"One cannot consider the fate of a single man, nor ten, nor a hundred, nor a thousand. Billions will live and die by our actions here, and we have not the luxury to count the cost."
- —Inquisitor Kryptman
Fidus Kryptman, also sometimes spelled Kryptmann, and remembered as the "Hero of the Macharian Heresy," is a notable Inquisitor Lord of the Ordo Xenos, one of the primary sub-divisions of the powerful and secretive organisation known as the Imperial Inquisition.
A Tyranid expert, Kryptman was the saviour of the Imperium during the Third Tyrannic War and the discoverer of 82 new intelligent alien species, all of which he subsequently deemed a threat to the Imperium and ordered eradicated.
Kryptman was the first Inquisitor to witness the devastating effects of a Tyranid invasion following the attack of Hive Fleet Behemoth on the world of Tyran and fought the Tyranids for over 250 standard years. He was one of the most active members of the Inquisition against the Tyranid invasions, even taking measures so drastic that they alarmed other Inquisitors.
During the invasion of Hive Fleet Leviathan in 997.M41, Kryptman led Deathwatch Kill-teams to the Tarsis Sector to aid the Mortifactors Chapter and the Ultramarines of Tarsis Ultra against the ravenous Great Devourer.
By capturing a Lictor, Magos Biologis Locard, Kryptman's Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis, created a biological weapon to use against the Tyranids and his Deathwatch Astartes used it to destroy the Norn-Queen of the hive fleet assaulting Tarsis Ultra.
Kryptman later authorised the largest single act of genocide the Imperium has ever inflicted on itself by abandoning or destroying all of the worlds in Hive Fleet Leviathan's path. He was later issued a Carta Extremis for this action by the Inquisition and was stripped of his title.
However, this did not stop him from continuing to take the actions he deemed necessary to protect the wider Imperium and he soon led his loyal Deathwatch warriors to steal Genestealers in stasis and used them to lure the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan to the homeworlds of the Orks of the Octavius Empire.
The Leviathan became engaged in a still-ongoing conflict with the greenskins of Octavius known as the Octarius War that has kept the Tyranids from returning to their assault upon the Imperium and their intent to assault Terra.
But this is only a temporary solution, and when the Leviathan has finished off the Orks and renews its assault upon the domain of the Emperor, Kryptman will stand ready to do what needs to be done -- no matter the cost.
Death of Tyran
Tyran, or more formally Tyran Primus, is the former Ocean World on the very edge of the Milky Way Galaxy in the Eastern Fringe where the Adeptus Mechanicus of the Imperium of Man maintained a small research outpost. It was on Tyran that Mankind made first contact with the Tyranids in the form of Hive Fleet Behemoth, which destroyed all life on that once-thriving world in early 745.M41 and initiated the First Tyrannic War.
The precious data collected by the world's defenders within a single data-codex that was preserved beneath the ruins as part of standard Imperial procedure when being overrun would prove to be the Tyran outpost's greatest legacy, for its video, pict and data records of the first Tyranid assault would be found almost a full Terran year later by Inquisitor Kryptman.
Kryptman was the man who would dedicate his life to ending the Tyranid threat to humanity. Without Kryptman's arrival, the fate of the Tyran outpost might never have been known and the Imperium taken completely unaware by the horror of the Great Devourer that was to come.
On Tyran, Kryptman had found a sterile, Dead World that now bore no sign of the once-thriving Ocean World it had once been. The planet had been literally sucked dry and scoured of all life, with every scrap of vegetation and even all of its water consumed by the Hive Fleet as needed biomass and nutrients for the creation of new bioforms.
As Kryptman reviewed the data-codex he found in the Mechanicus outpost's ruins, the full horror of the first Tyranid attack was revealed to him. The Inquisitor immediately left the ghosts of Tyran behind to warn the galaxy of the Great Devourer's approach, a terror that Kryptman named the "Tyranids" after the first Imperial world they had consumed. The nightmare of the Tyrannic Wars had begun, and the Imperium of Man would never be the same.
