Space Marines Do It Better: Apex

The Catachans were scared of the jungle. Seven words which threatened the entire Jautjex campaign. The Rolling Iron tankers of Sherman’s world, where cribs were fitted with toy promethium motors so that infants learned to sleep through the rumble and stink, flinched at every noise. The 7th Cuchulains — masters of city clearance despite a tendency to treat bars as primary targets — sang no victory songs and only muttered into their drinks. Sure, it was only in the jungle, went the stories, but anything which could kill a Catachan in the jungle could kill anyone else anywhere. The Death Corps of Krieg 544th company said nothing. They marched into the jungle and were never heard from again.

The Imperium’s relentless advance slowed, and stalled. Even minor operations bogged down and ballooned into costly engagements. The Astra Militarum’s mailed fist weakened as the blood of morale was drained by rumor. And all the while Catachans continued to die in the green. Their new fear should have made them cautious, but the resulting shame made them suicidal. Squads tore into the undergrowth desperate to prove their valor, only to find the still-dripping chunks of their predecessors and one sobbing soldier babbling tales of the jungle itself rising to kill them all.

Karn-Tor hung from the branches thirty meters above the trail. The hunt was beginning to bore her. The prey were plentiful and loud, but had become embarrassingly easy to kill. She’d already proven everything she intended, challenging herself on the hunting ground of a planetary conflict, and had to admit to herself that continuing bordered on gluttony. She’d hoped to draw out the elite of this species and was saddened to imagine that she seemed to have found it. It was probably time to move on.
Movement. Herd approaching through the undergrowth on either side of the trail. Thermal lenses revealed eight, no, ten figures. Much larger before. She smiled behind her mask. Maybe this world would offer one last indulgence. She flexed her hands, rolled her neck, waking the muscles in preparation of flensing to come. Perhaps even a trophy. As they came into view she saw some kind of black armor…
Everything exploded. The world disappeared in fire and concussion.
Thermal lenses overloaded, sheer reflex kicked her off the branch. But hot shrapnel tearing through vines and mosses meant her foot slipped through the mulched vegetation to send her plummeting to the ground. Even as she twisted to catch a vine she saw her intended destination disappear in a blaze of fire.
Accident.
The thought cut her like a poisoned blade leaving a wound which would never heal. Accident. She had survived by accident. These filthy prey would scream to give her atonement before night fell. They would fail, but that is what prey were for.
Her invisibility shroud rippled green and brown to hide her from sight as she vaulted across the canopy. But the explosions followed. She lengthened her leaps, aiming further, faster, but she saw more massive black figures emerging from the trees to her right. She zagged through the massive trees, increasing to sinew-tearing speed, but then the trunks to her left erupted with craters. Yet more of the hard-shelled prey emerging on the right. She cut low, sacrificing vantage for sheer speed, dropping to the ground into a full sprint. How big was this herd?
The explosions never stopped. She outran death with every footfall. Only now did her echolocator compensate for the cacophony to pick out distinctive prey signatures. The waterfall of static along the left of her mask display resolved into distinct detections, triangular glyphs scrolling across the bottom.
Close range: low frequency: machinery/combustion — crude transport rockets. Ten signatures. Ten signatures. These were all the same ten prey, flanking her.
Hunting her.
Sheer suicidal rage almost killed her on the spot, sacrificing her escape and her self to stand and spit on such an affront. Karn-Tor was a hunter. The greatest in her clan. Possibly the greatest in her tribe. She had collected trophies from all this galaxy’s most dangerous prey. An Ork skull so large it was now her trophy cabinet, containing the heads of Necron and Dark Eldar alphas, embellished with carved shards of Zoanthrope scale. Her soul held no doubt she was the greatest hunter alive.
But she was no warrior.

A mere hunter operates on their own terms. They understand that they might die, but they never willingly offer themselves for death. Faced with unexpected reversals their first instinct is to flee, to lick their wounds. Then return to base re-arm and restore the total advantage over their targets they enjoy so much.
Karn-Tor angled towards the preparations she’d made only as a matter of excellent hunting technique, with no thought to actually using them. She dove into a gully cut in the jungle by one of countless waterways, through false netting of expertly cut vine and fronds. As she crawled down the narrow channel, far too small for the bulky giants behind her, the plasma cannon on her shoulder rotated to spit an actinic globe backwards, collapsing the entrance.

