Part one of a continuing project log of my 40k Tau army and their efforts to retain control of the United Systems of Atreidia, against the gradual uprising posed by my buddy Enrico’s Terran and Chaos forces.
The Story So Far:
Some people ask what the spark was that started the Atreidia revolt. Certainly the initial seeds were planted eleven cycles ago when the Tau first arrived and made their compacts with the system to provide technology and improvements in exchange for military presence in their expansion. However, a much closer flash point moment happened recently when a Tau Fire Caste patrol got into trouble, and one death led to many more.
Tau patrol 271-R was working with a local Terran interpreter to help root out some local gang activity. The Shas’ui was assigned four other Fire Warriors to the patrol, along with two Gun Drones for security and monitoring purposes. At a busy intersection in the part of the city where an acid typhoon had rotted away some buildings, creating the perfect slum conditions where gangs could hide, they conducted their interviews of the working people who passed through the area.
Sadly, a young child and his sister were out in the street nearby. According to eyewitness accounts, the boy had a small street cleaning device and was attempting to scrape a subsistence wage through community beautification “shovel-ready” projects. A passing Tau Drone registered the cleaning device incorrectly, and security protocols were initiated incorrectly. Security film footage later released on the Atreidia News Network shows the Drone bleating a warning out twice, but the noise of the cleaning device may have made the child miss the warning. As the child turned toward the Drone, the hostility matrix was triggered and the Drone fired. The child died instantly, with his sister watching on and mother nearby.
The Shas’ui recognized the malfunction of the Drone, and endeavored to apologize to the mother and child and promise both improved revision of the Drone protocol as well as full restitution from the Tau government for both loss of life and grieving. The mother, a poor scrap-cleaner from the ruined area, was inconsolable. Also, the excessively legalistic way of the Tau language was poorly translated by the fresh Terran interpreter, making the mother wail all the more.
A group of local laborers were nearby and not only saw the shooting but also heard the mother’s crying. This particular group had recently been threatened with reduced work hours at the manufactorium where they worked because a contingent of Vespid workers, who needed less sleep cycles, were inbound from the neighboring system–which made them all the more incensed at the Tau and the young child’s death. One of their number started the chaos by approaching the Terran interpreter and starting a shoving match with him.
Meanwhile, one of the Terrans-first hate groups that had organized as a gang was nearby. Their leaders had been preaching a story of anger and rage against the Tau, and this armed group was ready to act. The shoving match, and seeing the Tau Drones responding with further security protocol warnings, gave them the opening they needed to embrace their anger and attack.
The rest of Tau patrol 271-R was trying to get back to their Shas’ui when the armed gang of angered citizens struck. Opening up with shotguns and autoguns, bullets flew at the outnumbered Tau patrol. The Fire Warriors’ instincts kicked in, and their return fire with pulse rifles hit with deadly accuracy against the unarmored rabble. The noise of shooting and the sight of Tau firing their weapons at Terrans caused the situation to escalate quickly. One of the Tau was killed by a gout of fire from a flamer carried by one of the gang members.
The group of Terran workers turned into an angry mob instantly. The Terran interpreter was beaten senseless at their hands. They seemed enraged at his collaboration with the xenos who had killed the child, and now were firing on people they took as citizens.
It devolved into chaos in the streets, with the sheer numbers of Terran citizens being too much for the small patrol of Tau to handle. With wrenches, tools, and servo-assisted work fists, the Fire Warriors were beaten and killed by the rampaging mob. With the images broadcasted on the news network across the system, resentment and anger began building among the populace. Meanwhile, the Tau had lost five Fire Warriors themselves, and had a brewing bout of anti-colonial resistance on their hands.
Looking back at all the bloodshed and war that came through the Atredian campaign, this little moment of spark was what set everything in motion in the years to come.
Tau Project Log
In addition to finishing the Terran interpreter model (seen in pictures above), I settled on a color scheme for my Tau and got a first unit of Troops finished up. Five members of a Fire Warrior Strike Squad, with two Gun Drones. The Shas’ui has a Pulse Carbine with markerlight and target lock. I’m pretty happy with the color scheme, inspired somewhat by the N’dras paint color suggestion GW had on the back of the Stealth Suit box. It was just enough to run our small mission above.
The mission was pretty simple, and used classic Combat Patrol rules where each model activated independently. For the interpreter and the Terrans, we used the stats of Chaos Cultists but armed only with hand weapons. Working people were weapon skill 2 however, and the few children models (manufactorium apprentices) were additionally strength 2 and toughness 2. The gangers were simply Chaos Cultists unmarked. We placed the citizens in groups around the board, and each group did leadership tests to “hear” the situation, and would activate accordingly. The Tau waited to fire weapons or fight until the Terrans acted first, and the Shas’ui spent time using leadership tests to try and order the bereaved woman and her child to flee the area of danger when things started to get out of hand.