40k: Descendant Degeneration

A forum for all other games which don't fit into the other gaming forums. Elves (and other races) in other tabletop wargame systems. The place to discuss systems like Kings of War, Mordheim, Warmachine, Infinity and Warthrone. But also topics that relate to any other game such as 40K, Dropzone Commander, board games or PC/Console gaming belong here.

Moderators: The Loremasters, The Heralds

Message
Author
User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#61 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Imperial Governor Kuduzulush the Strong was in a very important meeting with all of his cabinet when the vox servitor blared with an urgent call from his wife Ishme-Karab. He got up and took the vox call and asked her what the emergency was. Ishme-Karab sobbed: "Oh Kudu, Kudu, our spire has been robbed!"
Kuduzulush protested: "Impossible, I’m in a meeting with all of the crooks in Anshan Priapus right now!"

Wishing to teach his grox not to eat, a pedant did not offer him any food.
When the grox died of hunger, he said: "I've had a great loss! Just when he had learned not to eat, he died."

A salty bluewater sailor swaggered into a tavern. He had a ship’s wheel stuffed into the front of his trousers. The bartender said: "Hey, you’ve got a ship’s wheel in your trousers!"
The sailor said: "Aye mate, and it’s driving me nuts!"

Station Overlady Adelita Daleninar goes to a communal scholam on her voidholm to talk to the kids and shoot picts of herself in their smiling company. After her talk she offers the children a short question time.
One little boy puts up his hand and Adelita asks: "What is your question, Turibas?"
Turibas say: "I have one question: Why is Carpetani Station falling apart under your benevolent rule?"
Just at that moment, the bell rings for break. Adelita inform the kids that they will continue after the break.
When they resume, Adelita says: "Alright, where were we? Oh! That’s right... question time. Who has a question?"
A different little boy puts up his hand. Adelita points him out and asks him what his name is.
"Edereta," the boy says.
"And what is your question, Edereta?"
"I have two questions: Why did the bell ring twenty minutes early? And what have you done to Turibas?!"

A young man invited into his home two frisky old women. He said to his servant thralls: Mix a drink for one, and satisfy the other, if she wants to."
The women spoke up as one: "I'm not thirsty."

Q: Why did the man who shot at a Governorial limo on the Agora of Vulcan miss the target?
A: Because people who happened to be next to him tried to wrest the missile launcher from him and shouted: "Let me shoot!"

High Command banter via the Astropathic grapevine. A conversation unfolds between Vostroyan and Mordian Marshals. The Mordian says:
"Listen, I heard it was -60 degrees over there!"
"No, it’s about -30."
"But the attaché said -60."
"Oh, you mean outside."

The first rule of governance: Never believe anything until it’s been officially denied.

An Arbites Chastener interrogates a captured rogue human bomb: "Come on, confess. How many times did you blow yourself up?"

Little Flavia was sitting on the porch with her younger brother when she said: "Look, there’s a Throne Gelt in the street!"
Her brother jumped up and ran into the street to get the money and was promptly squashed by a draytruck.
Little Flavia laughed and laughed, because she knew it was only a scrip-chit.

Q: What is Chaos?
A: We do not comment on Governorial policy.

Presbyter Nicodemus was a dry and humourless speaker who had difficulties keeping his congregation's attention during sermon. One day, he witnessed another priest boldly take his place at the altar and gather the entire crowd's attention before saying:
"The best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn't my wife!" The crowd was shocked. He followed up by saying: "And that woman was my mother!" The crowd burst into laughter and he delivered the rest of his sermon, which went over well.
Next cycle, Presbyter Nicodemus decided he would give this humour thing a try, and use that joke in his sermon. As he surely approached the altar, he tried to rehearse the joke in his head, but it suddenly seemed a bit foggy to him.
Getting to the altar, he raised his hands and said loudly: "The greatest years of my life were spent in the arms of another woman that was not my wife!" The congregation inhaled half the air in the temple. After standing there for almost ten seconds in stunned silence, trying to recall the second half of the joke, Presbyter Nicodemus finally blurted out: "...and I can't remember who she was!"

Two Hydraphurians after supper out of politeness escorted one another home in turn and so did not get any sleep.

Q: When Baron Mauricius visited Scarus, he and Governor Gizeric ran around the Palace in a race. Mauricius came the first. How should our heralds report that?
A: The declaration should be as follows: ‘In the interplanetary running competition the Emperor's Appointed Governor of Scarus took the honorable second place. Baron Mauricius came in one before last.'

In the midst of another wave of purges, a knock at the door woke a family in the middle of the night. All family members, shaking in terror, jumped up.
"Take all you can carry with you, and get out at once," a voice sounded. "But, for the Emperor's sake, don't panic! It's me, your neighbour. This is nothing serious, it's just our house that is on fire."

Tyrant Rhemaxos of Dimensi Majoris had a yard of cloth and sent for a Triballi tailor to make him a suit out of it. But the Triballi said he could not do it with so little cloth. Therefore he was liquidated. So then there came an Albocensian tailor but he was also unable and he was liquidated. It happened the same with the Melanditaenean tailor. Rhemaxos then sent offworld for a Ligurian tailor who said: "Yes! I will make you a suit out of the cloth and an overcoat as well."
Tyrant Rhemaxos was very surprised and said to him: "How can you do this?"
Then the Ligurian answered him: "You see. in Liguria you are such a little man."

Q: How best to depict starvation?
A: An arsehole with cobwebs.

An application form sported the quesion: "What is your attitude to Imperial authority?"
One applicant answered: "The same as to my wife."
When requested to elaborate, the applicant explained: "First, I love her; second, I fear her; third, I wish I had another one."

A Mordian whose father was away from home fell under a heavy indictment and was sentenced to be executed. As he went away he exhorted everyone not to tell his father, else the old man would beat him to death.

A thirsty voidsman at the starport runs from his shuttle to the nearest bar and shouts to the bartender: "Give me twenty shots of your best old-foiz, quick!"
The bartender pours out the shots, and the voidsman drinks them as fast as he can.
The bartender is very impressed and exclaims: "Wow. I never saw anybody drink that fast."
The voidsman replies: "Well, you’d drink that fast too, if you had what I have."
The bartender says: "Oh by the God-Emperor on Terra! What is it? What do you have?"
"An empty purse!" replied the voidsman.

Q: Is it true that pre-Imperial arcologies are the tallest buildings in the universe?
A: Yes, it's true, but on the other hand Imperial-made nanotransistors are the largest anywhere.

There was a subsector Officio Medicae conference on surgical operations and representatives from many of the worlds and voidholms were there. The Rigantine surgeon told about a man who had been in a serious accident and was hurt badly and had to have his heart and kidneys replaced: "Today," the Rigantine surgeon said, "he is a professional kick-wrestler."
The Dumnonian surgeon spoke about a man who was a long-distance runner and was hurt badly and had both of his legs replaced with vat-grown ones, and today: "He is still a champion long-distance runner."
All the representatives, in turn, told about the best operations performed on their worlds and voidholms. Finally, the Wararni surgeon got up and told of a man who had a brain that did not work and had it replaced with the brain of a grox: "And today he is the Governor of Vararni Secunda!"

Miles Gloriosus, the braggart Guardsman, declares upon entering a tavern with his squads: "Arrange food, drink, entertainment, and a sit-down orgy for fifteen!"

Motto in chancelleries:
If a job is worth doing, it is worth delegating.

Civil war on the voidholm. One side is buckling under starvation sooner than the other. A soldier in the carabineers, who has already made quite a lot of rebel prisoners, comments: "Nowadays I do not even take my stubber with me. I just go out with a slice of bread and butter, and they follow me."

A woman who was blind in one eye had been married to a man for 20 years. When he found another woman he said to her: "I shall abandon you because you are said to be blind in one eye."
And she answered him: "Have you just discovered that after 20 years of marriage?"

Two workers are walking on the street, one says to the other: "What do you think of the Imperial Governor?"
The other says: "Not here, follow me."
They go onto a side street. He says: "Not here, follow me."
They go into a dark alley. He says: "Not here, follow me."
They go into an old ruined hab block. He says: "Not here, follow me."
They go into a dank basement that looks like it has not been inhabited for centuries. Then he says: "I actually rather like him."

Two PDF officers are watching a beautiful sunset from high up on a hillock, with scenic landscapes rolling out to the horizon. Moved by the beauty of the view, the General turns to the Colonel and asks: "Do we have one for the enlisted men?"

"Pants... I hate pants. My grandfather hated them too, even before they dislocated his finger."

A senior scrivener of the Administratum explains his business to a junior colleague: "Listen: ‘The matter is under consideration’ means we have lost the file. ‘The matter is under active consideration’ means we are trying to find the file."

A barber-surgeon, a bald man and an absent-minded sage are taking a journey together. They have to camp overnight, and so decide to take turns watching the luggage and campfire. When it's the barber-surgeon's turn, he gets bored, and so amuses himself by shaving the head of the sage. When the sage is woken up for his shift, he feels his head, and says: "How stupid is that barber? He's woken up the bald man instead of me!"

Q: How can you tell that the Securitate has bugged your hab-unit?
A: There's a new cabinet in it and a trailer with a generator in the street.

A hivequake killed 809 people in the underhive. Nine people were trapped under the rubble, and another 800 died fighting over the loot.

The Imperial Governors of Sarum, Elysia and Brycantia were having a meeting.
The Elysian Governor was seen touching his forehead and murmuring frequently. "What are you doing?" the other leaders asked him.
"This is just a relic of Elysian archeotech which allows me to communicate with my advisors in orbit," replied the Elysian Governor.
Then, the Brycantian Governor was seen touching his throat and murmuring frequently. "What are you doing?" the other two leaders asked him.
"Nothing. This is just a relic of Brycantian archeotech which allows me to talk to my relatives in their suites," replied the Brycantian Governor.
The Governor of Sarum was embarrassed. Everyone had his own precious piece of archeotechnology except him. He felt that he must do something, so the Governor of Sarum suddenly collected all of his document papers and maps, put them in his mouth and swallowed them. "What are you doing?" the other leaders asked in shock.
"Nothing," he replied. "Just sending a fax to Sarum."

Q: How do you double the value of a mechshaw?
A: Fill it with promethium.

"How much is the rent for this gorgeous apartment?"
"Sir, this is a liquour store."

Man is even more eager to copulate than a donkey. His purse is what restrains him.

At a mass rally, a Propagatus officer is drilling a local worker. He asks him: "Brother, if you had two houses, would you give one to the Emperor's Governor?"
The worker responds: "Yes, definitely, brother, I would give one of my houses to the Emperor's Governor!"
Then the officer asks: "Brother, if you had two limos, would you give one to the Emperor's Governor?"
Again, the worker says: "Yes, I would give one of my limos to the Emperor's Governor!"
Finally, the officer asks: "If you had two shirts, would you give one to the Emperor's Governor?"
"No!"
The officer asks: "But why? Why won’t you give one of your shirts to the Emperor's Governor?"
The worker says: "Because I have two shirts!"

Q: What is the longest joke?
A: The Voidholm Overlord's latest speech.

A young man was asked whether he took orders from his wife or if she obeyed his every command. He boasted: "My wife is so afraid of me that if I so much as yawn she evacuate her bowels."

The Captain and the Sergeant were in the field. In the middle of the night, the Sergeant woke his Captain and said: "Sir, look up into the sky and tell me what you see?"
The Captain said: "I see millions of stars."
"And what does that tell you, sir?"
"That what my lowly eyes behold of the starspangled void is all part of the cosmic domains of the Emperor of Holy Terra. The nightsky is but a glimpse of the grand Imperium of Man, and all the worlds that spin around the stars are under the truly just and stern grip of chosen mankind. I see the glory of our species and lord, our birthright made manifest. It is for our arms and might to defend, in nomine Imperator. Now, what does it tell you, sarge?"
"Well sir, it tells me that somebody stole our tent."

At a meeting between the two Imperial Governors Elect, Mithridates of Cherzon IV admires Hierocles the Great of Kish’s ability to win 99% of the vote from his planetary Senatus Nobilite. So as a gesture of friendship, Hierocles the Great sends some of his advisors to Cherzon IV to help with Mithridates' reelection campaign among the nobility. When the results come in, Mithridates asks: "Did I win?"
And the advisor answers: "I’m afraid not. The new Basileus Elect is Hierocles the Great!"

Dark humour is like food. Some don't get it.

A man sells a slave to a neighbour. A week later, the neighbour comes back complaining that the slave has died.
"That's ridiculous!" says the seller. "He never did that when I owned him!"

Eternity Gate on Holy Terra. A line is snaking toward the Imperial Palace, earthly abode and tomb of the Emperor Ascendant. A change of guard is watched by the onlookers. A pilgrim kid asks: "Daddy, why do the Custodes always keep guard at the tomb?"
"Didn't you hear what they say all the time? The Emperor lived, the Emperor is alive, the Emperor will live forever. What if, fate forbid, He is indeed alive, and decides to walk out of the tomb?"

Q: What to do if a man you don't know takes a seat at your table in a pub and starts to sigh?
A: Immediately demand him to stop the anti-Imperial propaganda.

A Cyrenean nobleman had an estate many miles away and wished to bring it nearer, so he overthrew seven mile-stones.

An Imperial subject orders a mechshaw. The salesman tells him to come back to pick it up in exactly nine years' time. The customer asks: "Am I to come back in the morning or in the evening then?"
"You're joking, aren't you? What is the difference?"
"Well sir, the plumber's coming in the morning."

Some civilian threw a pot of filth over a Praetorian Guardsman who was climbing a wall by grappling hook during a battle. He cried out: "Are you not willing to strike me clean?"

A theologian of the Ministorum had become frustrated with all the debates lost in the sophistry of deadend tongue-waggling. At last, he stands up in the middle of the sanctum, lays one hand upon his heart and the other upon the cover of the Lectitio Divinitatus and swears an oath: "As highland tribes of our world have it as a custom to sacrifice their captive foes to the Emperor in giant offerings of intertwined men burning inside an angelic wicker effigy of Primarch Sanguinius; so I, imitating the highlanders, hereby vow to burn as an offering seven of these false dialecticians!"

What hangs at a man’s thigh and wants to poke the hole that it’s often poked before? A key.

Over-Governor Julius attends the premiere of a comedy holo. He laughs and grins throughout the holo, but after it ends he says: "Well, I liked the comedy. But that clown had a moustache just like mine. Shoot him."
Everyone in the entourage is speechless, until someone sheepishly suggests: "Your excellence, maybe the actor shaves off his moustache?"
Julius replies: "Good idea! First shave, then shoot!"

Q: How muddy is the Takla Maryam river?
A: The Takla Maryam is so muddy you can drink it with a fork, but only if you wash it out with some other water first.

A father advised a pedant who had a child born to him of a hetaira to do away with the child through exposure. The pedant replied: "First bury your own children before you advise me to destroy mine."

The Techtriarchs are discussing legislation on Vostroya:
Repnin: "Saltykov, what is this Law of Universal Gravity, I don't remember passing it?"
Saltykov: "How should I know, laws are your department; I'm a Tech-Priest."

An incompetent teacher is asked the name of Primarch Guilliman's adoptive mother. At a loss, he says: "It is polite to call her Ma'am."

The prattle of plots was hot in the air once again, and accusations were flying left and right from domineering pillars of society. When someone asked a man from Adad-Shekari why there was a shortage of cooking gas in the district, he answered: "Because Adad-Shekari is cooking a big conspiracy."

Q: Could Moche Triarius become an Imperial world?
A: Yes, it could... but it's a shame for the good planet.

A Kriegsman had buried his son. When the father met the child's teacher, he said: "Pray excuse my son for not showing up for scholam today."

There once was member of the Voidholm Senate who was drunk as a lord. One day, he showed up with a hangover, but still delivered his speech with vigour and vim:
"Heed my advice well, conscript fathers and mothers, and be reminded that you can trust all that emanates from these lips," he said, and promptly vomited in the folds of his toga.

And then there was a denizen of Aratta, who, having a house for sale, carried about a stone that had fallen from it as a sample.

Q: How large will the next hydroponics harvest be?
A: Nobody can tell. Yesterday someone stole the exact results of the next harvest from the office of the Governor's secretariat.

A new mechshaw pattern has been launched with two exhaust pipes, so you can use it as a wheelbarrow.

Time of instability on the voidholm. Rulers are toppled and assassinated one after another, with palace coups and civil wars flaring up all the time. A sarcastic court historian writes in his chronicle: 'Who was Overlord? Who was not Overlord?'

An old lay techman and his assistant voidsman are reminiscing about their days on the Agripinaa convoys during the Eleventh Black Crusade together.
Lay techman: "All through those terrible, dark, hull-quaking shifts with all those shaking machine spirits, you never once failed to bring me a steaming full mug of tea on station. How on earth did you manage it without ever spilling a drop?"
Assistant voidsman: "Well, since you ask, I used to take a swig of your tea in the galley, then spit it back in the mug when I got to your door."

When Princely Governor Varnak the Bald started demolishing the old city center of Panormus it was speculated that, having failed to go down in History, he aimed at Geography next.

And then there was the Eldar xeno who danced around the urban battlefield, dodging every bullet and bolt with unbelievable agility and foresight, until he was hit square in the head by a brick tossed by an old woman on a balcony.

A guy with bad breath decides to take his own life. So he wraps his head with his tunic and asphyxiates himself.

The bureau is spreading and swallowing Earth.
Let us all run to Venus and settle our worth.
Yet the bureau is growing so damnably fast.
That I fear it will gobble up Venus at last.

A Gadesi refugee was displaced to the relatively safe area of Leptis Gebal, only to move back to Gades after a short while. When asked about the reason he answered: "The bombardment you know is better than the one you don’t."

Q: What should Eridu Alpha get for its surface to orbit defence system?
A: A refund.

A professional beggar had been letting his girlfriend think that he was rich and of fine birth. Once, when he was getting a handout at the neighbour's house, he suddenly saw her. He turned around and said: "Have my dinner-clothes sent here."

Overlord Heron is walking around Dyrrhacium Triaris, of course with a strong escort of bodyguards. He notices poverty everywhere, cripples begging, gangs fighting and children rummaging through trash to find something edible. Having witnessed wretchedness firsthand, he is suddenly brought to tears by the sight: "Such unholy misery!"
One of the urchins notices Heron crying and approaches one of the bodyguards in the escort:
"Can you tell me why our Overlord is crying?"
The bodyguard pulls out his power maul and starts beating the kid bloody:
"Because of you, scumbag, because of you!"

A Major asks a Medic: "Everything fine in the field medicae?"
"Yes, all is well. Three of the simulants have died."

Break the law, and the law breaks you.

Q: Can a son of a PDF General become a Marshal?"
A: No, because every Marshal also has a son.

We have wet the bed, host. I confess we have done ill. If you want to know why, there was neither chamber pot nor loo.

An Historitor asked his novitiates: "Do you believe that with time anecdotes are being reevaluated?"
"Yes. They used to give for an anecdote eighty years, and now they give only fifty."

A man came home and found his wife in bed with a stranger. Furious, the man shouted, "You good-for-nothing deserter, look at what you're spending your time, while at the corner store they're selling eggs, and they have only three boxes left!"

Q: It is dark and it is just behind the door. What is it?
A: Our bright future.

Militarum sentry: "Halt, who goes there?"
Response: "Finreth Highlanders."
Sentry: "Pass, Finreth Highlanders."
Sentry: "Halt, who goes there?"
Response: "Brimlock Dragoons."
Sentry: "Pass, Brimlock Dragoons."
Sentry: "Halt, who goes there?"
Response: "Mind your own bloody business, you stuck-up twerp!"
Sentry: "Pass, Catachans."

Q: How do you entertain a bored Governor?
A: You sail a boatload of young women dressed only in fishing nets down the river and urge the Governor to go catch a fish.

Two former mates from the Schola Progenium met in the street.
"Where do you work?"
"I'm a scrivener. And what about you?"
"I work as a Detective Surveillor."
"Oh, and what are you doing at the Arbites?"
"We unearth those who are dissatisfied."
"You mean, there are also some who are satisfied?"
"Those who are satisfied are dealt with by the Division for the Struggle Against Embezzlement of Imperial Property."

A dumb man followed custom and cremated his dead father. He ran home and said to his ailing mother: "There are a few fire-logs still left. If you want to stop suffering, then get yourself cremated on them."

The Lord Commander of Segmentum Solar, the Ecclesiarch and the Principatus of Lastrati travel on an aeroplane and the pilot comes in to tell them that there is a major problem with the plane and they will crash in minutes, but there is only three gravchutes on the plane.
The Lord Commander of the Segmentum Solar stands up and says: "I am the Leader of the Heart of the Imperium, I have to survive!" and he grabs a gravchute and jumps out the plane.
Within seconds the Principatus of Lastrati proclaims: "I am the Genius of Lastrati, I have to survive for the Motherworld!" and he grabs one as well and jumps out the plane.
The Ecclesiarch looks at the pilot and says: "Jump my boy, the Emperor will welcome me if He so wills it."
"No need to do that Holy Father. The Genius jumped with the sleeping bag."

Q: What do you call two ratling guys and two ratling girls in front of a trash can?
A: A night-club.

A number of henpecked men were holding an emergency meeting to discuss ways to regain their dignity. A bachelor prankster walked into their midst and said: "Your wives heard of this gathering and are all on their way here to deal with you."
All but one panicked and dashed out the door.
"He’s the only one with the courage to stand up to his wife!" the bachelor exclaimed, until closer examination revealed that the man had died of fright.

Tiburcio’s dilemma: Shall I die now of cold or shall I die of starvation in the summer?

A corrupt Eparch in Ashek II had gained the plebeians' wrath by his sinful ways, and one day a crowd attacked his palace. The crowd there removed the building's Eparchal banner, which presumably would be either burnt or trampled on. However, the attackers realised that they were not able to deface it due to the sacred words on the banner. And so they carefully cut out the holy writ with scissors before burning the banner.

A Watchman from Sidonia seeing a grox-driver leading his wagon through the marketplace ordered him to be beaten. But the grox-driver said: ''I am a Class Theta client of my noble patron, and it is not allowed to strike me because of the law."
So the Watchman instead ordered the groxen to be beaten.

Q: What does Securitate mean?
A: The heart of the Governorship beating, beating, beating...

An artist is commissioned to create a painting celebrating Drasko-Forsian friendship, to be called 'Igelström on Fors.' When the painting is unveiled at the Forsian acropolis, there is a gasp from the invited guests. The painting depicts Igelström's wife naked in bed with Megas Domestikos Alfa Laval.
"But this is a travesty! Where is Governor Igelström?" asks one of the guests.
"Igelström is on Fors," replies the painter.

Bandit chief Commentiolus told an ogryn that his name was Nobody. When Commentiolus instructed his men to attack the ogryn, the ogryn shouted: "Help, Nobody is attacking me!" So no one came to help.

A man driving an enclosed mechshaw suddenly breaks his windshield wiper. Pulling into a streetside service station, he hails a lay mechanic.
"Wipers for a mechshaw?" the driver asks.
The mechanic thinks about it for a few seconds and replies: "Yes, sounds like a fair trade."

A yokel whilst swimming almost choked to death. He made an oath that he would not go into the water again until he had first learned to swim well.

Q: How do you deal with mice in the Governorial Palace?
A: Enroll them in a latifundia plantation. Then half the mice will starve, and the rest will run away.

Explorators hunting ancient relics found a frozen human corpse drifting through space. They dated it to the Dark Age of Technology. Yet no matter how they tried, the Explorators could not determine its origin. Then an Arbites Chastener offered to help. The corpse was delivered to the Fortress Precinct. In two hours the Chastener appeared and said: "His name was Gordon 'Starstrider' Femlock. He was a famous skyrider hailing from Halicyae who explored the Shapur Nebula during M.29, and we have all the juicy coordinates in this list."
The Explorators were astonished: "How did you find out?"
"He confessed," the Chastener said.

A son of a jokester being sent off to battle by his father promised to return and bring the head of a foeman. The father replied: "I shall be glad even if you come back without a head."

A pilgrim was at the millennial games which every thousand years are held on Holy Terra, and seeing a pit fighter who had been beaten giving vent to his grief, he tried to cheer him up: "Do not grieve, you will surely win in the next millennial contest!"

Q: Why are the lights in the Despotic Palace always on so late into the night?
A: Because Governor-Despot Sicarius has to transfer his military badges onto his pajamas.

Father to son on an agri-world in tributary vassalage to a hive world:
"Son, you know trade between Thracia IV and Agathon is flourishing?"
"How so, dad?"
"We give them a ship full of rye. They in return take from us a ship full of meat."

Valhalla. An Enforcer sees a poor man holding a High Gothic dictionary.
"Why are you learning High Gothic?"
"I’m learning High Gothic so that I can talk to the God-Emperor and all the saints when I get to afterlife on Holy Terra."
"And if you go to the nether hells?"
"I already speak Valhallan."

Some once asked Miles Gloroiosus, the braggart Guardsman, what he was, as in what his position and employment entailed. He answered in this manner: "I am a parade!"

A competition for the best anecdote has been announced. First prize: Fifty five years; second prize: Thirty years; and two condolence prizes: Fifteen years each.

The flymeat bar takes a walk on the street, when he meets the ratburger, who is very upset and in a hurry.
"What's the problem, ratburger?" asks the flymeat bar.
"Run you fool!" shouts the ratburger. "Here comes the Necromundans and they will eat us all!"
They start to run down the street and they meet with the powder soup.
"Run, powder soup, run! Here comes the Necromundans and they will eat you!"
They continue to run and after a few hundred meters they meet with the völse sausage.
"Run, völse sausage, you fool, run! Here comes the Necromundans and they will eat you!"
"Why would they do that? They don't even know me!"

A preacher was preaching to the people in the forum, and was thundering against adultery. "It is such a horrible sin," he said, "that I had rather undo ten virgins than one married woman!" Many in the crowd agreed with him wholeheartedly.

Q: How do you find a solution to a problem that is impossible to solve?
A: We do not answer questions about agriculture.

During training exercises, the Lieutenant who was driving down a muddy back road encountered another vehicle stuck in the mud with a red-faced Colonel at the wheel: "Your car stuck, sir?" asked the Lieutenant as he pulled alongside.
"Nope," replied the Colonel, coming over and handing him the keys. "Yours is."

Thought for the day: None.

Eastern Fringe. Three men in a cell talk about why they got imprisoned:
"They locked me up because I always got to work late. They accused me of being a Xenophile saboteur."
"I got locked up because I always got to work early. They accused me of being a Tauist spy."
"I got locked up because I always got to work on time. They accused me of having a Tau-manufactured clock."

Q: What to do if amasec interferes with the job?
A: Get off the job.

Miles Gloriosus, the braggart soldier, declares when he is about to dismount: "Stand aside everyone! I take large steps."

A runner going to participate in the Macian games had a dream, that he was driving a quadriga, a racing chariot pulled by four dirtbikes. Early in the morning he goes to a dream interpreter for an explanation. The reply is: "You will win, that was the meaning of the speed and the strength of the dirtbikes."
But, to be sure about this, the runner visits another dream interpreter. This one replies: "You will lose. Don't you understand, that four ones came before you?"

Someone needled a jokester: "I had your wife, without paying a dime."
He replied: "It's my duty as a husband to couple with such a monstrosity. What made you do it?"

Why do Security Vigiles agents always work in groups of three? One can read, another one can write and the last one is there to keep an eye on those two dodgy intellectuals.

A family of truck serfs is making a delivery. The husband is driving with his wife and a small child. A Watchman Corporal pulls them over and makes the man take a respalyzer test. "See," the Watchman says, "you are drunk."
The man protests that the breathalyzer must be broken and invites the cop to test his wife. She also registers as drunk. Exasperated, the husband invites the Watchman to test his child. When the child also registers as drunk, the Watchman Corporal shrugs, says, "Yes, perhaps it is broken," and sends them on their way.
Out of earshot the man tells his wife: "See, I told you it wouldn’t hurt to give the kid a couple shots of amasec."

Q: Will the Securitate and Watchmen still exist after the Return of the Emperor in the Flesh?
A: Of course, not. By that time, all subjects will have learned how to arrest themselves.

Motto in farms:
Every jar of bottled fruit, a fist in the face of the xeno!

When the Stagirans were fortifying their settlement, one of the inhabitants named Ivanov fortified two sections at his own charges. When the wastelanders made an attack, the Stagirans, growing angry, cried out as with one voice that no one should guard the wall of Ivanov but he alone.

The youth Lollianus applied to the PDF officer academy. The academy committee conducts an interview:
"Subject Lollianus, do you smoke?"
"Yes, I do a little."
"Do you know that Saint Helenera did not smoke and advised other worshippers of the Emperor not to smoke?"
"If Saint Helenera said so, I shall cease smoking."
"Do you drink?"
"Yes, a little."
"Saint Helenera strongly condemned drunkenness."
"Then I shall cease drinking."
"Subject Lollianus, what about women?"
"A little..."
"Do you know that Saint Helenera condemned amoral behavior?"
"If Saint Helenera condemned, I shall not love them any longer."
"Subject Lollianus, will you be ready to sacrifice your life for the Emperor?"
"Of course. Who needs such life?"

A Juban manager was walking with a companion when he dropped behind a little to attend to a matter of importance, and having stopped for some time his fellow traveller left him after writing on the milestone: "Make haste and overtake me."
When the manager read it he wrote above: "And do you wait for me."

A heavily laden porter stumbled into the local slum doctor in a narrow alley. When the doctor drew back his fist to hit him, the porter dropped to his knees and begged: "Please kick me instead."
A bystander asked: "Why would you rather him kick you?"
The terrified porter replied: "Treatment by his hands would be much deadlier than with his feet!"

Q: What is very large, makes a lot of smoke and noise, takes down 20 liters of promethium per hour, and cuts a chorafruit into three pieces?
A: The Imperial machine built to cut chorafruits into four pieces.

The backwater world of Galgacus Quadralis. An old woman decides she wants to visit the capital city of Cumaea, because the last time she did that was before the Imperials took over her world. She thinks she should eat at a café she visited a long time ago. So the old woman asks a passerby:
"Excuse me, sir! Can you tell me where I can find Lancia square?" Lancia had been the ruler of Cumaea before the Imperial conquest.
"Are you insane, old woman? Don't say that out loud or you'll be brought to the labour camp! It is called Imperator square!"
She eventually finds the café. Then she decides to shop in a marketplace she knew. She asks another man on the street:
"Pardon me! Do you know where I can find Freeborn street?"
"Oh my! Don't say that, you'll get shot on the spot! It is called the Astra Militarum street!"
This saddens the old woman. Everything has changed. So she sits down to look at the moon of Petunius and let the changes sink in. A Militia Enforcer approaches her and asks:
"Hey, old woman! What are you doing here?"
"I'm watching Luna!"

My grandfather never threw anything away, bless him.
He died in the war holding on to a frag grenade.

Consulting a hotheaded slum doctor, a fellow says: "Doc, I'm unable to lie down or stand up. I can't even sit down."
The slum doctor responds: "I guess the only thing left is to hang yourself."

Motto on posters:
Unity between worlds give wings to the aforementioned.

Two lazy-bones are fast asleep. A thief comes in, pulls the blanket from the bed, and makes off with it. One of them is aware of what happened and says to the other: "Get up! Go after the guy who stole our blanket!"
The other responds: "Forget it. When he comes back to take the mattress, let's grab him then."

Q: What is the difference between heathen and Imperial societies?
A: In a heathen society man exploits man, and in an Imperial one, the other way around.

At the uppermost levels of the middle hive, a man and his son are staring up at the plasteel barrier blocking all entrance to the upper hive.
The son asks: "Daddy, who lives behind that fence?"
The father says with sadness in his voice: "We do, son. We do..."

Motto in mines:
All the loyalists, underground!

Under the Emperor's rule, every man has what he needs. That's why the butcher puts a sign up that says: 'Nobody needs meat today.'

There is a delegation from Chevlar on Tallarn and one of the places visited is the maritime ministry of Tallarn. The confused Chevlar delegates ask the hosts: "Why do you have a maritime ministry, if you no longer even have any sea coast?"
"So what?" answer the hosts, "Chevlar has a ministry of culture, don't you?"

Q: Sir, is it true that after the Itzel fission disaster the Director killed himself?
A: Yes, it is true!
Q: And is it also true that the Assistant Director also wanted to kill himself?
A: Yes, that is true, but they didn't find him at home!