Karn-Tor’s ship was buried deep in a narrow ravine in the rock with snares set on the only approach. She ducked through the hatch, sealing it behind her, and swung across to the pilot console. She settled into the single pilot throne. She would take fine trophies from these new prey to slake her shame. And if they were still alive as the flayed them, well, that would only…
Cold metal at her throat.
Shadow Captain Kyre appeared behind her. There was no other word for it. The heavy gauntlet which was suddenly holding the knife was painted black. Another slowly turned her chair, that she might see him. No. That he might inspect his catch. The same hand raised and tore the tribal mask for her face, revealing her blotched skin and fanged mandibles. She could feel disgust pulsing even through the glowing lenses of his armor. Harsh blare thundered through a crude vox-grille.
“It is right that you hide your vileness from the Emperor’s sight. But none can hide from His justice. Even the darkest shadow cannot save you.”
The blade did not cut sideways but pushed forwards, servos shoving pushing the metal blade clean through flesh and bone.
“For the Raven Guard are already there.”


More glory to the Space Marines in

 

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Guns Guns Guns!

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The pen is mightier than the sword, and the keyboard lets me write far away from all the guns. Which I did! Behold bonus material cut from the original for length. Eighth and eight-point-fiveth idiotic arguments against gun control:

We’re Going to Get Shot Anyway

When confronted with ludicrous levels of directly gun related death — to the point where the FBI homicide tables are broken by state and type of gun, with only a single column for “other weapons” — some people attempt to sound reasonably by saying there are too many people with guns out there to tackle. Which is the exact opposite of the point of having a government in the first place. If American responded to fires the same way they responded to shootings, they’d legalize flamethrowers and defund the fire department.

It’s a remarkable strategy. Recognizing that you could be shot at any time because of countless lethal weapons floating around without any regulation and thinking  “Well, better get started!” But “we’re fucked anyway, might as well volunteer for ten more shots” only works for a night out drinking, not with lethal weaponry.

A government which doesn’t ban guns shouldn’t be allowed to ban anything. Especially drugs. At least then people are only shooting up themselves, and enjoy the experience.

Target Shooting

Target shooting is just practicing to get better at people shooting. If people truly cared about only the competitive aspect all those billions of dollars would be going into developing paint pellets better balanced than Concorde’s nosecone. If we weren’t still suffering from an obsolete chunk of tribally murderous human brain then pellets and laser tag would be enough for everyone. In fact if guns worked like laser tag, where they could only hit other people wielding the same weapons, then we wouldn’t have a problem. After a few years nobody would have any problems.

Read more gun goodness with

7 Idiotic Arguments Against Gun Control

5 Terrifyingly Hilarious Gun Accessories

5 Reasons Even Gun Owners Should Hate the NRA

Star Trek: Superior, Series 2

Continuing the adventures of Starfleet’s finest aboard the USS Defiant-B.

(minor edit, “Linear” award makes more sense than original “Ouroborous” award)


More Federation fun with

5 Ways Thunderbirds Beat Star Trek

The Worst Moments from Star Trek Movie History

The Gathering of the Trumps

No-one knows what gathers all the Donald Trumps. A fundamental force of Trumpity tunneling across time and space? A virtual exchange of Trumpons, enabling their existence by some kind of reverse-default credit swap against the energy budget of the universe itself? All they know is that they meet once a year. It happens in a place it pleases them to call the “Trump Tower”, though in truth it has no name, being more of an axis of worlds than an individual location.

They don’t call themselves Donald Trump, of course. For the obvious reason. And because it would get confusing. But they’ve collected new names, middle names, even nicknames among the Trumps who choose to operate at budget levels where human honesty is still possible.

Donald “Bill” Trump talks with Warren and Steve. No time wasted on the tedious details of software, stocks, or stylized consumer products. When you start with as much money as they did it doesn’t matter where your apply it, the capitalist Katamari guarantees you’ll gather more money from those who have less. From such a start only a total fool could even temporarily fail. Now they spend their lives and fortunes trying to reverse some of the ridiculous inequalities which made them possible.

They smile to see Jack Trump grinning in his gloriously tacky golf sweater. He’s not even that good at the game, but investing an inherited fortune in index-linked funds means you can walk the links for the rest of your life, and generous donations to charity tournaments ensuring a modest fame from appearances in sports and society pages. They don’t think anyone else enjoys their life as much.

Well, maybe Jack Trump, who just jived in the door. He scoops four flutes of champagne from the infinite buffet. Three are empty before he’s crossed the ten meters to talk to them. He never does anything but drink and party, but the interest on his estate alone is enough to tip all the wait staff in Manhattan. He boasts that even he couldn’t go bust with that much money.

