Better Men

Prologue

 

People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.

Great Writers of the Twentieth Century (BE)

Eric Arthur Blair

Litterarii Magister

 

It is the best of times.  The Emperor’s realm encompasses a million worlds; his subjects number in the tens of trillions.  For a hundred centuries his vision has enthralled the human race; his will has united mankind to one purpose.  His wisdom shines like a beacon throughout the heavens lighting the pathways to the stars, shepherding the lost homeward.  Incalculable wealth flows into the Imperial coffers daily; the product of untold billions laboring on countless planets scattered throughout the galaxy.  Tens of millions administer his cosmic kingdom.  Mighty battle fleets ply the warp – protecting commerce, seeking new resources, defending the interstellar domain.  Vast armies crusade in the Emperor’s name – bringing new systems into compliance, maintaining order, guarding the empire.

It is the worst of times, for the enemies of the Imperium are legion – aliens, heretics, mutants and worse – and perpetual war stifles innovation. There is nothing new under the sun.  Centuries have elapsed since the last truly great discovery.  Refinement of existing technology is considered progress.  Recovery of ancient artifacts passes for research.  The Empire, worse mankind is stagnating.  The most insidious threat to the Empire of Man however is apathy, complacency, greed, indifference – the eternal vices of man that despite millions of years of evolution remain unchanged.  For every man of faith there are far more who doubt.  For every man who serves the Emperor far more serve only themselves.  On those rare planets graced with peace men delude themselves with illusions of universal harmony.  They speak of brotherhood, coexistence, tolerance.  They forget that war is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things.  The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse.  The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

This is the story of better men.

 

A Spiritu Dominatus

 

During the long history of Terra prior to Imperium very few republics were conquered.  More commonly, they fell due to inertia.  Republics survived until the citizens learned they could vote themselves generous benefits from the public treasury or, conversely, elected officials realized they could purchase votes by bribing the populace with entitlements subsidized with communal funds thereby securing their continuation in office.  In either case, the end result was the same.  Most republics followed the same general pattern from foundation to fall:  bondage, truth, courage, liberty, self-reliance, knowledge, abundance, selfishness, complacency, ignorance, dependence, bondage.  Some republics lasted only a few years; others as long as five-hundred years; typically the cycle from bondage back to oppression averaged two-hundred fifty years.

A Survey of Earth’s Major Civilizations Prior to Imperium

Volume VII – The Republics

Sir Alexander Fraser Tytler

Lord Woodhouselee

 

The fading sun painted the horizon with a palette of colors ranging from orange to violet.  And as the sun set the people of the clan Kenbane gathered ’round the council fire.  Women and children moved toward the center; warriors watched the perimeter – ever alert, ever vigilant, even here, even now!  A hush stilled the crowd as the elders approached and took their seats. At the appointed hour Tarn rose and slowly made his way to the dais.  The weight of years and scars of battle marked his frame but his cobalt blue eyes still burned bright and his rich voice resonated with the strength of his convictions.

“We are gathered, just as all the other clans around our world have come together on this day, to tell the story of Octavius.  And in that telling to remember what brought us here so that none may ever forget again.  I do not know if there is a God, not as depicted by the Ecclesiarch, but I do without doubt know there are rival forces contending for the universe.  Some call them good and evil, others light and darkness.  I prefer to name them order and chaos.  Whatever they are called, these forces undoubtedly exist; they are diametrically opposed, nay they are at war and the survival of our world, indeed the survival of mankind throughout the galaxy hinges on the outcome of their struggle.  We forgot that once and Enimar was nearly lost.  That must not happen again.  And as long as we honor this day, as long as we remember our heroes, as long as we cherish our beliefs, that shall not happen again.”

“Enimar had not known war since its reunification with Holy Terra during the Great Crusade.  Following that reunion her sons and daughters eagerly joined the Imperial Legions spreading the Emperor’s Light throughout the galaxy, gathering other lost worlds into the fold, purging those that refused the new order.  During the evil times when Horus betrayed his father and internecine war threatened to destroy the nascent realm Enimar remained loyal – staunchly defending the Empire, her citizen soldiers at the forefront of the Great Scouring that followed.  In the Pax Imperialis that followed however, the citizens of Enimar became complacent, corrupt.”

 

Domine, Libra Nos

 

Cave quid dicis.  Beware what you say.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

Bellowing the Enimar war cry Trooper Hovarth slashed downward with all his might cleaving the grotesque mockery of humanity in front of him from shoulder to hip with the battle-axe he picked up during the melee.  Turning to face its loathsome comrade, he ducked under a scything blow that would have decapitated him.  Driving upward with powerful legs and arms Hovarth spitted the second daemon with the pointed shaft of his double bladed axe.  It was a good weapon – strong, razor sharp, well balanced and versatile – a natural extension of his right arm.  A two-meter javelin sliced through the air inches from his head.  Instinctively, he deflected it with the haft of his axe.  Spinning on his heel Hovarth double tapped the malevolent monstrosity bearing down on him with the bolter gripped in his left hand.  Its burly chest and hideous face, both covered with the repulsive symbols of Chaos, exploded as the heavy rounds impacted, showering Hovarth with blood and brains.  The fetid daemons were too many and too close.  Ignoring the high-energy rounds screaming past him he turned to engage the next foul creature charging his position.  Hovarth began to curse, “Is there no end to these bloody things?”  He blasphemed against the Emperor, railed against fate and, most bitterly, reproached himself for careless remarks.  He should have known they would come back to haunt him.

From the Dangers of the Abyss

 

They have hundreds of words for war and conquest but no word for peace.

