The Tyranids Lurk in the Shadow…
Of the Warp and you’ll learn why and much more in this Tyranids Lore Video.
Transcript of the above Tyranids Lore Video:
A suffocating mental signal precedes the arrival of a Tyranids hive fleet, enveloping entire star systems and disrupting all kinds of Warp transport and communication.
Whole worlds are suffocated by psychic-static, leaving no hints as to what is going on beneath the surface or what horrors are poised to strike. The Shadow in the Warp foreshadows impending invasion and horror.
It is uncertain whether the hive fleets purposefully produce the Shadow in the Warp, or if it is merely a by-product of the Hive Mind’s intrinsic synaptic control. In any event, the Shadow in the Warp instils a pervasive dread in the hearts of a prey world’s defenders, sinking entire worlds into agony and despair wherever it falls.
The sickness is amplified tenfold for highly psychic creatures like the Aeldari, or for unlucky psykers caught under the enervating impact.
If a psyker tries to use their otherworldly abilities, the cerebral cacophony worsens even more; the psychic sound of a billion alien thoughts scratches at their mind, and unless they are particularly strong-willed, they will be thrown into a state of insanity, repeating phrases in a tongue too alien to properly pronounce.
The Shadow in the Warp
The Shadow in the Warp is one of the deadliest aspects of the Tyranids menace for species like the humans of the Imperium of Man, whose means of interplanetary communication and navigation rely on highly specialised psykers like Astropaths and Navigators.
The Imperium’s worlds are easily separated from the rest of the galaxy since they lack the ability to ask for reinforcements or safely travel nearby space.
This means that by the time the Shadow in the Warp falls, it will be too late; these besieged worlds will be on their own. They must either fend for themselves and face the Tyranids swarm with the weapons at hand, or die trying.
The “synapse” is a psychic connection shared by all Tyranids. This link allows the Tyranids swarms to think, perceive, and act as a single giant super-organism, allowing for near-seamless coordination and control among a Tyranids invading force that would otherwise be uncontrolled.
Every Tyranids organism has a place within the Hive Mind’s will, from the tiniest feeder organisms to the microorganisms that degrade new material; from sessile and rooted flora-like forms to the massive tendril-like shoals of the hive fleets.
The lesser and smaller Tyranids creatures are mindless and instinctive animals, plants, and bacteria that perform functions without conscious oversight or commitment, whereas larger and more complex creatures can make appropriate decisions and contribute to the Hive Mind’s distributed sentient awareness, albeit in a minor way.
Tyranids fleets, swarms, and broods do not have a single command structure, but rather form a synaptic network of psychic influence and feedback, coordinated by immense psychic imperatives relayed through the Tyranids communal sentience that is the Hive Mind.
Within this tangled web are specialised “synapse animals” whose somewhat more advanced brains serve as psychic routers, buses, and hubs, co-ordinating and policing the riotous noise of a mass organism that can be larger than most planets.
When individual will and situational inclinations clash, the swarm can swiftly falter without the localised control supplied by these organisms, and some Tyranids beings may revert to animalistic behaviour. Swarms frequently break up into smaller groups of species capable of cooperating with one another.
Individual psykers make up the majority of the synaptic beings that channel the Hive Mind’s orders. The humans of the Imperium have no idea how any of this is done without attracting the attention of innumerable Chaos daemons or other psychic predatory beings of the Warp into the heart of the Tyranids swarm.
Like Imperial starships, Tyranids Hive Fleets do not traverse through the Warp. However, the hive fleets’ incredible speed in advancing across the galaxy refutes the claim made by some that they lack a form of faster-than-light travel.
While the Tyranids are forced to move at sublight speeds within a planetary system’s gravitic bounds, they are capable of superluminal speeds when travelling through interstellar space. This ability is the consequence of a small Tyranids bio-ship known as a “Narvhal” by the Imperium of Man’s savants.
