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Literature / Farsight

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Farsight is a series of Warhammer 40,000 novels by Phil Kelly. It follows the eponymous character, Tau commander Farsight, and his reestablishment of colonies beyond the Damocles Gulf of space. As he journeys further from the Ethereals' watchful eyes, Farsight begins to doubt his homeland's integrity- doubt that drives him to become the most infamous rebel in Tau history.

  1. Crisis of Faith
  2. Empire of Lies

This series includes the following tropes:

  • Benevolent A.I.: Coldstar, a prototype bodysuit (mecha) who saves Farsight's life several times and makes it possible for him to sabotage an Imperium battleship. She is so benevolent, in fact, that her pilot's habit of charging headlong into danger annoys her.
  • Captain Obvious: Council etiquette dictates that anyone speaking makes a gesture indicating their caste. Of course anybody in a council that important will already know who their fellows are, but it's tradition.
  • Decapitated Army: The Farsight Expedition is sent out with three Ethereals, and ordered to return immediately if those three are rendered incapable of guiding the expedition. Obviously, this order is not followed.
  • Fling a Light into the Future: Ostensibly the Ethereals' reason for sending two Fire Caste leaders into cryostasis. The real reason is that they feel threatened by how influential the Fire Caste is becoming.
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  • Frontline General: Farsight, as in the source material, regularly does things like infiltrate enemy spaceships and leap across lava flows to free slaves. The Water Caste like working with him because he makes their job easy: most commanders' exploits are much harder to dramatize.
  • Innocently Insensitive: When they were training on Mount Kan'ji, Farsight saw Shadowsun wait in the snow for weeks, so alert for prey that she ate nothing. When she's feeling anxious about cryostasis several years later, he tries to comfort her by reminding her of that feat...but she shamefully tells him it was really an Impossible Task set by their mentor to teach her humility. That she waited so long to admit she couldn't do it showed stubbornness, not resilience.
  • Power Trio: Master Puretide's three best students- Shadowsun, master of Patient Hunter strategies, Kais, master of Lone Warrior strategies, and Farsight, master of Killing Blow strategies- were Ta'lissera bonded before the former two went into cryostasis for the Greater Good. After that, things got...awkward.
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  • Propaganda Machine: Honesty is considered a serious and embarrassing flaw among Water Castes. Since their main job is editing out wreckage/corpses/refugees from war footage, they may have a point.
  • Overly Long Tongue: Water Castes have very long and flexible tongues with which they can pronounce any language perfectly.
  • Slave to PR: Shadowsun has won more victories with less loss of life than any of her peers, but Farsight is chosen to lead the Gulf expedition because his style of combat is flashier, and therefore better for Tau propaganda. Even Farsight himself thinks it's bullshit.
  • We Have Reserves: Averted. The expedition does not have reserves, but its ships were programmed to prioritize all rescue pods containing Tau above a certain rank anyway. Because of this bigotry, billions of soldiers and laborers- a full third of the expedition- die when the Dawn Pioneer explodes. Farsight is both horrified by this atrocity against the Greater Good and angry because it means rebuilding the planned colonies will be almost impossible.


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