Hello, all! Phat J Sleeze back out of retirement to bring you the hard hitting, thought provoking, life inspiring journalism that you might not have known that you need in your life.
So what brings me out of retirement? Well, like most of the world I’m finding myself with tons of idle time due to the current pandemic that has brought the world to a standstill. Believe me when I say I’ve exhausted my options and there are only so many hours of Elder Scrolls Online and feeding my cat that can fill my days. So I find myself here again, looking for a creative outlet and most importantly a spark to ignite me to get back into writing about the hobby that has defined most of my life. Lucky for you Games Workshop provided that spark in their latest short story, written to introduce a new release from their universe spanning Psychic Awakening Series.
For those of you who are unaware, the Psychic Awakening storyline has been a yearlong undertaking by Gamesworkshop designed to advance the Warhammer 40,000 storyline as well as serve as a platform to release new models and upgraded rulesets for every faction in the game. Designed to supplement the release schedule are a series of short stories that lead up to each book in the series. They are fun, relatively well written, and give the reader a bit of insight as to what to expect from the stories that are included in the upcoming Psychic Awakening books. What they are not, however, are controversial conversation pieces. That is, until the latest offering titled ‘Consequences’.
Before I go into a quick summary of the story, if you haven’t done so already I would encourage you to head over to the Warhammer Community site and give it a quick read, because spoilers and whatnot.
The story is told from the perspective of a Sister of Silence, who along with a contingent of Custodes, are escorting two companies of Greyshield Primaris Marines on their way to bolster the numbers of the Space Marine legion, the Brazen Drakes. Upon reaching their destination, after several months of hard fought battles in the name of the Emperor, they are shocked at what they find. The home world of the Brazen Drakes is engulfed in civil war, led by the Brazen Drakes who the Inquisition has deemed Herticus Diabolus Extremis. Upon this discovery, a Shield Captain of the Custodes makes the immediate decision to disarm and detain the entire contingent of Greyshields for censure due to the shared gene-seed between themselves and the heretical Brazen Drakes that they were sent to reinforce. The Captain of the Greyshields, a man who led his companies alongside the Custodes and the Sisters of Silence through many battles in the name of the Emperor, disagrees with the Shield Captain’s decision. When one of his battle brothers is killed for questioning the Shield Captain, he orders his two companies to overthrow the armada and take command, not only setting off a vicious battle between the Greyshields and the rest of the fleet but a very intense commentary about who was right or wrong from the wargaming community.
The two arguments going on within the community are that a) the Shield Captain of the Custodes was out of line by immediately condemning the Greyshield battle companies, despite their loyal behavior and hard fought battles in the name of the Emperor and b) the Greyshields proved their disloyalty to the Emperor by questioning the word of the Custodes. Now, I can see the argument that is being made by the readers who believe the Custode Shield Captain was out of line. Belisarius Cawl created the Primaris Marines from the original legions’ gene-seed, which means that the Greyshields that were seconded to the Brazen Drakes would not be sharing the exact same gene-seed and therefore would not automatically share their corruption. They had also been fighting by the side of the attached Custodes and Sisters of Silence for months, which should have at least earned them the right to defend themselves against the accusations of heresy. My thoughts on the first argument is that it’s entirely possible the writer of the story was ignorant of the gene-seed origins, and given the large amount of back story in the Warhammer 40,000 universe is completely understandable. The amount of knowledge a writer would have to possess to know the ins and outs of all the races and time lines would be humongous and honestly for a short 600 or so word story to promote an upcoming release I’m not sure it’s worth the thorough editing needed to be 100% accurate with all of the history of the characters involved.
In regards to the second argument against the Shield Captain’s orders, that the Greyshields had fought heroically throughout the journey to locate their new home chapter and they should have at least received a chance to defend themselves from the accusation. I completely believe that the author, while maybe rushing through the plot due to story length constraints, did a great job in showing the absolute authority that the Custodes wield and their ability to immediately react to a chaotic situation that might be made further chaotic by a lapse in resolve. The Adeptus Custodes are the voice of the Emperor of Mankind. What they say and the decisions they make are the direct will of the Emperor himself. To question them, even though their orders make no sense, is to question the will of the God-Emperor and therefor heresy. Every citizen of the Empire, from the lowest menial to a mighty warrior of the Adeptus Astartes, owe their lives to the Emperor and should gladly lay it down in His name. Millions of Imperial Guardsmen, goaded into the guns by fiery Commissars, have laid down their lives to buy a minute, maybe even a second, for a plan to come into fruition. It’s their duty and no one, not even a Captain of a newly created Primaris strike force dare question it, even for a second. That is why the Custode Shield Captain acted the way he did, with no hesitation. The instant the Captain of the Greyshields hesitated, and gave even the slightest pause, he signed the death certificates for his entire force. The reality of the world in which this story takes place allows no questioning of the authority of the Emperor. The scheming machinations of the great enemy, the ruinous powers of Chaos have shown time after time how a seemingly insignificant action can have world shattering consequences.
So what do you think about the short story? Was the Custodes Shield Captain correct in his actions or were the Primaris Greyshields given a bum deal? Let us know in the comments!
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