The Narvhal, unlike most Tyranids bio-ships, is almost completely defenceless, with little bio-weaponry and only a thin protective shell. The Narvhal’s bow has a cluster of monofilament spines that allow it to take in a wide range of sensory information, including a wide range of gravimetric and electromagnetic impulses.
The Narvhal can detect new planetary systems at vast interstellar distances with these sensors. It then uses the gravity of the progenitor star system to create a compressed space-time transit corridor via which the Narvhal and other Tyranids bio-ships can travel interstellar distances in some unknown way. The Narvhal’s delicate navigational sensors are overwhelmed by this type of space-warping travel, therefore it can’t be utilised near strong gravitational sources.
As a result, a Tyranids Hive Fleet’s final approach to a new star system must rely on more traditional kinds of biologically-induced reaction-based propulsion, which can delay its arrival by Terran years or even full solar decades. While this kind of propulsion is slower in the long run than using the Warp-Drive, it is far more reliable and allows the Tyranids to move slowly but steadily throughout the galaxy.
The Narvhal’s manipulation of a star system’s gravity, on the other hand, can have unexpected consequences. During the time the Hive Fleet is transiting through the space-time transit corridor, natural calamities like as earthquakes, solar flares, tidal waves, and other natural disasters can occur on the destination world.
When the swarm eventually arrives in orbit and the first Mycetic Spores begin to fall, the defenders of the target world will have their resources bound up in dealing with these challenges, which will only help the Tyranids’ invasion.
Tyranids weapon biomorphs that are commonly seen.
Tyranids frequently use deception and infiltration to gain control of a planet. Geenstealer infest Space Hulks and other abandoned ships, which swiftly become accustomed to their new surroundings before going into hibernation.
When the hulk is discovered by Imperial authorities, the Geenstealer attack the exploration crew, killing some but usually leaving at least one survivor who is injected with a seed, a type of Geenstealerreproductive virus containing specially modified Tyranids DNA.
This infection is never lethal; instead, the virus’ genetic material modifies the victim’s DNA, causing them to develop a strong desire to mate as a result of sex hormone stimulation.
Because the GeenstealerDNA is absorbed into the host’s germ cells, any kid born as a result of this union will be a Geenstealerhybrid, who will have the total loyalty of both parents thanks to a telepathic tie.
The hybrids breed and multiply within the host species’ population, eventually establishing a GeenstealerCult. As the cult’s membership grows, it begins to exert influence across the planet’s political and social structures, putting its members in positions of power in the government and military.
At the same time, the cult’s hybrid members begin to send a collective mental signal through the Warp that works as a beacon for the oncoming Tyranids hive fleet, joined by a smaller psychic gestalt known as the Broodmind.
As the Tyranids Hive Fleet approaches the doomed world, the GeenstealerCult springs into action, inciting an universal rebellion with the purpose of weakening the planet’s defences against the approaching hive fleet, which could number in the millions by this stage.
The hive fleet will also introduce several Tyranids species to the planet, which will begin to biologically modify the planet’s climate, surface, and ecosystems in order to make it simpler to ingest.
If the hive fleet wins, it will descend to the planet, inhaling the atmosphere, drinking the seas, and consuming all organic material until the world is reduced to a dead lump of rock.
Tyranids tactics on the battlefield are predicated on the concept of superior numbers, since they attempt to outnumber the adversary fifty to one. In close battle, Tyranids outrun their opponents, closing faster than most forces.
They have few ranged weaponry, but if commanded by a skilled leader, their vast numbers and close combat specialisation compensate for the killing.
The Tyranids don’t converse with other intelligent species because there’s no reason for them to. Tyranids are superior to other life forms such as humans, just as humans are superior to the tamed animals they consume.
The Tyranids are impossible to negotiate with, placate, or surrender to. There is no way such a foe can be merciful. It’s a simple question of life and death when dealing with the Tyranids: kill or be eaten.
Vast swaths of the galaxy have already been depopulated, and the hive fleets are pushing farther into populated space with each passing Terran year. Even as the prey races direct their efforts to combat these dangers, other Tyranids ships emerge from their aeons-long hibernation from the cosmic vacuum.
