It is the summer holidays an I have been spending lots of time writing more on my Vleast Campaign. So here is my current, unfinished or even polished workings.
The Imperium is vast beyond measure. Countless small, isolated colonies exist, lost amongst the immensity of the galaxy and only holding onto existence through the archives of Holy Terra. Vleast IV was once such a planet until, within one hundred years, it was transformed from an insignificant mining planet to a global warzone infamous amongst its sector of the Eastern Fringe.
Space travel in the 41st millennium is extremely dangerous. Hostile aliens roam the stars, pirates regularly attack Imperial ships, warp storms consume entire galactic regions and some ships just disappear never to be seen again. Entire systems can escape the notice of the Imperium saving their native inhabitants from an unnaturally quick extinction. Vleast was one of these lucky systems as neither Imperium nor Alien had noticed this planet until sometime shortly before 700.M41.
Interestingly, it was also the random nature of warp travel that had caused the Corona Vleast to have strayed so wildly off course. When the Imperial freighter vessel entered Real Space it found itself, not in the Macgragge system where it was delivering weapons but rather very close to an uncharted planetary system. The crew decided that the since they had not yet come under attack, the system was safe to investigate. Hence the ship slowly ventured through the surrounding asteroid belts and meteorites to examine the new worlds.
The transport ship only had basic observational equipment so could not gather any detailed data but as the ship approached the fourth planet from the class F star it slowed for a closer look. This planet was coated in deep blue oceans and even had large areas of land which glowed green but with a purple shade smeared profoundly throughout. The crew of Corona Vleast studied the world as closely as they could but regretfully had to continue to Macgragge. However, the newly named Vleast system was not forgotten as the crew soon filed detailed reports of their proudly discovered new world.
The Observation Fleet
From the observations made by the transport vessel and its crew the Imperial powers that be decided that Vleast IV was worthy of further Imperial attention. In 753.M41 a small observation fleet comprised of only four vessels returned to the Vleast system to carry out more detailed studies. The fleet spent over 2 years in the system firstly observing the planets besides Vleast IV such as the purple gas giant Vleast VII and the ice worlds of Vleast IX and X. These worlds were ultimately deemed to be of no interest to the Imperium as no precious minerals or resources were found.
However, Vleast IV did prove to be of great interest to the observation ships. Although the atmosphere was often filled with clouds the world was scrutinised by powerful sensors could penetrate this thick blanket. The fleet soon detected, hidden beneath the surface, scores of valuable minerals of which Yttrium was the most abundant and valuable. Further observations also detected a profusion of native life among the oceans and dense jungles but were unable to distinguish their exact nature.
The climate of was a vital piece of recorded data: hurricane force winds were found to be common; harsh thundering storms were frequent and powerful; rain was a constant and high flooding affected 70% of the visible land mass. All of the coastal regions and even large parts of the inner areas were seen to be covered with dense jungles where the ships assumed the ground was marshy and water-logged as a result of the high rains and floods; most of Vleast IV was a thick swamp. However, this harsh environment was sometimes cut by periods of relative calm where the powerful sun beat through the clouds, dried areas of the open, non-jungle, terrain and even the winds died to a breeze. Hence when the observation fleet left for Macgragge to return their findings they returned with tales of a harsh yet colonisable world with a great hidden resource.
The Colonisation Fleet
Although the observation fleets reports suggested immediate colonisation it was a further century and a half before this suggestion was put into effect. It wasn’t until the early stages of 900.M41, on the nearby world of Pavonis, that construction began on a small fleet. This fleet consisted of six standard colony ships which each housed within their titanic hulls enough space for half a million settlers plus all of the food and equipment required. Within a year all six vessels had been constructed and were finishing the last stages of their preparations. Furthermore, the detailed reports had allowed for much planning to be made so that all of the equipment taken and preparations made were done with the harsh conditions of the swamp jungle in consideration. Also the settlers that would occupy the ships and become Vleast IVs first colonists were all taken from the overcrowded world of Pavonis with each expected to work constantly throughout the colonisation; there is no slacking with the Imperium.