Green Slime: A Study of the Orcs

Nathan Quintus

Bellum Dominus Emeritus

 

R & R had begun with great promise.  Following the Wladyslaw campaign the Imperial Landing Team of which his unit was a part had been detailed to rest and refit on the recently colonized world of Fellgiebel.  Fellgiebel was a rarity in the galaxy, a lush, green world blessed with a temperate climate.  Its virgin forests and gently rolling meadows, well watered by numerous lakes and winding rivers, made Fellgiebel eminently suited for agriculture.  It was indeed a precious jewel in the Imperium.  For over a month Hovarth and his comrades in arms washed away the cares of battle in her pristine waters, slept undisturbed in her peaceful forests, savored wild game roasted over roaring campfires and enjoyed the genuine hospitality of the colonists.  The unit’s idyllic existence ended abruptly when the forces of Chaos landed about 200 kilometers to the south of their encampment.  The foul host was now marching toward Bartov, Fellgiebel’s largest settlement, leaving a trail of ghastly death and wanton destruction in their dreadful wake. The very things that made Fellgiebel attractive to humanity made it abhorrent to the sons of darkness.  They vowed to eradicate this jade world before it could contribute further to the Empire or become more strongly garrisoned.

 

Our Emperor, Deliver Us

 

Esse cave quid optes.  Be careful what you wish for.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

Trooper Octavius Hovarth (Gamma Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment, Enimar Militia) was a large, powerful man, highly intelligent and a good soldier.  The emblems of many grueling campaigns in the Emperor’s service adorned Hovarth’s dress jacket.  His broad shouldered, narrow waisted body bore the scars of frequent close quarters combat, face to face with gruesome death.  Hovarth would have made a fine officer except for his acerbic tongue.  Idolized by his messmates who enjoyed his ribald tales of past exploits, running commentary on current events and outrageous conjecture regarding the lineage of their superiors, Hovarth’s standing in the unit suffered from what he termed plain speaking.  On the ice planet of Buhle he groused incessantly about the cold, keeping his mates warm howling with laughter.  On the tropical world of Vietinghoff he carried on at length about the heat, humidity and voracious insects, greatly irritating his superiors but boosting morale immeasurably among the rank and file with his sarcastic banter.  Officers and senior Noncom’s were not exempt from Hovarth’s critical eye and caustic remarks.  Veracity made his tirades truly unbearable for he was unerringly correct in his assessment of the foibles and follies of his superiors, their mating habits and potential progeny.  Consequently his verbal barbs hit all too close to the mark.  No doubt that was why Hovarth remained a trooper in spite of his considerable and proven skill in combat.  That suited Octavius.  Born on the eighth day in the eighth month of the Enimar year, eighth son of Orsha, clan Hovarth, he was accustomed to taking orders, albeit not without wry comment.  His only wish, with which he frequently ended his acidic invectives, was just once “to fight the bloody Chaos scum on a bloody planet that might bloody well actually be fit to bloody live on.”  Now that ill-advised conceit had come to pass.

 

From the Perils of the Maelstrom

 

A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi.  A precipice in front, wolves behind.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

He was a man of average height, average weight and unremarkable looks, in short, non-descript, a guise he found most useful and therefore carefully cultivated.  She was a brown eyed, brown haired beauty whose low cut black chemise barely contained, much less concealed her ample breasts as she leaned over the rough-hewn plank table to refill his tankard of bitters.  Grasping her wrist with his left hand, he produced a gold sovereign in his right as recompense for his repast and her continued hospitality.  As he pressed the double-headed eagle into her palm, he also planted the seeds of desire in her mind, a feeling of unfulfilled hunger that would be satiated in his bedchamber later.

Mere moments away from a night of carnal delight a voice in his head thundered, “What a waste of Emperor given talent,” and the spell was broken.  Flustered the comely inn keepers daughter quickly withdrew while an equally startled Orestes LaFluer scanned the tavern for the wretch who had spoiled his plans for the evening.  Spotting no obvious culprit LaFluer reached out with his mind, again to no avail.  Now truly perplexed, LaFluer struggled to maintain his composure.  Just then, a cloaked and hooded figure slid onto the bench opposite him.

“Who are you?” LaFluer demanded.

“No one to be trifled with!” the mysterious figure replied.

“Do I know you?” LaFluer continued.

“No, but I know you!  You sustain yourself by manipulating games of chance.  You entertain yourself … well; we have seen how you entertain yourself.  As I said, ‘A waste of Emperor given talent.’ ”

Attempting to conceal his growing unease with bluster LaFluer demanded, “What do you want?”

To which the cloaked figure replied, “Join me and give your talents purpose, or…”

“Or, or, or?!” LaFluer bristled, impatient, but dreading the answer.

After a lengthy pause for emphasis the figure continued, “or be denounced and face the Inquisition.”

Thus, given the choice – Aut manun, aut ferrum – Orestes LaFluer volunteered for the Templars Psykologis.

 

Domine, Libra Nos

 

De inimico no loquaris male, sed cognites.  Do not speak ill of your enemy, plan it!

Libro Bellum Imperialis

Publilius Syrus

Magister Militum Emeritus

 

Standing on a slight rise at dusk General Theobald von Bethmann Hollweg Bruchmuller surveyed the open ground before him.  He did not care for what he saw.  His Landing Team numbered in the thousands.  Judging from the cooking fires in the distance, the Chaos army encamped to the south numbered in the tens of thousands.  At dawn they would resume their march, overwhelm his small force, wreak havoc upon this fair land and pollute yet another world with the obscene rites of Chaos.  A seasoned commander with a lifetime of service, veteran of more campaigns than he cared to remember, General Bruchmuller would not give up this verdant planet without a fight, not while there was a chance for victory, however slight.  Turning to his staff, he ordered Goerdeler’s brigade of the Buzra Iron Guard to anchor the right flank on Lochvista, Jagiello’s brigade of the Auerstadt Steel Legion to take the left secured by the Mtsensk River and the Enimar militia to hold the center of his extended line.  Pointing at the map the General concluded, “Place the Schniewind Mobile Infantry, in reserve, behind this rise, out of sight and, no matter what, hold them until I give the command to attack.”

True to form, Commissar Catroux immediately began to object.  “You have chosen this ground well, General.  With our flanks protected by the lake to the right and the river to the left our line cannot be turned.  But, by the Emperor, the Militia is light infantry, our weakest unit.  They cannot hold against this vast multitude.  All will be lost.”

“Fortunately for the Emperor, I am in command.” General Bruchmuller snapped.  “The militia will serve as will you.  Now see to it that the men are prepared and that my orders are carried out!”

