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  • The existence of the Imperium of Man is dependant upon the Astronomicon.

  • It is an immense psychic beacon powered by the life force of 10,000 psykers, calibrated

  • and projected across the galaxy by the Emperor himself.

  • Without it, navigating the Immaterium would be impossible and no human starship would

  • ever reach its intended destination.

  • So critical to the survival of mankind is the Astronomicon, that very few have stopped

  • to consider the consequences of shining such a powerful light into the darkness of the

  • universe.

  • Indeed, evidence has slowly begun to mount that the Astronomicon might have drawn the

  • attention of something lurking in the empty void between galaxies.

  • An unknowable consciousness of unprecedented scale, relentless in its advance, and leaving

  • only drained, dead worlds in its wake.

  • To the Imperium, this abomination is named for the first world it devoured, The Tyranids.

  • The true nature of the Tyranids defies any conventional classification.

  • It is not a single species or even genus, but instead most closely resembles an entire

  • space-faring ecosystem, composed of innumerable bioforms.

  • These can vary tremendously in their size, appearance and function, but remain only variations

  • on the same genetic theme.

  • Together they form a distinct collective superorganism, capable of travelling across the universe

  • in living armadas known as Hive Fleets.

  • These Hive Fleets systematically consume all biomatter in their path as a means to facilitate

  • their own rapid evolution and reproduction.

  • The diversity of Tyranid life present within these Hive Fleets can not be overstated.

  • At their core, are impossibly massive bio-ships, living creatures that function simultaneously

  • as starships rivalling even the mightiest battleships, and biological factories which

  • endlessly replicate millions of Tyranid organisms.

  • Hive Ships are escorted by countless other Tyranid organisms far too varied to be systematically

  • categorized.

  • Together, these fleets are so vast that they are often mistaken for Nebula when viewed

  • at a distance and can blot out entire stars upon their closer approach.

  • Every Hive Fleet encountered so far is driven by the same collective Hive Mind but each

  • exists as a separate force.

  • Their composite lifeforms can differ significantly in their appearance or exhibit different and

  • unique strategies for overcoming local resistance.

  • In several instances, different Hive Fleets have been observed competing with one another

  • for resources, lending credence to the idea that each fleet exists as its own separate

  • entity.

  • The truth of the relationship between Tyranid Hive Fleets is likely far more complex, perhaps

  • more akin to single cells within a living body rather than rival factions.

  • Within the bio-ships of each Hive Fleet are swarms of biomechanical creatures, produced

  • by the directive of the Hive Mind to adapt to whatever its current circumstances.

  • Tyranid matter is constantly reabsorbed into biomass reclamation pools to create new species,

  • or adapt existing ones to better suit the Hive Mind's immediate purpose.

  • This is made possible by their extraordinary rapid rate of evolution, the key to each Hive

  • Fleet's adaptability.

  • The same basic forms of life however can be found in every Hive Fleet.

  • Small, maggot-like creatures known informally asRippersare perhaps the most common

  • species.

  • They are almost always present in great swarms, capable of overpowering and consuming creatures

  • many times their own size.

  • In certain instances, Rippers have been known to bury deep underground and metamorphosize

  • into more advanced bioforms.

  • In all likelihood, Rippers are an immature form of Tyranid life, and theoretically capable

  • of gestating into any other type of bioform when given the proper signals from the Hive

  • Mind.

  • What might be considered the standard infantry of Tyranid Hive Fleets are known asGaunts

  • and divided into a multitude of subspecies.

  • Typically they posses large, scythe-like claws or a type of ranged bioweapon which fires

  • a grotesque form of living ammunition.

  • Some variants even posses wings, while others are designed to hunt in total darkness, or

  • any other type of environment.

  • Larger Tyranid life forms likewise exist to fulfill every conceivable need.

  • The Tyranicus Gladius, more commonly known as simply the Tyranid Warrior, serves as a

  • far more capable type of shock trooper.

  • Like its smaller brethren, it is highly adaptable to any battlefield condition.

  • Well over 200 variants have been observed so far and it is possibly the most versatile

  • of any Tyranid species yet encountered.

  • The Tyranid equivalent of a main battle tank is the Carnifex, a living battering ram impervious

  • to all but the most powerful weaponry.

  • While not as adaptable when compared to smaller bioforms, the Carnifex has nevertheless been

  • encountered as several different subspecies suited to either ranged or melee combat.

  • The largest Tyranid creatures deployed planetside are known as Bio-Titans.

  • These are colossal war engines which tower over the battlefield and have been known to

  • overcome even the Titan Legions of the Adeptus Mechanicus in direct combat.

  • Perhaps the most dangerous forms of Tyranid life are those specifically created from the

  • gene-stock of species living within the Milky Way.

  • Genetic materials harvested from the Orkoid race has purportedly been used to create a

  • type of living artillery, while Zoanthropes, perhaps the strangest and most bizarre of

  • Tyranid species, likely share at least some DNA with the enigmatic Eldar.

  • Only under threat of execution will servants of the Imperium speak of the suspected origins

  • of the Tyrant Guard.

  • These bioforms possess a tremendous resistance to injury of a kind only before seen in the

  • warriors of the Adeptus Astartes.

