The Hive Fleets
by FerrataThe Great DevourerThe Tyranids Brief Overview
The Tyranids are one of the newest, and possibly the deadliest, threats to the Imperium. First appearing on the planet of Tyran, their threat quickly came apparent with the appearance of Hive Fleet Behemoth. This first appearance of the Tyranids was only defeated by the heroic stand on their home world by Ultramarine veterans. Two other Hive Fleets have threatened the Imperium, Kraken which was destroyed by major defeats by the Ultramarines on Ichar IV and by the Eldar of Craftworld Iyanden, although the Scythes of the Emperor and the Lamenters were all but destroyed. Leviathan, the latest of the Hive Fleets, has been diverted into the Ork Empire of Octavius. Although the Tyranid threat has been halted for the time being, it is unknown what price the Imperium will pay for this tactic. Although defeated, elements of defeated Tyranids which avoided the destruction of their fleet and created an unknown number of splinter fleets which have been plaguing the Imperium ever since.Detailed History745.M41 – Hive Fleet Behemoth
The first signs of the Tyranid horror were on the ocean-bound planet of Tyran. The Tyranids had, unknown to the Imperium, destroying numerous planets and leaving them as lifeless rocks, a phenomena the research team on Tyran were studying. Their work had interested the now famous Inquisitor Kryptman, who on arrival to Tyran found it a dead rock like those they had been researching themselves. A data-codex found in the planet’s crust revealed the deadly horror which was now plagued the Imperium.
The Hive Fleet had then moved onto the Thandos system which was quickly overrun before Kryptman could arrive, before arriving at the Macragge system. Even though the system had been protected by a ring of ships, the massive alien fleet pushed aside all attacks and headed in system. A number of creatures descended upon the garden world of Prandium and left the “jewel in Macragge’s crown” a barren rock. A risky tactic by Lord Calgar of the Ultramarines, to retreat from the system to draw the Tyranids onto the defences of Macragge, allowed the Ultramar fleet to assault the spread out fleet, destroying one of the major Hive Ships and slaughtering hundreds of bio-ships. As the Ultramarines begun to win the war in space, the battle for the planet was about to begin.
Thousands of spores had landed on both the Northern and Southern polar fortresses and assaulted across the ice fields. The Ultramarines first company along with the titan legion Praetor defended the two keystones of Macragge’s defences. When Calgar returned to Macragge after forcing the Hive Fleet into jaws of Battle fleet Tempestus, the scene of the battle for Macragge were one of unbelievable carnage. The polar plains ran with the alien blood with the flaming wrecks of the titan legion strewn amongst them. The veterans’ last stand took place in the lower generatorium, each brother giving his life for his home world, but in the end they were overwhelmed. The remaining Ultramarines were able to destroy what remained of the Tyranid force, and with that, defeating Hive Fleet Behemoth.993.M41 – Hive Fleet Kraken
Two and half centuries after the destruction of Behemoth, systems in the galactic south-east were hit by an epidemic of unrest, riots and rebellion. A young inquisitor, Agmar, active on the industrial world of Ichar IV, was the first to piece together the cause of these rebellions, Genestealers. Quickly, a task force of Ultramarines were detached to the planet and with three weeks all signs of the Tyranid vanguard had been defeated. Unfortunately the second Hive Fleet had begun to be detected in the outer reaches of the system.
Unlike Behemoth, Kraken attacked entire sectors of the Imperium, sub-sectors being swallowed up without warning or resistance. Tales of the slaughter are told by the handful of survivors, how many billions loss their lives in the first moves of Hive Fleet is unknown. The most tragic loss in these times is that of two Astartes’ chapter, Scythes of the Emperor, who gave their lives on the planet of Miral Prime, and a company of Lamenters who allowed civilians to escape whilst they held back the swarms upon Devlan. Such a broad spectrum of assault left the Imperium unable to draw up defensive plans and forces had to be retreated to the most vital of planets, leaving others to the fate of the Great Devourer.
