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League of Blackships

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The League of Blackships is one of the two divisions of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, the other being the Scholastia Psykana. The League of Blackships forms the recruiting division, consisting of a substantial fleet charged with collecting and transporting psykers[1]. Independent of the Imperial Navy, they are the second-largest fleet in the galaxy. There are many thousands of Black Ships, but only the highest-ranking adepts in the Adeptus Astra Telepathica know the true scale of the fleet and the vast scope of its operations[3]. They are not to be confused with the Black Ships of the Inquisition.[1]

Reporting directly to the Master of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica, the Blackships are feared transports filled with mournful psykers held in cavernous, psi-shielded holds to be taken back to Terra to feed the voracious psychic appetite of the Emperor. Only those with the strength of mind to withstand the constant soul-numbing despair that permeates the Blackship may crew it, so mentally traumatic is such duty[1]. The Captains and other senior officers of the Black Ships, are senior adepts of the Adeptus Astra Telepathica. As for the rest of the ships' crews, they are indentured workers drafted from a number of Imperial worlds situated relatively close to Terra. The Astra Telepathica have ancient contracts with these worlds, ensuring a steady flow of suitable recruits in return for exemption from Imperial Tithes. All crews that serve aboard the Blackship fleet are rigorously tested and scrutinised for any latent psychic abilities or sensitivities and are regularly mind-scrubbed to purge any taint or infection. The Navigator Houses of Granicus, MacPherson Ptolemy work exclusively for the Astra Telepathica and are the only Navigators allowed to work aboard the Black Ships. Generally, few other Imperial agents, besides Inquisitors, are permitted aboard these dread vessels, but occasionally Space Marines, Sisters of Battle or higher-ranking members of the Adeptus Terra may be accommodated at the discretion of the Black Ship's Captain.[3]

The Blackship fleet travels constantly throughout the Imperium. Each Imperial world is visited every hundred years or so by a Blackship. When a Blackship nears a planet, its governor is instructed to prepare the customary levy - a tithe of psykers. Once the levy has been collected, the Blackship Captains make an initial evaluation of their cargo before proceeding to the next world in their circuit. When the ships are full they return to Terra and the psykers are transferred to the Scholastia Psykana before the ship leaves again to continue in their eternal search. It is common for Inquisitors to travel on board these ships, as this gives them a good opportunity to investigate a planet's potential for psychically-based corruption.[1]

The Black Fleet itself is based from the Magadan orbital construct in the Sol System.[2]

Known Blackships

Sources