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"This is all perfectly normal. Your credit is good enough this time. Simply ingest the contents of one of the purple vials at dusk, and one of the white vials at dawn. We guarantee you that within a week, you will feel like a new man."

—Biophagus Galaxos Klynesmith
TwistedHelixIcon

The icon of the Twisted Helix is a corruption of the stylised hermetic symbol traditionally used by the Imperium's apothecary institutions.

The Twisted Helix is a Genestealer Cult native to the Civilised World of Vejovium III located in the Pahr Sector of the eastern Segmentum Obscurus. Unlike other Genestealer Cults, the leaders of the Twisted Helix deliberately sought to mix the alien genetic material of the Tyranids with that of humanity in a quest to improve themselves biologically.

This is because the leaders of the Twisted Helix are the ruling corporate nobility of Vejovium III, a world wholly dedicated to the production of pharmaceuticals and biomedical products used across its sector and by the wider Imperium. Incidentally, this commercial reach has allowed the Twisted Helix to spread the Genestealer's Curse to an unknown number of other planets in the Emperor's domain.

Ultimately, what sets the cultists of the Twisted Helix apart most others of their corrupted kind is that they did not have the Genestealer Curse thrust upon them, but instead voluntarily took it into their society through extreme medical experimentation. They now harbour unnumbered bio-horrors amongst their ranks that surpass even the terrifying human-xenos hybrids found among the more "natural" Genestealer Cults.

History

The Cult of the Twisted Helix has spread far and wide through the most sinister of methods, for it uses the Imperium's limited understanding of biomedical science against itself. Its original site of inception is Vejovium III, deep in the east of the Segmentum Obscurus; the planet is technically a Civilised World, but it was long ago overtaken by the industry of the macro-alchemical distilleries that manufacture its exported medicines.

So influential have these complexes become -- and the dynastic corporations that rule over them -- that everywhere the Vejovian skyline is ridged with enormous medifactoria. These appear, when viewed from the hive aristocracy's spires, like the laboratory of some godly sage -- spiral glass pipelines and chimneys belch strangely coloured smoke alongside vast alembic structures and cooling towers. Given the influence they have over the lives and even anatomies of the populace, the divine comparison is an apt one.

The war leaders and Biophaguses of the Twisted Helix think of themselves as a new breed of god-like being, their clay the flesh and blood of those around them, and their creations a blend of human, alien and voidstuff. These they see as nothing more than experimental subjects, and every skirmish, hostile takeover and even large-scale uprising purely another test bed from which to draw firmer conclusions about their experiments thus far.

They have created works of mad genius in their quest for the perfect life form, yet seek daily to surpass them, for nothing short of galactic domination will satisfy the power-mad maniacs who rule the cult's medifactoria behind a façade of intellectual curiosity.

Vejovium's rulers long ago cracked the secrets of dulling the human mind. After the costly Doxencrafter Rebellions of the late 38th Millennium, the Planetary Governor commissioned an inhibitory chemical that could be mixed into the food paste and corpse-starch of his citizenry's diet. The spread of this potent chemical saw the populace rendered docile, even bovine in its apathy to anything but the strongest stimulus. Though those visitors who saw this for the horror it was did everything to bring some manner of justice against the rulers of the cult, they were always undermined, kidnapped or shouted down by those with controlling interests in the planet's industrial fortunes.

With Vejovium supplying so many of the medi-packs, Apothecarium supplies and void sickness pills to the Imperium's military bodies across the Pahr Sector, the investigations never plumbed the depths that would have unearthed the conspiracy spreading at the heart of the planet's fortunes.

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The banner of the Twisted Helix is hung with vials containing elixirs, hypersteroids, and blessed ichor taken from the veins of the cult's original alien test subjects.

Ironically, it was this deadening of the psyche that was to prove a temporary salvation for Vejovium's people. When a clutch of Purestrain Genestealers, intended as fodder for more extreme experimentation, reached the planet via the Imperial black market, the first of the stevedores to meet one of the Tyranid vanguard organisms face-to-face was no easy prey for his would be corrupter.

His narcotically-dulled mind proved resistant to the strange hypnotic effect of the Genestealer's psychic aura -- and, on instinct, closed the airlock in which the beast and its kin lurked, slamming the reinforced door shut just as the creature's ovipositor darted out to graze the glasscrete.

The incident was reported to the on-duty overseer, of course, and from there the message reached the highest hive city spires. At a worryingly steep cost in the lives of their "volunteers," the leaders of the industrial cult laid low their Genestealer prisoners -- after assailing the airlock with radiation baths, poison gas, sonic destabilisers, and even acid mist they eventually resorted to a hail of bullets that not even the Purestrains could survive. They subsequently dissected the very xenoforms that had sought to infect them.

