+ inload: Anatomy of the Enemy II: Janii [Guestpost by K0rdhai] +

+ Anatomy of the Enemy II: Janii +

+ I'm delighted to be able to exhibit a Janii on display today – one example of the weird and varied xenos encountered during the Alien Wars. +

+ This fantastic model was built and painted by Nicholas Tredidgo, who goes by the handle K0rdhal on Instagram. Check out K0rdhal's instagram here [+noosphericexloadlink embedded+] for some more strikingly imaginative and well-realised conversions, from Imperial Knights to daemon kings. +

+ He says 'if people want to make their own Janii, I would certainly encourage them and not be worried about stepping on my toes!' and I must confess to being keen to give one of these blue-skinned aliens a go myself. Perhaps I'll be able to get K0rdhal to give us a run-down of the build , and some notes on the great paintjob at some point in the future. +

+ In the meantime, thanks again for your wonderful contribution to the Alien Wars; now over to the meat of the inload. All of the good bits of the background text below are also his – you can blame the rest on me! +

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Betrayal is only a consideration, if one considers the betrayed an equal.
Inquisitor Willem Svrost, Ordo Xenos

+ First contact +

Aboriginal inhabitants of the southern reaches of what would later become the Segmentum Pacificus, the Janii are a xenos species that extended a long-lasting and relatively stable empire over more than a hundred star systems in the pre-Imperial era.

Imperial records are silent on the supposed first contact event, but second-hand copies of the xenos' own notoriously hard-to-decipher accounts (necessarily incomplete owing to their peculiar means of recording information) imply that the species has been in intermittent contact with isolated branches of humanity for thousands of years; the chronology dating well back into the Dark Ages of Technology.

+ Janii biology +

Physically intimidating, a typical bull is sturdy and robust, standing roughly eight foot to the shoulder. The Janii demonstrate bilateral symmetry; with a form of duplicated bicephaly that gives them a distinctive head shape, with what appears to human eyes as two distinct faces. Unsurprisingly, this gave rise to numerous unflattering slang terms amongst Imperial Guard and Navy forces: 'Bicos' and 'twinfreaks' to list two of the less obscene.

The 'brain' of a Janii is likewise partially divided, with a mutually shared section. This peculiar evolutionary trait is noted to have been common on the species' homeworld; and seems to have evolved as a survival trait that allowed individuals to rest while remaining partially alert – somewhat akin to the Astartes' catalepsean node. The organ is otherwise dissimilar to human brains, being a coral-like structure that extends throughout the creatures' hump.

The creatures' skin is typically loose, dry and smooth, dotted throughout with cuprous chromatophores that give it a bluish hue. In a healthy specimen, these are capable of emitting a faint bio-luminescence. 

The species is three-gendered, but the bull, kine and carriers are outwardly very similar in structure, making sileraioi courtship a subtle and complex affair that they never discuss openly.

Sileraioi evolved to breathe an almost inert 'air' of nitrogen, neon and other noble gasses, and fare poorly in human-tolerant envrionments. It is for this reason that they exclusively prefer orbital habitats or hermetic cities on planetary surfaces, where environments can be tailored to their specific needs.

+ Janii linguistics +

The Janii language is a considerable challenge for xeno-linguists to master, requiring significant study and augmetic modification. This is down to it consisting of two different ‘words’ spoken simultaneously, one by each ‘mouth’. Translation is possible but is convoluted to all but the most seasoned linguists.

As an illustration, the statement 'I am pleased to speak to you', would be vocalised as:
/Iemphasiser/ /amspeak/ /emphasiserpleased/ /toto/ /youclarifier/
The bracketed linguistic components are split evenly between mouths; alternating between the provision of syntactic operators; and quantifiers; with any non-paired elements being accompanied with coos and grunts from the 'off-mouth' to provide emphasis, direction or clarification. The effect is a bewildering stream of noise, with no gaps or pauses within statements. 

The Janii themselves are capable of speaking various Low Gothic dialects, though with considerable difficulty, often lapsing into their native mode of speaking and using two words simultaneously, leading to much confusion. Of particular interest to Inquisitorial-clearance readers: Janii have been encountered speaking proto-gothic languages, indicative of their encounters with Pre-Imperial Humanity.

+ Nomenclature +

Members of the species refer to themselves as /Varak-Koi/, meaning 'the people of two mouths/tongues'. However, the term Janii is a linguistic gloss used by the species to refer to its members during contact with humans and similar single-voiced groups.

