Harbingers, which were also called the Angels of Destruction and Black Winged Reapers were the terrifying psychic cyborg shock troops that were deployed by the Cerean Brotherhood during the Cerean Crucible. During that war they developed a fearsome reputation amongst both their comrades and the Imperium as viscious psychic killing machines.
In their quest to defeat the Imperium and establish their own realm the Cerean Brotherhood wished to create soldiers that had abilities beyond that of regular humans. Soldiers that could turn the tide of battle in the Brotherhood's favor. For this purpose the Galvatek began the Thunder Program to create enhanced soldiers for the Brotherhood.
The program managed to produce a number of successful projects including Project Martyr which produced the ferocious, expendable suicide troops that the Brotherhood mockingly named Martyrs, and Project Goliath which created the Brotherhood's slightly inferior answer to the Space Marines. However the Thunder Program wanted to make yet more deastating soldiers. Within the program a number of minds believed that Psykers held the key to the perfect soldier, and thus Project Harbinger was born.
The Galvaytek immediately began working with the Cavalier Arcana to begin this project. The goal was simple, make an unstoppable killing machine that was the perfect fusion of man, machine and the powers of the Warp. After much trial and error they finally succeeded. The Harbingers that this project produced proved to be by far the most deadly troops at the Brotherhood's disposal. It was fortunate for the Imperium that the Harbingers were so difficult to produce.
Once on the battlefield the Harbingers acted as perfect living weapons, raining destruction down on whole squads of Guardsmen and Space Marines witrh ease. The rarity of the Harbingers made it so that there was rarely ever more than one assigned to a battlefield, with the largest deployment of Harbingers being at the Siege of Magentia where six were fielded. Had the Brotherhood found a way to mass produce these nightmarish killing machines they may very well have won the war.
Recruitment and Production
The basic premise of the Harbinger project was to modify a human soldier with special Malifica implants instead of normal combat Bionics. The Galvatek initially believed that the enhancements themselves, being able to channal the Warp would be able to do the majority of the work, essentially taking a normal human and turning them into a psychic soldier. However after several test runs the project met with limited success, as it seemed thayt some level of psychic talent was necessary to bring out the true potential of the Harbinger implants.
Given this information the Galvatek began to work more with the Cavalier Arcana in order to gain access to Psyker subjects. However a second road block was discovered. The process of creating Harbingers had a horrendous mortality rate. given a few hundred subjects only a handful would survive to become Harbingers. With such a high rate of mortality the Brotherhood could not risk using their valuable Psykers. This was when a solution was reached. Instead of using full Psyker the program would use Psykers that were on the weaker end of the Assignment. These Psykers were more numerous than standard Psykers who had superior powers, but their level of power made them practically useless in standard Psyker roles. However they had just enough power to fully interface with the Harbinger implnats, and best of all they were fairly expendable.
From here their conditioning begins. The subjects begin a strict training regimen designed to strengthen their bodies. This is necessary as even with a physically fit body the process can be lethal. They also go through a number of minor procedures that lays the ground work for more extensive enhancements. From this point the real work begins.
The subjects become subject to extreme amounts of Psycho Conditioning, and mental torture. This is done psychologically, scientifically and psychically, and has a number of results. One of the things that is Psycho Conditioned into the potential Harbingers is their fighting skills, with numerous necessary combat skills conditioned into the Harbingers until they become instictual. More importantly the torture, and conditioning completely shatter the subject's sanity. Slowly the subjects emotions, and identity are stripped from them. Finally all that is left is rage and hatred. This blood-lust is so all consuming that the Harbinger somes to hate everything regardless of fault.
From here the major enhancements begin. The potentials are all put into bio-stasis for the remainder of their convertion. This is done to keep the subjects under control, and to increase their chances of survival. From here they recieve extensive bionic enhancments, and undergo dangerous surgical modifications. The implants used to modify a Harbinger are not ordinary Bionics, but rather Malifica, devices capable of channeling the Warp. It is also at this point that they recieve the black Bionic wings that they became famous for. While there were a numebr of starndard modifications that were applied to the Harbingers, each one often recieved a unique layout, with devices that gave them slightly different capabilities.
