deathwatch friends smaller

The One where the Ultramarine and Space Wolf Annoy Each Other

The One where an activation rune is thumbed

The One where stealth works until exactly halfway through the mission

The One where the Dark Angel does something incredibly suspicious to avert suspicion

The One where the Inquisitor makes things a million times harder than necessary

The One where the Ultramarine and Space Wolf exchange grudging respect with stern nods

The One where the Imperial fist is a real prick about it

The One where an Iron Hand demonstrates the superiority of transhuman intellect boosted by the blessings of the Omnissiah by pretending they don’t know what a joke is

The One where we wonder what kind of idiot puts a Salamander on mission-focused squad which outputs more collateral damage than carbon dioxide

The One where an unstoppable and uncountable horde has one extremely stoppable and countable (1) weak point

The One where the teleport homer needs a few minutes

The One where someone casts aside a priceless bolter because once you run out of ammunition there’s no more anywhere else in the galaxy

The One where the Ultramarine and Space Wolf just kiss already

Enjoy more Warhammer 40K fun!


I’m delighted to see people still reading this page, mainly How the Kaidanovskys Survived (THEY DID!) and Space Marines Do It Better. And I’m delighted to share where I’m writing now!

ZERO POINT COMEDY – because science is amazingly fun, and writing for fantastic people AND science is even more fun!

PARENT PLUS PLUS – because parenting is always positive, it’s always adding more, and more, and more… :D

TWITTER – more an overflow valve than an output but still some fun.

Voyager’s Wrong Turnings: Tuvix

Captain Janeway and security officers escort Tuvix into Sickbay, where the EMH and Harry Kim have prepared the transporter procedure which will kill him. The security officers continue to act like totally anonymous nobodies dealing with total strangers despite being isolated on the same ship of only 140 people for years.

EMH: I’m sorry, Captain, but I cannot perform the surgical separation. I am a physician, and a physician must do no harm. I will not take Mister Tuvix’s life against his will.

JANEWAY: Very well, Doctor. Please step aside.

TUVIX:  You’re really going to do this.


TUVIX: No. Computer: Tuvix One.

Sickbay goes dark but for a transporter flare.

JANEWAY: Janeway to the bridge!

No response. The security guards grapple with the door, because “This has never worked in the history of ever” hasn’t been added to the tactical manual yet. They didn’t even open a little hatch beside it or anything. Janeway indicates and they fire phasers which flare against a forcefield.

BRIDGE: every console either blinks red or winks out

PARIS, hands raise from conn in surprise: Navigation just shut down!

CHAKOTAY, looking at that little armrest screen which must have some revolutionary new form of Federation-font which allows someone to administer an entire starship through five square centimetres of screen without squinting their eyes into neutronium: Every transporter system just overloaded and burned out.

KIM: Commander! The shuttlecrafts are launching!

CHAKOTAY: Which ones?

KIM, looks up dramatically, because that’s what you do when you’re meant to be keeping an eye on vital bridge readouts during a crisis situation: All of them!

EXTERNAL SHOT VOYAGER REAR: An infinite spiral of shuttlecrafts pour out of Voyager in every direction, a swirl expanding from the rear docking bay to blanket all of space in a solid mass of endless, unlimited, uncountable shuttlecraft. Their nacelles flare and the entire screen goes blue.

SICKBAY: The doors glow red and disintegrate under sustained phaser fire from the outside, the quarantine forcefield flaring out an instant later. Chakotay pokes his head through the hole.

JANEWAY strides towards the hole: What have you done to catch Tuvix?

CHAKOTAY shrugs: Nothing. You might not have noticed, Captain, but this whole quadrant’s a Skinner box training everyone that even saluting without your approval results in at least mutilation, second-degree glares, and three separate timelines where we all die. Last we saw of him was a hemisphere of shuttlecraft expanding in every direction away from the Alpha quadrant.

JANEWAY emerges into the hallway, seeing the entire remaining command crew sitting patiently in the hallway. Kim and Paris are attempting to act friendly, displaying all the natural warmth of a Breen and an Andorian scientifically measuring the freezing point of liquid hydrogen.

JANEWAY shakes her head, strides down hallway: Scan for his biosigns on those vessels and set a pursuit course.

