T’au are xenos heretics most foul and their greatest crime against humanity’s splendor? Cooperation.
The most corrupt principle of the Tau empire is its willingness to cooperate and ally with other Xenos. You’ve probably seen their allies the Kroot and the Vespids. But the Imperium is adrift in a spiteful galaxy, fueled only by Chaos. The idea that friendship–or indeed any emotional construct other than, steely, grim resolve in the face of an uncaring galaxy–is pure anathema. Look at two of the allies of the Tau, to see how they weaken their Empire through diplomacy. We begin with two of their lesser-known allies, the Demiurg and the Nicassar.
During the Great Crusade, they came under the notice of the Imperium of Man who learnt that they are a technologically advanced race that maintain cordial relations with several xeno cultures. They rarely enter the territory of mankind but by this era they maintained a clandestine mining installation at Tenebrae 9-50 with its existence not being widely known by the Imperium. Their once rarely sighted vessels began to be seen within increased frequency in the Ultima Segmentum in recent centuries. Imperial fleet strategists postulated the link for the increased Demiurg presence to expansion of the Tau Empire in the Eastern Fringe. There are three sightings of Demiurg among Tau and Kroot fleets around the Damocles Gulf. Some, however, believe that these activities are simply the result of Demiurg attempting to capitalize on the disruptions caused by the Tyranid hivefleets.
It is currently unknown if the Demiurg are full members of the Tau Empire, or allies, or mercenaries, but they are involved heavily in trading and economic relations with the Tau. They are said to be a race principally consisting of miners and traders.
The Demiurg appear to have no homeworld, or at least have abandoned it in favour of spacecraft. They are known to avoid Imperial space unless invited in, making them a very uncommon sight, and are described as defensively-hostile and non-militaristic, though the number of sightings in the Ultima Segmentum has increased over recent centuries.
The Demiurg are organised into “Brotherhoods”, though any further information on a Brotherhood is unknown, beyond the rumours from Rogue Traders that one Brotherhood is typically present upon a Bastion Class Vessel and two to three upon on a Stronghold Class Vessel. At least two brotherhoods, the Srry’Tok and Thurm, are known to have joined the Tau Empire.
Although the Demiurg normally live in enormous space-bound starhips, they are known to colonize worlds unusually abundant in minerals, such as the worlds of the Poretta system.
Demiurg Bastion Class Commerce Vessel
The Demiurg have a high level of technology invested in their vessels as they are required to perform a number of tasks: Stronghold-class vessels, for instance, are used as factories, processing units and as a base for mining fleets, while the Bastion-class vessels are often configured for use in asteroid mining. These vessels are largely automated and use electro-magnetic fields to scoop up interstellar hydrogen, which is then compressed inside the vessel and ejected towards the rear, creating a form of ram-jet engine. The engines are relatively slow in comparison to Imperial technology, however the complex shielding the system requires and the beneficial side-effects of its use are as of yet still unfathomed by the Adeptus Mechanicus.
A known tool is the Demiurg survey glass which is a penetrative visual tool used for mineral detection at depths of up to two kilometres.
From the Demiurg the Tau acquired their knowledge of Ion Cannon technology, which is now heavily used by the Tau in their armies and fleets.
Aside from the development of ionic weapons, the Demiurg appear to remodel a lot of their weaponry from technology already developed for use in resource gathering and manufacturing. Two examples of this on board their spacecraft are the Cutting Beam, which appears to have been adapted from high powered lasers used to mine asteroids, and automated mining machines, which, once reconfigured, are launched as attack craft against enemy ships.
Demiurg operated a number of automated mining machines that harvest rare and precious metals. These operated on shunt networks across regions of space that consist of unmanned electromagnetic conveyer stations that propel resource-rich asteroids that are sent from prospecting fields to xeno client homeworlds. Such a process takes hundreds of years but by the time the asteroid reaches in-system the automated mining machines excavate as well as process the arranged shipment.
Then of course there’s the Nicassar…
Physiology and Biology
The Nicassar are driven by an insatiable curiosity to explore and travel, becoming semi-nomadic and most content when traveling. The Nicassar can put themselves into states of hibernation in which they can survive for long periods. They are described as having limited mobility and being unfit for ground combat, and so further the Greater Good by providing ships for the Tau fleet, especially for the roles of scouting and exploring.
A Nicassar Dhow
The Nicassar ships known as Dhows are small, maneuverable, yet elegant yachts propelled by the psychic powers of the captain. But they lack any real interstellar capability. As such, they are often towed by Tau ships, and also provided with upgraded Tau weaponry, or they will travel slowly for centuries while in hibernation. Often for a longer journey a Nicassar family will join together to form a larger community, with crew alternating between hibernation.
As you can see, Loremasters, this cooperation has only yielded advanced technology and a defense against a weakness the Tau, as a species possesses. That hardly teaches then to be self reliant and will no doubt be the cause of their inevitable downfall–assuming the lasguns of the Guard don’t get the job done first!
For the Greater Good–never ally with anyone!