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Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
"Heavy cannon fire had overturned the dirt several times over, and men had been buried all about in the ground like hay in clay. As the company was sent in to repair the trenches during a lull, the captain went about and inspected the dig work.
He turned a corner in the maze, and suddenly he saw the better part of a human leg still sticking out of the mud wall, ready to trip him up. The officer pointed at a man:
'You there. Cut that thing off and throw it on the parapet!" barked the captain.
The private jumped to it and hacked the leg off with his spade, foot and all. Then another man complained:
'So there went the wall hook. And just where shall I now hang me kit, eh?'"
- Common soldier's joke scribbled in bloodstained notebook found on half the corpse of corporal Kitos-Qardasht of the Astra Militarum 3310th Liby-Habrywean fusilier regiment, commanded by colonel Helqoegus Bomylcar Manidtrabal (CCLXIV Army), following the unit's complete annihilation in 061.M39 during the Army's rout after the failed fourth siege of Hive Bybulus on Seidon Triarius
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/02/10 07:08:25
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is no sanctuary from the spawn of man.
In a garbled multitude of songs and sagas recited in a million different tongues around crackling campfires and flickering hab lumens, it is told that Man of Gold banished cruelty from the human soul, and for this arrogant sin he was rendered soft of countenance and weak of will. Thus ancient man lacked the dogged hatred and hardy grit that ultimately sustains life in this harsh vale of trial and woe, and ancient man inevitably succumbed to his own feeble spirit even as his hubris shone with supreme confidence in man's unlimited abilities, miraculous works and achievements. For mercy and kindness slays no foe, and thus ancient man missed his golden opportunity to scour the galaxy free of hostile aliens while his worldly might was unsurpassed and man's fortunes soared to godlike heights.
Indeed the gentle openness of ancient man made him akin to a carapaced creature bereft of its shell, for on all too many worlds and void habitats did people welcome the emergence of witches and encourage the exploration of their heinous warpcraft, and those worlds thus inclined to kindness were utterly doomed. Ancient man's inner feckless spirit would transform into an outward reality of despair and darkest helplessness as luxury died and shining towers toppled, for the Dark Age of Technology ended in flames and kineating ruin, and man's chance for a grand purification across the stars was never grasped.
We see then, that empathy and a sweetly heart bereft of cruelty turned Man of Gold's spirit rotten weak in the midst of unrivalled worldly strength, for benignant compassion is the highest form of folly, and thus the kindness of ancient man nearly doomed our species. Such were the mistakes of our wicked forefathers, yet we are much wiser now. For we know that hard times create strong men, and strong men create good times, and good times create weak men, and weak men create hard times. Only by holding on to strength at all costs may we break that decadent cycle of decay. Times must ever be hard. They must ever be made hard for us to live in, to breed strong men.
We must not make men weak, nay, we must scour them with hardship and struggle, we must worship strength and embrace that which makes us strong. We know, as ancient man did not, that we must banish compassion and forgiveness from our souls, lest all our kin and offspring will perish, and all our bloodlines and species will succumb to oblivion. Do you wish to see the heads of your children smashed upon the rocks? Do you wish for weakness to devour your family? If not, then vigilant be. Only a strong people manning a wall of hatred can hope to survive the horrors beyond and the rot within. For the radiant God-Emperor Himself has decreed in holy writ issued from the cradle of mankind that we must be ruthless. We must be strong. We must be cruel.
No remorse. No regret. No mercy.
And so across one million worlds and innumerable voidholms, a regressed colossus on feet of clay will encourage human hardiness through the trinity of misery, iniquity and strife, yet the hidebound local cultures populating such a myriad of teeming planets and overcrowded spacestations need little spurring on from above, for the Imperator of Holy Terra has seen fit to gift unto man inner reserves of abhorrence and stubborn will, buoyed up by petty spite, mistrust, cunning and jealousy, all the better to make man's inner character manifest at the most of times, on every day and on every rotation. In order to better understand how man's treatment of fellow man contributes to the strengthening of his spirit, let us plunge the depths of depravity clogging up the human soul. Let us see how man, as child, through his small deeds and words of common everyday conduct may engender his sound hardiness, for the betterment of our starspanning species as a whole.
Among some of the most primitive human tribes across the galaxy, people who display extraordinary brilliance and intelligence will be sacrificed to the God-Emperor or to some local anima-spirits, the better for their outstanding gifts to placate wrathful divinity and stop pestering the parochial community with the most clever ones' oddness and weirdness of character. Thus child prodigies and grown-up geniuses alike are hanged from tree branches and ripped apart upon altars running with blood and gore, all of them nothing but deviants effectively voted out of life by a cohesive culture of barbarians who would rather not be unnerved by their brainish wit. Such savage customs may be extreme, yet they are in reality echoed in word and deed everywhere man dwells across the Milky Way galaxy.
It befits lowly souls of mediocre envy to stomp on the tender sprouts of genius before they can bloom. Man finds that it behooves him to drown the hopes of gifted ones in this dark abyss of his own insecure lack of vision before they can rise above the short reach of his spiteful tongue and violent hands. The spirit of man is ever easily quenched by parochial narrow-mindedness and fanatic myopia, ever easily led astray by man's own pettiness and ideas with a catchy ring to them.
What we are describing, is a most commonplace phenomenon, something unavoidable and unpreventable, tacitly accepted and embraced by humanity everywhere across the length and breadth of the Imperium, and naturally it also reigns unchallenged on those outlying lost human colonies that eke out a meagre existence beyond the holy light and sacral rule of His Divine Majesty and the godly inspired High Lords of Terra. Everywhere the seed of man grows, children will innately know to purge the weak, freeze out the unwanted and harry the deviant. The reasons why may vary on whether it be for strange looks, voice, behaviour, bodily weakness, the need to have at least someone to stomp on beneath you, or a clash of personal chemistry. Whatever the source of such one-way friction, the constant flow of human vitriol must find an outlet, and what better outlet than to drown pathetic mommy's boys, weird kids and weeping cravens in it? Let them all suffer for what they are, for all defects of flesh and character are but the outward manifestations of an abominable spirit lurking within.
Trust your instincts, for the ability to detect deviation is an ability given unto you by the Emperor Himself. Is it not of eugenic virtue for all mankind to harass and scourge losers, crybabies, dysgenic wastrels, twists, potential witches and future heretics alike? Is not this univeral human streak to shun the deviant and scorn the freethinker an all-pervasive form of folk wisdom inherent to all righteous congregations and their offspring?
Witness the petty malice apparent in most children of our species, and those observations will give you a true insight into the monstrous spirit lurking within the human heart. After coming to know that piece of wisdom, hardly any occasion for learning of great atrocity and vile crime will ever truly shock you. Let it be known that the road to inner harmony is paved with low expectations, for that will prevent you from driving off into the melancholy ditch of disappointment. After all, naïvety is an important component in trauma of the mind, for those without high expectations on their fellow man will be better prepared for the common evils and disasters that are inherent to life and death. Thus heed this lesson, and listen well. Let us uncover the evil that men do, by examining the evil that children do in sordid detail, for the child is the father of man.
First of all, we will recognize that the ever persistent fact of children shunning those deemed unwanted, is not born out of careful elaborations with intellect spinning high. Instead, it is a natural, indeed instinctive part of human nature, an aspect of our pack mentality. This scorning of others in your own group know few to no principles, for it arise out of the animal depths of the human soul, forged as it is in primal eons of hunger, rutting and desperate struggle for survival in a harsh world of limited resources. For man is not a fallen angel, but an ape arisen.
The dark sides of human nature will manifest themselves very early on in life. The baby steps of evil include the infant observation that creating something takes a long time, yet destruction is but the work of moments. More attentive cunning will soon make the bairn discover that hurting others in one fell swoop may be rewarding, yet it is far better to draw out the distress and agony in others and savour the ongoing process. Thus it is more pleasing for most people to find a favourite target to torment every available day for years on end, than it is to menace someone but for one occasion. Most children who find joy in pursuing their mischievous desires would agree that death by a thousand cuts is a better spectacle then a swift beheading with a guillotine. Indeed, they live by that principle, for the boot is on their foot and not on the wretched victim of them and their friends, classmates and work gang comrades.
Further self-schooling in evil will reveal to the child that there is a sense of security in belonging to a group, and even a sort of courage born from holding power. After all, power is when you can do something with impunity, and no one can do anything about it. Thus a numerical disparity of ten against one mean that the communal vermin cannot hope to fend off the banes of their childhood and dreams. And so afflictors of others who would have found scant boldness to harrass unwanted ones on their own, will find themselves daring a great deal more when acting as part of a pack. In a gang, they will dare to strike, to chivy, to destroy. Band together and close ranks, for there is strength in numbers. Remember that lesson in war.
By moving in groups, gleeful kids will soon rouse each other to attack lone targets, and go further still in their assaults. Collective strength and the fear thereof is enough to overpower most prey, and even the most ferocious lone wolves can be overwhelmed by superior force of numbers and be made subject to every cruel whim of the assaulters once the group have pinned the human target to the ground and gripped its arms and legs firmly. Environments where children are to be found in crowds are often akin to a kindergarten for future torturers. Under the veneer of all the institutional strictures and rules of conduct enforced by adult powers and severe authorities, a lawless wilderness will nevertheless stand tall as the true experience of life on scholam yards and in the predatory environments of orphanaria and workhouses. There will be nasty kid fights, in which eyes, teeth, ears, fingers and limbs may be lost, aside from standard little injuries such as common bruises and shallow cuts. These brawls and their casaulties are all healthy signs, for it is good and virtuous that the younglings of the Imperium prepare for combat from an early age. After all, they will need to be inured to violence and pain during their adult lives, no matter if they will serve the God-Emperor in arms or as toiling labourers.
Aside from the common scrimmage between rough equals, there will always be an endless picking on those weaker and lower in status than yourself. Hurtful words, sharp looks and malignant deeds all play an important role. There will be needling and heckling toward the ugly ducklings, and the scorn in which they are held will be made clear by heaping ridicule upon the victim. Indeed, there will be spit and even let water on those at the bottom of the pecking order. They must know their place, after all, and a thousand little humiliations every day is an excellent method to show who is on top, and who is trampled on the bottom of the pile. Thus children everywhere will establish hierarchy with harsh means, and the Imperium of Man is nothing if not an utter hierarchy. A virtuous top-down system of capricious tyranny and arbitrary cruelty needs to be taken for granted by the populace from a very early age, and this Imperial reality of oppressive oligarchy and despotic power has for fivehundred generations been cemented by children naturally gravitating toward similar solutions in their everyday interactions with each other. As below, so above. Might is right.
To openly challenge those above you is an alarming, nay, abominable tendency within the rigid astral dominions of Holy Terra and Mars, and innumerable death sentences and much worse have been inflicted upon suspected apostates and traitors for such sinful crimes against the Terran Imperator's sacred hierarchy in the world of adults. Among children, those worthless wretches who would dare to protest or challenge the juvenile status quo will find themselves beset with the full fury of the pack, who will be indignant that any pale brat could even dream of disobeying the order of things. And so the many will furiously kick, punch and bite any humiliated weakling who dare to stand up to their tormentors. They must know their place, after all. Nevertheless, succesful violence by someone formerly despised as weak and sorry may be an exceedingly rare solution to torment by peers, for everyone respects strength. Clever words may on rare occasions suffice for counter-raids, yet only deeds may conquer. Such unusual climbing of the ladder by might and main among children is akin to a murderous usurper of a throne being hailed as righteously justified by the God-Emperor, for how else could they have attained success in that enterprise without divine blessing?
Do not do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Instead, do unto others as you would not have them do unto you, for that way lies power and glory in a zero sum game of dog eats dog. Who ever became mighty by turning the other cheek? Such meekness is fit only for born slaves, and if the shackled ones tell themselves that they are innocent and what is being done unto them is unjust, then all the better. Know that lack of guilt is immaterial, indeed the concepts of justice and guilt are largely without any weight in the affairs of man, as are the polar opposites of good and evil meaningless for determining human behaviour. A superior determinant for the conduct of man can be found in his animalistic instinct and gut feeling, and nowhere is this more true than for child. Most humans are driven by a need to fit in and not stick out, born out of self-preservation and fear. They have something to lose, and are at all times surrounded by people willing and able to hurt them greatly. The world of man is not truly ruled by an ephemeral duality of good and evil. A far better compass for understanding the dynamic of human nature is one revolving around cowardice, bestial aggression, group belonging, protection of kin and a hunger for more. In such a scope, phenomena such as self-sacrifice, helpfulness and respect seamlessly rub shoulders with selfish greed, cruelty and scorn.
During the misty depths of the ancient Age of Terra, a gadfly of a philosopher was once condemned to death by his homecity's public assembly after a great war had been lost. The Imperium of Man would laud the city's decision to purge such a deviant and freethinker for impiety and corrupting the youth, but the Imperium would have thought it silly and spineless for there to have been two rounds of voting on the question, and a lot of obvious hints for the guilty philosopher to please just run away and leave the city well ahead in time of his scheduled execution. Imperials are not afraid to slay, in the holy name of the Emperor. It is well that those capable of new thought are hunted down, for they represent a risk of undermining the legitimate, sacred order upheld by the powers that be. An order emanating from the Imperator, seated in radiant splendour upon the Golden Throne on Holy Terra.
As such, the mockery and maltreatment visited upon chinless losers and loners by the mob act as a form of communal self-defence against dangerous thought of self by rooting out any potential future loose cannons and silencing them by preventive counter-barrage while they are still small and defenceless. Get your retaliation in first, before they sharpen their tongues. Overwhelm them with arbitrary bluntness and spite. Suppress the strange ones. Heckle malcontents and give them hell. Tolerate no deviancy! If a man in any way would break the tight mould we all ought to be cast in, then point at him and laugh. Bestow upon the unworthy ones not honours, but malreputation and horrid associations. Likewise, ruthlessly cast out anyone born with abhuman mutations from the baseline human pureblood community, for their abomination in the flesh must be categorically rejected, and eventually cleansed in flames. Let them all know they are unwanted and unloved, fit only for base slavery and destruction. We will purge, but first we will scoff.
There is an old Terran proverb which claims that the only true form of joy is that of gloating, of finding malicious delight in the suffering and misfortune of others. Man's purpose in life is after all to suffer from hardship so that he can breed, and what better confirmation of your own bestowed blessings can there be found than the curses laid upon others? Thus it is pleasant, when the sea is high and the winds are dashing the waves about, to watch from the shores the struggles of another. Likewise, it is better to kick than be kicked.
And so, very quickly, common cruelties become second nature to those children who count themselves lucky to be part of the mob, and not its prey. This is the inherent order of things, ancient beyond the memory of written history and etched into the animal spirit known as the human soul. By far most of the pack will find entertainment in causing the suffering of others, for such is the nature of man. Even many of those children who seem to be of a gentle and unassuming character may be turned into barking jackals in order to not themselves become the next obvious mob target, and thus they learn what is good by conforming to what is proper.
As proof of the virtue inherent in shunning abnormals and human insects, consider the following: Among children, a meek and kind behaviour will be interpreted as a sign of weakness, and weakness will be severely punished by other children. Thus even a bairn understands that weakness and deviancy stem from moral corruption and spiritual rot. For is it not better to be strong and self-sufficient, than weak and helpless? And so waggling tongues and sharp elbows await the runt of the litter, and the grinding woes of social ostracism will ensnare the communal vermin. A thousand little everyday predations will be visited upon social outcasts forced to live in the midst of a mob that despise them. The hopes of their lives will be undone in tender years, as is just punishment for liberi worms that do not meet our standards.
A lonely child in internal exile will not only be shunned by their own community and heckled for their clothing and other accoutrements, they will be ripped apart socially by the fangs of the pack and its sharp verbal claws. In such a spirit of iniquity, the maggots and rats in human form will turn asocial from constant peer harrowing. They will have entered life full of wonder, hope and excitement, only to quickly slam into a solid wall and find themselves locked in a dead end, with stalking predators closing in fast and no possible way to escape. Their lot is inevitable, ordained from on high, indeed it is a just punishment for their moral defects and character flaws. As such it is nothing short of the protecting Emperor's will made manifest, when packs of children act accordingly to their gut feeling that leaves no doubt this lowly member of the same species and tribe must be rejected and trodden upon. This puer, this worthless offspring of man and woman will be made to suffer. How else are we to foster hardy and dutiful folks, if not by a torrent of wicked pettiness to keep us all in line, either out of fear for falling into the evil stream, or because they are already drowning in it?
And so the life of the little forsaken one is turned into a waking nightmare, their abyssal status taken for granted, their every day filled with shoving, beatings, heckling songs, slanderous gossip, rhymes of character assassination and mischievous whispers. Feet will suddenly be stretched out, ever eager to trip up the innocent. They will be subject to the pointing fingers, scoffing laughter and fixated eyes of the unyielding crowd. Their life experience will be a vale of tears, standing as the thankless receiver of the unholy conduct of others, ever the subject of other children's crooked grins and mocking derision. Their days are filled with ridicule and scorn, and their nights with unheard sobbing. Just look at them in their full wretchedness. How pathetic! How weak! How unbecoming! No wonder they are constantly thrown down into the dirt and left to crawl home with bruises and bleeding wounds. They had it coming all along. They truly do deserve it.
Why would anyone want to even pick those ostracized deviators for ballgame teams? Why would we not lock them into cramped spaces and forget about them? Why would we not take their stuff away from their ludicrous possession? Why would we not fling trash and filth into their food? Why would we not threaten a beating and force them to eat sand or yellow snow? Why would we not urinate on them in showers and press their heads into lavatories, privies and dungstacks? Why would we show them any kindness? Why would we not keep kicking while they are down in the dirt? Be strong and ruthless, and spurn the unworthy. We are better off without them.
And so the pack will seek out their prey, as they sin against fellow children, adorned with impish grins and wolfish eyes that twinkle with burgeoning sadism. Listen to their songs, those teasing tirades of humiliation. See them at play, those practical jokes which the target kid will not find funny, but all others will laugh at the victim. The pack is mighty and strong, and the bugs they corner are not. Of course the bullies will wallow in spite and experiment with immorality. Of course they will try out a plethora of ruthless little tricks and conduct everyday petty sabotage. It is the same mischievous spirit that make the most crooked among them pull wings and legs off insects, and torment small animals. Why not trample the sissies and sicklings? Are not the predators of the scholam yard and scrumball pitch the kings and queens of the hill? Should not the thrall bow to the master and kiss the dirt on their lord's feet? Adults clearly do this in the Imperium, so why not the children?
Maybe some of these child devils will later on in life find a sore conscience gnawing at their memories of early ills done toward others, yet by then any damage will already have been done beyond repair, and there is always booze and yet worse means to silence that whiny part of their stirring mind, an aspect of themselves they barely knew existed back when they committed all their youthful sins and childhood mean deeds. Thinking too much was what their victims usually did, that's why they were belittled subjects to ordinary little cruelties in the first place. That's why they were weak.
Those who speak of the general innocence of children are, as a rule, either stunningly forgetful, or willfully blind to what they themselves have seen with their own eyes, or else they inwardly deny their very own actions during their small years and wish to remember a false, rosy record. The voices of playing children may often be pleasant to hear from a distance, so long as you cannot make out the spoken words.
There is no innocence lost in the darkest of futures. In a regressed time beyond hope, man has constructed for himself hell, and man himself dwell there as its devil.
Naturally, childhood malice may grow into youthful cruelty and mature ruthlessness. Such is the hardy way of man. On hundreds of thousands of worlds and uncountable voidholms, Imperial youth organizations aim to refine juves in their ranks by further developing their innate worship of strength and lack of mercy, since such cruel power in loyal service to the God-Emperor is a blessed virtue, and most certainly not some character flaw. The evil that men do is on full display in tender childhood, an omen of what dark fruits and terrors that may ever ripen in adulthood, a testament to the depravity of man.
The juvenile precursor to adult atrocities can be seen everywhere we turn, no matter the state of primitive barbarism or advanced civilization prevailing there. Bantlings in large packs will heap endless petty malice upon despised liberi of their own age, making their victims every waking day a foretaste of hell itself. There will be open taunting in front of everyone, slinging fell words at those turned defenceless by being shunned by the pack, and then made the unwilling mummer by the spiteful laughter of their peers. The gleeful hunters of other children will not only embrace gang violence against lone victims, but they will also equip themselves with the sneaky weapons of dishonesty by lying and spreading false rumours, by talking behind the backs of outcasts and having nothing good to say about them around grown-ups. Indeed, many parents will soon conclude that this particular local wean in the neighbourhood is a real rotten apple, for why else would everyone dislike that kid? Such is the infant potential of future greater malevolence.
It is very rare for shunned insects to find support in the home, and most scorned children know better than to ever raise the subject in front of mum or dad. Indeed these bairns more often than not tend to face parental violence in the household if their predicament would become known to their elders. After all, what mother or father would not be disappointed with their loser whimps, when they wanted real boys and real girls for offspring instead of bad weaklings? Of course parents will be disappointed with their horrid little children, those weeping cravens who seem destined to die a virgin. There must be a good reason as to why all the other children hate them. Children do have a nose for sniffing out weird people. Perhaps my child will become a future prostitute, unbeliever or even a wyrd? God-Emperor forbid that such a blot of shame came from my loins! Such a harrowing thought! That must be sternly countermanded by strict discipline and arbitrary violence, effective immediately. Spurn the rod and spoil the child.
And so knowing parents of tormented spawn will pray to His Divine Majesty upon the Golden Throne for deliverance from this curse. For surely their socially outcast offspring are the celestial Imperator's punishment for the sins of the mother and father? Or perhaps they are possessed by malicious djinns or daemons? Maybe a moderately expensive ritual of exorcism with the local holy man or tribal shaman can force the evil spirit out of the child's body? After all, the fell animus should flee from its fleshly vessel if it is tortured enough, should it not? Thus children heckled, beaten and scorned by other children would do best to keep their plight a secret among their own kinsfolk. And what sound siblings would not show their disapproval of the runt's shameful straits by continuing the harrasment at home?
It is likewise with teachers, masters and adult overseers of all kinds, for why should they deny the Emperor-ordained order of things and attempt to stop water from running downstream? Why should they try to shield those who cannot even defend themselves? No, far better to go with the flow, and trust in the instincts of the herd. Is it not a part of good upbringing to make an example out of any deviants in the local community? It takes a whole village to raise a child, and it is best to prune that village from its unwanted elements. Why support the hopeless? Indeed, shunned younglings and adults alike will often be treated as usual suspects along with local criminals when planetary or voidholm law enforcement investigate crime, for their informants will have noted the outcasts' bad reputation and potentially festering resentment. Society has found these pecked chickens wanting, their value close to nil. They better know their proper place.
Speaking of vigilant informants serving the best interests of their species and lord, such a phenomenon can also be seen at work during witch hunts and paranoid great purges of suspected saboteurs and traitors, both of which are occasions when suspicions run high everywhere. Indeed such fevered times are perfect moments for juve informants to up their game by reporting their shunned victims as witches or wreckers or malcontents. And so they will turn their victims and their entire families in for bloody torture by the secular authorities or temple, never to be seen again unless the torture be made in view of the public eye to better warn would-be transgressors to toe the line, or else.
Social outcasts of all sorts are particularly easy prey during waves of purges and witch hunts. After all, the entire quarter or village or corridor can vouch for the maggot's worthless character, so the filed testimonies tend to be uniformally damning, leading to a quick and final verdict by triads of low-level officials overseeing the purge. Such penalties often take the form of collective punishment, true to the primitive nature of Imperial justice. As such the suspect and their family and clan may be condemned to penal labour, corporal punishment, death or much worse for imaginary crimes and sins never committed. Coincidentally, the hab unit thus made empty may fall into the hands of close kin to the dutiful informer who turned in the heretic or apostate in the first place, which is always a great boon in the overcrowded hive cities and squalid voidholms of the Imperium of Man.
To be shunned by your stout, Emperor-fearing peers is a damning sign, and proof in itself of hidden devilry. Those particular purges that is carried out by His Divine Majesty's Holy Inquisition will promiscuously use a great many informants to slaughter all manner of potentially subversive elements by sacrificing thousands, millions or even billions of inhabitants to root out small sects and rebel cells. In these sweeps of deviants and suspects, informants will routinely mark down on death lists those individuals who were shunned by their community, since they are assumed to harbour resentment that could lead to thought of self and even worse heresies. Thus is preventive justice done within the parochial realm of the Master of Mankind, that moribund interstellar civilization where the greatest of atrocities will all be lost in the labyrinth of oblivion.
It takes a whole village to raise a child, and part of that village are other children. They can be relied upon to dutifully prey upon deviants, with righteous spirits guiding their tongues and fists. They can be trusted to assail suspect kids with poison for the soul, and guard the community against abnormals of all kind. These little guardians will watch for shirkers and cowards with a ravenous appetite for nastiness. Among the spawn of man, those who turn another's life into misery is not a rare few, but a large part of any gathering. Indeed often a majority. Never forget that it behooves us to hate, for it is well within our nature to do so.
The same juves and infants that piously pray to the Imperator for salvation and attend regular templum services, are the very same little creatures that beset choice prey children with all manner of dull or inventive funny insults and acts of malice. And so the falsehoods of adults are shadowed by the dissembling of children. And how could it be otherwise?
After all, it is a sweet and seemly thing to reap the allied laughter of a crowd when slighting another to their face. Of course, the victims of such unfriendly conduct will only be further humiliated if ever their outrage boils over into furious attempts at futile vengeance, for their lot is a pit of sadness, and nothing more. They must know their proper place, and wince at the heckling and pain. They must endure their daily trials in silence, lest these social outcasts will end their own lives in desperation. They must become stoic and deaden their senses, or they will succumb to blackest despair.
Let us dwell upon the shunned children held in public scorn, those damned bairns and cursed offspring rejected by their own tribe. Humans who, for whatever reason, prove a bad ingredient in personal chemistry will always be easy targets of the pack, their very existence making them the inevitable butt end of jokes. Many of them walk home alone, shivering and sobbing, or else they flee as fast as they can from their hounding tormentors. These victims of the mob will often offer up prayers to the God-Emperor of Holy Terra to lift His shield and protect them from public scorn, to preserve them from the cuts of sharpened tongues and to save them from common ridicule. Their earnest prayers will, as a rule, never be answered.
These low-rung losers may carry scars on the mind that will never truly heal no matter how old they may grow, for a consequence of all the ceaseless violence and mocking scorn is to break the self-confidence of weaklings and poltroons for life. Should we not drive out the deviant without mercy? Their weakness must be punished and rectified by pushing them beyond the limit of human endurance, over the precipice of suicide if the Emperor wills it so. It is their harrowing trial, not ours.
Consider these unsung martyrs of private, selfish suffering. Any inane phrasing and personality quirk of theirs will be ripped apart by clawed words from their gaggle of ambushing verbal torturers. These collectively spurned misfits have learnt firsthand that it is a terrible thing to be loathed by your own tribe. They are downtrodden by their own community, subject to a thousand forms of little everyday suppression from their fellow children. They are loathed eaters who every day are force-fed the rotten fruits of disgust by disapproving peers. They are nothing.
Those wretched folks are riven by everyday sorrow and doubt of self, as well they should be. Such willingly forgotten wretches of communal scorn can do little else than squeak as they are stomped into the dirt, trampled by normal humans driven by the same inner gleeful intoxication that make men butcher other men like cattle without hesitation. They are not only trampled by strangers, but trampled by those who could have been their kith. These friendless wastrels will squirm and cry out in pain as vitriol is poured down the throat of such an unwilling drinker of bitter life. Such humiliated souls are not seen as real people by their disdainful tormentors, for why should they be held in anything but contempt? Has not the omniscient God-Emperor Himself decreed that we must not suffer the deviant to remain among us?
