the events of Malodrax, the captain’s fingers played idly across the controls of the data-terminal. Buried deep beneath the layers of conscious thought, the implanted personality sent the invaluable packets of encrypted information sleeting through the network for collection by agents of the Hydra...
Never one to stifle his brethren with rules and strictures, Alpharius has ensured his legion’s organisation has remained fluid and able to adapt to the local situation. A premium is placed upon crafting elegant and ultimately effective strategies, and ensuring that they never to fall into predictable, unthinking patterns. Rather than following a conventional grand company structure, they instead operate in cell networks of varying size depending upon the situation. Given the dispersed nature of the legion, command authority frequently resides with sergeants. Captains and lieutenants are instead involved with wider-scale organisation, and take direct command of none but the largest and most important operations.
While only a handful of full Astartes may be present in an operation, they are accompanied by a far greater number of human operatives. These include initiates who have yet to be fully implanted with gene-seed as well as inducted Imperial Army and Adeptus Arbites veterans who are able to pass unnoticed among the populace in a way that an Astartes – even without power armour – would be unable to do. In support of these field agents are armourers and scribes, as well as techno-savants skilled in sifting through the mass of data for the intelligence they require. The criminal underworld is also an invaluable source of illicit information and muscle, although great care must be taken to ensure they never suspect the true identity of their employers.
So insidious are the Ruinous Powers that throughout the legion’s history, individuals and even entire cells have fallen to the Dark Gods. Although the knowledge possessed by a single cell is compartmentalised, and so in no way enough to bring down the legion, such defections can upset plans many decades in the making. The task of hunting down these renegades falls to the very best of the Alpha Legion, and on several notable occasions, Alpharius himself has taken charge of determining how far the rot has spread.
Alpha Legionnaires are masters of subterfuge, misdirection and deception, and use these skills to spread anarchy and discord throughout enemy territory. Secrecy has always been vital to the Alpha Legion, but since the Great Crusade they have honed it to the point where their very existence is but a rumour. Where others, such as the Night Lords, openly proclaim their presence and wield the fear it generates as a weapon, the Alpha Legion believe it is easier to defeat an enemy who is unaware they are even engaged in a battle. Due to the necessity of keeping their presence a secret, the Alpha Legion no longer wears its traditional indigo livery. Since the Battle of Eskrador, which was the last time they openly proclaimed their existence on the battlefield, they have instead worn battle-plate of the darkest blue-black or in an appropriate camouflage pattern. This is shorn of all legion iconography, squad markings or honours, and yet despite this apparent anonymity they are still able to identify their own.
When operating deep inside enemy territory, the Alpha Legion uses its skills to destabilise planets without ever revealing their presence. To this end, acts of sabotage, infiltration and assassination are all tools in their arsenal, as are the fracturing of alliances and the incitement of civil unrest. Rather than just keeping enemy territory in a state of anarchy, the Alpha Legion also works with the Black Templars in support of their massed Astartes Crusades. By infiltrating in advance of the invasion, they are able to cripple the enemy’s defences, draw forces out of position and ensure that any counter-attack is fragmented and ineffective. Their actions are always meticulously planned, with attacks coming from multiple directions so that the failure of any one element does not jeopardise the mission as a whole. In this respect they are like the mythical hydra, in that if one head is struck off, another two spring up to take its place.
Because even an Alpha Legionnaire would find it difficult to mingle with a crowd, much of their work is carried out by their networks of human operatives. They gather intelligence, infiltrate enemy installations and procure everything that is needed by their masters. As skilled as these human agents are, there are some tasks that can only be carried out by an Astartes Kill-team. In their infiltrator armour and cameleoline cloaks, the legion is adept at moving through the shadows like ghosts. However, it is frequently more efficient simply to appear in the guise of other Astartes, be they Loyalist, or those of enemy legions. Many victories against Chaos attributed to the timely intervention of a squad of Word Bearers or Iron Warriors galvanising the citizenry to resist the raiders have in truth been due to the action of Alpha Legionnaires.
