Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisited)

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Ahriman238 » 2013-05-17 01:22pm

The Necrons were positively chilling in that book, and the short story. If more Tombs are anywhere near that deep, it'd do a lot to explain why they're so rarely detected. Then again, the implication seemed to be the Mechanicus did find the Tomb and established the mine as a cover for excavating it. Though, if that were the case and they had the smallest idea what the Necrons were, they'd probably have been a lot more concerned with disappearing miners.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-23 03:21pm

Cain update. Traitor's Hand, and The Beguiling. also for some reason I enver posted Fight or flight. So I'll post the two short stories first, then Traitor's hand.

First, Fight or Flight. cain meets the Tyranids and Gunner Jurgen. To my knowledge it was also Sandy Mitchell's first Cain story. So it actually sounds a bit different than the novels, but not dramatically so. I've covered it before too somewhere in my vast archives of verbiage. Also I'm pretty sure I dragged this from the Cain omnibus.

Page 11
Ciaphas Cain, "To Serve the Emperor: A Commissar's Life" 104. M42

This would seem to suggest Cain lived to some time in 104.M42 (or at leats close enough that his memoirs got published) but this is up to debate I suppose. either way if so it would suggest he lived at least 150-175 years or so.

Page 11
The total population of the colony was just a few hundred thousand, including elders and kids; just a village really by Imperial standards.

Cain considers a population of a 'few hundred thousand' to be relatively trivial by Imperial standards. This tends to suggest most worlds are millions or billions.

PAge 13
Imperial Guard commanders tended to distrust the political officers assigned to them, often with good reason. Most of the time, about all you could hope for was to develop a tolerable working relationship and try not to tread on one another's toes too much. That worked for me; even back then I realised commissars who threw their weight around tended to end up dying heroically for the Emperor, even if the enemy was a suspiciously long way away at the time

Cain comments on the Commissar/Officer relationship, which actually seems better than 'shoot people randomly and terrorize', but hardly ideal. It's got enough room (at least) for respect to develop as we've seen from a number of sources. Cain's comments about fragging commissars tends to suggest that self-preservation (if nothing else) would dictate most non-idiot Commissars would take a lower-key role in matters rather than blindly trust to their own authority. Apparently not only Deathworlders will frag them, either.

Page 14
"We've never had a commissar assigned to us before."

"Probably because you don't seem to need one. Your unit records are exemplary. "

Valhallan being one of the 'named' regiments, like Cadians or Krieg, probably explains this. Valhallans are reliable enough to generally not require Commissars (which doesn't mean one won't be assigned.) WE saw this with the CAdians in 'Cadian Blood' too, and of course the Krieg don't NEED Commissars for discipline but for restraint, so they fall into the extreme opposite end of the spectrum :P

Page 15
The truth was, of course, that despite what you've seen in the holos, charismatic commissars loved and respected by the men they lead are about as common as ork ballerinas; and being thought of as a soft touch who's infinitely preferable to any possible replacement is almost as good when it comes to making sure someone's watching your back in a firefight.

Essentially true. I would note, however, that most commissars are ot meant to be 'charismatic' or 'loved' per se. Respected but feared seems more common, and inspiration. Again it still reflects that 'terorrizing everyone at the drop of the hat' as the propoganda shit suggests is far from being common.

Page 16
He pointed at the hololithic display

An example of RARE AND PRECIOUS TECHNOLOGY, excpet not so rare.

Page 16
A fleet of starships, over a thousand strong was curving in towards the Desolatia system.

Which makes it one of the larger fleets in 40K fiction, although a smaller fraction may be warships.

Page 17
"Keffia might have been infested by genestealers."
Everyone knew what that meant. A long, bloody campaign to cleanse the world metre by metre. Virus bombing from orbit was the option of last resort on an agriworld, which would cease to be of any value to the lmperium if its ecosystem was destroyed.

Virus bombing but not necesarily exterminatus per se. The planet could be technically habitable (even if in the definition of a hive world) but it would be useless as an agri-world. This tends to help reinforce the idea that blasting them from orbit is preferrably to ground conflict, but necessity (or politics) may require ground forces. Bear in mind that this is not neccesarily LESS destructive - at least in the long term. (Vraks, anyone?)

Page 17-18
"How close is the fleet?"
"A day, maybe two."
"The astropaths at regimental HQ lost contact with them last night."
"With the entire fleet?"

There's very little which can cast a shadow in the warp so powerful that it can cut off communication with an entire battle fleet, and none of them are anything I want to be within a dozen subsectors of.

This could either suggest near-realtime communication (or at least over minutes or hours lag, since losing it in a single night was cause for concern.) The fact that the hive fleet is seemingly popping in some distance away suggests the fleet is still some light years away. at least 2 ly in 1-2 days would be hundreds of c, which is certainly consistent with 'in sector' travle speeds.

Alternately we could figure that astropathic signals are generally an order of magnitude faster than warp speeds :P

Also, the 1000 ship fleet descrbied as a 'battlefleet', which may suggest this sector has a rathre large warp capable starship contingent (not all warships, mind.)

Page 18
"'Put the whole battery on full alert. Especially the Hydras. "
"And get every air defence auspex you can on line."

Hydras and air defense sensors.

Page 18
I was in the command post, talking to the captain of an ore barge which had made orbit that morning...
"We're the only thing in orbit, commissar.."
"You weren't due for another week."
"We were lucky. The warp currents were suonger than usual."

Which suggests the ore barge could cross the in-system distance in less than a week. Possibly less than a day. A week or less isn't much calcable as it would be less than 1% of c, and probalby isnt a constnat burn (unless its fractional-second.)

Page 18
"We're detecting warp portals. Dozens of them!"
"The auspex signatures are all wrong. Not like ships at all..."
"Bioships," I said. "No metal in the hulls."

Tyranids use warp int his case. Not only that, but they apparently come out of the warp close to the planet (within a light second or two, at least, given the seemingly near-realtime detection ranges.)

Page 18-19
..there wasn't much that could cast a shadow in the warp that big and with genestealers running rampant a couple of systems away..

Again suggesting the shadow is fairly sizable (light years again.) and the distance to Keffia. Pity we dont know the time.

PAge 19
Outside, the staccato drumbeats of the Hydras opened up, seeking the first mycetic spores to breach the atmosphere. Red dots began to blossom on the hololith, marking the first beachheads.

Depending on where you define the edge of the atmosphere, it could be 11-17 km (Assuming you define the edge by concentration of atmosphere.. more than three quarters (or four fifths, depending on your source). If you go by this source you get even more specific.. constant density only goes up to 8 km, there is the 11 km 'armstrong limit', 31 km is where the bulk of the atmosphere (99%) exists to maybe ~50 km or so (edge of the stratosphere)... all the way up to 100-120 km (Karman line/limit where reentry effects become noticable.) ~10 km would be consistent with the FFG materials or other anti-aircraft weapons with HE shells, but its definitely possible to argue at least several tens of km range. I kinda doubt it would be over (or even close) to 100 km though :P

Page 19
"One of the splinter fleets from Macragge."

The segmentum was full of them, fallout from the Ultramarines' heroic victory over Hive Fleet Behemoth almost a decade before.
..indicated the data coming in from the ore barge's navigational auspex. "Less than a hundred ships."

Size of the splinter fleet. Considered 'small' by hive fleet standards, but still dangeorus.

PAge 19
Most of the regimental sensor net had been directed downwards, towards the planet's surface.

the Valhallan artillery regiment had a sensor network in orbit. Satellite coverage is useful.

PAge 20
"I'm sure you haven't forgotten we have a quarter of a million civilians silting right next to the landing field."
"Will one barge be enough?"
"Have to be."
"It'll be cramped and uncomfortable for sure, but it beats ending up as Hormagaunt munchies."
"Even with every shuttle they can lay their hands on, it's going to take at least a day to get everyone aboard."

The ore barge is large enough to carry a quarter million people, albeit crowded. At least a day to load them.

Page 22
"Gargoyles!" I shoulted..
..a bioplasma attack. I leapt aside just quickly enough to avoid a seething bolt of primal matter vomited up by a winged horror swooping in my direction. I felt the heat on my face as it went past, detonating a few yards away and setting fire to a tent.

Without thinking I drew my chainsword, thumbed the selector to full speed..

Erhlsen was kneeling tracking it with the barrel of his lasgun, leisurely, as if he was at a recreational target shoot. I threw myself flat, just as he squeezed the trigger, and the thing's head exploded.

Tyranid Gargoyles appear. Interesting that they discharge bioplasma (I dont remember if they can do that or not) and it actually seems to be thermal. Cain's chainsword is variable speed.

Also single lasgun shot explodes Gargoyle skull. Gargoyles mass 200 kilos by IA4, so we might figure gargoyle heads are much denser/heavier than human skulls (and tougher). Single digit kj to double digit kj might crack the skull of a human, call it double digit kj for a Gargoyle (but probably not hitting the carapace. Figure he's aiming for a weak point.)

PAge 24-25
The compound was in sight now, ant-like troopers lining the fortifications, and, Emperor be praised, the Hydras rumbling into position to defend them, their quad-barrelled autocannon turrets depressing to face the oncoming tide of death.
The Hydras opened up, shooting past us, gouging holes in the onrushing wall of chittering death, but barely slowing it. Lasgun bolts began following suit; although the small arms fire would only be marginally effective at this range, every little helped.

If we go by the 'ground attack' range of Hydras from Honour Guard, we might figure the range is over 1-1.5 km.

Page 25
..swung my chainsword at the 'gaunt attacking Jurgen.
He rolled to his feet, snapping off a shot from his lasgun that exploded the thorax of another..

Exploding the thorax of a hormagaunt. Double to triple digit kj, Whether 'shot' encompasses a single shot or a burst, we don't know. Again it probably doesn't mean he hit the carapace.


Now the BEguiling. Cain meats a Chaos Coven of Slaaneshi Schoolgirls, avoids a daemonhosts, and saves the day via artillery barrage. Also a bit of a precursor story to Traitor's Hand.

Again, this is from thie 'Hero of the Imperium' Omnibus.
Page 481
Night and the rain had both been falling for some time and I'd been getting steadily colder, wetter and more hacked off since the middle of the afternoon before we saw the light, glimmering faintly through the trees which bordered the road. The two gunners in the back of the Sala­mander with me hadn't helped my darkening mood either; they were fresh out from Valhalla, had never seen rain before, and found the 'liq­uid snow' a fascinating novelty which they discussed at inordinate length and with increasingly inanity.

CAin's nightmare seems to begin sometime in the afternoon/evening, suggesting something like under 12 hours, but longer than 4 (as we learn earlier.)

Page 482
True to form we spent the spring, and the sort of balmy summer that vacation worlds build their entire economies on..

Vacation worlds - another form of economic speciliazation. Probably caters to the wealthy and powerful/influential.

Page 484-485
So I found myself later that morning in the vehicle park, watching a couple of young gunners called Grear and Mulenz stowing their kit in the back of a Salamander.
What the Emperor willed on this particular morning was a steady increase in the cloud, which gradually began to attenuate the sunshine, and a slowly freshening breeze which stole the remaining warmth from it. The sky darkened by almost imperceptable degrees as we rattled along, making good time towards the nearest town, and I wasn't too surprised to feel the first drops of moisture on my skin while we were still some way short of our destination.

"How much further?" I asked Jurgen, wishing I'd comandeered a Chimera instead. The noise in the enclosed crew bay would have been deafening, but at least it would have kept the rain off.
"Ten or twelve leagues" he said, apparently unperturbed by the change in the weather, "fifteen to the OP"
I had no intention of accompanying Grear and Mulenz all the way to the forward observation post, but we were close enough to civilisation to make the quarter hour or so of mild discomfort I still had to look forward to seem bearable.
. looking up from his ranging scope. It was the first time I'd let them know I wasn't planning on checking in on the observation post; every artillery battery needs its for­ward observers, but it's a hard, thankless job, and a fire magnet for every enemy trooper in the area once they realise you're there.

Late morning to afternoon probably.. figure an hour or two to get mobilized. We don't actually know how long they spent travelling, perhaps a few hours given what happened later, but we dont know exact speed either.. assuming 20-25 km, we might figure they covered 40-75 km.
Then there is 10-12 leagues in a quarter hour. A "league" can very from 2.2 km up to 5.6+ km so we could be talking as little as 22 km up to 67 km. Given the (approximate) quarter hour, we're probably talking lower end to the scale being more plausible than the upper end (unless Imperial Guard Salamanders have rocket boosters attached.) We might figure 20-30 km roughly, which woudl work to between 70-100 km/hr on-road.
If we work backwards, from the IA stats for a scout salamander (70-100 km/hr) we get between 20-25 km, which again reinforces the lower end of the scale.
Incidentally, we know the Valhallan artillery has been bombarding a distance equal ot however far Cain travelled. At a minimum its at least 30-35 km (15 leagues to the OP), and we might figure its at least double or triple that (figure he travelled at least halfway, although it tends to suggest he traveled more than halfway in that time.) If we figure an hour, we might figure closer to 70-100 km. Beyond that is possible but again like the 'rocket car' Salamander speeds gets.. interesting.
And one of hte forward observers has a ranging scope of some kind.
Salamanders can also carry extra people - at least 2 more.

Page 486-487
"We have hostiles on the forest road, co-ordinates..." I scrabbled for the map slate, which Mulenz helpfully thrust at me, and rattled them off.
"Targeting now. firing in two."
But the link had gone dead. We only had one chance. "Jurgen! Get us off the road!"
The Salamander swung violently again, lasbolts spanging from the armour on all sides now, throwing us around like peas in a bucket.
By the time I was able to blink my eyes clear I could hear the first shrieks of the incoming shells.
The roar of the barrage detonating behind us was almost deafening, splinters of wood from shattered trees spattering the armour plate..

The Salamander has a map-slate. Also the Valhallans fire a barrage on Cain's position. Assuming 5 minutes to travle and 812 m/s velocity from Imperial armour, at a 45 degree angle would work to a 'linear' distance (If I did the math right) of around 70-80 km roughly. Of course, it could be sooner (say only a minute or tow) and the speed would be muhc faster, even if we reduce the distance. Unfortunately its hard to say since we don't have all that data.

Page 487
The face was distended with infection, pus seeping from open sores, and his limbs were swollen and arthritic. But inhumanly strong, for all that. Even an ork would probably have thought twice about trying to board a vehicle moving at our pace...

Plague Zombies of Catachan Stature. Superhuman (ork level?) Strength.

Page 488
Four hours later...
We'd probably have linked up with the first of our recon patrols by now, and be on our way back to the battery in a nice cosy Chimera..

Cain traveled at least 4 hours. Again if we figure 1-2 hours between cain deciding to visit the Forward OP and acutally leaving, between 5-6 hours. At afternoon/evening, we might figure 4-6 hours travelling (at least off road) Call it 8-12 hours of travleling, but at what speed we don't know. At least 4 hours at 70 kph would be 280 km. If we figure 30 kph at 4-8 hours that would be 120-240 would lead to a 400-550 km range or so. If we figure 4-6 hours on road at top speed (400-600 km) and another 4-6 hours off road we get 200-300 km, which works out to 600-900 km.

Page 490
Something shrieked in the darkness, and burst through the surrounding undergrowth. A smoking crater had been gouged out of the left side of its body, a mortal wound to any normal man, but it just kept coming, Jurgen fired once, exploding its head, and it fell in a shower of putrescence.

Jurgen headsplodes plague zombie.. single to double digit kj. Crater in the side of a human body, figure a 10-20 cm diamter (100-300 sq cm roughly) crater and 3rd degree to 4th degree flash burns (50-400 j per sq cm) call it between 5 kj at least to 120 kj.

Page 490
Grear fired again, setting fire to a nearby shrub. In the sudden flare of light the enemy trooper stood out clearly, running towards us, a filthy combat blade in its hand. Jurgen and I fired simultaneously, blowing it to pieces before it could close.

Setting fire to the tree (without knowing how big it is) would suggest 125 j per sq cm.

blowing apart a Plague trooper by combined fire from Cain's laspistol and Jurgen's lasgun. Again single shot or multipel shots we dont know, except its in a fairly short period of time involving hundreds of kj (probably) Probably suggests at least double digit kw for laspistol and triple digit for lasgun.

Page 490
She nodded, shaking with reaction, and slumped against me. Once again I found the sensation curiously distracting; with a surge of willpower I detatched her again.
...I handed the girl across to him. As I did so a curious expression flickered across her face, almost like surprise..

Cain demonstrates unusual willpower against what amounts to a Chaos sorcerer's charm spells. While he seems to attribute it to self preservation, part of me wonders if its perhaps he's... 'special'. He may actually be favored by Big E for all we know. Or it may be his willpower is such he has a strong impression on the warp making him resilient against such, or something.

Page 493
.. in those days although I'd read the manual, I'd never met a psyker, let alone a blank.

Which is interesting as it would suggest Jurgen's blank abilities, again, are related to psychic phenomena. Sort of like the 'pariahs' as James Swallow makes them, or the Gav Thorpe novel/Inquisitor RPG 'Soulguards'

Page 494
"I knew you were one of us the moment I felt your presence in the woods"
"I could taste your soul" she breathed. "Like to like..."
"Give in, Ciaphas. Slaanesh has surely touched your soul before now. You live only for yourself. You're his, whether you know it or not."
..even then I could tell that what I faced was monstrous beyond measure. Selfish and self-indulgent I may well have been, and still am if I'm honest about it, but if I have any qualities that outmatch that one it's my will to survive. The realisation of what I faced, and the consequences if I failed, doused me like a shock of cold water. I snapped back to myself like a drowning man gasping for air, to find Fmeli staring at me in consternation.

"You broke free!" she said, like a petulant child denied a sweet. Now I knew she was a psyker I could feel the tendrils starting to wrap themselves around my mind again.
"Sorry," I said. "I prefer blondes." Then I shot her.

Cain resists, then kills, the head cult sorceress. For a short story (and considering this leads into 'Traitor's Hand' I consider this a fairly important look into Cain as a person and how he actually is. For all his self-deprecation, he is not truly as 'bad' as he makes himself out to be. Not perfect, perhaps, but as Amberley notes consistnelty, he has many good qualities he neglects to ever comment on. One might even think Cain's protestations mask some sort of self-doubt. Indeed, could it be that humor and self deprecation are the way he tries to cope with the burden, the guilt his status confers (and the costs behind it?) I know Cain is, at heart, something of a Blackadder/Flashman analogue in 40K (Mitchell even says as muhc), but it's also equally true that there is an underlying... ambiguity in Cain's stuff. Trying to figure out if he is really the hedonist and degenerate, or if there is an acutal hero there.. or perhaps something in between.

We know Cain is loyal - he could only resist Slaanesh through faith or willpower - again possibly an indication that he is 'favoured' by the god-Emperor - and ultiamtely despite his flaws he refuses to betray his Imperium, his oaths, and chooses to resist Chaos with every fibre of his being. rationalize it however one wishes, that is rather.. noble.

It is also interesting to speculate just why Cain was considered.. important. This passage, along with the events in Traitor's Hand (as I will discuss) suggest that Slaanehs (at least) puts some importance on Cain (or sees him as a potential, useful convert.) One might wonder if the Emperor and Slaanesh fight over Cain's soul... will he be a champion for Order, or for Chaos? Indeed, the fact that Emeli comes back and tries to tempt Cain again is suggestive of this.

Also the line about preferring blondes just before gunning her down is so classicly Cain. Its also a bit amusing given his involvement with Amberley later.

Page 495
Every girl in the school was there, along with what was left of Grear and Mulenz. They were still alive, for whatever that was worth, rictus grins of insane ecstacy on their faces, as the priestesses of depravity con­ducted their obscene rituals. As I watched, Grear expired, and an ululating howl of joy rose from the assembled cultist's throats.


Then Krystabel stepped forward, her voice raised, chanting some­thing new in counterpoint to the other acolytes. A faint wind blew through the room, thick with that damnable perfume, and the hairs on the back of my neck rose. Mulenz began to levitate, his body shifting and distorting in strange inhuman ways. Power began to crackle through the air.

Yes. A cult of Chaos Schoolgirls. Well college girls more like it. Kinda gruesome in a way despite being a bit of a joke.. I mean these were young girls corrupted to the Chaos Gods (the place is supposedly a school for young women of nobility) commiting ritual sacrifice. Consideirng they get massacred later, its a bit chilling as an indicator of what Chaos can drive people tod o.

Page 496
"Cain to command. Full barrage, danger close, immediate effect. Don't argue, just do it!" I hung up before Mostrue could start pestering me with questions, and waited for the first shells to arrive.

If being close to the first strike had been worrying, getting caught in a full barrage was serious change of undergarments time. For what seemed like eternity the world disappeared in fire and smoke, but I guess the Emperor was looking out for us after all or we'd never have made it to the road in one piece.
When we went back at first light the entire building had been oblit­erated, along with several hectares of woodland.

I'm jusg going to copy and paste my commentary form last time, cuz I'm lazy:

Cain orders a bombardment of a school (which turns out to be a den of Chaos) - a 'full barrage' to wipe it out. Earlier we established that the Valhallans had traveled on Salmander for 4 hours before going on foot. The Acamdey was within walking distance (matter of hours tops, as they spent the night there and it was night when they ran across the girls.) Without a doubt we can further indicate an Earthshaker range of 100+ km (which meshes with whta they are capable of in Tactica Imperialis)

Also took out the daemonhost, and several "hectares' of land Say maybe 150-200 m per side area. Assuming around 20-100 guns or so to level 20,000 square meters - or 200-1000 square meters per shot, which would probably match up with what modern 6 inch howitzers could do I bet (or not dramatically different.) Then again considering a Earthshakre is something like 5 inch artillery, that whould bea bit impressive.

There's also the issue of targeting. Cain ordered a bombardment without giving coordinates, so the Earthshakers had to home in on him somehow, indicating they have some means of locating and transmitting that data other than verbally (GPS or some equivalent, homing beacon, whatever.)

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-23 03:39pm

And now we get to traitor's hand. I never actually posted this one, although I'd had it written up before I revamped it some to fit in with more of my 'modern' thinking. Its Cain's first novellized brush with Chaos, and the first time we meet other Commissars (one of whom has it in for Cain.) We also get Catachans in tutus, Cain as a demolitions expert, more Jurgen and melta action, and the Harriers for the cup.

Two updates, both at once. We start with part one.

Page 12-13
No doubt by now, three days out from Kastafore, the entire ship would be aware that Cain the Hero of the Imperium was aboard...
..the lord general himself was expected to brief us in a few minutes' time. Not in person, of course, as he'd be travelling in some style aboard the flotilla's flagship, but the tech-priests had apparently rigged up some method for him to pictcast all the vessels in the task force simultaneously before we made the transition to the warp.

.5-.8% of c top and 1-2 gees if they're only 1-2 AU out to the warp point at 3 days. If they're closer to billions of km, 10-15 gees of constant accel and 5-6% of c.

Page 14
By this point, roughly five years after the adventures on Simia Orichalcae presented in the previous volume, Cain was almost a third of the way though his period of service with the 597th.

Commissars (at least in Damocles Gulf) have 15 year tours with their regiments.

Page 17
Cain is exaggerating a little on both counts. Tallarn regiments do tend to have an inordinate number of Chaplains compared to most others, often attached as low down the command structure as individual squads, but few of them are quite as fanatical as the members of the Redemptionist cult. It cannot be denied, though, that their entire culture is remarkably pious, and few natives of that world are prepared to take any significant decision without consulting a cleric for guidance as to the will of the Emperor in the matter.

Not all of them do. The Desert Raiders tallarn seemed a different story, for one thing. I'd say its more a 'case by case' basis thing really.

Page 17
There were five regiments in all aboard the Emperor's Beneficence, an antedeluvian Galaxy-class troopship which seemed to be kept functioning entirely by the constant activity of her tech-priests and enginseers..

- Galaxy-class troop ships can carry at least 5 regiments (one of which being an armoured regiment.) Other two regiments (including the 597th and tallarn) are a Valhallan armoured regiment and two KAstaforan regiments (newly raised from the planet) If we knew the sizes of the regiments we might calc it.

Page 18
..white-robed acolytes chanting the appropriate rituals of activation, terminating in what I recognised as a hololithic display unit of remarkable size and complexity.
.. was projecting a rotating image of the Imperial eagle, which hazed and sputtered in the familiar fashion of all such devices...
.. the senior tech-priest ceremoniously kicked his control lectern and the familiar face of Lord General Zyvan replaced the aquila..

Obligatory 'kick the hololith' scene in the books.

Page 18
...reminded of a public holotheatre..

3-d movies, basically. Sandy Mitchell's inclusion of such little details like this (despite being not very.. archaic) is actually kinda neat IMHO.

Page 19
Nevertheless, we'd always got on tolerably well and I respected his concern for the welfare of the men under his command, which, since they included me, I thought was a decided asset in a military leader.

Cain on Zyvan. This is what makes Zyvan one of the better commanders in fluff. Not only is he a good military dude, but he's amazingly diplomatic (as we saw on Gravalax.) Both in one package are tolerably rare.

Page 19-20
Normally we would have expected to remain on the newly-cleansed world for some months at least, helping to rebuild the bits the greenskins had put a dent in, making sure the local PDF was back up to strength, and generally enjoying a bit of a breather before moving on to the next war. But instead we'd been hurried aboard the Emperor's Benificence almost as soon as we'd reached our staging area, the first shuttles already waiting to ferry our vehicles up to orbit as we'd arrived.
..a mobilisation that rapid had to mean trouble had blown up without warning in a relatively close system and we were being sent to deal with it. That meant we'd be going in hot, with little idea of what we'd be facing, and already caught on the back foot. Not a situation any warrior likes to be in.

It's both gratifying and surprising to see that (at least in some cases) teh guard will engage in some postwar, goodwill rebuilding. I wouldn't try to make any sweeping generalizations about the Imperium's policies in this respect, but I am certain this reflect's Zyvan's own policies withn the sector, and it at least demonstrates what a more sane, politically and militarily competent, and diplomatic Lord General might be capable of.

Also a month long transit to a nearby systme (of unknown distance, admitteldy) is considered 'rapid' at this edge of space :P

Page 20-21

"Ten days ago we received an astropathic message from a naval task force hunting a flotilla of Chaos raiders on the outer fringes of the subsector."
..we were the only troopship on the move, accompanied by a handful of the warships.
.. the display lurched suddenly, skipping a couple of parsecs to the right and dumping Kastafore ignominiously into the void outside the projection field.

10 days tops to get an astropathic message from the edge of the subsector. From where we don't quuite know. They are at least 2-3 parsecs away from their destination though, which is at least 5-10 LY or so.

Page 23
"Our Navigators consider it highly probable that they'll end up here, in the Adumbria system, especially if their warp engines have been damaged. Apparently the warp currents are particularly strong and turbulent around Adumbria Prime and they're likely to be drawn there."
"If the warp currents remain favourable, we'll be there ahead of them."

The target is at least in range of short-range warp hops, then, especially with the currents, but the Imperials will probably beat them.

Page 30
In the month or so we'd been transiting the warp..

A month to cover at least 5-10 LY, which is int he hundreds of c range.

Page 31

To no one's suprise except Asmar and Beije, their regimental champion was promptly and informally challeneged to an impromptu bout the next time he wandered into the recreation deck. I have to repor t with a certain degree of satisfaction that he was subsequently pounded flat by Corporal Magot, a cheerfully sociopathic young woman who barely came up to his chin. (Which made little difference, as it only took her about a tenth of a second to bring it down to the level of her knee.)

Magot has close combat skills in the purported tenth of a second range. We've seen similar cases of such (EG Eye of TError) so its not unheard of. This is much faster than human reflexes (1/4 of a second or slightly less) but we know 40K humanity is more.. variable, both in terms of size, strength, and even toughness, so its not impossible for them to have (for example) some sort of reflex mutation. Or augmetics - the ghosts' novels feature a guy who had his reflexes augmetically enhanced.

Page 36
Assistant Squad Leader, a junior non-commissioned officer trained to take over if the leader becomes a casualty. When, as was the case in the 597th, squads are routinely split into fireteams, the ASL takes command of the second team when they operate independently.

Assistant Squad Leaders and fireteams, which seem to be common practice in the Damocles Gulf region.

Page 38

For sheer impressiveness there's little to match the sight of a well-drilled Guard regiment on the move: almost a thousand people bustling around stowing gear...

Cain's regiment is still ~1000 strong.

Page 38
From the vantage point I'd adopted on a gallery overlooking the main hangar floor, I could see vehicles and troopers milling around on a vast plain of steel, receding almost a kilometre into the distance, where the dropships standing in a patient line were diminished by perspective so that the most distant were reduced to the scale of toys.
One of the reasons the Galaxy-class troopship remains so popular, even though none have been built since the Age of Apostasy and the means to do so are now thought lost, is that it has sufficient hangar space to embark an entire regiment under optimum conditions. Of course this assumes that it would have sufficient dropships aboard for the task, which few do, the slow-moving shuttles being easy targets in a war zone, and difficult to replace.

Advantages of the Galaxy class troopship, and the size of its hangar. Meaning the transport itself is probably larger than an escort. Whether or not they truly ar elost tech, I don't recall.

Also dropship shuttles are 'difficult to replace' and easily targets. Which is interesting, given all those heavily armed Imperial dropships we've seen and heard of (inferno magazine, codexes, tactica Imperialis, novels etc.)

Page 39
(Protocol forbade the colonel and her number two to fly on the same dropship unless something went hideously wrong; otherwise it would only take one lucky shot for the enemy to effectively decapitate the entire regiment.)

Probably a good idea, givne the luck of most regiments.

Page 40-41
"I thought fifth company was taking point this time." Each of the four infantry companies would normally take it in turns to be first down, officially so that none of them would hog the glory of being first into combat every time, and rather more pragmatically so that none of them would suffer significantly higher attrition rates. That would be bad for morale and would degrade the unlucky company's overall efficiency as it absorbed a higher than average
Having Jurgen around for so long had given me an unusual degree of tolerance for such things, but two hundred and fifty troopers cooped up in a confined space can thicken the atmosphere nicely, let me tell you.

5 companies, 4 of which are infantry and one is a 'logistics' company. It seems odd, but in context that means the 597th actually as 1000 fighting men (250 each), then another company of 250 or so 'extras'.

Also the dropships in this novel are of the company-scale variety, although they also have to carry dozens of Chimeras and all their equipment. Oh and the rotating regiments thing, which makes sense ot even out losses without having to consistently reorganize squads (and break up their bonding.)

Page 40

[Amberley subscript]Like most Guard units, the 597th returned to their home world every few decades to replenish their ranks; in the meantime a steady trickle of fresh troopers was provided by the Munitorum recruiting stations back on Valhalla. Thanks to the interita of the Administratum and the fact tht they were originally formed by the merger of two severely depleted regiments, they were fortunate enough to receive the usual allocation of fresh soldiers, no one in the upper echelons of the munitorum having ntoiced that the 296th and 391st no longer existed. This bureaucratic quirk not only accounts for the regiment remaining at full strength throughout Cain's association with it, but also the fact that the numbers of male and female troopers remained roughly equal.

Interesting that the Valhallans get reinforcements, which is supposed to be rare (something that the Firstborn were notable for.) although only a 'trickle' is hardly a huge number compared to what the Vostroyans do. Like the Cadians in Only War, same logic applies. Although given a 'trickle' in this context seems to be 'half what the 597th actually gets' as an amalgmated regiment, so either it was hyperbole or the reinforcement/recruit numbers stay constant regardless of the regiment type (EG if the Valhallans were na infantry regiment the 'trickle' would probably not help as much as it does for a 1000-man mechnaised regiment.)

The 'return every few decades' probably means that by that point the regiment will almost certainly be either too old or so depleted that it needs to be re-founded, and the remnants (or at least the officers) return. Similar was mentioned in 'Imperial Glory.'

