Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Wurrshuv's Revenge - Week 7

Wurrshuv's Revenge - An ATT Campaign 

Week 7 

Across the entire theatre of operations being fought over on M-88, the wilderness has been reshaped overnight by the onset of the planet's Lake Season. A naturally occurring phenomenon brought on by M-88's axial tilt, the arrival of the Lake Season to the warzones has brought with it vast amounts of rainfall and spectacular thunderstorms. In virtually every sector a sprawling network of seasonal lakes, ponds and waterways has sprung up across the surface as the rains pool on the ground, and much of the terrain not submerged has been turned to mud by the moisture. Animal life has flocked to the theatre in abundance as M-88's migratory fauna gather in their pursuit of the seasonal water. The change in weather has brought with it new opportunities and challenges for both belligerents. 

In space the Tau fleet has regrouped after its disastrous hunter-killer operations in the outer reaches of the system, and the Air Caste admirality has decided to focus entirely on protecting the Tau reinforcement convoys and intercepting Ork Roks, determining that their resources at present are insufficient to make any further attempts at driving the Orks out of the system. Though Tau warships continue to see success in destroying incoming Ork Roks and driving Freeboota commerce raiders away from the reinforcement convoys, they face constant pressure in the face of seemingly limitless numbers of Ork spacecraft. 

Situation Updates - All Sectors 


The storms of the Lake Season has given the Tau forces embattled in the He'Sho Seas a much needed respite against Ork air-power, and under the cover of the poor flying conditions and low visibility in the skies flights of Mantas have risked the gauntlet of Ork air defences to reach the Tau foothold in the region. Losses have been high, with several Mantas downed by Intacepta Rokkits after being tracked by Ork Sensa arrays, but with the threat of air-to-air interception reduced more Mantas have been able to reach the Tau forces in the He'Sho Seas, delivering much-needed supplies and equipment to the hard-pressed cadres. 

Manpower remains elusive however, especially as the mercenaries and allies recruited for the He'Sho Seas operation continue to desert in numbers to escape the prices Wurrshuv has placed on their heads. The Orks besieging the Tau in the He'Sho Seas, in contrast, continue to see their numbers bolstered by an influx of mercenaries and bounty-hunters seeking to claim the fortunes Wurrshuv has promised anyone who can provide him with the bodies of his enemies, and these newly arrived agents have taken many Tau commanders in the region off-guard. Recognising the danger of their situation, the Tau forces have begun probing for weak areas in the Ork lines, desperate for any opportunity they might be able to exploit. 

Ork Points: 83 
Tau Points: 17 


The onset of the Lake Season has wreaked havoc on Ork logistics, particularly in the roadways of the Mo'Hav Plains. Heavy rainfall and the seasonal waterways of the region have left many roads washed out or flooded, and much of the unpaved Ork roadways have been reduced to mud. Those Ork roads with paved surfaces, including the two critical transit arteries of 'Iway Sixty-Un and Root Sixty-Six, have continued to operate largely unimpeded, but even with the recent upgrade efforts these roadways represent the minority. The Ork tanka and krawla superheavy transports have been able to traverse the muddy water-choked wilderness without interruption, being designed to operate over rough terrain, but the remaining operational roadways are insufficient for the vast numbers of wheeled Ork vehicles moving through the region, leaving the paved roads congested with Ork traffic. With all factors considered, it is estimated that the Ork road network, and the Ork logistics capability tied to it, has been reduced to 40% of its peak. 

As the Orks become bogged down by the changing weather, the Tau forces have struck and achieved one of their most remarkable victories so far in the conflict. Frustrated with the indecision plaguing the Tau coalition command, Shas'el Kiv'rai'ka'nan and Shas'O'Tash'var Len'Li have taken matters into their own hands. Withdrawing their troops from areas in the northern Or'vesa region, the two commanders have taken their troops south and then launched a surprise attack into the Mo'Hav Plains from the neighbouring Saal'vesa training grounds. The combined offensives have taken the Orks by surprise, and the two Tau forces have managed to establish a secure enough foothold to begin raiding the Ork supply lines. These raids have met with great success so far, seeing one Soopa-Tanka destroyed by massed Tracer Missile fire and a second Soopa-Tanka immobilised by Tau attacks. Shas'el Kiv'rai'ka'nan is already taking measures to exploit this success by preparing ambushes around the disabled Soopa-Tanka with which to trap Ork forces sent to recover it. 

