Gray Knights series analysis thread

SF: discuss futuristic sci-fi series, ideas, and crossovers.

Moderators: Stofsk, NecronLord

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-03-12 04:08pm

So, like I said, I'm going to start in on Gray Knights, which is basically Ben Counter writing a decent Space Marine novel. What makes it good is hard to say, because I'm not 100% sure what does make a 'good' Space Marine novel. Space Marines are hard to write, at least in a 'canonical' way. I liked Abnett's horus hersy depictions for example but he writes them almost in the opposite way that Codexes and such portray them (Brothers of the snake was closer, and yet I never cared for that novel. Coincidence?) Space Marines are rather narrow in scope - they're good at fighting, kililng, destroying, and that's about it. And their characterizations generally reflect this. A few authors have managed to expand beyond this (Ian Watson introducing an artistic or even philosohpical aspect to the Fists, Bill King introducing humour and silliness iwth the Space Wolves, etc.) but generally most tend to be rather.. dull.. because any Space Marine novel centering aroudn space marines would be just about kill counts and how powerful their sword arms/weapons are. Which in small doses can be fun, but in large doses gets dull.

A 'good' Space Marine novel as I define it, in the Night Lords thread, is one where the Space Marines are not the chief characters. You almost need humans alongisde them for the Space Marines to work off of - their reactions/interactions with humanity in general are what drive any sort of scope or development you can get out of a Space Marine, which is why novels like Helsreach or Rynn's World are the best - Space Marines forced to confront their own natures - or even question it - are perhaps the best. And again this isn't canonical - Space Marines are supposed to be zealous, unthinking, fanatically driven killmachines. But you can't write about those very well.

Which brings us to Grey Knights. There's plenty of Space Marine killing huge numbers, and generally being badasses, but that is almost an afterthought. What we get with the first novel is a Gray Knight who is forced to confront just what it is he is, and what he does, and why. We're presented with a tragic figure in an Inquisitor who is attempting to hunt down and stop the resurrection of a powerful Daemonic entity. And the interactions betwene the two, the lessons learned on both sides, are what realyl drive the novel. Counter really is at his best when he writes about Chaos, and you can see it in this one. And because Gray Knights are all about Chaos, that may be what makes these novels work and not Soul Drinkers.

Anyhow, GK is good, but in a pure 'chaos' theme Hammer of Daemons is better, even though it deals with the HERETICAL concept of a GK perhaps falling to Chaos (which is only true if you don't think about the book.) but we'll get to that in time. I will note that Counter HAS managed to ruin the series for me in a recently published short story, though: we find out that GK bullets are blessed in the blood of sacrificed innocent, good men - by the Ecclesiarchy (hah!) and GK armour is forged in the fires of cremated and tortured psykers aboard Black Ships or something. I wish I was kidding about that, but it seems like the GK concept got elevated to 5th edition standards :lol:

Anyhow, on with the GK novel:

Page 9
They had trained since before they could remember in resisting the trickery of Tzeentch himself and the creeping corruption that had brought so many to the fold of Ghargatuloth. They were armed with the best weapons the Ordo Malleus could give them, pro­tected by consecrated power armour hundreds if not thousands of years old, shielded from sorcery by hexagrammic and pentagrammic wards tattooed onto their skin by the sages of the Inquisitorial archives.

- Mention that the Gray Knights are protected by Pentagrammic and hexagrammic wards (Tattooed directly onto their skin) and how they are trained to resist Chaoic influence and sorcery. The wards, as I recall, are reinforced by their own innate psychic ability and the stuff built into their armour.

Note the absence of them practicing such sorcery, wielding dameonic weapons, etc.

Page 10
There were three hundred of them bearing down on Khorion IX to have their say in the confluence of fates.

300 Grey Knights vs Daemon Prince.

Page 10
They were just a handful in number compared to the trillions of citizens making up the Imperium....

"trillions of citizens."

Page 10
The screams from below sounded even through the din of the descent and the pod's lan­der engines, a million voices raised in praise and anticipation...

A million minions of Chaos await the Grey Knights.

Page 12
And worst of all, the daemon army seethed, hundreds of thou­sands strong,

Hundreds of thousands of daemons.

Page 13
The impact was immense, like slamming into a wall. The grav-couch restraints jolted back as the pods ploughed through the branches of wood and bone, into the middle of the daemon throng. A great scream rose above the din of the impact as daemons were vaporised by the impact, and the viewport was sud­denly covered in their many-coloured blood.
The servitor-pilot controlling the pod's systems responded to the pre-programmed order and the bolts holding the pod's sides together burst with a series of sharp reports. The sides of the pod burst open and Mandulis's restraints fell away.

Servitor controlled drop pods deploy the grey knights and vaporize (pulverise) daemons.

Page 14
Mandulis drew his Nemesis sword from its scabbard on his back. The blade leapt into life, its power field calibrated to disrupt the psychic matter of daemons' flesh,
...he felt three unholy bodies come apart under the blade's edge.

- Nemesis sword (force?) mentioned as having a "power field calibrated to disrupt the psychic matter of daemons flesh". Interesting, since usually magic crystals or something similar is given as the reason for the force sword's effects (it can channel psychic power through the weapon) Maybe the powerfield is a special Grey Knight sonly modification to enhance the weapon further. This would in turn suggest power weapons (or at least a certian kind) can be "adapted" for greater effect against certain kinds of matter (possibly at the expense of their effects against anything else, like some lasers.)

Page 14
Psycannon fire from Chemuel was shrieking past, the modified bolter shells exploding in spectacular starbursts of silver that shredded the attacking dae­mons.

Psycannon in action, shredding daemons.

Page 16
Mandulis pressed down on the firing stud in his gauntlet and sent a stream of bolter shells ripping into the advancing daemons.

Gauntlet mounted storm bolter.

Page 16
It had taken a century to hunt down Ghargatuloth, the power which, through dozens of avatars and aspects, directed thousands of Chaos cults in acts of depravity and ter­ror.

The time and scope of the daemon princes actions and acitivites - many avatars (outlets to work through, I assume he means bodies possessed) and thousands of minions (per avatar or total, we aren't told.) I'd guess this means hunting the daemon down each time it possessed a new form, undoing whatever it had planned, destroying its allies - but the daemon managing to escape to begin a new each time. This suggests it happened at least once every few years on average/

Page 16
The Ordo Malleus had fought long and hard to find out that it lived on Khorion IX, an uninhabited and largely unexplored world deep into the Halo Zone of the Segmentum Obscurus where the beacon of the Astronomican barely reached.

Out beyond the Calixis and Scarus sectors really.. rather odd that the AStronomican "barely reached" there given its ability to reach the edge of Ultima Segmentum (which is far bigger than Obscurus), unless it's because the Eye of Terror is in the way - that would probably interefere with the signal (which mewans anything behind it would have some difficulties navigating.

This in turn menas many calcs in and around the eye are probably conservative due to that sort of disruption and blocking.

Page 16
Khorion IX was too isolated for a planet-scouring Imperial Navy assault and normal troops would last a matter of sec­onds on the planet. Even the Exterminatus, the ultimate Inquisitorial sanction, would not be enough - someone had to see Ghargatuloth die and, even with a devastating strike from orbit, the Ordo Malleus could not be sure.

Niot sure what a "planet scouring Imperial Navy asault" means - orbital bombardment? Mass extinction? Extensive bombing? Its contrast to exterminatus would seem to rule out mass extinction at least, but its hard to say. Possibly it means deploying naval troops to purge the planet. Normal troops may mean Imperial guard. "orbital strikes" sugggests planet scouring and/or extermintaus may involve large applications of brute force firepower though

Rather odd they can't just exterminatus the planet or blast the place from orbit, but they "need someone on the ground" - perhpas because the daemon has gotten away so many times they can't risk him getting away agian and have to be sure (so do it the hard way). Hell maybe they tried blasting a place one of the past times and he did get away.

Page 17
The fast strike cruisers Valour Saturnum and Vengeful carried over two hundred and fifty Grey Knights, as large a force as could be moved quickly enough through the vastness of the Segmentum Obscurus.

It was earlier noted there were 300 grey knights, so between 250-300 on two Strike cruisers.

Page 22
But the mind of a Grey Knight was built around a hard core of pure, depthless faith. Where other men had fear, the Grey Knights had resolve. Where others had doubt, Mandulis had faith. An Imperial guardsman, no matter how courageous or pious, still had that unprotected hollow of despair, greed, and terror at the heart of his soul. A Grey Knight did not. Ghargatuloth's mind tricks broke against Mandulis's mind like waves against rocks.

That was why it had to be the Grey Knights assault­ing Khorion IX. The Lords Militant could assemble armies hundreds of millions strong, but not

Resilience of Grey Knights against Daemons. Armies of no size could hope to stand up against that (of course, given that Guardsmen do stand up in the end.. makes me wonder.)

Also "Lords militant" amassing hundreds of millions of guards men.. I'm guessing thats Lord General Militants, rrather than the Lord Commander Militant (one of the High Lords). This means "hundreds of millions" per sector or part of a sector (subsector?) which means hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of guardsmen per sector. (with maybe 10x that total in PDF forces.. although its possible that the number represents the upper limit "tithing" capability at any given point or theroetical maximums. Of course we can inteprret it to mean plural armies too..)

Page 25
One thousand years passed. The Imperium endured -men and women died in uncountable numbers to ensure that. Armageddon was lost to the orks. The Damocles Gulf was conquered and strange new species were encountered. The Sabbat Worlds were overrun by Chaos and an immense crusade launched to reclaim them.

Stratix died in screaming plague, Stalinvast in the fiery extremes of the Exterminatus.
the Adeptus Terra tried to unpick laws and declarations from the will of the Emperor. The warp created new hells outside real space. Whole systems were lost in madness and new ones settled in their hundreds.

Over a 1000 period timeframe. Most of these refernece previous novels or other events. Stalinvast is Inquisition War, Damocles gulf crusade, the 2nd and 3rd Armageddon Wars, the Sabbat Worlds Crusade. Stratix was the world mentioned in Bleeding Chalice, the whole Teturact fiasco, which suggests it (and the soul drinkers novels) took place sometime within that 1000 years.

Also "whole systems lost in madness" and "hundreds settled" - implies a mere "hundreds of new worlds settledin a thousand years, although in context it also suggets only a few worlds lost.. maybe it works better as a ratio, which suggests more worlds were gained int hat 1000 year period than were lost.

Page 26
When the first shot had hit, Justicar Alaric had thought of the final days
With the second shot, the one that punched through his leg and tore up into his abdomen, he had realised that he was not dead and that the final days would not come for him yet. He remembered red runes winking maddeningly on the back of his eye, telling him that his blood pressure was falling and both his hearts were beating erratically, that two of his lungs had been punctured by the shot to the chest and his abdomen was filling up with blood. He remembered dragging himself into cover as overcharged las-shots ripped into the stone floor beside him.
..willing his limbs to move so he could loose a last volley of shots against the cultists who had wounded him so badly.

Effects of being hit by a lasgun shot, coming up through his leg and into his abdomen. I'm guessing at an angle. Not cauterized since it cauged bleeding, but it puntured two lungs.

Page 27

Alaric was all but submerged in a vat of clear fluid, a concoction of Titan's apothecaries that helped flesh heal and kept infections at bay. He felt tubes snaking all around him, feeding medicines into his veins and sending information back to the cogitators he could hear thrumming and clicking away around him. He was bathed in light coming from lumoglobes arranged in a circle on the stone ceiling above him.
Alaric turned his head to see the brass-cased cogita­tors quietly spewing sheet after sheet of paper onto which were scribbled the long, jagged ribbons of his life signs. The medical facility was one he had been to before - it was here that he had received the hexagrammic wards that formed a thin lattice of blessed silver beneath his skin. Medical orderlies were moving quietly between other recovery tanks and auto-surgeon tables, checking on the patients - some were troops or other personnel from the Ordo Malleus. Others were the inhumanly tall and muscular forms of Alaric's fel­low Grey Knights.
The lumoglobes casting pools of light around the patients, surrounded by shadow where cogitators and hygiene servitors hummed gently.

- The ORdo Malleus/Gray Knights have bacta like tanks/vats that can help "heal flesh and keep infections at bay." - it also requires medicines being fed intravenously into his body.' Also we see the gneerla status of the Grey Knights infirmary.

- Hexagrammic wards of "blessed silver" inlaid beneath Gray Knight's skin.

Page 28
Alaric recognised Brother Tathelon, one arm blown off at the elbow and his body covered in tiny shrapnel scars. Interrogator Iatonn, who had accompanied Inquisitor Nyxos in the assault, lay with his entrails exposed as the dextrous metallic fingers of the auto-surgeon worked to knit his innards back together.

- auto-surgeon attemting to knit internal organs back together of an Inquisitor.

Page 28
One of the orderlies, one of the blank-faced, mind-scrubbed men and women the Ordo Malleus used for menial work, saw Alaric was awake and came to inspect the life signs streaming from the cogitators.

- the Ordo Malleus make ample use of "mind scrubbed" personnel.

Page 28
The black carapace, a hard layer beneath the skin of his chest and abdomen, had a large ragged hole in it where the first shot had broken through his armour and Alaric could see through the crystallised wound to the surface of the bony breastplate that had grown together from his ribs. There was another hole, larger, in the meat of his thigh, with a tight channel of internal scar leading up into his abdomen. He could feel the wounds inside him but they were almost healed thanks to his internal augmentations and the Chapter apothecarion. He was covered in smaller scars, burns from where his armour had become red-hot from the weight of las-fire slamming into it..

Enough lasfire to turn his Grey Knights chestplate red hot. assuming a 50x50 cm area and ~3-4 cm thickness for the plate and made of iron. call it 60-80 kilos. color wise we might figure its between 770K and 1060K depending on how literal about "red-hot" you want to be. Assuming 300K initial temp we're talking a temp change between 470-760K.. 198-456 kilojoules depending on specific heat used.. just to be broad call it between 10-40 MJ or so, within an order of magnitude. He also has burns on his chest, but that would be rather minor - a few hundred kilojoules compared to heating the chestplate. We dont know exactly how many shots, but no more than "hundreds" of cultists fired on him, not all shots hit, and the cultists apparently are what did him in, and it wasn't more than a few seconds worth of fire, from context, so we're probably talking more more than a few hundred or a few thousand shots.. single to double digit KJ at least, and probably leaning more to double digit at that.

The two shots that caused major injuries were very deep penetrating. That he can peer down the hole suggests its fairly wide - several cm at least, and the other is even bigger. That would correspond with the idea of penetrating deeply into an astartes chest (a good 15-20 cm at least, given the greater bulk) or through the thigh and up into the torso (twice the first hit easily.) for a "blaster" type laser (suggested by the penetration) we'd be talking double digit kj quite easily, givne Astartes durability, bulk, and the need to puncture two lungs with one shot. The shots in question were apparently from high powered, even overcharged lasweapons. These wounds would also tend to confirm the "double digit kj per shot" estimate from above, quite easily, although considering that these shots would have to have also penetrated armor then done the damage..

Page 29
Glavian was ancient, one of the few Grey Knights currently in the Chapter who had reached the extended old age a Space Marine's enhancements could grant him. Glaivan's hands had been replaced long ago with bionic armatures that gave him a surgical touch far finer than human hands, with splayed fingers tipped with scalpels and pincers. Grey Knights usually wore their power armour when outside their cells or at worship, but Glaivan had long since left his battlegear behind. Beneath the long white apothecary's robes his body was braced with steel and brass, and his redundant organs had been removed to leave Glaivan a shell of a Marine.
Glavian was more than four hundred years old, all but the first handful of those having been spent in service to the Grey Knights and the Ordo Malleus.

a 400 year old, heavily augmetic Gray Knight.. had some of his organs removed (although not ones to deal with slowe daging I guess...) implied that 400 years old is long for a Gray Knight, although whether the limit or not is up for debate, given what other sources tell us. Perhaps it is rare for them to live that long, given the nature of their foe.

Page 29
"They were high-powered las-burns, justicar, very deep. I am surprised that you are awake so soon, and very little surprises me."

I guess the las shot inflicted burns as well. Probably roughly equal to the energy to inflict the holes at least. Coupled with the need to penetrate armor as well as causing the burns... might be high double digit/low triple digit kj lasgun shots, which would make sense for "overcharged" shots.

Page 30
Alaric had seen Valinov, just as the storm of las-fire had ripped out of the underground temple from the cultists under Valinov's command.

His cultists - the mission briefing had sug­gested several hundred of them in the underground temple complex -
Alaric had been one of the first in, leading the squad he had recently come to command.

- mention of several hundred cultists (upper limit on the number firing on Alaric.) Along with Valinov. Putting this into context with what was said above, we can figure that pretty much within the first or second salvos of being fired upon Alaric went down, again confirming it was a short timeframe.

Page 30

"How long?" asked Alaric.

"Three months.' replied Glaivan. 'The Rubicon made good speed back."

We don't know the exact distance involved, but it is mentioned later that Valinov was rampaging across segmentum solar, meaning they can't have (from Terra) gone more than 10-15K LY or so tops (Segmentum solar isnt that much bigger). around 40,000c or so speed, although that assumes a straight-line course.

Alaric took three months to heal form his wounds, including the transit back to the Grey Knights base from the planet they were attacking.

Page 30
The Grey Knights were technically autonomous, but the Ordo Malleus were in practice their masters, and they cer­tainly didn't want the Grey Knights harbouring seditious opinions about the Inquisition. Radicalism was, officially, a non-existent threat, and that was all the Malleus would officially say to the Grey Knights about it.

Like the Deathwatch (as per the RPG) the Gray Knights are technically not under the direct command of the Malleus, but they are so closely allied that they basically are the same. Malleus radicalism seems to be a secret as well.

Page 30-31
Alaric sifted through his last memories of the raid - gunfire streaking through grimy underground tunnels, battle-brothers charging in a storm of explosions. If the Rubicon had indeed made good speed then Alaric had probably been in Glaivan's care for a couple of weeks.

This would suggest maybe a bit less than three months.. 2-1/2 maybe, but not much different 50-60K times the speed of light instead of 40K. Also implies a short timeframe between alaric arriving and going down again.

Page 32
There was a great deal Alaric had to do after any battle, let alone one where he had been both severely wounded and been exposed to potential cor­ruption. He would have to confess, receive purification, have his battlegear repaired and reconse­crated, see his name entered in the immense tomes recording the deeds of the Grey Knights, and be debriefed by Grand Master Tencendur and the inquisi­tors who had been ultimately responsible for the attack.
The life of a Grey Knight was ritual and purification punctuated by savage combat against the foulest of foes - just a few days of it would break a lesser man, and sometimes Alaric was grateful he could not remember anything else.

