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Moscovian
29-12-2010, 22:13
Sorry if this has been covered before but I have a question about the Tyranid consumption of planets. I've read a couple of the 40K books but the actual Phase V seems (intentionally?) vague.

I understand that about the transformation of the atmosphere and waters and the release of bacteria and all that, but at some point the digestible biomass has to be transported back UP into the Hive ships for it to do any good. How does it get there? Is it shuttled? Giant vacuum hose? Do they even cover this?

Please illuminate me.

zantis
29-12-2010, 22:31
capillary towers. those big tubes that come down from the hive ships and connect to the planet. they have digestion pools around them and the towers suck up all the biomass that comes through the pools. Essentially a giant vaccum hose

Iracundus
29-12-2010, 23:02
Capillary towers transport material via peristalsis. Therefore it is an active form of transport, which consumes energy.

That is why I have always had the position that a significant portion of the available biomass/energy available on a planet is actually used just for the process of consumption and transport to orbit.

ForgottenLore
29-12-2010, 23:37
It is worth noting that the GW fluff assumes this all happens much faster than is really possible.

There is a somewhat extensive, although dated, discussion about it here that might be useful to you

http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=61977

DaSpaceAsians
30-12-2010, 14:45
I think it's vague since no one really can see that phase since well everyone's dead

Exitas-Acta-Probat
30-12-2010, 15:52
i dont think it really matters about how possible it is as we are talking about giant spikley death monsters that eat entire planets. the point is that they suck it up through a bio straw - like a milkshake :D

Moscovian
30-12-2010, 22:35
Capillary towers transport material via peristalsis. Therefore it is an active form of transport, which consumes energy.

That is why I have always had the position that a significant portion of the available biomass/energy available on a planet is actually used just for the process of consumption and transport to orbit.

That I would totally agree with. Very much like mammals use massive amounts of energy to not only heat their body but to digest the very food they need to give them energy. It also seems plausible that Tyranids could take a net loss on a planet if there isn't sufficient amount of biomass to ingest. Of course this begs the question: would the Tyranids avoid a planet if it didn't have enough biomass? Or abandon their fight?

It seems likely that they would not given their single-mindedness to consume. I was reading the Warriors of Ultramar and the amount of energy it must have taken to fight the humans plus devour the planet would probably have been a push, at best.

Thanks for the helpful info, folks.

LonelyPath
30-12-2010, 23:04
I think the best way to view the consumption of all the biomass is the look at Galactus from Marvel, it's done in a relatively short period. Looking at it like the Big G from the Ultimates series of Rise of the Silver Surfer movies, there are hundreds, if not thousands of ships sucking up all the juicy goodness so it could take as little as a few days for the phase to be completed and the hive Fleet to move on.

tuo
30-12-2010, 23:15
Back in the 2nd Edition Codex - where the whole process was described a little bit different than in newer dexes - it was described that the swarm ships first inhaled the athmosphere of the planet.

After that, they decended deep into the (no longer existing) athmosphere and then started to drink the oceans of the planet. All the while, ripper swarms crawled over the planet, consuming all bio mass and beeing "harvestes" by the swarm ships, which moved like a giant "snail" over the planet, consuming everything.

Somehow, I prefer this old way of doing it, as to me it seems much more evil, having a giant "thing" suck up your oceans.

The newer ways are much more profound and illustrated and explained, but I still remember the goosebumps the description of the 2nd Ed Codex gave me when I imagined this last step, with the ships actually hugging the planet like a snail, eating any biomass (be it tyranid or not), drinking the sees, inhaling the athmosphere....

cheers

tuo

solkan
31-12-2010, 01:28
Honestly, it seems a bit like the old bit about the fused ribcage for Space Marines--a wonderfully descriptive thing that just isn't plausible as described.

So, the flying space aliens extend their planetary drinking straws and then all of the water disappears. Obviously, that must mean that the aliens drank it all, right? :shifty:

If they don't drink all of the water, and the rest either simply evaporates into space as vapor, or gets mixed into more mud that freeze dries or boils off after the aliens are done eating the biomass and chewing up the crust, it ends up accomplishing the same thing--no more oceans, and the world's dead as far as the Imperium's concerned.

Biotitan
31-12-2010, 03:08
Capillary towers transport material via peristalsis. Therefore it is an active form of transport, which consumes energy.

Since when? I always thoguht they just used capilary action, hence the name. It made sense since its a passive action and would require no energy input.

As fort he water they would drink it all in a round about way. As they inhalfe the atmosphere this causes the air pressure to drop, which lowers the boiling point of water. Eventually it gets to the point where the oceans boil off into the remains of the atmosphere and are inhaled with it.

Iracundus
31-12-2010, 04:02
Since when? I always thoguht they just used capilary action, hence the name. It made sense since its a passive action and would require no energy input.


The WD articles by Sherman Bishop in WD 254 explained the mechanism, which is peristalsis. Capillary action alone cannot lift a column into orbit. It is the same reason why trees cannot grow indefinitely taller on Earth.