Monday, March 31, 2008

If I had to write a Warhammer 40k novel. . .

Just another random challenge to myself. I like the concept I managed to come up with; hit the jump to see it for yourself.

The first of the main characters we're introduced to is a female acolyte (apprentice inquisitor) who's been dispatched to this city on what is actually meant to be a suicide mission- her master has judged her weak and believes that she will never have what it takes to defeat the enemies of the imperium. She does a little investigation, determines that there really is a chaos cult/whatever, and decides to get some backup; unfortunately, she has no real authority and no money. Instead she sells one of the only pieces of equipment that is hers to sell, and then goes after a certain hired muscle known for being eccentric about the jobs he takes. This guy is main character #2, and sure enough he agrees to the job despite it being a charity case (and an extremely dangerous one at that). Though our initial impressions of him are that he's bitter and cynical, we eventually find that he also considers himself a faithful and loyal servant of the god-emperor who takes grave offense if someone implies otherwise. The man is actually the son of the planetary governor, and would have been a Commissar in the IG if his father hadn't used his influence to remove his son from active service in order to protect him. Needless to say, the man didn't take this well- with his dreams of glorious service denied to him, his best option for avoiding cowardice was taking dangerous jobs in the underhive while his faith stagnated.

The key here is that you've got two people whose faith in the emperor has been challenged, and who could easily lose faith or become skeptics like Ciaphas Cain, but instead choose to still believe in the God-Emperor. Over the course of the story, the female acolyte evolves into a more competent/assertive leader (think Integra Hellsing), and in doing so helps the would-be commissar by providing him with the opportunity to serve the emperor like he always wanted. Put differently, she's growing into a full-fledged inquisitor (at least in spirit) and he becomes the first member of her retinue.

To try another tack: Look at it as a noir story- she's the dame, he's the hardboiled private eye whose cynical analysis of human nature is dead-on, and everyone else is corrupt to one degree or another. He helps her by providing muscle and pessimistic-but-accurate advice, while she overcomes his defenses and fascinates him in a way he can't overcome. It's just that the weak spot in question isn't lust, but something far stronger- his faith and ideals, which have been nothing but a flickering light in the grim darkness for years. Now she fans the flames, and doing so leads to them both rejecting the cynicism that seems inevitable given the tropes of both Warhammer 40k and the Noir genre.


Axiomatic said...

I approve, although now that you've made me think of the woman as Integra, the man has somehow become Pip the Wild Goose.

Then there has to be a guy who tells everyone that, Gentlemen, he likes Chaos. Gentlemen, he likes Chaos. Gentlemen, he loves Chaos.

He loves every aspect of Chaos that takes place in this galaxy.

Dagda said...

Tempting, tempting. After all, there is a chaos cult going on here. It would be interesting to give it a military bent and then have it actually be serving Slaanesh.