To ensure mission success, Shas'O'Tash'var Len'Li approached Enclave Command directly in order to requisition the services of Covert Ops Team 24-C, the illustrious Gue'vessa special forces team aligned with the Enclaves. The actions of the Gue'vessa operatives were instrumental in the Tau victories in this region, performing crucial reconnaissance and intelligence-gathering ahead of the offensive and feeding information on major Ork convoy routes to Len'Li and his forces. It is unknown at this time whether Covert Ops Team 24-C is still active in the Mo'Hav Plains, or if they have been recalled by Enclave Command to other areas. 

As they advance into the Mo'Hav Plains, the Tau have encountered scenes of desolation, witnessing the extent of the ecological destruction wrought by the Orks. Airborne pollutants from Ork industry in the neighbouring regions of the He'Sho Seas and Wurrshuv's Krunch has induced torrents of acid rain in the Mo'Hav Plains, and water mixes with open cesspits and dumping grounds to produce a thick oily sludge of toxic waste. Wildlife migrating to the region has been killed in droves, hunted down by ravenous Squigs and Snotlings or dying in agony after ingesting poisonous Orkoid fungi. 

Although they have reestablished a Tau presence in the Mo'Hav Plains and struck a blow at the Ork logistics chain, the two Tau offensives now face many challenges in the days ahead. Acting without support from the wider Tau coalition on M-88 has left the Tau cadres operating unsupported and in isolation, and their axis of advance has left them vulnerable to counter-attacks by armies from the Ork staging grounds around Test Range Ekko. Len'Li and Kiv'rai'ka'nan have established contact with one another and are currently seeking to link up their forces in order to better secure their foothold in Ork territory and coordinate the next stage of their offensive, while the ATT Shas'ar'tol discusses possible options for exploiting it...

Ork Points: 78 
Tau Points: 22 

Wurrshuv's Krunch - ORK CONTROLLED 

The arrival of the Lake Season has complicated matters for the Orks in the air. Most of the Ork aircraft lack the equipment for effective all-weather performance, which has left the bulk of the Ork aircraft grounded due to poor flying conditions. Nonetheless, particularly skilled and daring Ork pilots have continued to brave the deteriorating weather and continue to perform combat operations in the airspace above M-88. Without sophisticated sensors and avionics, these Ork pilots must rely on their skill and wits alone as they navigate the furious storms and shrouding rain clouds. Many have been killed in mid-air collisions or crashes, but those who survive have become tenacious experts known to the Orks as 'Stormridaz', learning quickly to judge the treacherous conditions against their own instincts and the capabilities of their aircraft. Regardless of whether they live or die, the Ork pilots agree on one thing - flying in the stormy weather can be one of the most exhilarating experiences and spectacles an Ork flyboy can ever encounter. 

On the ground, the Ork forces have recieved a welcome boost in the form of the infamous Big Mek Gurgit and his elite Cybork warbands. A well-known menace in Imperial space, Gurgit has arrived on M-88 and pledged his allegiance to Wurrshuv in return for a modest share of the spoils to be found on M-88. Gurgit's Cybork warriors are a formidable force, and Gurgit himself is highly intelligent, providing Wurrshuv with a force able to operate effectively on its own initiative. 

The Ork superheavy walker production continues to proceed smoothly, with ever-larger numbers of Stompas supplementing the large numbers of Gunfortresses and Battlefortresses permeating the Ork forces and their fleets of smaller war machines. The first full-scale Gargants to be constructed on M-88 are expected to come online within a matter of weeks if not days. 

In addition to continued Spekta activity and airstrikes where possible, the Orks have begun employing another method to disrupt the Tau forces - mines. Ork artillery positioned in the Krunch area has begun firing enormous numbers of scatterable mines into Tau territory, while further minefields have been formed deeper in Tau-held areas by air-deployed mines dispensed by Ork aircraft braving the Lake Season's weather. Large tracts of land in the Tau rear echelons and forward operating areas have been seeded with dense Ork minefields, and the areas mined are expanding. It has been noted that the mine deployments are concentrated in those areas now covered by Tau counter-stealth sensor arrays, which has presented Tau units travelling through the wilderness of M-88 with a deadly fork - attempt to navigate the highly-destructive Ork minefields or risk being ambushed by Spekta mobs. 

