Notable Military Force

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Deepreef Pirates

Tau faction
Notable Military Force

The Deepreef Pirates (officially the An’Thean T’au faction) are a little-known sect who have established an improbable base of operations in the Deepreef Confluence. Why they should wish to inhabit this region is unclear, as are their general motivations. Their only diplomatic relations are with the Brightsword Protectorate; to the Imperium they are a small-scale local menace but the utter inaccessibility and natural danger of the Confluence leaves the Admiralty unwilling to commit valuable deep-space ships to likely destruction.

Deepreef armour is an unusual (for T’au, at least) pattern of pink and black, which imitates the markings of the bizarre an-atmospheric flatwings which populate the larger asteroids in the Confluence.

Outside of the Brightsword Protectorate, the Deepreefers are virtually unheard-of within the T’au empire. In lower echelons of Protectorate society it is speculated that they are in fact members of the Protectorate, and that they are carrying out tasks so controversial that the Brightsword leadership needs to maintain plausible deniability. Naturally, this is routinely denied.

What is not denied, however, is the strong military alliance between Brightsword and Deepreef forces. The Deepreefers regularly send auxiliary support to Brightsword engagements, and have on more than one occasion turned a desperate situation into glorious victory. The two factions are known to conduct joint military training exercises and Deepreef officers are frequently seconded to Brightsword facilities to enhance their education in warfare. This has given rise to further rumours that the Protectorate routinely supplies warriors to the Deepreef cadre. Again, these rumours are swiftly quashed.

Outside of their support for the Brightsword campaigns, the Deepreefers’ own military actions tend to be one-off raids on Imperial mining outposts, and swift attacks on freight caravans. These are somewhat unpredictable; their targets follow no obvious pattern and while bounty is generally taken from these strikes, the nature of the loot appears to be entirely random. Sometimes they will take highly-valuable stashes of unrefined iridium ore, other times they will cart off batches of waste slag. Neither Imperium nor T’au can match these ingredients to any plausible set of activities, which leads some of the more astute commentators on both sides to suggest that they are simply trying to discourage Imperial presence in the area.

There is no apparent ambition for empire-building among the Deepreefers. They are known to have established a handful of outposts on worlds in the vicinity of the Confluence. However, none of these worlds have any strategic value and the fact that they all have local feral populations (kroot, humans and so on), coupled with the unexplained presence of alien units in Deepreef forces, suggests that these are simply convenient recruiting stations rather than integral to the Deepreef objectives.

While the Deepreef commitment to their Brightsword kin is unquestionable, there is an element of soul-searching within the Brightsword leadership as to whether the Deepreef piracy is truly compatible with the Greater Good. However, their usefulness as an early-warning post, along with the exceptionally strong backing they have from the Brightsword military command, has made this a debate the Ethereals are content to sideline for the time being.