Faced with a siege and no prospect of external help, Collegium called upon all its ingenuity of artifice to defend itself. One of the results is the Heavy Airborne.

An inventor, called Joyless Greatly, came forward with his contribution to the defence: a backpack mounted, steam-powered personal orthopter . This permitted the, usually flightless, beetles to take to the air and fly competently, if not exactly as gracefully as others. Other kinden are either capable of flight themselves, uninterested or not capable of carrying the heavy devices.

Initially a small irregular group, they survived the death of their leader in the Vekken siege to become a somewhat more official unit. The personal powered flight allows them to carry more armour and weaponry than is normally the case for flying units, a favourite being fused grenades, which can be lit off the red-hot boiler that they must carry around on their backs.

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