A History of Menasa

Towards the western edge of the Calixis sector, near the Halo Stars lies the planet of Menasa. Once a world of staggering beauty, the past ten millennia have literally torn this planet in two as the Imperium of man seeks to exploit one of the galaxy’s most valuable resources.

Colonisation and the Dark Age of Technology

Unlike most planets in the Imperium, much is believed to be known about the pre-imperial history of Menasa. It is thought that it was settled sometime in early M15 by the colony ship Astraprogenus under the command of Captain Simeon Drakus. Whether this is true or not it is beyond dispute that these settlers found a virgin world, temperate, teeming with life and – being twice the size of Terra – perfect for large-scale expansion.

Over the next eight thousand years the citizens achieved what their Terran ancestors had failed to, they preserved Menasa’s ecosystem and natural resources while at the same time building a highly advanced society built on a foundation of learning, equality and fairness. The planet was ruled by an elected quorum of citizens, each accomplished intellectuals, progressive in their outlook and wholly committed to the peaceful advancement of humankind. In many ways Menasa was the utopia all Terran colonists dreamed of finding.

All this came to an end in early M23 when warp storms heralded the beginning of the Old Night.

A new life underground

While the indigenous life on the planet remained almost entirely unaffected, over the first century of the Age of Strife curious afflictions began to affect the human population. Increased reports of madness, criminal behaviour, mutation and diseases long-eradicated began to manifest. After decades of painstaking research, it was determined that the warp energy was reacting with elements unique to the planet’s atmosphere and without protection the whole population was doomed.

By this time much of the planet had descended into anarchy, the rule of reason was gone and in its place grew a brutal, suppressive martial law. Individual city states gradually developed, wholly enclosing themselves in ever-thicker layers of armour in an attempt to keep out both the warp radiation and the increasing numbers of lawless bandits who roamed the wastes.

Even so the protection of these cities wasn’t enough and the radiation still found a way to breach the metres-thick walls, it was almost as if the warp itself knew of their desperate efforts and was determined to wipe all human life from the face of the planet. It took a man of singular vision to find a way to save the people from mutation, madness and death, that man was Antonigus Draake.

An alleged descendant of Simeon Drakus, Draake was a gifted scientist and superb orator. In a relatively short career he had risen high in both academic and political circles of Farhaven, the largest city and de facto capital of Menasa. As he commanded the respect of the scientific, civilian and military factions alike he was confident his radical solution would be heeded.

Draake postulated that the bedrock of the planet would shield the warp radiation far better than even the toughest substance they could produce. Every city would start digging tunnels and shafts deep towards the core of the planet, huge chambers would then be constructed hundreds of kilometres underground, capable of housing the entire population until the warp storms subsided. Faced with little alternative the population began the massive task of creating a new life for themselves underground.

When the warp storms subsided 6,000 years later a very different society emerged from their underground chambers. While they were still very advanced technologically, such knowledge was held by the descendants of the military and scientific leaders of before. This empowered elite quickly staked claim to the surface paradise of Menasa while the lower orders were consigned to the massive underground cities to toil in the massive hydroponic food farms and manufacturing caverns.

A rigid social order was maintained using both the Menasans’ instinctive respect for knowledge and the memory of the terror caused by the Age of Strife. When this was insufficient then the elite Menasan Guard could be relied on to swiftly silence any insurrection.

Rediscovery, The Great Crusade and The Horus Heresy

Life continued in such a way until early in M30 the 1st Legion of the Adeptus Astartes made planet fall near Farhaven, now a huge hive complex. Recognising the Space Marines as true sons of Terra, the Menasans joyously welcomed them and their inclusion into the burgeoning Imperium of Mankind. A great regiment of the Imperial Army was founded from the best of the Menasan Guard and with their illustrious commander, General Antonigus Draake IX; they joined the Dark Angels Crusade force and headed off into the galaxy in The Emperor’s name.

Menasa meanwhile became a source of fascination for many of the scientific adepts of the Imperium. Fascinated to learn how the people of Menasa could survive so well underground, armies of scientists and engineers enthusiastically probed the cities beneath the planet’s surface. Using the knowledge they had amassed from studying the Immaterium and its affects on the physical universe they discovered that it was in fact a particular metal element, unique in such quantities to Menasa, which caused the especially severe warp storms to manifest around the planet. This metal, called Ferrus Imperator, was particularly sensitive to warp energy and as such had the potential to be used in the construction of materials which could either channel or repel this force.

The Adeptus Terra, desperate for such resources, ordered the mass extraction of this material from within Menasa. Using the Menasans’ unique understanding of the mining process it was possible to create an extraction process on an unprecedented scale without greatly disrupting the idyllic surface of the world. Thus the exploitation of the planet began in earnest, legions of colonists were brought in to supplement the already large native population, within a generation there were close to one hundred billion souls toiling under the surface of Menasa while a relatively few elite dwelled in the palatial hives above.

The status quo was maintained until the greatest of The Emperor’s sons, Horus, rebelled as the Great Crusade was coming to an end. Without hesitation the planet declared its unswerving allegiance to The Emperor and a further three hundred Imperial Army regiments were conscripted for use in the war effort. Millions of Menasans found themselves fighting and dying across the whole of the Imperium, many laid down their lives defending the Imperial Palace on Holy Terra during the desperate final hours of the Heresy.