Ork Points: 100 
Tau Points: 0 

Note: Due to heavy Ork defences and overwhelming numbers of Orks in the area, Tau players may not report games in this region. 

"S'like nuff'n in yer wildest dreamz. Dere'z loadsa funda an' loightnin, it crashez throo da sky in ded big crakl'n wavez dat light up da sky fer miles, and it boomz louda dan da biggest gun ya can imagine. It'z ded dark, sumtimez almost pitch blak, an' da only loit is from da loitnin an yer flight gubbinz. Da wind roarz and howlz like a million Boyz charge'n inta battle, an' it frows ya 'round like da hand 'o' Gork 'imself! It'z real easy ta smash inta anuva Flyboy when yer up dere, an' it'z real 'ard ta see da Grey Gitz, but dat don't matta. Ya can die at any time up dere, but when ya don't, ya never feel more alive!" 

- Gragblitza da Stormrida, Flyboy ace, on flying in M-88's thunderstorms 

Training Ground Saal'vesa - TAU CONTROLLED

In contrast to their successes in the east, the Tau have recently suffered one of their worst defeats in the conflict in the Saal'vesa training grounds. In their pursuit of the retreating Orks, the ATT 'Orbit' Battlesuit cadres deployed on M-88 managed to advance to within a few Tor'kan of the border with Wurrshuv's Krunch. There they deployed in anticipation of diverting and ambushing a large contingent of Orks centred around a large mobile oil platform, similar to those encountered by the Tau over a month ago. Tau intelligence suggested this force to be of critical importance to the Ork offensive efforts. 

Initially the battle went well, with the ATT 'Orbit' Battlesuit cadres crippling much of the Ork's heavy armour and scattering the Greenskins into the surrounding hills where they were eliminated by Stealth team ambushes and Tau airstrikes. It was not until after these warbands were defeated that Wurrshuv's true designs were revealed - the Tau intelligence had been mislead by Ork deception, and the ATT 'Orbit' cadres now found themselves in the jaws of an enormous Ork trap. Far from being a high-value target, the Ork contingent and mobile oil platform were merely decoys intended to draw the Tau forces out of hiding and into kill-zones prepared by the Orks. 

Operating in areas long-since ranged in by the Greenskins, the once victorious ATT 'Orbit' Battlesuit cadres quickly turned from hunter to hunted as they were caught in a cataclysmic barrage from Ork artillery within the Krunch region, where it would be protected from Tau attack. Tau analysts estimate that the Orks have managed to mass enough artillery pieces along the Krunch border to be able to obliterate everything inside 16 square Tor'kan with each fire mission, and this terrifying firepower was put to lethal effect as the Ork guns hammered the trapped Tau. Entire hills, mined with explosives by Ork Sappaz prior to the Tau arrival, were detonated to supplement the carnage, and the ATT 'Orbit' forces were left devastated by the onslaught. 

The final element in the Ork trap came from a force of Ork armoured units, many of them veterans of the battle of Firty-Sevin Orking, which was able to smash past Tau forces en-route to the Mo'Hav Plains before swinging northwards and cutting off the stricken Tau formations. Only a quick breakout action by the surviving ATT 'Orbit' cadres prevented a complete slaughter, but the Tau have been forced to withdraw nonetheless, and have suffered staggering casualties. Many of the 'Orbit' formations have been completely annihilated, including the 132nd, 93rd, 22nd and 115th 'Orbit' cadres, while the remainder have suffered casualty rates as high as 95%. A large number of the surviving elements have been folded into the 155th 'Orbit' cadre, itself suffering 70% casualties after the Ork counterattack, in order to restore it to full combat strength.

Perhaps the greatest blow, however, has been to the narrative the Tau have created from the Saal'vesa training grounds. The Water Caste correspondents sent in to cover the victorious actions of the ATT cadres found themselves trapped alongside the Fire Caste warriors, recording the entire tragedy in real-time. Images of the burning wrecks of ATT battlesuits and vehicles, screaming maimed casualties and the elite forces of the ATT 'Orbit' cadres in full retreat have sent shockwaves through the Tau Empire, with many observers in the questioning the efficacy of the Tau leadership in the wake of such a catastrophic loss, with Water Caste media channels struggling to contain the damage. 

