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We are those outcast but loyal, turned from our beloved chapters and forsaken by those we held dear. From a dozen chapters we come, driven from our homes by those we called brothers.

But we are yet loyal marines, warriors of the Emperor! Though our colors were stricken from us we yet fight on, for Emperor and Imperium! For all the poor souls who cry out in the night for a protector, and even for the fools who threw us out.

We, fighting men of the Free Company, wage war once again! In each other we have found the brotherhood that we have been denied from our gene-brothers. Now let us away, for the winds of the warp have brought us to this world, sorely in need of our aid. To war brothers!

+++ Commander Roberts, First Captain of the Free Company +++

=II= Inquisitorial Report: The Free company is a small fighting force roughly the size of a space marine battle company. It is formed primarily of space marines who for various reasons have been declared outcasts but still see themselves as loyal to the Imperium.

While they refuse to follow the orders or will of any other space marine leaders, they have submitted to inspections by Inquisitorial agents who have found no evidence of heresy or chaos corruption in their ranks. For the moment, they seem to be a loyal if unconventional fighting force, moving on their own whims to protect Imperial citizens.
Basically, rogue but loyal space marine company, free for anyone to join so long as you tell them the story behind why you were exiled, and are inspected for possible chaos taint.

If you pass, you're in and have battle brothers again.

For flavor, 50% knight errant, 50% privateers, sailing across the Imperium in a converted navy frigate that serves as their mobile base of operation, fighting for the Imperial citizenry wherever they chose.

Highly democratic in most ways, leadership positions are generally voted on and most rules and charters are matters of majority rule rather than the dictates of a single leader. Given that they were shunned and thrown from their own chapters, they generally have a distrust of authority figures and don't want to recreate the kind of command structure that exiled them in the first place.
I like this.
Awesome work, anon!
So like A-team, but no-one is chasing them?
Good fluff, but it's already been done, rogue trader secondment has been a thing for a long while, it's in the oldest space wolf book about a bunch of marines from different chapters all telling stories to pass the time between planets.
Not really, no
Thanks, somebody feel like helping me fluff them out a bit?

Sort of like that, but these guys aren't seconded to rogue traders, they're outcasts from their chapters who've formed a new fighting force.

So when some ultramarine breaks the codex and gets sent off on a suicide mission to regain their honor in the eyes of the chapter, sometimes they say 'Fuck this shit!' and go join the Free Company to continue to kick ass with like minded people.

They're free warriors, free of the strictures of chapter command and the demands of other leaders, and really recognize no authority over themselves, tolerated because they're pretty kickass warriors who've saved a lot of lives.

If they're asked to help they'll probably help out, but they refuse to be ordered by anyone ever again.
As far as force organization goes, very haphazard.

Really it's up to each marine to figure out where they want to be and how they want to fight, usually in keeping with the tactics and fighting form they had before they left their chapter as they often bring their gear with them.

Squads are fluid and oftentimes formed before a campaign rather than set out on any organizational chart, with leaders elected by the squad members rather than appointed. Overall the Free Company has formed into something resembling a battle company with limited armored support, primarily infantry, with a few devastator squads. The line between assault and tactical marine is blurred however, as marines will often carry an eclectic range of gear, chainswords and bolters and whatever else they feel like or can be convinced to take by their leaders.

Thus, most frontline units carry both close combat and ranged weapons, so the only difference is what squads are equipped with jump packs.
Perhaps tying them in with Rogue Traders would be a good idea?

Maybe their founding members were taken in by a trader as was suggested above, but he eventually died and had named their then-leader his heir and inheritor?

That would put a company of space marines in command of a rogue trader ship, nothing too excessive but maybe a nice frigate or something, perfect for their needs.

They'd live pretty comfortable lives, especially by marine standards, basically being good aligned pirate lords, privateers from the golden age of piracy, basically.

Blingy, highly decorated armor and wargear, sometimes in a similar vein to the chapter they came from, other times completely redecorated to wipe away the past, no standard of uniformity at all, marines competing to see who can have the most decorated gear.

Though usually it's frowned upon to just put a bunch of meaningless stuff on your gear, you have to in some way earn each decoration even if nobody actually hands out medals or anything.
What happens when a Dark Angel joins?
I really, really like this. But I have questions which I guess relate to the overall relationship between a space marine's psychology and the lifestyle they have in an established chapter.

Are they free of their old monastic routines (or whatever chapter specific routines), do they adopt new ones with the free company?
How do they manage logistics? How do they recruit? Where do their serfs and other servants to come from, as it's states that taking on and off the armor, as well as basically running their base requires them.
They'd probably continue to keep the secret, though remember only the highest ranking Dark Angels even know the Fallen exist, so a low ranking one who was thrown out probably wouldn't have any secrets worth knowing.

They have no major traditions as a whole, though individuals might still have the habits from their home chapters.

Overall they have a very jovial, free spirited culture. Imagine a stereotypical pirate tavern, jaunty music, serving wenches, bottles of rum being tossed about with mugs and bottles thumping the table in time with the music.

It's someone who has always been restricted and confined to a very rigid lifestyle suddenly gaining near total freedom, so it's lots of partying, singing, drinking, wenching and so forth aboard their ship.

Their first members were taken in by a rogue trader after all, so they learned their new habits from him, and they have plenty of wealth to support such a lifestyle.
IIRC any rogue Dark Angel is considered Fallen?

>Implying the other DA would ever let that outcast leave.
>Implying that if that rogue DA did make it into the Free Company the DA wouldn't just team kill the whole lot of them.
>Muh Secrets!
They'd have apothecaries and be able to harvest gene seeds and gain recruits the old fashioned way, probably taking on hopefuls from planets they visit, or recruiting from the ship's population. Even a 'small' ship has a huge number of people, I believe the smallest 'tramp freighter' in the Rogue Trader rulebook has a population of 18,000. That and they let any marine who's not a dangerous mutant join their ranks. Some mutation is alright as long as you're not a chaos abomination.

I don't know really. It's possible one would leave, or run away after his entire squad was killed or something. The Angels might not like that but that's part of the reason they repaint their armor.

Said Angel would probably be totally unrecognizable to any member of the chapter they ran across, if he didn't take his helmet off.
>Some mutation is alright as long as you're not a chaos abomination.

Not according to the Inquisition. Any Chaos taint is grounds for the band being wiped the fuck out if he isn't immediately handed over.
I'm not talking extra limbs here, gene seed deviation for instance, something that might cause a super uptight chapter to exile someone but that isn't really a problem.

Not tentacles or third eyes or devolving into a werewolf or anything of that degree.

I mean a lot of chapters are mutated because they have gene seed deficiencies or abnormalities. That's why the salamanders have dark skin and the raven guard pale, or the space wolves have long fangs and claws.

They're basically all mutants, that's the degree I'm talking about, not actually dangerous, but enough to cause a chapter who's really over the top about purity to exile them.

As I said before, actual chaos influence is not tolerated and they screen for that carefully.
How about we make the rogue trader who gave them his ship, do so because he was the last of his family? Nice ship but his family has all but died out and he eventually passes on from old age, naming them the inheritors of his ship.

So if they were to ever have offshoots or successors, wouldn't they also be considered part of their 'dynasty'? It would basically be a group of space marines who are officially rogue traders, and hence protected under that license and granted the same freedoms.
As for wargear, they'd have some techmarines probably, and techpriests on their ship, so they could probably get a production bay. I believe shipboard manufactorums are an established thing.

They could also ask for payment from planets they help. It could be part of their code to never ask for payment beyond what a planet can comfortable give, and can be anything from food to wargear to simply letting them rest for a little while and enjoy their world.

Plus they're basically rogue trader marines, so they could do the usual routine, run trade missions, take mercenary work as support troops for a guard attack, go explore and search for riches in the outer reaches, that kind of thing.
HFW no matter how blue and gold his armour, he will never be an ultramarine

Space Marines have been granted Rogue Trader status in the past (although this is Very Old Fluff, I think it works neatly here).

I was about to criticise the tankard-banging, but then I remembered Space Wolves and hushed my mouth.

I'd probably like to wholesale steal your Army idea actually.
Shush now, we actually have a couple Ultras, or at least from successor chapters, because they were so short sighted as to exile such skilled members for not following the rulebook exactly. They have gone on to have very good careers.

For a moment I thought you said Tankred banging and thought this was something about marines having sex. In that case Space Wolves would be just as accurate an argument, I think.

Glad you like it, care to help me flesh them out a little better? Maybe make up some history, major conflicts, achievements, leaders? Glad there's a fluff precedent, it sounds fun, and any part of Rogue Trader I can bring back makes me a happy man.

I can take a go at it, feel free to ignore anything of course. While I agree with the model based on historical pirates, democracy, etc, is good, it'd be a shame if they turned into cartoony Pirate Marines.

I'll have a think about some fluff stuff
>Going against Chapter wishes
>Outcasts shunned by own comrades
>Refusing to submit to authority

Well, we just figured out what Titus did after the Inquisitor let him off.
First question:

Do they deviate from the 'norm' in other ways as well? Would they work with Xenos mercs such as Kroot, Eldar?
I'd like to say only under very strained circumstances. They might accept working alongside xenos, but only as a means to an end.
You don't exile brothers with mutations too different from the norm. You either execute them or you keep them in the chapter. You especially don't just give them weapons and kick them out. That's called a loose end and that's how you get exterminatus-ed.

The rest is fine and it's a good idea but rarely does a marine get exiled. They either get killed for being a traitor, go rogue on their own and run away to become a renegade or like Ventris get sent on a suicide mission to either die or win back their place in the chapter.
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Right, no peg legs or giant hats here, at least not as the norm. But the similar flair for the dramatic, highly decorated power armor, big piles of loot and going where the winds may take us, that kind of stuff serves as inspiration.

Here we have the predictable boring answer.

Basically yeah.

Very possibly. They want to do right by the Imperium and help people, though they do also go on missions that are basically only self serving, at least immediately like going off to explore some uncharted system like normal rogue traders.

So they'd work with xenos if it was actually helpful, or at least not harmful, but never to the detriment of the Imperium itself.

Making a backdoor deal with Eldar to sell out Imperial colonists for fancy tech, no.

Pay off some ork freebooterz to help them attack a chaos world, yes.
Seems there are very few backstories for members, other than 'didn't follow Codex,' or 'Mutant, but not TOO mutant.'
Struggling to think of any other things a Marine could do wrong that result in being thrown out, rather than executed.

The problem with a Chapter exiling someone is that the normally end up joining Chaos, or a rogue warband. Obviously that's not ideal, in the Imperium's eyes.
Kind of like standard marines then, okay.
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Amateurs, we're the only Free Company in these parts
What about guys like the Astral Knights?
Guys whose chapters are practically dead and they're just fighting until the Emperor tells them it's the end?

Or a single unfortunate battle-brother who survived a suicide mission and is now stuck on his own, forced to find a way back or to survive.
Of course, this lets a few guys join the Free Company for a while until they find their way out or realize that they're doing a lot more good with the band instead of their chapter.
Marine who's squad was destroyed and couldn't face going home due to grief.

Marine who's gone rogue after being ordered to do something he thought was evil, refused to do it and went AWOL.

Deathwatch Blackshield who's sick of being considered an ominous loner freak, requests to be let out after many years of service and joins up with some people who will actually like him.

Someone who's chapter has been obliterated and decides to join someone new rather than going the usual 'charge to an honorable but likely pointless death' route.
So how would they get their start? They'd probably have to start off with enough marines to form a squad at least and start picking up new recruits after that.
The few survivors of some suicide action from a big campaign where multiple chapters got involved? Nobody expected them to survive, but they managed to survive planting the plasma bomb/punch a C'Tan to death/holding a beacon so that the fleet could go Exterminatus.

So you have these guys who have not contact with Chapter Command, the campaign's over, and now you have a bunch of guys from different chapters, none of them aware of what to do and forced to rely on each other to survive.

And for a bonus of the dramas, one of them may or may not be a repentant Fallen.
I like it!

They would sit, waiting for help to arrive with their beacon pinging out their little distress call before realizing that nobody is coming to help them and their chapters have all left them for dead.

By the time the Rogue Trader arrives they've come to rely upon each other and see teach other as true brothers in arms, to hell with the bastards who stranded us here and didn't bother to come check on us.

So they stay with the rogue trader for a while, enjoy the rich living on his ship, eventually becoming such close friends he names them his inheritors and they go on to adventure across the stars, building the Free Company by seeking out and recruiting others like themselves who are looking for a new life and new brothers.
The Free Company
(Rogue Trader Space Marine Chapter remnants)
Space marines of the <*REDACTED*> Chapter in secondment to Rogue Trader Otho Vespasius Diamadenium inherit the warrant in the absence of heirs.


Hereby determined in the name of the Sovereign of the Imperium, God-Emperor of Mankind, the High Lords of Terra grant this Warrant of Trade to:

Otho Vespasius Diamadenium

And to all of his inheritors bequeathed, from now until the end of time.

The Bearer of this Warrant has the right and duty to go forth beyond the sacred borders of the blessed Imperium, to claim worlds, riches and glory in the name of the Emperor. By the authority of the Senatorum Imperialis, this Warrant places the Bearer as a peer to the great powers of the Imperium, inter alia: Imperial Commanders, Chapter Masters of the Adeptus Astartes, and the masters of the Holy Orders of the Emperor's Inquisition.
By writ of Seal of Holy Terra
Company Demeanor
The fleet utilises psykers in the normal way to monitor communications, and support imperial forces where they are required. To maintain the Chapter’s numbers and resources, elements of the fleet run trade missions, take mercenary work as support troops for a guard attack, explore and search for riches in the outer reaches.
The Company is willing to work alongside aliens, utilising them as mercenaries or coordinating attacks against a mutually hated enemy. The battle-brothers in this force are more tolerant than most others, if the cooperation is brief with clearly defined terms.
Common Deficiencies
Minor mutation of gene seed within acceptable parameters. While the Free Company does not submit gene seed tithes to the Inquisition, it vets its own members for gene seed corruption and chaos taint.
Irregular, unreliable access to Astartes technology means the Company values opportunities to acquire specialist gear. They possess some techmarines, but due to their value they are rarely used on the battlefield, instead kept on the techpriests on the ships to maintain equipment and vehicles and oversee shipboard manufactorums.
Champion of the warband

Figure of Legend

Deeds of Legend

Deed for the Imperium
***** led a successful boarding action upon the Rogue Imperial battleship Nehemiah, which resulted in the takeover of the craft. The battleship now serves as a mobile fortress for the warband.
Warband Homeworld
Fleet-based. Battleship Nehemiah.
Chapter level element worth of Marines. Fleet of human / servitor ships.
Recruitment Methods
Apothecaries harvest gene seed and recruit hopefuls from planets after successful missions, and recruit from their ship populations.

Combat doctrine
Space combat. Boarding actions.
Use of Air strikes, followed by ground assault. Squads are fluid and oftentimes formed before a campaign rather than set out on any organizational chart, with leaders elected by the squad members rather than appointed. Overall the Free Company has formed into something resembling a battle company with limited armored support, primarily infantry, with a few devastator squads. The line between assault and tactical marine is blurred however, as marines will often carry an eclectic range of gear, chainswords and bolters and whatever else they feel like or can be convinced to take by their leaders.