Despite the potential for offence, many xenobiologists continue to use janii and sileraioi almost interchangeably; the latter term being more familiar to the Imperium owing to the events leading up to the Alien Wars. Xenolinguists make it clear that the use of sileraioi is rude to the point of insulting in a face-to-faces meeting, as the term applies specifically to a mercenary combat clade of the broader Janii Dominion. Seemingly of loose cultural morals, sileraioi translates loosely as 'those with small/stunted heads, whose tongues speak falsehood'.


+ Sileraioi technology +

A Sileraioi ground combat form is typically armoured in a robust carapace of hard plates incorporated into a thick rubber-like suit that provides excellent protection from ballistics, and limited atmospheric protection. Sileraioi are extremely vulnerable to radiation – likely a result of their homeworld's dim sun – and any exposed skin is routinely slathered in an unctuous lotion to protect them.

Portable charging plate for the microwave beam emitter
The crew of their void-vessels are up-armoured elites, whose suits are enclosing and allow them to fight in airless environments. During the height of the Alien wars, the majority of Janii forces encountered were wielding a mixture of microwave beams and more esoteric weaponry including electron displacers and the feared implosion lance. Since the losses of the Dominion's major industrial zones, Janii forces are now reliant on the more basic microwave beam emitters, though some capability to produce the more advanced weapon types, or substantial stored caches, remain.

The military as a whole is divided into several clades, each representing a sub-category of warfare such as naval, ground, or void combat, as well as other minor specialisms. Janii military as a whole is commonly referred to as the Lochos, which translates 'Those who speak of/bring death'. An exception to this structure are the Sileraioi, who ply their trade as mercenaries, and thus encompass all the clade specialisations. Though not well regarded in Janii society, their ultimate loyalty still lies to the Dominion. They are occasionally encountered today.

+ Rise and fall of a Dominion +

The Sileraioi's supposed homeworld is a dim and rocky moon that orbits a promethium-rich gas giant, itself slowly travelling around a dim brown star. The moon certainly once harboured a diverse web of life. It has since been terraformed and has been colonised as the Imperial Feral world of Dis.

The species achieved space flight sometime during the Dark Age of Technology, and expanded its holdings rimwards; seeking out the dimmest stars near the south-western halo regions. Preferring to seed gas giants with orbitals than land on rocky worlds – perhaps due to cultural taboos – the species and humanity unknowingly expanded alongside one another for a long time; perhaps millennia, before an seemingly accidental meeting occurred.

Xeno-archaeological remains of Janii Float-orbitals, recovered from the gravitic wells of gas giants in systems bordering the Veiled Region, indicate that at the height of the power the Janii Dominion encompassed approximately seven hundred systems. This zenith roughly falls in the centuries preceding the emergence of Old Night. Technological remains, and documents translated from this time indicate the Janii had large-scale atmospheric-manipulation capability and the resources to manufacture stellar megastructures (see Magos Kaive's seminal Treatise on the Ring Worlds of the Neiven Zone for further information).

The Sileraioi Dominion's high point saw it extend in a roughly L-shaped region of space that – owing to its lack of M-class stars and isolation – was of relatively little interest to many other star-faring species, humanity included. This undoubtedly contributed to its hidden expansion over the course of millennia.

Information on the pre-historical branch of humanity that the Janii claim contact with is infuriatingly vague; but it appears that the humans and Janii reached a non-aggression pact after some limited wars and border skirmishing. Janii envoys have even claimed that the two species worked together in a number of campaigns to combat ork and krell encroachment, but this is today regarded as black propaganda by the Imperium. In any case, the human empire died out during Old Night, leaving only tantalisingly vague hints as to its fate.

+ Old Night +

What little has been gleaned of the species' own pre-Imperial history, suggests that the Janii Dominion was reduced to their ancestral holdings in the veiled region of the Galactic East (an area known to Imperial Cartographers as the Shrouded Marche) during the Age of Strife – though whether this was a voluntary retreat or the result of emergent threats similar to those facing humanity at the time is unknown. A small but influential number of scholars have tentatively advanced the theory that the reduction in the Janii's holdings owed to cultural shock at seeing their allies brought to their knees. Best translation of the Janii's convoluted records suggests the species called this period 'A Retreat into the Mists'.

Best estimates of the Dominion’s holdings are estimated to shrunk to fewer than fifty star systems at this point, remaining this way until the Great Crusade was underway.