 

From the Hazards of the Tempest

 

History is a wheel, for the nature of man is fundamentally unchanging.  What has happened before will inevitably happen again.  Long before ever planning a battle therefore the successful Strategoi will first study battle and he will become as skillful in Katabasis as he is in Anabasis.

Delenda Est Carthago

A Study in Leadership during the Punic Wars

Archmasester Rigney

Magister Militum Emeritus

 

As General Bruchmuller had anticipated the Chaos horde broke camp at dawn.  Several captives were ritualistically defiled and after their vulgar sacrifice in profane homage to the Warp, the Legions of Darkness resumed the march toward Bartov.  Expecting little if any opposition they had landed without armor or artillery support under the nominal leadership of the Daemon Dabbasheth.  Counting on sheer numbers and Warp fury to despoil and desecrate Fellgiebel, this raid was an exercise in wanton destruction, an orgy of violence, rather than a war of conquest.  More noted for the enormous tumor that deformed his spine and his vicious nature than any strategic or tactical acumen, Dabbasheth intended to ravage this pristine world and in so doing instill terror throughout the Quadrant thereby diverting Imperial resources from his master’s true objective.

A change in the wind brought the scent of humans to the foul mass, arousing their thirst for battle but not their caution.  The pace quickened and, fueled by rage, as soon as the Chaos horde caught sight of the Imperial force drawn up in line of battle they charged en masse.  Contemptuous of the relatively few soldiers arrayed before them, confident their numbers and insane fury would sweep any opposition from the field, the bestial horde rolled forward like a tidal wave.  And like a tidal wave smashing against towering cliffs, broke upon the ordered ranks of the heavily armed and armored men on either flank.  Against the Enimar Militia however, although casualties were enormous, ground was gained.  Obscene war cries pierced ears and minds as the Chaos host redoubled their efforts in the center.  Hacking and slashing the Legions of Darkness slowly forced the human line into a shallow crescent.  Further slaughter and it began to resemble a drawn bow.

 

Our Emperor, Deliver Us

 

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth or easy, or that any plan is infallible, for no one who embarks on this strange voyage can predict the tides and hurricanes he will encounter.

Sanguinis Sudore Et Lacrimis

Sir W. L. Spencer-Churchill

First Lord of the Admiralty

 

From his command post, General Bruchmuller watched with grim satisfaction as the Enimar Militia slowly gave ground, trading space for Chaos lives.  Every man who fell took ten or more Chaos scum with him.  Every meter gained cost the hated enemy a hundred or more horrific warriors.  As the front buckled, forming a deep bowl General Bruchmuller ordered the flanking units to extend their lines maintaining contact with the hard-pressed Militia.  The third time Commissar Catroux interrupted him pleading for reserves to reinforce the center General Bruchmuller cuffed him, knocking the odious Commissar to the ground with a powerful backhand to the right temple.  “Hold your tongue Commissar or I will take it!  Since you are so concerned about reinforcing the Enimar Militia, see to it . . . personally!”  Sniveling, Commissar Catroux slunk from the Command Post.

Turning his attention once again to the task at hand, General Bruchmuller quickly surveyed the field of battle.  As he had hoped, as the dreaded enemy pressed forward they lost all cohesion, only those warriors on the outer edge of the foul mass could engage in combat, negating their advantage in numbers.  Those crowded into the center lost all semblance of order and, in pressing forward, hampered the efforts of their grotesque comrades on the perimeter.  Driven mad with blood lust many began to cut down their own kind, so great was their need to take souls and taste flesh.  Sensing the moment was at hand; General Bruchmuller ordered his reserves into action.

 

From the Horrors of Plague

 

He who fights monsters must take care lest in the struggle he become a monster.  For if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.

Ultra Bonum Et Malum

Friedrich Nietzsche

Magisterii Philosophici

 

The Schniewind Mobile Infantry had a well-deserved reputation for operational speed and lethal efficiency.  They displayed it now.  Sweeping wide and well below the visual horizon on both flanks, they dropped in behind the Chaos mass.  Surprise was complete.  Their first volley announced their arrival on the field of battle and it decimated the Chaos horde.  As the Warp warriors turned to face this new, unexpected and deadly threat, Goerdeler’s brigade of the Buzra Iron Guard and Jagiello’s brigade of the Auerstadt Steel Legion joined the attack.  Given a brief respite by this turn of events, the Enimar Militia regrouped and joined the melee.  Having endured so much carnage for so many hours, Imperial vengeance was great indeed.  What had been a battlefield became an abattoir.  Encircled now in a ring of steel, an unusual emotion swept the Chaos host – fear.  What had been a close run battle became a rout.  As panic spread among the malignant creatures of Chaos, rout degenerated into slaughter and the roiling mass of Chaos nightmares perished by the thousands in a cauldron of death.

 

Domine, Libra Nos

 

It is a cliché but nonetheless verifiable that a bureaucracy, as with any parasite, will continue to grow until it kills the host.  This is especially true of republics, which have no strong central figure such as a king or a dictator jealously guarding and therefore limiting the power held by others.  In the case of republics, government grows exponentially until it crushes the very citizens it was formed to serve and protect.   When that government expires, as it invariably must, it is like some immense dying beast: a beast so huge that its limbs have not yet heard the news of its own demise and so, even though the core is dead, beyond any hope of revival, the extremities continue to move through momentum alone.  Those last death throes are often mistaken for signs of vitality but they are not.  Those final convulsions signal the nearness of the end.

