The Space Hornets are a successor chapter to the Raven Guard, created to guard the ork heavy world of Animalus. The chapter specialises in hit and run missions, often behind enemy lines. They are also very skilled in Void Tactics. Overall, the chapter fares best when surprising enemies; when that advantage is lost, the Hornets are often forced to retreat.
The chapter's history is long, but bears few extraordinary events that happen to larger, more important chapter. The most important part of the Hornet's history are the so called "Sting Wars"; missions to Animalus' surface to either scout out the ork forces strength, or destroy their technology. Through this, the Hornets have kept a sizeable ork WAAAGH! trapped.
Once a Tactical Marine in the 3rd company of the Raven Guard, Ralpher Rulk's squad had been sent to the orbital colony Forlorn Haven above Animalus to assist an Inquisitor investigating a unknown traitor. On the way a Ork transport from the planet below was detected headed for the colony. The Space Marines' Thunderhawk was not equipped to deal with the heavily armed transport that was making it's way through the asteroid belt, so Ralpher decided to go another route. Equipping himself and three men with Jump Packs stored in the ship, Ralpher exited the Thunderhawk and navigated towards the ork ship. As small objects they were believed to be asteroids by the Orks, and so ignored. A fatal mistake.
Two grenades were used point blank to create a hole in the ship's hull, and the de-pressing pulled the orks out into the void, right into bolter fire. After the bodies stopped coming, Ralpher and his men entered the ship to terminate the surviving orks, before setting the ship on a crash course for the planet below.
Upon arrival at Forlorn Haven, the Marines were regarded as heroes by the inhabitants of the station. Less pleased was the Inquisitor, who explained the traitor he was following had descended to Animalus' surface, which was swarming with orks. The Inquisitor, for his own private reasons, refused to believe that the traitor would die upon reaching the surface. However going down to the surface would be suicide, even for a tactical squad, so instead the agreement was reached that Forlorn Haven would become a outpost for the Raven Guard, both to keep an eye on the massive ork population below, and also for the traitor.
By the time of the 37th Millennium, Ralpher had learnt much of the zero-g tactics used by the inhabitants of Animalus' asteroid belt, while the ork hoard below had only grown. During the for the 23 Founding, at the advice of perhaps the same Inquisitor, a new chapter was formed with at Forlorn Haven. With Ralpher as the Chapter Master, the newly formed Space Hornets began with their first mission; scouting Animalus.
Holocaust War-band (Early 38M)
- "The Space Hornet's greatest weapon is this; their obscurity. Their unusual tactics are unknown in the Eye of Terror. Therefore, the traitors were caught unaware"
- —Imperial Report with unknown author
The greatest victory for the Space Hornets came when the Holocaust War-band was burning it's way though the Ovon System, during the 38th Millennium. An asteroid belt separated the inner worlds from the outer ones, and the traitor's ship was moving through here when the Hornets stung. Entering through multiple weak points in the hull, some of which they caused themselves with shaped charges, the Hornets began purging the ship corridor by corridor. The heretics were quick to set up defences, but when a group was about to be overrun the Hornets simply retreated and moved to re-enter elsewhere. Finally, Ralpher Rulk himself took the bridge of the ship, and from there coordinated the assault.
Finally losing ground the heretics were purged fully from the ship. Only 17 Space Hornets had lost their lives in the battle, against the defeat of a whole Chaos War-band. The captured ship was sent to Mars for cleansing.
Battle of Kulsin (Late 38M)
During the Ork nvasion of Kulsin, the Harmonious Prophets chapter became aware of a ork fleet above the planet, fully capable of bombarding their positions. With their fleet outnumbered, and lacking weapons capable of reaching orbit, they sent out a distress call. The Space Hornets responded, with their first, second and third companies lead by Ralpher Rulk, who commanded the Battle-Barge Vespa Doom-bringer. Warping to the other side of the planet, the ship activated it's Reflex Shield before travelling around the planet, directly into the mist of the ork fleet. It then uncloaked, and began pounding as many ships around it as possible. The ork command ship was boarded by Ralpher and the first company. Fighting their way to the bridge, Ralpher fought against the Big Mek commanding the fleet. Although wounded in the fight, Ralpher killed the ork before destroying the ship's controls. As the ship began to fall, pulled by the gravity of Kulsin, the first company returned to their drop pods, pulled away from the falling ship, and flew towards the planet themselves. Behind them, the shattered remnants of the ork Fleet, and the drop pods of their brothers fell towards the planet.