Thus, most frontline units carry both close combat and ranged weapons, so the only difference is what squads are equipped with jump packs.
Special Equipment
Standard. Reduced availability of specialist items.
What form do the Chapters' beliefs take?
Do what you want, for an Astartes is Free - These Marines are no longer bound by codes, and will do as they please within the tenets of the Free Company.
Warband Status
Typical Strength.
Allies. Who has our back?

Who are the Warband's enemies?
Some elements of the Inquisition
Specific group of Chaos/renegade mortals (renegade/corrupted Lost and the Damned regiments, anti-Imperium rebels, corrupted mutants, mercenary bands, pirate gangs.... etc).
Specific Chaos Xenos or simply other xenos groups whom they share mutual goals with.

I was away for a bit, tried to pull together what we had so far.


This is perfect. And not a robo-parrot in sight.

I'd say that's good for the future of the group when they get more members.

Instead of companies in a chapter they have the Free Companies which are kinda like the space wolf great companies, independent forces which see to their own recruitment and equipment.

They could find a world out beyond the border of Imperial space which they claim as their primary port of call, each independent Free Company has their own ship, at least one, and can be gone for many tears but many return home there.

It's their secret port and home, I'm thinking of calling it Tortuga.

For the 'present' they are company strength, about a hundred, but in the future once they're more established this fluff is great, this is the 'future' fluff for when they have a ton more members.

Nice work!
No worries mate, it's a neat idea. Now they're your soldiermans so name it what you want, but Tortuga is well enough known that it's going to make people who hear it think of scenes from Pirates of the Carribean. Cayona was a port town on Tortuga wth a less well known name, perhaps that or another name could have the same connection but with less of that kind of reaction.

Although, when I come to think of it, I don't know what else they'd have on their own world Making it just beyond the fringe of the border of the Imperium would be helpful regarding their semi-outlaw status as well.
Yeah, possibly, but that's also the kind of feel I want to evoke, raucous partying town with warriors and trade ships coming back to port and looking to celebrate.

I want to have some pirate influences without making them the 'Pirate Marines'. I think they need a new name possibly though for the future version you describe, at chapter strength. There was the Brethren of the Coast for golden age pirates, so maybe some play on that.

Individual groups would still be called the Free Companies, but there's only so big you can get and split into so many groups that you can keep calling your whole group a 'company' anymore.
Brethren of the Fringe, perhaps?
I was just thinking of that. That'd make sense for when they're strong and well established and have multiple Free Companies and their base of Tortuga.

But for right now let's get their origins as the first Free Company worked out, maybe come up with some stories or something? Major actions, relationships with people?

I like the idea of getting new ships through boarding renegades, very piratical and prize ships were a thing in regular navies at the time.
They manage to enter a naval war between a Traitor fleet and an Explorator fleet, the Free Company breaks in and boards the renegade fleet and shatters the command structure. Once they kill everyone, the company asks for the AdMech's blessings in repairing the ship and they manage to take one ship.
It also gives them some good rep with the local AdMech.
Good rep that they need to get fair prices for wargear they'd trade for, gotta get your supplies from somebody, especially power armor.

I can imagine a lot of different types of armor in their ranks, every mark they can get their hands on.

Also probably lots of human soldiers as well, especially when they become the Brethren of the Fringe, lots of purchased wargear from individual kit to Macharius tanks.

But for now, power armor and bolters that they can decorate and color to hell and gone.
Haha, filthy peasants. Come back when you know which end of a spear to hold.
>Highly democratic in most ways, leadership positions are generally voted on and most rules and charters are matters of majority rule rather than the dictates of a single leader.

I was with you up until that.

Democracy and imperium are like oil and water.
These are outcasts who dislike absolute authority figures, at least over them. Someone who gets exiled or forgotten by their chapter commanders might not like putting themselves under another one.

Besides, it's in fitting with their historical theme. And there are democracies in the Imperium, a lot of governors are elected even if a lot of other ones are dynasties.
well, they're a rebel faction. Besides, democratic elements have existed within the space marines; the Iron Hands are lead by a council, rather than a chapter master. Then there were the warrior lodges in the Legions, and the Council of Hera as called by Marneus Calgar which led to the formation of the Tyrannic War Veterans.
Cool idea OP.

Similar to the fluff of my IG force,yours isa bit more fleshed out tho
So...a renegade Chaos warband waiting to happen?

I approve.
Good thing they're only nominally Imperial.
That said, there might be a few who'd be stuck to the old ways, maybe have a random lost dreadnought as their admiral.
The image of a dread decorated and painted up like a lord admiral amuses me greatly. Thanks for that.

Nah, not really, they're free spirits but loyal to the core and dedicated to the Imperium and its people. They just refuse to bow to direct authority but nobody really minds because they answer lots of distress calls.

Besides, rogue trader charter, they can do whatever the hell they want since they're not really a space marine chapter at all.
Azarius stood on the edge of a great precipice, a horrid valley which he had an option to farm and tend to, it had been months since he had seen another Guardian of The Covenant. His feet were bleeding, his hands sore from the massacre of chaos filth with his chainsword.
He felt his will weakening, his soul giving way to ineveteble defeat.
'I am a çhild of the Emperor of man, and a son of the lion.' He thought, trying to disperse the exaustion from constant battle in his rich marine blood. Much of which streamed from war wounds.
'This is it...' He thought before falling to the ground.
"This is where I die..." He uttered with a smile.
His head hit and torso hit the ground, he felt like a rag doll. As he leaned his head up, he saw a group of ,what looked to be, loyalist marines in extremely ornate and ostentatious armor.
"Probably ought to tell the captain."
One said
"Another lost soul." Another echoed,
"Think he's a survivor or a runaway?"
Chimed out from a further distance.
"Long as he's not a heretic it's good to me." The first voice said.
Then it all went black.
Completely terrible or not?
I like it, that's basically how their recruitment goes.

Would you like to do more? It would be interesting seeing his being brought into the Company and learning their ways, maybe at first hoping to return to his chapter but eventually deciding he's found a new home?

If you need it I could give some ideas for what induction or shipboard culture is like. Glad I seem to have inspired you!
Would love to help. I'm just a pretentious jackass ( as evidenced before in rotp) so I like to know if I'm actually doing it right. I never wish to take a vision and manipulate it from its original purpose. So in short, I'd love to help, and I'd love to get your tips, after all it is your concept.
That's fine man, I'm the same way. Positive feed back on things I've written makes me feel great, hence you've all made me a happy happy man.

I'm about to go to dinner, so I'll give you the quick rundown on induction.

Newly created neophytes are trained Black Templar style by being apprenticed to a full marine, they don't have the numbers for a separate scout formation.

Fully trained brothers who come to them have their gear patched up and are allowed to chose a squad to join, squads are basically just a bunch of people who like each other and chose to fight together.

Shipboard life is pretty relaxed and open, they're a bunch of freebooters after all, drinking, eating, singing, wenching and generally enjoying themselves with all the mortal pleasures their wealth can buy, before entering serious business mode to go save some lives.

Flying Tigers stye, no discipline at home, absolute seriousness in battle. Just a bunch of free-wheeling superhumans enjoying their freedom and wealth, whilst saving lives and managing to turn a profit at the end of the day.

If you don't mind, set this early in their time, when it's just the one Free Company aboard their frigate rather than the later Brethren of the Fringe who have a whole damn fleet and a planet.

Can't wait to see what you write, until then, fondue time.
Lovin it

Azarius heard the slow beep of an electronic monitor, a noise he's heard before, it wasn't a normal human heartbeat, it was unusually fast, as if there were two.
He suddenly realized it was his own heartbeat, that of a man with a secondary heart, an Astarte, of an angel of death. His muscles tensed, his mind sharp like a knife, he was prepared to fight innumerable enemies, he resolved long ago he wouldn't die as a captive.

The visage of a rail thin man came into view slowly, at first he tried to attack before realizing he was bolted onto his hospital bed. As he opened his eyes he sale a few other figures, another space marine, what looked to be a sister of battle with a burning lho stick hanging from her lips, and what appeared to be a very underdressed guardsman with a huge scar down half his face. His right eye was white, blinded from injury.
Azarius struggled against his bonds again in a fight or flight response.
"Release me!"
He shouted, his super powered voice echoing off the walls.
"In the name of the Emperor will you calm the hell down!" The rail thin man in the smock snapped.
"You are actually pretty injured for an angel of death, so if you don't calm down your gonna start bleeding really heavily again. So calm down I don't like losing patients."
The mention of the emperor calmed him, at least he wasn't the captive of heretics.
"Is he doing any better?" He heard from an Astarte voice. He turned his head to see one of the marines he saw on the dry plains before he collapsed.
"Ya but he's having the usual response." The medic replied.
"Eh so did I." The voice in the door answered.
"Where am I?" Azarius' curiosity demanded an answer.
"We're the free company." Said the overdressed marine.
"Free company?"
He asked, a few seconds later he heard heavy ceramite boots walking away.
'Clearly not getting a real answer yet.' Azarius thought, unaware that he had been given the only necessary description.
If its a problem if I include other imperial factions renegade members as well, just tell me.
Rum, Sodomy and the Lash

You're in the Free Company now, Laddy
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10/10 would supply and support
Like what? So long as they're not traitors or heretics then it's alright, but remember that they still work to protect and uphold the Imperium, they won't subvert it for their own ends.
Azarius struggled once again against his restraints, his mind a storm of contesting thoughts.
'Where am I and how do I escape.' He thought.
'You don't, you just leave if you want to.' He heard a voice echo in his mind, it was mechanical, but heals no taint.
Suddenly the room came into more focus and he heard the voice again, this time without his mind.
"Calm down big guy, if you don't you'll offend the machine spirits."
Again he heard something that felt imperial and pure.
"Are you a techpriest?" Azarius asked.
"Yes, though a disowned one."
"Disowned?" He asked instantly.
'YA THEY DON'T LIKE PSYCHERS!!!!' He heard the voice now booming In his skull.
Azarius yelled in irritated shock.
"Must you do that shit it hurts my head?! I mean that does have an echo, he's not the only person who you're screaming at!"
The somewhat strangely profanity inclined battle sister barked.
"SORRRY! I thought I'd earned it saving his damn life!
"Ahhhhhh!" Azarius shouted as loud as he could, his superhuman lungs allowing his voice to approach a deafening level.
"What in the name of the emperor is the free company?"
He wanted answers at this point, he found this whole experience ridiculous.
The remaining beings in the room looked uncomfortable at the question.
"Maybe we should have the captain explain."
That's what I was thinking, I just imagine they would accept guard members, SoB, and inquisition members as long as they actually held the same values.
who's their big boss?
their miller?
"Well then we shall let him explain!" Azarius shouted. Despite his chapters educated nature this still seemed surreal.
"Ok then, long as you stop acting so damn volatile."
Azarius calmed himself, after all despite their unusual behavior they seemed to be among the faithful.
He gritted his teeth before saying
The Enginseer began deactivating the locks as a few marines walked into the doorway, clearly some kind of security detail.
They wore ornate armor, covered in strange personal decorations. Yet they appeared to hold no insignia of their rank.
Their weapons were also uncommon. The largest carried a full sized Phobos pattern bolter and a chain axe, the next a power sword with an upward curvature, the third carried a combi-bolter, assault shotgun.

The restraints squealed as the now bent restraints released Azarius from their bondage. He stood, as talk and resolute as he could in the face of this strange mixed army.
"You wish to speak with the captain?" The ornately armored marine asked.
"Yes I do, as a captain of the Guardians of the Covenant I demand it."
"Well your talkin to him."
The marine said removing his helmet. Exposing long dreadlocks and extensive warrior tattooing.
"I'm captain Severen Calico, what is your issue my friend?"
Azarius instantly noted that he held an oddly jovial tone for a space marine.
"Where am I?"
The guardian asked.
"Your aboard our flagship."
"Where do your loyalties lie?"
Azarius instantly went on the attack again, wishing not to be caught off guard or ignorant of some greater strategy.
"With the emperor of course." The captain responded as if it were second nature, Azarius then assumed he's been asked this many times, and he was correct.

Black Dragons make a good marker of what's acceptable. They're borderline themselves, and have to keep on the move from battlefield to battlefield because no one can tolerate their prolonged presence.

Even in Armageddon they were the first ones out of the fight because they couldn't afford to stick around, lest their allies turn their guns on them.
Again, he didn't die.

The Son of Antaeus seemed incapable of dying, even after that heretic warlord stabbed him with his force sword. In fact, the Son managed to blast his head off with one last shot from his bolt pistol.

He was lying there now, unable to die, yet still unable to really move.
The daemons, what few there were, fled the moment their master died. The other heretics tried to fight him, and they put up a fight, but somehow even about two dozen trained traitor legionnaires were unable to kill him, even though one of them probably cut his leg and practically severed it. Even then, none of them were able to kill him; as soon as he was able to take their leader's combi-bolter, he was more than able to fight them off and the one that cut his leg now had a knife sticking out of his skull. Or maybe that was his neighbor.

The Son of Antaeus now could only look to the stars, the dead bodies his only company. In his head, he began to count the stars again. He began looking for the one that he called home. How far away was it?
Thoughts like this were all that kept him from remembering the pain that was almost once his leg.
As he thought in the haze, he didn't notice that among those stars was another streak in the sky. He probably saw like seven more, maybe seventy. He had lost count in between the inability to keep time and focus on something not his leg. It didn't help that he also lost any charge in his suit around the tenth hour after he killed the last of the traitors. He forgot that it was over a week since he started this campaign.

"If this is the last wish..." he silently muttered amidst that haze, "then...at least give me a sign..."

The last thing he saw as he finally gave out was an ominous shadow with a single ominous red eye.


"Think he's up yet?" He could hear one voice.
"He survived getting stabbed by something monstrous and losing his leg," Another snarked. "I'm damn sure he'll pull through this."
Cool, so long as it doesn't take the focus too much off the marines, they're the main attraction at this point in the story.

And I think that rogue inquisitors is a little too high up for right now, they might deal with them but I don't see one joining up, considering he wouldn't have much reason to.

Currently they're headed by Captain Roberts.
That's cool. Link to where we can read it?
Oh my another one! I am truly lucky, I'll try to write something up before long myself.

Quite good, but their captain's name is Roberts, at least later on.

Reference to the Dread Pirate Roberts, if anyone has seen Princess Bride, but he could be a leader later on.

The position of Captain has a high turnover rate for the kind of position it is, a good many people sour of the heavy responsibility and shift out of it after a few years so they can just go back to relaxing. Considering the volatile and mixed nature of the Company, its leader has to play peacemaker between different groups and individuals as much as being a leader in war.
I didn't know his name. Must have missed that part sorry. That's why I went with a generic pirate name after a famous captain. Ie calico jack. Ok no rogue inquisitors.
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This guy sounds like a perfect fit.
Do you have any ideas for the name of the flagship?
Tell me who founded the Free Company.
Was it this guy?>>37096174
We're on /tg/. Who HASN'T seen The Princess Bride is a better question.
The Coral Star
Tattered Dream
The Firefly

A few off the top of my head.

No but he'd be welcome. What is it with Ultra captains going rogue these days?

Fair point.
Tbh I haven't.
I like ebonhawk
What about torn Phoenix.
Either works for me. Torn Phoenix can always be used later too, when they have more ships.
Well it was planned that he'd go rouge, /tg/ could always add the ending to his story. Which this feels like where Titus would end up.
I could easily see that. He'd be declared free of corruption but too torn up and betrayed to go back to his chapter, eventually I can see him winding up in a Free Company and probably rising to Captain rank.

