- "-Good news, you're older than that space elf over there!
-"How is that good news?"
- — A conversation between two Ark Guardians about an Aeldari
The Arkists, also known as Ark Dwellers, are a catch-all term for the fortunate human civilizations that prepared and utilized interstellar arks to preserve their civilization(s) during the Age of Strife. There used to be a lot more interstellar arks in the Age of Strife, but as time goes on, the majority of the Arks were destroyed and fell to ruin due to internal strife, lack of resources, opposing humans, and hostile xenos.
- 1 History
- 2 Ark ships
- 3 Notable Ark Ships
- 4 Reputation
- 5 Note
Age of Strife
As the Cybernetic Revolts came to an end, large numbers of small human civilizations began to be skeptical about the Warp, due to the small, yet concerning instability. The skeptical human civilizations began preparing for the worse. That is when the idea of Ark ships began to spread to other empires, both big and small, strong and weak. But in the end, only the wise strive.
These were the times where many Ark ships met their doom. Mutiny, lack of resources, corruption, opposing humans, and xenos are the examples of the many ways an Ark ship fall to ruin. Through this act of cleansing, only the most isolationist, the most resourceful, the most strongest, and the most luckiest Ark ships get to live long enough to see the present time, and how grimdark it is.
The Arkists serve as a reminder of the great heights and wonders humanity has fallen from. As of the Present Time, the Ark ships have dispersed. Some decided to form flotillas of Ark ships, living the nomadic life of moving from one system to another, some decided to help the naive Tau, just because they remind them of the good old days, some decided to leave for the more isolated places, some decided to become pirates, and some decided to form upstart empires.
The Ark ships are, in theory, (hive) cities in space. Each Ark ship has different quality of lives, some ships are as comfortable as living in the Tau empire, and some ships as hard and cold as living in an actual hive city. Each Ark ship is unique, Both inside and outside, due to the diversity of the human civilizations that built them. The Ark ships were intended to be self-sustaining, interstellar arks that will keep and preserve the human civilizations utilizing them, but because of the heavy loss humanity has to end the Cybernetic Revolt, coupled with corruption, resource shortage, mass panic and the lack of time to build, some, if not most Ark ships were not susceptible enough to feed all of the Ship's crew population's needs, resulting in Operations.
Ark ships will perform operations that are appropriate with their current needs. Operations are full of critical procedures, one mistake may endanger the ship and it's inhabitants as a whole.
Harvesting operations are operations where the Ark ship(s) will locate, find, and (partially) harvest a planet's resources, both organic and inorganic material. This operation is one of the many risky-er operations an Ark ship can perform, as this operation requires the Ark ship(s) to be near/in orbit, rendering the Ark ships vulnerable to the planet's natives.
Heavily damaged Ark Ships will do Landfall Operations to repair their injury. As the name suggests, the Ark Ship(s) will land on a chosen planet, to repair their injuries. While on surface, Arkists may perform Harvesting Operations on the planet they're on. Throughout the time, muany Ark Ships ended up settling the planets they're on, due to the ship's parts being damaged into an irreparable mess. Settled Ark ships are more vulnerable to attacks by other factions, ending many Arkists factions.
As the name says, this is an operation involving social skills, with other factions. As you can see, this operation is really risky, as the other faction in trade might back stab and perform an ambush for the Ark ships' technologies, or it's inhabitants, depending on the faction in question.
Some, if not most Ark ships utilize Stasis Pods to preserve their civilization's most important people, such as their Overseers and Ark Guardians. This Operation is initiated in the event a hostile boarding action is taking place, and the operation must be done accordingly. If the operation in carelessly speed, there may be unexpected deaths from the stasis pods, but if the operation is done in a long drawn out procedure, the Ark ship is boarded.
There are Ark Ships that utilize Stasis Pods for their whole crew, but that is rare.
Warp Jump Operations
If needed, Ark ships will perform a Warp Jump Operation for reaching a more favorable location that requires a very long distances to reach in a short amount of time. This is a rare type of Operation, since:
- Most Ark ships travel in sub-light speeds.
- The Ark ships that are in possession of Warp Drives are mostly rare, since the majority of Warp-drived Ark ships initiated their Warp Jump too early, as in Age of Strife too early, and are now lost in the warp storms.
Civilians are the term given to the Arkists that are the descendants of the civilization's original civilian population. They are (usually) the majority of an Ark ship's population, and they run the Ark ship's internal economy system through their many civilian occupations.
Lawmen are the term given to Arkists within the law enforcement occupation. As the name says, they enforce the Ark ship's laws and handle all types of crimes, from theft to murder to mutiny. They are the Arkists' equivalent of the Imperial Arbites, and are the ship's Armsmen against internal and external threats. They are to Guardians as Guardsmen are to Space Marines.