Kryptman immediately ordered his Astropath to project a vision of what he had discovered to the Imperium's astropathic communications network, but the psyker could not penetrate the Warp turmoil left by the passing of the alien fleet. Even the nearby Thandros Adeptus Telepathica relay matrix was obscured by the Tyranid Hive Mind's Shadow in the Warp.
In desperation, Kryptman set course for Thandros in the hopes of re-establishing communications there. But it was already too late, for the Tyranids had attacked Thandros and moved on long before the arrival of the Inquisitor. As with Tyran, the Telepathica Adepts manning the orbiting Telepathica matrix were unable to send word of their plight to the Imperium because of the Tyranid's psychic blockade. The Thandros System had fought and died alone.
Kryptman and his retinue salvaged the telepathic matrix and sent a message of warning to the unsuspecting Imperium of the magnitude of the Tyranid threat. After days had passed, Kryptman finally received orders from the Inquisitor Lords of the Ordo Xenos to travel to the planet Macragge in the Realm of Ultramar, the pocket empire maintained by the Ultramarines Chapter of the Adeptus Astartes.
There he would assist Chapter Master Marneus Calgar in locating and eliminating the Tyranid fleet. As dictated by Imperial tradition, the alien Hive Fleet had been codified with an ancient and forbidding name from human legend: Behemoth.
Battle of Macragge
Thanks to Inquisitor Kryptman's discoveries at Tyran Primus, the defenders of Macragge had been forewarned of the horror headed towards them. Upon learning of the threat posed to Ultramar by Hive Fleet Behemoth, Marneus Calgar at once drew up his plans. Deeming Macragge to be the star system most immediately threatened, Calgar ordered its already formidable defences to be further improved.
A dozen Imperial warships already hung in orbit, and each day more arrived from the Warp. Massive Strike Cruisers cast shadows over civilian vessels and Imperial Navy Destroyers, and were themselves dwarfed by the brooding presence of the Ultramarines' Battle Barges. Between this mighty fleet of warships and the planet's no less formidable orbital defence stations, Macragge was anything but defenceless.
As the Ultramarines readied themselves for all-out war with the Tyranids, Kryptman allowed himself a glimmer of hope. He heard the news that the Imperial Navy's Battlefleet Tempestus had finally been dispatched from the orbital docks at Bakka. Kryptman had met with Marneus Calgar, and after long discussion agreed that Macragge was the star system most immediately threatened by Hive Fleet Behemoth.
A solar month later, the Tyranids attacked Macragge, and a fleet of bio-ships now numbering well over 1,000 vessels swept aside attacks by those Ultramarines' Strike Cruisers defending the outlying worlds as they pushed in-system. A large section of the Tyranid fleet then descended upon the Garden World of Prandium, a paradise once referred to as the jewel in Ultramar's crown, and left a barren ruin in its wake. Despite the Inquisitor's warnings, Calgar was shocked to the core by the fate of Prandium.
After Hive Fleet Behemoth was finally destroyed after the sacrifice of an Imperial Battleship created a Warp vortex that destroyed the majority of the Hive Fleet, Calgar's surviving starships came about and roared back to Macragge to try to save the beleaguered polar garrisons of Ultramarines, who had been engaged against the Tyranids for days while the Imperial fleet engaged the Great Devourer in the void. Calgar, feeling that the situation was becoming critical, sent the 3rd and 7th Ultramarines Companies ahead in their fast Strike Cruisers while his remaining damaged warships limped back to Macragge.
Despite horrendous losses inflicted upon the Tyranid fleet from Macragge's orbital and polar defence grids, many Tyranid organisms were able to reach the surface of the planet. The Tyranid swarm swept across the planet with the most intense fighting in the region of the northern polar defence installations. Though the Ultramarines fleet was able to destroy the Tyranid bio-ships, horrific casualties were suffered by the planet's population as well as the Chapter.
Calgar went down to the planet's surface, leading the 3rd Company against the ravenous hordes of the Great Devourer. The entirety of the elite 1st Company was wiped out to a man whilst defending the northern pole's defence grid. The Ultramarines 1st Company was gone and the 3rd and 7th sorely diminished. It would be many long years before the Chapter could properly replace its losses from the Battle of Macragge, but replace them it would.