To clarify, the closest they have to an overall leader is the First Captain, who is voted on by all the other Captains, who would stay on Tortuga most of the time and deal with things that affect the Brethren as a whole, and try to play peacemaker between the various Free Companies.

The position has a high turnover rate because a lot of people get tired of trying to keep the whole ramshackle organization together and would much rather go back to commanding their own Company.
Will you write more for us tonight, good writefriend?
Often, I forget. We Adeptus Astartes are so quick to pounce on others and remind them that we are superior, gene-modified, perfect. We turn a blind eye to what made us what we are, we forget that we are human. That we are susceptible to hubris and failure. We are called to endure events no mere mortal could possibly survive, physically and mentally.

We accept this responsibility, some with more pride than others. Tried to write-fag about an Astral Claw/Relictor, but my mom called and it threw me off. Now Ive got writer's block. sonofabitch, I'll try again later.
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The Son of Antaeus awoke with a start. The first thing on his mind was that he was unarmored. A lift of his leg made him realize that his leg really was gone. He had to take a moment to lament that loss, but the armor was his greater concern.

"Calm down, brother," he heard an apothecary behind him. "You're still among the living, if that's of any consolation."
"The armor-"
"I have the techpriests consulting on it." The Son started paying more attention to this curious Apothecary. Despite wearing the white of the codex standards on his upper torso, that was the extent of it. The plating on his abdomen, as well as his lower torso, was all miscolored, looking like it was chrome or silver at one point, but vigorously scrubbed away. All that remained some sort of color was a blue kneepad. Curiously, he wore a robe to conceal most of it, though a leg did show through.
"Who...are you?" the Son asked as he started to get acquainted with his surroundings. He almost tripped on his new leg, but the Apothecary managed to save him last second.
"I am called Kathen." The apothecary answered. "If you're curious, we're on the Osprey." He opened the door out the medbay. "I promise I'll answer any further questions you have, but I will need my equipment."

A moment later, Kathen returned with his Narthecium mounted and another scanner on his free hand.
"This might sting a little, but I need to check your condition. The Captain has been rather...curious about you."
The Son took his seat on the cot. "Very well. Not sure you need to hold back though." He traced the scar on his abdomen, a massive gash seemed more apt a term.
"Maybe." He felt a needle pierce his neck. Basic check to ensure the gene-seed was intact, to be sure. A pad was placed on his chest, reminding him that he might have lost a heart in all the battle. The double lines on the monitors near the far end of the room confirmed that he did indeed have both hearts still.
The Osprey, good name, I like. What time period you setting this in?
You gents are already doing a story with a new inductee joining the Company, so I'll have to think of something else to write.
Any chance we can get this archived and throw and article on The Free Company on 1d4chan? I have no idea how that works.
Thread is still young, I'll make sure it gets archived since it seems to be catching on.

I'm gonna try to write a story about the general operation of the ship and shipboard life, since everyone else is doing the story of a newly inducted marine.
Captain Roberts, leader of the Free Company sat in his ready room. Located just off the bridge, it was a place for the commander of the vessel to have a more private location to consider things or meet with people. It was a place for professionalism and business, away from his personal quarters, which were the place to relax.

He poured himself another goblet of rum from a large, half full bottle sitting on his desk.

Taking a sip of the spiced rum, he looked over his desk, covered with charts and writings and data slates in a haphazard array. He pushed some aside to see others and inspected a dataslate.

The Imperial world of Gallor II had put out a call for aid, they were being attacked by xenos foes and their shipping was being targeted. Segmentum command had politely told them they were considering the whole strategic picture and stopped answering calls. All nearby Astartes chapters were elsewise engaged. It fell to them.

But they were still a week or so out as the Osprey flew, and flew fast it did on the winds of the warp. A sturdy ship, the vessel had once belonged to a Rogue Trader in years long past, now passed on to the Free Company, along with the Writ of Trade which made them what they were.

Roberts took another deep drink and sat back in his big leather chair, resting a hand on the naalwood desk. The room about him was piled high with treasures and displays of wealth. Artwork, tapestries, weapons and far more lined the walls and cabinets along with a sizable collection of drinks.

Finishing his rum, he grabbed a slate and rose from his desk, striding out onto the bridge.

The Black Company wants you to leave.

Or do we have to have One-Eye show up?
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I'd say this is at least somewhere mid 900s M41 Part of this involves Apothecary Kathen's story and his chapter

The Son could suddenly feel a knife going into his back. As with everything else, it hardly even made him twitch. Nothing could.
He could remember his chapter's apothecarion's teachings, saying that their immunity to pain was a gift of the Emperor's, so that they could fight in any field, even when others would falter.
However, his recollections were interrupted as he heard nervous laughter. A sensory sweep of the front conveyed nothing else in the room besides him and Kathen. Another look around and he suddenly noticed...Kathen gripping his hand, forcing himself away.
"Is...something the matter, brother apothecary?"
"No...no." Kathen managed to rein in his hand. "I am just...occasionally excitable around the sight of blood." A deep breath managed to ease away the last of his nerves. "It is a...trait I swore off of to become an Apothecary, though the process remains...difficult at the best of times."
The Son observed, "Has this something to do with why your armor looks so weathered, yet so modern?"
"Observant, aren't we...?" Kathen took another glance at the vitals as he cleaned off his blade. "I am curious about that scar through your abdomen. What exactly were you fighting to inflict something like that?"
"Heretics," the Son recalled. "We were fighting a traitorous warband we cornered in the Alait System. They had lost their last vessel and we had thought that we could crush them on their last legs. That proved untrue and in the end, I was the last to survive that hellhole. My brothers were slain by daemons, summoned by their leader's foul witchcraft. His blade must have had some unholy properties as well to inflict this on me."
"And you...survived?"
"My brothers..." the Son snapped to. "Are they...safe?"
Why have them get a planet at all?

I mean, if they have a Rogue Trader's license, they essentially have a Letter of Marque, allowing them to go where they want to go, do what they want to do, as long as they don't cross the =][= or the High Lords of Terra.

Being a space-based fleet seems like it would perfectly suit them, as does the democracy thing. The Free Brothers could start out small, in the company of the old Rogue Trader, who names them his inheritor and thus, Rogue Traders themselves. Once their numbers start to really grow and they get another ship, they can split up, keeping in contact and returning to aid one another as necessary, flying together when it's prudent to do so and splitting up when the need or fancy strikes.

I do see them taking on pretty much anybody loyal to the Empire but who's found their current life has become unbearable, or who was left behind/believed dead/etc; the odd holdout squad of Guardsmen who fight on as long as their lasguns have charge, long after the last evacuation shuttles left, only to be rescued by a Stormraven being piloted by Free Brothers at the last minute. Titus, of course. Bjorn the Fell-Handed would be a great fit, too. Hell, maybe even Xenos, if they're willing to pledge their lives and deaths for the Emperor (and understand that if it looks like that pledge is ever wavering, they're getting a bolter round in the back.)

I imagine their closest allies would be Blood Ravens and Space Wolves, both of them being extremely unconventional but extremely loyal. Non-Titusian Ultramarines would have conniption fits at the thought of them.
Ok my friends I'm gonna head to bed now. Good luck my brothers.
how did you make that pic???????????????

As Rogue Traders, they'd be able to support themselves; everything from mundane interstellar supply runs to mercenary work (Distasteful, but as long as it doesn't weaken the Imperium, acceptable,) the odd bit of prospecting and exploring. That would offer them opportunities to resupply: Save a planet, ask the local Ad-Mech if they happen to have any Astartes-type hardware "lying around," if they pull a more established Chapter's bacon out of the fire, ask if they can spare a few pieces out of their armory - paying it forward, you know, so the Free Brothers can go and save someone else's ass somewhere entirely different.

And of course, a little Blood-Raven style Gift-Acceptance. Not to their level, of course, nobody can match the Blood Ravens at acquiring gifts, and they probably wouldn't "accept gifts" from their brothers who were still alive...

But hey, if you find nine dead loyal Space Marines and one almost dead, with no sign of their chapter to be found, what're you gonna do? Burn fuel flying to their homeworld to hand over the corpses and equipment, or extract the gene-seed, strip the armor and weapons, and give them an appropriately awesome burial-in-space?

And of course, not literally EVERYTHING you find on a traitor is going to be, well, Tainted. You'd need some damn good librarians and techpriests to make absolutely SURE of that, mind you, and if you DON'T have that kind of librarian and techpriest, burn it all, but if you do have them, well... Hey, sometimes a pauldron is just a pauldron.
A world gives them a resource base. If they found a stable colony there it would give them a place to exploit resources and form industry, creating goods both for their own use and for trade. It would also create a port where trade ships from other factions can come to ply their goods.

Overall having a functional trade hub and port of call would be a boon, since it's always cheaper to trade if you control the source of what you're selling, rather than having to buy it from someone else.

That's not to say that most of them spend their time there, no no no. It's the port they come back to now and then to offload and trade the goods they've picked up and restock supplies cheaply, get a little dirtside R&R before heading out again.
For time period I wondered if you were setting this in the time when it's just one Free Company, or the full Brethren of the fringe.

As for everything else, that's exactly what I was thinking. Asking politely if you have some gear to pass on to help us out, small price to pay for a Free Company showing up and helping out in your hour of need.

Was thinking about the Blood Ravens, considering I'm putting them primarily in the Eastern Fringe, sounds about right.
Yes, but it also ties them down, and gives those who hate them - both the enemies of the Imperium, and Imperium-type enemies of the Free Brothers themselves - a way to attack them indirectly.

"What's that? You want to trade grain from Tortuga? Unfortunately, the segmentum governor has issued an executive order calling for the aquamarine of all goods produced from Tortuga on suspicion of Ork spore infestation. We'll take your goods, of course, but you'll have to wait here three months for the quarantine observation to expire to be paid. Well, if you want to leave now, I *suppose* we could buy it on speculation, but we're taking a huge risk that the entire shipment will turn out to be bad, so we can't pay more than, say, a quarter of your asking price."

Or "Hello! I'm the new Governor of Tortuga. What's that you say? Oh, no, I'm afraid you're not a Chapter of the Astartes, my good Astarte, you're a Rogue Trader, and Rogue Traders don't have the right to govern worlds the way a Space Marine Chapter is granted the right to govern their monastery-world. Of *course* we'll be happy to work with you, but I'm afraid there will need to be significant changes in the way things get done, taxes levied to support the necessary bureaucracy we'll be installed - oh, and we're going to be instituting a system of peerage."

And of course, there's the ever-popular "While you were out trading/answering distress calls, a fuckload of orks showed up and just about razed the planet to the ground."

Better, I say, to remain shipbound, flying wherever the Warp and their plasma engines take them, properly Rogue Trading it up.
Aquamarine? Quarantine! How did that happen?! I'm not using a phone or anything!
How about a gigantic mining station then? Some ancient abandoned facility they find way out in the boondocks and make their home, mining ore and firing up the old manufactoria complexes to start producing some trade goods? More defensible than a whole planet and there's no laws about private citizens not being able to own a space station, happens all the time.

That sounds much more likely, plausible, and even, well, piratical. A bigass abandoned asteroid mining station would give them a base of operations if they need/want more than their ships, but it's not so big as to be a planet. Its loss, if it were lost, wouldn't be completely devastating the way Marines who became reliant on a homeworld would be, but while you have it, it's a pretty swell place, especially if you keep it off the charts and only move people you trust there.

And, hell, if you're feeling up to some tech heresy, salvage a bigass Gellar field generator from somewhere, bodge on some plasma engines, and you've got your own FLYING mining station. Run out of ore in the local rock, move closer to another big rock to mine. Done with this system, go somewhere else. Eventually, over thousands of years, it could become a gigantic flying mining battle-barge. And pretty much no system officials will care if you want to take a few asteroids they're not using and have no plans to use.
An RT rulebook has rules for putting huge gantries on a ship that deploy out when stationary and turn it into a space station. Tortuga could be their capitol ship and mobile base of operations, not terribly much good in a fight, but basically a flying mining base, command center and production facility with everything onboard to process and refine metals, and produce finished goods, as well as agricultural bays and repair docks.

It's possible, if a little tricky, for fleets to be basically self sufficient with a setup like that, get a mechanicus ship that can harvest and refine plasma fuel and you're set. All you really need is food, and you could park over a planet and just send down farmers to make a temporary settlement.
even so, OP, the expectation and likely result of "free spirit" space marines is that they're vulnerable to chaos because their indoctrination's already been strained. They aren't loyal because of faith alone- Marines are universally brainwashed to some degree.
Bigass hydroponics bays. Water is easy to get out in space, just waylay the odd comet. Grow enough green shit, and you can afford to feed cattle/grox/whatever for meat, too. And any surplus could be traded, too.
Are you questioning the faith and loyalty of the Free Brothers?

Are you daring to suggest that scurvy space dogs like those Chaos fuckers have anything which remotely appeals to the Free Brothers?

Let me let you in on something. If those Chaos fuckers have anything, anything at all, which appeals to the Free Brothers, it's their blood, shed at the point of a power sabre, and their flesh, incinerated under the beam of a meltagun. And those are not goods with which the mangy motherfuckers (apologies to any Space Wolves present) are like to part with voluntarily, savvy?

This sounds great. Do they adopt their own colours? Or would they keep vestiges of their original chapters?
I'd assume that would be up to the individual Free Brother.

If their split with their chapter was acrimonious, I would imagine they might go entirely own-colored. If they still respect where they came from, but can't or won't go back because reasons, they might keep a pauldron or leg the original color. If, say, they're one of a few (possibly one!) survivor(s) of a wiped-out Chapter who were adopted by the Free Brothers, I'd imagine they'd largely keep their original armor colors, but probably start adding personal embellishments.
Each marine is free to decorate their armor however they see fit, both with paint and various icons and decorative items.

It is however somewhat frowned upon for someone to cover their armor in decoration when they haven't done very much for it, you'll be seen as someone who's boasting about how great they are when you haven't really done anything.

It makes for a very wildly diverse looking group with a rainbow of colors and all kinds of medals, decorations, trophies and icons hanging from or stuck onto their armor.
Nothing is immune to the call of Chaos, least of all renegades and lost Marines. Ravenor can talk about the "armor of contempt" but every Marine chapter has its renegades and fallen- and there's no good fluff reason for the Free Brothers to be an exception.

We're talking CHAOS here.
The free brothers don't have a chapter they can go back to. They have issues with the authority of the Imperium. They probably enjoy combat for its own sake. The concept makes them practically RIPE for taint to take root. To not at least acknowledge that makes them borderline mary sues that don't follow the basic rules of the setting.

