Rejoice For You Are True
The Imperium & the Inquisition
You are Acolytes of the Inquisition. You are normal people, but you have training and potential beyond that of normal humans. You have been chosen, conscripted, or sought to serve the Inquisitor Van Buren. As a citizen of the Imperium, you know some basic background information about the Galaxy and your place in it.
The Imperium is so vast that you quite literally cannot comprehend it. The Calixis Sector has more planets and stars than you could ever travel to in several lifetimes, and it is only a small part of the Imperium. Some guess the Imperium has hundreds of millions of planets, and the number changes constantly as planets are lost, rebel, are re-discovered, re-conquered, or razed into dust.
Your life has essentially been one of mysticism and ignorance. Technology has been lost to the general populace and you have very little understanding of the world or how you move through it. You know little about your fate or purpose, except that you are constantly reminded that the Imperium is under constant siege and that any defeat or failure of vigilance could send the whole thing over the edge into darkness. As a newly minted member of the Inquisition, you are even more terrified now—the rumors and propaganda you heard before don’t even begin to approach the truth of the threat to the Imperium. Mankind teeters on a knife edge, the Emperor is barely alive, and it seems that the Universe itself wants nothing more than to devour you all whole. The Galaxy is a frightening place.
The Emperor is the God of mankind. He existed for thousands of years, guiding Mankind from the shadows, until a galaxy-wide dark age in 29k AD forced him to reveal himself to save mankind. He created, from his own genetic material, the armies of Space Marine to reunify the worlds of man, and a golden age came about under his watchful eye. This all ended when his favored son Horus, corrupted by the taint of Chaos, betrayed him. During this Civil War, planets were scorched, billions were killed, and the Emperor himself grievously wounded in hand-to-hand combat with Horus. He survived only because of his indomitable will, and because he was entombed within the Golden Throne, a giant machine that requires the blood of thousands to keep him a state of living death. Even from this perch, his psychic will is so strong that it creates the Astronomic, a psychic beacon strong enough to be a kind of North Star for Imperial ships to use to navigate through space. Rumor and legend says that the Emperor is engaged in a terrible psychic battle against the Chaos of the Warp, and that his influence is the only thing keeping mankind alive. This influence, in turn, is kept alive by the sacrifices and faith of hundreds of millions of humankind every day.
The Warp is some kind of un-reality distinct from the material universe. There are definitely creatures in it, and they want out. The Warp is primarily used by Mankind to travel using Warp Drive, using the Astronomicon beacon to know where you are. It also has some unknown relation to Psykers. Psykers are beacons to the warp creatures, and they are weaker than most to the influence of deamons seeking to cross over into the real world. There is a lot of power to be had by investigating Warp technology and secrets, but it is corrupting and dangerous, and is labeled Heresy by the Inquisition.
The Adeptus Ministorum is headed by an Ecclesiarch, one of the four most powerful factions, leads the worship of the God-Emperor. According to the Ecclesiarchy, the Emperor has eternally been the guiding hand behind humanity. Under his guidance, mankind has the Manifest Destiny to control the entire galaxy. Any force that opposes them must be destroyed to serve the Emperor’s Will.
Since the Emperor can’t communicate, his Imperium is ruled by the High Lords of Terra, who lead the Adeptus Terra, a terrifically gigantic bureaucracy that controls all of human kind. The Ministorum also controls the Imperial Guard, the billions or trillions strong army and navy. It also controls the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, who are genetically enhanced super soldiers serving the Emperor.
There is also the Adeptus Mechanarium, or the Tech-Priests of Mars. Tens of thousands of years ago, Mars was transformed into a gigantic factory and is inhabited by creatures that are now more machine than human. They serve the Emperor and worship him as the Omnissiah, or the Machine God. They control all technology, and since their bodies and minds are replaced with technological enhancements it is often difficult to understand what or why they are doing—all that most people can figure out is that they are unsettling and frightening.
The Calixis Sector, the Tyrant Star, and the Tyrantine Cabal.
You are in the Calixis Sector. You have been assigned or chosen to work for Inquisitor Van Buren. Van Buren is a member of the Tyrantine Cabal. The Cabal is a group of Inquisitors assigned to investigating the Tyrant Star, an unexplained phenomena that manifests in the Calixis sector.
The Tyrant Star, also called Komus, is widely believed to be a facet of the Propheticum Hereticus Tenebrae – a collection of prophetical and mystical documents or accounts that form a full-on apocalyptic prophecy. It predicts the end of all life in the Calixis Sector, or possibly in the entire galaxy. One of the primary signs of the oncoming destruction is the appearance of the Dark Star. The Prophecy refers to it as a harbinger of the encroaching darkness, and calls it the Black Sun or Halo of Black Flame.
Called the Tyrant Star by the populace of the Sector, it is a manifestation of enormous, dark energy. It often appears overlapping the star in a system, blotting out the light. Sometimes it appears over a moon, or orbiting a planet. What always happens, though, is destruction. Earthquakes sinking continents, volcanoes melting entire cities and blocking the atmosphere. Also, enormous riots, and large swathes of the populace being consumed by murderous and uncontrollable rages. When the Tyrant Star appears, bad things happen, and while a planet may survive in name, it will not survive unchanged.
The Tyrantine Cabal was formed to investigate the cause of the Tyrant Star. Its origin is a mystery, as is the power that it inflicts on the planets it appears near. It is unclear what its relationship is to the Hereticus Tenebrae, or what the Prophecy itself actually means. As Acolytes you have not been allowed to see any of the prophecy documents, so you know little more about it. From your training you understand that most of the Inquisitors desperately hope that the Tyrant Star is some kind of Xenos technology. If so, it could possibly be understood or stopped. One Inquisitor in the sector believes it is somehow an arm of the Tyranid swarm that is currently devouring the eastern edge of the Galaxy, and that it is a sign that their next strike will be in Calixis.
Inquisitor Van Buren, who now controls your fate, fears the Tyrant Star has darker origins – more frightening than many wish to believe. He believes that it is of the Warp, and that its manifestation is caused by the attention of some intelligence spreading its influence out of the Warp. If true, the significance of this can’t be understated. It would mean that the Warp is alive, as many have suspected, and that it has intelligence. It would likely also mean that its purpose is to destroy Mankind. Van Buren believes that some kind of Deamonic or Warp power controls the Star, and he reports that he thinks that its appearances and increased presence could be caused by the increasing heretical worship of Chaos throughout the sector. Your instructions indicate that Van Buren believes that founding additional Cathedrals dedicated to the worship of the Emperor may have some limiting effect on the appearance of the Tyrant Star. To serve that end, you have been sent to Iocanthos to investigate the disruption of the dedication of a new Cathedral set to be consecrated on St. Drusus’ feast day.