Tendrils of the Kraken
In the aftermath of the First Tyrannic War there was little the Imperium could do to strike back at its new and terrifying alien foe. Hive Fleet Behemoth had arrived from a virtually unexplored quarter of the galaxy, emerging from the cold void of intergalactic space, and had all but disappeared after the Battle of Macragge.
Two and a half standard centuries passed with neither sight nor sound of further Tyranid incursions. Then, without warning, a new Tyranid invasion of the galaxy arrived in 993.M41, and no one could be sure how many planets had fallen to the Tyranid horde already.
Hive Fleet Kraken appeared to be made up of many sub-fleets which moved to attack worlds across an entire sector simultaneously. The alarming disruption in the Warp brought about by the Hive Fleet's passage blocked out astropathic communication beyond the besieged star systems and Warp travel in their vicinity became dangerously unpredictable.
Inquisitor Lord Kryptman's activities during this tumultuous time are not recorded, but suffice to say, he was more than likely actively involved in combating the renewed Tyranid menace.
Less than five Terran years after the defeat of Hive Fleet Kraken in the Second Tyrannic War, Inquisitor Lord Kryptman noted the tell-tale signs of yet another Tyranid invasion of the galaxy in 997.M41. He implemented the Kryptman Census, burning out dozens of astropaths in the attempt to contact scores of worlds on every fringe of the Imperium in an attempt to divine the location of the new Tyranid invasion's entry vector.
Slowly, the responses -- and lack of them -- formed a pattern, and the venerable Inquisitor was able to chart the course of the Tyranids' latest Hive Fleet to arrive in the Milky Way Galaxy. Codenamed "Leviathan", this time the Tyranids were approaching from below the galactic plane, attacking from two points spaced wide apart in the shape of a closing pair of jaws, cutting off large portions of the galaxy from Warp travel or astropathic communication.
In 999.M41, at a great cost in human life, a combined force of Planetary Defence Force troops, two regiments of the Imperial Guard, the Ultramarines and Mortifactors Chapters of Astartes, and a Deathwatch Kill-team under the command of Inquisitor Kryptman himself crushed the left "half" of Hive Fleet Leviathan on the world of Tarsis Ultra.
Inquisitor Kryptman became involved in the defence of Tarsis Ultra in 999.M41 when a tendril of Hive Fleet Leviathan was discovered to be moving towards the planet. Imperial forces arrived to defend the world, which consisted of the Ultramarines 4th Company led by Captain Uriel Ventris, a detachment from the Mortifactors led by Chaplain Astador, the 10th Logres Regiment led by Colonel Octavius Rabelaq, the 933rd Death Korps of Krieg Regiment led by Colonel Trymon Stagler, and the Tarsan Planetary Defence Force regiments headed by Major Aries Satria.
Kryptman was on hand to share his extensive knowledge of the Tyranids with the commanders in aid of the war effort. He was also accompanied by Magos Biologis Vianco Locard, an expert on the Tyranids, and a Deathwatch Kill-team led by Captain Bannon.
Despite an initial victory in destroying a Hive Ship during a void battle, Inquisitor Kryptman wished to invoke Exterminatus upon the world of Chordelis, the next planet in the path of the Tyranids. This was to prevent that world from being devoured and swelling the Tyranids' numbers, as planetary evacuation was too slow.
Captain Ventris vehemently opposed this decision and supported an alternative solution proposed by the Imperial Navy's Lord Admiral Lazlo Tiberius, to slow down the Tyranids by exploding a hydrogen-plasma refinery in space to destroy another Hive Ship. However, Kryptman had lied to Ventris and with the assistance of the Mortifactors Astartes invoked the Exterminatus anyway.
During the repeated Tyranid attacks on Tarsis Ultra, Kryptman, along with his retinue, studied the biology of the Tyranid corpses killed in combat. During one expedition, a Lictor which had earlier landed on the planet, attacked his team but was fended off by the Deathwatch; Kryptman immediately ordered Captain Bannon to capture the Lictor without killing it, which they did.