TORRES pipes up: No can do, Captain. Sensors and weapons are offline, shields are raised and locked on, and the huge new Warp Core Override system sitting beside our warp core has us heading at maximum speed in the opposite direction.

JANEWAY stops: HOW in the name of Q did he install that there?

TORRES: Uh, he didn’t, he showed it to me in Cargo Bay 2. And I figured “Well, if we put intelligent warheads and hyper-evolved future-mutants right beside the most vital system in our ship, where else would I put this?”

JANEWAY nods as if to say “fair enough”, then turns: Kim, work with Torres to restore bridge controls.

KIM: Uh, captain, Seska was a Cardassian, and her cover was “loudly traitorous Maquis” with the rank of “sort of ensign”, and she still cracked our security like it was “PASSWORD”. Tuvok was our Vulcan Head of Security for several years. We couldn’t break Tuvix’s security if we ejected the computer core into space and fired a photon torpedo at it.

JANEWAY opens her mouth.

KIM: But the lockouts won’t let us. Even though the computer core would grow back by next week. There are already three new shuttlecraft in the launch bay, by the way. We still don’t know how that happens. But we can’t open the docking bay. We could pointlessly count how many photon torpedoes we have left to kill time if you like.

JANEWAY sighs.

Voyager proceeds at maximum warp until STARDATE+RND*99, automatically returning control to the crew when it encounters an alien ship. The EMH reactivates to find that the radioisotope research has been deleted and replaced with the Hippocratic oath.  Which has somehow been underlined and highlighted even when written in pure code. It’s also been linked to several ethical monographs on how if you develop a weapon, and tell someone about the weapon, then just sit there looking at it until they come and take it to use it, you’re not exactly doing no harm. He relays a message from Tuvix along the lines of “You’ll notice how I didn’t just kill all of you even in self-defense.”

Voyager eventually returns to Earth over a decade after their return in the original timeline. It turns out trying to murder your own chief tactical officer seventy thousand light years from the closest replacement isn’t a spectacular idea. They crew receive a glorious welcome, everyone on board receives promotions or generous Earthbound posts close to their family. Captain Janeway publicly declares her greatest task achieved and retires.

It is not publicly declared that she’s doing this to avoid the embarrassment of the Federation’s newest hero being tried for attempted murder based on a deposition submitted by Tuvix, who had crossed the Delta quadrant to use Gamma Quadrant wormhole several years earlier. Tuvix had not remained to press charges. Instead he broke the the news to Tuvok’s family – who dealt with it logically and without trying to kill him even once – before departing to continue his own life.

Read more of Voyager’s Wrong Turnings, so far including Scorpion: Part II.


Voyager’s Wrong Turnings: Scorpion Part II

BRIDGE: Borg drone 7 of 9 is assimilating the navigation console, having proven immune to the crew and their phasers. Captain Janeway deploys her secret weapon.

“Bridge to Chakotay. Scorpion.”

CARGO BAY 2: Commander Chakotay, standing in a Borg alcove, has the EMH connect him to 7 of 9 using a neural transceiver.

I repeat: with the Borg connected to bridge controls the crew gives them a direct link to the first officer’s mind. You might recognise this as a worse idea than playing chicken against Captain Kirk and an Enterprise with Deltan twin sisters on navigation and helm. Chakotay has experience with neural links so he can beat 7 of 9? YOU KNOW WHO ELSE HAS EXPERIENCE WITH NEURAL LINKS? You know who’s named after being part of a constant neural link for decades? You don’t beat someone one-on-one when their name is higher numbers!

Hey, remember the last time 7 of 9 was disconnected from the Collective? That time she struggled with freedom for days, decided she didn’t like it, then force-assimilated three drones just as experienced as her and who wanted to remain free so hard that they not only formed a secret triad Collective within the Collective, in a Collectivception, but they remained a Collective even when they’d escaped the Collective?

So yeah, don’t rate Chakotay’s chances here. He suddenly stands rigid, silently mouthing “Resistance is futile.”

BRIDGE: The console controls which were flickering instantly go out as 7 of 9 accesses every code and override in Chakotay’s mind. The entire bridge reboots in the distinctive green circles style of Borg systems.