  • If this is accurate, it would mean that the Tyranid Hive mind has incorporated the DNA

  • of fallen Space Marine Chapters, and possess at least a portion of the genetic material

  • of the Emperor of Man--.

  • Attention Imperial citizen!

  • The transmission of unknown origin you have accessed has been deemed heretical by the

  • Order of His most Holy Inquisition.

  • You will remain at your terminal until such time the nature of your guilt has been determined.

  • Any attempt to resist Imperial authorities or again access restricted information will

  • result in the harshest method of execution.

  • May Imperial Justice account in all balance.

  • The Emperor pro--

  • Hive Tyrants act in a capacity that might, in other species, be reserved for field commanders

  • or warlords.

  • While larger and stronger than most other variants, the true value of these creatures

  • is their exceptional psychic abilities that allows in them a closer connection to the

  • Hive Mind.

  • Some believe Hive Tyrants act as a repository of the Hive Fleet's consciousness, meaning

  • they collectively embody the Hive Mind itself.

  • The relationship between the Hive Mind and individual Tyranid bioforms is only partially

  • understood.

  • All Tyranid creatures, from masses of Rippers to massive Hive Ships, possess a common psychic

  • bond.

  • This is known to the Imperium as the Synapse, and it enables the Tyranid swarms to think,

  • perceive, and act to their full potential within the greater super-organism.

  • Any level of coordination and control within a Hive Fleet is only possible through this

  • Synaptic Web, for its constituent lifeforms are too numerous and varied as to be completely

  • uncontrollable otherwise.

  • Generally, smaller, weaker Tyranid organisms are mindless, instinctive creatures, performing

  • their functions with no conscious oversight or committment by the Hive Mind.

  • Larger, more complex creatures by contrast are capable of advanced decision making appropriate

  • for their situation and require a larger, if still miniscule part of the Hive Mind's

  • distributed sentient awareness.

  • Within the tangled hierarchy of Tyranid fleets, swarms and broods exist a special type of

  • Synapse Creature whose slightly more advanced brain functions as a type of psychic hub.

  • Without these Synapse Creatures to relay and interpret the will of the Hive Mind, entire

  • swarms can quickly falter and more basic Tyranid bioforms might revert to animalistic behaviors.

  • The overpowering nature of the Hive Mind's psychic presence is a phenomenon known to

  • the Imperium as the Shadow in the Warp.

  • Whether deliberately projected by Hive Fleets or simply the by-product of the Hive Mind's

  • synaptic control, it manifests in most species as an all-encompassing feeling of dread and

  • hopelessness.

  • For highly psychic individuals or races, this effect is magnified even further often leading

  • to suicide or insanity.

  • The deadliest consequence of this anomaly however is the termination of any connection

  • to the Immaterium making psychic communications or the manifestation of psychic abilities

  • extremely difficult.

  • For many worlds reliant on psykers for interstellar communication, the Shadow in the Warp effectively

  • isolates them from the greater galaxy, preventing any means of escape or summoning reinforcements.

  • Even demons of Chaos manifested in the material realm by the Dark Gods wither in its presence,

  • and entire warp rifts have been sealed in the wake of a Tyranid swarm.

  • By the time the Shadow in the Warp is felt on a target world, it is almost certainly

  • already too late for the planet's population.

  • While this is usually the first sign of an imminent Tyranid invasion, it is probable

  • that specific bio-forms have already been present on the world for some time.

  • The earliest stages of a Tyranid infection are subtle.

  • A specialized vanguard, deployed in advance of the Hive Fleet will be active on a planet's

  • surface for months or perhaps even years.

  • The organisms deployed will have evolved abilities and behavior that focuses on concealment,

  • and will almost never seek out any type of combat.

  • Instead, they merely observe the native environment and relay their findings back to the Hive

  • Fleet.

  • Any attacks are limited to isolated wildlife, utilizing their genetic code to ensure that

  • the rest of the swarm will be able to function within the planet's unique biosphere.

  • The most insidious component of Tyranid reconnaissance are Genestealers.

  • These are among the most intelligent and independent creatures ever developed by the swarm, capable

  • of operating far from the controlling influence of the Hive Mind.

  • They clandestinely insert tiny embryonic Tyranid organisms into various hosts, which over time,

  • alter the victims genetic code and suppress their consciousness.

  • Often this is done over a period of generations with many not even realizing they have been

  • infected at all.

  • Eventually, affected individuals will become a type of slave to a localized version of

  • the Hive Mind, forming what have come to be known as Genestealer Cults.

  • These often manifest themselves as secret societies which worship the Tyranid race,

  • even while incapable of understanding its true nature or their role within it.

  • If a Genestealer cult has been successful, it will have thrown a targeted planet into

  • chaos and weakened local resistance.

  • The arrival of a Tyranid Hive Fleet within a star system marks the next stage of the

  • invasion.

  • With the Immaterium disrupted by the Shadow in the Warp, local starships can be safely

  • destroyed without the possibility of reinforcement or escape.

  • Once in orbit, Hive ships begin bombarding any inhabited planet with a rain of Mycetic

  • Spores.