The story of the Space Tigers is long, tangled, and difficult to unravel, but their clearest point of origin can be traced to the early years of the Badab War. In an event that soon came to be known as the Betrayal at Grief (906.M41), Astral Claws Chapter Master Lufgt Huron assassinated Red Scorpions Lord Commander Ortys under a flag of truce.
This was extremely troubling to the Astral Claws XVIII Company, known as “The Tigers,” led by Captain Kinaz Pedro. To him, it seemed to prove beyond all question that Huron was not fighting a righteous war. Tasked with guarding the Maelstrom-facing edge of the Magog Cluster, the XVIII Company bore the duty and title of Maelstrom Wardens much more seriously than most of their brethren; and to them, the conflict between Huron and the High Lords amounted to bureaucratic nonsense that only served to distract them from their solemn responsibilities. Captain Kinaz and his command staff privately agreed that the restrictions placed upon the Astral Claws were counterproductive to the fulfillment of their duty, but equally felt that infighting was still worse. They looked on in horror as their brothers slaughtered one another over administrative trifles.
By the time Huron recalled all companies to the defense of the Badab System in 913.M41, Kinaz’ inner circle had already set a plan in motion. Having quietly purged all Huron loyalists from the company’s ranks through administrative reassignment over the preceding seven years, the conspirators ordered their fleet Navigators to deliberately sabotage the warp jump to Badab. According to official Imperial records, the Astral Claws XVIII Company was lost in the warp, vanished without a trace.
Over the next decade, the XVIII company forged a new identity. Mindful of their proud heritage and duty, and regardless of Huron’s abandonment of it, they named themselves the Space Tigers, retained much of their heraldry, and darkened their gold and blue livery to orange and black. Secretly, they continued to fulfill their sworn duty as Maelstrom Wardens, protecting Imperial space against Chaos-born incursions in the southern reaches of Ultima Segmentum.
As of last reporting, the Space Tigers were listed as an under-strength, fleet-based chapter operating near the southern fringe of the Maelstrom, with a handful of successful minor campaigns to their credit, no notable battle honors, and a surprisingly sparse history. Of course, Imperial records are notoriously labyrinthine, so none in the Administratum have yet paid much attention to the lack of data.
The Space Tigers strive to adhere to the Codex, but the inescapable fact remains that they are a Chapter built from a single Company over the course of less than a century. As such, they currently maintain three partial-strength Battle Companies and one Scout Auxiliary. As of now there are no Reserve companies, and no Veteran Company, due to small numbers—instead, Veteran squads are scattered across the three Battle Companies.
The Space Tigers Armory, on the other hand, is ample. Among the worlds that they commonly patrol is Triplex Phall, a Forge World near the southern edge of the Maelstrom. A mutually beneficial treaty ensures that the Space Tigers are never wanting for war materiel, and Triplex Phall is never left undefended. As such, the Armory includes multiple Land Raiders and a surplus of Rhinos, and is carefully maintained by a remarkably large corps of Techmarines given the Chapter’s size.
In the Space Tigers chapter, a novice’s last test of worth before induction as a full Initiate is known as the Blooding. The aspiring Initiates take to battle under the watchful eye of the Chapter’s senior leadership—the Lord Captain, the Master of Arcane, the Master of Sanctity, and the Master of Recruits. Thrust into the very center of the conflict, those novices who acquit themselves well are raised as Initiates and given the honor of the Black Carapace. Those who falter—if they live—will be Blooded again and again until they prove themselves worthy. It is a grueling trial; to date only one Astartes has ever passed through the Blooding in his first battle, and without injury. But it ensures that the Chapter is comprised of only the sternest and most disciplined Brothers, and that Initiates are battle-ready from the moment they are raised.
Over the millennia, the Astral Claws had developed a belief that the Space Marines were set above humanity, and that common humans were no more than tools to be used and cast aside. In addition, their honorable title as Maelstrom Wardens instilled in them a conviction that, even among the Astartes, the Astral Claws were a race apart.
The leaders of the XVIII Company were convinced that this hubris is what ultimately led to Lufgt Huron’s downfall, and were determined to prevent this from ever happening again. And so Chaplain Staretz Ortan, who would later become the Master of Sanctity of the young Space Tigers chapter, penned Five Tenets by which every one of his brothers should govern himself. After the Company’s desertion and reformation as a Chapter, meditation upon these Tenets was formally included in the recruitment and initiation process.
The Five Tenets of the Space Tigers are:
Victory, without praise
Honor, without glory
Duty, without complaint
Service, without reward
Sacrifice, without remembrance