ENGINEERING: Everything shuts down to prevent Torres’ planned power overload, which Chakotay/replacement 1 of 9/the Borg knows all about.

CARGO BAY 2: The EMH is command overridden and flickers out before he can delete the nanite research, which is then copied from his offline program and uploaded to the Collective. His morality subroutines are deleted. His program is assimilated. He reboots as a Borg with particularly nasty surgical tools for hands as 2 of 9 (which I would pay a lot of money to see). He reaches across and brutally sutures the transceiver permanently into Chakotay’s neck.

INTERIOR HALLWAY: Anesthezine floods the ship through the life support system (the ship’s Chief Medical Officer and First Officer both agree it’s necessary, after all). 7 of 9 is fine because all that mechanical tubing through her body actually does something, it’s not like it’s a cosmetic piercing you can just pull out and look perfectly human a week later. That would be stupid.

CAMERA MOVING DOWN HALLWAY: The only sound is hissing gas, collapsed crewmembers littering the decks. We hear heavy footfalls and scuffing, 7 of 9 and the Doctor-borg drag Janeway into shot, down the hall, to a doorway. The camera follows through as they march into the holodeck, revealing a simulation of a Borg chamber. Several extra Doctor-borgs flicker into view brandishing surgical attachments.

EXTERNAL: Voyager travelling at maximum warp, the blue of the nacelles shot through with pulsing green.

EXTERNAL, ZOOMING OUT: It’s heading towards an oncoming fleet of Borg Cubes.

Voyager will achieve its mission. Voyager will return to Earth. And it will bring friends.



zero point banner 7

ZERO POINT COMEDY is up, ready, and the result of over thirteen billion years of thermodynamic processes! (Okay, a result, but it’s pretty important to me right now).

Commenters keep asking for more science comedy so I’ve decided to call their bluff. ZERO POINT COMEDY would let me write more science, more often, with more research and more ridiculously wonderful hyperactive joy at just how awesome our species can be if we stop being dicks for like one second.

Come and see!

Space Marines Do It Better: Independence

If you’re coming here from Cracked, hello, and check out my new Science Comedy project ZERO POINT COMEDY!

“You’d make me pay for a drink when the world is ending?”
Karra crossed her arms, the mutant horns of the right striking sparks against the black iron augmetic of the left.
“Zeelo, I’d make YOU pay for the drink if Angron were drowning you in a cyclone of blood. And if the world’s ending I’m not spending my last seconds looking at you for free. So pay, leave, or give me an excuse to kill you, and those are in ascending order of preference.”
Zeelo slinked out of the Bloody Cog into the rusting alley between manufactory stacks. No-one had ever proven that Karra served Iron Warriors in the armored upper floor, nor that she distilled debtors into the bloodka which got them drunk. But even Zeelo understood this might be because anyone who could prove it was now proof.
Karra unclenched her fists and went back to scouring steel drinking vessels. (Patrons had to pay extra for glass, at considerable markup, but most were smart enough to bring their own blades). She peered at the smog-choked sky through the slats of a presumably sarcastic ventilation grill. A forge world’s sky was always grey, and Ferron V’s seemingly limitless promethium reserves had turned them black long before it had been claimed by Chaos.
Now even the pretence of habitability had been cast aside as daemon-infused manufactories ran with the blood of industrial accident. Truly, Khorne cared not from who the blood flowed, and it seemed a conveyor belt was close enough if was screaming about a False Emperor and carrying replacement sawchains.
(The one smartass comment Karra had thought but would never make was “Yes, he’s a mouldering corpse incarnating the rotten lies of a weakling Imperium, true, but he is actually their Emperor. And we don’t have another rival Emperor. So he’s not a False Emperor, is he?”)
No, it was undeniable. The sky was darker. Maybe the rumours of xenos descending to burn the world were true.
Karra turned behind her armored bar/palisade to pour an expensive glass of bloodka. She raised it to the dim grill.
“Skulled for the Skull Throne!” she cried, turning her head to the sky and crushing the glass in her fist, mingled blood and spirit falling into her open mouth.
Any xenos stupid enough to attack this world would soon join it.

