…There Is Only Awesomeness

So, today I was randomly reminded of In The Grim Darkness Of The Contact Form, and the hypothetical fictional possibilities of a face-off between the Empire and Warhammer 40K’s Imperium of Man, which details I cover there with a note that I can’t really deal with metaphysical mismatches like the wackiness of the Warp.

Well, here’s what occurred to me this morning:

The Tyranid hive mind is known for creating a “shadow in the Warp” that plays merry hell with all psychic communications, Warp travel, Warp-related abilities, and anyone with any sort of psychic sensitivity that happens to be beneath it, which appears to be everyone who isn’t a blank or a Necron.

So, folks: what do you think the Transcend, a hive mind collective consciousness with some additional relevant features, like a core brain the size of a star system and moon-sized local ganglia, looks like in the Warp?

(My take:

Best case, you have a Big Freakin’ Glow in the Warp, which is a lot nicer than the Tyranids’ shadow but which will still interfere with your day and is not to be fucked with.

Worst case (for the existing galactic powers): A weakly godlike superintelligence just got promoted to strongly godlike, and as the Warp’s first Order God/Constructive Power it has issues to raise with absolutely everyone.

We also might have to start calling its part of the galaxy the Eye of Harmony, but I think that name’s been used before…)


12 thoughts on “…There Is Only Awesomeness

  1. That would be the kind of wake-up call the Imperium needs (as if getting lapped, albeit locally, by the Tau weren’t enough of one). Might just jar them out of their terminal recto-cranial inversion!

  2. I do have to wonder how a showdown between the Tyranids and the Empire of the Star would go down — especially given the Tyranids’ whole schtick relies heavily on their uncanny adaptability to new threats and their near-perfect ability to harvest and reprocess every useful gram of biosphere on a planet to replenish and reinforce their hive fleets.

    • I actually wouldn’t rate the Tyranids’ chances very highly: a big chunk of why they do so well is that they hit relatively undefended worlds and they jam up the main method of bringing in reinforcements, neither of which are terribly likely against the Empire. Also, it seems to me that the Empire is more adept at bioengineering than pretty much anyone in the 40k-verse with the possible exception of the Dark Eldar and their Haemonculi (who we’ve never really seen face off against the Tyranids, though tabletop-wise, Dark Eldar are a big threat to the bigger bugs). I would expect the Empire to be able to whip up several particularly nasty forms of either engineered virus, fungus, poison or nanoburn that would at least severely slow down the ‘nids.

      The couple of times in the fluff that we’ve seen Tyranids hit fully prepared, well-defended worlds, they’ve been fought off by either Tau engineering, a few thousand Astartes or a few hundred thousand Eldar. Their numbers might account for quite a bit less against an army numbering in the millions at least, all equipped with at least the equivalent of a Tau Crisis Suit armed with a pair of Eldar shuriken cannons. (And that’s just the light infantry – heavy infantry are more like Ghostkeels.)

      • And I ought to have stipulated there, “assuming they make landfall”. In 40k, that’s a safe assumption – space defenses are porous, blind and ludicrously short-range. In the Eldraeverse, not so much. And I don’t doubt thar the Empire could handle the Tyranids in space: in 40k fluff they’re vulnerable to high energy lasers, mass drivers, fusion explosive devices, particle beams and similar.

    • That sort of scenario at its hottest extent – a Tyranid Hive Fleet turning up in the neighborhood, and suchlike – is pretty much what CASE ADHAÏC CALYPSE (previously mentioned here) is for.

      I mean, there’s never a good time to unleash a swarm fleet of self-replicating autonomous war mechanicals with fast-burn capability and self-improving mesh-networked warminds, but that would almost certainly qualify as a less bad time. 🙂

      (And while the short term is nasty all around, in the long run, I favor the ROU/von Neumann machine crossbreeds, ’cause while the Tyranids will chow down on all the biosphere of a planet, ADHAÏC CALYPSE can treat the entire planet as swarm raws, not to mention the rest of the system. The more so once it starts evolving.

      (Let’s just hope it’s never necessary to stuff that genie back into its bottle…)

    • Tyrannids are nearly impossible to beat on the ground, and even very well equipped Forgeworlds have failed in the end. The way you fight off tyrannids is that you distract them with a ferocious ground defense, then hit their space fleet; since they lack warp capacity, they’re comparatively slow and unmanuverable. They’re TOUGH and not particularly weak to a lot of ‘conventional’ anti-spaceship weapons – you pretty much have to chop them into bits – but they’re not all that great at doing more than overwhelming you with numbers either.

      I don’t think the Empire of the Star would be very happy at having to come up with an entirely new strategy that requires more knife-fighting than drunk-walking, but they could do it if pressed. I suspect they’d end up using similar hit and run and kiting tactics as the eldar do against ‘nids while refining effective weapons.

      (And possibly trying to figure out if the tyrannid hivemind is one that can be reasoned with. Hey, maybe they don’t actually realise that these little things scurrying about are independent sophants and think that any planet that isn’t talking back is non-sapient food.

      …and now my brain is trying to figure out how a fusion of that base size would fit into Imperial culture. It’d be interesting, if nothing else.)

      • Ah, now there is where the First Rule of Weapon Selection comes into play:

        Antimatter. Kills. Everything.

        (Or at least everything made of baryonic matter, and even most things made out of exotic matter aren’t entirely made out of exotic matter, and exotic matter usually requires stabilization systems that are both baryonic and get unhappy when sufficient high-energy photons come to call.)

        So if splattering them with the standard k-slugs doesn’t work, it’s time to fall back on The Old Standby Which Always Works.

        ((It’s not the standard weapons system because it’s a pita to handle, and leaves battlespaces messily contaminated in a way that’s an even bigger pita to clean up afterwards, which doesn’t recommend it when KEWs will do the job just fine. But it’s there if it’s needed.))

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