The other thing to note is that Cain and his troopsare in Damocles gulf, so they're hauling in troops from halfway across the galaxy (literally.) And doing so in a matter of years (within 5 years, probably more like a couple) , which points at low tens of thousands of c transit speeds at least.

PAge 43
..only to be roused a few moments later by what at first I took to be the usual buffeting which always shakes a shuttle entering an atmosphere.
That was the Tallarns' assigned command frequency and normally we'd have no business monitoring it.

Implied comms range, although its almost certainly vehicle or portable box which the com beads tie into, thats still tens or hundreds of kilometres tho.

Page 45
"The Tallarn command team and one of their platoons is pinned down here," Detoi said, producing a data-slate on which a plan of the starport was displayed.
"It's a monastery," Detoi said, looking puzzled. He pulled up some data on it.

The Valhallan is able to gain and display information on the Tallarn's situation on his data slate, as well as storing other information.

Page 46
..troopers donned their helmets and snapped fresh power cells into their lasguns. In deference to the temperatures we expected to find when we landed, they'd left their greatcoats and fur hats in their kitbags, but most, I was relieved to see, had kept their flak armour on through force of habit.

unlike the Valhallans in other novels (EG ICE guard) Cain's seem to wear separate flak armour and unarmored greatcoats, rather than having the coats themselves armored. This is arguably less protective given the two novels, but beggars can't be choosers. Also they have helmets.

Page 45

"Why don't they just blast through this [perimeter wall around the landing site for the shuttles] and retreat across the landing pads?" I asked

Detoi shrugged. "It's thirty metres high and ten thick. It's supposed to contain the explosion of a shuttle crash. Nothing they've got could even dent it.

Indication of the limits of a Tallarn platoon of some kind, firepower/ordnance wise. Probably far less than nuclear, but still nice to know.

Page 50-51
...glanced at the captain's data-slate again.

"The hostiles appear to be concentrated here and here," he said, bringing up icons to indicate their positions, and I nodded.
Detoi nodded crisply and transmitted the data from his slate.

"'Third platoon, secure the flank. First and fifth, you've got the main boulevards. Second, take the side streets by squads, sweep up anyone trying to get past our main thrust. Fourth, secure the perimeter.."

Detoi is again not only able to receive and display the tactical situation of the Tallarns (and the enemy) on his data slate, he is able to transmit that data to the troops (or at least their officers) under his command in order for him to give orders.

Page 52
There was no sign of a gate, but then there wasn't much left of the wall either, the minor earthquake caused by a couple of kilotonnes of dropship impacting the ground having taken care of that quite nicely

Mass of the Galaxy Troopship's shuttles. Given all they have to carry, that's not terribly surprising.

Page 59-60

"Contact, moving fast," Penlan called, and I swung the bolter round a few degrees to bring the rapidly-moving dot in the distance squarely into the sights.

Sulla raised an amplivisor, stared through it for a moment, and shook her head as she lowered it again. "It's just the praetor."

"And he's got company," I added, making out a line of equally fast-moving motes a short way behind him.

Sulla snapped the amplivisor back up and tensed. "Hostiles, closing fast. Prepare to engage."

.... [short paragraph of Cain complaining about being in battle and a warning to the troops not to shoot the praetor follows]...

By this time he'd drawn close enough to be clearly seen, and his pursuers were beginning to come into focus as well. There seemed to be about a dozen, a motley collection of groundcares and light cargo haulers for the most part. (Cain has a few further comments about his confidence about taking them due to overwhelming firepower and numbers.)


"Fire at will," I ordered, and opened up with the bolter at the line of vehicles beyond the praetor. The others followed suit with enthusiasm and a fusillade of las-bolts arced off into the semi-darkness, glowing brightly as they went. A second later the full-throated roar of the autocannon joined them as Jurgen clambered up beside me to triger it.

... [description of the enemy vehicles taking fire and swerving to find cover]...

The range was still extreme, of course, so we were lucky to hit anything, but these were civilian vehicles rather than the armoured targets we usually shot at, so even a glancing blow would be enough to put them out of commission.

Its hard to pin down any exact numbers here, except hints by the amplivisor and how small a target some people seem to see, but 'extreme' range for the 597th's lasguns seems to be at the very edges of human vision, at least unaided.

Also military heavy bolters/autocannon and even lasweapons are very effective at hitting and damaging civilian vehicles, even at those extreme ranges.

Page 61
It was at that point that Kolbe spun round, a bloody crater opening in his chest, and I turned to see a bizarre figure aiming a laspistol into the open crew compartment of the Salamander.

laspistol puts a 'bloody crater' in a Enforcer's chest. Given its not too fatal it can't be terribly deep, so it may not be too much. Single digit kj maybe?

Page 62
The man was clearly deranged, an expression of ecstasy spasming across his face. 'Again!' Then his head exploded as Jurgen found his aim.

Jurgen's lasrifle explodes a head. Single to double digit kj per shot, at least. double/triple digit if it involves much more thermal effects (or isn't as efficient as a 'blaster' style laser.)

page 63

Roughly a score of bizarrely-dressed corpses lay on the rockcrete, most of them bearing the telltale cauterised craters of lasgun wounds.

Lasgun cauterizationa gain. Not a 'bloody' crater this time. Again either it varies by setting, lasgun design or model, or other factors (basence/presence of body armor.)

Page 63
The squad medic glanced up at me, her expression impatient, and went back to tending him. "He'll live. His armour took most of it."

- the local lawman's armour having absorbed most of the shot makes it survivable, but incapacitating. I'm inclined to think the praetors aren't as well equipped though, so the guy probably isn't wearing carapace (we know from earlier novels carapace is far more laser-resistant, anyhow.)

We could infer he's wearint at least flak, but its also quite possible to conclude that Guard (military) armor is much stronger than what a "local policeman" might wear (or local military, ,for that matter.)

Page 74
Like most Guard officers, Cain had a low opinion of the average Planetary Defence Force.

- mention again of Cain (and the Guard in general) having a low opinion of PDF force's capabilities.

Page 80
There was no way a single regiment could be expected to hold down an entire hemisphere on their own, so they were being held in reserve at a mining complex close to the equator where the dropships from the Emperor's Benificence could, in theory, rush them to wherever the approaching raiders looked like touching down before the invaders got there. Assuming the Tallarns or Kastaforeans didn't ask for them first..

- Cain notes that the troop ship's dropships had been retained on-planet for ferrying the troops to whatever site looked likely for incoming invaders to land. Cain also (later) notes that 5 regiments "holding a planet' seems like a joke, suggesting he's used to considerably bigger deployments (interesting, since thats almost half the force that had been deployed to take Taros. Even more amsuing, since you'd think Zyvan would be responsible for Taros rather than the idiots they had put in charge.)

Given Zyvan's general competence and the way he conducts this battle, Taros would have been better left in his hands.

Page 80
He seems to completely discount the PDF, which outnumbered the entire expeditionary force by at least four to one, as an effective fighting force. As later events were to show, this does them a considerable disservice.

Amberley also adds a note indicating that this planet's PDF outnumbered the Guard troops by "at least four to one" Probably way more, but that hints at least at tens of thousands of troops.

Page 80-81
Five regiments with which to defend an entire planet was beginning to seem like a bad joke..

Again 5 regiments is small for planetary defense.

Page 82-83
"It might be worth checking the starport records for the last century or two as well. Chances are that the local cult was founded by a handful of heretics arriving from offworld."
"That would be millions of names," he said.

Vinzand nodded. "Possibly as much as a billion."

According to commentary on these two pages, the total "passenger traffic" through the planet's star port in the past 100-200 years would have been "millions' of people, possibly "as much as a billion." The context of the latter bit tends to hint at "millions" figure leaning more towards many tens or hundreds of millions. as opposed to a few million. This tends to suggest the "daily" traffic is hundreds of people at least, more likely thousands minimum. Upper limit would be several tens of thousands. That's not alot of traffic (or rather it is for 40K, but not compared to other sci fi) but it sworth noting its both an approximation and this is also the eastern fringe.

Page 86
..the nose of an aircar ploughed through the gap of the window frame, wedging itself fast. It was an open-topped model, I noted absently, the interior luxuriously appointed in furs and fine leather, the metal of its bodywork filigreed with gold decoration, mangled beyond recognition by the impact with the side of the hotel. The driver slumped over the brass handle of the grav regulator as I shot him through the head, making a real mess of his elaborate coiffure..

- civilian model anti-grav aircar. If civilians can get their hands on these (which we often see in MANY different novels) it seems a bit silly to claim the Guard cannot have grav vehicles at all. (even though there's a "grav attack vehicle" allowed in the Chapter approved Vehicle Design rules..) The fact we're on the eastern fringe as well makes the presence of grav vehicles especially amusing (lost tech, and all that.)

Page 87

I fired, the las bolt blowing a bloody crater in his bare torso and obliterating a tatoo which had made my eyes hurt. I expected him to drop but to my astonishment and horror he kept coming, giggling insanely.

I suppose that might suggest its a lethal wound and a hole more than a few cm in diameter, but thats all we cna really say (other than its 'bloody' and not cauterized again.)

Page 87

The firing abruptly ceased with the bark of two bolt pistols almost simultaneously; the man with the bolter seemed to explode, spraying bloody offal around the room and doing the expensive wallpaper no favours at all.

two bolt pistol rounds blow apart human body. Equal to grenade roughly speaking.

Page 89
..I was mildly relieved to see a medic among the squad of Zyvan's personal guard who were doubling along the corridor towards us, hellguns at the ready.

- Lord General Zyvan's personal guards have hellguns instead of lasguns.

Page 92-93
"The powercells have been rigged to blow"
"I'm looking at a timer," I told him, "attached to what looks like the promethium flask of a flamer. They've both been taped to the power-cells of the aircar which rammed the building."
"All you have to do is cut the red one."
"They're both purple," I said, after a moment's inspection. I heard a muffled curse, then there was a short pause. "You'll just have to use your best judgement."

Aformentioned gravcar runs on power cells. Other than that, i simply like the line of 'cut the red one' and them both being purple as a joke. Typically Cain.

Page 96
From Like a Phoenix on the Wing: The Early Campaigns and Glorious Victories of the Valhallan 597th by General Jenit Sulla (retired), 101.M42

Once again the Imperium seems to survive at least a century into the 42nd millenium, and doesnt seem to be in any particular threat.

Page 97
Our perimeter sensor net was being constantly disrupted by the seismic disturbances of the miners as they went about their work...

..this required the undertaking of periodic patrols to check the proper functioning of the sensors, for which the tech-priests assigned to our regiment as enginseers thoughtfully provided us with the appropriate rituals. Despite my natural trepidation that such things were best left in the hands of the duly ordained, they declined to accompany us on our excursions, assuring me that the prayers and data downloads would prove equally efficacious if performed by the highest ranking trooper present, and indeed this proved to be the case.
..our Chimera came to a halt some half a kilometre from the site of the sensor package we'd been sent to bless...

- the Valhallans make use of "perimetor sensor networks" as part of their duties. Which makes alot of sense, evne as a mechanised force. They're small and can't be everywhere at once.

Also they download data from the sensors, which probably means they can't be remotely accessed over long distances (at least, not in sub zero conditions.)

Page 99
..any doubts we may have had about the intentions of the vehicle we followed were answered by a pattering of stubber rounds against the armour of our hull

- Chimaeras are resistant to stubber fire.

Page 103-104
(I still had the carapace armour I'd been given on Gravalax concealed beneath my greatcoat, as I generally did whenever things looked like they might get uncomfortable without warning; it was getting a bit battered by now, but as far as I was concerned that just reinforced the wisdom of forgetting to return it to the stores in the first place.)

- Cain notes he retained the Carapace vest he'd used on GRavalax (in "For the Emperor"), having "accidentally" forgotten to return it to stores. This tends to suggest that the weapons and armour he and the others had used back them was part of the Valhallan stockpile of some kind, so it may be that they had hellguns and such in storage for emergencies (not surprising, since the Valhallans retain storm trooper regiments as well, they probably hold onto any and all gear like that.)

The other interesting bit about this is the carapace Cain continues to wear is both compact and unobtrusive enough he can wear it under his outfit and coat, and noone notices (or if they do, they don't comment.)

page 104
Broklaw nodded, his eyes thoughtful, and kicked the portable hololith with all the assurance of a tech-priest. It hummed into life, projecting a topographic recreation of the surrounding countryside. (I use the word loosely, although no doubt the Valhallans could appreciate subtleties in it denied to me.)
I gazed at the image, something nagging at the back of my mind. The ring of red icons around the town would be our sensor packages, of course, and the thin line snaking its way through the valleys was the railway which connected us to the civilised delights of the shadow zone.

- the Valhallans also have a portable hololith of their own, desigend for displaying terrain and other important data (probably inloaded from other sources.) Like all hololiths, it works by hitting it.

Page 107
Cain was attached to this Astartes Chapter as the Imperial Guard liaison officer for a while during his previous assignment at brigade headquarters.

Originally I took this to imply that some Guard units serve with some Space Marines (on board their ships, at least.) under some circumstancecs, anyhow, but I remember now (after reading some of the short stories and such like 'echoes from the tomb') its more like 'diplomatic' duties in the field. Although the two are not mutually exclusive, and it really reinforces the importance of a Commissar as an intermediary adn diplomat when the Guard must interact with other arms of the Imperium's military and civilian hierarchy.

Page 109
The only thing which made the 597th any different from a million other Guard regiments was the presence in it of Jurgen, whose peculiar gift of nullifying psychic or warp-derived sorceries had saved my life (and probably soul) on a number of occasions.

- Cain mentions "A million other Guard regiments". There are of course several ways to take it. The obvious one is that its hyperbole (This being cain and all), given we know there are more than a million and Cain has no way of knowing the exact size of the Guard in its entirety (no one does.) Then again, it could also be Guard regiments within a particular region of space - Cain's sector, or the surrouding regions, etc. That would make a bit of sense, as the sector level (or several surrounding sectors) deployments probably would be more accurately known, especially if there is alot of combat activity (Tyranids, etc.) And its not unreasonable, we know the Corribra sector had billions of guardsmen, and both the Sabbat Worlds and Jericho Reach Crusades involved billions of troops as well, so having over a million regiments on hand is not that far fetched (although whether its just one sector, or several sectors, and if so how many, would be open to debate.)

And further elaboration of Jurgen's talents.

Page 119
...the firepower of the three walkers and second squad’s Chimera a score or so metres behind us...

Kasteen had decided to split our recon force into three...

..two full squads and their Chimeras, with a squadron of sentinels for backup...

Cain mentions on page 117 at getting assigned a full platoon, which means 5 10 man squads, 1 5 man command squad (6 chimeras) and the full complement of Valhallan sentinels (3 squadrons of 3) giving us a fuller idea of the mechanised component of the 597th

Page 119
I’d decided to attach myself to Sulla’s command squad for the duration of the mission. For one thing there were only five of them, which meant that even with all the extra vox and sensoria equipment cluttering up the passenger compartment..

Command chimeras have 'extra' vox and sensor equipment, which would imply that normla chimeras also have sensors. Considering the Sentinels do, that's not surprising.

Page 121
..regaining the blessed warmth of the passenger compartment. (All right, the temperature had been adjusted by Valhallans, so it was still pretty cool by most objective standards, but after a moment or two outside it felt positively hot.)

- VAlhallan Chimaera's seem to be able to regulate their internal temperature, as Cain notes that the interior is "warmer" relative to outside, but still "cool" by most standards.)

Page 121
"Got it," the auspex operator confirmed after a moment. "Big, metallic, heading for town. Doing about forty klom per hour."
His flankers acknowledged, and I watched the screen of the auspex tensely as the three dots of the fast-moving sentinels peeled away from us to intercept the contact.

- the object in question, a "crawler" (a Chimaera sized object with treads used for carrying things across extreme enviroments like snow or sand) and is making 40 km/hr. 597th command Chimeras also have an auspex capable of distinguishing an objects direction and speed and composition. The Sentinels are able to easily overtake it in short order, indicating a minimum on their speed (but probably much faster.) Same Sentinels also show up on the display, either by sensor returns, locator beacons, or both.

Curiously, it would suggest the Chimeras are slower in the snow than either the Sentinels or the crawler.

Page 122
But then there were only nine sentinel pilots in the entire regiment, and, in the nature of things, their names tended to cross my desk rather more frequently than most of the other troopers.

Again 9 sentinels in the 597th

Page 122
Sentinel pilots are recon specialists, used to acting away from the supervision of their superiors to a far greater extent than most Guard troopers. This tends to breed a casual attitude to correct procedure which, on occasion, can spill over into outright insubordination. A wise commander or commissar, which Kasteen and Cain most definitely were, will recognise their value and accordingly cut them a little more slack.

Independence and initiative are valued in at least SOME roles in the Guard, they just don't want EVERYONE doing it. HAving conscripts practice initiative is probably a bad thing, given they don't always train these dudes properly.

Page 123
The third sentinel in the squadron carried a heavy flamer, so there was no point in asking if there’d been any survivors; the gout of burning promethium would have flooded the cab, incinerating anyone inside.

- according to Cain, a single gout of flame from the Sentinel's heavy flamer would have incinerated everyone inside the tank ( which, being Chimaera sized, could be at least a dozen or more people, possibly as many as fifteen or twenty.) In the past I would have thought 'cremation' but that might just mean badly burnt. double digit MJ to low GJ I suppose, depending how charitable your interpretation of 'incinerate' is.

Page 123
Shambas said, the bright dots of the sentinels peeling away across the auspex display to rejoin us. A moment later the stationary blip disappeared...
Sulla had been busy at the chart table behind us, and directed my attention to the hololithic image displayed there.
I shrank the scale of the holomap to the point where the other two groups appeared, far too far away to have any hope of joining us until long after we’d reached the objective.
We knew for certain there were heretics where we were going, so waiting an hour or so to assault them with a full platoon...

- the command Chimaera also has a hololith chart table/holomap display that can display external surroundings as well as note the locations of members of the regiment (in this case, the sentinels.) Holomap can also zoom in and out for more or less detail and greater area.

Also given the possible Sentinel/chimera speeds we might be looking at a Chimera sensor range of 20-40 km.

Page 124
Group three (fourth and fifth squads along with Sentinel squadron three) was the closer and had the advantage of clearer terrain to boot, with any luck they’d be with us in half an hour or so. Group one had a crevasse field to negotiate so would take at least twice as long.

Again implied sensor range of at least 10-20 km or so for Chimera auspex, given the estimated speeds and time to reach Cain's command chimera.

Page 125

I glanced at the tactical display again. The walkers were pulling ahead, splitting to flank the heretics' position and transmitting what data they could back to our command transport. Grainy images began to form on three pictscreens above our heads, snow and static mingling to render them almost incomprehensible.

Tactical dispaly, and the Sentinels are transmitting data from their pictcasters to the command Chimera, so they can be observed.

Page 125
"I’m picking up heat sources," Shambas reported after a moment. "Could be humans."

- Sentinels are equipped with some form of sensor apparatus - at least being able to detect heat sources along with the optical scanners Cain was receiving the transmissions from. Its interesting because Cain seems familiar with thermal sensors, but not NVG or preysense goggles (which would be simmilar) like the ones the Tau had in for the Emperor, or the tau tech mentioned in CAves of Ice. Go figure.

PAge 126

Her pictcaster showed me she hadn’t been exaggerating - someone had gone to a lot of trouble to clear a large area of rock and level it off. Of course it was knee deep in drifting snow by now, which on a sentinel is roughly up to the chest, but even so it had obviously been prepared with great care.

We struck with a gratifying amount of surprise, the two laser-armed sentinels striking the dome from teh flanks while both Chimaeras opened up with their heavy bolters. As the covering of snow boiled away, flashing instantly to steam from the laser hits, I could see the unmistakable outline of a prefabricated hab dome identical to Emperor alone knows how many others scattered across civilized space.

Cain notes earlier that the snow on a landing pad outside the hab dome is "knee deep" (but also says "chest deep" on a Sentinel.

The hab thing is at least several metres tall, and hemispherical, meaning it smaybe 4-5 meters across as well. If we assume that several seconds of lasfire from each Sentinel cleared of at least 5-10 cm deep, 10-20 cm diameter area of snow (vaporized by laser hits) and using the figures here.. call it 50-300 kg*m^3 its 25 grams to 1.2 kg thats and about 2-3 seconds thats 20-30 kw at least, to 1-2 MW. If we assume it vapes off a couple square metres to similar depths/densities we get 2.5-5 kg which is 2-3 MW and 4-6 MW respectively for the multilasers. As an order of magntidue estimate it probably means high kw/low MW output, although its distinctly implied to be thermal.

Page 127
..the image from her pictcaster showing a swarm of thickly-bundled figures boiling from it like ants from a kicked-over nest. A bright orange flare of burning promethium gouted from somewhere below the imager, sending them scattering and plugging the gap.

Again piccaster/imager relaying data to chimera.

Page 128

I had almost forgotten about the heretic defenders, until a gout of snow flashed into steam a few centimeters ahead of my foot.

Lasgun. Assuming a 2-3 cm 'crater' vaped out of the snow (see above) at least single, or double digit kj (50-300 kg*m/^3, I get between 1-3 KJ at least, up to 20 kj)

Page 129
He levelled the melta and triggered it, while the rest of us flinched back and protected our eyes from the actinic flash of activation as best we could. The rockcrete burst into vapour, leaving a rapidly-cooling hole just wide enough for a trooper to get through.[/quote]

~1 m diameter hole through rockcrete wall with melta. Assuming 10 cm thickness and melting rather than vaping silicon that would be ~400-500 MJ. If it acutally vaporizes? close to 3 GJ. Although as noted with all prior melta calcs, it need not be instantaneous, but spread out over a number of seconds.

Page 133
He squeezed the trigger and a gout of thermal energy ravened its way down the narrow passage, vaporising everything in its path in a most satisfying manner. The few surviving heretics shrieked and ran, and a moment later a crackle of lasguns told me they'd stumbled into fourth squad.

Given the earlier 1-2 sq metre area of effect before, if we assume 125-400 j per sq cm 'flaying' flash burns and 10,000-40,000 sq cm at least you get at least single/double digit MJ at a minimum. Vaporizing multiple people literally is many hundreds of megajoules, of course :P

Page 134
For some reason, perhaps the way his shadow fell across the wall, the outline of a panel had suddenly become visible.
More likely he was masking some concealing sorcerous illusion. No doubt someone from the Ordo Malleus could explain the principles, if anyone cares.

Jurgen disrupted the illusion obviously, indicating his powers can affect even static warp 'effects.' This could mean he could protect even against the corrupting influences of taint in the proximity (say on a daemon world.)

Page 137

"It’s a cargo shuttle."
Even a civilian shuttle is ruggedly built, and a couple of lascannons and a handful of heavy bolters wouldn't do much more than scratch the paintwork.


It was a desperate gamble, and for a moment I thought they might just do it, but the armourcrys protecting the cockpit is tough enough to take the stresses of re-entry; even a couple of lascannon bolts wouldn't be enough to penetrate it. One struck home, however, leaving a vivid thermal bloom across the previously transparent surface..

Implied durability of cargo shuttles, evne the windows. Considering lascannon can be (depending on calcs) megawatt to gigawatts that's impressive.

Page 140
The Office of the Lord General, by the grace of His Most Divine Majesty, protector of that part of the Holy Dominions known as the Damocles Gulf and Adjacent Sectors to Spinward.

as I noted previously, Zyvan seems to be Lord General of the Damocles Gulf sector, but also responsible for areas around that place. Which is amusing, because you'd think he'd be the one they would have assigned to take back TAros (assuming he was alive/still active at that time. If he wasn't, the Imperium could have done better if he'd had, given the total numbskulls they did put in charge.)

Page 144-145
"Our interrogators were very thorough. If he knew anything he would have told us."
"Under any normal circumstances I would have agreed with you. But we were dealing with the possibility of warpcraft, remember. I had to be sure his memories were real ones."
"His mind was intact" ..."At least to begin with."
"’I was as careful as I could be. He’ll recover, more or less."

Sanctioned psyker and also prisoner interrogator, apparently.

Page 146

Rakel once told me in one of her more lucid moments that catching stray thoughts from the people around her was like trying to pick a single voice out of a crowded ballroom, and even then it was just the surface thoughts she could detect. Going deeper takes a lot of effort and concentration, almost as dangerous to the psyker as the person they're trying to read, and for someone as practiced as I was at dissembling there was nothing on the surface for them to pick up on anyway.

Ambereley's pet psyker (via Cain's commentary) makes comments about the problems with mind reading. At least, insofar as Rakel is awar,e but its probably generally true.

Page 147-148
"What happened to the daemonhost?"
"’Destroyed, I assume. I called in an artillery barrage and levelled the place."
Maiden nodded once. "That might work,"
’When you say create a daemonhost, you mean.’
"They were summoning a daemon from the warp and confining it in a host body."
"Daemons are creatures of the warp, and draw their power from it. But dangerous as they are, they can’t exist in the material universe for long without being drawn back to where they came from"
"Trapping it in a mortal body allows it to remain here, although its powers are diminished, and it’s usually under the control of whoever summoned it in the first place."

"Up to a point."
"Any control over it is tenuous at best. You’d have to be insane to try it."

- Cain here relates to a trio of high-ranking planetary officials (one an arbites officer) the nature of a daemonhost and the Ruinous powers in general. It is worth noting that here, and throughout the book in general, (as well as in other "later" books) the Imperium's attitude towards information on Chaos in general is not nearly as fanatical as earlier sources (fluff and certain novels like the Inquisiton war) hint at. Certain (human) officers, even high ranking ones, who know about Chaos even to a slight degree are not, for example, executed (and Space Marines are not mindwiped.) Much as the concept of Exterminatus seems to be more widely known nowadays, whereas in the past it was a deeply held secret amongst the Inquisition.

Of course, the vast majority of the Imperium (the populace at large) do not see aware of Chaos, understandably enough. But the military and upper echelon administrative arms of the Imperium seem much more aware of it (and of the more extreme methods of dealign with it) than in the past.

We also get reference to Cain's time on Slawkenberg and how an artillery barrage decimated a daemonhost (or at least disrupted its physical form and banishign it, which the sanctioned psyker corroborates.) I would note they seem to conflate daemonhosts with possession slightly, as the two are not quite the same thing, but similar enough (Daemonhosts differ mainly in the fact they are created/bound into a body, but their powers are restricted as well as a means of makign them more 'reliable' - inasmuch as sucha thing can be - and to limit the damage the daemon contained can do to said body.

Page 148
"The only other way for a daemon to interact with the materium for a prolonged period is to find a world or a region of space where the two realms intersect one another. Fortunately such places are rare."

"The Eye of Terror"
"The vast majority are there"
"And the few exceptions are interdicted by the Inquisition."

comment about the Eye of Terror as the primary location of daemon worlds although other places (or warp realspace interfaces) like the Maelstrom and similar (and every other one the Inquisition pickets) also qualify.

Page 148
Unfortunately it’s generally impossible to pronounce Exterminatus on a so-called daemon-world, since, being outside time and space in the conventional sense, tried and tested methods such as virus bombing are at best ineffective and at worst counter-productive; the last thing you want to do in such a case is give them ideas.

Problems associated with exterminatusing Daemon worlds. Probably has some merit, as you dont want to go virus bombing a Plague world (remember the Planet Kill short story where they made a new virus weapon? Case in point. )

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Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-05-23 03:58pm

Part 2

Page 151
"We’re already combing the traffic control records" Vinzand chipped in. "But with thousands of shuttle flights a day, it won’t be easy to track. Let alone the previous landings."
"Perhaps it came from one of the raiders, lurking in the outer system."
"If there was a Chaos ship here already we would have detected it when we dropped out of warp. And our pickets would have intercepted anything emerging into realspace once we got here that wasn’t in one of the shipping lanes."

- the planet's star port receives "thousands" of shuttle flights a day. Which probably is mostly traffic given the comments about 'visitations' by people.

Zyvan also notes that if a Chaos ship was already in the system or near the planet they'd have detected it when they had dropped out of Warp (on the edge of the system.) This tends to confirm the implications in other books (like Sabbat MartyR) that the Imperium DOES have some sort of FTL sensor system at least ofr passively detecting the warp. Unless he was talkigna bout astropaths and navigators, which is also possible.

Page 152
A three-dimensional image of the planet appeared, with hundreds of green dots indicating the presence of the PDF forces arrayed in its defence.

After a moment of studying the coldside I was able to find Glacier Peak and the reassuring amber rune which marked the presence of my own regiment, although the handful of similar icons making up the rest of our expeditionary force were all but lost in the rash of PDF locations.

We dont know what the 'hundreds' of dots represent, but it strongly suggests PDF regiments, and although we dont quite know their size it givesa n idea of the Imperial forces onplanet.

Page 153
"How long before the reinforcements arrive?"
"Five to eighteen days, according to the last message we received."
"And that was three days ago."
"I was under the impression that you received updates on their deployment every
twenty-four hours."
"But our astropaths have been unable to get through to the rest of the fleet."

The warp travel for Cain's force was a month, and weeks have passed up to this point, suggesting 2-3 months for the transit over whatever distance, and in current conditions. 24 hours (communications loop) between Zyvan and the main force, which suggests the astropathic signals are at least 60-90x faster than the warp transit.

Page 154-155

Zyavan sighed. "Five dropships, five regiments. I'm attaching one to each. That way at least one company can be ready to deploy in a matter of moments. With a bit of luck they can ferry Guard reinforcements in to wherever they're needed, and return to the stating area for another load. He looked at me, thinking he could read my reaction in my face, and shrugged. "I know, Ciaphas. It’s a messy option, but it’s the best we can do."
It would leave the lucky company in question out on a limb, of course, but a formation that size ought to be able to take care of itself until the second or third run arrived.

Zyvan's prepartions for the invasion. Again demonstrating he's vastly more intelligent than the people involved in taros, VRaks, etc. He knows something about 'mobility' and making the most of your resources, for one thing. Using the drop ships is a fantastic idea, as they can get your best troops into places you need them far faster than anything else they have. What's more, Zyvan's comment suggests its more a stopgap solution, suggesting they'd normally do it in some other (and less messy) manner. Again, at least as far as Zyvan's leadership and military doctrine goes, mobility is always important and to be considered.

Page 158
Emeli was reclining on the bed, half out of the green silk gown which so closely matched her eyes...
Unlike the reality, however, the ugly crater of the laspistol wound was already clearly visible, punched through her torso, where I’d broken the spell she’d placed on my mind by the most desperate and direct method I could.

Suggesting quite a sizable hole, straight through her body. Probably more than a few cm, which suggests 5-10 kj at least, and if its bigger definitely in the tens of kj range. Which is from Cain's pistol.

Of course, this being a dream, that DOES assume Cain remembers events correctly - we never got much in the way of specifics in that short story when he shot Emeli :P

Page 162
The catchphrase of Arbitrator Foreboding, a popular holo-character of the lime, who battled criminals, heretics and mutants with relish and a very big gun.

Another holo character in the vein of 'Attack Run'. 40K version of detective dramas or 'cop shows' I guess.

Page 164
...citizens of Skitterfall setting off to work as though the day was perfectly normal and their entire world wasn’t about to be ravaged by a fleet of Chaos marauders. But then I suppose that’s a part of what makes the Imperium what it is: the indomitable spirit of even its most humble citizens. Or their incredible stupidity, which amounts to more or less the same thing half the time.
Cain is perhaps being overly cynical here. It’s a common human reaction to cling to the familiar in times of uncertainty, and many of the Adumbrians no doubt found slicking to their regular routines a source of reassurance.

CAin/Amberley dual comment here about the nature of humanity and Imperium. Its not exactly your 'typical' grimdark, but I like it precsiely because its different. Cain combines optimism with cyncism, and Amberley qualifies that with her Inquisitor's analytical rationality. Its that touch of 'reality' - of a reaction that people can relate to and understand, that makes the scene vivid for me. I can't imagine what its like to be attacked by monsters or psychic invaders or whatever, but I could imagine being afraid and uncertain and taking comfort in routine to distract myself from thoughts and feelings that would drive me crazy otherwise, and that measure of empathy, even imperfect, adds to my suspension of disbelief far better than RAR SKULLS AND HUGE ATTRITION STATISTICS. Vivid imagery and description works better than simply telling the audience, every time.

