+ inload: Alien Wars – Anatomy of the enemy V: Ymgarli +

+ Anatomy of the enemy V: Ymgarli +

+ [guestinloadID: Bob_Hunk] +


When we think of the Enemy Within, our minds often turn to the secret servants of the Ruinous Powers; the mutant, the witch and the heretic. Yet there is another threat – just as insidious – that worms its way along the trade arteries of the Imperium like a cancer of the blood. I speak, of course, of the Ymgarlii.

De Rerum Xeno - Master Algernon Traegus of the Crimson Fists

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+ Abstract +

The 'Cult of the Ymgarli' is the name given to the the product of the Ymgarli gene-curse; a hideous network of alien subversion that infects and undermines the domains of human and other xenos alike.


+ First contact +

Once believed to be endemic to the moons of Ymgarl, from which the species takes its name, the exact date of first contact with the Ymgarli is lost in the mists of time. The Ymgarli's parasitic nature further complicates a hard date, and it is possible that a number of minor xenos – and abhuman groups –identified as new forms were, or are, in fact hybridised Ymgarli.

+ A combination of psychic domination, and agitprop presenting forbidden concepts such as 'equality' and 'democracy' allow Ymgarli to infiltrate and influence unwary members of Imperial society. +
The tireless research of xenoarchaeologists indicates that the Ymgarli have in fact been an ever-present xenos threat during the Age of the Imperium; lurking in the shadows, waiting for the time that Humanity lowers its guard.

Indeed, there is evidence to suggest that Ymgarli were amongst the myriad alien threats that contributed to the fall and enslavement of man during the Age of Strife. Certainly, Ymgarli forces seem to have been encountered by advancing Expedition Fleets during the Great Crusade. The xenos-biologists of the day did not understand the Ymgarli in the level of detail that we do today, but reference can be found in Legion records to 'wyrm-faced xenoforms' who held their human subjects in 'hypnotic bondage'.


+ Ymgarli biology +

The germinal or 'pure' form – if such a term can be applied to such abominations – of the Ymgarli is a six-armed bipedal nightmare, able to dart from the shadows on two swift legs to tear apart its prey with four preternaturally strong limbs. Two of these arms terminate in razor-sharp claws, the other two in blasphemously human-like hands that allow them to operate basic mechanisms like levers and door handles, should the need arise when they are stalking their prey.

Even this pure form is seemingly subject to numerous variations – some exhibiting taloned limbs, muzzles ending in probosces, waving masses of tendrils or split jaws. Some are seemingly blind, while others bear multiple sets of eyes. A number of examples have been identified with adaptation to aquatic environments, and it is possible there are further specialised populations that inhabit environments inimical to man. Whether there is an underlying stability, or these represent different clades of related species, is unknown. Further populations must be studied.

Common to almost all Ymgarli germinals is their tough, leathery skin supplemented with a chitinous exoskeleton. This tough outer carapace functions as a rudimentary form of natural armour. However, Ymgarli are rarely forced to rely on this for protection, as they have lightning fast reflexes that allow them to dodge most incoming attacks. Ymgarli germinals are found in a range in colours from the green to purple through to black, and this coloration is partially passed to their blasphemous offspring.

+ Ymgarli apex germinal [accreditation: Bob Hunk] +
The most horrifying aspect of Ymgarli biology is their reproductive cycle. This begins with the so-called 'Ymgarli Kiss'. The germinal will pin their chosen victim in place with a hypnotic gaze and implant their germ seed with an ovipositor hidden in their tongue, infecting the host species with a terrible gene-curse. The offspring of the infected creature will be a monstrous crossbreed of the Ymgarli and the host species, the Ymgarli having in effect 'stolen' the genes of its victim. These misshapen Ymgarli half-breeds will grow and mature, flocking together to interbreed, creating – through a process that is little understood – more half-breeds and Ymgarli germinals.

The first germinal of its brood to initiate this process will develop to become an apex form of this unclean xenos. Referred to within the brood by paternal nomenclature, apex germinals are powerfully psychic and form the centre of a telepathic web with the brood of hybrids that they have spawned. The 'All-Father' will become like a god to their extended family, a centre of worship that usually takes on a cultic or church-like structure that serves to shroud the germinal forms and give the hybrids license to proselytise. Many confirmed Ymgarli infestations have been found using this subterfuge, hence why the species is commonly referred to as the Cult of the Ymgarli. 

The most truly heretical aspect of this Cult is that they will often pose as a subdivision of the Ecclesiarchy, cloaking their xenos nature in the benevolent shroud of the Emperor. Once the brood has reached a critical mass, they will erupt from their hiding places, tear down the host society of the city or planet that they are infecting, and claim lordship over the ruins.

Ymgarli are opportunistic, and do not limit their infiltration to humanity. There are corroborated records of hybridised/dominated Barghesi, Orks, Thyrrus, Saharduin, Galg, and Q'orl; along with dozens of instance reports of other species manifesting similar or relatable evidence of interaction with Ymgarli.

