Crusader Super Human
Crusaders are the Super Human Soldiers that were created and trained to defend man kind and even bring the Faith to Human civilizations they discover, which is where they can find recruits. These Soldiers have existed as part of the New Covenant for about nine thousand years, and their population is much smaller than they had originally been due to certain events in their history, most notably the Age of Loss.
Crusaders find their Origins during the Cataclysmic War with Xenos during the Great War For Humanity, A war waged after the Gommorrahn Republic Fell and the New Covenant formed and was beginning to prosper. The were experiencing advances in technology brought on by unknown inspirations coming from people with the Gift. However in their prosperity they attempted to find those willing to accept the Faith in Xenos. At first it seemed fine and the Xenos gave no trouble, but then they began to attack killing those of the Faith, and some attempting to convert Humans to their own False views. War Broke out, and the Humans pushed them back. It was a successful War, and they had became more closed to the idea of Xenos, then the real war broke out when an unknown Species of Xenos began to assault all their worlds and in a desperate struggle for Life the Crusaders were Born.
The Crusaders were created from the top Soldiers of the Empire, and they were modified and trained, as their selection was due to their genetic traits. New Armor was developed and modified for Crusader use and they brought a swift war to the Xenos, who upon later discovery were found to be entirely Demon possessed.The Biblical Demons of old had found vessels to find the Humans. The Crusaders brought a swift decisive war, and the several thousand Crusaders did what billions could not.
The Crusader program blossomed after those initial wars, becoming the Hammer of the New Covenant, the piercing blade that finishes off a foe. Their numbers grew as the plucked candidates from the hundreds of thousands of worlds the Empire eventually occupied. Their numbers grew rapidly and began to cause trepidation in the hearts of the New Covenant Military Leaders, they feared that the Crusaders may usurp them and so sanctions were put on them forcing them to divide their forces into Chapters of a thousand Crusaders Maximum per Chapter. The Vast influential Legions were divided, however they never lost their effectiveness due to this and it allowed for a plethora of new heroes to rise among their ranks. These new chapters also formed their own specializations and reputations throughout the empire, the original Legions having become simply Chapters themselves still retained their original repertoire.
During the later Age of loss, which occurred before re-emergence into real-space, the crusaders lost countless chapters to Warp Storms and separation, and it is unknown how their brothers fared wherever they emerged. It is assumed though that in the absence of the New Covenant they still keep up their duties to the civilian populaces that vanished with them, guarding the lost parts of them Empire in whatever dimension they emerged in. The Million Chapters there once were, was reduced to 1500 there are now.
The Crusaders in recent times, after the New Covenant's Second re-emergence have grown in number, as well as improving their fleets and technologies available to them. However newer tensions remain, as some believe the Crusaders wish to become a separate entity, the only thing preventing them is an inability to reproduce, others dismiss this idea as the Crusaders remain loyal to Humanity and the Imperial Blood line without fault.
The Crusaders select genetically compatible children from the populace of the Empires, using Crusader Psykers to predict the birth of these children on which they keep tabs, and come and take them at a young age. Many may not be happy to part ways with their offspring but it is the Agreement they made with the Crusader Order in turn for their protection and in many ways it is a supreme honor as they know their child will grow up to be a hero fighting for Humanity's Survival.
As for their training, the Children are brought to their respective Chapter's home world where they are trained to be the ultimate warriors. The Home World's locations are only known to the Crusader's and not all of them are within the Empires Borders. On these world's they are taught survival tactics, and trained in the martial arts as well as marksmanship. They are made squires to a full on Crusaders and the Veteran Crusader passes on their knowledge to the youth, and teaches them discipline through work as a Squire, where they maintain their Crusader Mentor's armor and weapons.
