Rogue Trader: Into the Dark Void
Chief Explorator and Senior Tech-Priest aboard the Emperor's Bounty
Among his many abilities, Fabian may spend experience points to upgrade the quality of his bionics.
Career Path: Explorator
Quote: “No enemy is insurmountable. Within the Expanse I shall find the secret to destroying the foes of mankind once and for all.”
Fabian Grax was born on the Forge World Graia, raised from childhood to be a Tech-Priest of the Adeptus Mechanicus. His peers in the Mechanicus were quite pleased with how quickly he learned the mysteries of the Machine God, and so, at the age of sixteen, he was sent to serve as a Tech-Adept aboard an Imperial Navy cruiser, the Relentless Persecutor, under the tutelage of Magos Ternac. Grax’s tenure under Ternac was quite harsh, more so than even the other Tech-Adepts, leading the young man to believe Ternac hated him. What he didn’t know is that Ternac saw his harsh treatment as a way of forcing Grax to try harder and achieve the potential that he saw there.
Grax’s life was turned upside-down, however, when the Relentless Persecutor was to lead an Imperial Navy fleet in an attempt to repel a Tyranid invasion. During warp transit, the Persecutor’s Geller Field failed, and the horrors of the Warp poured within. Grax was ordered to attempt to repair the Geller Field before it was too late, and though he encountered many horrors on his way to the holy device, he never saw any actual daemons. Indeed, Grax thought that perhaps the Machine God was protecting him from harm so that he could perform his sacred duty. Once he began work on the Geller Field, the escort of armsmen that had accompanied him began to open fire on something, and soon their death cries sounded out behind him, but Grax was too busy to look and see what was happening. Even when the cries stopped and all he heard was the horrible giggling of something, Grax continued his work, his shaking fingers soldering together the last wire and his quavering voice muttering the last required prayer. The Geller Field then surged back to life, the giggling voices went quiet, and when Fabian Grax turned around all he saw was gore and body parts.
The young Tech-Priest wandered through the halls of the once mighty cruiser, almost in a daze, seeing nothing but more death and a handful of survivors, almost all of whom were nearly comatose from what they had seen. At last, he met his mentor, who had been mortally wounded during the Warp incursion, and Ternac told him that he had been secretly proud of Grax’s progression as a Tech-Adept, and only wanted to push him to become better. As a last act, Ternac bequeathed to Grax some of his bionic enhancements and his equipment, and told him to use them to serve the Machine God. Grax said that he would, and then Ternac died.
As it turned out, the ship’s Navigator was still alive, having been safely cocooned within his Navigator’s Pod during the Warp incursion, but half-mad, and he had been continuing the Persecutor’s original route towards the Fleet’s destination. Grax, having made his way to the bridge, attempted to tell the Navigator that there was no point in sending the cruiser into a warzone while its crew had been virtually wiped out, but the man would not hear it, insisting on his “divine” imperative to get the ship to its destination. Grax was resigned to let the Navigator carry on with his fool’s crusade, deciding that perhaps he could be picked up by another Imperial vessel if he used an escape pod, though with the threat of Tyranids in the system and the urgency of the Fleet’s mission that wasn’t likely.
Upon returning to realspace, however, Grax stared out into the void and saw that the Fleet had already begun to engage the Tyranids. On top of that, he noticed a priority transmission from a source identifying himself as Lucius Vorgen, a wealthy family member of a Rogue Trader dynasty. Vorgen claimed that his own ship had been destroyed, and that he, as well as an Inquisitor that was accompanying him, needed safe egress from the system. However, no one had yet responded to the call, likely due to the ferocity of the Tyranid counter-attack. With nothing better to do, Grax responded to the call, declaring that their ship was still operational, but that the crew had been mostly killed off and that he wasn’t sure if they could travel to safety. Vorgen said that he might have barely enough crew accompanying him to man the most important stations, and declared that he would dock with the Persecutor.
Lucius Vorgen did so, accompanied by some armsmen and crew from his dynasty, the Inquisitor, and a five-man squad of the Deathwatch. Upon meeting Vorgen, Grax inwardly mused that the man wasn’t quite as imposing as he might have thought a Rogue Trader should be, even if Lucius Vorgen wasn’t a Rogue Trader himself just yet. Yes, Vorgen was dressed in a rather gaudy and stylish fashion, but the man didn’t seem more remarkable than many other nobles he has met, aside from perhaps an easy confidence. And yet, Grax overheard one of the Deathwatch members praising Lucius for killing a Tyranid Warrior in close combat, and also several Termagants and Hormagaunts. Fabian Grax didn’t know enough about the Tyranids to understand what an accomplishment that was, but it sounded rather impressive nonetheless, especially for a relatively unassuming person like Vorgen. And more surprising is that, where another noble might have craved such praise, Lucius simply brushed it off and claimed it was a small feat in the name of the Emperor!
However, there was little time for banter, as the Inquisitor sharply reminded them all, as the planet’s defense looked hopeless and the Tyranids would be on them soon. Vorgen worked with Grax to restore functionality to the ship, relying on what few crew they had to get the ship space-worthy enough to at least return to safety, and the Inquisitor managed to convince the Navigator to plot a new course. However, they had even less time than they thought, as the Tyranids had fired several boarding organisms at their ship, and while they managed to use the Persecutor’s turrets to shoot most of them down, one of them broke through and, like a mutated tick, gnawed its way through the hull plating to disgorge a brood of Genestealers into the ship. Thinking quickly, the Deathwatch Marines declared that they would purge the Genestealers and prevent them from damaging the ship. Vorgen tasked his armsmen with defending the bridge while he took command. Fabian Grax busied himself with directing the remaining servitors to perform damage control and monitoring the status of the ship’s various systems.