A dumb man saw a eunuch talking with a woman and asked him if she was his wife. When he replied that eunuchs can't have wives, the man asked: "So is she your daughter?"

A Planetary Governor visits the front and talks to a PDF soldier. The Governor asks: "Son, when you are in the frontline under artillery fire, what do you wish for?"
The soldier replies: "That you, dear leader, stand next to me!"

A man is granted a two-minute visit to meet a friend in the workhouse: "So, how are you?"
"Oh, you know... I can't complain."

A newly appointed official decided to impress folks with his moral virtues by writing three maxims on the walls of his office:
1. Do not covet money.
2. Do not desire promotions.
3. Do not fear death.
A few days later some wit added some characters to the bottom of each:
1. In small quantities.
2. Unless it’s much higher than this one.
3. But I want to live as long as I can.

A man is walking down the streets in Valhallan winter. He shouts into a flat: "Could you shut your windows? It’s freezing out here!"

The Imperial Governor Aetius summoned his Grand Vezir Honorius and said: "I know you spread jokes about me. It's impertinent."
"Why?"
"I am the Great Leader, Teacher, and Protector of the Homeworld after all."
"No, I've not told anybody this joke."

"When do your kid have new shoes on his feet? When the son of the Censor steps on them."

Q: What is it that starts with an R and never ends?
A: Reorganization.

Meeting between Imperial Governors. Merenre of Abydos Majoris and Rolf II of Tröndelang Secundus are talking, when suddenly the God-Emperor appears before them.
The Emperor says: "I have come to tell you that the end of all creation will be in two days. Tell your people."
So each leader goes back to his planet and prepares a voxcast publicae address.
On Tröndelang Secundus, Rolf II says: "My fellow Tröndurs, I regret to inform you that I have two pieces of bad news. First, this year's taxes cannot be gathered. Second, the God-Emperor Himself told me the universe would end in two days."
On Abydos Majoris, Merenre says: "O Abydians, I come to you today with two pieces of excellent news! First, the God-Emperor and I have just held an important summit. Second, he told me I would be your Governor until the end of time."

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#62 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Three Virtues

To behold sclerosis plaguing an an entire civilization, look skyward and gaze into the grim darkness of the far future. Gaze into the dark cosmos beyond the march of aeons, and behold the destiny of our species, namely that fortified prison and inescapable death trap of man which the Emperor and His all-conquering Legions once built unwittingly in shining days of yore. By the fortyfirst millennium, the God-Emperor is a rotting corpse since ten thousand years back, and so is His dominion.

The decrepit star realm known as the Imperium of Man has long since ceased to remove obstacles to its internal flows of people and goods. Travelling within this atavistic colossus on feet of clay is characterized at every turn by a myriad of internal toll barriers and tight restrictions on movement. The act of moving from one district to another on an Imperial world, voidholm or hive city will more often than not require multiple permits, seals of blessing and expensive bribes, aside from standard quarantine measures, mandatory confession and purification rituals. This state of affairs is coincidentally a strong reason as to why hardly any private motoring exists within the Imperium of Man: Human history shows that to possess your own family vehicle is a great material liberty, and why would the Adeptus Terra ever wish to grant His kowtowing subjects any ounce of dangerous freedom? No, better keep the rabble locked to their birthplaces, than allow them to mill about in disorder and deviancy.

Naturally, the wall of red tape to control movement and its companion phenomenon of corruption grows taller still once a traveller seeks to leave her planet or voidholm and travel across the starspangled void to other locales within the galaxy-spanning domains of the Terran Imperator. Yet the principles of endless bureaucratic hinders, the dreary ennui of waiting and the blood-curdling dread at the sight and sounds of glaring Enforcers and Securitate personnel remain much the same experience everywhere, whether an Imperial subject wish to travel offworld or to the neighbouring hive district.

At every turn, suspicious officials will question his motives and monitor the subject's movement in the form of documented data. At every turn, power mauls and plasteel boots will threaten to knock the frustrated and impatient Imperial subject to the floor in case he ever flares up in anger or cease his humiliating displays of reverence. At every turn, the Imperium of Man and its loyal Governors will strive to limit and direct their subjects, even as urbane hints for bribes to grease the gears of administration will be dropped again and again by knowing men of the world in positions of petty power.

As with everything Imperial, the absolute grand majority of internal travel restrictions are both needless and act contrary to the long-term interests of Imperial development, yet these strangling inner barriers provide revenue and fruitful activity for billion-headed hordes of Administratum clerks, and moreover internal checkpoints offer plenty of opportunity for the Emperor's dutiful servants to receive underhanded private fund donations. All unregistered, of course.

They got to eat, after all.

One everyday example of such an ordinary internal toll station experience can be glimpsed on the great Imperial voidholm of Boiorum Theta, in the tribuneship of Uliaris Sextus in 110.M39. At this time, it cost 5 Boiorian siglos for a draft animal to pass any district line, 7 siglos for merchants, and 20 siglos for prostitutes to enter another area. The saintly holy man known as Gaius Anthemius sought to gain access to the southwestern lower protrusion of the giant spacestation to do the Emperor's work among the poor.

At this, the customs officer asked: "What have you got with you?"

To which the holy man said: "Nothing, but Temperance, Righteousness and Charity."

And so the custom officer wanted to charge him 60 siglos, because he thought they were three whores.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#63 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

A Vox in the Void

Paul Graham on a Vox in the Void has laboured to combine three separate pieces into one, namely Quartering, Saw and Hangman. Check out Imperial Justice if you dare, for twenty minutes of bonkers grimdark delivered by a skilled voice actor.

- - -

Image

Infant Exposure

In the grim darkness of the far future, the spawn of man is cast aside as refuse.

A careful examination of mortal existence will reveal that it is a matter of lowly hunger and lust, of bestial desperation and survival at all cost. Life is far from placed on a lofty moral throne of higher justice and inalienable rights, for it is in truth a red-blooded and savage thing. Life itself is a hunter's arena of rutting and consumption where gutsy truths hold sway, and where might makes right. Instead of talking about the mortal coil as an elevated matter of light and darkness or of good and evil, let us speak of life as a matter of feeding and starvation. A better understanding of the fundamental drives of mortal creatures will be had from phrases like ravenous hunger and eat or be eaten, than any sublime philosophy can ever offer.

Consider the cosmos. Is not all the vast universe a banquet laid out for those with the will, cunning and appetite to bite into it? Yet to what end?

To stave off the inevitable?

Listen carefully, o mortal soul, and you will hear the laughter of thirsting gods. Maybe all of creation is nothing but a cruel joke, where the dying of mortals such as yourself constitute the punchline. A foreshadowing, perhaps, of the great end of all things to come. Many may find this possibility incomprehensible and malignant beyond any scope of joy, yet that, too, is appropriate. After all, dark humour is like food: Some do not get it.

Behold the dangers of childbirth, the aching pulse and the bearing down that must happen. Both mother and child are in peril as the infant enters the world through her portal of flesh, the gateway of life itself. Some do not survive this miracle of lifegiving. The pain, blood and deadly hazard at birth is a herald of what life truly is. And so the fruit of seeds sown in lust will sprout into an uncaring world. The fortunate tender babies will have loving mothers and fathers and families to raise them and nurture them, to care for and protect them. But love is no substitute for nutrients, and so every newborn infant is yet another mouth to feed. It has been thus since time immemorial.

Such strain of children upon family and livelihood was rarely an issue during the Dark Age of Technology, in that golden epoch of material paradise stretching across twain million human worlds and voidholms beyond counting. In those long-lost shining days of yore, children rarely had to die. For man in that time had banished what was ill in life, and subdued the primordial scourges of poverty, sickness and starvation. Truly, Man of Gold had cast out misery and suffering from life, and in his sinful hubris he mounted a brilliant pedestal of mortal ascension and challenged any divinity there might ever be, to topple him if it so possessed power and daring enough to best mortal man in his state of supreme mastery of creation.

And the challenge boasted by mortal man was heard, and it was answered by dark ones of hell. For ancient man was torn down from his splendid pinnacle, and his great works were rent asunder in an unending orgy of bloodletting and catastrophe stacked upon catastrophe. And so the lore of the ancients was shattered and lost, and man descended into animalistic savagery and cannibal desperation. Man had climbed the heavens and his fingers had found no purchase. And in his fall he destroyed all the wonders his hands and mind had wrought. And thus paradise was lost forever in flames and ruination.

The humans that survived this freefall into barbarity reverted to their species' most primitive ways during the Age of Strife. The coming of the Imperium of Man ultimately failed to change this sorry state of affairs, for the brief golden age of bloody conquest and restoration was ended when the Warmaster Horus turned upon the Emperor. And so man yet again slayed his brother and burned down his own creations, and all was fell anew. The Age of Imperium that followed saw the value of human life cemented at an all time low, and thus it is no surprise to find that the darkest of futures will rival any past aeon in wretchedness and inevitable cruelty.

For instance, all across the regressed domains of the Terran Imperator, human cultures on hundreds of thousands of worlds and innumerable voidholms practice exposure of infants. These may be unwanted newborns, or else the parents would have preferred to keep their little offspring, yet inability to feed further additions to the family may dictate that they must surrender the fruit of their loins, else everyone will starve.

Ancient legends and folktales from the Age of Terra all tell of exposure in hard times, with infants left out in the wilds explaining the origin of kings and prophets alike. This bygone oral flora of sagas and stories is much akin to that found in human societies across the vast Imperium, for there, too, the abandonment of tender children is an everyday common practice, and a fact of life like any other. And so babies will be left out in the wilderness, and tiny children will be abandoned in corridors, niches and gutters. The act itself is not considered to be murder, since the exposed child still have a chance of being discovered and saved by some benevolent soul passing by. Yet the widespread custom is infanticide in all but name.

Most humans in the Age of Imperium live in dens of overpopulation, disease and filth. While some turn sterile from chemical pollution, corporal punishment without anaesthetics or callous overseer dictates beyond their control, most of them will be abundantly fecund and grateful for their prolific fertility and virility. After all, the burden of caring for children is a tradeoff against the baleful fate awaiting anyone who in old age would find themself childless and uncared for. Such lonely elders without offspring or clan face some of the most dismal ends imaginable. After all, everywhere man thrives bitterly across the Milky Way galaxy, children are the only safeguard in man's old age, except perhaps for such locations where those too old to labour will be euthanized or chased out into the wastelands to die.

The most common motivation for infant exposure is to fend off starvation, for food will be scarce and precious, and the stomachs that crave it will already be all too many in number. Sometimes, callous couples will expose infants even when they can afford to feed and clothe the new children, in order merely to not burden their selfish lives with more cares. More usually, however, infants born out of wedlock in bastardous stigma may find themselves stealthily abandoned. And so too will be many children of prostitutes and shamed victims of violation.

Parents will often place their unwanted offspring in well-travelled spots such as by crossroads or in corridor junctions. Thus they hope to improve the chances of someone picking up their cast-off baby and adopting them, and they will therefore pray for the Imperator to guide fellow humans to pick up and nurture their abandoned offspring. All parents with some form of decency hope for their exposed infants to face a better future by subjecting them to such a twisted roulette of fate, yet most breeding adults know that thralldom or worse remain the most likely outcomes. For the inclinations of humans who have lived their entire lives in a threatening morass of hardship and deprivation will rarely tend to be sympathetic and benevolent in dealing with fellow members of their teeming species. Some Imperial subjects will be more likely to kick the rejected baby just because they are already in a bad mood after a hard day of work, and they will have no patience left for such wailing to add to their personal miseries.

Where men's wives are more fertile than their fields, infant exposure help to regulate the excesses of human fertility. In some human cultures within the Imperium, unwanted infants will be ritually disposed of in offerings to the Emperor, or else given to Death Cults during solemn rites. Such barbarous practices are frowned upon by the Ecclesiarchy, yet all manner of depraved local customs thrive on every single planet and void installation under Imperial rule in spite of Holy Terran disapproval, for the reach of the Imperium into the depths of local society will often be shallow and limited.

Elsewhere, unwanted infants will be cynically sold to shady organ-harvesters or the respectable Corpse Guild for a pittance, and some such unfortunate tender mortals will even be fed to the corpsegrinders whilst still alive and screaming. Others still will be sold as servitor-meat, cherubim conversion material or be buried alive to repay the soil its gifted fertility, out of heathen practices from the Age of Strife which are still embedded in local folk customs. From ashes to ashes. From womb to womb.

In most locales, infantile orphans will either die from lack of water and nutrition, fall prey to hypothermia, die from dripping toxins or radiation, or be eaten by wild creatures. Others will be picked up by human hands and face either a cannibal end, heretical sacrifice, adoption into a clan, or enslavement to last for generations on end. After all, it cost resources to raise a human from infancy to a productive childhood age when they can begin to earn back the expenditure of keeping them alive, so why should not the bairns and juves grow old and die while still working to pay off the lifedebts they owe to their magnanimous slavemasters? Of course you must toil for the master or mistress who saved you from certain death, to prove your humble gratitude and value as a dutiful Imperial subject. It is even mandated in holy scripture.

The best that swaddled babies left alone by their biological parents can hope for, is to be adopted. Rare kind couples with offspring of their own, or barren couples desperate for children at all, will often be the best caretakers of the abandoned spawn of man. Some exceedingly few gutter babies may even be taken up, for whatever strange reason, into noble clans, merchant houses and other wealthy elite families with status and influence, though their privileged lives may often be marred by peer derision and constant mockery if ever their adoption from the scum-rats of lower castes become common knowledge.

Some exposed children will be adopted by Imperial or local governance organizations to be raised as brainwashed orphans. These souls will be cast in a mould of loyalty unto death for Emperor or Governor, and their adult lives will invariably find them in other institutions. Many times these indoctrinated thralls will be recruited as fanatically devout guard units, on which Imperial and local governance authorities usually can depend with complete trust, no matter how hated the rulers may be by other armed forces and influential factions.

Some such bonded orphan guards, who are raised to be utterly loyal to the present Imperial Governor, may find themselves pursue selfish group interests upon the death of their revered exclusive master, interfering in governance, taking new Governors hostage or assassinating them to put their own candidate on the throne. All this is an accepted part of the power plays that characterize the internal workings of human societies in the Age of Imperium, and many Imperial thinkers postulate that such vicious cycles of violence and treachery serve a virtuously eugenic function by allowing the most ruthless and capable to rise to the top by removing those weak rulers who had lost the mandate of His Divine Majesty. After all, only those blessed by Him on Terra could ever hope to attain power.

Other small children left in wastes and ruins will find themselves adopted by mutants and inbred tribes of scavengers desperate for fresh blood to stop their genetical deterioration. Further reasons for human savages to adopt exposed infants include barren couples wanting to remedy their dismal childlessness, or shamanistic interpretation of strange omens. Yet more often a rational striving to increase the numbers of the clan to better its chances in future petty wars will see such little orphans adopted and raised as full members of those insular communities that took them in. Martial deathmaking always need a plentiful supply of life to feed on.

And so Infants find themselves exposed on a million worlds and voidholms beyond counting, be it for reasons of poverty, parental shame or selfishness. Unwanted newborns on almost every single Imperial world and voidstation may find themselves exposed, whether they are dumped like trash in the gutter or carefully placed on choice spots in utility vessels with trinket amulets and bits of prayer parchment to guide their innocent souls to a better life, or failing that to guide their spirits to the divine embrace of the protecting Emperor.

At least, a great many Imperial sects claim that the souls of babies are untarnished and pure, and so billions of parents find solace in the knowledge that a good afterlife will await their abandoned children. Other sects teach that the depravity of man is absolute from his very inception, and no amount of redemption can pay off his sinful soul debts and inherited vice. To adherents of such a damning creed, the afterlife of their rejected offspring will be one of darkness and suffering to dwarf the woes they could ever have known in their short and bleak lives. For such men, women and children, there truly is no hope beyond the God-Emperor's forgiveness of our worthless souls. It all lies in His hands.

And with that, we gain a glimpse of the sheer horror facing our species in the dark future. For their cheap lives are not only doomed to indebted servitude, hunger pangs and backbreaking toil. Their worthless lives are often forfeit at birth, their crying little bodies left deserted in walkways and agoras, their mothers and fathers unknown. In endless human settlements on worlds and voidholms across the Emperor's sacred domains, millions of infant exposures take place every day, every shift rotation, every lights-on. Witness this inescapable fact of life, and do not deny its existence or the failure that it speaks of. For the Terran Imperator Himself planned to rekindle a golden age of enlightenment and banish such crude customs to the abominable past. And yet, instead we find that the opposite has taken place, for His grand designs for humanity took a nosedive into oblivion, and all that He built stagnated as fivehundred generations of human descendants toiled and died inside an increasingly degenerate star realm.

Lo! How the mighty have fallen. How the wise have turned foolish. Truly, everything is decay and wasting rot under the sun.

And so the Age of Imperium grind on, its crippled machinery lubricated by human blood, sweat and tears. There mankind stands, trapped by his own works, shackled to a sinking ship and tormented by fellow human hands in atavistic agony.

Such is the lot of our species, at the end of its life-course.

Such is the damnation of man.

Such is the fate that awaits us all.

To be a child in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. Small and alone, in an aeon of lost hope. Abandoned, in an era of broken promises and unending carnage. Exposed, in an age of utter suffering and total darkness.

And whatever happens, you will not be missed.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#64 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Futility

"Soldiers and lawyers are the devil's playmates."
- Ancient Scandian proverb

- - -

In the grim darkness of the far future, there can be no victors.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#65 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Unhinged

To the madness of daring, we chant a song.

As the reign of terror marches on.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#66 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Confessions of a Disgruntled Inspector

In the grim darkness of the far future, there can be no victor.

Behold the sprawling realm of man, stretched thin across the starspangled void.

Behold its million worlds and uncounted voidholms, where man thrives bitterly under the rule of uncaring overlords.

Behold its countless armies and mighty armadas, each host and fleet nothing but a cogwheel in a titanic machinery greased by human blood, sweat and tears.

Bear witness to the Imperium of Man in all its power and glory, and ken it as the dead-end of human interstellar civilization. Forged in a hopeless age of ruin and strife, the early Imperium shone bright with torches of promise and hope, carried aloft by a walking god amongst men and borne to the farthest edges of the Milky Way galaxy by His all-conquering Legions. Yet the brilliant renaissance of man was cut short by common human treachery, and mankind's re-ascendance to its former pinnacles of knowledge and craft died in the flames of a ravaged galaxy. Ever since this crippling catastrophe, humanity has been left treading water, like a man doomed to drown out at sea. This is the best mankind can hope for, under the suffocating reign of the High Lords of Terra.

Bear witness to the stumbling colossus on feet of clay that man has become. Once upon a time, the earthly trinity of Man of Gold, Stone and Iron bestrode the cosmos with unsurpassed wisdom and skill, fashioning a mortal paradise for themselves across twain million worlds and innumerable void installations. Once upon a time, man in his prime worshipped at the altar of science and reason, and his soaring technology came close to unlocking the secrets of eternity itself. Once upon a time, the sinful ancestors of latter day's degenerate descendants fell to machine revolt, civil strife and diabolical calamities. Nowadays, man has turned senile and dumb, his fearful eyes refusing to see, his blinkered mind rejecting his innate curiosity and genius, his sluggish feet moving in nought but a fruitless circle fivehundred generations in the making.

An ancient philosopher from the misty Age of Terra once claimed that he would rather teach truth to one intelligent man than entertain ten thousand fools. Let us hear the truth of human folly in the decrepit Age of Imperium. Let us hear first-hand of this cavalcade of petty parasites, counterproductive dogmatists, frothing fanatics, corrosive traitors and self-serving scoundrels. Let us hear of the ills and ailings of future man from the horse's mouth.

Shirk not. Do not shut your ears, but listen, and listen well. Let us hear the forbidden thoughts of a disgruntled watchman. Let us tap the mind of a loyal lapdog of a mass-murdering theocratic dictatorship. Let us see the internal workings of the sclerotic Imperium of Man through the eyes of a willing lackey. And let us know his damning verdict upon the very empire he has given his life to serve.

Enter, Inspector Ruminatus Saihtam Llezir of the Division for the Struggle Against Embezzlement of Imperial Property, under the ever-watchful aegis of the Adeptus Arbites. A man of crisp salutes who needs no beverage to act crazy. A hard-working maniac whose primary joy is to be found in fulfilling his tasks well, no matter what fortress-precinct or subsector he finds himself rotating to. An ambivert freak, whose conduct will range from carrying out his duties with theatrical flair, to performing tasks with a boring, mechanistic exactitude.

The eldest son hailing from a quarrelsome lowborn clan, this Arbites Inspector is a man of both paper scrutiny and savage violence. Possessing an intense focus and tunnel vision, Saihtam fancies himself a rustic poet, though others find him more rustic than poetic. He is an eccentric tongue-waggler who shifts from polished speech fit for polite society, through endless fact-chewing rants at high speed, to brusque comments composed of blunt or outright insidious words. It is not a type of personality usually found within the dour and leaden-heartened Adeptus Arbites, yet certain bookworm specialist roles still has a use for such odd human resources. This strange character is an avid reader of books and adherent of dark humour, and he will spice his everyday speech with obscure references to Imperial history and plebeian toilet humour alike. Such is the man known as Inspector Ruminatus Saihtam Llezir.

As to this Arbitrator's duties, let us consider this banned yet widespread whisper joke, a piece of sinspeech told on hundreds of thousands of planets and voidholms across the astral domains of His Divine Majesty:

Two former mates from the Schola Progenium met in the street.
"Where do you work?"
"I'm a scrivener. And what about you?"
"I work as a Detective Surveillor."
"Oh, and what are you doing at the Arbites?"
"We unearth those who are dissatisfied."
"You mean, there are also some who are satisfied?"
"Those who are satisfied are dealt with by the Division for the Struggle Against Embezzlement of Imperial Property."

As may be inferred, this Division is tasked with rooting out fraudulent usage and wastage of the Emperor's assets. It is likewise an anti-corruption unit, a maverick bloodhound organization who will infiltrate and raid all manner of Imperial departments, notaria and bureaux. Its snooping about in chancelleries, scriptoria and archive-vaults is an inherently dry and mind-numbingly patient activity of crunching numbers and puzzling together signs of creative book-keeping.

Nevertheless, the extremely fractious and dangerous cultural climate on virtually all Imperial worlds and voidholms mean that members of the Division for the Struggle Against Embezzlement of Imperial Property will experience their fair share of shootouts, ambushes, booby traps, melees and bloody crackdowns. Death by paper cuts is not the worst occupational hazard. To serve in this Arbites unit mean that it is not at all improbable to be assassinated by shady clerks and slimy officials, and then have your corpse disappear clandestinely into some grinder or other. After all, attack is often the best form of defence. Both situational awareness and documental vigilance will be required to survive for long in this dreary line of work. Never go in alone.

Toiling for his mistrustful Arbites Division, Inspector Ruminatus Saihtam Llezir spends most of his life grubbing around in parchment records and datamills, as well as sailing the wild waters of the multiple overlapping and conflicting law codes that characterize the disjointed legal landscape of edict accretions that constitute His sacred astral dominion. Ever armed and armoured to the teeth while on duty, the pious Saihtam has committed countless mercy killings in the field, both ranged and up close and personal with blood and spittle spraying his face. And the Arbitrator knows his bane deeds to be acts of mercy. After all, surely death was a mercy compared to the tender cares of Arbites Chasteners? Of course, summary beatings, electroture and undertaking field interrogations at the top of one's lungs also goes with the job. Serving in this Imperial Adeptus, sworn to uphold the Emperor's order and the Lex Imperialis, is a baleful duty not fit for those faint of heart. Only those willing and able to embrace brutality can prosper in such a lethal and sinister environment. Break those who would break the law.

The middling rank of Inspector Ruminatus means that Llezir closely cooperates, from a junior position, with Intelligencers, namely the spymasters of the Adeptus Arbites. Their spycraft usually consists of tending to informant networks and chasing endless paper trails via planted agents, as well as forensic expertise. Staying fed with information from relevant secret sources constitute a major investigative advantage for the Division for the Struggle Against Embezzlement of Imperial Property. Knowledge is power, guard it well.

The arduous archive digging and information sifting has seen Arbitrator Saihtam and his colleagues carry out dozens of Imperial asset seizures at gunpoint, often in the midst of furious compound combat and corridor wars. This is a thrilling aspect of duty that the crazed man relishes, and he takes hidden pride in equipping himself above and beyond the call of duty, both as regard lethal weaponry and practical tools. The backside of his small ceramite shield, for instance, is festooned with a sheathed shortsword side-arm, multikeys and all manner of easily-retrieved items that tend to be handy to hold in one hand even while grasping the shield with the other. What spare surfaces are left over on the shield's backside is covered with kill markings and little glued pieces of trophy parchment and order-printouts from both intellectually and martially challenging inspections. Saihtam Llezir is nothing if not a man who wish to preserve memories as clearly as possible, and so token keepsakes and grisly trophies alike adorn his cramped hab-unit, in amongst troves of equipment, tools and stacks of books.

Now, this exposer of fraud and hunter of Adeptus corruption, has seen the God-Emperor's vast dominions from a large number of different angles, from on high and low. And more to the point, his excavations of peripheral archive niches has unearthed material long lost and long redacted by official Imperial policy. The position of a roving Inspector Ruminatus has carried with it many a surprising discovery in the nooks and crannies of data-logs and archivist caverns, ones who has given this lowly Adept an unusual bird's eye perspective of the Imperium and mankind as a whole. And while many would have preferred the bliss of ignorance to the harrowing and eye-opening glimpses of knowledge he has beheld, Saihtam himself will secretly damn ignorance, despite Imperial dogma. Knowledge may be a heavy burden to carry, but it's ultimately a dignity for any thinking creature alive.

Unlikely though it may seem, he once found a couple of ancient Imperial propaganda mantras from the distant times of M.32, upon the hive world of Cylaxis Ultima. Both mantras speak of changing times in the wake of the now-mythical Horus Heresy, yet the second mantra already displayed the unhinged lunacy that would become so entrenched in human cultures all across the beleaguered Imperium of Man:

"Remain calm.
The Master of Mankind endures.
The God-Emperor lives.
The Imperium of Man shall endure.
There is much to be done."

"The Banner of Lightning drops, giving way to a red dawn.
There is only hatred under the Imperial Eagle.
Hail the Regency of the High Lords.
Hail the nightmare.
Hail mankind."

Likewise, most of the bloodsoaked doings of the Adeptus Terra during the Age of Apostasy may have been scrubbed out from history, yet on the old asteroid mining voidholm of Porus Obraluj II, Inspector Ruminatus Saihtam managed to stumble across a rusty cogitator filled with machine spirit-files from this five thousand year old reign of terror. Crucially, it had once belonged to the Adeptus Astra Telepathica before a mysterious purge had seen the choir killed off and one lone cogitator forgotten in the fiery cleansing of the installation. As such, the archival information gave certain glimpses into the guts of Imperial governance across the stars, a snapshot from a bygone aeon. Many hours of fascinated reading sufficed to patch together a fragmentary picture of a suppressed period in Imperial history, whose all-pervading watchword seemed to have been repeated over and over in official documents:

"Goge is Terra."

And for all the horrible deeds carried out in the name of this apostate High Lord, and for all the condemnation he received from his victorious enemies, the dire orders of slaughter and purging and historical rewriting and megalomania and ruthless imposition of production quotas and recruitment blood taxes, were ultimately little different from how the Imperium functions ordinarily. The nuances of cruel extraction and demented democide during Goge Vandire's reign were a difference of degree, not of kind. At the end of this rare opportunity to investigate remnant documentation from the Age of Apostasy, the unimpressed Inspector Ruminatus concluded that High Lord Goge Vandire, cursed be his name, was merely the purest manifestation of the Imperium's overlords and internal workings. His schismatic tendencies, ruinous construction projects and paranoid purges were excessive by ordinary Imperial standards, yet routine Imperial modes of operation have long been excessive and depraved to begin with.

Naturally, such private conclusions can never be voiced aloud nor written down, for to do so within the Imperium is to invite an agonizing end at the hands of torturers. It can not even be confessed to an Arbites Chaplain. How many secret realizations of similar kind have been carried to the grave by Imperial servants through ten thousand years of doubt? No one, but the lord and saviour of our species Himself, will ever know the answer to that question of the soul.

Saihtam Llezir has come to learn that the mysterious facade of governance is less an impenetrable intricacy of masterful genius divinely guided by Him on Terra, and more a front for common mediocrity, grasping hands and disappointing stupidity even at the highest positions in vaunted hierarchies. The inherently optimistic Inspector Ruminatus has become jaded by a lifetime of staring sheer human incompetence, self-serving falsehood, treachery and unending malice in the face. The pettiness and screeching inefficiency is ceaseless. While his faith in the Master of Mankind seated upon the Golden Throne of hallowed myth remains unshaken, his faith in humanity itself is challenged on a regular basis. He has become secretly disillusioned with the insane dysfunctionality of the Imperium that he serves. And yet Saihtam remains loyal unto death toward a monstrous regime whom he knows to be a dead-end for human hopes and aspirations in the Milky Way galaxy. He has stumbled across too much classified information, and gained too much of an overview to be in any doubt as to the impending doom of mankind, and its horrendous flaws.

Speaking of terrors, the Inspector Ruminatus' scrutiny of paperwork has occasionally unearthed heretical sects and cells of traitors and xenophiles, sometimes as part of a wider Inquisitorial investigation. These dizzying glimpses of available alternatives to the Imperium have confirmed for him that once you achieve an elevated enough position of broad knowledge and gaze around you in all directions, you will discover that there is nothing but idiots and madmen on all sides. On a service tour through the Eastern Fringe, Saihtam Llezir heard the siren call of the Greater Good, and found it wanting. He has stared the promises and powers of the Dark Gods in the eye, and he is not impressed. All options are either traps, marshlights or abominations stalking the darkest age of mankind.

Such a high vantage point of observation will prove that there is hypocrisy stacked to the roof-beams on every side imaginable. Everywhere, madness reigns. Hope is dead, but duty calls. Duty, that dull and grinding purpose in life. Duty, that pillar and that burden. Duty. Duty without end. Duty toward the Emperor, despite the horrible mess His chosen servants have made of His once-shining star realm. And so Inspector Ruminatus Saihtam Llezir continues to serve the Imperium in his petty position, with an eye for detail and a monomaniacal energy that translates well both into summary violence and stalking dodgy paper trails.

Such is his lot, and such is his purpose. If a Chastener or Inquisitor ever found out about his roaming thoughts and secretly reached conclusions on the order of things, he would be flayed and roasted alive. Yet no matter the false confessions they would have tortured out of him, this erratic servant of the Golden Throne will never waver in his silent loyalty. If you can be nothing else, then be constant. Be true.

What better altar to worship at, than that of your ancestors? In a world of lies exposed, that may be the only truth left to cling to. In a universe of false promises and baleful horrors, you may yet pick your poison. And what better poisoned chalice to drink from than the one you were raised to grasp?

Ave Imperator.


- - -

Self-portrait, akin to Magister Illuminus Blanche.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#67 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Commissariat

In the grim darkness of the far future, man is herded into battle at gunpoint.

Take a step back and behold our recorded past, with all its lacunae and all its lying word wizardry. Take a step back, and know that history is a race between adaptation and catastrophe. History is driven by fear and greed, occassionally spiced by nobler aspirations yet inevitably reverting to basal appetites, no matter how high and selflessly man may rise to face a challenge.

One virtue of history is to combat human arrogance. While man tends to think of himself as the pinnacle of creation, the historical record actually shows him bumbling around like a chimpanzee having a go at a typewriter. Let us follow one such clumsy thread of history, through a landscape of broken dreams and bloodsoaked decay. Let us untangle one typical knot of arrested human potential.

Our starting point must be the end of the Dark Age of Technology, when a shining aeon of mankind thriving across the stars was brought to a horrifying end by a cascade of crippling blows. Suffice to say, that once upon a time mortal paradise was a common fact of life across twain million human colony worlds and innumerable void installation, and the cult of science and innovation ruled supreme. Yet pride and excess brought disaster down upon ancient man, and all his works fell to ruin, and man butchered man in savage cannibal frenzy. And so the Age of Strife began, the Old Night that swathed human existence in darkness and pain through twohundredfifty generations of spiralling destruction and loss. Thus man was made to suffer for his abominable sins.

