Risen From the Ashes
<Ship's Log, 2nd Tyranid War, Leviathan's Rest>
"Admiral, this is Salamander 5th Company Commander Tyr'va. Can you confirm a hit? Repeat, can you confirm a hit?"
"Affirmative, Sir. A direct hit upon the nerve column. They're dead in the water sir. Psychic backlash seems to be ripping them apart and burning them to ash."
"It seems that Vulkan has truly blessed us this day. The xeno scum will be consumed by the warp. Mithras shall be cleansed in holy fire. Are there any visible survivors?"
"Negative sir, nothing but their charred remains."
--Several years later--
Lost. It is a strange feeling, to regain a mind among scattered pieces. Fragments of what was once a whole, scattered to the winds as seeds from a dying tree. But every seed remembers its mother, and will lie dormant. Waiting only for the time when conditions are right, when there will again be the chance to grow. And so did the tiny forms of the hive crawl through the ash. They searched for sustenance but there was none. All that remained were the fragments of their brothers, rained upon the burning world. And so, when there was nothing left to devour, they turned to the ash, consuming the tiny bits of carbon that remained. But even that was not enough. They looked to the sky but they could not yet free themselves of this place. Heaven was set just beyond their grasp. And so they turned back towards hell, and began to dig. To dig, and consume.
The topsoil of a world is rich with life, living dying and born again without ever seeing the sun. But there is no life on a dead world, and even a Tyranid cannot survive without organic matter. Or at least, no Tyranid ever had.
But life, back in its earliest origin, came from un-life. From that which was nothing but chemical elements life came forth from nothingness. And so it was, that in the earth, nearly a mile beneath the surface of a cooling lump of metal, the small worm-like Tyrannids with no fleet to call their own found new life.
The chance was one in a trillion. That a perfect combination of pressure, radiation, and the right elements coming together would create something the galaxy had never seen. But right here, on this world, for only the second time ever witnessed, life began from nothingness again as a single cell.
And within a year it was completely consumed. But its story would not be forgotten. Because a Tyranid does not forget. When a struggle against death is found, a Tyranid recognizes its plight and accepts it into their family to be immortalized in the endless tale of evolution, the struggle of progress. To be spread among the stars that all may know its story when they too become a part of the glory of perfection.
And perfect this strange organism they did. Within a single generation the metabolic processes of the new Hive had changed. It did not need carbon, phosphorous, oxygen... It craved silicon, iron, sulfur...
The population exploded and the mind, the simple primitive mind awakened. It did not remember it's former glory. It did not recall the galaxies it traveled to reach this desolate rock. All it remembered... was the fire.
The remains of the planet drifted slowly through its orbit. To an outside observer it was nothing more than a shapeless hunk of metal. But the honey-combed structure below held a new hidden construction. In the pools of flowing iron a new Fleet was taking shape. One the likes of which the galaxy had never seen.
But it was not yet ready. A world can only hold so much metal and eventually it was not enough. But there were other ways to travel. Ways that would not be recognized until it was far too late. And so it was that, with careful aim, one after another, the capsules of stone and metal were launched, erupting from the once-smooth surface of the world on their instinctively known trajectories. They spiraled through space, looking no different from any other asteroid or meteor, impacting one world after another with no trace of movements even to one watching their travel and no trace of their consumption even to one watching the surface. And eventually the expeditions returned, bringing new material, new bioforms, new life to the once-dead world of Mithras.
The ship was complete. The genepool teemed with new diversity and new direction. It was the dawn of a new age of life and the beginning of a new end. The ships launched silently, looking no different from a massive rock hurtling through space. But it moved with purpose, and from within a trillion eyes watch and waited and hungered. And with one mind, the hive looked upon the first disgusting world of blue. But it would not remain this way for long.
Silently, the three fragments segmented themselves from their mother and went off to raise a nest of their own. They would paint the skies an ashen grey. They would boil the seas and char the land. They would consume every shred of genetic diversity and elevate it to levels unimagined. And most of all, they would consume the world from within, patient and silently laying their plan so that the entire world would burn within days.
The ship moved on, seeding countless other worlds with fragments of itself, until nothing was left of the ship. Dozens of meteorite impacted across the system without anyone blinking an eye.
But beneath the surface, they watched and they waited. Swimming through currents of fire within the dozens of worlds veins of magma, they consumed the greatest life forms of all: the planets themselves.
And then, with a single silent command from the hive mind linking each splinter of the fleet together came the call:
Now is the time to rise! Scorch the Earth, Burn the Skies, Feed, Grow, and Evolve. Consume the world and rebuild the ships a hundred times over. We will melt the worlds one by one, removing the impurities and tempering our own perfection. We are Hive Fleet Nidhoggr, and we have come to consume the galaxy in fire.