In the peace time of the months that followed, a message appeared in circulation among the worlds of the Systems Alliance, the council of worlds that answers to and supplies the Sons of Unity. The message appeared to be full of the Emperor's fervor. It called for humanity to rise from its squalid seat on scattered worlds and take back the stars as the Emperor had sought to do during the Great Crusade. It went so far as to decry the actions of Chapter Master Androssen and the Sons of Unity, demanding the immediate exterminatus of xenos races within their reach and a covenant between the Systems Alliance and its Chapter to never again accept the aid of the xenos unless to use them as the tools they were meant to be, for the furtherance of Mankind’s interests. Needless to say, the message caused uproar throughout the systems, while Androssen and the Sons only watched silently and sternly from their ships above. Attempts to trace the message lead only as far as a dead Astropath on Rho, the Chapter Homeworld. Many were frightened or appalled that anyone would speak out against a Chapter Master with such force, others, a small but often wealthy minority, were inclined to agree. It was not long after that Androssen relinquished command of the Chapter, returning to the Veteran Company. However, the hierarchy leadership on Rho, together with the new Chapter Master Brahm Kahoku dismissed the message as the ravings of one "elusive and overzealous man."
Unfortunately, it was more than just a man. Janus Maeleth of the 3rd squad and 5th company had been a non-native recruit to the Chapter, as well as of non-military parentage, a rare trait amongst recruits. Since his induction he had shown nothing less than an Astartes spirit. In private, though, he had a vision of a different Imperium, the undisputed power in the galaxy, an Imperium like the days of the Emperor. As he examined the galaxy's present situation though, the only future he could imagine for it was one ever grimmer and darker. The Sons' involvement with the Eldar prompted him to finally act. If he could only spread his vision to the larger Imperium, perhaps things could change. When his secret manifesto was disregarded by the Chapter Master, Maeleth prepared to take matters into his own hands.
It began with a request for the Chapter's attention to a threat in the remote system of Akuze, a request coinciding with the first orders of the 25th founding. Janus, well known throughout his company for his skill at spotting an opportunity, convinced his squad sergeant to volunteer them for the contingent being dispatched to Akuze. To his fellow marines it was a good omen; whenever the squad followed one of Maeleth's plans they had never failed. Unfortunately for them, Janus was looking at a different opportunity. Arriving on Akuze, the five squad contingent found the small Imperial colony in ruin, no survivors and no sign of what had caused the destruction. Or so they had thought. Even as they had entered the system Janus, manning the sensor array, had detected the telltale signs of life still on Akuze, and before they had landed he had discovered a single, massive decomposing xenos corpse near the colony's edge. It appeared to be some sort of giant subterranean serpent. Janus later speculated that this was one of the first vanguard organism strikes by the Tyranids, but he left no evidence to determine the truth.
Withholding this deadly secret from his brothers, the detachment scouted the ruins and found only a few broken, mangled corpses. Careful to lead the team away from the serpentine corpse, the marines prepared to leave. When they regrouped, Janus was missing. No sooner was the realization made, then the attack came. No less than seven of the massive burrowing serpents attacked the unit, claiming eight marines in the first seconds alone. The battle, if it could be called that, was over in minutes, leaving forty nine marines strewn on and beneath Akuze's surface. Janus had left his brothers long before the attack had come and returned to their dropship, damaging the ship till it could barely fly. As he commanded the ship alone back to Rho, he carefully sabotaged its systems, erasing essential reports and surveys. He then relayed repeated urgent messages to Imperial authorities in the vicinity, claiming that a vast, unknown xenos fleet was approaching, and passed on censored details of the mission on Akuze. By the time Janus had made it back to Rho to share his report with the Chapter, the Tarot were already being consulted back on Terra. While the Chapter Master was still reviewing Maeleth’s report for submission to the Chapter Librarium, the orders were returned from the High Lords: Janus Maeleth was to be promoted to lead a training cadre in the formation of a new Chapter meant to stall the xenos invasion. Terra had confirmed an impending threat from the subsectors surrounding Akuze and now meant to rely on Maeleth’s ‘experience’ to defend Imperial space.
Janus led the training cadre to the subsector of Akuze, where they began to recruit from the young colonial world of Shanxi. There they took the name of Cerberus, bound to guard the Imperium forever with watchful eyes in every direction. After nearly four decades leading and training neophytes, building up its arsenal, and maturing the necessary organs and gene-seed while the Chapter slowly grew, no sign of the fleet that Maeleth claimed destroyed his brothers ever appeared. The Sons of Unity soon withdrew from their successor. Kahoku hadn’t trusted Janus ever since his return, and for all those years his report from Akuze remained under scrutiny. The two Chapters had cut ties before the first Cerberus marine donned Power Armor. Imperial authorities showed no concern or suspicion, relying not on the report of one Marine, but on the divination of the Tarot. It had promised a threat would rise from the Akuze subsector, and the Cerberus Chapter was the answer.