The Hive Mind’s cognitive processes are speeding up as more Tyranids awaken and remember the ancient purpose of their species: to feed, grow, survive, and evolve.
The Tyranids, unlike the other intelligent races of the Milky Way Galaxy, do not construct their starships and weaponry out of metal and plastic; instead, they use gene splicing and bioengineering to create them out of the organic biomatter taken from the worlds they consume.
From the spores polluting the atmosphere to the hideous spires that spring from the tormented ground during an invasion, every weapon, gland, and projectile utilised by their forces is a bioengineered Tyranid monster in its own right.
Tyranid warrior-organisms are monstrous bio-cannons that blast ravenous, parasitic projectiles into their prey’s flesh, and implacable beasts with razor-sharp claws that can tear a man apart in the blink of an eye.
Every weapon and projectile employed by the hive fleets is a living organism known as a “biomorph,” which has been created from reconstituted biomatter from past invasions.
The Tyranids lack mechanical technology and instead rely on superior biotechnology to manufacture organic replicas of tools, weapons, and ammunition utilised by other sentient species.
These monsters are highly symbiotic, merging into each other’s skin to the point where it’s difficult to tell where one Tyranid entity stops and the next begins. Tyranid warrior-beasts wield living weapons that are literally extensions of their own bodies, each one a killing machine ideally equipped to slay its victims in this manner.
The Tyranids’ bio-construct nature makes them a terrifying foe to face, since their armies contain creatures trained in every aspect of combat and capable of being transformed and re-grown to meet the demands of a battle in a short amount of time.
A hive fleet can adapt in this way to create a force capable of overwhelming any foe, releasing a large swarm of vicious alien monsters capable of flying, running, burrowing, and stalking past any foe’s defences.
Tyranids Invasion Progression
” Though never a verdant world, the lifeless ball of rock that we discovered was unrecognizable as Tyran Primus. The creatures that did this are a threat to the galaxy and must be exterminated by the light of the God-Emperor.”
—Inquisitor Kryptman, concluding his report on the ruins of Tyran Primus
The Tyranids threat is unprecedented in its ability to transform a planet thriving with nature’s bounty into a barren orb of lifeless rock.
When a Tyranids hive fleet descends upon a prey world to strip it of life, it does so in a series of distinct stages.
Each wave of the invasion unleashes a fresh menagerie of biological nightmares, perfectly designed to sow despoilment and death.
In mere solar days, a once-thriving planet is scoured of every drop of organic matter.
Hunger briefly satiated, the hive fleet drifts away in search of its next meal, leaving nothing but an airless tomb behind.
A Tyranids Ripper Swarm Brood scouts the area of a new prey world.
The earliest stages of a Tyranids infection are best characterised by their subtlety. At this stage, the xenos evaluate the planet’s viability for attack and begin to infect the native life forms.
The three Tyranids species most active during this stage are Vanguard Drone Ships, Lictors, and Genestealers. These bioforms share two critical characteristics for identifying new target planets and performing infiltrations: stealth and independence. All of the organisms involved have physiological abilities that are focused upon concealment. These talents are exploited to the utmost, so that they can initially observe the native environment safely. As there are often a very limited number of Tyranids involved at this stage, these specimens exhibit an uncharacteristic degree of self-preservation.
The creatures are clearly aware that they must survive and propagate before the invasion may proceed. These specimens are distinctive from most of the Tyranids horrors in that they are also capable of stable independent action.
The vast majority of known Tyranids organisms are incapable of coordinated activity when separated from the psychic emanations of the Hive Mind.
As these creatures must be capable of acting when light-years distant from the swarm, they manifest a greater degree of intelligence and animal cunning than would otherwise be expected. This becomes most evident in the often unexpected subtlety of their plans.
Vanguard Drone Ships depend upon speed, their relatively small size, and their reduced psychic and propulsion signatures to enable them to quietly scout out new star systems. In many cases, a Vanguard Drone Ship will deposit a portion of its cargo onto the surface of a likely planet, and then quickly leave the system to scout out targets in other systems.