Xenos vessels had descended to destroy Ferron V. But it was taking longer than they’d expected. Their shock and awe strategy of awesome sky-filling discs descending into the lower atmosphere to detonate entire cities only worked when there actually were individual cities. Against the endless sprawl of a forge world it was basically acupuncture. Instead of striking fear and panic into the population they’d been forced to crawl a few kilometers at a time while their weapons recharged. It was like trying to clean a boulder with a toothbrush.
Between shots they’d stared down in disbelief as roving gangs of natives dashed into devastated areas to cart away wreckage for smelting. The surviving manufactories suddenly had new quotas to seize, and until they themselves were targeted they would work to serve their masters’ hunger. A hunger for blood, for vengeance, a hunger above all for the eating of worlds.
And now their masters were descending.

The bridge of World Eaters assault cruiser Knuckle hosted an unprecedented tactical meeting. In that “tactical meetings” of the Blood of Everything warband usually involved fighting your way to the drop pod’s controls and aiming it at the fiercest anti-aircraft fire.
The ship’s human Captain Jakk Beam took another swig from his vodekk canteen and mag-clamped it back to the side of his throne. This was a tactical decision on par with any of his brilliant void stratagems, balancing the risk of movement against the fatal effects of being sober enough to show visible fear. Once the rising star of the Imperial Navy’s Fleet Obscurus, capture by the World Eaters had revealed that his combat genius was not motivated by love of the Imperium but an advanced sense of self-preservation. A sense which had developed new tactics: keep killing enemies even when his masters weren’t on the bridge, and keep his mouth shut when they were.
Right now his mouth couldn’t have been more shut by a Cadian blockade. The assembled World Eaters had just been informed that the xenos’ shields were proof against drop pod assault, and Jakk hoped he’d still have some bridge officers left to replace the thin smear of sensorium officer, when the armored bridge portals clanked open to reveal Sergeant Amzara. Now even the other World Eaters went quiet. Jakk held so still his heart stopped.
Amzara’s expressionless helm faced the sensorium bay splattered red in warning lights and bits of its late operator. Glowing lenses turned to the vast circular xenos craft on the main viewscreen. The alien mothership was in high orbit, overseeing its daughter discs’ assault on Ferron V. A tearing grind of gears was revealed as laughter as she removed her helm.

Amzara had become a Space Marine the same way she’d become slaughter-chieftan of her feral homeworld’s largest tribe: killing anyone who objected. She’d shredded the World Eater’s warrior trials, killing her way to the top of the Skull Mound and just not stopping until the Marines had been left with little choice but to take her or leave empty handed.
She’d been saved the bother of killing again in the implantation chambers by Combat Apothecary Grizt, who’d waved whirring narthecium blades under the chin of an assistant gibbering about hormone levels and rejection tolerances.
“Hah!” Grizt spat, jerking the blades to draw blood. “How weak do you think we are? I’ve seen marines take a tank round to the gut and tear the gunner’s head off. The things we implant, we could shove them into a grox and end up with another World Eater. Probably a smarter one than most.”
He stared into Amzara’s eyes. They did not lower. Nor, he noticed, did her fists relax even though her arms were clamped to the surgical slab. The implantation procedure didn’t work “with” the weak human body. It overwrote it. Overloaded it. Enhanced it beyond all sanity or structure to become a demi-god striding above its old species as an avatar of war. The idea that a few grams of tissue could stand against that wasn’t just laughable, it was pathetic.
He plunged a scalpel into her chest and dragged it down her sternum in a first incision. She twisted in agony but did not cry out. Grizt grunted approval.
“Any progenoid which can’t deal with this isn’t worthy of marines.”

Sergeant Amzara grinned.
“You mangy curs want someone to tell you it’s safe to attack? Should I clean your waste filters for you too? Get to the drop pods!”
The World Eaters roared their approval and stormed off the bridge. Amzara stepped forward to Jakk, who stood, his dignity demanding that he at least be punched to death instead of stood on. (The vodekk helped).
“Don’t worry Jakk, the Knuckle can punch through their shields!”
“Master,” — he’d seen from experience that prefacing bad news with “forgive me” was the galaxy’s least-fulfilling prophecy — “We have sustained maximum bombardment for five minutes with no noticeable effect.”
Amzara laughed again, returning to the brutal hacking of vox-distortion as she resealed her helm and strode to the bridge portal.
“Yes, Jakk, but the Knuckle can punch through their shields!”

