"The stability of this hive is imperative to the stability of the Calixis Sector. The Adeptus Arbites will maintain control and restore this city to the gleaming beacon of order that it once was."
–Lord Marshal Goreman
Deep within the Calixis Sector, buried in the Malfian Sub-sector, lies the Landunder System. The core world, Landunder, houses some of the most unusual hive construction in the sector, with the majority of hive cities hanging submerged and suspended underneath giant tectonic plates which float on an ocean of chemicals. Beautiful and bizarre as these cities may be, none are as anomalous as Hive Subrique. Subrique is a small continent unto itself, with the bulk of the giant island descending almost to the very bottom of the chemical ocean. What really makes the hive unique on Landunder, however, are the spires that rise from the surface, stabbing up into the sky. With the relatively flat features of the land masses, this makes the Upper-spires of Subrique the highest elevation on the planet. More interesting, however, is the great mass that is the underhive. Made up of equal parts cavernous rock and forgotten architecture, the Down-Spire of Subrique holds many secrets in its labyrinth.
Hive Subrique has entered troubled times. Eighty percent of the population has been tithed to feed the Margin Crusade, this diaspora leaving the hive bleak and empty. Only those quick, wealthy, or clever enough avoided the draft gangs and a fate far off in the stars. A powerful Rogue Trader vessel looms high above, warding off all, be they predator or savior. The hive government is dead, executed by the Adeptus Arbites, who have seized control of the city. The remaining nobility hides high in the spires, struggling to maintain their stature or aspiring to fill the void in power, even while the hive crumbles around them. The Arbitrators enforce Imperial law and hammer down on all threats to order, while most of the hive below sea level belongs to the gangs of Subrique.
Throughout the sector, when asked of Landunder, many believe Subrique to be the central hive that rules over the rest of the minor cities. They may be correct in this assessment. Subrique drifts around the planetary equator of Landunder. Massive archeotech turbines keep the hive mobile, allowing it to navigate through the ocean and around the continents. Normally, these systems require no less than twenty-five thousand crew for operations; since the draft ships came, through, they have been operating at half capacity. This has led to several close calls, with the hive taking minor structural damage on more than one occasion.
Hive Subrique is the largest of the hives of Landunder, with a total mass of three times that of the standard planetary hives. From sea level, the highest point of the spires is over fifteen hundred meters up. While enormous in scope, it should be noted that the spires above water comprise only one-fifth of the total area that makes up the hive. Below the surface, it reaches depths of well over five kilometers. At the base, Subrique is twelve kilometers at the widest point, and eight kilometers at the narrowest. The submerged bulk of the city is surrounded by the same natural rock that makes up the floating tectonics. From a simple examination, it would appear that a city was built upon the smallest of these earthen plates, and that the constructors of the hive simply built downward, into the island.
More thorough study has revealed, however, that Subrique has always been complete, and that all of the stone in and around it has accrued over the millennia. Furthermore, it appears this is an intentional effect; the archeotech generators which power the turbines also produce an electrodynamic field that attracts the heavier elements out of the chemical ocean and calcifies them into the artificial landmass that makes up the outer shell of Subrique. This also serves to purify much of the water immediately surrounding the hive, making reclamation for life support all the easier. As an added benefit, the calcified stone mass is both tough and buoyant, allowing the hive to conserve power that would otherwise be used to keep the city from bobbing in the sea. Since the draft came through, it was hoped that this floatation effect would mean the generators could be used less, thus allowing the enginseers who pilot the city to work less strenuously. It seems, however, that when the generators are not running the acidic nature of the chemical ocean begins to eat at the mass of compacted minerals that make up Subrique's landmass. This means that these poor souls get very little rest, and more than once fatigue has led to near-disaster.
Much of the history of Subrique is shrouded in mystery and legend. While the hive-city is clearly of Imperial design, even the most seasoned Cultists of Mars admit to having never seen anything like quite like it. Much of the interior has the appearance of the bulkheads of a starship, as opposed to a manufactured hive-city, leading many Explorators to believe that Subrique may be the remnants of a crashed vessel. In the depths of the Down-Spire, there are legends that the propulsion systems still work, and that Subrique is repairing itself. They say that, one day, the city will take its place among the stars once more. Regardless of these legends, most of the history of Subrique that is certain has only taken place since Lord Militant Angevin conquered the sector. During this period, the sector was awash with fortune-seekers, pirate captains, and Rogue Traders. Among them, notably, was the Zanatov Dynasty.
