The Cloudburst military and Inquisition are tasked with defending the Cloudburst Sector from the invasions and depredations of the Glasian species, an extragalactic race of strange aliens. These aliens – long believed to be fleeing the Tyranids – are arriving in the Galaxy in waves of ships, each wave slightly larger than the last. They fly across the void of space from another, as-yet unknown galaxy, in giant tubular ships that strongly resemble the ancient Human O’Neill Cylinders. These tubes serve as combination warships, colony vessels, and tenders, and are each in control of hundreds of smaller vessels. Inside, the Glasian people live in squalor and madness, as the combination of thousands of years of containment and inbreeding mingle with the strange energies of the Warp. For it seems that the galaxy from which the Glasians come does not contain the Warp or anything like it, and they can neither comprehend or control it. As they enter the galaxy, though, they fly through the Warp turbulence that marks its borders, and in the ensuing Warp storms, the Glasians are driven mad by the Chaos god Tzeentch. Though the Master of Schemes does generally not exert direct control over his newfound slaves, neither does he disregard them, and he is greatly amused by the lemming-like behavior of the Glasians.
Once inside the galaxy proper and beyond the Warp Storms, the aliens fly their ships with reckless abandon into the range of the Astronomican, usually bypassing some planets they could conceivably inhabit beyond the Emperor’s light. They make a direct line for the Cloudburst Sector for reasons that are as-of-yet not ascertained by the Inquisition, and there they have not proceeded onwards. As soon as they enter the sector, they begin assaulting Imperial worlds with a ferocity and terrible vigor that any Imperial would find disheartening, and although they are tainted by Chaos, they retain a deadly, regimented approach to war that the Imperium has observed in every wave. This, despite the fact that the individual waves don’t seem to contact each other in any way, and at times, seem unaware of the fact that there are more waves before and after them. The Imperium is not aware that Tzeentch is caching their ships for later.
The Glasians are taxonometrically mammals, but they look and behave more like birds than primates (not unlike the Vespid). They are warm-blooded, and not particularly strong, physically; the average healthy human male could easily wrestle one to the ground. They have bone structure that suggests vestigial wings, and indeed what few tiny pieces of their culture survives their madness and taint suggests a sort of nostalgia for their winged state, though this may be a simple toy for the amusement of Tzeentch, given his avian form and theme. In addition, Magos Biologis researchers have determined that the evolutionary divergence between the Glasians and their flying ancestors seems to be many millions of years in the past, so perhaps this aspect of their culture is simply retrograde nostalgia.
The Glasians are akin to many of the enemies of the Imperium of Man, in that they have lesser grasps of the fundamentals of advanced technology, but they have retained their entire technological heritage and awareness. Thus, though individual pieces of technology in their arsenal are superior to that of Humanity, their overall awareness of the sciences and the underpinnings of metallurgy, synthetics, cellular biology, Warp science, and the forces of energy is lacking. As such, the Mechanicus has theorized that it is at least feasible that the aliens are similar to the Tau, in that they were conquered from within and force-marched through asymmetric technological development, though if a parallel exists within Glasian biology for the equivalent of the Tau Ethereal Caste, no subject fitting the description has ever been captured.
One aspect of the Glasians that seems utterly foreign to the Imperium is the complete lack of religion among them. Instead of worshipping their mutator Tzeentch, they seem to regard his whispered orders as a sort of shamanistic rite. Instead of religion taking the fore in their rotted minds, they instead observe a tenet called Passage, which seems to be a product of their exodus from their home galaxy. Declarations of action or loyalty are made to the Passage, the word is carved in their armor and hulls, and any sacrifices that need be made to burrow deeper into Imperial space are made in its name and to its betterment. Exactly what it is has not yet been determined, but it may be as simple as a cultural impetus on behalf of the ruling cadres to keep the populace alive in the trying circumstances of extragalactic migration.
Most Glasian weapons are a mix of accelerated slugs and low-tech lasers, but their deadlier armament comes in the form of what the Mechanicus has dourly called ‘Ruin Guns.’ These devices seem to focus a ball of plasma in a coil of magnetic cobalt, and then discharge it. Unlike Imperial and Eldar plasma, however, these weapons arc the plasma along streamers of ionized air, ‘painting’ the targets with writhing streams of radioactive, hyper-energized gas. This process is inefficient, but shockingly effective at cutting through armor, and their warship-mounted weapons are horrifying to behold, as they seem to set their enemies ablaze with shivering waves of blue fire. This is an illusion from the discharge of heat and electrical energy from the eruption of plasma on the impact site. The plasma burns through armor at astonishing speeds, although it is less valuable against shields.
