"Control of space is the control of power. Control of power is the essence of the Greater Good."The Mal'caor Shi is the T'au Air Caste naval force and high command for the detachment of the T'au Protection Fleet or Kor'vattra that defends the T'au Empire's Velk'Han Sept within the Jericho Reach.
- —Kor'O Y'eldi
The Mal'caor Shi fleet's operations and control cadre fall under the jurisdiction of the celebrated Air Caste leader High Admiral Kor'O Y'eldi, a name translating roughly into "the winged one" in Low Gothic.
High Admiral Y'eldi is a veteran of many battles, though it is his greatest regret that he was born too late to participate in the battles of the Damocles Gulf Crusade that saved T'au space from Imperial conquest. Despite this, Y'eldi has made it his life's work to study accounts of those battles in an effort to learn every last doctrine and tactic utilised by the Imperial Navy, and to have a counter for them all.
Y'eldi's first battles were against Human pirates operating to the galactic north of the T'au Empire and he was highly successful in countering their depredations and expanding the borders of the empire's domains into the region.
Less than a solar decade later, Y'eldi was granted the rank of Kor'O and given responsibility for the Air Caste's portion of the mission to explore and exploit the Jericho Reach, and he now faces the greatest challenge of his career in pitting his command skills against those of some of the most fearsome fleet commanders the Imperium has to offer.
This location fulfills many roles, including fleet headquarters, primary staging zone, logistics hub, and training centre, and it guards the rimward terminus of the Landfall-Black Reef passage.
Ships of the Fleet
Anchorage 12 is equipped with substantial void-docking facilities and is able to repair and refit vessels damaged in battle against the Imperial Navy, and its spinward zones are utilised as training and proving grounds for new crews and vessels.
The mainstay starship of the Mal'caor Shi T'au fleet is the Lar'shi, or "Hero" class, a vessel developed in the aftermath of the defence of the Damocles Gulf as a match for the Imperium's Lunar-class Cruiser, the most common warship of its type in the Imperial Navy.
Under Y'eldi's leadership, the Hero-class vessels of the Mal'caor have undergone a series of upgrades designed to increase their effectiveness in the battlegrounds of the Jericho Reach. Many of these improvements relate to the vessel's gravimetric handling capabilities, deemed essential given the unpredictable conditions in the vicinity of the Black Reef that lies close to, and protects, the worlds of the Velk'Han Sept.
Other upgrades have been made in an effort to gain a range of advantages against specific Imperial warship classes, and involve the balancing of defensive, offensive, speed and manoeuvrability factors. The greatest challenge facing High Admiral Y'eldi is not any one class of Imperial warship, but the sheer number of vessels the Imperium can bring to bear against his forces.
It is Y'eldi's belief that the Imperium's approach to naval warfare relies more on quantity, firepower, and attrition than the quality and expertise of its vessels and its crews, yet this is complicated by the presence of the Adeptus Astartes and their fleets.
Y'eldi refuses to expose his forces to attritional battles and schools his captains that a tactical withdrawal is far preferable to a pointless last stand, a doctrine that many of his foes, thankfully, do not adhere to.
In truth, Y'eldi's task would be far more arduous were it not for the fact that the vast bulk of the Imperium's forces are engaged in the battles of the Acheros Salient and he knows that were they to redeploy to the Canis Salient, his position would be very different.
The arrival of Hive Fleet Dagon has brought with it a new range of challenges. Fortunately, the T'au are an adaptable species and Y'eldi has not been slow to react. Initial contacts with Tyranid bio-ships were disastrous for the T'au, whose vessels proved highly vulnerable to enemy boarding actions.
Y'eldi's response was to ensure that only the fastest and most manoeuvrable of his vessels are committed to combat against the Tyranids, so that they can outrun the enemy and avoid becoming engaged in the type of close-ranged battle that is likely to result in the T'au ships being overrun by swarms of Tyranid creatures.
In mitigation against the likelihood that some enemy are still likely to affect a boarding action, Y'eldi has ordered specially configured Fire Caste marine cadres stationed in all T'au vessels under his command, and these have proven successful in repelling many attempts to board their ships.
- Deathwatch: The Achilus Assault (RPG), pg. 118