 

A Survey of Earth’s Major Civilizations Prior to Imperium

Volume VII – The Republics

Sir Alexander Fraser Tytler

Lord Woodhouselee

 

The sun had now set.  Against a backdrop of purple mountains and black sky bejeweled with the lights of a billion stars Tarn continued, “History teaches us that the devotion with which a people embrace their independence is proportionate to the blood they had to spill to win their liberty.  To that axiom I would add ‘and continue to spill in order to maintain their freedom.’  In our case, peace and prosperity were a bane rather than a blessing.  Adversity brought out the best in us.  Privilege led to self-satisfaction; self-satisfaction to stagnation; stagnation to decline.  Oh, we still called ourselves citizens and we knew how to imitate, up to a point, the attitudes and poses of our illustrious ancestors.  But that is all we did:  imitate attitudes and strike poses.  We performed our parts well but there was no substance in our presentation, only well rehearsed technique.  We merely played at being citizens and deceived ourselves, sometimes, into accepting imitation for reality.  We forgot that no man is entitled to the blessings of freedom unless he is vigilant in its preservation.  Instead, we took our liberties for granted; democracy degenerated into the rule of the mob – giving the government over to the man who promised the greatest benefits to the least worthy segments of society, buying the support of the crowd by stripping the assets of productive citizens. The civilization that we constructed was hollow, the life that most of us led a meaningless trek without value or purpose.  And in that spiritual void, we invited chaos into our midst.”

“When the first incidents occurred, our leaders spoke of moderation, of tolerance when they should have called for retribution.  If we could but understand our foe, we could reason with him they said – as if one could reason with madness.  Show him the error of his ways; win him over to our side they said – as if, other than our souls, the enemy was interested in anything we had to offer.  Our leaders called for a battle of hearts and minds when they should have demanded a clash of steel!  What else could they do?  Behind the facade of understanding and goodwill, we were corrupt and weak.  How deleterious the cultural influence of universal brotherhood and multiplicity had been.  How feeble its power.  Our society had become so effete we would have been hard pressed to find anyone who could forge a good blade, much less wield one.”

 

From the Pitfalls of Temptation

 

Until human nature changes men will be asked to do things that civilization would not otherwise ask of its own – but must if it is to survive barbarity.

Into the Abyss

Eugene Bondurant Sledge

Magos Biologis

 

“We are shadows.  We live in the shadows.  We work in the shadows.  We die in the shadows.  Our greatest deeds will never be recorded outside these halls.  If we are successful few will ever know we even exist,” intoned the cloaked and hooded magister.

Thus began Orestes LaFluer’s first lesson in service to the Imperium.  He never learned the name of the agent who ‘recruited him.’  He would never know the name of the person who now instructed him.  The irony of his previous existence on the fringes of society a propos his current, legitimate, station was not lost on him.  Considering the alternative however, LaFluer was content.  His quarters were comfortable, albeit Spartan and the meals were filling, if not exceptional.

A slight psychic shock refocused his attention.  “As Templars Psykologis, our mandate from the Emperor is to gather intelligence on all enemies of the Imperium, be they internal or external, disseminate that information to the appropriate agency for appropriate action, discreetly of course, and if necessary, to conduct psychological warfare on those who oppose the Light of the Emperor.  Given our mission, it follows that we field Disruption Squads and Auger Teams,” continued the Magos.

Over the weeks and months that followed LaFluer found his gift lent itself to languages and codes while his previous existence lent itself to field craft.  Completion of training earned the designation ‘Rogue’ and shortly after LaFluer found himself on assignment.

 

Our Emperor, Deliver Us

 

Inveniam viam aut faciam.  I will find a way or make a way.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

As dusk neared the remnants of the Chaos army rallied around Dabbasheth.  Attempting to break out to the north their line of escape brought them into contact with Gamma Company.  Hovarth and his mates emptied their bolters on the advancing group, then engaged hand to hand.  Hovarth cut down a particularly odious daemon only to find himself face to face with the badly wounded but still dangerous Dabbasheth.  Before Hovarth could bring his axe to bear, Dabbasheth knocked it from his hand and seized his arms with powerful hands.  Instinctively, Hovarth lashed out driving the tip of his steel-toed combat boot into the Daemon’s groin.  (As he would later remark when the tale was told and retold and embellished with every telling, “I wasn’t certain daemons had any but, Praise the Emperor, they do.)  Howling in pain and in rage Dabbasheth released his captive.  Moving with the speed and agility of an Enimar eel, Hovarth drew his combat knife and thrusting upward under the obscenity’s chin embedded the forty-centimeter blade into the Daemon’s brain.  A palm strike to the pommel drove the double edged, razor sharp point through the top of Dabbasheth’s skull.

 

From the Ravages of War

 

None came out unscathed.  Many gave their lives, many their health and some their sanity.  All who survived will long remember the horror they would rather forget.  But they suffered and they did their duty so a sheltered homeland could enjoy the peace purchased at such high cost.

 

Into the Abyss

Eugene Bondurant Sledge

Magos Biologis

 

The battle died with Daemon Dabbasheth.  Throughout the night, Imperial medical teams attempted to recover wounded comrades while extermination squads ensured none who had been tainted by the Warp survived.  The following morning Trooper Hovarth rose early to walk the battlefield searching for fallen comrades.  The scenes of death stood in hideous testament to the savagery of the fight.   Here, an Imperial soldier and a Chaos monster lay, bloody hands clenched around each other’s throat, locked together in a final fatal embrace.  There, a trooper, his spine severed and unable to use his arms, had ripped out his assailant’s esophagus with his teeth.  Cut cleanly in half by the blast effect of a heavy mortar the legs of one daemon lay at the trunk of a cycadophyta tree, its torso hung in the top, entrails decorating the shattered branches in hideous mimicry of the winter solstice ritual.  His ammunition exhausted, his short sword broken and lacking any other weapon, one trooper had gouged out the eyes of his monstrous opponent, shoving his index finger into the brain to kill the walking terror that had mortally wounded him.  As the sun edged higher carrion birds gathered and blow flies swarmed.  Since they were already corrupted by dark powers, felled warp legionaries putrefied rapidly.  Immolators and flammenwerfer teams were already at work cleansing the Chaos taint.  They would have to move quickly.  Hovarth did not envy them their task.

 

Domine, Libra Nos

 

As the ancient historian Arnold Toynbee noted, “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”  This is especially true of republics.  Exponential growth of laws that attempt to replace personal accountability with regulation; establishment of bureaucratic agencies that continually increase in size and scope yet never solve the problems for which they were created; use of real and contrived emergencies to increase central authority, control and power; careful management of information; creation of vested special interest groups through entitlements; all these are warning signs of impending societal suicide.