The Hornets landed all across the battle field, landing behind enemy lines. The orks suddenly found themselves attacked on multiple fronts, as previously secure locations suddenly fell. Ammo stores were detonated, and artillery positions were hit by hit and run tactics. Against a normal army, such tactics would have given the Space Hornets a clean victory. But this was not to be. The Ork Warboss had experience of guerrilla warfare, and even in the pitch of battle began to implement strategies to counter it. Soon the Hornets lost easy targets, and their casualties began to grow. Ralpher and the First Company continued to strike, but the Warboss recognised Ralpher's importance and began tracking him across the battlefield.
Realising his chapter had lost their advantage, Ralpher called for a retreat back to the Harmonious Prophets' lines. Mid-way, the Warboss found Ralpher, and began taunting him, saying he was nothing more than a shadow knife, and that he couldn't stand a proper fight. Ralpher ignored the Warboss, until he took another line of attack; he called the Space Hornets cowards, that everyone of it's members would sooner skulk in the shadows than fight. At this slight against his whole chapters honour, Ralpher grew engaged. Against the advice of the First Company Captain Typocus Ebra, Ralpher turned, and began fighting his way back to the Warbos.
As the duel began, the retreating Space Hornets received vox messages from the First Company, calling for aid. The marines began to fight across the battle field, dropping all attempts at stealth in the rush to stand beside their Chapter Master. The Harmonious Prophets began to force their way through the ork lines, also trying to reach the duel. But Ralpher was fighting for his chapter's honour, and refused aid from all. Finally Ralpher climbed up the ork, and drove his knife right into their skull. He then dropped off the Warboss, and collapsed with a mortal wound.
Knowing he was dying, Ralpher gave out his last orders. On a small ridge that would become known as Hornets Throne, Ralpher gave out honours to those who had fought well, and filled up the depleted First Company with new members. He asked Typocus to take his place as Chapter Master, and he accepted. Ralpher even had time to receive thanks from the Harmonious Prophets commander, for the sacrifice the Hornets had made to aid them, before his wounds became too painful and he was given the Emperor's Peace. His gene-seed would go on to be implanted in future Chapter Master, Apoa Winged.
On occasion, the Space Hornets will send a force down to Animalus, with varying objectives. The main point of the missions is to control the large ork population, and stop them from leaving the planet. As time has gone on gathering Intel on the so called "Zure Warboss," a mysterious figure which some in the chapter have realised, is the very traitor Ralpher was first brought to Animalus to find...
- First Sting War (Late 37M) - Ralpher leads the first and second companies to the surface of Animalus to map it. They escape before the orks converge on them. No causalities for the Hornets
- Second Sting War (Early 38M) - A large gathering is noticed on the surface, and 3rd company is dispatched. They discover multiple Warbosses are fighting against each other to gain control of the planet. All are killed, with only 3 Hornets lost. The gathering disperses, but a large group is noted moving north.
- Third Sting War (Early 38M) - 3rd company is again deployed to investigate the north moving ork group, but this time only 5 return. One of the squad in a fit of madness attacks 1st Company Captain Typocus Schmidt and is given the Emperor's Peace. After this, the ork group again disperses.
- Fourth Sting War (Middle 38M) - Ralpher's last Sting War. A large space ship was under-construction in the southern hemisphere, and Ralpher lead the 5th to 7th in a short campaign of sabotage, culminating in a infiltration mission on the ship's launch. Said ship was stolen, and delivered to the Risum Fabrica for salvaging.