The fleet departed from Pavonis in 708907.M41 with all the preparations made and settlers aboard. Accompanying the fleet was an Imperial Navy escort containing part of an Imperial Guard regiment recruited from the colonists’ families to form the Vleast IV 1sts. This new regiment had no combat vehicles (besides the officers’ personal Chimeras) and very limited weapons but was deemed adequate to serve on the new world. The combination of Navy and Guard forces would provide protection of the colony in both space and on-world.
In 198910.M41 the colonisation fleet arrived in the Vleast system. The seven ships entered Real Space fortunately having endured no major incidents in the Warp. Slowly, the fleet entered orbit around Vleast IV carrying three million settlers and two-hundred thousand Imperial Guardsmen. From the reports made by the observation fleet and further scans from the colonisation ships, the colonists deduced that the only safe place to settle was in an area of the Inner Continental region. This position afforded shelter from the fierce coastal hurricanes, had the least amount of plant growth, only a small amount of detectable animal life and seemed to have the best terrain for which to build upon. Furthermore this area was the one that benefited from the most regular periods of calm which the first steps of the colonisation would require.
However the area chosen was still covered in flora which would be perilous to land upon. Thus the Imperial Navy escort ship bombarded the landing area with its mighty cannons, destroying all vegetation and life. Over a thousand square miles of jungle was ‘cleared’ and made suitable for landing. Before the dust even settled, the first landing crafts were launched.
At 214910.M41 the first thousand settlers and a hundred Imperial Guardsmen set foot on the new planet. The settlers were greeted by the powerfully beating Vleast sun which glinted off of the dust still hanging in the air. Alien trees that had survived at the edge of the blast zone were singed but their deep purple tinge still coated the horizon. The atmosphere was unusually clear with only a few light clouds tainting the sky.
Immediately the workers took advantage of the relatively clear weather and began construction of two hundred prefabricated Stage-1 Epsilon-class Colonisation Buildings. These E-CBs could be raised in a matter of hours and provide semi-permanent shelter for over twenty settlers. Scant days after the ships had landed on the charred earth all of the E-CBs had been raised and more ships had begun to land. The initial colonisation began and continued at a rapid speed until every few weeks the climate proved too fierce and construction was halted. When the skies cleared again the colonists swiftly resumed their hasty assembly of the sturdy E-CBs.
After 3 months half a million settlers had made plant fall and a million more could be housed in the already erected E-CBs. Work hence began on an Orbital Landing Pad which would provide the only place on the planet which could accommodate the largest drop ships that held the essential supplies and equipment for the full colonisation of Vleast IV. This landing pad was constructed on the sturdiest section of the ‘cleared’ area and was made of the toughest material available to the colonists.
Construction accelerated once the landing pad was finished as the larger drop ships could now be utilised. Brick buildings, guard barracks and power stations were now built among the E-CBs, which would eventually be replaced. Slowly but steadily a city emerged from the blasted ground, Vlaseek.
After 2 years all of the colonists were living permanently in brick buildings within the new city. Mines had soon cropped up in and around the city as the settlers began harvesting the important Yttrium from the ground. City defence was of top priority too so a barricade wall had also been built around all of the important buildings to protect them from the harsh elements of Vleast among other potential threats. The Orbital Landing Pad had also been surrounded with an even higher protective wall in addition to heavier defensive equipment and weaponry. The city had used all of the resources afforded to it by the colonisation fleet so hence, in 175912.M41 the fleet returned to Pavonis and Vleast had officially completed its initial stage of colonisation.
Vleast was quickly developing into a productive mining planet and by 920.M41 the world was given its first quota of Imperial Guardsmen (10,000 souls); its highest Yttrium mining target since colonisation (70 million tons) and the first expansion ships had arrived in system to collect the decade worth of resources and deposit a further three million new settlers. This forced the colony to expand quickly using the new materials brought by the expansion fleet and extend into the surrounding jungle. This brought the Imperium into direct contact with all the strange creatures that had been lurking in the jungles and hiding since the first landings.
