Keterist extremist group active in a number of regions throughout the Outer Volumes. Their stated goal is to ensure the continued growth and evolution of galactic culture towards the highest possible levels by forcing static and counter-progressive cultures to face the "creative destruction of evolution". They have not been averse to attacking any cultures, civilizations, and polities which they do not consider fit.
The Crusaders emerged sometime in the late 8400s, apparently as an outgrowth of earlier evolution accelerator fractions within keterist society. Their stated goal is to ensure the continued growth and evolution of galactic culture towards the highest possible levels by forcing static and counter-progressive cultures to face the "creative destruction of evolution". In Crusader philosophy the greastest threat to terragen survival and growth is the emergence of "malign stasis", systems or cultures stifling the ascent towards greater levels of complexity. Such malignancies must be weeded out, using means commensurate with the threat.
The first admitted Crusader attack occured in 8833-8834 when the Uravas Persona was destroyed. The Uravas Persona was a Keterist cluster dominated by a single, fairly expansive collective mind unique in that it was extending itself over interstellar distances. The Crusaders attacked the cluster using a fleet of relativist warships, destroying the Persona and its subroutine allies utterly. A far more infamous attack was the destruction of the wormholes linking the worlds of the Monopoly of Wert in the MPA in 9082, where over 49 million sentients were killed (the Monopoly broke up as expected, and is currently 17 independent polities within the MPA). Since then a number of attacks, subversions and sabotages have been performed by the Crusaders in the frontier and outer volumes.
While the popular image of the Crusaders as fleets of transapientech warships sweeping down onto primitive or conservative planets is exaggerated (the Crusaders appear to spend far more resources on memetic subversion and infiltration), the Crusaders do approve of violent tactics to achieve their aims. Their dictum is "Violence is the universal language" - a judicious application of terror, threat or coercion can achieve far greater effects not just on the victims but on other groups too than non-coercive means.
It is believed the Crusaders are studying all evidence for the Dawn Hunters, possibly even seeing themselves as resurrecting the Hunters. Some observers of the paranoid school even suggest that the Crusaders are the Dawn Hunters; the Hunters never vanished, but instead infiltrate new civilisations and use their own resources against them.
The exact resources of the Crusaders remain conjectural, but given their support by powerful keterist intellects and access to advanced technology they are formidable compared to the average frontier world. It is believed the Crusaders build warships or industrial systems by using the cuckoo trick: sending a hyperturing construct to a fairly primitive system, making the construct become a major industrial leader, introduce new technologies and use local resources to create a power base that can act as a cover or manufacturing base for their operations. Several outer volume cultures are believed to be infiltrated in this way. They also employ autowars, as evidenced in the occupation of the Loe Dedicandum system in 10203-10244.
Given their stated goal of disrupting stagnation, it is uncertain if the Crusaders approve of the traditional empires. Some suggestions of Inner Sphere subversion operations have been blamed on the Crusaders. There exist elements of Cyberia that either have allied themselves or trade with the Crusaders, at least according to statements from the Dominion Network Subversion Order. All major polities regard the Crusaders as unacceptable terrorists, but dealing with hyperturing terrorism in the frontier is beyond any of the empires. Keter response has also been guarded; while the hyperational anarchy of keterism is against the methods of the Crusaders there are no strong high-level initiatives to deal with the Crusaders and the total neutrality of Keter in external matters includes even the activities of the Crusaders. However, many individual keterist interests attempt to deal with the Crusaders, forming the loose Anticoercive Federation within Keterist society. The Federation attempts to track the Crusaders, expose their activities and offer aid to likely victims (some sceptics have suggested that the Federation is likely infiltrated by the Crusaders, using it to spread technology and outside influence to threatened conservative cultures, thus making them amenable to change).
Three transapientech battleships stating their allegiance to the Crusade are currently active in the Perseus Arm fighting the Amalgamation.