This process, thankfully, is also bulky and loud, and so their weapons generally rely on simple lasers or caseless bullets, like the Imperial Guard’s equipment. Their heavy weapon teams are, understandably, a very high priority target for sharpshooters and artillery. Their air and space fighters use a mixture of these Ruin Guns and dumbfire rockets, which corkscrew through the air or vacuum on streamers of propellant gas, and impact with fire and shrapnel. They also have proximity-fused weapons that operate using radio and other forms of lightspeed radiation to detect range, and a form of flamer that is immediately recognizable as such.
Their vehicles are generally hover-pad equipped, using a technosorcerous device that looks quite unlike those that the Imperial military uses for their Land Speeders and fighters. The exact method of their devices’ operation is unknown, but smaller than the Imperial version, and utterly silent – a common observation among Septiimi Guard officers is that all enemy raids are stealth raids, until they start shooting.
Glasians use repurposed colony equipment and ships in some of their forces, making them slightly less dangerous than a purpose-built army of equivalent size, but that is small consolation when it comes to war. Their starships smaller than Battleship tonnage are dedicated warships, which makes approaching them difficult; fortunately, all of their ships of Battleship tonnage or larger and most of their Grand Cruisers are colony vessels, and sport about as much weaponry as an Imperial ship of the same role. This means that they have few strategic weapon options to use to repel Imperial ships at standoff range. However, the sheer size of their intergalactic colony barges, the enormous Glasian Cylinders as dubbed by Cognomen, allows them to overcome some of their frailties. The Cylinders are the size of an Imperial Hive Arcology, and each smaller Cylinder fits into a carrying slot on a larger Control Cylinder thirty kilometers long and eighteen wide. These monstrous ships only mount a few Ruin Guns a piece, but they are powered by the energy cores of ships that can go thousands of years without resupply and propel teratons of freight and passengers. Thus, the Ruin Guns of a Control Cylinder can slash a Grand Cruiser clean in half at mid-range, and short the shields of a Battleship at optimal range.
The Glasians designed the Control Cylinders to remain in orbit of a new colony world while the smaller ones landed and formed the core of new colonies, or so the Mechanicus surmises. No attempt has ever been made to take a Cylinder intact, nor shall one ever be made if High Inquisitrix Lerica and Lord Chapter Master Arden have a say in the matter. They are too heavily corrupted to be salvaged or repurposed.
Glasian paint schemes were the first sign the Imperium had that the aliens were tainted by Tzeentch, during the First Contact incident six hundred years past. Their vehicles, for all their technosorcerous might, are daubed and splashed with random splotches of color, rust, and scoring, in a pattern even an Ork would find distasteful. The ugly, spiky bodies of their vehicles are further draped with chains, sigils of unidentified clan structures, and colonies of more rust, in no pattern a sane mind can detect. Their Techpriest analogues are a caste of dedicated mechanics, but unlike Techpriests, will often ride to battle in the second or third line of their attack formations, both to enact field repairs and to serve as ablative armor for their machines. This is a practice the Mechanicus finds to be both a relief, for its lack of foresight, and disquiet, since it reveals just how damaged by Tzeentch the aliens actually are. The fact that nearly all their equipment is tainted by the Great Enemy means that it cannot be safely reverse-engineered or even disposed of, necessitating careful removal of all scrap and wreckage by sanctioned excoriation servitors. This is a time-consuming and expensive process.
In reality, however, the Glasians do have a purpose, though the Imperium (and the Glasian race) remains unaware. Tzeentch sees them as an experiment. By driving them to incurable madness and then leaving them be, they are a sort of test bed for his incursion techniques into the Imperium. They are hopelessly mutated by the Warp Storms at the peripheral shock of the galaxy, beyond his control, though he’s happy to exploit it. To interfere would be to tamper with the results of the testing, and that is not something Tzeentch is yet willing to do. Why, precisely, Tzeentch would bother with this is unknown to all but him. One definite result has been the routine massacre of millions of alien souls, and not far fewer human ones, which is always a plus to him. However, the assaults by the Glasians have also hardened the defenses of the Imperium in the area dramatically, which does not serve his ends at all. Such is Tzeentch.