After battle rites for a Grey Knight.

Page 33
Barbillus had worn armour covered in gold filigree depicting daemons crushed beneath the Emperor's feet and wielded a power hammer with a head carved from meteoric iron. He had ridden his war pulpit into the deepest pits of daemonic horror.
Barbillus had an extensive staff, mostly of warriors who rode with him into battle, recruited from martial cultures all over the Imperium. But he also needed people to get him to the battlefield. Investigators. Interviewers. Scientists. Some of Barbillus's rear eche­lon staff went deep undercover for him, infiltrating noble houses suspected of daemonancy or vicious hive-scum gangs sponsored by hidden cultist cells.

A rather high end inquisitor, what with a fancy hammer and a mobile war pulpit...and quite a household. Esienhorn he is not. The scientists bit is intresting.

Page 33
He [Valinov] came form the Segmentum Solar, that was certain, from one of the massively industrialised worlds of the Imperium's heartland where only the sharpest and most ruthless could hope to gain recognition from off-world.

We know Segmentum solar is heavily populated, since its the seat of humanity's birth and the most densely colonized... this suggests it is also the most heavily industrialized and perhaps the most technically advanced part of the Imperium as well.

Page 35
Then came Agnarsson's Hold. If Barbillus did not die fighting the Daemon Prince Malygrymm the Blood­stained on that planet then he certainly died when the Exterminatus was brought to bear. This time it was his personal staff who launcehd the cyclonic torpedoes form Barbillus's fleet to destroy Agnarson's Hold if he didn't return from the daemon-infested surface. Senior Interrogator Valinov had watched from Barbillus's flagship as the verdant agri-world was swallowed up by the magma welling up from its ruptured crust.

Fleet bombardment of cyclonics to Exterminatus an entire world. Crust ruptured, spilling magma ont o the surface. Suggests far more nastier than the usual "billion megaton" or so bombardment..

Page 36
The hive world was drowned in the nightmare dimension of the warp. The storm was impenetrable and no one could be sure what happened to the nine­teen billion men, women and children who made up the population of V'Run, but astropaths reported hear­ing screams emanating from the planet for light years around.

Hive world of 19 billion on Segmentum solar got fucked over... Astropaths could pick up screams "light years" around.. whether this is realtime or not we don't know.

Page 36
Valinov left a trail of atrocity across the Segmentum Solar. He immolated the capital of Port St Indra by overloading the city's heatsinks.
they tracked him to the plague-stricken communities of the Gaolven Belt.
The Conclave approached Grand Master Tencendur, and he agreed to send a force of Grey Knights to spearhead the assault on Valinov's fortress.

The first man out of the boarding torpedoes and into the breach had been justicar Alaric.

Evets preceding Alaric's introduction to us. Valinov's activities seemed to be confined within Segmentum solar, suggesting the aforementioned limits on the Rubicon's 3 month journey.

A heat sink overload destroys a city.. probably a hive city.

Alaric going down just out of the boarding torpedo seems to confirm a rather short barrage of fire taking him down.

Page 38
His wounds still hurt and he could feel the channel of rapidly healing scar tissue where the las-bolt had burned through his abdomen. His skin felt raw from the healing tank.

Las-bolt had "burned through his abdomen" that suggests prehaps it was not an efficient "blaster" style las barrage but more inefificent "burning/vaporizing" type shot.. that would take maybe an order of magnitude more energy than what I estimated. On the other hand if it was that intense it might cauterize... maybe it was not quite fully burning/vaping but not quite totally "blaster".. a hybrid mode perhaps.

Page 39
"Remember it, Alaric. Remember what it means to be broken and laid low. The mark of a leader is not whether you can avoid such misfortune, but whether you can take it and turn it into something that makes you stronger. Your battle-brothers are dead, but you can ensure their lives had meaning. That is what it means to lead."

Chaplain to Alaric. It's sometimes hard to blelieve Ben Counter wrote this, as Alaric is genuinely a sympathetic and likeable character. They're so different from the Soul Drinkers.

Page 40-42
The Ordo Malleus had taken the rings of Saturn shortly after the inception of the Inquisition, and had turned them into its own unofficial domain. The lord inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus ruled Saturn's moons absolutely, because that was the only way they could ensure the security of their facilities.
The immensely complicated geometry of Saturn's rings means it was all but impos­sible for any enemy force to penetrate the thousands of turbolaser defences that bristled from asteroids cap­tured by Saturn's gravity. The ordo controlled the only reliable way in and out of the rings, the naval fortress on the outermost major moon Iapetus.

Mimas, the closest major moon to the vast swirling mass of Saturn, was disfigured by an immense impact scar covering a quarter of the surface. Built into that crater was the Inquisitorial prison where the worst of the worst were held in complexes of isolated cells with psychic wards woven into the walls, guarded by gun-servitors and a regiment of Ordo Malleus storm troopers.

Encaladus, the next moon out from Mimas, housed the Inquisitorial citadel, a vast and imposing palace where the lord inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus held court and the most senior of the ordo's inquisitors maintained personal estates.

Tethys was the location of the Librarium Daemonicum, the repository of dangerous knowledge gathered over thousands of years of fighting the darkness. The Librarium was completely hidden from the surface - thousands of void-safe cells and galleries of crammed bookshelves filled a sphere hollowed out of the moon's core. Untold millions of tomes, data-slates, scrolls and pict-recordings were refrigerated to preserve delicate pages and unstable datacores. Access to them was given only on the authority of the lord inquisitors themselves, and the more restricted sectors formed some of the most sensitive locations in the galaxy.

Titan, the largest moon, concealed beneath its thick orange atmosphere the immense fortress-monastery of the Grey Knights, covering the surface as if the whole moon had been carved with a pattern of towers and battlements.

The docks of Iapetus, the furthermost major moon, extended kilometres out into space and were always hosts to whole roosts of cruisers, escorts and battle­ships, including the strike fleet of the Grey Knights and enormous Imperator-class battleships requisitioned from the Battlefleet Solar.

Inquisitorial fortress around Saturn in detail. Note the defenses and security around the planet (thousands of turbolaser equipped asteroids), the facilities for prisoners and illicit data, and the dockyards with a whole fleet of starship (including the Grey Knights.) Also requisitioned battleships from bAttelfleet Solar. I wonder if the Imperator class is an actual class, or if they meant to say "Emperor Class."

Page 42
Spider-like archiver servitors scurried up the walls on thin metal legs, the fleshy once-human parts scanning book spines and labels for the Malleus research staff who spent their lives poring over ancient texts for their Inquisitorial masters. Many higher-rank­ing Malleus inquisitors had a personal researcher or two on Tethys, whose sole purpose in life was to find obscure and potentially vital information on the ene­mies of the Emperor.

Archive servitors, as well as personal researchers.

Page 42
A few pale, large-eyed researchers were hunched over crumbling tomes, gun-servitors hovering over their shoulders in case the knowledge they were exposed to overcame their minds. Their breath coiled in the air and they all wore close-fitting thermosuits; the temperature was kept too low for a human to survive more than a few minutes.

the Dangers of Malleus research, and conditions in the libraries.

Page 43
A tiny guide-servitor droned on ahead of her...

Ligeia being guided to Valinov's possessions.

Page 43
The Ordo Malleus were mostly typically bull-headed daemonhunters with weapons and armour to rival the Grey Knights themselves...
A psychic Malleus inquisitor was sup­posed to hurl bolts of lightning or banish daemons with a word, but Ligeia's powers were geared towards understanding and perception.

- Assessment of typical Malleus Inquisitors, esp to compare to Grey Knights. We also see how Ligeia differs, which in context seems to make her a rarity/exception.

Page 44
Ligeia took a seat and the guide-servitor flitted off again. No gun-servitor approached, because one of the privileges of Ligeia's office was the trust the lord inquisitors placed in her willpower. A suppressor field she carried switched off the defences in her immediate vicinity, so the signature of her psychic abilities would not bring sentry guns out of the walls.

Servitors attuned to psychic abilities (and programmed to attack.) Ligeiea has a suppressor field to shield herself from their detection, however.

Page 44
Ligeia remembered from the briefing that Valinov had been wounded. It was a measure of his strength that he had survived the shock of a bolter round against unarmoured flesh.

Hell its lucky he didnt lose his arm, or have his torso blown apart by proximity. Must have been one of those "reduced yield" bolter rounds :P

Page 44
Valinov had been armed with a custom hunting las...
The Power Pack was similarily custom-built and was heavily overcharged going by the scorching on the Barrel.

The power pack is probably bordering on hotshot-scale, judging by the barrel scorching. Indicative of the variations in power output, power capacity of las weapons, and how they can be altered to make weapons deadlier. Which amkes sense, as changing the power pack's capabilities (how much energy it releases, how much it stores, etc.) is a good way of controlling the firepower of the weapon.

As we know from Dark Heresy and Rogue trader, overcharge packs basically reduce the number of shots to increase the power of said shots.

Page 44
Valinov had car­ried a wrackblade, too, a sneaky little weapon that looked like a combat knife but hid a neurowhip processor. The same blade had turned Interrogator Iatonn's entrails to mush.

The Interrogator Alaric saw in the infirmary having his insides sewn back together. I guess the neurowhip thing combines properties of a vibroweapon with neural shock/pain enhancers or something, like the Dark Angel Blades of REason.

Page 45
Ligeia held her hand over the tattered parchment and let her perception bleed out of the inside of her head and down into the paper, weaving around not just the shape of the letters and diagrams but the meaning that infused them.
The meaning on the scrolls was a faint, flitting thing, vague and frustrating. Ligeia suspected it might be some complicated code but the deeper she reached the more she came across a barrier of meaninglessness. The scrolls meant nothing. Their only purpose was to look impressive. True rituals of the Chaos gods would have lit up her psychic perception like fireworks.

Ligeia uses an interesting power to psychically read or divine impressions from the scrolls. Some psykers have demonstrated the ability to "read" via their psychic senses (the inks and such in the paper/parchment/whatever.) which seems similiar.

Page 47
She recognised the name of Angron, the Daemon Primarch who had once been banished from the material realm in the first Battle for Armageddon. She saw Cherubael and Doombreed, N'Kari and hundreds of others, with the dates and predicted durations of their banishments noted beside. Some of those names alone would have corrupted lesser minds.

The Codicium Aeternum. By the Throne, if it was real...

It had last been seen in these very halls decades before. It had been thought simply lost, hidden some­where in the bowels of Tethys where it had become a victim of the secrecy supposed to keep it secret. Many volumes had slipped through the gaps like that, and the Malleus had specialised knowledge hunter squads who roamed the lower recesses finding vital texts that had previously been forgotten.
The Codicium Aeternum was one of the most valuable reference works the Malleus possessed, listing thousands of daemons banished by the Grey Knights or the Inquisition.

A Malleus book on the names of Daemons. Also, they seem to lose books all the time (how?) and they have specialized squads who go out and find them (the opposite of deletion squads from Bleeding Chalice?) In this case Valinov is suepcted to have stolen it, so a likely source are renegade Inquisitors.

Page 50
Nyxos himself was an old leathery warrior, wearing simple black that served to flaunt the silver-plated brackets and servo mounts that lent his frail old body immense strength and speed

Servo-augemnted/assisted Inquisitor.

Page 51
In time, new recruits would be picked to join Alaric's squad, and eventually they would replace the fallen. But that would not happen soon. Until then Squad Alaric would be two men short....

Grey Knights seem to be in such high demand and hard to produce compared to regular astartes that replacements are not always on hand.

Page 51
She ran her thumb along the gene-lock and the void-safe snapped open..

gene lock on a void safe.

Page 52
As beings of pure energy many of them cannot be permanently destroyed, only sent back to the warp until they can re­form; we believe the Codicium was first compiled in an attempt to systematically monitor their returns. Of course, the ways of Chaos are anything but systematic but the authors were thorough, at first. Many of the entries are incomplete or damaged...

The Malleus knows they lack the ability to permanantly destroy Daemons (although god knows why, we know Eisenhorn obliterated Prophanati with his runestaff (which suggested an alpha level could wipe out some fairly powerful daemons.) In any event they try to make a schedule of banishments so they can prepare and banish them again (if they can find them), but like most things of the warp precision is at best a secondary consideration, and the work is incomplete.

Page 53
"Do you know where Ghargatuloth will return? Khorion IX was destroyed by exterminatus."

Implication that exterminatus may prevent the rebirth/return of a daemon.

Page 53
"The Emperor's Tarot consulted at the time along with visions suffered by astropaths in the vicinity of Khorion IX suggested that Ghargatuloth would return somewhere in the Trail of St Evisser."

Predictions and prophecy via Tarot and Astropathic visions.

Page 54
"It took the Ordo Malleus more than a hundred years to find out its name. Not even its truename, just the name it used to create cults all over the Imperium. Then it took decades to track it to Khorion IX and when they finally cornered it, they sent three hundred Grey Knights to banish it. Not one of them came back."

The hunt for Ghargatuloth.

Page 54
" He could still influence the weak-willed from the warp but until they can bring him fully into real space he will be comparatively vulnerable."

Daemon prince can mentally manipulate the "weak willed" (culists?) from the warp.

Page 55
In four months he will have been ban­ished for a full thousand years and he will be able to create new cults and instruct them in drawing him into real space. Valinov will take too long to break. We must go now."

Ghargatuloth will be able to break free in four months.. this sets an upper limit on the timeframe for events.

Page 56
A daemon's banishment was a complicated concept. The strength of the daemon, the method of banish­ment and sheer luck determined how long the daemon would have to languish in the warp. Mandulis must have dealt Ghargatulofh a fell blow indeed to banish the daemon for a thousand years. The Codicium Aeternum had been written in an attempt to catalogue all those factors and predict accurately when and where daemons would return, but Chaos by its very nature refused to be categorized so neatly and the book had been left half-finished - but not before Ghargatuloth's return had been predicted.

The requirements for banishment, and part of the reason for the daemon catalogue in question, and the way cHaos fucks that up.

Page 57
"All Grey Knights have some psychic capacity. I am strong enough for it to be a part of my conditioning but not to focus it."

In a sense Grey knights are highly psychic but are so highly specialized via training and their wards its something they cnanot actively draw upon like a normal psyker in most respects. Probably helps to make their use of the psychic safer and more reliable.

Page 58
There was a metal collar around his neck packed with explosives that would neatly blow his head off if he left the inter­rogation cell, attempted to use psychic powers (although Valinov had never shown any measurable psychic capacity) or simply angered the supervising interrogator enough for the collar's detonator to be pushed.

Valinov's pretty new necklace. Penal Legionnaire collection, I believe.

Page 59
The Prison on Mimas was staffed by men and women who had been totally mind-scrubbed and then given an education consisting of nothing but security protocols, interrogation techniques, and utter hatred of the inmates. They were at a reduced risk of corruption because there was less of a mind to corrupt.

More Malleus mind-scrubbed staff. Apparently the process makes them less susceptible to the warp (at the cost of stripping out what? memories? Personality? emotions?) it makes them seem almost like servitors. Sounds alot like the emotional repression surgery we learn the skitarri/tech guard undergo really. And it suggests servitors are less prone to corruption as well.

I wonder if they do this to their storm troopers to some extent as a defensive measure?

In any case, we should be aware "corruption" probably means mental/psychic influence, but it provides no defense against the physically corrupting/mutating nature of the warp.

Page 60
"So." said Valinov in that slick, smooth voice. "You're going to kill me five times?"
Ligeia looked up at him. "That was the plan, yes."
Valinov said nothing.
"You have been away for some time, Valinov. You probably don't know the changes to our procedure. It's complicated, but ultimately, the office of executions has acquired a psyker who can keep you alive, even though you are dead. The Adeptus Astra Telepathica trained him up and they owed the ordo a favour, hence your impending five death sentences. I must confess, I find it difficult to imagine what it will be like for you to remain conscious while your body begins to rot." This time Ligeia smiled faindy. "But then I suppose you have a better imagination than I."

neat trick. I rather liked this line really, but I guess we shouldnt be surprised the Imperium has ways to revive the dead.

Page 61
"They brought you over from the Ordo Hereticus." continued Valinov. "That doesn't happen very often."

Yeah, we learn in other novels that headhunting the other Ordos talent is rare. I suspect once they get their claws into you they don't want to let go.

Page 62-63
"Have you ever killed a world, Ligeia? I mean, killed every single person on a planet, wiped out everything they are and everything they will ever be."

"You did. You killed V'Run."

"V'Run is a free world now. But I have destroyed worlds before. Under Barbillus I did everything except press the button. Whole civilizations, dead in hours. Do you know what he did to Jurn? They had to bring in freighters full of refugees to repopulate it. They're still finding unexploded virus torpedoes in the under-hive to this day."

...I made sure Barbillus couldn't get off Agnarsson's Hold, that was truly right. He burned, just like the bil­lions he had burned. "

More on Exterminatus, including V'Run. mention of killing worlds "dead in hours", which is consistent with the Battlefleet Gothic depiction of exterminatus.

Not all Exterminatus seem.. permamant though (the way Tallarn or St Josemane's hope is, for example) since they mention of bringing in freighters of refugees to repopulate a world after killing a world. Or else killing a world and exterminatus are not neccesarily the same thing, or it depends on the kind (Virus bombing in this case, since they Aaso mention of finding unexploded virus torpedoes.)

Page 65-66
The Trail of St Evisser was a grimy little skein of space towards the galactic west, on the edge of the Segmentum Solar near the Ecclesiarchy heartland around Gathalamor and Chiros. The Trail consisted of a cou­ple of dozen settled worlds forming a long, gruelling journey that twisted around nebulae and asteroid fields to describe the lengthy pilgrimage of St Evisser himself.
It was a shin­ing example of piety, with cathedrals and shrines dotting every settled world, a rich vein of charismatic senior clergy and a brand of lavish exultation that cov­ered cathedral spires in gold. Each world competed in works of devotion until the festivals of the Adeptus Ministorum became week-long celebrations with pro­cessions that snaked around continents. It rivalled the relic-trail of Sebastian Thor for ostentatious piety and material celebration of the Emperor.

But that had been some centuries ago. The Imperium was a vast and constantly changing place and cycles of poverty and wealth, fame and obscurity, churned between the stars. The Trail of St Evisser was all but forgotten now, just another band of worlds where billions of Imperial citizens lived out their lives. The population, Alaric saw, had fallen to about a quar­ter of its high point. The hive world of Volcanis Ultor was half-empty and whole agri-worlds were lying fal­low. It seemed that religious fervour had at last waned and allowed warp routes to be forged that bypassed the Trail entirely. Shipping through the Trail was a frac­tion of what it had once been....

