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Greetings honored 'O and 'El of the Shas'ar'tol Bork'an, As you requested, I have taken it upon myself to create a dossier on the alien species known as the "Physsian Stratocracy", which will hopefully serve as a primer and guide to our vaunted field-commanders, admirals, and diplomats, in order to better understand this closed-off and secretive race. I will endeavor to continue my research into their customs and ways of life, but expect this journey to be tough, seeing as the Physsians are guarded even at the best of times. However, any data uncovered will be recorded here and transmitted with all haste, in order to better serve the Empire. Please, feel free to contact me with any personal inquiries or requests, as it is likely I will miss certain aspects of their culture and hierarchy during my studies. Glory to the Empire, Por'el Bork'an Saum'lai Tal'Shoh Origins and Basic History The xenos known as the Physsians are reptilian humanoids who evolved on the planet Physsos approximately thirty-two thousand Tau'cyr before the T'au.1 A long-lived and militaristic people, the Physsians exploded early on in their evolution, with rudimentary spaceflight first attempted after only a couple thousand Tau'cyr of existence, and a primitive interstellar empire, known as the Physsian Khanate, followed soon after. However, this sudden surge in population and technology led the Physsians to engage in numerous conflicts with neighboring races, where their militaristic tendencies forced them into a series of wars that likely could have been avoided. Further conflicts, both internally and externally, led to a period of stagnation known to the Physsians as the 'Tempering', which afforded them time to consolidate their gains and revolutionize their internal politicking. According to fragmentary reports, the high point of this period was the refinement of 'Obsydine' into a usable material, while the low point is known as the "Harvester's Tithe".2 Despite this, approximately 23,000 Tau'cyr after their initial forays into space, the Physsians had become a people that inhabited a large number of systems in an area of space known as the 'Salient Cluster', and made up the primary faction of the Adakine Triumvirate, a federation of xenos races and human factions that had banded together to resist the predations of other, more violent space-faring races. The Triumvirate existed for but a thousand tau'cyr, and yet remains the "greatest accomplishment of the Physsian people", despite its relative young age at the time of collapse. While extant details of the collapse remain scarce, it is believed that unprecedented numbers of Gue'ron'sha overwhelmed the empire in a cataclysmic genocide that left almost 60% of the Physsian populace routed or dead.3 With their homeworld of Physsos burned to ash, the survivors of the Physsian people fled the cluster, residing on ark-ships for millennia while intermittently searching for resources, other Physsians, and a new home. This search continued for thousands of tau'cyr, until the Physsian Ark-Fleet landed on a world in the south-eastern fringe of the galaxy not far from T'au, which it colonized and named Phy'rakos- the Second Hope, Light of Physsos. Turning inwards to focus on colonization and its people, the Physsians lived in ignorance of our expansion in the Eastern Gulf, and was bypassed by numerous T'au fleets until about thirty Tau'cyr ago, when T'au ships happened upon alien vessels in a backwater system long thought uninhabitable. Negotiations were opened, and soon concluded- with no great military power (on a galactic scale) and limited holdings, the ruling body of the Physsians- the Rae'ta Council- agreed to join the T'au Empire and provide military support and materials in return for Equipment and Semi-Autonomy for their fledgling Empire. Aging and Political System As a people, the Physsians can live for up to a Millennia, and break their lives into a number of cycles that determine age and position in Physsian society. The Rae'ta-Vor Council, for example, is the ruling body of the Physsian people, and is made up of Rae'ta-Vor (Council-Commanders), senior Physsians whose experiences in battle and leadership help decide the direction in which the Physsians will go as a people. Similarly, the Sae'ta-Vor (Void-Generals) command Physsian Armies in battle, while under them the Sae'ta-Khal (Void-Captains) take control of Company sized forces and smaller, acting in many ways similarly to that of our Fireblades. Beyond that, the Physsian Military has largely adopted the T'au rank system in order to ease combat operations, and for the most part now follow the Fire Castes' conventions at the rank of Shas'vre and lower. Military Militarily, Physsian warriors serve in the same roles and functions as our Fire Warriors and Pathfinders, albeit with a preference for close-ranged, highly-mobile combat as opposed to distanced engagements. As such, a number of Breacher and Carbine-armed Strike team analogues supplement the typical Hunter cadre examples, and the our alliance has resulted in an influx of TY7 Devilfish and TX7 Hammerheads to boost the Physsian military strength, and replace the aging Cyclone-class Gun-skiffs that have served the Physsians since their original flight from Physsos