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"Alien hunting! Alien hunting!"

– Patrick Star

"My enemy is not human... my enemy is less than a human! Since the earliest dawning of mankind, this is the battlecry! It just happened to be more literal in my case."

– The Major

"Protecting Earth from the scum of the universe"

– Men in Black (1997 film tagline)

The Alienhunters are the branch of the Inquisition that, unsurprisingly, hunts aliens. They are properly known as the Ordo Xenos.

In addition to highly-trained Inquisitors, soldiers and advanced technology of the Imperium, the Ordo Xenos has no Chamber Militant. Sometimes they work with the chapter called the Deathwatch, composed of the best alien-hunters from all the Space Marine chapters, but usually they don't. While the other Ordos often field whole armies of soldiers devoted to their causes, the Alienhunters often seem to prefer a small team basis, as their missions are often more information/objective grabbing or specific target elimination rather than whole-scale war-raging. Should a situation arise that requires more manpower, the Inquisitor in charge of the team usually points a few Imperial Guard regiments and a space marine chapter in the right direction.

Seems to be the most overall level-minded of the three main Inquisition branches mostly because they don't work with brain rotting chaos. This might be also because the Alienhunters often deal with at least semi-civilised foes (Who sometimes even work with them!) compared to the others dealing with madmen, although you might get your head blown off if you point this out.

They are usually armed with unusual and potentially heretical xenos or experimental weapons, such as an Egerian Geode, Special Issue Boltguns, an assortment of Combi-weapons and Xenophase Blades to name a few and are protected with the standard-issue Inquisitorial Ignatus Pattern Armour. So yeah, they definitely lean more towards the 'liberal' side of things when it comes to weapons that would make puritans scream their head off.

The Xenos Enemy[edit]

The Enemy Without, the Xenos that assault mankind are every bit as varied and unpredictable as the minions of Chaos can be. Ranging from civilised races every bit if not more advanced (HERESY!) than humanity who compete for the galaxy, to primitive but effectively brutal murdering hordes to psychic Xenos that invade from the realm of Chaos, the Alienhunters must be prepared to face all of these threats. Additionally, while the threat of large Xenos groups with organized military (anyone with a codex) is great, the Imperial Guard is well-suited to fighting them. The Alienhunters are brought in more often against small, single aliens that pose a danger to the Imperium: Lacrymoles, Enslavers, Vampyres, and the like. They also deal with un-brainwashing imperial citizens who are psychically, chemically, physically, or ideologically enslaved by foul Xenos.

Here is a concise list of the many threats of the Enemy Without that the Imperium faces. Learn well young apprentice and guard yourself against their predations:

Not pictured: Members of the Alienhunters.
  • Eldar: Sneaky, impossibly arrogant space elves. They are known to try to twist humans into their pawns. They come in a variety of sub-races which is even more a headache as you can't tell if they are going to greet you, dance for you, ignore you or torture you right off the bat. Learn how to distinguish them, as on occasion they may be willing to work alongside humanity against a more dangerous enemy. However, like Dragons in Shadowrun, never ever cut a deal/bargain with them unless you want to suffer horribly a couple of years later.
  • Tau: Blue skinned, hoofed weeaboo space communists who dare to think the Emperor's domain is theirs for the taking! (on the bright side they happen to be one of the easier races to get along with on a temporary basis). The worst case scenario is they somehow persuade an older race to a long term alliance which means VERY bad news for humanity. As of late however, with each sphere of expansion also shifts their agenda from assimilation to extermination as they are exposed to the horrors of what the Imperium faces in a regular basis.
  • Tyranids: Space locusts who spend half their time trying to devour the Emperor's worlds and the other infecting his subjects. See below for more information on the latter.
  • Orks: Dumb as rocks--or rather more accurately, Fungus--but at least they don't infect anyone with their spores....yet. But they do have numbers on their side, as well as fully automatic fire. They love to fight...EVERYTHING, even themselves.
  • Hrud: No one knows what they truly look like, as they are always psychically shrouded in darkness. They start to twist space and time when gathered in large numbers.
  • Umbras: Blobs of living darkness who defy what few laws of physics 40k pays any heed to.
  • Kroot: Expert warriors who can direct their evolution by eating you. Often hires themselves out as mercenaries to other races, mostly to the Tau, but sometimes to the Imperium.
  • Vespid: Flying bat-bug hybrids with an affinity towards crystal-based weapons technology. Allies of the Tau with whom they communicate via telepathic headgear.
  • Necrons: Ancient robot-zombie aliens, the Mechanicus get strangely aroused by them....begin heresy investigation!
  • Slaugth[1][2]: Horrific swarms of maggots arranged in the shape of men and clad in reaper like hoods wielding extremely advanced and non-warp based technology who sow disorder by offering the greedy some technology in exchange for favors, all so that they and their legions of genetically engineered freaks can have an easier time eating you later.
  • Rak'gol: Extremely violent raiders with a fetish for cybernetics, radiation, and extremely ugly looking machinery.
  • Fra'al: Hyper advanced marauders who have only shown us the least of what their tech can do, and said tech blows right through Void Shields and Holofields.
  • Thyrrus: A species of performance artist squid blobs with extremely weird technology that is used in strange ways, make use of nonsensical tactics made for as much drama and spectacle as possible, and flash pretty colours.
  • Q'Orl: Bug people of the more Ender's Game than Starship troopers variety. They don't have faster than light travel yet, but they're working on it.
  • Saruthi: Asymmetrical aliens with crazy biology, hands that turn into faces, and ice lasers. May also be tainted by chaos.