- Fifth Sting War (Early 39M) - In an attempt to boost moral after Ralpher's death, his successor Chapter Master Typocus organises numerous raids on ork encampments. 5th company spots a non-ork figure, leading ork mek-boys in building some kind of relay in the norther mountains. Before an assault can be made, the relay vanishes.
- Sixth Sting War (Middle 39M) - The Harmonius Prophets 3rd company offer aid in a population control. After setting up a defensible position, the Prophets attract massive groups of orks. With the Hornets launching ambushes and sabotaging war machines, the ork population drops by 60% before the chapters are forced to retreat.
- Seventh Sting War (Late 39M) - Also known as The Search. Chapter Master Typocus suddenly vanishes from Zero Hive. He is tracked down to Animalus' surface, where the trail goes cold. A decade is spent searching for him, until Apoa Winged, newly promoted second company tactical marine, discovered an underground lab in the northern mountains. Apoa was confronted by a group of orks lead by a unknown being in azure Space Marine armour. This "Zure Warboss," as he was named by the orks, explained he had kidnapped Typocus and killed him for his gene-seed. After Apoa swore vengeance on the Azure Warboss, he responded "That is the plan" before teleporting away. The lab then self-destructed, although Apoa managed to escape. After this, by general vote in the chapter, Apoa was made chapter master.
- Eighth Sting War (Middle 40M) - After The Battle of [REDACTED], Apoa turned his attention to finding the Zure Warboss again. Tactical squads were sent down to the planet to set up spying posts near every major encampment, and they soon observed the Zure Warboss moving between camps regularly. Reluctant to allow his marines near the Warboss, Apoa had orks kidnapped from the camps, and "persuaded" them to revel information. It was learned that the Zure Warboss was a neutral entity in the wars between the ork clans; while he offered his support to Warbosses sometimes, it was always in return of resources and mek-boys. All though the operation is judged a success, after one spying group vanished without a trace Apoa ordered an immediate retreat.
- Ninth Sting War (Early 41M) - The largest ork group seen on Animalus assembles. Scouts reveal the Zure Warboss has called together all the clans for a "Proper Mashin," some kind of competition. After months of careful planning, Apoa leads a assault on the main arena of the competition, hoping to catch the Zure Warboss unprepared. Although the Zure Warboss is not there, numerous ork warbosses are, and before retreating the Hornets kill most of them.
- Tenth Sting War (Late 41M) - A massive space hulk suddenly appears at the edge of the Animalus asteroid field. A few seconds after, a massive power surge erupts from Animalus, and the nearly the entire ork population of the planet vanishes. The space hulk then vanishes again into the warp. Although Apoa was not on Zero Hive at the time, once he arrived he lead a massive scouting mission to the planet, confirming most orks on the planet had vanished with their war machines. Pylons are also discovered across the planet, and remains of a recently distroid tunnel system connecting them. When the space hulk reappears briefly in a nearby sector, Apoa gathers his chapter and follows. Currently the Space Hornets are still in chase while the space hulk continues towards it's supposed destination: the Eye of Terror.
The planet Animalus is a desert planet, currently infested with one of the largest non-WAAAGH ork group in the Imperium. The planet is a unusual stalemate; the planet is entrenched by the orks, and a full on land assault would be, if not a suicide, devastating even for a full chapter of Space Marines. However the asteroid belt around the planet restricts ship movement, as the slow moving rocks easily pass through a void shield, and destroying even a few asteroids could set off a huge collapse. This means moving a fleet into postion for an orbital bombardtment is impossible. The orks are actually trapped on the planet as they don't usually gain enough salvage to create a ship to leave. Hence, the awkward stalemate.
Originally a Dark Age of Technology mining colony, after the warp storms began the planet was cut off. At first the colony on the surface provided food for the asteroid dwellers, but after the orks invaded they were left to fend for themselves. After that, the asteroid belt became filled with different factions, all vying for control of what little resources were present. Multiple battles were fought in the asteroid belt, warriors often trading blows in space suits. It was quickly found that sneak attacks worked best, and the inhabitants soon perfected their Void Warfare.