The Lord of Change jealously guards his experiment. He has closed all of the efforts he had begun in the sector prior to the Glasian Migrations’ arrival, and endeavored to scuttle any attempts by his rivals to start up their own efforts in the sector. Nurgle has been most persistent; the Imperium became aware of this after stumbling across the remains of four Tzeentch-worshippers ships destroyed by the Terminus Est. The wrecks had slammed into a microplanetoid at the border of the Naxos sector and the Hapster Subsector of Cloudburst, and been found by a Naval patrol from Fabique. Likewise, though Tzeentch regards the rise of the Free Corsair Coalition with interest, he does not yet wish to stop them. After all, they could be a part of the outcome of his experiment, and therefore as worthy of examination as the Imperium is. Tzeentch is less pleased that the Orks of Gorkypark and other, smaller Orkholds remain in his way. There is nothing to learn from Orks, and they are but a potential contamination in his experimental data.
Tzeentch, however, is aware that his project may not be infinitely sustainable. The Glasians come from other galaxies, and though they are fleeing the Tyranids, that suggests that their numbers will eventually run out. The Tyranids do not leave survivors. Though the time-stasis Warp barrier he uses to contain the Glasian fleets is holding and Abaddon’s little Crusade may allow him to strengthen it, the intermittent trickle of trans-galactic Cylinders will eventually end. When that happens, he shall carefully use up his supply of trapped alien ships, then plunge the sector into the flesh change. That is a fitting reward for the humans who have so thoughtfully served as his ideal test subjects. Tzeentch estimates that the flow of Glasian assets from their home galaxy will run out in eighty-four Terran standard years, and his stockpile, thus reinforced, will run out in eight hundred.
Tzeentch allows the Glasians to act on their damaged instincts when it comes to their drive. Their terrible flight from the Tyranids compels them to find a new homeworld, and find one they shall, or so he allows them to think. The Glasians fly from system to system inside Imperial space, which Tzeentch readily notes is growing larger in Cloudburst. The Sector itself is of little consequence to Tzeentch; it is demarcation on Anathema’s map and nothing more. However, it serves as a convenient boundary to enforce against other Chaos Gods, and so he has constrained his experiment to there, for now. The aliens drive on with their Cylinders, and when the worlds they conquer fight them, they fight back. The one time a Glasian Cylinder has successfully conquered a world, specifically Chlorit, they destroyed it, which Tzeentch had known could happen, but was surprised to see it so. Perhaps, he mused, that was their means of denying it to their enemy, the Tyranids.
The Glasians do not select their targets, Tzeentch does. The Mutant Liege selects the criteria by a method so arcane that the Inquisition has given up on trying analysis. The one fact the Inquisition has determined beyond doubt is that Tzeentch views the Septiim system as a sort of control group for his enigmatic experiment.
The systems Tzeentch has targeted are listed below, in chronological order by Migration.
The initial invasion caught the Imperium quite unprepared. The Sector had a low number of psykers, whose dreams and forecasting might have granted more warning. No active-duty military personnel in the Sector alive today remember the horrors of the first invasion, but the marks it left on Septiim and Maskos remain to this day.
When the Glasians arrived, they did so in far smaller force than they do in the present. The invasion consisted of three large vessels, retroactively identified as the Glasians’ rough equivalent to the Apocaypse-class Battleships – very large, slow, and armed with the longest-ranged weapons possible. Each was supported by a small flotilla of Escorts and a squadron of troopships. The vessels simply appeared at the edges of the Drimmerzole, Maskos, and Septiim defense perimeters with no Warp signature, and promptly began shelling the living hell out of the startled Imperial defenders.
Even in the pre-Blue Daggers era of the Sector, however, its defenses and alliances of trust and mutual defense with other regions were not inconsiderable. Five Astartes Chapters, Inquisitorial assets, and multiple Imperial Guard regiments mobilized to defend the region. The Carcharadons were first to arrive, and took the fight to the Maskos fleet, while the Red Templars, the Angels of Fury, the Novamarines, and the Celestial Knights arrived piecemeal and in smaller numbers. However, the unique nature of the Glasian technology proved a stumbling block for the Imperial retaliation force, which had distinct difficulty with the hovercraft and murderous plasma of the invaders. Every Astartes Chapter that sent Marines took losses, with the Celestial Knights even losing a Strike Cruiser to the battleship over Septiim.