If they survive this faze they are awoken. they are then put through many trials to ensure that the conversion went off without any complications, and that the subject met the standards expected. Those that are deemed failures are disposed of. still more die as a result of the brutal nature of these tests. Those that pass finally get to attain the name Harbinger.
These Harbingers are given special combat suits that interface with their implants. These suits are special, light-weight armor developed specifically for the Harbingers by the Galvatek. They contain full life support systems, including special feeds that pump nutrition or drugs into the Harbinger's body, eliminating the need to eat or sleep, and giving an increased edge in combat. Their vocal cords are removed, tongues are cut out, and their mouths are sown shut. A weapon has no need to talk after all. A helmet is placed upon their head and then grafted to their skulls. No being will ever here the voice, or see the face of the Harbinger again.
Finally a control chip is placed in their brains. This chip is the only thing that keeps the Harbingers passive and under control when they are not needed in battle, and it is the only thing that stops them from rampaging out of control.
One of the names given to the Harbingers by their comrades in the Cerean Brotherhood Army was the Silent Reapers. Reapers did not talk, socialize or in fact do anything besides follow their handler, the individual that the Harbinger is directed to follow and obey. Sometimes the handler was an officer that the Harbinger has been temporarily assigned to. Other times it was a specialist whose sole duty is controlling, and maintaining the Harbinger while outside of the battlefield.
The blind obedience of the Harbingers, as well as their inability to express themselves due to having their vocal cords removed and an expressionless mask grafted to their heads caused others to view them almost as mindless, emotionless Servitors. However their obedience and tranquil demeanor was a falsehood. Beneath the passive facade boiled an unrelenting sea of hatred and rage.
The constant physical and psychological torture that a Harbinger was put through along with their extreme psycho-condtioning festered a hatred in the heart of the Harbinger that had grown so out of control that the Harbinger no longer knew, nor cared what exactly it hated. As far as the broken mind of the Harbinger was concerned the whole of creation was deserving of its vengeance. These urges were only barely retrained by the control chip implanted in the brain of each Harbinger.
The only time when the Harbinger can express this blood-lust is when it is in the viscinity of hostiles. While the Harbinger can't bellow or show their rage on their faces like a berzerker, their fury is felt by all around them none the less. In battle the Harbinger will rain destruction down on all foes in storm of ethereal lightning and fire.
Furthermore while they were mostly controlled by the chip implant, while fighting and unleashing their wrath the Harbinger's ire became too much to completely control. The chip would stop them from deliberately targeting friendly forces, but despite the best efforts of the Galvatek they were not able to force the Harbinger to prioritize the safety of friendlies while fighting.
The Harbinger would fight without concern for collateral damage, or the lives of its comrades. Woe to any Brotherhood soldier that got caught between the Harbinger and it's quarry. Given the level of destruction that Harbingers were capable of most Brotherhood officers came to view even being within moderate proximity to hostile forces while a Harbinger as hazardous at best, and fatal at worst. Later in the war attaching a Harbinger to a rival officer's detail became a moderately effective, and completely unconvictable method of fragging.
The Harbingers were psychic engines of death and destruction. As psykers made weapons, their natural abilities were amplified ten-fold and pin-point focused through a torturous rage. Harbingers were fully capable of killing whole companies of guardsmen with their mind alone, boiling blood, exploding brains, rupturing organs, or simply dismantling them. They could crush tanks, rip apart fortifications, scorch fields in ethereal fire, or call down a storm of psychic lightning. Harbingers got their name Angels of Destruction and Black Winged Reapers from the fact that they can levitate themselves through the air for quite some time, that and their silence truly gave them the air of an Angel of Death.
However as psykers they were completely at the mercy of the Souless and so were hunted down by Culexus Assassins during the Crucible.