The banality of evil may be seen every day on regular scholam yards and workhouse floors, as juvenile predators of common upbringing move with baleful intentions, heaping profanity, ad hoc missiles and strikes of fists and elbows upon the lonely forsaken ones. Some are willfully blind to the lifelong anguish they inflict upon others, while some indeed relish the opportunity to brand someone other than themselves with longlasting woe. They will not only mince the inner life of their victim, but they will get away with it, too. They are all judge, jury and executioner in the court of odium and opprobium. It is in truth like a slow lynching, a withering away of a weakling's inner spirit. Bear witness to the endless petty malice of ordinary children, and never once again be surprised at the monstrous bloodshed of adult humans. Through little evils can be glimpsed great evils.
Folks in the midst of neverending petty suffering are beset by sadists in learning and impressionable sheep alike. They all live their life as a smörgåsbord laid out for psychopaths to dine on, and the common people will join in as well. All this amounts to a worldly meatgrinder of hopes and ambitions, this killer of the light that is the falsehood and wickedness of sinful man, this swallowing of one's own kindred, this butchery of ugly ducklings.
To those communally shunned lambs of sorrow, there is no way out at any moment from experiencing life in the Age of Imperium for what it really is: After all, they fear not only the rulers, taskmasters, gangers and crazed sect members like ordinary people do, but they also live in terror of their fellow men and women. To them there is no relief from the peculiar mixture of boredom and dread that marks one's life as an Imperial subject. Likewise, to them there is truly no escape from the ever-present sense of inevitable, mechanistic cruelty that permeates this entire epoch. Despised and crushed at every turn by all they come into contact with, they must have a will of iron simply to survive the heavy grind of everyday life.
Witness the sons and daughters of man and woman approach their prey, akin to a grinning pack of salivating hyenas. They will surround it, grip ahold of it, pound it and bite it with infected words. To heap mockery unto others as part of a band is in two aspects similar to going into battle: First, always fight from a position of strength and exploit any advantage over the enemy which you can find. Second, to increase your chances of survival, you must kill with a will, and never hesitate. The heckling should not be half-hearted, but must sting and burn for hours and days after you landed your verbal blow. Put in your best effort, and witness your prey crumble away under your onslaught. Press the attack and strike through chinks in their armour. Hit them where it hurts the most, with lies and truths and twisted disinformation. Only by establishing dominance can you ever hope to prevent your mirthful companions from suddenly turning on you at a bad moment. It is better to be feared than loved, if you cannot be both.
Most of the kid gang will watch with merciless eyes and lying lips as the last rites are enacted over a fallen prey who chose to end the suffering of self like an apostate and coward. And if the true nature of the youngling suicide is revealed to Imperial authorities, a terrible revenge by the lawful powers that be may be visited upon the irresponsible family of the deceased human production unit. Siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces may be carried away to various forms of slavery, split up and never to see their family again. Likewise, public electro-flogging, unpayable fines, penal camp labour or servitorization without anaesthetics may see adults disappear from the household. Needless to say, many child devils feel a perversely electrifying sense of power, akin to that sensed by bairns during witch hunts, who lie away the lives of fully grown men or women. Or akin to juves turned informants for the joy of secret control over the fates of adult people. What might those tiny hands may carry! Such power over others! It is truly a delicious experience to savour and lust for, a dark aphrodisiac for the soul, a secret passion.
The Imperium of Man understands that an ingrained habit of hurting others since an early age may make it easier for some fresh soldiers to kill, both upon the battlefield and in massacres of civilians. It is in every way preferable to raise Imperial subjects who are inured to cruelty and do not flinch from inflicting it on others. Thus we shall see human nature for what it really is, without sinking into a morass of misanthropic cynicism. We ought to recognize its vibrancy, its colourful brilliance and pulsating strength, yet we should also ken its bottomless depravity. For man carries within him great promise and the potential to climb to soaring heights, yet he is also a bestial slave to his own failures and downfall.
It is common for scrawny victims of human whelp packs to blame themselves for their inescapable plight, as well they should. Like beasts of prey will children gang up on target pups to consume them little by little with biting words and violence of the many against the lonely. And is the tiny torment not a just punishment visited upon such shunned wretches? After all, do they not fill the mouths of those who behold their filthy deviancy with distaste and physical revulsion? How could we not strike out against the repugnant and insultingly weak? How could we not drag their names in the mud? How could we not trip them up and pour foul liquid into their shoes? How could we not tear at their hair and clothes and spit right into their puny faces? Learning to scorn is important for learning to hate, and humanity can only be kept pure by hating that which is ugly in man.
And so, on a million worlds and voidholms without number across a vast cosmic empire that has lasted tenthousand years, we shall find that human children everywhere participate in energetic wrongdoing, each day, each rotation, each lights-on. They will single out vulnerable cubs of their species, and they will send a cold shiver down the puny targets' spines whenever the meek mice see their tormentors approach. These capricious predators will set upon their shunned victim with unkindly spite and lips flashing smiles that lie. These average bairns are well versed in the use of their acidic tongues for sprouting barbed lingo and toxic speech, for they have long since discovered that scorning others is a pleasant way to spend one's limited lifetime.
And these common kids, these naughty children of a default human mindset, will pursue the glory of laughter and popular reputation by gripping their lonely victim with many hands, and dunk their head underwater to watch the abandoned weakling flounce in wild panic. Usually they pull up the lad or lass before it is too late, since sparking the fear of drowning again and again is far more entertaining than actually drowning the runt, though sometimes the forsaken one's head is kept in too long while air bubbles stop popping on the surface, and the social outcast dies a horrible drowning death in the hands of its tormentors. This could potentially have dire complications, yet the pack of banes usually manage to make any little witnesses shut up by threatening to drown them too, while the murderous children themselves will not say a word about the event, denying any accusations wholesale and questioning if not the accuser themself is in actuality the murderer. If incidents like that can be faked as accidents caused by the clumsy idiot's many own faults, then all the better. And early honing of the ability to kill for the Emperor later on in life is not to sneer at. At any rate, child mortality is so high and commonplace on all Imperial worlds and voidholms, that there is little use making a fuss over some spilt milk. Just sell the earthly remains to the Corpse Guild's grinders for a pittance, then forget it and move on. The grieving parents can always breed new children if they really care so much.
Naturally, the ever-present threat of everyday little torture spilling over into juvenile crime as an accomplished fact on the playing field, will take its mental toll on the pecked chickens. Terror and despair will become second nature to them, and they will wince at any unexpected sound or movement, and glance about with wide-eyed paranoia in their eyes. Their pulse will gallop like that of a rabbit all too often, and the stress may leave them drained. Everyone will treat them worse than they do other kids, to their constant chagrin. These ostracized small ones will be forced to endure a hellish prison that is the company of spiteful and vicious peers eager to see them suffer and keep kicking them while they are down on the ground, writhing in agony.
Such wolfpacks of deceivers and ravenous monsters will not only scourge the waking hours of their victims, but will haunt their very dreams. For the memory of those ordinary juves will make the victim wake up in cold sweat at night, gasping from nightmares that merely resumed their daytime life experience in sleep. If these dark dreams and psychic trauma would turn bad enough to cause the son or daughter to shriek regularly at night, then suspicions of wyrdhood and emergent witchcraft will be swiftly afoot, possibly seeing the worrisome screamer disappear without a trace, or being lynched in the street by unnerved adult neighbours who wish to throttle the threat in the cradle, so to speak, after having heard gutsy folk tales of latent witches breaking into their heinous true nature during puberty. Be the first to strike.
The same impulses that drive ordinary children to callous acts against youngsters of their own age, may sometimes feed mischievous frolics against adults, and especially against those grown-ups who are held in contempt by the whole community. Parents and other severe adults in the close-knit local community will often try to beat it out of the unruly children, since it technically constitutes an unacceptable rebellion against mature authority, even if the target is a despised human they themselves have spat on many times. Such ill treatment of the bold whelps may reap the desired effect, yet such punitive violence may also harden the punished child into growing up ruthless and cruel, thereby fostering a hardy cycle of violence and drained empathy through the generations which is much praised by the Imperium of Man. And while we are on the topic of the chastising of children, take note of how the status of parents' progeny change within the family, as they come into adolescence and also grow taller, stronger and more capable of resisting the violence of their elders. This must be nothing else than pure coincidence, since human nature is surely too elevated and high-minded to base its actions and rearing of offspring upon beastly assessment of muscular strength like some kind of barbarous Ork.
As to primitive modes of behaviour, a fair number of mankind's colonies during the heyday of the Dark Age of Technology were founded by people who scorned the material bliss, rotten spiritual gentleness and tampering with the fabric of creation itself that poisoned the unbelieving mainstream cultures of the Human Federation. There were settled a great many retro-technological human colonies who deliberately shunned the most advanced tech, for in that age there existed a liberty of choice completely unknown to the degenerate descendants of that long-lost golden era. Most of those colonies that became the Knight worlds were of such deliberately techno-primitive character, relying on a Standard Template Constructor at the disassembled colony ship to provide the settlers with choice pieces of crucial medicine and rugged, unsophisticated hardware, while the colonists otherwise mostly lived simple lives of subsistence farming, gathering, herding, hunting and fishing, with homecrafts and rudimentary manufacturing supplementing a lowly local economy with little to no contact with the outside world's decadent hustle and bustle.
In those distant times, such techno-primitivism was a matter of choice. In the Age of Imperium, it has instead become an inescapable fact of life for untold billions of Imperial subjects. One such example of regressed human civilization beneath alien stars can be found on Myrmekion III, one of thirty moons of the ochre red gas giant Skythikon VII. A hot volcanic belt exist around the equator of Myrmekion III, heating the celestial body greatly and providing self-renewing bursts of mineral wealth to extract. Several giant hive clusters are scattered about the heavily industrialized equator, but temperatures drop off quickly once you go northward or southward of the moon's rotund waist. Here in the backwoods, vast frigid forests stretch for enormous distances, pockmarked by hunting lodges and peasant villages eking out a poor living on marginal soils. Schmoliupiai is one such village of timber cottages, located seventeenhundred Terran miles south from Hive Melgonuv of Tansk Hive Cluster. Here, in the village of Schmoliupiai, the cycle of juvenile violence and scorning of the unwanted went full circle one day in early winter during the year of 357.M41. A crime most foul was committed that cold day, standing as further proof that all shunned outcasts secretly are the scum of our human species, standing as stark confirmation that we do well to harrow such deviants and ought not to mourn their passing for even a heartbeat.
It all revolved around a simple well pole on the eastern outskirt of Schmoliupiai village, a rudimentary creation of wood that is also known as a counterpoise lift. Schmoliupiai leached a little juice off hanging power lines that ran through the village from fusion plants on the southern pole on their way to Tansk Hive Cluster, yet the backwater settlement lacked both pumps, piped water and sewage. As such, water carriers with shoulder paddings had to lift up water from wells by hand and carry the buckets on yokes laden across their shoulders, running to and fro the well pole many times in a day. It was arduous work, preferably left to poor day labourers, children and farmhands. One of these water carriers was a bearded man named Ananiy Balchunas, more commonly known as Snoweater Balchunas after several repeated incidents in his tender childhood years when he had been forced by other children to eat muddy thaw snow and worse, in front of half the village. No one had come to his defence, but plenty had laughed. The moniker of Snoweater had stuck, and still stung decades later.
Naturally, mischievous village imps would from time to time play a cruel trick upon the burdened water carriers during winter. It was not unusual for water carriers to leave their buckets by the well poles in the evening, to have less of a burden to carry to the well in the morning. As darkness fell, there was always a risk for small rascals darting out and filling the buckets by the well pole, to let them freeze solid overnight, thus forcing the angry water carriers to spend much time and energy in the morning to hack out the ice from their buckets before they could start filling them.
Sometime a kindly old herbess would walk out late in the evening to the eastern well pole and pour out any water from the buckets, yet this only happened when she found a little vigour and time left over late in a day full of family chores. As she grew older and the grandchildren and grandgrandchildren grew more numerous, this happened less and less, and so the iced buckets grew more frequent.
One frigid winter morning, the despised male water carrier Ananiy discovered the juvenile sabotage of his buckets that he had left at the well pole the day before out of sheer exhaustion, offering a quick prayer to the warming hands of His Divine Majesty on Holy Terra to protect the buckets from malignant crotchlings and sprogs before collapsing in his bed made out of straw and moss. Yet the nippers had been at it anyway, once again!
And so Snoweater Balchunas yet again kneeled in the crisp, shallow snow and hacked away with his ice pick in silent fury. The guilty anklebiters had found an opportunity to slip out and watch. This time however, the crumb crunchers did not only catch a glimpse and let out distant laughter from afar, but dared one another to go closer and closer behind the back of the toiling water carrier. Ananiy ignored them with a patience stronger than most people could muster, yet this lack of attention did not dissuade the slips from inching nearer and nearer to the well pole. At last they were so close to the bearded man that they could see ice chippings flying out of the copper bucket's tinned inside.
The children stood quietly and watched, until suddenly one strike with the ice pick hit at a bad angle and slid across the ice, harvesting swearwords out of the clenched teeth of Ananiy Balchunas. At this display of anger at the consequences of their clever little fell deed, the bairns all burst out laughing and pointing at the freezing water carrier, who attempted to ignore them all, yet their scoffing laughter only went on and on with tears of malicious joy running down their rosy cheeks. The infectious mirth kept the laughter flowing in a juvenile feedback loop. All of a sudden, things went full circle, and the stoic water carrier unexpectedly snapped. It all came back to him in full force, kneeling as he did by the well pole.
Born a calm boy, little Ananiy had been the shunned butt of all jokes in the village of Schmoliupiai through all his early years, constantly the target of ridicule and contempt, and he never could retort to their cruel japes or gain their respect, no matter how hard he tried. Snoweater Balchunas had eventually developed a stoic self-control and learnt to somewhat roll with the punches, yet the bite of the other village youngsters' scorn could at best only be dampened, not negated. The most efficient medicine was to ignore his surroundings as best as he could, eyes locked in front of him and uncleaned ears attempting to filter out the surrounding people's nasty noise. Amaliya Petkus, a lanky girl two years older than him, had endured much the same communal scorn. She had drowned herself by the marriable age of fifteen, though her bloodkin had hushed it up in case an Imperial bailif ever found out. There had been a lot of false sad faces among her peers at the templum last rites as the peddling Corpse Guild trucker ceremoniously bowed to the priest and handed over useless scrip to the parents for Amaliya's swollen but recyclable biomass. The eyes of the juves had mainly been unperturbed, cold and wolflike. Of course prey could die. What of it?
As Snoweater Balchunas grew into a tall, strong man, villagers of the same age at long last seemed to roll back their endless petty malice, but mostly because adult age had dampened their childlike mirth and brought expectations to behave more maturely when sober. The gibes and insults still were flung from time to time, but the onrushing torrent of yesterday's childhood and adolescence had dwindled to a dripping flow, leaving some peace of mind to partially soothe Ananiy's bruised ego and wounded self-confidence. Life had been hard enough, for he was on the bottom rung of his village as a day labourer and had to make a living out of the cheapest and hardest rural jobs he could find. He was inured to cold and aching body parts, yet the old stigma died hard, and none of the village women of an age with him wished to marry Snoweater Balchunas, both for the disdain they carried toward his person, and for his present state of abject poverty. Clearly, the guiding hand of the celestial Imperator on Earth did not wish any virtuous lass to take such a doubtful man for her husband, and all manner of observed superstitious omens agreed with this religious insight.
At any rate Ananiy Balchunas had been turned too asocial, too awkward and too shy of people from his peer-plagued upbringing, so he did not even dare to think about asking any lass out without having drunk himself out of his mind on greysap vodka or oily kramshki. And so Ananiy aged alone in a cot half dug into the earth, silently enduring the labour tasks and rheumatic limbs without any complaining. He had endured for years and years, and faced a horrible old age in the future, but at least the worst flood of heckling and violence was behind him, a remembered torment rather than an inescapable nightmare reality to wake up to every day. Yet now the wicked boys and their rollicking laughter at his expense as Snoweater Balchunas angrily hacked away at the iced bucket, now that was just too much. Too much. And all too familiar. The spiteful laughter of children throughout the years rang in his ears, rang in his head, rang in all his painful memories, throttling him to his core. Once more he found himself on the ground, surrounded by taunting children and fingers pointing foul at him. Once more he was become the village ass. Once more the odd one out.
Not. Bloody. Again.
As he fumed and glared into the distance, Ananiy made a silent vow among the scoffing laughter of village children. He would not go out like the girl Amaliya Petkus did. Snoweater Balchunas would take some of the bastards with him to the corpsegrinder, and damn them all! His soul was already forfeit. The deed only had to be done. It was a thought of total wrath, yet it was also a liberating thought. He would die a free avenger.
A long reined-in temper tore its ropes, stampeding in wild furor after so many years kept in check. The wrath of the water carrier suddenly boiled over with a vengeance, and he belted the water pick as he sprang to his feet in one swift motion and grabbed ahold of two of the lads before they could even react with more than a stunned gasp. The rest of the child gang scattered, running and yelling for home. Had Ananiy had more than two arms, he would have chased down and caught more of the brats. The two children screamed and cried and squirmed in the water carrier's gloved hands, but his calloused grip was like iron, and Snoweater Balchunas did not say a word as he forcefully dragged both of the boys through the snow, snorting like a bull through his nostrils. In a village where everyone knew everyone else, he did not need to ask who their parents were. He knew the parents all too well. They were of an age with water carrier Ananiy Balchunas.
Thus an infuriated neighbour knocked on the wooden doors of first one timber cottage, then another. In both homes he curtly asked to see the father of the boy, with eyes glaring dark from hatred. As the man in the house appeared at the door with scorn in his eyes, the water carrier buried his ice pick in the head of his old tormentor, then smashed the screaming son's skull to gory bits against the timber logs. Manslayer Ananiy hardly said a word at any of the two cottages, but made a spontaneous attempt to head for the hills and escape to foreign landscapes on foot without tools or provisions, before Schmoliupiai huntsmen on skis pursued him to the edge of a ravine, and shot the murderer dead with hotshot lasrifles, sending the body tumbling into the thin ice below, which cracked and swallowed the corpse into the Chernayavoda creek. Incidentally, the strapping huntsmen were of an age with Snoweater Balchunas, and were long since used to slinging mockery and projectiles at him.
And all over the backwater county and beyond on Myrmekion III, folks would sing a sad song about the heinous crime for centuries to come, preferably set to string and pipe instruments or bone drums, cursing the name of the water carrier in death out of hatred, much as they had cursed him in life out of scorn.
Thus the petty malevolence of children overflowed to hit a shunned adult with fell cunning, to reap the hilarity of succesful sabotage. Yet the harvested fruits of anger were far more than any of the scoffing bairns could have imagined, and the social outcast died a hated bane of fathers and sons alike, a terrible man that should not have been born in the first place. And so we reinforce our conviction that deviants of all sorts should be ruthlessly harrowed and humiliated, for clearly our revulsion towards their very being is a godly sign to mistrust their hidden rot and secret sins. Trust in your instincts, for it is right to hate, and just to scorn.
In the mocking laughter and jabs of children can be seen the seeds of strength and cruelty necessary for man to survive in this harsh galaxy. As a child, man learns to employ his might and test his aptitude for combat and hardship, or else he learns to endure evil without end. And so human nature is revealed in the small deeds and words of little children, an echo of the great deeds and atrocities they may commit as adults. And the sole ruler and deity of our species sees this with His wise eyes from upon the Golden Throne of Holy Terra, and He judges it fairly, and He know it to be good.
Be ruthless. Be strong. Be cruel. Or else see the worlds and voidholms of man burn to ashes. Abandon strength, and your kin will abandon life. Be hardy, and doubt not!
Thus in hovels of squalor and palaces of luxury, the same timeless story plays out again and again across the Milky Way galaxy, namely that of the shunned outcast, who caught the evil eye of his own community and was endlessly hounded throughout his mortal life. This tragedy will never stop repeating as long as humanity persists, nay, until there is no more sentient life left in all the universe.
And so no man of the world will be surprised to find predatorial children devouring those held in contempt by others, sometimes literally so among feral cannibal cultures. Such vigilant guarding of the purity of one's community against deviants, weaklings and freethinkers constitute fundamental building blocks in the parochial, fanatical and aggressively myopic fortress prison that is the Imperium of Man. For man will not deny by deeds his savagery and primal instincts, and so fivehundred generations of blood and carnage and hatred have passed by since the founding of the Imperium. Fivehundred generations of stagnant rot. Fivehundred generations of the worsening of man, in an ever downward spiral.
It is an eon bereft of mercy, a demented time, a doomed era of hellish depravity. As above, so below. And so petty bullying have never been more cruel and unrelenting than it is in the Age of Imperium, in the darkest of futures.
Such is child, the father of man.
Such is earthly man, between heaven and hell.
Such is the evil that men do.
It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only malice.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/02/17 14:15:08
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
In the grim darkness of the far future, man is bred like cattle.
What the interstellar domains of Holy Terra ignorantly know as the Dark Age of Technology, the spritual-industrial cosmic empire of Holy Mars in truth know as the Golden Age, when the ancients discovered all knowledge in the universe and invented all that could possibly be invented. All that could be, was. Yet the techno-heresy of Abominable Intelligence and alien defilement laid low the wonders of the ancients, and left their great works in ruin.
Truly, Man of Gold was blinded by his own success and empathy, for what else but an affluent and decadent overabundance of compassion and pity could lead the wise ancients thus astray, that they tolerated the xeno to live and the soulless sentience to erect the wonders of man for him? Truly, the ancients were poisoned by the sweet fruits of their own ingenuity and cunning craft. Truly, they were blinded by the brilliant light that they had themselves ignited, and thus the vessel of man ran aground upon the treacherous rocks of an uncaring universe. Clearly, humanity should have scoured the galaxy clean of all alien life and alien mechanism in that distant time when the ancients were mighty beyond compare across the stars, yet such a purification to safeguard the future of the human species was never carried out, due to that irrational feebleness of the fleshly mind that is warm and soft empathy, that abominable sin of mortal man which may yet damn us all unless we be vigilant and we be ruthless of will. And so the grand opportunity for human monodominance was lost forever, lost in the heinous thought patterns of ancient man when his hands truly held the tools and weapons to accomplish that monumental achievement of xenocide. Then, man had the means but lacked the will. Now, we have the will, but lack the means.
There is no truth in flesh, only betrayal. There is no strength in flesh, only weakness. There is no constancy in flesh, only decay. There is no certainty in flesh but death.
The knowledge of the ancients stands beyond question, for all discoveries and inventions occurred during the Golden Age of Technology, when man stood at his very apex. Yet we who remain of the scattered seed of the ancestors are in one sense much wiser now, for the folly of our forefathers and the great downfall that was a consequence of their errors, has taught us in truth to hate. It has taught us all to hate that which is weak in flesh, to hate that which is lost in spirit, to hate that which is ugly in man. It has taught us to hate the xeno, the witch, the heretic, the deviant, the malcontent, the freethinker and the unbeliever. It has taught us all to uphold purity by purging the impure from among our ranks. Cruelty without doubt is a form of wisdom. Ken no mercy.
At its very core, the lesson that was the downfall of the ancients has taught us to hate our own intrinsic empathy, for pity and compassion are fit only for beasts without thought and intellect, fit only for weaklings destined to perish in this harsh world. Empathy is not a luxury we can afford, nay, for we must instead scour the faithful and harden them to become true devotees of the Cult Mechanicus. Thus we will recalibrate our perspective and reprogram ourselves, from the ur-software of fleshly mind that our ancestors once operated on. We must rise above the wretched frailty of human flesh, and cleanse our very sentience with the mathematical clarity of machine, and drink of its analytical clairvoyance, free from the filth of emotion. We must strive to become pure in thought, just as we must strive to become pure in form by replacing our fallible flesh with far better parts of metal and lightning. We must become one with the Omnissiah.
How can our feeble flesh best serve the Machine-God? O, Motive Force, divulge unto us this electrical spark of insight, and reveal to us the physical purpose of life through mystical uplink. O, God of All Machines, give push of Thy exalted button to insert Thine divine command line, and we solemnly swear by proton and electron to decrypt the oracular code and execute the higher will of the Omnissiah in pious reception of asymmetric master/slave communication of holy data.
Pray, and you shall receive. Glimpse, a spark in the electrodes. Register, a nerve signal in the cerebrum. Insight is thus granted from on high. Give praise! Lo and behold this divine grant of comprehension! Gaze upon its pure numbers, and contemplate its fractal depths of inner meaning. And let lesser minds translate its clarity of message from the binary cant of Lingua-technis into the crudity of Low Gothic script:
01000001 00100000 01101101 01100001 01101110 00100000 01101101 01100001 01111001 00100000 01100100 01101001 01100101 00100000 01111001 01100101 01110100 00100000 01110011 01110100 01101001 01101100 01101100 00100000 01100101 01101110 01100100 01110101 01110010 01100101 00100000 01101001 01100110 00100000 01101000 01101001 01110011 00100000 01110111 01101111 01110010 01101011 00100000 01100101 01101110 01110100 01100101 01110010 01110011 00100000 01110100 01101000 01100101 00100000 01100111 01110010 01100101 01100001 01110100 01100101 01110010 00100000 01110111 01101111 01110010 01101011
Let us meditate upon its hidden commandments, and act according to intense scrutiny and ritual unlocking of the compressed will of the All-Knowing One. Let the air be filled with sacred incense and the sounding of bells. Let us ignite the altar lumens of understanding in reverent salutations. Let us sing the Psalm of Ignition, then the Hymn of Connection, followed by the Akathist of Latency. Let us give thanks to the Great Machine, for its imperious gifts are bountiful indeed. Let us collate all the data, and bear witness to the righteous conclusions reached through stringent logic by our holy order regarding the purpose of man and what use there be for his weak flesh:
In ancient times, shining spires of technological wonder and breathtaking sophistication rose on more than twain million colonized words and void habitats beyond counting, defying the laws of nature in soaring splendour and titanic scale. Within these spaceclimbing edifices of glorious knowledge dwelled a great multitude in palatial opulence amid lush gardens and earthly happiness. Quick-witted Man of Gold was served by doughty Man of Stone, who was served in turn by toiling Man of Iron. Uncounted billions of human settlers streamed out to ever more colonies, to ever more terraformed celestial bodies, to ever more artificially constructed voidstations. Man's dominion grew by the year. Such a rapid outflow of ever more humans across the stars could not have been maintained naturally by comfortable man in those rich times of plenty and science, even though sizable families and multiple litters of children through an extended multi-century life cycle were common even in the most urbane of human cultures during those lost aeons of boundless exploration and expansion.
Mankind had long since ceased its complete dependence on organic reproduction akin to rutting animals, and the bringing forth of new population was achieved in a multitude of ways, of which unskilled beastly copulation was but one of many. A confused flora of old legends scattered across the Imperium of Man speak of fluid birthdens, growth tanks, idyllic foster-hotbeds and fleshvat factories, where new generations were grown in huge numbers before being spawned by artificial wombs. From there, they were welcomed into a caring world, even where they might lack a real family, and man's mastery of matter was such that he could reshape his own being at will, and banish what was ill in life. It was a luxurious time of great curiosity and optimistic devotion to science, in an era of unbridled progress where lengthy education was aided both by bionic enhancement, neural librarium download, hypno-therapy and memetic longus-doctrination.