The World Eater’s craft plunged into the mothership like a knife through flesh. The impenetrable field had flared like a nova as cataclysmic feedback with the Knuckle’s voids had torn them both down. Now it was just ship to ship. The xenos disc was the size of a civilization. Because the xenos disc was a civilization, stuffed with all the weak and vulnerable innards that implied, while the World Eaters cruiser was built only for war.
Forward decks clad in meters of multiply-reinforced ceramite tore like an armor-piercing round through flesh. Forward lance batteries and defense turrets burned through storage silos, civilian habs, maintenance yards and medical bays, burning as they plunged into the soft guts of an entire culture. Jakk roared as it all flared and shattered on his viewscreen, vodekk burning in his veins as the starship captain gained an impossible glimpse of the glory of urban assault.
The Knuckle’s realspace engines deafened half the ship as they overloaded and flared out, their actinic flares now the quills of an impossibly vast arrow mortally wounding the larger vessel.
Then the drop pods fired like a shotgun blast.
Designed to withstand atmospheric re-entry and orbital-insertion impacts on the most brutal battlefields imaginable, they shredded soft internal divisions built for long years of civilian life between worlds. And through the stumbling and dazed survivors tore the World Eaters.

The ridiculous little xenos died by the thousands without a shot fired or blade drawn. That these tiny grey things dared attack anyone was an affront to everything the World Eaters worshipped. When the xenos’ own troops finally arrived, struggling through miles of their own stricken vessel from deployment hangars to their own burning homes, they were just larger versions of the same fleshy targets. Worthier foes attacking World Eaters already drenched in their people’s blood. They could not have been a better gift to Khorne.
One wrapped Amzara’s right gauntlet in the flailing tentacles sprouting from its back. She turned her wrist around them and yanked, headbutting the stumbling alien warrior with a squelching crunch. She roared in laughter, tearing the broken head from its shoulders, then ripping wet shards of biological helm from the small grey face within.
“Blood for the Blood God!” she cried across the vox, “Even their armor bleeds!”

The next week of slaughter was forever marked in the warband’s scar-annals. They would mount planetary assaults on this ritual date that the sheer volume of vitae spilled would reach across the warp to bless fresh butchery.
It only ended when a lowly adept of the Dark Mechanicus emerged from the Knuckle‘s smouldering enginarium. Intending only to scavenge scrap to smelt for crude replacement parts, the same heretical thirst for knowledge which had driven her from Mars now plunged mechadendrites into the glittering xenos systems.
A shock of total access almost killed her organic components on the spot. This …. even after decades on a Chaos vessel, what she now found was lunacy. Even the crude operation-daemons of the World Eater’s most basic craft required access codes to engage or rituals to placate. But so arrogant where these invaders that the vast expanse of craft had no security whatsoever.
“My lord!” she voxed to Amzara, “I have total control of the xenos craft! What should I do!”
The reply grated from a throat torn by days of ceaseless roar, and the crackle of augmitter distortion, but the savage joy of it flooded what little flesh remained on the tech-adept’s frame.

Ferron V thrived like never before. A few paltry cubic klicks of lost manufactorum were nothing compared to the bounty gifted by their heavenly masters. Towers of industry already erupted from the massive discs, the daemon-forges chewing through the corpses of an entire civilization. The xenos had fancied themselves a plague on the galaxy. Locusts feasting on the wealth of countless worlds. Instead they had only served to refine them, gathering a treasury of rare ores, exotic materials, obscure technologies, all dropped into the maw of the forge world’s endless appetite.
Feeding the infinite hunger of the World Eaters.

Read more Space Marines Do It Better, including 


I cannot stress too much that the Empire is even stronger without the second Death Star – Emperor Johnson

The destruction of the second Death Star has been the most extraordinary political event in the Empire’s existence. Never in our history have so many people had such an undeniable and expensive effect on their own future.


