The Licenian Heresy
The Big Gray
Name: Exterminatus 88837222020, a.k.a. “The Big Grey”
This planet’s original name was stricken from Imperial records. It is one of the largest planets ever discovered, anywhere. The planet’s surface was once littered with dozens of continents of varying populations and ecologies. It was, in times of antiquity, destroyed by virus-bombing under an Order of Exterminatus from the Inquisition. Now it is used by various navies for target practice for their ships’ planetary-scale strike weaponry.
Population: Presumed zero
Tithe Grade: None
Geography: Formerly a lush, populated world with huge oceans and scattered continents.
Government Type: None
Planetary Governor: None
Adept Presence: None
Military: None. But on any given cycle, you might find a fleet in orbit. The size of this presence varies. A number of satellite bases orbit the planet, usually abandoned.
The Big Grey is one of the first planets ever destroyed by virus bombing. The Life-Eater Virus released by these bombs is genetically designed to spread and destroy all organic cellular structures it infects, reducing all life on the planet, flora and fauna, to an undifferentiated organic sludge. The process of cellular decay produces huge volumes of flammable gas as a by-product. A secondary wave of orbital bombing ignites the gasses, turning the atmosphere into a world-burning firestorm. Whereas virus bombing typically takes only minutes to destroy a typical sized planet with a population of about 16 billion, The Big Grey is so large that it took almost half an hour for the world to be reduced to ash, devoid of all life, water, and atmosphere.
There is a persistent rumor that a race of psy-active carbon-based creatures exist on the planet, now living deep in underground caves. Others say that squats, evolved human colonists (shortened by the high-gravity environment), live below the surface. No signs of life have ever been recorded.
It is tradition for fleet commanders to attempt to carve patterns into the planet with crust-breaking weaponry, to prove the accuracy of their weapons teams and the precision of their battle commands.