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Maximus Octavian Grüber III

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Maximus Octavian Grüber III was an aristocratic Cadian General, who took command of the Cadian Shock Troopers that escaped the Fortress World's destruction, during the 13th Black Crusade[1a].

History

Prior to Cadia's death, he had taken part in the Deucalion Crusade[1b], which was among the many campaigns he had fought in his hundred-and-fifty-year career. However Gruber had built it on the bones of Guardsmen and the General would spend the lives of all those under his command, if it meant advancing his military rank. When Cadia was invaded during the 13th Black Crusade, Gruber was part of its High Command and led the Imperial forces' 17th Army, from an area known as Bastion 8. As the invasion wore on though, Gruber became one of the few of High Command that still controlled their area; which he did with discipline, a stubborn lack of imagination and thirty miles of minefields. However he was forced to leave Bastion 8, when Lord Castellan Creed ordered a massive counter-attack against the Chaos invaders. This greatly irritated Gruber, as he was not sure he could lead his forces in the series of attacks that was asked of him. Worse still for the General, was that ever since the lowborn upstart Creed had became Lord Castellan, his leadership abilities and charisma, had changed the way Cadians expected to be led. Gruber sadly knew it was no longer enough for him to be authoritative, professional and stern. His Guardsmen now looked for him to inspire them like Creed had, but though he tried, Gruber constantly failed at the task. Even as Gruber talked to his forces about Lord Catellan's counter-attack, he was forced to repeatedly use Creed's name, to keep up their enthusiasm and excitement. But it was enough and Gruber soon led them to battle.[1c]

During the counter-attack however, Abaddon the Despoiler doomed Cadia, by sending the remains of his Blackstone Fortress, plummeting into the Fortress World. This set of a chain of events that doomed the Fortress World and the Imperial forces were ordered to evacuate before Cadia exploded[1d]. In the mass panic and confusion that followed, Gruber stayed to personally supervised the evacuation of most his forces. But once their window to escape began to close, he agreed to board the last evacuation craft and joined the Imperial fleet as it began its escape from the Cadian System[1b]. Stationed aboard Captain Zabuzkho's Claymore Class Corvette Lord-Lieutenant Berwicke, Gruber sent messages to the Imperial fleet to find Creed, so that he could take command of the surviving Cadian Guardsmen. However Creed could not be found amongst the Imperial fleet and no one knew if he had even escaped from Cadia. Hearing this caused Gruber to become tired, as even though he had opposed Creed's rising career for years, the General knew the Cadian Guard needed the Lord Castellan's leadership now more than ever. They had been broken and the shame of failing to save their Homeworld, hung heavy on the survivors' shoulders. They needed an inspiring leader to rouse their spirits and help reforge them into an army once more. It seemed that none had survived Fortress World's fall though and the responsibility fell to Gruber. The General knew he was not up to the task, but he was the highest ranking officer of Cadia's High Command to have escaped, and so took direct command of the surviving Cadian forces.[1a]

Even as the Imperial fleet sped towards safety, Gruber began rebuilding the surviving Cadian Regiments and gave promotions to fill the void in their officer ranks. As the commander of the Cadian Guard, he was even offered passage aboard Admiral d'Armitage's Grand Alliance, which would better guarantee his safety, but Gruber refused as he would be forced to leave his forces aboard the Lord-Lieutenant Berwicke. It was during that frantic time, that Gruber met with General Isaia Bendikt‎‎ and the discussion as to where they would go came up. Gruber answered with certainty, that with Cadia gone, its Guardsmen must now go and defend Terra from a possible Chaos invasion[1a]. Admiral d'Armitage claimed though, that with the Warp now in turmoil, it was not likely they would be able to escape the Cadian System. Gruber refused to accept this, and met with the fleet's best surviving Navigator, Hyppolytus Fremm, in attempt to find a solution. Fremm though echoed d'Armitage's earlier answer and the Navigator claimed Cadia's death throes had caused turmoil within the Warp, at levels he had never seen before. He told a frustrated Gruber, that to attempt to reach Terra now, would result in their deaths. Gruber insisted that Fremm keep trying to enter the Warp and the Navigator eventually succeeded in guiding them out of the Cadian System, just as Chaos warships closed in on the Imperial fleet[1f]. When the Lord-Lieutenant Berwicke emerged from the Warp however, it was apparent something had gone wrong. Instead of Terra, they saw the Forge World Agripinaa and only a few of the escaping Imperial fleet had appeared beside the Berwicke. A furious Gruber went to confront Fremm, but stopped when he saw how close to death, the Navigator was. The effort of guiding the fleet, had severely drained Fremm and he apologized that the Agripinaa System was as far as he was able to guide the fleet. While he was troubled that the most of the Imperial fleet was missing, Fremm told Gruber that it was likely they had emerged elsewhere, though he did not know if they were close by. Afterwards Gruber's small fleet of ships made their way to Agripinaa and Gruber hoped to send word of Cadia's downfall to the High Lords of Terra. He also wished to get ahead of any blame that their naysayers would cast at the Cadians and he hoped to convince the High Lords, that the Imperium could not function without the Cadian Guard.[1g]