Archduke Renald Savatt became the first Lord Executor of Hive Subrique shortly after the colonisation of Landunder during the Great Founding of 450.M39. The Archduke was appointed by Drusus himself and given a specific set of directives by which he and his hereditary line should rule: The Legacy Charter. While the details of these directives have never been made public, and are believed to now be lost to the ages, it is known that the Archduke and successive Lord Executors have made Subrique quite prosperous over the millennia. Savvy business acumen, combined with a natural aptitude for leadership, have ensured that the other hives of Landunder always turn to the Lord Executor of Subrique when it comes to planetary policy in all matters, from governance to trade.
When the most recent Lord Executor came into power, Logan Savatt, it was believed that Landunder was at the cusp of a new golden age of prosperity. This especially seemed true when Corsair-Captain Tarian Zanatov, recently returned from the Koronus Expanse, entered orbit in his battleship, the Righteous Indignation, and requested a private audience with the Executor. This encounter resulted in Zanatov gaining exclusive barter rights on behalf of the planet, allowing the Rogue Trader to negotiate all transactions for the resources of Landunder. The output of Hive Subrique increased by ten percent within the first year; the profitability of the hive increased threefold. Productivity, morale, and income all increased significantly, and it appeared that the forecasts were all correct---a new golden age was upon Subrique.
Then came the Margin Crusade. When the Departmento Munitorum draft ships arrived at Landunder, they demanded eighty-eight of every one thousand citizens from each hive-city on the planet. Corsair-Captain Zanatov, viewing the inhabitants of the planet as a resource and, therefore, his to barter, stepped in to negotiate on behalf of the Lord Executor. The people of Hive Subrique held a parade in honor of Zanatov for every day he remained in negotiation, six in all. After all, if he could strike a bargain with the military that was even half as beneficial to them as he did with their trade partners, it would be possible that very few of them would have to go off to the front. On the seventh day, Zanatov was supposed to bring the news of the deal he had struck. In his place came draft teams---tens of thousands of teams from every Munitorum ship in orbit, all descending upon Hive Subrique alone. The deal Zanatov had negotiated was that, instead of eighty-eight out of every thousand citizens from each hive, the Departmento Munitorum could claim seven hundred ninety-two for every thousand from Subrique, alone. The other hive-cities would remain untouched.
For nearly a full year, the draft teams hunted for recruits to fill their quotas throughout the hive. In the upper-spire, the nobility that could afford to pay people from other hives to immigrate to Subrique and take their place did so. In the Down-Spire, the gangs knew all of the best places to hide, all of the labyrinthine tunnels that ensured they would never be found. As a result, the bulk of the draftees came from the middle-spire: factory workers, shopkeeps, hive operators and the like. Of course, many came from other areas. Some Down-Spire residents were too destitute to live higher up, yet too moral to join up with any of the gangs. Likewise, some of the nobility from the upper-spire lacked the skill, drive, or connections to make it as an officer, but still wanted to serve the Emperor in battle. Soon enough, the population had been reduced from almost twenty-three million to just under five million.
The results were devastating. Trade shut down due to lack of both business and employees. Water purification plants could not produce, causing outbreaks of disease. The cyber-mastiff manufactorums could not operate, nor could the mineral farms that provided so much of the wealth of Subrique. Within a few short months, the hive was destitute. For reasons unknown, Zanatov was in near-orbit over the hive-city, threatening to fire on any ship attempting to enter Subrique for any reason, including those bringing immigrants to Subrique. Lord Executor Savatt sent many astropathic transmissions, begging to anyone and everyone for aid. Ecclesiarchy ships brought millions of ration packs, which they traded to Subrique in exchange for a promise that they would make their annual tithe. Savatt agreed, despite the unlikely nature of this goal. For his part, Zanatov would not interfere with the delivery of aid from any source, so long as it did not include manpower. In fact, he would frequently deliver goods to individual hivers who could pay, and he would even, on occasion, make a charitable donation of his own to the people of Subrique. For example, when one of the larger continents was drifting along the equatorial line, enginseers had to pilot the hive-city far north to avoid it. This left the hive exposed to an unacceptable level of cold, for which the hivers were unprepared. Zanatov spent a small fortune to provide them thermal life-support units and blankets. At the same time, it is well known that the Rogue Trader has supplied weapons to the most violent of gangs.
During the worst of these times, a form of semi-institutionalized slavery became prominent; for example, gangs would kidnap a few of the turbine enginseers, then "ransom" them to their supervisors each morning. Eventually, the gangs would grow more bold, kidnapping the supervisors and renting them out to their managers, then grabbing the managers and selling them back to the project foreman. Once in a while, they would kidnap the foreman, who could only be ransomed back to the Lord Executor. Hesitant though he may be to turn to Zanatov for anything at all, Savatt would occasionally need the Rogue Trader's militia to restore temporary order. Shuttles would land, filled with the private armies of Zanatov. They would hassle any gangs they could find, return any stolen people they could barter for, and leave, just as quickly as they had arrived.