The Grey Knights strike cruiser Rubicon was a fast ship. Even so, it would take weeks to reach the Trail. Ligeia had sent an astropathic message to the Inqui­sition fortress which had jurisdiction over the Trail...

I have to really wonder if the mapping of the Imperium when this novel was written was at all consistent, or if they just made it up for 5th edition, because according ot that map there are thousands of light years (or more) between "Chiros" and "Gathalamor." The distance could be as little as 4-5K light years (near Gathalamor), to maybe 15-16K light years (approximate) for Chiros. Chirios isn't really even in Segmentum Solar. Being on the "edge" of the Segmentum would be around 10K light years (Armageddon, for example, is 10K light years from Terra and close to the edge.) Given all that I'm inclined to treat the "between Chirios and Galathamor" as jsut very rough, approximate locations suggesting it is close to the south, southwest, and trust more in the edge.

Timeframe wise, 10K in 2-3 weeks is between 170,000 and 260,000c, and it could be half that (if close to Galathamor) or 50% more (if closeer to Chirios). This is slower than some other novels (Dow:A and the Red Fury/Black Tide duology come to mind) but the warp is never precise, and given the 13th black crusade, and the arrival of a daemon prince as well... the warp probably isnt very steady.

We also get some data on the economics and the scope of this world.. several dozen worlds with "billions" of populaton.. this being less than a quarter its true size.. Scaling up from a million worlds, and accounting for its "less important" status we're talking 300 trillion people in the Imperium at least. more probably more than that, givne more worlds, and that 2-8 billion is likely a dramatic under estimate (IF we go closer to the other end of the scale, say 800 billion you get some 33 quadrillion..) On the economic side, we learn that despite the vast distances, the warp storm activity (or perhaps because of it) and other factors, the Imperium does change on the larger scale.. places wax and wane all the time, including shipping.

We also learn once again what a group of money-wasting pompous assholes the Ecclesiarchy is.

Page 67
Ligeia had set out her cus­tomary evening meal of exotic delicacies from worlds on the other side of the Imperium, but Alaric as usual ate little.

Indication of cross-Imperium shipping, albeit only for the very wealthy. Time is never a factor, since shipping can be done via stasis tech (CF Inquisition War) but I imagine it takes no more than decades, and probably years (if that) since the person doesn't age waiting.

Page 67
"A Grey Knight must have a core of faith that cannot be broken." Alaric picked at the daemonfish fillets on the silver plate in front of him - truth be told, he was uncomfortable amongst the luxury with which Ligeia surrounded herself."'Like a rock in an ocean. That's the first thing we learn, although none of us remember learning it. You understand, we cannot know what it is like not to have that shield of faith. If we could remem­ber it, that core would be flawed. There would be a way in. There is no room to remember for us."

The source of a GK's incorruptability.

Page 67
"The Ordo Malleus has the most advanced psycho-doctrination in the Imperium. It leaves nothing behind. I could have been a hive ganger or some tribal hunter, or anything else. The Chapter recruits from hundreds of planets of all kinds. Whoever I was, I was taken before adolescence and made into someone else."

- the Grey Knights recruit from "hundreds of worlds of all kinds." yet despite that they still have trouble finding GKs. If we consider that there are amybe 1:100,000 Psykersk, and 1:1000 potential astartes... and that librarians can be rae from chapter to cahpter (1:10 to 1:100 maybe)... we can see why. And they have some intense hypno-shit - so much so it basically overwrites any prior personality.

Page 68
" As a psyker I can discern information in whatever form it is written. The Ordo Malleus... made me an offer, and I accepted. There was some resistance, but the Malleus has its ways."

More about Ligeia's special powers and cross-Ordo headhunting. Seems Malleus can have more pull (in some ways) than Hereticus.

Page 68
"Our politics can be very complicated and you are not a politician, you are a weapon. You don't need to know about our various factions and infighting - they are all mostly matters of pride and dogma, but believe me that men like Valinov are more common than any of us would admit."

I suspect she is referring to radicals rather than actual REengades or chaos-turned Inquisitors, although for some (like, I suspect, Ligeia) the difference is minor.

Page 68
Out of politeness he swallowed a slice of the daemonfish - it tasted rich and spicy, a world away from the balanced but tasteless sludge synthesised for the Grey Knights on Titan. He didn't like it. Eating like this was an affectation, a show of pride. Enough Space Marines had fallen to pride for Alaric to find the whole idea distasteful.

An indication, methinks, of the mindset of a Grey Knight where simply enjoying food can be considered a temptation to Chaos. In a way its true, and a GK probably can't take ANY risks, however slight, that may lead them on the path to chaos.

I have to note that from page 67 to here, we get one of those aspects about this novel that makes it so interesting for me. Basically its a discussion between Ligeia and Alaric over various matters, and it really sort of establishes their relationship for this book, as well as highlighting the differences between a Space Marine and a human, and you only get a fraction of that from what I post here. The interactions between Ligeia and Alaric will drive this entire story from start to finish, and is what makes the story really worthwhile.

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-03-18 04:12pm

More Gray Knights. You'll notice these updates tend to be.. bulky. The first novel was rather long, and it was rather info dense (at least for the stuff I liked) - which wasn't bad. The novel itself was quite enjoyable and its pace was good. I wish this is what Soul Drinkers was.

This update: The Gray Knights reach their destination and begin their hunt.

Page 69
A chime sounded over the Rubicon's vox-casters, indi­cating the arrival of an astropathic message. The astropaths used by the Grey Knights were little more than ciphers, men and women mind-wiped after each mission so they could recall no sensitive information. The voice that spoke was dim and grey.

"Astropathic duct established. Inquisition fortress firepost asserts jurisdiction, requests itinerary, manifest and mission."

Consideirng they are still in the warp, it must be some feat to conduct astropathic signals, since as I recall this is normally quite dangerous to do (psychic activity acts as a beacon to the predators in the warp, nevermind representing a potential avenue inside the gellar fields.) Of course, with a mind-wiped Sevitor on a Grey Knights ship (which is super-duper daemon protected, and super duper old tech) the risk is probably less than for anyone else.

"astropathic duct etsablished" would seem to suggest a sort of "real time" transmission between ducts (or nearly realtime", although we knwo from sme sources the actual "between duct" range of an astropath is short (a few ly to a few tens of LY. Maybe a few hundred for talented astropaths.) although even at short distances the speed would be millions if not tens of millions of c. I imagine the "lag" actually comes not from warp disturanbces, but having to transmit from astropath to astropath, with all the delays and such. Across thousands or tens of thosuands of LY we could be talking scores or hundreds of "ducts" which could add up, especially when you factor in warp "weather."

The other interesting detail is that the astropath is mind-scrubbed/wiped as much as the Grey Knights and other malleus personnel it seems - virtually no personality or mind there. Which makes them (and other personnel, except perhaps storm troopers and Grey Knights) little better than high function servitors. This is interesting considering that psychic serivtors, or fucking with the brain this badly, was considered a good way to degrade their capabilliites in the Shira Calpurnia novel Blind (something like a 1/1000 or 1/1000000 the capacity IIRC) On the other hand, mind scrubbing is a good defense against corruption, so this might make such a means of transmission safer/more reliable, if less powerful so it has compensations. And we know the AdMech Transmat Link uses psychic servitors and that thing is virutally a telepathic internet (or near enough.)

Page 71
It was a shining gunmetal grey with protective prayers wrought into the hull in gold. It was a heavily modified version of the strike cruisers used by the Space Marines of the Adeptus Astartes, with an enlarged drop-pod bay, heavily reinforced quarters for Inquisition personnel and an imprehensive hexagrammic ward network built into every strut and bulkhead.

The "spiritual" defenses of the Rubicon.

Page 71
The Rubicon dropped into low orbit where the fortress's docking spire punched through the planet's grimy grey clouds.

Docking facilities (and the tower of the building that provide them) rise up into low orbit, much like they do on Fenris and the Fang.

Page 72
This was where Inquisitor Klaes worked, and in spite of the small staff and garrison that ran the fortress he effectively worked alone.

One Inquisitor per fortres.s. the rest are either all out elsewhere I guess. Probably a lower limit to use for other fortresses.

Page 72
- Alaric, nearly three metres tall in his massive polished power armour...

3 Metre Grey Knight.

Page 73
"I am the sole permanent Inquisitorial presence for the whole of the Trail and the resources of this fortress are limited. I can call upon the Adeptus Arbites, who are far more numerous than the Hereticus troops, but they are quite embattled themselves. They effectively rule several of the planets after the nobility took flight."

Arbites can take control of a planet. I believe the Marshal in Execution Hour did so (could even commandeer Guard and Naval forces.) they outnumber the Hereticus troops. Odd he does not mention the Imperial Guard - are there no permanant Guard garrisons?

Page 74
"Many of my interrogators are in deep cover and I cannot withdraw them at such short notice. Most of the rest I could make available but I will be undoing many Hereticus protocols and I will have to answer to the sector Conclave."

He has some interrogators (more than 4) but no other Inquisitors. The implication is that the Trail is only part of a much larger sector. Perhaps no more than a subsector itself?

Page 75
"Our records are in a sorry state." he began. "The Adeptus Mechanicus withdrew lexmechanic support two hundred years ago. I have had interrogators try to disentangle it but we have only made limited head­way."

That is pretty sorry.. I wonder if that is due to politics (like the situation in Bleeding Chalice)

Page 75
Inquisitor Klaes had two hundred staff at the fortress, mostly drawn from the Administratum and the Adeptus Arbites, as well as the three hundred Hereticus storm troopers in the garrison. The fortress archives were administered by a small cadre of ex-Administratum archivists and researchers, whose skill with the immensely complex bureaucracy of the Imperium meant they were better than most at dealing with the vast collection of information the Trail had generated.

The understaffed fortress had a few hundred troops and a few hundred staff. Obviously this means there are far more Arbites (hundreds if not thousands.. probably more like thousands/tens of thousands if they hold several worlds.)

Page 76
"The Adeptus Mechanicus maintained it at first."
"But without their lexmechanics it was impossible to collate it all prop­erly. We have Arbites' reports, astropathic monitoring, interrogation transcripts, everything from the Trail. We try to sort out the important information from the rest and archive it properly, but so much slips through that might be important and as you know, inquisitor..."

Data situation on the Trail.

Page 77
Ligeia held out her hands as the archivist left. She could feel the weight of meaning in the vault, most of it stodgy and grey with irrelevance. But there were seams of violence and heresy running through it like veins in marble. The faint echo of the Trail's fallen splendour reached her - though the Trail was still home to billions of Imperial citizens it had in truth been dying for some time, and it mourned the loss of its celebrated piety and wealth.

Ligeiea's power again. I start to wonder if maybe alot of the lexmechanics and other researchers (or those with data/meme viruses) might have some sort of lesser, latent psychic talent akin to this that helps them.. sorta like mentats. I imagine other psykers might have simialr talents.

Page 78
Volcanis Ultor was a slow, irascible old world, now decrepit but still with potential for one last fight. Some of its hives were all but empty, others were full to their considerable capac­ity as if citizens were huddling together for safety. The handsome velvet sheen of the Ecclesiarchy lay over Volcanis Ultor - the authority the cardinals had over the planet was a relic of the Trail's religious promi­nence.

The forge world of Magnos Omicron throbbed with factories churning out weapons for the armies now heading for the Eye of Terror, but the Adeptus Mechanicus were insular in the extreme and the cargo ships that visited the world brought no benefit to the rest of the Trail. The planet was cloaked and dark to Ligeia, only the odd flashes of technical information - new marks of tanks or lasgun pouring out of the forges, abortive diplomatic moves to bring Magnos Omicron into the fold of the Trail's authorities. The Mechanicus had kept their world insulated from the workings of the Trail and...

- mention of a Forge World producing "new marks of tank or lasgun..." - I guess research does happen. Interetsing the place manages to be unimportant and yet have a forge world and a hive world, even if a run down hive. The Forge world is the one non-run down place at that.

It also shows the independence of the AdMech, in how local politics play.

Page 78
Half-settled or depopulated worlds cast shadows of ignorance where the information stopped flowing. The garden world of Farfallen was a small bright spark, too under-populated to ever be important but famed for its beauty. The drab grey canvases of agri-worlds spoke only of production quotas and tithing rates. A few mechanical glints betrayed the presence of monitoring stations on the outskirts of more important systems, their existence composed solely of blind numbers spooling from various sensors.

Ligeia's psychic power let her draw meaning from any medium.

More psychic "reading" - I'm starting to think its some sort of seance or psychometry, like what Eisenhorn often did with his astropaths.

Page 83
The Ordo Malleus possessed the best interrogation personnel and equipment in the Imperium, and each interrogation chamber had seen generations of psychological theories turned into practice.

Psychic surgery that placed a new, compliant per­sonality inside a prisoner's head. Complex stress cascade scenarios that could convince a man the universe had ended and that his interrogators were gods. Total personality destruction that removed every facet of a person's mind except for the part that contained whatever the Malleus wanted to know.

Usually, the interrogators started with some of the more old-fashioned techniques. Which accounted for the blood.

All the conventional techniques had been tried on Gholic Ren-Sar Valinov in Interrogation Chamber IX. He had been worked on for weeks, but he had not bro­ken. Careful examination of his body would reveal near-invisible surgical scars where the damage done to him had been repaired, because the Ordo Malleus did not do anything so crude as to cripple their enemies out of spite.


As an inquisitor his training, indoctrination and hard-won experience would all but ensure he would not break under conventional mea­sures.

Malleus Interrogation techniques. Their surgical/medical capabilities seem almost as impressive. Also Inquisitiors are highly resistant to such techniques, it woudl seem.

Page 84
Explicator Riggensen was one of a small staff of psykers apprenticed to Ordo Malleus inquisitors whose minds had proven strong enough to allow for their powers to be developed and expanded.

Riggensen was a telepath who had studied under Lord Inquisitor Coteaz and had learned to use his power to lever open recalcitrant minds. Riggensen and a handful of men and women like him were permanently seconded to Mimas, to eke vital information from the minds of the toughest prisoners the Malleus brought in.

Psychic interrogator.

Page 84
The interrogation chamber was monitored from a tiny adjoining room. A large window looked in on Valinov sitting naked in the corner of the unfurnished chamber. Screens on the walls showed the same image in various wavelengths, and several monitors displayed Valinov's life signs. Psychic and anti-daemonic wards hung on the walls of the monitoring room in the forms of devotional texts and purity seals. Gun servi­tors flanked Riggensen as he sat watching his latest charge, because more than one such explicator had been compromised by a psychic prisoner.

Interrogation room and its security measures.

Page 91
The remains of Squad 12, the Adeptus Arbites unit that had tried to force entry to the building, were piled around the door where high-powered las-weapons and sniper-fitted autorifles had cut them down from within the expansive entrance lobby.

Arbites troops killed by "high-powered lasweapons" and sniper autorifles. high powered lasweapons seem damn common in segmentum solar.

Page 92
Arbites officers had been called in from all over Victrix Sonora, and some from off-planet. The Arbites were the ultimate law enforcement of the Imperium - they answered not to local authority but to their own higher echelons, forming a galaxy-wide body that enforced Imperial law. Arbites officers had comman­deered the best riot and assault troopers from law enforcement throughout the Victrix system, armed them with their best equipment, and organized them into units for the operation against Theograd's Administratum complex. When the darkness was this deep it had to be the Emperor's Justice that was served, and the Arbites were the instruments of that justice.

- Arbites had been called from all over the planets, and some from off planet.

Page 92
Arbites sharpshooters trained their long-las rifles on the blacked-out windows but still the information about the hostiles was sketchy in the extreme.

- Arbites sharpshooters using long-las rifles. Rather than sniper autoguns from Bleeding Chalice.

Page 96
They were armed with shotguns and autoguns, with the Arbites to the front wielding power mauls and riot shields. In total the law enforcement troops and Arbites numbered more than two hundred, representing the whole squad strength of Victrix Sonora.

200 arbites troops on Victrix Sonora. Probably not typical numbers, given the run down state of the Trail. They use autoguns as well as shotguns.

Page 96
Alaric had been impressed by the Provost who now sat in the mobile command APC coordinating the two hundred officers and Arbites arranged around the plaza.

Again 200 troops.

Page 96
Of all Alaric's squad he had the highest muscle mass and raw physical strength - his Nemesis weapon was a ham­mer, a rare form that had almost died out amongst the Chapter artificers but was perfectly suited to Dvorn.

Strength/muscle mass is not consistent among Marines, as we've seen in other sources. Some can be bigger and stronger than others. Others may be better shots, or quicker reflexes...gene-seed implantation only seems to.. "raise the baR" so to speak... elevates them to a higher, superhuman standard, but still allows for the sort of variation the human genome can have in terms of potential.

Page 97
The riot-equipped Arbites were in front, their shields held up to protect the officers behind them.

Muffled cries marked where officers were hit and wounded, metallic thuds where shots impacted on riot shields. An autogun shot spanged off Vien's shoulder pad, and another hit Alaric's foot. The age-old power armour turned both shots aside easily.

- Grey Knight power armour and the ARbites riot shields are proof against autogun fire. alaric refuses the security of the shields.

Page 98
Clostus, the best shot in Alaric's squad, fired a roaring volley of shots from his wrist-mounted storm bolter, firing at a run when the recoil of the bolter might break the arm of a normal man.

...jerk suddenly as a sharpshooter's long-las round punched through his throat.

Wrist mounted storm bolter with recoil that breaks a normal man's arm. Also note that one of the squad is the best shot, confirming my earlier statement.

Also long las fire punctures a heretic's throat. No explodey.

Page 98
The fire coming down at them in return was thicker now - they had a rapid-firing las-weapon, probably a multilaser, that stitched glow­ing red spears of fire through the advancing officers. Men tumbled to the floor. Haulvarn stumbled as las-shots spattered up one leg, leaving glowing dents in his armour.

Multilaser doesn't penetrate GK armour either. One has to wonder how Alaric fell then.. either this multilaser is less powerful than the high powered weapons Alaric faced or he just got unlucky due to power and volume.

This rather curiously also implies either some sort of rapid firing las weapon as a heavy/support weapon, or something. Like we see in the Bill King novels, Abnett short stories (autolasers), or Goto's work. In the case of normal folk it probably has to be tripod mounted or wheeled thoguh.