Ork Points: 28 
Tau Points: 72 

"We'z kunnin, we'z can make trapz wiff bait too ya know, stoopid Grey Gitz..." 

- Warboss Ogthug, prior to the onset of the Saal'vesa ambush

Training Centre Or'vesa - TAU CONTROLLED

The balance of power in the Or'vesa region has once again tipped in favour of the Tau with the arrival of fresh Tau forces in the region. Drawn up from many of the lesser known colonies such as Kel'lys, these new contingents have brought with them a fresh set of eyes to the conflict, and have managed to catch the Orks flatfooted as they struggle to adjust to these new arrivals. Results have been gained in a number of small-scale engagements in the Or'vesa region as the Tau attempt to secure their communications networks, with the most notable clash seeing a small force of Fire Warriors defend a damaged telemetry station long enough for heavier reinforcements to drive off the marauding Greenskins. The telemetry station has since been dismantled and relocated by the Earth Caste. 

Though they may be innovative, these troops are still green and largely unproven. They will need to learn fast if they are to survive in the merciless crucible of war that the Or'vesa region has become. Already the Orks of the Northern Raiders are beginning to readjust and prepare major counter-offensives against the Tau positions. Unlike their compatriots to the south, the Northern Raiders have been less affected by the Lake Season, as their forces include larger numbers of walkers that are better able to negotiate the wet and muddy terrain. The Snakebites fighting in the north are particularly notable here, with their entire logistics system built on the use of pack animals that are fully unconstrained by the change in weather, allowing the Snakebite warbands to continue fighting with full effect. 

Ork Points: 35
Tau Points: 65


The change in weather brought on by the Lake Season has given the Tau an advantage in the air, with the sophisticated avionics present on all Tau aircraft enable them to operate to full effect in any conditions, and so the meagre handful of remaining operable Tau aircraft have begun to lend what support they can, flying from hidden airfields hastily established after the destruction of the Tau airbases on M-88. They still face a critical shortage of numbers however, and can do little more than attempt air-denial actions against the ever-present Ork fighta-bommers. Each sortie flown also runs the risk of them being traced back to their hidden operating base by lurking Spektas. Already a considerable number of the aircraft committed to supporting Tau actions in the south have been destroyed on the ground by Spekta raids, and the latest figures indicate there is now less than one Air Cadre's worth of operable aircraft remaining in the Saal'vesa region. 

In a startling development, the Guards Cadres on M-88 have once again been activated by the ATT Shas'ar'tol, and this time have been mobilised to forward positions in the Empire Sector on full alert. It is unknown at this time what designs the ATT Shas'ar'tol has planned for such a formidable fighting force, and rumours abound as to their intended mission. This has contributed to an overall air of electrified anticipation amongst the Tau on M-88 that something major is on the horizon... 

Ork Points: 0
Tau Points: 100

Note: Due to the extensive Tau defence networks in place within this region, Ork players may not report games in this territory.

Ork Campaign Points: 4 
Tau Campaign Points: 4 


TO: All Tau and Auxiliary units deployed to M-88 
AUTHOR: ATT Coalition Command 
SUBJECT: Lake Season Field Guide 


As you will undoubtedly be aware by now, M-88's Lake Season has now reached the theatre of operations we are engaged in. The ATT Shas'ar'tol is aware that many of you will be new to M-88 and will thus have no experience of the Lake Seasons that many of its biomes undergo. As an extra measure to help familiarise you with these new environmental conditions, the ATT Shas'ar'tol has compiled the following report to guide you on some of the important factors you will encounter.  


As you may be able to gather from its common name, the Lake Season is primarily characterised by greatly increased levels of moisture. Typically many of the biomes on M-88 experience a hot dry climate during the warmer seasons, but the cooler temperatures afforded by the planet's axial tilt in the Lake Season enable moisture in the atmosphere to condense at much greater levels than usual. The result of this is a dramatic increase in precipitation, with affected environments experiencing as much as a 400% increase in rainfall during this period. Heavy and violent rain is extremely common during the Lake Season, and rain storms can last for many Decs. 

