Addendum 7: Tyranid Bio-Weapons
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While the development of natural projectile weaponry is known to occur in nature, the extent to which symbiotic organisms are utilized for this by the tyranids is astounding. Somatic, pulmonary, bioelectric and bio-chemical munitions are commonly employed by and nurtured within the tyranid organisms. What follows is a brief description suitable for dispensation to troops that may encounter this menace to the Imperium.
Bio-Weapons Symbiotic ranged adaptations
While some of the more bestial members of the tyranid species lack any sort of ranged weapons capability an increasing number of the larger more advance creatures are making use of them. Horrifying in effect, these biological weapons are quite efficient even against the might Adeptus Astartes.
Barbed Strangler: Hamus Gulalaqueo
Low velocity somatic animate flora projectile, exo-symbiotic
The actual mode of delivery utilized by this weapon is nearly identical to the Venom cannon with respect to somatic methods. The main difference between the two weapons lies in the projectile. The weapon itself while symbiotic also plays host to an Epiphyte like parasitic plant, which produces the fruit that forms the ammunition for the weapon. These large mutant seeds are heavy and dense. The typical rind is replaced by a catalytic epithelium. Upon impact this causes germination that is explosive and extremely rapid. Root tendrils and rhizomes erupt in all directions adhering to anything they cannot penetrate. As the metabolic apocalypse continues silicate thorns and barbs begin to form tearing and piercing anything captured and draining moisture and nutrients at horrifying speed.
Synopsis: evolutionarily speaking these seedpods exhibit characteristics one would expect to find in many deathworld floras. Rapid growth would allow the plant to avoid predation and possibly ensnare food sources. In its current form the flora undergoes the entire growth cycle from seed to mature plant in a matter of seconds. This is a tremendous outlay of metabolic energy and the resultant plant appears to be a sterile mutant, albeit a stable one. The parasitic version incorporated into the weapon is likely the natural form of the plant. However once again we seethe Tyranids are able to manipulate the genome of a species radically by producing a parent capable of generating offspring vastly deviant from its own morphology.
Deathspitter: Excessus Conspuo
High velocity biochemical animate projectile Exo-symbiotic with endo-symbiotic ammunition, endoparasitic intermediate
The deathspitter bioweapon is a complex system. The highly volatile nature of the ammunition has hindered efforts to adequately describe its composition prior to firing. However analysis indicates that the following information is highly likely. MB Salk
The main structure of the weapon houses a brood chamber where in lies the incubating young of a creature which may be protoplasmic cleaning creatures reported during boarding missions against tyranid bioships in space by the Space Wolf Adeptus Astartes. Adjacent to this is a crustacean that tends the brood and performs a critical function in the firing process. The firing chamber is a tight tube of horn and bone sealed with a powerfully muscled flap. Firing this bioweapon is accomplished in the following manner. Bio-electric signals goad the crustacean to retrieve an embryonic cyst and take it to the firing chamber. Once there the crustacean splits the cyst exposing the immature flesh of the embryo as it places it in the firing tube. [Note it appears to be a conditioned response as the crustacean is then allowed to eat the highly nutrient cyst husk as a "reward" for the action] Within the firing chamber the biological breech block closes. When this occurs the enzymes on the breechblock react explosively with the exposed flesh of the embryo launches it screaming towards the target. The biochemistry of the embryonic acid blob is extremely volatile with most atmospheres causing it to audibly hiss as the epidermal layers are stripped away in chemical fire. Upon impact the embryo is slain and the semi gelatinous mass of incomplete protein congeners, acids, caustics and enzymes is splattered over a significant area. The results to exposed personnel are horrific and many of the chemicals are of sufficient potency to damage imperial armored vehicles.
Synopsis: Unable to formulate any hypothetical evolutionary path for the development of this weapon other than significant bioengineering and opportunistic utilization of multiple resources.
Devourer: Peredo Uoro
High Velocity Bio-electric Animate Projectiles exo-symbiotic colony.
This weapon is more of a hive than a distinct organism. The weapon is meshed
with the host in such a way as to provide food and incubation for a host of
malformed winged ripper larvae. It is these larvae which form the ammunition
for the weapon. A large conical horn is perforated with multiple breathing
tubes that also serve as avenues of egress in times of danger. Pheromone
signals call the larvae to the breather tubes when the host senses the need
to utilize the weapon. A bioelectric surge signals the brood to attack.
When they encounter any object they immediately begin biting and burrowing
in a frenzied attack while secreting highly corrosive bile. These creatures
show a distinct taste for neurological tissues and move to the spinal column
and brain with extreme haste causing an agonizing but mercifully quick death.
Specimens obtained in field operations show the inability to navigate on the
wing therefore they fly in a straight path as directed.