But I do not detect any real appetite to Rebel against my glorious rule, and it goes without saying that we are much better together in forming a new and better relationship with Alderaan. I cannot stress too much that the Empire will always trade with Alderaan, and Empire citizens will still be able to go and work in Alderaan, assuming they bring their own spacesuits, oxygen supplies, and some form of force-shielding to protect them from being pelted by rocks.

After meeting thousands of stormtroopers in the course of constructing the Death Star, I can tell you that the number one issue was control – my total and absolute control of the weak-minded. They agree that outside the job-destroying (and also life-destroying) obliteration of the Death Star, and the utterly impossible to predict yet absolutely identical destruction of the second Death Star, everything I have worked towards for as long as anyone can remember in order to cement my power through spectacular fear, we will survive and thrive as never before.


On Endor and among the widely scattered molecules which once made the bridge of the Death Star the negative consequences are being wildly overdone, and the upside is being ignored. This is the greatest fireworks display the galaxy has ever seen. The negative differential terms of our economy are larger than anyone ever dreamed possible.

I must also explain why it took me several days to react to this event which was totally according to my plan and good actually. I was busy tracking the progress of the Imperial Credit in the wake of this spectacular success. This meant bravely plunging down a bottomless shaft filled with bolts of lightning, which later exploded. Which only goes to show how powerful our currency truly is. Now that our economy is below all others we are only better poised to strike at their soft underbellies.

The Empire is in good hands. The total silence of all the Death Star’s leaders was not because they had been obliterated by the total mismanagement and utter destruction of everything they’d thought to use to control the masses, but because they were turning their keen tactical minds to the next step. A few have even suggested a daring scheme where, after obliterating our own fully operational battle-station, then baiting Rebels into utterly destroying our second even larger fully operational battle-station, we might now turn our attentions to living on an entirely fictional world where we boldly refuse to change our stance, continuing to insist that our destructive plans and ludicrous overconfidence haven’t destroyed every single thing we ever thought to control. A world which will definitely not be destroyed in an even more titanic explosion than ever before.

Enjoy more political sci-fi with Irish Government Wiped Out By Alien Parasite, and more Star Wars with Patch Notes for C3-PO.1

Overwatch Specialist Servers


Overwatch needs Specialist Servers, elite arenas only for those who spend at least 90% of their time mastering a single class. And here’s the trick: we’ll act like that’s a good thing! We’ll give them custom portraits. We’ll give them novelty skins. We’ll give them a specialist-only club where they can flashbang-Widow-Ryuu-wa-ga-teki-wo-kurau each other till the end of time and casual players need never darken their doorstep again.

And when they try to come out they’ll find those doors locked. While the rest of us enjoy Overwatch, a game about changing class. And understand that unless you’ve found a way to attack health-kits to arrows you simply can’t be a good enough sniper to solve “NO SUPPORT”.

Space Marines Do It Better: Metal

The sky screamed around the Thunderhawks as if understanding the doom they carried.  The Iron Warriors cut through the world’s thin atmosphere. Soon they would tear out its rich mineral veins to feed the endless hunger of their Daemon Forges. But first they descended on the single shining city on the planet’s surface. Nowhere near the richest deposits, the ravenous assault fleet could easily have avoided it. But the Iron Warriors’ eternal hatred could bear nothing to stand in their sight. And their Forges fed on more than mere metals.

The Thunderhawks descending through thick clouds of fumes and dirt kicked up by the bulk landers. The craft arrayed themselves in a line a mere hundred meters from the edge of the strangely defenseless city. Every building was metal, windowless, crowded together on a vast flat shining disc.

Serrik strode from the Thunderhawk ramp to the blasted earth and advanced towards the city. His squad fell in behind him, unconsciously matching the metronomic precision of his augmetic legs. Their exactitude, their strength, their perfect endurance were truly Iron Within. His face still snarled around the scars of the krak missile which had nearly torn him in half. His soul still recoiled from the suckered tentacles which had sprouted from the bleeding stumps, whipping and flailing for flesh until they’d been amputated.

Beside him Haksar still carried the Narthecian chainaxe he’d used for the “surgery”. Excision of mutation had become such a regular duty he’d installed a spare narthecium gauntlet in the haft of his axe, the better to study and destroy “gifts” of the Iron Warriors’ would-be sponsors.