When the troopships arrived and began disgorging these strange vehicles and packs of howling-mad bird people on the planets below, the fighting grew even more disorganized. The forces of Lord General Eustace Fowler took the invasion head-on, and eventually triumphed against the ground invasions, but an entire city on Drimmerzole Secundus was lost, with hundreds of thousands of civilians still in it, before the last of the aliens on the ground were slaughtered.
Finally, after grueling fights in orbit and on the ground, the aliens were defeated. It did not take long for Librarians of the Angels of Fury to realize that the entire enemy force was contaminated from first to last with Warp energies and the powers of Chaos.
Before the second Glasian Migration arrived, there had been quite some time to prepare. After decades of waiting for something to happen, the Exigent Task Unit Cloudburst was seriously considering disbanding when a new, larger fleet of aliens suddenly arrived. Heralded by a sudden disruption of local psychic telemetry and communication, a massive Colony Control Cylinder of the Glasian flotilla emerged at the edge of the Septiim system. While the Exigent Task Unit mobilized to counter it, terrified Astropathic messages from Chlorit, Celeste, and Clegran arrived as well, declaring the arrival of smaller Cylinders or battleships.
The Task Force quickly split their forces, and moved to aid the local defenders in the destruction of the Glasian fleets. However, in no cases save Septiim’s own invasion did the Task Force actually manage to arrive before ground troops committed to the fight.
In Septiim, the Task Force took the worst losses. The Control Cylinder flew straight past the asteroid base on the way in towards the inner worlds of the Septiim system. The Exigent Task Unit managed to affect a boarding of the huge Control Cylinder, at the cost of forty percent of their remaining Marines. The team sabotaged the Cylinder, but it was too late. Millions of Glasians reached the surface of Septiim Secundus, Septiim Primus, and several asteroid and moon bases of the outer gas giants. The few Marines who escaped the corrupted Control Cylinder’s ballistic hulk flew to Septiim Primus to aid in the defense of the population. Meanwhile, the Marines of the rest of the Task Force undertook similar measures against the aliens in the other systems, save Chlorit. Chlorit was overrun before the Marines could even arrive, and to the shock and horror of the Imperium, the Glasians destroyed Chlorit completely.
After a year of fighting in the systems hit by the Migration, the Glasians were finally exterminated. Coriolis suffered the least damage, as they faced only the alien survivors of the Chlorit purge, but even they were not entirely unscathed by the fighting. After the second Migration, the Inquisition formally began the process of establishing the new Chapter, albeit after decades of debate, first. The Inquisition has never lost their distrust of Space Marines after the Horus Heresy.
After the Founding of the Blue Daggers as Chapter 0983 of the Imperial Space Marines, the Glasian invasions continued escalating. Even as the number of Glasians in each wave increased, however, the composition of space assets seemed almost entirely random. While the Second Migration consisted of five heavy capital ships and a few Escorts, the Third Migration had only four heavy capital ships and hundreds of smaller vessels that still constituted a roughly ten percent increase in the firepower of the previous.
This time, the Glasians hit the worlds Septiim Tertius, Cognomen, Hangonne, and Delving. The Glasians were unable to gain much headway against the rapidly-expanding Imperial Navy of the Sector, but they were still able to offload hundreds of thousands of their mutant soldiers on the worlds of Delving, Cognomen, and Septiim Tertius. The Hangonne defense was purely accidental, as the ship the aliens were using to transport their troops exploded before reaching it.
The Cognomen invasion was a tragic one for the aliens, who were promptly stomped into the dirt by the Legio Congelatio. The other two invasions were more problematic for the Imperium, as the Daggers did not yet have enough Battle Brothers to defend both Septiim and Delving without heavy aid from mortal soldiery in both systems. However, the battles were still over in under thirty days, as the Delving Field Guard and Mechanized Toxic Environment Troopers were able to rout the Glasians, who found it difficult to operate their fast, delicate machinery in the corrosive soil and air of Delving. The Septiim battles were rendered more difficult by the fact that several Glasian ships were able to maneuver into position to fire on the surface, and their unique Ruin Gun plasma weapons had the range to make the hits. The resultant damage from the plasma weapons being used in atmosphere killed tens of millions of citizens. However, the Daggers sent a team of teleporting Terminator Techmarines into the huge Control Cylinder over Septiim and destroyed it with powerful explosives, ending the threat.