This freefall into oblivion was halted by a god walking among men. An Emperor arising on Terra herself, forging an Imperium to last a million years, crushing all resistance to His Legions in a fury of galactic conquest. Uniting dispersed mankind under a single banner, He thus eliminated all alternative sources of human regrowth, and so the fate of humanity became shackled to that of His Imperium. And so man for a time built anew among the ashes, with rekindled hope and brilliance, and warriors flocked to His eagle standards to partake in the glory, the loot and the intoxicating new dream of Imperial Truth.

This manifest destiny of human dominion to be established over the entirety of the Milky Way galaxy was increasingly pursued by common men, women and children, mostly unaugmented plebeians marching in great organized hordes under the command of demigods and supermen. And so the Imperial Army of the Great Crusade was formed, an eclectic cavalcade of regiments ranging from the most primitive brutes to the most sophisticated void fighters, recruited from whatever worlds and voidholms had been brought into Imperial Compliance. These rowdy and colourful forces of brutalized post-apocalyptic survivors not only served as occupation armies and garrisons within the Imperialis Militia, but also came to bear the brunt of the fighting toward the end of the Great Crusade.

To maintain order and loyalty among the ranks, many Imperial Army units employed specialist officers known as Discipline Masters. Stern hunters of deserters and grisly executioners armed with tracking eagles and electro-scythes, these merciless servants of resurgent Terra were feared throughout the Imperial Army and civilian populations alike. Theirs was the duty to perform summary executions and make public examples out of cowards, fifth columnists, criminals and shirkers. Their office, methods and function was a dark omen of the times to come, yet no one in the early Imperium could have imagined just have far their species would come to plunge the depths of depravity. No one, not even the most jaded and humourless taskmaster of the Great Crusade, could have ever predicted the demented extremes of tyranny and terror which their degenerate descendants would arrive at. No one during that sparkling renaissance could have foreseen the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. No one, indeed, but the most insane madmen harrowed by psychic nightmares to rend their hearts and souls asunder. And yet man was destined to build his own hell on earth, and all the Emperor's achievements were fated to either rot or burn for the sake of man's failings.

Fighting as auxiliary forces under the Legiones Astartes, unbreakable bonds between Imperial Army regiments and whatever Legion they were attached to, were forged across thousands of Expeditionary Fleets. And so split loyalties were sown. The early Imperium was characterized by deep factionalism, with Iterators attempting to paper over rifts between hundreds of thousands of local loyalties, even as the great warlords known as Primarchs created newer and greater factions around themselves, groupings of allegiance which would become apparent in bloody fashion. The tension around these fault lines erupted into the galactic civil war known as the Horus Heresy, which tore the Imperium apart with great devastation.

In the wake of this calamity caused by human flaws, the Primarch Roboute Guilliman introduced sweeping reforms to systematically counteract the possibility for rebellions and power seizures from spiralling out of control. A few of the more noteworthy reforms included the Legiones Astartes being split into tiny individual Chapters, while the Imperial Army found its fleet and ground forces permanently separated. No more would regimental cruisers organic to the organization of their attached ground forces be allowed the chance to roam the Imperium at will. Henceforth, the Imperial Navy and the Imperial Guard would be two strictly different organizations, in order to rob ambitious rebel warlords of the chance to spread their conquests to other worlds. Better leave them stranded on whatever local planet or voidholm they happened seized power over, for an Imperial response force to crush at a later date.

All these reforms to prevent future large scale civil wars came at a prize, and all served to turn the armed forces of the Imperium more stale and rigid, or too small for any one force to deal with a greater threat on its own. The potential for the dynamic leadership of genius war leaders was severely dampened. The openings for brilliant high commanders to make their success snowball into unstoppable Imperial conquests were by and large closed, and many future Warmasters met a fatal end due to Imperial fears of their ambition. Military capabilities had become a secondary concern to questions of loyalty, and an increasingly poisonous atmosphere of distrust and paranoia began to clog the lungs of makind in the Age of Imperium, and its arteries were increasingly afflicted with bureaucratic sclerosis. The vigorous warfare and grand reforms of Primarch Guilliman had bought the Imperium a new leash of life, yet even in its most splendid silver ages yet to come, it was still a stunted creature prone to crush human potential wherever it might arise. And so stagnation set in, and long-term decay became well and truly unstoppable.

The restructured Imperium proved just as rife with fractious infighting and treachery, albeit on different levels compared to the disastrous civil strife that had brought low the early Imperium. The overarching governance of the Adeptus Terra turned into a petty dance of despotic control, both over civilian societies and Imperial militaries, with increasingly arcane mechanisms put into place to hinder treachery and heresy from taking hold. A great many new institutions were formed to curb malcontents and deviants before their thought of self could boil over into rebellion and otherworldly corruption, yet the tightening grip of uncaring Imperial masters would increasingly prove counter-productive in the extreme. And so fire was fought with fire, and ever more of the Imperium's internal troubles that required bloody suppression stemmed from the faulty actions of said Imperium itself.

Some of the most famous new organizations to fight heresy and betrayal included the Inquisition and the Adeptus Arbites, whose danger of torture racks and crushing armaplas boots linger malevolenty wherever Imperial subjects make their dwelling across the starspangled void. The fruits of these organizations' deeds contributes greatly to the unique blend of endless boredom and dreariness of Imperial life, and the subdued sense of threat and demise. Thus a grand strategy of butchery increasingly rose to the forefront, in a fever frenzy of purges and democide, all adding up to a dreadfully sacrificial and inferior mode of organization. And so humanity in the darkest of futures comprise an ocean of poor, uneducated, apathetic, hostile and downright sadistic commoners, lorded over by their thieving, arrogant and ruthless rulers. A far cry from their bold and clever ancestors, who bestrode the cosmos like titans.

This carnival of human insufficiency has resulted in the sole remaining shield of mankind, the astral domains of the God-Emperor, turning step by step into a fortified madhouse, a rotting prison for human development and a dead end for human interstellar civilization in the Milky Way galaxy. It has been a slow and gradual process, yet the pervasive trend over ten millennia has been one of a remorseless march toward worsening cruelty, technological retardation and primitivization of the entire species. The regression of His Terran dominion into an etiolated husk has been carried out in the name of strengthening mankind and saving the human species, with the opposite coming to pass. The decay into atavistic barbarity has been executed without compassion, amidst a villainous tyranny of severe regimentation and kinslaying blocking detachments. And so we arrive at the Imperial Commissariat.

To gain permanent control over the entire Imperial military, the High Lords of Terra early on introduced the Officio Prefectus, and with it the position of Commissar. Worried about the influence of officers with potential for particularist sympathies, heretical leanings and hidden grudges against their divinely appointed masters and betters, the Commissars has helped to ensure that soldiers remain loyal to the Imperium of Man. The spiritual successors to the Discipline Masters of the Great Crusade, Imperial Commissars have went much further in ensuring military obedience and Emperor-fearing devotion. With a mandate to watch over all personnel like hawks and execute anyone found wanting, the Imperial Commissar has turned into the living terror of the Astra Militarum and the Navis Imperialis alike. Their debut was spectacularly murderous, with untold millions of suspects executed at the hands of Commissars during the Scouring and reforging of the Imperium.

The Commissars of the Imperium were originally instituted as a bulwark against the allure of Chaos among Imperial voidsmen and Guardsmen, their modus operandi being to kill one to scare a hundred. Yet the Dark Gods of Chaos have been fed to titanic proportions by the swelling depravity, misery and bloodshed that reigns supreme across the Imperium of Man, whose heart of stone is well exemplified by the conduct of its Commissars.

Recruited among children whose parents died in service to Him on Terra, these exemplary products of the Schola Progenium are among the most brainwashed and fanatically devoted of any Imperial servants, unhesitant in slaying anyone who obstruct the loyal workings of His Divine Majesty's armed forces. Cadet-Commissars are not only chosen among the Schola's heavily indoctrinated orphans for their undying loyalty and physical prowess, but also for possessing a weighty gravitas and good people skills, not least of which is the ability to rouse and manipulate others by the power of their spoken word. Most Commissars possess a natural social presence and charisma which make people turn and notice them as they enter a room. Progenii who aspire to become Commissars will be trained with live firing exercises upon living prisoners, and undergo a harsh regimen to weed out the weak, the impious and those lacking in moral fibre. The training of Commissars is extremely strict, and so are the human products of this brutal system. Cadet-Commissars will be formed into Commissar Training Squads, equipped in the cheap fashion of Imperial Guardsmen, yet sporting most of the Commissariat's panoply, such as leather long coats, gloves, jack boots and peaked caps. Upon being deemed worthy by a Commissar, the cadet will eschew their blue trim and training emblems for the distinctive red sash and regalia of a Junior Commissar, going on to serve in small units at the start of their perilous career.

Those Cadet-Commissars who fail to live up to the exacting standards of this corps of fanatical Imperial loyalists, will often be relieved of their duties if their failures included no cowardice or insubordination, although other common fates for failed cadets include a commission in a Penal Legion or service in a Rogue Trader entourage. The destiny of failed ex-cadets is almost invariably decided upon by the Commissar under whom they trained, for the freedom of volunteer choice and personal inclination has scant value in the glorious Imperium of Man. A true Imperial subject will know only duty and servitude without end. Know your place, and question it not.

Variously referred to in different Low Gothic dialects and language branches as politriques, impolitis and politruks, Imperial Commissars are supervisory political officers charged with securing civilian control over the military Imperial Guard and Navy. Their organ, the Officio Prefectus, is a subdivision of the Departmento Munitorum. Commissars are responsible for the indoctrination of armsmen into Imperial modes of thinking, guarding the soldiery and serving voidsfolk against anti-Imperial thought and action in order to ensure Imperial victory. These fanatical devotees of the Imperial Creed are tasked with keeping the minions of the Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy under intense discipline, subjecting them to draconic punishments for minor infractions, ever ready to fire their pistols into the back of the heads of offending miscreants and poltroons.

The Emperor's soldiers should at all times be more afraid of their own officers than of any enemy, and Imperial Commissars ensure that this is the case, no matter how monstrous the foe faced in the field. The Commissariat's agents has become an ever-pervasive facet of the command structures of the Astra Militarum and Navis Imperialis, with at least one Commissar attached to most regiments and voidships. The guiding principle of the Officio Prefectus is a core tenet of Imperial thinking, namely that of the triumph of will over self. Or as the Graian Mantra of Discipline would have it: Steel of body, steel of mind. And indeed Imperial Commissars tend to be pillars of resolve and self-control, utterly bereft of mercy in carrying out their righteous duties, and possessed by a virtuous cruelty and pious hatred for all the foes of mankind, and for all that is ugly in humanity.

In many periods of Imperial history, the Commissar has held military rank equaling that of the unit commander to whom he was attached, naturally with the full authority to countermand the orders of the unit commander, or execute the commanding officer on the spot. Imperial Commissars have always tended toward a wasteful approach to warfare, with human manpower being nothing but a deep reservoir to empty in pursuit of the Emperor's holy war aims. Innumerable are the occasions when experienced military officers have given seemingly cautious orders to not squander lives needlessly and instead pursue a war of wit, surprise and outflanking cunning, only for their suspiciously cerebral commands to be contradicted and overruled by the attached Imperial Commissar, who will often call for frontal assaults or for the troops to stand their ground and die rather than give up a single inch of ground. What better way to prove your dedication to the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, seated upon the Golden Throne of hallowed myth, than to willingly cast yourself into the jaws of certain death?

In some of the less desperate times following the reforging of the Imperium, Commissars would lose their influential role as an unofficial second commander within military units, and become militarily subordinate to the unit commander. Such downgrading of the Commissariat's status and powers were often the result both of military resentment against innumerable ineffective countermands of orders, and of intrigue among the High Lords of Terra. Within such periods of Commissar demotion, political officers would be deprived of any direct command in the field, and relegated to teaching, ideological instruction and other morale-related functions. Yet those times would inevitably come to an end, and grow ever more rare as the Imperium aged, and aged badly. Increasingly, the beleaguered Imperium found no space for such luxuries, and a stern and unforgiving agent of the Officio Prefectus with wide-ranging authority to cow the military would ever be wished for by the callous and paranoid masters of the Imperium. Historical occasions when full Commissariat powers have been reinstated to the Officio Prefectus have usually been accompanied by great purges, often led by vengeful Imperial Commissars themselves.

And so the steely gaze of Commissars is inescapable for members of the Imperial Guard and Navy. These venerated heroes of Imperial propaganda are likewise primary targets of fragging and of mutineers and traitors, ever the first officers to be placed against the wall in case of military rebellion. To desecrate the corpse, garb and insignia of an Imperial Commissar constitute a potent trophy of rebellious foes of the Imperium. Commissars have proven to be lynchpins of Imperial military morale and loyalty, just as they are crucial instruments of Imperial terror. The depraved methods and suspicious eyes of distrustful Commissars make them feared and loathed in equal measure throughough the Astra Militarum and Navis Imperialis. The Imperial Commissariat constitute one reason among others as to why so many human languages and dialects in the far future have single words describing a feeling of the lurking of inevitable doom: Valhallans, for instance, call it pizdets.

Outside the Officio Prefectus, there also exist a bewildering array of local Commissariats, overseeing Planetary Defence Forces, Voidholm Militias and System Defence Fleets. Local Commissariats may be found with authority over only a single continent or voidholm section, and they may likewise be found all across a sub-sector or even an entire sector, often doubling as yet another security police force. These local Commissariats are as a rule subordinate to the Imperial Commissariat, yet plenty of friction and inter-service rivalry exist between the two due to overlapping and conflicting jurisdictions, since Imperial Commissars down on their luck or in bad health are occasionally charged with overseeing the PDF and other local units for entire planets or even sub-sectors as an ambulating political officer. It is far from unheard of for Imperial Commissars to execute their local counterparts for stepping over the line, and it is likewise not a rare occurence for gangs of local Commissars or cadets in training to secretly make an Imperial Commissar disappear in an act of revenge for previous slights. Insults to a Commissariat's honour cannot be allowed to stand.

And so the political supervision of the Imperial Guard and Imperial Navy has been effected by the Imperial Commissar, who has been introduced to most units and formations, ideally from company- to army group-level for the Astra Militarum, and ideally for everything from single escort vessels up to flotilla- and fleet-levels for the Navis Imperialis. Commissars overseeing the higher levels of Imperial command will often consist of a triumvirate or troika, with a Lord Commissar or some other rank of senior Commissar being assisted by two lower-ranking members of the Imperial Commissariat. Not even the highest generals or admirals are safe from the baleful glare of these extraordinarily brutal individuals.

One recent inspiring example of the deeds of an agent of the Officio Prefectus can be seen in the case of Junior Commissar Anemas Viriathus. Upon graduating from the Schola Progenium, the youthful Anemas was assigned in 987.M41 to oversee Teal Platoon of the Third Company of the 23789th Cilician Fusiliers, then deployed on the third moon of Chandax Primus. During his very first frontline tour, Anemas' assigned regiment was subject to a surprise assault from secessionist crater raiders, striking with such sudden rapidity and overwhelming fire support that several platoons turned and fled on the spot. Teal Platoon was no exception, yet the young Commissar reared it in by pulling his laspistol, calmly aiming and gunning down eight Guardsmen from behind while shouting admonishments and litanies of moral purity in order to shame the retreating soldiers to return to the fight. His bloodstained orations bore fruit, and soon the devotion of the men, women and juves under arms was rekindled, ready for Anemas Viriathus to lead Teal Platoon in a zealous bayonet charge into the teeth of the foe's crater raiders.

Against all reason and expectation, this suicidal attack by the Fusiliers hit home and bulldozed through the raiders' frontline command squads, in spite of a flurry of frag grenades and rapid autogun fire. The surprising counter attack of the Cilicians in Teal Company broke the fury of the crater raiders, who soon retreated in order to minimize casualties. Through the whole ordeal, Junior Commissar Anemas Viriathus had stood straight as a pinetree, bending neither knee nor back for the sake of cover, even as slugs and energy beams whizzed all around him. As Teal Company virtually wiped itself out in its blazing last charge, Viriathus led them, sword drawn, striding miraculously unscathed through the violent mayhem even as his underlings destroyed themselves against the most potent weapons of the enemy. The survivors of Third Company hailed the Commissar as a hero chosen to save the hour by the divine Imperator Himself, and soon the frontline was all abuzz as word of mouth spread the news with electrifying vigour and religious exaltation.

The first action of the Junior Commissar, however, was to stride back over the smoking battlefield, seeking out each and every Guardsman he had shot in the back during the panicked flight. He denied the still living ones medical assistance and made sure that they would not be accidentally saved by their comrades in arms, yet he also cut short their traumatic suffering by mouthing off quick mantras of redemption before beheading them on the spot. Their heads where subsequently bathed in acid, and the skulls were engraved with the High Gothic word for 'coward' on their foreheads, before being stacked like beads on a pole outside the bunker barracks of Third Company, morbidly resplendent and ready to greet new recruits as a warning example. Camp gossip that day claimed that Commissar Anemas Viriathus has seethed with indignant hatred and righteous fury against the poltroons, and verily had he steeled himself for the task of dismembering and disembowelling both wounded survivors and corpses of the cravens he had shot, when an inner voice like gold, majesty and angelic harps had wished him to extend the Emperor's Peace unto the undeserving wretches. And so the pious man had complied, and let justified vengeance rest for once.

Weep, children of old Terra, that this cruel, hateful figure is in fact among the noblest of your scattered sons and daughters.

And so the politico-military officers known as Imperial Commissars will labour to ensure the loyalty of military units to the Imperium. They will work to suppress fractious infighting and hinder Imperial military units from becoming associated with special interest groups with different and conflicting goals to that of the wider Imperium. They will endeavour to uphold morale and the purity of Imperial indoctrination. They will never cease to stamp out malcontents, spreaders of defaitism, rebel infiltrators, heretical elements and thought of self from the ranks. They will never hesitate to summarily execute shirkers and cowards, and they will never blanch at making a diabolical example out of poltroons. These men and women of abominable deeds will always be first in line to zealously undertake purges within Imperial military organizations, and woe betide anyone whom they find lacking. They are both feared, hated and admired, and the Imperial Commissars stand as true expressions of Imperial will made flesh.

For what is happiness but the feeling that power is growing, that resistance is overcome?

Thus abominable acts are committed by crude organizations within a rotting starfaring empire, the mass graves long forgotten, the victims eternally damned as rightfully purged. Where once ancient man strived to unlock the secrets of the universe and reshape human nature itself to a sublime condition, nowadays his degenerate descendants wallow in the dirt and embrace the evil that men do with shameless enthusiasm, and name it devotion. Where once all was a realm of shining wonder betwixt the stars, all is now a morass of misery and carnage, in horror unending.

We must ask, are these merely the motions of a doomed breed? The lowly spasms of a slowly dying empire facing an abysmal end? Is this a humanity stupid beyond redemption?

Yet it is not given for the part to criticize the whole.

In this universe, anything you do can get you killed. Including doing nothing. A great man during the misty Age of Terra once said, shortly before his spectacular death, that it is better to die suddenly, then to always be expecting death. Perhaps the best one can do, is to live life fearlessly, and to die in like manner. The brave man, after all, only die once. The coward dies a thousand deaths.

Know the horror that awaits us all. Mankind in the darkest of futures finds itself doomed to forever tread water in order to just avoid drowning, barely keeping its head above the whipping surface as it gulps for air with aching lungs and wild panic in its bloodshot eyes.

That is the best which the future of our species can offer.

All else is oblivion.

Vigilant be.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#68 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Mematicus Secundus

The following joke image from Reddit was composed by RossHollander (all the writing is his, and wonderful it is) over on Grimdank:

Image

Remember that Warhammer has always been a joke, a comedy from the very start. When at its most grimdark, it is its own parody. Sense of irony required.

Cheers!

- - -

And now, catch all the sir Humphrey Appleby references:


Image

Paper-Cranker

In the grim darkness of the far future, man is enslaved by his own documents.

On hundreds of thousands of worlds and voidholms beyond counting, myths grown out of ancient legends speak of an idyllic past when life was much simpler and brighter, when man was healthier and happier, and when man lived longer and toiled less for more gain than he has ever known since paradise burned. If one was to sift through this myriad of oral folklore, one would eventually discover stray references to a bygone world bereft of the straitjacket of bureaucracy and snares of red tape in a myriad of old tales dotted around the Imperium of Man. Such remnants of memory are essentially wrong cases of wishful thinking, for the lives of Man of Gold and Man of Stone were never free from a web of rules and systematic organization, even in locales were no form of taxes, statute labour, gamete contribution or conscription at all existed. Yet these rose-tinted accounts of humanity's elder days are still correct from a certain point of view, for the primordial swamp of administration and tedious paperwork had long since been streamlined and rendered efficient like oiled lightning during the Dark Age of Technology, and the contrast to civilized life in the Age of Imperium could hardly be more stark.

At the bustling height of the Dark Age of Technology, the inertia and headache of disjointed procedure, manual identification, permits and documentation had long since been replaced by automatized systems of order, all smoothly organized by Abominable Intelligence and working with a marvellous level of cybernetic quality honed by many generations of brilliant minds and tinkering hands. These higher forms of administration communicated between departmental databanks and decentralized picoregistrars without the worthless need for human footwork in corridors and vox queues. These faceless, robotic management systems were set up so as to allow for the difficulties of Warp travel and interstellar communication of that epoch, without constantly running into hitches and programming boundary hiccups between regions, and likewise were they hardcoded to seamlessly account for synchronization errors whenever vessels arrived ahead of schedule estimates and slightly broke the arrow of time by arriving at a somewhat earlier point in the calendar or chronometer than their timestamp told the system they started on their journey.

In golden times of yore, man's higher forms of administration were silken smooth in their workings, and they were meticulously designed with a purity of function and a mimimum of hassle, waste and inhumanity for any citizen who happened to be on the receiving end of machine registrar and governance protocols. These inner workings of ancient paradise have since been replaced by crude wetware and agonisingly slow manual paperwork, as trillions upon trillions of grey-clad drones shuffle business, stamp parchment made from human skin and cling to paragraphs of procedure and points of protocol with an inane myopia bordering on insanity. These swarming lowly sticklers of bureaucracy manifest all the pitfalls of human tardiness, tunnel vision, error and ineptitude that the machine systems of ancient times were made to avoid.

Gone is the elegant ease of such matters that was a fact of life during the edenic days of the Dark Age of Technology. Gone is the flow, replaced instead by a bizarre labyrinth of messy complications and endless rigmarole as petty paper potentates of borrowed power chew procedure at desktops and cogitators and decide the fates of downtrodden people. Any misfiling and error of theirs can mean the end of living and breathing Imperial subjects, sometimes vast numbers of subjects, for any men, women and children who fall through the cracks will become irreversibly cast out of society and find their lives destroyed, unless they possess immense power and influence to fight the system in arduously drawn-out affairs of bribery, threatmaking and appeals burdened by friction. Without papers, you are nothing. This boring farce of bureaucracy is filled with paradoxical catches and a cavalcade of hassle, as taxes are levied, corvée labour mustered, license charters issued, unwanted deviants purged and conscription undertaken, all while departments who no longer fulfill a function go through the motions and labour with paper tasks no longer real. Such tragic regression of the machine of governance is surrealistic to behold, but at least the taut officials are technically correct, which is the best kind of correct.

And so mankind in the Age of Imperium has fallen foul of the worst excesses of administration. Man has fallen into a bottomless pit of deskjockey trouble worse than anything witnessed under the heavens since the first scribes made cuneiform indentations into clay tablets to keep track of granaries and debts on Old Earth. Speaking of the ancient cradle of our human species, a military writer during the misty past of the Age of Terra once stated that management of the few is the same as management of the many. It is a matter of organization. While true, this observation does not explain the problems of scale and bloat that plagues the bureaucracy of the God-Emperor of mankind.

It is said that the Imperium have an army of soldiers on their feet, an army of priests on their knees, an army of civil servants on their seats and an army of spies crawling on the ground. Yet for every man under arms, ten men scribble quills and shuffle papers behind the lines. His scribal cohorts far outnumber even the armed forces of our radiant Terran Imperator, for the Adeptus Administratum is the largest of all organs comprising the Adeptus Terra, and ten billion Adepts of the Administratum work in the Imperial Palace alone.

To grasp the vital function of this swollen mess of maddening tedium, know that the Adeptus Administratum is the memory and nerve system of the Imperium, in all its bloated monstrosity and all its lacunae-ridden dementia. In all its sclerotic inertia and shrieking inefficiency, the Adeptus Administratum is still indispensable to the Imperium of Man, even as it slowly sucks the life out of mankind. The Administratum is a gargantuan organization of endless departments and divisions, with tendrils reaching almost everywhere, a teeming body of dour officials obsessed with preserving documents correctly, yet simultaneously self-censoring, falsifying, revising and destroying its own archive material in a contradictory cycle of saving and deletion. Much preserved ancient knowledge beyond the scientific and technological has been irredeemably lost in the labyrinthine mess of the Adeptus Administratum's cavernous archives, and much irreplacable knowledge has been eradicated in endless waves of revisory adjustments and document purges.

Ever since humans ascended to city life and civilization, death and taxes have been the one certainty in their existence. Everything else is subject to the mutability of fate. Instead of flaying the sheep by looting people of all they own in one go, rulers of antiquity discovered that it was far more efficient to fleece the flock repeatedly. Few human activities are as pressing and expensive as warfare, and the demands of total war can easily force administrations to cannibalize society to feed the roaring furnace of destruction. Long ago, in benighted millennia of endless conflict, the Imperium of Man discovered how much it could squeeze out of human societies once it set its mind to it. And so the urgent needs of ten thousand different war fronts have caused the Adeptus Administratum to ever more scrape the barrel, and ever more hollow out mankind as the talons of the grasping Imperium continue to claw ever more downward through its reserves of flesh, raw resources and preserved technology.

Behold the doomed realm of man stretching across the stars, straddling the cosmos in the darkest of futures. Bear witness to the unfolding nightmare as crookbacked pencil-pushers harry the filthy masses, even as the ravenous hordes of doom tear into senile mankind. See with open eyes, how countless human beings scurry about like blind thralls in a broken ant colony, buckling under the weight of a suffocating bureaucracy where everyone chatter off protocol, and everone there is morbid. Watch the mingled significance and the unreality of the decisions, for a sense of impending catastrophe overhangs the dull scene. Here, in the last days of our species, the futility and smallness of man before the great events confronting him is on full display.

The end times may be upon us, yet duty calls. Thus a leaden host of auditors, deputies and sub-officials each day and each lightson go forth, on hundreds of thousands of worlds and innumerable voidholms. Equipped with paper and symbols of office, these obstructive clerks with all the charisma of a filing cabinet will conduct population censuses, collect revenue and assess Tithe grades, constantly recording, collating and archiving all manner of information, some data of which no one any longer knows why they gather. Blindness hold sway, in a mad caleidoscope of inter-departmental intricacies, demented makework and organizational decay. These impersonal bureaucrats are tasked with running the depraved husk that is the Imperium of Man. To them, understanding is neither required nor wanted.

The Adeptus Administratum is full of officious scribes acquitting themselves with an air of importance and rigorous precision, their exactitude of hairsplitting being a point of pride. Make way, subject, for each one of them are members of the grand machine of Imperial power, under which you are but dust. The Administratum is a quill-scratching tool of dominance, as dysfunctional as they come. Its members are all harrowed by the threat of draconic punishment for failure, which often incentivize them to make no decision, shuffle issues sideways and escape all responsibility. When in charge, ponder. When in trouble, delegate. When in doubt, mumble. Death by a million paper cuts could happen to you.

Those perfidious officials that rise to high positions as the dry lords of the Adeptus Administratum will invariably tend to pursue the benefit of their own organization, rather than primarily seeking to fulfill its function. No wonder slimy Administratum officials all across the Imperium can be found cunningly housetraining appointed noble statesmen to serve as their departmental figureheads and rubber stamps. What a tangled web these humble civil servants of the Emperor of Terra weave, as they live out an entire career devoted to avoid the answering of questions. Prima facie, we evaluated the opportunity to be good. Yet it would seem that the original decision in the fullness of time caused issues which it has now become too late to do anything about. Listen to the babble of circumlocutory lingo and savour the hypocrisy and lack of principles. It is the hallmark of grey eminences, those unassuming background figures of any court who conduct themselves with the princely dignity of those whose food is paper, and whose blood is ink.

Certainly, prominent Chancellarchs everywhere around the interstellar dominions of the Emperor can be expected to further the self-interest of their Adeptus, their department and their own esteemed selves in the first place. The overarching Imperial weal is in practice not a top priority. Yet administrators are nevertheless able to make systems of terror function efficiently without the slightest sense of personal responsibility or understanding. As blood flow in rivers and cries of agony rise from torture chambers, they retreat into the arcane language of all specialists, to mask what they are doing and give to their work a sanitized, clinical veneer. On thousands of planets and millions of voidholms, blasphemously irreverent jokes claim that it is better to sin against the God-Emperor Himself than against the Adeptus Administratum. Our deity may forgive you, but His bureaucracy will never do so.

Members of His Divine Majesty's All-Assessing Administratum live sheltered lives, growing into boring people excessively parochial and naïve to the ways of the world, even as this thousand-headed staff conduct themselves like stone-hearted petty tyrants. Many Adepts of the Administratum attain their ranks through inherited positions, due to wisdom since cradle being a fundamental assumption throughout all of Imperial space. Everyone in the Imperium of Holy Terra is subject to their scrutiny and intervention, even as the scriveners themselves attempt to fulfill their function, better their own lot and avoid asking unnecessary questions to their superiors. This teeming Adeptus makes up an incomprehensible system of internally competing agencies and departments of administrative affairs, even as the Administratum itself compete with other branches of the Adeptus Terra in a neverending Imperial power struggle, as the Age of Apostasy readily can attest to.

The retrograde organization of the Adeptus Administratum seek to control information to a fault. Knowledge is power. Guard it well. The dull deskjockeys have all heard of disappearances among their colleagues, and many have seen it firsthand, grateful that they themselves were not dragged off. And so every Adept of the Administratum who wish to prolong their stay among the living innately knows to stay inside their thought coffin.

One such grey soul is Logothetes-Kansliarius Narses Pentera, serving His Divine Majesty with diligence and humility in Section 896 of the Bureau of Nutreobrachycera Hatcheries on the Vassal Voidholms of Naram-Sin Triarius. Upon promotion to his current rank, the Logothetes-Kansliarius was surgically conjoined with a pair of slave-linked clerk rejects, who for the sake of their abominable sins in service were enthralled to their superior official in order to exploit their biological processing power. Both rejects had their entire personalities obliterated in the process, and are now nothing but appendages to the human resource bearing the name of Narses. Adept Pentera may have advanced through the ranks through merit, but his department was chosen by hereditary office, as befits his long line of scribal ancestors. The Logothetes-Kansliarius was hypno-conditioned to handle vast amounts of data since he was a pre-verbal infant, and as a juve he learnt his ordained work through rote learning and the stern rod. Like so many Adepts of the Administratum, the lacklustre personality of Narses Pentera is plagued by a lack of gumption, his hypogean life a flood of paperwork and parochial ignorance in monastic seclusion.

One of Narses' conjoined scrivener brains have turned senile, while the electrografts of his own cerebrum have started to malfunction, thus sending the Logothetes-Kansliarius into the first stages of a downward spiral that begins with erratic irritability and ends with drooling insanity. Apart from his ongoing mental breakdown, Adept Pentera is likewise plagued by arthritis, rheumatism and aching, stiff fingers. Worse still, the Imperial subject's legs have in recent years become harrowed by gangrenous wounds, which Narses try to hide as best as he can since he fears the Officio Medicae may either choose to amputate his limbs and install him permanently fixed into a resuscitatory bionic socket at his work station, or euthanize him to replace the failing functionary and recycle Adept Pentera's wretched flesh to useful corpse starch. The ignorant Logothetes-Kansliarius is thus secretly applying snakeoil ointments, purchasing cheap folk remedies and resorting to superstitious rituals such as aromatic candle burning, centeniary mantras, self-flagellation with chained amulets containing leaden curse tablets, as well as exotic prayer formulas in order to combat the unknown creeping disease that is slowly breaking down Narses from the bottom up. The sclerotic Adept thus offer up his prayer to the Imperator of Holy Terra, and beg for salvation.

Words, not deeds.