The changing temperatures also affect air pressure, which in turn leads to violent storm systems occurring during the Lake Season. High windspeeds are a common characteristic of most regions of M-88 at any point in the Tau'cyr, but cases of extreme wind increase considerably during the Lake Season, and it is common to encounter spectacular thunderstorms during this period. Such systems have been observed to feature wind speeds in excess of 250 tor'kan per dec. Lightning discharges are also frequent. These storms are most common at night, when the lower temperatures destabilise air pressure conditions further. 

Naturally combat operations during these storms are extremely challenging. The gale-force winds encountered can greatly affect the stability and flight-paths of our skimmer vehicles and jetpack-equipped units in flight, while the heavy rainfall can reduce visibility in the visual spectrum (something that is further compounded by nocturnal darkness, given that many storms happen at night). It should however be noted that the considerably cooler ambient temperatures make concentrated sources of heat stand out more, enhancing the detection range of our thermographic imaging sensors. 

Aerial operations are particularly at risk during these storms, as the dense clouds and extreme wind-speeds present serious hazards to aircraft and aerospace craft flying through them. Changes in wind direction can be very frequent and sudden, requiring considerable attention from a pilot to compensate. Visibility is often extremely low. The advanced avionics incorporated into our aircraft can mitigate many of the dangers faced, but pilots should remain highly alert and extremely cautious if they are to survive flying through such storms. 

Commanders active in the theatre of operations on M-88 are advised to avoid combat operations during high-intensity storms wherever possible, and should use extreme caution when fighting in particularly powerful storms. Commanders should also pay keen attention to meteorological reports and keep alert for any incoming storm fronts. 

Surface Conditions 

The immense precipitation of the Lake Season collects on the surface of the affected biomes, resulting in the distinctive seasonal water features that give the season its common name. In many biomes on M-88 the soil features low drainage qualities, which in turn results in a low saturation threshold. Once the underlying earth has become fully saturated, further moisture pools on it, and this accumulated water is then channelled and shaped by the geographical contours of the land into an intricate network of ponds, lakes and warterways across the surface of the biomes. 

These waterways are entirely seasonal, and as the Lake Season comes to an end these water features will recede and vanish as they are evaporated or finally seep through the soil into the network of subterranean lakes and waterways that run underneath much of M-88's landmass, where the water will then make its way back to the planet's seas. During the Lake Season, however, the features can be truly astonishing. Virtually overnight the surfaces is completely transformed from an expanse of dry plains and savannah into a vast labyrinth of rivers, streams and ponds that run between the ponds and lakes, and the lakes and rivers can reach enormous size. 

In the ground area that is not completely submerged during the Lake Season, the large quantities of moisture turns much of the soil into mud, and virtually all unsealed pathways are rendered unusable. The tall grasses that cover much of the biomes affected by the Lake Season continues to grow during this period, and can often conceal areas of deep mud. Such 'grass paddys' can be treacherous to personnel on foot, and caution is advised when traversing them. As a rule of thumb, areas of ground near trees tend to be the most solid, as the underlying system of tree roots helps to provide an anchor for footing. 

These surface conditions present an array of tactical opportunities for forces on the ground. The extremely muddy ground and extensive waterways provide a significant obstacle to wheeled vehicles, which are highly likely to become trapped in mud or lost in waterways if they lack sufficient fording capability. It should however be noted that tracked vehicles and mechanised walkers are less affected by such terrain, as are organic beasts of burden. Naturally our skimmers and jetpack equipped units are able to move completely independently of these terrain features, affording Tau forces operating on M-88 a significant mobility advantage. However, caution should be taken when operating over water features, as the turbine engines used on our skimmer vehicles and in jetpacks are incapable of functioning if they inhale too much water. If a skimmer engine or jetpack unit suffers engine failure while submerged, it must be restarted within 45 rai'kan or else engine flooding will render it inoperable. 

Commanders on the ground should also take care when selecting locations to establish a base-camp, as lower ground is susceptible to being flooded. Permanent installations are typically constructed on high enough ground to avoid this, but temporary operating bases in the field, which can be established in any space that's open enough, may not be as fortunate. 