As their time in the system is both brief and stealthy, Imperial agencies may remain completely unaware of the foreboding intrusion. In those cases when a drone ship is identified, it must immediately be considered the highest priority target in the system, as destroying it before it can deploy its cargo may significantly delay any Tyranids intrusion.
Lictors are masters of unseen reconnaissance. After insertion from a drone ship, these xenos immediately begin scouting the wilds of the newly identified planet. Using their Feeder Tendrils, they analyse the atmosphere, mineral availability, and the characteristics of all life forms. In addition, these fierce predators also target isolated animals and even sapiens to absorb their memories as they devour them.
This information is compiled and sent back to the Hive Mind as soon as a synpatic node within range is available. Any Lictor that can be eliminated prior to the start of a full Tyranids invasion can substantially slow the attack, as the invading xenos are less optimised for the planet’s ecosystem.
Genestealers are the most insidious of these early invaders. As they scout out the planet, they also infect the planet’s fauna with Tyranids genetic material. The corruption of the planet’s native gene-code eventually results in hybrid native-Tyranids creatures that are subject to the will of a Broodlord or other representative of the Tyranids Hive Mind.
It is also believed that Genestealers may use their cunning and stealth to infiltrate planets without the aid of a drone ship. Specimens have been found on abandoned Space Hulks and hidden among the cargo holds of Warp-capable vessels.
These creatures must be eliminated with extreme prejudice, before they establish a breeding nest and a community of dedicated hybrid organisms. Once Tyranids species have established a toehold on a planet, their strategy soon changes.
Successful integration of the planet’s wildlife triggers these infiltrators to emit a psychic call to the swarm. This call draws a fleet of vessels, including a Hive Ship to the system. The arrival of the Hive Ship and its escorts heralds the next phase of the invasion.
The arrival of the Hive Ship and its escort vessels heralds the next stage of a Tyranids system invasion. As a powerful synaptic node of the Hive Mind, the Hive Ship disrupts the Warp in a radius of several light years. By the time one of these massive voidfaring creatures has arrived, it is often too late for a planet to send out an astropathic or other psychic cry for help.
Even vessels sent to defend a system under threat of Tyranids attack may be unable to exit the Immaterium in a system that has come under the influence of the Shadow in the Warp. Once the Hive Ship has come into range of a target planet, it immediately begins to launch a rain of Mycetic Spores into the atmosphere and towards the planet’s surface.
Some of these pods are filled with microbial life. These hostile micro-organisms immediately begin to change the planet’s atmosphere, oceans, soil, flora, and fauna. Complex organic molecules are broken down and recreated in formats that are best suited for absorption by the swarm. Other spores bear more complex Tyranids creatures.
Some of these, including the various strains of Gaunts and Gargoyles, immediately begin preparing for the assaults that are to come. Other strains begin to burrow deeper into the planet’s crust.
These may include Mawlocs and Trygons. As these creatures burrow, they plant the spores that can later grow into Capillary Towers. Other organisms may use the tunnels these massive bioforms create to access a planet’s mineral wealth and subterranean life in the shelter of the tunnels.
At the same time that this rain of devastation begins, those Genestealers and Lictors which have already infested the planet reveal themselves. Using the knowledge that they have obtained and the hybrid fauna they have spawned, these creatures sow confusion through the ranks of the defenders. By selectively targeting officers and communications hubs, the infiltrators can effectively delay or even compromise a planet’s defences.
During this phase of the encroachment, a planet’s defenders must take rapid and decisive action or all hope may be lost. Cutting the attack off at its source is the optimal solution. If the Hive Ship can be destroyed, the remainder of the Tyranids fleet may lose its cohesion, falling into confusion. This presents the defenders with an opportunity to divide and conquer the remaining forces.
While less effective, destroying Mycetic Spores as they fall to the planet may also help the cause. Even the massive bulk of a Hive Ship has a limit to its resources. Each spore destroyed may mean greatly fewer organisms to face on the ground.