Over the course of hundreds of exhaustive experiments, the medical overseers of Vejovium III learned how to extract the pure germ-seed of the Purestrain from the cellular genomes of those who have been blessed by the Genestealer's Kiss. At the behest of the shadowy individual known only as the Prime Specimen, possibly the cult's Genestealer Patriarch, the implications of this discovery were exhaustively researched.

It was eventually concluded that they stood on the threshold of a new evolution -- that the xenos gene-pattern was the path to true biological perfection, and perhaps even immortality. Under strict test conditions, the aristocracy of Vejovium injected the stuff of the alien into their veins, and began their transformation into something resembling Neophyte Hybrids.

In essence, though they had at first evaded the curse that sought to infect them, the lords of Vejovium instead voluntarily started their own transformation into alien monsters at a far later stage of the standard Genestealer brood cycle. Sure enough, after many hideous by-blows and aborted experiments, they birthed a new clutch of Genestealers with which to further their agenda -- albeit a brood given life in the sterile tubes of a secret medifactoria rather than the incubatory anatomies of infected hosts. These in turn infected new infestation sites, and the Vejovians slowly began to resemble a Genestealer Cult like any other.

So it was that the Genestealer Curse took hold upon Vejovium through a new and disturbing vector. Obsessed with their discovery, the Prime Specimen and his peers widened their research time and time again, venturing into the most bizarre territory in their search for new bioforms that would reinforce their delusions of godhood. They became convinced that to seed their concoctions throughout the people would be to secure their undying loyalty, even worship.

Subsequent experimentation led to methods of incorporating the pure Genestealer germ-seed into the curative syringe vials that form a major part of Vejovium's interstellar medical exports -- and from there, into the veins of millions of unsuspecting Imperial citizens. Every recipient is rendered susceptible to the brood curse that is sure to follow; those with constitutions stalwart enough to resist are often given compulsory vital supplements in pill form, and later given reinforcement via a midnight visit from one of the cult's "independent vectors" -- Purestrain Genestealers.

CladebatchGammaJovia

Cladebatch Gamma-Jovia is a crucial front-line war asset of the Twisted Helix. Though its Biophagus maintains a veneer of professional detachment, every one of its members has an uncanny strength, and takes a dark pleasure in proving their raw physical might on the battlefield.

Over the years, the imperfections of these bio-alchemical experiments have resulted in a great many alien-human hybrid monstrosities lurching from the laboratories of the Twisted Helix. Aberrations, multi-limbed hybrids, hunchbacked brutes and conjoined terrors are common in the ward-cells in which the cult keeps its shocking secrets. In times of insurgency, when the Prime Specimen can only achieve his aims through violence rather than subtlety, these monstrously unique hybrids are released by the thousands.

Injected full of steroidal serums and painkilling salves, they make excellent shock troops, and the Biophaguses who goad them to battle learn much from their performance in live fire -- or their grisly demise, should their tortured metabolisms finally give in to the experimental adaptations heaped upon them.

For every star system conquered through horror and violence, there is another that the cult has brought into the fold through the careful application of medicarium exports and subsequent mass indoctrinations. This process, expertly refined and industrialised on an interplanetary scale, has seen the Twisted Helix spread its manufactured version of the Genestealer's Curse across the Vejovium System and beyond.

A Single Shot

In the late 41st Millennium, the first Sanctus of the Twisted Helix, Astrid Xeneca, infiltrates a crowd of Imperial pilgrims upon Immortis IX. From the courtyard of the famed Ivory Basilicanum, she plants a dart from her serum needler in the jugular vein of the Arch-Cardinal Vidderminster just as he is mid-speech on his balcony.

The needler, customised to fire a glass tube so thin it bypasses the Arch-Cardinal's electromagnetic saviour shield, delivers a potent cocktail of hypertrophic enzymes. Specially concocted by Xeneca's Biophagus brother, the enzymes go to work with astonishing speed.

In front of a millions-strong audience of adoring Imperial faithful, the Adeptus Ministorum leader swells up like a balloon and bursts in a splatter of gore just as he is proclaiming the immunity of the pious man to the insidious scourge of the xenos.

It is a blow to the political stability of Immortis IX that leads to the appointment of a new Arch-Cardinal from off world, new trade deals, compulsory medicae visits, and ultimately the New Wars of Faith that lead to the planet's downfall.

Sources

  • Codex: Genestealer Cults (8th Edition), pp. 30-31, 38
  • Codex: Genestealer Cults (7th Edition), pp. 19
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