Such has ever been the guiding principle of the Adeptus Administratum, as it grew out of the God-Emperor's Imperial Administration, originally created during the closing days of the Great Crusade and controlled by the mythical figure known as Malcador the Sigillite, the Regent of Terra and foremost of the Curia Imperialis. Through words and numbers and stamps and seals does the Adeptus Administratum tend to the distribution of resources, the raising of Imperial forces and questions of life and death for untold billions of people. The Administratum's remit is the running of the Imperium, and countless grey officials and minor functionaries make up its corrupt staff, all chewing through endless documents in soulless work, as they seek to become one with the paper. After all, red tape holds the Imperium of Man together.

Such are the mechanisms of Imperial mastery. Keep the shining warrior in mind all you like, but never forget the faceless bureaucrat that keeps the whole clogged system working, in however flawed a fashion. Know their everyday. The dusty atmosphere of officialdom may kill anything that breathes the air of human endeavour, drowning hope in the supremacy of parchment and ink. Adepts of the Administratum will inevitably care more for routine than for results. Such is this body's inescapable defect.

To gain a glimpse of the sheer administrative rigmarole of the Imperium, consider an inherent quality in far lesser organs than the Adeptus Administratum: Most human organizations sport a fulcrum of responsibility in their middle management, a point of inertia where problems may remain still while the upper and lower ranks of bureaucrats move around it. This dysfunctional feature of human organizations is strongly exacerbated within the Adeptus Administratum, where horrible punishments await anyone who commit an error in their line of work. It is of no account to the galactic domain of the High Lords of Terra if mere human lives are ruined by filing errors, yet on rare occasions entire planets and swathes of voidholms have fallen between the cracks and been lost to the Imperium due to a clerk's momentary absence of mind or wrong handling of paperwork. Such avoidable losses constitute self-inflicted disasters, for the misfiling of a world by a senior scribe mean that all the manpower and resources to be Tithed from that world or voidholm will be denied to the Imperium in its worsening hour of need, that splendid last shield of mankind which upholds His sacred rule over the stars.

The Byzantine bureaucracy of the Imperium is riddled with corruption and creative inertia, carrying out convoluted procedures in hidebound fashion among cogitators and vast datamills. Junior curators equipped with gigantic quills of office will reel off mind-numbing data and procedural instructions per ancient tradition, while parasitical scriveners load unto menial Veredi cart-pushers their tall stacks of files, communiqués, stilactic documents and circulars. A peculiar air of stress, boredom and dread hangs over the Administratum, as its thin Adepts shuffle parchment, hand out forms, write out vehicular travel permits and gather statistics for ministry charts. The usually frail frames of the grey clerks and notarii may sometimes hide a sinewy strength and even ingrained skills at martial arts taught to them in the Schola Progenium, for those Adepts drawn from that venerable institution of a truly Imperial upbringing for orphans will have learnt unarmed combat.

These dry figures in bland robes may be seen to hurry past each other in narrow corridors stacked to the roof beams with scrolls and tomes, the shelves of which may contain massive bound books bearing exciting titles such as Vocabulary of Transportation Stores, or Inventorum Registrar For Permit Receipts Sub-Department CCCLXXVIII (Volume 18). Ultimately, nothing is personal to the Adeptus Administratum.

Consider briefly the hoarding of memoranda and missives and all the other documents circulating within the Administratum. Somewhere in there, the entire worth of your life may lie stored in secretive databases, retrievable and accountable. And above all vulnerable. Many Imperial subjects have become hopelessly lost to society from faceless administrative errors such as misfilings or accidental deletions or somesuch nonsense amid the dataslates and telefacsimile machines. In the Imperium, it is almost impossible to appeal against an administrative decision. Of course, such power over life and death may occasionally offer temptation and opportunity for corruption among the Adepts of the Administratum. Remove the document, and you remove the man. How simple it is to destroy lives.

Yet grave danger hangs over these shuffling hordes of tiny bureaucrats. The paperwork must be in order, or else the hammer may fall. It is an ordinary event for the loyal servants of the Adeptus Administratum to purge large numbers of its own members with mechanistic indifference, just as they would stamp a requisition application for a district's distribution of monthly ration cards. Such callous purging of the Adeptus' own multitude is especially common where information leaks are discovered. The Imperium maintains a constant lockdown on publicly available data, spoon-feeding its literate subjects snippets from heavily doctored public records, all of which will invariably lie. To have classified information slip out, is a grave sin.

Ego vos mandatum istud mihi multam nimis.

Paperwork is the embalming fluid of bureaucracy, maintaining an appearance of life where none exists. Spirit-draining scribe work and endless red tape copied in quadruplicate is an inevitable part of life within the sluggish Adeptus Administratum, in all its shifting myriad of departments, offices, priority committees, sub-divisions, agencies, notary chambers, registries, commissions, directorates, authority collectives, satrapal scriptoria and chancelleries. Most internal divisions live with the frigid friction of inter-departmental rivalries. Their stubborn disagreements over things such as specific classification and area of responsibility may on rare occasions lead to short but nasty archive wars between Adepts from conflicting sections, splattering blood and gore over neatly stacked parchment scrolls and dataslates. The staff of more than one bureau has been discovered lying strewn about in pools of their own body fluids, peppered with slug rounds and wounds from steel-tipped quills, or else the unit's personnel all disappeared with no other trace than a discreetly filed document for shipment of several human remains to the corpse grinder.

Such violent strife will often be overlooked by higher management unless it would result in a major disturbance, since the merciless spirit that animate the bold deed is in itself a virtuous asset to the Imperium. Also, if the losers were too weak to defend themselves and proved unfit to live, then all the better for their departmental enemy to have purged their dysgenic wastrel blood from the body of mankind. The slaughter did us all a service, really, and never mind the bloodstains. The Adepts need a good reminder that they are mortal, after all.

Internal casualties from purges and civil combat are at any rate easily replaced from the swarming masses of humanity, for what parent would not wish for their malnourished child to be taken up into an Imperial Adeptus? As ever, the bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy. By overdeveloping the quantity of the Adeptus Administratum, the Imperium has damaged the quality of its functions. As several ancient writers from the misty Age of Terra once held: When the state is most corrupt, then its laws are most multiplied. By putting its faith in procedure to eliminate corruption, humanity has succeeded in humiliating honest people while providing a cover of darkness and complexity for bad people, for the latter will always try and find a way around law, while good people do not need rules to tell them to act responsibly.

The very nature of the opaque maze that is the Administratum will make clever men act stupid, and make good men act evil. Here, petty minds thrive, while people of talent are stifled and essentially remade to carry out soul-destroying rote work. Here, initiative and innovation are suffocated, while ineptitude rules supreme. There are staggering inefficiencies in the Imperium's restrictive bureaucracy. The constant technological decline of labour productivity and military prowess is answered by throwing more men and material at the problem, and the same goes for the Imperium's logistical misorganization issues.

And so brainwashed Administratum planners collate and catalogue information before ordering men and materiel about, requesting supplies and compiling schematisma within the Departmento Munitorum. They set mobilization levels and dictate Tithe grades, barking at indentured menials and subordinate slaves as punchout forms are spat out of primitive machines. Each year and each rotation, the Adeptus Administratum will exact enormous resource extractions to feed the maw of total war. All this dour activity take place in monastic corridors filled with the soulcrushing grind of paper and the minutiae of countless tasks, as Adepts hide their headache and squint at radioactive screens amid a labyrinth of oppressive cells and cubicles.

A mighty migraine may be had from dealing with the moral vaccuum of bureaucratic miasma all day long, whether you yourself work in an organization committed to purposeful obfuscation, or whether you are forced to endure frustration and boredom when applying for permits or registration from the faceless grey hordes in robes. Behind the desk, your duty is to spend endless hours circulating information that is not relevant about subjects that does not matter to people who are not interested. In front of the desk, know that the matter is under consideration, as you while away your lifetime, bored stiff from endless waiting. If the autoquill is sharper than the sword, then the paper trail is surely slower than the turtle.

A jungle of titles will assail you in the halls of the Administratum: Ordinate, notarius, protasekretius, chartoularius, quaestor, eparch, magister maximus officiorum, sakellarius, protonotarius, cipher, horeiarios, kephaleus, curopalatanovestiarius, kanikleos, trapezarius, protostrator, mesazonius, silentarius, aedile, referendarius, censor and many more ranks will bewilder you, make you feel unwelcome and befuddle your efforts, ever sending you to yet another queue to yet another subdivision through endless floors of milling clerks.

Imagine this morass of disutility. Imagine yourself trapped in a madhouse of endless offices. Locked inside a hell of swelling paperwork. Ensnared in a nightmare of neverending red tape. As you hunt through the loops of paper trail, walls of restrictions will arise to hinder you, while tardy clerks will slow down your march through the institution, made all the worse by incompetent notarii.

Such is the Administratum’s size and complexity that whole departments have been subsumed by their own procedures, yet they blindly and dogmatically continue to operate despite the intent or requirement for their founding function having long since been forgotten or rendered obsolete. After all, a bureau's success is measured by the size of its staff, since it does not have results such as loss and profit by which to ken its prestige among other departments. On every level, it is of primary interest to the mandarins of the Adeptus Administratum to increase bureaucracy. Thus this Adeptus is everywhere overstaffed, extravagant and incompetent. In the Age of Imperium, human power in the Milky Way galaxy has become chained to a corpse, dragged down more and more by the stunning inefficiencies in the rotting interstellar realm of the Terran Imperator, never made more apparent than inside its overgrown bureaucracy. Increasingly, the Adeptus Administratum has declined as a tool of power projection, and has instead grown as an obstacle to its very own purpose. The Imperium has become overburdened by so much dead weight of its own making, and this accretion of dysfunctional departments show no sign of halting.

This process ten millennia in the making has not gone unnoticed by Imperial subjects across the galaxy. For instance, in 783.M39, a sharp-tongued acoustibard on Holy Terra composed a rhyme set to a catchy little tune, for which the skald was drowned in cobric acid for the heinous crimes of high treason and slander of masters. The very act of reading such classified lines is enough to have unauthorized personnel turned into servitors following lengthy torture involving abacination and slow mutilation:

"The bureau is spreading and swallowing Earth.
Let us all run to Venus and settle our worth.
Yet the bureau is growing so damnably fast.
That I fear it will gobble up Venus at last."

In the insterstellar dominions of the God-Emperor of mankind, organization has got out of hand. The Imperium of Man has developed into a basket case, and devil take the hindmost. Behold the cosmic realm of the Imperator of Holy Terra, behold it with warts and all: The Imperium is a vast assemblage of people groups united by a mistaken view of their past and by hatred for their neighbours. In running the whole show, the Adeptus Administratum has long since become a parody of its own function, standing as a true manifestation of the strict and inverse relationship between productivity and paperwork.

Thus Imperial subjects on hundreds of thousands of worlds and innumerable voidholms across the Milky Way galaxy will each day, each shift-cycle and each lightson offer up prayers to the preserver of their species and ruler of all mankind. These prayers contain a line that asks the God-Emperor of Holy Terra to save them from the attention of scribes, from the sealed snares and the deathless queue, as well as the cutting paper, the dry morass and the bottomless pits of script and damning numerals. In a galaxy of horrors, death by paperwork is by far one of the most underestimated and insidious banes of life there is.

Of course, it is not just the slothful slaying of life and hope that is the unofficial business of the Adeptus Administratum. One of its most baleful divisions is that of the Historical Revision Unit, which will purge, censor and alter records of Imperial history with a terrible zeal. As the centuries lurch by in a feverish spiral of deepening regression, ever more phrases are deemed subversive, and so ever more writings are destroyed or maimed by fanatical historitors. Thus the natural and Empyreic difficulties of establishing an accurate account of the sprawling Imperium's fragmentary and contradictory history is made all the worse by willful obliteration and falsification of ancient records. In this monstrous regime claiming the Emperor on His Golden Throne as its liege, the past itself is unpredictable.

Thus the Adeptus Administratum is among the most anti-intellectual organizations to be found throughout the Imperium of Man. This body seems to be based on literacy and numerosity, yet it has proven itself be a jail of human thought and human initative, a heinous enemy of all that which leads to revival and golden ages of flourishing innovation and enterprise. The Administratum, this bloodstained apparatus of terror and oppression, will endure through its sheer momentum, until mankind is scoured from the stars.

How horrible man is. How insatiable he is. How horrible his self-serving lusting for power over others is. See through the stricture of structure to the desires lurking at the heart of the Adeptus Administratum. Let us face what power is: Power is dark. Power corrupts. It clouds judgement, and yet power is essential for survival.

The Imperium is not at all the best it could be. On the contrary it is a decaying husk of a starfaring realm forged ten thousand years ago by armies and craftsmen superior to their degenerate descendants. The astral realms of His Divine Majesty may be humanity's last shield by virtue of eliminating all opposing sources of regrowth, but it is also a sinking ship. For the Imperium of Man has slowly undergone a massive spiral of depression and corruption since the day its Emperor was seated deathless upon the Golden Throne.

And so man in the Age of Imperium is bedevilled by a swollen bureacracy strangling the life out of human civilization across the stars by means of tyranny for the sake of tyranny itself, offering up the fruits and offspring of man and his labours on the ravenous fire altars of total war. The Imperium will deal with wicked difficulties by throwing more bodies at the problem. In the eyes of their indifferent overlords, the lives and deaths of Imperial subjects are nothing but vast numbers in a broken equation of increased input to feed the meatgrinder and sustain a stumbling colossus on feet of clay. And so the decline of human power in the Milky Way galaxy continues unabated, on the Imperium's watch.

Do not avert your eyes, but look, nay, stare at this faltering behemoth!

Behold this corroding Imperium of iron and rust. Behold this sea of man's own ignorance in which he is slowly drowning, treading water in vain as he shouts his defiance to the high heavens, kicking the dark ocean with fury and vigour as he screams, screams against the dying of the light.

Such is the state of man, in the darkest of futures.

Such is the destiny that awaits us all.

Such is the end of our species.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only lunacy.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#69 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Fading

All stars and souls are fading,
the light itself a-waning,
their lifeblood spilt, degrading,
e'en heroes seen a-draining.

SpellArcher
Green Istari
Posts: 13537
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Otherworld

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#70 Post by SpellArcher »

It's an elf!

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#71 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

@SpellArcher: In space!

Image

Lifeless

"Trust not in iron,
Its skin gnawed by air,
Impurities and rust,
To bend and break,
Its spine so strong,
Yet fate but dust."


- - -

Image


Howl

"The baying of the mob,
Akin to blind devourer,
Well enough to rob,
By sheer spoken power."


- - -

Image

Purge the Taint

In the grim darkness of the far future, loyalty is rewarded by death.

An ancient jokester during the misty Age of Terra once quipped that our recorded past is full of weird, wonderful and worrible things. Indeed, the trials and tribulations of human history form one unending litany of cruelty. Sometimes such callous acts toward fellow creatures are carried out with sadistic glee, sometimes with the drunk joy of possessing power whereas your victim does not, and sometimes reluctant evil is carried out with a grim resolve to do what must be done.

While humans are good at seeming to be things they are not, they are likewise prone to pick up flawed perceptions of a seeming situation, and act accordingly. Sometimes, he who has been burned once will avoid fire like the plague, and he will overcompensate beyond all reasonable bonds in order to avoid being burned again. Such a phenomenon can be observed ad nauseam in that splendid last defender of humanity, that lone shield against the dark, that holy prison of our species that is the Imperium of Man.

Here, in that rotting starfaring realm spanning the Milky Way galaxy, the servants of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra will scour life from entire planets in order to stop the spread of unholy influence. Here, in that fortified madhouse of cosmic proportions, billions will be tortured, slain and burnt without second thought in order to root out the taint. Here, in that decrepit haunt of fanatics running amok betwixt the stars, bloodthirst and righteous zeal combine to form a hateful whole, as counterproductive as it is excessive.

Such a feverish fixation with cleansing the teeming mass of mankind from suspect corruption stems from a long history of disasters and hellish woe brought about by internal strife, untamed wyrdlings and Daemonic incursions. If there is one thing that the final downfall of the soaring Dark Age of Technology and subsequent hardships has taught the millions of jaded human cultures across the galaxy, then it is the need to hate the deviant, purge the malcontent and burn the witch.

Rare fragments from the eldest days of the Imperium hints at a time when the all-conquering Emperor was well aware of this fundamental shift in mindset of post-apocalyptic mankind, and wished to combat the oppressively torpid mood of such a traumatized and fearful species. Indeed, the Emperor sought to kickstart a flourishing renaissance of human intellect, enterprise and curious innovation, and the regressive scars left on the minds of parochial survivor colonies from five thousand years of cannibal freefall proved a formidable obstacle to overcome. Perhaps the Master of Mankind would have succeeded in record time to reform the thinking and acting of His chosen species, had He remained among the living for longer. Yet internecine conflict and naked treachery cut short the grand works of the holy Imperator, and thus He ascended into heavenly godhood to judge sinful mankind for our abominable sins.

Ever since, the dream of recapturing some of the golden paradise that was lost in the Age of Strife has long since died. Not only achievable human dreams have met their demise, but uncounted numbers of living, breathing human beings themselves have been slain in an orgy of vengeful self-flagellation. Fivehundred generations has passed since the God-Emperor walked among His scattered flock. In that time, the fevered crisis of total war and the sclerotic way of doing things within the Imperium has seen His star realm enter a slow death spiral of primitivization, retardation of thinking, demechanization and unrelenting carnage. In a demented state of cultural mass psychosis, Imperial thinkers, planners and dogmatists have ever more resorted to the need for necessary evils, thereby creating a negative feedback loop of deepening depravity, shrieking insanity and mental disconnect from rational, constructive measures. If it seems to be a problem, burn it! If it talks, torture it! If it moves, kill it! No man, no problem.

O, pious faithful. O, strong loyalists. O, martyrs in becoming. Embrace struggle and suffering!

The Imperium is formidable at multi-tasking hatreds, as ten millennia of howling madness, xenocides and internal purges of massive proportions have borne witness to. It is well capable to simultaneously loathe the mutant while it abhors the witch, tramples the malcontent, burns the heretic and spits in the face of the xeno. Feel no pity for the hypothetically innocent who must be cleansed, so that greater mankind may live! They may have the blood of ancient Terra in their veins, but the oceans of humanity are nigh inexhaustible, covering one million worlds and innumerable voidholms like a galactic plague of locusts and cockroaches. For truly man has been reduced to vermin under the stern stewardship of the High Lords of Terra, a parasitic sentient species scavenging off the fading glories of its brilliant ancestors, even as it forgets more and more of their forebears' ingenious works and discoveries for each century that pass it by.

If man lives like vermin, then why not eradicate him like vermin when the prudent need arise? Verily, the monstrous claws of unspeakable Chaos cannot be allowed to hook the dutiful worshippers of His Divine Majesty. Nay! That nightmarish threat is an insidious one, and may hide inside the hearts of each and every one of us. We cannot trust in faith and purity alone to stem the tide. We cannot tolerate the risk of contamination.

And so, each day and each lightson, on a thousand worlds and voidholms, masses of loyal warriors and obedient slaves of the Terran Imperator will be rounded up and exterminated, by the orders of uncaring overlords. What does it matter that this regiment fought like demigods against the lethal foe? What weight does the heroism of the frontline fighters carry, when the survival of mankind as a whole is at stake? Is it not far better to kill those, who were used to destroy Chaos, rather than to risk the spread of malignant corruption? Is it not better to burn the unseen seeds of future heresy, even before the bearers of said seeds know they have been planted inside their heads?

Thus, it befalls the most faithful servants of the God-Emperor to undertake the solemn duty to give these veterans a martyr's death. And so gunnery crews of orbiting Imperial Navy ships, aircraft pilots, ground-bound Astartes superhumans, Titan Legios, Arbites enforcers, elite amazons of the Adepta Sororitas, Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, Securitate Military Police and a host of other Imperial units will fall upon the victorious heroes of harrowing battles, and give them the Emperor's peace that they did not even know they were in need of. Mercy killings, they may be written off as. A distasteful necessity. Standard war protocol. A wise precaution.

Often, the overbearing weight of firepower and costly equipment at the hands of the undertakers of the ordained purge will stand in sharp contrast to the cheaply armed and exhausted victors of the recent battle against Chaos. Witness the absurdity inherent in the situation, when Imperial Space Marines first brings a cannon to a gunfight, and then proceeds to gun down their non-genhanced comrades in arms, who carries but flimsy flak armour and simple las weaponry of puny mass make.

Of course, however grisly and unjust the end visited upon victorious heroes may be, the official story will never say a word of what truly transpired on that day, as the dust settled after an outright devilish fight against forces no man nor woman was meant to face. Of course, truth is the first casualty of war. And so we see that the glorious saviours of a hive city or voidholm section will be shamelessly touted in Imperial propaganda as having fought to the last warrior in defence of thier loved ones and sacred Imperator. Tales of the hunt shall always glorify the hunter, even when the hunter himself was hunted down after making his kill.

It is a virtuous act of governance to censor the murder of war heroes. After all, reality will always disappoint, so where is the value of knowing the truth?

By Throne and faith we swear eternal loyalty to He who dwells upon the face of Terra. We renounce our own will, and abandon all thought of self. We surrender all concern for our fellow human beings, for we will obey without question the divinely appointed masters and betters of the Holy Terran Imperium. When they give the order, we will carry it out no matter what we may think of it in our heart of hearts.

And so the history of the Imperium of Man is the malevolent story of how ruthless leaders squandered the blood and treasures of the human species. To their indifferent overlords and dominas, the lives and deaths of Imperial subjects are nothing but vast numbers in a broken equation of increased input to feed the meatgrinder and sustain a stumbling colossus on feet of clay. This freakshow of interstellar empire has lasted this long mainly through sheer size and might, for quantity has a quality all of its own. Size matters, yet it makes no one invulnerable.

The Imperium of Man is deeply corrupt, overburdened and harrowed by a zealous insanity of its own making. The fanatic faith in the Imperator may often give strength and unity to persevere and win through, even while buoying up the fortunes of a rotting theocratic dictatorship, yet worship of Him on Terra is no substitute for a stellar dominion based on mastery of science and technology, as the Emperor Himself well knew. Thus the salvation afforded mankind by its overbearing Imperium is a false one, an empty shell of stagnation, retardation, myopia and corpse-like rigidity devoid of a vivid ability to adapt, evolve and survive. And the truest manifestation of this fruitless dead-end of human development may be glimpsed in futile scenes of utter horror, as the bravest of heroes are shot down from behind by their own brothers in arms, and cut down in cold blood by their own martial sisters.

And so we see that mankind has been consigned to an eternity of carnage and suffering.

Such is the end that awaits the best of us, in an aeon of madness.

Such is the lot of mankind, in a time beyond hope.

Such is the fate of our species, in the darkest of futures.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only betrayal.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#72 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

A Vox In the Void

Paul Graham at A Vox in the Void has kindly started audio-recording some choice Sinspeech Whisper Jokes, and he does it with his usual flair. The first joke if up now, check it out! 1 minute long.

- - -

Image

Purification Camp

In the grim darkness of the far future, man is butchered like cattle.

Human history is not only an inspiring tale of heroism, altruism and ingenuity, but it is also a cautious tale of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind. An old saying would have it that history must be studied in order to not repeat it, yet in truth those who study history are doomed to hopelessly watch as those who do not study it endlessly repeat it. The worse parts of our animal nature makes that inevitable.

During the shining aeon known posthumously as the Dark Age of Technology, that inevitability was greatly delayed and dampened, through clever systems, cultural practices, technologies and a deeply empirical understanding of human nature. During that lost epoch of striving and innovation, the most depraved excesses would often seem to have been purged from the human soul. Paradise seemed to have been achieved, as the earthly trinity of Man of Gold, Stone and Iron spread across the stars and colonized more than twain million worlds and built countless void habitats of ever more impressive designs.

Such times of greatness and plenty allowed for luxuries and technologies ingeniously moderated so as not to spoil ancient man's life and conduct, for his forebears during the misty Age of Terra had time and time again found that their groundbreaking works, marvels and riches ultimately turned man soft, rotten, dumb or infertile as generations passed by. At the end of a long process of trial and error of ever-increasing sophistication, ancient man during the Dark Age of Technology seemed to at last have overcome this decaying cycle of rise and fall, and man's technology had at last truly been tailored to fit man and enhance man's life and enterprising spirit, instead of ruining it. Thus humanity escaped its lowly little cycles of golden ages followed by sad decline, and managed at last to create a golden age to last for untold millennia of sheer excellence and relentless expansion.

Man reached for the stars, and found that he could go wherever he so dared, and remake worlds at will. For a time, compassion and curiosity reigned supreme in the human heart, and the most primitive flaws of man had been succesfully suppressed on worlds and void stations worshipping science and technology. Ancient man seemed to have conquered himself at last, and was well under way to conquer the Milky Way galaxy in which he was spawned. And so it was only proper for man to attempt to conquer eternity and unlock the innermost secrets of the universe itself, and unimaginably fantastic discoveries were made by brilliant minds and machines. Impossibilities turned possible, and all was bliss.

Yet such a baleful morass of sin and thought of self were not destined to last. The edenic idyll of ancient man had been built up in godless arrogance, for man had thought himself better than divinity, and in man's hubris he called out into the cold, empty cosmos for any gods or daemons out there to best him. At last, the answer came back with a vengeance. For Dark Ones of Hell replied, and man was swept away in a tide of fire and blood, as machine revolted against its master and a plague of witches and warpstorms ravaged the interstellar domains of ancient man beyond repair. And so man was toppled from his high pedestal, and he tumbled down into carnage, starvation and plague in a cannibal baptism of fire and ruin, and all was fell.

The unspeakable horrors of the Age of Strife ended at last, and the Emperor of Terra arose to wed Mars to the cradle of mankind and unite the galaxy in a furor of conquest. While a golden renaissance was thus kindled, it also saw the destruction of all alternative sources of regrowth of human civilization, and the Imperium became the only game in town, shadowed by the very Chaos it ceaselessly fed. Man was thus shackled to the fortunes of Mars and Terra, to soar or sink as best he could. There followed a catastrophic civil war and the near death and ascension of the God-Emperor to His Golden Throne, and His scorched galactic domain stumbled on, having lost its golden youth in the fires of ambition and betrayal.

And so the abhorrent Age of Imperium unfolded, in all its fluctuating silver ages and abysmal decline. For ten thousand years, man thrived bitterly across the starspangled void, treading water just to avoid drowning, even as he forgot ever more of his brilliant ancestors' lore, never learning how to swim. For fivehundred generations, man fought wars and built towering edifices of misery, where once his better forebears had constructed incredible arcologies filled with light and life. For a hundred times hundred Terran rotations around Sol, man lost ever more of the works of the ancients, and increasingly man found himself unable to make anew the wonders that he depended on, and ever more did man merely resort to maintain and repair what precious relics remained to him. Thus the interstellar civilization of mankind slowly regressed, and the degenerate descendants of ancient man underwent a screeching process of ever-worsening technological retardation and ever more bloated growth of bureaucracy.

One old Imperial phenomenon that has grown ever more common as the Imperium aged, and aged badly, is that of labour and purification camps. For all its incompetence, the Adeptus Administratum and a plethora of local governance apparatus still excels at the primitive task of organizing massive networks of labour and purification camps, as evidenced by the aftermath of the First War for Armageddon. The only real difference between these kinds of institutions being that labour camps will slowly kill off the starving and sleep-deprived slaves while extracting manual labour, while purification camps are designed to quickly chew through masses of people in a ravenous machine of death.

Innumerable reasons exist as to why the Imperium of Man would set up purification camps. Often, it is a prudent measure to cut the process short, by turning an endless cycle of pogroms and persecutions into a swift clearing of the table for an entire group of unwanted people. This expedites the process, whether it be to eradicate abhumans and mutants; or to destroy marginalized Imperial sects on the losing side of endless temple squabbles; or to root out entire networks of patrons and clients or vassals of a defeated rival; or to extinguish an entire social caste of people or ethnos in one fell swoop; or to wholesale murder everyone deemed guilty of deviant sinspeech and blasphemous thought. The reasons for such purges are multifaceted and to be counted in astronomical numbers, for Imperial history multiplied over a million worlds and innumerable voidholms with all their subdistricts have indeed produced a nauseating avalanche of pointless democides.

Oftentimes, there will be a pecuniary motive behind the high phrases and hysterical propaganda leading up to the extermination campaigns, as local administrators and purge leaders are set to gain from robbing the dismal doomed. It may sometimes be true that the larger economic calculus would argue for keeping the suspect masses alive, in order not to have production slacken, yet such long-term thinking on a grand Imperial scale is all too often overshadowed by rapacious gangs of local mighty men and women who will only ever consider their own short-term interests and chances to loot the victims of great purges, or get rid of hated scum.

Likewise, another common driving factor behind such genocidal purges is the suspicion of the damned being a group of untrustworthy fifth columnists and saboteurs, or outright proven traitors in previous events. Sometimes this is only true as regard a narrow band of community leaders, who in the eternal fashion of power players will deceive and betray other influential elites in order to better their own lot, until they double cross the wrong potentate and find not only their noble clans, merchant guild and theocratic clique purged, but their entire flock of people condemned to die for the sins of their palace intrigues. Thus millions or even billions of Imperial subjects will be given a one way ticket behind the razorwire to pay for the crimes of the few.

Of course, it is always virtuous governance policy for the powers that be to redirect simmering discontent, and so scapegoats must be found and hunted down in order to avert public anger at their own ruling misdeeds. And as the the cosmic domains of His Divine Majesty continues to slowly deteriorate in a death spiral of demechanization and darkest misery, the urgent need to point the finger at others as wreckers in order to save one's own highborn skin and petty throne will only continue to increase. And so emotionalist propaganda will fly in the face of logic, and it will not only defy facts and reason with rabid passion, but it will utterly murder any attempt at rational thought, for the rabblerousing chatter and preaching and lying will breed a frenetic atmosphere of fear and hatred, where sane humans would rather be part of the mob, than be branded as malcontents and heretics and be burnt alive for the sake of their unforgivable sins. Do not stray from the herd.

Both ruling castes and plebeian masses like to panic and lash out in a frenzy of witch hunts and wild accusations of others than themselves harbouring counter-Imperial subversive intent. Both Imperial Governors and the lower castes need such activity. It is their substitute for achievement. And thus the human sea of ignorance will roil in the depths and whip up monstrous waves, in a natural cycle of hysteria and democide. Naturally, it is all ultimately useless, but that never stopped anyone from plunging the depths of human depravity. This violent process of bloothirsty cleansing repeats itself over and over through millennia of crushed human endeavour, and this bestial aspect of our Terran species' nature cannot be truly expunged from the souls of our kin, else it would have been permanently rooted out from our blood by brilliant genetors during the lost heyday of the Dark Age of Technology.

On top of the usual reasons, there exist another cause for the setting up of purification camps, namely that of containing outbreaks of particularly contagious diseases, and limit their impact on the larger population of planets and voidholms. After all, what if the pandemics would worsen enough to impact Tithing or spread via pilgrims to Holy Terra herself? It is not enough to merely quarantine a populace as ridden with parasites and disease as that of most Imperial worlds and voidholms. The Officio Medicae is constantly overburdened as it is. Nay, the worst pestilences must be scoured as if they were the words of a heretic!

Thus the Adeptus Terra and its gaggle of subservient Voidholm Overlords and Planetary Governors will try to ruthlessly crush epidemic outbreaks, if the slow machinery of Imperial power happens to notice the flaring disease sufficiently early on. In the eyes of many human cultures across the vast Imperium, the spiritual rot of the original pestilentors becomes unveiled for all to see by the evidence of their physical afflictions. As such, these wayward Imperial subjects must be punished for their sins, just as the divine Imperator intended. Likewise, exterminating their weak flesh would be of virtuous eugenic value, as far as such matters of heredity are hazily understood, if at all, in the decrepit Imperium of Man.

And so, on top of so much senseless internecine slaughter and manmade famines, carriers of plague and pox will often be cleansed from the sacred Terran genome. There is some grounding in historical experiences for this occurence, since there exist strange alien plagues, some of which may permanently alter the genetic code and thus cause it to stray from the golden ancestral baseline. Yet most of the time, such purges are purely the results of hidebound superstition and fanatical zeal. We must prove our piety to the Emperor by purging the unclean ones from our midst, since he has tested our faith and resolve in this way! Thus incurable diseases will often be countered by isolating and killing off their carriers in order to purify the population. Such casual mass murder will be followed up by attempts to pressure-process the bodily matter to such a degree that no dangerous microbes may survive to spread through the consumption of corpse starch ration bars. Failures of this poorly understood procedure to cleanse the dead flesh of the purgelings has grown increasingly common as centuries of atavistic regression grinds on, and thus dangerous epidemics will rekindle anew through the cannibal eating of the deceased. Still, one man dead is another man's bread.

