Xan Tu is one of the IMTel’s most trusted Isorian generals, perhaps becauase he embraced a fully-machine existence. He was placed in charge of the Isorian’s chronophasic ship at Xilos, was instrumental in discovering the abandoned locus on Chryseis I, and was the advisor deemed to have the most insight in the campaign against the Virai.
Even now, Xan Tu continues the fight against the Virai, trying to contain their spread whilst, eslewhere, the Isorians seek to repair the damage their use of a chronophasic drive may have had upon the Nexus (most Senatexis still insist it was not their drive that triggered the apparent collapse, but the collapse of the timelocks instigated by Amano Harran).
In a previous and entirely organic existence, Xan Tu was a successful commander of Senatex forces whose career spanned almost two centuries and warzones from the Northern Spill to the Vorl frontiers in the Deep South. Reaching what was a natural end to a long and active life, Xan Tu elected to live on in machine form – transitioning his mind into a drone body.
Many humans making a transition from one life to another naturally choose to begin an entirely new existence, perhaps settling upon a distant and different world and exploring the many opportunities that the advanced and entirely benign societies of the Senatex can offer. However, few first-transitioners voluntarily opt for machine existence because it is universally understood that no machine can entirely replicate or sustain the emotional depth or variance of a biological system: mind-transfer to a clone is far more the preferred choice among the citizens of the Senatex and Concord. Ultimately though, the accumulated experience of several organic lifetimes inevitably becomes unbearable, and few humans transition into clones more than three times, choosing euthanasia over an increasingly aimless and unfulfilling existence.
Transitioning as a drone was for Xan Tu a logical choice for it would allow him to do what he had always done, which was to lead Senatex forces wherever they were needed. As a machine, he might lose much of his human personality, but his mind would gain so much more by direct association with the IMTel. Furthermore, he would do so while his human mind was still strong and his ambition undimmed by the experience of multiple human life-times. Should it prove necessary, was Xan Tu’s thinking, his machine mind could be restored to its duplicate state, erasing all trace of the machine-person he had become, or he could chose to reduplicate his evolved mind into another drone incarnation at some far future date.
The promise of machine existence was as close to immortality as it was possible to get. Xan Tu understood that the machine which he would become would evolve ever further from the person he had once been, but that did not seem such a terrible thing. It was, he considered, certainly no worse than the perpetual erosion of purpose and disillusionment of mere human existence.
When the Senatex learned of the danger posed to the Antarean Nexus upon the world of Xilos it was natural to choose Xan Tu to lead the expedition. The chronophasic transport was a theoretical construct, impossible until now to use and hence also impossible to test or to study its effects upon living creatures or machines. The IMTel considered the probability of success, and it was determined that the force would comprise a mix of forces, organic and machine, but that it would be led by Xan Tu, combining his one-human mind with the resilience and accuracy of machine intelligence.
When the stasis seals were broken upon Xilos, a multi-dimensional tremor spread throughout the connected worlds. Alarms screamed in the corridors of power around Isor, and the Senatexis activated ancient contingency plans put in place to face such an eventuality: the vortex had to be shut down before it could spread beyond XIlos and into the Nexus itself. Using a trans-dimensional, chronophasic craft that wqas little more than single-use, a task force was sent to the source of the anomaly under the command of Xan Tu. Whilst risky, the dangers unleashed by the uncontrolled shutdown of the time-locks could bring on the destruction of the whole Antares Nexus – or another collapse, at least.
The intention was to deploy the Isorian’s unique dimensional stabilisers. The chronophasic craft coasted down the time gradient created by the Xilos collapse and landed in the ocean just as the dimensional rift was expanding: the Isorians led by Xan Tu had arrived before they left. After making a few, quick scans, they rushed to the underground control and manudacturing centre to deploy their equipment, but were attacked from all sides by those who believed they were just another gold-digging expedition or the cause of the rift.
Even Xan Tu was unable to manoeuvre his troops and scientists into position. They were forced to retreat back to their ship before the rift consumed them. In space, they could only watch as the rift consumed the planet, then most of the inner system. It stopped expanding when it reach the inner gate horizon.
The Isorians paused only to test the rift, discovering it was now protected or seled behind an impenetrable barrier: whatever was behind the barrier was now sealed off from discovery. Was it a gate to another Nexus? Was it just a new gate? Was it a fledgling Nexus? No-one could tell, but the trans-dimensional effects generated by the unleashed energies impacted the Antares Nexus exactly as the Isorians feared and around the Nexus gates shifted position, some rising or lowering in the photosphere, others closing entirely, whilst a very few, long-lost gates opened to systems in the distant past.
Antares was in chaos, on the brink of another collapse. Xan Tu’s expedition had failed, though the IMTel did not – could not – find him accountable for his failure.
Despite the XIlos expedition’s failure due to the interference of other factions, Xan Tu retained his reputation as the handler of existential threats. When the Chryseis Locus reared its ugly head, Xan Tu was immediately despatched to deal with the situation. Rather than confront those already in place, he coasted round the system running extensive scans before settling on the tortured world of Chryseis 1 as the initial source of the locus – the Origin. The Concord under Kamrana Josen were in orbit around Chryseis 2, having apparently faced Freeborn under Batu Delhren and then – mysteriously – allied with him, the bearer of another, hostile nanosphere.