As they reach the right age, they are given their augmentations which change their genetics, the process makes them stronger and they receive their first implants as well, mostly a neural interface that will later help with mental links with their weapons. The genetic augmentation makes them more than Human as their Brain increases in size, and they soon develop a second heart, and their bones increase in density and their muscles become dense and powerful, A third Lung meant for filtering air born toxins develops and other organs giving them super immune-systems develop. They also begin to grow nerve bundles in their skin that later are meant to interface with the armor they will receive when they become a full fledged Crusader.
Crusaders are instilled with the ideals of the Faith, and to protect Humanity from its enemies at any cost, even if their Enemies death results from their own. They continue their constant training throughout the remainder of their youth, and usually graduate at differing times whether it takes them 20 or a 100 years to graduate to being a full fledged Crusader, and those incapable of coping with what is required of them as a Crusader become Serfs who serve the Crusaders, usually aboard their ships and act as the crew, this is considered highly shameful and they are looked down upon, but they learn to accept their role. Before a successful graduate can become a Crusader in full and when they are combat ready they take up the role of scouts and reconnaissance for their chapter, being snipers and stealth unit for spying on enemy lines or taking up forward positions and taking out enemies and their supply lines. Some Crusaders choose to remain scouts as a profession becoming elite snipers and stealth experts. Unlike Crusader Power Armor, Scouts are outfitted with advanced Titanium Plating, that is light but highly protective, however it cannot take the abuse the full fledged Crusader Power Armor can, but is beneficial in its weight, allowing them to be mobile and stealth capable.
After tasting combat as scouts, and through time, they earn the right to become full fledged Crusader, and are given a suit of power armor, usually the armor is refurbished armor from a fallen Battle-brother, or assembled from spare parts, each is unique work with its own history and undeniably powerful. They then continue as a Crusader and find their calling throughout the many battles that forge them into the elite warriors they are.
Crusaders in full, are highly disciplined and intelligent, capable of devising independent strategies as well. They are trained extensively in this, though some show more propensity for leadership than others, they are non-the-less efficient soldiers. After training, studying and learning through experience, in using the enemies advantages against them and etc. they can further advance from a Standard Battle-Brother to a more specialized Soldier, or simply learn to use different weapons. It is more complex than simply saying there are several defined choices and selections they make, as Crusaders are disciplined to use any weapon effectively, so it comes down to preference.
Tactical Crusaders are the jack of all trades in this regard, and all Crusaders take up this role. The standard weapon for a Tactical Crusader is the Lance Assault rifle, a weapon of most Holy Renown, it can be compared synonymously with a Knight's or Samurai's Sword in how this gun is treated. While this gun is seen as iconic when thinking of the Crusaders, they are not limited to this weapon, though they all own one. Tactical Crusaders may also take weapons such as Plasma guns, giving them an edge against armor, or Fury weapons which act similarly. They may also take Melee weapons, some Chapters are known for preferring this, however more commonly only the Sergeants or Commanders use Melee weapons in a Tactical squad, making a ranged squad capable of combating anyone who gets close with the experienced officer being skilled with Melee. Within the squad the can also elect to take a flamer, for fighting against hordes of enemies. Heavy weapons may also be taken with a tactical squad, ranging from the Heavy Lance to a Laser Cannon, meaning just about any Heavy weapon available to them. These specialist weapons however can only be taken by two Crusaders in the squad, while the rest receive a standard load out. All in all they are a diverse group, and have squad sizes varying from 4 to 10.
Annihilator Squads are the heavy Weapons teams of the Crusaders, the more veteran heavy weapons user can graduate to these squads. Typically the use heavy Lances, Missile Launchers, Laser Cannons, Plasma Cannon, Multi-Fury Guns and the like.
Assault squads are another choice for Crusaders who elect to specialize in close-combat, they typically have a lance pistol and a Chainsword as well as a Jumppack to help them close distances rapidly. They usually carry Fury Bombs, also called "Melta-bombs", that allow them to take out enemy vehicles with ruthless efficiency. Squad leaders can elect to take other Melee weapons, such as Power Weapons, and other types of pistols. Two within the squad can elect to take Flamers, to help with fighting horde enemies.