Page 166 arbitrator in full body armour behind a desk pointing a riot gun in my direction.
...staring down a gun barrel I could have comfortably fitted my thumb inside.
She put the clumsy weapon down and did something to a keypad on the desk. She must have had a comm-bead inside her helmet, because she nodded at something I couldn’t hear..

Arbitrator gear. Comm bead in helmet, full body armor, and a very large bore shotgun. If we take CAin's statement at face value, the size of the ammo the riot gun uses is quite big (bigger than a bolt round, perhaps?)

Page 171
I downloaded the list of names, dates and locations he’d given us to the hololith in the conference suite..

Dataslates downloading information int hololith for others to access again.

Page 173
Zyvan smiled, sure he could read my real thoughts. "But you’d rather hang on here and see what the raids turn up, eh? After all, if it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t even have these leads."

I sometimes wonder if Zyvan only pretends to be fooled by Cain, or if Cain only thinks he's fooling Zyvan. The two come to know each other very well, and Zyvan (what with him taking a personal interest in Cain's career) and the fact he's a clever man witha gift for diplomacy, means he could quite easily figure Cain out the same way Amberley did. As to why he'd humour Cain? Well, for one thing he genuinely seems to like the man, and another - his reputation and his value as a morale and psychological instrument have proven invaluable to the guy. Besides, as Amberely has noted, Cain's own flaws tend to be exaggerated anyhow.

Page 174
..I found myself rattling down a city boulevard in the back of the Salamander, half a dozen Chimeras behind me and my comm-bead full of excited chatter from PDF troopers..

The PDF forces have at least some Chimeras.

Page 174
She also had a very good lawyer and connections to several members of the Council of Claimants, which meant that so far the Arbites had been unable to accumulate sufficient evidence for an arrest.

Suspected criminal, and they have lawyers (that the Arbites cannot just intimidate or overwhelm) on Adumbria.

Page 176

The PDF troopers wouldn’t be equipped with personal comm-beads, like the Guardsmen. Cain was used to fighting alongside (or more likely behind if he could contrive it), but each squad would have included a specialist carrying a portable vox unit.

Its a common occurance in Cain novels, reflecting perhaps the fact the eastern fringe is a backwater, but its not neccesarily universal. we know of a number of PDFs in the FFG material that have low grade comm beads, for example.

Page 177
A ratling gardener was staring at us and the deep furrows across what had obviously once been a lovingly-tended lawn, with an expression of stupefied astonishment even more pronounced than was usual for his kind. As his eyes fell on Jurgen he started visibly and fled.

"Mister Spavin!" he cried as he went. "Mister Spavin! The doom’s come upon us at last"

I suspect this is another one of those 'references' Mitchell throws in, but I simply don't recognize it.

Page 178 -

Without warning, one of the Chimaeras ahead lurched to a halt, the red flare of explosive detonation standing out starkly in teh perpetual twilight, and panicked troopers began bailing out. A couple fell, caught by the blizzard of stubber fire.

Chimaeras, or at least the ones deployed by PDFs, do not seem to be able to stand up to a single missile hit from a man portable missile launcher (probably a krak missile, or maybe a melta missile.)

Page 179
"All squads advance by fire and movement."
A common infantry tactic, where half the squad lays down covering fire while the other half advances, then the first group of troopers provides covering fire for the rest to catch up.

PDF troop tactics of fire and movement. Cain approves, which suggests the Guard in Zyvan's neck of the woods employs them too.

Page 184
"Madame Sejwek," I said, savouring the flicker of uncertainty which rose in her eyes, almost losing my aim from the surge of anger which left my hand shaking from its force. Fortunately my augmetic fingers were immune to such an emotional reaction and kept the muzzle of my laspistol centred firmly on her forehead. "Impersonating an inquisitor is a capital offence."

She just had time to look even more startled before I pulled the trigger, and her warp-tainted brain erupted from the back of her skull to ruin a wall hanging which had evidently been chosen for its subject matter rather than its aesthetic qualities.

Chaos sorceress impersonates Amberley (someone Cain has affections for), hence his comment. Cain always has the best one-liners before he shoots someone, especially Slaaneshi sorceresses.

In any case, blowing out the back of her head is at least single digit kj.

Page 197
Dimarco looked at him with the expression of an ecclesiarch who has just heard one of the congregation fart loudly in the middle of the benediction (something you get used to attending services accompanied by Jurgen.)
Which may seem surprising, given the cavalier attitude Cain usually expresses towards the pious and matters of faith. However, attendance at certain services would have been part of his commissarial duties, and therefore unavoidable; having his aide accompany him on these occasions would normally be a matter of protocol.

The quote alone was hilarious just for the mental image. THat Cain would be subjected to that in reality due to his duties even moreso. The poor bastard.

Page 197-198

"The warp currents around Adumbria are strong, but predictable. Usually."
"They normally form a complex but stable vortex, centred on the planet itself. This, in part, accounts for the system’s position as a major trading port."
"It seems to be something to do with the orbital dynamics," Maiden said dryly.

"The fact that the world is rotationally locked sets up a resonance in the warp, which bends the currents."

"Something of an oversimplification," the astropath said, her voice surprisingly young.

"But unless you can feel them directly, it’s the closest you’re likely to get."

A bit on the warp currents and the role they play in interstellar trade. Stable currents can both permit rapid and reliable warp passage (even for civilian vessels, as the currents pushing along the gellar field can be more efficient than the hsip pushing itself along) but it shows that interesting way in which certain realspace phenomena can seeminlgy influence warp activity. I suspect it has to do more with the 'mystical' nature of planetary or orbital alignments and the nature of symbolism and geometry having an impact on the warp more than anything... or rather its just a variation of human thought and meaning having an indirect effect on the warp somehow, rather than the planet or its orbit literally affecting shit (which is in another dimension normally. The only possible connection is through people, unless this planet itself was tainted or bound to the warp in some way. Then again given how it seems to be special to Emeli, maybe it is.)

Page 198
"Three times since we got here. Big, sudden shifts. Which, in case you haven’t been paying attention, is something which definitely shouldn’t be happening."

Three major warp shifts in currents, in a matter of months, is unusual. Which says something about Warp weather in this region of space, at least. When it comes to 'stable' routes there is a certain amount of long term predictability even if warp storms are an issue.

Page 199-200
"the big question is what. If they really are responsible for this, we’re dealing with a level of power far greater than any mortal psyker could possibly wield."
"...could they have raised some kind of warp entity with sufficient power to affect the currents?
"There are daemons strong enough to do that."

Daemons exist that can alter or effect (in a short term, over periodof months) even stable warp currents. This gives Chaos a certain advnatage in warp travel if they can gain allies, since daemonic asisstance can smooth or speed up warp journeys (especially if groups work together) or hamper/impede their enemies. Such large scale activity has often been seen in black crusades (13th Black cRusade, Gothic War) and was instrumental in the Horus herey (both in assisting Horus' allies and hampering the loyalists.)

Of course what Daemons can do, the Emperor, and Imperial analogues can do also. Indeed, similar feats have been ascribed ot the Emperor and his purported 'agents' like Sebastian Thor.

Page 205-206
To fully appreciate their courage and that of their squadron commander Horatio Bugler...
As most readers have no doubt guessed, this is an early incident in the long and glorious career of Fleet Admiral Bugler. Unlike General Sulla, however, he has yet to produce his own account of it, or anything else for that matter, for which we should probably be thankful.


Page 206
From Flashing Blades! The Falchion‐class frigates in action by Leander Kasmides, 126.M42

126 years into the 42nd millenium now :P

Page 206
An interesting encounter occurred during the attempted invasion of Adumbria, a minor trading world on the fringes of the Damocles Gulf, by traitor forces in 937.M41.

Damocles gulf region again.

Page 206-207
Two Falchions had been left on picket duty in the outer system when the main invasion fleet emerged from the warp.
..both all but untried at this time, having been attached to a task force sent to the Kastafore system a few months before directly from the shipyards at Voss. There they saw little action, having been relegated to extended patrol duties in lightly‐contested regions; probably because, as a relatively new class of vessel, the fleet commanders had little idea of their capabilities, preferring to rely on the more familiar Sword‐class ships at their disposal.

Voss is way in Segmentum Ultima, meaning we're talking literally being sent 70,000 LY away. It seems they were sent a 'few months' before which suggests 2-3 months maybe, and certainly less than a year, implying a 'hundreds of thousands' of c speed. Possibly as much as half a million c, although evne then thats assuming straight-line travel.

'relatively new' is aumsing since it was something like 700 years old by that time :P

Page 207
..two of the enemy ships were positively identified as Infidel‐class raiders; the very design which was stolen by traitors from the shipyards at Monsk, and the attempted reconstruction of which had resulted in the development of the incomparable Falchion class.
... it was that epic confrontation would have to wait a little longer, until the Sabatine incident some seven months and over a hundred parsecs away.

I'll comment on this as it reinforces the Infidel is probably a frigate class design rather than destroyer, hinting that frigates can be built (Even by Chaos) within a few years or less. That the Falchion was a replacement also reinforces that.

Page 212

"Enemy fleet inbound, ETA around three days from now."

- the Chaos fleet had shortly ago emerged from warp and required three days to reach the planet. Not much different from my calcs at the start of the book really.

Page 212-213
I hadn’t envied Zyvan the call on that one. I didn't really understand the problem, naval tactics not being the kind of thing I generally paid attention to, but the main thrust of it seemed to be that the traitors had split their forcees. In the kind of warfare I was familiar with, which was all about taking or holding ground, that would have been a fatal mistake, but it seemed things were different on a system-wide scale. Apparently it takes spacecraft so long to get anywhere that once they're drawn out of position they'll never get back to it in any reasonable time frame, so the sort of mobile reserves we generally relied on to bolster a sagging line wouldn't be an option.

Cain comments on space vs ground warfare tactics, which is interesting not only for both the differences in combat implied as well as differences in roles, but also how Zyvan fits into it. One of the things this does make me wonder about is whether officers at higher than the regimental level (Colonel and better) have a different/better appreciation of tactics and warfare than individual naval or Guard officers do, given they have to consider, integrate, and understand so many disparate forces. It would seem to require a certain flexibility of thought - at least to manage it effectively.

Page 215
It’s extremely unusual for senior officers to be on first name terms with their commissars, another indication of Cain’s remarkable rapport with the regiment he was attached to.

I suppose that depends on where oyu stand. We've seen commissars in other novels (Wrath of Iron, Dark Apostle, etc.) who seem to be on good terms with the officers they are assigned to, even friendships, much as Kain has with the 597th. A sort of informal familiarity (at least at the highest echelons) seems to be a positive sign as far as an effective officer/Commissar reliationship goes.

Page 232 -
For the first and last time in Adumbrian history, the coldside was wanly illuminated by the death throes of the traitors’ transport vessel..
It eventually impacted on the hotside, about a hundred kilometres from the nominal boundary of the shadow zone, gouging a crater a little over three kilometres in diameter,

Large, Civilian transport makes a 3 km wide crater on impact Assuming it travels at 10 km/s and makes a hemispherical crater in rock (~5 megatons) we're talking maybe half a million tons or so. Probably should be an order of magnitude estimate more than anything, as its hard to measure efficiencies and such and it may be a controlled descent. If it strikes at 'only' 2 km/s for example it could be a 10 million ton freighter, for example.

Page 233
"One contact down. No, three," the auspex operator reported. "One two kilometres to the south, another in the north-eastern suburbs."

"We can see it," a new voice I recognised as one of the platoon commanders from fourth company chimed in. "First and third squads moving in to contain them."

"Contact three down in the town centre," the auspex operator continued.

"Fifth company, encircle and eliminate," Kasteen ordered, while another platoon from fourth moved up to support their comrades in the suburbs.

Benefits of Auspex to the 597th in locating and hunting down enemy forces. We know that the command chimeras at least have their own sensor and comms equipment, and are probably as equally capable as the auspex operator at the HQ (whatever form that takes), or they can relay information from the HQ to the command chimeras. Or perhaps both. either way the HQ aupsex, if not the command chimeras, have an auspex range of perhaps 12 km (if thats what one-two kilometres means, since if it was 1.2 km they'd have added that point...)

Page 234
..the three sentinel squadrons were designed for just such a task and would get to the shuttle which had grounded to the south far quicker than any other units we had.

Again, implying they are considerably faster than Chimaeras, at least in snow.

Page 235
..the snow around me began puffing into vapour under the impetus of multiple las bolt impacts.

more lasbolt snow vaporizations. Same calcs as before

Page 237

"If they made it any easier they'd be on our side," Jurgen said, triggering his melta for the third or fourth time and bringing down what seemed like most of a squad. The snow around them was littered with steaming chunks of meat where their predecessors had fared little better.

Melta killing/exploding 'most of a squad' call it more than 5 but less than 10, exploding them should take 4-8 MJ apiece (400 j per sq cm 4th degree' flay' burns) thats 20-80 MJ per blast.
If we assume 'steaming' chunks of meat means they're at/near boiling point or therea boutes (100-200 kj per kg) and we assume a 60-70 kg body on average (300-700 kg) thats between 30 and 140 MJ. Seems to be broadly consistent in that regard, at least Double digit MJ per melta blast.

Page 237

"Blood for the Blood God!" A red-uniformed trooper came screaming out of the endless night at me, his old-fashioned autogun held across his chest like a pole arm, apparently intent on using the wickedly-serrated bayonet clipped to its barrel.
"Harriers for the cup!" I riposted, shooting him in the face. His head liquefied under the impact of the las bolt and he fell heavily to the snow at my feet.

Cain gets a snappy comeback to a Khornate this time, and its one of the best comebacks yet in the book. Also he melts the head, which I take to mean he either burnt it or just is using hyperbole to say he destroyed it. If we go 3rd degree burns over most of the face (15x15) it might be 11 kj, but it might be easier just to say 'single digit kj' at least for his trusty laspistol.

Page 237
A reference to a scrumball team in the subsector league (who were knocked out in the semifinals that year, incidentally).

Cain's reference to the harriers. There are inter-subesector sports teams, rpobably another means of keeping the plebes pacified and making the wealthy rich

Page 241-242
"Big red thing, five rounds rapid fire!" Dyzun ordered, remarkably calmly under the circumstances, and the troopers snapped out of their astonishment to comply. But the twisted parody of a Marine was fast, at least as agile as one of the true heroes he aped, and leapt aside, avoiding most of it.
As ill luck would have it, his leap carried him over the heads of most of the troopers, to land almost at my feet.
..the whining chain blades triggered my duellist’s reflexes and I parried the blow with my own gently-humming chainsword without a second’s hesitation.

Not that I had any serious hope of besting him in a prolonged fight, of course; my unaugmented muscles would tire quickly, even without the strength-sapping cold, and his already superhuman endurance would be boosted by the power armour he wore. But if I could keep him pinned long enough for the troopers with me to line up a good shot and somehow disengage before they took it...
..slashing down again with his cumbersome weapon. This time I deflected it so that it struck his own leg, raising another shower of golden sparks..

Cain exchanges a few blows (and more taunts) with a World Eater... the Lamenters of the Chaos Space Marines. The 'big red thing', which leaps several metres into the air to dodge a couple squads worth of lasfire, and then promptly gets vaped by Jurgen. Its worth noting that while Cain can BRIEFLY duel a Marine (and I mean very briefly, as in two blows) he has no chance otherwise, although Khronates aren't known for their skill ro finesse. Indeed Cain probably relied more on avoidance and deflection thana ctual blocking, although it speaks to Cain's luck and exceptional nature even so.

Page 242

He never completed the motion. THe actinic light of Jurgen's melta stabbed the darkness, vaporizing the middle of his chest, and he stumbled, dropping slowly to his knees. I scrambled hurriedly to my feet, having no desire to be crushed to death under all that falling metal, and holstered my weapon.

If its literal we might be looking at hundreds or thousands of megajoules, but if his chest had been literally vaped he'd fall apart too so... Either way meltas are overkill against CSM.

Page 262 less than a battleship, moved ahead of the merchant vessels for the first time and opened up with the full awesome power of its forward batteries. Both surviving destroyers were crippled before they could even come within the range of their own guns, one being reduced to little more than a cloud of drifting debris by the first salvo.
The Spiteful was salvaged the following year and returned to service in 948, eventually meeting its end in a rather more heroic manner: this was the vessel which rammed the battleship Agonising Death at the blockade of Garomar in 999.M41, destroying it completely along with itself, and saving the lives of an estimated eighty thousand Chilians in the refugee fleet it was escorting.

- Amberley makes mention of a destroyer "reduced to a drifting hulk" and abandoned being salvaged and repaired before returning to service. Speaks to durability and salvagability even of escorts. Also destroyer ramming battleship will destroy said vessel.

Page 263
The lance batteries aboard the terrifying behemoth licked out once, destroying the bridge of the Virago and crippling the engines of the Escapade, which was soon left too far behind to continue the fight.

- a single salvo from the lance batteries of a large Battleship (probably 6-7 km range, maybe slightly bigger) penetrated the shields and inflicted damage on a pair of frigates (Falchion-class - bridge damage to one and engine damage to another).

Page 266

Fit for duty was stretching it a bit, he'd taken a las bolt to the chest and was damn lucky the flak armour under his greatcoat had absorbed most of the impact, but there was nothing they could do for him now except wait for him to recover naturally and for the ribs to knit back together.

We dont know the strength or type of las shot, but again Valhallan flak in the cain novels seems less protective than the flak greatcoats in Ice Guard. whats more this injury seems to be more mechanical than thermal, as it damages bones.

Of course it seems to be the flexible 'cloth' flak, which is always less protective than the rigid plates :P

Page 267
Captain Kelton had been unlucky enough to run straight into a group of heretics armed with rocket launchers, and a couple had penetrated the hull armour of her command Chimera with inevitable results.
This was far from ideal and a striking example of why taking AFVs into a cityfight against infantry is one hell of a risk.
Armoured Fighting Vehicles, a generic term used by the Guard to refer to anything from a Salamander to a Baneblade.

Krak missile penetrates chimera armour, AFVs defined, and their dangers in close combat.

Page 271-272
We still had a couple of hundred warm bodies in third company, and being Guard troopers first and foremost they could shoot as well as anyone, but the thought of relying on a motley collection of cooks, medicae orderlies and the regimental band to protect our hides from a frothing swarm of homicidal lunatics wasn’t exactly comforting. (Though it was marginally more so than the idea of the enginseers being issued with lasguns and shown which end to point forwards; being cogboys they could tell you every detail of how they worked, but couldn’t hit the side of a starship if they were standing in one of the cargo holds.)

Cain defines the 597ths 'rear echlon' troops, basically the other elements of the regiment not dedicated purelty as frontline troops (including the logistics and medical branch.) They can still fight, though. The techpriest bit is interesting given Only War (and more than a few other novels like Cadian blood) specify that enginseers are rather more militantly inclined (and equipped in such a fashion) than Cain suggests. Whether this is a peculiarity of Cain's regiment, or just an inidcation of its level of technological sophistication (and hence need for more extensive support) we don't know.

Page 272

"Contacts closing, fifty kilometres out," the auspex operator droned, her voice as emotionless as a serivtor. "Descending rapidly. Forty three kilometers and closing.

HQ auspex range.

Page 274
Assuming our rear echelon troopers were up to the job, which they most certainly should be. And if push came to shove we still had a company of front-line combat troops in reserve.

Again the aformentioned troops (orderlies, cooks, band etc.) are the 'rear echelon' troops, makign a distinction between different 'qualities' of trooper.

Page 274-275
She indicated the main hololith, where contact icons were springing up all over the planet.
From what I could see, bitter fighting was beginning to erupt in nearly every population centre and the PDF were being hard pressed throughout the shadow zone, even where they were being supported by the Kastaforeans. It was credits to carrots that Zyvan would be calling his mobile reserves into action any time now..

Mobile reserves being the shuttles he assigned to each regiment earlier, but this basically agian shows the 597th's Hololiths giving Cain and the rest an idea of what the planet as a whole is enduring (EG they're getting data feeds from all ove rthe planet, its eems.)

Page 275
What we really needed was some serious firepower, but the sentinels had all been deployed with the ambushers out at the hab dome, so the best we could muster was small-arms and a few man-portable heavy weapons. Unfortunately, the number of people on the base capable of using the heavy stuff, apart from the specialists in second company who had been strapped into their crash webbing aboard the dropship since the first alert, were few and far between.

Another drawback of the 'rear echelon' troops, they lack much in the way of heavy weapons and mainly get by with small arms, and lack the training to use them (effectively.)

Page 281
I tried to find some more of the defenders on my comm-bead, but none of them had tactical communications kit, so it was a futile gesture; in the end I had to make do with voxing the command centre and letting them know what was going on.

The 597th's rear echelon forces don't seem to use comm beads. I guess they only give them to the frontline troops.

Page 284-285

"Very good, sir." Jurgen squeezed the trigger, aiming for the thinner armour of the flank, and the idiots who'd attacked it in the first place cheered wildly (At least, the ones who weren't thrashing around in the snow bleeding to death did). The blast of superheated plasma punched through the side skirts, shredding the tracks, and the metal leviathan slewed to a halt, its engine screaming.

Jurgen taking down HEretic Russ. 'plasma blast' is odd, but probably refers to the effect of the melta on the air rather than actually being a plasma weapon. Shreds the trascks but no serious damage otherwise.

Page 285

Jurgen couldn't fire again with those idiots blocking his shot, and if the traitors managed to get a shell off at this range they'd hit the orbital transport for sure. I tried to picture the size of the ensuing explosion if they managed to penetrate its hull armour, and failed; all I was sure of was that there'd be precious little of the compound left, and I'd be a small cloud of drifting vapour.

Effect of battle cannon shot going off inside shuttle. HArd to calc (or ascribe the effects to one particular cause) but its nasty. Considering that shuttles before (even civilian) were highly resistant to lascannon fire that tells you something about battle cannon shells.

Page 288
Furthermore, there were the merchant ships to consider, a little over a thousand of them at this point, all helpless against the predator closing in on them.

Adumbria, recall is a major trading hub for the eastern fringe, and that gives us an idea of how many merhcnat vessels such a region routinely attracts.

Page 290
..I checked the dispositions of the platoons under me in the tactical display of the company command Chimera, finding the routine comfortingly familiar. Indeed, were it not for the extra datafeeds and vox links surrounding me, I could almost have fancied myself back in command of my old platoon.

Compny levle Chimeras in the 597th have tactical displays giving the dispostiions of the platoons under its command, including datafeeds (from those other troops.) It is implied that Platoon level command vehicles have similar setups (including the datafeeds.)

Page 295-296

..for a moment or two I did little more than catch my breath, slumping to the cold metal floor of the cargo bay as the surge of skyward acceleration continued. I had precious little time to reflect on it, however, since my comm-bead was full of voices demanding to know what in the warp was going on.

"We’re aboard the dropship," I told Kasteen as quickly as I could, conscious that my short-range personal vox wouldn’t be able to stay in contact with her for very long.

Cain and Kasteen exchange a few more sentences, but the implied range is probably close to half a km or so range - we're talking a good 5-10 seconds of convo at least, prboably at least a 100 m/s or more travel speed. several km seems more likely.

PAge 296-297
...I had to retune my comm-bead to use the ship’s vox as a relay instead of the rapidly-receding set in the regimental HQ.

Cain has to retune his comm bead to use the shipboard vox to boost his bead signal rather than regimental HQ vox.

Page 297
The dropships were designed to carry a full company, which in some regiments can mean six platoons instead of the five the 597th habitually fielded, at least during my time with them, and our platoons normally consisted of five squads instead of the six theoretically allowed for by the SO&E).

- Cain notes that in some regiments a full company can mean as many as six platoons (instead of the five platoons of five squads each the VAlhallans usually have) and that the drop ship was designed with this in mind. Which means that the transports had even more capacity than even I initially assumed :P

page 297
Slate of Organisation and Equipment, a slightly archaic term still in use by the 597th to refer to their personnel disposition. The so-called "ghost squads" could be filled in by fresh recruits when the regiment returned to Valhalla to replenish its numbers, or should sufficient inductees be found, an entire new company added to the roster. In practice, most commanders would prefer to have the new men dispersed among experienced platoons where they could learn from the veterans by example. It's by no means unusual for Imperial Guard companies to consist of fewer platoons, and the platoons of fewer squads, than their theoretical full complement; indeed, it was only the administrative error alluded to earlier which kept the 597th at a relatively steady number of soldiers despite their combat losses. .

SO&E (antohr word for TO&E) described, more elaboration on recruitment to fill out the Vallhallans ranks, and the variability of organization depending on number of recruits - eg the number of platoons could grow or shrink depending on circumstnaces (the 'ghost squads' in other words.)

Page 300

"Can you transfer the maritime datafiles?" I asked, sprinting back into the passenger compartment and snatching a slate from a startled Detoi. Fortunately, young Kolbe wasn’t too busy splatting heretics to transmit the information, and it began to scroll across the screen with startling rapidity.

- Cain requests that the local praetor/PDF forces transmit certain info files to his data-slate, indicative of the ability of such devices to share/receive information with one another (obviously it has some sort of vox uplink, something alluded to in some Gaunt's Ghost's novels.) I suppose its possible that he had the data transferred to teh dropship and then downloaded it into the slate - although no mention was made of such, it is withint he capabilities of such slates.

Page 301
"Our immediate priority has to be the defence of the capital. I’m bringing in you, the Tallarn and the Kastaforean rapid reaction companies, and dispatching a tank squadron from the 425th Armoured. If you can deploy behind the invaders and cut them off we can put an end to this."

More of Zyvan's tactics during the battle.

Page 302
"They’re floating manufactoria, which scoop up mineral deposits from the floor of the ocean and process them on the spot. Apparently they can do that here because the seas are so shallow."

Mineral dredger.

Page 304
The imperial Navy also has commissars attached to it, though in lesser numbers than the Guard..

Naval commissars. We saw Kyogen in the BFG novels as an example of such.

Page 305
...and seeing off a bunch of loony berserkers too carried away with bloodlust to use sensible tactics or even fire their guns half the time was little more than a sideshow.

Khornate vs IG tactics. Or at least tactics Cain and the Valhallans are used to

Page 309

The World Eater leading the assault on Skitterfall appears to have been killed with gratifying thoroughness by an anti-tank squad from one of the Kastaforean regiments. (Two krak missiles and a lascannon not having left an awful lot to identify for sure)

Overkill to take down CSM.

Page 311
The dredger was vast, filling the whole of the pane..
It loomed out of the sea ahead of us like a stranded hab block, fully a couple of kilometres from stem to stern, about half that wide and several hundred metres in height. And that, I suddenly realised, would just be the part above the waterline, there would be almost as much of the thing below the surface too.

Mineral dredger again. Once more the scale of oceangoing or industrial vessels the Imperium uses is truly astonishing. Thats millions of tons (or more) simply for one purpose.

Page 311
..Detoi engrossed in a set of schematics he’d managed to pull up from the files in his data-slate.
Or, more likely, had had transmitted from somewhere. The plans of the dredgers would have been readily available to anyone with an appropriate security clearance.

- Again Amberley mentions that Cain could have had important information (this time the schematics of the dredger) transmitted to his data slate from another location.

Page 326

At ranges almost too great for the mind to grasp, combat was eventually joined, ravening energies of barely conceivable power reaching out to strike at the Imperial vessels in orbit.

The Indestructible was to live up to her glorious name., however, despite the grievous wounds she suffered from that first strike, retaliating with her dorsal lance battery which alone could match the range of the formidable firepower unleashed by the Chaotic vessel. It was a heroic gesture, but seemed to some observers to be futile, since it was far less powerful than the shots she'd received, but if nothing else it served to goad the battleship into reckless action, increasing its speed in an attempt to close and decide the matter. To the astonishment of all, ,however, the Indestructible reversed her engines, giving ground and retreating slowly in the face of the aggressor.

Implied range of lance weaponry outperforming weapons batteries (and perhaps even torpedoes)

Page 327
The feeble armament of a cargo ship would normally be no threat at all to such a mighty engine of destruction, but now it was surrounded by nearly a thousand of them, which, instead of attempting to flee as the murderous cowards aboard the battleship would no doubt have expected, began to swarm towards them, bringing their puny defensive batteries to bear as they did so.
Though its powerful weapons lashed out again and again, swatting one or two at a time, it could never hope to make much difference to so mighty a host, and once the Indestructible had returned to the fray, crippling its engines, the end was inevitable.

- a thousand merchant ships' defensive batteries were enough to assist a battle cruiser in destroying an enemy battleship. The battleship, in return could onyl destroy a couple transports at a time with a single weapon's volley. Even merchant ships can be dangeorus in the right circumstances :P

PAge 337
For the World Eaters to have mounted a successful deep strike by teleporter through the bulk of the entire planet would have been a remarkable feat to say the least; we can only speculate about how many attempts this would have taken, and how many would have ended up entombed in the core of Adumbria or drowned in the sea surrounding the dredger before this particular squad made it through. Or perhaps the distortion of the warp currents initiated by their enemies were what made it possible.

Its possible (but dangerous) to teleport through a planet, implying a teleporter range of tens of thousands of km easily... but there's dangers involved (either due to the intervening mass, hinting that this isn't 'warp based' teleporting) or because of accuracy issues. It may also only be possible due to the unusual conditions around the planet and by the warp craft being performed.

Page 349
The troopers with me, Valhallans and Tallarns alike, followed suit, and the front of the giant’s armour rang like a foundry with the impact of scores of las bolts. Nevertheless, on he came..

- "scores" of las-bolts from around twenty las-weapons (two las-pistols) impact the front armor of a Chaos Space Marine and barely damage it. Given we know 'dozens' in the Dark Apostle novels can down a CSM, it may either speak to variances in Power armor protection, the bloodrage of the Khornate, or that range (or coordination of fire) are vital in killing a CSM with lasguns.

Page 350
Spying a rent in the ceremite armour, made by a krak grenade if I was any judge, I rammed the humming blade deep into the gouge, feeling to my intense relief the whirring teeth bite home on sinew and bone.

- Cain shoves his chainsword into a "rent" in the CSM's armour made by what he estimates to be a krak grenade. Said grenade would have made a hole at least several inches (2-4 depending on how wide you believe chianswords to be) in diameter were the chainsword be able to get in. Either way krak grenade in this case wasn't a guarntee to kill a Khornate either.

PAge 353
The sheer weight of numbers ranged against them seemed to be telling, ,there must have been over a hundred of the cultists still on their feet, and at leat half as many again already wallowing in their own blood.

Size of the enemy forces ranged against the remaining CSMs.

Page 354
Their victory over the tainted Marines should have been assured, their numbers telling against even so doughty a foe, and no doubt had they been Guardsmen or PDF troopers they would have prevailed without taking a tenth of the casualties they had.

However, these were civilians, not warriors, and barmy to boot

- Cain notes that unlike the Slaaneshi cultists, who take over 100-150 casualties from fighting the remaining three World Eaters, a trained, disciplined Imperial Guard of equal number could have taken them out with a tenth of the casualties. Again speaks to what is needed to take down CSM,s at least in a genreous way.

Page 356

Jurgen's melta ripped a ragged hole through their lines, vaporising flesh and bone, to leave a narrow corridor of flash-burned victims writhing and screaming on either side where the air around the superheated plasma burst had scorched and seared them, and the rest of us opened up on the survivors to widen it.

Melta leaves flash burns but vaporizes a bunch of people... again at least double/triple digit MJ, probably more with flash burns.

