Rogue Trader 2: The Search for More Money
Necron Invasion of the Orpheus Sector
Imperial records in late M41 and early M42 claim that the Orphean War was a new development—raging from 991.M41 till the present, but in reality, it was a far older conflict. In 991.M40, the first of the Necron tomb worlds began to reawaken. This vanguards were the harbingers of the brutal tragedy that would engulf of the sector. The Orpheus Sector, home to over two-hundred habited Imperial worlds. Its old sector capital world—Orphia Majoris—had been replaced as the bureaucratic center, but it remained a glimmering pearl to demonstrate the wealth and power of the Orpheus Dynasty. With gigantic hive spires and a ring of orbital docks and shipyard stations, it was the envy of decadent and status-obsessed noble lords all across the sector and beyond. Reports filtered to it regarding the scattered worlds on the fringes of the sector that had begun to fall silent—darkened and scorched by unknown attackers.
Marek Orpheus, a Rogue Trader who had spent nearly his entire career inside Imperial space—managing the great wealth of his house and acting as one of the high lords of the sector—believed such events to be unrelated and a tragedy only capable of befalling such scattered, underdeveloped planets. He sent ships bearing scouts and reserves from the Orphia Royal Infantrymen to investigate and serve as a vanguard for the soldiers of the Sector Lord and his planetary militias. Most found nothing left but blackened corpses. Some few, unfortunate battlegroups encountered the then still unknown Necron species. Most were obliterated entirely, but one group, led by Marek’s only daughter—Zora Orpheus—returned.
Zora Orpheus, at the head of a five-voidship strong flotilla, had picked through the wreckage of the Feudal World Krimlin until they discovered a vast underground complex. Zora and her elite squat armsmen ventured into the unknown facility. In it, they witnessed wonders of technology entirely unknown to the Adeptus Mechanicus, and then, when they lease suspected, the skeleton automatons descended upon them in waves. The battle was violent and costly, but in time, Zora escaped barely with her life. She and the squats rushed to the landers as thousands of Orphia Royal Infantrymen tried to hold back the waves of xenos.
As their lines were shattered with atom-wrenching bolts of gauss fire, xeno ships entered the star system. Within hours of their arrival, the Orpheus and Necron ships began exchanging fire, and the Orpheus battlegroup broke upon their onslaught. With only her flagship, the Unforeseen Consequence, Zora escaped the system and returned with all haste to Orphia Majoris. There her words inspired the Orpheus Dynasty into full mobilization. Marek began calling for the Sector Governor and Imperial Navy to respond to this previous unknown threat.
What followed was a game of cat and mouse with Marek and his fleet pursuing every sighting of the elusive Necrons, and yet when they arrived, they were seemingly gone—at least their main fleet—and the worlds were left ruined. That is until the Battle of Mynox Cluster.
By this time, 005.M41, the Imperial Navy had sent several battlegroups to join in the hunt, and the Sector Governor had garrisoned several outlying world (none of which that were attacked could survive the onslaught). Marek Orpheus received a report that the Mytox Cluster—five inhabited worlds all in one star system a short jump away from Orphia Majoris—had witnessed the coming of the Necron Fleet. The bulk of the Orpheus Fleet as well as their Imperial Navy reinforcements as well as allied Rogue Traders arrived at the Mytox Cluster to see the full strength of this war fleet. Orpheus commanded some one-hundred voidships, and the Necrons had brought nearly as many. Orpheus knew many of his ships were merely armed transports and raider-style vessels. Even so, he threw his ships and their armies against the Necrons. All five worlds were scorched to embers with billions of humans dead alongside thousands of Necrons. The Necron Fleet utterly crippled that of Orpheus and his allies, but they forced the Xenos to retreat after their flagship was destroyed.
Marek himself was overjoyed at the victory but devastated by how much it had cost him. Then he received word from the Astropaths that Orphia Majoris was under attack. It took them a week to return, but when they did, Marek and Zora witnessed the crown jewel of their empire burning. Gigantic tomb complexes had opened below the underhives, and Necrons had swarmed through the world. The Orphia Royal Infantrymen had held as well as they could with the aid of allied PDF, Imperial Guardsmen, and even gangers and Arbides fighting side by side. Even so, the end seemed near. Marek tried to command a hopeless defense—moving fragmented battalions across the world on his holomaps while his Astropaths sent desperate pleas for assistance. Assistance did arrive within the month—the Inquisitor Hazlek Brian.
The world was crumbling. While Marek was sure he could yet win, Zora and others were aware of what the conflict had come to. The Inquisitor Hazlek Brian had decided upon action by the time he arrived at the bridge of Orpheus flagship, the Final Dirge. “The world is lost. It shall now be subject to Exterminatus,” Brian told them. “I will never surrender the birthright my ancestors prepared for me!” Marek responded. “Then go down to hive palace and join the world as it burns if it pleases you so,” Inquisitor Brian coldly told him. Marek relented, and so the world of Orphia Majoris was reduced to glass under the thunderous roar of macrocannons.
Inquisitor Hazlek Brian and his ilk took control of the front away from Orpheus. They saw the horrors he had fought and determined that their fleet did not originate inside the sector. At least not in the inhabited worlds. A third of the sector has been reduced to ruin, and they continued to fight the remnants of this initial raid. The Inquisitors ordered a dozen more worlds utterly destroyed to contain their outbreaks of Necrons. In the end, they also ordered the existence of this new Xeno race classified. Of the ships yet in Orpheus’ dynasty (few as they were), the Inquisition conscripted all save the flagships of Marek and Zora. Their crews had seen the Necrons and as such, they would now serve the Inquisitorial effort to contain the threat and suppress the panic it would cause.
With his dynasty in tatters and his status in the sector crushed, Marek decided that the sector named after his ancestors and built by them would no longer be his home. A last few years he spent trying to accumulate the last remaining wealth and loyal allies he had before departing to lands unknown. It merely slipped further away as the sector nobility picked away at the Orpheus Dynasty’s remains, two of the three surviving vassal Rogue Trader dynasties departed and scattered on their own accord to newly found freedom, and he increasingly found the halls of powered barred. With that, the remnant of the Orpheus Dynasty departed the sector they had founded.
For the next century, the Inquisitors of Ordo Xenos worked to contain the Necron threat effectively until the vast tomb worlds of the Maynarkh Dynasty awakened in late M41 and far more of their ilk swarmed into the Orpheus Sector. Inquisitor Brian and his fleet had believed their efforts to have saved the Orpheus Sector and many beyond it. Then with the surprise of a knife wielded by a Callidus Assassin, their border fleet was shattered and scattered across the sector bringing dire warnings of the imminent genocide mere days behind them.