Vlaseek needed to grow quickly to accommodate the new settlers. However, the jungles needed to be cleared if Vlaseek was to expand but as the jungles was so close to the city the orbital guns of the fleet escorts could not be utilized. Instead the jungles were burned, bulldozed and quickly built upon so that the soil could not be quickly washed away in the frequent rains. E-CBs were used again to rapidly add to the size of the colony and within a month of the expansion ships landing another 1500 buildings had been raised.
However, after only a few days the quick expansion met an unexpected resistance. Overnight building sites were overrun by the native trees which grappled onto walls; animals were found slaughtered in their pens and some buildings just plummeted into the ground after a short rainstorm. Scouting parties were also being lost amongst the jungle without even a distress signal being sent. These problems halted all expansion as nothing built on the cleared jungle soil survived more than a month. This meant that Vlaseek could not expand and the new settlers had nowhere to go. But although nobody knew why these strange disasters were happening, as it had never occurred before the expansion, slowly the answer s became apparent as the investigations were launched.
The answer to the impossibly quick infestation of plants in the building sites was eventually connected an old report of a newly discovered species first thought to be myth.
*** Log Entry Number 210
A new species has been discovered. It is suspected to have been responsible for the invasion of 54 now irreparable outposts;the infestation of 540 km of bulldozed farmland; the disappearance of 83 expedition groups and finally the slaughtering of 2065 Imperial livestock.
The discovery was made by the remnants of a large expedition group who had been attacked by these odd..... animals. The survivors’ descriptions seem to detail a living, breathing plant organism which ‘surround them, like the very forest had closed upon them’. It appears that there is a native being neither plant nor animal but an abomination between the two. It must disguise itself amongst the thousands of plants and then when prey draws close attack with its ‘poisonous tentacles’. The survivors describe the creatures as being mobile upon tentacle-like legs but this must be a hallucination caused by their inevitable madness.
Species Designation: Verids
Action taken upon new species: EXTERMINATION
The creatures appeared like any other Vleastean plant but were in fact animals and had limited mobility upon their tentacle-like legs. These tentacles resembled the roots of the trees but are incredibly strong and can root to almost any surface. This is how the building sites were overrun and vehicles wreaked overnight.
The most alarming and damaging anomaly during the expansion were the sudden sink holes that swallowed entire buildings. The cause of this was a complete mystery until dozens of investigations were launched to look into these events and huge underground caverns were discovered. The investigations found great underground tunnel networks buried deep underneath the fallen buildings and extending into the jungle.
Inside these networks resided the Burrowfrogs, two metre long, six-legged, amphibians with long bills which was used to carve the underground tunnels. They resembled a big Platypus but with more legs, slimy skin and bigger claws. The tunnels these things made were strengthened by the above trees strong roots but when the trees were destroyed and the roots crippled the tunnels became unstable. It only took a small rainstorm to flood the tunnels and collapse them, creating the great sink-holes that swallowed hundreds of buildings. The initial colonisation zones had not experienced this problem as the orbital fire had already collapsed the tunnels.
Once the Burrowfrogs were discovered they were immediately called to be exterminated. This however proved to be an impossible task as they never ventured out from their deep burrows and they were immune to all poisons the Vleast settlers had; the other life on Vleast made them evolve a great immunity to toxins. They couldn’t even be drowned out as being amphibians they excelled at life underwater, swimming through their tunnels at astonishing speeds. Even the Imperial Guard and the planets militia found it impossible to kill these elusive creatures as no fighting equipment could fit in the tunnels and anyone crazy enough to go into the themselves was never seen again. Although the Burrowfrogs were herbivores and only ate away at the soil they were vicious if caught in the open or trapped, which was rare.
