Subject: Hive Fleet “Apophis”
Good afternoon, Brother Hanvel. I hope the Emperor’s light 
reaches you in good health and good faith. 

I write to you with a dire request. There is a severe threat 
to the Imperium making its way through the Eastern Fringe, 
and I will require some assistance in containing it.

During the Second Tyrannic War, a splinter of Hive Fleet 
Kraken was approaching Macragge, shortly before the twin 
battles of Ichar V and Iyanden. While it is impossible to 
guess the intent of the impenetrable Hive Mind, successfully 
splitting the forces of the Ultramarines would have had a 
devastating effect on events at Ichar V, as you can imagine.
However, the splinter fleet strayed too close to the Hadex 
Anomaly, and never made it to Macragge. We both know what 
happened next -- Calgar's victory over the legendary Swarmlord, 
the Xenos Prince Yriel's pyrrhic efforts with the Spear of 
Twilight on Iyanden, on and on and on. 
But what happened to that splinter fleet? 

I believe I have found out.
Reports have come to me describing a “new” Hive Fleet passing 
just beyond the Five Hundred Worlds, en route to an unknown 
destination somewhere in the Veiled Region. My agents tell me 
they are marked by red flesh and a green carapace, and many of 
their claws and swords glow a bright orange-yellow, 
incandescent with an unholy heat. Markings previously unseen 
by the Imperium.

Most concerning, the reports say that these bioforms are 
impossibly fast, often moving across the battlefield at speeds 
higher than a Stormraven gunship -- on foot. They eschew ranged 
weaponry almost entirely, otherwise sharing Hive Fleet Kraken's 
old tendency to use feints and screens. Some Guardsmen have even 
reported seeing them charge their defenses before leaving their 
original positions, leaving afterimages in the air.
If this is indeed the splinter fleet that went missing en route 
to Macragge so many years ago, it is likely that the coruscating 
temporal energies of that great cancer of the Warp, the Hadex 
Anomaly, have affected them, and they may have evolved and adapted 
as a result. 

Specifically, it is the belief of this Inquisitor of the Ordo Xenos 
that the bioforms of this Hive Fleet, which has been designated with 
the name "Apophis", can manipulate time in some way on the 

Hive Fleet Apophis thus represents an incredible threat to the 
Imperium. What can Planetary Defense Forces do against a tide of 
Tyranids who do not obey the ebb and flow of time? Who can always 
strike first? If we cannot stop the Serpent from eating the Sun, as 
Apophis once did in the ancient Terran myths, it is forever night 
for the Imperium.

I request a detachment of Ultramarines to join me at Newfound as 
soon as possible, in order to turn back Hive Fleet “Apophis”. Your 
attention to this detail is greatly appreciated. 
For the Emperor.
-- Inquisitor Sinshian Vhestalt of the Ordo Xenos, Newfound





In the darkness, It waited, as It always did.

It came to know the face of the Target. A soft face lined with pain. Blank eyes. Carapace of cloth. A mind that dared brush against Us. A mind that forever turned to watch a distant Light.

Momentum. A sudden push. The cold nothing outside of the Norn-Mother. Descent.

Amniotic fluid sloughed off It’s carapace as It fell through the atmosphere. In the clouds, as the air rushed past, It stretched it’s weapon-limbs.

It’s hooves touched the ground in a forest, where the Target would arrive in time.

It hid, and waited, as It always did.





“Hey. Why do we have to carry you around, huh? What makes you so special?”

The astropath, naturally, didn’t respond.

“You got two arms like the rest of us. Two legs. I presume you get up in the morning and piss like the rest of us.”

“Private,” warned Vhoroz.

“All I’m sayin’ is, just ’cause he talks to space, that makes him better’n us? I don’t get an armed escort when I want to go to Landing.”

“That’s ’cause the rest of us don’t care if you live or die,” rumbled Boon, their corporal.

“Sergeant! Did you hear that? That’s traitor-talk! That’s heresy, is what that is! Boon’s been touched by the Warp!”

Private,” warned Vhoroz again. “Show some respect. Our guest sees the light of the Emperor.”

Murchisen spat. “All I’m sayin’ is, there is no fething way anything is going to happen on this fething rock or to His Grace here, and you all know it. We are a rounding error on the last page of some drek-sucking pudgy Inquisitor’s ledger and we’re here to make sure there’s no budget slippage at the end of the cycle. This entire planet is an insult. I bet we never fire our Throne-forsaken guns.”

“That’s not a smart bet, Private. You just gave me plenty of reason to fire mine.”

A brief pause. She had caught him off-guard. “Just making sure you’re paying attention, Sergeant.” A toothy smile, barely visible in the dark.

Sergeant Vhoroz said nothing, and watched the darkness swallow the road beyond the Taurox’s taillights.

They’d been stationed here for a year with little to show for it. Rodarak IV—an empty world on an empty system in the Eastern Fringe, whose only strategic usefulness was its position close to two Necron Dynasties and the nascent T’au Empire. Terraforming ships were supposed to arrive soon to turn it into an agri-world with its own Planetary Defense Force, but until then, it was nothing but grass, trees, mountains, and some very bored Guardsmen. Lieutenant Dyfeld had even started a pool, gambling on when Mechanicum tech-priests would come to begin terraforming, but it did nothing except provide an excuse for the occasional brawl.

The Rodarak First, they were supposed to call themselves. She had laughed. They still thought of themselves as part of the 7th Cartigian.