Page 357-358
..Revik went down, blood leaking from a jagged rent in his torso armour, and Vorhees and Drere picked him up by an arm each, barely breaking stride as they did so. They even kept firing, although aiming their lasguns one-handed didn’t do a hell of a lot for their accuracy.
Magot, who was ripping Revik’s body armour away in an attempt to find his wound and stem the bleeding.

Lasfire again, flak armour is less 'stopping' damage here as it is mitigating it, although in this case it doesnt even seem to do that.

Also firing a lasgun one handed reduces accuracy.

Page 359

"Luckily it was a las-bolt." As I've had occasion to be grateful for myself more than once, they tend to cauterise the wounds they make, cutting down the amount of bleeding considerably. A solid round will leave a hole you can bleed to death from frighteningly fast.

The aforementioned Valhallan guardsman hit in the torso, lasguns clearly are not 'total' cauteirzation, but they do so enough to reduce risks of bleeding out.

Page 362
Several of the cultists close to us began to shiver, ululating in ecstasy, the flesh of their bodies flowing together like melting wax.
Fully twice the height of a man, with limbs inhumanly lithe, a body curved and rounded in a manner indisputably feminine, yet for all that both hideous and attractive in a manner utterly inhuman.

. This is interesting from the perspective in that it hints that daemons do not "create" matter out of thin air, but rather manipualte/shape existing matter to suit their own purposes (much like the metal-demon from "First and Only".) This makes sense from a Conservation of mass/energy perspective as well as a psyker/warp perspective - Daemons by their nature are not supposed to be able to retain their form/shape in the Materium for any length of time unless they are bound into someone or something (IE a Daemonhost). Presuambly the same woudl be any sort of 'pseudo-matter' they could create or conjure. Thus it behoove sthem to create or otherwise acquire a physical form from materium "matter".

Page 365
ʹThen the prophet spoke: saying ʹFrak this, for my faith is a shield proof against your blandishments!ʹ
- Alem Mahat, The Book of Cain, Chapter IV, Verse XXI1
The thought that there’s a fringe sect on Tallarn which reveres him as a prophet of the Emperor, and a physical conduit of His Divine Will, is a truly terrifying one. Nevertheless, in my more whimsical moments I must confess that I do find the idea somewhat appealing, if only for the fact that he would have been so utterly appalled at the idea if he’d ever found out about it.

Mahat was one of the Tallarns with Cain and had grown to be in awe of him, especially witnessing him take down a CSM (or seem to.) So much so, he goes on to found a subcult devoted to Saint Cain on Tallarn. As Amberley notes, its amusing simply for the way Cain would react to it, and the idea of Cain as a saint, but you have to admit it has some merit to it - I mean the guy is lucky as fuck and seems to be in the right place at the right time more often than not. Hero of the Imperium, and all that.

Page 366
I didn’t expect a couple of lasguns to make much difference, to be honest, but Jurgen’s melta might just be enough to hurt it, and if we could do enough damage to disrupt its physical presence here it would be drawn back into the warp.

- Cain notes that a "couple lasguns" won't hurt the daemon, but Jurgen's melta might. He also notes that if they can disrupt its physical presence here (IE the body) it would be drawn back into the warp.) Again disrupt the physical body is the key to banishing the daemon.

Page 367 -

The other [World Eater] she picked up and threw against the wall, which deformed into a dent the depth of my forearm under the impact, leaving the corpse to bounce randomly and fall to the metal floor beneath with a sound like somebody dropping an armful of buckets (crushing a couple of her own cultists in the process, but I don't suppose she was too bothered about that.)[/quote]

Indication fo daemon prince (or princess's) strength. Consideirng the CSM must weigh half a ton or more that's impressive.

Page 369

"You're opening a warp portal"..


"No, silly. I'm making the whole planet into a portal. Half in and half out of the warp, where my firends can come and go as they please and we can shape reality as we see fit."

Earlier the daemon mentions having "absorbed enough energy" from her minions to "break the barrier between the realms for good". Which leads Cain to the conclusion about the warp portal, and gives us an idea of the levels of sacrifice and ritual needed, at least for this particular case.

Page 370-373
..apparently unphased by the detonation of the las bolt, which did nothing beyond marring the pale flesh of her skin.
The blemish disappeared, fading into invisibility in the space of a heartbeat.
I fired again, and this time the las bolt left a real wound, a faint pockmark which leaked some ichorous fluid. I nudged Jurgen’s arm, urging him forward. We had to stay close to her.
More wounds [Tallarn lasfire] began to open across that pale and sensuous skin.
A bright, actinic flash seared through my closed eyelids, leaving dancing afterimages on my retina, I blinked my vision clear and found the daemon reeling, a hole punched clear through its torso. Any mortal creature would surely have found such a wound instantly fatal, but Emeli simply staggered...
He [Jurgen] stumbled into the daemon’s leg, and it screeched as though he was white hot, leaping away with an expression I can only describe as terror on its face.

That was all the opening I needed. I fired the melta again, blowing a chunk of its head away.
And it staggered, its entire body erupting in spatters of ichor. The crackle of lasguns echoed around the chamber, deafening me and drowning out even the shrieking of the doomed warp entity. For a moment it writhed, tormented, unable to decide where to go, then it vanished with a thunderclap of imploding air. Dazed, I stared around the room, finding it packed with Valhallan uniforms.

Punishment daemon princess endures before finally being banished. Jurgen is rather key here, as his aura seems to prevent her from healing (or at least, knitting her substance back together.) Without him, one imagines banishing the daemoness would have been much more difficult, melta or no melta.

Also not only can Jurgen nullify psychic and daemonic effects, his touch is actually harmful/painful to such beings, like holy water ot a vampire.

Page 375
...Zyvan graciously allowed the Commissariat to convene the tribunal in his headquarters on Adumbria once the warp currents had stabilised enough to put the astropaths back to work, and a brisk exchange of signal traffic had established that no one could be bothered making the trip out from the subsector office on Corania for what everyone involved seemed to think was an open and shut case.

Which implies both long range (Tens of LY) and fairly rapid transit times for such communications.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Bedlam » 2013-05-23 05:44pm

Page 14


By this point, roughly five years after the adventures on Simia Orichalcae presented in the previous volume, Cain was almost a third of the way though his period of service with the 597th.

Commissars (at least in Damocles Gulf) have 15 year tours with their regiments.

I wouldn't take this as a rule, it just indicates that Cain spent 15 years with the 597th not that that's how things usually go. I suspect Commissars serve until the regiment is retired, they die or get assigned to something else rather than having a specific tour length

Page 162


The catchphrase of Arbitrator Foreboding, a popular holo-character of the lime, who battled criminals, heretics and mutants with relish and a very big gun.

Another holo character in the vein of 'Attack Run'. 40K version of detective dramas or 'cop shows' I guess.

And a judge Dredd joke

Page 177


A ratling gardener was staring at us and the deep furrows across what had obviously once been a lovingly-tended lawn, with an expression of stupefied astonishment even more pronounced than was usual for his kind. As his eyes fell on Jurgen he started visibly and fled.

"Mister Spavin!" he cried as he went. "Mister Spavin! The doom’s come upon us at last"

I suspect this is another one of those 'references' Mitchell throws in, but I simply don't recognize it.

I think it might be a Lord of the rings thing, the gardener is Sam.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Darmalus » 2013-05-23 06:00pm

Mahat was one of the Tallarns with Cain and had grown to be in awe of him, especially witnessing him take down a CSM (or seem to.) So much so, he goes on to found a subcult devoted to Saint Cain on Tallarn. As Amberley notes, its amusing simply for the way Cain would react to it, and the idea of Cain as a saint, but you have to admit it has some merit to it - I mean the guy is lucky as fuck and seems to be in the right place at the right time more often than not. Hero of the Imperium, and all that.

Ever hear that joke about the religious man and the flood?

There once was a man who lived in a two story house. The house was near a river and unfortunately the river began to flood.

As the river rose, warnings were given via radio, TV and shortwave. Large jeeps drove through the area to evacuate people. As a jeep drove by the man's house, he was told:

"You are in danger. Your life is at stake. You must evacuate. Get in the Jeep. Let us help you evacuate."

"No," the man replied from his doorstep. "I have faith. I will be ok. The flood won't get me. God will take care of me."

The water continued to rise.

Soon the man was on the second floor. A boat was going through the area and arrived at the man's house. Rescuers made every effort to convince the man to take action so that his life would be saved.

"You are in danger. Your life is at stake. You will drown in the flood."

"No worries," says the man. "I have faith. Everything is ok. Even though the flood is rising, I will be fine. God will take care of me."

The flood continued to rise.

The man went to the roof to avoid the rising water. A helicopter pilot sees him on top of the roof and hovers above the man. Using a megaphone, the pilot tries to convince the man to grab the rope ladder which was dangling above his head.

"You are in danger. The flood is still rising. You will drown if you do not grab the rope ladder. Let us help you."

"No worries." says the man. "I will be fine. Yes, the flood is higher but I have faith. God will take care of me."

The flood rises. The man drowns.

At the pearly gates, the man says to God: "I had faith. You let me die."

To which God replies: "I sent you a jeep, a boat and a helicopter. What more could I have done for you?"

When I think about the possibility of Cain being a prophet or somesuch, that's what I tend to think of. He doesn't glow with holy energy or burn heretics with his mind, but he does seem to be in the right place at the right time with the right tools to hurt Chaos pretty badly. One of the Emperor's subtler weapons.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Simon_Jester » 2013-05-24 02:35am

Some stuff in response to some of this, which I read tonight:

Connor MacLeod wrote:The 'improvised' means of deploying the Valhallans. The interesting thing is, that by Cain's comments, that he would expect a military drop ship to be better than this arrangement as far as deployment goes, suggesting that the military dropships normally carry more than two platoons - possibly a full company.
And/or they allow the troops to disembark faster, or let the troops ride inside their vehicles to make a quick movement away from the drop zone easier, or are better protected and less likely to be damaged by some joker with a shoulder-fired missile launcher.

There are a LOT of considerations in a troop landing other than "capacity." This is why the Normandy landings were not (and could not have been) staged by an army in rowboats. Even though sure, one guy in a rowboat could totally have covered the distance from the troopships to the shore, an army trying to do the same would get slaughtered.

The cargo hauler landing Cain and his Vahallans would take 'hours' to abort its current run and return to orbit.
You missed something: it only has enough life support to keep ~100 troops alive for a few hours. Probably, that's based on however much air it carries, divided by the number of people breathing that air. This could be yet another reason why the Valhallans think the shuttles kind of suck as a way to deploy troops. :D

Another intersting passage. For one thing the 'shuttles' - which basically the nonmilitary equivalent of 'attack craft' in this context - are basically small fucking starships. And the tanker carries a fucking dozen. It probably has to be cruiser sized at least (given the numbers at least a few km, and probably more than that when you consider engines tpyically make up 1/3 the length of a ship)
The tanker's shuttles are not actually that much larger than existing oil tankers, either. The biggest ones are over 400 meters long and carry damn near 600 thousand tons of oil.

Since tankers are basically big steel cans with engines bolted on, they are very, very cheap for their (absurdly large) tonnage. That goes for the mothership in this case, probably more so than it does for the shuttles because unlike the shuttles, the mothership doesn't have to be able to handle the stress and workload of taking off and landing from planetary bases.

Orks open fire at better than 200 metres range (probably more, we just don't know quite how much more. And they still miss. Poor Orks.
Missing at 200 meters with automatic weapons is actually fairly normal. The reason armies in real life adopted assault rifles is that typical infantrymen lack the training and aptitude to hit targets more than 100-200 meters away anyway. Rifles that fire heavier cartridges are typically more effective beyond that range, but assault rifles win at shorter distances because lighter cartridges mean you can carry more ammo and be just as dangerous to enemies you have a realistic prayer of hitting.

Think of them as the compromise point between the heavy semiautomatic and bolt-action rifles of WWII and a submachine gun.

Now, if we assume the Valhallans default to very badass training by human standards (optional, FAR from certain), and that their use of laser weapons "spoils" them in terms of the kind of accuracy that's physically possible from a normal weapon (lasers > guns for ease of aiming)... then it starts making sense that the Guard would totally expect people to hit their targets at this range. But not all Guardsmen are going to shoot that well, let alone all orks, given that orks are prone to shit like firing wildly into the air just to make noise and be scary.

Page 37
The facility seemed to be equally dependent on the three factions present to keep functioning, or at least that’s what Pryke fondly imagined, although I’d have laid a small wager that putting the Administratum drones out in the snow to keep the orks amused while we prepared our defences would have had a negligible effect on the promethium output.

Cain has the same opinion of the Administratum I do. They just push papers, while the miners do the mining, and the AdMech maintains the Machines. Two essentials not three.
Good luck requisitioning or purchasing more parkas to keep everyone from freezing to death. :D

Comment on 'rapid deployment' in scope and time, and the ork use of teleporters. Presumably this is 'rapid deployment' by Guard standard. Given the capability ot be deployed by starship, its hardly surprising. That works out to tens of thousands of km in 48-72 hours for an average speed of 277-416 km/hr nonstop (And not allowing for any prep time or anything but flying really.)
Or allowing time for those things, and flying at the speed of a normal Boeing 747... :D

80 m tall ork gargant.. which in retrospect puts it well above Warlord and approaching Imperator fucking height. That's fucking insane (Esp since its combustion pwoered. Only be steam powered could be worse.
Assuming it's not stupidly wide or thick and has considerable internal spaces for orks to ride in, this is actually comparable to the largest real combustion-powered vehicles. Add a dose of WAAAGH! and it'd work. Sort of.

Connor MacLeod wrote:Even if I am wrong (and that is always possible), there are other answers. Its quite possible it wasnt significnatly vaporized, only partially. If the ice was merely melted or boiled (boiling could be a close enough approximation to steam) ...
Fog is equivalent to steam, visually- but you can get fog from a bunch of five-degree-Celsius water droplets floating in the air...

Amberley comments on trawling data to recover peritnent reports and data to pad out her archives and provide context and clarification as she often does. That Amberley is able to find what she's looking for given the hseer implied volume of Administratum record keeping (and the hints in many other sources about how they mindlessly collate all sorts of precise data without any reference or organization as to its utility or importance, the informational equivalent of a pack rat.) it says something about the information-sifting capabilities of said Inquisition.
And, in this case, Caractacus Mott...

Captain Federer of the engineering contingent..
Sappers, to be precise. Whether Valhallans have them normally or if this was part of the male component of the previous regiment, I don't know. Given that the men were a planetary assault regiment and the women garrison duties (40K glass ceiling in effect, given they were rear echelon at that vs the men's 'front line' status.) it seems likely they would have had engineers.
Certain types of rear echelon units would probably also have engineering detachments- say, logistics commands that are supposed to keep roads open when the enemy keeps bombing and strafing them...

Connor MacLeod wrote:Implied range for gargant On the horizon isn't too helpful nor is 'handful of kilometres' but we can guess at least a few km.. possibly as high as 20-30 km (line of sight to horizon, 80m tall gargant, and assuming it includes guns that are mounted on the very top of the hulk) Probably not quite that far but not impossible, we've known battle titans (and Imperators) to have 'horizon' ranges easily too. On the other hand, givne context, I'd guess half that or less is more likely.
Also, orks love ballistic weapons and it would be stupidly easy to mount something like 6" artillery on something that big, which could easily have ranges out to and beyond the horizon and be able to shoot over small mountains.

Advantages and drawbacks to Stormtrooper training, wrt squad unity/cohesion and replacement. What happens when the storm troopers become 'ineffective' we don't know.
Depending on circumstances:
-The greatly reduced squad could commit suicide-by-enemy, undertaking some ridiculously lethal mission and being too outnumbered to live.
-They could be sent to teach the next generation of stormtroopers: rotation back to a training command is a common fate for long service veterans in any case.
-The last survivor of such a unit might be assumed by default to be fit for Inquisitorial service, and the Inquisition makes a common practice of recruiting this sort of 'lost soul' who has no normal role in the Imperial social structure.

Page 212
My aide was shining his luminator down a narrow cylinder punched into the ice lining the tunnel, about the width of my forearm and deep beyond the strength of the lamp he carried to pick out the end.
The only possible explanation was a stray gauss flayer shot striking the tunnel wall.

A gauss flayer which peculiarily punches a deep hole in inorganic matter, rather than the 'creeping disintegration' we got with the Orks.
This reflects on their purported antitank capabilities, which are advertised as being able to burn deep holes into armored vehicles as well in some of the fluff.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Simon_Jester » 2013-05-24 08:25pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:The ore barge is large enough to carry a quarter million people, albeit crowded. At least a day to load them.
For reference, this requires about three people boarding the barge every second for a day- manageable with big enough entrances and plenty of troops to keep order, if there's enough shuttles and airlocks. Packing the people into the barge- hm. Cross-reference to, say, the crowds camped out in stadiums during Hurricane Katrina and add a bit for Imperial brutalism to get a rough estimate of its size...?

The Salamander has a map-slate. Also the Valhallans fire a barrage on Cain's position. Assuming 5 minutes to travle and 812 m/s velocity from Imperial armour, at a 45 degree angle would work to a 'linear' distance (If I did the math right) of around 70-80 km roughly.
If you fire a shell at 812 m/s at 45 degrees in terrestrial gravity in a vacuum, it will remain airborne for about two minutes and cover 67 kilometers. In atmosphere you don't get as much range. Upping muzzle velocity helps, but you hit diminishing returns eventually because the shell has to use a flat trajectory or it'll take forever going up and then down... which in turn means it experiences a disproportionate amount of atmospheric drag because it doesn't spend the bulk of its flight path in the upper atmosphere.

There's also the issue of targeting. Cain ordered a bombardment without giving coordinates, so the Earthshakers had to home in on him somehow, indicating they have some means of locating and transmitting that data other than verbally (GPS or some equivalent, homing beacon, whatever.)
Did he phone in his location earlier?

Connor MacLeod wrote:It's both gratifying and surprising to see that (at least in some cases) teh guard will engage in some postwar, goodwill rebuilding. I wouldn't try to make any sweeping generalizations about the Imperium's policies in this respect, but I am certain this reflect's Zyvan's own policies withn the sector, and it at least demonstrates what a more sane, politically and militarily competent, and diplomatic Lord General might be capable of.
This can also tie into Guard policies of settlement on land regained by Guard actions.

Connor MacLeod wrote: - the planet's star port receives "thousands" of shuttle flights a day. Which probably is mostly traffic given the comments about 'visitations' by people.
Much of this traffic may be intrasystem- the planet all this is taking place on isn't exactly a paradise and has a very small habitable zone, so the population of "void-born" habitats and orbital industrial concerns may be considerable even compared to the population of the main planet.

Page 162
The catchphrase of Arbitrator Foreboding, a popular holo-character of the lime, who battled criminals, heretics and mutants with relish and a very big gun.

Another holo character in the vein of 'Attack Run'. 40K version of detective dramas or 'cop shows' I guess.
If you were a Brit you would so get the reference. :D

Arbitrator gear. Comm bead in helmet, full body armor, and a very large bore shotgun. If we take CAin's statement at face value, the size of the ammo the riot gun uses is quite big (bigger than a bolt round, perhaps?)
There are several types of shotgun ammo that can profitably be made that big, so sure, why not? Hell, a 12-gauge is just over 3/4 inch in diameter already, which is probably big enough right there unless Cain has hands the size of small hams.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Ahriman238 » 2013-05-25 02:18pm

Nothing about Tomas Beije? Not even the mechanisms the Commisariat have for disciplining one of their own?

It was sort of hilarious how the Valhallans turned 'survived two blows from a CSM, till Jurgen killed it' to 'casually bested a CSM in close combat.' Then he later he sort of coup de graces a dying Marine and cements the idea.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-06-01 01:59pm

Simon_Jester wrote:And/or they allow the troops to disembark faster, or let the troops ride inside their vehicles to make a quick movement away from the drop zone easier, or are better protected and less likely to be damaged by some joker with a shoulder-fired missile launcher.

There are a LOT of considerations in a troop landing other than "capacity." This is why the Normandy landings were not (and could not have been) staged by an army in rowboats. Even though sure, one guy in a rowboat could totally have covered the distance from the troopships to the shore, an army trying to do the same would get slaughtered.

Oh there are lots of considerations which is why there are all kinds of troop ships. Some of the bigger ones for example aren't just about huge capacity, but will be heavily armed and armoued for deployment into warzones. The huge ass drop ships on the cover of the 5th edition IG Codex (a clearer picture of which is seen in the 6th editon core rules.) is a good example of this, or the Tetrarch heavy landers, or devourer class dropships.

Smaller shuttle/landers probably are more easily replaced/built and may be faster/more nimble (even without weapons) so there are benefits. Dropships seem to vary in sophistication and capability like pretty much everything else in 40K, and can range in carrying capacity from platoons (or squads in the case of the Arvus lighter) to multiple regiments and may be miniature Acclamators in all but name (again the cover of the 5th edition IG Codex. lol)

You missed something: it only has enough life support to keep ~100 troops alive for a few hours. Probably, that's based on however much air it carries, divided by the number of people breathing that air. This could be yet another reason why the Valhallans think the shuttles kind of suck as a way to deploy troops. :D

True, I did not consider that. They may not even have dedicated life support at all, and its some sort of ad hoc arrangement or improvised somethign with the existing life support.

The tanker's shuttles are not actually that much larger than existing oil tankers, either. The biggest ones are over 400 meters long and carry damn near 600 thousand tons of oil.

Since tankers are basically big steel cans with engines bolted on, they are very, very cheap for their (absurdly large) tonnage. That goes for the mothership in this case, probably more so than it does for the shuttles because unlike the shuttles, the mothership doesn't have to be able to handle the stress and workload of taking off and landing from planetary bases.

There is also the fact they're hauling over half a megaton of mass into orbit without boosters or staging of any kind. Even if it is cheap and says nothing about the mothership, its still impressive (Especialyl as they have to survive reentry/exit in some fashion as well. Routinely at that.)

Missing at 200 meters with automatic weapons is actually fairly normal. The reason armies in real life adopted assault rifles is that typical infantrymen lack the training and aptitude to hit targets more than 100-200 meters away anyway. Rifles that fire heavier cartridges are typically more effective beyond that range, but assault rifles win at shorter distances because lighter cartridges mean you can carry more ammo and be just as dangerous to enemies you have a realistic prayer of hitting.

Think of them as the compromise point between the heavy semiautomatic and bolt-action rifles of WWII and a submachine gun.

Now, if we assume the Valhallans default to very badass training by human standards (optional, FAR from certain), and that their use of laser weapons "spoils" them in terms of the kind of accuracy that's physically possible from a normal weapon (lasers > guns for ease of aiming)... then it starts making sense that the Guard would totally expect people to hit their targets at this range. But not all Guardsmen are going to shoot that well, let alone all orks, given that orks are prone to shit like firing wildly into the air just to make noise and be scary.

Good point, although its unliekly lasfire is powerful enough to generate significant recoil (at least not without some sort of explosive reaction or expulsion going on with considerable force - possible but unlikely.) Given you can sometimes fire the rifle one handed (in these novels at least) that probably means they're considerably more accurate than gunfire. Plus its just a general perception of Orks from teh game and the rules - they can't shoot worth a damn at most ranges. Despite what I may say, game mechanics does creep into the fluff more often than not.

Good luck requisitioning or purchasing more parkas to keep everyone from freezing to death. :D

That assumes the Administratum considered them neccessary to begin with or would have been inclined to give consideration to such matters. Its quite possible for some clerk to decide its more inconvenient (for him at least) to assign the required cold weather gear than it is to risk the miners freezing to death.

Assuming it's not stupidly wide or thick and has considerable internal spaces for orks to ride in, this is actually comparable to the largest real combustion-powered vehicles. Add a dose of WAAAGH! and it'd work. Sort of.

Depends on what you consider 'stupidly wide/thick'. Gargants tend to be pretty stubby and bottom heavy when compared to Imperial titans.

Fog is equivalent to steam, visually- but you can get fog from a bunch of five-degree-Celsius water droplets floating in the air...

Good point. Although lke I said that still doesn't rule out melting or boiling, and its rather clear the ice isn't simply exploding (which would be dangerous for nearby people regardless of whether it is fragmentation or vaporization. I actually think fragmentation would be worse.)

Certain types of rear echelon units would probably also have engineering detachments- say, logistics commands that are supposed to keep roads open when the enemy keeps bombing and strafing them...

The Valhallans did/do have a logistics command/company attached, but IIRC its different from Federers. Sulla used to head it (or still does.) We saw it in traitor's hand even (and later.) I believe I made mention of them.

Also, orks love ballistic weapons and it would be stupidly easy to mount something like 6" artillery on something that big, which could easily have ranges out to and beyond the horizon and be able to shoot over small mountains.

6" artillery would probably be for spotting/ranging purposes on an Ork Gargant. THey mount some truly ludicrous large-bore stuff in it (with some silly ammo, I recall vaguely from the early epic stuff on Gargants.)

Depending on circumstances:
-The greatly reduced squad could commit suicide-by-enemy, undertaking some ridiculously lethal mission and being too outnumbered to live.
-They could be sent to teach the next generation of stormtroopers: rotation back to a training command is a common fate for long service veterans in any case.
-The last survivor of such a unit might be assumed by default to be fit for Inquisitorial service, and the Inquisition makes a common practice of recruiting this sort of 'lost soul' who has no normal role in the Imperial social structure.

If we go by 'Cain's Last Command', I'm betting either Inquisitorial service and/or retirement to Schola for training purposes. There was one such guy in that novel who served alongside Cain.

This reflects on their purported antitank capabilities, which are advertised as being able to burn deep holes into armored vehicles as well in some of the fluff.

Good point. We tend to see the 'focused' mode more often against vehicles than we do against organics. Sort of a difference between a shotgun slug and buckshot. Amazed I didnt think of that before.

If you fire a shell at 812 m/s at 45 degrees in terrestrial gravity in a vacuum, it will remain airborne for about two minutes and cover 67 kilometers. In atmosphere you don't get as much range. Upping muzzle velocity helps, but you hit diminishing returns eventually because the shell has to use a flat trajectory or it'll take forever going up and then down... which in turn means it experiences a disproportionate amount of atmospheric drag because it doesn't spend the bulk of its flight path in the upper atmosphere.

Good point.

Did he phone in his location earlier?

Not that I recall. IIRC he was either out or range of comms at that time, they were jammed, or had been damaged. Basically they were isolated so they ended up at the Slaaneshi schoolgirl academy.

This can also tie into Guard policies of settlement on land regained by Guard actions.

True. although given what we learn of tau ambitions and the general conditions of things in that region of space (like in the 6th edition codex how often the damn region gets undermanned...) diplomacy to keep everyone sweet seems to be a necessity. Even if Zyvan were inclined to be an iron-fisted tyrant, doing so would probably play more into the tau's hands than it would the Imperium's, as the tau are far better in the 'diplomacy and subversion' department usually.

Much of this traffic may be intrasystem- the planet all this is taking place on isn't exactly a paradise and has a very small habitable zone, so the population of "void-born" habitats and orbital industrial concerns may be considerable even compared to the population of the main planet.

Possibly, but I remember the context suggesting warp-based travel. I'd have to check again, though.

If you were a Brit you would so get the reference. :D

well its rather obvious I'm not :P

There are several types of shotgun ammo that can profitably be made that big, so sure, why not? Hell, a 12-gauge is just over 3/4 inch in diameter already, which is probably big enough right there unless Cain has hands the size of small hams.

40K loves riduculously huge calibers for firearms. Shira calpurnia had an over-large stubber to make big holes in people simply for psychological effect. Same principle in action here, I suppose. Psychology seems to be a big reason why the Arbites opt for ballistic weapons more often than energy guns.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-06-01 02:01pm

Ahriman238 wrote:Nothing about Tomas Beije? Not even the mechanisms the Commisariat have for disciplining one of their own?

It was sort of hilarious how the Valhallans turned 'survived two blows from a CSM, till Jurgen killed it' to 'casually bested a CSM in close combat.' Then he later he sort of coup de graces a dying Marine and cements the idea.

I could have covered that, but I try to be selective when it comes ot alot of the plot and theme oriented stuff, because if I cover too much of it I often give more away than I probably should. And I'm too lazy to spoilerize everything.

Plus much of my analysis still remains tecnically focused (Because thats what I like, and the main reason I do this is because I enjoy puzzling all of it out) and Beije didn't feature in much of the technical-oriented stuff in a way that needed me to include him.

Plus there is often whim at the time when I read it guiding my quote choices. If something strikes me as important/relevant, or I just feel like including it (because of humor) i do so. :P

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-06-01 02:07pm

Throwing out a new Cain update. This time, we go back in time to 'Death or Glory' which is the first full length novel in the series NOT to feature the 597th. It's also early in Cain's career when it comes to fame and glory in any real sense. It also starts, I believe, Mitchell's attempt at something akin to an arc, as events in this story carry over (in limited ways) into future novels (Duty Calls and Cain's Last Stand) in various ways, although its not really an 'arc' per se, as each story is still fairly self contained.

Basically Cain gets ambushed by Ork ships en route to his next assignemtn, crash lands on a planet, and with jurgen inadvertantly leads a guerilla action behind enemy lines that facilitates ultimate Imperial victory. All the time purportedly not realizing what he is doing in the process of trying to escape and hide. Make of that what you will.

Two part update.

Page 15
The 12th, being an artillery regiment, was split into batteries, each roughly equivalent in administrative terms to a company in a line unit. Cain is typically vague about their disposition, but each appears to have consisted of around half a dozen Earthshakers, together with the support vehicles and personnel required for their proper functioning. The regiment also possessed a number of Hydras for air defence, but whether they formed a battery in their own right or were distributed among the others isn't clear from his account,..

Composition of a Valhallan Artillery regiment. A company seems to be 6 earthshakers plus vechiles and support elements (such as towing.) Also hydras. IF we figure ther are 5-6 companies per regiment, thats around 30-40 Earthshakers per regiment, meaning its a bit smaller than an armoured regiment.

Page 17-18
"Our transport vessels and their escorts have been joined by a battle group from the sector fleet"
...that meant we would be on our way to a major war zone..
"And it's still only one flotilla among many. Reinforcements are being brought in from all over the sector."
Mostrue did something to the hololith, centring an otherwise unremarkable system a couple of subsectors away.

Forces being drawn in for a major conflict from across a sector, including from the battlefleet. This is in addition to multiple flotillas of transports (and escorts), indicating that Guard forces typically have some sort of escort (which makes sense.)

The distance ocvered is 'several subsectors' which we might infer as being at least 30 LY, possibly more (100 or more light years.)

Page 22
..their crude starships errupting from the warp in four systems almost simultaneously...

Orks make a multi-system near-simultaneous assault.

Page 22
With Imperial Guard reinforcements still several months away, the high command of the PDF reluctantly abandoned the eastern continent entirely, withdrawing what forces they could save to bolster the defence of the more densely populated and industrialised western hemisphere. Despite their best efforts to evacuate the region, roughly twelve million civilians and an untold number of PDF stragglers were left to the mercy of the orks..

'several months' response time against the Orks implied. Which suggests given the previous distance an average travel speed of 180c.

Also the planet has far more than 12 million people.

Page 29
Karrie shuddered, looking more disconcerted than I'd ever seen her in the few weeks we'd shared one another's company.

The time onboard has been 'a few weeks' assuming 2-3 weeks over 30 LY will be 500-800c.

If we figure 2 months and 2-3 weeks the time dilation involved is 3-4x (each week in the warp tranlstes to 3-4 weeks in realspace.)

Page 34
..Karrie pointed to another hatch apparently identical to the one by which we'd entered this strange, hidden realm behind the corridors we'd become so familiar with over the past few weeks.

Again 'a few weeks' onboard.

Page 35
...a moment later I recognised a landmark, the vivid scarlet icon of an emergency lifepod, one of hundreds placed at strategic positions around the hull.

Hundreds of lifepods aboard the transport. probably an underestimate.