Eventually the Imperium was forced to instead adjust to overcome the problem and build stronger foundations in future buildings so to stop the collapse of the tunnels below. However, this meant the construction rate slowed down dramatically and Vlaseek was running out of room.
The final trouble that the expansion was facing was eventually pinned down to a previously known species of animal called the Cerberus. These beasts resembled wolves but had the capacity to survive underwater for extended periods of time due to their large lungs. They are about four feet long and have four large webbed and clawed feet which are attached to long legs which are ideal for both swimming and trudging through mud. The Cerberus also have incredibly acute senses which they use to detect animals burrowing underground. Once they find something they dig with their large paddle-like feet and devour the helpless prey.
Their third pair of limbs are concealed close to their chests and are very short but each one has an incredibly sharp, foot long talon with poisoned barbs that can be detached. The Cerberus will often attack its prey by leaping onto its back, grabbing on with its claws then impaling them with one of its large talons. The poison soon takes effect and kills the prey in minutes. It takes only 3 days for the talon to regrow, sooner if the Cerberus has a large meal. Cerberus usually work in groups of 5-8 as their small size (when compared to the rest of Vleast) means one on its own can only hope to prey on the young of other species.
The Cerberus caused much more trouble to the expanding colony than they ever did before 920.M41 when they only killed a few livestock a month. Once the expansion started and the Verids invaded the new buildings the Cerberus packs grew more ambitious. They began killing entire fields of livestock in what must have been packs of fifty strong before dragging their catches back off into the jungles. On the farms there were no other Vleastean animals to bother them besides the Verids so the cunning beasts slaughtered unobstructed. Even when guards were set up to stop the attacks the Cerberus still prevailed, using their cunning to distract then eliminate the human soldiers during the night.
The attacks only stopped when the settlers deployed dozens of troops, turrets and advanced sensors to kill the alien beasts. This however could not be upheld on all farms and building and many places went unprotected.
With the expansion of Vlaseek completely halted the existing city became incredibly overcrowded. Twice as many people were fighting for space in the already tight space as before and using the same facilities as before. Not enough food was being produced, the stores were emptying quickly, waste disposal became unbearable and disease started to spread. This also coincided with the worst weather the colonists had ever seen as hurricanes forced their way into the Inner Continental regions and destroyed many buildings and farms. Floods also ransacked the city and native animal attacks were becoming more frequent. The planet was fighting back against the Imperial invaders.
In 783921.M41 a massive hurricane struck Vlaseek destroying many buildings, flooding many farms and killing many people. When the flood hit the centre of the city most people were caught unawares and outside of the disaster bunkers; there were not enough bunkers to house the new arrivals as the delayed expansion meant construction had slowed. Over two million people lost their lives either during the hurricane or drowned in the subsequent flood. In the aftermath of the hurricane it was found that almost half of the city had been infested by the Verids and other invasive native life. These aliens were incredibly difficult to remove and reclamation of the infested areas was soon abandoned.
This catastrophe spelled absolute disaster for the colonists as the mines had been destroyed, the farms ruined and the storage bunkers flooded and useless. The populace was dying to disease and soon starving after the floods, surviving only off of the expansion fleets stored resources. The Imperials situation was now absolutely dire and it was soon decided that the world should be abandoned. Hence in 923921.M41 the expansion fleet began its return journey to Pavonis with their holds filled with three million Vleast refugees. Unfortunately, almost one million settlers were abandoned on the planet as the fleet could only transport three million souls. These unlucky settlers were left for dead but continue to survive off of the remains of the abandoned civilisation.
The Imperium was not the only force that had recognised Vleast as a colonisable planet; a scout probe from the ambitious and nearby Tau Empire discovered the system a few short decades after the Imperial evacuation. The probes advanced sensors quickly detected human presence and revealed much about the planet that the Imperial instruments had missed. The probe then sent all of its findings back to the Empire to be evaluated by the Ethereals who would determine what was to happen to this new found planet.