Soon thereafter, several new ships come in orbit over Landunder. The Adeptus Arbites had arrived, in force. They were responding to the decline in production of the cyber-mastiff manufactorium, as well as rumors that the planetary government had broken down. The Arbites were welcomed into the upper-spire by Lord Executor Savatt. They repaid the Executor’s graciousness and hospitality with a thorough interrogation, followed by a swift execution. Savatt’s advisors soon followed, as did the leaders of the eight other hive-cities, but the executions ended there. Lord Marshal Goreman, though he never set foot on Landunder, personally contacted Rogue Trader Zanatov, seeking an answer as to why he had set the hive up to fall so far. While it is unknown what was said, the Righteous Indignation continues its vigil in close orbit.
This area of the hive-city sits atop the middle-hive and extends upward into the sulphurous clouds of Landunder. Once the home of all nobility in Subrique, the bulk of these high-rises now serve as the staging area for the Arbitrators in their war against the multitude of gangs below. This zone is, without doubt, the smallest of the three major sections of control throughout Subrique. The upper-spire is considered "safe", as the Arbites have almost complete control here and there is next to no direct gang activity. Judge Marshal Gravus holds command of all Arbitrators on-planet from this area, despite Administratum Command being the official headquarters of the Adeptus Arbites. Some of the men are displeased with this, but no official complaints have been filed. Since the arrival of the Arbitrators, life for the nobility has almost returned to normal. Music is played throughout the spire. Parties are being thrown, though no one outside of the hive can attend, which means that no one outside of the upper-spire attends. A certain amount of culture is resurfacing. This is not to say the nobles do not take a great many precautions, and much of the nobility is so encased by their private security forces that the Arbitrators only see them by appointment.
Unlike many other hive-cities in the Calixis Sector, the top of the spire of Subrique is not considered the most desirable area for nobility to live, requiring a great deal of maintenance due to its proximity to the sulphuric gas that makes up most of the stratosphere, which slowly dissolves the outer walling of the upper-spire. In fact, the midsection of the Upper-spire has a superior view through the plasticrete observation windows. During sunset, along the equator, the sunlight cascades across the chemical ocean to produce a myriad of rainbow effects considered so beautiful they say men have been driven mad by the sight. Lord Executor Logan Savatt kept his main living quarters here before his execution. A great deal of property in this zone has opened up, though the Lord Executor’s quarters were taken by Judge Marshal Gravus. He hosts many parties for the nobility here, both as a means of displaying his command and demonstrating how safe the upper-spire is. Corsair-Captain Zanatov has been spotted here often, and it is believed that he has taken a role in attempting to soften the image of the Judge Marshal.
The Judge Marshal seems to believe that the Arbites will be more successful if the nobility feels there is no danger to their homes. After all, were it not safe, would he choose to reside here, instead of behind the heavy fortifications of Administratum Command? Of course, he still maintains a heavy layer of Arbites-run protection and private security inside of the most secure apartments of what was already the safest area of the entire hive. This is not lost on a portion of the nobility that believes the Adeptus Arbites should have simply appointed a new noble to rule the hive, then departed. However, even as this group conspires to undermine the efforts of the Arbitrators to restore order, all of those involved in this 'Grey Chamber,' as they are known, can be seen at every Zanatov-sponsored event. Still, the danger this group poses remains quite clear and Gravus has them monitored with great scrutiny.
Judge Marshal Gravus has a reputation as a stern and competent leader, but it is well known that he is having some trouble executing his duties, partly because Zanatov is ordering him to hold the collective hand of the nobility. What is less well known is that he has taken a mistress on-planet. Some nobles have begun to whisper that the Rogue Trader set this relationship in motion, perhaps in order to gain something to hold over the head of Gravus. Others believe the mistress may work for another group altogether.
There is much concern as to whether Corsair-Captain Zanatov will seize control of Subrique. Some of the nobility, educated in such things, say that he has all hereditary right to do so, while others claim that there is no existing proof that his ancestry had anything to do with the founding of the hive, only circumstantial evidence; and that if he were to take command, it would constitute an act of treason against the Imperium. The Rogue Trader himself has expressed no interest in hive governance whatsoever.
The Grey Chamber, in an effort to show that Arbitrators and Enforcers are not the key to controlling Subrique, have been supplying weapons to the Antilaws. They do so through indirect channels, as the gang would never accept any kind of gift from RuFAs, but everyone knows where their equipment comes from. Some of these Grey Chamber nobles have attended the parties that Gravus has been hosting. When one Dorian Verulius, a known member of the Grey Chamber, arrived at one of these events, nine men had to hold the Judge Marshal back from arresting, or possibly killing, him. Zanatov, it is rumored, explained to Gravus that killing Verulius would not send the correct message to the nobility, whatever that message may be.