The Enemy Within[edit]

One of the most notable & infamous members of the Ordo Xenos - formerly known as Inquisitor Lord Kryptman - was stripped of his title pursuant to the events of the Third Tyrannic War whereby he called down Exterminatus upon many worlds in the path of Hive Fleet Leviathan. Although Exterminatus is within the purview of the Inquisition as a general rule he carried this out to such an extent that even that otherwise ruthless organisation had to declare him a radical (officially at least; despite being marked with a to be *BLAM*-med on sight with extreme prejudice verdict, he's still kicking around) so as to prevent other members of the Ordos following suit.

However - Suitable for one known as Inquisitor Lord, he was instrumental to much of the data garnered in relation to bringing the fight to as innumerable and indomitable foe as the Tyranids. He was even capable of providing the Imperial forces of the Third Tyrannic War the means to defeat the First Hive Fleet tendril (One of two) via assassination of it's biological progenitor, the Norn Queen. He would later go on to further demonstrate his skill at xenos-busting, even stripped of his title as he was when he caused the Second Hive Fleet tendril to enter into an engagement with an enemy every bit as innumerable and indomitable as his hated foe - the Orks. The method with which he chose to do this shows an awareness of Tyranid biology that illustrates a particular role that the Ordo Xenos plays in hunting a particular Tyranid bio-form - the Genestealer. The only detail he might have overlooked is that as both races thrive on war, whichever of the two eventually wins will probably be an even greater threat, but at least he bought precious time for the Imperium to shore up its defences.

The Genestealer Threat[edit]

One threat that the Ordo Xenos takes particularly seriously in comparison to the overt threats of Ork WAAAGH! or Tyranid Hive Fleets is the presence in the Imperium of Genestealer Hybrids which, in their most base form is practically indistinguishable from your typical hive-dwelling Imperial citizen. This infiltration bio-form - differing from that of the Lictor Xenos and other Tyranid organisms used for stealth - is the focus of intense scrutiny of the Ordo Xenos, and they have spent much time on the detection and eradication of these Genestealer Cults wherever they appear. Multiple Inquisitors throughout the fluff and lore have had tie-ins with Genestealer Cults, and the presence of a cell on a world can be enough to have a cynical Inquisitor reaching for the Exterminatus button just on the off chance there could be a hybrid standing behind you, or your third cousin's new wife/husband might have sharp fangs and an "off" look about him/her.

That cute girl/handsome guy with the easy smile you saw who winked at you on the way back from the slump? The one that gets your heart racing, imagining about settling down and making lots of babies like some inbred redneck cutie breeder? Don't worry, it's definitely not pheromones...It's just that, underneath that fabricator jumpsuit might lie a third arm ending not with fingers but with talons capable of ripping through even the ceramite powered armor of the Emperor's Finest. Though you're probably more useful to them as another host/stud with which to grow the brood, whatever your gender is, just don't piss her off. Hybrids are not stupid, either. They know it's easier to evade detection by infecting you rather than leaving your mutilated corpse for the Adeptus Arbites to find and are capable of Just as planned-tier shenanigans in taking over a world. Couple this with the fact that later generations of hybrids are fully capable of using human weaponry and even display some of the same powers that Psykers would. Essentially this means that Genestealer Cults are perhaps far more insidious even than the threat of the Hive Fleets themselves, and often the presence of a Cult would precipitate (and is intended to cause) the arrival of said Hive Fleets owing to the psychic impression luring them in.