+ The Great Crusade +

The species became known to the Imperium in the closing years of the Great Crusade – or 'The Age of Reclamation' to the Janii – although no large-scale xenocidal campaigns, or even contact, are on record. It is possible that this is because the species met with one of the Traitor Legions – and thus the records have been redacted – but it is more likely that the cobweb-thin nature of intergalactic empire meant that the Expeditionary Fleets, treating the dim brown stars that the Janii favoured as low-priority, found only ancient cultural 'footprints' and dismissed the then-thriving species as another example of an extinct civilisation. 

Evidence subsequently gathered indicates the Janii Dominion expanded in the wake of the Expeditionary Fleets, seemingly taking advantage of Imperial momentum during the Great Crusade and claiming more of their favoured systems, while fortifying their core worlds. This process was presumably only facilitated by the outbreak of the Horus Heresy, as distant frontiers like the Halo zones became all but abandoned as large Imperial forces redeployed, and piracy and xenos attacks increased almost inevitably.

Records of this era are patchy, but a number of xenoarchaeologists now agree that a species fitting the description of the Sileraioi intervened to fight alongside bemused human forces in at least two separate occasions during this period. It is possible that the species supplied assistance in other instances; but less successfully in those campaigns.


+ The Nova Terra Interregnum +

'Why do allies of old raise gun and blade against us Janii? Do you not remember when we strode the stars together? We come palm outstretched and are greeted with the fist...'
– final recorded transmission of Janii envoy ship The Mouths of Reason. Suppressed by the Inquisition.
Little appears of the Janii explicitly in Imperial records for the following millennia, though a number of isolated mercenary forces and Rogue Trader's reports hint at the species' continuing presence in the region. 

The outbreak of the Nova Terra Interregnum saw the border beween Segmenta Pacificus and Tempestus become highly militarised and contested, and this would ultimately come to spell doom for the hitherto overlooked Janii Dominion.

Records of the time are understandably garbled and – to be charitable – lacking in fair balance. What is known for certain is that the Sileraioi attacked and destroyed a border world known as Xanadu. The most complete account is given by the Lexicographer Hilde, an adjutant to the Ur-Council of Nova Terra, who confidently recorded:
Takin[g advantage of wh]at they mistakenly presumed was a period of relative stability for the Imperium, the Janii despatched an envoy ship to the Terran-controlled system of Xanadu. Upon translating from the warp, records indicate that the envoy ship was fired upon and destroyed by system defence pickets under orders from the notoriously xenophobic Abbot of the Burning Mount.
[APPENDNOTE: Hilde's writing is sometimes taken as evidence that the Janii were well aware of Imperial turmoil during the Nova Terra Interregnum; but most other sources suggest the Janii were unaware of the Imperium as a political entity. Surviving Janii transmissions were always addressed to unknown governments or organisations, never mentioning the conflicting opinions and claims of Terra or Constantium. Perhaps this was sheer naïvite on the xenos' part; or perhaps evidence of slyly diplomatic circumspection.]
This ‘misunderstanding’ resulted in the Xanadu Conflagration; wherein Janii Combat Clades and supporting Silearioi ele[ments(?) translated in-system several(?)] months later, laying siege to the Monastery of the Burning Mount on Xanadu. Despite brave effort by the attendant Frateris Templar and its picket defence ships, the world was put to the torch by the incensed Janii, and the Monastery itself levelled by repeated antimatter bombardment. The loss of such a prominent Temple world, including several hundred precious relics, earned the Janii the ire of the Ecclesiarchy, who petitioned several Space Marine chapters to hunt down and engage the Janii defi[...]
A section of Hilde's record has been lost to the ages here, but it picks up later. Her bias against the Old Terrans is notably absent from any references to the Astartes:
[T]he [Janii fleet which] had stayed to examine the ruins of Xanadu, was caught off guard by the rapid arrival of the vanguard of the Astartes force, primarily consisting of elements of the Silver Gua[rds a]nd Void Revenants, was devastated and forced to make a fighting retreat back towards Dominion territory.

Despite this, several
Lochos offered their services to the forces of Nova Terra throughout the Interregnum. Always using the same broken and garbled proto-gothic phrase , 'In defence of the long [indecipherable] summer-men'. How many Admirals and Forces took them up on this offer is a mystery lost to the ages. 
Reports of Janii disc-cruisers, and a single super capital ship (tentatively designated Timingila) are recorded as aiding the Nova Terran forces at the Battle of Mieville, lend credence to the theories that the pragmatic Nova Terra did make use of Janii forces. 

