This little know group serve as covert operatives of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. Perceived by others as simply a recruiter and trainer of sanctioned psykers The Masters of the Astra Telepathica believe it has a further mission to keep the various Adepta that make up the Imperium in balance. As almost all Adeptae make use of sanctioned psykers the Astra Telepathica is in a unique position to monitor and manipulate but Astral Agents are trained as special operatives and equipped with unique tools for missions above and beyond the abilities of normal Adepts.
The 'mission' of the Astra Telepathica to 'keep the balance' originated in the messy aftermath of the Apostasy. It was the brainchild of Master Charimide, successor of the traitor Phaedrus, who recognizing the failure of the Astra Telepathica to do its plain duty in stopping Vandire, at whatever cost, resolved that that was one error that would not be repeated.
The principle objects of the Agency's concern have varied over the millenia since its founding. During the Age of Redemption it was the upper levels of the Ecclesiarchy many of whom seemed to be making a play for domination a'la Vandire. During the succeeding era of 'The Waning' Astartes Chapters became the concern as the administratum ceeded entire sub-sectors to their control for purposes of defense. Needless to say the Agency did not confront the Emperor's Chosen directly - their strategy was to make civilian governance and control more trouble to them then it was worth. To the credit of the Space Marines few chapters showed any inclination to retain civil control one hour beyond the point it was absolutely necessary for military purposes. The Agency played a role in the desperate and covert defense of Holy Terra herself from the abominable threat of the Space Hulk Armada known as the 'Grim Harvest' during which it came closer than it ever had to blowing its cover.
In the late 41st Millenia the Agency's primary concern has become the radical factions of the Inquisitions' Ordos Malleus and Hereticus as alarming numbers of the Emperor's most trusted guardians seem to be turning to Chaos.
Candidates are selected for both stability and strength - a rare combination in a psyker - generally assignes in the Theta to Zeta range. Stable and reasonably high powered Psykers are of course in great demand with the other Adepta and it is with considerable difficulty, and some inventive shuffling of records, that the Astra Telapathicus manages to secure a few for their purposes from each levy.
The Candidates are trained in technopathy, an almost lost psyker discipline involving mental communication with and control of machine spirits. They are also taught the use of a variety of psyker-tek principally TP amplifiers, locks and shields of various types. The training is extremely demanding and only a third of the candidates make it through successfully. As many burn out leaving them fit only for Astronomicon fodder. The remainder are salvageable and put to work as sub-agents.
Includes ancient psyk-tek, often dating from before the Dark Age of Technology, and some seriously nasty relic weapons including radiation and biochemical from ancient arsenals controlled by the Imperial Estate. Many purposed cybernetic drones are supplied by the Legio Cybernetica but the Agent's most important tool is his or her ship.
The ShipIs constructed on a modified raider hull and of the smallest possible dimensions for a warp capable craft which enables it to be disguised as a sub-warp freighter, pleasure craft, passenger ferry or whatever else suits the Agent's current cover.
The Agent controls his or her ship through technopathy with a cybernetic brain directly linked to engineering, weapons, com and other systems. Routine matinence, repairs and upgrades are handled by specialized drones. The living crew is limited to a tech-adept of the Legio Cybernetica and a Navigator, both of whom sometimes act as sub-agents.
- TP booster-transmitter with vision tank
- Mind Shield
- Mind Lock
- Scrying Helm and eyes
- Psyker scan drone
Organization and Operations
Originally an Astral Agent was stationed in every sector but reality soon overruled theory - and symmetry - resulting in a single fully qualified agent supported by several sub-agents being responsibly for as many as five 'quiet' sectors while trouble spots like the sectors around the Eye of Terror get two or even three Astral Agents apiece.
Astral Agents operate under deep cover - nobody outside of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica is supposed to know they exist. In addition to their primary cover as a representative or minor functionary of the Astra Telepathica each Agent has multiple secondary covers, selecting whichever is most appropriate to the mission at hand. Agents have the full resources of the Adepta Astra Telepathica at their disposal with a single flash of the sigil electooed on their palm. The very best agents are granted roving commissions, docking their ship on a vessel of the Black Fleet thus greatly increasing their range.
Agents are directed by the Master Terce, one of the nine under the Master Prime of the Astra Telepathica. He has under him a staff of intelligence analysts and a lab of psyk-teks. The Chancellor of the Imperial Estate provides the relic weaponry used by agents, though unaware of the exact use they are put to. The same is true of Mech-Master of the Legio Cybernetica who supplies agents with both drones and adepts to service them.
- "The trouble with being unknown is you get no credit for what you do. This has got to be the fiftieth or so planet I've saved and what do I have to show for it? Zilch."
- —Anonymous - and annoyed about it - Astral Agent