Adeptus Mechanicus and Astra Militarum/Imperial Guard "Wiki"

Ave Omnissiah!

My blog is primarily my own personal fluff in the Warhammer 40,000 universe regarding the Draconis system such as the Knight House Yato in Draconis III, the Imperial Guard...I mean, Astra Militarum regiment trained there, the Draconian Armored Force, and the Forge World of Draconis IV with its Adeptus Mechanicus priesthood and Skitarii legions, and perhaps the Titan Legion, Legio Gojira (which will never happen because I don't have money for Forge World Titans).

Oh, and I'll throw in the Thousand Sons from time to time because they're my favorite Space Marine Legion. I refuse to believe that they are Traitors! They're just...ahem...secretly loyal to the Imperium!

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Friday, June 24, 2016

The World Engine

The World Engine, by Ben Counter, is quite simply...out of this world.

Featuring the Astral Knights, who apparently are a successor chapter to the Imperial Fists (really? Not mentioned in the novel), The World Engine is actually Borsis, some sort of artificial planet (later revealed to have been built by the C'tan, Yggra'nya (who comes up with these names?). The story? Badass Astral Knights decide to ram their awesome battleship, Tempestus (who by the way is the biggest and most powerful ship in the Varv Deliverance Fleet) into Borsis.

Okay, sorry about that. Let's back that up a bit. First, the Varv Deliverance Fleet is sent to halt the destructive trail of the World Engine, which had carved a path of carnage through the Vidar Sector. As it turns out, none of the Imperium's ships were able to penetrate the damn thing's shields, teleportation of Terminators failed (with the poor Space Marines getting terminated, most likely in the Warp or getting turned into some bloody matter thanks to the failed teleportation), and the fleet is getting its ass kicked. After losing one of their last battleships, and more than half of the fleet, the dudes decide to pull back and watch for now.

However, Chapter Master Artor Amhrad, the most badass Space Marine I ever have the chance to read about - even more badass than the wimpy Ultramarines, with Venetius being a pussy and wanting to wait for backup, even at the expense of the hive planet Varvenkast and its population of billions - decides to ram Tempestus into Borsis in an awesome attempt to deliver his entire chapter. The plan succeeded (otherwise we wouldn't have a story about it) obviously, and the Astral Knights, despite losing several of their number in the crash, jumped out to find themselves on the artificial planet, only to awaken the Necrons.

After that, cue epic battle between Adeptus Astartes and Necrons - except that our Space Marines are outnumbered one to gazillion (okay, 1,000 Astral Knights versus millions of Necrons). But our Astral Knights put up a good fight, using hit and run and performing surgical strikes on vulnerable target areas. Thanks to the slaves, they find out vital information concerning Heqiroth and the current dynasty, the Nephrekh dynasty. Despite securing help from an unlikely ally, the former overlord Turakhin, the Astral Knights continue to sustain grievous losses against a never-ending army.

I can almost imagine Chapter Master Amhrad giving a speech here. "We've been fighting a long time. Outnumbered by Necrons...humans have a strength that cannot be measured. This is Artor Amhrad. If you're listening to this, you're the Astral Knights."

Badass aside, Amhrad could only come up with one way of victory, thanks mostly to Chief Librarian Hylahi using psychic powers to contact some godlike entity (blasphemy! The only godlike entity is the Emperor!). Deciding to cut his losses but knowing there was no way off Borsis for his Astral Knights, Amhrad went for broke. Showing the middle finger to the Necrons and telling them to screw themselves, he suckered them into protecting Heqiroth by throwing the entire chapter, led by Captain Khabyar of the Ninth Reserve Devastator Company, at the Necrons. The chapter basically was exterminated in this last-stand battle worthy of being put alongside King Leonidas and his 300 badasses. Still, it was just as planned, for Amhrad had secretly led a tiny strikeforce into a secret location in Borsis.

Simply put, Amhrad trolled Heqiroth.

Deciding that since they're going to die anyway, the Astral Knights might as well take the Necrons with them. Not a bad trade, I mean it's about 1,000 Space Marines for millions of Necrons. I would take that any time. Anyway, Amhrad went and wrecked the containment field inside Borsis to release the Kraken...uh, I mean, release the C'tan imprisoned inside the heart of Borsis (and powering it). Giving the finger to the Necrons and Heqiroth, and particularly to Judicator Metzoi (you won the battle but you lost the war, xenos scum!), he allowed the wrathful Yggra'nya out of his cage. The C'tan, having been betrayed by the Necrontyr and sealed inside the Borsis he had built for them (he's the Worldbuilder, apparently) - and furious that the Necrontyr used the weapons the C'tan gave them on their benefactors, needless to say he was eager for revenge. He went and destroyed every single Necron on Borsis, granting Heqiroth a particularly painful death, then flew off from the crumbling Borsis like the Phoenix Force or Xel'Naga entity from Starcraft. That shut down the shields and allowed the Varv Deliverance Fleet to pummel and annihilate Borsis, turning it into chunks of metal and rock. Viva la Exterminatus!

Apparently there's a backstory about how Borsis was heading to Mars, presumably to awaken the Void Dragon we read about in Graham McNeill's Mechanicum from the Horus Heresy series, and an afterstory that included the reclamation of the Tempestus's wreck from the remains of Borsis. I think Venetius stopped being a dick and had the entire chapter of Astral Knights enshrined as monuments in the ship or something. Yay. Unfortunately, the survivors of the Astral Knights, about 30 or so left in Obsidia and didn't take part in the mission, weren't enough to rebuild the chapter, and they were ultimately replaced by the Sable Swords. The leftovers were convinced by the Sable Swords dude to embark on a crusade or something until their chapter dies out.

Ouch. Grimdark as hell.

Oh, right. The review. Well, if you've read all that and think, hmm...that's not badass, then...I have nothing to say. If you've read that and think, man, that is one hell of a story. I had best find the book and read it, then we've become battle brothers. Ben Counter has done it again. I knew he had it in him. I mean, his Grey Knights Omnibus was one of the few Space Marines novels I could stomach, and The World Engine not only didn't disappoint me, it surpassed my expectations. The battles were intense. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen any other story in which the Space Marines fight like the Imperial Guard! The Astral Knights were basically sent to their deaths Astra Militarum style, fighting footslogging battles as infantry. If only they had the numbers...if only a regiment of Imperial Guard managed to make it down with them, with all their Leman Russ tanks and artillery...if only, if only. Man, that would have made for a better story, but admittedly the average Guardsman isn't going to survive a crash to the surface of Borsis, never mind the hazardous environment.

Well, to sum it up, the Astral Knights felt very human. Yes, we all know Space Marines are genhanced supersoldiers, but these guys were human. They were vulnerable, they could be killed (and easily too, by the Necrons), they felt emotions such as pride and hubris. Ben Counter's Marines weren't grown in vats. They often are normal men handpicked to be implanted with the geneseed and surgically altered to become Adeptus Astartes. That's why they retain their human memories, and are prone to having their fragile human pscyhe fall apart. They are fallible, unlike the Mary Sue Ultramarines I sometimes read about (man, that was obnoxious), and that makes them even more powerful as characters.

The epic battles just add an awesome slice of seasoning.

Verdict? This book is a must-buy and a must-read. You don't often see a single Space Marine chapter doing something so badass it puts even the Ultrasmurfs...uh, Ultramarines to shame, yet at the same time retain all the flaws and characteristics that make them oh so human. Buy it and read it now. I guarantee you'll enjoy the ride (unless you got turned off by my summary above, then it's probably not for you).

For the Emperor!

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