Page 36-37
We weren't going to make it, I could tell, the thick slabs of metal moving closer and closer together as I watched…

Abruptly their progress halted, and I caught a glimpse of the two Catachan troopers straining to keep them apart, theiroverdeveloped mu scles bulging with the effort. No ordinary men could have managed it, but the natives of that hellish jungle world are made of unusually stern stuff, and to my delighted astonishment they seemed to be prevailing. Faces contorted with stress, they shouted encouragement as our battered quartet neared safety at last.
Among the strongest specimens of humanity they may have been, but even their mighty muscles couldn't tolerate the strain of keeping that heavy portal open for long.

An indication of Catachan strength. Honestly its amazing they intervened to save a Commissar. I can only say they must have heard of Cain by this point or known of him and he had unknowingly gained their respect. Although its implied that Cain may have duelled against them later, which may explain how they know of him and why they saved him.

Page 40-42
Admiral Bowe: But to knock out a dozen navigators with a single blow…

Inquisitor Singleton: Would indeed require an exceptionally powerful adept, or, more likely, several lesser individuals working in concert.
Inquisitor Singleton: Drawing conclusions from previous observation of the species. Our colleagues in the Ordo Hereticus, whose understanding of matters related to warpcraft far exceeds my own, generally concur with this hypothesis.

The Honorable Gianello Marcheisi (Navis Nobilitae observer): There is also a tendency for such abilities to be amplified by direct exposure to the warp, is that not so?

Inquisitor Singleton: Such is my understanding, yes. But such a course would be unthinkably dangerous. The use of psychic abilities in the warp, unshielded, would attract the attention of powers and entities of almost incalculable might and malevolence.

Navigator Marcheisi: Nevertheless. (Activates hololith.) I would draw your attention to this sensor contact, recorded by several of the surviving vessels just prior to their sudden transition to the materium. An ork vessel lurking in the warp, is it not?
Inquisitor Singleton: This vessel was probably stationed where it was, on the most likely warp current to he bringing reinforcements, with a complement of ork psykers. Their powers boosted by direct contact with the warp, they were able to unleash a psychic attack intended to disable the Navigators of the approaching ships, and force them back into the materium where the ambushing force was waiting.
Inquisitor Singleton: Given that the psykers in question would undoubtedly have been consumed by the warp entities attracted by the flare of energy within a matter of moments...

Yes, thats a rather lengthy passage, but the basic idea shows how cunning Orks can be, sacrifiing Weirdboyz to force a ship out of the warp further from the planet(thereby lengthening the time it takes for ships to arrive insystem.). Also, we learn that psychic powers in warp space are much more powerful than in realspace, although with obvious dangers.

This also shows why astrotelepathy in the warp is probably so rare, since that would also draw predators just as readily as any warp activity. (EG you want to be stealthy in the warp to minimize troubles, not radiate that you have psykers onboard.) The Flotilla Cain was serving with was at least a dozen ships.

Oh and amusingly the Hereticus was consulted on warpcraft. One would think the Malleus would be the first choice, there :P

Page 50
As the surge of acceleration died away, I realised I was now drifting freely in the crash webbing, obscurely grateful that it had been some hours since I'd last eaten. Evidently the automatic systems on board hadn't gone so far as to turn on the gravity for us.

Lifepods seem to have artificial gravity. Or these ones at least do.

Page 50
Our refuge was surprisingly roomy, having been designed, I was later to discover from the instruction slate, to take twenty evacuees under ideal conditions, and two and a half times that number at a pinch. The compartment we'd found ourselves in took up the majority of the available space, lined with storage lockers between metal buttresses of comforting looking solidity, and floored with thick mats which would double up as sleeping space if the pod had taken more than its nominal complement aboard. (Ten of the lockers were later to prove to be fold-out bunks,..

Lifepods that can maintain at least 20-50 people. Implies that there are at least thousands, if not tens of thousands of people onboard. Probably more like tens of thousands. RAther roomy and more comfortable than I would expect the Imperium to think of.

Page 52
Fortunately, the pod had evidently been designed in the expectation that whoever found refuge aboard it would be in no condition to deal with any complicated systems, and most of its functions proved to be under the control of the cogitator which had so precipitously flung us out into space. A few moment's browsing through the pictograms, helpfully projected in front of my face as soon as I sat down, was sufficient to give me a rough idea of what I needed to do..

Escape pods are made idiot proof, basically.

Page 52-53
Contrary to what you might see in an episode of Attack Run, starships in combat seldom approach to within point blank range of one another, exchanging fire at distances of hundreds, if not thousands, of kilometres. There are exceptions, of course; you have to get close to your target to launch boarding parties or knock out a fighter screen, for instance, not to mention ramming, which is a favourite ork tactic.
A popular holodrama of the 930s, about a squadron of fighter pilots in the Gothic War.

Mention of Attack Run again, and Cain discusses space combat (including the distances involved.)

Page 53
There was an auspex screen embedded in the control lectern in front of me, and a positive blizzard of contact icons fogging it up.

The lifepod has auspex as well as a cogitator. It also has a vox.

Page 54
"Head for the planet, and make contact with our forces there." I said. According to the instructions I was reading, the cogitator ought to be able to take care of that, and once our course was set, we stood a reasonable chance of slipping through the enemy fleet without attracting too much attention.
"How long would that take?"
"About three weeks"
That didn't sound too bad, it would have taken the troopship a little under half that to coast in from this far out on the fringes of the system, assuming it survived the engagement at all.

3 weeks for lifepod to reach insystem from the edge, and a transport taking half that (a week and a half) Assuming at least 2 AU away we're talking an average velocity insystem of 165 km/s for the life pod, and over 300-400 km/s for the starship. That's probably an under-estimate, though, given that its stated that at least 30 AU is implied to be the distance (The Orks dropped them out much further away remember.) A transport on constant burn would make a 30 AU journey in 9-11 days, with a 2-3 gee constant accel and a velocity somewhere between 3-4% of lightspeed tops. Minimum is 5000 kps (average), whilst the drop pod would make ~2500 kps. Assuming it massed 50 tons or so it would have around 70 megatons or so of KE. For it to only strike with 'kilotons' (as mentioned later) would probably require it massing 100 or more tons though. Either way the life pod has a ludicrous amount of energy stored onboard (more like hundreds of megatons or gigatons, given that the energy I mentioned is just for the pod's own velocity, and unless ludicrously efficient it would require at least several times, and probably more, that input to push the ship to said velocity.) Obviously if they can pack that much energy into an escape pod, it would say something about their other large ordnance (missiles and torpedoes anyhow.)

Page 61
Though it was undeniably the greatest tactical surprise of the war in space, and not to be repeated, the Battle of the Halo was to establish unquestionable ork supremacy in this theatre of operations...
A common term for the cloud of comet debris marking the nominal boundary of a stellar system.

At first I think they meant the Kuiper belt as that region has been hinted at before as a warp departure point, but they seem to be referring to this instead, which suggests a distance between 30-100 AU for an earthlike system. At least, thats what I'll go with.

PAge 62
Though it only succeeded in destroying five of the relieving ships,1 and ork losses were, if anything, slightly greater, the ambush succeeded in its primary aim. Forewarned by astropathic messages, subsequent convoys were forced to drop out of the warp far further out than they otherwise would have done for fear of suffering a similar fate, running the gauntlet of sustained attacks for two weeks or more rather than the handful of days they would normally have expected to endure.

As mentioned already 30-100 AU seems to be the travel time, and its implied they could cover that distance in 'a handful of days' rather than two weeks. Assuming 30 AU in 2 weeks would require 1.25 gees burn and a max velocity of 2-3% of c. At a 'handful of days' - call it 3-5, we'd be talking 9-28 gees of constant accel for the transports and a max velocity of between 6-12% of c for 30 AU. 100 AU would require upwards of 100+ gees for a 'handful of days' and nearly 40% of the speed of light top velocity.

Page 69
The cogitator chimed in at just the right moment to puncture the first faint stirrings of optimism I'd started to feel since our precipitous descent had begun."'Repulsor systems severely compromised. Lift capacity reduced to thirty-seven per cent of design specification. Impact will be significantly higher than designated safety margins."

the Lifepod has repulsors as well, apparently for braking purposes. Whether this is inertial damping or an antigrav counterforce system (or both) we don't know.

Page 75
I had a moment of panic, wondering if the old trick would work against a slab of insensate muscle fully a head taller and twice as wide as any human opponent I'd ever faced, even the Catachans I'd occasionally sparred with, but it seemed greenskin joints were sufficiently similar to ours after all.

Cain's first meeting with an Ork and initial impressions.

Page 78
..our assailants were close enough to open fire with the crude bolt pistols they carried..

The Orks are using bolt pistols.

Page 78
I opened fire with my pistol, Jurgen following suit. With relief I saw our las-bolts impacting on the torsos of those monstrous assailants, blowing cauterised craters through the dull brown clothing they wore... ...and the dense flesh beneath. To my horror, the wounds, which would have dropped a human, barely slowed them, and they charged on blindly

Ork durability against lasfire. Apparently they take multiple lethal hits (At least lethal to humans.) although calcing it isn't easy.

Page 79
...firing four or five las-bolts from the pistol in my other hand directly into the creature's exposed belly. To my relief, it staggered back, momentarily blocking the rush of its fellow...
Without hesitation it smashed its own blade down into the skull of its comrade, releasing a gush of foul smelling ichor, and shouldered the falling body aside in its eagerness to get to me.

Ork axes another Ork in the head. Becomes important later. Also note the 4-5 shots in the chest.

Page 80
..raised the pistol in my left hand and fired again, a number of shots in rapid succession, straight into that huge and stinking maw. The back of the creature's head exploded, taking whatever brains it had with it.
I whirled round to face our original attackers, to find that Jurgen had switched his lasgun to full auto, and was hosing them down...
To my astonishment, however, they began crawling back towards us, the lust for bloodshed still burning in their eyes, until a couple of more carefully placed shots from my imperturbable aide blew their heads apart like overripe melons.

Multiple headshots for orks. Laspistol needs multiple shots to blow out Ork skull even partially, while Jurgens lasgun can apparently do it in one or (at most) two shots. Single to double digit kj for obth feats, although the lasgun is more probably double digit given Ork heads are many times bigger and composed of much tougher bone and tissue to boot. We dont know how many shots for Cain's pistol to blow out skull, but its probably less than a second or so worth of fire, so we're probably talking fewer than half a dozen shots all told, which hints at a lasgun being 3-6x more powerful than a pistol.

Page 81
...the ork whose comrade had so casually struck it down charged at me, swinging its cleaver again. Unbelievably, the head wound, which would have proved fatal to a man had, it seemed, barely stunned it, and the belly wounds I'd inflicted hardly slowed it down at all.

The Ork who got chopped before is still active despite taking multiple las shots to the gut and a head wound. Again how tough Orks are.

Page 84
In the light of current understanding ofork biology this seems remarkably prescient of Jurgen, although it's perfectly reasonable to assume that, over generations of warfare with the greenskins, the Valhallans had noticed that re-infestation rates were significantly lower where ork cadavers were disposed of in this manner and had adopted the practice without fully understanding why this should be the case.

Why burning Ork bodies matters. Apparently the Valhallans figured this out by trial and error.

Page 88 proved to contain a human arm, dessicated by the desert heat, thoroughly chewed...
Jurgen nodded grimly. "They'll eat anything, even each other."

Orks eat humans, themselves, or whatever they can get a hold of.

Page 92
..we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of reconstituted soylens viridiens on the hull..

The drop pods apparently had the Cain versin of soylent green onboard. :P Although thta joke doesn't really work, since we learn from Greater Good (as mentioned before) that SV are based on a legume of some kind.

Page 93
We'd descended on the site with the impact of a couple of kilotons of fyceline, so there was no point in going to see if any of the greenskins had survived.

Life pod strikes with several 'kilotons' of space high explosive. While we dont know the exact comaprison, its probably close to TNT within an order of magnitude, so we're talking at least single digit kilotons. What's more, the escape pod survives the impact intact, which says something about the durability of such vehicles. Also, orbital bombardments would be potentially much more devastating :P

Page 97-98
Most of this I left to Jurgen, his expertise in this area being considerably greater than mine, and went to check on the contents of the arms locker. Apart from the lasgun he'd already used on the orks, and which had remained slung across his shoulders ever since, there were eleven other standard issue assault weapons, along with five boxes of powercells for them.
..devoted the limited storage space aboard to survival gear and comestibles.
Given the speed with which Jurgen was able to dispatch the ork that fell into the pod we can reasonably infer that the weapons were already loaded, which, assuming a dozen powercells per box, would mean a total of six per gun.

Some of the supplies onboard the lifepod. At least 6 powepracks ler lasgun (and a dozen lasguns total) along with other survival gear (we know there's lamp packs, sleeping gear) as well as food and water.

Page 98
The last thing I found was a drawer full of comm-beads, no doubt intended to let the survivors of a crash landing explore their surroundings without losing touch with one another.

..commbeads are intended for short-range use only, typically between the members of an Imperial Guard squad. The ability to send or receive over greater distances depends on being able to access a wider communications network, such as that of a company or regiment, in order to relay the transmission.

Oh and comm beads. Kinda funny they just store them aboard life pods for emergencies, but you can't give PDFs any. But thats munitorum logic for you.

Also the limits of comm beads - they rely on larger communications networks (like backpack voxes) to boost range beyond 'squad based' comms.

Page 111
...pausing to examine the corpse of a local arbitrator1 who had apparently died trying to defend a group of civilians.
..Everywhere we looked, we saw signs of the savagery of the invaders, death and destruction wrought purely for its own sake, and despite my usual pragmatic temperament, I began to feel angry at the sheer wantonness of it all. What Jurgen felt I can only imagine, and for the first time I began to understand the depth of the hatred the Valhallans felt for these creatures. To see a peaceful community despoiled in this way was hard enough; to know that such things had been done to your homeworld, even generations ago, would be an intolerable affront.

If we ever want to remember the Orks as being 'just a joke race', or the Cain novels as 'not being serious or dark' I present this as counterevidence. Sure by 40K standards its not much compared to blowing up planets or 'millions dying for no reason' like the Guard does, but this is more personal and to me visceral. You can't get worked up about faceless statistics, but seeing it with your own eyes, or being able to put a name or a face to the tragedy is a whole nother matter.

Page 115
Once we passed a shrine to the Emperor, shattered and desecrated, its offerings looted, now, judging by the stench, being used by the orks as a makeshift latrine.
Highly unlikely: the average greenskin simply answers the call of nature wherever they happen to be, the notion of a specific place being set aside for such activities being too subtle a concept for them to grasp. As, indeed, is the notion of hygiene in general. If Cain is right about the use the building was put to, it was undoubtedly meant as a deliberate insult to His Divine Majesty.

Comments on Ork hygiene and their ability to be intelligent enough to be able to deliberately insult their foes.

Page 122
Anyway, I remembered enough from our skirmish back at the crash site to go for a headshot, taking down the leader with a lasbolt to the cranium, while Jurgen did the same for his flankers. Remembering how hard they'd been to kill, I didn't take any chances, running forward as soon as they'd dropped to take what remained of their heads off with the chainsword.

Implication again of lasfire taking out some/most of an Ork's skull with a single lasbolt (what's left' of the skull, implying maybe half the skull blown away) Single to double digit kj again.

Page 125
The joke common on other worlds in the subseclor, that the natives are secretly mutants with gills, is
merely a piece of heavy-handed humour and utterly without foundation. The Ordo Malleus has, I'm reliably informed, checked.

Amberley (or rather Mitchell) seems to have the Hereticus and Malleus confused in this novel :P

Page 127
Convenient drain covers leading to easily accessible escape routes may be abundant in the cheaper kind of escapist fiction, but if my experience over the years has been anything to go by, they're depressingly rare in real life. (All right, I've found a few on occasion, but nowhere near as many as you'd expect given the number of times I've been stuck in situations like this.)

Cain makes a reference to fiction existing, and a hilarious comment of his once again. I love those.

Page 129
...beginning to fling the rest of the torches, and anything else I could find which looked potentially flammable, explosive, or both, into the rear cargo compartment. In that respect at least we could hardly have chosen a better refuge; the warehouse was stuffed with such things. Once I'd collected a goodly assortment of solvents and pressurised gas cylinders I taped a small timer unit intended to control a central heating system to a domestic powercell, then added another igniter, and a bottle of cleaning fluid with a gratify-ingly large flame logo in a yellow warning triangle helpfully labelled Flammable: Toxic: Keep away from children and ogryns. No doubt a tech-priest would have been horrified at such a blatant misuse of the Omnissiah's bounty...

Cain's apparent familiarity with mysteries generally reserved for the acolytes of the omnissiah may seem a little odd here; but my readers should bear in mind that the equipment he was working with was intended for everyday domestic use by common artisans, and would be both robust and simple as a consequence. Since we can also infer from a number of allusions throughout the archive that he was given to perpetrating practical jokes against the more strait-laced of his fellow commissar cadets at the schola progenium, he may simply have been adapting the lessons learned during these earlier pieces of mischief to rather more serious ends.

Context: Cain is rigging up a bunch of explosive boobytraps ot surprise the Orks with. Basically its him mucking around with stuff that would only be allowed to 'sanctified' techpriests - mysteries of the Omnissiah and all that. The passage and its context is mainly interesting in demonstrating, once again, that there are exceptions to the whole 'ignorance and superstition' thing. Much like with hive worlds (or underhives) like Necromunda, you can find individuals who gain a working knowledge (or at least some limited grasp) of how technology works and how to play around with it - whether its macguyvering up explosives or repairing/maintaining simple mechanical shit. Indeed, Amberley's subscript suggests that certain crude/simple/basic tech is deliberately intended to be undestood/maintained by 'artisans' (probably the AdMech equivalent of laity), because the shit is too trivial for an actual techpriest/enginseer to be bothered to mess with. So long as the monopoly is maintained and the religion upheld.

Page 134
...Jurgen was quick to follow my lead, shredding its torso with a burst of automatic fire from his lasgun.

For another instant, the greenskin seemed to sway, an almost comical expression of surprise beginning to curdle on its face, and then it toppled backwards into the rockcrete channel..

Full auto burst from Jurgen's lasgun shreds ork's torso. Probably not actually exploding it bolter style, but probably lacerating it nicely. If we figure a 20x20 cm area, at 400 j per sq cm that would be around 160 kj for the 'burst' (within a couple seconds, probably.) If we just figure third degree burns (50 j per sq cm) over that same area it would be 'only' 20 kj :P

Page 135
As ever, Cain tends to understate his abilities. Though the laspistol, like all handguns, is intended for use at relatively close quarters, I saw him take out an enemy well beyond its nominal effective range on more than one occasion.

Implying that the lethal range of a lasweapon is far greater than its accurate range (which is consistent with a great many sources, such as Siege of Castellax, the Ghsots novels, etc.) Effective 'range' with a lasweapon depends more on the wielder, the design and quality of the gun, the sighting elements included, etc. Although we know that enviromental conditions (such as extreme cold) and target nature (such as Orks) can reduce range as well.

Page 138
Even as we watched, another couple of orks went down, comprehensively shredded by a neatly executed crossfire, and that seemed to be enough.

Less than a squad of PDF troopers (about 9 total) shreds multiple Orks. At least 2, figuring 30-40 thousand sq cm per ork, and between 50-400 j per sq cm again (flaying fourth degree burns and 'mere' third degree) is between 3 MJ and 32 MJ delivered by the 'crossfire' implied. Assuming 50-100 shots per lasgun and all powerpacks drained from full to empty, you get between 3.3 and 71 kj per lasbolt estimated. Again single to double digit kj (at least) seems a good order of magntiude estimate for lasbolts.

Page 140-141
Jurgen engaged the one on the other flank doggedly, hosing it down with las-bolts, his gun on full auto. I only caught a glimpse of the result, but it wasn't pretty, the luckless greenskin coming apart under the relentless hail of point-blank fire, almost as thoroughly as if it had been hit by a necron flayer.
My aide switched his aim smoothly, hitting it in the chest with a couple of bolts, and then the lasgun went silent. We'd expended a lot of shots between us since leaving the buggy parked in the derelict factory that morning, and full auto will drain a powerpack faster than an ogryn with a beer glass.

Jurgen's lasgun seems to virtually drain its powerpack on full auto virtually disintegrating an Ork. Again allowing for fourth degree flaying burns and a 10,000-40,000 sq cm surface area. which is 4-16 MJ depending on the variables you go with (percentage of body surface area lacerated, actual size of ork, etc.) A simpler way is just comparing grenades. Orks are generally several times larger than humans, and thus could require at least several grenades worth of firepower to destroy (1.5-2 Mj roughly)

Assuming again 50-100 lasgun shots, and assuming a full powerpack you get between 15-40 kj for the 'grenade' analogy, whilst the other allows 40-320 kj per bolt. Again, double digit (if not tirple digit) kj per 'bolt' seems likely. what's more the powerpack drains pretty fast (matter of seconds, tops) implying fairly high (machine gun like) rates of fire, a fact consistent with mentions in past novels (Caves of Ice onwards.) which implies Jurgen's lasweapon has a sustained output of at least several hundred kw on full auto.

PAge 148
We had no commissars in the PDF, so all I knew about them were the stories everyone knows...
Not entirely true, as the Commissariat has overall responsibility for maintaining morale and proper discipline among all branches of the Imperial military, (with the obvious exceptions of the Astartes, the Adepta Sororitas, and the forces maintained directly by the Adeptus Mechanicus). Typically the PDF of a densely populated system, where the number of troopers under arms exceeds twenty or thirty million, will have a single commissar assigned to oversee it, while in most cases the luckless individual in question will have theoretical responsibility for overseeing the PDF assets of an entire subsector. It goes without saying that the majority of these commissars have been selected for the job as a result of disciplinary action, infirmity, or both, and that for the most part the troopers nominally under their jurisdiction can be forgiven for remaining blissfully unaware of their existence.

PDf commissars. The Munitorum takes at least some interest in local PDF forces, even though they are technically under the control of the Imperial Commander (his private troops) - probably under the justification that they are Guardsmen in potentia and their quality and well being are the Munitorum's responsibility (ensuring they have a pool of qualified soldiers to draw on in emergencies, and such.) It would represent another 'security' measure (like the Arbites, Ecclesiarchy, etc.) guarding against Imperial Commander laziness, greed, fuckery, etc. It also acts as a disciplinary measure against Commissars (or a place to put ones who are trouble for one reason or another.) We saw something similar in Necropolis too on Verghast.

Also an indication of the typical pdf numbers for a densely populated 'system.' Thats not neccesarily a single planet, but probably the multi system poliites, but it could still represent a
good many worlds. IF we figure it means just hive worlds or better, thats at least 30-40 thousand.

Which works out to around 600-800 billion PDF troops estimated, not including those on all the other worlds. If we figure a full million or so worlds (And ignore millions) we get 20-30 trillion PDF troops estimated. And if we go with say, 2 billion Imperial worlds as average, thats some 40-60 quadrillion PDF potentially.

Page 163
Greenskin night vision seems to be superior to that of humans. In all likelihood it was simply a cooking fire that had got out of hand, or an act of wanton destruction perpetrated purely for its own sake.

Orks have better night vision than humans.

Page 166
Another greenskin turned to watch us pass, its eyes widening with shock and recognition, and pointed a talon tipped finger in our direction.
Before it could do anything about its discovery, its head exploded, and Luskins cackled gleefully in my ear.
.. least if he was taking potshots with his lasgun, we were less likely to be immolated by accident...

Yet another lasbolt blowing apart Ork head. Same estimates as before.

Page 169
Several of the orks fell, their torsos exploding into offal, surely the result of a bolter hit.
Many of the prisoners had picked up the guns of the fallen greenskins, and were turning them on their captors with a vengeful enthusiasm I could well understand. How they were even able to lift such clumsy weapons I couldn't say, let alone aim and fire them, debilitated as they were, but no doubt the chance to exact retribution for the privations and cruelty they'd suffered gave them sufficient strength.

Ork Bolters can blow apart Ork torsos, suggesting they're far more powerful than merely 'headsploding' type bolters. HEck, they're close to Astartes grade. Whats more they can (unlike Astartes bolters) be fired by humans, albeit not easily. This also says something about their relaibility of deisgn. Perhaps they are human-design weapons made for Orks by slave labor. Anyhow, recoil is within human tolerances, at least on single shot.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-06-01 02:11pm

Part 2

PAge 177
The resulting firestorm swept though the town, obliterating the ork host almost entirely, and showing up as a minor anomaly in the data recorded by the orbiting sensor nets.

At that point, of course, the Imperial High Command had no idea of the significance of the titanic explosion their analysts had noted, but it was enough to persuade them that something unusual was going on in the deserts of the east, and they began to look out for further signs of activity there.

The PDF and Guard forces on Perlia have access to orbital sensor nets, with thermal sensors (and optical as we learn later.) Whether they were Perlian or deployed by the Guard we aren't told here.

Page 184
"She never quite grasped the theological side of things, a bit of a handicap if you want to get on in the Mechanicus. So they told her she'd just have to settle for being an enginseer all her life."

Implying that Enginseers may not always be the most theologically reliable of AdMech types, but its at least possible to be less 'religious' in the organization (although its clearly a bar to advancement in this region of space.

Page 184-185
I quoted, as though I thought it was a profound insight rather than something I'd found inside a cracker once,
Probably in a restaurant on Keffia, where little biscuits containing slips of paper with pious platitudes on are unaccountably popular.

Fortune cookies of the 41st Millenium!

Page 185
Jurgen pushed a mug of recaff and a slice of salt grox in a bun into my hands, and I ate the hot snack gratefully.

Another indicatior of the rations Cain must have pulled off the dropship.

Page 189
It was only after some time that I realised she was leaning back on the mechadendrite, using it as a makeshift seat, something I was to discover over the course of our association that she habitually did. It connected at the base of her spine, like a prehensile tail, so was ideally suited to the purpose.

Our Enginseer has a mechadendrite upgrade.

Page 194
"The PDF maintains a chain of hidden supply dumps all over the continent. Both continents, actually, but that's not important right now. So we'd have something to fight with in the event of an invasion."

Remarkably prescient of them. It shows that unlike some PDF forces they're well prepared and equipped, which shows us what competent PDF can accomplish.

Page 209
Before long, I felt the urge to take a drink, but held off with a considerable effort of will. Partly because in order to maintain my position among so many desperate and disparate individuals I had to be seen to be leading by example, and partly because I knew from experience that slaking my thirst now would only make me feel twice as parched before very long.

Cain again demonstrates his grasp of psychology and how it makes him such a good Commissar, as I've outlined in previous novels. Morale and symbolism is good for his mixed civilian and military force, and the need to present a strong, determined face of leadership key in him maintaining his authority and getting them to do what is needed.

Page 212
I pulled a couple of the ration bars from my trouser pocket and handed one to Kolfax...
Despite their provenance, they didn't seem to have suffered much, tasting just as good as they ever did, which is to say of nothing particularly identifiable.

They seem to have raiton bars as well as the reconstituted foodstuffs.

Page 215
"The tech-priest herself was still engrossed in the innards of the damaged vox, merely glancing up to wave a greeting to me before going back to work, humming happily to herself. After a moment, I identified the tune as The Tracks on the Land Raider Crush the Heretics."

The 40K version of 'The Wheels on the Bus.." I gather. Which is both silly and horrifying at the same time (because its a goofy variation, and yet its also conditioning children to be okay with vehicular manslaughter.)

Pgae 219
Both the erstwhile combatants were now glaring at me more than at each other, which I took as a positive sign.

Context, Cain is mediating between civilian 'militia' volunteers in his little impromptu unit, having an argument. Cain solves the issue by threat of force (execution for violation of military discipline) and threat of abandonment if people cause trouble. He also punishes both individuals with reduced water rations, which gets them both angry at him as described above. Again Cain shows his grasp of psychology and his ability to apply it in his role as Commissar. While it seems counter productive (even personally dangerous) to get two people angry at him, it also gives them something to unify against, forgetting their own personal grievances. The fact Cain does not worry suggests he is aware of this.

Indeed one might suspect that Commissars are intended to be figures of distrust or dislike for this exact reason - giving the troops under his or her responsibility a target of resentment to fixate on. While this can be dangerous (see Catachans) if taken to extremes, it obviously provides a useful means of unifying disparate troops when employed properly, and shows again how much Commissars must employ psychology to achieve their ends (and thus cannot be idiots if they are to be effective.)

Page 228-229
...savouring the mug of recaff Jurgen had thoughtfully provided me with.
He took another forkful of the salma omelette that Jurgen had prepared for us with every sign of satisfaction.
He cleaned his plate with a lump of bread...

More rations.

Page 230-231
...Grenbow's vox pack dangling casually from her mechadendrite.
Jurgen started fussing with his portable stove,...
"What sort of range has it got?"

"Couple of kilometres I should think."
..we could relay the commbead signals through it and increase their range dramatically. That meant we could spread out a bit more, and perhaps deploy a few scouts..
"If the beads are tied in to it anyway to make up a relay net, you or I can respond to any incoming messages."

Using a repaired vox set to boost comm bead range by using it as a relay. That could be one reason why some comm beads (eg in Gaunts Ghosts or Rebel Winter) have longer than one km ranges. This would imply that the effective range of a comm bead without such a relay is significantly less than a couple km, although how much less we don't know. Moreover it doesn't tell us much about the quality, as comm beads can vary.

Also they have a portable stove for cooking.

Page 247-249
"Disembark the civilians, and tell them to find whatever shelter they can."

"I'm picking up some signals. They're very faint…"
"'It sounds like another commnet."
"It's our own people!"
"And they've got the range, damn it!" Now it could only be a matter of seconds before the concealed mortars did some real damage to us. "Felicia, I need that frequency!"
...but at least he held back the blizzard of mortar rounds I'd been convinced was about to descend on us.

The mortars are accurate to roughly the limit of the vox set, mentioned earlier to be 'a couple kilometres', which means that the mortarrs have a range of at least a couple km.. or if we use real life mortar examples, the vox has approximately that much range. If we base it by real life examples (which can be between 3.5-7 km for man portable mortars of 60-120mm) we can get significantly greater range.

Page 251
"Keeping the comms open, I thought."
"How else do you think I got us in range of the other network?"

Reiterating what I said above - the effective range of the mortars is at the edge of comms range, roughly.

Page 252
Grasshopper is a game popular on most of the worlds in the Britannicus cluster, presumably so called because of the number of times the players leap into the air in an attempt to intercept the ball after it's been struck by the one with the bat. Its rules are arcane in the extreme, making little sense to anyone not native to one of the worlds where it's played. Matches have been known to last for anything up to a month, not counting stoppages for rain, which are frequent, and even then usually end in a draw.

Space Cricket, I gather.

Page 253
The other ork truck slewed sideways, a neat hole punched through its side armour, the spray of molten metal spattering its unfortunate crew the unmistakable result of an energy weapon of some kind. I turned, seeing the familiar silhouette of an Imperial Chimera looming over a nearby sand dune, the multi-laser in its turret turning to track its target.

Effect of Chimera multilaser on Ork truk.

page 254
"We left our non-combatants a couple of kilometres back that way. Send someone to pick them up, will you?"

reinforcing yet again the range of the mortars (and the vox) was roughly a few km./

Page 257
..but they had pretty much everything else I could have wished for, including showers and air conditioning.

PDF supply depots have showers and AC. Useful.

Page 263 the exit ramp of the command Chimera...
It was a little more cramped in there than a standard model, in order to make room for the auspex and the extra communications gear, to which Marquony, the vox man, ushered me. I'd been inside Mostrue's command vehicle on enough occasions to be familiar with the layout of one, although there were a few minor differences of course,...
With the full power of a command Chimera's transmitter behind us I should be able to reach any potential allies across a far wider radius than was possible with the portable vox unit Grenbow had carried..

Command Chimera has vox more powerful than backpack ones, ads well as auspex gearl.

PAge 267
..until I had another chat with Piers over a salt grox roll and a mug of recaff..

PDf rations.

