This article, Fleet of the Black Hand, was written by Anonymous ONI agent. Please do not edit or 'acquire' this fiction without the writer's permission.
The Fleet of the Black Hand was a Chaos warfleet based out of the Perfidian Gap, a warp storm located in the galactic northeast. First encountered by Imperial merchant vessels in the late 35th Millenium, the Fleet of the Black Hand periodically emerged from the Gap to harass local Imperial Navy forces, disrupt trade routes, and generally sow terror amongst Imperial worlds in the region. Led by an enigmatic Chaos Lord known as Kyro the Hateful, the fleet was thought to have been crewed by an assortment of renegades, traitorous Astartes, and slaves abducted from various Imperial ships and planets.
Helmed by none other than Kyro the Hateful himself, the Desolator-class battleship known as the Pillar of Damnation served as the flagship of the Fleet of the Black Hand. The ship's first recorded encounter with the Imperium occurred in the early 37th Millenium, when it single-handedly wiped out an entire Imperial Navy battlegroup, save for the lead ship, a Mars-class battlecruiser, which was left heavily damaged. The Pillar of Damnation is a rare sight, but when it does appear, it leaves few, if any, survivors.
Typically responsible for leading the lighter Dirge of Woe and Heartless into battle, more Imperial vessels were destroyed at the hands of the Song of Eternal Night than by any other vessel in the Fleet of the Black Hand.
The Styx-class heavy cruiser known as the Chorus of Agony served as the primary carrier vessel in the Fleet of the Black Hand. Rarely was the ship ever observed up close, for it usually lingered at the back of a given formation, deploying attack craft and defensive fighter squadrons to aid the fleet whilst providing supporting lance fire from afar.
Usually encountered alongside its Murder-class counterparts, the Carnage-class cruiser Thirsting Maw was typically seen providing supporting fire from its broadside macrocannonbatteries and heavy macro-turret.
Alongside its sister ship, the Heartless, the Dirge of Woe formed the backbone of the Fleet of the Black Hand's offensive capability. The Dirge of Woe and the Heartless were typically seen being led by the Hades-class Song of Eternal Night and supported by either the Styx-class Chorus of Agony, the Carnage-class Thirsting Maw, or by several smaller Hellbringer-class light cruisers.
The Heartless formed the other half of the Fleet of the Black Hand's offensive backbone alongside the Dirge of Woe. Together with its sister ship and the more heavily-armed Song of Eternal Night, the three vessels were able to lay down devastating volleys of coordinated lance fire capable of quickly withering all but the largest of opposing ships.
Despite its small size and limited firepower, the Laughter of the Gods was perhaps the ship most feared out of the Fleet of the Black Hand by the denizens of the worlds surrounding the Perfidian Gap. While the Laughter of the Gods did frequently partake in ship-to-ship combat in support of the fleet's larger vessels, the ship's primary role was that of a "slave ship". Every few decades, the Laughter of the Gods would quietly venture out of the Gap to conduct lightning raids on Imperial worlds, abducting their inhabitants to help fulfill the fleet's need for forced labor. Under the cover of night, thousands would be rounded up, shackled, whipped, and herded into the vessel's hellish hold, where they would be tortured ceaselessly for days on end to break their wills and destroy their faith in the Emperor.