Heresy begins with but a thought and all that.
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>Highly democratic in most ways, leadership positions are generally voted on and most rules and charters are matters of majority rule rather than the dictates of a single leader. Given that they were shunned and thrown from their own chapters, they generally have a distrust of authority figures and don't want to recreate the kind of command structure that exiled them in the first place.
I don't see this last part as necessarily true. Bear in mind that most of the members, like the overwhelming majority, are going to be feral-world natives who were snatched up in their teens, and trained as SOLDIERS first, second, and third. A strong chain of command, and respect for authority, would probably be VERY important to all of them. Hell, most of them probably wouldn't even know what democracy is, much less support such an idea (which by most versions of the imperial creed is considered SEVERE HERESY.) Perhaps the idea of noblese oblige would be stronger among them: the idea that elevation to a higher status (mortal to spees marine, spees marine to captain, captain to leader) is more of a BURDEN and RESPONSIBILITY than a PRIVILEGE. This would be doubly true, considering the fact that they would likely be MUCH less well equipped/funded, and would need greater-good-of-the-chapter based decisions to be made by the wisest... not the masses. Also, given the fact that most of them probably see their honor as striped from thhem, the idea of duty before honor seems appropriate. I could see perhaps an odd numbered council of elders in-place of a single chapter master, but I think you're letting your American bias seep in a bit too much.

Other than this, I like the idea, sort of like a last chancers for space marines. Perhaps you throw in how most of them want to redeem themselves through honorable death in battle, ala WHFB Dwarf slayers (which given their background and mindset as post-feral-world-boy-soldiers-turned-superhuman-living-weapons would make sense.)
This program. Takes a bit of practice tho. It's in Russian.

Oh. Well, this can fit in either, honestly.

"What few of them I could save, that is..." Kathen replied. "Though some of them look a bit...shall we say, extreme in their physiques." The Son started glaring. "So you would be aware of this?"
"What do you want?"
Kathen took a step back. "Answers, that is all. I had not seen anything of the sort in my travels. If this is merely the result of some warp mutation, then I need to examine your gene-seed to ensure that you're not tainted as well."
"I am not a mutant!" the Son defended himself.
"Not like I would be believed if I were to say it myself..." Kathen was surprised by the outburst. "Trust me, brother. I have no other intentions besides protecting your safety. You are, after all, the last of your squad."
The Son relented. "We are uncertain why, but something in our blessed gene-seed makes us...incredibly sturdy, almost invulnerable. Occasionally, some of us keep growing far beyond the dictates of our biology, some say it's a curse of the Ossmodula. Those brothers do not always appear immediately after they are implanted."
"Hm." The Apothecary took down his notes. "Curious, but...It sounds incredibly useful."
"If only the Inquisition believed so..."
A chortle came from the Apothecary. "I suppose there is some...truth in that."

Following the examination, the Son was cleared to normal activity, though full battle duty would have to wait on account of the missing leg. In the meanwhile though, the Son was allowed to walk about the Osprey as he wished, observing the rather...unusual lifestyle of her passengers and crew. Some of them looked like guardsmen regiments who only joined for pay and their rather ostentatious displays of gambling miffed the staunch marine. Other segments involved panicked migrants, who only existed because the captain promised them safe passage.
>Someone who gets exiled or forgotten by their chapter commanders might not like putting themselves under another one.
But a psychotic feral-world boy-soldier who's been brainwashed into being a living instrument of death in a religious warrior order who is disgraced by that order likely CRAVES acceptance and order resembling what they once had. Even if the leadership was semi-democratic like the council of elders I suggested here >>37099114 at the very least the grunts would need a tribal/religious/knightly/military command structure to even function.... it's all they've ever known.

Perhaps the less authority-trusting ones, during their interview/initiation, would be marked for potential leadership, just like the real military (seriously, they LOOK for signs of ODD and authority questioning for officer track.) However, I think you're putting too much of your own psychology onto these inhuman uneducated seven-foot bio-engineered cyber-enhanced religious-fanatic killing-machines.
>Redeem themselves through honorable death in battle.

That's the exact thing I'm trying to avoid here, and specifically said so earlier.

You'll have to pardon me but since you're using shouting allcaps and calling blame on my nationality I don't really take what you have to say with any consideration.

They have nothing to do with America, it's based on how pirate and privateer crews operated, the ships charter was often written up by the crew and agreed upon rather than dictated by the captain.

Very good stuff. Have you been sitting on this idea for a while now?
Sort of, yeah. I had the idea of a marine who's going off to be an adventurer on his own, then thought about the planned future for Titus of going rogue and making his own chapter, and folded in an idea from a hypothetical 50k setting about mixed bands of marines acting as mercenaries and threw in some ideas of my own.

I hadn't really given it much thought but it popped into my head and here we are.
I really like the idea but a 'Free Chapter' is likely not to be taken kindly to by the Imperium.

Someone mentioned 'The A-Team but no one chasing them". That's not accurate, the Inquisition WOULD be chasing them.

Don't get me wrong they wouldn't be KOS, and the Imperium is so de-centralized they could reasonably travel around unmolested as long as they kept a low profile (or as low profile as SM mercenaries can).

There are renegade chapters that don't work against the imperium, but they ARE renegade. Other chapters may help them or attack them. Inquisitors may make use of them or try to track them down and bring them to 'justice'. 'Officially' the High Lords would disavow them at best.

That being said, as hidebound as the imperium is, it isn't run by IDIOTS. Major concentrated efforts to destroy them, High Lord Sanctioned Assasin's, or crusades just to kill these guys aren't going to happen - so long as they stay loyal to the imperium. That means, don't work with xenos, don't truck with chaos, purge the unclean etc and so forth.
Writ of Trade my friend, they're under the same protection as a Rogue Trader, and probably doing a hell of a lot more good than most RTs ever do.

Yeah they might run into some problems with hyper puritans with poles up the ass, but a long list of grateful planetary governors and other inquisitors who've they have worked with would go a long way towards convincing them to stand down.

Maybe some inquisitor takes a dislike to them, but enough to mobilize any actual striking threat against a company strength force with their own warship, the goodwill of numerous important figures and the legal protection of a Writ? Doesn't seem as likely to me.
How would Space Marines get a writ of trade though?
If you look at the actual code of the brethren of the coast, their hierarchy was in-fact quite rigid. The trying to redeem themselves in battle thing might work, and as I pointed out, having an anti-authoritarian leadership might work, but having the entire chapter be anti-authority doesn't really work with the universal background of uneducated seven-foot feral-world bio-engineered cyber-enhanced religious-fanatic killing-machines. Just like how the Bretren of the coast were mostly made up of despicable alpha-wolf-minded kill-or-be-killed criminals, and it was up to the unilateral authority of the captain to keep these rapist, killers, and theves in check, and keep them aimed at something they should be raping killing and stealing from.

>The trying to redeem themselves in battle thing might work
Meant to say Trying to redeem themselves in battle thing ISN'T NESSECARY
It's outlined above.

The first members were part of a crusade, all from different chapters and undertook one last desperate attack of which they were the only survivors, forgotten and left to die.

Eventually a Rogue Trader finds them and takes them in, and they decide to stay on with him for a while, just to heal and rest mind you. But then they come to like him more and more, and enjoy the life they have on the ship, and eventually decide to stay on permanently, their chapters already have written them off as dead.

But the trader it turns out can't father any heirs and is the last of his dynasty so lacking anyone more worthy he writes the marines into his will. He dies of old age and they basically become Rogue Traders, or at least whoever commands the ship is and all those under his command are under the same protection normally given the crew of an RT ship.

After that they just started growing and eventually became what they are now.
PS: Just want to add I really like the model and the idea, i'm not trying to take a grimderp shit on your idea at all. The Imperium is a big place, and can conceivably fit just about anything.
Thanks, dude.
But doesn't the 5th edition codex state that Marines use battle-chants to fight through intense pain?
Maybe they sell a ton of the stuff they find, to fund their chapter?
They fund themselves by running trade missions, asking for supplies from planets they help defend, and finding great loot out beyond Imperial borders.
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The Sons of Antaeus are known for being a step beyond that to becoming neigh-unkillable. Course, being Cursed Founding, so little is written about them and what this unkillability means.

However, the deepest levels led him to the most curious of sights: A whole deck in the Osprey reserved for a whole team of Astartes, all from different chapters!
As he entered what could be considered a mess hall, he found himself flanked by a lone stranger in a wolf pelt and another who wore black armor with gold trimmings.
"So," the pelted one observed, "you're the survivor of the Chaos incursion of Alait? Damned lucky you survived the way you did."
"Pardon me, but...how many brothers are there?"
"Counting you?" The dark one began calculating. "Roughly 53, though among them, 8 are under various sorts of recovery and one is in a Dreadnought Chassis."
"And why is it that you bear your chapter colors with such reverence, while the apothecary...?"
"Ah, met Kathen, did ya?" the Wolf understood. "Ruthless bastard he is. Word has it that he disavowed his own chapter because of some ridiculous story about a war."
"It would be proper to say more that we are not so much a chapter as we are a loose organization of disaffected marines who seek to journey across the stars to visit the Emperor's justice upon the heretic and alien while protecting His own."
"Strange isn't even the least of it." The Wolf presented a sharpened fragment of bone. "Weird is eating a Kroot and then murdering his family with his bones and then selling it off to some planetary governor while the blood's still fresh because he wanted the smell of Kroot in his house!" The Son took a step back. "We're all just mercenaries looking for a means to survive in a universe that doesn't really care about our survival."
>One scrambling through a underhive, exterminating pests that would live down there
>Misteps, slides down a small gorge
>Ends up crotch deep in sump water
>Something gleaming under the surface
>Sweet Archeotech Pistol
That could work, yeah

Sounds like a breeding ground for Alpha Legion.

I think Tattered Dream fits them. Anything but The Firefly, really; too much of an iconic scifi ship. It'd be like naming the flagship "The Enterprise".
Alpha Legion are pussies who turned their back on the Emperor. Fuck 'em all, with a chainsword.
I like bird names - Jackdaw, of course; Osprey; Falcon; Phoenix; Raptor; Hawk, etc.

>Alpha Legion are the only somewhat intelligent Space Marines in a collection of idiots and zealots, who betrayed a selfish douchebag in an effort to save the human race.

Fixed that for you.
Morning all.
Roberts strode out onto the bridge, his long coat billowing about him as he walked, leather boot soles thumping the deck plating. The bridge was as big as it should be for an Imperial frigate, twenty meters or so from one end to the other with data lecterns crewed by staff or servitors. At the back of the room sat the first officer on the command throne. Roberts could take charge in an emergency, but the general operations of the ship fell to this human officer.

"All's well captain." He reported as Roberts passed, who nodded in return as he headed off the bridge.

The ship's corridors were well maintained, it was something Roberts insisted on, it didn't do for the crew to be stumbling over detritus in the middle of a crisis. He boarded a lift and set it to take him to the entertainment district which was located along the spine of the ship, set about the dorsal weapons batteries and so located for access to the large crystal dome which was built to observe the stars, the whole thing did wonders for crew morale on long voyages.

He stepped out of the lift as the doors chimed open, walking out into the far noisier entertainment block. This section of the ship resembled some kind of town you might see on a primitive world, or in the pages of a novel, lanterns and lumo-globes glowed cheerily, jaunty music was heard, everywhere were people going about their revelry and generally enjoying themselves.

He smiled, it was good to see his crew unwinding, they worked hard and were rewarded accordingly.
Morning, glad to see this survived the night.

Indeed, trying to do some writing. Also requested art in the drawthread of a Free Company marine but so far nothing.
His large figure and command authority pushed a hole through the crowd easily enough, crewmen parting before him and the occasional other marine stepping aside, usually with a wave or a nod of greeting as he passed.

Roberts had led the Free Company since its inception many years ago, it had been a long and rocky road to get where they were now but so very worth it. A humming ship, a fine crew and a Writ of Trade was more than anyone could ask, but they were all theirs now.

He approached one of the taverns, built with actual wooden planks in a lean-to against a bulkhead, nestled in a corner. A sign declaring the establishment to be the Green Drake hung outside and the sound of jaunty music and loud voices could be heard from within.

He pushed his way in through the door, the noise in the room dropping just a fraction as people noticed him, but soon everyone went back to their drinks. He held up his hand for the attention of a server and called for some ale. The towering marine looked about, finally settling on the one he'd come to find.
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"So then your employer is...?"
"Ah, we are operating under the auspices of noble Rogue Trader Carlisle von Houthen Esq." The black marine mentioned. "And occasionally his betting partner Inquisitor Artennes DuLoc."
"I see." The Son exhaled. That's a plus at least; he's within the actual company of loyal members of the Imperium. "And these folks would be at the helm?"
"The Captain, aye." The Wolf mentioned in between bites. "Probably trying to negotiate that contract for a sanctuary for those pilgrims we picked up three planets back. The good Inquisitor hasn't been the most...giving on the terms of that little case. Doesn't help that he's lost a mighty big string of poker games."
"Are inquisitors allowed to be betting like this?"
"Would you be the person to tell him he can't?" A pause before the Wolf broke out in laughter. "Just banter, brother. It's within human nature for competitiveness. It's what allowed us to reach this pinnacle of society!"
"He is right about that." The other marine assured the Son. "Conflict is the single force that compels us to such heights. But it also can drive us to sink into depths of unspeakable horrors. Heresy and glory in the same coin. Course, the only thing differentiating them is the dignity of the competitors."
"An...interesting insight."
In the midst of the discussion, the three found themselves interrupted by a Techmarine, entirely bedecked in red and black. "So," he observed, "this is where our new arrival has wandered into. Better here than the maintenance wing."
"Has my armor been repaired?" was the first question on the Son's mind.
"Ah, we do have it. Almost there." The Techmarine started leaving. "We should have it finished by the time we get to my workshop."
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The workshop proved to be a swift trip to the student of the Omnissiah, and soon they were in the presence of the armor.
Scattered about the place were scraps of power armor, all sorts of marks and all sorts of functions. While some seemed perfectly normal, there were other scraps that seemed unusual. Almost...inhuman by the look of it.
"This is your armor, yes?" The Techmarine tapped at the lone near-complete suit in the room. True, the leg was no more, but that would have to be the case. "I am supposing you are coming to terms on your leg's status."
"Yes. A miracle that this is the worst of my injuries."
"Curious, that." He began calling servitors to the office. "I am Techmarine Orion. Survivor of the Gasha catastrophe, where our own machines were perverted by a foul Necron. I had survived only because I shot the thing in the head. He might have risen again, but it was enough for me to demolish the last of our sacred machines lest they fall into his hands. Dishonored, I could not return to my chapter. However, these men...they see differently."
The Son began regaling his tale as well to Orion. His chase against the Warband known as the Krathos Disciples, the daemonic incursions that constantly plagued the Alait system, and the fateful conflict that would lead to him being presumed dead. As the story continued, the servitors began mounting the armor upon him laboriously, sealing each part against each other and scanning every second to ensure the suit's integrity. Special care was taken to the leg, where they needed to make sure the machine spirits of the leg and armor were cooperating.

