Story:The Shape Of The Nightmare To Come 50k section10

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Section 10: The New Devourer[edit]

The great Devourer, the dread star locust, had made massive inroads into the galaxy, even by M41, snatching whole clusters of worlds in its billions of jaws, digesting them, even as their hopeless defenders screamed defiance.

Many were the attempts by a one Inquisitor Kryptmann, to slay the foul swarm, which flooded from beyond the void betwixt galaxies. Viruses, fire storms, plague bombs, exterminatus. All these devious and hateful ploys failed. The beast was too adaptive, too fiercely unstoppable. At last, in the closing decades of the forty first millennium, that he employed his final, lasting gambit.

The Tyranids, that great plague, was turned towards the only race in the galaxy as hopelessly virulent as themselves: the Orks. Genestealers were seeded upon the surfaces of the Octavian Overfiend's many worlds, drawing the Great Devourer, like a moth to a blazing furnace. The war was unsinkable. As the Tyranids flooded the worlds with warriors, the Orks fought all the fiercer, growing stronger in the crucible of war, and drawing more of their number to them, via the unseen psychic force all Orks shared. As the numbers swelled, the Tyranids feasted upon this superior biomass, and they too grew strong from the continuing war. Both sides drove the other to ever greater feats, and ever increasing numbers. The worlds of the Octavius became twisted hells, ork spores and machinery coiling around and competing, with vast spires of bone and chitin, and creeping vines of semi-organic malice. As the death mounted, the bodies coated the worlds, expanding the vast surface of each to unprecedented sizes. Worlds collapsed under the pressure of so many bodies and structures, but even the collapsing boulder fields were knitted together by slimy tendrils, and warring machinery. Roks and hulks warped in from across the galaxy, accompanied by fleets of countless Orks.

For a brief moment, things seemed to be improving n the universe. Ork held worlds across the galaxy suddenly began to depopulate, as almost every orkoid in existence, ploughed into the churning maelstrom of the Octavius Empire. The Imperium and other aliens moved into these vacant worlds, and it seemed as if perhaps the Imperium was not doomed after all.

Their vain hope was misplaced. For, as Tyranid and Ork came together in this war, each of these rival ecosystems, so virulent and profound in their terraforming abilities, began to subvert one another, at the biological level. Ork spores mutated, to infest Tyranids, Tyranids infested Orks with gene stealer eggs and Tyrannic lice. Tyranid spores battled Ork spores, just as Carnifexes and bio-titans battled gargants and stompas, in the epic, never ending war.

Nobody knows for sure when it came about, but the New Devourer was swift to action. It crafted a species, borne of Tyranid and Ork, but truly of neither, which turned upon the Orks and Tyranids, stripping them of their biomass, to create their own hive-waaaggh. The creatures created seemed to be muscular, large and covered in foul appendages and weapons. Hive ships, coated in orkoid machinery, fused with orkish biology, and merged with Tyranid hyper evolution and biomorphs, spread from the Octavius system. The Orks were outmatched by this new force. The New Devourer's troops were vast things, taller than almost all Orks, faster than all Orks. The spore reproduction of the Orks was subverted, and these monsters reproduced at a scarily swift race, with monsters sprouting up from the ground, within hours of being seeded from each New Devourer beast. Each beast could produce a thousand offspring within a day, each battle ready on that same day. The regenerative ability of Tyranids and Orks was also heightened and twisted beyond comprehension, until wounds were healing, even before the blade or weapon causing the wound have even finished wounding the fiends. They could not be killed, they could not be stopped. The inherent Orkoid knowledge of technology allowed them to merge technology with biotechnology, creating semi-mechanical monsters beyond the wildest nightmares of even the most mental of Mekboys.

Similarly, the Tyranids could not defeat the New Devourer. Even when a Hive fleet devoured specimens of the New Devourer, the hive vessel which absorbed the biomass, would become corrupted by the New Devourer, and become part of this burgeoning new terror's psychic web. The hive mind, like a bear pulling its paw from the fire, withdrew it's surviving fleets from the milky way. The vast majority of the Tyranid race lay beyond the galaxy. However, on some level, the titanic consciousness of the Hive mind realised it could not eat whatever horrendous thing had been born in our galaxy. Thus, the Tyranids turned from this galaxy, and looked to other galaxies, teeming with life.