A Survey of Earth’s Major Civilizations Prior to Imperium

Volume VII – The Republics

Sir Alexander Fraser Tytler

Lord Woodhouselee

 

Tarn paused to look directly into the eyes of his audience, as if searching their very souls for understanding, then taking a deep breath he continued, “In the final years of the First Republic, the seeds of destruction were sown.  Ruin began innocuously enough.  Under the banner of multiculturalism, Enimars’s schola turned out thousands of politically correct graduates with no knowledge of or respect for their world’s history.  Many of these students matriculated to collegia where they were further indoctrinated in the philosophical sophistry of moral relativism.  In a misguided attempt to be inclusive communities embraced alien cultures and alien beliefs while disregarding their own traditions.  The people were taught to celebrate diversity rather than unity.  The government became bloated, more noted for corruption and intrigue than efficiency or fairness.  Rather than embrace sophrosyne, those in power devoted themselves instead to exploiting class antagonisms for their own financial and political gain.  With the assistance of purchased political power the rich seized the land of yeoman farmers; conglomerations drove small corporations out of business; then set prices according to greed rather than need.  In this atmosphere of debilitated leadership, profligate rulers and feckless bureaucrats the response to heresy was nil which only encouraged further deviation.”

 

From the Scourge of the Alien

 

There is a soul to any army as well as to the individual man and no general can accomplish the full work of his army unless he commands the souls of his men as well as their bodies and legs.

Libro Bellum Imperialis

Publilius Syrus

Magister Militum Emeritus

 

General Bruchmuller found Trooper Hovarth standing over the body of Commissar Catroux wondering what he had been doing so near the front and why his wounds were in his back.

“Do not concern yourself with that one.  If it pleases the Emperor; it would certainly please me; our next Commissar will be better trained and better educated.”

Startled out of his reverie, Trooper Hovarth uncharacteristically dropped to one knee.  “My Lord General”

“What is your name soldier?”

“Trooper Hovarth, Gamma Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Regiment, Enimar Militia, Lord General.”

“By the Emperor’s Grace, I am a General but I am not a Lord, just a soldier who started his career much as you have.  The Enimar Militia fought well in this battle but suffered greatly, especially among the officer ranks.  The unit will be rebuilt but it will need good leaders if it is to maintain its reputation as an elite unit.  Rise Captain Hovarth.”

“Sire?”

“Save your protests Captain, wars may be fought with weapons but they are won by men.  It is the spirit of the men who follow and the spirit of the man who leads that gains victory.  You have that spirit.  Use it.  Besides, the orders have already been cut and time is of the essence.  Failing here, the Warlords of the Warp will attack elsewhere in this sector.  Wherever that may be, we must be ready to meet and defeat them.  We have been given just enough time to perform absolution for our fallen comrades and break camp.  The transports arrive in a fortnight.  Report to your unit and turn to.  There is much work to be done.”

“If you will permit one question, Sire, how did you know the Chaos army would fall into your trap?”

“You knew?”

“Your strategy was fairly obvious from your disposition of forces.”

General Bruchmuller smiled inwardly.  This one showed promise.  “No one can ever be certain how a Chaos army will react.  The Warlords of the Warp do not study the history of war.  Nor do they follow the principles of war.  For the Disciples of Chaos to act in logical manner or follow a rational path would be a contradiction in terms would it not?  One thing is certain, Warp fury is their greatest strength and their greatest weakness.  In this case we were able to turn that mindless berserker rage to our advantage.”

Saluting smartly, Captain Hovarth took his leave of General Bruchmuller.  On Chicoutimi they would meet again.

 

Our Emperor, Deliver Us

 

Libenter homines id quod volunt credunt.

Men gladly believe that which they wish for.

 

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

OPREP 4123334M41/25

Thanks to excellent preparatory work by previous agents have infiltrated planetary government of subject Beta Omicron as minor functionary.  Despite my lowly status have access to surprising level of sensitive data.  To date all I can report is governor and his close staff are as scurrilous a group of self-serving miscreants as ever plagued honest citizens of the Empire. This does not speak too highly of the political acumen of the electorate however as you well know men see what they wish to see.  Level of malfeasance, graft and ineptitude does not seem abnormally high, certainly not heretical.  Some actions appear odd and level of secrecy troubling but that may be a function of planetary politics peculiar to this system.  Will continue to investigate and advise.

 

From the Blasphemy of the Heretic

 

To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose in the Imperium;

A time to laugh and a time to cry; A time to be born and a time to die;

A time to plant and a time to reap; A time to give and a time to keep;

A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to rise up and a time to kneel;

A time for love and a time for hatred; A time for peace and a time for bloodshed.

Litanies for the Ecclesiarch

Carcasonne Languedoc

Basileus Audiencia Reial

 

The Enimar Militia had borne the brunt of the fighting on Fellgiebel suffering nearly thirty-seven per cent casualties. On Embarkation Day the survivors assembled in open ranks in a square facing funeral pyres of seasoned wool and dry kindling reverently built up in the center.  It was called the Missing Man Formation, the interval between each trooper representing those who would never muster again. To honor the fallen and those who remained General Bruchmuller gave the last rites prior to departure.

“There are those who would mourn the loss of so many brave men.  That is not your way.  Nor is it mine.  Rather than words of regret that so many fine soldiers have died let us praise the Emperor that such men as these lived; let us take courage from their valor; let us take heart from their steadfast devotion; let us take vengeance for their loss; and in that terrible retribution let us find redemption and give their sacrifice vindication.  The Chaplain tells us there is a season and a purpose for all things in the Imperium; a time to reap and a time to sow; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to keep silent and a time to pray.  Those times have passed away.  There is a time to fight and that time will soon come.  Men of Enimar, steel your hearts.  Your comrades will be avenged.  This I swear.”

To the chant, Fideli certa merces – To the faithful there is certain reward, the funeral pyres were lighted.  As was their custom the Enimar Militia closed ranks, faced about and as the flames shot skyward filed onto the transports standing by to shuttle them to the troopships waiting in orbit above.

