The Gue'vesa (which literally means "Human Helper" in the Tau Lexicon) is the name the Tau have given to those humans who have willingly joined the Tau Empire. Many Gue'vesa now fight alongside the Tau Fire Caste on behalf of the Greater Good. They even take up arms when required against their fellow humans of the Imperium of Man. Needless to say, Gue'vesa are considered the worst kind of traitors to the Emperor of Mankind and are believed by the Ecclesiarchy to have been spiritually corrupted for willingly associating themselves with a xenos culture. The term Gue'vesa'la is given to the standard human troops of the line; their non-commissioned officers, equivalent to sergeants in the Imperial Guard, are known as Gue'vesa'ui.
The Ethereal Caste of the Tau understands that the best path to survival in the face of the Imperium of Man's colossal war machine lies in the peaceful absorption of Imperial worlds and assets wherever possible. In pursuit of this objective, the Tau Water Caste has launched many diplomatic missions with varying degrees of success in turning Imperial citizens to the service of the Greater Good. The Tau face steep opposition to this effort, as most humans of the Imperium display a fierce hatred for all xenos and an abiding belief in the human supremacist doctrines of the Imperial Creed. Some of the Water Caste's initiatives have resulted in the smooth transition of an Imperial planet to a new allegiance to the Tau Empire, while others have unleashed the full wrath of the Imperium on the Tau.
Knowing every victory of diplomacy spares them a potentially costly military campaign, the Ethereals and Water Caste attempt to appeal to every level of Imperial society by emphasizing the many different aspects of the Greater Good. To broaden the appeal of membership in the Tau Empire, the Tau guarantee protection from Imperial retribution to rebellious Planetary Governors. They also promise the nobility who control planetary commerce lucrative new sources of income and new technologies in the Tau Empire where they will be free from the mandatory tithes and excessive bureaucracy of the Imperium. The Tau also promise that all humans will be allowed to enjoy the freedom of religion, so long as the practice of that faith does not conflict with the Greater Good. This is a freedom that is unimaginable on Imperial worlds, where rigid adherence to the Imperial Cult is always enforced. Perhaps the most alluring aspect of the Greater Good to the common Imperial citizen is the belief that all those who contribute towards it have a meaningful and valued place within Tau society. In place of the relatively low value the Imperium places on the individual human life, the Tau seem to believe that everyone has a place, and everyone matters.
A perfect example of this process occurred during the Taros Campaign. When the desert mining world of Taros was annexed by the Tau Empire, not only did the population of Taros not oppose the move since the world had developed an extremely lucrative trade in strategic ores with the Tau, but the Tarosian Planetary Defence Force actually fought against the Imperial forces sent to reclaim the world for the Emperor as Gue'vesa, shoulder to shoulder with their new Tau allies.
Many of the Gue'vesa can trace their origins back to the Damocles Gulf Crusade. When the first Imperial war against the Tau ground to a stalemate, the Imperial forces decided to retreat and redeploy their troops against a much more pressing threat in the Eastern Fringes of the galaxy, namely the Tyranid Hive Fleet Behemoth. The withdrawal was so fast, however, that many troops of the Imperial Guard were simply abandoned in Tau-controlled regions of space. O'Shovah, or Commander Farsight as he is known in the Imperium, gave these humans the option of joining the Tau Empire, an offer that most accepted. They were treated well by the Tau, and were even allowed to continue worshiping the God-Emperor and maintain their faith in the Imperial Cult, though this version of the faith was purged of the fanatic and xenophobic sentiments that were commonplace in the Imperium. As time passed, these humans and their children turned from being reluctant converts to enthusiastic believers in the Greater Good. They now hope to spread the Greater Good and what they view as the extraordinary benefits of the Tau Empire to all of their fellow human beings across the galaxy.
Gue'vesa are now a common sight in the Tau Empire, especially in the western portions of the empire in the Segmentum Ultima that border Imperial space, and several can even be found on the Tau homeworld of T'au. In general, the Gue'vesa are content with their lot in the Tau Empire and treated well under Tau rule, but still often worship the God-Emperor with a more moderate set of beliefs. These humans maintain colonies in Tau space and are provided with advanced Tau technology to survive on the frontier. They have some manufacturing capabilities and can produce things ranging from farming tools to copies of the standard Imperial pattern of the lasgun, which they use to defend themselves against the dangers to be found on newly-settled colony worlds. The Tau have been known to show pictures of these Gue'vesa contently working in their new homes to other Imperial humans, as proof of the many benefits awaiting any Imperial citizen who devotes themselves to the Greater Good.
In times of war, the Tau provide units of Gue'vesa with advanced Tau weaponry such as Pulse Rifles, Pulse Carbines, and other, more specialized Tau equipment. These human troops then serve in the Fire Caste's Auxiliary. These auxiliaries have become a respected part of the Tau military in the border regions of the Tau Empire, where they fill a tactical niche between the barbaric Kroot and the mainstay of Tau armies, the Fire Warrior teams.
However, not all humans accept Tau rule willingly or eagerly the same way the population of Taros willingly joined the Tau Empire. For example, many humans on the Tau-controlled world of Kronus resented or outright resisted the Tau two hundred standard years after the world was initially conquered. Human-on-Tau violence was not unknown, with a notable example being when a man stylising himself as an Imperial Commissar murdered two Earth Caste workers in front of a mob of humans and then incited them to riot. Such people are not referred to as Gue'vesa by the Tau, instead recieving the derogatory name Gue'la, which translates simply as "human."
- Jeakim Slovaz- Slovaz was formerly an Imperial Guardsman in the 19th Brimlock Dragoons. He was listed as missing in action after the regiment was left behind in Tau space during the Damocles Gulf Crusade. The regiment surrendered after all its Commissars (allegedly) died in combat. Decades later, Slovaz would front a Tau propaganda campaign describing the fair and humane treatment human prisoners of war could expect to receive if they surrendered to the Tau military. He would later be branded Excommunicate Traitoris by the Imperium for heretical interaction with xenos.
- Codex: Tau (3rd Edition)
- Codex: Tau Empire (4th Edition)
- Courage and Honour (Novel) by Graham McNeill
- Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade (PC Game)
- White Dwarf 263 (UK), p.24