Caretakers are hand-picked Arkists that are given responsibility of fixing the stasis pods, and keeping the Ark ship ship-shape. They know every nook and cranny an Ark ship has, and (supposedly) are able to fix any technical problems an Ark ship can get. They are always accompanied by Lawmen when on duty (for reasons), and bear a resemblance to the secretive machine cults of Zayth.
Harvesters are drafted Arkists that are trained for manual labour outside the Ark ship. Armed with handheld weaponry, engineering tools, and biosafety manuals, the Harvesters are the workers tasked with harvesting resources within Harvesting Operations. For personnel safety and efficiency, Harvester teams are accompanied by an Overseer or two, to micromanage the harvesters and performing diplomatic talks incase the planet's locals are met. At times, the locals are voted by the Arkists to be uplifted, technological wise.
Guardians, also known as Ark Guardians, are the Arkists' military force. They are set in stasis pods and are partially awaken when an Operation is taking place (unless its an Awakening Operation, than it's all of them). As the Ark ship's Guardians are set in stasis, some (or most) are supposedly older than the Imperium itself. Within possession of ancient technological weapons, they are the Arkists' first and final line of defense against rebellion, Daemon Incursions, and Boarding Actions. First generation Ark Guardians have comparable combat strength and efficiency similar to that of the legendary Custodes. It is possible to train new Guardians, but they're never as efficient as the first batch, due to lack of needed equipment, for some ships.
Being as old as the Guardians, they over-see the Operations taking place in the ship(s). Overseers are Arkists with the implementation of bootleg STC implants, these implants enables them to think faster than the average human, and help them decide the best course of action in any given event. They are the advisors of the Captain (or Council) and are in command of the Ark Guardians. If an overseer has passed, they're implants will be extracted (like gene-seeds) and appropriately given to a new Overseer.
Some Ark ships utilize psykers as overseers, for better efficiency.
As the Captain of the ship, it is their responsibility to ensure the success and efficiency of the ship's Operations, including the Ark Dwellers' safety and security. Captains have their consciousness partially implanted into the ship, enabling them to know everything and anything that is happening in and around the Ark (in a technical way). Supposedly, Captains are also as old as their Ark ships. Some Ark ships have Councils to replace the Captain role for better efficiency.
Notable Ark Ships
Paradise was an Ark ship of a powerful human civilization during the Age of Tech. With all of the resources, time, and power one would have during the Age of Tech, the human civilization created the Paradise, which can be described as a masterpiece. Paradise was filled to the brim with ancient technology. Men of Iron, STCs, black- hole weaponry, you name it. Unfortunately, the Paradise also was in possession of a Warp Drive. It was last seen entering the warp, never to be seen again.
Current state: Deceased
The Aurora was one of the few Ark ships that still utilize Men of Iron for labor and security. Unfortunately for the Aurora, their Men of Iron rebelled during a boarding action done by hostile xenos. Their Men of Iron were originally remnants of the Cybernetic Revolts in the days before the Age of Strife, forcefully deactivated by their creators. So when the time came where hostiles boarded the ship, the Arkists activated the Men of Iron. In short, Both Ark Dwellers and xenos were slain, and the Aurora was never seen again.
Current state: Deceased
Auretia was one of the strongest settled Arkists factions ever to be formed. Unfortunately, Auretia was decimated by the Imperium during the Great Crusades. Auretia's fate was used and referenced by many Ark Ships in lessons, where Arkists discuss about planet settling and war strategies. In fact, the Auretia wasn't really the decimated Ark ship's real name, but a reference to the Auretian Technocracy, another fallen human empire. But unlike the Auretia, the fallen empire had some sort of a remnant faction, unlike the former.
Current state: Decimated
The plan of Apollo's Ark Dwellers was simple: sleep, until the bad things go away. They used up expensive materials to build stasis pods for everyone on board, and utilized Men of Iron servants to protect and serve the ship while everyone is asleep. And so they did, and the Apollo drifts in space as the machines work tirelessly and the crew asleep. As of the present time, the Apollo is now apart of a giant Space Hulk, hidden and safe from everyone else.
Current state: Dormant
The Pelican is an Ark ship of another powerful human civilization during the Age of Strife. Unlike their cousin, the Paradise, the Pelican did not make use of Warp Jumps during the Age of Strife. Protected by it's Guardian ships that originated from the Age of Technology, the Pelican showcases the might of ancient humanity. As of the present time, they are being hunted by the (Dark) Mechanicum, and some Imperial Rogue Trader opportunists for the ancient weaponry they posses.
Current state: Hunting
The legendary Stargazer, known for it's (in)famous reputation of having the most rare appearances of all the Ark Ships. Legends say that the ship is in possession of a DAoT cloaking device, so advanced that even the Aeldari are having trouble in detecting them. But you see, when one somehow witness the infamous Stargazer disappear, they too, will disappear. It doesn't matter if they're a highly influential Water Caste Tau, a powerful Rogue Trader, or even that one friendly Ark ship, they will disappear. (Cool, right?)