A buzz, a bass hum, and sharp guitar licks across the room. Johnny Trump has found the stage again. Playing your own hotels and casinos is an outrageous indulgence, but the managers are happy to let him have the stage if they leave the businesses alone. It’s not like a dropped chord ever bankrupted a casino.

Father, Brother, Lama, Elder, Chaplain, Guru, and Imam Trump are having their usual friendly discussion. The only overlaps between all their varied views are thoughtfulness and charity, but that’s more than enough. The assembled Trumps — they’ve been arriving all along, usually a bit big, a bit bald, it’s beginning to look a bit like a Pac-man convention — all straighten a little when Captain Trump marches in. He’s making a determined effort to walk a little less intimidatingly these days, but even that determination makes bystanders want to stand to attention. Years of torture in that awful goddamn mess, he decided no soldier should suffered pointlessly again. His every building, from flophouse to the Hollywood hills, had at least one floor for servicemen with nowhere else to turn. “Hell, the next floor up pays for it!” he’d always say before forcing the interviewer to ask a different question. “I mean, what else am I going to do with it all, print out my bank balance and wave it at people?”

He strides across the room to clasp hands with George Trump. Another real estate mogul — there was a bit of a tendency across the Trumps in that direction, what with their father handing them an empire on a silver platter — his low-income estates had saved countless cities from decay. The gross wasn’t amazing, but it made enough, and it made all the difference to millions of lives. Then Louis Trump, who’d quietly ended a syndrome or two by funneling a few hundred million into underfunded research. Nothing sexy, nothing famous, just a few things no-one need ever suffer again.

Johnny licks out “Born to be Wild”, and they all raise a glass to Bobby Trump. Dead in a speedboat accident ten years ago, and only because the hovercrafts, helicopters, and an extremely short-lived Formula One car had failed. His funeral was the cover gallery of TIME, Cosmopolitan, and Playboy from the previous three years. He’d always said he’d consider spending every cent from the sale of his inheritance to be an impossible goal. He’d made it about halfway before he died, but everyone agreed he’d had a hell of a good time. And at least he’d never ended up squatting in an office.

Conversation dries up at the approach of midnight. It’s been fun, but they know why they’re really here. The lights flick out — every year a few Trumps swear they’ll bring torches next time, but they never do — and the Donald screams into the. An awful bilious thing, flushed, glaring, scorched with false color and screaming with rage. He can’t seem to see them. He can’t seem to see anything, outside himself. He only spews from within, his quivering body a lanced boil which never empties, a meat-portal into the pit of the most awful depths of the unconscious.

He yells, he blames, he hoards countless mansions while demolishing family homes, he fences the countryside for sale then leaves it bankrupt and rusting. He gold-plates toilets and refuses to settle the bill. A nine-figure fortune and he films himself in an office for a few thousand YouTube views. He employs his own children as cheerleaders, he begs and bullies and buys attention, he claims to tell truth to the world when he can’t even face his own hair. And if he could only see the horror in every eye turned to him right now, the Donald Trumps know, he’d take it as a victory over everything they might have been.

More Trumpeting:

Star Trek: Superior, Series 1

This was too much fun not to collect.

(thanks to @rex4711 for the transporter-Riker reminder)

(and one from guest scriptwriter!)

The second series of Star Trek: Superior has now aired. And if you’d like more Treknobabble:

The Greatest Games in Terminator History

The Terminator video games tangled the timelines like the cables nesting behind your monitor. And most were about as much fun to deal with, console chores taking up time you could have been using on fun video games. But just like the movies there were a couple of good ones. We also look at the spectacularly bad ones, and a few so advanced you’d swear they’d been sent back in time to derail our ability to kill computerised enemies.

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Check out the Strange History of Terminator Games to learn how T-800s traveled into the history of Skyrim, how a single SEGA CD game didn’t suck, how the SNES simulated the real risks of time travel, and how pinball perfectly presented the entire concept of the series. My only regret is that we couldn’t include Terminator 2: Judgement Day – Chess Wars. Possibly because the title would have taken up half the word count.

Vatican Begins Construction of Large Camel Compressor

The Vatican City State bas broken ground on a project advancing the frontiers of theological research, excavating crypts and tombs below the walled enclave to begin construction of the Large Camel Compressor.

“Matthew 19:24 tells us that Jesus said ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of god‘” said Experimental Sacrament leader Monsignor Croseus. “But in the last two thousand years the Vatican has more wealth than even existed in Jesus’ time. We need to investigate if Jesusian charity still applies in this extremely high wealth regime. Leading Opulo-theological researchers from the Instituto per le Opere di Religione theorize an ultra-relativistic regime of charity, where a Pope can command billions of euros and yet live charitably if he lives in a slightly less luxurious palace than his predecessors.”