Page 99
Alaric opened fire, bolter rounds streaking upwards. The fire blew the arm off one heretic...

Storm bolter amputates arm of one heretic.

Page 99
...heavy fire suddenly stitched down from above. Chunks of marble were ripped from the floor and stray shots blew half the head off the stone High Lord.

"They've got an autocannon up there!"

And they have an autocannon.. that blows apart stone head of some statue.

Page 99
An auto­cannon was a loud, inefficient, old-fashioned weapon that fired shells of sufficient size to crack even power armour.

GK power armor seemingly vulnerable to autocannon of this type. Must be fairly high calibre or high velocity, given other sources (EG Nightbringer) had autocannon fire do fuck all to Space Marine power rarmor.

Page 100
One of them dived onto Alaric, a knife flashing down. Alaric threw the man aside and heard him slam into the wall, ribs crumpling.

Alaric can throw a man with enough force to crush ribs.

Page 100
Laspistol fire rattled up from the survivors - Alaric grabbed the nearest and fired the storm bolter mounted on his wrist, blasting the cultist out of his hand to spatter against the far wall

Implies the rounds not only have enough momentum from a burst to send the Cultist flying, but basically blast him apart.

Also the cultists seem to have laspistols more than guns.

Page 104
A lance of lightning spat out and a blue-white flash burst around Alaric, but his wards kept his body safe and the rock-solid wall of faith shielded his mind. Alaric's storm bolter barked out a dozen rounds but they shattered in purple star-bursts in the air just in front of the priest.

GK psychic protection extends to actually stopping psychic attacks. Storm bolter pulses out a dozen round volley per discharge.. all stopped by psychic shield.

Page 104
In the centre of the room, three storeys high, was a monstrous cogitator. Like a massive mechanical church organ, teetering stacks of datacores jutted from the top and fumes belched from the grotesque furnace-like body. Every working cogitator from the workhouse must have been combined into one huge calculating engine, and the whole mass sat in a nest of printouts. Its tarnished black surface writhed with dull red runes and it groaned menacingly as it worked, valves and armatures chattering like a swarm of insects.

Daemonic super-cogitator created from the msas of other cogitators and other devices in the building.

Page 106
The Grey Knights were proof against direct attack from sorcery or psychic powers, but that did not mean the sorcerer could not summon yet more daemons or collapse the building around them.

Direct attacks are protected, but not indirect attacks (or the effects of attacks on the surroundings.) This presumably includes things like attacks that destroy surroundings, create blast waves, or make dangerous shrapnel or debris.

Page 108
The cogitator had evidently been the means by which Ghargatuloth communicated with the cult. The fires in the heart of the machine were dying now and, without the cult leader's magic to keep it going, ugly grinding noises came from within as its workings tore apart.

Daemons can communicate through cogitators it seems,a lthough they need ritual power from a sorcerer to act in this funciton. I imagine they serve as some sort of focus.

Page 113
They had been busy in the three weeks since she had begun her hunt for meaning

This means it took less than three weeks to arrive. Certainly less than a month.

Page 118-119
...[Alaric] found the data-slate onto which he had down­loaded the basic information about the Trail. Sophano Secundus, he read, was a backwater, a feudal world that hadn't yet reached blackpowder-level technology, where the sole Imperial authority was a preacher of the Missonaria Galaxia. The world had been bypassed by the Trail's prosperity because it had no resources of any note and had been lost in the bureaucracy sur­rounding the settling and development of new worlds.

Yet another indication of relatively minor worlds in the Imperium that may be ignored or overlooked because they have nothing to contribute to the greater galaxy, and effectively "lost in the mix". You have to wonder how many others like this exist, since it can surely argue for the "millions of worlds" we hear about in some sources.

Page 120
The Missionaria Galaxia, the organisation through which the Adeptus Ministorum sent preachers and confessors to benighted worlds throughout the galaxy, was notoriously quick to call in the Sisters of Battle or even the Ordo Hereticus when they suspected some­thing evil had taken root in their flock.

Missionaria Galaxia.. the dune reference highlighting the colonization and indoctrination efforts of the Ecclesiarchy.

Page 120-121
Sophano Secundus had been discovered so long ago that it was all but impossible to trace its whole history under nominal Imperial rule. In the latter years of the Great Crusade, when the Emperor was already wor­shipped as a god, missionaries from his fledgling church had sent one of their number to Sophano Secundus to preach the word. They found a world mostly barren and drab with only one habitable con­tinent that could only support a handful of feudal kingdoms around a few cities. Such rediscovered worlds were common, because the scattered human worlds had been torn apart in the Age of Strife and during the Crusade many were found that had been forgotten since the first waves of colonization.

The Missionaria Galaxia maintained a presence on Sophano Secundus, which was why there were any records of it at all. The first missionary to be named in the records, Crucien, described primitive but broadly harmless kingdoms that bowed before an Allking and occasionally settled disputes with pitched battles. At some point the planet was forgotten by the Administratum and so a formal settlement order was never drawn up for Sophano Secundus - it became, by default, the responsibility of the Adeptus Ministorum, who were unwilling to waste any more resources on the backwater than the personnel required to keep a mission on the planet.

There were many such planets in the Imperium, most of them on the outer reaches of settled space or scattered through the Halo Zone, but more than a few surrounded by more developed systems. The Imperium's official policy was to 'civilise' such worlds and open them up for settlement, but even at the best of times there were more than enough wars and rebel­lions to keep Imperial efforts elsewhere.

Again there seem to be large numbers of minor, unimportant or "forgotten" worlds that are lightly colonized or not colonized at all. WE also learn about imperial policy- they "civilised" (try to develop) such worlds by settlement/colonization (rpobably shipping in colonists from overpopulated worlds).

The first paragrahp is a bit amusing considering the way the Horus HEresy onvels have developed (not Counter's fault since this novel predates those) - the Emperor was unofficially worshiped but it was actually illegal to do so, so if the church had been playing missionary, it was in secret (quite possible though.) On the other hand its quite likely that this is either historical revisionism (likely on the part of the Ecclesiarchy to paint themselves better, since the Ecclesiarchy as we knew it didnt come into official existence til some time after the Heresy, and not as an organ of the government until after the Regin of Blood.) or it may even be flat out wrong - they really don't know much detail about that time after all.

Page 123
Command pulpits stood around the walls, each with a grim, silent Ordo Hereticus crew member manning the controls. The Hereticus raised its own fleets and provided most of the crews for the Grey Knights - each had a complex psycho-trigger, built into their minds by sleep-doctrination, that would wipe out their higher brain functions if the order was given from a Grey Knight. That way, if the taint of Chaos ever touched the crew, ,they could all be reduced to drooling idiots before they took contrtol of the Rubicon..

One presumes they meant the Malleus, since the GK ae the Chambers militant for the Malleus, not Hereticus. Or maybe they requisitioned them/headhunted them at the same time they pulled Ligea.

Also sleep indoctrination and implanting what amounts to an auto-mindwipe, which puts them in servitor state. Probably also mindwiped.

Page 136
Where Hadjisheim itself should have been was a purple-black circle of interference, boiling evilly.
"Are they jamming us?"
"If they are it's nothing we've seen before." shouted someone from the sensor pit.

Mention of sensor jamming, something they know about and are used to.

Page 140
Alaric stood back and Mykros immolated the writhing mess with a heavy gout of blessed flame. Harsh, spicy incense mixed with the stink of charred flesh and soon the corpse was gone.

Grey Knighs incinerator flametrhower. Like most things it uses blessed ingredients. Corpse seems to have been cremated.. duration isnt known so its hard to say how much the flamer did and how much the body did.. probably equal measures.

Page 141
Alaric looked around. There were men on both sides of the valleys, probably thousands of them.


Page 143
Under the guns and blades of the Grey Knights the charge had been reduced to bloody tatters but the mass of the Allking's army was on foot, swordsmen and spearmen swarming forward. This was how the Grey Knights could be lost - swamped and smothered, trapped between a mountain of men where, eventually, their power armour would fail them, their bolters would run out of shells, their sword arms would be pinned and they would die.

The mass of men pressed home. Swords stabbed out at Alaric, clanging off his armour, a wall of steel in front of a sea of hate-filled faces. One of them ducked Dvorn's hammer and leapt on the Marine, knocking him back a step to be followed by a dozen more who dragged Dvorn to the ground. Clostus cut one swordsman from throat to groin and threw off another, but they were pouring in through the breach, fearless, fanatical.

Depictions of the forces massed against Alaric's team. Cavalry, infantry with spears and swords.. countless thousands. They say that even a Grey Knight cannot endure this permamantly, they can be swamped by sheer numbers, especially if they run out of ammo, born down, pinned down and killed. Even grey Knight armor is not 100% invulnerable, and the flexible portions on the limbs, neck, etc. probably can be targeted and penetrated eventually.

Note that swords bounce off Alaric's armor.

Page 144
Finally, like a bomb detonating, like a meteor hitting, a titanic burst of light ripped through the surging throng in front of Tancred, sending a shockwave tearing through the Allking's ranks. In the flash Alaric saw men blasted clean of their flesh, tharr disintegrating, a wide space scoured of the enemy who were sent flying through the air and thrown backwards onto the men behind them.

The inquisitors of the Ordo Malleus had nicknamed it the holocaust, but it was something far more complicated than that. Only those of the Grey Knights with the strrongest psychic signature could do it, and even then not alone - it took a full squad, led by a pskyer, to channel the hatred placed in them by yhears of training and prayer into a devastaitng physical form.

The Grey Knights Holocaust super combined attack. One of the few offensively psychic things they can do, equilvaent I gather to a psychic nuke. Its mentioned a few pages before there are probably "thousands" of troops assaulting them, and the implication is that a fair bit of them were wiped out in the Holocaust attack.

Page 145-146
Sophano Secundus had betrayed the Grey Knights and now it had taken the life of a Marine.
Now Caanos would never pray for anything again.


The gene-seed that regulated Caanos's metabolism and his vat-grown organs would be removed and taken back to Titan, so they could be implanted in a novice just beginning the path of the Grey Knight.

We dont know how he died or what. This quote has been commented on greatly before, and complained as a "weakness" of GK armor, but as we saw before Alaric's armor had no problem resisting the attacks, as did most of the GK. In fact Alaric mentions how a GK can be overcome by such forces - and it required overcoming them by sheer mass and nubmers and pinning down - you would onyl immobilize someone if you intended to strike a weak point and needed a clear target, which you would to breach GK armor. Hell even with the healing factor you rpobably would need to hodl them down while you kept stabbing, cutting, etc until they bled out, or you did enough damage that their body couldn't repeair it. Or you decapitated him.

It also bears noting that despite no obvious signs of mutation, we dont really know about the physical capabilities of these humans. Even normal humans can be pretty damn strong or tough naturally (tink of Bragg) and not all chaos mutations are neccesarily obvious or even phyiscal (what if they are driven to the destructive limits of what the human body can accomplish and endure?)

And failing that, there is always the simple fact that no armor, no matter how high tech, is 100% impervious to everything indefinitely. It can fail, no matter how remote the odds.

Page 147
Alaric noted down the grave's coordinates on his data-slate to make sure that, if possible, Malleus interrogators could return and recover Caanos's body for burial in the vaults of Titan.

They have to leave the body behind. Why, I don't know.

User avatar
Black Admiral
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1862
Joined: 2003-03-30 05:41pm
Location: Northwest England

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Black Admiral » 2012-03-18 05:15pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:Page 147
Alaric noted down the grave's coordinates on his data-slate to make sure that, if possible, Malleus interrogators could return and recover Caanos's body for burial in the vaults of Titan.

They have to leave the body behind. Why, I don't know.

Probably because they're under some time pressure (needing to rescue Ligeia before she ends up dead), and hefting the dead guy around ain't overly conductive to getting their job done. :P
"I do not say the French cannot come. I only say they cannot come by sea." - Admiral Lord St. Vincent, Royal Navy, during the Napoleonic Wars

"Show me a general who has made no mistakes and you speak of a general who has seldom waged war." - Marshal Turenne, 1641

Emperor's Hand
Posts: 24677
Joined: 2009-05-23 07:29pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Simon_Jester » 2012-03-18 06:06pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:Also "Lords militant" amassing hundreds of millions of guards men.. I'm guessing thats Lord General Militants, rrather than the Lord Commander Militant (one of the High Lords). This means "hundreds of millions" per sector or part of a sector (subsector?) which means hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of guardsmen per sector. (with maybe 10x that total in PDF forces.. although its possible that the number represents the upper limit "tithing" capability at any given point or theroetical maximums. Of course we can inteprret it to mean plural armies too..)
It may also mean that "hundreds of millions" is the largest army it's practical to assemble in one sector and land on one planet, without paying some other heavy price.

A Malleus book on the names of Daemons. Also, they seem to lose books all the time (how?) and they have specialized squads who go out and find them (the opposite of deletion squads from Bleeding Chalice?) In this case Valinov is suepcted to have stolen it, so a likely source are renegade Inquisitors.
Lost- the same way the US lost the secret of making "FOGBANK," a material used in its more advanced nuclear weapon designs? Information that is extensively classified and cannot be known safely by more than a handful of people is pretty easy to lose, especially in an archive big enough to store useful information on a whole galaxy.

It doesn't actually surprise me that the Inquisition loses records of things like this, over a period of thousands of years. Indeed, it's a miracle that they don't lose them, given the sheer size of the subject material. They may be forced to use hardcopy instead of computer archives for 'theological' reasons (like not having the library database turn into a demon in its own right), but I can't imagine how they avoid misfilings and people just forgetting where to find things with hardcopy alone.

The Malleus knows they lack the ability to permanantly destroy Daemons (although god knows why, we know Eisenhorn obliterated Prophanati with his runestaff (which suggested an alpha level could wipe out some fairly powerful daemons.)
Perhaps they can destroy some, but not all? Obviously the destructible demons would be less of a problem in the long run. After working at it for nine thousand years, maybe the Inquisition already killed those, and only the unkillable ones are left.

(Not entirely serious, but think about it for a minute)

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-03-28 04:13pm

Simon_Jester wrote:]It may also mean that "hundreds of millions" is the largest army it's practical to assemble in one sector and land on one planet, without paying some other heavy price.

If it is, its only going to be on the offensive, and only against a single planet, and even then I'm not sure. But bigger armies are amassed: Sabbat worlds Crusade and the Jericho Reach Crusade (Deathwatch) both have billions of troops in them although thats at the sector level basically (Jericho Reach technically has 6 billion frontline - with secondary/garrison/support troops it goes up to 20-30 billion.)

I'm also reading the novel 'Dark Creed' right now and they have one of the key Garrison Worlds around the Eye of Terror having some bililons of guardsmen in one system. It's not a normal case, but it shows they can pull it off anyhow (I'd imagine CAdia and Terra at least are similarily garrisoned.)

And given routine Guard tithings from Hive worlds (~100 million or more troops annually) we're probably looking at a billion plus troops for most Armageddon/Necromunda style hives as well.

Lost- the same way the US lost the secret of making "FOGBANK," a material used in its more advanced nuclear weapon designs? Information that is extensively classified and cannot be known safely by more than a handful of people is pretty easy to lose, especially in an archive big enough to store useful information on a whole galaxy.

It doesn't actually surprise me that the Inquisition loses records of things like this, over a period of thousands of years. Indeed, it's a miracle that they don't lose them, given the sheer size of the subject material. They may be forced to use hardcopy instead of computer archives for 'theological' reasons (like not having the library database turn into a demon in its own right), but I can't imagine how they avoid misfilings and people just forgetting where to find things with hardcopy alone.

I'd actually say 'misfiling' is more likely than lost. Given the way Counter as portrayed things in various novels - the Imperium tends to collect tons of information in various forms - it just never bothers filing it properly or putting it any semblance of order (EG the deletion order in Bleeding Chalice.)

This may just reflect the author-by-author approach to things. In Red Fury James Swallow mentioned that the High Lords/AdMech were obsessive about copying and duplicating data to ensure nothing was lost, so they had library archives scattered throughout the galaxy.

Perhaps they can destroy some, but not all? Obviously the destructible demons would be less of a problem in the long run. After working at it for nine thousand years, maybe the Inquisition already killed those, and only the unkillable ones are left.

(Not entirely serious, but think about it for a minute)

Could be. Black Admiral nioted to me privately that Eisenhorn may not have actually 'destroyed' the daemon, he only believes he might have. Of course how you 'destroy' daemons is another story as well - in one sense you can take away their sentience by breaking up the component 'elements' that make them (the same way a Chaos God is made up of invididual souls, daemons, etc. that reach a critical mass of consciousness.) but the entity does not actually go away - it just sort of goes into a hibernation or coma and periodically 'awakens' (at least going by the REalms of Chaos stuff, which at least in my mind hold up as well as anything recent.)

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-03-28 04:35pm

Next update. 1 more to go (which will be a double, because we've basically reached 'endgame' for the novel after this one, and its all up in the air for the Gray Knights.). I'll probably blow through Dark Adeptus in one update next (two parts) because its not as interesting and Hammer of Daemons is actually the most interesting, philosohpy wise, because it toys with the idea of a Gray Knight falling.

In this installment we get the escape from the Tzeentchian tribesmen trap, Valinov's escape, and Ligeia's fall. And then the shit really hits the fan. It's really got the sort of pacing and development that Counter could never quite pull off consistently with the Soul drinkers, and contributes to the 'epic' feeling of this novel.

Page 149
The others stuck close by their mistress - Ligeia could smell the spices of the artificial hormones now cours­ing through their veins.
The death cultists owed Ligeia lifelong fealty, even to the death, and they were literally bred to kill. The cult was a curious offshoot of the Imperial church, devel­oping away from the monitoring of the Ecclesiarchy. It offered the deaths of their enemies as a sacrifice to the Emperor. The cultists offered their services to anyone who did the Emperor's work, and since Ligeia had saved the cult from a parasitic daemon in their midst the cult had given six of its best to guard Ligeia per­manently. Each one had a complement of artificial tendons, neuro-activated hormone injectors, muscular enhancements, and digestive alterations to allow them to live off the blood they drew from their victims.

The artificial (bionic?) enhancements of Death Cultists under the command of an inquisitor. They're almost Callidus lite.

Page 150
Something screamed as the men hit the ground, something just beyond the wall of reality between real space and the warp. Ligeia held out a hand and let the meaning of the inscriptions on the wall bleed into her - somewhere she had passed a barrier and headed into a place where the creatures of the 'Emperor' - the Lord of Change, the Prince of a Thousand Faces, the horri­ble mingling of Imperial and Chaotic religion the Secundans worshipped - could walk freely. Ligeia could feel the walls of reality wearing thin.