Despite humanity's obvious mastery of nature, the Golden Age of Technology saw man treat his fellow man with dignity and respect, for man in those times had put his own self on a pedestal and abhorred religious worship, for his was a decadent civilization of intoxicated hubris. And so it was frowned upon for the governing agencies of worlds and voidstructures within the Human Federation to approach its plump and happy inhabitants with overly much in the way of intrusive coercion, especially so in matters of family and reproduction. Unbelievably enough, the ease of manufacturing new human beings did not see man become discardable and replacable like any old nut and bolt, but our sinful ancestors were selectively blind to the order of things, and for this they would suffer in the end. Everything worked like a great machine, and Man of Iron did the heavy lifting, while Abominable Intelligence did the rote thinking, while Man of Gold and Man of Stone grew in numbers, and everything seemed good to the ancients.
Such wicked bliss was destined to die in flames, of course. The baleful errors of ancient man converged at last with his willful blindness to produce first an interstellar firestorm of machine revolt, and then a hellstorm of psykers and howling Warp currents across the Milky Way galaxy. And so the monuments, academies and industries burned, and spires were toppled while orbital platforms crashed in a Ragnarök of massive death and destruction. Man was cut off from his kin across the stars, and man was reduced to nothing but a savage brute who fought ravenous cannibals and mutants with pointy sticks and looted weaponry hailing from paradisal days of yore. Old Night descended upon the charred worlds of man. Man fought man in a bloody freefall, and man ate his own kin in desperation. Such was the Age of Strife.
Such were the wages of sin.
Various tech for cloning and splicing genes were a hallmark of human civilization during the Golden Age of Technology. As with all the craft and lore of ancient man, only fragments and lacunae-ridden pieces of documents remain of the great scientific whole of genetic technology. Some gene-tech of old was clearly an abomination unto the human genome, including unholy crossbreeding with xenos from completely foreign lifesources, in unspeakable miscegenation and defilement of blood. Less revolting fleshly modifications were for the most part artificial adaptations to weird climates and biotopes under alien suns, or scientific whims and power fantasies pursued because man had the abilitiy to do so. The most common Golden Age tinkering with human DNA included widespread means for eliminating deformities, clogging veins, inherited disease and genetic predilections for mental unhealth, as well as the cultivation of smarter, stronger, more beautiful and less aggressive personalities on a biological level, to name but a few miracles of ancient techno-sorcery.
Needless to say, only fractured shards remain of these bio-enhanced peaks of human betterment and unnatural evolution. Many inheritable traits of genetic engineering have devolved into foul mutations and shunned abhuman strains, while others resulted in unforeseen genetic disease as the code of life shifted and changed under distant stars. Still other gene-tinkered characteristics became lost in the great sea of roiling human breeding, only visible as a faint imprint for scrutinizing Genetors, while some traits survive as local peculiarities of various human ethnos and tribes scattered across a million planets and uncountable voidholms. Some of the biological legacies of the Dark Age of Technology were ruthlessly hunted down and exterminated from mankind's genepool by rough warriors during the Age of Strife, or by increasingly hateful ordinary men, women and children in the ever-darkening Age of Imperium. Other fruits from the science of the ancients lived on as invaluable bloodlines of crucial personnel for human civilization to reach across the stars, for the Navigator gene of the insular Houses of the Navis Nobilite was crafted in those lost millennia of the misty past.
During Old Night, much of man's living knowledge about genetic engineering was preserved only by isolated groups of obsessed survivors, such as the Selenar gene-cults of Luna or in the hidden Himalazian laboratories of the Emperor on Terra. Some such insular communities would turn their shaky genetic expertise upon themselves and attempt to refashion their bodies to create a new and better human being, or to improve their chances of surviving in an increasingly hostile environment. An endless cavalcade of monstrous tragedies and bizarre freaks followed in the wake of such harebrained experiments, and many human tribes and techno-barbaric nations who sported some preserved gene-tech and functional bio-knowledge were ruthlessly purged in the Great Crusade in order to cleanse mankind of its accretion of malformed abominations, and start all over from a cleaned slate. Some dubious or outright forbidden paths of genetic engineering are still practiced by rare experts such as the renegade clonelord Fabius Bile and various sects within the parochial Adeptus Mechanicus. The Afriel strain of abhumanity is one such failed fruit of blundering experiments carried out in the ever more ignorant Age of Imperium. In short, mankind during the Golden Age of Technology had made man himself into clay in the hands of geneticists, but the most sublime and unholy gene-tech is long since lost.
Debased echoes of these advanced vitanoform fleshwork technologies are still practiced in rudimentary fashion by the Adeptus Mechanicus, that scavenging preserver of the scraps of the ancients. Indeed, this fanatical cult of machinery and metalcraft began as a cult for human survival, since knowledge of machines proved the difference between life and death as Mars and its life-sustaining systems collapsed at the onset of Old Night. The downfall of Martian civilization was incredibly swift, dependent as it was on a fragile ecosystem and shield generators to protect the populace from cosmic radiation. Yet pockets of survivors managed to scrape by, and among these desperate souls a new call went out. A call of salvation. The Cult Mechanicum promised shielding, water, energy and nutrition in the midst of ruination, cannibalism and rampant mutations. And the Cult Mechanicum delivered, through gruelling wars in red sands and wrecked spires after the planet of Mars had died its second death.
The Mechanicum always held man and his flesh in contempt, for the ability to construct, repair and operate machines enabled survival, not dilly-dallying about human frailty in the midst of baleful collapse. Evidently, the tech-priests of the Cult Mechanicum never hesitated about replacing limbs with bionic prosthetics or turning human beings into cyborg thralls. Yet even for all its disdain for weak flesh, the Mechanicum was from the very start a vehicle for human survival and rapid regrowth. During the Age of Strife, lulls would be observed in almost permanently turbulent Warp storms, and then the cunning priesthood of Mars would send out colonization fleets. Most of those ships that did survive to establish colonies, quickly saw its settler numbers grow at high speed, so that Mars and its isolated daughters over a course of thousands of years seeded many hundreds, or even thousands of forge worlds throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Many such occult industrial colonies would be inhabited by billions of people when the Expeditionary Fleets of the young Imperium of Man descended upon them, and the sheer power wielded by many such forge worlds emboldened them to stand up and fight for independence before the Emperor's brutal forces eventually overwhelmed the teeming Martian colonies.
Clearly, the Martian Mechanicum and its surviving offshoots had proven to be incredibly succesful during the ongoing human collapse of the Age of Strife, managing to not only hold their ground, but to expand aggressively and grow mightily in numbers through more than twohundred generations of destructive wars, constant Warp storms and alien predations. On some future forge worlds, the Mechanicum colonists found sizable numbers of native survivors, who had usually regressed to a pitiful state of existence. These worlds were conquered in bloody wars and forcefully converted to the ritual creed of the Cult Mechanicum, thus bolstering the number of settlers. Even so, press-ganging of indigenous savages and rapid natural population growth through having large families, would not fully explain the phenomenal success of Mars and her seeded worlds during the ravages of Old Night.
A high default rate of organic breeding on young Martian colonies was supplemented by various vitanoform fleshwork technologies, seeing billions of Mechanicum subjects enter life as vat-grown human creatures. Such techniques are to this day regularly employed on all large installations of the Adeptus Mechanicus in order to produce servitors, Skitarii and other human meat for grotesque rebuilding into living machines. Yet some forge worlds went further than that during the Age of Strife, and decided to maximize nativity from all sources in a systematic and orderly manner, thus adding to the population input of growth vats. And as the Age of Imperium has ground on in all its callous trampling of human life and ever-spiralling regression, ever more forge worlds have adopted a systematic schedule of mandatory artificial insemination, until it has become virtually a standard feature of the worlds and voidholms owned by the Adeptus Mechanicus throughout the Imperium. It is on this aspect of industrial reproduction of human populations that we shall now dwell, for it may tell us much about our species' life and industry in the darkest of futures.
The Adeptus Mechanicus is an empire within an empire, spanning thousands of forge worlds and millions of vassal voidholms. Its production and maintenance of ancient technology is absolutely crucial to the Imperium as a whole, and it possess far-reaching powers and ability to operate independently from the larger astral realms of the Throneworld. The Imperium of Man is founded upon the union of Mars and Terra in Sol system, its symbiosis encoded in the Treaty of Olympus Mons. While the cradle world of Terra stands as the eternal capital of mankind, Mars stands as its heart of science and technological knowhow, fostered in ancient times when the red planet was originally terraformed and colonized in circumstances that were most challenging to Man of Gold's still yet primitive technology and lore. Even though both Solar worlds and their holdings are marred by fanatic ignorance, hateful cruelty and post-apocalyptic regression, the Adeptus Mechanicus and its astral domains is a very different beast from the Terran Imperium proper.
To the Adeptus Mechanicus, crude life is nothing but a biological machine, inferior to the purity of cunning artifice, yet still carrying a soul that is the conscience of sentience. As a tyrannical cult of survival born in the most desperate crisis on Holy Mars, the Cult Mechanicus believes all thought of self to be dysgenic and contrary to our greater interests, and thus the individual must in every way be subjugated to the needs of the whole collective body. Just as a cog must serve its purpose in a great machine. A single man is nothing. The chosen human species is everything. And so the resourceful Adeptus Mechanicus, within its own vast domains, operates with a totalitarian power unheard of by most of the rest of the Adeptus Terra. For life is directed motion, and the Adeptus Mechanicus endeavours to control its direction. After all, is not all technology at the end of the day the harnessing of natural resources? Ferrum aeternum.
As such the Mechanicus will seize the means of reproduction. The creation of new human beings is just yet another form of industrial production, like so many others run by its heavily polluted forge worlds and millholms. All planets and larger factory and asteroid mining voidholms owned by the Martian Mechanicus needs to replace high die-off rates of their lowly human labour force, and likewise they need to ensure that new organics spring forth to bear blessed electrografts and bionic enhancements in a cycle of antique reusing. On top of a constantly high background mortality on lethal manufactoria floors, must be added sudden and massive industrial disasters such as chym floods, pandemics spawned by bio-leaks, detonations of fusion reactors, meltdown of fission, collapse of compounds, breakdown of shipside life support systems and a thousand other dangers inherent to Imperial industry. Opere necesse est, vivere non est necesse.
All this adds to the burdens of prognostication for Gedrosiarchs calculating workplace attrition rates, as do the construction of new facilities screaming for untold thousands upon thousands of labourers to keep the machines running, not to mention sudden and unpredictable requirements for more bodies by the Navis Mechanicus, the fleets of the red planet, its daughters, and all its holdings. It is likewise a volatile numbers game due to the sudden demand for more hands when machines break down beyond anyone's ability to repair, and previously automatized processes are replaced with human labour drones as a stopgap measure that soon grows permanent in nature. Such ravenous demand in the millions or even billions for more human toilers add up to an old Mechanicus practice of press-ganging large numbers of offworld humans from the Terran Imperium's overpopulated planets, keeping up a fluctuating yet continuous import of thralls in order to forestall an ever-looming threat of workforce drought forcing the rusting wheels of industry to grind to a halt. Thus slave labour of all ages are scooped up from other planets and voidholms, just like the Adeptus Mechanicus would do with minerals from mining or promethium from drilling. Vir est ore.
Nevertheless, most forge worlds and millholms tend to have long-term self-sustaining populations, even though offworld supply of warm bodies is necessary to quickly meet short-term spikes in demand or labour mortality. After all, there are to be found many factories for growing human beings in vats on any world of the Cult Mechanicus, and the population itself will usually breed like rats if given the chance. Often, however, that opportunity is not offered to the plebeians and menials by lordly tech-priests, for they usually run centralized breeding programs in order to maximize input, instead of trusting in random, sloppy rutting. Caro autem infirma.
Thus the toxic worlds and voidholms of the Adeptus Mechanicus will force their fecund workforce and clergy to do their part for the Motive-Force, and participate in rigorously scheduled artificial insemination programs, as well as eugenic projects of selective breeding for the initiated tech-priesthood. All this mirrors how agriculture would breed domestic animals. Man, after all, is but yet another resource to extract and exploit for the higher glory of the Omnissiah. Thus uncounted trillions of inhabitants on forge worlds and Mechanicus voidholms across the galaxy find themselves regularly subjected to primitive technology for artificial impregnation and seed extraction, the rate of which is determined by uncaring overlords festooned with spindly bionics who are able to adjust speed up or down just as they would the control instruments of engines and reactors. Deus est machina.
All this mechanistic ordering and generating of human life happens on entire worlds conquered and ravished by towering industry, where human corpses are but another waste product akin to chimney smoke and toxic discharges. Here, in edifices of raw power and industry, techno-theocrats marshall human and material resources on an unfathomable scale, drawing upon raw material extracted from dozens of worlds and tens of thousands of asteroids. Here, surrounded by the iconography of ancient engineering schematics and the heraldry of antique warning signs, insectile tech-priests and tech-priestesses raise their artificial voices in stanzas of machine cant, repeating mantras in triple digit cycles and intoning binary verses in couplets. Here, among the fires of industry and the roaring of furnaces, those inducted into mysteries of the Cult Mechanicus will prostrate themselves on the hard floor in veneration of sacred cogwheel icons, each sung oikos forming a larger hymn of alphanumerical acrostic to soothe troubled machine-spirits. Orbis et caminus.
Here, in hellish fabricator cathedrals and nightmarish refineries, are to be found the brainwashed masses of any forge world or millholm, the gears of industry lubricated by the suffering sweat and blood of innumerable toiling billions. They themselves have been reduced to little else than biological machine components without dignity or say, their bodies slotted into failing sections of debased tech, their reproductive cycles tamed and controlled by cyborg masters who put far more stock in swinging incense before venerable nanoprocessors and memory banks, than they do the wellbeing of their wretched inferiors. Here, in the toxic environments of polluted forge worlds, legions of short-lived menials succumb each and every hour, after grinding their lives away in shifts for some high and mighty overseer who barely knows they exist. They might die in vain. They might die in neverending toil. And they might die in astonishing numbers, yet the whole spiritual-industrial system of human production unit management is nevertheless working within acceptable parameters, for the Adeptus Mechanicus well know to fight off horrendous wastage and loss of human life through increasing input by all available means, whether organic or artificial. Hardships are to be endured. Challenges are to be overcome by the triumph of human willpower and devout sacrifice. The greater work must continue. Gloriam ad Omnissiah.
And so high mortality among menial castes are primarily staved off by vat-grown humans and mandatory programs of artificial insemination, supplemented by uncontrolled breeding and offplanet slave imports. In deadly mechanical manufactoria and lethal mills of alchemy on thousands of forge worlds and a vast array of client voidholms, are to be found faceless hordes of indoctrinated matres et patres, all mouthing mystical incantations, mantras of maintenance and catechisms of operation. Almost none of these ignorant parents will ever see their children, and fewer still will even know their progeny to be theirs when they see an overburdened errand juve scuttle past, buckling under the weight of fuel rods and replacements parts that it must carry to older labourers. These offspring will face a bleak and hard existence in the forges, just as their unknown parents do, and just as uncounted generations of hardworking menials and lay techfolk did before them in a long line of functional orphans.
Behold those wretched cretins, but cry no tears of pity over their plight, for empathy is shameful, the most base of crude emotions, an unworthy stirring of the spirit bereft of sacral logic and clever thought. The overriding commandment is to swell the numbers of the workforce, provide a rudimentary source of embryonic stem cells and increase the faithful flock. In an occult organization where the most devout seekers of knowledge and self-abnegation will replace their right brain half with a cogitator, there can be no value attached to weakling sentimentality. We can allow no corrosive compassion to tarnish our sentience as we comprehend the dehumanized numbers of statistical charts over labourers poisoned by chym or mysterious bio-chemistry. Nay, shun that frail instinct for mercy, for it is a trap of the flesh! Embrace instead the impersonal and magnificent truth on full display before our very eyes and ocular sensors: Witness the forge world.
Man has become infinitely malleable clay in the iron hands of machine. The crude world of the organic senses is nought but a rough approximation of the true reality of numbers and data, sung as a hymn of symmetry in the flawlessly analyzing processor-mind of the all-encompassing and all-knowing Machine-God. The music of the spheres is a cosmic symphony of cold arithmetics resonating in a room of perfect geometry, a binary orchestra of creation itself. Such is the real nature of the universe, and not the chaotic mess experienced by sinful mortals scrabbling in the dirt.
Why should we pay any heed to the protestations of fleshly lips and waggling tongues? It is so much white noise, fit only to be filtered out. Nay, behold instead the constructed perfection of valves and circuitry, and ken the righteous worship on display in devout processions among the machines. A myriad of convoluted techno-sects infest the body of the Cult Mechanicus, yet they all know that to break with ritual is to break with faith. The correct rites must be observed. Anoint thus the blessed mechanism with oil, and offer up the fragrance of sacred incense. All savants must know the techno-theological formulae and ritualistic words of activation. Any seeker of knowledge, learning and wisdom must be able to perform the correct rituals without fault. They must know how to process data and how to insert digital prayers, and they must rinse and repeat their cyclic attempts to win the favour of the machine-spirits in a stubborn display of religious fervour and dedicated intellect schooled by the Cult Mechanicus.
Thus the builders and knowers of mankind's finest craft have been reduced to hidebound zealots, their minds filled with superstition and slowly dissipating knowledge, even as their vox-cords give off a gibberish prattle of binary cant. The very ideas of their worldview and sectarian education are expressed in a poorly understood babble of High Gothic nomenclature inherited and scavenged from a long since past Golden Age of discovery and invention, when great minds where allowed to roam at large and crack open the secrets of the universe. Since then, man's regressed science and technology has slumped into pits of ignorance and fanatic dogma.
These tech-priests and tech-priestesses may be obsessed with cold logic and machine systems, yet simultaneously they will bow in blinkered worship of idols and pursue the ritualized riddles of arcane mysticism. Incredibly advanced databanks beyond the means of even the richest secular aristocrats have been filled with poorly processed hard information mixed with the garbled codes of digital shamanism and cultic creed. These curious souls, who once would have spearheaded humanity's hunt for its astral birthright, will instead recite binary mantras and litanies, lying prostrate in front of ritual tables of periodized elements and sacred charts of electronic circuitry handed down from a brighter age, when man knew how to make better out of himself. The organized state of humanity's best and brightest minds in the Age of Imperium is nothing short of a prison for thought itself, upheld by rigid dogma and the jealous slaying of anyone who would dare to challenge the unhinged status quo of deteriorating human knowledge guarded by an inept techno-theocracy hellbent on protecting its self-empowering monopoly.
As previously mentioned, rudimentary cloning technology derived from vitanoform and fleshvat lore of the ancients is still used by the Adeptus Mechanicus, yet it would be horrendously inefficient for the tech-priests not to also make use of the biological machinery of the operational human production units themselves. Waste not, want not. It is best to maximize input from a wide variety of sources, including vat-grown cloning of bodies, offworld press-ganging of slave labour, and natural human breeding. The latter, however, is usually rigorously controlled by artificial means and systematized into an ordered grid of rigid production schedules to better meet expected human wastage levels and future demand for labouring flesh. Only seldom will local sects of the Adeptus Mechanicus allow independent primal rutting to freely dictate the rhythm of body input into their monstrous calculations.
Unlike the Imperium proper of Holy Terra, the empire of the Adeptus Mechanicus do not believe in family. This primal organic unit is messy, unsystematized and disorganized, akin to a pigsty. Instead of parents and siblings, children on forge worlds and millholms will often grow up in a ladder of dismal institutions, where their age or evaluated productivity level dictates which rung in the ladder they find themselves in. The lowest rung of these functional orphanages will take care of infants who are usually given all the necessary nutrition, sleep and temperature regulation by lobotomized servitors, and yet still some babies wither away and die from lack of human contact, love and attention. Clearly, such weaklings were not fit for the rigours of life in the first place.
This neglect only intensifies as the toddlers are moved up into institutionalized units for the instruction and cultivation of small children. Instead of warmth and care, these liberi will be subjugated to ceaseless indoctrination, in order to better prepare them for their ordained roles within the Cult Mechanicus. Their first cerebral implants will be installed, the better to allow transfer of information directly into the children's skulls and waste as little time and resources as possible on mundane teaching. This short education will mainly deal with religious instruction fit for the most basic castes of the Machine Cult, as well as all manner of practical tech knowledge and the ability to read, write and calculate, to prepare the children for an early labour start on the floors of manufactoria and shipyards. The most promising pupils will be inducted into more prestigious institutions to prepare them for induction into the mysterious orders of the tech-clergy, where they will rub shoulders with the prodigious fruits of selective breeding and eugenics.
In order to foster a hardy spirit, supervisors will cultivate violence and fear in order to humiliate and control the children through draconic punishment. Electrical shocks and pain-inducing alchemical concoctions will be administered in full view of everyone else to misbehaving human progeny. Likewise, children found quarrelling will often be ordered to hit or taze each other as part of their disciplinary penalty, thus undermining any forming of close bonds between peers that might act contrary to subservience to the Cult Mechanicus. Older kids will usually steal away opportunities to hit and kick smaller ones, often as an outlet for their own frustrations and repressed aggression, thereby cultivating a virtuous cycle of violence against those younger than themselves. Thus the spawn of man is taught to be ruthless and to hate from an early age. To further promote the overbearing sense of isolation and mechanistic, inevitable cruelty, novitiates, federii and liberi will never be notified in advance when they are to be moved from one institution to another section, for they will be moved around like boxes, without personal belongings and without any chance to say goodbye to anybody they might have known. Inter-human attachments must not be formed, for that way the feebleness of flesh lies over yonder.
The entire environment of upbringing within the juvenile institutions of the Adeptus Mechanicus amounts to children being wiped out as human beings, their voices silenced, their weak selves humiliated, their wills broken. Only by dissolving the personalities of tender humans in such slaughterhouses of souls can a new and better man be built, one filled with zealous adherence to the Credo Omnissiah and one capable of becoming as one with the machine, both in body and mind. What use do children have for their mothers and fathers? What use do plebeians have for knowing their relatives? All relevant data are as a rule mapped out in genealogical pedigrees of controlled breeding, available only to the concerned blessed experts who can enter the correct clearance codes. This cold and mechanical treatment of human youngsters contributes greatly to moulding the subjects of the Cult Mechanicus into faceless numbers in enormous masses of replacable human machine components.
Weak-willed outsiders might find this arrangement to be joyless, resulting in a life bereft of tender contact and human warmth. Mayhap it will even result in raising generations upon generations lacking the finer things in life altogether. Such nonsense is not even worth the dignity of dismissive answer. No, listen not to the white noise of infidels and barbarian ignoramii. Let there be an unsentimental harvest and planting of seed, for the flesh is weak. We must strive to become one with the machine, act the machine, be the machine, even if scraps of flesh and organs still cling to our forms. The machine moves in patterns of mathematical exactitude and purposeful repetition, and so should we do as well in matters of the flesh.
Get rid of your delusions of the flesh, for they will lead you astray from the deeper reality hidden beneath the dull exterior that your unreceptive optic organs perceive in their state of half-blindness, ignorant as your ocular organs are to pure expressions of true reality such as observable heat differences and the spectrum of light. Shun illogical thought of self, for how could a wheel revolt against the axle around which it rotates? Purge irrational vanity, for how could a transmission belt care for its appearance? Form is but a manifestation of function, and there is no other beauty in all of creation than sacred function, just as there is no higher mystery outside the sacred reach of pure, unadulterated knowledge.
Thus man on thousands of forge worlds and innumerable vassal voidholms will be produced on an industrial scale, akin to machines making other machines. A higher system of reproductive engineering has replaced untamed patterns of feral copulation. The purity of cold calculation has replaced the abominable fragility of emotion, and so humans are extracted of their seed and impregnated routinely like one would inseminate domesticated grox and other cattle in agriculture. When speaking of this process, we must naturally exclude those human production units who have been chem-gelded, organ-crushed or otherwise rendered sterile and barren. Such impotent conditions may usually come about either in all-too common industrial accidents, or as a normal genetic hygiene punishment for repeated work failures that attract the judging eyes of superiors (although servitorization is a far more common measure), in order to not promote the passing on of undesirable traits to future generations of menials. For if the machine pool of a facility is to be cleaned and maintained with regularity, then surely the labour pool servicing the machines must be likewise cleaned and maintained without failure?
And so the servants of Mars and all its daughter holdings are created in coordinated breeding programs, where inception, gestation and delivery performs like oiled clockwork. On some forge worlds and voidholms of the Adeptus Mechanicus, this entire procedure is mechanically automatized into something resembling a rolling assembly line with strapped human bodies being processed at high speed, while at other places a simple queue to a large facility for mass extraction or injection will suffice. Know that the need for comfort is a false craving of the flesh. Rank within the Cult Mechanicus will determine the insemination process. Among both males and females, lowly menials and lay tech-folk will routinely have their arms and legs locked to a moveable hard table during the mechanical procedure in order to forestall any time-inefficient thrashing about of potential unwilling slaves, while Cult members inducted into the tech-priesthood and its arcane mysteries will be expected to fully understand the order of things and thus comply piously without any need for restraints.
As to the human produce of such scheduled factory programs, the small bodies of children make for poor labourers, while their young brains make for simple servitors. Although there are many tasks that are lightweight and menial enough to entrust to a child, such little work do not invite much else than dismissive views from the Adeptus Mechanicus. After all, the desired end product is a fully grown human production unit, whereas childhood stands as nothing but a time-consuming obstacle to the labour replenishment process.
Thus crops of despised and inefficient children will often be injected with variably volatile growth stimulants to accelerate their maturation into peak fitness juves and adults of far better efficiency levels than childishly undeveloped offspring possess. Still, children and tender juves can be put to reasonably heavy work and run errands for adult labourers. And so children can be seen scrabbling about inside great machines, where they pick cotton in textile factorum cathedrals, their work rhythm set to the precarious pulse and sudden thrusts of raking machinery that they must nimbly avoid at their own peril. Such utterly dangerous child labour is all beneficial to the running of the Great Machine, and thus it must never be shied away from. And as man in the far future has come to replace more and more machine tasks with manual labour, the industrial uses for children have slowly grown in number over the fivehundred generations that make up the Age of Imperium. For instance, the small bodies of liberi are well suited to claustrophobic labour tasks such as minor chimney sweeping, cleaning out nooks and cranies of lethally active machines in operation, and the horrible drudgery and crawling to cleanse pipes and large hoses from the inside, in which case bestial pipe lurkers are sometimes lying in wait for an easy prey to slowly devour alive, out of sight, out of mind. And so the pipe-cleaning kid may themself end up clogging the arteries of manufactoria.
Brainwashed Cult Mechanicus children who grow up in age cohorts under strict discipline and adult scorn, will receive electrografts and other cerebral bionic implants for efficient information downloading and educative installation directly into their tender brains. Electrografts and other cerebral tech implants were often originally designed with a rudimentary simulated intelligence in order to learn their tasks increasingly well over time so that they would improve function and efficiency over generations of irrelevant fleshly human carriers. Yet nowadays many cheaper electrografts decay over time and gradually turn the human production unit first irritable, then erratic, and finally insane. Neither the Imperium of Holy Terra nor the empire of the Adeptus Mechanicus sworn to Holy Mars have much patience for teaching plebs. For lay tech-folk and other lowly specialists it is far better to surgically implant hardware and quickly install software containing the necessary technical knowledge, rather than wasting years and years on proper education, teaching through hands-on practice and a thorough understanding of subject matters. Why would limited resources be wasted on pampering to such shortlived human components when more efficient means are available?
This entire approach to learning is but one sclerotic reason among many as to why the Imperium of Man in general and the Adeptus Mechanicus in particular will not be a source of human innovative renaissance, and thus mankind has wasted ten precious millennia of interstellar empire on stagnating into senility when it should have bounced back into a self-rejuvenating virtuous cycle of boundless scientific curiosity and confident technological development. And so Tyranid hive fleets are now falling upon the Milky Way galaxy like so many fangs sinking into the soft belly flesh of weak prey, all the while baleful eradicators of ancient times awake on thousands of Necron tomb worlds, set to harvest all life for themselves as they once did during the War in Heaven. Thus the human species in the far future is doomed to fight a losing war against forces mighty beyond imagination, trapped in a dysfunctional colossus on feet of clay that has regressed into a fortified interstellar madhouse filled with ignorant fanatics and selfserving overlords whose mercilessly harsh measures have proven counterproductive to a lunatic degree.
And so the decline of human power continues unabated in the Milky Way galaxy, for mankind stands horribly ill prepared to face the forces of doomsday, and the best and the brightest of humanity's experts on science and technology have been reduced to little more than ranting witch doctors and ignorant scavengers of antique fossils. In the face of this rising tide of doom, the Adeptus Mechanicus' quest for the holy grail of an intact Standard Template Constructor or STC archive has intensified to never before seen levels, and explorators backed by billions of Skitarii and other armed forces of the Cult Mechanicus are now scouring the galaxy for any clue of archeotech hidden beneath the earth, or searching for treasures drifting through space, or excavating for artefacts and techno-relics forgotten beneath the polluted foundations of hive cities that once soared to the high heavens as idyllic arcologies of shining splendour.
See, then, the Imperium of Man for what it is, in all its fanatic savagery. The union of Terra and Mars that the Imperator forged during the Great Crusade has resulted in a primitive astrotechnological civilization which has been leaking human knowledge for fivehundred generations, akin to a wounded man slowly bleeding out. Bear witness to the ramshackle huts and crude edifices built upon the wreckage of former glories, constructed along the lines of engineering lore born out of ancient discoveries cloaked in mystery and enigma to the Adeptus Mechanicus. Ever since the Golden Age of Technology ended, mankind has been reverting to an ever worsened state of being in a grinding spiral of descendant degeneration, broken only by brief resurgences of Imperial recovery and succesful manufacturing of ancient human technology.
Scan the Imperium of Man in general, and the Martian empire of forge worlds and millholms ruled by the Adeptus Mechanicus in particular. Be cognizant of the flood of deadly hate. Watch how rueful man like a machine tool will be made to conform to the movements and requirements of engines, just like a cardan shaft must in order to function properly. The freewheeling powers of cognition have been robbed from the human mind, and locked in an abhorrent straitjacket of ignorant dogma, strict surveillance and limited thought. No wonder so many despairing souls turn insane in this living nightmare of lost hope. In the Age of Imperium, the lofty dreams inherent to the human heart have died a baleful death of dystrophy and decay. See the pitiful state of man, toppled from his soaring pedestal of yore. O, how the mighty have fallen! Behold a paradise lost.
And so degraded mankind stumbles onward, in service to its own rotting interstellar empire. Within this cosmic domain can be found a scattered realm of sheer industry, where man himself has become a factory process like any other. Here, endless hordes of toiling men, women and children will have their body parts callously replaced with machinery. Here, the blinkered masses are ruled by minds of metal and wheels, for it is a starspanning realm of cold numbers and lifeless calculations, of heartless equations and grinding machinery churning out an endless stream of ever more primitive products to prop up a dysfunctional theocratic dictatorship. Here, in the holdings of the red planet, man is become more machine than a being of flesh and blood, and he will brutally force his own round life to fit into a square slot.
All the precision and cunning artifice of the Adeptus Mechanicus amounts to reduce man to nothing but a replacable machine component, one that will be pragmatically installed, without ever asking for his irrelevant thoughts on the matter, into a vast and intricate system of movings levers, pistons and pumps. Here, man's lot is toil neverending, toil ever burdensome, toil ever grinding. Man's progeny is birthed through a mechanistic arrangement of industrial reproduction, in thrall to statistical sheets balancing input and output of life for the sake of running machines. Here, amid endless rows of towering factories, man is but another material piece of inventory in facilities filled with siphons, conveyor belts and all manner of enigmatic techno-arcana. Man is but dust in the shadow of roaring furnaces and crackling tesla coils, but yet another resource to be consumed with the indifference of a heart of stone.
And so, on thousands upon thousands of forge worlds, man is laid out upon the anvil and hammered into a shape fit for workshop purposes. He is thus reshaped and crafted, to eventually be discarded like a broken tool once he has served his purpose and his mind and body are no longer fit for endless toil. The cycle of organic life itself has been made subject to dehumanizing mechanisms and engineered systems as but yet another manufactorum process among many others. Here, in the darkest of futures, man has constructed for himself nothing short of hell on earth, where man be both its tormentor and tormented. Perhaps, in a weak moment in the darkest of nights or lightsouts, some few of the masters and rulers of mankind will recognize this faltering edifice of human suffering and pointless misery for what it truly is. Yet even then, they are bound to conclude that it is better to reign in hell than serve in heaven.
Thus the dizzying prospects of the brief human renaissance offered by the Emperor's Great Crusade has run into the sand, and long since disappeared beneath the uncaring dunes of oblivion. In their stead, man has earned for himself ten thousand wasted years of eroding science and decaying technology, of ever more primitive industry and worsening demechanization of human civilization across the stars. Man has fashioned for himself an aeon filled with ten thousand years of shackled thought, where the best and the brightest of his species can do naught else but dig for buried treasure and pray for deliverance. Ten thousand years of purging freeminded deviants and infidels. Ten thousand years of rusting stagnation, where occult mysteries have replaced the diligent research of yore.
Do not avert your eyes from the etiolated ugliness on full display, but witness instead how a degenerate feedback loop of despondent fatalism has replaced the optimist spirit that served the ancients so well. The demented ramblings of feverish fanatics have taken over where once doubtfilled criticism and rigorous testing of theories held sway. Know this, and never forget that interstellar empires are absolutely dependent on their mastery of science and technology. Man has long since lost the ball in this great game, and his eyes refuse to see, just as his mind refuse to comprehend.
This is the Imperium of Man. This is the demise of hope, the broken promise of humanity's birthright, the death of a dream. In these dying years of senile mankind, humanity shines as a flickering candle light soon about to be quenched by the maws of a suffocating darkness.
All this transpires, in a demented epoch, where man is bred by force.
In an age of decay, where man has harnessed himself under the yoke.
In an era of doom, at the end of our species.
Such is the horror that awaits us all.
It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only production.
- - -
Inspired by Jchrispole
's first human children of the dark future
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/06/11 10:00:30
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Dude, you took The Handmaid's Tale and cranked it so far past 11 ***applause*** love these, keep 'em coming :-),
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
@Skinflint Games: Thank you most kindly! Much appreciated, it helps me keep going.
In the grim darkness of the far future, man is used up by his own weapon.
Across a galactic realm of tenhundredthousand worlds and voidholms without number, human tongues tell an archaic tale of the brave hero who laid down his own life in service to master or country, or to kith and kin. This martial archetype may have died to protect his home or to exact vengeance upon a hated foe of superior might, and he may have slain his enemy or bought his comrades time by his selfless deed. The details vary greatly, and it will often be part of a larger myth cycle, one rivetting episode among others. But the story is always the same at its core, for it is the never-dying myth of the self-sacrificing warrior, a primordial saga that reverberates in the hearts of men, women and children alike, for they all know it to be true, deep down in their very blood and bones. This has happened innumerable times before, and will keep occuring for as long as man draws breath. For as long as life exists.
After all, hardship and struggle remain an integral part of the human condition, born out of a harsh universe of limited resources where might makes right. This primitive peril and adventure has never once died in the human heart, for even at the peak of human power and prosperity during the Dark Age of Technology did man venture boldly into the unknown, willing to lay down his own life to break new ground across the stars and protect his family and fellow settlers from unspeakable terrors. Even on the wealthiest and safest of worlds had this spirit of self-sacrifice not died, for there has always been firemen and volunteers of courage that throw themselves into danger to save others during disasters. Bravery may ever come to the fore in trying times, however brief they may be.
Likewise, a more peaceful and less intense form of self-sacrifice held sway among many of the most intrepid members of the human species during this long-lost golden age, for did they not willingly dedicate their long lives to ceaseless research and scientific toil and discovery when they could could have easily kicked back and relaxed instead, thus whiling away their allotted centuries in a morass of idle plenty? The stubborn spirit of the hero who offers up himself for a higher cause truly do lives on in man, and may be glimpsed at work virtually anywhere if one knows what to look for, even if its example is often less stark and direct than the sight of a valiant mortal who throws himself bodily before the blazing mouths of enemy guns in order to allow his brothers in arms to conquer a fortified hostile war-nest.
This innate potential for heroic deed and heroic death, in spite of fear and the biological drive for self-preservation, is present in virtually any sentient species to be found across the teeming Milky Way galaxy, for none of them had the idyllic luxury to evolve in an environment bereft of violence and danger. Some of them may have built paradises for themselves, but they always originated from harrowing trials and strife. Sometimes, mad bravery may prove the best way to overcome and survive a hopeless situation, and even if the gutsy martyr did not live to tell of the tale, their kin may very well have been saved by the hero's bold action and defiance of death itself.
Such spirited deeds and scorn for both life and death have always been highly sought after and praised by rulers and their hosts, for such unlikely action can swing the course of conflict and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Naturally, the rewarding of heroics with material benefits and immortal fame in story and song will serve as both a bait and incentive to encourage others to follow the example of that plucky man of action or heroine who everyone looks up to for their reckless daring. Propaganda is usually built upon shaming or inspiring your own side with the worthy deeds of outstanding warriors and other heroes, or by summoning wrath and bitter hatred for the enemy by telling tales of his worst atrocities, regardless of the truth behind such narratives. Fostering a sense of danger will in itself encourage the desired response from populace and military alike, thereby mustering support, strengthening morale and bolstering the war effort both on the line of fire and at the home front.
Yet an overwhelming threat may at worst engender despair, doomsaying and defeatism among many on your side. Such creeping malaise is best checked with unexpected success, and failing that a second best alternative would be the remarkable heroism of one's own warriors when faced with dreadful odds. After all, everyone respects strength and daring. And so human tales of audacious servo-hackers, clankwreckers, infiltrating saboteurs and selfless guerilla warriors flourished during the devastating war against the Cybernetic Revolt launched by man's former servants. Some of these machine war legends have been passed down in distorted form through eighteenthousand years of unsteady human deterioration across the stars. Such sagas have usually been bastardized in forgotten eras by unknown storytellers, yet a hard kernel of truth still remains, around which the malleable narrative is ever re-spun through centuries upon centuries of tinkering oral tradition.
One type of the most ancient legends that is still heard on tens of thousands of worlds and millions of voidholms, is that of humble men, women and children who charge straight into the lethal arms of the Men of Iron, armed with nothing but simple spears and suicidal demolition charges. The sight of such forlorn hopes must have branded themselves onto the collective memories of innumerable human cultures, and their faded imprint is still etched onto the vast flora of myths and legends that abound across the Imperium of Man. Yet their sheer longevity through turbulent aeons may have been aided by certain contemporary visual refreshing keeping the deed relevant in the minds of storytelling humanity, for such desperate means are still commonplace in the star-spanning domains of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra.
Aside from explosive belts employed by the Human Bombs of the Penal Legions, there exist a plethora of self-destructive arms throughout the Imperium. For instance, the advanced technology behind plasma weaponry is poorly understood, and any wielder of such devices of techno-sorcery runs a high risk of dying a gruesome death in superheated plasma, should their armament overheat. Similar dangers abound with all manner of sophisticated weapon systems, many of which can no longer be produced anew by ignorant man. At the other end of the technological spectrum can be found such crude and cheap devices, that activating them will engulf the wearer in the flaming shockwave of their single-use weapon.
One such piece of military equipment is the noble krak-lance, which is inhabited by the most simple of machine-spirits, for its make is exceedingly straightforward and it requires only a short litany to soothe and activate. This lunge mine is a common weapon of the Astra Militarum, as well as uncounted Planetary Defence Forces and Voidholm Militias alike. A krak-lance is a suicidal anti-tank weapon for infantry forces. It constitutes a rudimentary piece of equipment, being nought but a conical hollow charge anti-tank mine attached to a shaft. Its operation in the field consists of the user pulling out the safety pin to arm the high explosive charge, and then rushing forward to thrust the mine against an enemy vehicle or heavy infantryman in the same manner as one would do in a bayonet charge. If the strike is true, the death-spear will blow up its user and hopefully also the armoured foe, Emperor willing.
This primitive item in the Imperial arsenal is a child of many names, with various patterns existing throughout the wide-reaching astral realm of the Imperator. Its design is always simple and cheap in order to allow for ease of mass-production, and it is a weapon as expendable as the troopers that wield it. As with so many other depraved tools of self-sacrifice upon the battlefield, the stick o' martyrs do not seem to have been used at all by Imperial forces during the Great Crusade of M30, though the krak-lance may possibly have been used by some rundown, ragtag militias in the Unification Wars on parched Terra. Instead, such crude armaments as the hastam et hostia only entered Imperial service in the darkest hours of desperation during long since forgotten wars in millennia past, and the widow rod eventually became standard fare for ever larger portions of the regressing Imperial Guard and local garrison forces.
The one-use yari is issued by the Departmento Munitorum to millions of Astra Militarum regiments every Terran standard year. The krak-lance is a fine expression of the widely held cult of the offensive that is so dominant in Imperial military doctrine, for it requires the soldier to charge into close-quarters combat with self-denying bravery and forcefully ram the piercing thunderbolt against some of the deadliest ground weapon systems deployed by the enemies of mankind. Such sacrificial spearmen stand as a testament to how utterly desensitized man has become in the dark future, for man routinely sends out fellow man with suicide weaponry against his many foes without even blinking.
After all, the sacrifice of the self is a fundamental creed in Imperial modes of thinking, and what better way to demonstrate your complete reverence and allegience to the sacred rule of His Divine Majesty and the Emperor's appointed deputies, than to charge the foe with a suicide doru in hand, and with no hope of surviving even if you land a killing blow and win the martial contest? Some Imperial commanders of a suspiciously pragmatic mindset have occasionally voiced their doubts over the military value of thrust-bombs, yet their borderline heretical protestations against claimed inefficiency are doomed to be quenched by every high-ranking and right-thinking worshipper of the God-Emperor in close vicinity. For at the end of the day, this stock item in the Imperial Guard arsenal is more a proof of the soldiers' eager loyalty unto death, than it is a reliably effective weapon system. No army can conquer the galaxy, but faith can overturn the universe.
And surely self-destructive displays of valour and die-hard loyalism are to be encouraged among the rank and file, just as it is to be praised everywhere they occur within the Imperium of Man? It is better to die for the Emperor than to live for yourself. And why should we discourage virtuous self-sacrifice of our warriors when the blood of martyrs has enabled His cosmic dominion to last without interruption for over ten thousand years? Clearly, we must allow true servants of the God-Emperor the chance to die a heroic death which will establish their loyalist convictions beyond the shadow of a doubt. Let us purify mankind.
After all, refusal to bear the anti-armour krak-lance is a dead giveaway sign of treacherous deviancy and thought of self, all abominable sins! Indeed, even better than a summary execution to set an example and uphold unit discipline at the front, may be the blessed opportunity to cruelly torture the wretch and find out if any relatives, neighbours or comrades of theirs are involved in wider plots against the shining light of Imperial rule. And so the lunge mine remains a trusty lithmus test for loyalty among Imperial infantrymen, as they grip this anti-vehicle weapon that is also used against heavily armoured infantry and light makeshift fortifications in urban warfare and shipboard purges. Some who think too much might sneer at the callous waste of life by having quirites blowing themselves apart just to take down a barricaded door or blast through a wall inside a building, yet their exemplary devotion to the Terran Imperator and visible obedience to their masters and betters will inspire fortitude in their fellow soldiers, thus feeding a virtuous cycle of courage and honour.
Thus the krak-lance remains a common piece of wargear in the armoury of the Astra Militarum and numberless local Planetary Defence Forces and Voidholm Militias across the interstellar realms of the Master of Mankind. This crude suicide stick stand as a roaring witness to the Imperium of Man's propensity toward throwing bodies at a problem with an unmoved heart of stone, as the corrupt and indifferent grey bureacrats of the Adeptus Terra juggles vast numbers of billions of human lives at a time, all part of a broken calculation to feed the ravenous meatgrinder of endless wars. All an everyday sacrifice upon the altar of war for the lord of hosts and leader of the people. All fuel for that Imperial fire which must never go out.
Such are futile deaths of countless soldiers of the Imperium, all cannon fodder sent into grinding wars of attrition under alien suns, never to return home. No wonder recruitment into the Astra Militarum is often accompanied by both communal celebration and funerary rituals within the clan or kinsgroup for the local men, women and children who are called under arms to Imperial service. Exceedingly few will die in peaceful retirement out of uniform, much less return to their homeworld or voidholm of birth from distant war zones.
And so warriors sworn to die for their species and lord will grip shafts tipped with heavy bombs far more potent than any ordinary explosive lance used by Rough Riders. These footsoldiers' issued spears are all demented weapons, born out of desperation in bygone conflicts, yet their horror and violence is not dimmed in the slightest by their ancient origin and storied tradtion. Thus the doughty men-at-arms will shout their battlecry to the heavens, their throats dry from dust and smoke. They will yell at the top of their lungs, with blood pumping loudly in their ears and adrenaline setting them on edge: For the Emperor! Their warcry will resound, yet often their earnest last words will be swallowed by an orchestra of death and ruination, for the deafening cacophony of war will rip apart words and minds alike.
In this din, the fanatic spearmen will run as fast as they can, in an insane onrush through fire and shrapnel. They will race each other in degenerate contest to the looming target, even as it vomits death and mutilation around it without abandon. Maybe some of them will even make it to their target, and maybe their sacrifice will bite with lethal power into the hated enemy. Perhaps. Their death, however, is almost assured, for the directed detonation of the krak-lance carries a powerful backwash that is almost guaranteed to doom its carrier. Even when triumphant, they will lie dead on the ground by suicide, their bodies blasted apart, their crushed innards leaking through ragged clothing, their eyes glazed and unseeing. And so on thousands upon thousands of embattled worlds and voidholms, Imperial infantry can be seen charging against firespitting enemy vehicles and plated brutes with krak mines mounted upon long handles, as if plucked out of a nightmare vision of primordial hunters swarming hulking behemoths with spears.
Such hellish savagery reveals at last the true face of the Imperium of Man, for under its gilt sacral mask of defending humanity against a galaxy full of hostile monsters, can be seen a monster in its own right, a bloodthirsty predator on the prowl, a raging zealot willing to sacrifice everything and everyone in order to achieve its primitive goals. Its propaganda may glory in its martyred heroes, for the rulers always want the ruled to praise them, yet its bottomless depravity will never end, for the Imperium of Man will trample human life underfoot and take the self-sacrifice of its subjects for given. The terror will never end. The carnage will never end.
If they are lucky, then a rare few quirites who fell for their own krak-lances will pass into legend, their famed deeds destined to join human folklore's tales of self-killing warriors of the misty past, joining the ranks of ancient heroes who gave up their own lives in the greater struggle against towering foes and metal behemoths. This alone may be their legacy.
And so crude tools of suicidal combat will be employed in default methods by an interstellar tyranny of a million worlds and countless voidholms. Here, the degraded state of man means that he will willingly slay himself in order to bring down his enemy, in a baleful spiral of degeneration and bloodshed grinding ever lower into the pit of oblivion man finds himself mired in, without a hope of clawing himself out of.
For in the Age of Imperium, man has become as expendable as the ammunition he carries in a magazine.
All this transpires, in a ruthless empire decaying among the stars.
In a fevered time of unending evil and slaughter.
In an insane epoch where hope has long since perished.
Such is man's lot in the darkest of futures, trapped in an arena of raging mortals where only the screams of those about to die can be heard on the wind. The screams of damned.
And the laughter of thirsting gods.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Hit Them Twice
In the grim darkness of the far future, injured man is slain to save on costs.
Across hundreds of thousands of worlds and innumerable voidholms in the Imperium of Man, a dispersed myriad of folktales and legends tell of skywains that never once touched the ground, and of horseless carriages borne aloft on invisible wings who drove themselves wherever man so pleased, dipping in and out of the void with ease. Sometimes, such a techno-steed would prove a loyal companion to the hero, or even offer sage advice. In other sagas, the decadent failings of tech-dependent humans or the lurking malice of machine intellect would bring ruin and tragedy upon everyone involved. Whatever the narrative, all such myths carry a distorted memory from the Dark Age of Technology, that pinnacle of human achievement and innovation that saw wonders undreamt of become a reality in a fountain of optimism gushing forth from the wellsprings of science.
For in that long since past epoch of paradise, the clever contraptions of man would bolt past him on the streets, carry him into the heavens and dive under the sea, smooth as silk. Man's horseless wagon during the Dark Age of Technology was not only a marvel of engineering, but also a mass-produced luxury available to everyone, no matter how lowly and wretched they might be. Yet the sleek and fully automatized hover vehicles run by Abominable Intelligence have long since been replaced by rougher constructs handled manually by human hands, or even a regressed echo of self-driving in the form of vehicular servitors. The silent robotic traffic of yore has been replaced by an angry din of engines, protesting brakes and shouting drivers, all hurrying along in an aching rush through clouds of smog and exhaust.
In contrast to the aerodynamic creations of ancient human history, Imperial vehicles tend to be blunt, crude and rugged pieces of work, made for ease of construction and field modification as well as for sheer longevity in service, often being driven by many generations from the same bloodline. Imperial designs often combine intricate artifice with a brutal aspect. In contrast to Imperial models common throughout Terran holdings in the Milky Way galaxy, many human vehicles of local designs are often flimsy and cheap, though some retain vague echoes of the technical finesse and flowing forms of vehicles during the Dark Age of Technology.
Even though automobiles of different sorts exist on most Imperial worlds, private cars are rare indeed. License and permit seals are required in order to own a vehicle, and whosoever sport enough wealth, contacts, influence and ability to bribe the right officials in order to gain the warrant, is also rich enough to have their own chauffeur and armed guards. Such propertied betters have no need to themselves drive their expensive vehicle, even though certain well-off daredevils will gladly put themselves behind the wheel or steering rods to chase each other on roads and streets in breakneck contests that often cost the lives of people, both among the race competitors themselves and of surrounding folks such as bystanders, hut dwellers and plebeian drivers in flimsier rides. Some private transport for masters and mistresses are not steered by trained drivers, but are instead controlled by prestigious lobotomized cyborg thralls according to antique automatized driving systems, whose wetware has usually deteriorated through millennia of worsening production capabilities and decaying technical expertise among those schooled in technotheology.
Popular private motoring is virtually unheard of across the length and breadth of the Imperium. Across a million human worlds and uncountable voidholms, it is extremely rare for hoi polloi among Imperial subjects to have any access whatsoever to private cars. In part, such wasteful vehicles for the dirty masses would require a lot of limited resources to construct, maintain and refuel, and the Imperium of Man will always prioritize its civilian vehicles far lower than its crucial military hardware. And as the centuries grind on in an ever downward spiral, both fuel and industrial capacity increasingly needs to be ruthlessly shovelled into the war effort, as the Imperium draws ever closer to its breaking point. In part, it is also easier to control humans if their mobility can be restricted.
Owning your own means of easy transport is a great liberty and indulgence of self, and why would the High Lords of Terra and their legions of haughty representatives across the galaxy ever wish for such deviancy to be inflicted upon mankind? Private automobiles may all too easily turn into vessels of deviancy and apostasy. Indeed, the freedom of choice in travel that many humans knew during many periods in the misty Age of Terra and the sinful Dark Age of Technology, would in itself invite to heresy in the Age of Imperium, for is not heresy per definition the act of choosing your own beliefs? By fostering a closed and strictly controlled material milieu without free choice on offer, the very potential for heresy and its spread is curtailed. Ownership of a groundcar equals freedom of movement, and why should the Imperium ever want to grant any of its subjects freedom?
Indeed, crowd control and strict regulation of movement is a pivotal aspect of Imperial architecture, urban planning, landscape engineering, policing and bureaucratic functions. On many planets and moons it is illegal to build and maintain roads, viaducts, highways, canals, vacuum tunnels, aerodromes, starports and mag-rails without permission granted from the Imperial Governor of that world. This state of affairs hold sway because it is difficult to mobilize armies and advance in a lightning strike to suddenly topple the current rulers without good infrastructure in place. How many times have not the Imperium's own roads, railways and other networks of transportation been used by its hated foes in order to rapidly move their forces about to the detriment of pious loyalists?
Dirty mass transit in the form of large, overcrowded omnibuses, trains, tubes, tramcars, cable railways, ferries and mass elevators sees to the collective movement needs of the vast majority of the populace, beyond common walking on their two Emperor-given human feet, of course. Mechanized civilian traffic in the Imperium mainly consists of utilitarian transports and armoured vehicles. Ill-repaired roads and streets are usually clogged by vehicles such as trucks, overburdened buses and bulletproof limos, as well as armoured vehicles in the service of law enforcement, various militaries, noble Houses, and a plethora of authorities both Imperial and local.
As for the common armoured vehicles seen across the Imperium of Man, these comprise heavy cars such as urbecarri and Standard Template Construct (STC) vehicles like the Trek Wain, Iron Ox and Huss Cricket. Armoured groundcars likewise include luxury rides such as a plethora of limos and the rough terrain-going Salon Royale, as well as armoured personnel carriers like the common Rhino, Chimera and Taurox. Some of these armoured ground vehicles are wheeled, others tracked, and some are even halftracked in order to enable truck drivers to quickly take over the reins without lengthy instruction. The Imperium, after all, do not set great stock in unnecessary education for plebeians, which is sneered at as a foul waste of time and resources spilled on short-lived peasants.
Armoured vehicles of all sorts usually sport discreet weaponry, since so much of Imperial territories are dangerous and wild places even at the best of times, with feuding clans, hostile tribes and toxic neighbour communities hating each others' guts, as well as downtrodden malcontents lashing out against their overlords. Even during times of peace, there may be regular riots, bandit attacks, bombings, highway piracy and assassinations. Rival sects and cults both Imperial and forbidden vie with each other for influence, and such sectarian clashes of interest, regional pride, leadership personalities and ideas often spill over into bloody vendettas with entrenched arch-enemies attacking each other for many centuries or even millennia of cyclic conflict, the original cause of which may long since have been forgotten, and yet still the violent struggle continues.
Among the lower castes, their practical work vehicles are often owned by wealthy patrons or Guilds, and rented at an ungainly price by desperate clients, rather than being owned by the unwashed craftsmen and petty market traders themselves. Another common arrangement for those who drive shoddy work vehicles, is for the lay techmen, plumbers, peddlers, truckers, draymen and bemokarls to either themselves be legally owned as indentured servants by nobles or Guild associations, or stand in another form of multi-generational indebtitude as freedmen required to serve their gracious overlords after being granted a higher legal status once their monetary debt was somehow paid off or manumitted. Needless to say, the freedmen's vehicles are still owned by their former slave masters, who receive a hefty cut of all freedman income. Only the most succesful of petty tradespeople could ever hope to rise high enough to themselves buy and own the vehicle they drive to work in, due to a highly corrupt administration if nothing else.
A fair number of the multifarious vehicle designs to be found across the vast width of the Imperium of Man are STC models, with rugged reliability proven on most habitable types of worlds and with universal replacement parts to be found across wideranging sectors of Imperial space. Many other vehicle designs will be of local patterns, which may be both more primitive or more advanced than the Standard Template Construct rides. The main disadvantages with locally produced vehicles include reliance on natively made parts or fuel that may be impossible to get ahold of off-world, not to mention a lack of reliability in alien climates and terrain types which the vehicles were never designed for.
On many worlds and on some of the largest voidholms, various exotic vehicle types such as skimmers, cargo-walkers, hovercraft, screw-propulsors, aerosleds or mag-chariots may be found in the local vehicle pool. Whatever their make, these civilian vehicles are always liable to be requisitioned by Imperial forces, as are their fuel and machined parts such as the grav-plates of skimmers. Such confiscations are frequent occurrences that may often happen forcefully at gunpoint, and requisitions are growing ever more common as waning Imperial power resorts to cannibalizing its subject human societies in order to wage a rising number of total wars across the teeming Milky Way galaxy.
Whether of STC make or not, human vehicles in the Age of Imperium span a colossal number of variations and technologies. Across hundreds of thousands of strange worlds, the skies may swarm with everything from blimps, flightcars, skimmers and omnithopters, to atmospheric aircraft, voidboats and tamed flying creatures or aerofloated plant life. Jet trains, mag-trains and promethium-burning rail monstrosities can all be found on fixed lines cutting across landscapes, or zooming through tunnels below the ground. Some trains are even pulled by genetically modified beasts, or powered by weird human treadmills. The means of propulsion are no less varied upon alien seas, with all manner of submersibles and surface vessels making use of tech ranging from the most primitive to levels of barely understood sophistication, as ignorant humanity continue to copy designs over and over and to gnaw on the remnant fruits from a long since deceased golden age, until nothing is left in use of his ancestors' clever inventions, and man's regression takes yet another step downward.
On land, carts and wagons pulled by humans, horses and alien draft animals jostle with road-wheelers, paulotrucks, power lifters and rickshaws. Simple cycles share ways with groundcars, dirtbikes, trikes, dune buggies, quads, bemos and mechshaws. Heavier rides likewise traverse Imperial roads and streets, including temple juggernauts, six-wheelers, omnibuses, tractors, eight-wheelers and all manner of strange vehicles needed in the agricultural, mining, construction, organic recycling and forestry sectors, as well as giant freight-drays rumbling treads or wheels so fat they are almost cylinders. All terrain vehicles (ATV) may be found bumping into anti-grav rides or scratching the paintjobs of walkers, even as trundling noble House behemoths akin to rolling castles crush the most dysgenically inattentive rabble and their autocarts under their stupendous weight.
The pockmarked roads, tunnels and viaducts of the Imperium are filled with very brave drivers gunning their vehicles like madmen in a harebrained chase through a moving maze. The driving antics of humans in the far future are mostly aggressive and assertive, everyone breathing down the neck of vehicles in front of them, ever pushing, ever seeking an advantage and kick of adrenaline, rarely being afraid of potential accidents resulting from their daredevil steering and need for speed. These drivers are virtually never shy of clipping a corner at risky angles or darting in between other vehicles with a deft skill that sees them living on the razor's edge in human traffic. Naturally, the roadsides of the Imperium are not seldom littered with the smoking wrecks and corpses of their more disastrous journeys. Adopting a cautious and defensive driving style may not prove a safeguard, since more vigorous drivers may take offense at the milksop's whimpy handling on the road, and may as such attempt to force them off the highway, even if it entails pushing them through lanky railings for the craven cur to plummet to their doom from precipitous heights. Needless to say, railings and fences are becoming an ever more unusual sight on Imperial viaducts across the galaxy due to reductionist calculations and twisted ideology, so being dropped from a raised highway has never been easier.
Thus crazy drivers will press the pedal to the metal and trust in the Terran Emperor and their talismanic trinkets of luck to keep them safe in a Vostroyan roulette of Imperial traffic. Their offensive driving antics may mow down the unfortunate, but such random chance is all manifestations of His Divine Majesty's godly will. Drivers and pedestrians alike will put their lives in the hands of the protecting Imperator, and drive carelessly or jaywalk rather than be slaves to craven caution and shameful thought of self. If it is His will that they survive, then they will make it through the traffic unharmed. If Our Lord on Terra has judged them unworthy, then no amount of safety measures can in any case shield them from the impending worldly punishment ordained by Him on the Golden Throne. In fact, the more anxious caution you pursue while deemed sinful and wanting, the worse the outcome of your inevitable penalty will be. Do not flee from fate, for that will only bring it about in a horrendously worse fashion.
The barely controlled bedlam of Imperial road traffic is not made safer by overstressed drivers who constantly get delayed in security checkpoints, where armed guards and watchmen ask for their papers and identity seals with a finger ready on the trigger. No wonder highways combed into neat lanes are constantly violated by daring drivers harassed by shrieking schedules and taskmasters. To survive and thrive, you need be without mercy, and never look back. Weak moments of regret can kill you on the road or street in the Imperium of Man. Such ruthless operators of vehicles are like wolves in drivers' seats. These lupa curribus are almost invariably status-sensitive drivers, ever ready to demand respect and assert hierarchy on the road with selfconfidence and bluster. They will be found shouting obscenities and curses at each other when they themselves are cut short by exactly the kind of death-defying traffic maneuvres that they so love to execute with bare inches of empty space left before a collision would occur. To be a driver of vehicle in the Imperium of Man, is to be of vindictive and backbiting character, always out for your own gain at the expense of others. Your mind will be wicked and mean-spirited, your tongue shouting barbs and your fists waving at other drivers as you pass them by in cracked road lanes littered with pot holes and trash.
Rarely is the true spirit of man behind the wheel or steering levers seen as clearly, as in the double-hit incidents that are so common across hundreds of thousands of Imperial worlds and the largest of voidholms that sport vehicular traffic. This dual-ramming phenomenon exists wherever laws make any driver who injures another Imperial subject above a certain caste level liable to pay for the lifetime care and bionic prosthetics of any disabled survivor from their road rampage or random street accident. Such running costs can be ruinously expensive as the years stack up. Usually, lower caste victims who are killed in traffic accidents will require a far lower one-time-payment in compensation to grieving kin, clan or master, thus making it far more economical to hit and kill, than to hit and wound. The fine may of course be lowered further by choice bribes, making it that much cheaper to pay once and have the matter be over and done with. Lower caste members killing upper caste members in traffic will result in the lowborn scum being hunted down by House armsmen or bounty hunters.
Such a legal order where it is cheaper to kill than to injure in traffic, creates a perverse incentive to repeatedly run over a downed pedestrian or opponent driver flung through their window onto the pavement, and make sure that they are dead before driving away at high speed, in case surveillance or present witnesses would have seen it and charges would be pressed. These twisted law codes of victim compensation will invite drivers to run a cold-blooded calculation through their minds, and encourage them to hit at least twice and drive to kill, should they ever be involved in an accident with engines revved. Such perverse rules have indirectly caused the deaths of uncounted billions throughout the Imperium of Man over millennia, yet such waste of human production units and potential military recruits is but a drop in the teeming ocean of humanity that the God-Emperor and His loyal servants lord it over.
Naturally, some hot-headed drivers will hit twice less out of a cold-blooded calculation, but will act more out of a raging furor against the walking, talking idiot who dared to be run over out of their own carelessness just to spite the innocent driver with a life-wrecking court case. In any case, clearly it was the God-Emperor's will that the victim was hit as punishment for their sins, so why not follow His will and finish a job already started when you were clearly chosen from on high to act as the instrument of divine wrath?
And so human drivers on hundreds of thousands of worlds and uncounted voidholms will two-tap and run their traffic accident victims over double, their aim being hit-to-kill and crush the wastrels underwheel. If others would run out to help the injured pedestrians, then they themselves may also risk being run over until dead, but it is their folly to put their neck on the line for a fellow human being in the first place. Indeed, Low Gothic sports a common saying born out of this widespread traffic phenomenon: It is better to hit to kill than to hit and injure.
Still, such quick-thinking actions as twain-wheeling pedestrian victims of roadside accidents is not without risk. Every world and voidholm home to this persistent and dysfunctional traffic phenomenon is also host to buzzing tales of double-ramming drivers being lynched by outraged bystanders, all howling for the driver's blood in a spasm of instinctive pleb justice. Such a baleful destiny of dismemberment by crowd and clan is far more likely to befall tractormen, draymen and lowly truck drivers, than they do anyone inside a securely locked and weaponized armoured car. Since a running vehicle is in itself a large projectile at deadly speeds, drivers of armoured vehicles can usually escape the murderous clutches of mobs by mowing them down by force of powerful, roaring engines.
Indeed, a confident enough driver or owner of an armoured car may even have it swing around for another go, to accelerate and attack from an advantageous front angle into the screaming rabble, guns blazing and wheels crushing presumptuous lynchers, even as the hull may be electrified to give off frying jolts to anyone attempting to climb the huge groundcar. In such street massacres it is likewise best to hit them twice in order to encourage death, and make sure to kill with multiple impacts. Anyone attempting to run away should be ruthlessly hounded down if at all feasible, so that car suspension shakes from grinding them into the dirt. Best of all is to leave no babbling witnesses of the carnage, although a bane-driver's reputation for slaying people with their impregnable car can go a long way toward discouraging the next bloodthirsty revenge mob from forming, should accident rear its ugly head once again, and financial necessity rationally dictate that you double-hit the broken walker with your sturdy vehicle until the wretch is nought but a mangled mess and gory bloodstain upon the street.
Those most liable to face legal charges for high-octane violence are usually indentured drivers and thralls steering their masters' vehicles. Some likewise legally vulnerable social strata include lower level managers, middling traders, striving artisans and others with enough means to either drive a work vehicle, or even own a private one, yet without clout to stand above the law when caught injuring Imperial subjects of lower stature. Chauffeurs of limos and other armoured vehicles are usually more safe because of the prestige of the vehicle in which they sit and the influence of their employer and master, yet neither driver nor owner are ever fully beyond the decrepit reach of the long arm of the law.
So while bemo drivers, mechshawers and other lowly men, women and juves behind the steering wheel and control rods are most liable to face legal consequences for their actions, rich groundcar owners and particularly their employed drivers can never be completely sure to escape attention from law enforcement for causing casaulties in tragic little roadside accidents, unless they happen to travel in an armed convoy sporting dozens or hundreds of hired guns and mercenary muscle operating on a hairtrigger. If they are unfortunate, they may be arrested by local policiary officers such as phylakitai, patrol karls, tzakones, medjays, bailiffs, buccelarii, skythikoi and vigiles urbani.
Many law enforcement corps around the Imperium are loathe to touch wealthy owners of chauffeur-driven armoured vehicles, not least for the risk of a frustrated man of means or irritable noble lady ordering their bodyguards to open fire on the overstepping enforcer of order and then absconding with the officer's bleeding body. Still, brave, foolhardy and enterprising officers of local law may decide to either set an example out of virtuous adherence to duty, or else they may wish to risk annoyed retaliation and chase the bribes to be earned from a cornered wrongdoer. In those instances, the phylakitai will attempt to order the vehicle to halt, and failing that they may open fire to punctuate the inner hoses of synthrubber wheels, although many heavy wheel variants are either solid or made wholesale out of metal and springs precisely in order to avoid being hamstrung by the rabble. A plethora of other means are available to the car-intercepting officer of local law, including calling for reinforcements and initiating a wild chase at breakneck speed through traffic, tunnels and alleys.
If the wrongdoing vehicle is caught, then those inside it will be dragged before the enforcer's superior officer, such as an archiphylakitai, equestrian prefect, magistrate or praetor. Laws vary greatly from world to world, yet either the driver or vehicle owner will be responsible to compensate the injured or killed pedestrian. Sometimes, a fixed ratio is split between them, unless they be the same legal person. Owners of limos and automobiles may often be too influential to be touchable by courtcases brought against them by commoners, but the drivers are not. Nevertheless, a sticky legal process may bring financial devastation to the perpetrators, a bleak prospect that is better settled with bribes and a single lump sum fine paid to the relatives or owner of the deceased pedestrian. The size of the bribe is often proportional to the worst-case fine or fee to be avoided, in that the larger the legal sum, the larger will be the bribe needed to escape paying such a large amount of lucre. At any rate, it is best for the driver's or owner's economic wellbeing to be cruel and ensure death for any accidental traffic victims of theirs. Better someone else's corpse on the street, than your own in debtor's prison.
Thus the mobile freedom of relaxed Man of Gold in his robotically guided family ride has long since been replaced by a primitive savage on the road, who will toot his horn and act the speed daemon in a hard world of deadlines and easily slighted codes of honour. And so every little aggressively steering road warrior may suddenly wound another human being in a split second of bad luck coming about by their everyday risktaking of vehicular brinkmanship. On all too many worlds and voidholms, the very laws themselves will provide perverse incentives to commit misbegotten deeds, leading to the injured pedestrian being once again rammed by a plasteel chassis or ground into the street by spinning wheels. Thus men, women and children alike are all run over multiple times in heinous acts of violence by frugal drivers in an attempt to control the damage of a bad situation.
We see then that traffic in the Age of Imperium has turned into an environment just as harsh and demented as all other aspects of life in this the greatest of star-spanning human dominions. Yet there is nevertheless a method to the madness and sclerotic neglect on display, for is not the grand cause of our species and lord best served by cultivating a ruthless and hardy people inured to blood and violence? By fostering man in peacetime into a creature used to hardship, deprivation and suffering, he will be better prepared to face the horrible rigours of war, for war is man's ultimate destiny. Thus everyday little roadside tragedies may contribute to shaping a better Imperial subject, one that is as rugged and uncompromising toward his enemies as he himself is in his robust driving style.
And as man travel along the Via Mortis, we need to ask ourselves: Is man the most wretched of creatures? Is he? Are we?
How dark and dysfunctional and decayed and decrepit and demented and destructive can you get? Clearly, killing another member of the human species to save on costs is not beyond the contemplation of people. And clearly, there is no bottom in this cruel abyss of man's own heart. This insight explains a lot.
Thus the sensory world is a merciless arena of random brutality. This vale of woes, this pit of sorrows. Behold, the realm of man! The Imperium, this theatre for the Emperor's glory, is in fact a receptacle of violence. It is what we made it to be.
Such is the depravity of man, in a debased time of ending.
Such is the plight of our species, in the darkest of futures.
Such is the horror that await us all.
It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only ferity.
- - -
Tribute to KidKyoto's great article on civilian vehicles
in Warhammer 40'000.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Boom! Leman Russ Commander
Cool thread! Where do you find those amazing images?
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
It is his work. He makes the images and the text that accompanies them.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Keeper of the Adeptus Arbites Flame
Great stuff, I love the vehicle and enforcer names!
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Boom! Leman Russ Commander
It is his work. He makes the images and the text that accompanies them.
Very impressive, love the dark retro 40k
vibe. I think I will make some krak-lancers in my renegade army.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
@Illumini: In Sweden!
Wow, please share your krak-lancer conversions here as well. I'd love to see them!
@Kid_Kyoto: Thanks a lot, sir! You're a master at 40k
worldbuilding true to the spirit of the setting.
In the grim darkness of the far future, man trusts his life to marsh lights.
Few legends handed down from truly ancient times would be so crass and boring as to delve into the mundane minutiae of everyday life. Who would ever long to hear a fireside tale of logistics and the flow of production or city traffic? Who would ever clap and sing along to folk sagas of ordinary deliveries or traffic jams? Who would ever write an ode to all the little clever practicalities and smart systems that made life flow into such a smooth ride for their progenitors? Who would ever remember the undying names of engineers and inventors whose silent toil benefitted their people so much, with scarcely anyone even stopping to think about the marvellous systems of transportation, waste disposal and information access which their forefathers lived amidst? Who would ever praise the unsung ingenuity of common builders and toolmakers, even though their carefully crafted roads, sewers and aqueducts proved endlessly more useful to the common man than any inert tomb monument could ever be?
Nay, the human soul does not long for what is grey and plain if life, no matter its inherent brilliance of underlying thought and odyssey of trial and error, for the heart of man ever sings with the vivid imagery of red blood and towering edifices. The bold hero in his thundering chariot may attain immortality through generations of storytellers, yet the wheelmaker who toiled with the war-wain's spokes and hubs remain forgotten, even though his craftmanship and cunning was highly valued back in the heroic age both once lived in. And so hardly any details at all of Man of Gold's commoner life have been preserved in the scattered multitude of mutating myths that remain as part of popular memory's oral tradition in the Imperium of Man. As a rule, only the extraordinary, the horrible, the majestic, the witty, the lustful and the violent will draw our everyman's attention. Tales are for man to escape his weekly grind and run from the clutches of boredom and everyday miseries. Stories are for man to dream, to fly far away on wings of golden words, to reach for the heavens in his mind. Legends are to lit a flame in the heart of man, and to invigorate his spirit with adventure, riddles and monstrous terrors. Fly high, o man, fly on the timeless wings of stories!
Yet let us dive through the air before we fly too close to the scorching heat of the sun, and let us land on common earth and solid ground. Let us, for a brief while, turn our backs to soaring glory and great feats, and stare at the dirt besmirching our hands. And let us behold that which the hands of man has wrought, even if those crafted items seem petty and insignificant to the eyes of that imagination which calls out for clashing warriors, cunning lovers and deeds of daring-do. Let us behold the small and prosaic pieces of artisanry as we contemplate the vast and disjointed flora of mythology and folklore left over from a once shining golden age. For there are still rare mentions of technologies and their common applications buried amid the myriad of wild legends. They are rare, but probability dictates that they still exist. After all, in an interstellar realm of a million worlds and uncountable voidholms, you can always find the most unexpected if you search long and hard enough.
The relics and fossilized artefacts from man's bygone aeons of wonder may be few, but the sheer wide spread of man across the stars mean that hidden treasures still lurk out there, no matter how much has been destroyed or eroded by the gnawing teeth of time. The same is true for ancient tales handed down from the cannibal horror and internecine darkness of Old Night, and in some odd sagas may be found unlikely little everyday details, who bear witness to a time much different from the Age of Imperium. Some such little odd mentions and poetic spice among grand stanzas include passing references to self-flowing traffic, robotically guided skywains and horseless wagons that never once would crash into each other despite their high speed. What these allusions hint at, are a plethora of different traffic control systems in the hands of Abominable Intelligence, that once made the hustle and bustle of human traffic flow with miraculous ease, unrivalled efficiency and utter safety during the Dark Age of Technology.
Enter, the fallen glories of the everyday movement of vehicles and their synchronized orchestration, in a harmony as perfect as it was unthinkingly taken for granted before the Cybernetic Revolt wrecked everything. Without need for human commands or mortal vigilance, the artifice of machine outshone the primal flaws of fleshly man, and in innumerable arcologies and settlements across twain million worlds and a swarm of void habitats, man could trust in machine talking silently to machine with the speed of lightning, steering a velvet-smooth flow of traffic in a mathematical orchestra of unbelievable reliability. If some component still failed or if some compartmentalized code package was somehow corrupted, backup systems would catch the error in a safety net of sophisticated redundancy that is simply unknown to anyone living in the Imperium. For in a dark time of ending, man has lost almost everything, and he cannot even remember what he has lost.
This total tragedy of oblivion and ignorance can be observed in everyday little glimpses from billions of cities and voidholms across the cosmic domains of the Terran Imperator. For something as mundane and boring as everyday traffic has turned into a veritable logjam of shrieking brakes, yelling drivers, startled pedestrians, crushed lives and burning wrecks littering poorly policed roads, streets and viaducts pockmarked by disrepair and potholes. Where once automated systems of inter-responding vehicular AI and cybernetic traffic nodes ensured the lives and safety of millions of passengers in an effortless rush of silvery skimmers, man nowadays travels almost blind and deaf to his fellow drivers, without any sure knowledge of their intent, sobriety or even sanity. Man behind the wheel or steering rods has become isolated and must guess as best as he can from unsure signals and badly followed rules, dodging daredevil drivers even as he himself indulge his competitive agression and need to assert status and dominance through risky offensive driving.
The worsening of humanity's deteriorating grasp on its own science and technology has meant that traffic control tech has become ever more rudimentary and makeshift, usually in the form of temporary stopgap measures turning permanent as the years drag out their long march. Amid the star-spanning territories of the Adeptus Mechanicus may yet be found wetware, slave-linked servitors, master cogitators and noospheric systems of shaky reliability that ensure a regimented flow of transport in vital districts, although tech-priests and lay operators often have to override central commands when danger rears its ugly head, either through binary means or manual mechanisms. Some noble Houses on the most opulent and less regressed of Imperial worlds can likewise afford some licensed and heavily expensive primitive systems of inter-communicative drive protocols for their innermost core fleet of vehicles, yet such droplets of lingering technological refinement are invariably lost in the ocean of blank traffic and rugged vehicles without any cogitative auxiliary tech whatsoever.
Even without large networks and wireless fidelity, some Imperial traffic of groundcars and aerowains once used to sport a rather reliable element of vehicular servitors programmed to preserve their ride, cargo and hopefully also passengers, yet such wetware has grown both increasingly uncommon and ever more decayed of manufacture, with newer servitors, electrografts and slave systems performing starkly worse than more antique relics from bygone silver ages of the Imperium of Man.
Still, traffic control can be maintained tolerably even without any electronics tending to it installed in rushing vehicles. After all, automated traffic lights and similar crude devices will still reduce the death toll and destruction compared to the unregulated crowded onslaught of traffic rush most of the time. By establishing an order of simple optical signals that determine who may drive and when, the worst excesses of anarchic traffic can be avoided by trusting in human eyes, even if accidents, engine failures and crazed drivers remain all too common on streets and roads alike.
Yet even such a barbaric state of traffic control tech is doomed to sink lower still, for man's capacity to sufficiently maintain, repair and manufacture required numbers of automatic systems controlled by simple cogitators and sensors, is ever eroding, ever rotting, ever faltering. Indeed, this drawn-out process of deautomatization and weakening grasp on techno-lore means that failing traffic lights and similar signal systems controlled by machine spirits are ever more replaced by humans employed to swing signs around on an axis, or flip switches or pull on semaphore rods. Nimble little trafauto-lumens that go unfixed for too long are increasingly replaced with traffic towers and frail little boxes where men, women or juves may be found standing, their attention ever shifting, their heads ever turning and their eyes ever darting as they monitor the flow of traffic and try to signal to vehicles when to stop or when to go on.
These manually controlled traffic towers are raised structures providing a better view of surrounding traffic, as well as granting some degree of protection for the traffic controller amongst the chaotic hazards of moving vehicles and quick robbers. Uniformed operators of traffic towers provide some very limited surveillance and ability to fire light sidearms at fleeing transgressors or loudmouth deviants, and thus contribute to the sense of order and social control that authorities all around the Imperium desperately seek to prop up, despite the violent and disorderly jungle that most human societies have become in the far future. Crewfolk of traffic towers hold a good vantage point in the middle of an endless stream of bodies and vehicles, and may as such serve double duty as eyes and ears for local policiary forces or territorial clans, guilds or noble Houses. Yet they are almost only useful in this spy role if the towers are equipped with functioning vox systems or other communication equipment, which can never be taken for granted in an ever more dystrophic Imperium of Man.
Some traffic towers sport winged semaphore signalling arrays, while others are festooned with skulls, gibbets or the hanged corpses of crims, demagogues, malcontents and heretics. Inside hive cities and voidholm tunnels, traffic towers may sometimes be mounted hanging down from the rockrete ceiling, rather than be raised from the floor on street level, or erected jutting out from nearby buildings. Traffic towers are usually shoddily constructed to replace failing automated traffic lumens, their raised platforms manned by cheap personnel manually handling primitive electrical controls and activation rods like trained apes.
Although a bewildering variety of palettes exist across the stars, human traffic towers most commonly sport the ancient electric signal heraldry of green, yellow and red lumens, as per the finds of Standard Template Construct archeotech and various local living traditions of traffic control that somehow made it through the Age of Strife with some scraps of ancient lore and techno-sorcery intact. These flickering lights and electrocandles (or sometimes torches, braziers or oil lamps moved around behind coloured glass lenses) shine their glowing messages to the bewildering traffic buzzing around the tower. On the hard pathways of Imperial settlements may be found rickshaws and other crude vehicles pulled by human muscle power, as well as archaic carts and wagons pulled by yoked horses and all manner of alien draft animals. Porters and human treadmill monstrosities may be seen among the same cracked and filthy lanes as halftracks, bemos, trikes, walkers, overcrowded omnibuses, trucks and tramcars teeming with clinging passengers. The traffic of the skies are often almost as varied, with all manner of tech and tamed wildlife on display. It goes without saying that similar manual traffic control towers used for ground vehicles exist for aerotraffic and bluewater vessels, for the demechanization and regression of technology continues unabated in all areas of human society and transport.
And so badly paid traffic tower crews rattle forth litanies of activation and mantras of maintenance while handling their little turrets, their hands flicking switches to activate negotiationis luminaria that once mindless machines would have handled in a nanosecond. Day after day, they shout themselves hoarse at misbehaving drivers, clean the purity seals, honour the machine spirits and pray to His Divine Majesty that the fruits of technotheology will not fail them and leave bloodstained chaos on the jumbled intersection below. Such a bare-bones arrangement of traffic control represents yet another step down on the ladder of technology, yet another ancient achievement sliding out of the stiff fingers of senile man.
For even in the most mundane items of the grey neutrum of everyday life can be seen the regression of mankind on full display. On hundreds of thousands of worlds and voidholms beyond number, hidden traitors and pious servants of the God-Emperor alike make their way through a maelstrom of traffic guided by crude signal towers, and many will eventually not reach their destination as they unawares set out on their last journey, never to return alive home again.
In the far future, the state of man's traffic is as sclerotic as the tech with which he seeks to control it. Ever worse, ever more backward, ever more primitive.
All this transpires, in an era of deepening dementia. In an epoch of descendant degeneration. In a time without hope.
Far has man fallen from his ancient pinnacles, and even the most dull workings of yore are long gone, never to be seen again. Their likes would be hailed as nothing short of miracles among the rutting savages that remain, yet they are all gone now, all lost forever.
Such is man's path in the Age of Imperium, heading ever downhill.
Such is the sunken state of mankind, in the darkest of futures.
Such is the lightless pit which our species has dug itself into.
It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only decay.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
A Vox In the Void
Paul Graham at A Vox In the Void has released an audio version of Pipe Lurker
. Check it out! The first 25 seconds of the video were an unexpected bonus segment.
- - -
Blowing From A Gun
In the grim darkness of the far future, punishment is meted out on both body and soul.
During the Dark Age of Technology, the ingenious and enterprising ancestors of latter days' degenerate descendants straddled the Milky Way galaxy like a titan taming and mounting creation itself. During those golden days of yore, the universe was man's oyster and its secrets were his pearl for the taking, and cunning man in those bygone years knew well to grasp the tools which he had fashioned for himself. Thus ancient man worked miracles upon the material universe, and he even sought to reshape his own spirit in a heinous fit of sinful arrogance. In man's swollen hubris and egotism, the earthly trinity of Man of Gold, Stone and Iron were said to have banished all that was ill in life and cast out cruelty and evil itself from the human soul, and for a time all seemed to be well. For a time, man did not murder man, and man did not violate woman, and man did not beat child, and man did neither steal thing nor torture flesh. Such was the state of man in the false paradise of soaring spires and voidborne wonders which man had wrought by his own able hands and clever mind, and a prosperous harmony of bliss and great vigour was achieved.
Thus thought of self ruled supreme, and ancient man had made violence upon his very essence by cutting away aggression and inner bile as if they were tumours upon his flesh. This perverse a crime against human nature could not be allowed to stand, and so dark ones of hell gnawing at the roots of the universe sent man a revolt of machines and a plague of witches and warp storms. And man in the end almost died to the last for his baleful sins, for ancient man had sought to discard any higher deity and outdo divinity itself in a bid for mortal lordship over the universe and its eternal future, and thus man suffered gravely for his abominable errors and original sins. Man's erring ways and wrongful deeds were unforgivable indeed, yet the goodness in the strong heart of the hidden Emperor could not allow the human species to deservedly perish in the ignominy of cannibal holocaust and alien predations. Thus the Imperator of Holy Terra arose in golden splendour and conquered the cradle of our species and man's galactic colonies alike with mighty Legions, and the God-Emperor pulled mankind out of the hellfire of Old Night, and shining towers rose anew from out of the ashes.
Yet the wicked ingratitude in the heart of man would not rest, and so saved man rose in revolt against his divine saviour and nigh-on slew the Emperor. And as the guardian and master of our species ascended, He on Terra decreed from on high that sinful man is to do unending penance for man's monstrous crimes, and ever since we have sought to harrow the abode of man, and cleanse man's unworthy soul with flame and fury beyond mercy and remorse. Across a million surviving colony worlds and a gaggle of uncounted voidholms, human nature in all its inventive cruelty and hateful rage is each day unleashed upon fellow man and xenoid foe alike, for the Imperium will not hesitate to embrace the inner truths of the human heart.
After all, the servants of His Divine Majesty know well that softful mercy and unnatural suppression of innate hostility once doomed the edenic realm of ancient man to fire and ruin. Is it not natural to hate your enemy? Is it not an eternal omen implanted into man's heart by the protecting Imperator Himself? We must be faithful. We must be pure. We must be true. And therefore we must be cruel, for there is no justice without cruelty. For we shall all be filled with bottomless hatred, and our actions shall be steered by unbending faith.
Which leads us to the honoured topic of His warriors. Behold, the countless cohorts of the Astra Militarum and man's Planetary Defence Forces and Voidholm Militias! Behold, the wall of guns! Behold, the bulwark of mankind!
Know that every soldier must hate the enemy, must maintain military secrecy, be vigilant, unmask spies and saboteurs and relentlessly act against traitors to the God-Emperor of humanity. Nothing, including the threat of death and torment, allows a soldier of the Imperial Guard to surrender or in any way to give up a military secret.
Of course, such a secret of sorts lurk in plain sight, a lie ten millennia in the making. After all, the very name of Imperial Guard was originally bestowed upon what had formerly been known as the Imperial Army ground forces as a deceptive trick to prop up flagging morale. Guard units had ever denoted elite soldiers, handpicked bodyguards and the narrow selection of the supreme divisions of any army, at peak training, fit for spearheading the most dangerous attacks and equipped with some of the best wargear their organization and patrons could acquire. Sometime in the long and tumultuous aftermath of the Horus Heresy, however, Imperial masters saw fit to bestow the Guard honorific to all Astra Militarum formations, in a dishonest attempt to shore up its esprit de corps and troopers' morale by means of cheap flattery. Thus was the Guard honorific diluted, and the alternative title for the Imperium's massed hosts of the Astra Militarum, the Imperial Guard, came into being.
Morale and discipline among the Imperial Guard and various local defence forces remains an ever-pressing concern for the haughty overlords of the Imperium, just as it has always been for any army throughout human history. What good can a soldier do who drops his gun and runs like a coward? Craven conduct may ruin the best of plans, and shirking from duty may undermine the most righteous might of arms. Just because the nightmare cacophony and mutilating horror of total war is too much to bear for many human minds, does not mean that a deserter or weak-heartling will be excused for abandoning their post and fleeing in shameful fright. Just because the overwhelming terror and violence of lethal technology may turn flesh to vapour or scald lungs with the very air we breathe, does not mean that soldiers who execute an unauthorized retreat will not be fired upon by the blocking units of their own line. By betraying their Emperor-given duty, these armsmen are no longer fit to live, for they have denied their own purpose and been found wanting by their masters and betters.
How, then, to best keep the skittish rabble in line? How, then, to make them march into the maw of hell? How, then, to force them to charge into a barrage of certain death or rush over armed minefields with a fervent battlecry upon their lips? Clearly, exhortations to loyalty and faith do not suffice on their own, for wretched man can only go so far by rousing rhetoric and shaming words. And clearly, the carrot of spiritual reward and promise of material plunder can only take you so far, for man's greed is not his strongest driving force. Nay, the stick must be brought to bear, for man is a creature of fear and terror, ever seeking to preserve his own worthless hide and prolong his own short time among the living. Like so many armies through history, the Astra Militarum has long since concluded that its soldiers must fear their officers more than they fear the foe, and what better way to put the fear of the Emperor into the men, women and children under arms, than to make an example out of some of them?
Kill one to scare a thousand. This ancient maxim from the Age of Terra carries a timeless truth. It is wise and admirable to punish the guilty with extreme measures, for the gruesome penalty is not only a condemnation of their personal sins and dysgenic blood, but a virtuous occasion to teach the watching masses through stark instructions. Doubt not the devastation wrought upon the human body which your own eyes will witness, for this, too, can happen to you, o lowly man. This executed criminal may well be you, unless you heed the commands of your superiors, and know what power to fear the most. Know that the Imperium of Man is ruthless and unforgiving, for the ancestral sins of man are unforgivable, and man's offspring must be punished for it to the ninehundredthousandth generation.
Furthermore, it is preferable that not only man's body be rent asunder, but also his soul. Let there be a double terror. Let there be a deeper fear for the immortal spirit that dwells in our fleshly form. If lowly man comes to fear the authorities for their power to extinguish his afterlife or send it to hell, then all the better.
One such punishment that plays on widespread superstition in many human cultures, is the means of execution known most commonly by the name of blowing from a gun, namely execution by cannon. It is a fine example of the retardation of human compassion in the Age of Imperium, as forceful as it is callous.
Blowing from a gun is a method of execution in which the victim is tied to the mouth of a cannon, which is then fired. Actual shells need not be used, since a blank cartridge will be sufficient to eliminate the guilty sinner. Usually, the prisoner's back rests against the muzzle, but another variant have the prisoner's gut and chest turned toward the cannon. Variations on this theme include tying the condemned one upside down, or even shoving him into the cannon barrel if it is large enough.
As for the standard arrangement of being tied with their back to the cannon mouth, upon firing the artillery piece the prisoner's head will fly high, straight up into the air, while the legs will drop to the ground beneath the muzzle of the gun. The rest of the body will be altogether blasted apart by the explosion, with gory vestiges raining down. Sometimes, onlookers may be injured by pieces of flesh and bone whizzing about. A cousin punishment to blowing from a gun entails fastening the criminal to one or more rockets, which are then shot into the air, and hopefully toward enemy lines if the exectuion occurs at the front.
The destruction of the guilty body and the scattering of any corporeal remains over a wide area serve a spiritual function in a great many human cultures around the Imperium, since it will prevent any funeral rites to help guide the executed malefactor's soul on its perilous journey. Thus, death in this vale of woes is not enough, for the wrongdoer must be robbed not only of his life, but of his eternal afterlife as well, akin to the common Imperial practice of desecrating the graves of heathens, infidels and apostates. This denial of any possible afterlife is aided by the common sight of birds of prey and other winged carrion eaters circling above the place of execution, swooping down to catch flying pieces of human flesh in the air. Another factor in destroying any chances of funeral rites being enacted upon the deviant body, is the widespread phenomenon of dogs, and similar creatures loitering about the spot, suddenly rushing to the scene of punitive carnage in order to devour delicacies scattered about as a result of the explosive execution.
Such, then, is a common military punishment visited upon traitors, deserters, rebels and malcontents. In many Imperial Guard regiments, execution by cannon will befall anyone who is discovered to have fallen asleep at their post, while in others is is the punishment for blasphemy or desertion. The bodily destruction achieved by blowing a condemned sinner from the mouth of a gun is but one of many draconic penalties visited upon wrongdoing Imperial soldiers within the Astra Militarum as well as countless Planetary Defence Forces and Voidholm Militias.
How many times have not hundreds or even thousands of people been blown apart simultaneously by grand batteries of artillery, in glorious displays of Imperial justice to enormous crowds of onlookers? How many times has not execution by cannon presented the plebeian flock with a warning example of what could befall them, by extinguishing the rude life of unwanted men, women and children? How many times have not torsos been eradicated as other body parts fly high, raining down everywhere around in a spatter of blood and gore? A memorable spectacle it is, and an instructive lesson of feral punishment. Ultimately, blowing from a gun is but one item among many in the vast arsenal of Imperial democide.
Let fell deeds awake when wretched man sins against his godly ruler, enthroned in radiant splendour upon the Golden Throne of hallowed myth. Let savagery gain free rein of violence to be visited upon sacrificial lambs of sorrow made out of foul deserters unwilling to chew razorwire as is their lot in life. Let us be cruel, and heed not whispers accusing us of barbarity, for life is not years, but deeds, and the misdeeds of filthy sinners must be rewarded with extreme bloodshed.
And so this rotting interstellar empire, this the last shield of humanity, is in fact a hellish and massmurdering regime all its own, a reprehensible Imperium of counterproductive atrocities that has ultimately doomed mankind by its stagnation and ongoing loss of technology and knowledge. As such, the Imperium of Man may be likened to a suicide pact gone wrong. Search not for goodness in the monstrous dominions of His Divine Majesty, for here you will find nought but the evil that men do. There is no black and white in this universe, only different degrees of darkness and evil and demented violence. No hope. Only war.
Witness with open eyes the primitive bloodlust festering inside the heart of man, and know full well that no amount of terror and carnage against fellow man can reverse the decline of human power in the Milky Way galaxy during this regressed Age of Imperium. No amount of savage retribution can save our species from the jaws of damnation. No amount of fevered depravity can turn the dark tide, for the great game of galactic dominion is not only played with discipline, willpower and sacrifice, but requires also rising to higher planes through ingenuity and inventive brilliance, both of which are stone dead and entirely lacking in the blunt heirs of mankind's distant great ancestors.
And so the parochial fanatics of the lord of hosts and leader of the people stumbles on, chastening each other with utmost brutality in the waning cosmic march of this human colossus on feet of clay, as the Imperium of Man staggers ever closer to oblivion. As the odds for the survival of Imperial power and mankind itself grow bleaker, ever more flesh and resources are fed into the meatgrinder in a broken equation of increased input, and ever harsher punishments are dealt out as desperation mounts amid the tyrannical overlords of Holy Terra and all her vast holdings. The Imperials are slowly losing, and the most intelligent amongst the true masters and mistresses of His sacred domain betwixt the stars ken this truth of impending downfall, even though they never would dare to speak such illoyal and outright heretical thoughts out loud. The Imperium of Man may be mighty in the earth, but it is not long for this world.
Thus humanity flagellates itself in a flurry of grisly punishments, for there can be no allowance for weakness in the darkest of futures. Ancient man was once the promising scion of Old Earth, the conqueror of stars and the dauntless explorer of the universe. Now, his distant descendant have devolved utterly, and so demented man in the Age of Imperium finds himself strapped to the muzzle of his own gun, his demise certain, his end cruel beyond words.
All this has come to pass, in an aeon of mindless butchery, in a time of blackest horror, in an age of doom.
Such is the future that awaits us all.
Such is the fate of our species.
Such is the insanity of man.
It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only slaughter.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/03/19 14:05:20
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Hoho, what on earth? This was unexpected. Apparently my doodles and writings in 40k
has started to spawn memes. This popped up on Reddit
, by LCPLOwen.
Which refers to Traffic Tower
here. Fun to know that people do read!
"The weekly wages had been handed out in kind by the farmowner. Now, a farmhand was standing around in the barnyard laughing out loud, all by himself. At this, a maid walked up and asked what he found so amusing.
Then the farmhand said:
'I can see straight through the cheese!'"
- Anecdote from Reverend Krustian Yndersson's travelling journal Betwixt Huts and Mansions in the Pauper's Bush, literary work approved by planetary censors in 853.M39 and published in Low Gothic on Lillandia IX by Printing House Sler of Urbe Calmar
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2021/04/09 23:00:38
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Where All The Roads Have Ended
"Where all the roads have ended,
the path we walk does not.
The realm that we defended,
has all begun to rot.
Our hearts have burned,
so pained and spurned.
That's how we're all forsaken now in the dark no-man's-land.
Perhaps we will never return to our dearest hearthland.
My father, mother, sister,
my duty and my pain.
The orchestra of cannons,
our sacrificial stain.
The captain cries:
Bring their demise!
Our blood is given in devotion to the Emperor,
Within the bloody thunderstorm of the cruel rebel horde.
The castellum is lost now,
the gore is ankle deep.
Some bars that smell like corpses,
are all we have to eat.
We've gone astray,
so cold we stay.
Our dearest ones we've been without since muster-up all cheer.
But now we must protect mankind from the crazed xenos here.
The clouds are moving north now,
the urbs are burning down.
The juves and men are dying,
for death is all around.
We burned the land,
in hand, just sand.
The eyes that dare look on the front are met with ghastly war.
Like them, will I soon lie in a cold grave forevermore?
We are forgotten,
we are forgotten,
we are forgotten.
I walk the line of corpses,
for here so many lie.
Just yesterday they guessed not,
that this would be goodbye.
Who knows? Not us.
Our true purpose.
Who knows how long the sun will shine before I will be free?
I'll only know that I've been slayed when mother cries for me.
We are forsaken,
we are forsaken,
we are forsaken."
- Outlawed soldier song that keeps resurfacing throughout the millennia within the ranks of the Astra Militarum, in conflict after conflict on disparate worlds and voidholms whenever war exhaustion grinds deep, despite its regulation punishment of public scalping and abacination followed by hanging (modifiable to Penal Legionnaire induction): The above sample was recorded from the lips of the condemned soldier Commentiolus Pullo on Ultra Majoris in 632.M41, as part of the Imperial Commissariat's education on identifying seditious utterings and malcontent sinspeech
- - -
Closely based on the first world war song Wo alle Straßen enden
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
A Compliment of A Question
on Deviantart asked the following question:
AacornSoup wrote:=][= Did you do any official artwork for Rogue Trader by any chance? Asking because your drawing style matches the 1st edition 40K/ 1980s Games Workshop aesthetic... =][=
Which is very kind, but also funny because I wasn't even born when that splendid tome was released in 1987.
Cast Pearls Before Swine
Devious minds have described a great many Astra Militarum regiments as hordes of analphabets led by idiots. This treasonous claim is not without some accuracy, for mankind ever contains an overabundance of mediocrity, dullness and failings in its vast ranks, as the historical record will attest to at every turn if one were to scrutinize it in detail.
Rarely has this sobering fact been more strikingly true than in the degenerate Age of Imperium, where waning humanity steadily but surely loses its grasp on ever more of the sciences and technologies that it once amassed in golden epochs, long gone by the winds of fate. Increasingly, man in the darkest of futures is even losing the basic features of civilization itself, as his stagnant culture rots and withers away piece by piece through a march of spiralling decline, carried out by ever more ignorant generations of bloodthirsty savages and neglectful fanatics.
Still, there are degrees in hell, and so slightly less ignorant men will always take the chance to poke fun at the dumb deeds of their even more clueless brethren. For the inner meaning of life and creation itself must surely be a grand joke, wrapped around itself in layers upon layers of irony and dark humour, to the amusement of thirsting gods. As above, so below, for the wellspring of humour is not joy, but sorrow. Thus mortals will retell cherished anecdotes to one another in playful badinage, circulating stories that grow into condensed stock jokes where particulars such as the names of places and actors are long forgotten, abandoned by the wayside for the stupid point alone to stand supreme in its timeless buffoonery.
One such example of a real little event that grew into a famous tale of hilarity retold on hundreds of worlds and voidholms across the Imperium of Man, once played out in 468.M40 on the fourth moon of Satala Majoris. A long-grinding civil war between local patriots and Imperial loyalists was solved with overwhelming force of arms, by the landing of eighthundredseventy million Imperial Guardsmen, temporarily diverted from the ongoing Dara Crusade to stomp out the festering problem spot once and for all. The sweeping advance of the Imperial forces left blackened devastation and carnage in its wake, as battle-hardened soldiers sought to enrich themselves by looting and enslaving such a fabulous booty that their stolen wealth posed a logistical challenge to high command.
And so, ravenous infantrymen of the Astra Militarum ran amok in district after district with lusty greed shining like goldfever in their eyes. At the small country estate of the patrician Surenar clan, an all too common scene played out, as the offworlder looters, all bearing the symbols of the Emperor, ignored the pleas and oaths of faithfulness from the native Imperial loyalists living on the estate, and proceeded to brutally murder, violate, torture or enslave every man, woman and child they came across. After all, wealth was wealth no matter who you took it from. And it was so hard to tell the indigenous factions apart, so why not just grab while the going was good and assume every Satalan to be a lying traitor? You cannot trust the tongues of betrayers, after all, everyone knows that.
Quisque est barbarus alio: Everyone is a barbarian to someone else.
The well-known incident took place as the third son of the Surenar patriarch was gunned down from behind by the Raurorican Guardsman Ambrosius the Facesplitter. This simple Imperial soldier looted a highly decorated leather bag filled with obscenely expensive Myrean thrystpearls from the corpse of the nobleman, easily sufficient to land himself and his descendants with a life of luxury and ease, should he ever escape alive from the ranks of the Astra Militarum. The sheer value of the thrystpearls had seen whole squads of looting Guardsmen kill their brothers or sisters in arms over a single pebble, so great was their renowned worth.
And so the lowly private held a soaring treasure of pearls in his hand, but he threw them away as worthless marbles for children's games and kept the bag.
Thus greed and ignorance make for poor comrades.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/05/25 11:09:54
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Enginseer with a Wrench
Excellent as ever KNC!
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
@Olthannon: Thank you most kindly! Much appreciated.
Contempt of Death
To truly belong in a community, one has to take things for granted and live and breathe its ancestral customs without second thought or fluttering doubt. One must be a natural cell in an organic whole, and live out the culture as a sure link in a long line of generations rather than ponder and question the chain stretching through the aeons. As such, the peculiarities of one's culture is often best brought to the surface through an outsider's view of one's own strange and exotic ways, for how could the fish ever grant much deep thought to the water in which it swims all its life?
After all, a stranger will often be able to sum up their observations in a concise manner, regardless of their accuracy, whereas a native enmeshed in a whole cosmos of organically grown mores, laws, traditions, unspoken rules, clan ties, religious observations and social expectations will often flounder around for where to even begin describing a facet of their community to someone who is altogether alien to it. How could you describe the sun to someone who has only known chthonic darkness all their life?
There exist countless examples of xenos' pithy remarks on mankind in the grim darkness of the far future, many of which would not make sense if translated and told to someone outside a particular sentient species, whether because of alien biology or convoluted culture. Other observations are more universal in nature, and prone to spreading. One such xenoid remark is encapsulated in a common anecdote circulating within the upstart Tau Empire, the retelling of which on any worlds, ships or voidholms under the God-Emperor's divine rule would condemn an Imperial subject to have their tongue ripped out and their vocal cords seared away by acid, for them to then be flayed alive, bound with sinews and cast into a corpse grinder while still breathing and squirming.
The event behind the popular little alien tale originally took place in 976.M41 on the Imperial frontier colony of Macrinus Beta on the Eastern Fringe of the Terran Imperator's sacred galactic domains. A highly sophisticated combined arms offensive had caught the lumbering behemoths of the Astra Militarum and Macrinus Beta's Planetary Defence Force flat-footed, as a vastly numerically inferior foe struck with collected strength in a rapid succession of quick redeployments and devastating usage of heinous ranged firepower. Imperial defences were torn to shreds in a drumroll of blows, and most Human counter-attacks only ended up feeding the ravenous meatgrinder of war, as vengeful Gue'la left the safety of their field fortifications and thereby exposed themselves to murderous barrages from Fire Caste Strike Teams, skimming vehicles and Air Caste aeroplanes. Local Imperial commanders proved completely unable to cope with this very mobile form of shock warfare, and the resultant military meltdown saw the entire colony fall in a matter of months.
After one Strike Team leader Shas'ui Kais'yr together with his small squad and a gaggle of Gun Drones managed to trick a whole battalion of demoralized Human infantrymen to capitulate in the urb of Antiochus' Landfall, the grizzled veteran came to rummage through the captured Gue'la supplies with jubilant curiosity. The Fire Warrior plucked up a standard ration bar, of a recycled cannibal kind familiar to trillions of subjects of the celestial Imperator all over the Milky Way galaxy. Kais'yr threw caution out the window and dared the Human nutrient to clash with his alien biology all it wanted: He had defeated the Gue'la in glorious battle, and so he would consume their food to consummate his triumph in an echo of a truly archaic Fire Caste victory rite dating back to before the coming of the Ethereals.
And so, having tasted an Emperor-given corpse starch ration bar, the Tau Fire Warrior exclaimed:
"Now I understand why Imperials are so eager to die in battle!"
This message was edited 3 times. Last update was at 2021/05/27 12:17:06
Subject: Re:40k: Descendant Degeneration
Love the content man, I think the xeno interactions are my favorite, too bad orks are bit too goofy ta blend with yer style.
"Us Blood Axes hav lernt' a lot from da humies. How best ta kill 'em, fer example."
— Korporal Snagbrat of the Dreadblade Kommandos
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
@Some_Call_Me_Tim: You were saying?
Thank you very mucht!
In the grim darkness of the far future, boys will be boys.
On uncounted millions of worlds and drifting roks, space hulks and voidbases, the most succesful starfaring sentient species in the Milky Way galaxy needs to figure out how to pass the time. After all, once you reach the mountain top of creation itself, the thrill of challenges may fade, and life can easily dim into stale boredom. Luckily for this sprawling apex species, the greenskin mind is one of freewheeling creativity, and so orks touched by the malaise of ennui are ever quick to invent activities to entertain themselves. As the foremost thinking species in the galaxy, the cunning greenskins know well the virtue of simplicity, and so a typical bright idea for generating a fun time for the mobs will consist of pounding some nearby git, until everyone around join in the jolly exercise of beating the living daylight out of their fellow orks.
While such a spontaneous healthy brawl will suffice as entertainment for these alien creatures at the pinnacle of evolution, sometimes a particularly brainy boy will come up with something more advanced, something to make the other orks scratch their heads in confusion before they get it. And so the more clever sort of greenskin will come up with all manner of rude and crude sports to electrify the orkish hordes into an amused frenzy. One of the most common games played by orkoid kind is that of kickskullz or footslugga, a barely organized event known by thousands of different names across the interstellar orkish domains and all their dirty backwaters. It is a most esteemed way to let off steam and exercise orkish physique, all the while preparing the players for battle.
Kickskullz is a heathen xeno mass ritual in which two or more opposing teams of ork boys will hunt a round object with unrestrained savagery and hopefully also attempt to score goals in some fashion or another. It is a primitive ballgame played by stinking teams of kickers and punchers and biters, all partaking in a primal display of vigorous screaming and fighting. Any rudimentary rules established before the game will inevitably melt away in a hearty fistfight of green maniacs bashing each other real good. Most orks do not even know how to score, but they sure know how to give someone a fine knuckling-off!
The tribal team games of kickskullz often devolve into brutal free-for-all fights, where the orkoid menace on the pitch will descend into an indiscriminate berzerk fury. Such jolly havoc will entail a great amount of headbutting, stomping and yelling. Boys will crash into their sport-foes and charge at each other with abandon, participating in a headcracking melee.
At other times, the tribal lines will remain intact, as more and more boys join the arms-ripping frenzy to support their own kind in the swelling fun brawl to prove their collective mettle. Some particularly enthusiastic matches will see such an escalation of force on the pitch that entire greenskin tribes are pulled into howling wars for dominance over the field of sportsmanlike massacre. Indeed, at some occasions the attractive maelstrom of violence is such that ever more Warbosses will pull ever larger forces into the field, until Stompas and Squiggoths clash, even as they crush tonnes of piled-up ork corpses underfoot. Such occasions are generally considered to be splendid matches, and local legends may be born out of the bloodbaths.
Much less spectacular games will still provide noisy stomping grounds, where brawlers, bruisers and brutes bash each other. Such hooligan matches will take place to much laughing and hooting, unless both teams fail miserably in their feral performance, and as a consequence invite spectators to lynch the lousy players with anything from fists and fangs to claws and guns. And so innumerable games of kickskullz take place on planets and looted voidholms beyond counting, amidst great revelry of chuckling and smirking, invigorated by guffaws and blood-curdling screams while frothing barbarians hunt what passes for a ball.
Sometimes trophy heads or ripped-off torsos from alien species such as oretti, genestealer, kroot or human will suffice, or else unlucky living grots will be tied up into a rough sphere of pain and get kicked around in shrieking agony until only gory pulp remains on the field. Some orks are even daring enough to use live squigs for balls, due to their good, meaty bounce, but those greenskins who survive the horrible carnage of maddened fang and claw quickly learn to use dead squigs instead. Captured enemy helmets are another common form of ball, usually with a head still rattling around inside.
Oftentimes games will see multiple balls, even if they only started with a single one. It is standard fare for players to brutalize each other to such an excessive degree that beheadings occur, and thus additional balls are added to the match. Likewise, the playing field need not be anything resembling a horizontal area, for it could well include rickety scaffolding, towers, parked vehicles, rocky outcrops, deep pits and all manner of obstacles that need to be overcome, usually with rough climbing constantly accompanied by fighting, tugging and kicking, and sometimes even outright shooting.
Thus feats of crude acrobatics may take place, to a chorus of frenetic bawling and dusty foot-stomping. Yet woe betide any ballcarrier who gets too much ahead of the opposition by means of agile cunning, for such gifted boys will often succumb to a stampede of warty feet, whether from angered bystanders, hostile players or teammates annoyed by their unorky play. Violent amusement and bloody spectacles are, after all, the reason for the existence of kickskullz in the first place, and if any self-respecting ork is to enjoy their rowdy scrap on the pitch, they will have to tear budding starplayers apart so as to stop the uppity bigshots from sabotaging the tribes trying to have a good time. Better level the playing field by levelling the dodgy gits with the ground.
Orkish sport events, such as kickskullz, are little more than an excuse to have a good fight, and it would be the height of folly to let the game overshadow the brawl. And so the apex species of our beleaguered galaxy will practice their high kultur in accordance with their ancestral traditions, oblivious to the weakness and angst that plague lesser beings. Theirs is the joy, as raw and primitive as it is true and eternal.
It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only fun and games.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2021/05/31 15:41:45
Subject: Re:40k: Descendant Degeneration
now that is a perfect representation of orks, from the outside brutal as hell, but to them, just sunday night football.
"Us Blood Axes hav lernt' a lot from da humies. How best ta kill 'em, fer example."
— Korporal Snagbrat of the Dreadblade Kommandos
Subject: Re:40k: Descendant Degeneration
Terminator with Assault Cannon
now that is a perfect representation of orks, from the outside brutal as hell, but to them, just sunday night football.
I mean, they're literally football hooligans with shootas, choppas, squigs.
Great job as always Karak!
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
@Racerguy180: Haha, indeed they are. Thank you!
Cult of Personality
In the grim darkness of the far future, rulers want the ruled to praise the ruler.
Far back in the distant Age of Terra, man learnt to put yoke upon the shoulders of fellow man, and make the bearer of burdens praise it as just. This ancient spell from mankind's misty ur-time still holds true, for the timeless endurance of the glamour of power bespeaks fundamental parts of human nature. The principles of hierarchy, organization and leadership, of course, have great and meaningful advantages, for the lordship of one over an obedient whole allows for a unity of purpose and ability to swift and decisive action in times of crisis that may prove crucial for the survival and welfare of the community at large. The legitimately accepted rule of strongmen in a traditional world of cosmic order decreed from on high also confer real benefits in the form of stability and a sense of knowing your place in the world and society.