Eventually based on the skill and experience a Crusader has earned, they can make there way into the First Company of the Chapter, which is comprised entirely of the utmost veteran Crusaders of a Particular Chapter. From there they join whichever they specialize in, but in a more experience veteran squad.
Eventually the most veteran of Crusaders can earn a Crux Juggernaut, which gives them the right to wear Juggernaut Armor. Juggernaut Crusaders are the absolute toughest Crusaders to kill, having the best armor possible, they are able to ignore most any weapon through sheer durability. However this is traded for mobility, as the Armor is incapable of moving fast, this does not mean slowness in close combat though and there ability to easily weather damage lets them ignore the enemy's fire as they close the distance. Also one must consider that the Juggernaut armor is capable of teleporting into battle, and can use that to close distance with the enemy once the teleporter builds up enough charge.
Juggernauts all have a Powerfist as standard load out, as well as a Storm Lance, they can however elect to take a Heavy Flamer, or a Assault Cannon for additional firepower, instead of the Storm Lance. The Power fist can also be exchanged for the even more powerful Chainfist, which allows a terminator to even break through a bulkhead of a star ship and so is highly effective for breaking into a structure or ruining a vehicle. They may also elect to take a Cyclone Missile Launcher, which is shoulder mounted, allowing the Juggernaut armor to rain Artillery on an enemy position or Vehicle, as well as engage Aerial targets.
Assault Juggernauts are another variant that takes in a Storm Shield and a Thunder Hammer, this makes them extremely potent melee units that can all but ignore oncoming damage thanks to the powerful Shield they carry, which is known to even stop Artillery shells. This type of Juggernaut can also elect to take lightning claws, a type of power weapon much like the powerfist except for extremely fast strikes, enabling them to attack multiple times very quickly, eviscerating single enemies and cutting down swarms of lesser foes.
Crusader begin Modification after their primary training as children, when they hit the correct age for the augmentations to have the desired effect, usually at the end of Prepubescence, just before Puberty would set in. They monitor the hormone levels of the children carefully to be sure they get it right, and then from there they continue rigorous training and a new diet to encourage the growth. The training varies depending on the Chapter's home world, but the modifications are the same though some Chapter's seem to have unique Mutations that make them stand out. This varies from Chapter to chapter, all chapters however have the following.
Tactics for the Crusaders are diverse like the diversity of Chapters, but this does not mean that they do not have a structured rule set to reference. This rule set comes in the form of a large Tome known as the Liber Militiae or the "Book of War", and it is extensive and detailed in dealing with all possible Enemy tactics, however it is presented in a way that allows it to have multiple interpretations to fit into any scenario one would find themselves in. It is a part of standard training to study this tome and learn to use its tactical and strategic advice to help one guide there actions in combat, and the ability to adapt to changing situations with its use is an invaluable asset looked for in aspiring Crusader Leaders.
Overall the Crusaders are a special operations force, with the capability of waging war on their own or with support of local forces. They may use tactics in small operations to recover artifacts, or discover information and even sabotage and enemy with mobile unit task forces. They may also perform full scale planetary assaults coupled with strategic strikes of key locations to hamper an enemy's ability to fight back, such as destroying supply lines and destroying planetary defenses.
The tactics they employ allow a single Chapter of Crusaders, numbering usually 1000 Crusaders, though some have been known to have a bit more than this even though it is discouraged and must be kept from notice, to be able to take a planet on their own accord. They are exceptional at handling overwhelming odds, or handling what would seemingly be "superior forces". Planets the destabilize are usually then occupied by New Covenant forces shortly after, who perform the clean up, one could say.
Chapters make use of whats is available to them, this means their vehicles, veteran troops, specialists, their strike fleets, and various other assets. They are also quite able of finding less orthodox methods by making use of what is found on a planet as well. Such as rigging enemy power sources as explosive, and using enemy weaponry when no other option is given. Specialists are more than capable of making use of cyber warfare and sabotage as well to hamper the enemy and their communications.