Flesh Borer: Pulpa Terebro
High Velocity Animate Projectile, Exo-symbiotic
This weapon, employed by base troops of the Tyranids, is a brood chamber. Housed within is a large brood of Borer beetles that are kept in a state of torpor once mature by hormone emissions. These beetles are hatched and grown within the weapon and presumably spend their entire lives within its confines until they are called upon. Neurological signals from the host signal the weapon to move one of the beetles to the firing sphincter. Once there the beetle is awakened from it's sleep and awaits the bioelectrical signal to attack. Genetic engineering seems to have produced these blind beetles; their halterers are configured in such a way as to prevent any significant deviation in flight trajectory. When it receives the attack signal the sphincter opens allowing the beetle to take to the wing and streak towards the target. Upon impact the beetle clings tenaciously, begins to secrete digestive enzymes and uses its powerful jaws to begin borrowing into the target. All this is accomplished with blinding speed and ferocity. This activity persists until the beetle's meager energy stores are depleted and it dies from exhaustion of some trauma ends its short and violent life.
Synopsis: Similar in form and function to the devourer presumably an aggressive fauna whose natural instincts have been utilized to create effective weapons. It is theorized that the weapons are radically modified versions of the beetle and actually produce the eggs they brood.
Spinefist: Spinosus Manus
Medium Velocity Pneumatic projectile, exo-symbiotic
The organism is typically seen attacked to an upper appendage with a long larynx coiled around to the main body of the host where it connects to the respiratory system. The spinefist is a crustacean that develops a set of lethally poisonous spikes similar to many oceanic echinoderms. These spines are loosely connected and situated upon a series of baffled airways. Employing an unusual method of delivery, the spinefist is powered by large heavily muscled breathing bladders within the host's body. When channeled to the creature the gas volume expended by the rapid contraction of these bladders serves to propel the munitions. The creature itself only allows one section of its arsenal to be open to the airways at a time thus ensuring multiple volleys can be fired if needed.
Synopsis: The organism is incapable in present from of delivering its spines to any target without the aid of the host. It appears to be engineered from an inter-tidal predatory crustacean that likely utilized the compressibility of gaseous atmospheres to charge its weapons batteries. The long umbilical larynx would indicate it likely remained firmly attached to the seabed or coral reef while raising this larynx to acquire gases. Liquids would require more energy to compress to a viable degree than the gases. Autopsies indicate vestigial gills and tethers where the spines appear to have been anchored. This would have allowed the organism to spear a prey item in the violent surf and reel it back in without having to release its anchor. [Even compressed to the expected biological degree this organism may have been able to attain the gasses would have adversely affected is buoyancy necessitating the tenacious grip on a firm anchor to avoid acceding the water-column and thus being vulnerable to predators.]
Venom Cannon: Sanies Effundo
High velocity somatic biochemical projectile.
This large slender horn like weapon is a hollow tube lined with concentric muscles, which expels with great force a cyst. Large pulmonary sacs have been observed in some creature's autopsies, which may provide force upon the projectile as well. These cysts are produced within the body cavity of the host tyranid that is connected to the weapon by several umbilicals. These provide the weapon with neural stimulus, nourishment and ammunition. The cyst has a carapace hull with an insulating internal lipid layer the contents of which are highly pressurized. It contains a voracious cocktail of acids, enzymes and toxins that are released upon impact. This is capable of dissolving armor and flesh with equal relish. The cyst however, is not extremely dense or hard and thus most armored vehicles can withstand impacts without critical damage.
Synopsis: From an evolutionary standpoint it is hard to imagine how such a symbiotic organism came to be. One might suspect that this is a defensive adaptation taken out of context and utilized. It is known that these weapons are widely used to exterminate large indigenous life forms on planets prior to tyranoforming. Perhaps they act as a first stage digestion process as well as an effective weapon.
Bio-weapons melee classifications
Lash Whips: Verbero Verber
Non-symbiotic melee bio-weapon
These exhibit typically three radiant tendrils that terminate in hooks of rigid horn. The "body" of the organism is contained within a bony sheath that is characteristically grasped by the wielder. Data collected from auspex and field examinations indicate animal intelligence. The lash whips will continue to attack any who approach long after the wielder is eliminated and tests seem to indicate they do this by sensing brain-wave. Perhaps another natural predation tactic appropriated by the tyranidic horde for weapons applications. The tyranid "hive-mind" wavelengths do not stimulate the creature to attack, most likely due to long periods of pseudo-symbiotic relationship or bioengineering. However it is suspected that the neural linkages and sensory nodes on the sheath may allow for more direct control of the weapons actions.
Synopsis: Presumably the product of bioengineering of a common radiant marine organism <Echinoderm>.