The Orks, unable to ever feel fear or dread, merely decided to go down fighting. For, it was the only orky thing left to do. Wazdakka launched a surprise attack, deep into the heart of the New Devourer, charging from his semi-complete warp super highway. He led a glorious charge, leading almost a million trillion Orks in the largest battle in the history of the entire galaxy. They struck right at the rotten heart of the New Devourer's physical and psychic web. A trillion roaring boyz, which shuddered the air, and melted brass, such was the volume and intensity. Gargants and Stompas fired constantly, the air literally coloured orange by constant weapons fire and discharge. Rockets and bombs were dropped in their billions, vaporising everything they struck. Kroozers and hulks rammed New Devourer hive ships, their pilots howling 'WAAAAGGGHHHH!' forever, before charging across their own ships, to fist fight their foes in space itself.

It was not enough. The Orks couldn't kill the New Devourer. Nothing truly could. The New Devourer murdered each and every Ork that attacked it, before it spread out, and picked off every other ork, who nevertheless fought on, laughing with glee as they fought the New Devourer. However, it was known that the orks hated this foe, calling them "Cheetaz!" and "'orrid grow-ladz". In contrast, the New Devourer had no language for their foe, beyond the endless, piercing bellow of the Hyper-fiends (the most commonly seen foot soldier beast of the New Devourer). The Orks, howling and defiant, died almost to a Ork.

Only one Waaaggghhh seemed to survive the onslaught, led by an Ork with a bolter wound to its head. It claimed it had heard Waaaghraz Gharr, a being the Warboss claimed was 'da dad of Gork and Mork.'. This apparent god, told the Ork leader to kick his way into the puny Eldar 'Web-place' and wait 'for 'moar intrucshons'. Nobody knows what happened to this Waaaggghhh.

Of course, the New Devourer did not stop with the Orks. In the first few centuries of the forty second millennium, this foul plague swept across the entire galaxy, driven by a corrupted kind of Waaaaggghhh field, and the overall hive imperative of the New Devourer's synapse web. Imperial blockades were useless. Tau negotiators were slain. Whole naval incursions were swatted aside. Space marine chapters were swallowed whole, by titanic fleets of bio-mechanical hive ships. At least half of the Eldar craft worlds were crushed and sucked dry, their fleets, their memories, their hopes, all quashed. Entire alien civilisations were eaten or torn apart, and millions of worlds were utterly, utterly purged. It was estimated that almost half of all life in the galaxy died in those few hundred years.

The only defence against the New Devourer was to flee it, or dodge it. The only thing it did not do better than the tyranids, was the shadow in the warp. It didn't have one. Worlds got plenty of warning, and fleets could indeed mobilise quickly enough. Though it was easy to evade, it was nevertheless unstoppable. Indeed, the history of the second Age of Strife may have ended there, if something beyond our galaxy hadn't distracted the New Devourer. Something was happening, far from the milky way, and the New Devourer's keen psychic sense detected it. Something shifted , deep in the beyond. The New Devourer left the galaxy entirely, within the space of three years, leaving nothing of themselves behind. They went to fight something… greater. Something… different. Again, whatever it was or is, is a complete mystery to the denizens of this galaxy. The only clue came from an astrologer, living within the Ophelian Imperium. She turned her eye lenses towards the distant galaxy, nicknamed Archos Vosh, after her father. She noted how, slowly, even as she watched, the light of that galaxy went dim. As of yet, no scholar, from any race, can explain this. In fact, most do not wish to… 

Of course, what they fought is irrelevant to us, because it simply meant that the Galaxy, once more, had just managed to survive total annihilation. It this post-devourer galaxy though, as we can see from previous sections, was a realm gutted, wounded and diseased. The galaxy became a festering wound of civil war, brutality, murder, genocide, ignorance and hatred. It existed only to cause misery, as every race made every other race suffer. Life was horrendously horrific in those times. But, at least, it was indeed life. In a universe as cruel as this one, one must be thankful for small mercies, no matter how bitter…

The Shape of the Nightmare to Come: Section Navigation[edit]

  • The Shape of the Nightmare To Come: Section 10: The New Devourer

Continued in Warhammer 60K: Age of Dusk