As well as the climate and terrain features, the Lake Season is characterised by a dramatic increase in the numbers of local wildlife present in the biome. Much of the native animal life on M-88 is migratory, with many organisms spending their lives travelling across the planet in pursuit of the Lake Season and the water it brings with it. Like all carbon-based ecosystems, water is an essential life-sustaining resource for the organisms on M-88, and while most plant-life on the planet has evolved to access the network of waterways that run underground, this water is generally inaccessible to animal life on the surface (this is in contrast to the parallel ecosystem of lifeforms that live in the subterranean waterways and lakes, but these creatures are extremely unlikely to be encountered by our forces in the field). Thus, the Lake Season is a key source of water for many species of animal. 

As with many ecosystems, the key foundation for much of the food-chain in these Lake Season biomes is invertebrate life, and the Lake Season is characterised with teeming numbers of insects and arachnids as well as molluscs and soft-bodied organisms. As an adaptation to survive in the extreme dry conditions of other seasons, most species of invertebrate in these biomes have developed the ability to enter a state of anhydrobiosis or alternatively will lay microbial cysts rather than conventional eggs. Both these microbial cysts and adult invertebrates undergoing this anhydrobiosis can remain dormant in the soil or tree hollows for many kai'rotaa or even multiple Tau'cyr, only returning to activity when moisture levels reach a suitable level to sustain life. When conditions become wet enough, the microbial cysts will gestate and hatch into new larvae or nymphs, which emerge from the soil and tree hollows alongside revived adult arthropods in vast numbers. Such displays of life emerging en-mass from the landscape can be astonishing sights, and a strong illustration of how the Lake Season is the catalyst for life in many parts of M-88. 

The arthropods themselves take on all the varieties one might expect of a typical life-sustaining planet. Many species are winged, and are able to fly great distances in search of new feeding grounds or mating areas. A large number are solitary travellers, but several species are highly social and travel across the wilderness in gigantic swarms. Many more species are aquatic, spending their entire life within the seasonal water features of the Lake Season and returning to the soil in a dormant state when the lakes and waterways dry up. Others are land-based or arboreal. Dietary patterns also cover the typical range of ecological niches. Herbivorous species feed on growing plant life or the algae that grows in the seasonal water features, carnivorous species feed on the herbivores, omnivorous species feed on both, and scavengers feed on deceased organisms. 

Though the arthropods present in the environment will be encountered in large numbers, very few pose any serious danger to personnel active on the ground. The Grass Spider is an excellent example of this, as despite it's formidable appearance and large size (easily being one of the largest species of arachnid on M-88, with many examples growing to be the size of an adult Shas's hand and some specimens recorded as being up to twice that size) the creatures are largely docile herbivores. The Red Tree Hornet is one notable exception, as this species can deliver multiple extremely painful stings which Tau can develop deadly allergens to. The predatory Lake Scorpions, which feed on other invertebrates, are another hazard to be cautious of, as their venom is fatal to adult Tau if medical attention is not administered immediately. The amphibious Hunter-Killer Millipedes frequently encountered are voracious predators and highly aggressive, but do not pose a serious health risk as they are non-venomous. relying instead on swift blows to vital nervous areas with their front claws in order to incapacitate their prey. Thus, while they can deliver a painful bite, they are incapable of incapacitating an organism the size of a Tau. The River Snail and its closely-related cousin the Reed Snail, while not arthropods, are nonetheless a health risk as they secrete a deadly poison when threatened, but this will only harm another animal if it is absorbed through the skin or ingested. 

The Lake Season is also a time of peak activity for the local populations of Citadel Crawlers. These highly social insects are a well-known species amongst Tau who have visited M-88, as the distinctive thick-walled colony structures that give them their name are marvels of natural engineering. Citadel Crawlers can be frequently encountered roaming the wilderness in columns numbering in the hundreds of thousands as they seek out new sources of food and water and extract clay from the soil with which to build and expand their colonies. As Tau who have trained in Lake Season biomes on M-88 will know, such colonies can grow to enormous proportions, the largest sprawling across dozens of tor'lek and rising slightly taller than an adult Shas, housing millions of the diminutive creatures. The clay-based compounds Citadel Crawlers construct their colonies with are surprisingly resilient, and Shas have observed that the average Colony or 'Citadel' is sturdy enough to withstand repeated impacts from small-arms fire, though they will offer little protection from heavy weapons. Commanders should also note that Citadel Crawler Colonies are always constructed in areas that see little to no flooding. 

