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Since there are already former Imperials who defected to the Tau empire, would it be plausible that a remote Space Marine chapter could rennounce the Emperor in favour of the Greater Good?
The way I imagine it:
A chapter is founded on a remote world just on the edge of the Tau empire as a defensive line if the Tau should start a military initiative.
Communications are cut off by a warpstorm for a few years. After contact is restored to the rest of the Imperium, the inquisition gets suspicious of mutations and send Grey Knights in to purge the chapter. After some hard-fought battles that they barely survive, the chaptermaster decides that the Emperor is no longer worthy of their services, since his hounds betrayed and attacked them. But they also don't want to turn to Chaos.
So after soem existential crisis in which they basically stay neutral, some scouts on their home planet come across a crashed messenger probe from the Tau. They are intrigued by a dogma that doesn't involve any deities and decide to join the fight for the Greater Good.
Their actual strength would of course be very limited, since they can only recruit from Gue'la, and Tau command would distrust them because of their barbaric methods and overzeal, keep their alliance discreet, only using them for the nasty missions and so on.
I'm still not clear on the details of the chapter. I'm probably gonna have their founding chapter be the White Scars, because I wanna go with a kind some similar theme, but using Ancient China instead of Mongols (saffron and light orange gear, demon mask helmets, dragon motifs and ornaments on armor) and basically the same army list-up, concentrating on fast vehicles but also lots of sniper scouts thrown in to make them feel a bit more Tau-y.
If it did happen I don't see why the tau would treat them as you say. You can't get much more barbaric than the kroot and the tau are open about them. Also it would be a great publicity thing to possibly get other humans to join the greater good.
In the previous tau rulebook (not the current one) there was a bit of fluff about a space marine that had joined the tau. His presence infuriated one of the loyalist marines if I remember correctly.
Can't have that when the Tau are already spreading stories of their own marines.
Seems a bit like renegade space marines have returned.
Anyway, I'm no master but as far as I know loyalty to the Emperor is one of the genetic implants made to a space marines DNA. Therefore, I don't think they can choose to disobe him, unless their gene-seed is defunct. However, this fits with the fluff as the Grey Knights came to wipe them out, just remember to mention that the "mutations" may have influenced the Chapters loyalty to the Emperor as well as(/instead of) just getting annoyed.
BTW I've decided on the name Lightning Dragons. (lightning as in blitz, since the Tau employ them as shock and assault troopers when Kroot just won't do, dragons to keep with the Chinese theme, because it seems to fit well with Tau society to use oriental culture bits)
In a word, no, Space Marines would never side with the Tau...possibly a few Chaos mercenaries but nothing more.
The first reason is that Marine Chapters don't get lost or separated from the Imperium. It's extremely unusual for psychic contact to be lost for long periods of time or for large numbers of Marine to be lost in the Warp. Even if they did, they're so heavily indoctrinated that such a separation would not weaken their identity as the Emperor's servants, and Chapters on the fringes of the galaxy surely have taken precautions against communication loss.
The second reason is that the Chapter would not fight the Inquisition. The two aren't enemies. Most Chapters happily cooperate with Inquisitional oversight and missions; the (very) few who actually oppose the Inquisition are either destroyed (Celestial Lions) or barely tolerated because they're First Founding (Space Wolves, Dark Angels). Furthermore, if the Chapter in question had begun suffering heavy mutations then, if they had any loyalty left to the Imperium at all, they would cooperate with the purge. Refer to the Soul Drinkers fluff, where the only reason Sarpedon & Company weren't abandoned to the Inquisition by their brothers was that the Chapter Master was too proud not to kill Sarpedon personally. (Sarpedon, himself, was being manipulated by Tzzentch into betrayal.) Speaking of Soul Drinkers, note how they distinguished between obeying the Inquisition and serving the Emperor.
The third reason is that a Chapter created to kill off Tau is not going to be welcomed by them later, for obvious reasons. Similarly, humans in general are NOT treated well by the Tau; the bluies simply prefer sterilization and marginalization to running death camps. If some Gue'la volunteer to be meatshields for the next campaign against their own species, great.
The fourth reason is that a Marine Chapter going renegade is considered a Big Dang Problem. Every time it happens--the Heresy, Soul Drinkers, Red Corsairs--there is a quick and punitive effort to exterminate them. If the Tau accepted a renegade Marine Chapter then the Second Damocles Crusade would begin within ten years. Right now, the Tau do NOT want that kind of attention--they would refuse (or hand over) the Marines for political reasons. This is why nearly all non-loyal Marines go to Chaos; they can't hide from retaliation anywhere in reality.
I know it's temping to see Marines are being good guys who want to help and do the right thing, but the truth is that they're heavily indoctrinated weapons who don't even have a context for negotiation or peaceful coexistence. They just aren't going to accept uncontrolled mutation and nobly join with aliens against everything human.
"My tanks have names, my men have numbers." -Col. Edmund Grahvess, 23rd Kronecker Prison Guard
As for the Marines being loyal to the Tau... I can potentially see an alliance of sorts, but I suspect it would be soley a temporary and a rather tense one at that. Not really a full alliance of any sort.
I think the Chapter would still try and look after their own affairs, perhaps accepting aid from the Tau (extremely begrudgingly, one would think) and maybe occasionally siding with them, provided it served their purposes as well.
Definitely not, The purpose of the space marines is to purge the galaxy of all xeno life forms. The few times the tau have wanted to diplomatically expand there territory into the imperal realm they have been met with fierce resisitance and a big NO. this usually leads to war. So there is no way a space marine chapter would ever ally themselves with the Tau.
Falco's Marines will Annihilate the foe on swift wings of vengeance!