 

Domine, Libra Nos

 

As stated previously very few Republics fell to external threats yet their destruction was absurdly easy.  All that was required was the denigration by a self-interested group of those beliefs, institutions, principles and values upon which the state was founded.  This was done in the name of diversity, inclusion and sensitivity however, the true purpose of those who advanced those ideals was, as it always has been and always will be power.  The first targets were the schools and the media.  Once the subversives controlled those critical elements of society, the general population learned nothing but propaganda, heard nothing but that information endorsed by the party seeking power.  Within a few generations morals were displaced by moral relativism, national pride supplanted by multiculturalism, unity superseded by diversity, honest discussion deposed by censorship as dissenters were marginalized, ostracized, silenced.  With those vital institutions, the schools and the media, in dissident hands the reins of government soon followed.  All that was required at that point to cement control was a few carefully managed crises.  These emergencies could be real or manufactured.  Far too late the people learned that government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is a force like fire and like fire it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master.

A Survey of Earth’s Major Civilizations Prior to Imperium

Volume VII – The Republics

Sir Alexander Fraser Tytler

Lord Woodhouselee

 

After taking a draught of mead, Tarn continued, “During the long Imperial Peace we became rich, indulgent, selfish.  Our vanity nearly became our downfall for in our hubris we sowed the seeds of heresy.  If we served the state, it was for personal gain.  Consequently, the Administratum devolved into an increasingly ineffective and entrenched bureaucracy commanding no loyalty.  Those who objected to this state of affairs were labeled as bigoted reactionary zealots by the elites who controlled the schools and the media and therefore the minds of the majority.  We opened our borders to Barbaroi, diluting the virtues that made us strong.  Worst of all, we opened our minds to foreign ideas, little realizing that ideas become ideals and ideals become idols.  In short, we became civilized, cultured.  In our arrogance we failed to comprehend that when all beliefs are treated equally, all beliefs become equally insignificant.  Tolerance of a pantheon of beliefs belied a spiritual void that we sought to fill with increasingly vulgar festivals and increasingly bloody, but ultimately meaningless, games.  Oh, we feigned respect for tradition but what we truly valued was wealth, leisure and debauchery.  In accepting a host of truths, we forgot the essential truth of the Imperium.”

 

From the Begetting of Daemons

 

Curiosum mores ad publicum populi hominum nimium potest.

The public cannot be too curious concerning the character of public men.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

OPREP4157334M41/32

Something is definitely amiss.  Subject Beta Omicron campaigned as a populist promising much needed reform yet in defiance of common sense not to mention the planetary charter all actions since his party came to power five years ago (local) have strengthened power, expanded scope and increased control of central government at the considerable expense of regional and local authority as well as individual autonomy.  Overtly uses government agencies to intimidate political opposition, censor media and manage information.  All governments do this to a greater or lesser extent however most attempt to at least maintain a facade of impartiality by doing so discretely.  Dubious budget cuts have drastically weakened planetary defenses.  In light of threats to this sector this policy defies common sense (see above).  While not overtly anti-Imperial has made troubling remarks regarding neutrality in sector disputes and accommodating diverse ideas.  Question remains, who pulls subject’s strings.  No savvy politician would continue extremely unpopular policies in face of growing public concern.  Am convinced greater forces are at work here than mere ego mania and that subject is a pawn in a much larger game.  Numerous references to “ACAMAR” must be clarified.

 

Our Emperor, Deliver Us

 

Qui desiderat pacem, praeparet bellum.  Let him who desires peace, prepare for war.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

As one of the few ground commanders in a sea of admirals gathered in the strategium of the flagship Divine Truth, General Bruchmuller felt out of place.  Since his landing force team would play little part in the pending campaign until deployed, other than the exchange of pleasantries with his fellow commanders he kept silent.  Nevertheless he paid close attention as Admiral Trewellard Fegen outlined the situation, “In summary ladies and gentlemen we know a chaos armada vastly outnumbering our own fleet is inbound to this sector.  What we do not know is its destination.  Montagnais, Rawalpindi and Laurentic are the most likely targets.  San Demetrio, Fukudome and Mopan are also possibilities.  There is some Intel regarding Maidan, Patchouli and Chicoutimi but I consider them tertiary objectives at best.  Naturally all of the planetary governors are filling the ether with requests that border on demands, clamoring for protection, citing a host of reasons why their system should take precedence over all others, bleating like mouflon at the approach of wolves.  Honestly it is more annoying than the broadside of an Apocalypse Class Dreadnought.  At times like these I envy the captains of my ships and would gladly exchange duties with them.  A pity this collection of egotistical dunsels studied administration and management at the Universitatis Imperialis.  If they had read Vegetius at schola perhaps they would have put more effort into proper defensive precautions rather than ornate public works projects.  Most certainly if their propugnaculum were as deeply entrenched as their vastly bloated bureaucracy they would not need our assistance.  Forgive my frustration. I digress.”

Admiral Fegen continued, “There are even some in this room who advise sending a portion of our fleet to each of the threatened systems.  May I remind you that he who attempts to defend everything defends nothing?  No, our only hope is to keep the fleet concentrated at this central point so that we may strike with our full force at the opportune time.  In the interim I want every scrap of Intel however tenuous, every shred of evidence however improbable brought to my attention.  In order to have any chance of success we must know when and where the enemy will strike.  Our only trump card in this game is that we have broken some of the Chaos codes.  There must be a way to use that to our advantage.  That will be all for today.  Return to your ships and ensure they are fully prepared to strike, hard, fast and on short notice for I intend to go in harm’s way.”

 

From the Curse of the Mutant

 

Caveant consules ne quid detrimenti respublica capiat.