The Middle-Hive of Subrique is an area of the city consisting of all operations, manufacturing, and services. Although "Middle-Hive" refers to the floor of the hive-city that is at sea level, the first several levels either up or down all belong to the Middle-Hive as well. It is also worth noting that the actual 'middle' of the hive is several kilometers below the surface of the chemical ocean. This area has hab-domes where farmers once tended to exotic fruits and grains kept fresh for purchase by the nobility above. Most leisure parks are in this zone, as well, and children at play used to be a common sight here. The Middle-Hive was divided into five sections, presumably by civil planning adepts, thousands of years ago.
Beyond these ancient divisions, one major feature to the Middle-Hive has been added over the centuries. Fearful of the growing mass of the underhive, the Master Enginseer for Subrique ordered a major undertaking that would, in theory, save a great amount of the hive should the unthinkable happen and the city begin to sink. In the event that the Down-Spire becomes too burdensome for the rest of the city, gigantic blast doors will slam shut, sealing off the lower city, whilst well-placed explosives will detonate, separating the turbine system from the lower bulkheads. This would, in effect, completely separate the underhive from the rest of Subrique, leaving the Middle-Hive free to pilot away while the Down-Spire sinks into the chemical ocean. While the separation explosives systems have clearly never been used, the blast doors have been employed on a number of occasions of civil unrest to protect vital systems and noble citizens from the random destructiveness of the common man.
With the success that Subrique has enjoyed with the cyber -mastiff, it only seemed reasonable to try engineering cyber creatures. Legend speaks of one such attempt: KR268. A terrifying beast, KR268 was created when the Tech-Priests imported a huge, aquatic animal, fifteen meters long with three rows of teeth and a fin growing out of the top of its back. They used their most successful patterns to introduce cyber-augmentation and musculoskeletal enhancement, and fitted a plasma torch to the top of its skull. The intended outcome was that an army of these monster fish would patrol the waters around Subrique and put a halt to inter-hive smuggling. Unfortunately, the natural loyalty functions present in the brain of a canine were nowhere to be found in the brain of this beast. It escaped into the seas of Landunder, where it should not have been able to survive, according to the Tech-Priests involved. However, to this day, some vessels out in the chemical ocean, occasionally spot something in their auger sweeps. Most of them write it off as simple auger ghosts, but everyone knows the tales of KR268 and, whenever a ship is reported missing the rate of crew desertion increases dramatically.
Judge Marshal Gravus was stunned when he heard that gangers were loitering in the hab-domes. That the planetary defense force did nothing to discourage this brazen snubbing of authority made him all the more grateful that they were all either shipped off to war or executed. Currently, he has some of his top lieutenants working out plans to let the gangs know that, should they show their faces in any of the Arbitrator-controlled portions of the hive-city, he will kindly eradicate them. To this end, plans are being drawn up to secretly mine the hab-domes. If this rumor is true, it will mean the absolute end of Subrique growing food for itself.
Ports and ReclamationEdit
Much of the border area between the chemical ocean and the bulk of the hive-city is devoted to large pumps that draw the liquid into water reclamation plants. The design of the turbine generators ensures that the harder elements in the water directly surrounding the hive are absorbed into the earthen superstructure that encases the Down-Spire beneath the waves. This water can then be pumped by the gigalitre into reclamation plants, where the water can be separated from the remaining elements. This system provides clean, potable water to Subrique, as well as all of the other hives on-world. Since the draft ships came, workers for the reclamation centers have become much more difficult to obtain. As a result, the price of fresh water has risen significantly, and a few of the hives have begun to import water from off-world.
Also located near the shore are the ports of Subrique. Though not often used, there is an occasional need for sea vessels. Some are used in deep-sea mining operations, while others are simply luxury ships for the nobility. The ports are vigorously patrolled, as the Arbites keep watch for vessels from other hives trying to dock for purposes of unloading unauthorized immigrants or to export any of the various illegal substances being manufactured in the lower levels of the underhive. There is some suspicion in the ranks, however, that this vigilance is futile below the waters, there are many other entrances into Subrique in the form of sealed-off hatchways. Any vessel coming in would have to be capable of underwater travel, as Subrique is the only hive-city with any direct access above-water. This stands as yet another reason why it is so crucial that the Adeptus Arbites make headway into the underhive.