Forlorn Heaven was the most stable population centre in the asteroid field; it was often treated as neutral ground, and when the Grand Crusade fleet reached the sector, Forlorn Haven was were they were greeted. Living in relatively confined space for years has created a sense of cohesion in the populace; crimes are rare, everybody is always available to give a helping hand, and outsiders are treated with suspicion. Despite the asteroid field, Forlorn Haven has become a thriving trade port, possibly due the presence of the Space Hornets.
The orbital city centred around the asteroid named Center Haven. It contains the largest concentration of the population. Other smaller asteroids are connected by bridges, including Zero Hive, the Space Hornets Fortress Monastery, locatated below Central Haven. Ships that arrive at the ports of Forlorn Haven do so through the tunnel known as Haven's Run. Cleared years before, it allows even a strike cruiser to travel through it. In the case on an attack, the tunnel is sealed by moving numerous asteroids into it.
Zero Hive is built into an asteroid and is made up of numerous tunnels and rooms, that form a ring around the central sanctum. The outer ring of rooms are the move public rooms, such as guest chambers and Labs belonging to the Risum Fabrica, the group of Adeptus Mechanicus that have a unique relation with the chapter. Also in the outer ring are landing pads, holding cells and defence matrix.
The second ring is only open to chapter marines and others by invitation. It holds all the rooms necessary for the chapter, from mess rooms to sleeping quarters to the Librarius. Many of the rooms are in zero-g, or their gravity can be disengaged.
The central sanctum is constantly in zero-g, and is large enough to hold all the members of the chapter. At the very centre of the room is an alter, with on one side a statue of the Emperor, and the other statute of the chapter's Primarch Corvus. Around the inset are stored the Orbs of Void, with the only the Chapter Master able to remove them.
Space Hornets Neophytes are chosen not just from Forlorn Haven, but from ships that pass through the port, searching for glory and adventure. Some make the journey to Forlorn Haven for the express purpose of joining the chapter. One of the first tests given to aspirants is to traverse the asteroid belt in a space suit, with nothing but a grapple hook. Those who survive then go through months of rigours training, in both gravity and non gravity situations.
Order of Battle
The current Chapter order of battle for the Space Horents as of 999.M41, is as follows:
|Veteran Company||Battle Companies|
|1st Company||2nd Company||3rd Company||4th Company||5th Company|
|Reserve Companies||Scout Company|
|6th Company||7th Company||8th Company|
- "If an enemy sees you, you lose a disadvantage. If your enemy never sees you, they are dead."
- —Ralpher Rulk, First Space Hornets Chapter Master
The Space Hornets, like most Raven Guard successors, favour stealth over full on combat. Due to their low numbers, fighting the enemy head on is detrimental to the Hornets, so they instead slip behind enemy lines in quick lightning strikes, looking for weak points and important locations. The first sign of a Space Hornets attack will be ammo dumps exploding, defence structures taken and held against their previous owners, and commanders killed before orders can be given.
In void warfare, there is a distinct lack of places to hide. The Hornets have therefore use "dead floating," allowing themselves to float around while pretending to be dead. Although it possibly opens the astartes to attacks, in the chaos of a void battle another dead body if often overlooked. The Hornets have become experts at infiltrating space ships. Using faults in the structure of the ship, deploying shaped charges or simply creeping in through hangers and airlocks, Hornets can gain significant ground before discovery.
Unlike the Raven Guard and their other successor chapters, the Space Hornets are less sullen. Believed to be related to the amount of flying around they do, Hornets have higher levels of endorphin in their blood. Therefore they are more accepted by other chapters, and it is rare for them to fall to the Lure of The Shadows.
All Space Hornets ships have many rooms with zero-g.
- Vespa Doom-bringer (Battle Barge) - Usually found outside the Animalus asteroid belt, the Vespa Doom-bringer was once just the Doom-bringer, a Raven Guard ship that served in the Horus Heresy. Equipped with a Reflex Shield, the Doom-bringer has flown into the middle of a Ork Battle fleet, before uncloaking and bombarding the fleet in submission.
