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Author Topic: 40k: Descendant Degeneration  (Read 5095 times)

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #75 on: December 07, 2021, 11:04:21 AM »
A Vox In the Void

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

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Purification Camp

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No mercy.

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

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

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


...

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #76 on: December 07, 2021, 11:04:45 AM »
The demented methods of Imperial governance has long since created a self-sustaining negative feedback loop of the Imperium's own making, signed in blood by the High Lords of Terra. Depravity reigns supreme, and death is but a merciful release in a cosmic empire that has turned into such a living nightmare as to make a heart of stone bleed. The entire fundamental mood of human civilization betwixt the stars has turned acrimonious and sour, and humans have turned inward and backward, ever hateful and ever flagellating themselves in a grand display of squandered potential and petty bickering.

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

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

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

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

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

Hear their screams.

The screams of the innocent.

The screams of the damned.

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

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #77 on: December 10, 2021, 08:47:13 AM »


Shock Worker

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

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

Life was good. And man abolished hell.

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

Paradise spread. And all seemed well.

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

Chaos reigned. And all was fell.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such is his lot. And all is decay.

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

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

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

Only in death does duty end.

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

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #78 on: January 04, 2022, 03:50:01 PM »


Pure Human Form

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

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

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

Sing to us of the pure human form!

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

Sprang life from life.

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

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

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

And man was happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imperator Vult!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kill! Kill! Kill!

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

Odi et Amo.


...

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #79 on: January 04, 2022, 03:50:38 PM »
Turning thus from this suicide pact gone wrong, that is the Imperium of Man, we now focus our attention on a tense contradiction embedded at the heart of Imperial thinking:

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

Fortuna Favet Fortibus!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imperator Adiuta Imperialis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vanity of vanities, everything is vanity.

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #80 on: January 20, 2022, 08:45:12 AM »


Lay of the Ivari Bailif

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


-   -   -

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

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #81 on: March 05, 2022, 11:20:31 AM »


Untangled

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

-   -   -

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

Offline GamesPoet

  • Global Moderator
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  • Spring is still here! : )
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #82 on: March 05, 2022, 12:25:04 PM »
Ooops! :icon_eek:
"Not all who wander are lost ... " Tolkien

"... my old suggestion is forget it, take two aspirins and go paint" steveb

"The beauty of curiosity and creativity is so much more useful than the passion of fear." me

"Until death it is all life." Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #83 on: March 29, 2022, 01:55:27 PM »
@GamesPoet: Indeed!



Xenocide

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

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

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

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

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

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

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

Kill!
Kill!
Kill!

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

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

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

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

Kill!
Maim!
Burn!

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

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

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

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

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!

Ave Imperatore Dei!
Ave Humanae Imperium!"

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


-   -   -

A tribute to the following two songs by Space Cadets.

Kill All Xenos
Wars of Expansion

Offline Rowsdower

  • Posts: 1697
  • Is there beer on the sun?
    • Jesse Cowled
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #84 on: March 30, 2022, 10:57:24 AM »
Clearly that lumberjack went to the Three stooges school of carpentry :eusa_clap:

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #85 on: March 31, 2022, 03:39:24 AM »
@Rowsdower: Hahaha! Nice one.  :::cheers:::



Labour Camp

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

Come and see!

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

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

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

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

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

Aye, power is all it has left.

Diminishing power.

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

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

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

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

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

Enter, the Imperium of Man.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


...

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #86 on: March 31, 2022, 03:39:50 AM »
As noted, penal labour colonies dot almost every single planet, moon and huge voidholm across the Imperium of Man, yet how do they operate?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ultimately, the Imperium is a bloody farce.

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

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

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

Or perhaps even a suicide pact.

Gone wrong.

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

Offline Gankom

  • Posts: 4897
  • The World Builder
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #87 on: March 31, 2022, 05:15:22 PM »
I always like seeing your updates in here. Very fun stuff!

Offline Rowsdower

  • Posts: 1697
  • Is there beer on the sun?
    • Jesse Cowled
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #88 on: April 12, 2022, 08:02:12 AM »
Makes the Soviet gulags look like five star resorts. Could be worse though; they could get captured by Dark Eldar

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #89 on: May 23, 2022, 11:22:45 PM »
@Gankom: Thank you most kindly!

@Rowsdower: Haha, right on!




Discovery

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

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

-   -   -

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

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #90 on: May 30, 2022, 01:46:43 PM »
Joke Piece on Subversion

This fun thing emerged on Reddit.

-   -   -



Into the Flames

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

Fire!

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

Fire!

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

Fire!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The greatest of traitors decreed: Let the galaxy burn.

And burn it did.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #91 on: May 30, 2022, 01:49:01 PM »
Nowadays there is usually little difference between commercial firefighters and those originally organized by planetary and voidholm authorities. Lack of official funds coupled with rampant corruption, graft and glad-handing means that such governance-founded pyrovigiles corps will  almost inevitably adopt the practices of private firefighting organizations, and after a sufficient number of centuries they will even be recognized as such de jure as well as de facto. They got to eat, after all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #92 on: May 30, 2022, 01:49:19 PM »
Such scenes of horror are no random accidents, for they stand as a testament to how thoroughly the Imperium of the High Lords have managed to permeate countless human cultures across the galaxy. Basically, it all stems from a fundamental embrace of hardship and suffering. The Imperium has long chosen to acknowledge the cruelty of this universe, and advocates becoming one with it in order for mankind as a whole to survive and thrive in this vale of tears. Strength allows for no mercy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Such is our species, at the brink of doom.

Such is the fate that awaits us all.

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


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Drawn and written for CrusaderApe.

Offline Karak Norn Clansman

  • Posts: 521
Re: 40k: Descendant Degeneration
« Reply #93 on: June 17, 2022, 10:14:11 PM »


Signpost

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"No railings. Fear denies faith."

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Drive safe or die alone."

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Gangleader Krzychustach Throatbiter was here. He disappeared. Will you?"
« Last Edit: June 18, 2022, 08:42:54 AM by Karak Norn Clansman »