Chaos yet again using Emperor worship as a vehicle for Chaotic corruption.

Page 151
Three attackers clambered over Lo and charged towards Ligeia herself - she pointed and willed the neuro-­receptor in her large amethyst ring to fire. The digital weapon, rare xenos tech that had cost more than her father's palace, spat a blue-hot lance of laser through a man's throat and killed the charge before Xiahou flipped over her and killed the other two as they stumbled.

Ligeia's digital laser.

Page 154
She knew that the very presence of the sorcerer was toxic - without their minds shielded, the death cultists could be killed just by touching the sorcerer. Ligeia could not move as quickly or kill as cleanly as they could, but as a Malleus-trained psyker her mind was stronger than their bodies.
Shan was sprinting around the walls, hurling knives as fast as bullets, the blades thunking into throats and stomachs.

Danger of a chaos sorcerer. Note the crazy wire-fu of the Death cultist.. walking on walls, throwing knives bullet fast (subsonic I'd gather, but still fast.)

Page 155

She was dead. She could not match that power in combat. Her power was to do with meaning, not destruction. But the meaning in the temple, the cor­ruption, the hate...
Ligeia opened up her mind and it flooded in, words of hatred that covered the pages of the books, prayers of corruption from the hangings on the wall, suffering and death from the very stones beneath her feet. She rose into the air with the power of it all she could feel it filling her. She had never felt that magnitude of hatred before, not with the Hereticus or the Malleus. It was like a living thing inside her, welling up and tak­ing form, hot and angry, too huge for her to contain.

A white-hot stream of pure hatred tore out of her open mouth and punched right through the chest of the sorcerer. Its power filled him up and he burst in a shower of white flame, black lightning, charred bones and shattered jewel-hard eyes. The flame coursed around the temple like a whirlpool; her death cultists somersaulted into the air over the tide of hatred as it smothered the Allking's men and stripped their deformed bodies to the bone.


She was gasping for air. She had never felt that mag­nitude of power before, never. She had never understood that she could contain such sheer strength of emotion - the Hereticus had never trained her to her full potential, and the Malleus after them had only wanted to ensure that her kind was proof against the Enemy.

- Inquisitorial Pskyer has enough power to "strip to the bone" or virtually cremate a Chaos cult leader and his minions (not numbered, but presumably more than a couple, as they outnumber her Death Cult guardians.) although it seemed like she tapped some sort of un-known reserve or source, which leaves me a bit worried.

Page 158
When they saw the eight-foot armour-clad monsters that battered their way through the city, most of them fled.

8 foot Astartes now.

Page 158-159
The first archers to sight the spearhead gathered hastily on the rooftops of the upper city where the Allking's nobles cowered in the cellars below. They loosed volleys of arrows at the invaders, but every shot bounced off their armour. They set rivers of burning oil running down into the old city, but the attackers just charged straight through as if they couldn't feel pain at all.

Sprays of bolter fire sent archers fleeing from the rooftops. By the time the Grey Knights reached the avenue that led to the Allking's palace, black swarms of arrows lashed down at them like rain.

Archers ducked rattling volleys of bolter fire and ran when they saw the slaughter the Grey Knights wreaked on their fellow soldiers.

- Gray Knight storm bolters are implied here to have a range equal to, perhaps greater than that of a bow of uknown type. Note once again, armor is totally proof to primitive weaponry (this time arrows).

Page 160
. Tancred led them through the villa of a baron in the shadow of the palace, bypassing the palace defences. Alaric and Santoro fended off a frenzied charge from the Allking's men while Tancred bashed through the stone walls and crunched through carved black wood furniture.

Tancred is in Terminator armor.

Page 160
Tancred tore the tall black-stained wooden doors off the front of the mission, his gauntleted hands splin­tering through the wood. Tancred was covered in dust from pulverized mud brick houses and battered from where he had charged straight through solid marble walls, but there was no sign of his slowing down. His Terminators charged in through the breach with him, their massive frames splintering the stone steps that led up to the doorway.

Indicators of the strength and mass of Terminator marines.

Page 161
Alaric saw it was impossibly high - the dimensions of the Mission had warped horribly, far too large to be contained within the building itself. This was a place not fully within real space - it was saturated by the warp, taking on the strange properties of the immaterium. The ceiling was like an unnatural sky far above, ugly bulbous shapes of stone looming down from the distant walls.

The warp is starting to intrude on this place, unsurprisingly.

Page 168
"Good. Once we're out of here we can drop a few tor­pedoes on this place. What do you think?"
Alaric nodded. "It would be my pleasure."

Drop a few torpedoes on the city to obliterate it.

Page 169
The Prince heeded the call. The Prince could do this because he was much, much more than his daemonic body - he was knowledge, pure information, revela­tions of darkness hidden in the hearts of millions of men. He could be in real space and the warp at the same time, pulling puppet strings in both universes, doing the work of the Change. For the Prince of a Thousand Faces was one of the most powerful of its kind.

A Daemon of pure information? Is this fact, or arrogance? There could be a certain truth to it... if information is his.. "thing" he might be able to use that as a medium for communication or focus, if he has aid (EG the cogitator trick earlier.) although its implied this is not typical for a daemon.

Page 170-171
Ghargatuloth was in the foremost group, along with Bokor the Wildsman who turned whole species to the cause of the Change, and Maleficos of the Burning Hands who struck like a thunderbolt to plunge star systems into war. Master Darkeye, who hid amongst mankind and tormented it invisibly, and Themiscyron the Star-Dragon held court on Thalassocres, too, mag­nificent and savage. A hundred other Lords of the Change took their places on the melting plains, and courts of daemons cavorted around them, gibbering and monstrous, until the whole planet rang with the praises of the Change.

Thalassocres was a great beacon of worship, a lynch-pin of the Change, and the Conclave caused much mayhem in the minds of humankind. Although mankind's sages searched long for the reasons behind rashes of madness throughout their galaxy, to them Thalassocres remained hidden.

When Tzeentch spoke, the planet shook. Its crust and mantle were torn off and to this day, they say, Tha­lassocres is not one planet but a shoal of drifting continents surrounding a single core. Those not strong enough to hear the words of Tzeentch were thrown off into the warp, but the strongest stayed, their courts remaining glorious on the floating shelves of melting stone.

A bit on Tzeentch, his high end Daemons, and their territory.

Page 173
The contents of the book were even more invasive than the brief flashes of blasphemy she had received from the wooden sculpture. The passage she had just experienced - pulled directly from the pages by her psychic sight - was just a tiny fragment of the revela­tions the book contained. The meaning was so pure and undiluted that it had to have been dictated directly to the author by Ghargatuloth himself, and Ligeia was sure she could taste the old human malice of Crucien behind the words.

Dictated by a daemon prince, written down by a thousand-year-old Chaos sorcerer; Ligeia was shocked at their sheer intensity.


With­out Ligeia's powers, they would take years to translate. Ligeia wished that she had years to do it in, instead of receiving the concentrated meaning straight into the centre of her mind.

Ligeia's powers again in use...and we see its drawbacks. Her powres make her especially vulnerable to corruption.. which becomes one of the tragedies in teh book.

Page 174
". I have arranged for Inquisitor Klaes to supply a ship - it is small and lightly armed but it is very fast. You should be there within two weeks, if you leave immediately."

Remember this. Its is important shortly.

Page 174
Ligeia had never worked out how the death cultists communicated with one another - she could sense the meanings of their conversations without seeing any movement or hear­ing any sound - but Xiang would be going to tell her fellow death cultists what Ligeia wanted of them.

her Death culstists communicate in unknown ways.

Page 177
" They broke Valinov back on Mimas and he let slip that Ghargatuloth can only be killed by a "lightning bolt". The Nemesis sword Mandulis used was fashioned into a lightning bolt, so Ligeia has sent her death cultists to get it from the catacombs on Titan."

Her cultists are going back to Terra. So 10K LY in two weeks is.. 260,000c again. This is an Inquisitorial ship requisitioned from Klaes, although as we noted its not the most well equipped or important facility, so tis probalby not the best they can manage.

Page 177-178
"She asks us only to fight and doesn't expect anything else. She could have sent you to Titan, and you could have retrieved Mandulis's sword far more effectively, but she didn't. She respects us. Some of the Ordo Malleus think the Grey Knights were created to serve them, but we are a sovereign and independent Chapter, as much as the Space Wolves or Dark Angels or anyone else."

Genhain had deliberately named two of the more unpredictable Space Marine Chapters. "Few Grey Knights would speak that way." said Alaric.

"It is only the truth." Genhain fired again, this time on full auto, and a cluster of holes blossomed in the centre of the target's head. "If the Grey Knights did not think for themselves, they would be far weaker sol­diers. That is the core of what a Space Marine is. We work with the Ordo Malleus because it is the most effective way to do what we have to do, but we were not founded for their benefit. We were founded to do the will of the Emperor, just like the Inquisition. I think Ligeia understands that."

"I am glad you trust me well enough to tell me this." said Alaric. Many of the more traditionally-minded Grey Knights would think that Genhain had strayed dangerously close to insubordination. Alaric, on the other hand, was quite glad that the Marines he had chosen to accompany him on this mission were able to think for themselves. If there was one danger in the way Grey Knights were trained and indoctrinated, it was that their own spirits would be so crushed beneath the weight of dogma and duty and they would not be able to form their own judgement.

Interesting discussion on how the Grey Knights view themselves and their relationship with the Malleus. Tey dont exactly resent it, but they do feel taken for granted by some Inquisitors, given the appreciation they show for Ligeia.

Alaric shows an interesting bit of flexibility in his way of thinking - he's not quite dogmatic in the way a puritan Inquisitor is (EG blinkred.)

Page 179
On Volcanis Ultor, a sect hidden deep in the underhive of Hive Tertius overloaded the city's geothermal heatsinks and caused several layers of hive city to be swallowed up in nuclear fire.

Geothermal heat sinks overloaded, damages a hive city's bottommost layers... in "nuclear fire" - I guess geothermal power on some Imperial worlds runs on some natural nuclear reactor principle on fissile mateirals. Not impossible considering the theories bandied about about Earth's core. Might even help explain why some planets blow up when ya fuck with the cores. :D

Page 179
Even as ships sent by Inquisitor Klaes pounded Hadjisheim into smouldering ash from orbit, a mutiny in the small sector battlefleet caused three cruisers to be scuttled with all hands.

Multiple Iqnuisitorial ships torching a feral city. The "small sector battlefleet" has at least 3 cruisers.. I'm not sure if they're referring to the whole Trail as the sector, or just part of it.. Is this the detachment of the overall battlefleet or doe sthe Trail have a sort of battlefleet (like Battlefleet Koronous?)

Page 179
A prophet appeared on the forge world Magnos Omicron preaching the new word of the Machine God, demanding innovation and creativity over the worship of the Omnissiah and the endless search for perfection. Before he was found and killed, he had ral­lied three forge cities to his cause and it took a minor civil war amongst the tech-guard to stop his crusade.

Because we know innovation and creativity are abominations in the eyes of the Omnissiah! right Magos Voar (the dude from Hellforged who made a ton of anti-Necron weapons on the fly.)

also, forge cities.

Page 179

Provost Marechal lost thousands of Arbites as he shuttled them from world to world to douse the flash­points where heretics suddenly played their hands. From an orbital command station around Victrix Sonora, Marechal co-ordinated hundreds of Precincts as they battled riots and rebellion across the Trail.

On the garden world of Farfallen, once a playground for the Trail's rich, a previously unknown tribe of feral humans crept out of the overgrown botanical gardens to slaughter the planet's isolated Imperial communi­ties.

- the Arbites are mentioned as having "hundreds" of precincts in the trail. Its also described as Arbites losses numbering in the "thousands." If each precint was 200 at least.. there would be at least 40K Arbites for 24 worlds.. that plays well into thousands.

Page 180

The governor's villa on Solshen XIX, an agri-world whose wide oceans teemed with fish that fed the Trail's hives, was transformed overnight into a charnel house overrun with daemons.

Many thousands on the Trail's downtrodden hive worlds would starve with the planet lost to Chaos and anarchy.

- mention of multiple Hive Worlds on the "Trail" - at least 2-3. and an oceanic "agri" world.

Page 180
The Ecclesiarchy responded with uncharacteristic speed. The Order of the Bloody Rose sent a Preceptory of Sisters of Battle to be co-ordinated by Cardinal Recoba on Volcanis Ultor, and their request for addi­tional manpower was met by the Imperial Guard, namely the Methalor 12th Scout Regiment and the Balurian Heavy Infantry. Even the Imperial Navy diverted a force of subsector battlefleet size from the long journey up to Cadia.

- mention of a force of "subsector battlefleet" size diverted ot the Trail to assist in an uprising. I guess this explains "sub battlefleets" or small battlefleets.

We also learn alter that the Preceptory comprises hundreds of sisters. If you consider this were the sector's total Sororitas complement (it probably isnt) and 10K sectors we're talking 2 miilion throughout the Imperium. Evne if that isnt exact, you'd have to be talking many hundreds of thousand at least! Millions would be more probable, given their extensive uses garrisoning, as bodyguards, envoys, as well as fighting in wars. They're likely many times more numerous than the Astartes. (not to mention the numbers they get slaughtered in...)

Page 183-184

Dozens of gun-servitors guarded each door. A garri­son of Ordo Malleus mind-scrubbed troops stood permanently at attention in their quarters below the building, ready to react to any threat.

- Malleus stormtroopers are mind-scrubbed.

Page 184
Gholic Ren-Sar Valinov was brought to the execution chamber on Mimas seven weeks after he had been bro­ken by Explicator Riggensen.

Seven weeks have passed since Valinov was captured. Earlier 4 months were stated, so nearly 2 months (9 weeks) to go.

Page 184
Medical technicians were next, the chief medicae manning the controls for the servitor-mangler and the others checking the lifesign monitors attached to the table in the raised centre of the room. There had been occasions in the past where the executed criminal had not died in spite of the comprehensive nature of the servitor-mangler, and so the chief medicae would be required to assert that lifesigns had ceased.

apparently its possible for some chaos-affiliated to survive even dismemberment, which is not a way I want to go.

Page 187
The servitor-mangler unfolded and each of its six bladed manipulators were tested quickly in turn as the preacher's assistants made the sign of the aquila over Valinov's chest.

The orderly carrying the organ bucket stood ready. The various parts of Valinov's body - head, torso, vis­cera - would be buried separately in the plain of unmarked graves around the execution building, to prevent some dark power from bringing the corpse back to life. It was a lesson that had been learned the hard way.

This probably explains all the random bones outside the building mentioned in the book.

Page 188
The mind-wiped troops standing by the pedestal reacted first. The lasblasts from the hellguns they car­ried spattered across the room but the death cultist had read their movements perfectly and she twisted like a gymnast, the blasts ripping through the air cen­timetres from her skin.

Death cultists seem to be able to read the guards and out-react them.

Page 189
Riggensen carried an autopistol as a sidearm, and he took it out from beneath his plain explicator's uniform as he stood up. He snapped off a [autopistol] shot at the cultist who ad just cut off the medicae's hand, but the cultist jinked to the side faster than the bullet.

And can dodge bullts.. probably reading and reacting faster, although since he's a psyker this is a bit more impressive.

Page 189
The cultist threw himself in frront of Nyxos and the plasma pistol's blast ripped through the cultist, the power of the shot dissipating as it vaporised his midriff.

Plasma pistol "vaporizes" torso of a cultist. Explode or vaporize, its at least megajoule range (single if not double.)

Page 190
Riggensen felt sure the cold steel would slice through him but instead the cultist flipped over the heads of the audi­ence and ran impossibly along the wall behind them, sprinting halfway round the circular room to slash her sword through the Malleus troopers.

Riggensen fired again at her but, as the autopistol kicked in his hand, he could see the cultist ducking the shots or stepping to the side, moving faster than any­one should.

Someone has been watching too much Matrix, given all this psycho ninja shit.

Page 190
Nyxos with his plasma pistol, who would at least have to wait a few seconds while the weapon recharged.

Nyxos' plasma pistol takes a "few seconds" to recharge between shots. It seems this weapon is compact enough to be concealable, though.

Page 190
The tactical officer leapt to her feet, plunging a glow­ing power knife (a beautiful weapon, something that would be awarded to an outstanding cadet at one of the Imperial Navy's finest academies) into the cultist's calf. A flick of the wrist and the cultist threw her across the room to slam into the front row of seats with a gruesome crack.

- a "flick of the wrist" from one of the Death Cultists sends a naval officer (assistant to Inquisitor Nyxos) flying across the room. Lots of strength. Also the neat power knife, and seems to be common from the Navy.

Page 191
The cultist crossed the room in a flash. A second flash and the cultist fell, the tactical officer's power knife still stuck through his ankle.

The cultist landed on top of the clerk in front of Riggensen. Riggensen flicked the shot selector and fired the whole magazine of his autopistol into the cultist's back, the cultist jerking as finally there was no more room to dodge and the bullets tore through him.

Riggensen had probably killed the clerk, too. The fact was a bleak, dark veil at the back of his mind. He couldn't let it stop him, slow him down. He would do penance later. Now, he had to survive.

- A death cultist is described as crossing the aforementioend room "in a flash." He/she could not, however dodge bullets up close and on full auto, so there are limits.

Also Riggenson is guilty about unjustified murder. +1 for him for avoiding needless grimdark.

Page 191
One of the cultists had thrown Valinov a hellgun and he had it on full auto - a fan of glittering crimson blasts ripped across the chamber.

Hellgun with full auto... no idea how many shots.

Page 192
Valinov was tough and had many augmetics that would help him resist injury, but he could not go through a wound from a power knife and carry on defending himself.[

Valinov has augmetics, but we've never seen them be very obvious. Must be very subtle ones.

Page 193

He found it all and compressed it into a crystal-hard mental spear. With all the strength the Malleus had taught him, he hurled it at Valinov.

There was nothing for it to hit. There was nothing, nowhere, no one.

Riggensen's mind flailed hopelessly at nothing, because Gholic Ren-Sar Valinov had no soul.

That abyss, where Valinov's soul should be...

Well I guess that means he's a puppet/tool or avatar of our Daemon prince.

Page 203
Most of the Grey Knights were at the Eye of Terror, fighting a tide of daemons pouring out of that huge warp storm into realpsace. The rest were stretched far too thinly, holding down the many daemonic blackspots across the Imperium - the Maelstrom, the Gates of Varl, Diocletian Nebula, a dozen other weep­ing sores in real space.