- Long-Sting (Dominator-class Cruiser) - One of the few of it's class to serve as a Adeptus Astartes ship, the Long-Sting has all the capabilities and faults of ship worked on by the Risum Fabrica. Although it can vaporize half a battle in a single full volley, it's Void Shields are notorious for failing, and it often arrives hours after the rest of the fleet after warp jumps.
- Jump Pack Maneuver Variant - Often called the "Buzz Pack" due to it's distinctive sound in atmosphere, this variant seems to have originally been used in mining colony. Granting a larger range of moment, such as the ability to rotate in place, the "Buzz Pack" is used by all members of the chapter.
- Voidship Dreadnought - Modified by Risum Fabrica adepts to satisfy the demands for heavy support in void warfare, the Voidship pattern Dreadnought allows movement using multiple small thrusters. Although slow, they pack a powerful punch, and have often been deployed as battering rams or mobile cover. Only half of the dreadnoughts in the chapter are Voidship pattern Dreadnoughts.
- Shaped Charges - Another technology once used in mining, these charges can partially breach a starship's armour. The Space Hornets use multiple to create openings in ships that they can then attack through.
- Battle Scents - The asteroids around Animalus contain minerals that, when proceed, can be turned into a number of chemical scents. Space Hornets initiates are trained to recognise the different scents, and they are used in a number of different ways; marking locations, tracking marked prey, even transmitting whole messages.
- Ralpher Rulk, First Chapter Master - Although not much is known about Ral, as he was known by the chapter, it is believed he came from a colony similar to Forlorn Haven. He developed the "Sting" tactics used by the chapter. He was killed in action around 38M
- Typocus Ebra, Second Chapter Master - The leader of 1st company before Ralpher's death, and Chapter Master after him. Typocus vanished from Zero Hive at different points, especially around Sting Wars, quoting "secret missions." Typocus vanished for the last time in the late 39M, apparently kidnapped by the "Zure Warboss".
- Apoa Winged, Current Chapter Master - Having lead multiple Sting Wars, Apoa was chosen for Chapter Master after Ralpher's successor fell in battle. Apoa in-fact has the gene-seed of Ralpher inside him, causing many in the Chapter to bealive he will lead them to greatness, as his gene-sire once did.
- Buzzer, Bizler and Bizzeer Stung - These triplets were raised on Forlorn Haven, and after their induction to the chapter changed their names to fit. Although they have gone down different paths in the chapter, they remain close, and are valued advisers to Apoa.
- Orbs of Void - Found in the Animalus asteroid belt soon after the chapter's founding, the Hornets take these items as proof the Emperor supports their methods of fighting. They are five spheres of an unknown black metal, carved with intricate runes that proclaim the glory of the Emperor. If a orb is connected physically to a human, even if being worn on a belt, the wearer is able to propel themselves through space. Although the method of propulsion is unknown, it is believed the control method is physic, although has never been proven. The orbs also fail to work inside a planetary atmosphere; again, for unknown reasons. The orbs are usually given to those undertaking important missions, but the Chapter Master is known to carry one most of the time.
- Risum Fabrica - It is unknown why or when this group of Adeptus Mechanicus became the tech support for the chapter, but a widely held belief by the battle brothers is that "they just turned up one day." Although the group's interest in the chapter means they may be part of the"Technicus Finalus" prophecy, there is no details about the chapter thinks about it.
- Harmonius Prophets - Having fought togther at the Battle of Kulsin, the two chapters have a strong bond. When working together, the Prophets usually hold the front lines while the Hornets undertake missions behind enemy lines
Feel free to add your own
- "Sting them, Swarm them, Kill Them. For the Emperor!"
- —Ralpher Rulk at Battle of Kulsin
- "The rumour that Space Hornets make buzzing sounds unconsciously is completely false and unsubstantiated.Buzzzz"
- —Captain Vivax Varox 3rd Company
- "The Space Hornets are a harmonious force. They bring the Songs of the Emperor to the void of space"
- —Captain of Harmonious Prophets, Second Chorus