itself. Similarly, T'au aircraft and drones have made many Physsian models obsolete, with exception to a few notable examples such as the Sibilance and Xenith-class Interceptors. http://i.imgur.com/Pl5aGx0.jpg?1 - A Squad of Physsian Pathfinders, in modern battle-plate However, the Physsians have experienced a number of issues in terms of Battlesuit integration, as their bodies and neural systems are far unlike our own, forcing them to rely on cadres of Fire Caste reinforcements to provide battlesuit support. While some inroads have been made by Physsian scientists to create a prototype variation of the XV25 Stealth-suits and XV8 Crisis suit, the T'au, for the most part, are content to utilize the Physsians as line troops and airmobile reserves while retaining control over battle suit systems, giving them an edge should they ever need it.4 Still, for the most part both races get along well and see eye-to-eye, the Physsians recognizing T'au supremacy as their best chance of survival, while the T'au see Physsians as excellent close-quarters soldiers, lacking in the kroot's hand-to-hand skills but with an increased durability and without the Kroot's distasteful habits. Technology Physsian combat technology is based around an substance known as Obsidyne (no relation to Obsidian), whose charge and strength has resulted in the creation of the hardlight-weaponry used so commonly by Physsian Soldiery. Cores of Obsidyne power and provide the ammunition for these weapons, eliminating the need for magazines, replacing them with a ventilation system that cools the weapon down and prevents overheat and misfires. In practice, these are very much similar to the T'au Pulse Carbine, and even though shipments of actual Pulse Carbines have been issued to a number of Physsian units, many are abandoned in favor of the Hardlight-Repeaters that have served the Physsian people for millennia.5 http://i.imgur.com/1gynRUW.jpg?1 -A Physsian Strike Team deploying into combat. These Physsians are armed with Hardlight Repeaters, and wear the older, bulkier combat armor of the Adakine era. In terms of armor, Physsians once used metallic compounds similar to those found in Imperial Carapace armor, but this has been largely superseded by T'au compounds and armor patterns since the alliance. Appearance and Climate As stated above, the Physsians are a species of warm-blooded humanoid reptiles, who favor colder arid climates and savannah-like biomes, and prefer environments with higher levels of carbon dioxide and methane than most species. This makes existence on worlds with a T'au-like atmosphere unpleasant, if not outright uninhabitable for Physsians. As a result, any serious duration of time spent on one of these worlds must be done with a pressure-suit, encapsulating the Physsian in an environment more conducive to their respiratory systems. Due to this, most Physsians are seen in their enclosed battle-plate, hiding a face that bears various crest and brood-markings, some which are echoed on their breather-helms in order to identify specific individuals. Under the rest of the pressure suit lays a skin covered in scales and crests, ranging in coloration from a deep grey or blue, up to an olive green. http://i.imgur.com/bnErRDH.jpg?3 - A Physsian Sae'ta-Khal (Void-Captain), utilizing modern equipment Physsian extremities are also curious, as while their fore-claws mimick our own in the number of digits, their legs instead end in a set of splayed claws that are displayed in a 2x2x1 pattern. They are often hidden by Physsian pressure-sheath boots, giving outsiders the impression of T'au hooves instead of claws. While this makes issues of supply relatively simple thanks to these boots' similar appearance to the T'au hoof, the resulting confusion of inexperienced doctors and medics when faced with this realization has forced a doctrine of medical-segregation when it comes to Physsian combat casualties. Language The Physsian language is one that most races would struggle to master, a special arrangement in their vocal chords and the use of pheromones in conversation a limiting factor to anyone trying to learn their language. Thankfully, upon their assimilation into the T'au Empire, they developed communications suites that have now been installed into every Physsian's helm, and most Physsian Officers have been sent to T'olku and Bork'an to receive training in T'au language and culture, allowing them to converse without the need for translator software. This has also resulted in an amalgamation of Physsian and T'au culture, with the Physsians adopting many facets of the T'au language into their own, including addition of the apostrophe into the Physsian language in order to ease T'au attempts to pronounce their official ranks. Examples of this evolution can be found from the basic education a young Physsian now receives up to the ranks of the High Commanders of the Physsian Armies, and even the pronunciation of the Physsian home world- where once it was Phyrakos, it is now Phy'rakos, a sign of mutual cooperation between the T'au and their new subjects. Diplomacy In terms of relationships between the Physsians and the races of the T'au Empire, there is an interesting development. Where once an open-minded and welcoming species existed, now resentment blooms, with some species in