Hand of Corruption

'Appy Kristmas to all, and to all a good fight!

’Twas the night before Kristmas, when all through the Rok
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Snot;
The sluggas were stacked by the chimney with care,
In the hopes that Orky Klaws soon would be there;

The Gretchin were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Killa-Kans danced in their heads;
Da boss with his blasta, and me with my axe,
Had just settled down for some wintery snacks,

When out on the battlements there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my crate to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the blast shield and threw up the sash.

The glare of the searchlights on new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my beady red eyes did emerge,
But a roaring great sleigh and five snarling boars,

With a hulking green driver with huge meaty paws,
I knew in a moment he was Orky Klaws.
More rapid than red Trukks his coursers they came,
And he grunted, and snarled, and bellowed their names:

“Now, Snorta! now, Grunta! now Maimer and Glutton!
On, Tuskgob! your nose is a go fasta button!
To the top of the bastion! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!

As leaves that before the Dakkajets fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the fortress the jet-pigs they flew
With the sleigh full of gubbinz, and Orky Klaws too-

And then, with a crash, I heard on the roof
The crash of the boars and their dirty great hooves.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Orky Klaws fell with a bound.

He was dressed all in armour, from his head to his foot,
And his kit was all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of shootas he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a Big Mek about to attack.

His teef – how they glistened! his choppa, how rusty!
His bionics were crude, he smelt a bit musty1
The drool from his mouth was slimy and wet;
And his bionic eye was evil and red;

A super krak stikkbomb was held tight in his teef,
And the smoke from his burna looked just like a wreath;
He had a broad face, and big metal arm
That hissed with hydraulics when he wanted to harm.

His Grots were all tangled all up in themselves,
And I grunted with laughter, in spite of myself;
A huge wooden crate down the chimney did smash
And the Grots set to work, with hammers they thrashed;

Klaws spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Kustomized the sluggas; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
Ignited his jump pack, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his pigs gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a badly aimed missile.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he flew out of sight-
“’Appy Kristmas to all, and to all a good fight!"

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SMs in public

As a person who lives and has grown up with the metric system, lemme tell you: 2.10 meters is not inhuman. You notice, sure, but it’s not outside the human realm of possibility.

However, a more important question than debating inches and feet:

You are a citizen of the Imperium. You are an Empire fearing, loyal inhabitant of a planet. You’ve never seen another world, you’ve certainly never seen an Astartes and you do what you’re told, which is keep your nose to the grindstone, your mind free of doubt and your tongue chanting in the Emperor’s most blessed name.

You see a giant of a man on the streets one day. He’s walking alongside a (person of clearly noble birth, a member of the Machine Cult or a member of the holy church) down the street. He’s tall, covered in slabs of inhumanly perfect muscle, yet dressed in simple, unassuming clothing (possibly armed).

Do you A) assume he’s some sort of vat-grown worker/bodyguard/off-worlder/mutant or any of the other countless things you’ve heard but probably never seen in your life, clearly sanctioned due to the person who’s presence he walks in, and go on with your life, perhaps telling your friends and family of the strange being you saw today?

or B) assume he’s a holy Angel of Death, a direct child of the most holy Emperor, somehow removed from his holy vestments of war and sacred bolter of righteous fury, one of the angels that can not fall, a living bulwark against the ruinous and totally not existing but very heretical forces of chaos? Walking the streets of your hive dressed as a normal person? With a (noble, tech-priest, priest)?

I’m gonna say option A seems more reasonable.

Space Marines are, in the eyes of the average (and even most not-so-average) citizens of the Imperium, nothing short of mythical, divine beings. They are loaded down with religious dogma and put on a pedestal. They are perfect, unfailing, unstoppable war machines of divine righteousness and religious fury. They are immortal, invincible and infallible. They do not fall. They do not falter. They do not fear.

The idea that your average pedestrian (or even your average Noble, Planetary governor or Tech-priest) would respond to the sight of one outside their iconic armor with unflinching terror, instant recognition and screams of “AHH, FALLEN SPACE MARINE! CALL THE INQUISITION!” is about as reasonable as to assume people in Uglyville would respond to a Calvin Klein model with screams of “HOLY ANGEL! PERFECT SERVANT OF OUR LORD AND SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST! CALL THE COPS!” even if said model really was an angel.

In my world, the only way you’re likely to solicit that response is if said marine is wearing a wreath of solid gold and followed around by a personal team of lightning specialist to provide a Halo light effect.

The rest of the time, yes, they will be noticed as the humongous slabs of muscle they are. But there are many, far more reasonable explanations for their inhuman bulk than “SPACE MARINE!” that people are likely to resort to first. Put them in the right company (your humans) or the right disguise (Servitor) and people will let it go. Yes, they’ll remember, yes they’ll gossip. But, unless someone specifically goes looking, that will be all it is. Rumor, hearsay and gossip. From, at most, a few thousand people. On a planet of billions.

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Words of Inspiration

“Heresy: such a simple word for such a complex idea. And like so many of the titles bestowed by the followers of the Corpse-God,utterly meaningless.”

~Karnak Zul

“In its hubris, mankind claims dominion over the galaxy. However,their realm is naught but a few flickering candles in a vast and hungry darkness.”

~A Treatise on the End of the Imperium, denounced and burned in 800.M41

“without the light of chaos, the universe would stagnate and collapse. Only through this struggle, can any advancement occur”

~The Book of Magnus

“not everyone receives the attention of the dark gods. Only those who are demonstrably exceptional are worthy of their notice”

~ Dark Apostle Aurelius of the Word Bearers

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Intro

The Imperium is mighty and its reach is long, but the infinite Realm of Chaos is greater still. Even in the material universe the Emperor’s followers only control islands of light in a sea of darkness. There are many who do not want the protection of the Imperium, who defy its laws and seek to undermine its works. Even inside the Imperium itself rebels and secessionists struggle constantly to throw off the chains of oppression, particularly among the lowliest underclasses created by the priesthood of Terra.These are the peoples that have not forgotten the taste of freedom, those who would rather give their fealty to the uncaring Ruinous Powers than grovel before the corpse-god of distant Terra. Some are peoples who seek to escape from bondage and go to any lengths to secure their release. Others resist the power of the Imperium without truly knowing why they do so, motivated simply by a conviction that they must fight against the tyranny it represents. All of these peoples are the servants of Chaos and knowingly or unknowingly they continue to fight in the Long War begun by Horus ten millennia past…

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