Assigned Home World: Shanxi
Shanxi’s history in the Imperium’s records is a small, tragic footnote. It had been colonized barely more than three centuries prior to the organization of the Cerberus Chapter, and enjoyed notoriety for housing the growing force. Colonists favored the world for having Adeptus Astartes protectors, although no colonist was ever allowed to see or interact with a Cerberus Marine. For several decades after the founding, Shanxi enjoyed unparalleled peace. After that, according to Imperial record, Shanxi was abruptly attacked and almost purged of life by an unknown xenos fleet which retreated only at the appearance of a sizeable Sons of Unity strike fleet. Why the Sons of Unity were in the area remains unknown, but they only opened communication with the colonial refugees upon learning that the Cerberus Chapter appeared to have been destroyed in its youth, leaving only the remains of a single Gladius frigate and a few attack craft destroyed by the xenos scattered in decaying orbit. Refugee accounts reported enormous plumes of flame erupting from the facilities of the fledgling Chapter, and indeed no corpse was found in the planetary fortress or the derelict fleet craft that was not charred beyond recognition. In time, Shanxi’s population recovered, but their pride never did, and the world has since been largely forgotten.
Meanwhile, sector and segmentum authorities were left to wonder if the near loss of Shanxi was the threat Cerberus had been founded to forestall…and if the Chapter had simply been doomed to destruction from the start.
Second Home World: Akuze
In truth Shanxi was only another ploy by Janus. The planet’s invaders had been ‘enticed’ into attacking the planet by transmissions from the new Chapter Master. Sacrificing a few of the new marines and neophytes, as well as the frigate, the remaining Cerberus Marines departed Shanxi during the battle, and returned to Akuze. The planet had not been recolonized, but declared a death world. It had barely been habitable before, largely a rocky, mountainous mass with a sandy surface ill-suited for anything but small scale mining. From orbit Maeleth ordered the destruction of the dens of the serpentine creatures that had laid the groundwork for his plan all those years ago. For a little more than a century after, Akuze was the home of Cerberus. Potential recruits were kidnapped from surrounding systems and brought back for testing and induction, though Maeleth stopped the creation of additional marines well before the Chapter reached full codex strength. One final time, the Cerberus Chapter took to the stars, destroying their facilities, purging records and leaving no trace of their stay on Akuze.
Despite abandoning any kind of homeworld, the Chapter is not confined to its fleet, which is modest in size. The Chapter maintains fairly rooted local bases wherever its cells operate. Most of the Chapter’s marines are concentrated in roving fleet detachments with the highest ranking marine overseeing two to three operations, which are largely staffed and run by serfs.
Battle Barge: Anadius
Strike Cruiser: Western Maw, Crimson Maw, Winter Maw, Fang of Orthus, Charon, Penumbra Apex, Strobilos
Cord-Hislop- Secret Manufactorum/Serf recruitment
Eldfell Ashworld- Warp->Population experiment, Imperial Freighter Ter Alan
Cerberus strategies revolve around being rapid, and untouchable; altogether elusive, with only the rarest applications of brute force. Because there goals are best served by anonymity, large scale combat actions are rarely undertaken, and never alongside allies outside the Chapter. They do not employ devastator squads or battle tanks and have few transports. Through extensive research they have adopted a unique brand of Dreadnought known as the Atlas, which make use of highly modular chassis to house and conceal data cores. These have greatly aided in protecting Chapter data stores by giving them both mobility and defenses, but also made them the Chapter’s most important relics.
Current Chapter Master: Janus Maeleth- The Chapter Master lives up to the title by which the Chapter serfs identify him: “the Illusive Man”. Maeleth and Captain Corei disappeared in pursuit of an artifact less than a half a century after the Chapter left Akuze. Now almost six hundred years later, as the Sons of Unity become not only increasingly aware, but also more threatening of the Chapter’s operations, Maeleth and Corei have returned, claiming to have been enlightened by a sojourn in the warp. The brothers Arterius, who had shared leadership of Cerberus after the demise of the previous Master, insisted only on the tests of genetic purity, after which they relinquished command. Maeleth’s actions since then have managed to steer the Chapter away from the searchlight of the Sons, but the danger is still there.
Master of Sanctity: Rei Ashe- Brother-Chaplain Ashe most often appears at the head of joint cell operations. He is the first among the Chapter’s Chaplains to have envisioned the threat posed by their parent Chapter, and has been personally responsible for multiple successful evasions.
Forge/Fleet: Saren Arterius- A deadly void strategist, Arterius is sure to be present if elements of Cerberus’ fleet engage the enemy above atmosphere. In a juxtaposition of doctrine, Arterius will almost always attempt to maximize firepower and outnumber the enemy if possible. The sizeable fleet at the Chapter’s disposal complements this tactic. Saren led the Chapter for almost a century before Maeleth’s return.
Apothecarion: Astrico Nurinos- Most frequently found working with the research Cell, the Chief Apothecary and his drastic methods are responsible for ‘reviving’ the first marines from the Sleeping Death.
