System Designate 028-3B8-4D is a barren collection of rocks orbiting a guttering red dwarf. Besides several rings of asteroids 62 II: The Imperium’s Shield (the innermost being semi-molten), the only worlds in the system are several marginal telluric rocks with thin, dusty atmospheres of inert gas. In fact, its only appealing feature besides the warp gate is it’s near the centre of a relatively large region of space where warp storms do not intrude.
Fleet Base Metis does not orbit any of these worlds, instead following an orbit amongst the utmost asteroid ring. Imperial strategists cunningly calculated the placement of the station so the approaches are limited by the surrounding field, and several seemingly accessible approaches are covered by minefields and macrobattery emplacements built into the larger rocks. The shifting orbital paths of the asteroids, coupled with the formidable perimeter defences and Battlefleet warships on station, make simply approaching the Fleet Base an onerous task.
Even if a foe could reach Metis, they may well find themselves outclassed by the firepower the station can bring to bear. The base itself is an extremely powerful bastion—a Ramilies-class star fort. Originally designed by Artisan Magos Lian Ramilies from STC components, the Ramilies is as heavily armed as a squadron of warships and can remain self-sufficient for decades if not indefinitely More importantly, a Ramilies can erect a warpbubble over the entire structure, enabling it to enter the warp and be towed by fleets of tugs to different star systems.
Originally commissioned for the Crusade into the Jericho Reach, Fleet Base Metis was towed to System 028-3B8-4D in preparation for transport through the warp gate. However, last minute studies of the gate and its properties by the senior magos of the Adeptus Mechanicus determined it would not survive the journey. Transit through the gate is extremely turbulent, too much so for an unwieldy convoy of tugs and supply ships towing an unwieldy star fort. Unfortunately, just passing through the Maw had proven extremely dangerous for the procession, and the risk of taking Metis back into the Calixis Sector was deemed too great. After the strategists who suggested using Metis in the Crusade had been punished for incompetence, the massive star fort was left in System Designate 028-3B8-4D, where it was reassigned to Passage Watch 27 Est almost by default.
Since its accidental arrival, Metis has proved incredibly useful to the Crusade and Battlefleet Koronus. Not only is it a vital resupply and staging point for Horne’s fleet, it also serves as a transit point for a large portion of the supplies still flowing through the warp gate to the Jericho Reach. Although some ships travel directly to the gate, many others off-load their cargos at Metis and depart, never knowing the ultimate destination of their supplies. In turn, other ships make a continuous run through the warp gate to the fortress worlds on the far side.
Persons of note
Metis and its surrounding installations have a large crew of nearly half a million individuals, the vast majority Navy crewmen.
Captain Jaghatai Haxtis: The perpetually overworked commander of Metis (and in fact, the individual responsible for all of Zone 15) Haxtis nonetheless regards it as no less than his sacred duty to keep the ships of the Battlefleet armed and supplied. If a Rogue Trader operates by commission from the Navy, he extends this viewpoint to their vessels as well. Haxtis is an elderly career Navy man, no longer mobile without a complete bionic bracing frame. However, his mind is still sharp, and he’s a rare Navy officer who would rather run a station than command a warship.
Commander Atraxia Clarion: Haxtis’ second-in-command, Clarion handles the day-to-day station operations and keeps a weather eye on the station’s personnel as well as those from other ships. She’s canny enough to know when to turn a blind eye to technically illicit but harmless activities, but comes down brutally hard on anything that may endanger the station. While slight in stature, few make the mistake of underestimating this woman twice. Clarion rose from the rank of Petty Officer to her current position–no mean feat– and is as tough as any dock labourer.
Lieutenant-Commander Fellig Von Prim: A taciturn and withdrawn man, Von Prim only comes alive in the cockpit of a Fury. The Lieutenant-Commander commands Metis’s extensive fighter and bomber squadrons. As a leader he is unimpressive, doing his duty with little eagerness and less empathy for those under his command. However, his impressive kill-tally of over 100 enemy attack craft ensures that at least for now he retains his position.
810.M41 onward scouting parties of Imperial Navy protecting Fleet-base Metis encounter Chaos Reaver scouting parties and clash with them at across Unbeholden Reaches Sub-sector creating border of constant
818.M41 first wave of Great Evacuation Fleet from Jericho Reach Sector enter the Koronus Expanse carrying millions of refugees and invaluable STC technologies denied from Hive Fleet Dagon entering the sector.
819.M41 Space Dock Peer is installed at nearby system of Ultima Tectum at Canor Sol star fortress providing vitalresource for Starbase Metis and Great Evacuation Fleet.