The Glasian force was eventually overcome, and the Blue Daggers began rapid expansion to their eventual full size.
As the Blue Daggers grew, they wetted their blades on non-Chaotic targets. Centuries of careful practice, fierce combat, and military expansion allowed them to be better prepared for the arrival of the Fourth Glasian Migration. When the time came, the Glasians assaulted the Sector with their usual unreasoning ferocity. However, the targets they picked had had ample time to prepare, thanks to early warning from the Tarot and the Ordo Xenos. This time, the Glasians hit Thimble, Septiim Secundus and Primus, Nauphry IV and VII, and Combine. The Daggers devoted the majority of their space assets to the Septiim and Combine defense, and left Nauphry and Thimble largely to their own end. This nearly backfired when the aliens concentrated most of their firepower on the less-defended planet Nauphry VII. Only the last-minute ramming of the Cylinder there by the Overlord-class battlecruiser Scourge of Monsters prevented the loss of the Agri-world. However, all four Cylinders were still defeated, and in record time, by the expanding Blue Daggers and local Basilikon Astra, with help from the Navy and several Rogue Traders.
The Fifth Glasian Migration was a turbulent mess of conflict and confusion. The Emperor’s Tarot had been singularly unhelpful in predicting which worlds would be hit by the Glasians in the invasion, and so the Daggers had been forced to spread out their attention unevenly over many planets. The Chapter, now approaching their full numbers of strength, was still not quite able to divert enough of their Marines to grant proper protection to each world that fearfully requested it. However, when the Cylinders came, the reason for the confusion came clear in a flash of realization. The psychic Inquisitors that had been performing the Tarot readings had been assuming that more worlds would be hit in the Fifth Migration than the preceeding ones; when the Glasians arrived, they only hit three systems. Septiim, as always, then Hapster and Mendic.
Hapster’s archaeotech defenses and mighty Bronze Legions were able to see off their attackers beneath the size of the Cylinder itself. A single flight of twelve First Company Terminators was more than enough to destroy the Cylinder, which had left itself all but defenseless after disgorging nearly everybody aboard to attack the surface. The planet Letrione withstood the Glasians much worse, and suffered nine million casualties before the Daggers and their Skitarii allies were finally able to sink its own Cylinder.
At the beginning of the Sixth Glasian Migration, the Glasians hit three targets they had hit before, and the planet Lordarine. Because Maskos and Grendel, the Septiims, and Hapster had weathered assault before, those worlds were able to defend themselves valiantly. Lordarine, however, had never faced armed conflict before. The Skitarii on that world were entirely overrun within days. The Tech-Adepts of the world shepherded the populace into the caves and defended them frantically while warships dueled in orbit. After four days of the conflict teetering on a knife’s-edge, the Blue Daggers teleported Terminators and a Prize Team of Techmarines into the ship to detonate a warhead in the ship’s power core, bringing a sudden end to the invasion. The forces of Solstice participated in this conflict for the first time, although the low levels of preparedness of their forces meant they were unable to lend significant assets to the defense of the Septiim Economic Zone.
Imperial Ordo Xenos Inquisitors were terrified to learn that the looming Seventh Migration would include no fewer than six Cylinders, which would constitute a potentially fatal thinning of the Terminator-equipped forces of the Sector to board and destroy using conventional boarding tactics. To the discomfort of the Blue Daggers and Inquisition, but in acknowledgement of the scarcity of appropriate resources, the entire First Company and its associated specialists were authorized to partake of the boarding, even if they lacked enough Terminator Armor to do so safely. With Septiim, Dawn-break, Gorum's Folly, Hapster, Rampart, and Forender threatened, the forces of the Adeptus Mechanicus would also be put under strain, since they had to defend Dawn-Break and Foraldshold as well as their jeopardized Agri-world project of Forender. Desperate pleas for aid from the Deathwatch and Celestial Knights were answered swiftly, but until they arrive, the Sector must batten down the hatches and await a miracle.