particular- and is at least common enough that T'au diplomats have acknowledged the need to limit inter-species contact between the Physsians and some specific races. Below is a list of major T'au races' relations with the Physsian people. T'au- As the dominant race in the T'au empire, the Physsians view the T'au with a mix of respect and derision. While no Physsian would ever dare be outright hostile to one of the T'au, there is some evidence that many see our "short-lived and young race" as "naive and belligerent in many respects", and it is no secret that the Physsians see the T'au as being as liable to prove themselves capable of galactic conquest as suicidally foolish. This has led to some friction between our commanders in field operations, seeing as the long-lived Physsian Officers chafe under the command of the younger T'au Shas'O. Fortunately, the clarity of T'au dominance has forestalled any serious incidents, although the number of assignments of particularly outspoken Physsian commanders has curiously shifted towards protection and patrol operations as part of Physsian exclusive forces. Whether this is the result of orders from the Rae'ta Council or some other unknown factor is unclear. Vespids- The Physsians see the Vespid as a noble and proud ally, and although contact with them is limited for the most part, the few interactions between these two races has proven amiable. In particular, there seems to be a friendly rivalry between certain Vespid Strains and members of the Physsian Dher'avashi- or Void-Hammers- whose use of jump-jet thusters mimics the aerial abilities of the Vespid. Kroot- Of any race, the Physsians seem to get along best with that of the Kroot of Pech, their martial origins and clan structure similar in many ways to the Physsian's own ancestors. Even the reviled practice of assimilating DNA- while seen as unusual- is accepted by the Physsian people as a part of the Kroot mindset, and combined with their prowess as hunters and fighters has resulted in a large number of Kroot kindreds appearing among the ranks of the Physsian military. Nicassar- As a race, the Physsians seem not to care for the Nicassar, apart from those assigned to their ships for purposes of research and navigation, who are tolerated. However, as members of the Empire and a largely unthreatening species in the eyes of the Physsians, the Nicassar are permitted access to most Physsian installations, should they desire to travel there, and will be met with interest, if not open arms. Gue'vesa- Gue'la, as a whole, are the most problematic for the Physsians to deal with. Thanks to their role in the destruction of the Adakine Empire, Physsians will meet humans with resentment and even hostility, which extends to the Gue'vesa of the T'au, an particularly those who once served in the Imperial army. Exceptions exist, but for the most part, humans and Physsians have been separated from contact unless T'au protection can be present, and while the water caste and ethereals have attempted to rectify this issue, for now a travel warning exists that has been issued to any Gue'la trying to make their way to any Physsian realms- "Your protection is not guaranteed". Ideology The Physsian people do not have any significant religious tendencies in the modern era, as while the original worship of the Adakine Triumvirate still exists in slight numbers, it is not enough to constitute a true race-wide concept. Instead, on a micro-scale, many Physsians pay homage to their ancestral lines and specific matriarchs and patriarchs of their broods. This is similar in many ways to the Kroot mentality of shapers, albeit with Physsian Brood-leaders, (also known as Emyrs) serving in a supporting capacity rather than in an active one leading their families. This allows the Emyrs to focus on internal issues while matters of war, science, and exploration are served by the Rae'ta-Council, and in this way are Emyrs the teachers and protectors of the Physsian culture. On a macro-scale, this homage translates into a reverence for history, and even further, a desire to return to what the Physsian people once were and could've been. Whilst rarely discussed outside the most extreme Physsian circles of belief, a common trend is that of the "Physsian Right", which argues that the Physsian people will be the rulers of the galactic plane at some point, and other races will bend their knee to Physsian command. However, longevity brings clarity, and most Physsians realize that this will not be the case for many millennia to come. In terms of the Physsian opinion of the Greater Good, or Tau'va, while it is accepted and taught in Physsian society, Ta'u scholars believe that there is no real conviction behind its belief amongst Physsian broods, as Physsians were forced to live by a similar doctrine during their flight from Physsos, where an ideology was formed out of necessity that espoused service before self. As such, most Physsians are reluctant to subscribe to the mentality of the Greater Good, and while this has caused consternation amongst many T'au scholars, the similarities between the two races beliefs' has quelled any attempts to convert the Physsians outright, and is a matter that will be re-examined in time. However, it must be noted that each Physsian is a fully individualistic being, free