Typical of the Tau, a decision was quickly reached and within a 2 Tau’cyr a new colonisation fleet was dispatched from the nearby Tau Sept of Fal’shia, a Sept famous for its forward thinking, ambition and ingenuity. The Ethereals of Fal’shia sent many of their best Earth Caste engineers judging that they would be required to safely construct a civilisation on such a hostile planet. Also amongst the fleet was a contingent of Fire Caste warriors charged with defending the new colony (from on-planet threats and otherwise); a group of Water Caste representatives, who were all experts in rogue human relations and most importantly a substantial number of Air Caste ships who would not only provide transport but also space-side protection for the colony. The Earth Caste would also require the powerful sensors mounted on the colonisation ships to plan the large-scale colonisation effectively.
The Tau fleet was also accompanied by a Kroot Warsphere and a collection of other alien axillaries that would all assist in the colonisation. Kroot are highly suited to jungle environments like Vleast as it closely resembles their homeworld of Pech. This meant they would be skilled and easily be able to assist in the clearing of the ruins and jungle of any native life. The other alien races included in the fleet were all suited to their individual specialities from construction to farming and all are equally treated within the Empire.
For the Tau the colonisation of a new planet is a large undertaking, not complicated for such an advanced species but they do not have the brute strength or power of the Imperium. Hence when the fleet entered orbit around Vleast in 975.M41 a detailed and well rehearsed plan was carefully put into operation using the masses of information gathered by the initial probe that was still in orbit.
Firstly, 6 Orcas descended from orbit and quickly circled the dark skies above the abandoned Orbital Landing Pad. An entire Hunter Cadre was swiftly deposited on the relatively uninfested area from the Orca dropships. This strike group comprised of 8 flamer/ burst cannon equipped Crisis Teams, 96 Kroot Carnivores and 12 full teams of Pulse Carbine Fire Warrior teams who were tasked with completely cleansing the ruined landing pad of Verids and the multitude of other hostile native animals. The fighting was swift and utterly one-sided; the entire sector cleared in a rota and only minor injuries were sustained fighting the vicious Cerberus.
This cleared area was then fortified and reinforced with dozens of other landings made by Orca dropships. Not only Fire Caste crew were dropped but also members of the Earth Caste whose job was to rebuilt the ruined defence networks. After the entire sector was secured Water Caste diplomats landed and set out to make contact with the abandoned human populace.
A New Ruling
Not long after landing on Vleast the Water Caste diplomats managed to successfully contact the abandoned human settlers hiding amongst the old flood bunkers and tunnel networks. Though the Fire Caste Commanders were confident that they could overcome any resistance presented by the survivors and their derelict weaponry, the Tau are a moderately peaceful race and would prefer to offer the human rogues asylum rather than exterminate them, unlike the hostile native life. As such, it was a great relief when the human leaders quickly agreed to convert to the Greater Good and adopt Tau philosophies. The humans themselves were glad to present their new allies with all of their (rather limited) knowledge and weaponry in return for security amongst the hostile jungles and a respite from the devolved lifestyle they had to endure since their abandonment.
Now united with the humans, the Tau forces next objective was to clear the ruins and evacuate the 800,000 - now refugees - to the safe-zone amongst the fortified sections of the landing pad. For the advanced Tau this proved relatively simple and within half a kai’rotaa (25 days) the whole sector surrounding the base had been cleared and all the human refugees were safely within the Tau fortifications.
Now began the actual Tau colonisation. Firstly, the rest of the ruins of Vlaseek needed to be cleared of infestation before any construction could take place. This operation was, of course, headed by the expert Fire Caste and each building, sewer, hospital and sector was meticulously cleansed. As soon as a section was cleared and deemed safe the Earth Caste builders began construction of the Tau structures. First and most important of all, a high defence wall was built around each section so as to secure each section independently and to keep the jungle and its animals at bay.
