One of the very cool aspects of the new T’au Codex is that the book talks about the ill fated 4th Sphere expansion that seemed to be lost. What do you think hapenned to them?
The 4th sphere expansion of the T’au empire had utilized a new technology that allowed them to move at Faster Than Light speeds utilizing the AL-38 Slipstream module, which was built off of studying Imperial technology and Kroot Warspheres. After testing the tech, they found that they could travel in days what would have taken months previously. Upon outfitting an entire fleet with the Slipstream modules, they prepared to bypass the fires of the Damocles Gulf (caused by the Imperium after their recent and costly battle with the T’au) but when they triggered their modules, they tore a rift in realspace and were swallowed by it, seemingly lost.
Many years later, the T’au made contact with an old drone belonging to the 4th Spehere expedition and discovered a wormhole where the 4th Sphere expansion force had been lost. They soon realized that their comrades had indeed not been destroyed but somehow survived. The T’au quickly reestablished contact and worked to send another fleet through. Upon reuniting with the 4th Sphere fleet, it was noted that the survivors of that ill fated expedition were changed. They seemed to find no spiritual contentment from the Ethereals, no longer trusted their alien auxiliaries (and in some cases may have killed them!) and were extremely aggressive to the point of being censured by their fellow T’au. While the 5th sphere expansion is meeting with great success as they capitalize on the weakness and disorganization of the Imperium following the Great Rift, what hapenned to the 4th sphere?
To me it seems pretty dang obvious that they entered into the warp and had an Event Horizon style experience. Beyond that being an awesome and scary movie, the scenes it depicts are well and truly hellish (and fun fact, borrow much of the lore of the movie from the 40k universe as I understand it!). And as the T’au slipstream tech was based on Imperium warp drives, it seems that they were exposing themselves to the threat the warp represents.
While lost in warp space, the T’au describe being hunted by strange creatures that didn’t obey natural law, seemed to feed on their fear and stalked them mercilessly. As the T’au don’t seem to have access to any type of Gellar Fields it would be quite likely that they suffered Daemonic incursion. They were ultimately saved by what is described as a being possessing hideous sentience which forever altered the T’au which experienced it, and which created the wormhole through which they could now travel.
What do you all think hapenned to them? What entity saved them? Was it a Chaos god? Did the T’au create a god of their own in the warp due to the suffering they experienced while being tormented by Daemons? Is that even possible? What will happen to the survivors of the 4th sphere expansion which no longer have a spiritual connection to the Ethereals? It leaves a lot of fun and interesting questions to be answered. What do you all think? I could see the story going in a number of different directions with opportunities for splinter forces of the T’au, or perhaps Chaos tainted T’au somehow? Or perhaps this mysterious entity that saves them was an Old One, or something even more mysterious?
We also have the new gateway to the heart of the T’au empire that has been formed in the process leaving T’au open to all kinds of craziness such as Dark Eldar raids, Ork incursions, counter attacks by the Imperium, etc. It really brings the T’au more into the center stage of the galactic action.
What do you hope to see come of this?
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