(For Nick McLean)
Inconsequentia VII’s twin suns were rendered down to hazy blots hanging perilously above a smoky horizon in the middle distance. They throbbed sickly; enveloped as they were in a fugue of smoke and desert ash.
Colonel Trivial eyed his adjutant with calm resignation as the younger man stepped back from the parapet, visibly shaken.
“Colonel... the... the enemy are...” began the younger man before his superior cut him off abruptly.
“It’s ok Corporal Stammer. I am fully cognisant with the minutiae of our plight. The enemy are no doubt advancing their armoured column through the dust bowl even as we speak. Am I correct?” asked the older man with a wintry smile. The young adjutant bowed his head and tried to speak.
“No, no old fellow. Don’t try to speak. You sound like a right cunt when you do.” Said the old man with a wintry smile. He patted his adjutant – who was younger than him – on the shoulder then wiped his gloved hand on the nearest surface.
“Sir, sir! Colonel Trivial sir!” shouted a voice that was steadily increasing in volume. A flurry of black rocketed around the corner of the zigzag communication trench and slid to a parade ground halt before both officers.
“Ah, Commissar Nice!” said Colonel Trivial. “What’s the news?”
“Sir, four of the men from shitebag company have deserted sir!”
“Really?” asked the Colonel, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”
“Sir, I thought I might get to know them over the course of a seemingly endless, but really very lucrative campaign into a sector of the Imperium that nobody else has ever heard of and watch them being slowly whittled down until only a few of the more popular characters remain to wonder when the franchise will finally run its course and why no cunt ever sees stuff out of their 40k codex in it, sir!”
“Oh. Oh I see.” Replied the old Colonel who was old. “Can’t you just shoot them Commissar? That always stopped them deserting back when I was standing only quite a bit behind the line infantry with a nice cup of tea and a biscuit!” said the Colonel, waving a finger expertly.
“Oh no sir, I couldn’t possibly do that. You’d have to get Commissar bastard for that one I’m afraid. I’m dead nice. I know all the cunts names and every fucking thing!” The Colonel nodded, oldly.
“Yes, I’m afraid you’re right there. There’s nothing else for it then. We’ll have to get the other 15 million guardsmen that haven’t run away and get them to march slowly toward the enemy, fire ineffectually at their opponents for a turn then get slaughtered when the enemy charge them and their guns don’t work up close.” The Colonel shook his head sadly.
“Yes.” Said Commissar Nice “It is really shite how their guns stop working the minute one of our troops gets attacked in close combat. If only there were some way of using a lasrifle up close!” All three men stood in contemplative silence for a moment, then shook their heads and laughed.
“Ah Commissar Nice. You and your batty ideas!” laughed the Colonel with a smile that was the opposite of Summery with a touch of cloud. “It’s a good thing Commissar Bastard isn’t here, or he’d have to shoot you!”
Suddenly, there was a thunderclap of displaced air above the trenchline.
A cloud of dirt was hurled violently into the air. For a long moment, there was silence. Then suddenly, the weak light of both suns was blotted out fully by three hulking silhouettes towering above the humans like titans of old.
The strangers were clad in shining blue ceramite edged with gold. The symbol of the Ultramarines chapter was emblazoned upon the left shoulder pad of each; their chests each bore a holy, golden Aquila. The middle one appeared to be the leader.
He was a bear of a man. He topped out at just over two metres in height. In his right hand he carried a massive bolter that a grown man would have struggled to lift with two hands unless he was a bear of a grown man, in which case it would probably be ok. In his left hand, he carried nothing, but managed to do so in a bear-like manner. Colonel Trivial found his nerve and spoke up.
“My Lord?” he managed. Suddenly, the three helmeted heads turned to inspect him. The glare of their red eye lenses was dead scary. The Colonel felt like a fly being watched by a spider. A really big spider with ceramite and a gun.
“We are the Ultramarines.” Growled the middle titan.
“He’s a bear of a man.” Whispered Commissar Nice.
“Yes, I am.” Said the marine, turning quickly to stare at the Commissar. “We are Space Marines and our hearing is dead good. We have come in the name of the Emperor. Let his reign be eternal!”
“Let his reign be eternal!” intoned the assemblage, solemnly.
“I really like him.” Said one of the Ultramarines. The other two looked at him. “I really mean it. He’s dead nice.”
“Yes, Inapproprius. We know.” Said the leader in a distinctly bear-like voice.