The Tyranids Hive Mind possesses the ability to make a tactical assessment and modify its strategy. On admittedly rare occasions, a fleet facing unexpectedly stiff resistance may break off the assault and retreat to attack an alternative target.
Countermeasures against Genestealers and their ilk are crucial to this stage. With astro telepathy restricted, any additional loss of communications on the planet could quickly doom the defenders. Extensive security measures must be taken to preserve the integrity of all communication and command centres.
Once the Tyranids forces have established a foothold on the planet’s surface, they quickly begin the process of eliminating any resistance. Endless swarms of the smaller bioforms — including Gaunts, Gargoyles, and Genestealers — rampage through the skies, across the land, and under the oceans. Interspersed with these creatures, the larger bioforms — including Carnifexes, Tyrannofexes, and even Hierophant Bio-Titans — accompany their smaller brethren, sowing endless destruction across the planet.
These varied breeds come together in large hordes, that sweep forward to create battlefronts that may be hundreds of kilometres in length. Behind the battlefront, Capillary Towers, many thousands of metres in height, burst forth from the planet’s crust. These towers consolidate the biomass that the swarm has already absorbed, using it to breed additional organisms to assist in the assault.
While the towers may appear to be a Tyranids plant analogue, they are no less aggressive than the more mobile bioforms. Capillary Towers extend tendrils throughout the planet that can absorb indigenous species — both plants and any small or slower moving organisms. As they do this, the towers also filter the planet’s atmosphere, absorbing the biomass of microbes and small flying creatures.
Along the battlefront, Termagants use their ranged weapons to lay waste to opposition, while Hormagaunts boldly engage any opposition in close combat. These xenos, along with other variants of the Gaunt genus, may be found in swarms of hundreds coordinated by Tyranids Warriors.
In those instances when sheer numbers prove inadequate to overcome the planet’s defences, the Hive Mind may direct larger strains to assist in the battles. For those planets with extensive defences, the swarm may grow exceptionally large creatures. Specimens of the Dominatrix and the Hierophant strains have been observed which are comparable in size and strength to Imperial Titans.
In cases when a defensive point seems insurmountable, the Hive Mind is quick to adapt its strategy. In many cases, Raveners and Trygons may be used to burrow under defenders, attacking from behind or beneath enemy lines. In other cases, Shrikes or Harpies may make strafing runs from above.
While the swarm will readily sacrifice thousands of bioforms to take a single metre of ground, it will not waste them needlessly. Alternative strategies are consistently employed, as the Tyranids are clear masters of adaptation. It is worth noting that the battlefront swarms that cross the planet’s surface do not typically devour the planet’s defenders. Rather, they leave a swathe of refuse in their wake to be consumed by the next wave of organisms.
This carpet of the dead may, of course, also include those Tyranids organisms that the defenders have managed to overcome. Their deaths hold little meaning to the Hive Mind. They have served their purpose, and will serve the swarm once more after their corpses are devoured.
In the skies over the planet, Gargoyles and Harpies swarm in numbers large enough to block out the light of the system’s star. While they may assist in land-based battles, they also serve two additional purposes. Like the Capillary Towers, these flying organisms devour the biomass of the skies, returning it to the Tyranids swarm upon their deaths. They also serve to block out the sunlight from any photosynthetic life.
Over time, this can have an effect on the planet’s atmosphere and climate as plant life is unable to synthesise oxygen. The only effective recourse at this stage of the invasion is all-out war. By this stage, the invading forces have firmly established a presence on the target planet. Eliminating the Hive Ship would not avert the damage done.
Further, depending upon the numbers and types of creatures on the surface, the Hive Mind might still persevere. Even if the Hive Mind were overcome and the majority of the xenos were eliminated, the battles to cleanse the planet completely could continue for Terran millennia.
