Prequel to Crusade
The High Guard, the Void Nobility, the Imperial Navy is a culture unto itself, many of its Officers and Crew are born aboard the vast city-sized Battleships, and the leadership of many vessels is often determined by a combination of merit, breeding and heritage. Every ship has it’s own community, and every Fleet it’s own culture. The Ships of the Imperium are truly deadly things, each carrying enough firepower to utterly destroy anything from a city, to an entire planet.
Proud and noble, Battlefleet Ixaniad is a bastion of the highest Imperial Culture in the Ixaniad Sector, maintained by those of good breeding, the Battlefleet sneers with disdain at the ‘ground pounders’ of the upcoming 2nd Corpuliz Crusade and often believes itself a separate entity from the Crusades ‘lesser’ forces.
In truth the Battlefleet is one of the worst equipped in the Imperium, with many vessels being ancient long before the start of the 1st Corpuliz Crusade, they are old venerable models of vessels, but with their own severe limitations. For example, the “Emperor’s Throne”, an ancient Gloriana-class Hull, is a potent and deadly battleship, but due to the long-distant failure of her maneuvering thrusters, she is now unable to turn under her own power, dependent on assistance from other vessels, or the pull of stellar bodies to alter her course.
The reason for this is the 1st Corpuliz Crusade itself, which started due to the arrival of Hive Fleet Gigidoon. The entire Battlefleet was thrown into holding off the Tyranid threat, losing 2 major battles within the Corpuliz Expanse before falling back into Imperial space. While the majority of the fleet was repairing at Port Echo (with groups at Port Chastity and Port Constance as well), the Meritech Clans in the Merates Cluster rebelled (being on the edge of heresy already with their merging of the Imperial Cult and Cult Mechanicus) believing the Imperium had used them as a distraction to regroup. Astral-Admiral DuGale, highest ranking survivor of the battlefleet, decided to do just that. When the Hive Fleet starting scouting the sector, Imperial forces hit them hard everywhere but around the Merates Cluster, making sure that they never got close enough to any Imperial worlds to gain anything from them.
The Hive Fleet took the bait and moved to the Merates Cluster, swarming all the worlds there. Meanwhile the Sector Battlefleet waited just beyond the Cluster. After it seemed the Meritech Clans last system was about to break, the Battlefleet came in (now bolstered with every loyal ship in the sector with guns and a warp drive), wiping out large amounts of Tyranid bioships with torpedoes before even coming into range of the bioships’ senses. The Battlefleet was merciless, wiping out every bio-signature in space while making sure more didn’t come from the last inhabited planet. By the time the system was secure, the Meritech Clans contacted the Battlefleet thanking for the assist and pledging their loyalty to the Imperium again. The world was cleansed from above before the fleet moved on.
The damaged-but-elated fleet had just returned to Port Echo for repairs when scouts in the system now known as Sabine’s Star reported a strike from another part of the Hive Fleet. The Battlefleet jumped into the system and engaged the Tyranids as they were pouring into the agriworld in system. They engaged and after hours the Battlefleet started to splinter. As the various captains started to get separated from the bulk of Imperial forces, some started to panic and start emergency warp jumps. One such ship was the “Master of Sabine”, a Gloriana-class Battleship. Taking heavy damage after a frigate-analog bioship collided with the ship, the captain used thrusters and the agriworld’s gravity to slingshot away from the battle so an emergency warp could be done. By the time they were ready to start the warp jump procedures they had gone around the agriworld and were on course towards the bulk of the fighting again.
In haste to jump away, the crew missed a swarm of Tyranid bomber-analogs. When the damage was done few of the bridge crew were alive. Whoever was had enough sense to realize the warp jump was unstoppable, as was the Sabine’s course through the battle, and that warp containment was failing. They sent an message to the fleet about their warp drive and their present course into the thick of the Tyranid fleet. Astral-Admiral DuGale order an emergency retreat. The last ships out said that the Tyranids focused fire on the Sabine as it headed right towards an unarmed bioship in the center of their forces that had been heavily defended all battle. By the time enough ships would be able to safely go back, the entire system was enveloped in a warp storm, now known as “Sabine’s Star”. What happened in there exactly is unknown, but afterwords the Tyranid Hive Fleet retreated, and hasn’t been seen in the Sector since.