Beware, consuls, that the republic is not harmed.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

OPREP4195334M41/34

Breakthrough.  Accessing planetary data base learned first colonists originated from northeast portion of ancient Merica.  Planetary designation derived from river in that region.  In archaic tongue of prehistoric local Terran tribe name means “end of the deep water.”  Likewise ACAMAR derived from primeval tongue of Bilad al-Rafidayn region of Old Earth meaning “river’s end.”  Logical assumption ACAMAR refers to local system since when viewed from Terra last star in the constellation Eridanus and only star served by the Postrema Flumis warp corridor.  Still perplexed regarding subject Beta Omicron.  His magnanimous gifts to poor may win popularity but at what cost if that largesse comes at the expense of freedom?  To trade liberty for dependence is a fool’s exchange.  Given proximity of this region to Eye of Terror his activism in internal matters and passivity in external matters defy reason.   Will advise.

 

 

 

Domine, Libra Nos

 

I like generals so bold they are dangerous.

Commentaria de Bello Magno

John Joseph “Black Jack” Pershing

Magister Bellum Emeritus

 

Following the meeting General Bruchmuller sought out Admiral Fegen.  After the exchange of customary formalities the General sated, “If I may be so bold as to offer a suggestion Sire, there is a ploy that has worked for me from time to time in the past.  It might be useful now.”

His considerable bulk belying the heart of a warrior Admiral Fegen replied, “You have my interest Sir and I would be a fool to ignore the victor of Fellgiebel.  What is this deception you propose?”

“You give me too much credit Lord.  As you implied earlier the secret is reading your history and having the wit to apply it.  Starting with the most likely target, send an innocuous message regarding some routine matter such as ammo inventory or provision levels in the Zeta Cipher.”

“But that is an older code, probably compromised.”

“Precisely!  If the enemy refers to that subject in a later message you will have a better idea of his intentions.”

“A bold plan with much to commend it for what I did not mention in the meeting is that the enemy makes continual reference to “Rivers of Blood, Acamar’s Heart” and the “Sacrifice of Acamar.”   Your ruse might just tip his hand.”

The search should have started with the least likely target for the break came on the last attempt as time was running out.  Over a period of days messages were sent regarding such routine matters as fuel reserves on Montagnais, requests for provisions for San Demetrio, manufacturing statistics for Fukudome and maintenance on the primary desalinization plant on Chicoutimi.  When the Fleet Intelligence Service analyzed an intercept referring to water shortages on Acamar, Admiral Fegen ordered the fleet into action.

 

 

 

A Morte Eterna

 

Quoniam punitio non refertur primo in correctionem eius qui punitur, sed in bonum publicum ut alij terreantur et a malis committendis avocentur.  Punishment does not take place primarily for the correction of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and thereby weaned away from the evils they would commit.

Malleus Maleficarum

Heinrich Kramer

Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis

 

Before continuing Tarn adjusted his kit.  The weapons he wore, a large bore sidearm holstered on his right hip and a short sword hanging from his left, were not ceremonial.  If the need arose he could and would use those weapons without hesitation and with deadly skill.  Such was his sworn duty.  Such was the obligation of all citizens.

“In our darkest hour Octavius returned from the Chicoutimi campaign.  Now commanding a cadre of the Enimar militia his orders were to refit and recruit.  It was imperative that the unit return to full combat readiness as soon as practicable for the enemies of the Empire never rest therefore nor can those who protect her.   After so many years campaigning against the forces of chaos and personally observing the evil precipitated by heresy, the conditions he found on Enimar appalled him and his men.  Cults abounded yet the Temples of the Emperor were empty.  Taxes were egregiously high yet infrastructure was crumbling.  When the call to arms went out less than one per cent of the population volunteered for service.  Of that number less than one per cent were found mentally and / or physically fit for duty.  When Octavius reported these findings to his superiors in the Imperial Landing Team, word came back to take whatever steps necessary to return Enimar to compliance.  The alternative was Exterminatus.”

“Octavius fully understood his orders and the consequence of failure.  He staged a coup d’état and declared martial law.  He summoned the Inquisition and with their assistance the government was purged; the cults ruthlessly stamped out; all traces of heresy cleansed.  Octavius stripped the Charter of its most egregious amendments restoring the contract between citizen and government to its original form which, as all well know, begins Nos Autem Populus or in the vernacular E Plebnista.  It is a simple document, based on three simple but vitally important precepts:  One, only those who serve honorably are eligible for citizenship.  Two, only citizens may vote.  Three, only citizens may hold public office.  Those simple ideas hold great insight, great understanding of the nature of man.”

“The ruling elite and those who had manipulated the administration for personal benefit were stripped of power.   Those who had overtly betrayed Enimar by embracing heresy and inviting chaos into our midst were summarily executed.  Those found to have been merely complicit in acts of treason also received justice befitting their crime.  They who had used the state for their benefit spent their remaining years in penal colonies where henceforth they would serve the state through their labor.”

“There were those who said these actions were too harsh, that such measures would create hostility, a climate of trepidation wherein no government could function.  To such criticisms Inquisitor Jakob Sprenger replied, “Let them hate us, provided they fear us, for with fear comes wisdom.”  In fact quite the opposite reaction took place.  Those who had been suppressed, those who had been silenced, those who had been shunned, those who had been vilified found voice again.  In the first truly free elections in decades Octavius became the first Primus Inter Pares of the Second Republic.  At the end of his first term Octavius refused the call to continue in office, instead returning to military service.  In so doing he set the precedent of limiting office holders to one term thus removing the temptations inherent in an established ruling class.  The Council of Elders wisely amended the Charter accordingly.”

 

Our Emperor, Deliver Us

 

Si te ipse a lupis ovium comedet te

If you make yourself a sheep, the wolves will eat you.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

OPREP4212334M41/24

IMMEDIATE DANGER.  HIGHEST PRECEDENCE.

Caught in a web of his own deceit subject Beta Omicron has himself been deceived.  He thought he was dealing with the fair Daimona Apate to bring about his vision of utopia but she was but a chimera, one of the multitude of manifestations Tzeentch uses to mislead the weak minded and wreak his will.  He believed he could use the Forces of Chaos and not be lost.  He believed he could control the Daemons of the Warp and bind them to his will.  He believed the deceiver would assist him in his plans.  He was a fool and he will unleash hell upon this planet.  Tzeentch will take his soul and the souls of everyone in this system as sacrifice in order to restore his disciple Ghargatuloth to the materium.  Believe Chaos fleet inbound.  The Emperor protects.