“Where are the enemies of the Emperor?!” roared the third one, zealously. Colonel Stammer pointed into the distance. The Space Marines turned in unison to survey the distance, optical sensors humming in unison as they rendered the vast distance down to little more than a stone’s throw.
“Hmmm... that’s really far away.” Said the third one, less zealously. “We’ll just get them later on. I’m going for a shite just now Brother Ursine. For the Emperor!” he roared, making the sign of the Aquila.
“For the Emperor, replied the assemblage.” Brother Toomuchinformatius stomped off, majestically.
“Truly, they are as far above mortal man as the holy Emperor is above even them...” gasped Colonel Trivial, his wintry voice cracked with reverential awe.
“M...my l...l...lords... w...what about the e...e...enemy?” asked Colonel Stammer, haltingly.
“I have auto-reactive shoulder pads.” Said Brother Inapproprius, helpfully.
“How will that help?” asked Commissar Nice once brother Ursine had acknowledged his upraised hand.
“Do you have auto-reactive shoulder pads mortal?” asked Brother Ursine magnanimously. The Commissar shook his head in reply, marvelling at the way the Space Marine was just so much better at stuff than a regular guy was. “Then you are a cunt.”
“Oh.” Said Commissar Nice.
“Now...” said Brother Ursine. The assemblage waited. And waited. And waited. An hour later the Space Marine continued “...we shall pray to the divine Emperor for guidance as it is written in the Codex Astartes. That is until they needs some more money and bring out a new one next year.”
“My Lord, I must ask... why the big pause?” asked Colonel Trivial at a point where his bladder could no longer adequately contain the suspense that was running down the inside of his jodhpurs.
“Because I am a bear of a man.” Replied Brother Ursine.
“Here, has any cunt got a bit of bog roll? I was all set to drop the kids off at the pool and there’s no shitewad. I don’t want to get bum-finger what with these good gauntlets. They’re chapter relics and everything!” Yelled brother Toomuchinformatius, loyally.
“Here Brother, take this copy of ‘Battle for the Abyss fromThe Horus Heresy’ series of books. Brother Toomuchinformatius eyed the proffered text auto-reactively.
“I have a eyed that proffered text auto-reactively mind and have deduced from the execrable prose thereon that somebody has already got some shit on those pages brother. Is there an alternative?”
“Only the Word Bearers Series of books by Anthony Reynolds.”
“War is hardship...” he intoned, solemnly; shaking his helmeted head. “Abyss it is brother. For the Emperor!” he yelled, forming the Aquila while masterfully managing to hold up his power-armoured greaves so that only the top of his genetically enhanced arse-crack was visible. “Actually, I’m as well just laying a dog’s egg right here. Then I can watch a bit of the fighting while I have an Eartha Kit.” Brother Toomuchinformatius squatted majestically, staring into the middle distance while his genetically enhanced sphincter dilated and went into post-human spasm.
“You honour our chapter brother. Now, let us be about the business of the enemy.” Said Brother Ursine.
“The minions of Chaos...”
“They’re the ones with the good albums. All ours are shite classical ones and that.” Said Brother Inapproprius.
“Indeed brother.” Continued Brother Ursine, in a Bear-like manner. “I have decide upon a strategy in keeping with that of the blessed Codex Astartes. We will take a few shots at the cunts in front of us, then run forward and hit them with energised sticks for a bit.”
“Hey, that’s my plan!” yelled Old Colonel Trivial with a wintry scowl. Brother Ursine raised his bolter, sighted and fired in one smooth motion that a bear may have been able to do had it been selected from a feral, primitive culture, trained to be the ultimate soldier, then encased in relic armour and given a big, fuck-off gun with exploding bullets that it curiously couldn’t use as a firearm up close.
“You human, will come with us!” yelled Ursine, pointing at the quivering Corporal Stammer. “You will be useful should we require the ‘Look out sir’ special rule. Come now, or we will ruin the suspense of following Black Library’s overplayed Horus Heresy series by telling you the final ending!”
“Bring me back a kebab!” yelled Brother Toomuchinformatious as he struggled valiantly to produce a tom-tit of epic proportions upon the lucky soil.
They turned and melted into the misty miasma of the dust bowl below as one. As they ran, they shouted really nice things about the Emperor because they really liked him.
By Quentin Prick
Quentin is a former store cunt who has nearly learned all of his letters and has a Space Marine chapter that he made up without any help from his Mummy, Brian. Quentin lives in a bin in Shropshire with his imaginary hamster, Mopsy.