Past the yellow-black bulk of the landers stood the city. Harsh. Angular. Plainly unwelcoming, but ludicrously undefended. There were no walls, no ramparts. Emplaced weapons were either utterly invisible or entirely absent, both options equally impossible to the Iron Warrior mind. It seemed that anyone could just stroll in and explore freely unless a defender happened to bump into them wandering the hallways. Though it seemed the arrival of the Iron Warrior’s annihilation force had driven even the careless creatures of this travesty to defend themselves. A door retracted vertically and  line of metal bollards filed from the nearest building, sliding across the metal to form a firing line. Some sort of self-propelled turret? They looked ridiculous. Then they fired. Ten attackers simply disappeared, vaporized by weapons far more powerful than any melta.

But that’s what cannon fodder were for.

Ten out of a thousand were nothing. Regiments of barely armored scum were driven from the holds of the bulk haulers. The vast craft arrived carrying cargos of worthless mortals and left full of precious metals. The Iron Warriors drove the slavestocks forward, chainswords hacking at those too slow to the attack. The vast mass charged at the city uncaring of their losses. Those blinded by vaporization flare screamed and ran at the afterimage of light, instant death a greater reward than most Iron Warriors prisoners had even dared to imagine.

The defending drones kept up their fire but didn’t even dent the advance. Hordes of humanity broke over and around them, metal rocks helpless to hold back the tide flowing past and into the city, and suddenly the Iron Warriors slammed into them. The mass of flesh had protected the armored figures from the fusillades and now they were point-blank.

At close-quarters the drones’ defense was laughable.  Squat, flat-bottomed things, their powerful ranged weapons were front-mounted with a tiny field of fire. Their only melee weapon was some sort of … plunger? Serrik lowered his shoulder and charged into the closest, rocking it back on its base, his chainsword cutting through the gun-stalk before it could flail in his direction. The plunger suddenly surged forward and flared to swallow his helm.

The world went dark but for warning runes as it covered his eye-lenses. He roared as tore away his helm, pulling the sucking plunger out of the robot as he did so. Then he slammed his helm down, using it do drive the dangling spike of alien metal through the dome on top of the machine. It squealed and gurgled in a distinctly unmechanical manner, spurting noxious fluids around the improvised misericord before falling silent. He pulled his helm free of the now-lax sucker and resealed it to his gorget. No point in giving up the advantages of tactical insight so easily.

Alert rune directed his weapon as he turned to shatter a second with chattering bolter fire. The pathetic las and solid-slug weapons of the fodder had bounced off the armored hides, and it even weathered a few rounds of mass-reactive, but sustained fire forced dents into breaks through which explosive rounds burst it from within

Another alert and he turned to find Haksar flanked by four of the metal machines. Serrik charged forward, leaping with chainsword raised high above his head to bisect one as he landed. The two halves fell apart to spill a hideous tangled thing deep in the heart of the wreckage.

“Xenos!” spat Serrik, turning to blast the weapon-arms from a second. The machines could not evade, bogged down by the morass of expendable troops, unable to maneuver in the maelstrom of battle.

“Worse!” cursed Haksar, kicking the third from the end of his chain-axe before burying the blade in a third. He leaned in to study the narthecium display in the haft even as the spinning blades mulched the matter within. “ABOMINATIONS!” he roared, gunning his axe to spray an organic slurry from the ruined shell.

He turned to Serrik. “MUTANTS!” he roared, hate harsher than the vox-amplification. “These things were once human!”

“EXTERMINATE!” cried the nearest thing, its screeching vox-torn blare a parody of Haksar’s righteous human anger. “DALEKS ARE THE SUPERIOR BEINGS!”

Not once in his endless war had Serrik stepped backwards, but now he almost recoiled. These things thought themselves superior? They embraced this horror over the pure human form, they desecrated metal to make this mockery of strength, and they dared to have pride? His incoherent cry of hatred almost drowned out the thunder of his bolter, advancing as he smashed the Dalek’s disgusting life to shreds. These were not foes to be killed. These were offenses to be punished.