Imperial buildings were left standing where possible as it was found that the ground was still unstable and any large scale demolition work would require more resources than what was available to the recent colony. The Imperial buildings could be used anyhow as human accommodation but hundreds of new Tau structures quickly appeared amongst them. The Orbital Landing Pad too was left largely untouched as it still functioned perfectly well with only slight improvements and ‘Tau-ification’ being made to it. Kroot buildings were also included among the new city with an area still within the protective walls was delegated to the Taus olded alien allies.
*Tau Structures on Vleast* Tau structures are not like the Imperial E-CBs, intended for quick and industrial use; each building in the new colony was a marvel of engineering, designed to protect against the harshest of even the Vleast elements. Deep foundations rooted the broad white buildings to the ground; gracious yet practical curves deflected the buffeting winds; smooth, high walls defended against potential invaders from the jungle; enclosed walkways connected the buildings like blood vessels; the entire city operated as smoothly as a living body and defended itself with parallel ease, sophistication and fluidity.
Each stage of the colonisation was carefully planned but the construction of the colonies buildings was the most meticulously planned of all meaning that by 978.M41 a fully functional city had been constructed in the ashes of Vlaseek. The new city, Fal’phiel, was defended against all the problems encountered by the Imperial settlers not least of all being the impenetrable defence barriers patrolled by the stalwart Fire Caste and their Kroot allies. With the first stage of Tau colonisation flawlessly executed, the transport fleet returned to Fal’shia carrying the first load of minerals leaving behind only a few light Air Caste fighter and orbital ships.
*Yttrium Value for the Tau* Like the Imperial before them, the Tau considered Yttrium Vleasts greatest asset. This precious mineral is very important in Tau technology as it is used in most Tau pulse weaponry, drone propulsion systems and composite strength materials.
Over the next 19 Tau’cyr the city of Fal’phiel grew in size ten-fold and was becoming a significant new Earth Caste testing field and resource site. Its main resource was the especially useful Yttrium ore which was processed and refined on-planet before either being transported into the wider Empire or being used in one of the many new factories in Fal’phiel. The Earth Caste thrived on Vleast as not only was Vleast a colony of Fal’shia (a largely Earth Caste world) but it also had access to a vital component used in many new technologies and a previously un-encountered swampy terrain in which many new technologies were desperately needing to be developed for.
The Fire Caste on Vleast also thrived as they were necessary for the city’s security amongst the hostile jungle and as such were well equipped and supplied. However, as only a small colony, the Fire Caste on Vleast only consisted of 5, partial strength, Hunter Cadres which, due to the dense jungle terrain, had no grav-tanks such as the famous Devilfish or infamous Hammerhead. Instead each Hunter-Cadre had an exceptionally high number of battlesuits. These battlesuits were developed as a necessity as movement in the swampy jungles was near impossible without a jetpack or specialised equipment and the Cadres already needed to compensate for their lack of mobility usually gained by grav-tanks. This greater mobility was even more necessary as aircraft on Vleast were unreliable and dangerous to use due to the harsh climate of terrifying winds and thundering rain.
However, the Fire Caste on Vleast was augmented by the strong Earth Caste engineers in the city. New technologies were constantly being developed and tested in the unusual swampy jungles with equipment such as the XV7s and the Harbinger drones being developed for the sole use of the Vleast Hunter Cadres. These technologies meant that the Hunter Cadres on Vleast, although small, were always extremely well-equipped to deal with the jungle terrain and the hostile animals that lay within. The Earth Caste even developed advanced new targeting and night vision systems for use in the constantly dark, stormy jungles.
The easy access to Yttrium also meant that many drone factories, of which Yttrium was a yet again a vital component of, were being built in the city. The drones themselves also thrived amongst the swampy jungle terrain as they nimbly dashed threw between the tangled trees and effortlessly glided over the murky, mushy ground. As Vleastean jungle was so hostile, drones were always used when possible to do any task which involved venturing into them. This gave rise to the large amount and variety of drones to be found in Fal’phiel.