These disguises are even more useful when operating behind enemy lines, as it allows them almost unfettered freedom of movement across a Chaos-held world. Such is the terror with which Traitor Astartes are held by the inhabitants that few would dare look one in the eye, let alone deny a squad of them access to any building or bunker they wished to enter. They also use the guise of enemy Astartes to publically carry out acts which would destabilise alliances between groups. This can be anything from firing upon crowds to trigger civil unrest on Ultramarine worlds, to desecrating shrines to Slaanesh under the guise of the Space Wolves to provoke tension between Chaos factions.
Even though they ensure their armour is meticulously reconsecrated after such acts, the greatest of care must be taken when disguising themselves as worshippers of the Ruinous Powers. Under such circumstances they use only the most generic of symbols to give the impression of the legion they are trying to mimic. As bitter experience has taught them, even the simple act of painting a Chaos symbol upon their armour tarnishes the soul and can bring down the gaze of the Dark Gods upon the wearer.
... an incredible confluence of events which I can only attribute to the divine blessing of the Emperor to our invasion. Our first sign was that Luycen’s famous planetary defences, which we had thought had been captured virtually intact, were all-but silent. It seemed that the enemy high commander had been assassinated by one of his own subordinates shortly before our arrival, and that the ensuing power struggle to succeed him had thrown the traitors into, well, chaos, if you will forgive the pun. [Subject smiles awkwardly]
What we had expected to be a brutally hard-fought campaign, but with the enemy in such disarray, and even the citizenry rising up against them in guerrilla warfare, we had liberated the planet and rounded up the last heretic within five weeks of our arrival.
[Subject laughs] With that kind of luck, who needs the Astartes!
Recruitment and Gene-Seed
Back to their earliest days in the Great Crusade, the Alpha Legion has operated from its fleet of ships rather than a homeworld. This is due in part to the requirements of their nomadic nature, but mainly because Alpharius pointedly refused to reveal the location of the world on which he had been raised. Because of this, it has always been assumed that the Alpha Legion selects new aspirants primarily from the local planets on which they operate, although given their maddening secrecy, this has never been confirmed. While other legions recruit based upon combat skills such as strength and speed, the Alpha Legion instead values creativity, cunning and quickness of thought. Physical toughness and combat ability can be bestowed by the apothecaries, their gene-seed implants and their various instructors, but quick thinking is an innate skill that cannot be taught.
The gene-seed of the Alpha Legion is said to be pure and uncontaminated, although the greatest of care is taken when dealing with progenoids harvested from Astartes who have spent extended periods close to the Eye of Terror. The strength of the Alpharius gene-seed has also been proposed to be the reason for the striking similarity between many Alpha Legionnaires and their Primarch, even down to their height. While similar effects have been observed in the gene-lines of other legions, it has led to speculation of the use of cloned humans, recruitment from a restricted gene-pool, such as Alpharius’ secret homeworld, or the practice of surgically creating doubles to act as decoys. Of these theories, the last best fits the legion’s modus operandi, as their apothecaries can dramatically alter a marine’s appearance should the mission demand it. This may also explain how Guilliman could have been fooled into thinking that he had battled and defeated his brother on Eskrador.
The Alpha Legion firmly believes in the old proverb that “a dagger in the dark is worth a thousand swords at dawn.” To this end, great pains are taken to keep their existence a secret, which includes after the mission has been completed. Given that the majority of their operations are carried out behind enemy lines, every action the Alpha Legion carries out is unique, as to fall into predictable patterns would rapidly result in their capture or destruction. Such things must spring from creativity and inspiration, and cannot be learned by rote from a book, although they have found Guilliman’s Codex Ultramar to be an invaluable insight into the mind, tactics and responses of their enemy.
One of the Alpha Legion’s defining characters is their pragmatism, and ability to take the hard decisions required to ensure the stability of the Imperium. They are well aware that in the pursuit of their goals, terrible deeds are often necessary, and that in the Long War, the end justifies the means.
Due to the need to hide their true identities, the Alpha Legion does not have a fixed battle cry. Instead, they fight in implacable silence on occasions where stealth is required, and while disguised as Astartes of other legions they use the appropriate battle cry to reinforce the pretence.
Edited by Aurelius Rex, 10 January 2011 - 10:43 PM.