This was taken as evidence by recordists and iterators on both sides of the divided Imperium; with demagogues, priests and munitorum agents on both sides variously claiming the others as tainted, xenos-loving monsters; or claiming that the friendly use of xenos mercenaries proved the righteousness of their side, as even xenos stood against the rival Imperial faction. 

What is clear from this is that both the High Lords' and Ur-Council's advisors were engaged in a vicious propaganda war; simultaneously willing to employ Janii/Sileraioi mercenaries, while condemning their employ by the other faction. What the Janii made of this is unknown; but the previously safe position of their Dominion was fatally undermined by the deployment of Astartes in response to the Xanadu Conflagration.


+ The Janii during the Alien Wars +

Belligerent identified as Janii species, Varden Drifts
Eventually the Janii found themselves caught between the hammer and anvil, their formerly isolated dominion becoming vital strategic territory to the Secessionists and Greater Imperials.

The Sileraioi's fleets found themselves fighting alongside ships of both sides, and suffering horrendous losses as ruthless human admirals pushed the xenos into positions of greatest danger.

The Janii found themselves once more in a hostile galaxy. Within a short number of years, the Janii broke off contact with humanity, and began a defensive war of their own.

Commentators on Hilde's later recordings generally take the vulgar view that the Janii's initial vacillating and unsure response to war owing to some inherent cultural unwillingness to attack unprovoked; or to confusion at strategic levels brought on by a crucial misunderstanding of the scale of events or interactions between the rival Imperial factions.

Similarly, Hilde gloatingly states that the Janii were 'Shocked by their old allies’ betrayal, and rampant [xenophobia]' after the Varden Drift campaign; but experience has taught us to beware the attribution of such human emotions when applying them to an alien species. In such cases, the truth will never be known for certain, as alien motivations and drives are just that: alien.

+++
Lo the summer men have turned to winter// bitter and cold.
No more do we dance//under the light of suns//revelling and joyful.
Instead the days and years// are soured//by the acrid taste of war.
-Final Janii transmission directed towards Imperial space. Delivered in High Gothic and intercepted by Void Revenant vessel Ire of Marduk, Late M35. 
Unfortunately for the Janii, their nature made them high-profile targets for Astartes fighting in the region, and they became the victims of a brutal xenocidal campaign headed by the Astartes of the Silver Guards, and supported by elements of four other Chapters.

Pict-capture of Void Revenant command staff confonting a Sileraioi Kine during one of the numerous breaching assaults of the Varden Drift campaign.
Despite a number of victories over the Astartes over the early period of the Alien Wars, Janii forces have consolidated back to their core-world regions in the Shrouded Marches. The Sileraioi, however, remain active throughout the region and have been recorded as taking action to support both Janii Dominion strikes and – perhaps surprisingly – Nova Terran forces.

Pursuing Astartes forces were unable to reach the core worlds, due to unusually electromagnetically unstable Nebula shrouding the region, which made navigation for the prowling Astartes vessels impossible. These storms left Janii vessels un-affected, and has been theorised as an artificial defence mechanism by some. Standing orders are for vigilance; and the situation of currently suits both Nova Terran and Terran interests, as the remnants of the Dominion provide an all-but-impassable anchorpoint of defence, making movement through the region of rival Imperial forces unlikely.

Current efforts to pierce the Shrouded Marches remain unsuccessful; and scout forces are routinely interdicted and driven off by Janii War Fleets. Contact occurs infrequently on Imperial Border Worlds, typically involving Mercenary Sileraioi, but occasionally with main Janii Battle Clades looking to reclaim orbitals or artifacts. Janii Battle Clades are typically outright hostile to human elements, and are more than capable of overwhelming Imperial border worlds. However typical Janii protocol seems to be the avoidance of all Imperial fleet traffic, particularly Astartes Vessels.


+++

+ Post Script +

In closing, it is my considered opinion that the Janii are an excellent example of how even a technologically advanced and successful species can find itself brought down by tolerance and naïvete in a few short years. 

Truly it is said: the rewards of tolerance are treachery and betrayal.


I remain, at your service; Inquisitrix Barbari Kills.

4 comments:

  1. Excellent article, it really bought the Janii to life! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a great read, thank you.

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  3. Brilliant work man, gets my own xenos converting bug biting :D

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  4. Absolutely spectacular! I've really enjoyed seeing these all come together and this was a great capstone for the model!

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