Trouble for the Tau
However, like the Imperium before them, the Tau soon hit disaster. The climate unnaturally changed during the late stages of 995.M41 which caused the first real problems to the Tau colonists. Earthquakes raked the landscape for the first time in Vleasts history which cracked the unprepared defence lines and allowed the native life access to the city across many miles of its shattered walls. The combination of the Fire Caste and the auto-defences largely managed to control this outbreak of disaster but the city was unprepared and many lives were lost and buildings destroyed.
Over the next 2 Tau’cyr many more disasters struck Fal’phiel from floods three times the size of any before them to hurricanes that lasted dozens of rota, all of which overwhelmed the Tau defences which were unprepared for such extreme catastrophe let alone in such quick succession. Fal’phiel was soon devastated but the Tau tenaciously held on supported by their technology, orbital ships and utter dedication to the Greater Good.
It was not the disasters themselves which troubled the Tau however, it was their inability to explain or predict them that caused the most apprehension amongst the Earth Caste. There seemed to be no natural explanation to the sudden earthquakes and rise in ferocity and frequency of both the hurricanes and floods. Vleast had displayed an extreme climate before but never on the scale of what had struck the Tau recently. This utterly bemused the Earth Caste engineers who struggled hard to predict the next catastrophe. However, it wasn’t until 997.M41 that the true source of the unnatural tidings was revealed.
An Old Enemy
After Hive Fleet Gorgon the Tau had assumed the Tyranid threat was over for immediate future as they had chased the remnants of the invasion far out of their Empire. However, Tyranids are never defeated, the broken Hive Fleet sent out smaller, splinter fleets to hunt large sources of biomass so as to rebuild its strength and launch a new assault upon the galaxy.
In 995.M41 Splinter Fleet Perses detected such a source of biomass. The small grouping of only seven bio-ships immediately started for this source and so its Narvhal activated its gravitational space-compression drive. The Narvhals method of travel is unique and one of its effects is that it causes great planetary disturbances on the targeted world. The planetary disturbances caused by Perses strange craft grew worse as the Splinter Fleet approached but were unnoticeable until the fleet entered the Vleast system in 735997.M41.
The first the Tau knew of the encroaching threat was when their satellites and ships detected the fleet as it entered Real Space just outside of the planetary system. The Tau immediately reacted to this sudden threat as all of the battle-capable ships were dispatched. The Tau ships sped to what they thought would be their doom but when they entered targeting range the Tyranid fleet ignored the new contacts, keeping straight course for Vleast IV. Unbeknownst to the Tau, the Tyranid fleet was entirely dedicated to rebuilding their Hive Fleet from the bio-rich planet so nearby.
The Tau ships opened fire with all of their weaponry, revelling in the impunity afforded to them. Titanic railguns, plasma coronas and pulse weaponry from all the few Tau warships fired upon one of the lead bio-ships quickly disintegrating its organic body, killing it. Its hulking body continued at its relentless pace but the body broke apart to become giant pieces space debris. The Tau rejoiced at the death of one bio-ship so quickly but as the Tyranid fleet continued on at such a swift pace the Tau realised that they could not destroy even half of the fleet before it made orbit.
Once again, railguns, plasma and pulse weapons unleashed a storm upon one of the bio-ships. This one too was quickly dispatched but as the Tau armada moved onto their next target the Tyranid fleet was almost within orbital distance. The Tau ships fired relentlessly but did not manage to destroy the third bio-ship before it screamed past targeting distance and into orbit.
All of the bio-ships continued at a relentless pace until they entered orbital distance when the ships launched all of their mycetic spores. The bio-ships themselves also continued on, passed orbital distance, into the planet’s atmosphere and towards the most bio-rich area of Vleast, its oceans.