Within an hour, the Son was back in his armor. A cautionary step with his new leg ensured that he was indeed in business.
"Successful." Orion called off his servants. "I must admit, I am surprised your suit is so well-maintained considering the disasters your brothers were in. Thankfully, I had a spare few parts lying about to make your leg."
"Much appreciated, Techmarine."
Orion nodded. "Though your armor is repaired, I would still advise you to return to the apothecary. Sadist he might be, but he is the only one we have upon his ship."
"What...is Brother Kathen's story?"
"What has he told you?"
"Only that...he renounced his chapter's name." The Son recalled. "From the way everyone's implying, it sounds like he broke off from some renegade chapter or some sort."
Orion snorted...as best he could without a mouth. "Have you ever been to Badab?" A nod. "It is a small sector on the edge of Ultima and Solar Segmentum. We found him in that area. There had been a catastrophic war there a decade prior, and he was one of the few survivors. He insisted on joining. Constantly, he proclaimed that he never bowed to a Tyrant."
"The Inquisitor must have some idea-"
"Perhaps," Orion assured him. "But that is for him to explain. He does not take that oath lightly."
"Very well. And the others?"
Orion recalled the Wolf and the Black marine the Son was talking to. "Ah, Ulfgard and Maritus? Maritus, I remember him mentioning his Chapter lost to the records. I believe they mentioned themselves as Black Consuls. Ulfgard, he says he survived Exterminatus. An absurd claim, but I cannot say it is completely untrue. He was adrift in space, and near where a planet once stood. It was a miracle he even survived in the void for as long as he had."
"Indeed." Orion ushered him out. "Now back. You still need examining."

Again, the Son returned to the Apothecarion. Now that his armor was mounted back in place, he seemed to gather much more silent glances. Those guardsmen that once gambled, they held their hands and started ripping out rosaries in his presence, the migrants began kneeling in his presence, and even what crew there was began saluting him. He chalked it up to the fact that he now looked more like an Angel of Death.
I feel a Chaplain is necessary for keeping the free company focused on the core values of their chapter and what they're doing it for. Otherwise it wont take too long before a charismatic Space Marine leads them to greater acts of piracy and debauchery like with the Astral Claws. You need some wizened old figure who typically avoids making strategic decisions but who injects helpful advice and steps in if something is not either directly helpful or indirectly helpful to the Imperium.

Also whats the company's stance on marines running away from their chapter? I assume many who are outcasts are done so for legitimate reason. You are essentially collecting together the most defective yet still loyal space marines from each chapter.
What about geneseed? Do they just hoard it all in one giant collection or would they return it to its original chapter once harvested?
Chaplains, yes.

Now, runaways...
I'm not quite certain where the loyalty to the Free Company ranks in comparison to a regular marine's loyalty to their chapter, or even Deathwatch while they're joined.
Certainly, the last survivors or dishonored ones wouldn't plan on running, because they have nowhere left to run. But what about those who just lucked into being the last guy out of some disaster or merely had a bout of wander lust? I have no idea how loyalty works for those sorts? IS there a trial membership?

They're not an actual chapter per se, so I'd like to say they'd return it to their chapter, with help from the =][=.

And if they're a legitimate chapter they have to send a geneseed tithe back to terra as well.

The logistics wouldnt be too difficult. Im sure they have enough machinery on their rouge trader vessel to manufacture the basic stuff, maintain the advanced stuff and just trade with tech worlds for the rare components.

What makes me ponder is what % of the company are outcast renegades and what are the fresh recruits?

I think any long term survival strategy for taking in members who by all accounts had failed their chapter would require a very extensive testing process. Put them through vigorous test scenarios to see how they would respond.

I still find it hard to imagine other chapters would accept an existence of such foul 'cowards'. I doubt such a company could remain secret AND still attract recruits. Perhaps the chapter is used sort of like the Minotaurs by the Inquisition. Deathwatch is for aliens, Grey Knights against chaos, Minotaurs against other Space Marines and the Free Company for exploration? Excavations? Investigating corruption within the imperium?

This could answer the logistics and legitimacy question because the Inquisition keeps their status in limbo in exchange for services. And Space Marine Rogue Traders are a very nice niche tool to have.
Holy shit, this thread is still around. Checked it out last night, good job OP, this seems to be shaping up quite nicely.
They're not a chapter though, they'd be listed as a rogue trader house, not a chapter.
They'd use it to induct new members most likely.

Unless it could be proven that all gene seeds belong to the Imperium government, which would then imply that space marines in some way belong to them, which wouldn't go over well with most chapters.

But I must stress that the Free Company isn't a chapter, doesn't follow the same rules, and doesn't see itself as that, they're an independent group operating as a rogue trader dynasty.
And while they do work with the inquisition when it's appropriate, I feel it would be against the spirit of the concept to have them be the private strike force of some cabal of inquisitors.

That's about as far from free wheeling adventurers as you can get. They would have inquisitors they've worked with and like, and some they don't, but they wouldn't ever serve one for long periods of time like that.
I hope you don't mind, but I think that this story is best set in their very early days before they have their Writ of Trade. Since you said they consider themselves mercenaries hitching a ride on a rogue trader ship rather than having a ship of their own, so this would be before they were given the ship and the Writ as inheritance.
I'd say corruption's a fine target. A scenario nobody expects them to live through or something of the like. I remember someone mentioning Last Chancers, I think that might be a decent comparison, though the Free Company's bound less by an explosive collar and more by their own personal honor. And the =][=.

Perfectly fine. Either the start of a company or the start of THE company, it works fine.
Yeah sounds about right.

When they're at the Brethren of the Fringe stage a new company is usually formed when their numbers grow to the point when a single company could break into two, or if they're all generally numerous the captains might call for volunteers to band together from different companies and make a new Free Company.
Alfa Legion fag detected
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Kathen was back at the medbay when the Son returned in his armor.
"Ah, Orion had it fixed? Well, it's good enough your leg and armor's machine spirits seem to cooperate fine enough. Now I need to examine the rest of your vitals."
With a flick on a device mounted on his desk, he had a full analysis of the armor's systems and their readouts on the Son's vitals. "Well, it seems like everything is working perfectly as it should. I would still advise against putting you in the field. At least until you manage to heal that scar on you."
"Much appreciated, brother." The Son left the room and began his walk back to the deck to meet again with Ulfgard and Maritus. However, he found his way almost immediately barred by a marine with golden armor, worn by many years of use and covered in several decorations, most striking of which was an eyepatch, leaving only one...red...

"Your presence is requested by Inquisitor Artennes DuLoc of the Ordo Astartes." Brutal, direct, and to the point.
"Well, then...lead away. I submit to his authority."

The Inquisitor happened to be staying on the Osprey, as it was, and decided to seat himself among the deck that focused primarily on missionaries, thanks to a local deacon. Among the wing also was a Chaplain, serving as an aide to the Deacon in sermons.
The door at the furthest end of the wing was the Inquisitor's room. The visitor merely stood back while the Son was led to the door.

"So..." he noticed a spindly man upon the seat wearing plate that looked rather unnatural on him based on how huge it made him look. "You are the lone survivor of the Alait Incursion, yes?" The Son saluted him. "I am Inquisitor Artennes DuLoc of the Ordo Astartes. My purpose here is to supervise this rather...unusual lot you must have seen."

While I respect your quads, I...don't really see much alfa here. This is more a marine version of the Last Chancers/A-Team.
"Well. That was quite the ordeal, was it not?"

"It was indeed," Titus responded, his voice rumbling as he surveyed the dawn which he had recently had reason to fear he might never see. "And yet, through our labours, Graia sees another day."

The Inquisitor nodded - he had a name, but Titus had forgotten it; they had along the journey of their most recent ordeal encountered others who held the title, whose names still lingered in his mind, but as far as he was concerned, the man who had taken him into custody was simply 'The Inquisitor.'

"Those who doubted your loyalty or purity were fools," the Inquisitor said. Titus thought, perhaps, he should remain quiet, but decided for once not to. "Did you not doubt?"

The old inquisitor let out a quiet croaking sound, that Titus realized was a dry chuckle. "I... Verified. Had I truly doubted you, I would not have permitted you to board my transport armed and armored. Had I reason to believe without doubt that you were tainted, I would have ordered my guard to cut you down where you stood. But still, I felt it prudent to verify your loyalty and purity, as one of your own fellows had felt the likelihood of taint was sufficient enough to call to my attention."

Leandros. Titus felt as if he should, perhaps, have felt rage at the indirect mention of the young Space Marine, but he felt more annoyance and disappointment than anything. Titus simply nodded. "So, what now?"

"Well, that is a good question," the Inquisitor replied. He took from his belt a scroll, still sealed with the wax purity seal of Ultramar, handing it up to Titus. "I haven't read it, but I've been appraised of its gist," he he said in fairness, and Titus nodded.
A flick of his thumb popped the seal off, unfurled the scroll, and read. The first word was simply "Titus," which he felt didn't bode ill, and he quickly scanned the rest of the letter; in it, the missive, penned by the Chapter Master himself, detailed how the Marines of Ultramar were pleased to learn that Titus had been declared officially free of Chaos taint and loyal to the Imperium.

It also detailed how his continued habit of improvising and use of tactics not specifically prescribed by the Codex Astartes had grown to worry other members of the Chapter's command staff. After a Graia campaign and the suspicion cast upon him, his name had been officially struck from the Chapter's register, believing he would not survive the ordeals that proved his purity and loyalty, though not its history. The Ultramarines had already recruited more neophytes, however, to replace the losses of the Graia campaign, and were at strength.

Thus, the Chapter could not officially take him back as one of their own. The Chapter Master respectfully wished him victory and a glorious death in his future service to the Emperor.

Titus's eyes scanned over the missive again, silently. On his second pass, he realized there was a post-script, wherein the Chapter Master had added that, on a note Titus might find interesting, the actions of Battle-Brother Leandros in summoning Inquisitor Thrax - so that was his name - to investigate Titus were, themselves, out of line, and not supported by the Codex Astartes. He had been assigned to a penal legion, hopefully to win back favor through valor.

"So, what is to become of me, then," Titus asked, quietly, and the Inquisitor - Thrax - shrugged. "Well, you are no longer an Ultramarine. Yet despite that, you are neither heretic, nor traitor, nor are you dead, which is the traditional way one ceases to be a member of a Chapter of the Astartes. Legally speaking, that makes you simply Titus, an Imperial citizen and nothing more nor less."
Titus listened, stoic, wondering what that meant for his future. "Now, of course, I certainly can find room in my personal Retinue for a warrior of such loyalty and -" "No," Titus said, cutting Thrax off. "We have seen quite enough of one another, I believe it is time for our ways to part."

Thrax was quiet a moment, and nodded. "I understand. Of course, you can always report to the nearest Watch Captain. While they shouldn't ask, I can provide a scroll vouching for your purity and loyalty."

Titus remained silent, ruminating on Thrax's suggestion; going before a Watch Captain of the Deathwatch, the insignia of Ultramar stricken from his armor, petitioning for entry to the Deathwatch as a Space Marine without a chapter, shunned and expected to shun the company of all of his fellows until called upon for battle or wisdom (more likely the former than the latter,) and expected to be seeking only a battle in which to die, and until then to undertake any mission the Watch had for him, whether endless battles with xenos such as Tyranids - they would be a change, at least, from the seemingly endless green hordes of Orks he'd seen recently - or to take up a silent, lonesome vigil on some remote outpost.
That idea didn't suit him, either. Titus was not a Marine given to pride, or at least, he felt he had little in the way of prideful excess. Even so, it rankled him; he had been falsely accused of having truck with the Ruinous Powers, and had through investigation, examination, trial and ordeal proven his loyalty. Yet, he had been essentially declared redundant and unnecessary; not guilty of such a crime against the Imperium or his Chapter that only his death would serve as absolution, simply... Unwanted, his understanding of the Codex Astartes for what it was - an extremely valuable and useful tome of guidance and tactics, but ultimately not a replacement for a warrior's ability to analyse and adapt to changing circumstances - having made him somehow unwelcome amongst the Marines of Ultramar, but his deeds having made him too righteous to be victim of a summary execution.

The more he thought about it, the more he thought that, perhaps, the fate of a Black Shield was what the Chapter Master wanted for him - an anonymous enlistment, seeking only an anonymous death and, if he were lucky, a tomb in one of the Watch Stations, a warrior known but to the Emperor himself.

He pondered; had the command staff of the Chapter been so embarrassed by him, by the nervous accusation of a young Marine, by the fact that he had been taken by an Inquisitor instead of examined by a Chaplain of the Chapter, or by his victories with tactics not prescribed in the Codex, that they wanted him to die anonymously?

That thought upset and disturbed him, though he didn't let it show on his face. Was not victory over the forces of Chaos or teeming hordes of xenos, won with zeal and fury in the Emperor's name, its own justification, regardless of what minor breaches of Codex-suggested tactics took place?
"I require time to dwell upon this turn of fate," he declared, and Thrax nodded to him. "As you wish. My offers stand - or, if you find my presence understandably upsetting, I can ask if any of my colleagues would wish to have an Astartes join their retinue."

Titus nodded curtly, and turned, walking away, descending down ramps and mammoth staircases, from the high fortification. Throughout the halls and far below, the bodies of xenos were being dragged to incinerators, while masked and suited workers sprayed potent fungicides everywhere they had been present. He didn't consider himself too good to join in such work; after all, ensuring that Orks would not arise from the ground to trouble the world once more was the Emperor's work, menial though it might be, but his mind was working too hard considering the future to dedicate his attention to it, and he suspected rightly that his presence, in shining blue power armor with bolter and power sword at his hips, would upset and unnerve those he sought to labor beside, offsetting any assistance he might render by reducing their own working efficiency.

He walked, ignoring the startled gasps of surprise, identifying himself and asking only to pass when questioned about his intentions, considering the possible future fates: the anonymous life of a Black Shield, the fate of an exile not too disloyal to kill outright but whose presence was no longer even tolerable amongst his own chapter, did not appeal. Neither did the idea of joining the retinue of Inquisitor Thrax - though Thrax was both a capable Inquisitor and had acquitted himself with zeal, intelligence and valor in their latest battle for the fate of Graia, and together they were certainly a formidable team, he had spoken the truth when he declared that he felt it was time for his association with the Inquisitor to be over.
Of course, Thrax could legally *compel* him to Inquisitorial service, as he was, as Thrax had pointed out, just Titus now, no longer Captain Titus of the Ultramarines Second Company. If so compelled, his only options would be to comply, kill himself, kill Thrax, or flee. None of those were appealing, but of them, two were utterly unthinkable, and killing himself was an extreme measure Titus was not ready to pursue. He'd comply, even if it meant gritting his teeth for the remainder of his life.

Yet, somehow, he knew Thrax wouldn't do that; though the man was cold and calculating, as he'd evidenced by manipulating their recent battles to place Titus in situations where his loyalty and purity would be tested to the utmost, he was respectful and honorable in his own way. Titus considered the offer to recommend him to another Inquisitor instead; the last Ork uprising had given him a taste of what it was like to work alongside an Inquisitor; operating alone or in small groups with disparate allies of unique background but assured effectiveness, with access to Inquisitorial resources but expected to undertake risky or seemingly-suicidal missions, often with limited, bad, or no intelligence of what he was going into.

Not so different, really, from what he had been doing since he leapt from a Thunderhawk with only a knife, bolt pistol, jump pack, sergeant, and battle-brother, descending like a diving falcon to the deck of an Ork Kruzer.

How he wandered to the place he wandered, he didn't know, but he found himself high in a tower overlooking the city-sized factory known as the Ajakis Manufactorum, which constructed and repaired Warlord-class Titans.
He sat on a crenelation, drawing his legs up and crossing them - no simple feat in full armor - and peering at the factory, belching out smoke. The factory that had been the cause to deploy Ultramarines in the first place - the factory which had disgorged the mighty Warlord-class Titan whose fearsome cannon had shattered the orbital spire, helping to ruin the plans of the foul traitor.

