Kor’el Dal’ta’ai is captain of the Yuk’e Or’nri, a Lar’shi’vr (Protector)-class cruiser that serves as the command vessel of the Au’vre’ti Flotilla currently deployed in the Sculptor System.
Dal’ta’ai was born to the air caste on the Kor’or’es, an orbital city in the Dal’yth Sept. Raised in zero gravity, he is physically frail in appearance but possesses a powerful intellect and aggressive demeanor. A math prodigy, he proved a fierce competitor in zero-gravity sports as a younster and, early in life, was encouraged for the Greater Good to aspire to a career in the Kor’vattra (Tau navy).
Graduating second in his class at the naval academy, Dal’ta’ai was assigned as a junior weapons office aboard the Kir-Qath, a Defender-class starship, where he distinguished himself during the Battle of My’olar against a Be’gel (ork) intrusion. In the early stages of the battle, his ship suffered severe damage from an ork torpedo salvo that disabled most weapons systems and killed every senior officer except the captain.
Rallying the crewmen of the weapons batteries still operational, Dal’ta’ai proceeded to lay down a screen of fire that destroyed an ork Savage-class gunship that closed on the seemingly disabled Tau ship. Despite its damage, the Kir-Qath remained in the battle until victory was achieved. The junior officer received a commendation for his accomplished first action in battle.
Similar service on behalf of the Greater Good saw Dal’ta’ai promoted to command of the Fio’tak, a Kass’l (Orca)-class gunship. His first deployment was to patrol the Sky’rrel Minoris-to-Dal’yth shipping lanes, where commerce was being disrupted by Dark Eldar pirates. Recognizing that he could not hope to intercept raiders who could strike anytime, anywhere, Dal’ta’ai decided upon a unique trap. He organized merchant ships into small conveys, with the ships closely encircling his gunship and screening its presence from Dark Edar sensors.
For weeks, the strategy produced no results, as the raiders targeted other shipping. But, finally, the Dark Eldar attacked Dal’ta’ai’s convoy. Although facing two Corsair-class escorts, the young Tau officer held his convoy together until the last minute, when the Fio’tak suddenly broke free and surprised the overconfident raiders with a salvo of his ship’s railgun battery. One enemy vessel was destroyed instantly, while the other succumbed after a short but bitter exchange of fire.
As there were no xeno survivors, Dal’ta’ai used this strategy successfully twice more, with the last battle destroying five Dark Eldar ships after he’d armed several merchants with weapons stripped from partially destroyed raider ships. His cunning, plus his experience coordinating with merchant officers, led to his promotion to command of the Yuk’e Or’nri and its small escort flotilla.
As senior commander of the Tau naval presence in the Sculptor System, Dal’ta’ai shoulders the great responsibility of protecting the newest addition to the Tau Empire, the Gue’vesa world of Na’rym, known to the Imperium as Medea III, a moon in the Sculptor System.
Given the modest contingent under his command, Dro’ta’ai recognizes that he has no chance of resisting any significant attack by the Imperium. What’s more, his mission is complicated by the fact that Na’rym is but a fingerhold in a star system with 19 additional worlds that remain loyal to the Imperium. So Dal’ta’ai has chosen a strategy of subterfuge, ordering his ships constantly in motion at the edges of Imperial shipping lanes—in the hopes that such sightings will suggest to Imperial authorities that the Tau have a more significant naval presence in the system than actually exists.
Dal’taa’ai doesn’t carry the entire weight of responsibility alone for Na’rym’s fate. Por’o Dal’yth Aloh Ta’rii, of the water caste, an ambassador also from the Dal’yth Sept, is actively at work in the Sculptor System seeking, through negotiations, to encourage other discontented Imperial citizens to throw off their yoke of oppression and embrace the Greater Good.
POSTCRIPT: Dal’ta’ai was killed when his ship, Greater Good, was destroyed in a battle against the Imperial Navy near Dar Sai, where Dal’ta’ai attempted to protect the supply lines to Tau forces on the planet. See Tau Navy Rebuffed at Dar Sai (to come).
Treat Dal’ta’ai as a Kor’el-ranked commander, as per Battlefleet Gothic.
ART CREDIT: Juan Diego Dianderas. See his art on the DeviantART website: http: 0-durendhel-0.deviantart.com.