Current state: Hunting
The Arkists of Dyplomata are known for their skill in trade and socializing. They are (in)famous for selling ancient archeotech tools and weaponry to the other factions, something Ark ships rarely do. They have a reputation of honest business partner, for not back stabbing their customers, despite the fact that they have the bigger gun(ancient weaponry is best weaponry). They have numerously traded with rogue traders, Inquisitors, fellow Ark ships, multiple Minor Xeno Species, upstart Ork empires, Water Caste Tau, some Craftworlds, a Mechanicus Magos, and many more. Their Master Plan is quite simple: Be everyone's friend (trade partner) so you can always be on top. Is it working? Perhaps.
Current State: Socializing
From the many Corporate writings seen on Ulysses' surfaces, it is presumed that Ulysses is an Ark ship made by three or more ancient mega corporations during the Age of Strife. As of the present time, the Ulysses has as infamous reputation of World Killer. Their Harvesting Operations are known to change worlds into dead worlds. Animals, plants, trees, mountains and natives, nothing is spared. They have caused much pain to the other factions, and have had many mercenaries sent after them, from Rogue Trader legions to Drukhari hit squads, yet they are still alive and kicking.
Current state: Harvesting
The Azumaya originated from the fallen faction of the Diasporex. the Azumaya cowardly abandoned its fellow starships during the initial days before the empire's fall. Somewhere during its flee, the Azumaya met a flotilla of Ark ships, which they were donated fuel from, out of generosity. After the encounter, the Azumaya infiltrated the ranks of the Arkists community, slowly being recognized as a fellow Ark ship by other Arkists. The starship's crew were filled with guilt ever since their abandonment, and as of now, the Azumaya's descendants are known for being dangerously generous, technologically uplifting xeno species and annoyingly helpful to other Ark ships, due to their depressing moral crusade of repentance. Their xeno uplifting habit has been an irritating problem for the Imperium ever since that fateful day.
Current state: Uplifting
(Feel free to add some more Ark Ships here)
Lawful neutral: Lawful neutral represent Imperial attempts to decrease aggression between the two sides, due to the Arkists having possession of ancient weaponry of unknown destruction. But law is written on paper, and this won't stop the opportunists to try, be it Rogue Traders, and even Mechanicus fleets. The Arkists are to the Imperium as the CraftWorlders are to the Drukhari, both sides will help each other in need, but when left alone, both sides bother each other, like family.
Chaotic good: The Tau idolize them, treat them like Ancient Techno Gods (metaphorically), and will always try to invite them to the Greater Good whenever the opportunity arises. The Tau are the most bothersome faction the Arkists have ever met, but they are also the friendliest faction.
True Neutral: Technically, the Arkists are the human equivalents of Craftworld Aeldari. Both sides will (usually) respect each others' space and position as Dooms. Though, sometimes, the monkeighs will try to socialize with the Space Elves, which can produce a domino spiral to many things, good or bad.
Chaotic Evil: No one likes the Drukhari, not even the Drukhari themselves. They raid the Ark ships not for the technologies they posses, but for it's inhabitants (or both, Archeotech is expensive). The Drukhari are considered reckless and unreasonable, and are tagged hostile by most Ark ships.
Neutral Evil: The Orks are by nature, a warmongering faction, war is everything to them. The Arkists mostly ignores planet-bound Orks, and rarely, some sent down cheap, faulty, Men of Iron warriors for entertainment. it is a Win-Win situation for everyone.
Chaotic evil: Biological? Yes. Negotiable? No. Eternal hunger? Yes. Sentient? Yes? Can we weaponize it? No? Why even bother?
Lawful evil: The Chaos Gods have plans.
Neutral evil: Biological? No. Negotiable? Yesn't. Eternal hunger? No. Sentient? Yesn't. Can we weaponize it? No. Don't bother them.
Neutral: (It's like meeting a long lost sibling.) Some Arkists tend to do jobs given by the Old Pioneers for some of their technological goods. Vice Versa, some Precursors tend to infiltrate the Arkists, since they hold neutral ground between the Precursors and the Imperials, a way to find Imperial Intelligence and weaknesses.
(Note: Do note that not every Ark ship has the exact reputation as shown above, just a good portion of them)
(I'm using the Good, Bad, and Neutral terms incorrectly)
(Feel free to add some more minor factions here)
- Feel free to make your own Ark Ship for your own use. You want them as your Antagonists? Useful allies? Protagonists? Useless allies? That one entity that dies easily to showcase the strength of the opposition? I dont care! (Or care, I don't know how the phrase works)
- If you find some groups of words that doesn't sound right went read in mind, or some sketchy grammar, feel free to fix them for me! (I am terrible at Grammar Cleansing)