State of the Imperium's forces, particularily the grey knights.

Page 205
The Pecuniam Omnis dragged its cargo painfully across the Segmentum Solar, its engines flaring badly where the exhaust vents had become caked in deposits, its ageing nav-cogitator wasting fuel by constantly cor­recting its course. The run between Jurn and Epsion Octarius was a hard one, too competitive to allow for capital to be wasted on maintaining a decaying cargo ship, nowhere near lucrative enough to be able to replace it.

Jurn must be doing well again (the place purged/exterminatused earlier that had new colonists bussed in.) it must also be relativley close to Terra, given that Valinov boards and steals the ship. (He kills the Navigator in the process.) Meaning he must treavel some 5-10K LY in no more than 9 weeks, if that. 29,000c to 58,000c at least. Not bad for a scow, without a navigator. Probably much faster than that though.

Page 206
Yambes's crew, at least, knew what they were doing -thirty men manning the few habitable areas surround­ing the ship's bloated metal abdomen. The huge airless cargo holds carried vast quantities of Jurnian industrial product, from pre-moulded STC habitats to crates of mass-produced lasguns. The crew were hard-bitten and tough, most of them probably criminals treating the Pecuniam Omnis as a place to hide. Yambe didn't care as long as they gave the tech-rituals at least some pass­ing respect and knew one end of a hyperspanner from the other.

A junk scow. Jurn seems to be a rather industrial world.

Page 206
The Pecuniam had dropped out of the warp so the ship's second-rate Navigator, a skinny, twitchy guy from one of the Lower Houses, could meditate for a few days on the right path to take on the next warp jump. The Navigator was a joke, but his House's fee wasn't. The astropath, Gell, wasn't much cheaper but at least she had some idea of what she was doing.

Navigator usage is charged "house fees" which probably means they can be rented for however long you need or want. Astropaths likewise are "rented" - this probably explains how the Telepathica can support itself.

Page 208
Once, on an armed merchantman out of Balur, he had been there when a plasma reactor vented into three decks, and heard two thousand men boiled in liquid fire.

2000 men on an armed merchantman.. and liquid plasma again.

Page 209
Yambe reached the ship's armoury, a dark little room where the crew's motley collection of weapons were racked up against the walls. Yambe pulled a naval shot­gun from the rack and hurriedly snapped six rounds into the weapon's magazine. Shotguns were the weapon of choice of spacecraft where firefights were at close range and guns with greater penetrating power could punch through a wall and damage some vital system. Yambe paused to drag a tattered mesh armour jacket out of a cupboard and pull it over his shoulders. He headed back out into the corridor - the mesh jacket didn't cover much of his bulging stomach but it was better than nothing.

- civilian and downtrodden merchantman has access to a mesh armour jacket and an armory of sorts.

Page 209
Static filtered through the vox-bead. The vox-net on the Pecuniam Omnis was on its last legs, and seemed to go on the blink whenever it was most needed.

Vox bead ownership. Vox bead seems tied into the internal comm net, make ssense though.

Page 211
The corridor opened up ahead into a wide circle that surrounded one of the plasma reactors, a bulbous cylindrical chamber five storeys high where the ship's energy was generated. The plasma core growled deeply as it provided power to the ship's systems..

5 storey plasma reactor, cylindrical. and only one of several.

Page 213
Yambe blundered out into the ship's shuttle bay. The bay was a large, flat cavity between two of the reactors, and held the ship's single battered shuttle that was used for skipping between ships while in orbital dock. The shuttle was squat, tarnished and ugly, but if Rani had remembered to refuel it as he had been told, Yambe should be able to start it and get the bay doors open in time to take off.
It was useless as a way out. It had air for about seven hours, no food, no water, and the energy cells were shot so it had to burn promethium just to heat the cabin. Its comm-link had such a limited range that it would never be found.

Shuttle. Also the cargo ship has at least two reactors again.

Page 215
The Trail's small battlefleet began harassing shipping between the worlds, destroying any freighter that would not give a satisfactory account of its crew and cargo.

"small battlefleet" - agan a few cruisers weren't the only ships.

Page 217
"Fortress astropaths have received the message that Genhain has reached Titan."

"Good." Alaric still hadn't got used to being addressed as 'brother-captain'. "I want us ready to head out as soon as the Rubicon returns. We don't have any time left. Ghargatuloth is already rising."

This implies that the tranist between Titan and the Trail was faster this time.. they're almost out of time (Again) certainly less than a month..d ays or weeks. Astropath signal must be much faster (days or hours - millions of c easily, since it should be faster than warp transit.)

Page 217
" But we're talking millions of men and women, in hundreds of cults across almost every sin­gle world of the Trail. And they've all lain dormant until now."

"If the Trail was in open rebellion." replied Alaric, "and if the Eye of Terror wasn't tying up half of the Imperium's forces, then maybe the Malleus could do it. But not now. Ghargatuloth won't play his hand overtly enough to bring the whole of the Imperium down on him. It's up to us."

- mention of "millions of men and women, in hundreds of cults across almost every single world of the Trail." indicating the scope of Ghargatuloth's influence. (either millions total, or millions per world)

Its also mentioned the navy could "quarantine" the place, or declare a crusade, and that "whole sectors of space had been purged before." (Sabbat worlds are mentioned.) This suggests the Trail qualifies as a sector or (more probably) a subsector.

Also over half the Imperium is focused on dealing iwht the eye, meaning roughly half (or less) the forces normally availalbe exist to handle crises. no wonder things were so shitty on Taros....

Page 221

The truth was that Titan's gravity was slightly heavier than Terran standard due to the superdense core that had been injected into the moon some time during the lost Dark Age of Technology

DAoT feat - slightly heavy gravity due to superdense core.. for some reason.

Page 224
In the earliest days, great heroes of the Grey Knights would be buried with their weapons and armour. But the valuable Terminator armour could not be spared, and soon it would be worn by a Marine newly inducted into one of the Chapter's Terminator squads. Krae's gene-seed, harvested from the body just after his death by Tancred himself, would be implanted into a novice and a new Grey Knight would take shape. His weapon would be handed to a Marine just receiving his first sacred blade, his bolter ammunition would be redistributed amongst the Chapter. In this way Krae would continue to fight the Great Enemy, and have his revenge against the foul forces that killed him.

Salvaging of GK gear and armor.

Page 230
It felt heavy in Genhain's hands. It had been made in an era when Nemesis weapons were handled differ­ently - the blade was heavy, for chopping through armour and bone, while the Nemesis swords used by Genhain's battle-brothers were lighter and thinner for slashing and stabbing.

WEapon styles and models seem to change with the era and style. Things don't stay the same all the time.

Page 230
Genhain knew that Durendin could have spoken to Alaric himself, through astropathic relay. The fact that Durendin would not told Genhain that Durendin was not going to be on Titan for very much longer.

This implies virtually realtime (or nearly so) discussions between the Trail and Titan. Even if it took minutes or hours for the messages to travel back and forth (and hours would be a pretty damn slow conversation!) - we're talking tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of c.. and quite probably faster (tens or perhaps hundreds of billions of C) On the other hand, of course, you coudl expect this of the Inquisition, since they usually have the good stuff.

Page 231
As soon as the Rubicon had arrived at Iapetus, Ligeia had been sedated and kept in a stupor until the inter­rogator command on Mimas had locked her up in the most secure holding cells they had.

Normally reserved for prisoners in the throes of full-blown daemonic possession, Ligeia's cell floated in close orbit above the dark side of Mimas, anchored to the surface by a long metal cable.

The only way to get to the grim, pitted metallic cube was to take a servitor-transporter that crawled like some parasitic insect up the cable to dock with the underside of the cell. The cube contained the cell and an observation room, a supply of enough oxy­gen and heating fuel to keep the occupant alive (both of which could be switched off instantly), and a fully-furnished interrogation array that would allow for intensive questioning assisted by both physical and psychic pressure of anything up to the ninth degree of intensity. The cell had not been deemed a resource suitable for Valinov, since he had never shown any psy­chic ability. But considering the circumstances of his escape, the Conclave on Encaladus had insisted that Ligeia be kept in the most secure location Mimas had.

Security measures against Ligeia, who seems to have been corrupted/fallen ot Chaos through her power, and may be a daemonic possession risk or other corrupted psykers.

Page 232
She [Hawkespur] had only narrowly avoided dying in the slaughter at Valinov's botched execution. Augmetic correction at Nyxos's expense would render her wounds invisible, but Hawkespur would be marked far more deeply by witnessing the cunning of the Enemy at first hand.

Nyxos had nearly died, too. Were it not for several redundant internal organs the death cultist's knife would have killed him in a moment.

Inquisitorial-grade medical technology.

Page 233
He had not been able to move under his own power for more than thirty years, not since he had been all but dismembered by cultists who had offered him up as a sacrifice to their gods.

Nyxos had survived near total dismemberment it seems.

Page 237
That was how she had been broken, then. She had been convinced that all human actions were governed by fate instead of free will, and that nothing she did was of her own volition. She had been absolved of all responsibility for her actions and turned into a puppet of whatever had been talking to her. Possibly Ghargatuloth itself, maybe Valinov through some unknown means, maybe another inter­mediary no one had detected yet. In any case, the undermining of Ligeia's spirit had been complete. Nyxos had seen it before, and he knew how hard it would be to break her now.

Nyxos contemplates Ligeia's corruption.

Page 238
"She's gone." said Hawkespur. Ligeia's vital signs were flat green lines running across the cogitator screens.

"Bring her back." said Nyxos. "We have to give the explicators something to work with."

Nyxos watched Hawkespur take out a narthecium unit and pump Ligeia full of chemicals to get her blood flowing. Both Hawkespur and Nyxos would have to undergo a thorough mind-cleansing to ensure that Ligeia had left no trace on them of whatever was in her head. Ligeia would be quarantined even more completely - interrogation would be performed by remote control, with only pain-servitors allowed to go near the prisoner.

Interrogation of Ligeia. I have to say this is another well written part of the book overall, because for more than half of it she was a good guy, now she's fallen... and noone is being a total asshole about it. Its neccesary, but obviously distasteful, and you feel pity for her. It also shows well on Alaric how he regards her and what happened. And this isn't even the end of it either.

Also Nyxos and his interrogator will need mind-cleansing - apparently there's risk the corruption could take root in teir head otherwise.

Page 239
It docked above the Trepytos fortress just as the last of Inquisitor Klaes's few small ships left to keep a closer eye on the Trail. Klaes had a handful of interrogators, mosdy drawn from the Trail's Arbites and the brighter of the fortress personnel....

more of the Trail's inquisitorial resources...

Page 240
. A Space Marine could stay awake for more than a hundred hours without negative effects, but even so it looked like Alaric had gone without sleep for some time. It had taken more than three weeks for the Rubicon to make the return journey to Saturn, and it seemed to Genhain that Alaric had been awake almost the whole time.

- A Space MArine could stay awake for more than a hundred hours without negative effects. Also back and forth between the Trail and Terra was either 3 weeks both ways, or 3 weeks there and 3 weeks back. between 170,000 and 350,000c.

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-03 05:49pm

And we're back with the last part of Gray Knights.. the FINAL BATTLE. comparisons between this novel and Soul Drinkers are inevitable.

Unfortunatley due to size it will have to be in 2 parts.

PAge 241
Persons unknown had sabotaged the geothermal heatsinks on Magnos Omicron, destroying several layers of the forge world's capital hive.

More geothermal sabotage.

Page 241
A group calling themselves the Nascent Fate had taken control of the media transmit­ters on an orbital station and filled the airwaves for several systems around with non-stop broadcasts of blasphemous sermons.

Media transmitters filling the "airwaves" for sysveral systems around (FTL?) with braodcasts.. either audio or both audio and video. How do they manage that exactly? Some sort of astrotelepathy? Neat trick if they can manage, since its taking less than weeks (Days?) to propogate - tens, if not hundrds of c minimum.

Page 246
Volcanis Ultor was the primary hive world on the Trail, its population accounting for a good proportion of all the citizens of the Trail...

Volcanis Ultor is the primary hive world, and constitutes a significant fraction of the population of the Trail (but not all of it) - probably has billions if not tens of billions on its own. Other Hives obviously exist though.

Page 248
He regretted that he was unable to commit his regiment to the defence of Volcanis Ultor, citing garrison duties on Salthen itself. Recoba sighed. He would have to call in a few favours from the clergy on Salthen, and show the colonel how a few well-chosen words from the regimental preachers could make his commission look very shaky indeed.

Ah Ecclesiarchical politcs and arm twisting.. Oh yeah and regimental garrison duties.

Page 252-253
The primary defences of Volcanis Ultor described a semicircle around the base of Hive Superior, several hundred kilometres of hastily-dug trenches, prefabri­cated bunkers and command posts, endless rolls of barbed wire, emplacements for Basilisk self-propelled guns and even an immense Ordinatus artillery piece manned by Volcanis Ultor's class of tech-priests. Hun­dreds of supply trenches zig-zagged back through the pollution-bleached ground into the outer reaches of the hive, crawling with thousands of men from the Balurian heavy infantry, Methalor 12th Scout Regi­ment, 197th Jhannian Assault Regiment and Volcanis Ultor's own PDF. Rearward positions were held by men and women drafted from Hive Superior's underhive gangers, who had answered the call of the Departmento Munitorum and joined the defence in return for being allowed to keep the weapons they were issued with. The strongpoint at the northern end of the line, where the broken plain met the shore of Lake Rapax, was held by the Sisters of the Order of the Bloody Rose...


He had drawn troops and resources from all over the planet and even off-world, sacrificing the smaller hives and inter-hive settlements to ensure that Hive Superior would survive.

The northern half of the line was served by a rearward command centre, a massive plastcrete arena of bunkers and parade grounds built along standard template lines grid dropped from orbit by a Mechanicus transport just few days before. Rings of overlapping gun emplace­ments surrounded it and Hydra anti-aircraft quad autocannon were mounted to cover central parade ground. Transport and staff shuttles zipped overhead, and the sky was patrolled by an occasional Thunder­bolt fighter of which three squadrons had been rambled to the surface.

...linked to vox-casters and to the comm-net that covered the entire hinterland of Hive Superior.

Defenses of Volcanis Ultor. Notable for ordanitus, heavy infantry, and an "Assault Regiment" and transport shuttles.

Also there is a comm-net and vox casters for communication across most., if not all of the area around the Hive (if not the planet. )

Also they mention "smaller hives and inter-hive settelemnets" -the planet is actually fairly habitable still for a hive world.

Page 261
It had once been a gar­den world, one of those rare breed of planets kept pristine as rewards and playgrounds for the Imperium's nobility. Retirement on a garden world tempted the most ambitious of planetary governors and rogue traders to toe the Imperial line. At the height of the Trail, when the mass pilgrimages had given plenty the opportunity to leach fortunes from the faithful...
Sky yachts plied the clouds and elderly nobles hunted imported big game on the vast rolling plains.

The Ecclesiarchy, who could claim the greatest credit for the Trail's prominence, maintained a great estate on Farfallen..
The Administratum took a tithe of land from the garden world, so Consuls Majoris of the Administratum could them­selves retire in splendour.

Grimdark fate ofa garden world, note the "tithing" of land by the adminstratum..t hey lietrealy will tithe anything. Also planetary governors and rogue traders have retirment options.

Note also the economic aspects of such religious "attractions" -money is to be made, even by the sacred church... also suggests pilgrimmages are baiscally just a glorified sort of sanctioned tourism (part entertainment, part economic, part propoganda.)

Page 264
The Malleus-trained crews were a strange breed. All of them had emotional repression doctrination and Alaric knew some of them even had cortical detonators that would activate in extremes of terror or elation, so that even if some Chaos power corrupted them the experience would kill them before they did any harm. They were little more than servitors, denied the chance to ever develop a fully-fledged human personality. It seemed to Alaric that countless lives had to be wasted or destroyed just to make the fight against Chaos pos­sible. Of course, that in itself was a victory for the Enemy.

More mind wiping/scrubbing (emotional safety measures) that baiscally turn them into more intelligent servitors - which echoes what every othr Malleus staff, storm troopers, astropaths, etc have endured. Plus the brain detonators as extreme measures.

The Grey Knight Alaric considers it a "victory for Chaos" to force the Imperium to such measures. Yet another little touch in this book that is rather bittersweet but wholly appropriate, making Alaric a likeable character and this book an interesting contrast with the Soul Drinkes.

Page 266
"One Marine could do the fighting of a hundred men, everyone knows it."

Or ten men, depending on who you ask.

Page 267
Like all Imperial organizations the Ecclesiarchy matched its immense size with its enormous variety. Every preacher and confessor did things differently, and in spite of the zealously conser­vative synods on Earth and Ophelia VII, matters of dogma and interpretation sometimes made one branch of the Imperial cult look like a whole different religion to the next. The traditions by which the Hall of Remembrance did its sacred work evidently had more to do with the prominence Farfallen once had than with the Emperor's own will - the senior archivists had protected their own coveted position on the garden world by making sure only they understood the hall's archives.

Politics again in the Ecclesiarchy. Kinda undercuts their aura of faith and shit.. at least for the grandiose stuff.

Page 280
Three days after Valinov escaped his execution on Mimas, the Conclave on Encaladus sent a fast messen­ger ship to the Trail. The information it carried was too sensitive to be transmitted by astropath - every Impe­rial organisation on the Trail was considered compromised by the hidden cults rising up on every system, and corrupted astropaths had leaked vital Inquisitorial intelligence before. A messenger was the only option.


The message was entrusted to Interrogator DuGrae, an ace pilot and trusted agent of Lord Inquisitor Coteaz, and she had been given multiple cortical enhancements that allowed her to convey sensitive information in her head without the possibility of any­one retrieving it by psychic means.
The craft which she now flew through space was as responsive as a fighter. It was a sleek, glossy black dart of a ship, the smallest and quickest warp-capable ship the Ordo Malleus could scramble at such short notice. It hit the warp like a knife, the sole crew members DuGrae and her Navigator.

The ship cut through the immaterium quickly at first, but three days out warp storms blew up without warning: a sudden flare of black madness in the warp that rippled in a wide crescent across the Segmentum Solar from Rhanna to V'Run. A clumsier craft would have been cut off completely but DuGrae, flying blind­fold while her Navigator talked her through the warp currents, flung the sleek messenger ship through roil­ing banks of hatred towards the Trail.

But it used up time. Too much time - if Valinov got a big enough head start they might not catch him now.