Outside of the invertebrates, avian life is the next most commonly encountered form of animal in Lake Season biomes. Birdlike forms are particularly well-suited to the migratory patterns practised by most larger animal life in the Lake Season biome, able to travel great distances at speed by flying on the strong wind currents that naturally occur on M-88. As a result a vast number of bird species will likely be encountered in the field. These species are largely harmless to Tau, with many fleeing from the presence of Tau or artificial machinery, and others hiding. Only the larger apex predators such as the Wyvern Roc and Corsair Raptor will aggressively challenge passing Tau, and while these powerfully built species can inflict considerable harm on the unprepared, instances of this happening are rare. Many species feed on the abundant invertebrate life found in the Lake Season, while others prey on smaller bird species. Others still are herbivorous seed or nectar-feeders, and several species of plant in the Lake Season biome have evolved to be pollinated by birds. 

Mammal and reptile life is the rarest encountered in the Lake Season biome, as most of these creatures lack the capacity to travel the enormous distances required to pursue the Lake Season across M-88 , and are too complex to undergo the same anhydrobiosis that protects the invertebrates. There has been some fossil evidence to suggest that reptilian and mammal life was much more common in the very distant past, but the majority of this life appears to have not survived to modern times on M-88. It is theorised that much of this life was lost in a mass extinction event related in some way to the drying of the He'Sho Seas, but this has yet to be conclusively proven. In any event mammals and reptiles appear very infrequently in the Lake Season biome, and are unlikely to be encountered in the field. The enormous Plains Nomads are a notable exception, having developed a number of adaptations for long-distance travel (most notably storing water in several deposits along their flanks). Growing to almost twice the size of a Hammerhead or Skyray gunship, these immense mammals spend their entire lives travelling across the landscape of M-88 in large family herds following the Lake Season, and rarely stay in one place for long. Their immense size means they can crush a Tau with ease, and herds will stampede if provoked, but in most situations the creatures are extremely gentle, being entirely herbivorous in nature. If the situation calls for it, Plains Nomads are able to be domesticated for use as pack animals with some time and care. 

Freshwater Lake and River serpents are also likely to be encountered, and are another notable exception. These serpents hibernate underground outside of the Lake Season, and inhabit the seasonal water features where they ambush larger prey as it attempts to drink from them. Virtually all species are venomous with varying levels of toxicity to Tau, and should be avoided or approached with caution. 

Finally, it should be noted that all animal life in the Lake Season biome has evolved a high degree of sensitivity to the environmental changes leading up to heavy storms, and will immediately seek shelter when they sense an incoming storm. If you are unable to access meteorological data or atmospheric sensors, taking note of the sudden absence or exodus of wildlife is an extremely reliable way of knowing that a storm is imminent, as any Tau who have undertaken ATT survival training courses on M-88 will know. 

Invasive Life

The Ores'la invaders have brought with them a number of foreign life-forms that have become introduced to the native ecosystems of M-88, where they have caused considerable damage and are now identified as invasive pests. The most common of these are the alien life-forms that the Ores'la are closely related to, including the animal order known as 'Squigs', the diminutive Ores'la cousins known as 'Snotlings' and the various species of fungi that act as the foundation for the Ores'la's own native ecosystem. Of these life-forms, the Squigs present the greatest danger to personnel in the field, as a large number of Squig species are aggressive predators and easily capable of maiming or killing a Tau with their enormously powerful fang-lined jaws. Other Squig species are tamer, but should still be approached with caution. It should be noted that while Squig flesh can be consumed in small quantities with proper cooking preparation, all species of Ores'la related fungi are completely inedible to Tau, and can cause serious health problems if ingested. 

In addition to those life-forms related to the Ores'la, several Ores'la tribes have introduced a number of serpent species into the environment. The main Ores'la to do this are those affiliated to the particularly primitive Ores'la subculture known as 'Snakebites', and it is believed that the Snakebite Ores'la cultivate these animals as pets and cultural totems. The serpents themselves can be from any one of a large range of species, and are classified by the Ores'la into a collection of loose categories based on physical characteristics. These categories are known to the Ores'la as 'Kobraz', 'Mambaz', 'Addaz', 'Vipaz' and 'Rattlaz'. Of these, Kobras and Mambas seem to be the most prized among the Ores'la, followed by Rattlaz. Regardless of their classification, all of these serpent species have evolved to successfully compete with Ores'la based life, which has made them extremely large, hardy and tenacious, powerful and incredibly venomous. Any of these introduced serpent species is fully able to kill an adult Shas in a matter of rai'kor with a single bite, and an attack by any of these species should be considered an extreme medical emergency. 