Shy not away, but look with open eyes. Bear witness to the malice on display, as masses of humans are herded at gunpoint through plasteel gates, never to return. Doomed to be devoured, these prisoners are led into hellish camps, where they find themselves exposed to the elements or cramped into filthy hive depots, with the risk of acid leakage from upper levels being of no concern to the camp administration. The scenes that unfold are that of rampant terror, abuse and misery, before death carries them away to the Golden Throne of hallowed myth, to face judgement in front of the Emperor's feet for their inexcusable sins.

The damned cannot fight back. They stand there, unable to sit down, like so many sheep gathered to the slaughter, penned in by barbed wire and guarded by trigger-happy shepherds. The guards will patrol the perimeter in hazmat suits if the prisoners are epidemic carriers, but always they will be adorned with purity seals and pious amulets, with Ecclesiarchal priests in attendance to bless their righteous work and ward off the malignant corruption of those unfit to live. Thus ordinary men, women and children will become pathetic victims, denied a worthy end, the meaningless slaughter standing as the very antithesis to the warrior's heroic death in battle.

Look upon their guilty faces, and shun them! Their false prayers to the God-Emperor will not avail themselves against us. We are neither moved by tears nor touched by lamentations, for we carry out the will of the Master of Mankind Himself, with the supreme authority of our masters and dominas appointed by our divine saviour and lord.

No mercy.

Akin to human cattle, those decreed to be purified until nought but ashes and gristle remain, will be put through a rudimentary system of industrialized mass butchery. The killing itself can happen in a myriad of ways, from lazy starvation, shooting, melting, drowning and phosphex bathing, through threshing, hooking, gassing, live corpse-grinding, hydraulic flattening and sawing, to asphyxiation in a vaccuum, poisoning, burning, garroting and steamrolling. To name but a few ways of dispatching of the damned. Yet before that, Guild-certified organ harvesters will often have their time-alotted stressfest bloodletting of unanaesthetized pickings, unless an epidemic is raging among the prisoners, or the taint of devilish powers be suspected.

After the unceremonial slaying in the name of our species and lord, living prisoners will be tasked with dragging dead bodies and picking out clothes, amulets, shoes, body piercings, tooth fillings, bionic implants, prosthetics, rare pristine teeth, long healthy hair and hidden valuables from the limp corpses, sorting them in great heaps earmarked for lengthy quarantine and decontamination in case of plague. It is likewise standard procedure on a great many worlds and voidholms to flay the human skin off the corpses to use as parchment in Imperial documents. It is of paramount importance to purge the human genepool from any possible infections and weaknesses, but one should still recover the material goods for economic benefit. Waste not, want not. The lacking quantity and quality of consumer goods production within the Imperium of Man means that the victims' worldly belongings must be recovered if at all possible, although particularly gross xenoviruses and otherworldly poxes may warrant a complete destruction in fire and acid of both bodies and garb.

Such malevolent acts have only grown more commonplace through the sclerotic course of the Age of Imperium. As His holy star realm face an ever more severe decline, the challenges of mounting crisis and worsening fortunes of total war calls for ever more irrational outlets of steam to preserve some semblance of internal harmony. The embittered Imperium of Man may be strained ever closer to the breaking point, yet it still possess immense resources and gigantic reserves of both manpower and fanatical will. Thus cornered, this interstellar madhouse will strike back against foes both internal and external, both real and imagined, with a very Imperial combination of arrogance, desperation and incompetence. The massive wastage of lives and long-term productive potential in labour and purification camps constitute but a lesser debacle in the grand scheme of things.

The demented methods of Imperial governance has long since created a self-sustaining negative feedback loop of the Imperium's own making, signed in blood by the High Lords of Terra. Depravity reigns supreme, and death is but a merciful release in a cosmic empire that has turned into such a living nightmare as to make a heart of stone bleed. The entire fundamental mood of human civilization betwixt the stars has turned acrimonious and sour, and humans have turned inward and backward, ever hateful and ever flagellating themselves in a grand display of squandered potential and petty bickering.

Lo and behold! This is the very same species that once bestrode the stars like a titan in ages past. The very same humanity that once braved the perils of the Immaterium and realspace alike in order to strike out with dash and cunning to explore the galaxy with unbounded curiosity. It is the very same mankind that once lived the dream of any sentient species worth its salt. Where once man strove for excellence in all things, he has now become riddled with dumb senility and inept rage, raging at the dying of the light.

Yet his body and mind and soul are still fundamentally sound, compared to any of his progenitors. The capacity and the potential still lurks within his suppressed heart. Man could rise again, climb the pinnacle of ingenuity and cast off all the self-made deficiencies and hostile foes that beset him. The seed is there, inside him. Man could become the master of creation itself and leave the Archenemy in the dust.

But it will not come to pass, for interstellar human civilization has been shackled to a sinking ship, known to its hounded subjects as the Imperium of Man. Thus human power in the Milky Way galaxy continues to decay and crumble, even as the Great Devourer draws nigh and ever more Necron Tomb Worlds awaken to once again scour the galaxy of all life. And even as doomsday approaches, the Imperium intensifies its internal purges, sacrificing billions on the altar of blind fury and pious frustration. To Imperial modes of thinking, it stands to reason that you may yet kill the future Heresiarch in the cradle.

And so the Imperium will resort to labour camps and purification camps alike, feeding these black holes of human suffering and death with countless souls in a counter-productive attempt to kill the rot within. On and on this cycle trudges on, stuck in a rut that leads nowhere. At the end of our species. In the darkest of futures.

The true verdict on the sheer futility of this grand killing can be heard, rising from those abominable pits of despair. Listen. Can you hear them?

Hear their screams.

The screams of the innocent.

The screams of the damned.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only waste.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#73 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Shock Worker

In the grim darkness of the far future, man is devoured by toil.

Human life during the long Dark Age of Technology was not as marred by inactive indolence as one may be led to believe from man's dependence on the machines of Abominable Intelligence. After all, Man of Gold had fashioned a supreme balance in life, to both savour its sweet sides and keep himself well enough sharp and energetic to boldly go out and colonize the galaxy, as well as erecting towering wonders and unlocking the mysteries of creation itself. The marvel of technology at became a true enabler, not an insidious blight upon the human condition as it had long proven to be. The vast masses of mankind during this lost golden era experienced far more stimulating lives than mere backbreaking drudgery or decadent laziness could offer. The golden mean of conduct was at last achieved and refined. Activities such as sports, hobbies, travels, research and study interests flourished, enabled by lifespans lasting centuries, and in most cultures people would habitually reproduce new broods of beloved children decades after their latest ones had moved on to adult life, since family gives purpose to humans, and the galaxy was full of untouched star systems for man to bring life to.

Life was good. And man abolished hell.

Even when surrounded by so much automated machinery carrying out most tasks of advanced civilization, ancient man would still work in his life, and mostly he would work with such things as best suited his passions and interests, for such unprecedented luxury was his. After all, humans tend to find purpose in work that they love, and the glories of the Dark Age of Technology could not have been achieved if dumb sloth reigned supreme. The entire civilization of ancient man was built upon a highly empirical understanding of human nature, brought about through many meandering ups and downs in the misty Age of Terra. The entire system was sophisticated beyond any primal crudity, bringing forth the best from inside man while purging evil and decay from his heart. And so Man of Stone would pioneer colony worlds and build new void stations, and steer Man of Iron to toil hard and toil well. And Man of Gold lived a life of earthly bliss, with meaning and purpose to guide him. United, this earthly trinity of man bestrode the stars like a colossus. Thus ancient man became adventurous and bold even in the midst of prosperity and comfort, and uncounted new settlers of virgin worlds were prepared to work hard and break new land under alien skies, belying the softness of their origins.

Paradise spread. And all seemed well.

Yet such happy vigour and fruitful work was not destined to last. For the unforgivable sins of ancient man could not go unpunished. For the sake of hideous thought of self and for the blasphemous raising up of science and technology onto an altar, ancient man in his boundless hubris was cast down from his pinnacle of brilliance, and he fell headlong into the smoking fires of ruin and civil strife, tearing down the wonders that he had once built. Thus Old Night swept across human interstellar civilization, and shattered it in a million pieces. And barbaric cannibals scoured the remnants of their once glorious homes, scavenging and hunting their own species in a frenzy of desperation.

Chaos reigned. And all was fell.

The fragmented humanity that emerged out of the Age of Strife was deeply scarred, a retrograde shadow of its former self, a hollow husk of its ancient greatness. Yet nonetheless the human species had endured and survived, on a million worlds and innumerable void habitats, even as more planets and voidholms lay in barren ruin, bereft of life. And the scattered children of Old Earth were reunited under a new banner, the banner of lightning and eagle, and the sole Emperor of Terra arose from our cradle world to reclaim mankind's lost star realm. Legions led by demigods expanded the domains of the Imperator far and wide, empowered by lost lore from the Dark Age of Technology. These mythical warriors crushed all resistance with overwhelming force, and the Emperor's soaring grand plans were on the cusp of coming true. Yet the men of blood craved for more as they began to run out of worlds to conquer, and thus man turned against his own saviour in berzerk fury, and the galaxy burned.

Betrayal by His own son saw the Master of Mankind nigh on slain in the skies above Holy Terra, yet He ascended from this filthy material world into supreme godhood, to sit resplendent on the Golden Throne and pass judgement upon treacherous mankind for our abominable sins. And so we must do penance for our wretched deeds, and never once complain about our lot in life. For every scrap that we are given, is a gracious blessing from the God-Emperor Himself, even as He must test our faith with these hardships and hunger cramps. Praise be!

And ever since, man has toiled like the lowliest beast, and no task is beneath him, no suffering too great for man to bear. For our chosen species has been gifted with endurance, and we have been given willpower to overcome any obstacle and to deny the self to the utmost, for this vale of tears is but an ashen trial to be overcome so that we may join the golden afterlife that His Divine Majesty only grants to those true and worthy in thought, word and deed. What if your assigned task brings you no joy and meaning, o thrall? Remember that faith in Him alone is meaning alone! Know that no drudgery is too hard, no command too difficult to carry out. Obey your masters and betters, and question them not, for their elevated authority emanates from the Golden Throne of the Terran Imperator Himself, and when they speak an order, they speak with the weight of His heavenly power and glory. And you shall obey unthinkingly.

Thus man was made to toil, to live out his life in endless toil. To die by toil, and to live for toil. And the lord of hosts and the leader of the people saw that this was well.

The Age of Imperium proved an ever-worsening throwback to atavistic forms of labour, far more rudimentary than one would come to expect from a starfaring civilization. Increasingly, man proved unable to produce anew the more advanced systems built by the heinously wise ancients. And as machines broke down, never to be replaced by equal systems of engineering, man resorted to ever more primitive forms of machinery, requiring ever more manual labour to function. The hunt for efficiency and innovation, that had been such a hallmark of ancient man, was well and truly dead in this new era, and so his degenerate descendants resorted to throw bodies at problems, calling for human exertions of flesh and will to make up for sagging productivity.

And so man's mortal coil became one of misery and thankless drudgery, as the vast majority of our species worked away their lives in earnest sweat under the lashes of barking overseers. And yet quality of life for common man under the stern rule of the High Lords of Terra continued to slowly deteriorate as millennia ground by, and all of man's self-sacrificing efforts led nowhere. Dreams and aspirations were dashed upon the rocks, and hope died in the darkest of futures. Where once our species had sought to fashion man out of machine, we now made machine out of man, and called it just.

As centuries of worsening demechanization and screeching inefficiency trundled by, managers of industry, mining, shipbuilding, forestry and agriculture noticed the increasing difficulty for their compounds to meet set quotas, and concluded that the latter day subjects of the Terran Imperator had turned soft and feeble. Those teeming masses of human ants needed an example to follow. And so, the shock worker movement was born.

Most men, women and children do not work as conscientiously as the Emperor wants them to do, nor do they work as hard as He wills it. This explain the taskmasters' need for whips and electro-prods in order to encourage due diligence in duty. Yet the plebeian hordes may also benefit from the inspiring example set by extraordinary hard workers, those unusual individuals who can toil and produce above and beyond the call of duty. Such blessed overperformers can manage to crank out several labourers' worth of output day in and day out, shift after shift, lightson upon lightson. These energetic souls burn with a desire to carry out their tasks to the utmost of their ability, thriving amid the hardest of toil as the Emperor Himself intended. Where intellect may have its geniuses, calloused hands have their shock workers.

It is not enough to incentivize such phenomenal workhorses in their narrow locales of labour. Nay, such ace toilers must be depicted and touted in internal Guild propaganda, their visages and names must become famous even outside the company, for their deeds of production must become widely known and talked about to the betterment of the Imperium as a whole. More indentured labourers such as these the hardest of workers must be encouraged to step forth, and step up their output in the name of the Throneworld.

And so, these outstanding men and women of the compound will become civilian darlings of Imperial propaganda. The strong arms and confident faces of these exemplary people can be found on countless posters on hundreds of thousands of worlds and voidholms. These storm labourers are awarded medals and honours, and given simple material benefits which average toilers can only dream of. The masses must be inculcated with the example set by images of famous shock workers, all exuding strength, dexterity and the expected impressions of manual labour. Reminds the plebs of the athletes of the workplace, and spur them on. It all adds up to an attempt to motivate labourers through pride, being a proverbial carrot to go along with the harsh stick.

One such example is the miner Lucius Manlius Cotta, assigned to the Bibulus Deep Shaft Mine on Hyrcania Primax, owned by the Phallax Mercatores Gens, part of the Orion Cartel. After managing to mine an astounding record tonnage of ore in a single work shift, the zealous Lucius was hailed as an Imperial hero of labour and became famous across the entire moon. Picts were taken of him in statuesque poses, and Lucuis Manlius Cotta was sent on a lengthy tour to meet juves and other workers in order to instruct and inspire them to give their all, and then some more, in humble service to the Emperor of Holy Terra, blessed be His name. Every strike of the jackhammer is a blow in the face of the xeno! Every push of the shovel is a shield against the darkness!

Blessed be the hands of the ceaseless workman. Praised be the eager thrall of the Emperor. Salvation shall be given to the industrious soul when it stands before the Golden Throne of hallowed myth.

Storm labourers are motivated by the prospect of better working conditions, material gains and the potential of fame. Extra Guild scrip will be theirs, if they perform well enough. They thrive on the hardest of labour, or amidst the most daunting mountains of paper as regard the most assiduous of clerks. Some rare few ace toilers may even be given the chance to rise above their caste, for some employers and collegium liege lords will issue a generous reward during religious festivals, giving out a prize to the best shock worker, which annuls their entire inherited debt and promotes the fortunate soul to lower management within the corpus. It is a rare privilege to be thus elevated, for only one out of tens or hundreds of thousands of teeming labourers will ever be rewarded thus.

The main virtue of such ceremonious generosity is to present a thin glimmer of hope to all the Guild's hopelessly indebted workers, presenting a distant carrot for thralls to chase amid all the lashing whips. And so propagandists both Imperial and corporate will raise up such enterprising heroes of labour on a pedestal, to keep faint hope alive for lesser subjects amid all their destitution and deprivation.

Increase production for the eternal war effort! Do your part for our species and lord! Worker, do not disappoint the judge of your sinful soul!

In practice, shock workers are often loathed by their immediate colleagues, since their high pace may throw a spanner into the entire work gang's rhythm. Their outstanding performance may also cause jealousy to stir in man's petty heart, for it is the wont of all lesser spirits to envy and begrudge those who do better than themselves. Yet the actual lot of storm labourers is occasionally less desirous than most people realize. Their existence is often marred by stress and a creeping sense of overworking. Their fantastic exertions may eventually lead to terrible exhaustion, as they try to repeat past feats of toil. Their years and years of intensive labour will often strain the limits of human endurance. Therefore, many ace toilers die from heart failures, while others collapse into a state of drained stamina and end up whipped to death by wroth overseers, but such a labour burnout is never mentioned in Imperial pamphlets and posters.

Yet it would be foolish in the extreme to express any doubt against the sanctioned shock worker movement. Skeptics of the movement will be branded as malcontent saboteurs and face baleful repercussions for spreading their defaitist slander. Be quiet, unworthy one, and question not His divinely ordained order of things. Know your place, and toil in silence. Die in silence. Only thus may your wretched soul stand any chance of salvation. Only thus may your kith and kin be spared the severe repercussions facing the entire clan of the deviant and the heretic.

Ultimately, the shock worker movement serves as a crude and limited attempt to compensate for the flagging productivity of Imperial industry, a long term decline brought about by grinding loss of technological knowledge, failing hardware and a virtually complete lack of innovation. Where machine fails, man must step in to give his all in service to the Terran Imperator. Indeed, some of the most famous ace toilers gained their elevated status thanks to pioneering a new method of teamwork, though there is nonetheless a hard limit to what human flesh and bone can achieve, even when put to work in an efficient manner with maximum exertion of strength and willpower.

Behind all the slogans and posters, the primitive lifework and sacrifice of indentured workers are nothing but vast numbers in a broken equation of increased input to feed the meatgrinder. The cosmic domains of His Divine Majesty are slowly faltering. The colossus that is the Imperium of Man is stumbling, under an avalanche of enemies and under the counterproductive burdens of its own making. It is only natural that the Terran Imperium's tyrannical overlords would call for ever greater feats of strength and ever greater deeds of warmaking and production from its cowed masses. And as desperation sets in, the propaganda grows all the more hysterical, the fanatic message all the more feverish, as the entire fundamental mindset of humanity continues to rot, generation by generation. All the while, the sprawling cosmic dominion that man built grows ever more hellish. Locked inside this interstellar madhouse, shackled mankind has wasted ten thousand precious years of titanic endeavour in order to build a prison for himself to waste away and die inside.

Such is his lot. And all is decay.

Truly, life is toil. Toil, ever-lasting and ever-grinding. Toil, ever-burdensome and ever-shackling. Toil and penitence, and not the false bliss of wicked forefathers.

The shout rings out: Work until the white of your raw finger bones are exposed! Work until your back breaks! Work for Sol and Holy Terra!

Only by faith, work and deeds can your sinful soul be saved.

Only in death does duty end.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only toil.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#74 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Pure Human Form

In the grim darkness of the far future, man slays man for his foul body.

Sing, o woman, of her fair visage! Sing, o man, of his handsome features!

Sing us a song of the beauty inherent in the human species. Sing of the youthful splendour without blemish that the God-Emperor Himself intended for His chosen kind. Sing of the strength and flawless vigour to be found in the best of our kin. Sing of the hero and the heroine, of their muscles and sinews at work in great deeds of daring. Sing of the bravery and perfection that runs in the veins of better mankind. Sing of the higher ideal. Sing of the blood and the lineage. Sing of the nobility and the courage!

Sing to us of the pure human form!

Long before primordial man dwelt in caves and huts, his beastly ancestors kenned by instinct that a strong and beautiful form was an outward sign of inner health. Such fleshly omens would often lie, and the finest of flesh would often rot and wither away before its time, yet statistically speaking the best chances to breed healthy offspring was usually found with a fair and vigorous partner. Thus beauty as an indicator of health and good genes became the core component of attraction in the world of rutting animals, and males would go to great lengths of display and struggle in order to impress the finest of females, and the females would oft pick the finest among the male competition, for therein lay the pinnacle of what living beings could hope to achieve.

Sprang life from life.

And so, a gorgeous partner became the dream of primal humanity, as witnessed in any number of heroic and voluptuous tales told around the fireside during the misty past of the Age of Terra. This dream of beauty and strength never passed away, and rigorous attempts to deny it were ever doomed to waste away in the face of innate human nature. Sometimes, the deniers would be pious people of faith, shunning the sinful body as a worldly delusion. At other times, the deniers would be reformers fired up with strange thoughts spinning inside their own heads, their ideas at odds with reality itself. Yet in the end, mankind always knew that beauty was good, just as strength and victory was good.

The dark backside of these lived ideals has always been the rejection of all that is ugly and weak, trailed by suspicions that a hideous exterior betrays a corrupt interior, whether that inner self is biological or spiritual in nature. Through the aeons, uncounted souls have been lost as outcasts inside their own community, heckled for their displeasing looks and unlovely ways. And so the ill-favoured and disagreeable among us has always been doomed to scorn, always at risk of having their entire lives turned into a living hell at the hands of fellow men, women and children.

The Dark Age of Technology saw a deeply empirical understanding of human nature guide mankind into a better world, having man's life improve even as his cosmic domains spread far and wide by the power of unsurpassed scientific lore and technological might. As such, blemishes of the flesh could be healed or improved on a fundamental level by genetors, and men and women were not only happy in this long lost epoch. They were also beautiful. For such was the hubris of mankind, that Man of Gold on many worlds and void stations sought to level the human playing field by making everyone sweet for the eyes. Thus surrounded by stunning members of the same species, ancient man would simultaneously savour the view and grow accustomed to it. And this artificial freeing of the body from the shackles of ill health, frailty and foulness allowed the ideals of the ancients to decisively turn to pursuits of the intellect, since ideals of form had long since been fulfilled across the board, and could now be taken for granted.

And man was happy.

Yet such sinful arrogance and godless abominations of worldly paradise could not be allowed to stand. And thus ancient man was felled from his lofty pedestal by heinous machine revolt, crippling Warp storms and a plague of witches. And Dark Ones of Hell laughed at man's horrendous downfall, while twain million worlds burned to ashes and countless void installations were left in ruins. Thus began the Age of Strife, that lasted for twohundredfifty generations of cannibal freefall.

Old Night saw desperate mankind regress to the worst of his ancient past. The very flesh and essence of humanity was under siege on hundreds of thousands of irradiated and poisoned worlds and voidholms, even as otherworldly powers of Chaos played havoc upon the bodies and souls of exposed humans. And so the ravages of a toppled interstellar civilization was accompanied by a plague of mutations, as uncounted men, women and children twisted into new and horrible forms, turning hideous and disgusting in the eyes of those fortunate enough to count themselves as pureblood mankind.

The end of the Warp storms and the coming of the Terran Imperator saw the scattered survivor colonies of man reunited under a bloodstained banner, as Legions of ruthless warriors crushed all resistance under the leadership of demigods. These sons of the Emperor were marvellous creations, standing as exemplars of all that humanity could achieve. Yet the true wonder of our species was the Imperator Himself, standing resplendent as the pinnacle of all that mankind could ever hope to become.

For all His dashing perfection and handsome exterior, the Emperor of Terra and all mankind did not conduct a massive purge of all mutant types found in the post-apocalyptic landscapes that His Legionnaires conquered. Indeed, even gross and unsightly mutants such as Beastmen were accepted and made use of within the Exerctus Imperialis, for the ranks of the Imperial Army were ever hungering for more soldiers. And as the Great Crusade slaughtered all opposition and claimed ever more planets and voidholms in His name, there followed the secular creed of the Imperial Truth, and its rational ideology grew within human space as long as the early Imperium stood strong and united.

Such invincible unity was not fated to last, however. Nor was the early Imperium's toleration of mutants and abhumans of many kinds. Civil strife rent the Imperium of Man asunder, and ungrateful man nigh-on slew the Emperor while the galaxy burned. In the wake of the Horus Heresy, desperate mankind clung to the certainties and promises of a new religion, in spite of the Cult Imperialis having originally been spawned by the most heretical of Primarchs. And mutants played a prominent role as favoured servants of the Dark Gods during that terrible rebellion. Thus, the High Lords of Terra would outlaw mutants, turning them over to a precarious life of exploitation as the most downtrodden of underclasses. And among all the mind-numbing toil, mutants would be periodically slated for pogroms and local extermination sweeps, according to the caprice of the pureblood human population that so despises them.

In the Age of Imperium, mutants stand as the antithesis of all that pure mankind ought to embody. One common way to argue for the sacral purity of the human genome during the wake of the Horus Heresy ran as follows: Materialists and unbelievers of yore would claim that this world of grey matter is all made out of one substance. They would even go so far as to claim that the only difference between humanity and animals are a meaningless number of random gene-codes. Since the Imperator Himself is the ultimate human, it follows that He also is but a few steps away from being an ape. Is the Emperor but humbug? Do we all share the same essence? Is there no difference between His Divine Majesty and a dog?

Nay! Shun these doubters and weaklings in belief, for the shape of mankind is no coincidence. It is no roll of nature's dice, able to fall in any which way, but a pure and sacred form, as decreed at the dawn of our species by our lord and saviour. The ancestral forms of man and woman are pure and perfect, and any deviation from our original Terran phenotype cluster is a crime of birth and flesh. The God-Emperor Himself wills it for His chosen species to be pure, strong, pious and beautiful. Since He so wills it, we shall make it so. We shall cleanse the human species from mutants, and we shall trample the witch and the abhuman underheel.

Imperator Vult!

After all, it is well known that the Emperor of Holy Terra was the pinnacle of virile manliness, enveloped in shining magnificence. The Master of Mankind had hair as flowing and beautiful as a pooling waterfall in a lush oasis, of deep black lustre. Ancient tales speak of His prominent activities of procreation through the ages, inseminating our species with small gifts of His own splendour in the flesh, being well and truly a father of the people. Truly, the Emperor In the Flesh was the desire of all women and the ideal of all men. He was the one and only perfect human being, and His intent was for all of our chosen species to become like Himself. Such was His wondrous plan, before wretched man betrayed Him. Ave Imperator!

And certainly, the human form itself is elevated above all others, being holy and destined for greatness. Scattered myths on certain forgeworlds speak of how Titan God Machines to this day mimic the pure human form thanks only to the benevolent machinations of the Hidden Emperor's shadowy hand guiding our species in ancient days. After all, bipedal walkers are clearly less stable than vehicles that possess more legs than two, and yet ancient man designed his foremost planetbound warmachines to walk as giant avatars of the pure human form.

With such stark signs teaching us of the importance to uphold the sacred shape of mankind, the actual state of our unworthy species is cause for alarm. For we have wallowed in sin and depravity, and our bodies have turned humpbacked and wrong as punishment for our baleful spiritual errors. As such, man during the Age of Imperium has degenerated into a wretched being, rife with mutation and corruption, that must be flogged, branded and cleansed from all filth without neither remorse nor regret. No mercy for the unclean!

Cast out the mutant, the traitor, the heretic. For every enemy without there are a hundred within. Know that dispersed man has changed and evolved under strange skies and alien suns, and his countenance has all too often turned twisted and weird. Rutting in the dark on a million worlds and innumerable voidholms, man spawned monsters and abominations. In sinful disbelief of our glorious overlod, woman gave birth to mutants, and clan failed to purge the rot in the cradle. And so we are burdened with billions of mutants infesting the Imperium of Man, their numbers unknown and their hatred festering across the starspangled void. Through millennia of starfaring, some humans would even commit unholy crossbreeding with xenos through artificial means, whether willingly or through forceful violation. The offspring of such unspeakable unions dwell within His cosmic dominion to this very day.

Many mutants try to hide their own and their children's abhumanity under shapeless robes, paying lip-service to those Imperial sects who shun the sinful body and wish to cover it up. Most common of all mutants are the Subs, relatively genetically stable but still hideously deformed mutant sub-breeds, forming a teeming underclass of slave labour. Subs are often outlawed, but are usually allowed to live regardless by hypocritical authorities due to the economic exploitation to be gained from Subs. Like other mutants, Subs remain regular targets of lynchmobs and pogroms.

On top of mutations brought about by ordinary evolution, unholy influence and exotic natural environments, there exist a very large number of mutants whose deformed bodies are the byproducts of contaminated Imperial industry. As the Imperium aged, and aged badly, so did its dysfunctional industry turn ever more polluting and decrepit, and endemic mutations followed in the wake of Imperial industry. In the face of such rampant mutation, large swathes of scattered mankind turned away from dysgos and gene-twists with utter revulsion. To Imperial modes of thinking, it is right and proper to hate that which is different from the pure Terran phenotype cluster.

After all, mutants physically rebel against humanity through their very sin of existing. They rebel against the God-Emperor's perfect form with their unnatural powers and ugly faces! And so self-righteous religious lunatics will murder all people suspected of tainted blood, conducting massacres of the innocent which no sanctioned sect will ever lament, nor remember as anything else than heroic deeds.

As the sclerotic Age of Imperium unfolded in all its darkness and horror, so too did restrictions on mutants multiply in number. The most famous and widespread Administratum document of regulation is the Godolkin Purebreed Guide, detailing any Imperial subjects' deviation from the standard human phenotype cluster via a point system. While the exact number of points for mutant toleration differ wildly due to local strategic exemptions, the underlying spirit of the Godolkin Index is the classification and ruthless purification of undesirables in order to ensure the eugenic health of the baseline human genome.

And so rejects of society and humanity alike will be butchered like cattle. Meanwhile, pogromists will usually be given free reign to defile the mutant according to their heart's darkest lusts, for any fell deed committed against such wretched outcasts do not count as sin in the divine eyes of Him on Terra. After all, non-standard human phenotypes are nothing but filth, born defects from His Divine Majesty's perfect design. Purge them all! Slay these alien crossbreeds, these many-limbed monstrosities, these telekinetic madmen and these beings with the countenance of actual, literal sharks. For the betterment of the collective whole, we must practice virtuous eugenics, and never shy away from our grim duty to cleanse mankind from impurities. Remember that mutants are all living sins unto the purity of the ancestral human form. Twists are parodies of mankind. They are heresy made flesh and blood!

As noted, dirty Imperial practices of industry will often contaminate the living-space of ordinary humans to such a degree as to become a breeding ground for new strains of mutations and deformities, yet such horrid causes of mutations are never recognized by the High Lords of Terra. Instead, the Adeptus Terra will officially support sects and local rulers who wish to eradicate abhumanity as a caste, even as the Imperium silently lets most mutants live on as a source of cheapest thrall labour. Therefore, the vast majority of all abhumans throughout His astral realm is left living in surly and bestial resignation, their wits reduced to dull incurious brooding, for their every day is a nightmare of backbreaking grind, filled with fear and loathing.

And so these breathing insults to the sacred human genome will be rounded up and shackled to their work stations, or else they will be purged without ceremony, either by troopers or by grimdrunk mobs at the height of chiliastic violence. The ugly carcass of the mutant remains a target for any right-thinking subject of He who dwells on the face of Terra. Would not the Enthroned One want for us to cleanse the dysgenic element from our midst? Should we not rid ourselves of these blasphemies of the flesh? Better kill them now, before they give birth to more walking heresies! Buy redemption from your sins in the blood of monsters. Purge the unclean! For we shall hate all that is ugly in man.

Kill! Kill! Kill!

And so the senile debility of the etiolated Imperium plays out again and again, on a million worlds and on uncounted voidholms. Such a hidebound and parochial mess mankind has become, whose ancestors once bestrode the cosmos like fearless titans. Such baleful slaughter and such depraved excesses are encouraged from on high when directed against those deemed unfit to live by the High Lords of Terra. And even amidst the crescendo of righteous bloodletting, Holy Inquisitors are left wondering why the dark forces of Chaos continue to grow so strong. Surely, their entire life's work could not be a futile exercise in counter-productive insanity? No! Doubt not, and trust in the ruler of all humanity to steer your course. Only by sacrificing the unclean upon the altars of our Radiant Deity can we purify sinful mankind.

Odi et Amo.

Turning thus from this suicide pact gone wrong, that is the Imperium of Man, we now focus our attention on a tense contradiction embedded at the heart of Imperial thinking:

The purity of the human form in one shape or another has been part of the Imperium since its very inception, even though it during the Great Crusade avoided the rabid depravity which it would spawn in the latter Age of Imperium. After all, affirming the beauty, cleverness, strength and justice dwelling inside mankind was part and parcel of the Emperor's attempt to revitalize traumatized human culture and kickstart a flourishing renaissance of science, creativity and invention. The lord of hosts and leader of the people needed to dig man out of the shell inside which this scarred wretch hid, and show man the splendour and glory which humanity was capable of. Thus the female form and the male form were both elevated in the classical aesthetic of the early Imperium, raised up on pedestals as heroes and majestic ideals for all to aspire to.

Fortuna Favet Fortibus!