Page 267
..a trio of Salamanders (scout-pattern), together with a full set of crewmen, and a Chimera fitted out as a medevac vehicle.

More vehicles, including a medical chimera.

Page 268
Demara stepped around me, her arms wrapped round a squad support autocannon, which was almost as big as she was. Tamworth was a few paces behind, the tripod and crew shield slung across his back, ammunition boxes in both hands.

support autocannon, tripod mounted.

Page 269
Her energy astonished me at the time; it was only later that I discovered, like many tech-priests, she'd had part of her cerebellum replaced with augmetic systems which, among other things, let her go without sleep almost indefinitely.

Another useful enginseer augmetic.

Page 274-276
"They're not in range yet," he explained, and indicated a blip almost at the edge of the screen, comfortingly tagged with an Imperial icon. "That's outrider two."
He indicated the auspex screen. "They're at least twenty minutes away."
...everything was out on the plain and kicking up dust within little more than ten minutes.

"I've got the contact." Orrily told me shortly after we'd lurched into motion ourselves. "One vehicle, medium sized. I can't tell a lot more at this distance."
A moment later, the Salamander crew chimed in, confirming his estimate.

"It's Imperial." the corporal told me. "One Leman Russ." He paused for a moment, then his voice resumed. "It's leading some kind of convoy, by the look of things. There's a much bigger dust cloud behind it, trailing by a couple of kilometres."

Implied that the auspex range for the PDF Chimeras are between 10-20 minutes away of given distance. It of course depends on what you're using as the benchmark. One is a Leman Russ tank and the others are identified later as Ork buggies/trukks. the FFG materials typically list those Ork vehicles as pulling up to 75 kph, whilse Imperial armour can range between 40 and 60 kph offroad depending on model and stuff. Upper limit on range is 13-20 km, but in relaity its far less than that for various reasons (listed below.) Half that range is probably better (8-10 km roughly.) at least against Orks. They also can't tell much in the way of range without help from the

If we go with the Russ speeds (21-35 kph) you get between 3.5-7 km roughly, although I should note this may be less given the fact the Russ has been running for better part of a day an d not been overtaken. Leman Russ range implied to maybe be several km, which isn't surprising based on other sources.

Page 276-277
"Sergeant Vivica Sautine, 57th armoured. We're all that's left of it, so far as I know."
"We pulled in to re-supply at alpha seven yesterday, and found it crawling with greenskins."
"We've been running ever since" Sautine continued. "I thought we'd shaken them, but they picked up our trail at first light."

Which suggests that the Leman Russ was moving as fast as the Trukk/buggies, as they haven't overtaken the tank at all despite it bieng mentioned they have no weapons (even Orks would figure that out after a day.) The question becomes - whose speed do we use? If we base this on the Leman Russ speeds then the buggies couldn't be pulling better than 20-35 kph, whilst if we use the Buggies as a baseline we're talking anywhere from 40-75 kph (off road.) which is not impossible but higher than usual. While I'm not completely ruling out these being sucky Wagons and the IA leman russ speeds, I'd say its far more likely for the Russ to be one of those high performance ones capable of pulling higher speeds. Note that it doesn't mean the Russ HAS to be pulling the upper end of the scale, a speed between 40-50 kph would fit quite nicely and compromise between the extremes.

Also range: If we go with 20 kph and travelling for more than full day the Russes had a range of at least 240-480 km. If the speeds are higher we can go up to 480-960, to 900-1800 km range. It does assume they haven't stopped since yesterday (which is reasonable) but at least half that range is probably likely, esp given what we're told later. Its at least consistent with the range in defixio, anyhow. :)

Page 277
"They're ten minutes behind you." I pointed out, glancing at Orilly for confirmation of my estimate.
I returned my attention to Orrily, and the luminescent rash speckling his auspex screen.

Again hinting at 10 minutes is closer to max range of the auspex, which given the speeds is less than 10 km. Although to be fair I didn't measure the exact distance from the Depot to Cain's position, which is at least a few km (2-3 km) plus the extra.

Page 277-279
"It had to be the Sentinel, I concluded, an impression,"
The rogue blip was well clear of the rest of the convoy, and closer to the compound than it was to the safety of the ridge. I calculated the timing. If everything kept going at the same speed, she should be in and out by the time the fleeing tank reached the supply dump, and the two of them could reach safety together. I hoped. We didn't have anything capable of giving them covering fire from this range, and I found myself wishing for an Earthshaker or two. (Or preferably a Basilisk, which could have done the same job and kept up with us as well.)

Sensors again. Its definitely less than the range of an EArthshaker (15-20 km again). Also 8 min or less to get 4-6 km maybe based on the IA Sentinel speeds.

Page 280
I glanced back at the auspex screen. Felicia had just reached the compound, and the tank was almost there. Outrider two was making good progress back towards us as well, the highly tuned engine of the scout Salamander keeping them out of weapons range of the orks while they moved around the greenskins in a wide arc, trying to get visual confirmation of the enemy disposition. I drew in my breath. The first blips of the approaching enemy formation had appeared at the edge of Orrily's screen, reflecting from the small round eyeglasses he habitually wore.

Salamander scouts can make it between 10-20 minutes, which at ~68 kph is between 11-22 km, which again sets a nice range limit, althuogh I'm guessing its towards the lower end (there's also the fact its not quite straight line.)

Page 280
"I've got two pallets of main gun ammunition stacked up at the gate already. Sautine, can you get them loaded?"
"But we can carry them externally. It'll only take a couple of minutes to get them lashed down."
"I'll carry another on the lifter." That, if I remembered rightly, should give them enough to completely replenish their shot locker and still have a handful to spare.
"You've only got a couple of minutes," I warned them.

"Outrider two," our scouts cut in, underlining the point perfectly. "Confirm eight ork trucks, twelve buggies. They're moving in force."

Again it took Felicia less than a 10 minutes to get to the base, and that doesnt include the time to get a couple pallets. Also 3 pallets is worth roughly the Russes load plus a 'handful' to spare, which given 40 rounds suggests between 14-15 shells per pallet. Figuring 20-40 kg per shell that means the Sentinel is hauling at least 280-600 kg per pallet.

Also the confirmation of what I said before, the Ork vehicles are buggies and trucks, with all the implications for auspex range and Russ speed I mentioned already.

Page 283
The crew started scrambling out under the energetic direction of their commander, easily distinguished by the headset she wore, which seemed from this distance to be a cruder and more bulky version of my commbead.

Apparently at least some PDF troops (the tank ones) have crude comm bead setups. Although its possible it just looks that way and its a headseat plugging into the vehicle vox :P

Page 284
Two of the crewwomen were breaking shells out of the pallet still lying on the sand. A moment later they began staggering back to their vehicle encumbered by the weights they were carrying.

Indicating that Battle cannon shells (at least THIS battle cannon) aren't terribly heavy (projectile plus casing) given a single woman can carry it. Probably 20-30 kg or so at most, probably closer to the lower end given they handle it.

Page 284
The tank was picking up speed, but the orks were closing fast, taking renewed heart from the closeness of their prey. I swallowed, my mouth dry, and became suddenly aware of Piers standing at my shoulder, equally tense. "Have we got anything we can cover them with from this range?"


They're at the depot, and they're outisde the range of the Mortars. That might suggest they're much further than 'several' km, as I commented before. Also again despite stopping, the Russ can still keep the Orks from overtaking them.

Page 284
The turret of the fleeing tank began to traverse, the cannon, slewing round to point back towards the advancing ork horde. Just when I was beginning to think she'd left it too late, the ork gunners finally beginning to find their mark, a puff of smoke erupted from the barrel, followed a second or two later by the muted thunderclap of the discharge.
The shell penetrated the armour easily, detonating inside the vehicle, which erupted in a fireball.

Effect of battle cannon shells. They penetrate and detonate, although whether they are HE rounds is another question.

Page 288-289
"Tullock, drop a few rounds behind our friends."

A second or two later I heard the unmistakable popping of multiple mortar rounds leaving the tubes, and trained my amplivisor back on the tank and the power lifter. The rounds seemed to take an eternity to arrive, but when they did they threw up a cloud of pulverised soil between the fleeing vehicles and their ork pursuers, who seemed gratifyingly disconcerted by the surprise.
"They're in range. Fire at will, try not to hit our own people."
Luskins picked off one of the trucks with a krak rocket...
The whole of our ragtag army opened up then, although the chances of hitting anything with a lasgun at this range by anything other than sheer dumb luck were minimal (which Jurgen proved almost immediately by picking off the driver of one of the buggies, which obligingly grounded itself in one of the craters left by the mortar bombardment). Rockets, autocannon rounds, bolter shells and lascannon bolts rained down on the greenskins, throwing them into even greater confusion, and slaughtering the crews of the vehicles which had become bogged down or disabled.

Implied upper limit range on lasguns is far less than the mortars and other heavy/support weapons (autocannon/lascannon especially, which we know can have a range of a few km.) although as noted before, the range limitation seems to be more dependent upon the marksmanship of the wielder than the lethality of the weapon (Jurgen gets at least one lucky hit at that range and incapacitates/kills the person. Even more impressive given its an Ork, which are bigger and tougher than a normal human.) So we can say at least that lasguns have a lethal range of at least a km or two, if the guy shooting it is good or lucky enough.

Also the mortars make craters big enough for the Ork buggy/trukks to fall into, we're probably talking a good 4-6 meters across at least, which we might figure is worth 8-30 kg of TNT - suggesting the weapons are either bigger than 60mm, or they're using more advanced explosives.

Page 290-291
"'Frag rounds." I ordered.
"Don't have any of those." Sautine informed me laconically. "So if it's all right with you we'll just keep taking the transport out."

Possibly indicating that the Russes aren't using HE rounds, although that's not a given (HE and frag are not neccesarily the same thing. :)

Page 291-292
..I was just beginning to wonder if our careful preparations had been discovered and neutralised and if I should ask Sautine to try lobbing a couple of shells into the compound..

Cain contemplates letting the Russ bombard the depot from their distance, which we know is far greater than 'a few km' and greater than mortars. Its at least 2-3 km at the absolute low end, but we can get much more 6-7+ km. That said, its a gainst a rather large, fixed location, so tis closer to artillery ranges than hitting a moving target :P STill the fact it also seems to take place in a matter of seconds implies a fairly high velocity as well (say 600-1000 m/s. In any case muzle velocity is at least 300-400 m/s for a 7-8 km range at 20 degrees elevation or so)

Page 294-295
..the explosion was large enough to direct the attention of their orbital sensor nets to the site, from where they were able to track the progress of what was to become the legendary March of the Liberator.
Analysis of the ensuing engagements showed a tactical sophistication unheard of among the greenskins, with clear evidence of Imperial units acting in accordance with standard battlefield doctrines.

Again the Imperial forces have access to an orbital sensor net that can track Cain's progress. Also the tactics and shit used by his forces in this novel are considered to be 'standard batltefield doctrine'. for whatever that is worth

Page 299
We were up to about company strength...
Probably around three hundred soldiers, if Cain is being literal, although as usual he's infuriatingly vague about specifics.

Implied size of a company (or genreal size)

Page 299
...I'd granted them battlefield promotions to keep the lines of command relatively clear. Piers was now a captain, at least in theory, and Tayber his CSM.
Technically, all such promotions conferred by a commissar would he subject to subsequent ratification by the Munitorum, although, since to oppose the decision would be likely to attract commissarial attention to the objector, this would just be a formality in all but the most exceptional of circumstances.
Company Sergeant Major, the senior NCO of a company.

Commissars can make battlefield promotions as their role, although its interesting that this ability implies that Commissars (despite being munitorum officers) may have some friction or politics separate from the larger Munitorum. Could it be the Commissars view themselves as an essentially separate institution whose responsibilities extend to watching its own parent organization? It certainly wouldn't suprrise me.

Also mention of CSMs, which implies they may exist in the Guard.

Page 301
"This is it. Unless we divert around the whole range. If we head north for about eight hundred kilometres we can skirt the edge of it, keeping to the foothills." His tone was all the indication I needed of what he thought about that idea, and I nodded in agreement. We'd be under attack by the greenskins the whole way, and even if by some miracle we were able to get around the mountains with the bulk of our forces intact, we'd still have the same distance to travel southwards before we reached the peninsular.

Which suggests that the convoy has an operational range of at least 1600 km. Given that they're all fully mobile, carrying whatever extra gas supplies they have with them (and this isn't the upper limit on their range by far) it again tells us what Engine performance is. Like with Defixio and other sources, Russes may not always be the fastest tanks, but their engines are damn versatile and efficient (Far more so than modern tanks, in fact.)

Page 322-323
Their crimson uniforms, their high proportion of augmetics, and the hellguns they were armed with were all the confirmation I needed.
"Adeptus Mechanicus footsoldiers. They garrison forgeworlds, support the titan legions, that sort of thing."

'Scutariii' is actually an old (Epic) name for Skitarii, so I suspect it was a snafu on Mitchell's part.

Further,Cain expresses surprise at seeing them on planet, which suggests in the Damocles Gulf region seeing Skitarii off Forge World or serving in Titan Legions is unuusal

Page 335

They fell too, but far too many of them were getting up again, their staggering resilience keeping them on their feet and on the attack, despite wounds, which would have killed a human three times over.

Orkish resilience vs humans. This would suggest that the firepower needed to hurt/kill an Ork is 3x greater than what it needs for a human. For example, blowing a limb (or apart a head) of a human with the equivalent of a full power round (3-4 kj for 7.62mm Nato) means 10-12 kj for lasbolts doing similar to the Ork. If we go with something closer to 50 cal it would be 45 kj or so.) Again double digit kj for lasweapons seems quite likely.

Page 342
A widespread Perlian nickname for the members of Cain's ad hoc fighting force, first used as the title of a popular holodrama about their exploits, and which subsequently stuck. Cain himself disliked the production intensely, not least because of a wholly invented subplot in which one of the militia recruits has a clandestine love affair with him, and because, almost inevitably, Jurgen fails to appear at all.

The Nickname being Cain's Heroes. Yet another mention of a holodrama, although it could be this was merely a local production more than a sector-wide production. Doesn't mean it can't be disseminated of course - the propoganda value would be immense and obvious.

Another interesting aspect of this is how Cain dislikes the story for its absence of Jurgen. Clearly, Cain has a much greater regard for his aide than his story usually indicates.

Page 343
With the belated arrival in orbit of three Imperial Guard troopships, the Imperial commanders had their first chance since the commencement of the invasion to counter‐attack, and they seized it eagerly, deploying their dropships to surround and slaughter the remaining ork strongholds in the occupied zone.

Ironically, by the time the first Guard regiments had arrived on the desecrated soil of Eastern Perlia...

IG forces deploy directly into hostile territory from orbit to engage/attack the Orks from the flanks/rear.

Page 351
Presumably he means the Earthshakers themselves, which the 12th deployed on static platforms, relying on Trojan towing vehicles to move them about when required, rather than the self-propelled Basilisk variant which never appeared in their inventory. In either case, the artillery crews would normally have relied on ancillary vehicles to maintain ammunition supplies, the shot locker aboard the Basilisk being too small to contain enough shells for a prolonged battle.

Comments on artillery regiments and their ammo logistics. That tends to suggest Artillery regiments may be amongst the most complicated vehicle wise, as they oftne need towing vehicles as well as artillery carriers (meaning several vehicles per artillery piece, effectively.)

Page 353
The weapon mounts of our captured vehicles had been refitted with more familiar, reliable and safe Imperial kit, but we'd kept most of the original stuff anyway. Partly because Felicia was fascinated by it, declaring that half of it shouldn't be working at all..

Comments on Orkish weapons on Perlia. Whilst not all fo them are unreliable (to humans), it does show that the WAAAGH effect- dependent weapons are variable. As I alluded to before, I suspect the 'reliable' ones that humans can use were manufactured by slave labor, whilst the ones Orks build for themselves may be the more inherently unreliable (at least in hands other than an Ork.)

Page 355
The bespectacled auspex operator indicated our position on a tactical display, the icons strung out like the beads of a rosary, the command Chimera comfortably near the middle of the formation. Felicia, I wasn't surprised to note, was almost at the front, only the Salamanders ahead of her.

Tac display listing the locations and identiers of the disparate elments of the convoy.

Page 369-370
I'd grown used to following our engagements on the C3 systems in the command vehicle...
Command, Control and Communication.

Command Chimmeras have C3. And yes, I know this is primitive compared to the more modern acronyms, but I'd suggest not reading too much into it - its more an indicator of relative rather than absolut ecapabilities (for one thing, its PDF gear and they're supposed to be often inferior ot Guard Standard in these novels. Two, its variable due to variability of logistics and tech level of the Imperium anyhow. Like in many cases, context always matters. Although even if it WERE an absolute, I wouldn't worry too much about it being 'not like real life' for various reasons, including auspex.)

Page 374
...but that was all the militia team was able to achieve before being overwhelmed. In a frenzied display of bestial savagery, my men were literally hacked apart before my horrified eyes.

Nothing really technical here, but its a comment on Mitchell's writing. Cain as I've mentioned before is often seen as '40K lite' because he often takes a lighter tone than most other authors. Which doesn't mean the Cain novels don't have their own share of grimness or brutality - Cain here is witnessing people of his own impromptu little band getting slaughtered (named characters too, whose role was fairly significant bit parts) we've known since the earlier parts of the story, and that's way more personal than 'PLANET FULL OF BILLIONS DIES' grimdark. And again as I've said before, this sort of 'grimdark' works much better even if it doesn't involve all the skulls and massive killcounts, because of that personal element. That stuff like this happens in the Cain novels makes it even more serious, IMHO.

Page 375-376
...a fusillade of bolter and stubber fire clattered off its roughly welded armour plate. Demara pitched backwards, a bloody crater where the tattoo on her cheek had been, most of her brain following the projectile out through the back of her skull. Tamworth seized the trigger even as she fell, attempting to keep up the rate of fire, only to be cut down in turn, what looked like a bolter shell ripping his ribcage apart.

Ork stubber and bolter fire effects. Also yet again we're seeing people who had some measure of character development in the story being suddenly cut down brutally. I admit it was kind of a jarring expectation - them having survived everything up to this point, only to die at the end when they were almost to safety, but for misfortune.

Page 379
Fully a head taller than the bodyguards flanking him, who were themselves larger and more muscular than any other greenskins I'd yet seen..

Warboss in charge of the invasion of Perlia. Dude's probably in excess of 2m tall.

Page 380 examples of this so-called ''mega-armour'' in the possession of the ordo xenos, exhibit weaponry roughly equivalent in calibre to an Imperial storm bolter or autocannon.

Implied caliber (equivalence) of mega armour weapons. Also implies either that autoccannons can be storm bolter calibre, or vice versa.

Page 383
With my other hand, I rammed the barrel of my laspistol deep into his eye socket as hard as I could, bursting the orbit and spattering myself with mingled blood and goo.

Korbul howled in rage and pain, but before he could even begin to react I pulled the trigger several times. The las-bolts ripped through his brain, what there was of it, and burst against the thick metal meant to armour the back of his skull, pureeing the contents in a most satisfactory manner. Not wanting to be crushed to death in the moment of victory, I leapt out of the way, while what felt like a quarter of a tonne of meat and scrap metal subsided to the ground in front of me with the ponderous inevitability of an avalanche.

Yet another case of Cain's laspistol, with multiple shots, doing a 'sort of' headsplosion.. or rather, blowing out (literally) an Ork's brains. Single digit kj at least. probably. ITs also suggestive that the bolts 'penetrate and detonate' which is interesting. If we take that seriously - the bolts have higher penetration against tissue than metal (but it does suggest explosive damage.)

Page 385
"I'll show you the picts later." she said, the first indication I had that she'd rigged up a data recorder in the cockpit along with the vox...
And quite handy too when it came to verifying our story, although if I'd known just how far those picts would end up being disseminated,...
Felicia's pict recording of the end of Cain's duel with Korbul had two effects: in the short term it provided unequivocal confirmation of the death of the warboss, which shaped Imperial strategy to best take advantage of the ensuing confusion among the greenskins, and in the longer term it made Cain a popular hero throughout the sector, particularly once the Commissariat decided to release it to the newscasts.

Interesting both for the data recorder (which must have been at the depot, the same place she got the Sentinel) as well as the fact Cain's exploits were disseminated by the Commisariat for propoganda purposes to the sector at large. Demonstrating again the psychological role behind the Commissariat (which means Cain is not unique in it so much as he's just better at it than so many other Commissars.)

Page 392-393
The more organised groups [of orks] that we couldn't go around we punched straight through, aided in no small measure by the tactical updates we were beginning to get from the Imperial command net, which gave us a far better idea than we'd ever had before of what was lying ahead of us. In the process of accessing it, Marquony had finally managed to get through to someone among the Imperial forces...
I glanced at the updated tactical display. The first wave of Imperial troops was across the peninsular already, the ork defences swept aside by air strikes and a determined armour thrust. They'd lost little time in advancing, and I have to admit I was impressed by how quickly they'd broken through. As I took in the latest dispositions...

The implication of these two passages is that Cains force (at least the command chimera) received tac updates from the invading Imperial forces he was hooking upw ith, which included data on their tactical dispostions and activities as they fought the Orks. The fact that the tac updates were received alongside the vox communcations were made suggests it wasn't just some guy telling them what was going on, but rather receiving data via vox lines. Not definite of course, but definitely suggestive and consistent iwth what we've seen in earlier Cain novels too. :P

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Bob the Gunslinger » 2013-06-03 01:12am

Connor, I am really enjoying this thread. I especially like when you spend time analyzing the non-pew-pew parts of the novel. The insight into Imperial life and culture you are extracting is fascinating, and your analysis of the characters and the writing really makes me want to dig up my Cain omnibuses and reread them again.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-06-03 10:53am

Thanks. Mind you the Cain series sort of drags later on.. the last trilogy was pretty 'meh'... but Cain's Last STand remains some of my favorite (and In my opinion, Mitchell's best) novel. I think many tend to under-estimate the novels because they just assume its HA HA LIGHT HUMOR SILLINESS and it can't be grimdark just because it doesn't involve huge body counts and a heavy dose of skulls. Like I've noted, the grimdark can be there, but its alot more subtle - more present in Cain and Ambereley's perspective on things. I mean on the surface the ideas they explore (like Amberley as a child smiling at the idea of burning heretics. The brainwashing implicit in that is... pretty dark IMHO.) Mitchell has the same idea of 'dark' that Abnett and ADB have, which is amusing because people sometimes claim they're 'not really' writing 40K (again because the grimdark is not a blunt hammer people may not pick up on it.)

I really wish Mitchell would be permitted to write more non-Cain stuff (and non-SpaceMarine) like he did with the Dark HEresy stuff. I actually liked those two novels - they had the 'feeling' of the Cain novels whilst still exploring a wholly different avenue which avoided the 'sameness' of the Cain stuff.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Simon_Jester » 2013-06-03 01:26pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:Good point, although its unliekly lasfire is powerful enough to generate significant recoil (at least not without some sort of explosive reaction or expulsion going on with considerable force - possible but unlikely.)
This is true- optical sights will automatically produce better results from a laser weapon than from a ballistic weapon. That said, it's relevant that "missed at 200 meters with an automatic weapon" is actually very normal for human beings with guns, and doesn't mean orks are unusually bad shots compared to humans firing the same weapon.

Good luck requisitioning or purchasing more parkas to keep everyone from freezing to death. :D
That assumes the Administratum considered them neccessary to begin with or would have been inclined to give consideration to such matters. Its quite possible for some clerk to decide its more inconvenient (for him at least) to assign the required cold weather gear than it is to risk the miners freezing to death.
What I mean is that having Administratum clerks on the same planet as the miners is to the miners' advantage, as these clerks will have every incentive to make sure paperwork and requisitions are handled properly. Thus, the local Administratum is to the miners' advantage, because it helps protect them from the deranged stupidity of the galactic Administratum.

There are several types of shotgun ammo that can profitably be made that big, so sure, why not? Hell, a 12-gauge is just over 3/4 inch in diameter already, which is probably big enough right there unless Cain has hands the size of small hams.
40K loves riduculously huge calibers for firearms. Shira calpurnia had an over-large stubber to make big holes in people simply for psychological effect. Same principle in action here, I suppose. Psychology seems to be a big reason why the Arbites opt for ballistic weapons more often than energy guns.
There are other reasons though. One is flexibility- shotguns can be loaded with different ammunitions. Especially in a futuristic setting where something the size of a shotgun shell can be made into a mini-bolter round designed to take down power armor, or act like a 20mm exploding shell, or explode into a cloud of gas that melts mutants, or a beanbag to knock down a drunk and raving aristocrat you don't want dead, or whatever.

Whereas energy weapons just zap, and at most you can dial their yield up and down.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-06-08 02:22pm

And.. more Cain for you lucky people. This time we're doing Duty Calls, the fifth Book in the Cain series and the second in this particular trilogy. In this book we return to Cain serving with the Valhallan 597th, as well as another reunion with Inquisitor Amberley Vail and her crowd. In the midst of dealing with what seems to be a Tyranid incursion, Cain finds himself caught in Inquisition politics and activities, and a conflict between Amberley and another Inquisitor. We also get a continuation of the mysterious AdMech facility from 'Death and Glory' and the device that is the thread connecting the three books of this trilogy together.

This is also one where Cain gets introduced to Sisters of Battle and they actually don't get portrayed very positively here. Which may not be a problem if this wasn't a recurring trend for many authors (Flesh and Iron is another example, and its another annoying thing in Rob Sanders books as well, although Mitchell IMHO makes up for it in Cain's Last Stand.) Cain also has another encounter with a fellow Commissar, this one junior and female, whom he must charm over to his side/way of thinking. RAthre minor plot, and not really as intriguing as Cain's Last Stand, IMHO, but its there.

Duty Calls was, in my humble opinion, the least interesting of the trilogy. It didn't have the depth of exploration of Cain's character (his true character, or so I believe) that Cain's Last Stand had, and nor did it have the charm of seeing Cain in the process of building his epic reputation. The Inquisition side to the story is interesting and different enough, but the 597th bits are starting to get, IMHO, a bit predictable. We can also see a continuation of Mitchell's reputation for recycling core plot elements, Cain comments, etc. - which is a big downside of the series as they really contribute to the repetitive 'sameness' the series develops later on and detracts some from the overall charm. Unless you really read this series just to see Cain dumped into one horrible situation after another in sitcom fashion :P Oh well, I still enjoy it for its defiance of Grimdark and its stubborn refusal to conform to Guard-centric prejudices (EG those inspired by singlemidned reading of the codex and nothign else :P)

This is also, perhaps, my smallest update in the Cain series yet, as there really wasn't alot going on that really warranted as much commentary as earlier ones. Or maybe its me feeling the repetition of the series. Who knows. As usual it will be two updates. Plus, the short story 'Traitor's Gambit' which is from the second omnibus (whereas I'm reading from the novel itself.) where Cain saves Zyvan's ass from traitorous pro-Tau insurrectionists with heavy firepower.

Part 1

Page 11-12
It can hardly be denied that uprisings occur right across the Imperium with monotonous regularity, only to be put down with commendable vigour by the appropriate authorities, to the extent that in themselves they're hardly a remarkable event.

In general they tend to be spontaneous and barely organised, sparked by a particular grievance or sense of injustice, and easily contained by the local law enforcement agencies or Planetary Defence Forces. But the insurrection on Periremunda was different.

For one thing, it was rare for a co-ordinated campaign of violence to break out across the entire surface of a planet almost simultaneously, without any of the usual warning signs like riots, protests, or the burning of the governor in effigy cropping up beforehand. It was even more rare where the planet in question was, for the most part, quietly prosperous, with an unimaginative and Emperor-fearing population, and a governor who actually appeared to care about the welfare of his citizens.

Comment on the state of domestic affairs int he Imperium at large. honestly when you think of 'galaxy at war' this is what I think of more often. Internal disputes, uprisings and unrest, things like that. Humanity is fractious even at the best of times, and think about how many places in our own world are still plagued by ever-present conflicts of one kind or another, It could hardly be any less violent in 40K, and quite liekly moreso due to the warp. Heck, Cain's comments suggest that the usual unrest isn't that widespread or significant, which suggests its rather localized or sporadic on a planet. And when it isn't, its a good sign something more is afoot.
Also a governor who gives a damn. They do exist, although this one in the novel comes off as a bit bumbling but kind also.

Page 12
And for almost a dozen Imperial Guard regiments to be deployed in response was almost unprecedented. That implied that someone high up in the subsector command staff thought the PDF couldn't be relied on to contain the situation if it continued to deteriorate, which implied in turn that their loyalty was suspect.

A dozen regiments is considered a major deployment, at least in cases of insurrection/rebellion that isn't planet-wide yet (EG the planet is still loyal, but contested.) Also subsector level IG command.

Page 23
...taking to the skies was the only way to shift anything from one tiny island of life to another. As a result the amount of air traffic crisscrossing the globe was truly staggering, given its relatively modest population of a mere billion or so. Even on the short trip to Principia Mons, which took less than an hour, I caught sight of innumerable other aircraft, ranging from two-seater skycars to wallowing cargo dirigibles the size of warehouses, around which swarms of smaller planes buzzed like insects.

The planet has alot of air traffic, including antigrav vehicles as well as aircraft and blimps. And it also has a population of a billion, which is 'relatively modest.' Apparently significant worlds would be more populous.

Page 26
I dredged up from somewhere the statistic that roughly eighteen thousand of the plateaux scattered across the planet held a population of some sort or another, and shuddered at the logistical problems that implied for the Imperial Guard forces waiting to be deployed in their defence. Even split down into individual squads, which would be absurd, a mere dozen regiments could never hope to cover a fraction of them.

That means fewer than 180,000 Guardsmen onplanet. Although the PDF is probably larger than that (quite a bit more, I'd bet.) Assuming at least a platoon per plateaux on average, we're tlaking 900,000 troops or so.

Page 27
A faint tremor passed through the airframe of our tiny craft as, once again, we became slower than the sound of our passage, and the pitch of the engines fell,..

Courier shuttle. Apparently it can make supersonic speed in the atmosphere.

Page 40
...the justicar responded, appearing on the roof of the limousine at last, the heavy stubber in his hands accounting for the length of his absence..

Man portable heavy stubber, used in the hands of an Enforcer/arbites. I honestly don't rmeember which, and Cain sometimes uses the terms interchangably anyhow :P

Page 40
..another shotgun blast took him full in the chest, and he fell heavily to the ground on the far side of the car. His torso armour seemed to have taken the brunt of it, but there was a lot of blood too. After a moment he hauled himself sufficiently close to vertical to slump against the bodywork, still sitting on the carriageway, but he wasn't going to be putting up much of a fight from now on if I was any judge.

Shotgun blast incapacitates arbites/enforcer, although the armour provides partial protection. The question is, was it shot or a slug? AT least one shotgun wielded by the hybrids was with a slug, so its not impossible the dude got hit by a slug, although I'm assuming shot by default.

Page 43
The fight or flight reflex is deeply ingrained in the human psyche, and tends to surface at the most inconvenient moments, which is why our Guard troopers are so well trained to override it, and they have people like me looking over their shoulders in case that turns out not to be enough.

Cain comments on the role of Guard training, and a key role of Commissars.

Page 47-48
A bright yellow flatbed in the path of the oncoming 'stealers seemed to be shifting and rising up...
The lorry was being pushed aside by something roughly human-sized, but completely encased in finely wrought metal, from which the sun struck the unmistakable refulgence of gold. Smaller than the suits worn by one of the Astartes, but power armour nevertheless, and even at this distance it had clearly been crafted by a master artificer...
..the gilded warrior tipped the heavy truck over on top of the charging 'stealers, crushing two of them against the other vehicles with a scream of rending metal.
..the sole surviving purestrain charged at the golden warrior, and the breath caught in my throat; but the armour-clad figure evaded the creature easily, with a casual grace that looked more suited to the ballroom than the battlefield, catching one of its wickedly-taloned arms and ripping it clean out of its socket.
..the mysterious warrior levelled its right arm, which proved to have a heavy bolter built into it. One short burst was all it took to reduce the hideous creature to a messy stain.