Microbial Life

Like many ecosystems, the Lake Season biome on M-88 is host to a vast array of microorganisms in addition to the complex life-forms typically observed. These microorganisms include strains of bacteria, fungi, yeasts and viruses in addition to similar varieties of single-celled life. Many of these microorganisms are commonly found in the soil, being dispersed by water during the Lake Season, and a large number can enter anhydrobiosis to survive dry periods outside the Lake Season. A number of these microorganisms can pose health risks to personnel in the field. 

One of the most common sources of disease during the Lake Season is the seasonal water features. The fresh water in the Lake Season biomes is home to a number of bacteria strains that, while harmless to the planet's native life (which has evolved a genetic immunity to them), can cause serious illness in Tau that ingest them, resulting in the condition commonly known as 'Lake Fever'. Common symptoms of Lake Fever include extreme fluctuations in body temperature, headaches, intense nausea (often leading to regurgitation), balance impairment, large quantities of nasal discharge and high levels of fatigue. Lake Fever is also contagious, and can be transmitted to others through contact with infected fluids or by sharing food and drink. Cases of Lake Fever are rarely fatal, and the disease is easily treated, but can be extremely debilitating while present. 

In addition to Lake Fever, another illness that can be contracted through ingesting local water is known as 'Mad Twitch Disease'. It is caused by a number of indigenous decomposer microorganisms that break down decaying matter in the local environment and can often contaminate water that an animal has died in or near. These microorganisms can cause serious damage if ingested, and are known to infect both native wildlife and unfortunate personnel. The disease itself is caused by the decomposer microorganisms colonising and attacking brain and nervous system, inflicting acute necrosis in these areas, as well as ocular tissue (typically after travelling along the optic nerve), and is always fatal if left untreated. Symptoms include dizziness and loss of motor functions, as well as loss of control of bodily functions (both caused by nerve damage), impaired vision, auditory and visual hallucinations and eventually loss of consciousness, all of which develop over the course of a few rotaa. Treatment is possible, but requires a lengthy recovery period. Mad Twitch Disease and Lake Fever are the two primary reasons why it is recommended to never drink local water that has not been properly filtered, regardless of how clean it may appear. If a body of water as an animal cadaver in or near it, water from it should not be consumed at all under any circumstances. 

As well as ingesting pathogens, the water in the Lake Season biome can also cause an immersion syndrome known as 'Pickle Hoof' (or 'Pickle Foot' amongst Gue'vessa who are also susceptible to the disease). Despite its name, Pickle Hoof can affect any digit, including the hands as well as hooves or feet, and is caused by a number of strains of parasitic yeast found in the water and mud in the Lake Season biome. These yeast strains can colonise open skin pores and multiply in appropriate conditions, at which point they begin to cause damage to tissue and hoof structure as they feed on the surrounding body. Typical symptoms include discolouration around the infected digit, and in Tau cases a softened hoof, which is often painful to walk on. Open sores are also common in all cases, and it is far from unheard of for flesh to become necrotic around the infection. The strains of yeast responsible are resistant to many forms of antibiotics, making treatment difficult (though still possible), however the illness is easily preventable by wearing waterproof undersuits that fully cover the hooves and regularly washing and exfoliating all digits after walking through water or mud in the field. 

A number of invertebrate species in the Lake Season biome on M-88 are parasitic and are known to feed on Tau. Though little more than a nuisance themselves, many of these parasites are vectors for a number of microorganisms that are pathogenic to Tau. The retroviral strains known as 'Red Blood Cell Virus' or RBCV types 1-4 are the most dangerous, with all being extremely complicated to treat and most being eventually fatal. All four strains of RBCV are also infectious, able to be transmitted through any kind of fluid exchange. Other less dangerous pathogens are also common. 

This concludes the field primer for operations in M-88's Lake Season. It should be noted that virtually all of the information contained in this guide, especially in the sections on wildlife and microbial life, are applicable to Gue'vessa as well as Tau. The Ores'la have not been observed to suffer any negative effects from native life, and it is believed that their exceptionally hardy physiology leaves them largely immune to any native pathogens. 

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