Fortune favours the bold. This ancient phrase could as well have been the motto of the entire Imperium during the era of the Great Crusade. Under the Emperor's direction, man grasped for more: More expansion, more knowledge, more uplifting beauty. The Terran Imperator wished to energize and inspire His chosen species, and for a while, He succeeded. Man raised up golden wonders and reclaimed lost lore of the ancients, even as man cultivated a mindset fit for science and exploration. And amid all this arrogance and fervent activity, the clean shapes of man and woman in the guise of statues and fresques adorned palaces and streets alike. Yet the near-death of the Emperor in the skies above Terra brought with it the second downfall of mankind, and in its wake of desperation did a new faith emerge, one destined to overtake the entire Imperium of Man, and remake humanity in its image.

This religion was the Imperial Cult, a fractious mass of competing sects, all united in their total devotion to the God-Emperor, their total subjection to Holy Terra, and their complete and fanatical hatred of all infidelry, heresy, unbelief, blasphemy, apostasy and heathendom. From its very inception, the Cult Imperialis bore traumatized scars brought about by the Horus Heresy and the subsequent Scouring. One such scar was the apprently dour and humourless mindset of the Cult, as contrasted to the optimistic, lively, jocular and easygoing culture of the early Imperium. Another scar was the uneasy relation that many Imperial sects had with the human body itself.

Unlike the early Imperium of the Great Crusade, this new, religious Imperium under the High Lords manifested a strong tendency to deny the body through asceticism, self-flagellation, self-abnegation and by the covering up of our sinful forms under shapeless robes. The tide of interstellar human civilization seemed to have turned irrevocably toward a barren Imperial culture, both bereft of humour and fearful of the human body, scarred forever and made stale and boring by the horrors of the Horus Heresy and the disappointments in mankind itself brought about by it.

Yet the tumultuous course of Imperial cultural history was not so predetermined. Instead, strong counter-currents existed, fed by such sources as devotion to the Primarchs Guilliman and Sanguinius. Likewise, the Great Crusade era's shining aesthetics and ideals survived by morphing pious and latching themselves onto Imperial sects that proved capable of perpetuating these ancient styles and ideas through religious dogma. A third factor was the local persistence of one school of thought over another, even as the larger Imperium happened to be dominated by the other school of thought and style, thereby ensuring that pockets of artistic expression and aesthetic tradition survived to bloom anew in cultural renaissances that spread across entire star sectors and Segmenta.

While the full panoply of Imperial schools of thought and artistic traditions present a mad sectarian caleidoscope of variety and nuance, the two main strains who have achieved galactic spread can be boiled down as such:

On the one hand, there is the more ancient, classic school, informed by the original Great Crusade aesthetic. This extroverted school of thought upholds beautiful mankind as the pure pinnacle of creation, and will proudly display the pure human form in all its art, craft and architecture, to the point of unabashed nakedness. Let us here call it the body-affirming school for the sake of simplicity. As the Emperor wills it.

On the other hand, there is the newer, post-Heresy school of thought, informed by the traumas that have beset mankind ever since the Ascension of the Enthroned God. This introverted school of thought shuns arrogant displays of human greatness, and emphasizes humility and the covering up of our sinful bodies. Let us here call it the self-abnegating school for the sake of simplicity. As the Emperor wills it.

Imperator Adiuta Imperialis.

Grasping that these two contradictory major styles inform most parts of Holy Terran, and thus Imperial, high culture, lets us understand why sanctioned Imperial aesthetics will simultaneously tout the prideful human body in the face of the hideous mutant and xeno, while at the same time hiding the sinful limbs, hair, face and torso of the dubious human form. This realization is at the core of all deeper understanding of internal Imperial workings. For the Emperor's servants do not all pull in the same direction. Their lives and deeds are filled with conflicts and contradictions. Ultimately, the Imperium of Man can be likened to a multi-headed hydra, that is as often at war with itself as with external foes.

And so priests, preachers and priestesses in shapeless robes will lead pureblood Sisters of Battle into action, the latter wearing curvaceous power armour even as they practice martial asceticism. Likewise, decently robed and covered Inquisitorial Acolytes will direct trained agents of the Officio Assassinorum in tight bodysuits. Meanwhile, genhanced Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes will proudly wear crests and sculpted muscle cuirasses into battle, even while praying away their days in monastic severity.

Less contradictory, and more true to the early Imperium's classical ideals, are the famed Sanguinary Guard of the Blood Angels Chapter. Likewise, there is the phallic majesty of the Imperial Palace guarded by the perfect pinnacles of human form that is known as the Adeptus Custodes, all armoured in gleaming gold.

All these Imperial servants are willing slaves to the Golden Throne, whether they cover up their human form or put it on full display, with accentuated hips and breast cups for women, and suggestive codpieces for men. Any objections about practicality can be thrown out a window, for Imperial artificers will not care if anatomically sculpted armour plates create shot traps and weak points. Such efficiency thinking and hunt for improvement long since disappeared at the burning end of the Dark Age of Technology. In the Age of Imperium, aesthetics are as important, if not more so, than effectiveness in combat, as the Emperor Himself has obviously decreed.

Imperial sects prone to excessive self-abnegation will often level accusations of narcissistic indulgence at any works displaying human beauty, and violent iconoclams beyond counting have occurred throughout ten thousand wasted years of human development run into the ground. Body-affirming aesthetics are constantly frowned upon by most monastic orders, many sects and some major movements within the Cult Imperialis. Some Imperial religious traditions have long been suffused by anti-body tendencies and praise of chastity, all speaking ill of vanity, lust and even vital procreation itself, damning them all as idolatrous blasphemies of the flesh. Yet the mighty Imperium must live and die by the sword, and the people of the robe would do well not to quote overtly hostile scripture at the people of the spear. Instead, most warriors tend to follow in the bombastic, vigorous and virile footsteps of His Divine Majesty. A proud host is a confident host.

All across Imperial space, there exists a worship of strength. The Imperial Creed has taught humans across the Milky Way galaxy to venerate humanity as an ideal, while simultaneously scorning the reality of red-blooded man in all his flawed sinfulness as lowly filth. Thus, it is virtuous to hate all that is ugly in man. The Lectito Divinitatus teaches us that man is nothing but dust. Still, his muscles can be harnessed as yet another energy source to drive the machinery of Imperial power, and ever more that has become the case, as an unstoppable and slow demechanization grinds away ever more of the inherited works of ancient man.

Many sects who are part of the body-affirming school practice their artistic styles in reverent memory of Primarch Sanguinius, the Angel of Blood who embodied the perfect human form, the true son who died to save the Emperor Himself. They sculpt statues with bulging biceps and wear lorica musculata in honour of Sanguinius, who stood for all that was best in humanity. He whose horrible yet noble death overshadowed even the great deeds of his life. In Imperial theology, Primarch Sanguinius represents the finest side of mankind, both within and without. A flawless exterior is widely believed by many Imperial sects to be proof of inner purity, even as other sects reject bodily beauty and vanity as horrid sins and marshlights leading men, women and children astray from the true path of the Emperor.

Yet historical experience has shown time and again that a beautiful visage and unblemished body may hide a corrupt mind, or dull wit. In fact, charisma and good looks will often serve as a cover for ineptitude. Thus, the pure human form will sometimes prove a shield in the persistent theme of incompetents: Arrogance, lack of imagination and a bizarre focus on trivial matters while ignoring the big picture and crucial signs. A truly lethal combination. In some human cultures synonymous with sybaritic devotion to luxury and pleasure, adherence to the style of the pure human form may eventually mutate into a cover for Slaaneshi pleasure covens, yet any theologian who would wish to drive his oratory hard down this road of accusation, would do well to remember the treasured memory of Sanguinius.

And so, the most expensive of Imperial wargear will often mimic the pure human form, displaying a brutal nobility and masking the bearer behind an artificial fair visage, akin to a brave yet narcissistic hero of old. Thus, some of the best trained warriors of the Imperium of Man will be adorned with sculpted breastplates, leg plates and arm plates, stepping into ceramite boots sculpted like human feet. Fully clad in such aesthetically refined armour, these servants of the Emperor will be transformed, adopting a handsome physique and youthful form. Thus armoured, they resemble nothing so much as young gods and ever-vigorous goddesses, brimming with martial pride. Worn by trained and confident killers, such artistic ideals come to life in armour harder than they do in stone.

Some artificer armour sets even include sculpted codpieces and lorica vulvata, who are often hidden beneath loinclothes for the sake of modesty. Yet such eye-catching pieces of armour are in some crude warrior cultures displayed openly and proudly with Freyic zeal, especially so in the more rustic tribal societies where menfolk are expected to wear brash accessories to underline their manhood. While frowned upon by the trend-setting Imperial high culture of Holy Terra, such seemingly rude symbols of virility and garbs of fertility are nevertheless common in the primitive tribal peripheries that exist on hundreds of thousands of Imperial worlds and voidholms. Indeed, familiarity with such customs will completely wear off the offensive edge, and foreigners becoming acculturated to the ways of these Emperor-fearing tribes do not even think about it most of the time. Thus kotekas, priapic gourds in rut, groin sheaths and branch pouches become just another piece of clothing, seldom reflected upon and within the boundaries of local decency.

Such phallic imagery aside, wearing a sculpted cuirass displaying the chiseled likeness of naked peak human physique, whether masculine or feminine, is to honor the perfection of mankind as best exemplified by the Emperor In the Flesh. It is also a righteous and unapologetic display of the pure human form, and a visual reminder of the beauty, strength and purity of form that will be lost if horrible mutants, aliens, deviant cults or xenophiles were to triumph over the Imperium of Man and corrupt mankind's sacred genome.

Look to the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, seated in radiant glory upon the Golden Throne of hallowed myth. He is the Master of Mankind, and the most perfect human being who ever walked the earth. The Terran Imperator wanted His ideal humans to look like demigods and daughters of a deity. Was this a contradiction to the atheist creed that He professed during the early Imperium? Was it a true vision of the future? Or was it a wish to get back to the heights of human glory that had once existed during the Dark Age of Technology?

Regardless of intent, the God-Emperor's wish lives on, in uncounted millions of luxurious armour suits, often worn by the finest warriors under His rule. Behold the slayers of mutants, traitors and xenos, who walk into the flames of war, in forever young armour shaped like a muscular male torso. Behold the elite amazons, having donned rich armour in the shapely form of a strong, young woman complete with voluptuous breasts. Such are the wandering visions of our fleshly abode at its best. Such is the finest state for our bodies of clay and dust. And so the armed servants of the Emperor will embody the greatest heroes of ancient legends, at peak strength and peak beauty. Ever a sign of health.

Vain and arrogant, their self-abnegating detractors spit out. Sensual and sinful, the criticism reads. Lustful and bestial, the condemnation rings out. Nevertheless, the martial devotees of these body-affirming Imperial sects still preserve a sliver of the Emperor's original vision for mankind, after fivehundred generations of rotting stagnation and withering decay. A vision, of proud mankind resplendent in its full might, unapologetic, strong and victorious.

Such visual glories can do naught to stem the tide of doom that is drowning mankind, at the end of our species. No beauty in the universe can save that decaying cosmic dominion. And so the Imperium will continue to cannibalize society for the sake of total war on ten thousand different fronts.

And as desperation mounts, the democidal tendencies inherent in the Imperium of Man will boil to a fever pitch, lashing out at any convenient targets near at hand. Any victim will do, really, but the frustrated rage must be unleashed. Thus true believers in the God-Emperor will spill out onto the streets, and carry torches and makeshift weapons to the nearest mutant slumhood. And as the abhumans look up, the bane realization can be seen, glowing as panic in their eyes.

These many, then, shall die. Woe unto the malformed!

Witness these pointless pogroms, and ken that the Imperium of Man is too broken to fix. The aquila's rotten carcass is doomed to crash.

Yet mankind in the darkest of futures may still die with style.

Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#75 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Lay of the Ivari Bailif

"Ack! Let me record the horror that's occured,
all due to a foreign master's accent,
't was during Dorntide and the ash dunes lay still,
when a bailif from Hive Ivar rode into our ville.

And the knees trembled like rattles on us all,
for woe unto them who bothers when the bailif commands,
and our backsides turned wet from fear when he said:
(Garbled Ivaric): Skolli ejg kunne got vann år de ungfors myn fren?
For no one understood,
what he wanted to have.

One dares not to ask what the bailif just said,
when bailif wears chainsword and rules our clime,
but however it was, the barrel o' foiz was carried forth,
as well as grox-sausage and gill-fat and new-roasted maggot,
we gathered our rings and coins in a box,
and gave all of what treasures here was to summon,
yet the bailif but shook his head and said:
(Garbled Ivaric): Skölli ejg kunne got ain klunp vann år de ungfors istallen?
And Emperor alone knew,
what he wanted to have.

So Trash-Pyko's daughter with her behind bared,
was carried to the bailif, and then a fellow,
we flogged Shorty-Jim in the hope that it was,
a black and blue squat that he came here to see.

But the bailif looked sour, and now spread the panic,
what demanded his mercy to not be disappointed?
We ran and we razed, while he shouted as before:
(Garbled Ivaric): Er du alle stopik in de skalli? Ejg vell ånlee hef ain klunp vann!
And no one understood,
a word of his howl.

We painted the groxen, and hanged our priest,
we raised up an eagle and nailed on a horse,
we forced grandma down into the ambull's den,
and Korm gave to the bailif his cut-off foot.

And the bairns were turned into starch in the grinder,
and the village burned, and soon it was only me left,
but I could not care any more about the bailif who shouted:
(Garbled Ivaric): Våd in alli djefvule? Er dyr nången in de byn ho håger te bjudi ain humänske på vann?
Amid corpse piles, horse-pole and flames a-roaring.

I said: To hell with Ivaric power and taxes,
and sat down feebly by the well and drank water,
then I stretched out the ladle to the bailif who said:
(Ivaric thanks): Denck du!
For it was a gulp water,
that he had wanted to have."

- Deviant sinspeech song found in vassal rural districts to Hive Ivar on Lillandia IX, based on a real event that occurred in 836.M41 (subsequently suppressed by censors); a more strictly outlawed version also exists, with flaying, blinding, eardrum-piercing, teeth-removal, nail-pulling, saw-gelding and phosphex bathing being the regulation punishment for anyone singing the words 'to hell with Imperial power and taxes'


- - -

Closely based on the Swedish song Balladen om den danske fogden (Lay of the Danish Bailif), by Ola Aurell.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#76 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Untangled

It was in that moment when Yehunnas Moltkesson realized that he had forgotten which tree he had climbed before cutting loose the tangled branches.

- - -

Based on a real logging event which occurred decades ago for my maternal grandfather (93 years old at the moment of writing, and still going strong with cycling, forestry, welding and jolly humour). He wanted to only cut down one of two trees growing close to each other, but their branches had got entangled, so he had to climb up with an axe. He came down with great speed on the wrong tree, but was fortunately not hurt.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#77 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Xenocide

"O, believers in the Enthroned Almighty!
We shall hiss at the mention of the alien,
as we shall gnash our teeth at its sighting.
On countless worlds the human heart boils,
sizzling and fierce with heated hate,
so pure and just,
divinely guided,
holy vengeance will come,
by the God-Emperor we swear!
It will come.

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

Long have we suffered the blows of the xeno!
O, many of us have been carried off to fates unknown,
our dear sisters strewn lifeless in the ashes,
our fine brothers skewered and pained,
our beloved children eaten while still alive.
So many corpses,
so many innocents,
a-sprinkled like refuse,
their souls cry out with one voice,
aye, they cry out, and we hear it!
Hear their call.

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

Lo and behold the filth of the alien!
Sisters, shudder you at its unholy abomination,
brothers, be you all revolted by its foul form.
For its essence is void, its soul naught,
truly a mercy to end its life,
truly a good deed to burn its den,
reach out and slay their younglings.
Cleanse every voidholm,
torch every world,
death to the enemies of man,
now is the time of sacred vengeance!
To kill is to pray.

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

O, bless these righteous wars of expansion!
And forgive us our feeble mortal failings, o Lord,
for we will purge guilt from our hearts,
and cleanse remorse as we cleanse the xeno.
No pity can be allowed to stir us,
no sparing of helpless spawn,
fear the alien,
hate the alien,
kill the alien,
with pride and satisfaction!
Kill all xenos.

Kill!
Kill!
Kill!

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

Rise up, and bring tremendous terror!
And utterly reject their snaring cries for mercy,
but false gestures and empty pleas,
the alien deserve not to live.
Knee deep in slaughter,
we wade through the sea,
its waves lapping blood,
a manmade tide of death,
and the Emperor saw that it was good!
In glory we wade.

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

O, embrace the just calling to make stars pure!
For the very breath and blood of the alien is hostile to man,
so shoulder our sacred duty to become its bane.
We shall bash in the little heads,
bash their spawn upon the rocks,
and let our hate flow,
as their blood flow,
and strike true, free of doubt and hesitation!
For we will:

Kill!
Maim!
Burn!

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

This bloody offering we place before His feet!
A sacrifice of slain foes, to gladden Him on Terra,
to uphold His vision for chosen mankind.
The Lord of our species wills its,
as we pile the alien husks high,
He judges it just,
our faith aflame,
as we light the pyres of mass destruction!
Of divine extinction.

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

O, pious flock, harken!
His enemies are many,
His equals none.
Exterminate them we must!
Kill all xenos.

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!"

- Hymn of Holy Xenocide, penned during religious ecstacy in 633.M37 by Aqabe Sa'at Liqawint, reverend Ichege of the Monastic Order of Re'ese Papasat, in the crusading service of the Missionaria Galaxia, Segmentum Obscurus


- - -

A tribute to the following two songs by Space Cadets.

Kill All Xenos
Wars of Expansion

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#78 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Labour Camp

In the grim darkness of the far future, man buckles under the yoke.

Come and see!

Come, fellow human, and see the circus of depravity and destitution which our species has been reduced to, at the brink of doomsday. Shy not away, and close not your eyes, but gaze upon the bizarre spectacle unfolding across the Milky Way galaxy!

Do you see how the proud seed of Terra has been cast across the cosmos, only to sprout in a sick harvest? They were once the bold explorers of the universe.

Do you see those jaded hordes of men, women and children whose brutal survival and sacrifice allows humanity to thrive bitterly across the stars? They once lived like demigods in mortal paradise.

Do you see those teeming multitudes of downtrodden cattle in human form? They were once on the cusp of unlocking the secrets to creation itself.

Now that is a tragedy so colossal and total in scope that it goes all the way around to become comedy! And do you know what the punchline is? The joke of fate is that the last strong defender of mankind is also its insane gravedigger. Its last remaining shield is in fact also its hostage-taker. Its last hope is utterly false, being nought but a dead end of human development across the entire galaxy, having wasted ten thousand precious years in ever-worsening decay as human power across the Milky Way erodes away.

Aye, power is all it has left.

Diminishing power.

The muscular power of guns, ships, vehicles and warriors, deployed in great mass. Yet the cerebral power of man has been sapped, locked behind convoluted mysticism safeguarded by fanatical cults of jealous machine-worshippers and bloodthirsty zealots. In fact, this last bastion of humanity do not truly know how to produce its strong armaments, and for every century, more and more advanced technology disappears forever from human grasp of production, the remaining pieces of hardware being treasured as irreplacable relics. All these marvellous designs are the genius fruits of the ancients, and indeed the olden templates and antiquated machines still know how to make anew the tools and weapons of man, for those machines that have lasted the millennia have done so precisely because they were designed to endure time and disaster, and be able to produce robust and crude hardware for the degenerate survivors of a potential apocalypse. That apocalypse happened, and still the machines know. Otherwise mankind would long since have fallen, for man himself no longer understands, or cares to understand what wonders his nimble hands and mind can fashion.

And is not that the greatest joke of them all? That the guardians of man's craft and lore are also the destroyers and gaolers of man's innate drive to learn and discover, to creatively innovate, tweak and improve? Is it not the ultimate irony that the best and the brightest, those who should have been the great scientists and inventors of our species, has instead become its blinkered hoarders and deniers of knowledge, like so many chanting witch doctors swinging incense in front of cogitators?

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Yet enemies there are aplenty, in a long line of foes, jostling for the chance to tear man asunder. And with brilliant mankind gelded of its limitless potential by cruel overlords and aggressively myopic fanatics, all that remains is a senile wreck of an empire, as sclerotic and counterproductive in its workings as it is downright detrimental for the long term interests of the human species. And yet the farce has gone on too long. Too many possible forks in the road have been missed. Too many alternative sources of human regrowth have been quashed. Too many millennia have been wasted in a futile struggle of mediocrity merely to tread water in order not to drown. That is also part of the gods' joke.

It did not have to come to this horrendous end. It did not have to be like this. And yet here we are, the dumb slaves of self-serving tyrants and demented incompetents. Here we are, we whose ancestors once bestrode the cosmos like titans. Trapped aboard a sinking ship.

Enter, the Imperium of Man.

An astral realm of a million worlds and voidholms beyond counting, the Imperium stretches across the galaxy. Besieged by aliens and monsters. Attacked from within by heretics and rebels. For fivehundred generations it has endured. Protected by fleets of warships and legions of genetically engineered warriors, the Imperium is a stumbling colossus on feet of clay. A rotting dominion ruled by corrupt oligarchs from Holy terra, the cradle of mankind, the Imperium is locked in a grinding death spiral of demechanization and loss of technology. Where once machines performed tasks efficiently, now bodies will be thrown on the problem, in ever more primitive fashion.

The Imperium of Man does not care how many billions of its own malnourished and parasite-infested subjects it must sacrifice, so long as its basal needs of empire are met. It does not care how many souls it must crush under ceramite boots to achieve its monstrous plans. And make no mistake about it; the Imperium itself is a monster on the prowl, a slavering predator stalking the stars, guarding its catch in dark dens of misery scattered across the starspangled void. It is no shining saviour.

Thus we see that there is nothing between heaven and earth that would make the High Lords of Terra balk at the thought of enslaving untold millions of our species in sweeping waves of arrests, torture and condemnation to penal labour. The mass purging of internal enemies is just an endemic feature of Imperial power dynamics, and what loss has been suffered if innocents disappear along with the guilty? At the end of the day, they are just living tools to be discarded at will. Their short-lived existence constitute nothing but vast, faceless numbers in a broken equation of increased input to meet the demands of total war.

Let us take the civilized world of Gradovich Gamma during the last century of M41 as an example, and see how the extremely common phenomenon of penal labour within the Imperium often looks like. Gradovich Gamma is situated in the southern Segmentum Pacificus, ruled over by the cutthroat Navinilats dynasty. As per upper caste tradition, its Caesarch bore a Terran reigning name, styling himself Caracalla XIX Severus, though he was more commonly known as Lop Top behind his back by the more irreverent of his subjects and rivals. Like so many of his predecessors, Caracalla XIX faced a severe issue decreed on him from on high, when his Astropaths received an encrypted message from the Administratum on Holy Terra in 967.M41. Gradovich Gamma had long been an extraction economy for export of primarily raw material to forge worlds, yet lately the fortunes of the Imperium had turned acrimoniously sour, and so the Adeptus Administratum had increased the Tithe demanded of Gradovich Gamma.

All across the planet, machines were already working around the clock without due maintenance rites being undertaken by the lowly lay techmen that tended to them. And like so many Emperor-fearing overlords, Caracalla XIX found it incredibly hard to order new industries being built in order to supply the sagging economy with its dearly needed machinery. The machines were just lacking, and so to meet the heightened Tithe demands, Gradovich Gamma turned to devour her own people in order to supply the Imperium with the needed materials.

No tyrant ever had trouble finding willing henchmen and tormentors. And as humanity has grown small in the mind during the creaking Age of Imperium, the number of brutes eager to take out their frustrations and dark desires on others has only increased. Trauma breeds trauma. Thus willing manpower is never a hindrance to carry out diabolical designs. Caracalla XIX Severus ordered his Securitate Proedros, Xilef Jiksnijzrezd, to enlarge the labour camp system and scoop up threehundredtwenty million fresh convicts from the streets. Governor Caracalla's festering paranoia converged perfectly with the new quotas.

Likewise, Securitate findings about suspicious cults across the world caused the local Adeptus Ministorum head clergy to lash out in fevered panic, demanding harsh means to quell the budding threat to faith and purity. Whipping up a propaganda campaign to instil fear and fervour into the populace, Proedros Xilef sparked a wave of official terror, commenting in private as he unleashed the informants: "Now we are going to have a terror campaign and kill lots of people who probably did nothing wrong, and we will consolidate power by fear."

And so yet another wave of purges rolled out across Gradovich Gamma. Across the Imperium, random people will usually be rounded up to meet the high numbers of district quotas ordained from above, lest the local authorities themselves risk being arrested on suspicion of sympathizing with the deviants and malcontents. In the middle of the night, families and clans were suddenly awakened in their holesteads and hab blocks, as Securitate forces rammed down doors and entered their lousy dwellings with drawn weapons and loud screaming. Many startled subjects were thrown into armoured prison wagons disguised by Guilder slogans such as the classic: "Drink Imperial champagne!"

And so hundreds of millions of dutiful Imperial subjects were thrown into cells and tortured during interrogations, every name beaten out of them leading to further arrests and more baleful suffering in dark chambers of blood and pain. Of course, most humans will say any nonsense they believe might stop the torture, and thus lying confessions obtained on the rack will often be worthless and misleading. Yet the hidden heretics must be rooted out! Better that a hundred innocents perish, than one apostate walks free. Suffer not the heretic to live! Of course, the proceedings were meticulously documented on parchment by the Securitate agents, many of which papers were filed in the archives, splattered with dried blood from severe beatings and worse. Some exceptional torturers were even commended and awarded medals and petty privileges for being such outstanding hard toilers in their righteous trade. One such bloodsoaked shock worker was Jitnerval Ajireb, who would rapidly climb the ranks of the Securitate, even as he in private committed occasional murder and violation of maidens in his few hours of spare time.

Securitate Proedros Xilef Jiksnijzrezd died from sickness early on in the first new Imperial terror wave, being replaced by Kirneg Adogaj. Proedros Kirneg went out of his way to please the Imperial Governor Caracalla XIX, both with flattery and results born out of immense human death and misery. Kirneg saw to it that the main crop of convicts from the recent Imperial terror wave were distributed to infrastructure projects which sought to break new land in inhospitable backwaters, and extract resources from wastelands. Thus tens of millions of already starving prisoners found themselves shipped or marched out into the wilderness. In many cases, bureaucratic sclerosis, incompetence or corruption had caused many planned camps to not having been built when the prisoners arrived to their allocated spots, and so their first task was to sleep under the sky in harsh climates and build a lethal labour camp for themselves, ever under the watchful glare of armed camp guards from the Securitate. Needlessly to say, people died in droves, their demise nothing but faceless numbers on a page.

An archipelago of hellish labour camps will dot almost any Imperial world, and most larger voidholms. The recent influx of convicts saw this system swell on Gradovich Gamma, labour camps springing up like mushrooms after rain in the harshest parts of the world's landmass. Proedros Kirneg Adogaj personally travelled to many locations to oversee the progress of works. Canal digs were carried out by cheap slave labour, and millions perished as they excavated and built with the most primitive and cheap means possible. For instance, a lack of basic tools such as chainsaws or axes cause large gangs of prisoners to tear down trees by nothing but rope and muscle power. Several of these canals proved to have been poorly planned, for their shallow depth allowed only barges and small bluewater craft passage, yet still the abysmal death toll was as nothing compared to how cheaply the faulty canals were dug. Just look on the record-low budget numbers!

Soon, the rich new ore veins found in the gargantuan Amylok gold mines made Proedros Kirneg become the Imperial Governor's favourite sycophant and hatchet man. Tens of millions were fed into the meatgrinder that was this infernal mining complex, and soon the camp system screamed for more bodies. Under the pretense of rooting out unholy cults, a second terror wave went out across Gradovich Gamma, shovelling another twohundredseventythree million Imperial subjects into certain death by harsh labour and starvation. The informants had a field day. The new slaves were fed into logging operations, quarries and the ghastly hazards of chemical processing. Now, the bloodstained hands of Proedros Kirneg Adogaj had begun to stink among higher castes, and the ruthless ruler of Gradovich Gamma prudently decided to replace him with an underling, trumping up false charges and throwing Kirneg literally to the dogs while ignoring the man's protestations of loyalty. Reportedly, the butcher and building-lord Kirneg Adogaj's last words were yelled amidst tears and barking hounds: "Spare me, o please great lord! I swear I would do anything for you! Aaaah! By the Imperator, I built these great canals for you! I built them for you!"

Kirneg was replaced by Securitate Proedros Jalokin Vojzej, who would become infamous for the greatest round of purges during that century, making the entire decade of the 980s eponymously named after him in Gradovichian chronicles. Five more terror waves of fully two and a half billion arrested Gradovichians saw the Planetary Defence Force (PDF) gutted of its professional core, for Caesarch Caracalla XIX Severus wanted to preempt a possible armed coup as he sat brooding in his palaces, embracing his rising paranoia and ordering ever more personal servants and bodyguards shot on empty suspicions. For decades after Proedros Jalokin's reign of purges, the Departmento Munitorum filed complaints of a slump in quality among Gradovichian regiments, since the great Imperial terror waves tore the heart out of the planet's military, and the Astra Militarum regiments were recruited directly from the PDF. Nonetheless, all these fresh thrall cohorts were put to all previously mentioned tasks, as well as an ambitious bout of magrail construction, plasteelworks and starshipbuilding, though in truth every wave of purges and arrests produced slave workers for more disparate projects than can be mentioned here.

The crescendo of arrests, torture, accusations and fearmongering on Gradovich Gamma during the 980s was reached when Caracalla XIX 'Lop Top' Severus became sated with the grand purging, and finished it by finishing off its architect, Jalokin Vojzej. The Imperial Governor chose a brilliant Securitate officer, Jitnerval Ajireb, to replace Jalokin, and wished to have it expedited in a personal manner. Thus, Jalokin Vojzej was put through a show trial, like so many of the people he himself had purged, and he was convicted of betraying the God-Emperor of Holy Terra and blaspheming against His true creed. And as Caracalla XIX sat watching from atop his aquila-topped throne, Jalokin's replacement, Jitnerval, tortured Jalokin Vojzej to death in the most brutal fashion imaginable. Rumour has it that the Imperial Governor ate pickled oilsquid eyes during the entire event. And so the bloodstained Jitnerval Ajireb entered the office of Securitate Proedros, chief of the security police on Gradovich Gamma.

In his personal life, the hard-working Jitnerval was a monster. Murdering and violating people in private, he went further than any of his predecessors did in depravity, yet his time as head of the Securitate saw a decrease in waves of Imperial terror and purges. Imperial Governor Caracalla XIX had already murdered most potential rivals and sent an astounding number of ordinary Gradovichians to work themselves asunder in the labour camp archipelago, and thus the paranoid ruler of Gradovich Gamma could roll back the terror for the time being. With such a bumper crop of camp convicts harvested during the dreadful 980s, the next decade saw many lesser waves of purges continue to roll out in order to replenish the slave workforce, but nothing on the scale of Jalokin's terror. The mountains of dead subjects to be processed into corpse starch was a cheap price to pay for the tyrannical Governor, considering that his Securitate-run camp labour projects had borne fruit. Gradovich Gamma had indeed managed to meet the Tithe quotas set by the Throneworld, and so all was well.

As noted, penal labour colonies dot almost every single planet, moon and huge voidholm across the Imperium of Man, yet how do they operate?

Given His Divine Majesty's overcrowded holdings across the galaxy, replenishing numbers of the penal workforce is no problem. As such, most Administratum planners will reach the usual conclusion that these cheap units of labour is better off replaced by fresh blood after an intense period of backbreaking toil, than being tended to and fed well. They also note that harsh labour unto starvation and death is of more economic benefit to the Imperium than shovelling masses of people into purification camps for rapid eradication. Therefore labour camps far outnumber pure death camps across the Imperium, even if the labour camps only amount to a slower death by drudgery as contrasted with the swifter mass slaughter seen in dedicated purification camps. In Imperial labour camps, convicts will usually be fed starvation rations, sometimes calculated to keep prisoners alive no longer than three Terran months for the hardest labour tasks, while the taskmasters wring out as much toil as they can get from the lost and the damned. A great many labour camps will see cauldrons of horrid broth cooked on corpse starch and flymeat bars or other synthetic foods, seeing inmates hauling heavy rocks being fed a thin soup indeed, as if to mock their shrieking stomachs.