The planet had a vast presence of the Adeptus Mechanicus; repair and resupply would be no challenge here, on a world with such an abundance of equipment suitable for Astartes that they literally installed pods containing random Astartes weapons designed to scan those who approached and offer their treasures to any Space Marine in need.

He considered the manufactorum; it was an important, vital, Imperial asset in its own right, and the rest of the planet was equally valuable. Protecting the forge-world seemed a worthy enough goal.

He could stay, he considered, appoint himself a protector of the planet. He doubted the Adeptus Mechanicus would object, and the Forgemaster's word and patronage would be enough to shield him from any displeased at the choice.

His reflections, however, were interrupted by a voice - female, strong and reserved, confident. "What are you doing here?"

Looking back, he saw the form of a friend he had made during the first Ork invasion that had devolved into a Chaos incursion - 2nd. Lt Miranda Nero, 203rd Cadian.

"I know not," he admitted. "I found myself here after I walked for a time in reverie." She grinned at him, climbing onto the crenelation next to his. "You wandered," she said, and he let the ghost of a smile cross his face. "I allowed the Emperor's will to guide my stride," he said, and she nodded.

"Fair enough," she responded, and he nodded back. "And what of you? With Graia now secure, what of your company?" Her face darkened, and she sighed.
"The Two-Oh-Three did well; real well, they say; in defending this rusted planet. But, what with the losses we took, especially among the command staff, they're deciding to rip it apart, assigning the troops to other companies and units to replenish their numbers, rather than rebuild us."

Titus frowned. "An ignominious and unjust decision," he declared, "especially in light of the exceptional valor and stalwart defence the soldiers of your company waged here twice."

Mira shrugged. "Yeah, well... Regs say that when rebuilding a unit that's been through what the two-oh-three's been through, all the surviving officers get bumped up, and the ranks below them get filled. Now, they might say that they don't want a mere second lieutenant promoted to running a whole company, but..."

She shrugged, leaving the question hanging, and Titus nodded. "You suspect they mistrust you because you are a woman." Mira nodded at him. "Yep. Is it too late to run off and join the Sisters of Battle?"

He couldn't restrain a chuckle at her quip, shaking his head. "I'm afraid it most likely is, at least for any Order I'm familiar with." Mira snorted. "Damn." "Besides," Titus said, continuing, "I don't think you love fire or collateral damage enough to fit in with most Orders of the Sisters of Battle."

It worked; Mira's demeanor cracked, she held one of her hands up to her face, laughing raucously, while Titus himself chuckled, shaking his head, and sighing. "I hope you will continue to acquit yourself as you have here on Graia." "Yeah... Hey, speaking of ignominious ends, I heard a rumor that you were, well, cashiered."

"Cashiered?" Titus considered; he hadn't been officially disgraced, which would have surely led to his being assigned to a penitent crusade. "Not exactly. Though I do wonder how you heard of it, I've been simply, well... Discarded."
"That's stupid," Mira declared, and Titus couldn't disagree. "I don't suppose there's a labor exchange for freshly mustered-out Space Marines. Can you apply to another Chapter or something like that?"

Titus took a turn to scratch his chin with an armored finger. "There is one known way to do something similar," he said, and briefly filled Mira in on the Deathwatch and the particulars of their notorious Black Shields. Mira listened quietly, and frowned. "That sounds almost like being assigned to a Penal Legion, but more like being a Penal Legionnaire in an otherwise prestigious unit."

"It is something akin to that," Titus agreed. "Space Marines don't have penal legions as such, but there are Penitent Crusades. A Marine who has committed some grievous sin against the Imperium, Emperor, or Chapter, but not grievous enough to mandate death, and who is contrite, will be assigned to such a crusade. Should they survive, they return to their Chapter a clean slate, often with a new name, with their past deeds, good and ill, expunged."

Mira nods. "Right. But they didn't, or couldn't, send you on one of those, but they decided for some reason not to bring you back... That they just... Didn't want you?" The former Captain of the Second Company of the Ultramarines nodded.

Miranda shook her head. "That's not right." Titus could only nod. "I had hoped that, of all in the Imperium, the Sons of Guilliman would rise above such... Pettiness. I can only conclude that they find my tale so embarrassing that they cannot stand the sight of me."
Mira nodded at him. "Right. And you can't go to some Chapter that isn't the Deathwatch?" Titus scratched his chin again. "I have never heard of a Space Marine who became... Unwanted by his own Chapter joining another. My entire situation is novel. Perhaps there is a Chapter who would allow me to do battle at their side, as an ally, without expecting me to shun them at all other times, but I do not know if I could ever find true acceptance as a battle-brother."

Miranda nodded to him, and sighed. "Maybe you should talk to those newcomers who landed today. They seem to have some experience working together with different Space Marines."

"Newcomers?" Titus turned to look at her, and she nodded. "Yeah. A Rogue Trader made orbit this morning, I watched them disembarking cargo. You know, it's funny, I didn't think anybody but Astartes flew Thunderhawks."

"To the best of my knowledge, Space Marines are the only who do," Titus said, his curiosity piqued, and Mira nodded. "Yeah, well, these guys do. The whole thing's got a red undercoat, with that blood-drop bird symbol that those few Marines from that one Chapter who dropped in to help late in the first war had."

"Blood Ravens," Titus noted, and she nodded. "Yeah, but the whole Thunderhawk's been painted in a riot of colors, the wings are all multi-colored feathers, the landing legs look like claws. You can just see the original colors under it all."

Titus turned to look at Mira, raising his eyebrow. She shrugged. "I suppose, maybe the Chapter made a gift of the Thunderhawk to the Rogue Trader. But that wouldn't explain why he's got so many Astartes working for him."

Titus again scratched his chin. "Astartes are not typically found working for a Rogue Trader... Though I suppose it's not entirely unthinkable, more likely one would be found temporarily assigned to the company of a Trader."
"Maybe. But this isn't one; it's ten. And they're all in different colors. Some of them have armor that's been painted strangely, too."

Titus looked down at her. "That... Is not usual." Mira nodded. "Which is why I came looking for you. I thought you would like to know, perhaps look into this."

An hour later, he and Mira stood on an overlook above a high plaza. As she had described, a Thunderhawk transporter, clearly having once belonged to the Blood Ravens but now painted - creatively, he would concede - in many colors, with a distinct raptor motif, was sitting in the plaza, now pressed into service as a landing pad, given the destruction which had been wrought upon most of Graia's landing infrastructure during the past two battles for the planet.

As Mira had promised, there were Space Marines about the platform, no two of them in similar colors. Only two of them were wearing colors of Chapters he was familiar with at all - a Space Wolf and a Blood Raven - whilst the rest either belonged to Chapters he was not familiar with - no small measure of obscura, as he was familiar with most known Space Marine Chapters - or, indeed, had armor which was so mishmashed or oddly-colored as to be unrecognizable as the heraldry of any Chapter at all. They seemed to be nine in number, not ten, though he supposed that the tenth member might have returned to the interior of the transport, or ventured away on Graia for some reason.

If not for the presence of the Space Wolf and the Blood Raven, he would most likely have arrived at the conclusion that the odd Astartes were Traitor Marines, but they seemed to be quite calmly speaking with a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus.

As he watched, Titus frowned, finding the odd and almost comical display unsettling. It was unlike anything he had ever seen - certainly, he had seen Space Marine fight alongside Space Marine from different chapters before, but such a group was unheard of.
"Titus? Is something... Wrong?" Titus glanced at his side, and saw Mira's hand draping over the hilt of her laspistol. None who were sane and familiar with her could fault her valor, he thought, and shook his head. "I do not know. I think I..."

A loud, metallic clomping heralded the return of the tenth Space Marine, and Titus peered down at him. He was girded in Mk. VII Aquila armor, with the Imperial Aquila rendered as a gold embossment stretched across his chest as it was across Titus's own, though wearing a Mk. VI Corvus helmet. The body of his armor chest and left leg was the matte black of the Deathwatch, while his right gauntlet and backpack was silver, and his left was gold. Strangest of all were his pauldrons and helmet, however; both of his pauldrons seemed to hold heraldry.

The left pauldron was painted black, with raised white trim, and it bore a golden feline head, snarling and tilted forward, as if striking. The right, however, was gold, trimmed in blue, with a blue feline head shadowed black, more vertically oriented, prouder, its mouth open as if roaring rather than lunging. The corvus helmet, in turn, was painted in orange and black, with the 'beak' of the helmet's orange lightening to yellow.

Titus reached down, laying his hand along the hilt of the bolter at his hip. Mira looked over at him. "Do I need to muster the men," she asked, quietly. It was, he thought, a note of her character - having been informed she'd be denied her due recognition as one of the vital heroes responsible for preserving Forge World Graia, when she saw him tense up her only reaction had been to ask if he required her to ready the soldiers she could still muster to battle.
"I don't know, not yet," he answered, quietly. "You see something amiss, though," she pointed out, and he nodded. "I do. That tenth Marine." Mira drew a pair of binoculars up from her neck, peering through them. "He's wearing two different, but similar, chapter's marks," she noted astutely. "Both gold cats."

"Yes, but it's the who of which chapters they are that concerns me. Although the colors appear to have been swapped, the lion-like head on his right pauldron is the heraldry of the Astral Claws. The lunging feline on his left shoulder is that of the Tiger Claws."

"I'm not familiar with them," Mira responded, and Titus nodded. "You wouldn't be; the records were purged long ago. I'm only familiar with them because the Scout Sergeant who trained me was familiar with them, and we came upon a tomb containing a Marine from both chapters, from millenia ago, during our training."

"Who were they," Mira asked, "Or is that something you don't want to tell me?" Titus was quiet for a moment. "It's... A story that should probably be told, as a cautionary tale, but those who are familiar with it prefer to bury it. Suffice to say that the Astral Claws grew too bold, saw themselves as rulers rather than protectors. The Tiger Claws were a second founding of the Astral Claws, who were wiped out before the Astral Claws turned coat, but some survivors emerged from the warp, and were believed to have been reabsorbed into their parent Chapter rather than see them founder."
"That doesn't sound so bad," Mira said, and Titus shrugged. "On the face of it, it isn't. But after that, the Astral Claws started to grow, violating the Codex Astartes' limitations on the number of Marines a chapter could have. I can understand the decision to absorb the lost Company or two; and simply suspend all recruitment until such time as the newly-overstrength Chapter was back to regulation numbers, or even to immediately begin preparation to make another Founding. But instead, they decided to grow unchecked."

Mira nodded at her. "And that's when things got bad, I take it." Titus nodded back, and Mira sighed. "So... Does that mean he's a traitor?" "I don't know," Titus answered, honestly. "To wear both insignia - I... I would advise caution, but I think this bears investigation before assault.

He took his hand from the hilt of his bolter, and Mira likewise released her grip on her pistol. "Are you going to talk to them, then," she asked, and Titus nodded. "I think I must. If something untowod happens, or if I fail to return, contact Inquisitor Thrax, tell him of what we've observed, and request he immediately mobilise forces."

Mira nodded curtly, as Titus descended to the plaza. As he approached, he noticed that the mismashed Space Marines looked up, nodded toward him, and went back to their business. Three of them - the Blood Raven first among them - were negotiating a trade of artifacts with a member of the Adeptus Mechanicus, while another three, with the Space Wolf in front, were discussing staple supplies with a number of what Titus presumed were mechants, administrators, or accountants, or possible some combination thereof.
A Space Marine whose armor plate was a splashed riot of colors, heavy on the green and red, as if someone had taken to splashing paint on it semi-randomly but preserved the black trim, held his hand up. Titus obligingly paused, meeting the Marine's gaze; he was wearing no helmet, and bore no campaign studs that would indicate centuries of service, but he looked weathered. "Hold, Astarte," he said. "Do you come in peace, or anger?"

"I come with questions," Titus answered, and the old one nodded to the Marine in the black-silver-gold armor. "About him? Your eyes have been focused on Brother Nemo." Titus nodded. "Yes."

"You have no right to-" "Be silent, Retriv," the Space Marine in the largely black armor said, putting his hand on the pauldron of the riotously-colored Marine. "I fear not the questions - or judgement - of the Marines of Ultramar. I will speak with him."

The Marine in the splattered armor inclined his head. "As you wish, brother." He clapped his gauntlet over that of the other Marine, and then stepped away, while the other Marine reached up, removing his helmet. He was weathered, with a trimmed black beard hugging his jawline, receding hair trimmed close to his head, and a scar along his cheek. Four campaign studs decorated his forehead; he bore a resemblance to Titus's fallen brother, Sidonus, and Titus wasn't sure if that made him more or less wary of the Space Marine.
"So, Ultramarine," he said. "Might I know the name of one who finds me so curious?" Frowning, Titus nodded. "I am called Titus," he said. He considered whether to tell the odd one that he was an Ultramarine no longer, but thought it prudent, for now, to allow him to arrive at an incorrect conclusion; if he meant trouble for Graia, the thought that the Ultramarines had a presence onworld might make him think again.

"Titus. I suppose you're wondering who we are, why we're so mismatched, and why, by the Emperor's name, I have heraldry reminiscent of two Damned chapters on my shoulders."

Titus nodded. "Those questions are presently forthright in mind," he conceded, and Nemo shrugged. "Very well. I see no reason to prevaricate. We are the Free Brothers - or Free Company, though we're much larger than a company at present, so a lot of the Brothers have taken to using the name Free Brothers. We look like Astartes - because we are - but we're no Chapter. In fact, we are a Rogue Trader house."

Titus blinked, and stared at Nemo. "Yes, I know," Nemo continued. "A Rogue Trader House made up of Space Marines? Impossible, you're thinking, but it isn't. It's a long story, one I'll share if you care to hear it, but the short of it is that we're composed of Space Marines who have no Chapter left to go back to, whose Chapter discarded us or abandoned us, who simply became lost or displaced, or who, for whatever reason, felt the need to exile themselves from their chapter but didn't feel like waiting for death as a Black Shield.
This would never work, these guys would be hunted down and killed on suspicion alone.
"What is...the cause of this setup, if I may ask?" the Son found the opportunity.
"This ship's battle-brothers are all forsaken types. Some who renounced their names, others who have been abandoned by their brothers, others still who are all that remain of their chapters." The Inquisitor stood upright. Not only did he seem incredibly skinny, but he was also not that tall either, really only tall enough just to reach the Son's chestplate. "I have no idea why Carlisle accepts all sorts of passengers, but having so many Astartes under one force, of course people will begin investigating. However, they are also a resource that need not be ignored so swiftly either."
The Son admitted, "With so many battle-brothers at the ready here, it can most certainly be an asset."
DuLoc snickered at this marine's awareness. "Indeed, indeed. Issue is that Carlisle, for all that I owe him, is...vapor-brained." A cock of the head signified the Son's confusion. "Ah, you must have not met him. Yes, he's prone to the stupidest flights of fancy at times, and bull-headed on always getting what he wants. Course, what do you expect from a son of nobility?" DuLoc sat down. ""While I can see this going somewhere, the issue is that there is no way they can possibly survive on this under a mere Writ of Trade. No, you all need another authority, one that has an actual presence."
"You seek to second us to yourself and your Ordo?"
DuLoc grimaced as he thought about the possibility. "Well, that makes me sound rather greedy, but...it sounds proper. Seconded to the Ordo Astartes for unquestioned service and an unmolested status as a...sort of Rogue Trader, yes." He took out a dataslate. "In fact... Of course! How did I not think of this before?"
"Had you not asked this to the others?"
"No, not yet." DuLoc stood up as he reviewed the provisions. "I needed ideas on how to keep this group controlled, disciplined. As a chamber militant of the Ordo Astartes, though..."
Titus nodded, again, absorbing what Nemo had told him. "And the Space Wolf? The Blood Raven? And more interestingly, the question of how they're tolerating one another." "Brothers Frostwolf and Colus. Both are proud of the Chapter in which their origins arose, but feel they can't return. Kind of an interesting story, really; distress call from an asteroid habitat, both Chapters, ignorant of the other's intentions, answered. An absolute Emperor's mess worth of xenos overrunning the place, turning corpses into monsters. Not Tyranids, don't know what they were. Anyway, the two of them wound up working together after they were separated from their squad, they had to overload a reactor and blow the entire habitat up; crashed on a wilderness planet in-system and survived for years together against the weather, wilds, and entirely different xenos. We rescued them when we stopped by the planet, and they decided to stick with us rather than go back to their chapters and admit they'd actually become friends with a member of the old rival."