Perhaps the most infamous example of this occurred on the planet of Ghosar Quintus, in the Ultima Segmentum. A mining world of relatively low output, the planet was ruled by a nevertheless powerful Dynasty that had fallen under the corruption of a Genestealer Cult that spanned the entire planet, with its population numbering fifteen million souls. To put this in context a certain other Xenos-stomping bad-ass mother thought that a colony of some 500 workers was worthy of blasting off and nuking the site from orbit once it became apparent that a Xenos infestation was present. Worse still was that Ghosar Quintus had been corrupted for untold years, potentially sending out ships with Genestealer hosts throughout the sector. All of this only came to light when a Deathwatch kill-team was sent to investigate the disappearance of Inquisitor Chaegryn, proving that these Genestealer Cults are even capable of temporarily foiling the attentions of the Inquisition.

And if your entire thing in life is rooting out the enemies of mankind and getting a secret kick out of it, the mere existence of a creature capable of foiling your every move must be absolutely maddening. To the point of the rage of a thousand white hot blinding suns of fury. NOTHING gets an Ordo Xenos inquisitor moving faster than the word "Genestealer". Except maybe that strange chittering sound your adjutant just made behind you.

Possibilities of heresy[edit]

Like with the other ordos there is a high possibility of heretical corruption in the Alienhunters. Prolonged contact with alienkind can alter the perceptions of the Inquisitor and make them think the Xenos aren't all that bad; sometimes, they may even openly question the necessity of destroying them. Some Inquisitors become attracted by Xenos technology and start trafficking it to get their hands on it. Others become the tools or agents of Xenos cleverer than them or who have stronger psychic powers than their own.

The threat of biological corruption is a particular worry. There are many xeno diseases in the galaxy, and some Xenos even breed through infecting other species. Look no further than Genestealers, for example, and all the particular horror revolving around them and how they spread.

There is at least one known case of the Eldar of Ulthwe having a pact with an Inquisitor cell of the Alienhunters for mutual assistance/information. There have also been several cases of Inquisitors..."fraternizing" with the Eldar, usually by Radicals who argue that "well, they look human enough and they enjoy it just as much as we do, if not more". And to be fair, they do have a point.*BLAM* Heresy!

Gideon Ravenor, famed Inquisitor of the Ordo, was known to be in contact with the Eldar and even to address them in an honourable fashion, quite unlike the usual gung-ho attitude any servant of the Emperor should rightly assume with the dirty Xenos.

There are three major Radical philosophies/factions that are particularly associated with the Ordo Xenos, as exemplified by the Ocularians, the Revivificators, and the Xenos Hybris of the Calixis Sector.

The Ocularians philosophy isn't restricted to the Ordo Xenos, but is definitely prominent amongst them; after all, it is the Ordo Xenos who know the most about the Craftworld Eldar, who make regular use of oracular divinations to guide their race - the same thing that the Ocularians want so desperately for humanity. Essentially, Inquisitors obsessed with foretelling the future to prevent disasters and are willing to make use of xenos knowledge and/or technology to do so.

As Revivificationism is fixated on understanding death and the way that souls interact with the Warp upon dying, the Ordo Xenos' authority to study the Eldar of both the Craftworlds and of Commorragh is of great interest to them. After all, the former cheat death through the use of their Soul Stones, whilst the latter have conquered death to the point that most of their population is incessantly cloned back from death over and over again. These Inquisitors have no issue using xenos tech to try and revive the dead, regardless of the potential cost.