These large domes shelter organic growing areas from the harsh, unlivable environment. Though not very large, the domes produce a great deal of food, when the workforce exists. At maximal production, enough food has been grown to supplement the imports from various agri-worlds throughout the sub-sector. Since the loss of much of the population, however, there are no farmers to produce even enough food for what few people remain. As a result, while the rest of the planet's hive-cities have continued to draw on imported foods, Subrique has never established the necessary connections with these agri-worlds, and attempts to call on them have proven quite difficult. Some believe that Zanatov may be responsible for this lack of co-operation, though it does not help that Subrique has nothing to offer in return. The Ecclesiarchy has sent Ships of Mercy with basic rations, under the condition that the hive provides them with reports on progress towards re-establishing their ability to tithe.
With five domes in total, only two of them serve the purpose of growing food. Such food includes fruit trees imported from elsewhere in the sector, as well as grains, which contribute to reserve stores of food while allowing bread-making and amesec processing. These domes contain thousands of garden rows, with each row containing a sophisticated irrigation effort and requiring hundreds of laborers to ensure optimal growing conditions. Since the Great Tithing, much of these foods have either rotted on the vine or overgrown, with no one to harvest and process them. The agri-domes are kept under tight guard by the Arbites, despite their lack of value. Unfortunately, Arbitrators are not trained to farm.
The other three hab-domes simply contain grassy areas where the nobility can bring their families for recreation, as well as constructed gymnasium areas where children play. Since the Great Tithing, many gangers take advantage of the relative abandonment of this area, choosing to loiter in the children’s play area. Arbitrators make somewhat regular patrols through these areas, but, with so many other high-profile targets for civil unrest, these playgrounds are not felt to warrant the attention of the peace-keeping force.
If one were to look for a reason as to why the Adeptus Arbites were so interested in getting Hive Subrique and its affairs back in order, one would not have to look any farther than the hive-city’s manufactorum and the product for which the hive is most well-known: the cyber-mastiff. Of course, Lord Marshal Goreman would say that it is the duty of the Arbitrators to restore order to a hive-city of such excellent repute as Subrique, but even the lowest-ranking adept can find a direct correlation between the decline of mastiff production and the surge of Arbites into the hive-city. Along with the cyber-mastiff, Subrique also manufactures vital integrated components for grapplehawks. This area is also responsible for harvesting various elements from the chemical ocean. These elements become compounds, which are taken to the Lathes to be manufactured into any number of the weapons, armor, and other goods for which these planets are known.
Of course, even with order mostly restored in the Middle-Hive, restoring production is still faced with a major obstacle. Most of the population that Master Enginseer Dahsuniks has deemed intelligent and worthy enough to work in the Manufactorum has been shipped off to the Margin Crusade. As a result, the manufactories are only operating at fifteen percent of the manpower necessary to meet production quotas. Judge Marshal Gravus, upon arriving on Landunder, met with Dahsuniks and inquired, with all due respect, if the standards for employment could be lowered until the crisis had passed. Enraged, the Master Enginseer stormed away and refused to meet with Gravus again for one standard Imperial month. Once communications between the two were re-established, the Judge Marshal, in a display of tact and obvious coaching from a Tech-Priest of his own, apologized and stated that he only wanted to know if the standards for intelligence had any room for negotiation. Dahsuniks, assured seeing that his demands, namely that anyone who set foot in the manufactories be worthy of the privilege of assembling the sacred technologies, were being taken seriously by Gravus, agreed to begin testing the populace and accepting candidates who did not necessarily meet high standards of aptitude. It is believed that the Master Enginseer may begin using cybernetics to enhance the intellect of his workers. However, even with the new hiring practices for the Manufactorum, the quotas for tithing will be impossible to meet without an influx of people to replace the population that has been lost.
Administratum Command used to be the headquarters of the Planetary Defense Force, when Subrique had one. It is a large compound covered by an opaque blast-dome, capable of withstanding several minutes of sustained fire from starship-class weaponry. Inside the dome, artificial daylight is projected at all hours. Before the draft, Administratum Command housed a small contingent of Arbites, no more than a platoon at any given time. Many of these Arbitrators are still around, and there are rumors that these Subrique veterans are disgruntled at being passed up for the Arbites command position, now that the Arbitrators have assumed civil authority. If this is the case, no one has brought it to the attention of Judge Marshal Gravus.
In addition to training grounds for the Planetary Defense Force, the Administratum Command compound also houses and maintains cyber-mastiffs for use throughout the hive. In fact, thanks to being the largest manufacturer of these cybernetic beasts, Subrique has the most expansive cyber-kennel in the sector. Here, specially-trained Priests of Mars train the animals, while ensuring that the machine spirit does not reject the foul creature to which it has been bonded. Here is also where the cyber-mastiff is programmed with its primary function, be it hunting or combat. Many Arbitrators have requested transfer to Subrique, simply to get a chance to work with these constructs, as the waiting list to requisition one anywhere else in the sector is quite long.
