The Serpent and the Eagle
Fortress World Karlack
Karlack is a Fortress world, the principle seat of the Achilus Crusade, and the single most powerful concentration of the Imperium’s military might in the Jericho Reach. In the lost days
of the old Jericho Sector, Karlack was little more than an outlying, largely unremarkable, colony world. Its population never rose high enough to make it a power in sector politics, nor did it
possess resources of sufficient calibre to make it of particular interest to the Adeptus Terra.
When the Age of Shadow came, Karlack’s relatively marginalised status protected it somewhat
and cushioned its slide into isolation, sparing it much of the war and disaster that stalked worlds closer to the sector’s core. Over the centuries, it descended slowly into pre-industrial feudalism.
After the discovery of the Jericho-Maw Warp Gate, Karlack’s fate was decided by a simple expediency of stellar geography: it was the closest life-sustaining system of any strategic worth
in the Jericho Reach in proximity to the Warp Gate. Thus, it was the first system on which Lord Militant Achilus set his eye.
The mass forces of the Crusade were welcomed with open arms by Karlack’s natives whose local culture had long kept alive the hand-me-down traditions of the Imperial Creed and the Mastery of the Emperor. The Crusade’s Ministorum contingent quickly set about bolstering that faith and rooting out heresy and corruption in the population. Swiftly, mountains were levelled to provide raw materials, rolling steppe land planed into mustering grounds for tens of thousands of troops, and vast fortifications raised both on the ground and in orbit. Not to be outdone, the Adeptus Mechanicus hollowed out orbiting asteroids into gun-stations and crafted orbital docks to serve as the Crusade’s primary anchorage.
Since this time, Karlack has remained the primary seat of the Crusade’s power and the principal rallying point and supply hub for the Imperial forces in the Jericho Reach. Its orbital stations
house key command and control elements for the Crusade fleets, a Naval repair and provender base, and the Crusade’s primary Astropathic Choir. Karlack is also the keystone in a wide arc of listening posts and defence stations known as the Iron Collar, spread out across the portion of the Jericho reach bordering the Well of Night, from which the Crusade salients are supported.
In the nearly forty years since Achilus’s forces set foot upon Karlack, all has not gone well for the world or its native inhabitants. Karlack’s climate has grown unstable due to the alteration of the planetary surface coupled with the rapid industrialisation and forced agriculture methods employed to feed the Crusade’s forces.
Karlack’s seas and air are slowly being poisoned, its people increasingly suborned to the war effort, indentured and outcast on their own world. This has led, in turn, to an increasing ‘resistance’ movement in some outlaying areas, which has slowly gathered strength despite heavyhanded attempts to crush it by the Departmento Munitorum enforcement cadres. Some Imperial observers have noted rising evidence of cult activity, and there are reports of offworld agitators among the indigenous humans. These factors might turn sporadic civil unrest and incidents of sabotage — at the moment, a minor thorn of irritation for the Crusade forces — into something far worse.