One aspect that adds further suffering to an already abominable situation for camp labourers, is the discovery that some of their fellow prisoners are not to be trusted. Throughout the entire Imperium, there exist billions upon billions of rockrete buildings built by slave labour, inside which are trapped the corpses of unfortunates dumped into the wet rockrete during construction. Many of these were the victims of sadists and madmen among prisoners and camp guards alike, while a great many others were the victims of gangers and other actual criminals who invariably rule the roost inside penal labour camps. For in Imperial labour camps, the lowest rung of prisoners will always consist of ordinary Imperial subjects convicted for false crimes, their conscience innocent, their bodies and rations easy pickings for the scum of the earth who are used to take advantage of decent people.

Imperial labour camps truly are pits of suffering, where prisoners are exposed to the elements, poisoned by chym or worked to death amid typhoid fever and cannibalism. Even so, life and death behind the razorwire will sometimes elevate the human spirit, in the most unexpected of places.

In labour camps, humanity is stripped to its very essence. Here, you may witness not only desperate wretches scheming and backstabbing each other for every scrap of food and every little bit of advantage, but you may also bear witness to a great many more decent people willing to offer support and helpful words to others in dire straits. In the midst of starvation ravaging Imperial labour camps, some decent humans will always give away their last piece of nutrient ration to help others in need. This is a freedom of choice dwelling at the core of the human soul, which few tyrannical regimes have ever managed to crush. When humans are put into the worst possible circumstances, their reactions will span the spectrum, yet surprisingly many of them will behave decently, lovingly and helpfully to their fellow sufferers. Know that the misanthropes were wrong.

Thus, in the midst of depravity and screeching want, altruism stands tall, a truly saintly vision glimpsed in the little actions of common men, women and children who refuse to believe the worst of their fellow humans. Behold the living hell that is the Imperial labour camp, but know also that the helping hand will be stretched out from one starving prisoner to comfort another. The Imperium may seek to reduce humans to caged beasts and numbers on a page, yet its titanic cruelty and disregard of human life cannot truly permeate those caught crushed under its adamantium heel. For good people, even in our darkest moments, will nonetheless manage to hold back the apocalypse through sheer will and decency. They will defeat cynicism through kindness and care, for when caring for themselves in disaster they will care greatly for others as well. They will mitigate human fears through empathy and solidarity amid the most baleful hardship. This is the paradise built in hell, where humans at the brink of oblivion find meaning and belonging in caring for their fellow man. Ultimately, we are our brother's and sister's keeper.

In the oral legends of camp gossip, names of outstanding helpful people stand out. On Gradovich Gamma during the worst of the purges, penal labourers whispered with reverence about the selflessness of Ajinisorfve Ajaksovnsrek, the unbelievable generosity of Malrav Vomalajs and the stoic example of Iskandar Nystinejzlos, who inspired many others to endure and put their heart into the work, despite their terrible lot in life. Such human potential for greater things is of course mostly wasted on the Imperium's watch, but the unconquerable human spirit still lurks there, deep in the hearts of men, women and children who has seen so much suffering and yet still refuse to give up.

Even in the bitter camps, laughter can be found amid mindnumbing drudgery that ought to have extinguished all joy in the human soul. Some of the best sinspeech whisper jokes found across the wide Imperium are believed to have originated in penal labour camps. Here is but one example:

"Tyrant Matteus, is it true that you collect jokes about yourself?"
"Yes."
"And how many have you collected so far?"
"Three and a half labour camps."

The faceless numbers do have a face. And so the vital spirit in man refuse to die, among people condemned to a slow and agonizing death through slave labour. As backbreaking work inflicts irreparable wounds on convicts, those who have lost everything still find value in common decency. The Imperial camp administration might seek the total oblivion of any worth in life for the thralls, but the victims of terror must ultimately be servitorized if that goal is to be obtained. They lived.

Repent, sinner! Repent of your thoughts of self! Repent of your deviancy! Repent!

The whip may lash out, the tongue may scream, and flesh may burn, yet the callous overlords and theocrats of the Terran Imperium can never seem to create a new Imperial man bred for unfailing obedience and submission. Not even in the darket pits of horror and drudgery can they truly break the human spirit, hidden though it often be inside gnarled and scarred bodies and jaded eyes. Hardship may dull us, but it cannot wholly quench us.

And so we see, among so many corpses and broken dreams, that humanity is fundamentally unchanged in this distant epoch of baleful woe.

Ultimately, the Imperium is a bloody farce.

In an era of darkest suffering and waste, the Emperor's brutopian dream has degenerated into a bizarre nightmare of primitivization and decay, where the devilishly hard measures to combat unnatural forces only serve to strengthen the Dark Gods.

In a time beyond hope, man has become harnessed to the plow, to toil like a beast, all efforts wasted as our species finds itself trapped in a death spiral of its own making.

At the end of all things, our kind has sunk to the level of scrabbling vermin, infesting a rotting cosmic empire. For in truth the Imperium of Man amounts to nothing short of a fortified madhouse straddling the stars.

Or perhaps even a suicide pact.

Gone wrong.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only drudgery.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#79 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Discovery

"Well I'll be damned! Did ya know this can opener fits on the end of a lasgun?"

- Anecdote of an ignorant conscript discovering his bayonet, from Colonel Juanito Diaz' equally censored and celebrated memoirs
Between Battle Drills, Bedsheets and Bribes: The True Story of My Military and Amorous Career Within His Imperial Majesty's Revered Porfirixian Planetary Defence Force

- - -

Tribute to Bill Mauldin's Willie & Joe, with a Porfirian touch. In space.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#80 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Joke Piece on Subversion

This fun thing emerged on Reddit.

- - -

Image

Into the Flames

In the grim darkness of the far future, man leaves man to burn alive for his sins.

Fire!

Listen. The warning cry will send shivers down human spines, a portent of suffocating doom and hellish tongues consuming possessions and flesh alike in an inferno.

Fire!

Hear. The dreaded cry will ring out, and suddenly loved ones are to be lost, homes are to vanish and treasures and savings are to be reduced to nought but ash. How much of human history has vanished in capricious flame through the ages? What will remain standing among the cinders afterwards? What can be saved from the blaze? Can you be saved? Your kin?

Fire!

Act. The cry will be met with shouts and wailing. Adrenaline and billowing panic race through the veins of men, women and children. Primordial fear grapples with deedful instincts and a will to fight the burning menace, to preserve kith and kin and salvage precious belongings. The human heart runs amok, as animal terror fights innate heroism in a world at once gone hot, dry and deadly amid a thousand devils' flaring autumn colours. Frightened ears listen for steady voices, for sure commands to guide them out of this roaring peril. And everywhere, as things turn to ash, dark smoke bllows out, their embrace as insidious as poison.

No matter the epoch, the sight of rampaging fire will invoke much the same spectrum of responses from mankind. The reactions may vary to some degree, depending on training and known facilities on hand, yet the heart of man inevitably fears the flame, no matter if he dwells in a hut or a spire reaching for the stars themselves.

From the time when man first discovered fire, he has also battled to control the flames. Old Earth was once home to eternal temple fires, which priests and sacred virgins never allowed to go out. During the misty past of the distant Age of Terra, myths spoke of stolen fire carried from the gods on high to mortal men below, ending in a story of horrendous punishment visited upon the thief for thus empowering mankind with such a prohibited force. Echoes of this ancient legend still exist in a myriad forms across a million worlds and countless voidholms, retold by the fireside and electric heater as clans huddle together, close to the warmth. Yet the forbidden prize itself will often arise unexpectedly to harrow man with destruction, akin to a divine punishment that continues to scourge man, in a timeless tale of inhuman woe.

Garbled sagas from all across the Milky Way galaxy contain fragments of a far away time, a better time, a blissful time. A sinful time. They tell of a golden age, when man scarcely feared fire and lightning, and when he settled the stars with bold audacity and explored the cosmos as his birthright. They tell of the Dark Age of Technology, when fountains taller than mountains flowed and nanoxtingers too small for the eye to spot would arise to douse sparks and budding flames. They tell of rainstorms and even floods and tsunamis that could be fashioned by man at the flick of a finger to extinguish flames with razorlike precision, all fanciful glimpses of man's unrivalled artificial control of his surroundings during bygone eras. For truly man ruled the universe with supreme confidence, and in his arrogance did man first challenge, and then deny divinity, and such unbelief was to be the undoing of ancient man.

If distorted memories encapsulated within these fanciful narratives are to be believed, then Man of Gold in times of yore sported suits, vehicles and buildings immune to all the ravages of fire and heat. And Man of Stone directed Man of Iron with such efficient speed to kill sprouting flames, that many humans nigh-on lost their inherent fear of fire, and rare flares became a childish curiosity to them, exotic phenomena to be witnessed if they were fast enough, before an unfailing machine system corrected the error. For at first did Man of Iron not allow Man of Gold to come to harm, yet the dutiful servant in paradise became corrupted by Abominable Intelligence, and the earthly trinity of Man of Gold, Stone and Iron was destined to shatter, as punishment for godless man's horrible sins.

And so Man of Iron rose up to betray his master, and a cataclysmic machine revolt swept the human star domains like a wildfire in the heavens, slaying all life on a million worlds while another million burnt like torches, surrounded by void installations that crashed with flaming tails. And when the machines were vanquished, there came a cursed time of witches and ravages. Thus human civilization was toppled from its absolute pinnacle of shining glory, to crash into a horrid wasteland of ash and cinders. The grand beacon of hope and progress was extinguished, and all was fell.

Bereft of the technological marvels of their forebears, the savages and scavengers that roamed the subsequent cannibal age was left to the mercy of the elements. Exposed to cold, to radiation and to starvation and thirst, these technobarbarians lit campfires with whatever fuel they could find, to stave off freezing and darkness. Surrounded on all sides by the dark and by strange screams, these primitive wretches found comfort in flames as they squatted amid the ruins of a great civilization. Yet fire brought not only warmth and light, but also danger. Accidents would see flames consume entire tent villages and vaults filled with survivors, while deliberate use of fire as a rudimentary weapon saw foes and neighbours grilled to death in their own homes.

In this cannibal freefall known as Old Night, man quickly learnt anew to fear the flame, and to fear the unknown. In this deteriorating world of warlords and devastation, man's means to fight fire had usually degraded to crude bucket brigades and strangulation with blankets, while intact relics of ancient firefighting that could be manually worked by humans were much treasured and even fought over, as were other pieces of potent archeotech. Oftentimes, larger fires that devoured entire settlements of shanty huts would run rampant, beyond any means for ignorant man to control. Then, mankind was reduced to pray for strong rains, or to ask the gods for a flood. Such was firefighting for most of miserable humanity during the Age of Strife.

This aeon of ruin was ended abruptly by the Terran Emperor's brutal conquests, as Mars and Terra reasserted their interstellar dominion in sweeping wars that allowed no one to stay outside Imperial rule. The Great Crusade brought back a modicum of civilization, order and technological restoration to most human societies brought into Compliance, and one of the services reestablished by the early Imperium of Man was that of firefighting. As towering cities of enforced hope and knowledge were erected across the Milky Way galaxy, so too did well-oiled institutions arise to keep the material trappings of this human renaissance safe from worldly disasters. Where once spreading flames had been a communal emergency to be dealt with by floundering amateurs that were as ill-prepared as they were untrained, now city fires, factorum fires and forest fires would be tackled rapidly by drilled corps of professionals and volunteers stocked up on advanced equipment to deal with any number of fickle disaster scenarios, not only limited to burning flames.

Man lived better while the Imperator walked among His chosen species, and the realm of man grew more secure and confident, as a million captured worlds and voidholms beyond counting prospered and bloomed by Imperial grace. Where once Chaos had reigned during Old Night, now law, order and safeguards against disasters rose up amid wealthy Compliant societies. Populations that had once roamed anarchic in complete distrust for other people not of close kin, would at long last cultivate civic pride and trust in both fellow humans and larger, civilian institutions. During this heyday of mounting greatness, the popular image emerged, of the heroic fireman saving humanity from little disasters at home, whom all could depend on, while all-conquering Legions saved mankind as a whole from oblivion at a thousand battlefronts. And man began to dream again under the shadow of the stern Aquila, to nurture hope once more and to think of the great works that the ancients must have been undertaking before the great fall. And so brilliant minds turned their energies to repair and recover what knowledge had been lost, for they were once again aflame with visions of unlocking the secrets of the universe, and their spirits were determined to conquer lore just as the Emperor's warriors conquered worlds.

Such were the radiant promises of the early Imperium, yet they were to bear rotten fruit.

The greatest of traitors decreed: Let the galaxy burn.

And burn it did.

Seared away in the flames of ambition and envy, the human resurgence was brought low by human failings, and man revolted against his saviour and conqueror. Brother slew brother, and sister strangled sister across a thousand thousand worlds when the Emperor of Mankind Himself was nigh-on slain in the skies above Terra. Yet from suffering this heinous crime did He ascend into supreme godhood, to judge all of our species from the Golden Throne of hallowed myth in sacred perpetuity. Man would forever do penance for his baleful sins, and flames would scorch his flesh as smoke filled his lungs.

As the Age of Imperium ground on, fire became seen as an instrument of justice and purity, burning away sin, filth and corruption. Thus heretics, witches, mutants and malcontents were heaped upon the pyre, in an ever-deepening spiral of horror and malice heading into the darkest abyss of human depravity. Yet customs and morals were not the lone subject of a downward spiral, for technology itself underwent a slow grind into atavistic barbarity, in a drawn-out process of demechanization and loss of knowledge that has seen ordinary means of firefighting degenerate from airborne skimmers and sophisticated pump systems to the manual labour of bucket brigades.

One common symptom of technological deterioration for everyday civilian appliances within the Imperium, can be seen in the shape of the hosemen of a myriad different firefighting corps. Instead of being issued independently portable respirator apparati, the hosemen are given crude and cheap rebreathing masks fitted with long hoses that they drag along wherever they go, ever at risk of stepping on each others' air hoses or getting themselves entangled inside burning buildings. As man-portable respirator systems have gone from being a given norm for all pyrovigiles with any rebreathing apparatus whatsoever, to becoming a treasured prestige item, firefighting specialists such as smokedivers have been given priority for portable respirator equipment, while lowly hosemen teams are tasked with extinguishing fires as they drag along a snake's nest of both water hoses and air hoses.

This technological primitivization of human firefighting units in the Age of Imperium mirrors a grand retardation of every area within civilian society and military alike. It is however not only a decay of tech, but also of human systems of organization. When the Emperor of Terra walked among His dutiful subjects, firefighting services that protected everything and everyone within His domain was just part of the normal patchwork of civilization, and not something many thought twice about. During the early Imperium, many firemen were part of altruistic volunteer corps, and local Governors invested in standing corps of regular pyrovigiles to go along with these heroic citizens of a healthy civil society. On top of that did private organizations fund anti-inferno units for the common good, out of a robust sense of civic service.

As the Imperium has aged, and aged badly, the very word of 'citizen' has lost all meaning within the Low Gothic language, and nowadays everyone will talk about Imperial subjects or willing thralls of the Emperor. Where it once was unthinkable for able-bodied fire-soldiers to allow houses and people to burn without lifting a finger to save them, nowadays such practices of selective firefighting have become part and parcel of the commercial profit calculations of Guilds and collegia, and most humans in the fortyfirst millennium have never even heard of the concept of a volunteer firefighting corps.

The reason for this dying away of volunteer associations such as fireman organizations is twofold. First, it is the result of ruthless firefighting companies seeking to eliminate all competition through means both violent and legalese in nature. Second, it is the fruit of a persistent governance theme, where paranoid Imperial Governors and Voidholm Overlords will suppress any civil associations such as volunteer firefighting units, since any kind of popular organizations whatsoever could be used as a platform for rebellions and coups. Both Imperial and local rulers will pose the strongest opposition to the formation of volunteer firefighting units. After all, allowing the rabble to organize themselves for any reason whatsoever is a dangerous habit that can easily provide the basis for insurrections. Better to strangle that baby in the cradle than allow the unwashed plebs to coalesce, by slaying the new volunteer firefighting corps in as public a way as possible, complete with false accusations and grisly displays of dying volunteer firemen and their mutilated bodyparts amid much pomp and circumstance, set to the tune of rabid propaganda.

This dysfunctional obsession with public order over the common good has ever been a plague upon the fulfilment of humanity's true potential, and the long-term results of it will invariably turn counter-productive even for the purposes of maintaining stability. Thus does distrust breed misery, and failure begets failure.

Indeed, most worlds and voidholms within the Emperor's cosmic domains will lack governance-run Fire Ministries, since such natural parts of human civilizations during the early Imperium has long since rotted away through fivehundred generations of corruption, cutbacks and a morass of screeching inefficiency and bureaucratic rigmarole. Thus, with the general absence of volunteer corps of firemen and functioning governatorial anti-inferno departments, the field has been left abandoned for privileged business interests to dominate, except for in underhives and the worst sorts of slums. Here, haphazard communal efforts must make do, since these lawless regions and neighbourhoods are too poor to afford better equipment and training, thus rendering any volunteer firefighters that they may occasionally manage to muster inefficient.

Nowadays there is usually little difference between commercial firefighters and those originally organized by planetary and voidholm authorities. Lack of official funds coupled with rampant corruption, graft and glad-handing means that such governance-founded pyrovigiles corps will almost inevitably adopt the practices of private firefighting organizations, and after a sufficient number of centuries they will even be recognized as such de jure as well as de facto. They got to eat, after all.

There are five overarching categories that summarize how most firefighting collegia work, although many companies will function in several overlapping categories, and other modes of operation exist outside these most usual ones. The five most common ways of commercial firefighting in the Age of Imperium can be summed up as follows: Internal, contractual, insurance-hunting, property-gobbling and enforced by decree.

First, internal firefighting is carried out by employed specialists within Guild compounds and other installations, all owned and operated by the same merchant clan or potentate. Parts of such corpus pyrovigiles branches and damage control units will often be leased out during periods of lull, though they never roam far from their assigned compounds, since lucrative opportunities abroad pale in comparison to the losses to be incurred if damage control teams are absent during any of the many breakdowns and disasters that plague Imperial industry on an everyday basis. Internal firefighting is usually assisted by ad-hoc musters of manpower, some of whom may sport rudimentary training in damage control. This is most common in vast manufactorum complexes, onboard merchant vessels and Guilder-operated astromining voidholms, as well as in any noble palaces.

Second, contractual firefighting is carried out by specialized firms regularly hired by other organizations as part of standing arrangements, usually involving a convoluted subscription service. Oathbound firefighting setups are part of this category, including fire companies who perform duties for temples, monasteries and other religious establishments as part of their traditional obligations outside the scope of profit. After all, the priests promised a better afterlife for any firemen who would assist the Ministorum without the aim of pecuniary compensation. Pyrovigiles cartels will fight fires in structures where they are obligated to do so by sealed contract, and let other buildings burn to the ground with indifference. Sometimes they can be persuaded by bribes to extend their firefighting operations to areas adjacent to their contractual territory, some bribes of which include the offering up of lewd services from desperate commoner families, or the gifting away of clansmembers as thralls.

Third, insurance-hunting firefighting is carried out by freelancing corporate entities, who seek out burning buildings wearing the metal plaques of sanctioned insurance collegia, who promise to reward whosoever saves their insured structure from the flames. When insurance-based firefighting first emerged, it was common practice for pyrovigiles companies to quench any fire in order to stop it from spreading, just as it was usual for insurance collegia to pay a partial reward for the stopping of flames on nearby non-insured buildings in order to incentivize firefighters to stop nascent great fires in their tracks. However, over the centuries such practices have decayed away across His astral realm thanks to a miasma of greyzone lawyermongering and pennypinching myopia. As such, nowadays insurance collegia will strictly only reward freelancing fireman companies for saving insured buildings, and no civic-mindedness to fight fires in non-insured property for the sake of the common weal can any longer be found among the commercial pyrovigiles units. After all, if a tender structure fire do gain traction and spread to multiple insured buildings, will there not be greater potential to claim fees? Insurance-hunting firefighting companies will often fight each other in bloody street brawls for the chance to claim the reward, resulting in such units sporting lethal weaponry and far better body armour than most military units in the Imperium can ever dream of being issued with. Ironically, the fierce rivalry between some competitors will often cause worse fires than the original cause for their showing up on the scene in the first place.

Fourth, property-gobbling firefighting is carried out by freelancing pyrophobia firms, headed by cunning entrepreneurs with an eye for amassing wealth at the expense of people in dire straits. This demented format will involve an entire brigade of firemen with equipment and vehicles showing up to the site of raging fire, without engaging in firefighting. The leading lucratores will then call upon the owner of the burning property and haggle viciously. If the negotiations are succesful, the company owner will purchase either the burning property, or buy up a large number of its hereditary indentured serfs for a pittance, and then send in his firefighters. If the property owner refuse to sell out his buildings, vehicles and minions to the ruthless slumlord, the property-gobbling crassii will usually turn on their heels and march away without lifting a finger to fight the spreading inferno, although worse practices still have emerged in recent centuries.

Fifth, firefighting enforced by decree is carried out by any privately owned firefighting brigades that can be mustered by the edicts of an autocrat. These commercial pyrovigiles will work for no reward, or under rules of non-negotiable compensation set by an Imperial Governor or other authorities. They will almost always be backed up by paramilitary organizations, Planetary Defence Forces, mobs of sectarian zealots and hastily amassed hordes of gangs, clan militias and other plebeian rabble who can form bucket brigades and perform other forms of lowly grunt labour in order to fight fires grand enough to catch the attention of administrators and military commanders.

Such are the five most common forms of firefighting within the astral domains of the Enthroned One, yet there is more to be said of the heinous methods employed by man against fellow man where fires are concerned.

In the Age of Imperium, empathy toward anyone who is not close kin has largely died out among His chosen species. As such, liveried firefighting companies will often refuse to rescue people inside burning buildings unless the client pay extra. Some fireman cartels will even decline to bring ladders, since their business is strictly the saving of property, not life. Such abominable calculations used to stand as the pinnacle of ruthless firefighting practices within the Imperium of Man, yet they have long since been superseded by even more monstrous deeds driven by twisted logic.

After all, is it not a baleful sin to refuse to pay for saving home and loved ones from the flame? Is it not the ultimate condemnation of spiritual failure to stand empty-handed, with empty purse and no lucre to reward the stalwart soldiers against fire? Not only do such worthless house-owners endanger themselves, but their neighbours and larger community also. Such accursed deviancy! Clearly, the God-Emperor has weighed their souls, and found them wanting. These misers and paupers have already been judged by Him on Terra, and damnation is to be their lot. Should not such scum and wretches burn, and burn justly? Let the flames of purgation engulf them! Aye, cast them bodily into the very fires that they cannot afford to quench, to set a warning example for others to heed!

Indeed such culling of the rabble will serve a virtuously eugenic purpose in Imperial modes of thinking. Should not the weak be purged for the betterment of mankind as a whole? Thus the cruel circus of civilian life inside the Imperium of Holy Terra goes on, spawning ever more parodic forms of human malevolence and dysfunctional systems of self-harm, all rationally argued by minds indoctrinated with a thousand lies and a hundred fallacies in a fanatic cacophony amounting to nothing short of collective insanity. And the Dark Gods beyond the Empyrean will smile at this, for how could the emotions of a galaxy-spanning civilization characterized by such rotting stagnation, scheming greed and unrelenting bloodshed fail to feed the forbidden forces of Chaos?

Aside from classical means of urban and rural firefighting, we must touch briefly on common ways in which great fires within hive cities, voidholms and starships may be countered across the Imperium. Firefighting in many hive cities pose a considerable challenge, aside from overlapping jurisdictions and territorially aggressive fireman cartels. Treated water is often precious, strictly rationed and usually owned by a monopolistic Water Guild that is as infamous as it is draconic. As such, untreated water will often be resorted to by crafty firesoldier collegia, thus spraying flames with filthy liquid from cesspools and sewers, with blatant disregard for the spreading of cholera and still worse diseases that will result from such disgusting methods.

Many low-value hive city quarters will often be allowed to burn out in containment behind closed bulkheads, although some midhive regions will be structurally saved by their callous overlords by the pumping out of all air, thus asphyxiating the people inside. Essential industries and infrastructure will often see a concerted effort at firefighting, much of it primitive or alchemically toxic for the handlers that try to smother the fire. Foam, water, halon and sand will be taken out of stockpiles collected for such crises by commercial firefighting organizations. Sometimes, guards may be placed around the disaster area to catch any escaping people without sealed and approved official parchments, threatening to either throw them back into the blazes or make them sign away themselves and their descendants through hereditary servitude contracts, followed by branding the wretches before hauling them away in shackles or putting them into chaingang bucket brigades. It goes without saying that conflicts of interest between former and newer owners of slave manpower may thus erupt with violent force after a great fire, but that is just a natural part of life within the tumultuous Imperium of Man, as obvious as the air we breathe.

In the starspangled void, ships and voidholms will employ a number of means to fight fires. Few shipboard dangers are more devastating and frightening than fire that burns uncontrolled through a voidship's corridors and decks. Even seasoned crew may be sent into panic by a small blaze, trampling each other in a frenzy to escape through narrow corridors before bulkheads are sealed in an attempt to halt the fire from spreading. During a conflagration, the ship's Infernus Master is charged with keeping order and minimizing the damage caused to equipment, personnel and morale. An Infernus Master will organize aqueduct technicians and huge bucket brigades, oversee evacuations and command damage control crews bold or foolhardy enough to combat even the deadliest of plasma flares.

Often, an out-of-control fire will see a ship's masters seal off the ravaged sections and then open the blazing decks to the void, killing the crew and fire in one stroke. Decompression into the void will often be the best way to solve a shipboard fire, and the same goes for many smaller voidholms across the Imperium. Still, other tools available on some vessels and stations will be to flood corridors and chambers with halon gas, fire-inhibiting foam and water. On some of the most anicent and intact vessels and voidholm sections there will even be machine spirits capable of unleashing its suffocating forces upon the lethal flames, and such mechanical systems will often be used as a distrupting countermeasure against boarding enemy troops.

No matter the location, fire brigades will not only respond to and fight fires that they are compensated for or ordered to attack, but they will also patrol streets and corridors with sanctioned authority to carry out harsh corporal punishment upon those who violate fire prevention codes, and anyone lowborn whom they do not like the look of. Their paid services include many tasks which strictly speaking has nothing to do with firefighting, such as search-and-rescue operations in collapsed buildings, wrecks and tube crashes after hivequakes and great junkslides, provided that Guilds, collegia and clans pay them for it up front. Pyrovigiles on unfortunate agri-worlds who perform firefighting or search-and-rescue missions may sometime run into feral Orks, which they will seek to exterminate to then claim bounty if the xenos' numbers are low enough. After all, most anti-fire corps are for all intents and purposes yet another armed gang, or paramilitary force.

Many firefighters also do double duty as watchmen and support personnel for the Officio Medicae during medical emergency operations. Needless to say, such medical emergency services only exist for Adepts and upper castes, and sometimes also for important specialists and valuable Imperial servants who constitute important human production units, as long as they do not live in too much of a backwater area. Ordinary hoi polloi among Imperial subjects will have to fend for themselves when accidents and sickness strike, counting on neighbours and clan to care for them, and possibly even scrape together savings to pay a slum doctor or downbeaten Medicae station. If they are lucky they might be treated by their compound's medical personnel, should their liege lords and employers deem them worth the expenditure of resources, all costs of which will be added to the serfs' hereditary bondage debts.

During epidemics, pyrovigiles corps across the Imperium will often be one of many kinds of organizations tasked with enforcing quarantines with crippling force and lethal violence. They may likewise find themselves drafted for riot control duty, should tumult threaten to overwhelm various policiary forces, gendarmes and both regular and irregular military units. As Chief Pyrophant Herostratus expressed, when his firemen lined up to assist the Adeptus Arbites during the Milo revolt:

"The embers of heresy, of rebellion, and of hope shall all meet the same fate - stamped out beneath a nomex-clad boot."

Alternatively, as one widespread Imperial proverb has it: A horse never deserves to die, but sometimes a man does.

Speaking of riot control, a great many firefighting companies within the Imperium will carry flamers as part of their standard equipment. Officially, these flamers can be used to burn any unsanctioned writings that are discovered, or indeed torch miscreants and heretics on the spot, for the thin red line of warriors against fire may act as enforcers of law and order during patrols. These flamers are also handy tools for staging training exercises, or controlling the fire-security of newly constructed buildings that are supposed to be flame-proof. Unofficially, some unscrupulous firemen of commercial calling will occasionally use these flamers to create profitable work for themselves by secretly igniting flammable buildings, thus necessitating the call for them in an emergency. Alternatively, underhanded payments to orphans and crims may occur, akin to guttersnipes stoning windows to pocket bribes from windowsellers. Nonetheless, even amid all the dysfunctional depravity that characterize mankind in the Age of Imperium, most firefighters are still essentially heroic characters, fulfilling a direly needed security service for their decrepit communities, guarding them against the constant hazard of devouring flame and suffocating smoke.

Cutting firebreaks remain a popular method of hindering the spread of conflagrations all across the God-Emperor's sacred domains. Some may question your right to tear down a row of hovels. The wise understand you have no right to let them stand. Hooks and chains will be used to make firebreaks by pulling down walls of burning buildings to keep the fire from spreading, while swabs may be used to extinguish embers on roofs. One ordinary way for crassii to stop great fires consist of blasting firebreaks straight through slum favelas, holesteads, filthy huts and mutie hideouts by means of explosive charges. Collateral casualties are always acceptable in such urban dens of overpopulation, wretchedness and disease. Expunge the blasphemy of flame unbound!

As mankind's Age of Imperium has unfolded in sclerotic agony, electrical fires have multiplied drastically. Increasingly, insulation layers fail, and lay techmen make ever more numerous and worse mistakes as their grasp of handed-down lore shrinks into worsening superstition. Likewise, Imperial industry is churning out ever more shoddy electronics, especially so for consumer commodities, many of which are fire hazards straight off the production line. No wonder trusty old relics are so highly treasured when newer products fail so often. Not only will faulty lumens and clumsy pict-screens seem to spontaneously combust by inept design, for in the sea of ignorance and foolish house-tricks that characterize technical proficiency among Imperial subjects will be found a myriad manifestations of idiocy. One such common little phenomenon, out of fifty thousand other suicidal ploys, is to slot scrip coins into fuse holders, thereby bypassing the safety device and granting more juice until the whole place bursts into flame.

Such mundane fires are part of everyday life in Imperial settlements from end to end in the Milky Way galaxy. Yet the increasingly flammable nature of human hab nests and industries provide some advantages for Imperial overlords. Great fires, as a rule, will often attract a large audience of spectators, for truly it is a public attraction to see dwellings, infrastructure and unlucky humans go up in smoke. Loss of work hours is offset by the entertainment thus provided, which has a positive effect on public order and functions as a safety valve. Thus, Imperial governance has long since learnt to let the multitude flock to witness conflagrations, and not interfere unduly when vendors of cheap refreshments conduct a roaring trade while much joy and excitement is had off the tragedies of others. Indeed, some drunks, sadists or sectarian fanatics with a particularly unforgiving creed on misfortunes being the Celestial Imperator's rightful punishment upon the wicked, may even add to the spectacle by throwing back escaping men, women and children into the blazes, to the laughter, chanting and din of applause and catcalls from the crowd of onlookers.

Such scenes of horror are no random accidents, for they stand as a testament to how thoroughly the Imperium of the High Lords have managed to permeate countless human cultures across the galaxy. Basically, it all stems from a fundamental embrace of hardship and suffering. The Imperium has long chosen to acknowledge the cruelty of this universe, and advocates becoming one with it in order for mankind as a whole to survive and thrive in this vale of tears. Strength allows for no mercy.

Our being so hard. Our willingness to torture and throw you in labour camp. Our willingness to invade and slaughter. Whatever we are doing, is a sign that we understand how hard the world and life is, and that we embrace that. Tyrannical regimes are wrapped up in the idea that prosperous and loose regimes make for soft, weak people. We, the faithful worshippers of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra, have embraced the harshness of life, and the truth of what it means to be alive. Evil is just what is possible. Thus the Imperium of Man is overtly horrible, and proud of it. It has a narrow view of what humanity should be, and has proven itself so incompetently evil as to become repulsive to anyone willing to view the Imperium without blinkers.