The Tyranids genetic taint extends to the microbial level, and all of these xenos bioforms are strongly resistant to biological and chemical toxins. Even the tiniest Tyranids organism could have the potential to spawn more dangerous organisms given time and opportunity.
The Capillary Towers gather the dead biomass.
Even as the more militant bioforms continue to battle the planet’s defenders, others begin sweeping up behind them, collecting all available biomass. Some of the substrates collected are used to generate additional Tyranids creatures.
In this manner, the planet’s natural resources are turned against it, providing additional tools for the swarm. The majority, however, is set aside to feed the Hive Ships orbiting the planet. Those massive creatures generally delay their feeding until after the planet has been secured.
Near the battlefront, untold thousands of maggot-like Rippers are deployed from the sky to form massive, tightly packed swarms. With fang-filled jaws, they devour every organic substance they can find—living or dead.
Once these abominations have eaten all they can, they slowly drag their bloated bodies towards digestive pools formed by the Capillary Towers. Rather than spewing the devoured biomass into the pools, the Rippers hurl themselves in, to be digested along with all that they devoured.
New Rippers are continuously created to propagate the cycle of gluttony.
As the planet’s surface is depleted, similar bioforms deplete all of the life in the oceans and within the planet’s crust. Eel-like Rippers swarm through the oceans in massive swarms devouring all of the native sealife. Burrowing variants expand the tunnels dug by Trygons and Raveners, consuming subterranean fungus, root systems, and any burrowing fauna.
Mineral reserves are also depleted, particularly rare ores that may be incorporated into the exoskeletons of the various weapon biomorphs.
Massive Capillary Towers develop in even the deepest parts of the planet’s oceans. These towers, which may stretch several kilometres up through the sea, are capable of withstanding the crushing pressures of the depths and thriving in even the coldest of waters.
As they grow, they may even modify the planet’s tidal flow as their powerful metabolic filtration systems draw in all biomass. The only effective recourse at this stage is Exterminatus. Planets which have been subdued by the Tyranids are no longer salvageable.
The only hope for the Imperium or another faction is to destroy the feeding system before the biomass can be used to feed the fleet for further attacks.
The one positive aspect is that at this stage, the Tyranids fleet may have expended its resources in preparation for the gluttony they expect as the planet’s biomass is absorbed.
Attacking the voidfaring bioforms and annihilating the planet may be easier than it would have been at an earlier stage of the invasion.
Tyranids Capillary Towers absorbing a prey planet’s natural resources.
As the last of the system’s defenders fall, the Capillary Towers begin to feed biomass back to the Hive Ship and its escorts. The massive living vessels extend tendrils through the atmosphere which make contact with the Capillary Towers, as they grow to pierce the edges of the atmosphere.
Biomass is drawn up the towers, through a combination of massive pumping organs and suction. Once the last of the defenders have fallen, the surviving creatures of the Tyranids hordes hurl themselves into the digestive pools near the Capillary Towers. Their bodies are broken down and devoured so that the biomass may be returned to the fleet to be recycled into new creatures for future conquests.
Along with their biomass, their memories, genetic innovations, and the gene patterns of all of the planet’s native life forms are also absorbed. After the last vestiges of life have been absorbed, the Capillary Towers begin to absorb the planet’s water systems. All of these liquids are transferred into the voidfaring organisms, some of which may grow dramatically in size as their storage vesicles expand to accommodate the newfound resources.
As this happens, many of the Capillary Towers are also broken down so that their biomass may be reabsorbed. Finally, the planet’s atmosphere, and then the last few massive Capillary Towers, are absorbed into the Hive Ships.
Some Magi Biologis theorise that this may require even more massive voidfaring Tyranids than those previously identified. Others postulate that the ships use previously unseen techniques to compress the atmosphere into a solid state. Though the precise mechanism is unknown to the Imperium, the outcome is certain: nothing is left behind but a barren, airless rock of little value.
As it travels between systems, the Hive Mind analyses the new genetic patterns it has identified. Some of these may be used to develop new bioforms. Of course, these new strains may not appear immediately. The Hive Mind may save them for deployment at a time when a new strategy is required. Clearly, adaptation is a key factor in the Tyranids’ long-term success and survival.