The Persecutor entered the Warp, then, but they were far from being out of danger. The Deathwatch Marines reported being successful in purging most of the Genestealers, but couldn’t account for all of them and warned the bridge crew to stand ready. Not long after that warning was delivered, a hulking Genestealer Broodlord tore open the steel door to the bridge and charged inside. Vorgen’s armsmen bravely fired on the beast, but their lasguns were little match for the creature’s tough hide and it brutally scythed through them, charging towards Fabian Grax. The Explorator was shocked by this sudden turn of events and only barely remembered to fumble for the plasma rifle that Magos Ternac had very recently bequeathed to him, but it would have been too late had it not been for Lucius Vorgen, who bravely charged the creature and chopped off one of its lower arms with his power sword. The monster roared in rage and turned on the nobleman, and Fabian could see that Lucius was struggling to dodge the creature’s attacks, though a lucky parry managed to remove another of its hands. Lucius’s good fortune ended there, however, as the Broodlord swung its burly arms at him, smashing him aside and flinging him into a control panel. While Lucius was still dazed from the attack, the Broodlord stomped up to him, shrieking in triumph and rearing back the talons on its remaining arms to finish him off, but then its head abruptly exploded into a burst of blue flame and purple ichor. The monster toppled backwards, lifeless, thanks to a blast from Fabian’s plasma rifle. The Explorator and nobleman exchanged their thanks, and, with the Genestealer threat seemingly thwarted, Lucius Vorgen resumed command of the ship, and they would all eventually find their way back to safer systems.
The experience was a profound and traumatic one for Fabian Grax, but also one that forged him into the Explorator he is today. His faith in the Machine God, whom he believed protected him, became nigh unshakeable, and he also was forced to learn some critical survival skills during the Warp incursion and its aftermath. More importantly, he formed a lasting bond with Lucius Vorgen, as the two men owed each other their lives. However, some who heard about this incident believed that Grax is an ill omen for any ship he walks upon, or worse, that he is even responsible, unintentionally or otherwise, for what happened there. Others are simply angry over the fate of the Relentless Persecutor, of which it was said that the Inquisition had it scuttled for being cursed by the Warp… though the truth is that the ship had its identifying marks removed, was repainted, and then given a new designation as the Wrath of Mankind, its current crew unaware of their vessel’s dark history. There may even be a few surviving Genestealers lurking somewhere in the spaces between decks!
As for Fabian Grax, once Lucius Vorgen became the next Rogue Trader in his dynasty, the Adeptus Mechanicus attempted to convince him to include an Explorator in his crew, but had little to negotiate with him on the matter. They were all too pleased when Vorgen requested that Fabian Grax be assigned to his vessel as an Explorator, and readily agreed. Grax was also quite eager to sign on, for he believed that the Tyranids’ rumored “Shadow in the Warp” was to blame for the Geller Field failing, and desired revenge. He had heard of a psychic beacon located somewhere in the Koronus Expanse, and believed that if he could find it, he could lure the Tyranids into a trap where they would be destroyed. Whether this belief is true, false, or merely a path to damnation is yet to be seen.
Personality-wise, Fabian Grax is an extremely devoted Tech-Priest of the Machine God. While some Explorators are frowned upon for taking too many liberties with the knowledge entrusted to them and that which they find in their travels, Fabian strives not to live up to that reputation, following proper procedures as much as he can and being steadfastly loyal to the Adeptus Mechanicus. However, a recent experience where a Magos forced him to steal a priceless artifact from Lucius Vorgen has left the young Explorator feeling disillusioned and somewhat bitter. How could his fellow Tech-Priests subject a devout member of their own ranks, a man who was saved by the Machine God himself, to such mistreatment?
He also has a strong friendship with Lucius Vorgen, serving as one of the chief advisors on his vessel and frequently advising him to be more ruthlessly efficient. Fabian fears that Lucius is simply too naive to survive for very long as a Rogue Trader, and he thinks that the Lord-Captain is often crippled by bouts of irrational paranoia. On the other hand, Lucius’s “bad” ideas often manage to work out anyway. Fabian believes that perhaps the Machine God intended for him to meet the Rogue Trader—Lucius does have an odd knack for being exactly where he’s needed—and that he should help the man whenever possible. His devotion is such that he suggested Lucius replace his heart with a bionic one, as it would be more efficient, but in truth Fabian wanted to bring him closer to the Machine God, too.
Finally, one other aspect of Fabian that is quickly causing him to gain some notoriety is that he is continually coming up with some devious scheme to solve a problem or otherwise benefit House Vorgen. Some of the crew say that his mind is far more dangerous than his plasma rifle or any of the other gifts the Omnissiah has granted him. The tech-Adepts on Lucius’s ship are the most concerned about this, as creativity is generally frowned upon in the Adeptus Mechanicus. They worry that Fabian may begin to think for himself a little too much and get himself branded a Heretek!