The Emperor's QuarterEdit
Despite its name, the Emperor’s Quarter does not take up a full quarter of the Middle-Hive. In fact, it takes up the least total area, comprised of two very large structures: the Cathedral of the Golden Throne and the Drusian Repository of Sacred Learning. The former is said to be the first building constructed that was not an original part of Subrique, and it underwent a great deal of remodeling once the planet was reconquered. The Sacellum, the largest shrine on planet, is an immaculate throne crafted five meters in height from solid gold and inscribed with High Gothic prayers penned in bronze. Standing to the right of the throne and crafted in equal height out of platinum is Saint Drusus. To the left of the throne and similarly crafted of silver is Lionel Zanatov, founder of the Rogue Trader dynasty.
The Drusian Repository of Sacred Learning is the primary means of gathering information on-planet. Here, many texts of religious, scholastic, or scientific knowledge have been gathered over the millennia. Unlike most other hive-worlds in the sector (or the Imperium as a whole, for that matter), the Lord Executor of Subrique has often encouraged the citizens of his city to learn. To this end, every Lord Executor has held a contest during a festival held once every ten years. During this decennial event, each citizen is allowed to search the repository in the hopes of uncovering some new truth that the Executor has never found himself. Should a citizen bring forth a new piece of information, the Lord Executor will typically reward this person with wealth or a unique prize suited to the truth found. This has, of course, led to the decennial visit from the Ordo Hereticus, usually ending in the execution of the winner and a friendly reminder to the Lord Executor that ignorance and faith go hand in hand.
Unfortunately, many of the tomes from the repository were out on loan to citizens when the Great Tithing began. As a result, quite a few books now sit in apartments whose owners will never return, or worse---irreplaceable texts are actually out with the Margin Crusade. In any case, a great deal of useful information has been lost to Subrique forever.
The vast bulk of Hive Subrique, the Down-Spire, or "underhive", presses deep into the ocean which covers the majority of Landunder. Subrique, it is said, was once much smaller. The nature of the mighty generators that power the leviathan city also pull elements from the sea, adding to the mass of land beneath the tides. More than half of the usable area has been added over the millennia, creating a need for subterranean landscaping. Much of the Down-Spire is often referred, has been carved out of this earthen materiel, adding more room for what was an ever-expanding population. Now, the majority of this space goes unused. After the Great Tithing, enough homes were emptied that families no longer had to share their space or live in the caverns. For many, this came as a mixed blessing. Trade owners had been drafted and starving families soon turned to looting with no enforcement of law to stop them. Soon, what families remained were living in relative comfort. Still, the emptiness of the halls were a sad reminder of all those the community had lost. Then the gangs took over.
The Down-Spire is divided into thousands of levels, sections, sub-sections, neighborhoods, communities, regions, and cooperatives, many of which overlap. Underhivers identify themselves by one or more of these. In fact, other than those blessed with grunt-work in the Middle-Hive, most residents have never been outside of their representative zone. Toward the center of the Down-Spire, or "the core", as it is oft referred, the walls are composed entirely of metals and seem more like bulkheads of a ship, with large corridors winding throughout the structure. Spacious, open areas seem more like storage hangars than anything else, and the undertowns that have sprung up in them over the centuries seem odd and out of place. Steel catwalks are suspended above in great numbers and, when the catwalks become too crowded with improvised homes, they form entirely new communities. These bridge-towns are their own separate neighborhoods, despite the towers from the levels below which jut up through the catwalks.
The further away from the core one travels, the more the surroundings seem to be composed of rock. The mineral build-up surrounding the core below the surface of the chemical ocean has great tunnels built throughout it, creating an entirely different environment. Constantly being expanded upon, the waste of these areas is made up of collected mineral deposits that are the bulk of saleable output for the hive. So valuable is the waste rock removed from these tunnels that, if Subrique were sold off and mined, adepts believe that the profits could be used to build two hive-cities and the Imperium could use the mined ore to build an entire division of tanks. Thus, it is a common saying that the Great Imperial Tithing took the least valuable resource Subrique has---its people.
The core of the Down-Spire, which runs through the central axis of the hive, is encased in an adamantite shell with sealed access hatches every few hundred levels. These have not been opened at any point recorded since the history of the hive began. Master Enginseer Dahsuniks has, for some time, been trying to gain access through the machine spirits’ protocols, but has been unsuccessful thus far. However, his diagnostics have shown that even emergency power is divided so that this section of the hive is always powered. It is an enigma that has frustrated him for the last two hundred years, since he first came to Subrique. It is said that the first Lord Executor, Renald Savatt, had access to this area, but that the knowledge of how to gain access died with him. This secret, it seems, may very well die with Subrique itself.