When the astropath, Ceredian, arrived, it might have been a nice change of pace. He was to “map” their section of the planet by going with them on patrols, then send that information back to the Administratum so they could plan out the terraforming. But Ceredian was a taciturn soul who said nothing to anyone, ever. He worked alone, ate alone, told no jokes, no stories of Terra. A very important and sacred morale-killer.

When Ceredian started acting strangely and kept to his quarters, it was a relief. When word came from command that he had to be escorted to Landing immediately for departure, a few of the crew busted out some bottles. But the revelry didn’t last long. It never did.

Vhoroz was beginning to fear that Murchisen was right. At least once the Taurox dropped him off at Landing it was over, and they could go back to routine. Maybe Dyfeld would let her change her bet in the pool.




The ground spoke of the Target’s arrival in movement and sound.

It flexed its claws and veiled Itself.

Around It, Us had arrived. And Us, too, waited.





“Hey, you hear of them Bugs comin’ through?” Murchisen.

“Not this again.” Boon.

“No, it’s true. They got so many ships they block out the stars. And they eat everything when they come across a world. Everything.” Murchisen nudged Ceredian with his foot. “Hey. You think they’ll eat you? You with your weird brain and all?”

“Throne take this. I’m manning the guns.” Boon stood, a huge shadow within a shadow, and lumbered through the Taurox. He climbed up and took control of the twin-linked autocannons mounted to the roof of the vehicle.

When Vhoroz looked back, Ceredian’s face, though blind, was turned towards Murchisen. In the darkness, Vhoroz saw anger, and something close to fear.

Murchisen kept going. “I think they would. I think they’d like you. Weird powers are probably like spice to them. Probably put you on a nice little plate, clean you right out. Give you an enema with those weird tentacles, then fillet you.”

Another private, Maldrik, laughed, but it wasn’t happy. “The way the Hive Fleets have been moving through us, they’re giving the entire Imperium an enema.”

“Motherfethin’ Hive Fleet Enema, right here,” grinned Murchisen. “That’s right. Hive Fleet Enema’s coming for us all. And it’ll be a nice break from this hellhole. Eh?” He nudged Nuvir, their vox auxiliary. Nervous laughter filled the Taurox. Even Vhoroz smiled, despite herself—this kind of unity why she kept the mouthy private around.

“What I don’t understand is, they’re just bugs, right? If they’re just bugs, why don’t the freaks on Mars just build a big enough windshield—”

Ceredian interrupted. “You fool,” he said, in a rusted, hollow half-voice. “Their Shadow is already here. I hear them scratching and screaming, and there is such noise I cannot find the light of the Astronomican beyond them. Why do you think I am leaving?”


“This is a new threat,” the psyker continued. “We had planned for Leviathan, like we had planned for Kraken and Behemoth before them. What we did not plan for—”

The Taurox lurched, an awful scream of metal wailing through the APC. Vhoroz heard flesh tear and bones snap. Boon’s legs and waist tumbled back into their compartment from the autocannon’s hatch, capped by a mound of blood and bone. And then she heard the heavy footfalls on the roof of the vehicle.

“They’re here.” Ceredian.

“Take positions!” she heard herself say. “Maldrik, on the guns! Nuvir, the doors!”

The Taurox rocked. Hissing, clicking, and screaming surrounded the vehicle in a rising wave. Stalagmites of metal sprung out of the walls—and then she heard the slams of claw against armour plating. One such stalagmite caved in the back of Maldrik’s skull. He never got off his seat.

Her squad took position, flanking the door and keeping clear firing lines.

“Psyker!” Vhoroz hissed. “Get your—”

Ceredian wasn’t moving.

A scything, bony talon, impossibly long, withdrew from Ceredian’s face. Faintly, she heard the claw’s initial impact, bursting through the armour plating. In the darkness, through the hole, she saw six bright glowing yellow eyes above a vortex of tentacles, some of which were already feasting on Ceredian’s skull. Between the tentacles, she saw small segments of brain sliding up to what must be a mouth somewhere.

Her training told her this was a “Lictor” bioform. But her eyes told her this was something different. A special one. A unique one.

It stared back at her. Vhoroz felt like she was gazing into an abyss. The very idea of hunger, given claws.

Then it was gone.

Her questions were cut off. Nuvir hit a button and the back doors burst open, revealing nothing but fireflies behind the Taurox, as far as the eye could see.

No—not fireflies. Claws and teeth and talons, glowing faintly in the moonless night. A countless sea of creatures, each built with an incredible purity of violent purpose.


Her last thought was of how pretty they all looked. A thousand lights in the darkness.

Her squad died before they could fire a shot.




It stepped away. The Target had ceased. The knowledge within would be useful.

It’s Purpose was complete. Us feasted upon the remainder.

It walked into the forest, and became dormant.

In time, the mouths of the Norn-Mothers came down from the ships, and began to drink.

In time, It rose, and walked into the pools, to return to Us from which It began.

Then, in the darkness, It waited, as It always did.






Your request is impossible to fulfill. Ultramarine detachments are 
spread across the Eastern Fringe, each defending the Five Hundred 
Worlds against agents of the Ruinous Powers.

To ask any Adeptus Astartes to withdraw from their engagement on the 
request of a single Inquisitor is ridiculous enough. To have them 
chase impossible stories of Tyranids who can "manipulate time” is 

There is a company of Astra Militarum stationed on Rodarak IV, not 
far from Newfound. Their Lieutenant goes by the name Dyfeld. I 
suggest you contact them -- their record is exemplary enough.

May the Emperor’s light protect you.

-- Hanvel


Producer Josh can be found behind the scenes of the Dusty Auspex Podcast, Thursdays at 7 PM CT on Twitch and FB. VOX BLAST is his weekly column about 40K and anything else nerdy.