The air was thick and oppressive. The acrid taste of iron permeated her helmet’s respirator, heavy with a millennium of entropy. What could have befallen this place, wondered Shas’la Shu’to? A whole Gue’la sector deserted and left to rust like some long-sunken vessel. To the T’au, mankind’s primitive architecture always seemed blunt and overbearing, but this was worse. It minded her of the desiccated cadaver of a hulking and impossibly vast leviathan; a rib-like maze of collapsing gantries and stanchions.
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Shas’nel D’yni looked around the hull of the Devilfish lander with quiet pride. The craft was destined for the heart of the ruined gue’la Sector and around her sat a handpicked team of her Infiltration Cadre’s bravest warriors.
The abandoned depot was a welcome shelter from the abrasive ruststorm that howled outside. The T’au vanguard had made camp amongst ancient manufactorum crates and now huddled together around the blue glow of their fusion-heaters. Hovering drones hummed and whirred around the perimeter, motes of dust dancing in their infrared beams. Shas’nel D’yini’s jaw was set sternly as she listened to the latest reports from her scouts.