Inquisitor-grade power armor. Can push a large truck out of the way, implying the ability to shift aorund multi-ton masses, if not knock them over (And crushing genestealres in the process. Can also yank out genestealer arms, and comes equipped with a heavy bolter.

Page 50
For all its beauty, though, there was no disguising its deadliness, the muzzle of the bolter on its right forearm and the faint crackle of ozone around the power fist on its left mute testament to the destructive power its wearer was able to wield

Armaments of the Inquisitorial power armor. The thing is honestly packing the power of a Terminator in a far smaller package when oyu think abou tit.

Page 51
..he was able to begin cutting the straps holding what was left of the justicar's body armour in place free with his combat knife after only a moment or two spent rummaging in the wreckage.

Apparnetly the Enforcer's body armour had something semi-rigid or rigid. Chestplate at least.

Page 54
She extricated a lump of something encased in greyish pastry...
.. aide reported around a mouthful of reconstituted protein..

Local cuisine.

Page 54
Amberley licked a trickle of gravy from the corner of her mouth, and consulted an auspex screen embedded in her helmet.

Lifeform sensor in Ambereley's power armour and more local cuisine.

Page 60
"I found him in a penal legion, one where they use chemical injectors to keep the cannon fodder in line. Slaught, psychon, blissout, you name it, he's addicted. Remove his implant, and he'll die. Sooner or later he will anyway. In the meantime, the automatic systems keep him more or less stable by varying the proportions of the cocktail."
"Gave him a quick blast of 'slaught and let him go. It was all I could do to keep up with him, and in this thing that's really saying something."

Apparently in parts of Ultima segmentum, they permit the use of some very extensive combat drugging of the penal legionnaires. Considering their cannon-fodderish nature, I imagine it probably doesn't make them any less expendable, and for as long as they live they're considerably more effective. Sort of like cheap, disposable gland warriors I suppose.

Also drugged up penal liegionnare is a match for a power armored inquisitor, which tells ya something about the strength of those drugs.

Page 60-61
"This thing's all very well when I'm expecting a stand-up fight, but it's not exactly tailored for sneaking around in." The servos whined again. "Besides, it's not entirely reliable. Keeps breaking down at inconvenient moments."

"There's nothing wrong with the suit," the techpriest admonished, in the distinctive burr of the Caledonia system. "If you will keep standing in the way of heavy weapons fire, I can only do so much to keep it running." He waved a dismissive mechadendrite in my direction. "While she was running about on Gravalax with you, I was rebuilding the primary fluid link and re-sanctifying the fusion bottle."

More on the systems of Amberley's power armour. It has a fusion plant, although whether this is nuclear fusion or 'melta' fusion (pyrum petrol!) we dont know. Its also apparently more temperatmental than Astartes armour, as it can be prone to failures if it takes extensive heavy weapons fire.

Page 64
"Cracked under pressure. He ordered an entire platoon executed for failure to salute a superior officer in the middle of an artillery barrage, and shot seven troopers himself with his sidearm before he was brought down. Tragic."

"It happens." I shrugged too. "Some junior officers just can't take the pressure of combat. That's why we have commissars."

"He was a commissar."
You hear stories about members of the Commissariat who go off the deep end, but no one ever pays them much mind, and it was the first time I'd ever seen one of my compatriots brought so low.

Commissars can be punished for overdoing the execution thing. Which seems contrary to the 'execution' theme shit they get stuck with in the codexes, but makes sense when you consider the Munitorum does not generally approve of the reckless waste of ANY of its resources, and those resources will include manpower (however cheap it may be considered.)

Page 64-65
..his regular hands busy with a small incense burner and, to my surprise, a viridiens pasty apparently scrounged from Jurgen.

Back to local cuisine. This, taken in context with the earlier statements about 'reconstituted protein', seems to suggest viridians are reconstituted protein. This does not reassure me that this soylent green analogue is purely sci fi name dropping, although we learn in 'Greater Good' that its based on a 'reconstitued' legume of some kind. Corpse starch and all that. Although it could be that it is merely vat grown, reconstituted protein (Caves of ice implies its at least vat grown...)

Page 77
The Abominable Chitin: a Concise History Of The Tyrannic Wars by Arten Burrar, 095.M42

For most of the concluding quarter of M41 it was possible to believe that the tyranid threat to the Imperium had been, if not completely eradicated, at least effectively contained

One peculair interpretation of this would be that by the start of the 42nd millenium, the Tyranids are not the major doomthreat they were built up to be.

Page 78
..Thus the prevailing strategic doctrine, from the defeat of Behemoth in 745 right up until the horrifying discovery in the last decade of the millennium of two new fleets, each alone greater and more lethal than their predecessor by an order of magnitude..

If we take this to mean Kraken and Leviathan, and not including all the smaller hive fleets concocted in successive codexes and such, it suggests that each hive fleet was massively greater than the last. Which could mean very small hive fleets or very large ones, depending on how you spin it (and if you take it literally of course.)

Page 79-80
It seems that when a genestealer brood successfully infiltrates the population of a human occupied world (or, for that matter, one tainted by the presence of one of the lesser sentient races such as the orks, tau or eldar), it remains hidden, quietly building up its numbers and influence until it reaches some critical proportion of the population at large. Then the broodʹs telepathic link becomes so powerful that it begins to radiate outwards through the warp, acting as a beacon to the malefic entities that spawned it.

Although the unprecedented size of the Ichar IV infestation made it the first occasion on which this signal became readily detectable by astropaths across the subsector, vindicating the theory beyond all possible doubt, some inquisitors of the Ordo Xenos had already speculated that precisely this mechanism was at work, and a few even claimed to have used sanctioned psykers to successfully disrupt it on more than one occasion.
..the incontrovertible fact that wherever a genestealer cult grew strong enough to begin moving openly against the Imperial authorities a hive fleet was liable to show up within a matter of months. It thus became a matter of policy for both Munitorum and Admiralty alike to monitor such outbreaks closely, and move as many resources as could be spared from other battlefronts to the vicinity of these worlds with all due dispatch.

Genestealer infiltration plagues the other races, although as noted by various sources it may not be as effective as it is with humanity. The Eldar for example (as per the Elucidium short story) indicates that Eldar genestealers take far longer to breed than humans. And Orks are prone to destroy anything they percieve as un-orky, and genestealer infestation would definitely qualify.

Also comment on the use of genestealrs to create impromptu warp beacons. Beacons that can be, at least ins ome cases, blocked or disrupted by Imperial psykers (purportedly anyhow.)

Page 83
The command post below was looking a bit more businesslike as well, auspexes, vox units and cogitators up and running, and the usual complement of troopers scurrying about.

Valhallan command HQ.

Page 86-87
The 597th had been formed from the depleted remnants of two other regiments, the 296th and the 301st, after the defence of Corania had reduced both to less than half of their original complement.

Origins of the 597th. The implication of course is that at least one, if not both reigments was originally only a thousand troopers.

Page 87
"Most of their spores will drop into the deserts or the lava pits, where they'll have nothing to consume. We'll lose some of the plateaux, no question about that, but the uninhabited ones we can just sterilise from the air, and win back the others the old-fashioned way."

use of air strikes to take out genestealers in place of ground battle - in fact they apparnetly prefer that to simplify the issue.

Page 93
Third Company was the regiment's logistical support arm, made up mostly of transport, medicae, sapper, and other specialised units. Though just as capable of fighting as any other troopers at a pinch, they would only be deployed in the front line in the direst of emergencies.

Comment on fhte Valhallans logisticla arm, the other four companies being frontline troops.

Page 100
...were wearing the greatcoats and fur hats most often associated with regiments from their homeworld, but all of them had left the heavy garments unfastened, revealing the standard issue flak vests beneath.

Again the Valhallans seem to lackthe armoured greatcoats mentioned in other sources (EG Ice Guard.)

Page 101
As opposed to Darien High, the orbital part of the starport facilities.

The starport has a ground and orbital component to it. Whether they are linked (EG space elevator or similar) or separate we don't know.

Page 103
"How much promethium is that thing carrying?"
"Three kilotonnes."
... explosion that size would level most of the city, taking the star-port and our garrison along with it.

Blimp with 3 kilotons of promethium. Depending on how you figure promethium to compare to other fossil fuels, the effective yield could be many times greater (order of magnitude or more.) Considering it can take out most of the city, that may be indicative of considerable energy density (many times better than real life fuel), depending on how you figure 'level most of the city' to be.

Page 105
Penlan was having no such difficulty, her eyes glued to the targeting auspex, swinging the turret around beneath me to cleave a long,..

Heavy bolter turret and chimera employing a targeting auspex. Considerng the turret has to be remotely ocntrolled form inside the chimera, that makes some sense.

Page 111
..fighting the impulse to look up and see just how close three thousand tonnes of burning promethium was getting.

3 kilotons of promethium again.

Page 123
We'd come to rest in an underground bunker, no doubt in the rock beneath the Arbites building, where a number of Rhinos like the one that had brought us here were parked.
"I had no idea the local law enforcers were so well armed."

"This equipment belongs to the Arbites," Nyte informed us, leaving one of his subordinates to take care of Lustig and his troopers, and leading the way down a rockrete-lined corridor behind a more conventionally sized door. "We're only granted access to it in the event of a major civil emergency."

Arbites stockpiles. Apparnetly they keep excess in case of a conflict, in which case they can enlist the Enforcers and equip them better. Also means they have a surplus of Rhinos.

Page 130-131
"we've received a message from Coronus. A further two divisions of the Imperial Guard have been successfully mustered and are expected in system in a little over a week, along with a reinforced battlegroup from the sector fleet, if the warp currents remain favourable."
"The hive fleet is also inbound, and as near as we can estimate its location from the warp shadow our astropaths have detected, is somewhere around here."
"As you can clearly see, depending on where in the shadow the bulk of the tyranid fleet actually is, it could arrive anything up to a week before our reinforcements, or a fortnight afterwards. There's simply no way of telling which until they get here."

IG Divisions deployed alongside an extra flotilla/battlegroup from the sector fleet. week or two away, possibly a matter of days. ASsuming its between 10-100 LY, we're talking between 200c and 5200c at least.

Page 132-134
"Last night we uncovered a brood of hybrids, which had successfully infiltrated the System Defence Force."
"One of the eight aether platforms making up the system-wide auspex net."
"The datalogs had been tampered with," he said, "to conceal the fact that the machine spirits of the auspexes had been blinded across a narrow arc of the entire system."
"The area of darkness only extended as far as the halo," Zyvan said, "but our tech adepts and Navigators were able to extrapolate the line it drew beyond the limits of the auspex web."
The fringe of cometary debris marking the nominal boundary of a solar system.
As I'd known it would, the thin violet line extended several parsecs from Periremunda, finally vanishing into the ominous shadow surrounding the tyranid hive fleet.

Orbital sensor platforms can reach out to the halo/comet zone (probably some billions of km) and estimated distance from the warp jump point, and the 'nids several parsecs away (6-10 LY.) Given a few months to arrive we get hundreds of c, perhaps a few thousands c for weeks.

Page 144
..static hissed in my comm-bead, blotting out everything else. It seemed that the psyker, whoever he was, had the eldritch ability to block communications as well as my senses.
Quite probably; the human brain operates on minute electrical impulses, so it's perfectly possible that his masking field would also affect anything electronic in the vicinity.

Psyker power can block comms as a side effect because it messes with the brain (for some reason.) Also comm beads are electronic.

Page 148-149
"Keesh is stepping up security checks on all commercial air crews, so no one flies from now on without a gene scan."
"I must say he seems pretty efficient for an arbitrator assigned to a backwater dirtball like Periremunda."

security measures against genestealer/tyranid infiltration includes gene scans.

Page 149
It happens in every branch of the Imperial service, able and ambitious individuals getting sidelined by the nervous incompetents above them, or just backing the wrong side in the endless round of internal politics and getting their careers derailed as a result.

Cain ruminates on the bureaucratic/greed oriented nature of the Imperium and how it hinders effectiveness.

Page 152-153
"Most so-called cultists have no idea of the true nature of Chaos. They band together more because they feel alienated from society than because they really want to bring down the Ruinous Powers on the galaxy.'"
"But it's perfectly possible that one of the less dangerous groups is entrenched here. Even if all they do is enact a few meaningless rituals they've picked up from horror picts, they'd be a natural refuge for any rogue psykers on the planet."

Most Chaos Cultists are unknowing pawns, at least by Amberley's judgement of things. There are degrees of danger to Chaos, obviously, because those less dangerous groups can be exploited by the more serious ones, or serve as a mask for them. Chaos being all insidious and that.

Page 155-156
A gleaming speeder the size of a limousine was parked there now, its windows blacked out, hovering a couple of centimetres above the stained rockrete floor with its grav units humming faintly.
I wasn't terribly au fait with civilian vehicles, but I doubted anything that efficient and expensive-looking had originated on Periremunda.
A D'Lorien Raptor, fabricated on Rubica, if anyone cares. Extensively modified by Yanbel, of course; the standard model comes without communications gear, weapons, or armour plate.
"I'm travelling as the Lady haut Vail, minor aristocracy from the Krytenward system."

Amberley's grav limo as part of her aristocratic cover. Again grav tech exists.

Page 157
...headed skyward at a pace that would undoubtedly have tried Jurgen's stomach had he still been with us: mine too, to be honest, if the aircar hadn't been fitted with inertial dampers. As it was the ride seemed smooth enough..

The limo has inertial dampers too :P

Page 161-162
"I thought you were on the same side," I said, confused. Amberley looked at me thoughtfully.

"You know how it is. The Inquisition and the Mechanicus are meant to be equal partners, but whichever of us recovers the artefact gets to be a bit more equal than the other."
"So there it is: unimaginably ancient xenos artefact somewhere on the planet in the hands of a renegade, the hive fleet poised above our heads ready to rip this world apart, hidden 'stealer broods everywhere making an early start on their behalf, and now a bloody Chaos cult crawling out of the woodwork just in case we were getting bored." She forced a carefree smile to her face, with an effort few people other than me would have been able to detect.

"Welcome to my world, Ciaphas."

Poor Amberley. It really evokes a more humanized perspective on Inquisitors quite different from the 'howling purging fanatic' we get. Its more like Eisenhorn or Ravenor in that way. The worst part for me is the fact Amberley so often has to wall up her true feelings behind a wall and play the role of Inquisitor to the hilt - even to her acolytes - its mentioned in Cain's Last Stand that some of her acolytes aren't sure what to make of her relationship with Ciaphas. Its obvious from bits like this (and others) that what draws Amberley and Cain together is the fact that with Cain, Amberley does not have to dissemble, or hide herself. She can, briefly, be the human she is, and not the Inquisitor she must be so much of the time.

Page 170-171
It was the same eager enthusiasm I was used to seeing in the fungs just arrived from the recruiting stations on Valhalla, all fired up with martial zeal and the supposed glory of combat. The bright ones wised up fast, kept their heads down, and got on with the grim business of survival. The rest became heroes or dead, quite often both, and almost instantly forgotten by their squadmates.
An Imperial Guard slang term for raw recruits. It's apparently a phonetic rendering of FNGs, which I'm told stands for Frakking New Guys.

Mention of IG recruiting, and their nickname for the new guys. Also more 'theory vs ocombat' of the Guard when it comes to indoctrination.

Page 186
I'd taken what precautions I could as well, fitting fresh power cells into my chainsword and laspistol, and strapping on the carapace armour I'd acquired on Gravalax beneath my greatcoat, which concealed it nicely.

Cain still has his carapace from FTE, and it can still be concealed under his coat.

Page 187 point a grime-encrusted finger at a sleek Aquila class shuttle descending on the pad we'd been told to head for.
Periremunda was a small and provincial kind of place, and the presence of a rogue trader in the system would hardly have gone unnoticed for long.
In fact it was from my personal yacht, the Externus Exterminatus, which was waiting in orbit as usual, broadcasting the ident code of an ore barge from Desolatia.

Planet is a 'provincial' place despite having a population of about a billion. Also Amberley's personal shuttle and yacht, which is presumably warp capable.

Page 189
..the cargo compartment remained empty, and the engines continued to scream, throttled back just enough to keep the whole thing from lifting again. Recognising the telltale signs of a pilot prepared for a rapid dust-off in a hot LZ,..
Taking off quickly from a dangerous landingzone. Sometimes I think Imperial Guard should be classified as a distinct dialect of Gothic all by itself.

'dust off' - indicator that some Navy dropship pilots can deploy troops close to the enemy, rather than absurdly far away (like, say, Taros.)

Page 189
..Jurgen gunned the engine again, hurtling towards the narrow ramp...
..I found myself flinching as we bounced up the metal incline, our spinning treads millimetres from the edge, and into the tight confines of the miniscule cargo bay. Even now I find it hard to believe that we didn't just bounce off the bulkhead facing us, but as always my aide had judged it to a nicety, slamming the abused gears into reverse, and bringing us to a halt with barely a centimetre to spare...

Aquila lander (mentinoed before) can carry a Salamander scout, albeit as a tight fit.

Page 190
She was dressed in a skin-tight bodyglove, which would normally have been more than enough to raise my spirits, but unlike the one I'd seen her in at the Arbites building in Principia Mons this one was midnight black and festooned with sockets and truncated power cables. It just had to be the dermal interface layer for her power armour..

Unliike Astartes power armour, Amberley seems to rely on some alternate interface for it. I wonder if the Sororitas use something similar.

Page 202
..her voice still remarkably calm in my comm-bead, although I suppose it's easier to ignore the possibility of a sudden ambush if you're clumping around inside a couple of centimetres of ceramite..

Implied thickness of Amberley's power armour.

Page 218
"I can see a genecode scanner and an intrusion alarm linked to the access point, both of which whoever left here last neglected to set."

guess they're scanning for stealers still, or its the trigger for the door alarm at least.

Page 222
Simeon was clearly in full combat mode, his movements preternaturally quick, his head snapping around in all directions so violently I half expected it to come clean off his neck and begin rotating like the auspex sensoria of a command Chimera.

I guess chimera auspex is a radar if we take Cain seriously here :P

Page 225-226
The Aquila's primarily a workhorse, of course, but it's also a mainstay of the Navy auxilia. Amberley's might look like a standard civilian model, but that was no guarantee that it was unarmed...
...concealed gunports slid smoothly aside to reveal the welcome silhouettes of twin lascannons, flanking the stubby snout of the sturdy little shuttle.
The lascannons spat their heavy bolts, smashing into the onrushing tide of chitinous death, felling half a dozen of the vile creatures in an instant...

Amberley's modified Aquila. Downs maybe 3 Tyranids per discharge. Whether that's single or multipel bolts we dont know.

Page 228
...I closed my eyes for a moment as the actinic flare of the melta burst like a second sun a few metres to my left. When I opened them again the warrior had vanished, along with a handful of its attendant minions, to be replaced by a few gobbets of steaming meat and a stench of charred flesh...

figure at least double digit MJ (flash burn flaying of 400 j per sq cm for Warrior and several gaunts) whilst hundreds or everal thousands MJ perhaps for boiling (steam explosion.)

Page 230
The survivors of the swarm had scuttled down the face of the plateau with their usual alacrity, and were already almost halfway along the narrow causeway they'd crossed to reach us.
Below us the narrow spine of rock disintegrated under the impact of a fusillade of lascannon shots, and the remaining 'nids vanished under the lava flow, flaring briefly into patches of greasy smoke as they did so.

Lascannon barrage shatters stone pathway wide enough for at least one or more nids. Figure one or two metres at least, at least single digit MJ per shot, possibly more.

Page 236
"You must have some idea of where their digester pools are,"
"We've been looking, believe me, but the sandstorms are still blocking too many of our orbital imagers, and our recon flights haven't turned anything up either. By the time we've established the loss of another settlement and sent a response team in, the wind has obliterated any tracks that were left in the desert."
"On Corania they clustered round the pools, depositing the dead they'd collected and spawning new creatures. Bombing from the air while they were vulnerable made a big difference, and denied them reinforcements. For a while at least."
"...and the minute they're located, our ships will commence an all-out bombardment from orbit. It's the only way to be sure of eradicating them." He permitted himself a wintry smile. "One thing you can say for this place, we won'thave to worry too much about collateral damage."

More on Anti-Nid tactics in the Damocles Gulf. Air strikes/orbitla bombardment makes up a large part of this when they can target concentrations or static 'nid structures. Zyvan notes its the only guaranteed way to get rid of the Tyranids. Also weather makes trakcing them difficult, but they still use aerial and orbital surveillance.

Page 239
"We're also assuming that the swarms are sufficiently numerous to have sent out more than one group of organisms at a time, and that each pack has already created a digester pool to process the biomass they're harvesting.'"
"If they haven't begun digesting the material they've collected after all, and are simply consuming it for energy, then we're looking for a greater number of randomly roving swarms with no focus for their activities beyond finding the next pocket of life on this benighted globe and snuffing it out."
..the fact that it wasn't just humans the tyranids were taking: the settlements they'd attacked were denuded of all forms of life, including plants and domestic animals.

More on Tyranid tactics - they may deploy multiple swarms over a large surface to maximize their assault on simultaneous fronts, and will collect biomass to bolster their forces already onplanet. Also biomass is consumed not only for raw materials, but also to produce energy (Chemical reactions, perhaps?)

Page 239-240
"We daren't spread ourselves any thinner, either, which leaves the majority of the plateaux completely undefended."

"Apart from the local PDF garrisons," an eager young commissar I didn't recognise pointed out. He was assigned to one of the Harakoni regiments, and his uniform cap was embellished with one of the blue feathers commonly affected by veterans of a grav chute combat drop, so he clearly wasn't the sort to either shirk his duty or feel he was too grand to ignore the traditions of the troopers he served with.

Zyvan has at least some Harakoni regiments serving in the Gulf. Also another Commissar of a more cain like (rathe rthan executioner) persuasion.

Also indicator that each of the 18,000 plateau have their own PDF garrisons, although size (As noted) was never specified.

Page 241
"Assuming the hive fleet doesn't get here ahead of them," the Harakoni colonel put in, and I was pleasantly surprised to notice the young commissar nodding in agreement. A realist as well as a populist, maybe he was going to turn out to be one of those rare examples of our calling who don't end up dying heroically on the battlefield leading from the front, or taking a lasbolt in the back from a disgruntled trooper goaded once too often with the threat of execution or the lash.

Again Cain seems to approve of the Harakoni Commisar's attitude.

Page 242
Selling that to the high command of the local forces wouldn't be an easy or pleasant job, and I didn't envy whoever had got it. But there were enough bright, eager scions of the Imperial aristocracy whose families had bought them commissions cluttering up Zyvan's general staff for him to be irritated by one of them on an almost daily basis, and I had no doubt that a suitable candidate had made himself obvious at just the right moment. (The obvious solution, assigning the whole pack of them to the front line somewhere, where if the enemy didn't take care of them their own men probably would, didn't seem to have occurred to him, nor would it, in all the years we were destined to serve together.)
No doubt it did, frequently, but Zyvan was too conscientious a servant of the Emperor to risk Imperial interests, or the lives of the ordinary soldiers under his command, simply to rid himself of a trifling nuisance. Besides, there would always be plenty more to replace them, so any respite would have been fleeting at best.

Again, why Zyvan is a much better commander than some (like Dravere or Chenkov.)

Page 243-244
"'We'll need to be ready for rapid deployment, so we can get stuck into them wherever they appear."
"At least requisitioning enough shuttles won't be a problem on a world like this."

"The commerce commission will raise merry hell about it."
"But they can frak off to the warp so far as I'm concerned. We've a war to win, and if they don't want to help us do that, they can sit outside the perimeter and bitch about it to the 'nids."
"We can't defend everywhere," Broklaw pointed out. "Even if every regiment becomes air mobile, it'll take time to respond to an attack."

"Precisely," Zyvan said, "which is why we're implementing a strategy of phased reinforcement."
"Not unlike the way the Guard responds to an attack on the Imperium itself, as it happens, but on a much smaller scale, of course."

"I'm not sure I follow," the young commissar said.

"It's fairly straightforward." Zyvan assured him. "When the 'nids attack a populated plateau, the local PDF garrison will respond, and report the situation. Reinforcements from the nearest plateaux with PDF garrisons will start arriving at once, giving the nearest Guard regiment time to put its own rapid response force into the air."

Comment on Guard tactics in this circumstance. Zyvan acquires more civilian ships to make his Guard forces airmobile and supplement his dropships. Again, the Guard in Damocles gulf know the importance of being able to move and redeploy quickly.

Also the 'phased reinforcement' which is a reference to the Imperium's tithing and deploying troops individually from planets in response to an astropathic signal.

Page 246-247
He and his justicars were attempting to evacuate the settlements deemed most at risk from the tyranid swarms roaming the desert, relocating the populations of the lowest plateaux to higher and safer ground...
...a strategy which, in addition to saving countless lives, would also deny the invaders the resources they needed to increase their numbers.

Evacuation can have practical as well as morale/psychological/altruistic reasons.

Page 247-248
Of course the more successful we were at evacuating the smaller colonies the more we were forcing the 'nids to mass their forces against larger, more vital targets, so in retrospect I suppose each victory we gained was somewhat pyrrhic, merely forcing us into another more desperate battle within a matter of hours, but the grim statistics of attrition seemed to be marginally in our favour.

There was no doubt in my mind that we were making the tyranids pay for every centimetre of ground they gained in ichor. Any other foe would at least have been given pause by the pounding they took, but true to type they took no more notice of their own casualties than we would of an expended power cell. Nevertheless, just as we would have been handicapped by a shortage of ammunition, every hole we blasted through their ranks represented a marginal degradation of their ability to fight, and our policy of burning every 'nid corpse we could recover (to say nothing of our own) denied them the opportunity of replenishing their ranks.

More comment on Guard/Tyranid tactics and the drawbacks. Especial note is that burning the corpses seemed to hamper them (although of course with 5th edition's 'Nid codex, you have the pyrovores...

Also the dropship/shuttle troops would deploy in hours, implying multiple engagements per day.

Page 249
Or perhaps because of them: they all seem to have lost around fifteen per cent of their initial complement (the vast majority of the fatalities being the inevitable ''fungs''), a remarkably low total considering the nature of their foe. Not to mention the heartening effect that seeing the tyranids break and run must have had on the survivors of the massacre on Corania.

Indication of 'light' losses with the Tyranids.

Page 249-250
Second company was on standby for rapid deployment at the moment, a couple of platoons already sitting out at the aerodrome waiting for a vox message to pile into the transport shuttles we'd requisitioned, along with a couple of civilian pilots who seemed less than thrilled to be hopping in and out of war zones pretty much on a daily basis...
The dropships from our troop carriers would have been preferable, of course, but in the nature of things there were far fewer of those to go round than there were regiments demanding their use and our position on Hoarfell made us a low priority. Zyvan had decided that the company-sized transports would be better employed shifting troopers who were nearer to the enemy...

Each dropship seems to carry a couple Valhallan platoons (plus their vehicles), whereas the larger drop ships cna carry a full company. Also further mention of 'daily' deployments.

Page 253
Whatever else he might have been about to tell us was lost in the sudden bark of what sounded like a bolt pistol, and his torso disintegrated in a shower of blood and shrapnel, which no doubt had been part of his augmetic systems before the explosive projectile had rearranged them.

Effect of bolt pistol round on techpriest.

Page 253-254
The skulls were hellish fast and agile, though, jinking through the barrage of lasbolts like those flying platter things the tau use when they've got more sense than to stick their own heads over the parapet.

servo skulls behaving more like Tau drones. They get deployed in Fire Wariror too

Page 255-256
If it wasn't carrying a weapon, it had to be there to direct the others. Taking careful aim I steadied my arm against the metal of the staircase, thankful yet again for the augmetic fingers that let me hold my laspistol more firmly on target than even the most skilled duellist could have managed, and squeezed the trigger.

To my immense relief the shot struck home, and the bone casing shattered, spilling lumps of auspex gear and the sensorium array attached to it across the floor. By some strange freak of chance the tiny antigravity unit that had kept the skull aloft shot upwards, still functioning and no longer weighed down by its payload, to shatter one of the skylights over our heads and vanish into the thin grey murk that kept Hoarfell almost perpetually wrapped in its chilly embrace.
The two gun-skulls hovered uneasily, apparently unsure of their target now the hunter unit that had led them to me was out of commission, and so many other people in the vicinity were popping off rounds at them. After a moment of frantic bouncing around, which enabled them to avoid vaporisation by something approaching a miracle, they suddenly turned and shot upwards, disappearing through the hole in the skylight.

Sensor servo skull directing the armed skulls. Also Cain's laspistol blows apart the skull (at least the skull part of the drone.. the rest seems to spill out.) One or tow kilojoules to penetrate the skull at least.

Page 258
"We've got two platoons sitting out at the aerodrome."
..I'd still have around a hundred troopers to hide behind.

As noted before, the civilian dropships carry 2 platoons plus vehicles.

Page 258
"Get a complete pict record of those servo skulls," I said, indicating the debris of the battle, "and have it downloaded to a data-slate."

Cain's tangling iwth the servo skulls gets recorded onto a data slate.

Page 266
...glancing slightly to one side of the imager, where, presumably, the pict records of the servo skulls I'd transmitted from the data-slate had just appeared. He and Yanbel had begun to pore over them as soon as they'd come through..

Cain transmit the slate data on the assasination attempt on him.

Page 266
Binary, as it's apparently known, remains a complete mystery to anyone outside the Adeptus Mechanicus. Despite decades of intensive study, the sisters of the Ordo Dialogous have yet to establish even the most rudimentary rules of grammar and syntax.

AdMech Binary. I'm not sure whether its the actual binary we use in compuers, or if they just borrowed the name. Could go either way, but the Imperium hasn't figured it out yet :P

Page 268
He pointed out a lump of something metallic, fused by my lasbolt, in the corner of one of the picts. "That's a genecode scanner or I'm an ork, and I'd bet a Martian upgrade it was tuned to your DNA."

Part of the servo skull seemed to have been melted by Cain's lasbolt. Assuming the intenral components mass between 100 grams and a kilogram and iron composition you get between 120 kj and 1.2 MJ. IF we figure its only 10 grams you'd still have 12 kj for the thermal enegy component of the laspistol.

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Connor MacLeod
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-06-08 02:28pm

Part 2, and Traitor's GAmbit.

Page 268
I shuddered, not entirely due to the Valhallan levels of air-conditioning inside Sulla's mobile command post.

Chimeras are air conditioned.

Page 268
”Those power packs are good for decades. They could have been sent from anywhere on the planet.”

Servo skull powerpacks last a damn long time. Even assuming 10 watts we'd be talking gigajoules in the power packs easily That's an insane energy density. Even assuming 5 kg we get several hundred MJ per kg. Implication for lasgun powerpacks is.. interesting. Esp IIRC from the FFG Luminen charge ability is equal to at least a overcharge/hotshot pack (same magnitude as a lasgun powerpack easily.) Even if actual lasgun (or overcharge) packs were more 1% of that capacity it would still be megajoules per pack, easily.

Page 279
..I leaned over the lip of the driver's compartment, raising my voice over the racket of our engine and the screaming of the shuttle's fusion jets as it rose over our heads and banked sharply away in the direction we'd come from

Civilina shuttles have fusion thrusters. Again whether these are nuclear fusion, or 'other' fusion (again melta/pyrum petrol style 'fusion') we don't know.