DuGrae, without an astropath to contact Encaladus, had no way of reporting back or receiving news of the Trail. She had to trust that the Emperor would foil the Enemy's plans for a few hours more, and that she would fly fast enough.

DuGrae sliced out of the warp just beyond the edge of the Volcanis system, the light of the livid red star flooding the cockpit. Volcanis Ultor was the seat of authority on the Trail....

The ship has no astropath. It made the journey between Terra and the Trail in about three days or so. The curious thing is this implies Valinov made it in under 6 (Daemonic help, considerin no Navigator..) about 3 days of warp travel over 10K LY is 1.2 million c. Half that for VAlinov (600,000c), which sets something of an upper limit to contrast iwth my earlier lower limit. Even if it was wrong, it had to have been faster than the Rubicon, (which took 3 weeks) so we're still probably taking at least half a million c or more.

It's rather odd that the pilot rather than the navigator flew through the warp.. usually the navigator does the flying itself. Also note the cortical enhancements designed to resist attempts to pry the info out even by psychic means. A 2 man ship of that size, implied to be "fighter agile" suggests its on the order of a gun cutter or fighter (50-80 m ro so) which is perhaps the smallest possible warp engine (and probably makes lots of sacrifices on top of that to gain speed and such in addition to being rare/unusual.)

Also implies an astropath would have sent a signal back to terra withina few hours, which would be 25-40 million c.

Page 281
The Mars-class battlecruiser Unmerciful, an old craft left over from when fighter-carrying warships were the weapons of choice, sent patrols of fighter-bombers out to sweep for marauding enemy ships. The Lunar-class cruiser Holy Flame and the three Sword class escorts of Absolution Squadron kept close orbit around Volcanis Ultor itself.

The portions of the "subsector battlefleet" diverted to the primary world of the Trail.. subsector level force (detachment) for a minor region probably (or at least they can divert here given the 13th Black Crusade going on)

Page 282
From out of the shadow of Volcanis Faustus drifted the battered, proud shape of the old warhorse Unmer­ciful. The proximity of the star warped communications and the carrier deployed three wings of fighter craft to get closer.


While she was hanging helpless in orbit, the captain of the Unmerciful gave the order and the fighter wings fired every missile they had, turning DuGrae's ship into an expanding cloud of plasma.


Gholic Ren-Sar Valinov watched the blinking triangle representing the messenger craft wink out. The blue squares representing the Unmerciful's fighters whirled around for a couple of minutes, skirting around the debris field. The large orbital command display mounted in the suite Valinov had comandeered was set to depict the area around Volcanis Faustus, and as Valinov watched, the fighters scattered back to join their parent ship on the other side of the barren world. Recoba had thrown out two noble hangers-on to give Valinov free rein of an entire floor, and he had set himself up with cogitators, pict-consoles, several holomats and the orbital command display to ensure he knew as much about what was going on in the system as possible.
"Kill Confirmed," came the static masked voice of the squadron leader.

"Good hunt, Squadron Theta," was the captain's reply.The large blue reactangle of the Unmerciful began to birng its ponderous bulk around for the short journey back to the outer orbits of Volcanis Ultor.The fighters followed it, like pups hurrying back to their mother.


"I just heard. Was it an intruder?"

"It was good we found them when we did." said Vali­nov. "If I had not been informed they might have been escorted straight here."

"As soon as the Unmerciful's fighters scanned it, I knew. It was a sorcerer, I am sure. It was good the fighters could destroy it quickly, otherwise their crews might have been corrupted."

Interesting bit of context... the battlecruiser and its fighters are around another planet in the system - the Warp courier semeed to jump out fairly close in-system, and then got blasted away by 3 wings/squadrons (50 craft, maybe?) REducing what is probably hundreds of tonnes of fighter to plasma is bound to require tens if not hundrds of kilotons minimum, and for hundreds of missiles this woudl suggest hundreds if not thousands of tonnes per missile.

Valinov has set up alot of computer and visual gear (which all seems portable) to keep a good and up to date view of events in the system, which seems realtime or nearly realtime both for sensors and communications - or at least thats what seems to be the implication. Whether this is fTL we dont know, but if it is it doesnt need to be very high speeds (low double digit c would be most).

Page 285
Ludmilla commanded the extreme right flank of the defensive line in front of the capital hive, and she had hundreds of Battle Sisters to help her do it. Many con­sidered the Sisters of the Adepta Sororitas to be the most effective troops the Imperium had save for the Space Marines themselves...

The Preceptory mentnioned much earlier - hundreds of battle sisters.. considered the best next to the AStartes.

Page 285
On her right flank was Lake Rapax itself, an expanse of liquid so befouled by pollution that it couldn't be called water any more.

The plains in front of the capital hive were barren and broken, stained the colour of livid wounds by cen­turies of pollution, drained and battered until fractured stony desert and dunes of ash were all that remained.

- the only particularily relevant detail here is that the lakes nad surface of the hive world are described as polluted/poisoned and "barren and broken" - filled with "centuries" of pollution, and ash wastes, and all the toher details typical of a Hive. But the atmosphere seems fairly breathable - at least they don't need extensive NBG equipment and other gear to stave off exposure the way you do on some hives.

PAge 285
The battle could be over in moments if the Ordinatus stationed amongst wasteland fringing the hive could home in on the landing enemy forces and send pinpoint salvoes of multiple warheads on top of them

the defenses here also have a MLRS ORdinatus (mention of salvoes of "multiple warheads")

Page 286
The Sisters who manned the front trenches could easily fall back into bunkers behind them that still sat in shallow craters where they had been dropped, pre-fabricated, from low orbit when the defences were first being marked out.

Prefab bunkers dropped from low orbit? That's.. impressive, especially considering they had to survive the impact and reentry and shit. Possibly with antigrav help.

Page 288
"Inquisitor Valinov's speech has caused some doubt amongst the Guardsmen and, I believe, in the Sisters too. Very few of us have met the Traitor Legions in bat­tle before. The Schola Progenia taught us they didn't exist."

- The Sisters of Battle here say the Schola Progenium taught them that the CSM's don't exist, although their Canoness seems to know otherwise (either through education, or firsthand knowledge its not said.) Same seems true of the guardsmen.

Page 290

The bridge of the Rubicon was silent save for the dis­tant thrumming of the engines and the clicking of the bridge cogitators. The coordinates had been plotted and in a few moments the short warp jump would begin. It would take only a few more hours to make the jump to the Volcanis system, and the Malleus Nav­igator was good enough to put the Rubicon well within system space.

- It took a Gray Knights STrike cruiser only a "few more hours" to jump from one system in the Trail to another. It was also mentioned that the "Malleus Navigator was good enough to put the Rubicon, the strike cruiser, well within system space, like the pilot. OF course, the planet has a red star, so its jump distance need not be much great either.

Distance is probably at least 10 LY or so but fewer than 100 or so (much less than a sector) 30-40,000c at least, to 300-400,000c. Not inconssitent with what we know of warp speeds or such, but it is fast tor inter-sector travel either way.

Page 290
"Nothing much we didn't know already. A hive world, controlled by the Ecclesiarchy with a nominal gover­norship."

Governmental situation of the hive world in question.

Page 291

The Unmerciful was an old ship but a proven one, its multiple fighter decks crammed with Starhawk bombers and Avenger torpedo craft flown by battle-hardened pilots who had been expecting their next action to be around the Eye of Terror. The Holy Flame was newer and tougher, with a proud crew whose rapid gunnery could throw out broadsides massive enough to turn huge swathes of space into a shrapnel-filled killing zone. Absolution Squadron, comprising three Sword-class escort craft, was almost brand new, paintwork gleaming as bright as the day they had first been launched from the dockyards of Hydraphur.

Drawn around Volcanis Ultor, the two warships and three escorts could cover the whole of the planet with ease, sensor fields overlapping over population centres, information from out-system monitoring stations flowing in constantly.

- mention of Avenger torpedo craft as well as Starhawk bombers, and system data being relayed from the edge of the system.

Page 292
They would try to make landfall, and the best way of destroying them was to engage their ships in high orbit where they would be vulnerable as they delivered their payloads.

bombardment/oribtal drop from high orbit.

Page 293
The captain of the Holy Flame shared a second cousin with the vice admiral who had commissioned the building of Absolution Squadron and so a quick pri­vate communication with the squadron's captains had ensured that they and the Holy Flame would fight as one.

This implies the whole squadron took less than decades, perhaps only a matter years if not less, to build.

Page 294
It was just then that an urgent communication arrived from the outer system monitoring stations. A ship had just entered the Volcanis system unan­nounced, apparently at full battle-readiness. To all intents and purposes it was a Space Marine strike cruiser but its speed and ornate design were of unknown origin.

Both the Unmerciful and the Holy Flame received the message at the same time, and both knew there was only one explanation. Just as Valinov had said, the Traitor Legions had arrived.

The Grey Knights arrive. Again this isnt specific, but it implies roughly realtime communication - is it astropathic perhaps?

Page 295
"Incoming!" yelled someone from the nav helm as scores of angry red hostile blips appeared on the bridge viewscreen.

"What have you got, comms?" ordered Alaric.

The crewman on the comms helm looked up

"We sent an acknowledgement message to Volcanis Ultor but there was no reply"

Alaric gripped the sides of the pulpit. It didn't make sense. They had been in the Volcanis system less than an hour and suddenly, without even chal­lenging the Rubicon over the comms, a carrier warship was steaming towards them and sending out waves of fighter-bombers, armed up and aggres­sive.

"Archivum, I want the class and designation of that ship. Any others in-system. Someone told them we were coming and they said we weren't friendly."

- Its mentioend the Gray Knights have been in the system for an hour already before they're intercepted by the Battlecruiser. The Rubicon made the distance from where it dropped out of the warp to close to the planet in under an hour.

Page 296
"How long do we have?" asked Alaric. Gradually the noise and bustle on the bridge was increasing as warn­ing alarms sounded and the various command helms sent messengers to other parts of the ship.

"Less than twenty minutes." came the reply from the navigation helm. "Then the first wave will hit."

"I want every defence we have in space. Chaff, ord­nance, everything. Then we punch through them into upper atmosphere. We're not here to engage them, we're here to get a force onto Volcanis Ultor."

Ordnance helm started barking orders and several Malleus crewmen and women began running as messengers off the bridge, heading down to the gun­nery decks where torpedoes and anti-ordnance charges would be loaded and ready to fire. Short-fused torpedoes would fill space with enough debris to throw off the first fighter waves, but the Rubicon would be short of armaments if it had to tangle with another warship.

- "less than twenty minutes" before the first wave of fighters attack from the Battlecruiser. Hour and twenty minutes to reach the planet. Even assuming a few tens or a few hundreds of millions of km (1/5 an AU to 1 AU distance) emerging out we're talking high hundreds/low thousands of gees acceleration. Hell even at the 2 million km hard upper limit established by Savage Scars (closest any Inquisitioral ship has gotten) we're talking at least 50 gees and probably more.

- the Gray Knight cruiser deploys "chaff, ordnance, everything" - described as "every defence they have". later it is mentioned is "torpedoes and anti-ordnance charges" that would be loaded and ready to fire. Specific mention of "short fused torpedoes" that filled space with debris (Shrapnel) to deter fighters.

Page 299
Alaric had rarely even noticed the crew of the Rubi­con, composed as they were of efficient but almost invisible men and women. Some had been literally bred for anonymity, the product of breeding programs that produced easily-doctrinated individuals.

Breeding programs for Malleus crewers. Doesn't really surprise me.

Page 299
"Fighter command! I want the torpedo ships to the front. Pull the Starhawks and the assault boats back, we'll soften them up first!"

The ship has torpedo boats, bombers, AND assault boats and fighters it seems. AT LEAST 3 fighter wings, probably similar each.. 12-24 wings tops, maybe.

Page 300
The first wave of torpedoes was met by a return salvo from the Rubicon. Short-fused ordnance from the Space Marine cruiser burst in a shower of debris, bright blossoms of flame imploding in the vacuum leaving storms of silver metal shards like a glittering curtain.

The first wave of attack craft, maybe thirty craft strong, launched their own torpedoes and banked sharply to avoid deterrent fire spattering from the Rubi­con's turrets. Most of the torpedoes were detonated by the wall of debris and massive pulses of exploding munitions ripped silently through space, sending rip­ples through the debris like stones thrown into water. Some torpedoes, inevitably, made it through, and great black flashes played over the hull of the strike cruiser as the ship's shielding absorbed the blasts.

The real damage was done.

- thirty bombers (torpedo bomberS) launch torpedoes against the Rubicon, most of which are intercepted by the defensive measures (turrets, anti-ordnance wepaons, the torpedoes, etc.). This suggests at least 60-120 torpedoes (2-4 torps ber bomber.)

Thirty bombers would be equal to about 3 squadrons in one kind. Note the Rubicon's point defense stops all 30 torpedoes.

Also the Rubicon's shields can stop torpedoes - at least Attakc craft scale small torpedoes.

Page 301
As the damage crews on the Rubicon fought to restore the shields to full strength the next waves approached, Starhawk fighter-bombers this time, sweeping in through the debris field. Many were lost as their engines were clogged by debris but most of them made it through, for the fighter pilots of the Unmerciful were veterans who had mostly done this many times before. Instead, the debris shielded them from the Rubicon's turret fire and they emerged in formation, close enough to make their attack runs.
They banked into long swooping strafing runs and with nose-mounted turbolasers began spattering the gunmetal hull of the Rubicon with fire.
In the gun decks and maintenance runs of the strike cruiser, men and women began to die.

- Starhawks have nose mounted turbolasers capable of engaging/damaging the hull of a strike cruiser (at least at close range.) Presumably they're striking weak points/exposed areas (engines, guns, etc.) or already damaged areas. They're also mentioned as fighter bombers. I wonder if they can mount battle cannon as well, and if there are variations (fighter bombar/light bomber starhawks and "heavy" Starhawks. There are several different kind of Marauder after all.

Page 301
. Golven was a skilled halberd fighter who had earned his Crux Terminatus boarding abandoned spaceships and fighting Chaos-tainted genestealer cults.

Mention of "chaos tainted" genestealer cults. Tyranids are well protected against Chaos (usually) but Genestealers seem less likely. We ee this again (I believe) in Ragnar's Claw.

Page 303
The engines of the Rubicon kicked in even as strafing runs tore ruby explosions from its hull. The strike cruiser, using its superior mobility, darted forward suddenly, ploughing forward through its own debris field and right into the upcoming fighter wings. Many pilots were forced to adopt new formations as the ship bore down on them, launching runs that impacted only against the Rubicon's thick prow armour. Attacks down the side of the hull were short­ened as the craft flashed by and those fighters who banked for a second ran were targeted by the turrets now free of debris interference and reaping a harvest of burning fighter hulls. More than seventy craft were destroyed or disabled, their valuable pilots killed or stranded with little hope of rescue, munitions deto­nating in firing tubes before they could be fired, attacks scattered as the huge silver beak of the Rubicon ripped through space.

The strike cruiser's ordnance was depleted, and it was bleeding fire from scores of wounds. The Avengers and Starhawks had done their work, but they had not finished the Rubicon off.

Leaving shoals of attack craft whirling in its wake, and with the follow-up squadrons of attack boats and boarding torpedoes fleeing before it, the Rubicon headed at full speed towards Volcanis Ultor.

Seventy fighters destroyed or disabled.... I'm guessing these are fighters and bombers.. not assault boats, and probably not torpedo boats (which ran out of ordnance. We're alking over 100 fighters at least, possibly several times that depending on how many squadrons of each. (Then again I wonder if ifghters and starhawks are the same thing..)

It's also interesting the Rubicon's guns are out of ammo - the ship doesn't esem to have bombardment cannon, energy weapon (Aside from turrets) and most of its ordnance seemed to be optimized for point defnece/anti fighter stuff, with limited anti ship capability.

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-03 05:52pm

Part 2 and the finish.

Page 304
The gunnery officer - seventh-generation Naval man, Grakinko remembered playing three-board regicide with his father

GRakinko is at least 175 years old... probably at least 40-50 years older than that, and may not even be close to the end of his lifespan.

Page 304
The Unmerciful wasn't a pure gunnery ship, but it had been refitted (against Grakinko's wishes, he admitted) with plenty of guns after the Gothic War and by the Emperor it could give a decent volley when it had to. Three full volleys, and then three half-volleys from the depleted gun gangs, should be enough to cripple any ship at point blank range. Then it was a matter of bringing the surviving fighters in and bomb­ing the gak out of the strike cruiser until it came apart.

3 full volleys to the front, and 3 half to the back. Not sure what a half-volley is - half the facing guns I suppose?

Also some attack did survive Rubicon's assault.

Page 306
The Unmerciful opened up with a few straggling shots, range finders that streaked past the oncoming prow of the Rubicon. The gunnery sergeants denoted the target in range and closing, the officer at the gun­nery helm concurred. With that order, every gun on the port side of the Unmerciful let loose.

Against a ship with full shields and the ability to return fire, the effect would have been damaging but ultimately unspectacular. Against a ship with few shields and in no position to return fire, the guns could pour volley after unanswered volley into the strike cruiser's prow. The massive armoured beak of the strike cruiser, shielded with layers of adamantium and covered in engraved prayers of warding, was first battered and then pierced by the munitions fired by the massive guns. Plates of armour were ripped off, flung spiralling through space, trailing fire. Secondary explosions sent walls of flame spurting from between the seams of hull plates. With a single titanic erup­tion the whole prow was blasted off, a rushing cowl of flame billowing out from the front of the Rubicon. The void swallowed the fire and an ugly, blackened ruin of metal was all that remained of the ship's prow.

The ship didn't slow but it did veer dangerously, sys­tems without number damaged, fires coursing along maintenance ways and corridors, bulkheads bursting into hard vacuum. The bridge was rocked, and had it been set a few metres further forward it would have been torn apart, too. Thousands of Malleus crew died, immolated, blown apart or sucked out into space. The wrecked prow shed armour sections, plumes of debris, and broken, frozen bodies.

- three full volleys and four "half volleys" from the battlecruiser's projectile cannons engage the Strike cruiser. The shots first "pierce" then "detonate" inside the ship, striking (and blasting off) the strike cruiser's prow, which tells you about accurate macro-cannon fire (which is pretty interesting, considering they needed ranginsg shots at first.)

Also "few shields" implies gaps in the defences that can be exploited by attack (in contrast to full shields.)

Pity we dont know how long this all took.

Page 307
"We’ll hit the atmosphere in twenty-two minutes."

