The Night Scythe is the Necrons’ favoured tool of invasion, a variant of the Doom Scythe that replaces some of that fighter’s heaviest weaponry in favour of a troop transport capacity. This is not to say that a Night Scythe is in any way defenceless -- quite the opposite.
Like its counterpart, it is capable of combat operations in both the void and within a planet's atmosphere and it serves the Necron forces in the interceptor, starship assault and fighter-bomber roles. With its turret-mounted Tesla Destructors and the nerve-shredding shriek of its engines, the Night Scythe is a formidable fighter craft in its own right.
Should a Phaeron wish to reach out his hand and reclaim one of the planets sundered long ago from Necron rule, his first wave of attack inevitably includes a fleet of Night Scythes. Manoeuvrable enough to evade incoming fire from orbital defence platforms and swift enough to outpace mustering defenders, Night Scythes can ghost through a defence perimeter to deploy invasion forces directly at the heart of key enemy installations and strategic locations. Once a foothold has been established, coordinates are relayed to the main army, enabling Monoliths and other Necron forces to teleport into position, and the invasion to begin.
Night Scythes are piloted by a Necron Immortal who is hard-wired into his aircraft. Because of this robotic nature, the pilot is uninhibited by mortal frailties and is able to steer the aircraft to higher speeds and perform more extreme manoeuvres than pilots of flesh and blood. Likewise, a Night Scythe is also a small spacecraft that fulfils the attack craft role in Necron fleets, despite the lack of a cockpit to protect the pilot; such niceties as oxygen and pressure are of little consequence for the undying form of the Necrons.
Unlike the armoured carriers employed by other races, the Night Scythe does not have a transport compartment as such. Instead, it deploys its troops by means of a captive wormhole whose far end is anchored on a distant Tomb World. Through this is less flexible than a Monolith’s Eternity Gate, it does allow a Night Scythe to mimic the battlefield role of a more conventional transport vehicle without jeopardising the existence of its assigned squad. If the Night Scythe is destroyed, its payload squad is simply isolated from the battle until an alternate means of deployment can be established. Though this invariably prevents the squad from taking part in the immediate battle, this is preferable to them being destroyed outright as they can join the campaign’s later stages.
Night Scythes are often employed as far-ranging scout ships, tasked with making contact with other Tomb Worlds or searching out lost Necron planets suitable for reclamation. On worlds where the interlopers are either few in number or primitive in nature, a Night Scythe spearheads a ruthless subjugation. On worlds where other life forms have taken strong root, the pilot of a Night Scythe clandestinely performs probes and biopsies of the inhabitants, preying on isolated settlements and convoys whilst it searches for clues that will identify the inhabiting race’s suitability for apotheosis. Such tests are long and exhaustive, and the pilot is often forced to dissect entire townships in order to harvest sufficient data.
On a particularly promising planet, a Night Scythe’s pilot may go as far as to transport living samples back to its Tomb World for further inspection by its Crypteks. Most such subjects do not survive the scientific method that follows, but are instead stripped down molecule by molecule and neuron by neuron. A few abductees are returned to their homes, but even in these cases they are most likely implanted with Mindshackle Scarabs or other mental control mechanisms to enable them to function as unsuspecting Necron spies and saboteurs who will pave the way for an imminent invasion.
- Translocator Flight – Working in concert, a flight of Night Scythes can combine their wormhole projectors, creating a temporary hyperspace tunnel. Such constructs are relatively short-ranged and are also dangerously unstable. Traversing a hyperspace tunnel is almost instantaneous, but not without risk, for physical laws break down inside such a construct. Necrons, however, survive such journeys far better than mortal beings, for their metallic forms are more suited to enduring the forces within. Thus, when Night Scythes prowl the skies, Necron attack waves might redeploy in an instant, or bypass the main battlefront entirely.
- Twin-linked Tesla Destructor – A Night Scythe’s primary weapon is its twin-linked Tesla Destructor, which is mainly an anti-personnel weapon though only the most heavily armed tanks can risk its wrath with utter impunity. The Tesla Destructor employs much the same lightning-arc technology as found in the smaller Tesla Cannons and Tesla Carbines. Its energy discharges of crackling lightning can wreak terrible harm on living targets; searing their flesh, melting their armour and boiling their blood. Furthermore, the Tesla bolts fired feed off energy released by the destruction they cause, often meaning that the lightning becomes more ferocious with each arc. So powerful are the blasts from a Tesla Destructor, and such is its shocking rapidity of fire, that the lightning emitted is capable of leaping from target to target before it is finally grounded; leaving a trail of smoldering carnage across a broad swathe of the battlefield behind it.
- Wormhole Portal – All Night Scythes are fitted with a captive wormhole portal bound into their lower hull. This portal serves as a dimensional passageway through which Necrons can move from their Tomb World to the target destination once the Night Scythe has landed. Because of the transdimensional nature of this transport "compartment," the Necrons "within" do not suffer any ill effects if the Night Scythe is destroyed. This portal is also capable of allowing Necron jump infantry, such as Triarch Praetorians with Gravity Displacement Packs, and Jetbikes, such as Tomb Blades, to pass through, as their bulky nature is not restricted by a small "interior space" that is the norm in the transports of other starfaring races.
- Necrodermis - The armour of Night Scythes is made up of the same living metal Necrodermis that makes up all Necron bodies and vehicles. Its remarkable regenerative properties allow it to automatically repair damage to itself; whether this is the regeneration of parts of its hull, the reknitting of metal plates, and the reconnection of circuits and other delicate systems to bring its weapon online again.
Ordo Xenos Departmento Analyticus Technical Specifications
- Codex: Necrons (5th Edition), pp. 51, 82
- Codex: Necrons (7th Edition) (Digital Edition), pp. 163-164
- Warhammer 40,000: Compendium - Death From the Skies, pg. 64
- Warzone: Damnos, pg. 63