“I mean, it would be pretty silly if the Pope lived in conditions blatantly and defiantly opposed to Jesus’s teachings.”

Tunnel Boring Machine B6, once used to drill the Channel Tunnel, has been recommissioned for the project. It has also been entirely coated in gold plate so that the bones of any saints powdered by its progress might still technically reside in a reliquary expensive enough to feed an entire city block of the sick and needy, as per church tradition.

Designs for the Large Camel Compressor call for twenty-seven miles of marble hallway spiraling under the Vatican, entirely lined with priceless Renaissance art and frescos so that the camel might attain a suitably humble disposition while accelerating to threading velocity. The spiral centers on a Needle Chamber directly underneath St Peter’s dome. Work has already begun on a ten meter tall solid platinum needle.


More religious research:

The Sadness of Stitch Fiction

Humanity’s greatest hope soared through space, apologized for the inconvenience, and self-destructed.
The President watched the replay of a trillion dollars of rocket science, space laser, quantum-interference baffling tech and the cream of the brand-new Space Force apologetically immolating itself. She sighed.
“Options?”
Her military advisor shifted awkwardly. She pretended not to notice that he’d been crying.
“Zero. This confirms that the machines have totally hacked the human semantic centers. If we can so much as see them, they can convince us to switch sides. Those pilots were as close to brainwashed as you can get without opening the skull, and they were still convinced inside a minute. Our only hope would be a human brain utterly immune to new input. But that’s the opposite of what a human brain is for! We’d need some-one incapable of following even the most obvious logic, rejecting even the clearest data, one who could start at one plus one and end up with their favourite ice cream flavor and then react violently against anything which tried to convince them otherwise. ”
The President closed her eyes. She’d hoped it would never come to this.
“Go to a Steven Universe forum. Find someone who’s written four thousand words about the gems being straight.”

"Talk to the hands."

About as straight as silly string in a hurricane

If there’s anything more tragic than stitch-fiction, rewriting properties to remove homosexual aspects, I’ve never heard it. It combines all the fun of writing, watching, and imagining sex into something less inclusive, and with less sex. That’s not just the opposite of slashfic, that’s the opposite of quite a lot of being alive.

Modern slashfiction fun started with Spock/Kirk. It provides many of the relationships mass media lacks because mass media doesn’t understand sex. Because if you don’t include that people can be homo or bi or asexual, then you don’t understand sex, in the way someone who doesn’t recognise sixes and eights can’t be good at math.

Inserting a homosexual relationship (or whatever other items you’d enjoy) doesn’t damage the existing story. It works for the fans by adding elements on top of (and interacting with) the official material. But trying to canonically straighten obviously queer characters means dissecting their every appearance, ripping out their heart, and stitching the bits back together in a different shape. And any science-fiction will tell you that never ends well. Queer characters don’t happen by accident, we’re still struggling out of a climate where they have to be deliberately constructed and carefully escorted past layers of lazy filtering which think it’s easier to be monotonously biased than risk writing more real people.

If you want more relationships of any orientation, write them in! But if you want a show without queer characters just change the channel. I guarantee you’ll find plenty.

Doctor JJ: It’s About Time (Bombs)

A transporter accident in discussion of the “Thunderbirds vs Star Trek” column has created Doctor JJ, an American reboot of Doctor Who by J.J. Abrams.

(That one would work)

Or you could read more potential futures of the Doctor in Doctor Who’s Next, with this helpful graphic:

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Or witness one of the worst tropes with Natural Selection of Science-fiction Victims.

Terry Gilliam Apologises for Escape of Nigel Farage

Animator and member of Monty Python Terry Gilliam today apologized for the escape of Nigel Farage.

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“I was animating a satire about ridiculous political beliefs, and one day I left the studio without gluing him down.” explained an abashed Gilliam. “The next morning he was gone. I just didn’t think such a blatant parody of human behavior could do much damage.”

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Farage now has a successful career of leading UKIP and standing at precisely 90 degrees to every camera at all times. The comic basis for his existence continually shines through with ridiculous claims, satirically bad policies, and an inability to resist turning every leadership contest into a farce.

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Farage’s brother Conrad Pooh distanced himself from the political movement, explaining that he didn’t want the army of solid chunks of brainless skull-matter that danced to his tune sullied by association.

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More political news: