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40k: Descendant Degeneration

40k KNC

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#51
Karak Norn Clansman

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A Compliment of A Question

AacornSoup on Deviantart asked the following question:
 

 

=][= 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.

Cheers!


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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.


Edited by Karak Norn Clansman, 25 May 2021 - 10:34 AM.

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#52
Karak Norn Clansman

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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!"


Edited by Karak Norn Clansman, 27 May 2021 - 11:43 AM.

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#53
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Kickskullz

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.


Edited by Karak Norn Clansman, 31 May 2021 - 03:38 PM.

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#54
Karak Norn Clansman

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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 on WarHams, 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.


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Karak Norn Clansman

Karak Norn Clansman

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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 (Google Drive)

They can also be found in two posts here on DakkaDakka

-   -   -

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?"
"Yes."
"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?"
"For nothing!"
"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."
"Why?"
"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:
Don't think.
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?"
"Yes?"
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?"
"What bridge?"
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?
A: Infertile.

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.


...


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#56
Karak Norn Clansman

Karak Norn Clansman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Break the law, and the law breaks you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thought for the day: None.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motto in mines:
All the loyalists, underground!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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#57
Karak Norn Clansman

Karak Norn Clansman

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Three Virtues

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

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

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

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

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

They got to eat, after all.

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

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

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

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


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#58
Karak Norn Clansman

Karak Norn Clansman

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A Vox in the Void

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

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Infant Exposure

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

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

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

To stave off the inevitable?

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

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

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

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

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


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Karak Norn Clansman

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Futility

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

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


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Karak Norn Clansman

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Unhinged

To the madness of daring, we chant a song.

As the reign of terror marches on.


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Wulf Vengis

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Yes.
Just, yes.
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The Lone Wolf Saga or The Lone Wolf Saga
XBOX LIVE GAMERTAG: Orlath83

#62
Karak Norn Clansman

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@Wulf Vengis: Thank you kindly!

 

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Confessions of a Disgruntled Inspector

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Goge is Terra."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ave Imperator.


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Self-portrait, akin to Magister Illuminus Blanche.


Edited by Karak Norn Clansman, 20 September 2021 - 10:26 AM.

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#63
Karak Norn Clansman

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Commissariat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All else is oblivion.

Vigilant be.


Edited by Karak Norn Clansman, 08 October 2021 - 02:06 PM.

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