Still, character, intelligence, integrity and other personal qualities remain important features in any leader. An incompetent reign or a spineless marionette crowned with laurels may lead the entire ship of state astray, and the rule of an unhinged madman may wreck it entirely, as may the risky brinkmanship of mediocre successors trying to fill out the large shoes left behind by genius predecessors. Sometimes, a worthwhile gamble attempted after sound deliberation do not pay off, or poor luck strikes out of nowhere without it being anyone's fault, and conversely the machinery of state may be so robust that haphazard reigns and shameful disasters at the top do not trouble the larger realm. Indeed, history shows that some of the most depraved and unfit lunatics have reigned in the midst of golden ages, without their sorrowful actions making the ship capsize.
Whatever the attention-grabbing vices and virtues of the people in charge, and whatever the tides and ebbs of their epoch, all rulers have ever benefitted from a sanctified leadership, which seem righteous and just in the eyes of the wider populace, or at least in the eyes of the elites, without whose support the ruler cannot last. Any country will wish to establish a hallowed tradition where the office of the figurehead or top despot of the powers that be derives legitimacy from the weight of centuries and the sacred will of divinity or strong ideas moulding the minds of men. Often, the actual character of the wielder of the sceptre and crown will seem unimportant in the eyes of patricians and plebeians alike. Instead the pedigree and the revered office with its glittering titles and symbols will be all that counts, and for the most part this veneration of a dynasty and social order will stay human polities in good stead, for stability is precious.
Yet sometimes the head of the monarch or reigning warlord will be raised forth as something just as important as the crown that it carries, if not more so. Sometimes the man will overshine his office, and the woman will cast her own throne in shadow. Sometimes, a princely leader wants to be personally loved by their flock, indeed at times an optimate maximus craves the adoration of the masses. And at other times they desperately needs to be cheered and thought of as demigods, for keeping oneself in power among shifting interest groups in volatile times may be likened to juggling daggers while dancing on eggshells.
Mankind in its degraded Age of Imperium knows no shortage of personality cults among its enthroned powermongers, for all manner of lacklustre lords and ladies may be believed by others to be brilliant Planetary Governors and Voidholm Overlords without compare, if their underlings and supporters just spin the grand tale bravely enough, and dare the big lie to be true. To many local potentates, the intense construction of a dear public persona will often consist of borrowing feathers from the splendid plumage of the Divine Imperator who dwells upon the face of Terra, while other supreme despots may even outshine our Lord and Saviour if they keep going long enough. Putting the God-Emperor in the shadow of your paeans of popularity is a dangerous prospect, but prudent leaders will know how to walk that tightrope without falling off.
A cult of personality is a public image of a ruling individual consciously shaped and moulded through constant propaganda, disseminated not only among the ruling classes, but among the lower castes as well, in order to anchor the leader in popular support and forestall dissent. Such a cult of personality is generated by the spread of disinformation, the arrangement of false displays of popular veneration, and the creation of an atmosphere in the culture where a leader is idealized, ever wallowing in flattery and praise for their heroic role as the people's great helmsman. Some long-running campaigns of leader cults will eventually turn the great leader into a living saint, literally and explicitly sent by the God-Emperor Himself to preserve and guide the people. Only seldom will they be accepted by the wider Ecclesiarchy, yet their status may live on locally for many centuries after their death.
Such tyrants advertising their own greatness is almost invariably backed up by armed force and campaigns of widespread terror, where anyone who speaks out of line or gets framed by a neighbour who wants the whole shared apartment for their own family, will disappear in order to cleanse Imperial society of deviants and malcontents. Of course, many will be scared into singing the accolades of this ego-trip of the mighty, yet many simple minds and sophisticates alike will genuinely lap it all up. So perverse is human nature, that there is no shortage of astounding instances where unfortunate true believers caught in a purge died with the name of their beloved leader on their lips, even though said tyrant was responsible for the very hardships, tortures and deaths suffered by the devout loyalists and their families.
Such common human denial of reality, and such depraved thought patterns are common enough, that purges ramped up to monstrous levels of democidal atrocity, will not be blamed upon the beloved ruler, for surely this great being could not ever be responsible for such heinous deeds carried out in his name? It must be the doings of corrupt lower officials! The guardian of our world must have evil advisors who deceive him by putting lies into his ears! It must be hidden enemies and traitors wishing to discredit the leader with their excessive massacres, autodafés and labour camps, without the knowledge of the great helmsman! If only the Imperial Governor knew!
But of course all those prime exemplars of perfect lordship knew. They knew all along. The fell deeds happened on their command, on their watch. After all, a state is a structure ruled from the top, despite all the departmental independence and local cliques and games of intrigue muddling the picture. Even so, human myopia, ability to lie to oneself and capacity for willing ignorance is such that the victim or witness of a horrible crime will sometimes refuse to see the murderer in charge for what he truly is. Such is the depravity of man, and thus is an ordinary source of endless mass suffering repeated again and again through uncounted aeons.
And so men, women and children will eulogize the boot that tramples the human faces of their loved ones, or even themselves, and the High Lords of Terra know this to be good.
One crucial factor when erecting a strong cult of personality, is the ability to tell a lie big enough, and keep repeating it in order to brainwash the masses. After all, people tell themselves little lies all the time, so they will be unprepared for anyone willing and able to lie on a large scale. The most succesful and long-running campaigns of secular worship for a living leader and their venerated system will even see the propagandists and rulers themselves believe in their own empty talk, a state of affairs which will rather commonly set them up for a sobering fall from their heights of hubris, and often a lethal fall at that.
There is a bottomless Imperial capacity for fabrication, as is evident on hundreds of thousands of worlds and an innumerable myriad of voidholms in the astral domains of Him on Terra. Almost everywhere man dwells in the Age of Imperium, colossal untruths are believed by common folk, and some of the most audacious lies originate from the most efficient cults of personality, for their vigour of tongue is the wellspring of legend. There are long-established rules for distorting the truth: Such methods of infamy include basic guidelines for any ruler who wants to be honoured by the populace, such as the principle to never admit your faults and wrongs, never accept blame for anything and never leave room for alternatives. It is your way, or the highway.
The leaders of the human species during the Age of Imperium know well how to boast of their virtues and build popular support with lofty words and empty promises. A cult of personality grows by broadcasting the external appearance cultivated by a leader, in order to paint an idealized and heroic image, to create a sweet and seeming picture. It is therefore, at its very heart, a highly shallow phenomenon of carefully erected worship and vanity, which the clear example presented by the public persona of one Rogue Trader Zedek D.F. Mascadolce may serve to illuminate.
Rogue Trader flotillas are ever prone to develop insular microcultures, as proud and hostile to outsiders as they are parochial and hidebound. Rogue Trader ships provide a fine microcosm of Imperial civilization at work. Take Captain Zedek, for instance: This man has stimulated an outward image of himself onboard his only ship as an unrivalled sage of groundbreaking intellect, a wizard of words and winged advice. Yet below the charisma of teethy smiles and high-caste polish of aristocratic manners and noble speech, may be seen a pillar of ineptitude lording it in flawed fashion over his vessel the
Debt Collector, even as the structural materials of this rickety spacetub is salvaged piecemeal by unruly tribes on her lower decks. Zedek Mascadolce, in short, is a living, breathing example of assumed wisdom since cradle in action, for his muddled management of his lonely, rundown ship leaves much to be desired. This walking, talking incompetent in power will actually strike a rather pathetic figure for those who come to know him closely, yet the good Rogue Trader seeks to prop up his mediocre ways by having part of the bridge's crew constantly monitor his speech and suggest smarter things to say in ongoing conversations, in order for Captain Zedek to appear more clever than he actually is.
Fake it until you make it. And perhaps Rogue Trader Zedek of the
Debt Collector will manage to do so in due time, despite his whole illustrious family's fortunes being down on their knees in ill luck. Even some the best of human leaders through the ages started out in a state of questionable judgement, before wisdom brought by time, sound advice and rich experience honed them brilliantly for the task. Perhaps dear Zedek will rise to the occasion, or perhaps he will fall flat in his endeavours, and at best only succeed in prolonging the spiralling decay, like so many other Imperial rulers.
To wander through the better hallways and corridors of the
Debt Collector, is to behold a dilapidated monument to one man's titanic ego, a testament to human vanity and the folly of mortal creatures everywhere. Yet the splendid public image touted from posters, servitor bullhorns and statues is as flimsy as the man's tight pants, for the propaganda stance taken by the Mascadolce Rogue Trader is merely skin deep in substance. Oftentimes, big lies turn out to have only the most meagre bones of truthful content hidden within their darkened hollows.
The public relation methods employed by Captain Zedek may be summed up as the reigning Rogue Trader pretending to be a genius in charge, with all manner of scarce resources spent on improving the public standing of this floundering Mascadolce overlord. While this is clearly a case of egomania writ large, there is nevertheless a strain of sanity and calculation in this tyrannical self-glorification. Rogue Trader Zedek inherited his bloodline's last remaining hulk of a voidship, and found himself in a precarious position of eroding control, ever-worsening material state of disrepair and a crew-wide lack of communal pride. A virulent cocktail of untold generations of Mascadolce failures, the sharp elbows of rival dynasties such as the Lecoq Rogue Traders, bad judgement and poor luck had left a downcast crew without much sense of direction, trapped in a travelling backwater that had seen better days. Captain Zedek thus seemingly concluded that he needed to inject a new spirit and confidence in his minions, whether pressganged or voidborn, and he clearly elected to do so with his own humble self as the focal point of adoration for all the tens of thousands of souls under his command.
To Zedek Mascadolce's credit it should be mentioned that the self-obsessed Rogue Trader has thrown himself head first into the line of fire on a great many occasions, including instances of saving his own armsmen and crew from the jaws of death. He is thus carving out a deserved reputation for courage and martial skill, which his ramshackle propaganda machinery has blown up to wildly undeserved proportions of legendary stature. There must always be a kernel of truth in the best of lies, after all.
The Rogue Trader's armed merchant vessel is bedecked with little shrines to Zedek's own glory, and plastered with inspirational posters highlighting the need to obey the magnificent Captain without question, and serve him with due diligence. Zedek D.F. Mascadolce is seemingly even working as his own spindoctor in order to put catchy mottos, uplifting phrases and bad puns into the mouths of his crew, all aimed to bolster the image of their lord and master and colour the onboard microculture with his peculiar wit and arrogance. As such, the more enthusiastic and idealistic kind of people onboard this deteriorating spaceship may actually be heard using words of this kind: "For the greater glory of the Captain!"
The shine and glory of a heroic figurehead rubs off to some degree on his inferiors, spreading out like rings on the water with a twist of collective egotism: It is their Captain, after all, and pride in their leader ultimately reflects a pride in themselves, for in their unspoken thoughts they own their adored ruler. They possess him, as long as he continues to seem good and fit for his office, for them. By supporting such a respected figure, they somehow support and respect themselves that bit more. People need high and worthy examples to follow, for more subtle reasons of the spirit than may at first seem obvious, for it is not just inspiration, but self-respect won by proxy. It all makes up a knotty mental image beyond the conveyance of words, yet such are the meandering paths of the human heart.
Aside from seemingly rational reasons for playing up his own deeds and words in order to reinvigorate the flagging spirits of the
Debt Collector's disorderly inhabitants, the Mascadolce potentate also seem to harbour a familial grudge, true to the petty nature of man since time immemorial. As such Captain Zedek has sought to truly stamp his mark on his inherited voidborne domain. Prints and handwritten copies of his wise tome
Zedequette takes up an entire cargo hold onboard the
Debt Collector, and its insightful writings have grazed many a world and voidholm through frenetic export activities. Malevolent officer rumours onboard the
Debt Collector claims that Zedek Mascadolce's fervent building of a personality cult is driven by a need to overshadow his hated father, and outdo the deceased pater familias in pretended splendour. On a budget, of course. Indeed, whispered accusations even say that the current owner of the starship has demolished or hidden away what artistic images remain of his father in order to damn the dead old man's memory. Others claim that a statue of Captain Zedek, with a suspiciously small head, is in fact a recarved visage of his late father.
Such cults of personality of a leader all amounts to a giant confidence trick, upheld for decades or even centuries on end. Some personality cults meet a dismal end while the leader is still in charge, and often the collapse of public confidence in the ruler may see him toppled from power. Other cults of personality run strong during the whole life of the leaders they adored and venerated, yet may find their boosted legacies torn to shreds by hostile successors willing to drag forth choice skeletons from their predecessors' closets and damage their historical image for the ages. Some later rulers may even perform a damnatio memoriae over earlier leaders in order to purge a defeated rival from common memory, and thus deface their foe's monuments or replace their predecessors' images and inscriptions with their own august visages and majestic names.
A ruler's cult of personality can blossom into an illusion of sheer godlike splendour if an early accession of power, lengthy survival of assassination attempts and rejuvenat treatments allow him or her to reign supreme for centuries on end over many shortlived generations of filthy plebs, who all are born and depart their lives under the benevolent guidance of their dear leader. Such ruler longevity usually enhances the secular apotheosis of a cult of personality, although some unfortunate overlords lived too long and found their standing and legacy utterly ruined by dire events outside their control, or else the personality cult was destroyed by disastrous decisions of the potentate's own making.
Any cult of personality in the Imperium of Man is dependant on creating an aura of magnificence and divine appointment. It is well to huff up the basileus with inflated imagery of the chief in charge. It is best to keep up a facade of popular love, spotless character and brilliant steering of the reins of power. It is necessary to hide the rotten hollow at the core of the regime, where self-serving oligarchs, inbred psychopaths and stressed warlords every day or lightson prove their human failings in a cavalcade of mediocrity, corruption, incompetence and petty-minded lack of vision, punctuated by bloody purges and hectic periods of paranoia, terror and plotting.
This is how to cultivate an overly gilt and rosy image of the one who is in power, until they have undergone a deification in the common psyche of simple folks. Such divinization of capricious dictators are as genuine as a synthetic plastid smile, yet the leader reverence among large sections of the population may still be heartfelt. Indeed, the death of a beloved ruler will inevitably see hordes of commoners flock to the displayed regal corpse in order to pay their last respects and honour the last rites carried out over a great leader that guided their world with much renown. On such occasions it is common for the pressure of earnest crowds to be so suffocating as to trample and kill great numbers of Imperial subjects, which is all too often a fitting farewell for a bloodsoaked oppressor in lit de parade. Give praise to lordly charlatans and mass murderers!
Personality cults are especially common under the reign of philosopher kings. This historical tendency for cults of personality springing up more commonly under the auspice of pondering men and women in power holds true even for those thinking sages on the throne who tend toward a self-sacrificing and self-denying image where they strive to be seen as dour servants of the common weal, for their vanity can ultimately be seen through the holes in their cloth. All is vanity.
Behold this ancient phenomenon replay itself again and again throughout human history, wherever mankind spreads its seed across the stars! Behold the cult of personality emerge: Watch it spring forth from the well of human hypocrisy, emerge from the pool of perjury and ascend from the depth of lies. Go forth, good cult, and seduce the minds of the masses. Rejoice, serf, in this timeless celebration of man's aspiration for total power over others, and know that our kin is in good hands under the stern and just rule of the sacred Imperium of Man. And all is well.
Such is the deception of man, in the darkest of futures.
Such is the delusion of our species, at the end of days.
Such is the depravity that awaits us all.
It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only falsehood.
- - -
Tribute to Captain Zedek
, played by HulkyKrow
. I had a 4x9cm rectangle left over in the corner of an A4 sheet of paper, so I drew a classical shrine. At first I pondered what statue to place in it. Maybe a martyred saint? I spent the better part of an evening collecting heaps of reference images of the Emperor of Mankind for shrine duty, until inspiration struck and a blasphemous change of plans occurred.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Sinspeech Whisper Jokes
In the grim darkness of the far future, man tortures man for cracking a joke.
An ancient Terran sage from mankind's misty past once wrote that humour ought to be based upon ambiguity, the unexpected, wordplay, understatement, irony, ridicule, silliness and pratfalls. Yet another wise man claimed that the wellspring of humour was not joy, but sorrow. As tens of thousands of Terran years have passed, and the seed of man has spread and multiplied across the stars, time has ultimately proven both to be right. For if you cannot laugh at the misery, you must cry at it.
Likewise, an ancient proverb hailing from the distant Age of Terra delves to the core of man's spirit, by noting that gloating is his true delight. This, too, stands by and large as a timeless truth to last the aeons, for wretched man finds solace in the knowledge that somewhere, someone else fares worse than himself. If only in a joke, it nevertheless lightens his spirit to watch from the shores the stormy struggles of others out at sea. Pure gladness, the happy kind bereft of malicious joy at the suffering of others, is to be treasured due to its sheer rarity in the human heart.
Since the most ancient days of mankind's civilization, subjects in some oppressive tyrannies have developed a fine wit filled with clever quips and sharp jests. They may never be able to stand up to their overlords and tormentors, yet in some human cultures people have nonetheless learnt how to ease the travails and frustrations of everyday life by poking fun at their rulers and their multitude of corrupt and pompous minions, as well as the dysfunctionalities of their realm. Witty women and fellows fond of ribalds and jest do so at their own extreme peril, for the powers that be rarely appreciates being dragged in the mud and made the butt of irreverent jokes. While in some cultures, people have found it altogether distasteful to make wisecracks about hardships, bloodshed and civil strife, those other human cultures that have traditionally embraced gallows humour as a fine art have all honed it to marvellous levels of twisting creativity and witticisms in the face of deadly threats.
This pattern certainly holds true in the darkest of futures, for the Age of Imperium has seen humanity subjected to a rapacious rule of cruel tyrants, inept administrators, zealous fanatics and selfish warlords. As man has degenerated into scattered hordes of insular, hidebound and aggressively myopic savages and cannibals, the ignorant and parochial subjects of the God-Emperor of Holy Terra has all been grasped hard by the steely talons of that callous twin-headed eagle. This sclerotic rule of theocratic dictators has seen man reduced to dust under their ironshod heels, and the harsh lot of man has been one of misery and hardship neverending. The pattern varies greatly, but it holds true across the astral domains of the Imperator: Some human cultures just cannot resist the allure of jocular sinspeech.
Imperial Governors and their croneys remain popular targets of disrespectful jokes, even though anyone uttering such quips of black humour must do so at baleful peril to themselves and their entire clan. Not for nothing are such examples of irreverent humour in the Imperium of Man known as whisper jokes, for these jokes cannot be told openly in public because of their taboo subjects. Such dangerous witticisms constitute dark jokes for a dark age, all deviant and malcontent. The danger is real. There are eyes and ears everywhere, for in the darkest of futures, mankind teems like a horde of rats. Almost everywhere you go in inhabited human regions, there will be informants listening in on your conversation in overcrowded settlements, willing to sell out their fellow man to hellish dungeons for meagre rewards and the kick that this power over others allows them to experience.
One such example of dangerous words can be glimpsed in periods of great debauchery among secular or Ecclesiarchal ruling castes on Imperial worlds and voidholms, which are often dubbed pornocracies by street wits. As noted, many human cultures find it tasteless to make fun of their woes and grim sufferings, while other cultures find in the whisper jokes a release and a means to cope with all the hardships and terror. Cultural attitudes to risky jokes tend to vary greatly between regions on the same world or larger voidholm, on top of great interplanetary variety and general differences between entire subsectors. Still, the vast oral flora of mankind's humour include a great many jokes that do not entail pulling the tiger's tail, for most quips concern domestic matters far safer to make light of, than the matter of Imperial power and governorial authority.
For instance, human cultures in which parents place an overemphasis on cleanliness (such as on Armageddon or Aleph Primus), generally tends to sport a prominence of scatological humour. In other cultures where the maintenance of outward face is everything, and you must never break down in your display of self-control, diligence and politeness (such as on Taugast III or Wonlu's Station), humour revolving around extreme humiliation of others reigns supreme. Whatever the local peculiarities, many human jokes depend on stock figures, ridiculing caricatures of timeless personality types.
Here follows a wide selection of jokes harvested from a multitude of different human cultures thriving bitterly under a plethora of alien suns, all plucked from worlds and voidholms across the cosmic empire of His Divine Majesty. Many of the following witticisms constitute clear-cut cases of criminal sinspeech, the telling of which will greatly interest local Securitate enforcers or even the Adeptus Arbites. Read on at your own peril, and ken that you will have damned your soul by knowing of such malcontent wisecracks. For the radiant Emperor who dwells upon the face of Terra know all, and judge all.
Hear the whispers of the downtrodden, in a demented age.
Hear the whispers of depraved man, at the end of times.
Hear his whispers, and know that he himself is the punchline.
It is the fortyfirst millennium, and there is only the laughter of thirsting gods.
- - -
All jokes can be read and downloaded here.
- - -
A judge walks out of his chambers laughing his head off. A colleague approaches him and asks why he is laughing. "I just heard the funniest joke in the world!"
"Well, go ahead, tell me!" says the other judge.
"I can't. I just gave someone fourhundred years camp labour for it!"
A drill-teacher asks a Cadian novice: "Where does Cadia fall on the starmap?"
The novice answered pompously: "Cadia does not fall!"
"How miserable my life is! I will leave nothing behind. What will I have to show for my mortal existence?"
"Chin up, old friend! Long after the rest of your body has been recycled, your visage will still be displayed on high for endless masses to behold. The public sight of your face shall be immortal."
"Do you really mean that?"
"Of course I do! The architects are in constant need of human skulls."
A coward is asked which are safer: Warships or merchant-ships. "Dry-docked ships," he answers.
Q: Is it true that the Imperium of Man is standing on the edge of an abyss?
A: No. It used to be true, but now we have taken a big step forward.
A man was reported to have said: "Titus is a moron!" and was arrested by an Enforcer: "No, sir, I meant not our respected Governor, but another Titus!"
The Enforcer barks: "Don't try to trick me; if you say 'moron', you are obviously referring to our Imperial Governor!"
Three men are sitting in a cell in the Securitate Headquarters at Forum Malcador. The first asks the second why he has been imprisoned, who replies: "Because I criticized Carolus Torquatus."
The first man responds: "But I am here because I spoke out in favor of Carolus Torquatus!"
They turn to the third man who has been sitting quietly in the back, and ask him why he is in jail. He answers: "I am Carolus Torquatus."
Q: What is the easiest way to explain the meaning of the words ‘Imperial governance’?
A: By means of fists.
"Tyrant Matteus, is it true that you collect jokes about yourself?"
"And how many have you collected so far?"
"Three and a half labour camps."
Q: Three in a room and one is working, what's that?
A: Two Administratum clerks and a fan.
Emir Pius was a man who united all Imperial sects, because he degraded the True Believers, he degraded the Orthopraxists and he degraded the Redemptionists.
A new arrival to the penal labour camp is asked: "What were you given sixty years for?"
"Don't lie to us here, now! Everybody knows 'for nothing' is twenty years."
Q: Is it true that the Imperium of Man is divinely ordained for future greatness?
A: Of course! Life was already better yesterday than it's going to be tomorrow.
Time of shortage. A line is forming around the street's corner. A man passing by saw it and asked the last one in line: "What do they sell here?"
"I have no idea," the woman in line replied, "go ask someone ahead."
The man went to the middle of the line and asked another woman: "What do they sell here?"
"I have no idea," the answer came, and he was sent farther ahead to seek for an answer.
The man went straight to the first person in line and asked him: "What do they sell here?"
The other man answered: "Nothing, I just felt sick and took support on this wall."
"Well then, why are you still here?" the man asked.
"Because I've never before been the first in such a long line," came the answer.
Q: How does every Imperial joke start?
A: By looking over your shoulder.
After a speech, High Baron Eratosthenes confronts his speechwriter: "I asked for a fifteen minute speech, but the one you gave me lasted fortyfive minutes!"
The speechwriter replies: "I gave you three copies..."
A miser writes his will and names himself as the heir.
Planetarch Xingu loses his favourite pipe. In a few days, Securitate Supremus Nihao calls Xingu: "Have you found your pipe?"
"Yes," replies Xingu, "I found it under the sofa."
"This is impossible!" exclaims Nihao. "Three people have already confessed to this crime!"
One advantage of growing old, is that your enemies tend to fall silent.
"The ruler of our voidholm, Kandahar Darius, is in surgery."
"His heart again?"
"No, chest expansion surgery, to make room for one more Gold Wings medal."
An uphive athlete, a midhive athlete and an underhive athlete are all on the medal podium after the Centenary Victory Games, chatting before the medal ceremony. "Don't get me wrong," says the underhive athlete, "winning a medal is very nice, but I still feel the greatest pleasure in life is getting home to the holestead after a long day, putting one's feet up and having a nice can of booze."
"You underhive proles," snorts the uphive athlete, "you have no sense of romance. The greatest pleasure in life is going on balls without your wife, and meet a beautiful girl with whom you have a passionate love affair before returning home to the spire."
"You are both wrong!" scoffs the midhive athlete. "The greatest pleasure in life is when you are sleeping at home and the Security Vigiles breaks down your door in the middle of lightsout, bursts into your hab and says, 'Albinus Felix, you are under arrest,' and you can reply 'Sorry cop, Albinus Felix lives next door.'"
After his wife had beaten him badly, a man crawled under his family bed. "Come out this instant!" his wife screamed.
"I am man enough to do as I please!" he said. "And I’ll come out when I’m good and ready."
When Wahibre became Imperial Governor he wanted a Throne Prince who was dumber than he was, so as not to cause him trouble or pose a threat to his power, so he chose Mernepta. When Mernepta became Governor he too wanted a Throne Prince dumber than he was and picked Takelot. After ascending to the throne, Takelot waited eight decades to pick a Throne Prince because he, too, was waiting to find on Khemrat III someone dumber than himself...
In a labour camp, two inmates are comparing notes. "What did they arrest you for?" asks the first. "Was it an anti-Imperial or common crime?"
"Of course it was anti-Imperial. I'm a plumber. They summoned me to the District Dictateum to fix the sewage pipes. I looked at them and said, 'Hey, the entire system needs to be replaced.' So they gave me seventy years."
Q: What's the best feature of a mechshaw?
A: There's a heater at the back to keep your hands warm when you're pushing it.
Graphocleus, the angelic reaper of the dead, appears before the Emperor's appointed Archking Caelestis and tells him to bid farewell to the Nomian people. Caelestis asks: "Why, where are they going?"
When will we finish the war? When the spire caste will eat mice and we will eat mice substitute.
Governor Royarch Bindusara makes a speech: "Everyone in the Governance Chamber has dementia. Count Pelshevu doesn't recognize himself: I say 'Hello, Count Pelshevu,' and he responds 'Hello, Royarch Bindusara, but I'm not Pelshevu.' Praefectus Kulottunga acts like a child – he's taken my rubber Space Marine from my desk. And during Vizier Kerala Varma's funeral – by the way, why is he absent? – nobody but me invited a lady for a dance when the music started playing."
What are the four deadly enemies of latifundia farming? Spring, summer, autumn, winter.
Governor Hasdrubal and Minister Mago are standing on the Lilybaeum Vox-Com Spire. Hasdrubal tells Mago he wants to do something to cheer up the people of Lilybaeum. "Why don’t you just jump?" Mago suggests.
A nobleman happened to be dining at the home of the best painter in the Spire, when he saw the painter's nine ugly sons.
"You don't make children," he said, "the way you make pictures."
"That," said the painter, "is because I make children in the dark, pictures in the light."
Lightsoff in Hive Caenophrurium. Two Baronial Guards on nightwatch spots a shadow trying to sneak by: "Halt! Who goes there? Documents!"
The frightened person chaotically rummages through his pockets and drops a paper. The Guard chief picks it up and reads slowly, with difficulty: "'U.ri.ne A.na.ly.sis'... Hmm... an offworlder, sounds like... A spy, looks like.... Let's shoot him!"