Chief Librarian/Research Cell: Kai Lanius (Chapter Librarians, cerca. 75 Marines)
The Research Cell is formed largely by Chapter serfs, who are mostly scientists, or medical personnel plucked from the elite of a number of worlds the Chapter has encountered. They are responsible for the maintenance and guard of stored gene-seed as well as finding ways to implement technology recovered through the efforts of the Artifact Cell. Working in concert with serfs of the Armory Cell, the Librarium pioneered advancements in the free-form power fields used in Sons of Unity digital weapons, leading to the mass distribution of effective ‘power bayonets’. Lanius delegates most recording and research duties to his understudies and prefers to oversee the testing of the Cell’s experiments, usually in combat.
Armory Cell: Don Pelos-Red (cerca. 250 Marines)
When Cerberus deploys in force, it is the Armory Cell and Don Pelos that lead them. Pelos is a savage combatant with a more earnest hatred for xenos than most, including the Chapter Master, and also the first Armory Cell commander to lead the Chapter into battle against loyalist forces…who happened to be the Sons of Unity. The cell is divided into five equal groups led by sub-commanders. Pelos tends to depend on these and the squad leaders to execute appropriate tactics, as the Cell commander is only satisfied at the heart of battle, or personally maintaining the Chapter’s arsenal.
Maeleth’s Personal Cell: Evarus Corei-White (cerca. 50 Marines)
The highest rank a Cerberus marine can attain is to serve in the Chapter Master’s personal Cell. These marines may be veterans of a thousand battles, but under Corei they spend most of their time coordinating the operations of other Cells. Corei remains silent as to the details of his time in the warp, and on the battlefield maintains the same icy demeanor. When Maeleth’s Cell takes to the field, it is an ill omen for the enemy indeed.
Infiltration Cell: Fairn D’rellius-Black (cerca. 25 Marines, 75-175 Scouts)
As part of the second most active Cell, the troops under Fairn D’rellius’ command are spread across many sectors. The missions handed down to them are frequently political espionage and politically motivated assassinations, though they serve just as well on the battlefield. The Infiltration Cell employs most of the Chapter’s serfs as secret emissaries to dignitaries, planetary governors and any potential allies or benefactors to the cause of ‘The Illusive Man’ the serfs purport to serve. Maeleth goes to great lengths to put such players into power, and in return the Chapter has a significant flow of resources outside that of official channels and eyes spanning almost an entire Segmentum.
Artifact Cell: Desolas Arterius-Yellow (cerca. 200 Marines)
Desolas appeared particularly pleased to resume command of the Artifact Cell when the Chapter Master returned. The primary functioning Cerberus Cell, ordained to scour the galaxy for anything and everything that can aid in humanity’s advancement, it has never seen more success than the years since Maeleth reappeared. These artifacts usually take the form of xenos tech, and usually must first be ‘acquired’ from xenos possession. Artifact marines tend to be the most experienced in combat in the Chapter, but also have acquired substantial knowledge both of technologies and cultures. The debriefings following every operation are almost as important as the work itself, and protecting that knowledge is held as a sacred duty.
The Cells operate as independently as possible, with the Armory Cell being the most cooperative. Outside that, Cerberus fanatically guards their knowledge and, as often as possible, their identity from any and all organizations in or outside the Imperium. When private communication is necessary, steganographic messages are sent embedded in otherwise ordinary Imperial broadcasts. The ability to decipher these messages rests solely with marines, as no serf could be trusted to keep quiet if captured.
Operation Shingle: Aimed at adapting varied Imperial assets, especially military resources, for Cerberus use. High value objectives are focused on assets and materials previously held ‘exclusive’ by other Imperial organizations or Astartes Chapters. Op initiated by the capture of a Callidus assassin.
Operation Phoenix: Attempts to awake/expand psyker abilities in different subjects. Eldfell turned to ashen Deathworld.
Operation Doorway: Imperial citizens in useful positions across multiple sectors disappear, to be replaced by Chapter serfs, providing intel on local governments and cults both helpful and harmful. Essential in the subterfuge of the Blue Sons cult, whose radical beliefs culminated in an attempted mass sacrifice to reincarnate the Emperor from the Warp. Zero loyalist casualties.
Indoctrination: The hypnotherapy of Cerberus marines extends beyond conditioning them against the horrors of war, but also subtly altering their attitudes, enhancing their loyalty, and ensuring no conflict of ideals with the Chapter’s oftentimes questionable methods. It is rumored among Chapter serfs that xenos tech may be used to achieve this end.
Unlike most imperial organizations, xenos tech is not abhorred but treasured and studied by the Chapter, who believe it is the key to ensuring mankind’s dominance in the galaxy. The Chapter has cells researching Mind Impulse Unit applications, teams in every corner of two Segmentums searching for STCs, and machine cults working constantly at reverse engineering useful xenos tech. Much of this technology finds its way onto the battlefield, with frequent use of plasma and power weapons, and every scout’s first weapon is the sniper rifle. The most frequent meeting of Cells are the Armory and Artifact contingents, the former often ensuring the security of the latter as lost relics and potentially useful tech is hunted down for the Chapter’s collection and study.
Battlecry: Humanity Prevails!
Motto: Semper Vigilus
Chapter Badge art of http://guardianofthe...deviantart.com/ wallpaper.
Edited by Messor, 25 June 2019 - 01:23 AM.