+ Posited early-generation Mastokar hybrid: Coomb';s World Theatre +


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Ymgarli technology +

+ Lacking military hardware, Ymgarli often utilise re-purposed industrial gear. +
Ymgarlii germinals do not use tools or weapons as we understand them. They have little need for weapons though, as their claws are more than capable of rending apart even the blessed plate of an Astartes. They are particularly dangerous in large numbers where they attack in an unstoppable avalanche of limbs that it is impossible to guard against.

As for the Ymgarli half-breeds, they are armed in the same manner as the society they are subverting. This can be anything from the crude autoguns and lascarbines of frontiersmen and underhive gangs to the bolt weapons and custom beam-casters of Rogue Trader or the personal lifeguards of a Spire Nobel.

+ These Ymgarli halfbreeds operated as miners of the Pan-PS Corporation before being exposed. They bear a selection of low-velocity small arms common to void-mining outposts, such as shotguns. +
Ymgarli half-breeds that have infected non-human populations demonstrate similar use of the host species' technology: yet another reason for humans to avoid pollution by trading with or interacting with xenos.


As with their weapons, so to are the vehicles of the Ymgarli forces taken from the society that they infest. Lacking voidcraft of their own, Ymgarli stow away on the craft of other species.

Merchantmen are easier to infiltrate than the strictly controlled craft of the Imperial Navy, so this inevitable draws Ymgarli infiltrators along trade routes. Therefore repurposed commercial and industrial vehicles are common, as are armour unit from Guard forces on both sides of the Nova Terran schism.

Although the armour of civilian vehicles cannot compare to a dedicated war engine, it’s ability to blend in and avoid suspicion until too late is almost unparalleled. When the time comes to emerge from hiding, the Ymgarli cults will play to this strength, favouring ambush tactics and guerilla warfare.




Ymgarli domains +

Beyond the jungle moons of Ymgarl in the galactic north – believed with a reasonable degree of certainty to be their point of origin – the Cult of the Ymgarli have no domains of their own. Instead they infest and subvert the domains of others. Therefore it is impossible to draw their boundaries on a galactic map with any degree of certainty. The chart below shows a selection of confirmed and suspected domains, along with selected major shipping routes.



A notable exception is of course the Ward of Yiid, a pocket empire in [Redacted] and protectorate of the Imperium for over [Redacted] before the truth of its hidden xenos masters were uncovered. There were many vital lessons learned from this embarrassing incident, the not least of which was [Redacted].

+ Dynasts of Yiid +


+ Ymgarli during the Nova Terra Interregnum +

The events of the Nova Terra Interregnum were both a help and a hindrance to the spread of the Ymgarli. As noted earlier in this report, they tend to spread their gene-curse aboard merchant and cargo vessels. The closing of the borders along the Segmentum Pacificus had the temporary effect of limiting this spread. However, as the Interregnum progressed, the Ymgarli were more easily able to spread on board unscrutinised smuggler’s ships that slipped across the boundary unmonitored, and refugee ships fleeing either to or from the breakaway Segmentum.

Unfortunately for the Ymgarli – and fortunately for Humanity – the governments of both arms of hte divided Imperium were equally quick to stamp down on internal rebellion during this time period, fearing a spread of the Nova Terra insurrection or counter-revolution. As a by-product, Ymgarli infestations were perhaps dealt with more efficiently during this period than at other times.

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+ The Ymgarli during the Alien Wars +

Ymgarli typically demonstrate little ambition towards empire-building. There were no sector-scale outbreaks in the Imperium during this time, just a steady background level of infestation. However, as rebellions in Imperial territory were swiftly and mercilessly put down during this period, it is possible that some Ymgarli infestations may have been mistaken for general insurrection, and misrecorded as purely human heresies. During this time period Ymgarli were just as likely to clash with Astra Militarum garrisons as they were to receive the attention of Astartes intervention.

Astartes engage germinal-forms in void-station shipping; an all-too-common lair of the Ymgarli.
Of course, this is not to suggest that the threat was minimal – indeed, it is proof of a pernicious and insidious threat, well-adapted to remaining beneath the notice of the Imperium's typical instruments for dealing with xenos. Incidents of Ymgarli infestation in Nova Terra domains during this period go unrecorded.

+ A Scarlet Blade Astartes is engaged by two Ymgarli germinals on Redlaw. +
The Ur-Council's relative liberalism took a lax view of xenos mercenaries – particularly those that could pass as abhuman – and a number of Nova Terran Governors may well have worked with them if they saw the benefit. Equally, it may be the case that they mistook Ymgarli rebellions in their territory for Imperial Loyalists and crushed them just as ferociously.

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+ Post Script +

Ymgarlii remain a pervasive threat, but nowhere near the level of danger posed by the greenskins or the fey eldar. They are simply another quirky indigenous anomaly of this galaxy’s biome. I have no doubt that, much like a common tick, they will be eradicated in due course.

I remain, at your service; Inquisitrix Barbari Kills.





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