Titus listened to the relation of the tale, nodding dourly. "I see. That is interesting," he said, not sure if he should believe a word. "And you?"

Nemo grinned. "It's a long tale. The short of it is that I was a Tiger Claw, aboard the Bakasurra when it went on its long journey through the Warp. After Vetala went missing, we were absorbed into the Astral Claws. Everything was fine, at first... Then the tyrant started reinforcing his grasp, and recruiting all-new Space Marines, while overstrength. I didn't like that; I argued against it. I felt it would be better to split us off again, make another Founding."

"The Tyrant disagreed," Titus noted, and Nemo nodded. "Yeah. But he couldn't just censure me, or kill me. Turning damn-near two whole Companies against you is a fast ticket to a fight you don't want to have, even when you're Lufgt Huron. So he got rid of me, by sending me to stand the Long Vigil."
Titus nodded, starting to have an inkling of what came next. "You were still with the Deathwatch when Badab War began." Nemo nodded. "That's right. In the wake of that mess, the Watch Captain came to me and suggested it would be prudent to remove the Astral Claws heraldry from my left shoulder. I knew what he meant, and he was right. So, I became a Black Shield, presenting myself as a Space Marine without a chapter for the formality. Then I was sent to stand a lonely vigil, at a Watch Station that it seemed as if everyone, save the Emperor himself, had forgotten about."

Titus nodded again, gravely. It seemed a fate he himself might wind up with. "So, how did you come from the Death Watch to... This," he said, nodding to the Thunderhawk.

"Well, after a few centuries, the Death Watch rediscovered the Station they'd left me to oversee. For the first time in hundreds of years, I wasn't the only Space Marine on the accursed planet. Oh, sure, they shunned me, as a Black Shield must be shunned, but it was nice to know I wasn't the only Astarte within lightyears. Then things went wrong, and I realized why I'd spent hundreds of years alone, aquainting myself with the hunting of local xenofauna, with nothing for company but a few stoic servitors, an old jetbike chariot, and a plasma bomb big enough to be used as part of an Exterminatus."

Titus frowned. "Necrons," he said, as the thoughts fit together in his mind, and Nemo nodded. "Necrons. The Watch Station was built on a Tomb World. The youngsters running around had ventured into a cave, stumbled through a broken wall, and found an endless legion of Necrons. Rather than do the smart thing and walk quietly away to start screaming for backup, they started shooting."
"Well, after a few centuries, the Death Watch rediscovered the Station they'd left me to oversee. For the first time in hundreds of years, I wasn't the only Space Marine on the accursed planet. Oh, sure, they shunned me, as a Black Shield must be shunned, but it was nice to know I wasn't the only Astarte within lightyears. Then things went wrong, and I realized why I'd spent hundreds of years alone, acquainting myself with the hunting of local xenofauna, with nothing for company but a few stoic servitors, an old jetbike chariot, and a plasma bomb big enough to be used as part of an Exterminatus."

Titus frowned. "Necrons," he said, as the thoughts fit together in his mind, and Nemo nodded. "Necrons. The Watch Station was built on a Tomb World. The youngsters running around had ventured into a cave, stumbled through a broken wall, and found an endless legion of Necrons. Rather than do the smart thing and walk quietly away to start screaming for backup, they started shooting."

Nemo shrugged. "Perhaps whomever first fell into the hole was startled by the fall, believed himself under attack, and the others followed his lead. What I do know is that they woke up the damn tomb, and managed to get off a distress call before they died. It made sense, then, and I loaded the bomb onto the back of the jetbike, armed it, and set off."

Titus nodded. "The only course of action," he said, and Nemo nodded. "It was. Against all odds, and probably largely thanks to the speed and agility of that jetbike, I managed to make it. I planted the bomb on top of a monolith in the middle of the tomb, still unpowered, and then... Well, I'm not sure. I was expecting to die, but I realized I had time; a precious few hundred seconds, perhaps. The necrons weren't going to be able to reach the bomb where I'd put it before it went off, and if they shot it, all they'd accomplish would have been to detonate it early. So I opened the throttle up and decided to be somewhere else as swiftly as possible."
Nodding at the old Space Marine, Titus drummed his fingers on his gauntlet. "Prudent. I would have done the same," he said, and Nemo nodded. "Everyone without a deathwish would, I would imagine. To die gloriously in the Emperor's name is nothing to be avoided, but to die pointlessly in his name is to spit in his face and waste his resources. So I left, got out of the cave, and continued leaving. I'd just passed the Watch Station itself, put it directly between me and the direction of the bomb, when it went off."

Nemo laughed, wryly. "When I woke up again, there was nothing but barren wasteland as far as the eye could see. The Watch Station itself was a burnt-out husk, but it was a tall, tall keep, and I survived, in its shadow. Just me, and a jetbike, no servitors, no astropath to call for help, not even so much as a beacon." He sighed.

"I'd been surviving off the land for centuries, so adjusting to it full-time wasn't so hard. At one point, a Deathwatch ship arrived in orbit, and sent a scout unit to examine the crater and the wrecked Watch Station. Unfortunately for me, I was a continent away at the time; even more unfortunately for me, I realized, only then, that the plasmaburst had fried my transmitters, both in my armor and on my jetbike. I could hear them communicating to one another; reporting the trace particles of necrodermis indicating a tomb had been located and destroyed, and traces of ceramite which indicated Space Marine dead. Even as I was pushing the jetbike to go faster, they were building a little shrine to our sacrifice, and left, declaring us dead heroes of the Deathwatch."
"I see," Titus said. "And so..." "Well, a few weeks later, I was back at the burnt-out Watch Station, looking at my own tomb. I was scribbling in the sand with a stick, trying to decide what epithet I wanted to add; it was actually a rather nice monument," he said. "Six black helmets bonded to the top of a plasma bomb carved from stone, atop a prone and crushed Tomb Lord - also stone, thankfully. I'd gotten around to adding names to the monument - took me a few weeks to teach myself stonecarving enough to even consider touching the monument - when the Osprey entered orbit."

"The Osprey?" "The lead ship in our flotilla," Nemo explained to Titus's question. "They sent down a shuttle to examine what was going on. Well, you can imagine that at first I thought they were Chaos Space Marines, so I did the smart thing; I hid, and watched. I watched them find the monument, decide what must have happened. Then I watched them take off their helmets, put their hands to their chests, and venerate our loyalty and dedication to the Emperor."

Titus listened on, as Nemo continued, "Well, after that, I decided to reveal myself to them. I told my story - all of it - and asked theirs. They told me, and asked me if I'd like to leave with them. Well, I looked back at the monument, with the name I'd had when I was with the Deathwatch already carved into it. So I called myself Nemo, and went with them."

Titus finally took in a breath, and nodded. "That is quite the tale." "Oh, it's a hell of a tale," Nemo agreed. "And, I'd wager, looking at you, you've got a hell of a story yourself, Marine of Ultramar." Titus nodded, quietly. "Yes, I do. Still - why take the icons of Chapters lost to time?"
Nemo laughed. "Quite frankly, I'm proud of where I came from, and sad at the loss. The Tiger Claws were innocent of wrongdoing, victims of circumstance. Integrating into our parent Chapter was the only option we had left after the Captain went missing and the High Lords of Terra decided to ignore our plight. And the Astral Claws, well..." He shrugged. "Lufgt Huron went mad with power, putting him down was the Emperor's work, but most of the Astral Claws I knew in my time with the Chapter weren't tyrannical madmen. I do believe that many of them, loyal servants of the Empire, died in pointless strife, caught between a madman to whom they owed obedience and the Imperium they were sworn to serve - unfortunately, sworn to serve it by obeying the orders of that madman. It is them that I honor, those who died with this symbol on their shoulder, not that of the Tyrant's Star," he said, looking to the pauldrons on his left and right shoulders. "That, and lions are quite nice, as symbols."

Titus snorted, softly. "I see," he said, nodding, and Nemo nodded back. "So, are you satisfied? Or are you going to feel the need to visit the judgement of Ultramar upon me?"

Titus considered it for a moment. "In truth, I am satisfied. If the Deathwatch considered you loyal, then so do I. But in any event, I am no fit agent to visit the judgement of Ultramar upon anyone."

It was Nemo's turn to raise an eyebrow, and he leaned forward. "Oh? Sounds like a hell of a tale. Share?"
Titus shrugged, and related, in brief, his story of being sent to defend Graia from Orks, then the unwelcome arrival of Chaos; of how he had fought on, and emerged victorious, but been taken by Thrax on suspicion of taint by the Ruinous Powers thanks to an exceptionally nervous young Space Marine. He related, then, his tale of being manipulated by Thrax, tested and examined, sent to strange worlds and given orders that seemed bizarre and insane, such as being told to prevail over dozens of Kroot with only a pistol, or to hunt cultists with only a knife. He told of how, in the end, his travels as a subject of the Inquisition had returned full-circle to Graia, to deal with yet another Ork uprising, battling side-by-side with the Inquisitor, and how his name had been cleared, but yet he had been told that he was no longer an Ultramarine, the Chapter wishing no more to do with him for his willingness to be flexible with the Codex and the suspicions cast upon him, although cleared.

Nemo laughed, shaking his head. "That's typical, isn't it?" He reached into a crate behind him, and pulled out two bottles, glass or some glasslike substance; the scarred, veteran Space Marine pulled out the corks with his teeth, spitting them aside and handing one to Titus. "Commiserations, then, for the blind ambitions of those at the top, always screwing over the loyal servants of the Emperor below them."

Titus blinked, looking down at the bottle he'd been handed; the scent of strong and rough amasec wafted from it. He looked back at Nemo, as the formerly-abandoned Marine held his up in toast, then downed a swift swig of the liquid within.

Why not, Titus thought, and downed a swig from his own bottle. The liquid tasted quite unpleasant, and burned going down, but he snorted in bemusement as he lowered the bottle.

"Tell me more about the Free Brothers," he asked Nemo, as they lowered their bottles. The old, scarred Space Marine laughed. "I had a feeling you might be interested, outcast."

Only the ones mislead by Luther. The others are regular traitors and desterters.
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"As a Chamber Militant, you could be afforded protection against prying eyes and be covered under our authority. Of course, I suppose this has to be under their consent."
"Would that be all, sir?"
DuLoc nodded. "Indeed. I see no reason to consider you tainted by any means. Of course, you could always consult with Chaplain Aritan if you wish on your way out."
"And the brother who led me here?"
"Ah, Levi? He is my personal bodyguard. A standing arrangement between me and the Golden Gryphons."

The Son was soon out and he decided to heed the Inquisitor's advice and attend a sermon. Of course, at the front of the pulpit was the Chaplain, clad in black, his helm in shining silver, as was his left pauldron.
The prayer and preaching had a calming effect on the Son as he was reminded of life within the Chapter. Again, he was reminded how far away he was from home. It was likely there was no way he'd reach there now. However, the thought was not a fear to him, more of a slight...unsettling thought.

"So, you are the survivor of Alait, yes?" the Chaplain met with him after sermon. "I am Chaplain Kassor, once a Tiger Argent, now...a shepherd of the lost here among von Houthen's crew. A more preferable end than the alternative if I must say."
"A fortunate turn of fate, I must say," the Son mused. "I am a Son of Antaeus."
"Antaeus, you say...?" Kassor mused as he latched his Crozius to his belt. "Rather far for you to be at Alait then. Where was your company?"
"Lost. The last engagement had daemons summoned. My captain gave his life to destroy the deadliest of them. In the end, I was the last person alive, though barely. I slew their leader, but at a cost." He stamped his foot to draw attention.
"A noble sacrifice indeed." Kassor began walking as the congregation began thinning out. "So I suppose that Inquisitor DuLoc has nothing to suspect if he is letting you about?"
Should they have some sort of Chapliancy corps to try and prevent this? No 100% success, as -nothing- is 100% immune to the lure of chaos,but something to stop them loosing a squad every decade.
Good heavens anon, this is looking fantastic!

I can't believe three writefriends have popped up because of this idea. I can't wait to see where this goes.
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We have some art, by the way.

Don't suppose anyone here can draw? I certainly can't.
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That's a great kitbash and a really awesome paint scheme.

The location of the sword is retarded, but works with the overall idea.

>Figure of legend

How about their captain, Orous of the Black blade (or something else, first name that came to mind)

The captain of the Free company has always remained a mystery, said to be immortal he has commanded the free company since it's inception after being granted the writ of trade by the rouge trader [Name redacted]

Many have claimed to have seen him struck down on the battle field, some claim to have slain him themselves, yet he has lead the free company for over (however many) years.

The Inquisition believe in a more likely explaination to the mystery of Cpt Orous, in that it is a title and identity granted and passed down from one marine to the next. However they see no reason to disprove the myth.

Dread Pirate Roberts commander...
Oh yes because an extremely wise and advanced post humans' first response to leaving a group of overtly religious, callous, incompetent,(High lords of terra) lunatics simply to join another group of the same (ie abbadon, the word bearers, world eaters.)
Things aren't black and white, just like in reality they are grey. Yes many defectors would go to chaos but each marine has a mind of his own to a certain degree and will come to their own decisions.
>Wise and advanced.

You get to pick two.
>40k canon lore states that all renegade Marines eventually turn to Chaos, one way or another

Special snowflake detected.
>40k canon lore states that all renegade Marines eventually turn to Chaos, one way or another
Does it?
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There are renegades and leftovers remaining in the Deathwatch. Many marines without direction seek them out as blackshields, or they're sent there as a disciplinary measure. It wouldn't be entirely against canon for outcast marines to form their own chapter of remnants, though special conditions would have to apply because so many renegades DO turn to Chaos, such as more intensive Inquisitorial screenings and a strict adherence to the Codex Astartes. Also, consider that Space Marines without a connected chapter might still make themselves useful as tools of the Inquisition and private servants of the Emperor, it's possible the chapter is kept around for just such a purpose.

My issue with it extends towards the name, "Free Company". It has a more positive connotation instead of integrating the directionlessness of not having a home chapter into it. Outcasts might be a better name, or Outcast Company, but Free implies danger, as freedom without the bonds of strict discipline, control, and duty results in bad things.
shut up satan
"Though..." The Son had to voice his suspicion "I feel as though I have become an impetus to something that will cause great calamity sometime in the future."
"Maybe," Kassor assured him. "The Emperor and the Inquisition work in mysterious ways. Needless to say that thinking about this is not something you should be worrying about."

