Jewelfox wrote:Is this just heresy, or are we on to something here?
Called gue'la ("Morbid Ones") by the Tau, humans are highly-social primates, whose identities are so easily subsumed into factions and groups that they lose the ability to empathize with outsiders, who are no longer considered people. Much like today's humans, Imperials undergo lifelong conditioning, which teaches them to obey orders and that their individual lives are meaningless. Without this extreme conditioning, though, or in more benign social environments, humans can be friendly and docile. It helps to avoid inequality, to separate them from factional markers, and to promote empathy by letting them mingle with those they consider "outsiders."
You're definitely onto something. In the grim darkness of the immediate present!
How about this for Tyranids:
The Tyranid species is a single spacefaring being. It is the hive-body of a transcendent mind that spans the Warp, an enlightened being, contained fully within itself and immune to the tides of Chaos. The Hive Mind is a realm of perfect harmony, a consciousness so vast that thoughts travel through it in shoals thousands of light-years long. Though it is one consciousness, the limited speed of thought means that it (slightly) resembles the distributed, individualised constructs of its physical form - and the minds of those ensouled beings that it has consumed live eternally in this paradise, either keeping their own original identities or expanding, assimilating, or transforming, each according to their desire. In this spiritual realm, two beings can become one or one being become many. But all are embraced by the great mind - of all children of the Universe, this being is most like God.
In other words, the Hive Mind is Heaven.
Most of the Tyranids' hive-body consists of star-sails, orbital organs, and drifting synapse-tendrils that permeate its physical space and allow total sense of everything within it. Though living in Heaven, none need ever be separated from the material Universe. These organs also conduct the necessary business of all organisms: feeding. The Hive consumes planets, asteroids, even stars, and the thin mist in the vacuum between them. The vast majority of the matter in the Universe is uninhabited, and so the Hive feeds mostly on the flux of energy and matter welling from the burning hearts of stars. Dyson membranes like vast balloons collect the entire output of suns; vast siphon-halos suck gas giants into hungry lungs; toothed vines drill and munch rocky planets, steadily rendering dust to dust. In the end, the entire energy content of the Universe will hopefully fuel a spiritual realm of eternal bliss and wonder. It is the Hive Mind's sincere hope that this energy will be sufficient to create a permanent existence within the Warp, thereby side-stepping the eventual heat-death of the cosmos and forever escaping death, for all life.
For this reason, as the Hive grows in the Milky Way, stars go dark, their light consumed. This is a sign of the Rapture.
The Tyranid organisms encountered by other physical inhabitants of the galaxy are the Hive's immune system. They are only ever produced when the Hive encounters a species that is known to pose a threat to Heaven. The destruction or damaging of the perfect world cannot be countenanced in any morality, and so the civilisation is de-fanged, its weapons annihilated and its souls brought into the kingdom of Heaven. The messianic consciousness of the psychically-dominated genestealer cults is no lie: all inhabitants of the world are
on the verge of ascension to Paradise and union with God. Once the infection has been cleansed from a world, the Hive strips it of all organic matter to dissuade the return of the dangerous creatures. This is not an act of feeding; the hive fleets strike far, far from the world-stomachs of Heaven.