The Imperial Navy holds nearly all of the Imperium’s fighting vessels; local governments, Warmasters and others are forbidden to maintain their own fleets of warships. Their spacecraft include some of the most potent engines of destruction in the whole galaxy, including mighty battleships thousands of years old. The Navy’s ships range from small escorts with a crew of a few dozen to the immense Emperor-Class battleships which might have twenty thousand souls or more on board. The Navy also includes fighter and bomber crews and aircraft that support the Imperial Guard on the ground.
The Navy’s officer class is highly traditional and aristocratic in character. The Imperium’s noble families frequently boast naval officers among their number and naval dynasties dominate many battlefleets. Elitism is a virtue on most ships, where the officers’ lives are in stark contrast to those of the ratings and engine crews. With thousands of crew living and dying on ships that can spend decades without seeing port, a ship of the Imperial Navy becomes a society in its own right; a city in space. Mutinies are not unknown and the Naval security battalions are a familiar sight on the decks of all Naval ships, their black visors and shotguns constantly reminding the men that obedience is their duty to the Emperor. The Navy relies on many other organizations to function. Perhaps most importantly, these ancient and complex ships could not function without a complement of Tech-Priests who know how to appease the ships’ machine-spirits and maintain technology that is too old and mysterious to be replicated. The Navy is also reliant on the Tech-Priests of Mars for refits, upgrades, repairs and new ships.
It is usual for a warship to have astropaths on board, for proper communication is essential if the Imperium is to be defended. Many captains are glad to have Ministorum clergy among their crew, ministering to the spiritual needs of the men and steeling their spirits with sermons. Commissars are appointed to the larger ships, watching over the moral fiber of the crew and providing a watch against mutiny and impiety. Then, of course, there is the Navigator of each vessel, whose family can occupy entire spires jutting out into space atop the ship.
Operating throughout the sector is the might of the Imperial Navy, but even with their multitude of warships, they are stretched thinly. Despite many full scale battles underway, there are always smaller outbreaks that must be contained, especially when a renegade governor attempts to declare independence and cordon off his planet or system. The predations of xenos raiders tax their resources with hit-and-run engagements as well.
In addition to its actions in ship combat, the Navy is also responsible for transporting Imperial Guard regiments to war zones. If a commercial fleet is important enough (or has the right connections at the Lucid Palace) then Naval vessels can be assigned escort duty, especially if a trade route has been heavily hit by pirates. Battlefleet Calixis is the largest and most powerful fleet in the sector, but is rarely brought together as a single force. More often it is split up to meet demands as they arise.
Many officers of the Imperial Navy carry one of these short rods as an insignia of rank and station. Most are highly engraved and ornamented with the heraldry of their ship and fleet. Underlings refer to them dismissively as “Calixian Crutches” or worse, seeing them only as another symbol of their oppression. What most do not know— and only find out too late—is that naval batons are often strongly reinforced and can easily shatter bones. Some even contain specialized micro-cogitators or datavaults.
Weight 1kg, Very Rare