However, that notion would prove to backfire on the Chaplain.
A week after the Son's arrival, there was already talk among the battle-brothers of the Osprey that the Inquisitor might arraign them for some other purpose. Most were either ambivalent or willing to join the Emperor's service again, but others, such as Ulfgard, feared that this would be a systematic culling. While the Son was neutral on the affair, he could not help but worry about Kathen, who he knew would be the first to be targeted if the rumors about his chapter going renegade were true.
On one particular day, he again found Levi entering the Apothecary's office to see Kathen leave just as swiftly with Levi tailing him.
Curiously, neither of the two really chose to do anything with the dark pursuer. Whether this was because they did not care or because they legitimately did not see him was a matter that would never be answered. All he could think of was what might possibly happen, how the Apothecary might act and how the Golden Gryphon might retaliate to his master's defense. So many possibilities, and yet nothing could be done about it. All he could do was wait and pray to the Emperor that the Apothecary would choose the proper choice.
In the midst of this prayer, he noticed the door open and Kathen departing.

I would not quite call then renegades. "Expendable Resources" is a more apt term.
How did your marines get exiled? AFAIK there would be nothing that would force a chapter to expel a member and not execute him.
>41st millenium

Well, there's already statues that send them into the Deathwatch.

The logic behind this one was to form a chapter composed of marines from scraps of leftover chapters that were destroyed, marines abandoned and had to claw their way back to the Imperium, or suicide squad members that survived and now have nowhere to go.
It could be any reason, and not just exiles. The original members were the lone survivors of a crusade battle, each from a different chapter who were left for dead for years after the battle ended. Eventually rescued by a rogue trader. A number of their members are from similar last stands, or people sent on suicide missions and decided to throw it the middle finger, or I imagine that in some chapters you could just tell your leader you feel the emperor calls you to seek your destiny among the stars and head off to do so.

And there's always blackshields who get tired of being treated like shit, the last remnants of a shattered chapter who don't like the idea of charging into the guns of the nearest enemy to commit suicide by ork, or any number of other reasons.
"Enter, Son of Antaeus," Inquisitor DuLoc bade from his room. The Son entered and took an open seat that was in front of Levi. "I must admit, I was not expecting you to be here already. No matter, this should not take long. See, I managed to contact my Lord from the Ordo Astartes with details on my proposal, and imagine my shock when he not only approved the plan but also placed me in charge of the whole affair! I must say, I am ecstatic at the idea! Of course, for this to work, though, I will be needing applicants."
"So you seek me as an assistant to your plan?"
"Indeed. So, what of it?" The Son stared dead at the Inquisitor as he attempted to calculate the entire idea. That he is the one responsible for all this, the possibility that he might be one of those culled because of his own unintentional words. "Ah, it need not be immediate. We still have about two weeks before we enter the nearest planet where I can convene with my peers over this. I just wish for you to consider the possibility. The lot of you have nowhere to go, so what better place than where you can still be of use?"

The thought did little to help the Son in making his decision. As he returned to the mess hall to debate the idea, there was so much he had to consider as he thought about the possibilities. He had no idea what his Chapter said of him, no idea if they even thought of him as dead. Even more concerning was the possibility that the choice was merely an illusion. After all, it wasn't difficult to assume that the Inquisitor did know about the Sons of Antaeus being of the Cursed Founding and their genetic curse. Perhaps DuLoc might sanction some "unfortunate accidents" just to keep him in line.
Maritus noticed the Son's turmoil. "Still considering his offer?"
"Yes. It is...not as simple as I thought. I had thought that I had my answer, but the fears spread about here make it...difficult for me to gauge my value."
>no peg legs
So no iron fist Marines?
>This program. Takes a bit of practice tho. It's in Russian.
I just translated most of it in notepad. Some of the translations are pretty rough and don't seem to actually do anything but it works.
"Same as most of us, then," Maritus understood the worry. "That affair Ulfgard told you about the Kroot? That was about two years ago. Since then we've been sitting, waiting, and shepherding these pilgrims from some overzealous idiot with a cyclonic torpedo and trying to get them a free planet. Good news is that the next planet we should be stopping at should be the place Sir von Houthen agreed to. After that, we can most certainly get ourselves back to the altar of war."
"And this does not...concern you?"
The Black Consul exhaled. "Initially, perhaps. After all, when your chapter is no more, the first thing they say is that you must go on and fight the Emperor's enemies to the very last, in hopes of joining your brothers in glory. However, these people...they do not have that sort of honor. Most of them, they will die, and they will die unremembered, incapable of even accomplishing the feats we take for granted. It is those sorts of thoughts that make you reconsider so eagerly selling your life just for posthumous glory."
"So what are we to do?"
"What we do, we dedicate so that no one else may have to suffer that same fate." Maritus seemed spirited in his answer. "If we will fight as DuLoc's force, we have to do so in order to honor those precious lives that cannot fight alongside us." A pause. "At least, that is how I view things. Perhaps you might view it differently."
The Son nodded, "I appreciate your input, brother."

The two weeks came and went, and the Osprey finally made land at the lush agri-world of Obsaine, which had finally been cleaned of a major Ork infestation. Thanks to Rogue Trader von Houthen's dealings, the migrants on board could finally use this world to live in and help regrow.
Or course, it was also time that DuLoc called forth those brothers who wished to serve the Emperor in a way that few would ever do within the Chapter.
Among those that came with the Inquisitor was the Son of Antaeus. Similarly, he saw Maritus, Orion, and Kassor alongside him as well. However, there was one missing: Kathen.
He saw the Apothecary enter the docking bay, but he merely stood by the side of the Thunderhawk's landing ramp.

"Brother, what are you doing there?" the Son asked. "If you wish to join us, then there is more than enough room for you."
"No, my role is not here. I am...not like you. I have no honor left for me."
"I refuse to believe that this is why you are out there. You must be looking for something if you are here."
Kathen looked onward. "Maybe, but I am unworthy of it."
"No man who believes in the Emperor is unworthy!"
"And what proof have you?"
"The reason we are all alive is because the Emperor has a goal in mind for all of us!" The Son's shouting shocked the others on board. "To throw away that gift because of some imagined flaw instead of fighting that flaw...that is a sin even graver than whatever sin you committed!"
"Even if I told you that I murdered brothers?"
"What difference does that make?" The Son flat-out ignored the question. "The difference lies in what you choose now, and I know i my hearts that if you ignore this chance, you will never find anything like it again and live the rest of your life a bitter husk of an Astartes, always eaten up by this guilt!" The air froze still as everyone awaited an answer. "Now answer me, what sort of an Astartes are you?"

One second turned to ten. Ten turned to twenty. Nobody knew just what was going to happen.

"What does this make you?"
The Son of Antaeus wasted no time thinking. "I serve the Emperor before all else. If this is where he wants me, then I will serve."
The survivor of Badab chuckled darkly. "If only I had that enthusiasm you have. All I am now is just a reminder of what just might happen if one falls too far in."
But what does that have to do with Space Marines, who are the definition of wind-up indoctrinated, brainwashed shock troops?
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The Apothecary stepped forward. "Then I have no choice, do I? Before anything else, I desire to find that day where I can look at myself in the mirror and not be disgusted by the blood on my hands."

So it was that the first of the Brothers of the Edge left to form. Each of the brothers who joined, they would each serve vital roles in this new organization's nascence under Inquisitor DuLoc's supervision. Techmarine Orion would prove vital in helping these Brothers gather vital resources including an independent fleet and a new armory. Apothecary Kathen's medical acumen would be vital in keping each brother alive and ensuring that any that ever fell would do so with the highest honor.
Chaplain Kassor's rhetoric would serve to inspire these brothers to fight to the last and guide each one to the righteous path of selfless sacrifice, guided by the words of Captain Maritus.
As for the Son of Antaeus, who rechristened himself merely Antagonaeus, he would become the most renowned of leaders, his reserved demeanor serving to make him a fair leader and an observant tactician.

Even Ulfgard, who was also absent from the shuttle that day, would prove to aid the Brothers of the Edge, as he regaled to his brothers on Fenris about the organization. Word has it that at some point, the Brothers of the Edge were saved by a nearby Great Company under the feared Bran Redmaw, clued in from a certain Wolf Guard about the goals of these supposedly dead warriors.

These tales are the beginnings of a great many more.
These tales are of the Brothers of the Edge, those Battle-Brothers thought forsaken or dead, outcast or merely forgotten. They now fight battles thought lost causes, likely to die, but each of them know that they die so that others who are unable to fight may be spared the same fate.

>pic unrelated. It just looks pimping.
These are the sorts of suspicions that claim the minds of the average citizen. Of course, how is a battle-brother to understand this unless they walked along that very edge themselves and prevailed against that temptation?

Perhaps some do have issues with the structure and bureaucracy of the chapter and Imperium at large, but that does not actively imply heresy. The Brothers of the Edge, their goal is to protect those thought forsaken, those often ignored by the big-boy warfare. They fight those wars that would be considered death missions because nobody else would, because otherwise it would cost far more lives. They never expect to live, but they expect that someone else will.

That is why they fight.
>refuse to follow orders

Top kek.

They would be massacred fighting against any even somewhat coherent force. Even Orks are smart enough to figure out that a chain of command is required to engage the enemy effectively.
I like the idea but it conflicts with apt of established lore.

For example, space marines are conditioned excessively to obey tier commanders and to be good soldiers, this is done to the nth degree I'd find it I fathomable for them to get to the point where they want to go without a command structure.

Likewise, the chapters treat their geneseed as almost holy, they wouldn't allow someone to leave with it AND then let someone else harvest it for repurposing. Besides the amount of secrets and shit that some chapters are keeping.

On a logistical side, if they don't have funding or a base of operations they would need to loot imperial forces or renegade forces (which is probably tainted).

Again, cool idea though, 40k Super A-Team is definitately a death watch game id play.
The first two are down right heretical.

I'm not sure blackshirlds can "leave" which means if they can't but do, they too are heretical. Last one is kinda cowardly, which might also be heretical.
>They would be massacred
Like the Americans right?
There's a way to explain some of these...

>Marine who's squad was destroyed and couldn't face going home due to grief.
True, grief is a bit much, but I don't see it as heretical. If he's thought dead, maybe he's doing this in memoriam of those brothers he's lost. Or to regain lost honor. After all, that's how Bloodquest went.

>Marine who's gone rogue after being ordered to do something he thought was evil, refused to do it and went AWOL.
Even if it's in the case of someone who breaks off from the Astral Claws because they realize Huron's a nutjob? A breakaway from a freshly renegade chapter who realizes what's wrong with his group and seeks good God-Emperor-worshipping folk to listen to? True this is a bit vague at face value, but it's doable.

>Deathwatch Blackshield who's sick of being considered an ominous loner freak, requests to be let out after many years of service and joins up with some people who will actually like him.
This, there's no way I can rationalize. I'd probably see something similar though. A lone marine who's completely markless joining because he seeks brotherhood again in the Emperor's service because he's forgotten what his chapter is.

>Someone who's chapter has been obliterated and decides to join someone new rather than going the usual 'charge to an honorable but likely pointless death' route.
Only one that's unanimously agreed on.
At the same time I haven't ever seen anything that says blackshields can't leave.

Their service is completely voluntary as is anyone's, nobody gets ordered by the deathwatch to be in the deathwatch, you just have to fulfill your term of service once you join, and you can keep signing up for it.

So I think it's possible for a blackshield to come to the inquisitor he works for and figure out a time to end his service after so many years, like anybody else.

It's not normally done because it's understood they have no place to go back to, but I don't think there's a rule against it.

That sounds good, a loyalist bugging out from a chapter gone heretic is something I didn't think of earlier. I was thinking something along the lines of the marines malevolent or iron hands who doesn't want to execute civilians just because his commander is spiteful.

Iron Hands once murdered a full third of a planetary population because their commander didn't like them.
Honestly, as big as WH40K is, there's plenty of room for a Rogue Trader House made up primarily (or at least politically controlled by) breakaway Space Marines; the outcasts, the lone or few survivors of calamitous engagements who have nowhere to go back to, those who broke away from their Chapters when they saw said Chapters going heretical or renegade or just plain nuts.

A Warrant of Trade excuses a great, great many sins, as long as they're ultimately working in the Imperium's interest, and it gives them license to travel anywhere, appear in any story or battle they need to be in.
I'm trying to decide on a color scheme for Captain Roberts.

I keep coming back to purple, and his wargear is an arm mounted bolter like the Angelus, a power axe, and he has an iron halo and a teleporter rig on his backpack.

Free Company is a rogue trader house so they often get their hands on nice gear for the more experienced members, either finding it on their forays into uncharted space or buying/commissioning it from techpriests.
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Might as well give this a few throws. The randomness does make it a bitch to find a proper fit though.
>cabals plan is to kill every human to eliminate chaos
>save human race
did anyone actually read "legion" or do they derive their alpha legion knowledge from /tg/?
Yeah, too bad it's impossible to just chose your gear, I don't see why that's not an option.

Besides the kind of decoration and stuff they use isn't an option in there anyway, less devotional scripts and skulls and more gems and pendants.
(Damn you people are making me look bad with all this writing.)

Roberts chuckled at the sight, walking over to one of his marines sitting in a corner booth with a pair of women fawning over him and a table covered in empty bottles.

"Enjoying yourself?" He asked with a quirked brow.

"Captain." Tobias said with a nod of acknowledgement, hiding his irritation that his commander had come and found him while he was 'entertaining'.

Roberts pretended not to notice as he sat down. "The astropaths have received a new message, the situation has become more complicated.

"Oh? What's gone wrong now?" asked the other marine, shifting slightly with the girls looking awkwardly put out by being suddenly caught in a briefing.

Hiding his amusement at the situation, Roberts pushed on with the obstinate stubbornness of a bull Grox. "Yes, it seems we're dealing with Eldar raiders, they were hitting supply shipments to weaken planetary defenses before their attack, there's a full planetary invasion now, whole nine yards."

"Eldar eh, sounds tricky, we might run into some trouble on the way into the system, they've probably got ambushes ready in case of reinforcements."

"Indeed, but this is a fast ship and nobody knows we're coming, so they won't be able to know our exit point, we should make it to orbit fine. I just thought you should know this turned from a trade mission into a full on firefight."

Tobias grunted noncommittally. "Nothing we haven't seen before, I take it we're pulling another hot drop?"

"That's why I thought I'd inform you, check your jump packs and be ready, we'll need you to clear the landing zone." He said, pretending to check the time and rising. "I'm sure your marines will be delighted.

Tobias chuckled, hot drops were their specialty. "I'll make sure they're ready." The marine said, seemingly very relived as Roberts turned to go. "Now, where were we." He said, pulling the giggling young ladies into his broad lap.
I suppose everybody is off hung over or something, it seems to be the season.
Well, I kinda finished with mine. Not sure where the guy with the Caliban went.
Which one were you?
The Son of Antaeus.
Ah, good read.

One nitpick, it's Brethren of the Fringe, not Edge. As Fringe is an actual place in the galaxy and Edge is inviting shitty edgelord jokes.

That was quite a nice little fic though, good snapshot of their early days. Nicely done.
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also faggotry
Bump hope to see more writing done, the Titus dump was awesome.

I hope you plan to continue that anon.

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