To the helpless planet below the invasion appeared as a heavenly intervention; the powerful Vleast sun suddenly shone through a portal in the dark clouds cut by the great bio-ships as they sailed through the sky accompanied by thousands of majestic mycetic spores. The great fleet sailed slowly through this portal, slowed for impact by alien sails until they hit their target below, illuminated by the stark star beating behind them.
The ocean was first pattered as the initial mycetic spores splashed then as thousands more crashed down the ocean became thunderous. The ocean boiled with the impacts from thousands of spores until the crescendo was reached; the first great bio-ship roared through the sky and impacted with the might of a titan. Giant waves were thrown into the turbulent sky as the bio-ship buckled on the impact. The four other surviving bio-ships crashed into the violent ocean with unmatched fury amplified by the thousands of mycetic spores that continued to cascade from the sky. The assault continued until the last mycetic spore had crashed into the vicious waters.
With the last spore landed the ocean suddenly fell calm. The visible remnants of the bio-ships sank slowly into the dark waters as the turbulent waves grew tranquil. The dark clouds slowly stitched together again and the divine light shrank and eventually faded entirely. The ocean had swallowed the entire Splinter Fleet. Everything appeared calm.
The Hidden Infection
However, this was only the beginning of the invasion. Under the dark ocean surface the Tyranid fleet slowly awoke. Hidden amongst the immense sunken bio-ships millions of Tyranid beasts were quickly grown to be perfectly adapted to this new aquatic environment. Within days millions of new-strain aquatic Hormagaunts, Raveners, Trygons, Mawlocs and all manner of terrifying ocean beasts swam out of their birthing ships and began hunting the abundant ocean life. Beasts perfectly adapted to soar through the waters broke from their ships and spread like a deathly shadow far into the deepest parts of the ocean.
The mycetic spores however had a different task. Within each of these spores dozens of land suited Tyranids lay dormant. Although each Tyranid within was incredibly lethal they were incapable at hunting in the ocean environment. Instead the Hive Mind kept the creatures in their dormant, space faring state and ordered the mycetic spores that protected and cocooned them to inflate their ballast bladders. Thousands of mycetic spores hence gently floated to the surface, protecting and incubating the beasts within while the adapted Tyranids hunted the waters below.
After having unloaded all of their aquatic predators, the colossal bio-ships began to inflate their own ballast bladders and gradually floated to the surface to join the smaller and now wide-spread spores. However, where the mycetic spores sole purpose was to transport and incubate Tyranid creatures, within each of the bio-ships lay giant digestion pools and vast breeding chambers which would be used to create even more Tyranid beings. To harvest the planets resources as swiftly as possible the Hive Mind used these originally space faring bio-ships as floating reproduction vessels.
In the oceans the aquatic Tyranids ruthlessly hunted and devoured the Vleast sea life. Although the native animals of Vleast had posed a tremendous threat to both the Tau and the Imperium the Tyranids were an altogether more vicious force. However, the Vleastean animals were ferocious, large and in their own environment so proved a dangerous prey to the Tyranids. The Tyranid creatures struggled in the deep waters until the Hive Mind adapted and used the creatures in concert to overcome the native animals. Soon, thousands of Tyranids were returning each day to the floating bio-vessels, their stomachs full of devoured bio-mass that was then digested by the bio-ships. A process of reproduction had been started and Splinter Fleet Perses grew steadily in strength.
The Tau were not blind to the actions of Perses, their satellites were still in orbit surveying the Tyranid threat and the spaceships had moved back into orbit. A multitude of sensors keenly observed the Tyranid forces which were currently in the ocean, fortunately very far from Fal’phiel. However, although the Tau knew what the Tyranids were doing, they themselves were unsure of what course to take. The Tyranids presented no immediate threat though were obviously gaining strength quickly yet the city’s situation was still dire as although the Narvhals gravitational effects had ceased, their repercussions were still being felt. Although Vleast had a large military force for such a new colony it was not enough to repel a full Tyranid invasion.
So that is the detailed basics so far. What do you think if you managed to read through all that?