One of these vital planets was that of Ichar IV, were in 993.M41, one of the bloodiest battles took place. With Calgar at the helm again, the Ultramarines were able to mount a solid defence of the system. Whilst crack teams of Tyranic War Veterans fought a series of grudging battles amongst the hive cities of Ichar for almost a year, Calgar led the Ultramarine fleet in a devastating victory of the Tyranid armada. Aid in defeating Kraken came from an unexpected quarter, with the Eldar of craft world Iyanden coming under heavy assault from the Tyranids. With their space fleet in tatters, the battle had taken place in the corridors of the craft world itself. Finally, with four fifths of their population killed, the Tyranids were defeated.
Although the Imperium had survived another onslaught by the Tyranids, an unknown number of splinter fleets managed to push through the defences and now devour unexpecting worlds. Running battles with these splinter fleets have tied up the eastern fringe ever since Kraken first arrived.997.M41 – Hive Fleet Leviathan
As the year dawned to a close, the Imperium began to lose contact with several systems in Segmentum Tempestus. Inquisitor Kryptmann was the first to recognise this as a sign of a new Tyranid advance. Struggling to keep contact with those planets in the wake of the new hive fleet, Kryptmann was able to track the path of destruction and concluded a horrifying theory. Worlds had been lose in three segmentum, Tempestus, Ultima and Solar, with the Tyranids forming into two prongs of attack hundreds of light years apart. The psychic void which accompanies Tyranids spread across the reach between the two forces, effectively cutting off a large section of Imperial space. As no reinforces could breach this void, these planets were effectively dead unless one of the jaws of the Tyranids could be halted. This was not the most horrifying fact of the new assault, the invasion would eventually lead to the Halls of Terra and the Emperor himself.
On Tarsis Ultra, once again the Ultramarines stood in the path of the Tyranids, along with the brethren of the Mortificators chapter. The defending forces slowly withdrew from the outer parts of the planet in the face of the unimaginable vastness of the onslaught. Under siege for weeks, it looked like the planet would slowly fall as the Tyranids were without number, until a lictor was captured within the Hive itself. Magos Locard was able to reverse engineer a disease which would rip the Tyranids apart if injected directly into the Norn Queen. A death watch squad under the command of Captain Uriel Ventris of the Ultramarines, were able to penetrate the Norn Queen and deliver the virus. As hope dwindled for the survivors of Tarsis Ultra, the Tyranids turned upon one another. Without the guiding synapse of the Hive Mind, they became bestial animals only thinking of their own survival. With one of the tendrils destroyed, Kryptmann switched his focus to the other.
As the shadow which had been casted between the two tendrils began to disappear, communication with these standard systems could be remade. In many cases, this was a mistake as system after system was wiped clean by the Tyranid advance. With Imperial morale failing on every world, Kryptmann devised a murderous theory. A band of worlds in the route of Leviathan would be evacuated, whilst any planet currently under invasion would be reduced to ashes. This single action was the greatest act of genocide by the Imperium on its own people since the Horus Heresy. As Orks took over many of planets abandoned by the Imperium, Kryptmann was declared a traitor and a Carta Extremis was issued, removing his rank of inquisitor.
Although he had been shamed, Kryptmann’s plan had succeeded as Leviathan halted to a trickle of movement. During this time, they fought both the Orks on Tesla Prime and the Adeptus Mechanicus on Gryphonne IV. The Mechanicus fell within days and with them the titan legion of the War Gryphons. The Orks held on for longer, with a massive war exploding between the two aliens which spread to nearby worlds. This was the key to Kryptmann’s final gamble.
The exiled Inquisitor and a squad of Deathwatch still loyal to him, advanced deep into the catacombs of Carpathia to capture a most deadly of foes, a live genestealer. Placing the specimen in a stasis field, Kryptmann was able to place the cargo into a passing space hulk. Exploding a nearby moon, Gheist, the space hulk was redirected into the ork held empire of Octavius. Within weeks, the genestealer had infected a large number of rks within the system and their psychic imprint was large enough to call Leviathan to this new feeding ground. The two species are still locked in bitter combat, and what the outcome for the Imperium will be is unknown. If Leviathan is able to win, that it will become stronger, absorbing the DNA of the orks that makes them great survivors. The Imperium now waits, preparing for the next onslaught of the Great Devourer.Books featuring the Tyranids
Caiphas Cain “For the Emperor”
Caiphas Cain “Duty Calls”
The Ultramarines “Warriors of Ultramar”
Edited by Ferrata, 20 March 2008 - 02:32 PM.