The Iron Warriors, already the embodiment of brutal close-quarter combat, erupted in fury. The Dalek line collapsed. Several screamed with anti-gravitic energy as they tried to flee into the sky, only to be slammed back down and crumple under the pauldrons of Warriors with meteoric jump packs.

“EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!” The call echoed from synchronized speakers. An armored wedge of Daleks was forcing its way forward from deeper in the silver city. Ranks of their ridiculous guns fired in unison to vaporize entire swathes of fodder.

“PERNAK!” called Serrik. The response was an earthquake in metal as the company’s Dreadnought charged across the battlefield. Mortals too slow to escape his path were ripped and torn on the hooked and bladed flanges across his armored shell.

“IRON WITHIN” boomed the entombed Warrior. The blood-soaked machine smashed into the Dalek wedge, scattering them left and right. His immense left power fist grabbed the closest by its domed ‘head’, hoisting it aloft before closing, crushing, hurling the sparking wreck at two more. His right weapon was an immense Siege Spike – four meters of cursed black iron designed to puncture the stress-points of fortifications – with pistons that screamed as it punched through fallen Daleks.

“IRON WITHOUT!” responded Serrik, the cry taken up by every Iron Warrior on the surface.

“Advance! Destroy! None of this filth will feed our forges!”

Servo-bundles flexed and pumped, master-crafted armor built to embrace and enhance his transhuman perfection, both pulsing with strength as he pushed forward to lead the charge.

“These wretched things desire extermination and we shall bring it to them!”


Enjoy mighty marine victories with:

Or really Warhammer the point home with:

The Future of the Past


Stern Badcolonel leaned forward in his extinct leather chair, over his luxurious extinct oak desk, to activate the UltraHyperSuperTelevid 9000 Screen (the latest model, released just before the most recent atomic war), then sat back as its tubes warmed up. He swiveled the chair to insert a dollarcred into the AutoCoffeeMat (“Serving the best brew since the seventeenth atomic war!”)

The machine hummed and dispensed a line of ten identical stainless steel mugs of coffee. Stern leaned forward to examine them for a full minute, then removed the one with the most pleasing froth pattern. With an awful squealing the vending machine dropped the rest into an internal garbage disposal. He really should start ordering fives. Steel had been extinct since the nineteenth atomic war.

Research Division Chief Sciencey Expositia’s face now filled the screen. Stern stared for a moment, then spent several paragraphs physically describing her in much more detail than any other character in the story, revealing far more about his internal psychology than the future world he was meant to demonstrate. Unaware of this — otherwise she’d be working on a Fourth Wall Escape Hatch, which would be only slightly less improbable than her actual assignment — she gave her report.

“Our time machine accidentally brought someone back from the past!”

“Oh my atomic war!” cried Stern. “Has he contaminated you all with appalling past plagues while dying of harmless future diseases in turn?”

“First, she, and second, no. The hard-sci-fi-ware wasn’t engaged. The time machine was strictly in ‘plot device’ software settings.”

“Ah. That explains why it hasn’t revolutionized society. And why we treat it like a slightly fancier car.”


“Did she escape from your lab, running wild through a confusing future landscape while learning about our ways?”

“Uh, no, she couldn’t even work our door handles, and after looking out the windows she went into some sort of shock.”

“I’m assuming you’ve been filling her in on history since then. Have you told her about all the atomic wars?”

“Oh yes,” smiled Expositia, “I’ve been reading her ‘A is for Atom, B is for Bomb…”

Stern joined in to sing along happily.

“- C’s contamination and now the apples are gone!” He smiled. “That’s my favorite children’s book!”

“Yes. I always thought it was sort of nice of Zaire to start the twenty-sixth atomic war. Really considerate.”

“Oh well, better get on with today’s guest. What does she want to tell us – have we forgotten how to be human? Should we engage nature? Can she ridiculously fix technology hundreds of years ahead of her own time just by looking at it? Oh my atomic war, is she going to tell us atomic bombs are actually bad?”

This was unthinkable. Atomic bombs had been extinct for years. Stern shook his head. They didn’t know what they had! They could have conserved them! Oh well, too late now. He looked up at the screen.

“Er, no.” Expositia looked a little confused. “She’s asking if we remember something called the lottery?”