Page 279-281
...for a moment I wondered if I should have hitched a ride in her command vehicle after all. That way I could have taken advantage of the vox and auspex systems onboard it to keep track of the ebb and flow of the battle...
The data-slate I'd brought with me from Hoarfell bumped gently against my hip as Jurgen bounced us over the central island of a gyratory road junction, and an idea belatedly occurred to me: I didn't have to manage without access to the tactical displays just because I wasn't inside the command vehicle after all. I fished the portable cogitator out of my pocket, removed it from the anonymous Guard issue protective case, and muttered the litany of activation as I pressed what I hoped were the right keys. It had been some time since I'd needed to patch a slate into a local datanet myself, and I'd got used to having a regimental enginseer around to delegate that sort of thing to. Fortunately my memory proved to be accurate, and in a moment the icon I'd been hoping to see appeared on the little pict screen. “Sulla, can your vox op download the tactical display to my slate?”

“No problem, commissar,” her familiar eager tone reassured me, and a moment later a detailed plan of the town appeared on the screen, overlaid with tiny moving icons showing the disposition of our forces and the dull, amorphous mass of the tyranid swarm.
Indeed, our forces seemed to be gaining a little ground in that spot if anything, which was not only a welcome surprise, but also quite astonishing for mere local militia. Recognising the icon for the main command unit, whoever that was, I directed Sulla to join it.
..zooming in on the image on the tiny screen to get a clearer view of that section of the front line. With the larger, more detailed image of the portable hololith aboard the command vehicle to consult, Sulla had spotted what the reduced scale of the handheld display had made less obvious to me.

Thats a rather nifty ability. CAin's dataslates are apparently cogitators, and not only can they record and transmit visual data (the pict recordings) as well as mapping functions and data/file storage and accessing... it can receive and display tactical updates from command chimeras (via vox link.) Which in turn can (from the tacnet) receive disposition data on other units (friendly and enemy) and possibly sensor and other data. very much an indicator of IG potential informational capabilities.

Page 292
...the wide basin choked with genestealer corpses and the remains of a Battle Sister, who, judging by the wide distribution of her mortal residue, had detonated her entire stock of frag grenades in the moment of being finally overrun.

An indicator of Sororitas power armour durability - although we dont know how many grenades she carried.

Page 293
Sulla acknowledged me briefly, and cut the link, and to my immense relief I began to pick up a fresh source of signals almost immediately.

"This is Commissar Ciaphas Cain," I transmitted at once, swinging the bolter to take down a pack of hormagaunts that had leapt over the heads of the Sisters on the left flank and were now bounding towards us with baleful intent.
Although Cain would be able to contact pretty much anyone on the planet by relaying his signal through the vox equipment in Sulla's command Chimera, the sisters of the White Rose were apparently using their own communication system independent of the Imperial Guard network. Only as the two sets of short-range personal vox systems came into close proximity was he able to talk to them directly.

Implied vox range between comm beads/vox sets probably on the hundreds of metres, if not several km (based on the time it takes for the Salamander to close, as well as the implied heavy bolter range.)

Page 294
Like most of her Sisters she disdained the use of a helmet, despite the manifest foolishness of such a course...
Given that the commissariat uniform has a cap rather than any more functionally protective headgear, Cain may be speaking from the heart here.

Sororitas not using helmets.

Page 297
Why they never seem to bother to put the helmets on those power suits of theirs is completely beyond me.
Apparently because most of them believe that their faith in the Emperor is armour enough. A couple of extra centimetres of ceremite probably couldn't hurt, though.

Again not using helmets again despite having them. Cain prejudice perhaps, he's not really fond of the Ecclesiarchy and Sororitas it has to be said, and his bias is obvious.

Also the helmets have several cm thick armor.

Page 299-300
The hulking monstrosity's shrieking intensified, and, forewarned, I ducked below the armour plate again just as it vomited a ball of bio-plasma at me and charged forwards, striking out with its rending claws. The thick slab of metal protecting me ripped like tissue paper, our hurtling Salamander slowed, and I rolled frantically, trying to evade the reaching talons.
...I just had time to glimpse the melta in his hands before the actinic flash of its activation and the smell of charred meat enveloped my senses. The thing fell back, and our battered but unbowed Salamander leapt forward, leaving the wounded colossus staggering in our wake.
To my chagrin, though not I must admit to my complete surprise, the bolter was beyond use, fused and melted by the plasma burst..

bio plasma (or melta) melts the pintle mounted heavy bolter, and seemingly penetrates armour (unless its the rending claws doing htat, which is possible) Assuming iron and the 40 kg heavy bolter mass from FFG we're talking 40-50 MJ for the bioplasma. Or the Melta.

Page 305
A short, redheaded woman appeared through the haze obstructing my vision, hefting her lasgun one-handed as she fired it insouciantly at a nearby hormagaunt.

Magot using her lasgun one handed.

Page 311
Iʹm pleased to report that deployment of our Naval assets has gone according to plan, and that eight separate flotillas of both Capital and Escort class vessels are standing ready to intercept the approaching hive fleet the moment it emerges from the warp. Our transport vessels are inbound, and should begin offloading your men within the hour. Iʹm sure youʹll know what to do with them.

Our astropaths canʹt be entirely sure, with the shadow still blanking everything, but our best estimate is that the bulk of the tyranid forces will arrive in no more than a day or two...

Size of the battlegroup deployed to counter the nids in space. Assuming as quadron of ~3 ships on averag ethats several dozen at least. Probably fewer than 50 all told (assuming every squadron had 6 ships, which only the escorts would.)

Also less than a day or two to reach the inner system. We're looking at 50-200 gees or so, and a velocity between 16-30% of lightspeed at max.

Page 318
"If they really wanted to kill you out there, why not just lob a krak round at you and make sure of the job?"
"That would have taken out a Salamander pretty easily," she pointed out. 'rag warheads are next to useless against an armoured vehicle. It was just a fluke your tracks getting jammed like that."

Frag rounds useless against Salamander armour. Krak rounds less so.

page 330-331
The interior of the building was, by any standard, a dismal sight, despite the garish fashion in which most of its occupants were dressed. Not as bad as some I've witnessed, of course, but pathetic enough: hollow eyed men and women bent under the weight of unbearable loss, apathetic children too bored and hungry to do much more than sit and whine instead of enjoying their carefree years as they should have been, and, permeating everything, the endless echoing roar of hundreds of voices no one was listening to. The smell was almost as bad as the noise, even my years of Jurgen's near constant companionship having done little to prepare me for such a concentrated dose of pungent humanity.

Another rather grim scene of war, Cain exposed to the suffering the citizens of the Imperium are subjected to by the Tyranids. Another one of those 'not so lighthearted' bits of the Cain novels that show it can be pretty grim if you have an imagination.

page 333
As I've previously mentioned, the 597th routinely split its squads into two fireteams of five troopers each. Team one would be under the command of the sergeant leading the squad, while team two would be led by the assistant squad leader, normally a corporal, when operating independently.

Mention of the fireteams stuff again.

page 336
..firing the heavy weapon at last, and vaporising a waste receptacle, a drinking fountain, and a hideously ornamented tub apparently intended to contain plants of some kind. Fortunately he managed to clip the lictor as well, charring the scything talon and rending claws on its left side into useless chunks of barbequed meat, despite its rapid evasion.

Jurgen's lack of accuracy with a melta against a Lictor, although he does manage to cook it on the side. Assuming a 100 cm and 30 cm side, and 50-200 sq cm is 3000 sq cm - 150-600 kj at least. Not going to try calcing the vaporizing of stuff.

page 337
Whether or not a blank can affect the functioning of the tyranid hive mind is still a matter of some conjecture, Jurgen was certainly able to disrupt the brood telepathy of genestealer groups on more than one occasion, but, as in so many cases where anti-psyker phenomena are concerned, in a somewhat erratic fashion, and I can recall no instance where he unquestionably disrupted the overmind itself.

Probably can be affected by blanks, it is psychic shit after all.

page 339
I cracked off a shot at plasma girl, and she staggered, a bloody wound opening up on her torso. I expected her to fall, but the arcane energies she was manipulating seemed to be sustaining her..

Cain puts a hole through the torso of a psyker, who manages to fight due to warp bolstering.

page 339-340
There was no point in fighting any more that much was obvious. Their victory was certain, so was that of Chaos, and it was only a matter of time before the forces they served swept forth from the Eye of Terror to expunge the Imperium from the stars as though it had never been. Even the Emperor would fall, his soul shredded to sate the obscene appetites of daemons…

For a hideous, endless instant, I felt myself teetering on the brink of insanity, then my tenacious survival instinct kicked in, and I fought it, as hard as I'd fought for my soul on Slawkenberg. The Ruinous Powers hadn't managed to claim it then, despite their worst efforts, and they wouldn't now, damn it.

I drew in a deep breath, headily redolent of Jurgen, and snapped back to myself, suddenly aware that my aide had joined me....
'Liar!' I roared, and the youngster's eyes widened in shock, an instant before a vengeful lasbolt from my pistol spattered his brain, along with the taint of Chaos that permeated it, over both his companions.

This scene reminded me alot of the Slawkenberg one from the Cain short story, or the stuff in Traitor's Hand. Despite his low opinion of his morality and honour, Cain is actually quite a devoted Imperial, and it manifests like this (albeit with some help from Jurgen) Again despite the joke like nature to the series there is quite a bit about it that can be serious.

Also Cain's laspistol blows out the head of one of the pskyers, Single digit kj at least.

Page 341-342
...charged towards the astonished heretics, firing as we went. Both reeled back a pace or two under the impact of the hail of lasbolts, but their strange immunity to the full effect of them seemed to hold until we'd closed to within a handful of yards. The girl, her face panic-stricken, tried to conjure another ball of seething destruction into existence, but it fizzled and vanished in the air between us, and the old man fell suddenly to the floor as his shield of lightning abruptly disappeared. With a bellow of anger and revulsion I swiped his head from his shoulders with my chainsword before he had a chance to react, and watched it bounce a couple of times before coming to rest, glaring back at me in posthumous indignation.

"How…?" the girl started to ask, before it apparently began to dawn on her that most of her torso was missing. Her knees buckled, an expression of stunned incomprehension flickered briefly across her face, and the light went out of her eyes.

Cain (with Jurgen) takes down another pair of psykers. The 'plasma girl' loses most of her chest in the attack. The question is, was it from Cain's laspistol before, or did Jurgen cause it? Conservatively we'd assume the latter, in a second or two's worth of firepower, whilst the former would be more generous. Either a triple digit laspistol bolt, or double/triple digit lasgun burst.

Page 346
The Navy had finally broken the back of the hive fleet, forcing what was left of it to withdraw in search of easier pickings, and the rain of spores had ceased almost a week ago..
Now that they'd run out of bioships to kill the Navy were doing their best to pick off the largest concentrations from orbit, paying particular attention to any digestion pools capable of spawning reinforcements. Orbital bombardment could only achieve so much against so widely dispersed an enemy, though, and the last diehard survivors would have to be tracked down and finished off the old-fashioned way.
Ordinary humans couldn't even hope to survive in that hellish environment, let alone fight in it, and the honour of finally declaring Periremunda free of the xenos taint would fall to one of the Astartes Chapters.

More Imperial tactics against hte Nids, including tons of orbital bombardment, although some 'nids will require Astartes involvement to purge. Also dispersal can complicate the use of orbital bombardment.

Page 349
..I'd finally got the Munitorum to agree that I might as well follow up the incident on Aceralbaterra myself in the absence of any local commissar capable of handling the case.
Though the Gavarronian PDF would, in theory, be under the jurisdiction of a commissar specifically attached to them, in practice the luckless individual in question had been given the task of overseeing morale and disciplinary matters for the PDF of the entire system, along with those of another thirty-seven equally sparsely settled Imperial worlds within the sector. As a result, Commissar Banning spent almost all his time in his cabin aboard one starship after another, drinking heavily, leaving the vast majority of the troopers nominally under his care in blissful ignorance of his existence.

Mention of PDF commissars, expanding on the previous statement from Death or Glory. What's more, they apparently can serve across multiple systems. The poor bastard in this case being an exgregious example. also at least 38 worlds in Damocles gulf.

Page 352
A common custom on many of the worlds around the Damocles Gulf, in which citizens celebrate holy festivals with amateur theatrical performances drawn from the lives of the saints or the Emperor, in which devotional material is inextricably linked with the most vulgar of knockabout comedy.

Something Cain calls a mystery play. Probably some British thing.

Page 358
...formed the others up into a passable impersonation of a short team,...
A fireteam reduced in number by the loss of casualties, but still able to be deployed effectively. Short squads, known to the troopers as ''remnants'', are a common feature of many Guard platoons, and are often little more than independent fireteams themselves in all but name.

Short squads.

Page 363
The speaker was a well-muscled man with brown hair and eyes, who appeared to be in early middle age, although I'd seen too many centenarians who looked half that thanks to an overenthusiasm for juvenat treatments to take his physical appearance as a reliable indicator of how old he might actually have been.

Juvenat with less visible effects. Implies that it halves aging (phyiscally at least) and possibly doubling lifespan.

Page 371
There must have been hundreds of warriors in the convent,...

Size of Sororitas convent on this planet. Probably suggests more than hundreds per sector.

Page 382-383
"If we can reliably enhance the latent psychic powers of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of individuals on every world in the Imperium, what a weapon that would give us against the hordes of Chaos! We could crush them with their own weapons, cleanse the Eye of Terror itself of their foul taint! And once the Ruinous Powers lie prostrate and broken before the Golden Throne, we can sweep the xenos breeds from the stars, until the galaxy belongs to its rightful masters alone: pure, unsullied humankind!"

The implied number of pskyers aside (hundreds of millions or billions of psykers implies astropaths and other sanctioned psykers are far less numerous) - this really has to remind one of the Hydra plot from Inquisition War, although more insane.

Page 385
..there must have been thousands of people on Gavarrone, and hundreds of Sororitas warriors in this convent alone.

Again size of the Sorortias detachment on planet. If we assume the Garrison is similarizly sized (200 or so, or a company) the PDF's size would be in the millions.

Page 385
I reeled back, reaching for my chainsword by reflex, and Jurgen raised his lasgun, emptying the power pack over my shoulder on full auto. The tyranid lictor inside the chamber reeled back, shrieking, and crashed to the floor...

Lasgun drains powerpack in a matter of a few seconds, tops. Implies fairly high rates of fire if we figure 60 shots per pack, and 5-6 seconds.. 10-12 shots per second. If its 2-3 seconds it could be 20-30 shots per second.

Page 387
Instead of falling, as I'd expected, however, he suddenly vanished, with a crack! of imploding air.
..recognising the work of a displacer field. Amberley had used one on Gravalax, and I knew the little teleportation device couldn't have taken him far.

Seems like lots of Inquisitors in the Damocles Gulf have displacer fields.

Page 387
A burst of light in the corridor ahead of us dazzled my eyes, and a bolt of plasma burst against the stonework, vaporising a chunk of it about the size of my head.

plasma bolt supposedly vaporizes a head sized chunk out of stone. Figure a 15 cm diameter creater call it 1-2 kg. To literally vaproize would be 10-30 MJ. Blasting it out.. mid to high kj range maybe?

Page 389
Displacer fields are never completely reliable, so it's always advisable to present the lowest possible target profile even if you're carrying an active one.

More displacer field comment.

Page 392
"But those things make rather a mess. You'll probably vaporise the nullifier along with my torso."

Plasma pistol again. If we figure he means blow apart the torso, its high kj/low MJ maybe.

Page 396
"You have been declared Excommunicate Diabolus by the Consilium Ravus of the triune ordos, and by their authority are ordered to surrender your person to answer to the charges of treason and heresy there laid against you."
"Just what I might have expected from a pusillanimous puritan," Killian sneered. "Precisely the sort of tunnel-visioned weakling the Consilium would choose to send after me."

I suspect Amberley may be the same sort of Inquisitor as Eisenhorn and Ravenor. Preferring undercover work and subtlety, but also being basically more puritan than radical.

Page 397
..lowering his plasma pistol at last. I barely had time for a sigh of relief before he pulled the trigger, blowing a hole through the floor at his feet, and sending us all reeling with the bright flash of combustion.
..I leapt through the hole, which proved to be a trapdoor of noticeably thinner stone than that forming the rest of the floor.

More plasma explosion stuff. This time blowing a shoulder wide hole through floor, although the thickness was much less.

Page 408
..I hardly needed to glimpse the distended veins in his face and hands to realise he was benefiting from a massive dose of 'slaught. Reflexes and aggression boosted far beyond what the human frame was normally capable of, he resembled nothing so much as a Khornate berserker..

Effect of a drugged up Penal Legionnaire.

Page 412-413
Suddenly, without warning, ravening shafts of energy blasted down from the sky above our heads, slamming into the ground just ahead of the tyranid advance. A plume of vaporised rock and chitin rose into the air, and our sturdy little shuttle shuddered as the Shockwaves from the disrupted atmosphere battered against it.
...and indeed for a moment or two it seemed that the lance batteries of the starships in orbit had done just that, merely clipping the leading edge of the swarm instead of blasting straight into its centre as I would have expected.
A second later the rest of the flotilla's firepower opened up too, dazzling my eyes as their heavy beams struck the site of the convent, evaporating buildings, and scouring the entire location down to the bedrock beneath. The remainder of the swarm began to mill around uncertainly, the directing intelligence severely disrupted by the holes being punched in it.
... a complete slice of the plateau sheared away and began to fall into the depths, disintegrating as it went, so that after a moment it was hard to tell which spinning fragments were boulder, and which were wildly flailing tyranids. A moment later the barrage ended, and I just caught a final glimpse of the PDF trucks slithering to a baffled halt on the new and still molten rim..

Orbital lance bombardment slicing off the convent form the plateau. Not going to calc it since I dont know enough, but its still pretty neat. Also PDF forces using trucks.


Now, Traitor's Gambit.

Page 492
So, by the early weeks of 990, life was looking pretty good to me. We'd just arrived in the Deepwater system, along with a naval task force and a couple of dozen troop transports, ostensibly to show the flag and reassure our loyal citizens that the forces of the Emperor stood ever ready to protect them from the rapacious ambitions of the tau...

That probably points to there being a sizeable force of hundreds of thousands of troops, or at the very least on the high end of tens of thousands. By any non-attritional standard thats quite a bit of force to throw against the tau.

Page 493
Almost a century by this point, although given the degree of vagueness about Cain's origins, and the amount of time he spent travelling the warp, that's more of a best guess than an accurate estimate. One thing we can be certain of from this description is that, like Cain, Hoy had benefited front a juvenat treatment or two.

Cain's juvenat and warp time dilation affecting his age.

Page 493
As the name implied, Deepwater was an aquatic world, with no land at all to speak of apart from the occasional island chain, so most of the population lived in hive cities anchored to the seabed; from these roots the spires soared into the air above, often for a kilometre or more, to form glass and steel reefs capable of withstanding anything the elements were capable of throwing at them. A warren of tunnels and mineshafts sprawled out from the underhives, to pillage the rich store of minerals lying beneath the waves, and periodically threaten the occasional sump community with drowning when they breached.

Oceanic hive cities. Probably an example of hives on a world that isnt an industrial shithole.

Page 494
The Tau Empire had managed to annex several Imperial systems in the region over the last few years simply because, with the growing menace of the tyranid hive fleets, we hadn't had the resources to defend them properly. In fact, if the 'nids hadn't been as much of a problem for them as they were for us, they'd probably have wrapped up half the sector by now...

Something of an exaggeration, but they'd certainly have made significant gains.

The tau are both practical and vulturesque in their approach to conquest. Although given how they were set up from the get go, snatching the Imperium's planets when they're busy elsewhere is about the only way they can seriously pull it off. Although the fact they could carve a significant chunk off a sector says some interesting thinga bout their power projection (compared to Taros, at least.)

Page 494
The star cluster of which Deepwater was a part was far too vulnerable to a sudden tau attack for my peace of mind, or Zyvan's too, come to that; so the strategy we'd determined on was the old one of a mobile defence, moving from system to system as unpredictably as possible. The tau couldn't know which system the fleet would be in next, and would have to mount an invasion force sufficiently powerful to overcome it wherever they tried. Even if we weren't there when they arrived, the existing defences should be enough to bog them down long enough for our flotilla to respond, and tip the balance in the Imperium's favour.

Once again we see that the Imperial Guard is both aware of and capable of mobile warfare, offense or defense. That they don't always do this is more up to their lack of standardization - differences in commanders/leadership, availability of equipment and logistics, things like that.

Page 496
In general, I have to admit, I was quite favourably impressed; they weren't up to the standard of Guard or Navy regulars, of course, or they'd have been swept up in the manpower tithes, but they were competent enough to give the tau a bloody nose if push came to shove. Not for long, of course; they'd be overwhelmed in a matter of days, but the bluies would know they'd been in a fight, and, Emperor willing, be weakened enough for our fleet to have the edge when we turned up to liberate the system again.

Cain's assessment of the PDF/SDF forces. Also an implication that Zyvan's forces might arrive onplanet within days.

Page 498
I just had time to register the comm-bead in his ear, and the laspistol gripped in his hand, when our eyes locked.

Civilians with comm-beads. Where they got them we don't know - either they were civilian issue, stolen from military assets, or provided by the tau.

Page 499
The man on the right recovered first, returning fire with far more enthusiasm than accuracy, and going to ground behind a large ceramic urn, which my next lasbolt shattered most satisfactorily. I followed up with a second as soon as I could squeeze the trigger again, blessing the extra speed and steadiness my augmetic fingers gave me, and he collapsed among the shards, a bloody crater punched neatly into his torso.
..crossing half the distance in a couple of panic-lengthened strides before my next bolt took the back of her head off

Cain's lasgun in action. We dont know quite how big the crater is (aside its lethal, suggesting it reaches pretty deep) and partial headsplosion. Call it at least single digit, maybe double digit kj.

Page 500
...and I blessed the lack of imagination of the average civilian. The earpieces they'd been issued with were on a preset frequency, so it hadn't occurred to anyone to change them.

Again civvies with comm beads.

Page 501
The governor was dead, most of his torso seared away by an energy bolt of quite staggering power; I'd seen the damage done by plasma weapons often enough to recognise it, and felt an even stronger sense of foreboding than before. Whoever Hanar's people were, they were well resourced; plasma weapons were rare to say the least, and the vast majority of them firmly in the hands of the Emperor's faithful servants.

Tau plasma pistol. At least high kj, low MJ. Depends on how much (if any) is explosive and how much (if any) is pure thermal damage, amongst other traits. Also implied rarity (or limited access) of plasma weapons in Imperial space. The tau seemingly aren't so restrictive. Then again they may just be supplying auxiliaries/assassins.

Page 501
Just his hard luck that Kraven had been armed in the way he was, a las- or autopistol might well have missed Hoy altogether, but the plasma bolt had expanded as it travelled.)

Plasma pistol bolts having expansion. This probably explains some instances of cremation, although such expansion also gives them shitty penetration and range. For a pure thermal weapon that might not matter as much, though.

PAge 501
The handgun's smooth surface, devoid of devotional icons and the seals of sanctification bestowed by the tech-priests, bespoke its unhallowed origins, and I was unable to suppress a shudder of revulsion as I closed my hand around it. It was of tau origin, I'd seen enough of their xenos tech over the years to be certain of that, and a grim conclusion began to force its way into my thoughts. Hoy's assassination was almost certainly a decapitation strike, intended to sow confusion and discord in advance of a xenos invasion, which meant that an all-out attack on the Deepwater system must be imminent.

Tau plasma pistol again.

Page 502
.. as I rounded a corner, I almost stumbled over the corpses of a couple of ladies' maids, evidently gunned down as they tried to flee, and any thoughts I might have had about offering terms of surrender to the pirates evaporated abruptly. Civilian casualties are a sad inevitability of warfare, but any true servant of the Emperor tries to avoid harming His subjects as much as possible. Casual butchery like this was the mark of creatures like the orks, or debased followers of the Ruinous Powers, and for the first time I began to appreciate just how ruthless my foes were in pursuit of their agenda.

Nice huh? The Tau's 'greater good' evidently demanded civilian murder. although to be fair, I dont think all the tau would have liked or approved of this - some tau are as prickly about their sense of honour and the treatment of other beings as some in the Imperium are. On the other hand they're well versed at using the greater good to justify anything, and even if they wouldn't have liked or permitted the slaughter, they still employed people who did it. Can't blame Cain for getting pissed (a fact which sort of undercuts his 'self centered rogue' image, I might add.)

Page 504
"Roxwell says he's already set the fusion reactors to overload, so his group aren't needed in the enginarium any more."
I'd seen spacecraft reactors breech before, although in most cases the catastrophe had been triggered by a lance or torpedo volley. I knew that once they'd carried out their dastardly plan, there would be nothing left of the yacht beyond a cloud of superheated plasma, burning like a brief, miniature sun, consuming everything within a couple of kilometres of the explosion point.

Governor's yacht using fusion reactors. Apparently its not uncommon for starships in the Damocles Gulf region, including warships, having them. Apparenlty these 'fusion' reactors can also 'consume' (meaning vaporize or chain reaction, not sure) shit to quite a distance (implying either a powerful explosion for a yacht or a funky power source.)

Page 507
A question the Adeptus Mechanicus would very much like to have answered. A few magi have gone so far as to suggest that the machine-spirits of the Tau Empire might even be subverted and turned against their masters if they could somehow be persuaded that the servants of the Imperium would accord them the veneration they deserve, but so far no practical method of attempting the experiment has been proposed.

Frankly I find the idea of the AdMech trying to subvert tau AI in an attempt to incite revolution quite hilarious yet appropriate. Then again who knows, maybe they could do it. :P

Page 508
..even though I knew the effort would be futile. If things had got that bad, Zyvan would have mobilised the fleet in any case, warned by the auspex traces of the invaders emerging from the warp.

Implying that auspex can pick up warp portals (entry/exit from the warp), but also that the tau use it. Which seems contradictory given that they couldn't at Medusa V. So either only certain septs have pulled off warp travle of a sort, or Cain isn't aware of their propulsive systems (on the other hand Ether drives are related to the warp, sot here might not be all that big a difference either.)

Page 511
I fired first, the plasma bolt from the weapon I'd picked up earlier vaporising the front of my sash and scorching the legs of my trousers, before taking the traitorous adept high on the right side of her chest, searing away her shoulder and upper arm. She staggered back, shrieking, as her forearm and hand, still clutching the butt of the tau pistol, thudded to the deck plates.

Tau plasma pistol in action again, burning away shoulder/upper arm. Less widespread damage than Imperial plasma weapons, but seemingly more reliable. High kj/low MJ again, at least.

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby StarSword » 2013-06-12 12:26am

Connor MacLeod wrote:Page 294
Like most of her Sisters she disdained the use of a helmet, despite the manifest foolishness of such a course...
Given that the commissariat uniform has a cap rather than any more functionally protective headgear, Cain may be speaking from the heart here.

Sororitas not using helmets.

Page 297
Why they never seem to bother to put the helmets on those power suits of theirs is completely beyond me.
Apparently because most of them believe that their faith in the Emperor is armour enough. A couple of extra centimetres of ceremite probably couldn't hurt, though.

Again not using helmets again despite having them. Cain prejudice perhaps, he's not really fond of the Ecclesiarchy and Sororitas it has to be said, and his bias is obvious.

Also the helmets have several cm thick armor.

Most definitely a religious thing since the Sororitas don't have the excuse some of the Space Marine chapters do (i.e. the Space Wolves complain that wearing helmets feels like being deaf due to how much they rely on their enhanced senses). And yeah, Cain laments repeatedly that he'd prefer a helmet to his commissar cap, which provides no protection at all.

Page 318
"If they really wanted to kill you out there, why not just lob a krak round at you and make sure of the job?"
"That would have taken out a Salamander pretty easily," she pointed out. 'rag warheads are next to useless against an armoured vehicle. It was just a fluke your tracks getting jammed like that."

Frag rounds useless against Salamander armour. Krak rounds less so.

Which makes perfect sense. From what I understand frag rounds are antipersonnel weapons meant to shred people, while krak and melta rounds are armor-piercing shells.

Page 352
A common custom on many of the worlds around the Damocles Gulf, in which citizens celebrate holy festivals with amateur theatrical performances drawn from the lives of the saints or the Emperor, in which devotional material is inextricably linked with the most vulgar of knockabout comedy.

Something Cain calls a mystery play. Probably some British thing.

Let's say there's a reason one of the Imperium's nicknames is "Catholic Space Nazis".
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby StarSword » 2013-06-12 12:36am

Also, as far as the Tau, I read an interesting analysis of it on TV Tropes (the 40k character sheet for the Tau, under Realpolitik) where the Imperium essentially sees the Tau Empire as an unpleasant but useful neighbor: they're somebody reasonable whom you can ally with if the situation calls for it, and other than that they rely on trying to check their expansion rather than outright destroy them, which would be a campaign requiring massive amounts of resources that are more useful elsewhere. As it stands the Tau act somewhat as a buffer against various nasties in the Damocles Gulf region (orks, 'nids, etc.), so the Imperium tolerates their existence.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Black Admiral » 2013-06-12 05:50am

StarSword wrote:
Connor MacLeod wrote:Page 294
Like most of her Sisters she disdained the use of a helmet, despite the manifest foolishness of such a course...
Given that the commissariat uniform has a cap rather than any more functionally protective headgear, Cain may be speaking from the heart here.

Sororitas not using helmets.

Page 297
Why they never seem to bother to put the helmets on those power suits of theirs is completely beyond me.
Apparently because most of them believe that their faith in the Emperor is armour enough. A couple of extra centimetres of ceremite probably couldn't hurt, though.

Again not using helmets again despite having them. Cain prejudice perhaps, he's not really fond of the Ecclesiarchy and Sororitas it has to be said, and his bias is obvious.

Also the helmets have several cm thick armor.

Most definitely a religious thing since the Sororitas don't have the excuse some of the Space Marine chapters do (i.e. the Space Wolves complain that wearing helmets feels like being deaf due to how much they rely on their enhanced senses).

Actually, it's rather more likely that Cain, and Amberley, are simply wrong. Amberley definitely has some issues about the Sororitas Militant, with the amount of whining she does about them, and the majority of other sources mentioning the Sororitas Militant are pretty clear that the majority of them wear their helmets.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby StarSword » 2013-06-12 09:45am

A fair point, though it could also be that this particular order is just that crazy. Although given that Sister Julien (the Sororitas instructor at the schola in Cain's Last Stand) is also never said to wear a helmet and isn't anywhere near as nutty, you're probably right.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby andrewgpaul » 2013-06-12 12:56pm

I always thought it was a comment on the miniatures range for the Sisters of Battle - where only two or three models out of a couple of dozen are sculpted with a helmet, and only one of those is a basic bolter-armed Sister. Makes it rather impossible to build an army of entirely helmeted Sisters, unlike Space Marines.
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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Simon_Jester » 2013-06-12 06:56pm

I think that's all Games Workshop's fault. The Sisters' schtick is women in power armor, and if you put their helmets on, they stop looking very much like women (exaggerated female figure or no, unless you make them so ridiculously Barbie Doll looking that you're better off just skipping the helmets).

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Re: Ciaphas Cain novels analysis/discussion thread (revisite

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2013-06-12 07:55pm

The 'no helmet' thing in game would be so that we can tell they're WOMEN (in case the breasts weren't a giveaway) and just so someone didn't go enraged at the idea of female space marines or something.

Where it becomes a problem is where people take tabletop literally (and it does happen more often than one would think.) because it leads to all sorts of silly things. Like the Leman Russ having a 120mm smoothbore that actually measures 300+mm in diameter... and the tank supposedly can carry 40 of those shells inside it that are manually loaded. And its alternatively rifled and smoothbore.

Also and this isnt a criticism of starsword, as a rule personally I tend to detest any TVtropes based 'analysis' because I believe they try to replace critical thinking and complex assessment of individual (and often distinct) qualities into some lump-sum oversimplifed generalization. Its the same irate mood I get in when people try to do math to justify 40K calcs and then when challenged try to shrug it off on RULE OF COOL or '40K ISN'T MEANT TO BE ON LOGIC.' Its like 'you can't have your cake and eat it too.' If you're going to bother doing math (esp for big numbers) you have to jump through a certain number of hoops as dictated by consistency - else its just cherrypicking.

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