Finally, the Xenos Hybris movement is based pretty much exclusively out of the Ordo Xenos, as its guiding philosophy is that not all sapient Xenos are evil and humanity might even benefit if it stopped having a universal "kill on sight" policy towards everything that isn't genetically human. At the very least, Xeno-tech should be studied and used to make up for the current deficiencies in humanity's own tech. Now, this may sound counter-intuitive since the vast majority of aliens in the 40K verse are absolute fucking assholes, but it's not unprecedented. Though the Eldar's dickishness and the Tau's arrogance obscures matters, they do work with humanity often enough, and they're actually not the only races that do so, just the only races with individual codexes who're seen doing it. In fact, it's been pointed out in some novels that at least some sapient xenos races declare war on the Imperium not for any particular hatred of humanity, but because humanity attacked them first. This philosophy is distinguished from the above by how broad and all-encompassing its pursuit and use of xenos lore and technology can be, from equipping acolytes with pulse rifles to using recruiting a Kroot. While Games Workshop/Black Library hasn't given them an Imperium-spanning ideology like the Amalathians or Xanthites, it is common to see Inquisitors sympathetic to its position in Black Library works, such as Gideon Ravenor. FFG's 40k RPGs implied that there are many small Radical factions adhering to this philosophy throughout the Imperium.

Oh where, where is my codex?[edit]

They were supposed to get a Codex like the Daemonhunters and Witch Hunters (which were First and Second Books of the Inquisition, respectively), but the Sisters of Battle got split into their own White Dwarf army list, and the entire Inquisition got folded into the new Grey Knights. The Alienhunters often seem to get diddled by GW for no good reason, perhaps because they don't want their glorious high end selling Grey Knights to have some competition.

Notable Members[edit]

See Also[edit]

Forces of the Inquisition
Command: Inquisitor (Ordo Malleus Inquisitor - Ordo Hereticus Inquisitor
Ordo Xenos Inquisitor
Retinue: Acolyte - Arbites Enforcer - Arco-flagellant - Astropath - Banisher
Cherubim - Chiurgeon - Crusaders - Daemonhost - Death Cult Assassin
Jokaero - Hierophant - Mystic - Sanctioned Psyker - Sage (Autosavant
Lexmechanic - Sister Dialogous) - Servo-skull - Servitor - Sister Hospitaler
Pariah - Penitent - Ministorum Priest - Militarum Veteran Squad - Warp-Seer
Auxiliaries: Inquisitorial Stormtroopers - Deathwatch - Grey Knights
Sisters of Battle - Callidus Assassin - Culexus Assassin
Eversor Assassin - Vindicare Assassin
Vehicles: Chimera - Land Raider (Land Raider Crusader
Land Raider Redeemer) - Razorback - Rhino
Special Vehicles: Throne of Judgement
Flyers: Valkyrie
Spacecraft: Aquila Lander - Gun-Cutter - Inquisitorial Black Ship
Imperial Eagle.png Institutes within the Imperium of Man Imperial Eagle.png
Adeptus Terra: Adeptus Administratum - Adeptus Astra Telepathica
Adeptus Astronomica - Senatorum Imperialis
Adeptus Mechanicus: Adeptus Titanicus - Explorator Fleet - Legio Cybernetica - Skitarii
Armed Forces: Adeptus Arbites - Adeptus Custodes - Planetary Defense Force - Sisters of Silence
Imperial Army: Afriel Strain - Adeptus Astartes - Gland War Veteran
Imperial Guard - Imperial Navy - Imperial Knights - Militarum Tempestus
Imperial Cult: Adeptus Ministorum - Adepta Sororitas - Death Cults - Schola Progenium
Inquisition: Ordo Chronos - Ordo Hereticus - Ordo Malleus - Ordo Necros
Ordo Sepulturum - Ordo Sicarius - Ordo Xenos
Officio Assassinorum: Adamus - Callidus - Culexus - Eversor - Maerorus - Vanus - Venenum - Vindicare
Great Crusade: Corps of Iterators - Legiones Astartes - Remembrancer Order - Solar Auxilia
Unification Wars: Legio Cataegis
Other: League of Black Ships - Logos Historica Verita
Navis Nobilite - Rogue Traders - Ambassador Imperialis
Abhumans & Denizens: Beastmen - Caryatids - Felinids - Humans - Nightsiders - Troths - Neandors
Ogryns - Ratlings - Scalies - Scavvies - Squats - Subs - Pelagers - Longshanks
Notable Members: God-Emperor of Mankind - Malcador the Sigillite
The Perpetuals - The Primarchs - Sebastian Thor
Erda - Ollanius Pius