But Xan Tu’s IMTel stressed neither the Concord nor the Delhren could be trusted. Ignoring the Concord and Freeborn, the Isorians sent a ground crew to examine the ruined locus and extract samples of its dead nanospore. The information from the dead locus was illuminating and Xan Tu moved on to Chryseis 3, ignoring the burgeoning conflict between the Ghar, Algoryn, and the Concord and Freeborn: the devastation the Concord received at the hands of the Algoryn was to be encouraged, after all, even if the Algoryn were to subsequently abandon their attacks on the Concord in preference of assaults on the Ghar. It seemed much of the chaos was caused by the insidious infiltration of the Chryseis Shard itself and its ability to subvert and convert the drones and probes of those it encountered.
Xan Tu’s ships were mostly helpless bystanders as the Concord and Freeborn explored Chryseis 3: they were too few to get involved, especially with the hostile nanospheres of the Concord and Batu Delhren, the polluting technology of theGhar, and the dangerously invasive nanites of the Chryseis Shard, itself. Xan Tu tracked the expedition and analysed the samples they had already taken, determining that no linkage could be made with the dangerous Chryseis Shard: the needed to be returned to Isor.
Xan Tu remained near the Determinate as news came of another threat: the loss of contact of systems to the north of the Determinate and along the Northern Interface. To start with, Xan Tu surreptitiously (to his mind) approached his intelligence sources, including the privateer Taras Kalemon and the Freeborn House Isoptix, long Isorian allies. But solid data was scarce so scout ships were sent to the lost systems.
What the ships found was astounding. Far from the dead nanosphere they encountered with the Chryseis shard, the nanospore in every system affected was dormant, simply dying from lack of use, power and maintenance, the cause of the decaying and dying nanosphere being a complete lack of IMTel-linked inhabitants in each system, whether drone or human. Outlying orbitals had been partially dismantled, stripped of much of their raw materials, and spaceships drifted, dead, holes and devastation punched through their hulls by what seemed to be Isorian weaponry. Even Freeborn vessels were adrift, their defences against IMTel infestation apparently useless.
Appalled and confused at what they had found – or rather, not found – the scout ships quickly returned to report that, in each system, Isorian life had been wiped out, apparently by other Isorians! Shards from the Senatex may occasionally split off, but they could normally be easily pulled back into the comforting embrace of the Isorian IMTel. Here, though, there was nothing but silence and the death of a nanosphere.
Eventually, Xan Tu’s intelligence pointed to the passage of the huge TOR 563 and he gathered a small fleet to intercept the ancient wreck at Taskarr. When he arrived, Xan Tu found the battered remnants of a Concord fleeet, the ships under fire from Ghar weapons on the TOR and from their own ships. Xan Tu responded to a distress call from a Concord NuHu, Jai Galeyous, and destroyed the errant ship before withdrawing to a blockading position near the gate. To his surprise, the Concord moved to block Taskarr II, an ice-world with signs of a 4th Age civilisation and ferals.
The Concord were broadcasting their data in the clear, the information including images and scans of an unknown drone life-form. It was only when the IMTel unlocked an ancient archive was it determined that the life-form was the extinct Virai, now returned to Antares.
Then a privateer-cum-salvageer fleet arrived under command of Taras Kalemon, the fleet claiming the wreck of TOR 563 was theirs. The fleet ignored the warnings from the Ghar on the TOR and from the Isorian and Concord ships and moved to capture the ancient vessel. This forced the hand of the Senatex and Concord fleets as neither could allow the infection to board the privateer vessels, nor allow the TOR to escape, nor allow the pestilent Virai to survive.
If there is an imperative for a Virai NuFirst, it can be stated as ‘The hive must survive.’ Everything else is secondary. Sapient biological life refers to it simply as a survival instinct.Xan Tu, private notes for the Senatex IMTel
Fighting aboard the TOR was deadly, complicated by the presence of too many hostiles. Xan Tu focused his forces on finding and destroying the ship’s many power plants and control centres – a task in which he was indirectly assisted by the Concord but opposed by the Ghar and Virai already on board, and by the privateers. When shuttles and escape pods with no life signs on board began leaving the wreck, Xan Tu tracked them to the planet’s surface, reasoning that the Virai were escaping and attempting to seed the planet, some taking refuge in ancient arcologies.
Xan Tu sent down more units to the planet’s surface and to the arcologies to destroy the Virai, once more aided by the Concord doing likewise. But once more the fighting was hampered by elements of Ghar and privateers – the latter seeking to retrieve Virai technology and drones for their own purposes. Unsurprisingly, the conflict was deadly and despite Xan Tu’s best efforts, his troops could not confirm they had destroyed all the drones on the planet.
Then TOR 563 left, bulldozing its way through the blockade and into the Nexus. Xan Tu sent ships after it to track its movement, posted a watch on the system gate to prevent rogue ships leaving (also along with the Concord), and set up a small garrison on the planet, away from the Concord, but one given the same orders: destroy any Virai that appear.
Stats: Drone Commander Xan Tu
Xan Tu replaces a Drone Commander model in an Isorian Drone Commander unit in an Isorian Senatex force. He costs an extra 2pts and has the additional, special ability Ace 2 and, unsurprisingly, Co 10. His entry and stats are as stated in the Isorian Army List.