 

That Thou Wouldst Bring Them Only Death

 

Veritas vincit.  Truth Conquers.

Wisdom of the Romani

Adolphus Murphy

Magister Historica

 

Imagine a formation of steel leviathans, massive grey dreadnoughts bristling with huge naval cannon, missile launchers, torpedo tubes, energy weapons and particle accelerators; each of these deadly devices casemated in heavily armored turrets; incredibly lethal instruments of destruction capable of hurling one hundred kilo-tonnes of mass reactive shells, one million tera-watts of focused energy, ten thousand giga-joules of hyper accelerated particles and hundreds of missiles and torpedoes per broadside; a vast fleet of warships hurtling with singular purpose through the deathly cold of interstellar space; their deadly forms silhouetted by the equally cold light of distant stars; propelled at flank speed by great geysers of plasma generated by fusion reactors buried deep within their hellish bowels.  Throughout the fleet well trained crews feverishly prepare thousands of fighters and bombers that will soon spew from the gaping maws of vast hanger bays to add their strength to the attack against the hated foe.  Steaming in a lethal stacked column formation at five-thousand kilometer intervals the line of battle extends over point zero zero two five AU, forming a shield wall facing the only warp portal in the sector.  In the dimly lit and claustrophobically crowded cavern known as the Command Center of each ship, a multitude of electro-mechanical marvels crewed by hard wired servitors gather, process and disseminate near real time data in the form of blinking symbology displayed on large screen monitors.   In this realm of carefully controlled commotion, teams of adepts and artisans scurry about rendering ritualistic service and devout homage to ensure these gifts of the machine god continue to function, while tactical officers designate targets, assign ordnance and issue orders to helm, engineering and weapon stations, all under the watchful eye of the ship’s commander.

Thanks to superb intelligence surprise is complete.  The Imperial fleet is able to engage with broadsides while the enemy can only bring forward batteries to bear as they emerge from the warp.  Within the first ten minutes of battle the odds are even; another ten and the initially inferior Imperial fleet becomes numerically superior as fully fifty per cent of the Chaos armada disappears in rapidly expanding clouds of ionized gas, shattered bits of debris and vaporized bodies.  Swarms of fighters harry the enemy preventing him from taking effective counter measures as the Imperial fleet comes about, crosses the enemy’s T, a classic naval maneuver dating back to the age of sail on Terra, and completes the destruction of the invasion force.

 

That Thou Shouldst Spare None

 

When the people forget their duty they are no longer human and become something less than beasts.  They have no place in the bosom of humanity nor in the heart of the Emperor.  Let them die and be forgotten.

Malleus Maleficarum

Heinrich Kramer

Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis

 

LAND THE LANDING TEAM.  ALL LANDING FORCE PERSONNEL REPORT TO SHUTTLE BAYS.  LAND THE LANDING TEAM.  ALL LANDING FORCE PERSONNEL REPORT TO SHUTTLE BAYS.  Klaxons sounded and those repeated words echoed through the passageways as ground troops rushed to the drop ships that would take them planet side.

In desperation the governor and those forces loyal to him secured the central administrative complex while the general populace, informed of his treachery, took to the streets, savagely purging their former masters.

Most battles ebb and flow as the currents of war surge first in one direction and then on an opposite course according to the vagaries of combat.  That was not the case on Chicoutimi.  Fueled by the wrath of righteous, for there is none more abhorrent than the traitor, Hovarth and his comrades surged forward like a Tsunami sweeping all before them.  They asked no quarter and gave none.  Hovarth found the governor cowering in his chambers.  Of the entire traitorous host only he was allowed to live.  Death was too quick and too easy for men such as him.             Agents of the Santo Oficio Congregatio Pro Doctrina Fidei took the quondam governor into custody.  In the skilled hands of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith he would spend his remaining years repenting for his transgressions against Emperor and Empire.  In time he would learn the exquisitely painful lessons of contrition but he would never know redemption, much less forgiveness; no, never forgiveness.

 

That Thou Shouldst Pardon None

 

We are mighty in the Earth, But our sins lay us low,

They steal our dignity and our worth, Desire is the greatest foe.

Litanies for the Ecclesiarch

Carcasonne Languedoc

Basileus Audiencia Reial

 

Reporting to the chapter house of the Umbra Sumus for debriefing the Rogue pondered the miracle of his survival.

Apparently satisfied with his report the Magos continued, “You have done well on your first assignment agent.  A planet saved and history made, although outside these walls none will ever know of your part in these events.”

LaFluer could not resist, “With respect Lord, I prefer my history dead.  Dead history is writ in ink, the living sort in blood with the all too real possibility that some of it might be mine.”

 

We Beseech Thee, Destroy Them

 

From iron cometh strength.  From strength cometh will.  From will cometh faith.  From faith cometh honor.  From honor cometh iron.  This is the unbreakable litany.  And may it be forever so.  Dominum Imperator ac Ferrum Aeturnum.

Litanies for the Ecclesiarch

Carcasonne Languedoc

Basileus Audiencia Reial

 

“Through his actions Octavius restored our dignity, our honor, our Republic.  Through his example the Son of Enimar taught us that a citizen measures his worth by service not by the accumulation of wealth.  For one hundred generations we have honored Octavius’ legacy through service – service to each other, service to Enimar, service to the Emperor and through that selfless service have restored our power and our proper place in the Imperium.  Through his deeds Octavius reminded us of what it means to be a Son of Enimar and of the essential truth of the Imperium.  We forgot that once and Enimar was nearly lost.  That must not happen again.  As long as we honor this day, as long as we respect our heroes, as long as we venerate our beliefs, that shall not happen again.  Teach your children well citizens” and here Tarn’s voice rose to a shout as he concluded with the question, “What is the one truth we cherish more than fame, more than riches, more than life itself?”

Rising to their feet the clan took up the chant, louder and louder until the natural amphitheater of the arroyo where they gathered echoed with their cries “ONLY THE EMPEROR AND IRON ARE ETERNAL!”

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