This proved pivotal to the war, as Magos Locard was able to concoct a poison from the Lictor's genetic structure that would allow the Imperials to defeat the entire swarm by infecting the Tyranid Norn-Queen, the source of all the swarm's bioforms, aboard the last remaining Hive Ship commanding the tendril of the Leviathan attacking Tarsis Ultra.
The Deathwatch team, led by Ventris, accomplished this mission, ending the war shortly before the few remaining Imperial defenders were overwhelmed by the Tyranid swarms.The Imperium had won its first victory against the third Tyranid assault upon the galaxy, destroying the Tyranid swarms nearest to Terra, and reestablishing astropathic contact with the worlds between the Leviathan's jaws.
Yet the Leviathan continued to carve its bloody path through the Imperium. Perhaps Leviathan's greatest triumph was the destruction of the vital Forge World of Gryphonne IV, home of the Legio Gryphonicus ("War Griffons") Titan Legion. Kryptman knew he had to slow down the Hive Fleet's advance to buy time for the Imperial Navy's Battlefleets Solar and Tempestus to muster.
With grim finality, he ordered a cordon sanitaire established, and decided to implement an almost sector-wide "scorched earth" tactic to prevent the Tyranids from multiplying beyond the Imperium's capacity to deal with them. Every world within the reach of the Leviathan's advance was to be evacuated and undergo immediate Exterminatus wherever possible, so that its biomass could not become new grist for the Tyranids' production of new bioforms.
With one stark, callous decision, the Inquisitor Lord had inflicted the Imperium's worst act of genocide upon its own since the days of the Horus Heresy. Kryptman was denounced for this action as a Radical and a Traitor at the highest level of the Imperium and even by many members of the Inquisition.
When migrating Orks claimed a score of the former human worlds that had been evacuated, he was finally declared Carta Extremis by his fellow Inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos: neither a Heretic nor a Radical warranting execution, but too unstable and eager to use destructive means to be allowed to continue to operate as an Inquisitor. Kryptman was summarily stripped of his title and its rights and responsibilities by the Ordo Xenos and cast from the Inquisition by his brethren.
Yet Kryptman still had loyal allies within the Deathwatch, and initiated a plan to halt Hive Fleet Leviathan without the loss of further human life. When a Genestealer-infested Space Hulk drifted from the Warp, members of the Deathwatch loyal to Kryptman captured a brood of those vicious Tyranid bioforms still in stasis.
Using the brood of captured Genestealers, the Inquisitor engineered a Tyranid invasion within the Ork-held Octavius System, very close to the Leviathan's line of advance. The crowded Ork cities of Octavius, so teeming with life, were the source of a huge Orkish infestation, and soon drew the entirety of Hive Fleet Leviathan into the tight cluster of Ork-held star systems that comprised the Greenskins' so-called Octavius Empire.
Kryptmann's plan seemingly worked, for Leviathan was diverted from its course to Terra, and both Orks and Tyranids were now thoroughly occupied with destroying each other, initiating the conflict known as the Octarius War.
However, one thing is certain: each of these xenos species thrives on war, and there remains the possibility that if the Tyranids emerge victorious, the Imperium shall have to face a threat far greater than before, as in victory, Tyranids effectively lose no military strength or resources, their casualties and still living warrior strains reabsorbed by invading Hive Ships along with the remains of the conquered worlds, thus every victory has no repercussions, only benefits.
This also means that the Tyranids will assimilate vast quantities of the strong, aggressive Orkoid DNA that makes the Orks such successful survivors and incorporate it into their own bio-constructs. Indeed, worlds on the edge of the conflict have begun to file with Imperial Segmentum Command pict captures of Tyranid assault organisms that are larger and more formidable than ever before.
Even though the Octarius War bought the Imperium invaluable time to muster and bolster its defences, the potential consequences of Kryptman's manipulation of this alien threat are too horrible to contemplate, and ultimately might prove disastrous in the long run.
- Apocalypse (4th Edition), pg. 12
- Codex: Tyranids (5th Edition), pp. 8-9
- Codex: Tyranids (4th Edition), pp. 6, 8
- The Inquisition (Background Book)
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- The Last Ditch (Novel) by Sandy Mitchell
- Fearful Symmetries (Short Story) by Rob Sanders