Station defences and installations
Fleet Base Metis, like all Ramilies-class Star Forts, is an extremely powerful adversary. The station is divided into four “quadrants,” each able to be sealed from the others and capable of fighting as near independent entities. Each quadrant is heavily armed with multiple long-range lance turrets and macrocannon broadsides rivalling the strength of a Navy cruiser, as well as multiple launch bays for attack craft.
The four quadrants surround a central bastion, itself heavily armed with additional weapon batteries and torpedo silos. Though the most prominent portion of Fleet Base Metis is the Ramilies at its heart, in the decades since its arrival a number of smaller installations have grown up around it. These include several space docks, over a score of orbital supply depots, several hab-installations dedicated to food production, and a number of auxiliary weapon platforms for defence. Each share a close orbit with the Star Fort, as to never be outside the protective reach of its guns. Though it does not have facilities to construct new ships, Metis can repair any warship in Battlefleet Koronus.
The Navy is extremely cautious as to who may travel to Fleet Base Metis. However, several trusted Rogue Traders have been allowed to journey there, and even repair their ships and resupply. Almost always, these are ships operating with the authority of Admiral Horne or his immediate subordinates, or equally powerful institutions such as the Inquisition.
The Jericho-Maw Warp Gate joins the collapsing Imperial sector of Jericho Reach in the Segmentum Ultima to the turbulent warp-storm wracked Segmentum Obscurus that divides the Calixis Sector and the Koronus Expanse. Its origins remain utterly unexplained, and its true nature is but one of many mysteries affecting these regions. Discovered in 755.M41 by the Imperium, the gate was active at that time, although how long this state of affairs was the case remains a matter of some debate. Within the Ordo Xenos, many believe that the gate had been dormant for perhaps tens of millennia, until some unknown cause triggered it no earlier
than 397.M41, perhaps linking it to the so-called “Year of Dreaming Depths,” a period of sustained and often deadly Warp disturbances affecting the Koronus Expanse. Certainly, the gate was unknown to the Jericho Sector, whose once well established Warp routes passed through its present aperture location in the past.
Warp Gates are stable two-way ‘conduits’ between far-distant interstellar locations through the Empyrean. While extraordinarily rare, they are not unknown to the Imperium, nor are they uniform in nature, appearance, or range. Perhaps the most widespread ‘network’ of such gates is the legendary Eldar Webway, a series of portals interconnecting an arterial network that once spanned the ancient domains of the Eldar
race, although it is now much reduced and imperilled since their fall from power. Other Warp Gates seem to be older again in measure, far predating even the Eldar’s rise to prominence, and belonging to beings and races so immeasurably old as to be myths of a godlike age. The Jericho-Maw Warp Gate is of this latter category, according to the Imperium’s xeno-savants.
The physical structures at the two realspace termini of the Jericho-Maw Gate are utterly identical: vast, irregular crescent shapes hanging silently and alone in the void of interstellar space, immobile and implacably resistant to any outside force upon them. In appearance, they seem crafted from dark stone
shot through with geometric features in tarnished golden and shadowed pearlescent metal. They shimmer slightly to the human gaze almost as if a mirage with no more substance than a dream. This optical illusion is further borne out by continuous and paradoxical gravitic and electromagnetic effects encountered within the gate’s vicinity, and the fact that the entire structure is wrapped in a powerful dimensional shearing effect not dissimilar in nature (although many times more powerful by orders of magnitude) to an Imperial star vessel’s void shields.
Any solid matter passing within the sweep of the crescent’s great arms—which span a distance over a hundred kilometres—disappears into darkness and is hurled irresistibly to the other side of the gate and spat out, arriving on the other side of the galaxy, via what, for want of a more accurate term, might be described as a ‘trapdoor’ in the Warp. As far as can be discerned, the time taken by the transit is all but negligible; mere seconds of icy black dislocation spanning a distance that might take a ship under usual Warp travel a few years to accomplish, if such a direct journey were even possible. The passage is not without its perils, however, as although no warp drive or Gellar field is required to use the Warp Gate, the passage through it is a turbulent one. It was quickly discovered that any less than sturdy vessels attempting the crossing were often badly damaged or even shaken apart by the stresses of the transit, limiting the Warp Gate’s practical
use to warships and other strongly-constructed craft.
he existence of the Jericho-Maw Warp Gate is not simply an enigma and an opportunity, but also a potential source of danger for the Imperium, which the Imperium’s masters are very mindful of. The gate exists and it is open; thus, it must be dealt with. The matter is complicated by the fact that the Imperium has divined no way of controlling the Warp Gate’s function short of destroying the physical structure of one of its apertures; an uncertain action that would require something in the order of the firepower of an entire battlefleet to accomplish. It was this factor more than any other that made the Achilus Crusade almost inevitable, and may well precipitate drastic action should it fail.
Source: Battlefleet Koronus page 61, Deathwatch corebook page 326, edited for Ultima Tectum campaign