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Shas'O Vesu'r R'alai, also known as Commander Vesu'r R'alai, is a famed Tau Commander and a legend among the grim Fire Warriors of the Ke'lshan Sept. He is one of the Tau Empire's most experienced Tau Battlesuit pilots, and it is his leadership and innovation that has successfully led the way in the controversial tactics associated with the new XV9 Hazard Battlesuit close support armour, for he is a strong advocate of a more ruthless implementation of the Tau's military force.
Old now for a serving Fire Caste warrior, O'Vesu'r R'alai began his military career with the Tau exploration fleets, serving to protect them as they voyaged to unknown stars, but since the backlash of enemy incursions against the Tau Empire's Third Sphere Expansion, he has returned to lead the defence of his homeworld and its outlying colonies. R'alai is a veteran of more than two hundred engagements against the enemies of the Greater Good, and is famed as much for his lack of fear in the face of the foe as for the tactics that have earned him the title of "assassin" among his fellows. There are some, however, who whisper that this solemn warrior no longer fights for the Greater Good but in search of vengeance for those he has lost, and that there lurks in him the glimmer of madness and the Mont'au. He is, however, utterly determined that not a single world taken during the Third Sphere Expansion will ever fall to the enemies of the Greater Good again, and has further staked his willingness to die in the defence of the Empire's homeworld of T'au by volunteering to field test highly-powered experimental weapons systems in the very teeth of an enemy attack even at the risk of his own life.
Shas'O Vesu'r R'alai pilots a personalised XV9 Hazard Battlesuit. The XV9 series of Battlesuits is a considerably larger set of Battlesuit armour than its more commonplace counterpart -- the XV8 series -- and are built to the highest specification the Tau Empire can produce on a substantial scale. As well as greatly augmenting the warrior within, the armour's in-built systems feature a powerful compact energy source that enables it to mount weapons of an unprecedented strength for its size based on experimental technology. As with all XV9 Hazard Battlesuits, it is equipped with a Blacksun Filter system for better vision capabilities in low-light conditions, Vectored Retro-Thrusters to aid in manoeuvrability and escaping assaulting enemies, and Photon Casters that stun assaulting enemies with a burst of multi-spectral light and a harsh clap of sound. R'alai's own personal XV9 Battlesuits differs from standard variants in that its primary sensor cluster optics are in a fixed position, much like an XV25 Stealthsuit.
Shas'O Vesu'r R'alai's XV9 Hazard Battlesuit is fitted with numerous experimental systems, such as his primary weapon -- a prototype variant of a Pulse Submunitions Rifle. This variant sacrifices a degree of damage and blast radius in favour of a higher rate of fire and greater armour penetration capabilities. As well as his standard Pulse Submunitions rounds, R'alai is equipped with a selection of experimental, limited-issue warheads for his weapon. During battle, he can elect to use any of these special ammunition types instead of firing his Pulse Submunitions Rifle as normal, although their barely-contained power can damage the Battlesuit itself. These special ammunition types include an EMP (electromagentic pulse) shell that causes a similar effect to an EMP Grenade on its target, a Hyper-Density Sabot that is extremely effective against armoured vehicles even at long range, and an Ionic Cluster-Beam Shell which has the advantage of a substantial increase to both its blast radius and armour penetration capabilities compared to the weapon's normal rounds. The unique "Eclipse" Shield Generator is another experimental support system that R'alai is testing under combat conditions, and it places a huge drain on his Battlesuit's power capacity. However, it provides a defensive energy barrier that diffracts light much in the manner of a Stealth Field Generator, making R'alai harder to target at long ranges.
Shas'O Vesu'r R'alai's XV9 Hazard Battlesuit is also outfitted with a Drone Controller support system, which he uses to control his two personal Marker Drone variants that feature in-built Blacksun Filters.
- Imperial Armour Apocalypse (2nd Edition), pg. 84
- Commander Vesu'r R'alai Experimental Rules