By this point, the battle is well and truly lost. Any defenders who arrive are far too late to save the planet. Their only possible hope is to spread word to neighbouring star systems, in the hopes that they might arrive before the Tyranids threat. Attacking the voidfaring bioforms immediately after they have fed on a world is to attack them at the height of their power.
Once these abominations have consumed everything they can, they slowly drag their bloated corpses towards the Capillary Towers’ digesting pools. Rather than dumping the digested biomass into the pools, the Rippers throw themselves in, where they will be consumed along with everything else.
To keep the gluttony cycle going, new Rippers are created on a regular basis. Similar bioforms devour all life in the oceans and within the planet’s crust as the planet’s surface is depleted. Rippers that resemble eels invade the oceans in enormous swarms, consuming all of the natural sealife. Burrowing varieties consume subterranean fungus, root systems, and any burrowing wildlife as they deepen the tunnels created by Trygons and Raveners.
Mineral reserves are depleted as well, notably rare ores that may be used to make the exoskeletons of the various weapon biomorphs.
Even in the deepest reaches of the world’s oceans, massive Capillary Towers form. These structures, which can extend several kilometres into the sea, can survive the crushing pressures of the depths and thrive in even the coldest of environments.
As they grow, their powerful metabolic filtration systems may alter the planet’s tidal flow, drawing in all biomass. Exterminatus is the only viable option at this point. Planets that have been conquered by the Tyranids can no longer be reclaimed.
The Imperium or another faction’s only hope is to destroy the feeding system before the biomass is used to feed the fleet for more attacks.
One bright spot is that the Tyranids fleet may have depleted its resources in anticipation of the expected gluttony as the planet’s biomass is absorbed.
Attacking the voidfaring bioforms and destroying the planet might be easier now than it was early in the invasion.
Tyranids Capillary Towers consume the natural riches of a prey planet.
The Capillary Towers begin to feed biomass back to the Hive Ship and her escorts as the last of the system’s defenders collapse. As they grow to pierce the atmosphere’s borders, the gigantic living vessels stretch tendrils through the atmosphere that establish touch with the Capillary Towers.
Through a combination of large pumping organs and suction, biomass is dragged up the towers. The Tyranids hordes’ surviving monsters plunge themselves into the digesting pools near the Capillary Towers once the last of the defenders has fallen. Their bodies are broken down and devoured so that the biomass can be regenerated into new species for future conquests by the fleet.
Along with their biomass, all of the planet’s native life forms’ memories, genetic advances, and gene patterns are absorbed. The Capillary Towers begin to absorb the planet’s water systems after the final vestiges of life have been consumed. All of these liquids are absorbed by voidfaring organisms, which may enlarge considerably in size as their storage vesicles expand to make room for the newfound supplies.
Many of the Capillary Towers are also broken down as a result of this, allowing their biomass to be reabsorbed. Finally, the planet’s atmosphere is absorbed into the Hive Ships, followed by the last few huge Capillary Towers.
This, according to certain Magi Biologis, may necessitate even more enormous voidfaring Tyranids than those previously observed. Others believe the ships compress the atmosphere into a solid state using previously unknown processes. Though the Imperium is unaware of the exact process, the result is certain: nothing but a barren, airless rock of little worth is left behind.
The Hive Mind analyses the new genetic patterns it has discovered as it travels across systems. Some of these could be put to use in the development of new bioforms. Naturally, these new strains may not arise right away. They may be saved by the Hive Mind for use when a new approach is needed. Clearly, the Tyranids’ long-term prosperity and survival are dependent on their ability to adapt.
The battle is effectively lost at this point. The arrival of any defenders will be far too late to preserve the planet. Their only option is to spread the information to nearby solar systems in the hopes that they will arrive before the Tyranids. Attacking the voidfaring bioforms right after they’ve eaten a world means attacking them at their most powerful.