Gangs of SubriqueEdit
As the governor of any hive in the Imperium can attest to, hive gangs are usually about four or five Standard Imperial Hours younger than the hive-city itself. The names and nature of these gangs change just as frequently as their rosters, but certain facts remain---life in a hive-city is harsh. Everyone must take steps towards survival, and those who band together have a much better chance at it. This can lead to great communities with excellent co-operative capabilities and is the framework for a model Underhive society. However, a few recidivists in every hive discovered this as well: to thrive is better than mere survival. Those who break the law and survive can thrive, and those who thrive can decide how affected they must be by the inherent harshness of life in a hive-city. Thus, gangs form in the Underhive of nearly every hive-city in the Imperium. Subrique is no different.
Nominally, the gangs of Subrique function in very much the same way as the noble houses, though to make this suggestion to either one of these groups is not recommended. Usually, there is a system by which worth is proven, though the gangs prefer worth be determined by deed, as opposed to birthright. Those who have accomplished great things, by the "laws" of their gang, have earned the right to rule and are deserving of obedience. Most often this is by obtaining power, food, money, or weapons for the gang or for oneself. Usually, this means taking it from those who cannot defend themselves. In Subrique, however, because of the Great Tithing, one is far more likely to have to prey on other gangers. Many areas have local gangs---not the large, somewhat organized kind of gang that makes a name for themselves, but smaller gangs with simple, usually anti-social tendencies, such as murder-gangs or bands of thieves. The larger gangs almost always do away with these small bands of thugs, largely because they find groups of murderers to be counterproductive . Thus, the meek are given some respite simply because it is simpler for gangs to fight each other than to hunt down easily stolen resources.
After the tithe ships came, but before the Arbitrators, a number of young nobles banded together to hunt down gangers in the Underhive. Whether they were looking to prove themselves to their elders or they were just seeking thrills is unknown. What is known is that these cross-spire hunters made it down about half a dozen levels from the Middle-Hive before they ran into the Angels Vigilante. The Angels, or Vigilantes, as they are also called, slew the nobles that ventured Down-Spire. They then made it clear to every underhiver they could gather that the upper-hivers were coming to exterminate them all in some sort of class war. With a small army, including many members of other gangs, they retook each level and pressed well into the Middle-Hive before the Lord Executor, in one of his final acts, ordered the blast doors closed and separated the middle-hive and the underhive. Many gangers did not make it back. After this, in appreciation for the protection, many underhivers brought food and goods to the Vigilantes without having to be robbed. Shocked by this, the Angels decided to stage a similar incident after the blast doors had been reopened. It did not meet with near the same success. Since then, the Angels have tried to make sure that the common underhivers do not get hurt too badly in the skirmishes between the gangs.
An entrepreneurial gang, known as the Diggers, have made a name for themselves by mining many of the best resources to come out of the outer walls. While technically a gang, they are quite comparable to a business; they report to an upper management, scout areas for mineral composition, and attempt to pay off whomever might own the areas they wish to mine before resorting to brutality. The Diggers are one of the wealthiest of the underhive gangs and members who perform well are rewarded monetarily. This means that a Digger looking to make a name for himself must use his rewards to purchase better weaponry and more ammunition in order to make his next big score. However, the gang is one of the few with vehicles---giant trucks that haul their precious cargo to the Middle-Hive. They also hire out to other gangers to guard their trucks. Because they pay well and don’t sit on a given area terribly long, the Diggers do not have many direct enemies.
The Skarlok Ragers, on the other hand, are enemies with everyone. Filled with the angriest Down-Spire youth, this gang spreads out from the Lower Tips of the Underhive, taking resources and even people as they see fit. Extensive users of combat drugs, their brutality and anger are the stuff of nightmares throughout the Down-Spire. It is said they brew their own drugs near the very bottom of the hive-city. The truth is even more frightening---Ragers have been seen in the company of a creature most alien to all who have laid eyes upon him. With sunken eyes, he watches them. With bony fingers, he directs them. With blistered and stretched features, he smiles upon their works. If there is a hierarchy to these savages, this fiend must surely be at the top. Those the Ragers kidnap are brought to the Tips and tortured, their very cries of agony distilled, through means unknown, into Skikhrane, a drug that removes pain entirely. Recently, they have stepped up their kidnappings, meaning they have also likely increased production of this drug, most assuredly at the command of their dark leader. What this means for the hive is unknown, though the presence of this monster would explain the eagerness of Judge Marshal Gravus to reach the Lower Tips.