of thought and action, and is as capable of honor and loyalty as he or she is of betrayal and cowardice. While modern Physsians are usually content to serve their people, examples do exist of behavior seen as inconceivable to the T'au springing up, including the murder of Emyrs and Council-members, and small but violent conflicts springing up between various broods. At the largest level, this has even resulted in breakaway factions of Physsians abandoning Phy'rakos and the T'au empire, either as a result of ideological differences, political exile, or even pure selfishness. It is this facet that has the our Aun worried the most, and efforts have been diverted to try and limit such actions inside the boundaries of the Empire. Planetary Holdings The Physsian people, in their millennia of settlement, have settled three known worlds: Phy'rakos- Capital of the Physsian Stratocracy, and new homeworld of the Physsian people. Its colder climates and sweeping plains of long-stalk algae have helped the Physsians spread across the planet rapidly, and it now resembles a T'au sept in function, if not name. Most Physsian forces hail from here. Phy'rasael- A mining world that neighbors Phy'rakos, it is the second Physsian expansion, settled only one-hundred years before the discovery of the T'au. It is also here that the T'au have established an outpost to monitor the Physsian people, an orbital station in geosynchronous orbit that houses a number of garrisoned Hunter Cadres. Phy'rakmas- The first expansion of the Physsians in an interstellar capacity, this world was settled in 960.M41. It is currently being colonized with assistance of the T'au- a joint-species endeavor that will likely help solidify relations. The Veil- existing only in snatched communiques and thin rumors, the "Veil" (as it is known to our intelligence officers) is located in an unspecified region of space, and supposedly houses the surviving Physsian arks, a fall back in case disaster even overtook the Physsian race again. This area is hidden from all but the highest ranking Physsians, including the T'au, although it is likely located at the edge of a solar system not too far from Phy'rakos. Contact with this fleet is limited, and most Physsians assigned there are believed to be of a patient and dour mentality, vetted for loyalty and behavior before being assigned to the fleet-watch that is known as the "Veil-guard". While currently under investigation, the low-risk nature of this fleet has meant almost all the resources it requires are being diverted to more pressing matters. Panoply of War: Below are some examples of native Physsian uniforms, although considering their reclusiveness and recent adoption of the Fire Caste's own conventions, these are increasingly difficult to exhibit. The above are image-stills of Sae'ta-Tath Verkuud, previously sect-born to Senn-Nal'Sanalq, now reassigned to Bork'an cadre support operations orbiting Phy'rasael.6 The uniform presented is likely the livery of the Nal'Sanalq (trans. Frigate Sanalq), prior to its disappearance during operations in the Western Veil Nebula. Footnotes: This planet is believed to lie in a sector of space previously uncharted by T'au fleets. Physsian maps, while helpful, are in many cases partially fragmented and may be inaccurate as a result. The "Harvester's Tithe", which is also known in some documents as the "Rethremaere Holocaust", was an extinction-level event that befell the Physsian Khanate some 15,000 Tau'cyr after they first achieved spaceflight. Despite a lack of information on the event in question, the "Harvester's Tithe" is believed to be their Mont'au, and has left a racial imprint on every Physsian since. Of data that can be collected on the cataclysm, logs record that of some 70 Billion Physsians, about 52 Billion perished, and further data shows the Physsian never recovered from this purge. What the event was or what entity (if any) perpetrated such a genocide is unknown, and despite my best efforts may remain that way. Hard as it is to believe, the Physsians state that Gue'ron'sha numbers used to far eclipse current findings, and were organized into much larger fighting forces (see file "Space Marine Legions"). I have already forwarded the most relevant data to the Bork'an Uash'o, long with several copies of reports corroborating such numbers. Unconfirmed reports exist of native Physsian Battle-Constructs fighting alongside rebellious enclaves and pure Physsian armies, but without further evidence, such fanciful tales should be discarded. This "Obsidyne" has never shown up on T'au elemental charts or been seen before, and wherever the Physsians are finding this material, (if they are finding any at all), they are not being forthcoming with the information. Theories range from an organic substance grown in the "Veil" to some undiscovered power-source, but as of yet no breakthroughs have been made with the fragments acquired from confiscated hard-light repeaters. The light blue crest and silver pip seem to denote the rank of Sae'ta-Tath in the Physsian lexicon, which is analogous to that of our own Shas'vre. In the Physsian armies, they serve as honored and respected veterans, commanding various fireteams (known as Tath'al), as junior officers. (Further data will be updated when available...aka To be Continued...)