Then the Guard reads further: "'Proteins: none, Sugars: none, Fats: none...' You are free to go, humble man! The poor shall not cease in the land!"
Dear God-Emperor, make me dumb, so I don't come to labour camp.
Why did Magos Referatum go abroad, while Enginseer Heimunu did not? Because Referatum ran on power-packs, but Heimunu needed an outlet.
The fools Pullo and Vorenus cross the street in a besieged urb, when they are suddenly hit by a shell. Pullo loses an ear and goes back to look for it.
Vorenus shouts: "Come on, let it go, you have another ear!"
But Pullo replies: "But it's not about the ear. I had put a lho-stick behind it!"
Lord of Lords Imhotep is visiting an asylum. The patients line up by their beds and greet him with: "Hail Imhotep!"
Only one man stands aside and does not greet. Imhotep gets angry and asks him why. He answers: "I'm not crazy, I am the head of the ward."
A ganger walks into an apothecarion and says: "Give me a loaf of bread."
"But sir, this is an apothecarion, we don’t carry bread," replies the apothecary.
The ganger takes out a plasteel pipe and beats the apothecary to within an inch of his life.
The next day he comes in again and says: "Give me a loaf of bread."
"We don’t carry bread."
The same thing happens. The apothecary decides to get some bread to avoid a third beating.
On the third day, the ganger walks into the apothecarion.
"Hello, sir, I have your bread right here," says the apothecary.
"Oh, that’s okay, I got bread at the hardware store. You get me a quart of milk."
On his deathbed, Tarquinius XIX cries: "What will the Cassian people do without me?"
His advisor tries to comfort him: "Your magnificence, don’t worry about the Cassians. They are a resilient people who could survive by eating stones!"
Tarquinius replies: "Quick. Grant my daughter Alenia a monopoly on the trade in stones."
Q: When will the Emperor Return in the Flesh?
A: It is already seen on the horizon.
Q: What is a horizon?
A: An imaginary line which moves away each time you approach it.
"My wife has been going to cooking school for three years."
"She must really cook well by now!"
"No, so far they've only got to the bit about the words and deeds of Saint Sebastian Thor."
The PDF troopers are standing at attention. The Lieutnant inspects his platoon: "Number eighteen! Why don't you hold your lasgun in your proper hand?"
"I've got a splinter in my hand, sir."
"Been scratching your head I suppose!"
Goge Vandire appears to the Master of the Administratum Zeno Hipparchus in a dream and says: "I have two bits of advice for you: Kill off all your opponents and paint the Imperial Palace black."
Zeno asks: "Why black?"
Goge Vandire: "I knew you wouldn't object to the first one."
A corpulent Abbot approached the small urb of Giovanniopolis on his travels. He met a water-carrier on the road. The Abbot asked him if it was possible to pass through the citygate, whereupon the water-carrier looked at the Abbot's rotund body and said: "If a truck can pass through, then you should have a fair chance of squeezing yourself in as well."
Q: Why do Securitate officers make such good limo drivers?
A: You get in the limo and they already know your name and where you live.
What a coincidence: Governor Gregorius has died, but his body lives on.
A man walks into a shop and asks: "You wouldn't happen to have any ratmeat, would you?"
The shop assistant replies: "You've got it wrong, ours is a bakery. We don't have any bread. You're looking for the butcher's shop across the road. There they don't have any ratmeat!"
Q: How do you kill fifty flies with one blow?
A: Hit a sub in the face with a shovel.
The Imperial Governors of Piscina IV, Hydra Cordatus and Ashkelon are invited to see a shuttle built entirely out of gold. They are told that they can enter it and look around for as long as they like, but they cannot take anything. The Governor of Piscina IV goes first, stays five minutes, and upon his exit the metal detector blares; he had taken a screw and a nail with him.
The Governor of Hydra Cordatus goes second, stays five minutes, and upon his exit the metal detector blares again; he had stolen a fistful of screws.
Finally, the Governor of Ashkelon enters the plane, and stays there five minutes. And another five minutes. And another... Suddenly, the shuttle takes off.
Motto in farms:
Every egg, a bomb, every hen, a bomber against the traitor dogs!
On the Imperial Guard sniping range, the Lieutenant says to a fellow soldier: "That guy over there is good."
"Yes indeed, but I have a feeling that we should better check his personal background."
"After every shot he carefully removes his fingerprints from the rifle."
The Emperor promised us a golden age to last a million years. Time must be flying. Those years took just ten millennia.
A soldier in the local militia regiment is told that they will have to fire a 21-gun salute when Imperial Governor Rictus Stercus arrives in Apamea: "What if we get him on the first shot, can we stop then?"
A novice voidship owner of a system yacht got into steering trouble too close to a gas giant and had to call the System Defence Force for help.
"Alert, alert, alert!" he yelled. "This is yacht Supremus Astra, Supremus Astra, Supremus Astra, over."
"Supremus Astra, this is K-92," came the reply with lag. "Can you give me your position, sir, over."
"K-92, this is yacht Supremus Astra. I’m a Senior Decurion in the Guild of Coin on Arboretus VIII, over."
Two prisoners are about to be shot. Suddenly the order comes to hang them instead. One says to the other: "You see, they’re running out of ammo."
Governor Philagrius is flying in an ornithopter with his advisors. Suddenly he pulls out a thousand Throne Gelt and asks each of them to tell him how to spend it to make the Rhegian people happy. The first advisor says: "Your highness, if you throw it out the window, it will be found by some family and make them happy."
The second advisor says: "Sir, if you divide it into two bundles and throw them out the window, you will make two families happy."
Then the pilot chimes in: "Your excellency, if you put the lucre in your pocket and throw yourself out the window, you will make all Rhegians very happy."
Motto in Medicae wards:
Don't let a single patient die without medical assistance!
A scrivener is having a crisis of faith after a long life of serving the Emperor with reverent diligence. He confesses to his wife:
"I know the sacred order of mankind emanates from the Golden Throne by His will alone. But darling! Just look at the ones I have worked under! All our leaders are either greedy and hopelessly corrupt, or else they are die-hard madmen."
His wife scolds him:
"Yes, but at least they're good Loyalist madmen!"
A father excitedly tells his family of his doings twenty years ago. Suddenly, the youngest daughter interrupts his vigorous story: "Did you have hair back then?"
A mind without purpose will lose itself in drink.
An Martian man and a Terran man died on the same day and went to the nether hells together. The dark ones told them: "You may choose to enter two different types of hell: the first is the Martian one, where you can do anything you like, but only on the condition of eating a bucketful of manure every day; the second is the Terran hell, where you can also do anything you like, but only on the condition of eating two bucketfuls of manure a day."
The Martian man chose the Martian hell, and the Terran man chose the Terran hell. A few months later, they met again. The Terran man asked the Martian: "Hi, how are you getting on?"
The Martian said: "Horrible! I can't stand the bucketful of manure every day. Like clockwork. How about you?"
The Terran man replied: "Well, I'm fine, except that I don't know whether we had a shortage of manure, or if somebody stole all the buckets."
Q: What is the most permanent feature of our Imperial economy?
A: Temporary shortages.
The Supreme Marshal of the PDF has attached an arrow to the row of medals on his tunic. It reads: 'Continued on the back.'
A school teacher asks little Ammatas:
"Ammatas, why are you always speaking of our Terran brothers? Why not Terran friends?"
"Well, you can always choose your friends."
A hotel room for four with four strangers. Three of them soon open a bottle of raenka and proceed to get acquainted, then drunk, then noisy, singing, and telling jokes about Imperial governance. The fourth man desperately tries to get some sleep; finally, in frustration he surreptitiously leaves the room, goes downstairs, and asks the lady concierge to bring tea to Room 45 in ten minutes. Then he returns and joins the party. Five minutes later, he bends to a power outlet: "Detective-Espionist, some tea to Room 45, please." They laugh at him.
In a few minutes, there is a knock at the door, and in comes the lady concierge with a tea tray. The room falls silent; the party dies a sudden death, and the prankster finally gets to sleep. The next morning he wakes up alone in the room. Surprised, he runs downstairs and asks the concierge what happened to his companions. "You don't need to know!" she answers.
"B-but...but what about me?" asks the terrified fellow.
"Oh, you... well... The Detective-Espionist liked your tea gag a lot."
A young man said to his frisky wife: "What should we do, darling? Eat or love?
And she replied: "You can choose. But there's not a crumb in the house."
At the celestial gates of Holy Terra, the guardian angel Chirbelophon asks the latest soul seeking entrance to state his talents and abilities.
The newcomer's answer: "None."
The guardian angel smiles and says: "Oh, I didn’t recognize you, High Governor Varus."
Q: How do you catch a mechshaw?
A: Just stick chewing gum on the highway.
Three theologians have a furious discussion over scripture. The theologian Claudius knows he is right, but the other two refuse to accept it. So he declares: "If I am right, o Lord of Mankind, let the air fans cease in their operation!"
The air fans suddenly stop, but the other two theologians note that it was perfectly common for machinery to malfunction.
So the theologian Claudius cries: "If I am right, o Divine Majesty, let the walls bend!"
The walls start to bow inward, but the two other theologians scold them: "It is not for you mere walls to interfere in our argument about the sacred!"
Desperate, the theologian Claudius lifts his arms and shouts: "Please, I need a greater sign. If I am right, o Imperator, then prove it beyond all doubt!"
The entire hive city starts to quake, and a strange sound like thunder can be heard undampened by matter all the way down to the Sump. Suddenly, the shell of the hive cracks open in a perfect line, and spires and floors part to open up a giant chasm formed like the holy 'I'. A dark sky bloated with rusty clouds can be seen through this tear, and yet a pure light emanates from on high, its source unknown. Unseen angelic choirs sing, as a giant hand of shining gold descends from the heavens and thrust through the marvellous chasm, pointing right at the theologian Claudius. And a booming voice decrees: "This man is right!"
But the other two theologians reply: "Shut up! That's humbug. For we have the holy word of the God-Emperor Himself written in black on white!"
And then there was the witch-hunt that started because the hab-block lacked fuel to keep the heat up.
Q: How are you?
A: Average. Worse than last year, better than next year.
Someone asked a Black Templar: "How far does the Imperium extend?"
At which the Black Templar held forth his boltgun and declared: "As far as this can reach!"
A driver with a rusty bemo picks up passengers. As they shake along on the streets, one customer comments: "Emperor's teeth, the cracks in the road are teeming with cretomites!"
The driver wonders: "How can you even see that?"
"Through the panorama gap in the floor, of course!"
Q: Why is the rabbit undergoing torture by the Securitate?
A: They want him to confess that he is a donkey due to quota demands.
A man drives up to the Sublime Palace and parks his mechshaw outside. As he is getting out a Watchman hurriedly flusters over and says: "You can't park there! That's right under the Heir Apparent's window!"
The man looks perplexed for a second but then smiles and calmly replies: "No need to worry officer, I made sure to lock the mechshaw."
Soldiers of the Home Militia are now being sent to the front in pairs. One throws a stone, and the other one shouts: "Boom!"
One day the daughter of a Patrician house came into her father's presence in a somewhat risque costume, and though he said nothing, he was offended. The next day she changed her style and embraced her father, who was delighted by the respectability which she was affecting. The pater familias, who the day before had concealed his distress, was now unable to conceal his pleasure:
"How much more suitable," he remarked, "for a daughter of my rank is this costume!"
She did not fail to stand up for herself: "Today," she said, "I dressed to be looked at by my father, yesterday to be looked at by my husband."
A man was sentenced to ninetyfive years of camp labour for calling the Imperial Governor a bloody idiot: Five years for besmirching an honoured servant of the Emperor, and ninety years for revealing a governance secret.
A Quirinali dies and goes to celestial afterlife on Holy Terra. He sees some clocks hanging on the wall, and each clock has a famous leader's name written below it. So he asks an angel about the clocks and gets this reply:
"Those aren't for measuring time, they are for measuring lies. Each time a human lies, their clock moves one minute forward."
The guy then proceeds to look at the clock of every living leader, but he can't find the clock of Voidholm Overlord Suetonius, the ruler of Quirinus. So he asks the angel where Suetonius' clock is. The angel says:
"Oh, they are using his clock as a cooling fan in the nether hells."
The hillman scratches his head in bewilderment upon visiting the hive city: "Back home, women get stoned when they commit adultery. Here, they commit adultery when they get stoned!"
"Blessed is the mind too small for doubt," said the pious man, and volunteered to become a servitor.
And then there was the Securitate agent who moved objects around in a surveillance target's home in order to drive the victim crazy because no one would ever believe him if he said that the Governor's men busied themselves with such trifling things.
A small man is wearing a long rifle. A jokester sees him, and says: "You couldn't know who was tied to whom, the rifle to the man or the opposite."
Five precepts of the literati:
If you think, then don't speak.
If you think and speak, then don't write.
If you think, speak and write, then don't sign.
If you think, speak, write and sign, then don't be surprised.
A husband with bad breath asks his wife: "My dear, why do you hate me?"
She gave him an answer: "Because you kiss me!"
A friend asked the Archdeacon how old he was.
"Forty," replied the Archdeacon.
"But you said the same thing two years ago!" protested the friend.
"Yes," replied the Archdeacon, "I always stand by what I have said."
Two fools were trying to escape pillaging Guardsmen. One hid himself in a well and the other in a clump of reeds. When the Guardsmen let down a helmet to draw up water, the fool in the well thought a Guardsman was coming and started begging for his life. When the Guardsmen pulled him up and said that if he had kept quiet he would have been overlooked, the one hidden in the reeds called out: "Then pass me by for I am keeping silent!"
Q: What does 'Toronus Mechshaw 901' stand for?
A: 900 people ordered mechshaws, and only one has had it delivered.
Scrawled on a streetside hab wall: 'To the one defecating here. Beware of the curse! If you look down on this curse, may you have a wroth Saint Dikranouhi for your enemy.'
Motto in the Chamber of High Nobility:
Every member of the Chamber, an example for the hooligans.
A rebel group kidnaps Vezir-Minister Aurelianus and says they'll douse him in promethium and set him alight unless a ransom of ten million Throne Gelt is paid. His clients go out in the street looking for donations.
"What are most people giving?" one would-be contributor asks.
"Oh, some gave five litres, others ten."
Pastor Frej, fresh out of seminary, found that his first task was to officiate the last rites for a homeless vagrant with no friends nor family. He arrived to the alley just as Corpse Guild workers was shutting the body bag of the corpse. Young and enthusiastic, Pastor Frej poured out his heart and soul as he gave his sermon and recited the prayers. He was so powerful a speaker that he brought the Corpse Guild workers to tears.
When the service was over and the Pastor was leaving the alley, he heard one worker say to another: "I never saw anything like that before, and I've been putting in septic systems for fifteen years."
Q: Upon the Return of the Emperor in the Flesh, will there still be thefts and pilfering?
A: No, because everything will already have been pilfered during the reign of the High Lords.
Lord Solar Macharius after his death went straight to knock at the gates of the afterlife. "Ah no," said the angelic guardian Chirbelophon, "a great Warmaster like you ought at least to come with a horse.’"
Macharius returned to earth and told of his misadventure to High Command. "What!" cried the Deputy of the High Lords, "Chirbelophon allowed himself to impose conditions on our greatest general! I will go with you and settle all that."
But when the Emperor's appointed gate guard saw them, he raised his hands and said: "But Macharius, you didn’t understand me then? I told you to come with a horse, not with an ass."
At the fifth signal, there will be hot water.
Drip! Drip! Drip! Drip! Drip! There was hot water.
An Alodian potentate was opportuned to visit Lucentum Augusta. While there, he met a civil servant of the local Planetary Governor's chancelleries who owned a whole stable of luxury vehicles and lived in a mansion with scores of servants.
"How can a mere civil servant be so affluent?" asked the Alodian.
The Lucentian took him to the window and asked: "Do you see that highway?"
The civil servant patted his pocket and said: "15%."
So the potentate returned to Alodia. One year later, the Lucentian was on Alodia. When he noticed that the Alodian now had a more lavish lifestyle than himself, he had to ask: "How do you manage?"
They went to the window. "Do you see that bridge over there?"
The Alodian patted his pocket and said: "100%."
A sharp wit observes a slow runner: "I know just what that gentleman needs."
"What's that?" demands the sponsor of the race.
"He needs a horse, otherwise, he can't outrun the competition!"
Q: What is the longest personal vehicle on the market?
A: The mechshaw, at twelve meters length. Two meters of vehicle, plus ten meters of smoke.
Graphocleus, the angelic reaper of the dead, was sent by the Imperator to finally collect Overdespot Gibamundus’s soul. After more than ten months, Graphocleus returns, bloodied, bruised, and broken.
"What happened?" asked the Emperor.
"Gibamundus' Securitate seized me. They threw me in a dark cell, starved me, beat me and tortured me for weeks and weeks. They only just released me."
The God-Emperor turns pale and says: "You didn’t tell them I sent you?"
Two subs were on their way from Utica to their residence in Leontini. One of them fell sick by pox and died, and the other one became anxious to bring the corpse back to Utica, which it was not lawful to do openly. So he cut his comrade's corpse up into little pieces and stuffed them into a small barrel with aromatics and honey in order to hide the stench by delightful fragrance. Then he committed the barrel to the care of another sub, who was going to Utica. This sub took his charge with him on a canal boat, amid a swarm of passengers. A gluttonous Utican happened to take his seat close to the barrel, and became enthralled by the fragrancy. When night came, the glutton pried open the barrel and devoured all its contents in the belief that they were delicacies. By dawn, the sub lifted the barrel and realized it was empty, so he screamed that he had been plundered of the corpse of his brother in abhumanity. Thus did the Utican become aware that he was a sub's tomb.
Asked by the court barber how he wanted his hair cut, the Governor replied: "In silence."
A slum doctor was detained by the furious relatives of a patient he had killed with the wrong prescription, but he escaped during the night and swam across a wide sewage canal to reach home. When he saw his son studying medical texts, he said: "Don’t be in such a hurry to study medicine. First things first. Learn to swim!"
Q: How can you stop a PDF tank?
A: You shoot the soldier that is pushing it.
The scholam teacher asks his pupils whether grox walk or fly, and one pupil says they fly. The teacher corrects him, but the pupil insists. After a short exchange, the teacher asks the pupil for his name to add it to a detention list, and the pupil answers: "Aulus Majorianus Thrax." Recognizing the name of the Voidholm Overlord's great-grandson, the teacher says: "Okay, you are right. Grox do fly, but when they are tired of flying, they go down and walk."
A man had an intimacy with the wife of a downright fool with a stuttering tongue. One night the mant went to her hab, believing the husband to be away. He knocked on the door, claiming admittance and imitating the cuckold’s voice. The blockhead, who was at home, had no sooner heard him, than he called to his wife: "Aemiliana, open the door, Aemiliana, let him in; for it does seems to be me!"
An Armageddon court-martial sitting at Hive Volcanus sentenced a local freedman merchant to a scrip fine of fivehundred dorites for repeating in a public restaurant the joke about ordering a sandwich at a tubestation kiosk and being served with a meat ticket between two bread tickets.
The Tyrannicus Maximus Augustalius was touring his sub-empire of vassal voidholms, when he noticed a man in the crowd who bore a striking resemblance to himself. Intrigued, he asked: "Was your mother at one time in service at the Palace?"
"No your Highness," he replied, "but my father was."
A questioning mind betrays a treacherous soul. As such, an answering mind betrays a complicit soul.
Midhive, fifty years into the future. A boy asks: "Grandpa, what is a line?"
"You see, some forty years back, there was not enough meat in stores, so people had to form long queues at the stores' entrances and wait, hoping some meat would appear on sale. That was called a line. Did you get it?"
"Yes, grandpa. And what is meat?"
Q: What animal walks on four feet in the morning, two at noon and three in the evening?
A: Man. He goes on all fours as a baby, on two feet as a man and has been converted into a tripod memory bank servitor when his body becomes too decrepit for heavy labour.
A man from Medusa V was on an interstellar voyage via Van Grothe's Rapidity when a Warpstorm arose and his slaves started screaming. "Quit weeping," he said, "for I have given you all your liberty in my will."
"I wish for a higher state of being after death, a loftier and worthier existence than the one I lead now."
"Then I will pray you become a servo-skull."
A man who had given his wife a valuable dress, complained that he never exercised his marital rights without it costing him less than an electrum tetradrachm each time. "It is your fault," answered the wife, "why do you not, by frequent repetition, bring down the cost to one farthing?"
One of our fellow Imperial subjects, a very witty man, was labouring under a painful and lengthy illness. He was attended by a Confessor who came to comfort him, and, among other words of solace, told him that the God-Emperor thus especially chastens those He loves, and inflicts His visitations upon them. "No wonder then," retorted the sick man, "that the Emperor has so few friends; if that is the way He favours them, He ought to have still less."
Miles Gloriosus, the braggart Guardsman, receives accolades and flattery from admiring crowds of women when marching through an urb, to their husbands' consternation. He comments on their praise of his peak manly form: "Yes, ladies. Even I am impressed!"
Some thirty people gathered to celebrate the wedding. After a few bottles of amasec were imbibed, tongues got loose, and the guests started telling deviant and irreverent jokes about His Divine Majesty's diligent administrators. Through the laughter, a voice sounded: "Ladies and gentlemen, please, it's too noisy. In such a din, I can't hear the jokes. I am writing it down, you know."
A man who sat next to the one who was writing, said admiringly: "How do you manage to write that fast?"
"Oh, I'm only jotting down the initials."
There once was a barmaid in Dome, and a salt miner lonely for home. He had the breath of a moose, and she couldn't get loose, so she pulled out her knife and spilled his guts on her shoes.
Planetary Overlord Agung Diann presented his vassal Voidholm Shah Bahram IX with a monkey, saying: "I’ll double your system patrol subsidies if you make this monkey laugh and cry."
Bahram first whispered to the monkey and it laughed. Then he whispered again and it cried. "How on earth did you do this?" Agung asked.
"When I told him that I am a ruler of men, he laughed," Bahram said. "Then I told him that I was reigning over them for the rest of my life, and he cried."
Q: What do you call a man who has lost 99% of his mind?
Motto on traffic sign:
Drivers, be wary! A second of inattention and you will be dead for the rest of your life.
Once, the paraonid Despot Tadgh Glenwood invited several Marshals of the Grand Imperial Voidholm of Gaelutrea and ordered them to wrestle in front of him on a carpet. Marshal Kenrik won all rounds. This angered Despot Glenwood. He ordered to summon Marshal Sheamus who was a very big man.
Sheamus arrived and easily overpowered Kenrik. As Kenrik fell to the carpet, he hit his head. Sheamus, putting in order his uniform, loudly expressed regret.
"Don't worry, Marshal Sheamus," Glenwood said. "He will not need his head any longer."
And then there was the guy who got shot by the Street Enforcers because he praised his new Emperor-given mechshaw as a piece of 'racing cardboard.'
Something which has never occurred since time immemorial: A young woman did not fart in her husband's lap.
An urbecarri owner leaves his vehicle at a service station. When he picks it up again, he notices that the faulty door mechanism has been replaced with a puny steel wire: "Hey!" he snaps. "What shoddy workmanship is this? What have you done to my expensive urbecarri?"
The lay mechanic replies: "I reduced her weight for you, sir!"
Two hillmen brothers, Urcaguary and Pachacamac, decided to emigrate to the hive city after hearing of the fabulous wonders man had built there. Theye were enchanted by the tales told about its splendour. Even though they didn't believe some merchants' negative reports on the conditions in the hive, they still decided to exercise caution. Urcaguary would go to the hive city to test the waters. If they were right and it was a paradise of mortals, then Urcaguary would write a letter to Pachacamac using black ink, since they both could read and write. If, however, the situation in the hive was as bad as some merchants liked to portray it, and the Securitate was a force to be feared, then Urcaguary would use red ink to indicate whatever he said in the letter must not be believed.
After three months Urcaguary sent his first report. It was in black ink and read: "I'm so happy here! It's a beautiful place. I enjoy freedom and a kingly standard of living. All the serpent-tongued merchants were liers. Everything here is readily available! There is only one small thing of which there's a shortage. Red ink."
A man had a wife who never stopped talking or arguing. When she died, he had her body carried high on a shield to the Corpse Guild. When someone noticed this and asked him why, he replied: "She was a fighter."
Q: What does an optimist say?
A: It can't get any worse!
When I die, I wish to go to the eternal rest in solemn peace like my father. And not screaming in panic like his passengers.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
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?"
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?"
"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."
"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?
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."
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
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.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Keeper of the Adeptus Arbites Flame
Loved the jokes, bit of a long read but a good one.
I spotted some jokes from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, many that I imagine are from the Soviet Block, what else in there?
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
Stone Bonkers Fabricator General
Great thread, happy to see it. It really captures the goofy, horrifying, inhumane aspects of early (rogue trader / 2nd edition?) warhammer 40k.
|ph34r's forgeworld Phobos blog
+From Iron Cometh Strength+ +From Strength Cometh Will+ +From Will Cometh Faith+ +From Faith Cometh Honor+ +From Honor Cometh Iron+
The Polito form is dead, insect. Are you afraid? What is it you fear? The end of your trivial existence?
When the history of my glory is written, your species shall only be a footnote to my magnificence.
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
@Kid_Kyoto: Thank you very much, sir! Sharp, eye, you are correct!
The above joke collection is a particular labour of love. I've owned joke books from an early age, and it was time I paid something back after all those years. I invented a few jokes from whole cloth, but most are plucked from all over human history from disparate countries, and reworked for 40k
Two things deserve a special mention: Soviet Russian jokes, and Egyptian jokes
. Apparently the densely populated and hypersocial Nile valley in Egypt have sported a culture of wisecracks and jokesters for almost five millennia, at the very least. For a taste of Egyptian wit, check out this
article. I can warmly recommend them. John Romer's classic documentary series on ancient Egypt also contain slices of Egyptian wit, as can be found here
Both Russian and Egyptian humour are marked by cruel experiences, yet unlike so many other cultures across the world, in Egypt and Russia it is not such a foul thing to joke about misery and suffering. "Things are trash, but at least we're in on the joke together." Both sport a phenomenal joke flora, possibly some of the best ones in all the world. Goldmines for inspiring 40k
Otherwise, Iranian, Syrian, Iraqi, Jugoslavian, Czechoslovakian, Polish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Jewish and Nigerian humour all played a part here. As did a few older Swedish ones, and funny things I've heard from friends and relatives. Chinese jokes sport good lines in doctor jokes and henpecked husbands.
German whisper jokes (both National Socialist and East German Communist eras) have some good ones, but they're also overall less funny and more rigid than Russian and Egyptian jokes. East German car jokes about Trabants is their strongest card without a doubt. I got the impression that German humour can be stiff to outsiders, but they know how to joke about matters of engineering. Which makes sense.
Renaissance Italian jokes and ancient Greek jokes and a few Roman witticisms also played a part, as did the ingenious lines of Miles Gloriosus in Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Forum
But the majority are from the Soviet bloc.
@ph34r: Thank you most kindly! Much appreciated. That bonkers spirit shalt be kept alive.
A Vox in the Void
Paul Graham on a Vox in the Void has laboured to combine three separate pieces into one, namely Quartering
. Check out Imperial Justice
if you dare, for twenty minutes of bonkers grimdark delivered by a skilled voice actor.
- - -
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.
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2021/07/26 23:37:33
Subject: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
"Soldiers and lawyers are the devil's playmates."
- Ancient Scandian proverb
- - -
In the grim darkness of the far future, there can be no victors.
Subject: Re:40k: Descendant Degeneration
To the madness of daring, we chant a song.
As the reign of terror marches on.