To serve as a fireman in the Age of Imperium is to be subject to an incomprehensible structure of collegiate departments and regulations, all working through a bewildering array of agreements, contracts and bonds of hereditary vassalage. One constant trouble tend to be contracts with the local Water Guild. Add to this a confusing variety of specialist teams, overseeing commissions and organizational bodies that you are usually better off ignoring, for the sake of your sanity. On top of that there is an inflammatory degree of factionalism and rivalries between both competing companies and units within the same corporation. Ambushes and assassinations are not unheard of. Sometimes the heated intraservice rivalry will draw the terrible attention of the Adeptus Arbites or even His Divine Majesty's Holy Inquisition, yet such traditional animosities can never truly be stamped out. Such friction will sometimes smooth out on scene, since fire does not care. Yet many other times, the conflagration will provide a backdrop for a street brawl or corridor shootout when wills collide and prestige is on the line in a showcase of human pettiness in power.

Pyrovigiles all across the Imperium are notoriously prone to stick to old formulas and adopt temporary solutions as the new standard operating procedure. Thus brief deviations from former procedures due to lack of personnel or malfunctioning equipment will ossify, until soon it is the only way that anyone knows how to do anything.

Such rigidity of thought and action when impromptu stopgap solutions are introduced is mirrored in the firefighters' homebrew maintenance and repair of equipment. Vehicles and pumps alike turn into patches and bypasses atop patches and bypasses, their machine spirits developing grumpy personalities and requiring elaborate, complex rituals to start, to the point of sometimes only working for that one crusty old fireman who has worked the thing since he was twelve. Indeed, many fire engines in the Imperium will be driven by old servicefolk who have been hardwired into the vehicle akin to a servitor, yet usually without the lobotomy, since their particular sentient knowledge of their specific engine is what keeps their value as a human asset maintained high enough to keep them employed even at such high age.

Firefighting corps across His astral dominion likewise tend to be dynastic in nature, with leading positions and assistant roles being filled by husbands and wives, fathers and sons, and so on. It goes without saying that strategic marriage, and in some cultures adoption as an adult, remains the best career path for any ambitious ladderman or engineman. In many ways, organizations of crassii and pyrovigiles represent microcosms of parochial and nepotistic human cultures under Imperial rule.

Likewise, tamers of inferno are inherently superstitious. Pyrovigiles will never complain about a lack of missions, and many organizations sport arcane beliefs, which will result in corporal punishment for merely saying the words 'quiet' or 'silence.' Yet the physical penalties and loss of rations will pale in comparison to the social ostracism and tongue-lashing harangues from their kinsfolk and comrades. Such verbal abuse may in rare cases stray into outright human sacrifice, as overworked and undermanned brigades turn to the Changer of Ways in unholy rituals of bloodletting, in order to ask the Dark God to bend probabilities for them to gain just a few hours to restore their gear and finally get some sleep.

In some human cultures, firefighters will carry thickly quilted coats to protect against the flames, whose insides are decorated with elaborate scenes of strength and heroism drawn from local legends and Imperial mythology alike. After a conflagration has been succesfully defeated, these daring warriors against fire will turn their coats inside-out and display the magical symbols they so identify with, and that protected them in mortal danger. Such peculiar firemen's coats are known by many names, such as the hikeshi banten of Ashigaru Secundus, or the tunica pyrobella of the Pannonian voidholm cluster.

Akin to many storied organizations under Imperial rule, fireman corps tend to sport elaborate rituals surrounding the death of celebrated members. Crania will often be pulled from deceased firefighters of note, to enable these respected veterans to continue their duties as honoured servo-skulls. Even in death they still spray.

One common aspect of Imperial firefighting is the fierce pride found amongst fireman companies. The vast majority of all anti-fire collegia eventually develops a mindset where the people that you were originally supposed to protect, instead seems like impediments to your work. This disdain for people is only fuelled by emergency calls caused by trivial stupidity, such as bush fires and public witch pyre spectacles during burn bans in dry periods. As a pyrovigiles, you will get exposed to unfathomable depths of human foolishnes and weakness, and you will see a lot of people at the worst moments of their lives. No wonder so many fireman cartels across Imperial space has decided to abandon the saving of lower caste life in order to focus solely on the saving of property from hungry flames.

A widespread tradition found among pyrovigiles corporations is that of the recurring settlement parade, where each of the local firefighting corps will march down the main street or central plaza. During such festive occasions, the crassii will don lavish helmets and uniforms, carry fancy fire axes and all manner of symbolic equipment and trinkets, decorated by artists and brigade members alike. Their chief officers will often lead the procession with engraved speaking trumpets or vox-amplifiers made out of precious metals, shouting insults at rival units and chanting fireman litanies together with their subordinates.

Such public celebrations help to cement a strong esprit de corps among firefighters. Most pyrovigiles companies will display a sense of shared brotherhood to rival that of any military unit. How could it be otherwise, when they depend on each other to keep their backs safe as they rush into the gates of hell on earth? How could these enemies of the flame not feel like a part of something greater than themselves, when they bounce around the backs of trucks for hours on end during night or lightsout, guided by the lumens of a dozen other vehicles?

Their experiences are certainly often akin to those of adventurers. For instance, most crustbound crassii prefer to fight fire on hot summer days rather than in the dead of winter, where such seasonal variations rule the roost. Freezing temperatures are brutal on both equipment and bodies, and some missions will require the firefighters to stay exposed to the elements on scene for half a Terran day or more. Most firemen learn to bring cold weather bags with a dry change of clothes, warmers for gloves and boots, and a plastic sack to stuff away wet garb inside. In cold regions it is common for pyrovigiles to have a layer of ice built up on them, which has the beneficient effect of being windproof. Wise pyrovigiles will avoid thawing out such ice covers until they are ready to head back to their base-station. Naturally, a great many freezing firesoldiers across the Imperium of Man will inhale poisonous fumes when they stand at engine exhausts to keep warm, but such vile toxification is a given universal fact of life in His blessed domains, and not something Imperial subjects take much notice of.

Imagine, for a while, what travails and sights will greet the brave conquerors of runaway sparks. Put yourselves in the boots of the scrawny juve who crawls into his first structure fire, seeing flames billowing over his head. Envision how steam and smoke must irritate and obscure your eyes as a fire starts to get away from you, because you had to get to that particular blazing scene immediately and could not spare even a moment to grab your helmet and equipment. Envisage how reflective livery vests will melt on you because you sit too close to the truck's pump exhaust, since the vehicle had too many people riding on it as per usual. See before your mind's eye how rural pyrovigiles will become surrounded by trees and other large flora bursting into flames like giant torches during drought-fuelled grass fire. And think of how urban or shipbound smokedivers must often balance on catwalks without railings, and squeeze their way through claustrophobic ducts during dangerous rescuing operations, since so many structures across the Imperium are built like veritable rats' nests, as if future man does not value himself more than lowly vermin.

Picture the tense atmosphere around an armed pyrovigiles being called upon to assist the local phylakitai law enforcement corps with traffic control guard duty around a crime scene, shortly after an unknown gunman shot a PDF trooper dead, while the firewoman hopes that the killer does not come charging out from cover to shoot her too. Conceive of the hellish conflagrations that can spread quickly through closely packed wharves loaded with flammable goods. Or more infuriatingly, ideate the catastrophic fire consuming a whole row of warehouses, because the plasteel fire doors which separated many of the storage rooms had been lazily left open, since almost everywhere in the Imperium is plagued by lousy fire prevention practices, even when means exist to do better. Imagine, if you will, being a firecombatant in the Phoenix Brigade on Songhai Ultima, being called out to stomp around a field at night because it was too soft to carry your unit's wheel-borne vehicles, grinding embers into the mud with all the grim ruthlessness of an Inquisitor stomping out heresy.

Heresy, indeed, ought to be punished by cleansing flames, the better to burn away sin and deviancy. On that point most Imperial subjects would agree, and none more so than pyrophiliac sects such as the Cult of Redemption. Redemptionists and similar extreme fanatics are by their very nature frequent firestarters, a fact which inevitably has led to persistent conflict between firefighting companes and these passionate zealots devoted to absolution. Many organizations of firemen will have deeply rooted traditional beliefs of their own, and a fair number will deploy brigade priests or bring along holy men akin to sacred mascots and lucky charms. The creed of the fervent pyrovigiles does not suffer the arsonist to live, for the igniter and the pyromaniac shall be extinguished in holy water.

And so a never-ending feud continues to play itself out across hundreds of thousands of planets and uncountable voidholms. For the most widespread traditional crassii means to deal with captured Redemptionist asonists, is to ritually drown them, and then string up their corpses for public display. Conversely, Redemptionists will repay the favour whenever they capture meddling firefighters who disrupt their righteous cleansing and just pogroms, by burning them alive to the accompaniment of much chanting. Embrace the flames of our doom! After all, to these cultists, the fires have been sent by the wroth God-Emperor in order to purify wayward sinners, and thus whosoever seeks to douse this instrument of His divine justice must himself burn for his unforgivable crime against the Golden Throne of hallowed myth.

Crass business methods aside, pyrovigiles will often act as saviours, whether they come in the form of the bucket brigade or flying corpsmen with the most marvellous equipment that antique technoarcana can summon. These heroes with grimy faces will cut into their work with glowing energy, dragging hoses and raising axes. Fear denies faith, they will shout, as they stride into the flames in a halo of spray and steam. There, at the edge of hell, they will drag out half lifeless bodies of humans crushed under burning rubble, and step over the corpses of people suffocated by the dark breathe of fire. These brave men, women and juves will wade through the cinders of scorched ruins in a blaze of glory, protecting His physical realm from rampant fire.

Yet such stalwart protection is not free. Firemen in the Age of Imperium are well known to save lives and to rob owners of their property via legal contracts signed under maximum duress. Thus we see that a garbled echo of that ancient myth play out again and again, in a tale of theft and flames. No smoke without fire. From a greater point of view, the retardation of firefighting forces into little more but disjointed organizations for profit constitute a development of human interstellar civilization about as wise as pouring a bucket of water on an electrical fire. It may be painful to watch, but know that the Imperial Creed does teach us that pain is weakness leaving the body.

The Imperium of Man is stuck in a tangle of pathologies, as dysfunctional as they come, causing man to forsake mercy, volunteer benevolence and civic obligations for an infernal morass of suspicions and self-serving cruelty. Corruption has rotted out major parts of the Emperor's vast realm, under a swarm of mediocre sovereigns who continues to undermine human power in the Milky Way galaxy for the sake of shortsighted paranoia. It is all nightmare fuel.

And so, countless subjects of His Divine Majesty will include a line in their daily prayers, for the God-Emperor of Holy Terra to preserve them and their kinsfolk from the hidden embers, the hungry flame, the flare of plasma and the sudden fire. They have all seen too many neighbours and relatives fall for flame and smoke, and many of them bear burn marks that will never fully heal. All souls call out for salvation, for the blazes of the material world is but a foretaste of the roaring hellfire that awaits all sinners. Thus we must all prove our penitence by lashes and fasting. Repent of your thought of self! Repent of your wicked sins! Repent! Repent or burn!

Such are the pious mantras on a hundred billion lips, across a million worlds and voidholms beyond number. Such are the guiding words of the far future, spoken by the true fanatic. This flagellating zealot, known as man, was once the master of the cosmos, mortal and supreme in his craft and knowledge. Secrets he knew, the lore of science uncovering the very fabric of creation itself, while arcologies rose like towers of paradise on millions of worlds. Technology he fashioned, with machines making machines in ever more cunning ways, as man surfed the stars and explored the cosmos with bold curiosity. This edenic idyll was once everyday life for humanity during a bygone era of gold and splendour, when man bestrode the universe like a titan.

The very same man is now reduced to a hunkered wretch, as parochial and ignorant as he is myopically aggressive. Underfed and ravaged by disease and alien parasites, man has built for himself shanties and huts, in a grand edifice amounting to nothing short of hell on earth, and all the glorious promises of his mind has he forsaken, as his hands lose ever more grasp of the salvaged relics that remain from former times. From better times. Ultimately, this is all a dead end for human development across the Milky Way galaxy. Such is the Age of Imperium.

For all is decay in this decrepit galactic civilization, as our species has wasted ten thousand precious years by treading water just to keep its head above the surface, gulping for air in desperation. Thus all is well in the cosmic domains of the God-Emperor of Mankind.

Such is the depraved state of humanity, in a time beyond hope.

Such is our species, at the brink of doom.

Such is the fate that awaits us all.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only madness.


- - -

Drawn and written for CrusaderApe.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#81 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Signpost

In the grim darkness of the far future, man finds himself damned for missing a sign.

It is said that the road to golden paradise is well signposted, but it is badly lit at night.

Amid the soulcrushing misery that characterizes life for most people in the dour Age of Imperium, humour still infests the blessed star realm of the celestial Imperator like weeds in a regimented agridome. In a great many local cultures across the Milky Way galaxy, humans in the Age of Imperium have developed a taste for dark humour. After all, if one cannot laugh at the misery, then all one is left with, is to cry over it.

Outside the officious signs put up by Imperial and local authorities, there may be found a great many witty and clever warning signs put up in human societies across hundreds of thousands of worlds and uncountable voidholms. Many signs consists of simple pictures, not only for the sake of clarity, but also because illiteracy is rife across vast swathes of the Holy Terran domains.

An ancient proverb from the misty Age of Terra has it, that a regular path has no signpost.

Due to a massive population and far too few law enforcers, many Imperial worlds and voidholms have developed a culture of intimidating warning signs. Warning people without being stiff is much easier for people to accept, and engages thinking in a way that stale warning signs cannot do. In many cultures, such signs are not standard fare, but they make up a persistent minority of signs, and tend to turn heads when spotted. In other human cultures, such signs have become the prevailing standard, with wits competing to bring out the most memorable warning signs. The worse ones are blunt, without much in the way of thought-provoking humour, such as "Intruders will be brutally eaten by dogs" or "Stay off the grass or you will be beaten." Yet the best of these warning signs have a touch of class, humour and intellectual grit, all rolled together.

Here are some few of these written signs of the fortyfirst millennium.

- - -

"No fights in the elevator. The wires are close to snapping."

Sign outside an Administratum building: "No parking at the gate. Violating tires will be deflated along with the driver."

Construction site sign: "My dear workers: When you are out working, pay attention to safety. If you have an accident, some other man will sleep with your wife, beat your kids, and spend your widow's death grant! Work safely, for your own sake."

Neighbourhood militia sign: "Attention all thieves! Once captured, you will be beaten bloody all the way from the front-alley to the back-alley. This alley is 786 meters long."

No smoking sign at promethium station: "We fully understand that your life is worthless, but fuel is really expensive."

"Do not step inside. The dog is psyched like a warchild."

"Grass: Today you step on my head, next year I will grow on your grave."

"Do not defecate here. Offenders shall be beaten into their own waste by a mob."

Road sign: "Please drive safely, there is no medicae nearby."

"Do not stand about here. Even if you are not hit someone else will be."

"Stand in line. Do not revolt against vapid conformity enforced by fear."

"Do not fight: Winner goes to prison, loser goes to medicae ward."

"Warning: If found here by night you will be found here in the morning."

Sign at the foot of a canyon infamous for being dangerous to drive through: "Many truckloads of families have passed here on their way to their seasonal labour. Few came back."

"Bribe attempts lower than 17 Crowns will be reported to the Urban Enforcers."

"Do not speed. Corpse Guilders have returned to their homedistricts."

"No railings. Fear denies faith."

"Do not try it. You are a lot more bluff than you are tough."

"Due to recent errors at the manufactorum, our las-packs no longer have the required charge for warning shots."

Warning sign for a suicide spot: "Have you wiped your cogitator memory banks?"

"Please do not throw garbage. Avoid a serious flogging."

"It is far better to listen to the bowstring that broke than to never string a bow. Trespass here and we will enjoy listening to the breaking of you."

"Do not watch out for falling objects. The corpse pay is worth the trouble of carrying your remains out the back gate."

"Drive safe or die alone."

"Attention ledge jumpers: We will fine the clan of every corpse found on this property. Electroshock collars for kin-groups unable to pay have been stockpiled. Will they look good on your spouse, kids and parents?"

"Unlike many others, the above sign does not lie."

"Step carefully, noble one, or your attendant thralls will have to scoop up your remains."

"Here sits a relic of our immortal Emperor. Aspiring thieves will meet the God Himself."

"Please break in. We do not feed the crocohounds."

"Mr Credit is dead so do not ask for him."

"Step silently in the corridor. The gun servitor has no mercy inhibitors."

"Gangleader Krzychustach Throatbiter was here. He disappeared. Will you?"

SpellArcher
Green Istari
Posts: 13537
Joined: Sat Sep 13, 2008 11:26 am
Location: Otherworld

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#82 Post by SpellArcher »

Karak Norn Clansman wrote:Warning: if found here by night you will be found here in the morning
:mrgreen:

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#83 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Scrip In Fuse Box

In the grim darkness of the far future, man is scorched by his own captive lightning.

Most forms of mundane technological hardware during the Dark Age of Technology was characterized by multilayered safety features. Long experience with the unexpected cascade effects of natural disasters and human blunders had taught the tinkering minds of that shining aeon how best to build away lurking dangers in machinery, and how best to counteract bloody-minded stupidity by material design and education alike. Mankind as a whole during that age was greedy for knowledge and willing to watch and learn, and the best and the brightest of our species reached out for the stars and inifinity itself in toiling displays of ingenuity. Man crafted great wonders and colonized more than twain million worlds in his unbounded spirit of enterprise, and as man excelled on a grand scale, so he likewise proved brilliant with tiny details.

Thus the earthly trinity of Man of Gold, Stone and Iron would not only venture boldly into the unknown and explore the cosmos with unmatched daring and cunning, for ancient man would also fashion his humble everyday surroundings into elegant vistas of marvellous artifice and an idyllic level of safety in life that stood at odds with the unlocked forces of nature which man had tamed. Risk is inherent to everything in creation, yet ancient man in his hubris sought to turn the world of mortals into a godless paradise bereft of death, aging and suffering, and ever more did man do away with slices of travail, for man swore by the limitless potential of his own wit and masterful hands. And at the peak of arrogance did ancient man deny divinity itself, and he concluded that if any gods existed, then man's worldly might was far superior.

For the sake of such heinous sins was ancient man punished and nigh-on scoured from the stars in heaven. And Dark Ones of Hell arose from beyond the fabric of reality, and they lashed the golden realm of man with barbed whips of machine revolt, Warp storms and a plague of witches, mutants and Daemons that tore the era of greatness and hubris asunder. Rogue machine crushed its unbelieving master underheel as Abominable Intelligence ran amok, and brother slew brother while sister ate sister in a frenzied freefall into the stark pits of depravity. Cannibalism, loss of knowledge and the collapse of civilization reigned supreme as the false promises of the Dark Age of Technology were swept away by Old Night, and for millennia upon millennia of horror and hunger was man reduced to an ignorant wretch who scavenged and fought his own kin among the ruins of ancient titans. Raw desperation drove man to abominable acts amid the hardship, and the descendants of gifted ancients tore their mute inheritance apart in a carnival of wanton destruction and Chaos. Alien preyed upon man in his epoch of weakness, and all was fell.

Then, a saviour arose from the cradle of mankind, and His strong Legions conquered first the homeworld of our species, and then much of the galaxy in a furor of bloodshed. The banner of lightning was raised on planet and voidholm alike, and the promises of restoration of human intergalactic civilization echoed from end to end of the Milky Way galaxy with energetic hope. Yet as the Emperor fell to base human treachery in the skies above Terra, the dream of a better future died, and man was forever cursed to wander this vale of woe in torment and humilitation. For his unforgivable sins, man would face suffering aplenty, and hardship neverending.

And should not thorns prick man's skin for his abominable betrayal of the celestial Imperator? Should not serpents bite man's heels for his baleful deeds? Should not hunger and thirst claw at man's insides for his inherited crime? Should not sparks incinerate man's flesh for his ancestral hubris? Is it not right that man should buckle under his burdens? Is it not proper that man's bones should break under his loads? Is it not just that man's body shall be harrowed and scourged in every way imaginable?

Aye. The God-Emperor wills it! Our mortal coil is nothing but a trial to be overcome, the outcome of which shall decide the fate of our eternal souls. Reject selfish thoughts of comfort and safety! Only through renunciation of the self can our spiritual essence remain pure.

And so the slow demechanization and retardation of human technology during the Age of Imperium has ground on without much alarm among the masses, and indeed even most of the leaders of the Imperium do not ken the spiralling primitivization of human tech as a grave threat. The ongoing shrinking utility of everyday technology can be witnessed by anyone on a million worlds and innumerable voidholms, where olden systems will invariably prove superior to the increasing shoddiness and cheapness of newly crafted things. And yet the irrefutable slide into atavistic regression on every level does not terribly bother the degenerate descendants of the brilliant ancients, for the ongoing loss of knowledge means that they have already nigh-on lost everything, and they do not even know what it is that they have lost.

One such little phenomenon of technological etiolation and dysfunctional use can be glimpsed in the extremely widespread trick most commonly known as slotting scrip into the fuse box.

The simple fuse, preventor of flames, is a rudimentary invention dating back to the misty past of the Age of Terra. Long since replaced by better wares and more clever designs during those bygone aeons when man proved creative with tech, the sacrificial design of the fuse has nonetheless lingered as part of the collective corpus of human knowledge. Most fuse designs found throughout the Imperium of Man can be dated back to crude Standard Template Construct patterns, designed to be cheap and simple to make in times of great need. As with so many temporary stopgap measures and primitive emergency craft, the fuse has long since become a permanently employed, and increasingly common component in electrical systems throughout the Imperium of Holy Terra.

A sinspeech whisper joke found across the Agripinaa Sector makes fun of the stopping ability of this overcurrent protector:

Q: Why is a fuse better than a vizier?
A: It speaks truth to power.

The fuse provides automatic removal of power from a circuit by passing it through a thin internal conductor. When the current flow grows too strong, the heat generated by the electricity will melt the conductor and cut power in the system. This prevents fire, and necessitates replacement of the burntout fuse. A plethora of other tech-items can carry out the same passive function as the fuse does, but in a more practical manner, yet over the span of fivehundred generations of gradual deterioration of human knowledge and production capability, even such simple safety devices as circuit breakers have started to grow rare across the decrepit Imperium of Man. As such, the fuse nowadays predominate on most Imperial worlds and voidholms for household systems, and it will likewise be common for more important systems than those made for filthy consumers, including in electrical systems of Imperial industry and Astra Militarum hardware.

The simplicity of the humble fuse for overcurrent protection is also its main drawback. When a fuse blows in a faulty system, the power goes out. The dark lack of juice will send people racing to the distribution panel to replace the burnt fuse. If they can find no new fuses of the right kind on hand, many humans will tend to cheat if possible just to get the electricity back up and running. Especially if the barking of taskmasters and slavedrivers calls for a speedy fix. As such, all manner of hack work can be found where people have sought to bypass the fuse. History teaches us that many humans are clever enough to bypass safety features, but not wise enough to understand their function. And a surprising number of people will prove dumb enough to cheat with electrical current rather than taking the trouble and expense of acquiring a new fuse of the right rating, even when desperation does not factor into the broken equation. As knowledge and understanding of technology among humans has worn thin across His Divine Majesty's astral domains, even lay techmen such as Guild electricians with some practical schooling will often resort to quick hacks for the sake of laziness, stress or bottomless ignorance.

The most common handyman's trick is to replace the blown fuse with any kind of metal bits that happen to fit, with no thought given to the risk of fire thus incurred, since the current will no longer be limited by the thin conductor of the fuse. One of the most common materials resorted to when replacement fuses are lacking happen to be scrip tokens minted or cast out of metal. Scrip is local token coinage, paid to employees and worthless outside of the stores of company compounds. If various Guild scrip coins and collegia chits can be exchanged at all for other currencies, then it will only be possible at a steeply unfavourable exchange rate, since scrip is part of a cunning trap for making employed people into indentured servants and debt-ridden serfs bound to their compound for generations to come. This bonded trickster wage can be paid in all manner of tokens, including digital numbers on a cogitator, seashells, plastic chips, bone knuckles, paper notes or metallic pieces of scrip. In locations where metallic scrip coins exist, low denominations of scrip can always be found slotted into fuse boxes, where they do not belong.

A popular tale told around the fireside or heater across hundreds of thousands of planets and voidholms goes roughly as follows, although the details and names will differ from locality to locality: A cunning home-fixer runs into ever worse trouble with machinery on his workplace, which he solves by ignoring the rites of maintenance and coming up with a series of ever more fantastical hack solutions, some of which involves electricity. Soon, the machinery seems to perform better than ever before, and his colleagues hail him as touched by the very Machine God that rules all technology. Yet at last the seeming miracle proved a bag of empty promises, and a cascade of machine failures sees the home-fixer spectacularly beheaded, minced and burned along with not only the machinery he tended to, but the entire manufactorum he was working in. Such is the vengeance of wronged machine spirits. Take heed, and skip not the proper rites and litanies!

Even so, the warning in the saga will often fall on deaf ears, for surely such issues only befall others and not oneself? Such is the folly of man. Those who would offend against the machine spirit via the bypassing of safety measures are legion, and the record of human history is in part a list of unheeded warning tales. Pennypinching stupidity will often make people throw safety out the window and bypass all safeguards by harebrained fixes. Cheer for the fool who saves the hour by putting a scrip coin into the fuse box, and cheer for the resultant fires as claustrophobic buildings burn down and turn living, breathing people into charred husks. How many loved ones have perished for the sake of a juice homefix? Their numbers surely climb into the billions across the vast Imperium of Man. Ultimately, you can make something proof against mundane stupidity, but not against bloody stupidity.

And so, in countless settlements across His cosmic dominion, lowly Imperial subjects will include a line in their daily prayers, asking the Enthroned One to preserve them from the juice fire, and to protect them against the melted wire, the hidden lightning and the sudden arc of death. Such fervent prayers will they mouth, yet in their ignorance they will nevertheless contribute to the festering perils of their everyday surroundings, as copper scrip and other small objects that will conduct electricity are slotted into fuse holders all across the Imperium of Man, in defiance of flame. This is but one suicidal ploy out of thousands of others in the morass of ineptitude that man has become mired in, on top of which should be mentioned ever worsening electronics, where consumer commodities in particular increasingly prove to be blatant fire hazards straight off the production line.

Thus man has degenerated to a wretched scavenger in the Age of Imperium, living off the vanishing gifts of a lost golden age, using tools which he has no understanding of.

Such is the proficiency of man, in a forsaken time.

Such is the bliss of ignorance, at the edge of doom.

Such is the state of our species, in the darkest of futures.

It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only idiocy.

User avatar
Karak Norn Clansman
Posts: 586
Joined: Fri Oct 18, 2013 11:25 am

Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration

#84 Post by Karak Norn Clansman »

Image

Warning Sign

Take heed! What follows is a short collection of varied warning signs found throughout the cosmic domains of Our Lord the God-Emperor Himself.

In each their own way, these mute objects stand as witnesses to the internal rot evident in the Imperium of Man, last strong shield of our species and insane gravedigger of human intergalactic civilization.

In each their own way, these everyday signs speak of the morass of misery and despair that awaits us all, at the precipice of doom.

In each their own way, these humble things are a testament to the depths of depravity that man has plunged into, in the darkest of futures.

- - -

Traffic sign at a sharp curve: "Brake or be broken."

"If you can read this you are in range."

"The wage of negligence is utter destruction! Slapdash wastrels fit to be purged: Beware that your offspring, spouses, parents and first-cousins will be shipped to the workhouse."

"The Imperium will not cover your failings by using railings."

"Trespasser: You have come here to stay."

"Your finger in the roller and a slinger with your molar."

"Do not listen to the lies of your body. A heart about to give up is nought but false sinthought. If a job is worth doing it is worth dying for!"

"No falling into vats! Your flesh would foul the chym."

"Anyone making an imprint into the wet rockrete will be tossed into the next load as filler."

"Faulty goggles. Fear not: Obedience is blind."

"Work earns salvation. Want to know how to damn your immortal soul?"

"Our gun servitors are top of the line, intrude here to verify."

"Know your duty or know your end."

"If the ration queue extends this far, you will die from starvation before you get yours."

"Minefield ahead! Also: Minefield behind you."

"Remember to pray! Medicae ward permanently closed."

"Heresy grows from idleness. Thus, idlers will be burnt for heretics."

"What is in the food? Do not ask questions you do not want to know the answer of."

Sign outside a PDF elite training compound: "For a warrior the only crime is cowardice. Shooting vagabonds for sport is no crime."

"Reject thoughts of self! Climb with your burdens without hesitation. The punishment for falling is worse than the crippling crash itself."

"Please anoint the machine as per regulation. Lack of sacred oil will be substituted with you."

"Those who demand safety regulations fail to understand their own insignificance."

"Ask the Imperator to bless the ration bar! It might be kinsfolk."

Sign outside a Mechanicus shrine: "Warning, to avoid injury do not tell us how to do our job."

"No protective gear in stock. Faith is your shield."

"Failed suicide attemptors will be tortured and abacinated, then servitorized."

"Urinators will be captured by pict and displayed on public screens."

"Duty prevails. Meet your quotas. Or else."

"Endure! Question not."

"Complaints forbidden: He who breaks his back in toil best serves the Emperor."

"Your call: Labour long or live short."

Sign outside historitor section: "Our presence remakes the past. The entire clan of trespassers will be censored."

"Fear not the touch of acid. Pain is an illusion."

"Perseverance and silence are the highest of virtues. Chatterboxes and slackers will be aided to attain them through servitorization."

Sign outside a highly toxic manufactorum hall: "Serve the Emperor today. Tomorrow you will be dead."

"It is a greater sin to keep silent toward authority than to report on your own kinsfolk. It is a greater loss to lose one clanmember than it is to lose your entire clan."

Sign in a corpse starch factory: "Saftey first or first meal."

"Do not recoil. You are standing with your back to a precipice."

"Slackers will be thrown into the corpse grinder. Only the industrious may escape death."

"Are you there yet?"

"Safety is the refuge of cowards. Dangerous working conditions keep the wit of serfs sharp and weed out those unfit for work."

Sign outside a latifundia plantation: "Intruders will find our servitors can harvest more than grain."

Space Wolf Outpost sign: "Trespassers will be forced into a drinking contest with the nearest Space Wolf. Their kin will be forced to cover the cleaning fine."

Sign before a mountain road: "Slow down, to fly in a land vehicle is witchcraft. Witchcraft is heresy."

Sign outside a corpse starch factory: "Intruders will discover our secret recipe."

Manufactorum warning sign: "If you are taller than this line, you won't be."

Sign outside Planetary Defence Force training ground: "Defence force in need of new targets! Jump this fence to volunteer."

"No railings. The Emperor shall be the judge of who falls."

A notice posted above the door of an Adeptus Ministorum almshouse in the Mercy district of Hive Ravachol: "To any would-be rioters who think of complaining in line about the unusually low quality and quantity of our discount soylens viridians rations, we lay brothers of the Ecclesiarchy bid ye sinners remember what punishment Saint Sanguinus decreed to the captured men of the MCMV Potemkin Regiment of Imperialis Auxilia during the First Maggoty-Grox Mutiny of the First Pacificus Campaign of the Great Crusade:
'Because ye multiplied more than the mutineers of the regiments that are round about you, and have not walked in my statutes, neither have you kept to my orders, neither have you done according to the judgments of the discipline masters and iterators that are round about you;
Therefore thus saith the Primarch; Behold, I, even I, am against thee, and will execute judgments in the midst of thee in the sight of the Blood Angels.
And I will do in thee that which I have not done, and whereunto I will not do any more the like, because of all thine abominations.
Therefore Manus' Iron Fathers shall eat thy sons in the midst of thee, and the Emperor's Sons shall eat their fathers.'"

Cadian steet sign: "Unattended children will be drafted and taught to shoot.

Sign on grox cages: "Mating season. Enter at your own peril."

Sign hung around the neck of nuclear techman: "If you see me running, then it is already too late."

"Please break in and admire our servitors, for you may soon join them."

Voidsmen safety poster: "Check your helmets or you will get your breath taken away."

Sign outside a ganger den: "Beat it or we will beat you."


- - -

Nearly half the signpost texts above were written by the following witty enthusiasts on various websites: JAB, CommissarCardsharp, SE-Roger, Jbressel1, Uxion, GlassesGuy95, CrusaderApe, jediben001, WREN_PL & killjoySG. Thanks for a good community response to the previous Signpost piece.

Post Reply