When the tithe ships came, they only wanted those physically able to fight, or, at least, those they could make physically able to fight in a short amount of time. Many of those too weak, scrawny, or physically unfit were rejected by the drafters, even if they wanted to fight! This led to the formation of a gang whose original moniker has been lost. Due to their incapability to fight, they quickly and aptly became known as the Rejected. The coming of the Arbites would change this. Early in their attacks on the Underhive, the Arbitrators tried a popular tactic---they released a small compliment of twelve cyber-mastiffs into a section of the Down-Spire and let them handle the hard work. Two returned. One was never heard from again. Nine were "appropriated" by the Rejected through a manner unknown to anyone but these crafty gangers. The beasts had been tamed by those deemed too weak to be packed into flak and thrown in front of bullets. After a few more attempts to reclaim this property led to more stolen mastiffs, Gravus passed a General Ordinance, disallowing the animals from being used anywhere near Sector 7G. The Rejected changed their names to the Bandogs, and use their cyber-mastiffs to brutal effect in enforcing control of their zone.
Then, there is the group of armed malcontents known, succinctly, as the Antilaws. The Antilaws do not seem to have any concern for what happens in the Down-Spire, so long as the Enforcers stay out of it. They lead the frontline battle against the encroaching Arbitrators. Antilaws are the most co-operative gang, with members joining any group that seeks to oppose 'rule from above,' this being their term for everyone in the Middle-Hive and up. They also show no regard for the safety of others, firing high-explosive ordnance regularly into even small groups of "RuFAs," as they call individuals seeking to restore order to the Underhive. They spread tales of the depravity of "King RuFA Zanatov" and his puppet, Gravus, as a means of recruitment. The Diggers have shown concern over hiring any of them to guard their convoys, due to the Antilaw tendency to pick fights with anyone above the sea level. Despite this, the Antilaws are very well armed and supplied by Underhive standards, rivaling even the Diggers in terms of weapon quality.
The final gang of note, the Zanatovians, is named for the Rogue Trader who orbits the planet in his mighty starship, and is modelled after his crew. The leader of the Zanatovians, Heideus Krell, claims to possess the Legacy Charter. The Charter, long believed lost to the hive-city, is a set of directives said to have been designed by Saint Drusus himself and Lionel Zanatov at the founding of the colony, millennia ago. It is said that this document was meant to be passed down and executed by each successive Lord Executor, and that following these guidelines would ensure the safety and prosperity of Subrique for all time. If Krell does possess the Charter, he has a great and invaluable relic that has been touched by divinity. Many scoff at the idea that he has it, stating that, if he did, Corsair-Captain Zanatov would most likely have torn the hive apart, killed Krell in the worst way imaginable, and taken it. While he has clearly not done this, Zanatov has supplied the gang with plenty of weapons and resources---supposedly. The Zanatovians are well-armed, with boltguns being their weapon of choice. They wear patch-worked flak, modelled after the praetorian look of Zanatov's own crew. Their goals, at this point, are not apparent, and they are very secretive. Most of their activity is focused around the Core of the Underhive and the secrets that lay within.
The Arbitrators have, for some time, been wondering exactly how the gang known as the Bandogs was able to take control of their cyber-mastiffs. While it is believed that the majority of enginseers who manufactured them were taken by the tithe ships, it is possible that one escaped into the Down-Spire, and now serves (or perhaps leads) the Bandogs. If this is the case, this Tech-Priest would become Dahsuniks' most sought after target. The offender would be killed, but their knowledge would be harvested to better improve cybermastiff productivity. Also, it is believed that the twelfth mastiff from the original group that was sent down and subsequently captured is still out there, roaming passageways confused and dangerous. An eerie, metallic howl can be heard echoing throughout the tunnels on some nights.
The Skarlok Ragers, it is rumored, serve a very dark power indeed. The creature they have been seen with is xenos in origin. Some who have heard the description have whispered the word, “Haemonculus!” Since the arrival of Zanatov, many adepts have been working furiously to decipher his lineage. Why they do this is unknown. Perhaps to discredit him, or unravel the secret of his protracted interest in Hive Subrique. Regardless of the reason, there seems to be a slight familial connection between the Zanatovs and the Krells. Many adepts admit that, in a large enough sector, this could just be coincidence. However, since this information was revealed to Judge Marshal Gravus, his already secret orders regarding the Zanatovians have been completely rewritten. Many suspect dark times ahead, should the Core somehow open.
Raffir Ringleader Pistol
Gifted to the Arbites as part of the planetary tithe by the Raffir clan manufactory smithmasters of Hive Subrique, these beautiful weapons are produced under license using ancient Adeptus Mechanicus archprints. The pistols produced are huge, intimidating shock-and-terror weapons, designed for the execution of high profile targets at the height of anti-Imperial riots. These weapons are issued to senior Arbites officers, not so much for their accuracy or utility in a fire fight, but for the damage they inflict on both the person of rabble rousers and on the morale of their followers.
Pistol, 30m, S/-/-, 1d10+4, I, PEN 3, Clip 5, RLD 2Full, WT .25kg, Cost 500, Rare