However their appearance in the Agripinaa System had not gone unnoticed and they were soon attacked by the warships of the Sons of Malice[1h]. Caught off-guard, several of Gruber's ships suffered severe damage before they could get their void shields up. As more warships converged on them, Gruber wanted to attack, but was told that none of his ships were a match for their attackers. When he asked if they had the equipment to board the warships, he was once again told no. The situation quickly turned disastrous, as their troop transports could not outrun the Sons of Malice's warships and were destroyed. Soon only the Berwicke and Venerable Warrior remained of Gruber's fleet and the desperate Gruber attempted to think of what Creed would do. When nothing came to him, Gruber finally asked for maps of the Agripinaa System and for anyone that was familiar with it. When a crew member with the information he needed appeared, Gruber asked him to look at the map and pick the best site, within reach of their fleet, that would be suitable for a rapid deployment of their forces. After some consideration, the crew member selected Morten's Quay's ice mining moon, Faith's Anchorage. Gruber then spoke to the Berwicke's Captain, Zabuzkho, who told the General he would try to draw the Sons of Malice's warships away from the moon, once the Cadian Guard was deployed. Gruber thanked him and then told the Captain to do his best to try and reach Terra. When Gruber's plan was finished, the General's aide tried to convince him to escape to Terra aboard the Berwicke, but Gruber refused. He said he would be mortified to reach safety, while his forces were left behind to be killed. He would stand with them and if it was their fate to die that day, then so be it. As his orders were carried out, Gruber knew that Cadia's High Command would make its last stand on Faith's Anchorage.[1i]

Soon the surviving Cadians were deployed upon the moon, whose population had been killed by the System's Chaos invaders. Gruber wasted no time in thinking of them however and ordered his forces to fortify the mining facility as best they could. They then installed void shields, which would now force the Sons of Malice to land upon the moon, in order to attack the Cadians. As they finished preparing, the Berwicke and Venerable Warrior had long ago sped away in different directions, in an attempt to escape the System. Both sadly failed though. The Venerable Warrior had been hunted down and destroyed by a Sons of Malice warship and the Berwicke exploded after it's Geller field failed, when it attempted to enter the Warp. Now with no chance of word reaching Terra, a stoic Gruber prepared to give a final speech to his Guardsmen, as the Sons of Malice began landing upon the moon[1j]. What followed was a heroic attempt to stop the inevitable, as the Cadians at first cut down waves of the Sons of Malace's Cultists and slaves. However the Sons of Malice destroyed any Cadians that put up a hard resistance, which allowed their slaves to swarm into the openings left behind. Worse still, the Sons of Malace's warships had finally destroyed the Cadian's void shields and began bombarding the Guardsmen. Gruber quickly found himself backed into a corner, with a handful of surviving Cadians, but they knew their end was fast approaching. However word of the Cadians appearance in the Agripinaa System, had spread through the Warp and several nearby Chaos Warbands raced to attack, the defenders of the Cadian Gate. Even as the Sons of Malice began to advance on the last of the Cadians, the Warbands landed nearby, eager to end 10,000 years of struggle. Now vastly outnumbered, Gruber and the Cadians could only watch as the celebrating horde approached them. When they neared, a member of the Sons of Malice told Gruber, that if he renounced his vows to the Imperium, as the Sons of Malice had, then the Warbands would spare his life. In response Gruber activated his power sword and charged the traitor, while screaming, "Never!"[1k], as the Cadians made their final stand.[1l]

Their deaths[1l] were not the end of the battle however. As even as Gruber's fleet had appeared in the Agripinaa System, a larger fleet under the command of Admiral d'Armitage,‎ had appeared from Cadia at the opposite edge of the System. They were not sure where they were, so the Admiral had ordered the fleet to slowly advanced in comm silence. However when they spotted a gathering of Chaos warships at Faith's Anchorage, they moved to attack. Sadly the Admiral's fleet had no idea that Gruber's forces were under attack and by the time they reached the moon, it was too late to save their fellow Cadians. They could avenge them though and the Admiral led his fleet to battle against the stunned crews of the Chaos warships and destroyed them[1m]. General Bendikt‎‎ then deployed his Cadians to Faith's Anchorage and purged the forces of Chaos from the moon's surface. Afterwards, General Gruber was buried in a colossal marble mausoleum on Faith's Anchorage and it was near a starlit graveyard, that held the Cadian Guardsmen who had fought beside him.[1l]

Source

  • 1: Cadia Stands (Novel)
    • 1a: Part 3: Chapter 12
    • 1b: Part 3: Chapter 10
    • 1c: Part 3: Chapter 1
    • 1d: Part 3: Chapter 9
    • 1e: Part 3: Chapter 13
    • 1f: Part 3: Chapter 15
    • 1g: Part 4: Chapter 1
    • 1h: Part 4: Chapter 2
    • 1i: Part 4: Chapter 3
    • 1j: Part 4: Chapter 4
    • 1k: Part 4: Chapter 6
    • 1l: Part 4: Chapter 8
    • 1m: Part 4: Chapter 7