Less well known is the role that the 57th Regiment played during this time. Seconded to the Dark Angels Legion they found themselves helping put down a rebellion on the Legion’s home world of Caliban. Not much is know about what occurred during this time, however in thanks for their efforts the regiment was gifted with a set of priceless ornate weapons which their most exalted leaders use to this day.

Reconstruction

While Menasa was spared the attentions of the vile traitors who fought under Horus’s banner, its relative proximity to the Eye of Terror coupled with it’s recently discovered mineral wealth made it an incredibly tempting target for the raider fleets converging on the area. Huge orbital star forts were quickly constructed along with the doubling of the size of the Menasan PDF, a substantial part of the sub-sector’s battle fleet was permanently stationed around the planet and other more secretive Imperial organisations sent emissaries as well.

As a further measure, the extraction of the planet’s metal increased in pace; gargantuan orbital refineries and star ports were built with space lifts constantly ferrying a steady supply of ore from deep within the planet’s surface. To the casual observer it seemed that this operation would quickly exhaust Menasa of all its bounty yet for millennia the planet gave up a seemingly unending supply of its most precious resource.

The Cataclysm

429.639.M37 is a date etched into the psyche of every Menasan, it was on this day that their planet died. Shortly after daybreak over Farhaven tremors were felt across the planet. As a result of the mining process such incidents were far from uncommon, most people went about their business and waited for the shaking to subside. After several hours the tremors had not abated and in the equatorial regions they were getting worse by the minute.

A general evacuation was ordered in the worst affected areas but by then it was too late. Massive gouts of flame, tens of kilometres high erupted from the ground all around the equator, the seas began to boil and the land cracked. Then with a sound so awful no mortal should ever have to hear, the planet broke in two.

No one knows for certain why this happened, over-mining has been blamed as the most likely cause yet some still claim that something happened to the seams of Ferrus Imperator closest to the equator. They claim that almost instantly the metal changed, it became hot to the touch and started expanding through the area’s mine-works. Such speculation is rigorously discouraged by the planet’s administration, and even if it were true, there was no one left alive to bear witness to the truth.

That should have been the end of Menasa. Billions died all over the planet and the explosion of debris accounted for 80% of the orbital complexes, hundreds of space craft nearby were also unable to escape the torrent of rock blasting out into space. Yet, The Emperor had other plans for Menasa, His will would not let the planet slip into the annals of history and slowly the destructive chain reaction abated.

Weeks went by and the first relief ships arrived. They were expecting to find a scene of utter desolation but found instead a planet reborn. Through the grace of The Emperor the two hemispheres of Menasa remained in place, although separated by a gulf two thousand kilometres wide they retained a shared atmosphere and, most miraculously of all, the surface and most of the internal chambers where still habitable!

When the first shuttles landed they found that the rebuilding had already begun under the guidance of Planetary Govenor Tiresias G’Laanor and Supreme General of the Menasan Guard Davidius Draake. Power had been restored to most of the planet and some of the mining operations were slowly recommencing. The climate had dropped by several degrees since to planet’s core had been wiped out, however heat was still being generated where the gravatic energies from the two halves of the planet met and interacted with the Ferrus Imperator, irradiating it enough to provide the warmth the planet required.

An Uncertain Future

By the end of M37 Menasa had rebuilt much of what was lost. The capital hive city of Farhaven, situated on what became known as Menasa Primaris now oversees a population of well over 200 billion, the vast majority of whom either toil in the subterranean mines or serve in the Menasan Guard. While Menasa Primaris is the administrative heart of the planet, Menasa Secundis is home to the vast military might of the planet. At any one time fully ten regiments of Menasan Imperial Guard remain on the planet to support the Menasan PDF to repel the frequent attacks by Chaos and other raiders intent on plundering the planet’s rare and valuable resource.

However as the forty first millennium draws to a close questions are again being asked about the planet’s precarious hold onto life. Rumours abound that scientists have concluded that the energies holding the halves of the planet together are beginning to fluctuate and sooner or later the hemispheres will most likely crush each other, dooming all on the planet to a fiery death. Such talk is quickly suppressed by the authorities but this is just one of many potential threats.

The neighbouring Eye of Terror is increasingly active. While The Despoiler’s thirteenth Black Crusade has more or less petered out there is no doubt that Abaddon will be back. Even if he is not, there are always equally vicious monstrosities spewing out of The Eye and many of them converge on Menasa seeking its bounty.

Likewise Rogue Traders are increasingly bringing tales of strange, esoteric encounters in the space near Menasa. Huge spaceships, apparently organic in nature have allegedly been seen around the eastern boundary of the Halo Stars. More troubling than that, several extra-planetary mining expeditions sent out to ascertain if Ferris Imperator is also present in nearby systems have vanished with the occasional garbled astropathic transmission regarding ‘metal warriors’ being the only trace found.

Whatever the future may hold for Menasa two things are indeed certain. The Emperor’s light will always shine on them so long as they maintain their faith in His divine will and when the dark legions come the might of the Menasan Imperial Guard will be there, ready and waiting.

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