22 minutes to atmosphere.

Page 307
The Rubicon passed close underneath the Unmerciful, close enough for the wreckage raining off it to spatter like iron rain against the Unmerciful's underside.

Gun gangs on the starboard side of the Unmerciful were under-manned and under-munitioned com­pared to those on the opposite gun deck, but they had their part to play, too. As the stern of the Rubicon emerged from under them the ship tilted to give them a better firing angle before they poured every­thing they had into the aft section of the strike cruiser.

The massive engine exhausts were punctured again and again as red lances of fire fell in a burning hail. Jets of superheated gas kilometres long shot from the rup­tured engines. One plasma reactor was cracked open and boiling plasma flooded out, forming a ragged smouldering ribbon where it hit the cold of space. The secondary explosions tore a hole in the upper hull four decks deep, exposing the primary engineering com­mand centre to the void. The chief engineering officers stared up at the yawning hole above them where the ceiling of their aft bridge had once been, their breath stolen from their bodies, their blood frozen, the Unmerciful rolling slowly and pouring fire into them from above.

The bridge's primary link with the engine section of the Rubicon was gone. As far as the state of the engines went, the ship was flying blind.

The starboard guns of the Unmerciful ran dry. The Rubicon passed underneath it, prow gone, stern badly chewed, spewing air, plasma and wreckage. But it was not dead yet. The fleet records on Iapetus would wit­ness that it had survived worse.

Plasma reactors thrumming with the strain, the Rubi­con plummeted on towards the pale disc of Volcanis Ultor.

"That was a few shots short of four half-volleys from the starboard guns."

Extent of damage and the further bombardment.

Page 309
Gurveylan was not a ship captain in the old sense. His word was not law on his ship - he left that priv­ilege to Security Officer Lorn and Ship Commissar Gravic. He did not rule his bridge with an iron fist, since he could rely on his officers to do their duty. He was, instead, the executive arm of the Holy Flame's officer corps. That was how they had done things at the Academy - teamwork, responsibility, obedience.

Differences in naval Captaining style.

Page 309
"I want a damage report on that ship." said Gurvey­lan.

One of the several dozen engineering officers took the bridge vox-caster. "The ship's an unknown marque, captain. It's a Space Marine strike cruiser. We don't have the specifications for it."

"Give me your best guess."

"Extensive prow damage, non-essential systems only. Command structures probably intact. One major plasma breach, engines down to seventy per cent. Crew casualties thirty to fifty per cent."

Estimated damage report on the Rubicon, highlighting how little the navy knows of Space Marine ships.

Page 310
"Gunnery and logistics!" snapped Gurveylan. "If we match her speed and hit her with rolling broadside volleys, what is the probability she'll be crippled?"

There was a long pause as gunnery officers and lexmechanics scrabbled and calculated. "Eighty per cent." came the reply.

"Good. Comms, contact Absolution Squadron and have them take up high orbit in case the enemy gets through. Everyone else, I want us alongside the enemy ready to open fire in seven minutes."

- the commanding officer of the Holy Flame orders his crew and Aboslution squadron to open fire on the Strike cruiser "in seven minutes." This means the Mars Class battlecruiser fired on the ship for over fifteen minutes before it breaks up (not considering that it was already badly damaged by the time it got into range by the aforementioned Battlecruiser.) to fire "four half broadsides" That works otu to just over 1 shot per 3-4 minutes, although they did mention the side being under-armed and under-staffed compared to the first side. Especially on a ship tht apparently isnt noted for gunnery.

Page 312
The Balurian heavy infantry were noted for their discipline, which was as much an asset to Valinov as the heavy half-carapace armour the Guardsmen wore or the lasguns they carried which were configured for high power and short range.

Heavy half carapace, as well as lasguns being configured for greater firepower at a shorter range (which suggests lasguns can be customized for varying roles, at least the Balurian lasguns can.) Whether this is variable settings or variable modes, or if they have to actually swap out components like barrels and such to adjust performance, I dont know. It could go either way.

Page 312
Canoness Ludmilla had brought a whole commandery of more than two hundred Sisters of Bat­tle.

200 sisters on Volcanis Ultor, clarifying the "hundreds" mentioned before.

Page 315
"We will hit high atmosphere in six minutes if the engines hold."

Time to atmosphere.

Page 315 -

The strike cruisers used by the Chapters of the Adeptus Astartes weren't built for gunnery. They were built for speed and resilience, since their primary purpose was to move Space Marines quickly and safely to take part in boarding actions. They could take a hell of a lot of punishment, the equivalent of Imperial Navy ships of far larger classes, and so the Holy Flame had calculated that it would take almost its whole stock of munitions for its starboard guns to destroy the Rubicon[/io]

The [i]Rubicon
, however, was not just a Space Marine strike cruiser, as rare and remarkable as those were. It had been comissioned by the Ordo Malleus whose resources dwarfed those of the highest Naval admiral. The Rubicon had been built using alloys and construction techniques so advanced the Adeptus Mechanicus could no longer replicate them. The Ordo Malleus demanded the best of their Chamber Militant, the Grey Knights, and they provided the best as well. The Rubicon was as solid a ship as had flown since the Dark Age of TEchnology.

Rubicon, as a strike cruiser (and implied that all strike cruisers are similar, although this is doubtful) is built for speed and resilience, perhaps explaining its lack of return fire and unspectacular ordnance display. This specialization, along with the fact It used the best technology in the Imperium (or rather that the Imperium had long ago) in building it, means its trmeendously more durable than its size suggests - so much so that 6 minutes or more of sustained fire (draining all the munitions for one side's guns), plus all the other damage it suffered up to this point, cannot fully destroy it (almost., but not fully.)

It's laso rather interesting that at least 6 minutes of "rolling fire" (if not more) is required to empty the vessel's magazines. Even if the vessel expends only a few hundreds shells in a volley (for 40-50 guns - 4-5 volleys) we're talking 1-1.5 minutes per volley. If we talk 2000 Shells at same rate and number of guns - 40-50 volleys, and 7-9 seconds per volley. Assuming tens of thousands of km distance, we're talking 2-3 thousand km/s. hundreds of thousands of km, we're talking 20-30 thousand km/s velocity (at least for the initial salvoes. tht those estimated rates. figure thousands of km/s for shell velocities at least, as an order of magnitude calc.

Page 315-316
"The slow dance of the Holy Flame and the Rubicon twirled into the first wisps of Volcanis Ultor's atmos­phere, the thin air ignited into long bright ribbons by the shells that pumped from the Holy Flame's starboard guns. The Rubicon blossomed into flame as it entered the atmosphere, fire rippling like liquid up its sides, pouring from the ruined prow and billowing in huge fluid plumes from its shattered engines. A second plasma generator exploded and sent superheated plasma flashing through the whole engineering sec­tion. A section of hull blew out so huge that the Rubicon was split down half its length, spilling wreck­age and bodies like a gutted fish. When the ordnance magazine detonated, the explosion was like an after­thought compared to the shrieks and eruptions as the Rubicon began to come apart.

The Holy Flame disengaged, forced out of the dance by the thickening atmosphere that threatened to melt the underside of the hull. But the Rubicon was tougher, and the remaining engines kept it on course to enter the atmosphere shallow enough to deploy its payload.

To hit the Rubicon with another broadside, the Holy Flame would have to loop around, adopt a shallower trajectory to enter the atmosphere, and slide into step with the enemy strike cruiser. But that manoeuvre would take almost twenty minutes to achieve, and by then it would be too late. Captain Gurveylan ordered it anyway.

In the end it was Absolution Squadron, who had waited just inside the atmospheric envelope, who killed the Rubicon. The three Sword-class escorts had enough firepower between them to see off the crippled Rubicon - with a bit of luck just one of them could have done it. But there was not enough time. Any sec­ond the Rubicon would send down its drop-pods full of Traitor Marines and then it wouldn't matter what hap­pened to the crippled ship.


He knew that his officers and crew, had he had the time to explain it to them, would have agreed. So it was with no hesitation that Captain Thai ordered Absolution Beta to ramming speed.

Effects of bombardment of holy Flame, plus efforts of the escorts soon, including (apparently) a ramming action. The Flame has to disengage or risk "melting its hull" int the atmosphere at whatever speed its moving at. It would take twenty minutes or so to make a turn and come around to hit the Rubicon again (if they had the time that is) - tjhis suggests many tens if not hundreds of km/s velocity, mininum, although it might be faster - we really dont know the speed.

Page 318
Alaric craned his neck to see the Rubicon shrinking behind the ship, a plume of flame gushing from the flight decks where the Thunderhawk had waited a moment before. The prow of another ship punched suddenly through the tortured hull of the Rubicon, cutting through the strike cruiser like a knife, massive explosions erupting behind it as its own hull was sheared in two by the force of the impact.

Alaric didn't see the Rubicon explode, but he felt it, the shockwave thudding through the gunship as it descended in its landing course. He knew that the final plasma reactors had gone critical, and that the chain reaction would have turned both ships into a ball of expanding flame like a new star in the sky of Volcanis Ultor.

The Rubicon is rammed by a frigate. In the atmosphere, it starts breaking up at last, although parts of it are still intact for long enough to allow the Grey Knights to deploy to the ground via drop pod.

Some of the plasma reactors also end up detonating in the atmosphere - apparently its not violent enough to destroy the planet or anything, but guessing how plasma the way Counter envisions it behaving in this fashion is hard to say (or even outside that.. since it is weird even without the liquid/chemical implications.) We also dont know how much fuel (if any) They had remaining at that point, or what - its only some of the reactors, so we dont know how many (other than more than one) go critical and how many the cruiser started with, or why they're on the "final" reactors...

Page 324
Alaric could see the plain streaking past below a murky sky, dirty pale earth drained of all its life, bleached by chemical pollutants, dried and cracked by aeons of merciless industry. It was barren and bleak, a place where men could not survive long amongst the ash dunes and toxic dribbles that passed for rivers.

- the Hive World is descirbed again. Guess I was wrong about the surface - this is a typical, shitty hive world. Which probably means all the troops out defending the planet have to be in hefty NBC protection to endure that shithole and defend the asshole Ecclesiarchs who are keeping them out there.

Page 325
But who could know what such a man was thinking when he didn't even have a name to call his own, when he had been stripped of everything that made him human so he could better serve the Ordo Malleus?

More on the servitor like "mind scrubbing/wiping" shit.

Page 326
Alaric was cut off as he saw a rose-red light burning through the gauze of dust. Something had punched through Volcanis Ultor's mantle of bruise-coloured cloud, burning red. It seemed to be falling incredibly slowly, its underside white-hot, huge sheets of fire trailing behind. Alaric could hear a roar like a hurri­cane and he recognized, stripped bare and melting, the shape of one of the Rubicon's engines.

A great white flash of heat burst like a wave. A roar followed, a Shockwave running through the earth like the blast from a huge bomb, a hot blast of air washing across the plain. The sound was appalling, like an army of daemons howling. Suddenly the fire in the sky was gone and a mantle of ash and pulverised rock was drawn across the plain like a thick black blanket, turn­ing Volcanis Ultor as dark as night. The hot, dry storm ripped over Alaric's Grey Knights as they took cover, the Shockwaves rippling back and forth.

- Alaric notes one of the Rubicon's engines descending towards the Imperial lines and the impact, which is described ind etail as it follows.

Page 327-328
An intact strike cruiser at full speed would have been likea meteor hitting Volcanis Ultor, forging a winter decades long, exterminating whole ecosystems. The falling section of the Rubicon represented a fraction of its weight and it had decelerated dramatically to deploy its payload, and so it did not annihilate most of Hive Superior and a fair chunk of the pplains surrounding it.

To the city's defenders, that was little consolation. The engine section landed towards the southern end of the line held by the Balurian heavy infantry and it hit with a force larger than a shell from one of the huge Ordinatus artillery pieces built by the Adeptus Mechanicus. A full orbital strike frfom a battleship would scarcely have done more damage.

The heat and shockwave released by the impact vaporised a good portion of the Balurian regiment and hundreds of men drowned in the flood of ash and dust that coursed through the trenches. Three kilometres of trench were destroyed, from the front line to the rearward assembly areas. The command post was wiped out, killing the Balurian colonel Gortz and almost his entire staff. Sisters Hospitaller perished at their medical posts. supply posts full of equipment and munitions were crushed, exploding into flat sheets of fire and shrapnel.

The Ordinatus deployed behind the Balurian lines was destroyed, its immense cannon barrel and titanic loader systems ripped apart by the flood fo wreckage that spewed forth from the engine section as it disintegrated.

The engines did not explode, for the plasma reactors had bled their contents into the upper atmosphere when the Absolution Beta had torn the strike cruiser apart. Instead there was a terrible eruption of darkness, a pall of black ash and earth that boiled up almost as high as Hive Superior's outer spires and billowed out across the plain. It swept out over the no-man's-land beyond the front lines, down through the sections south of the Balurians and north to halfway across Lake Rapax. It boiled into Hive Superior's outer reaches. Some were buried, others suffocated, while others dug themselves out of drifts of ash that gathered everywhere.

The whole north end of the defences was buried under a blanket of blackness, as if night had fallen. Fur­ther south disruption was immense – communications cut, bunkers undermined by the shockwave, eardrums burst, unstable munitions and fuel dumps detonated.

Effect of the impact of one of the Rubicon's engines.. pretty much devasates the Imperial ground defenses, suggested to be more destructive than an Ordinatus. It strikes with a fraction of the mass and reduced speed, contrasted with a "full speed" ramming (millions of tonnes minimum at hundreds if not thousands of km/s minimum - gigatons if not teratons.. probably Teratons since it sounds basically like a mass-extinction asteroid impact and we know "full speed" can be quite a bit faster - cf Sabbat Martyr.) but this is megatons at best, and probably not even that given it only cremates a few hundred, doesn't make a huge ass crater in the ground kilometers wide, etc.

And this is supposed to be scarely worse than a orbital strike by a battleship - taken literally this is pretty underwhelming firepower wise - I doubt you could even argue kilotons much less megatons - hell it pretty much matter which specific calcs you pointed to, most if not all would conflict with this.) A less literal interpretation (not a full power, all out strike, but a tactical bombardment, or not a literal battleship) might make more sense of it, although we dont know weapons or how many shots in any case, so its open ended regardless.

Lastly, plasma reactors don't explode - out of fuel, which offers some clarification on that issue I suppose.

Page 329
Genhain loomed out of the darkness. Were it not for Alaric's enhanced vision he would not have been able to see the justicar at all. 'Lachis is hurt.' he said - the vox was still down so vocal communication was the only option.
"How bad?"
"Mangled a leg in the landing. He'll lose it."
Alaric saw Brother Grenn and Ondurin helping Lachis along - the lower part of his right leg was severely mangled, bone jutting from the sundered armour plates. Anyone other than a Space Marine would have been unconscious.
"Marine, can you fight?" said Alaric.
"Always." said Lachis. He was a relatively young Grey Knight, having been promoted from a novice into Genhain's squad just over two years before. "But not run."

- one of the Grey Knights has fucked up his leg, but is conscious and capable of fighting (but not moving.)

Page 330
Canoness Ludmilla crouched down in the front line, feeling her filtration implants grinding in her throat as they cleaned out the dust and ash that would other­wise flood her lungs. Several Sisters had put on their Sabbat-pattern helmets, keeping the storm out of their eyes; Ludmilla rarely wore hers, preferring to see the enemy as plainly as possible the better to hate them.

- the Sisters of Battle have "filtration implants" to help the atmosphere remain breathable. There is mention of "Sabbat pattern helmets" to help keep the storms out of their eyes, but some seem to be not wearing helmets. They do not appear to have autosenses, however. It must not be quite as toxic a hellhole as some hives if they can go unhelmeted.

Page 331
It fell from the sky. Some Sisters think the Ordinatus crew has betrayed us. It looked more like a meteor. Some foul weapon of the Enemy.[/quote]

Impact compared to the meteor or Ordinatus strike again. REad into it what you want.

Page 332
Marines had full auto-senses that would give them a crucial advantage here, when the Sisters couldn't make out targets at long bolter range.

I guess the sisters, evne the ones with the helms, dont have autosenses here (or if they do they're shit compared to what the Grey Knights have.) - at least for targeting p urposes.

Page 332

When the first bolter shells rang off his armour, Alaric broke into a sprint, charging headlong for the front line. Bolter fire opened up all around him and his armour was battered terribly, waves of shells rip­ping through the air.

- Grey Knight power armour has at least some limited resistance to close range bolter fire (at least from Soritas weapons.) Generally speaking the Grey Knights plow through the SoB like a hot knife through butter, but that's unsurprising.

Page 334
Alaric ran towards the glow of flamers and saw Tancred, wading knee-deep in burning promethium streaking from several flamer-armed Sis­ters firing from the trench itself.

Clostus's rune was gone from Alaric's retinal display - either the Marine was dead or he was too far away for his armour's life sign readings to get through the interference. Either way he was lost to them now.

Alaric saw one of Squad Santoro, probably Brother Jaeknos, on his knees, his armour pocked and smoking by a dozen bolter wounds. He was still firing but his Nemesis halberd was on the ground - Alaric saw the hand he normally used to wield it was reduced to use­less bloody rags.

- One of the Grey Knights here has "a dozen" bolter wounds in his chest, and is still fighting, though he's also lost a hand. Tancred the Terminator wades through flamers unaffected.

Page 334
Shells ripped into his shoulder pad and hot pain blossomed there.

GK power armor can be breached by bolter fire, either from repeated hits or at close range or a combination of factors.

Page 334
Alaric grabbed the collar of her power armour, lifted her up, and pitched her into the fire at his feet. She scrambled to her knees, blazing horribly from head to toe, and Alaric swiped her head off with his halberd as she moved to fire.

GK power armor can lift a fully armored SoB.

Page 336
Dvorn shattered a Seraphim's hand but the pistol in her other hand stitched heavy bolts into his breast­plate, raising showers of sparks as he was battered backwards.

more gunfire vs armor

Page 337
"Sisters!" shouted the canoness, and Alaric knew she was talking over the vox - the Sisters must have had a robust vox-relay station somewhere in the rear lines, that kept their vox-net intact.

They have their own vox network at least.

Page 338
"The same Enemy was counting on none of the defenders having heard of the Grey Knights, in which respect I am assuming he was wrong."
"My Order served with Lord Inquisitor Karamazov at the Tigurian Flow. The Grey Knights were there, too, though I never fought with them. You were fortunate I recognised you at all."

The GK are recognized by the canoness by lines from the Imperial faith and the Liber Daemonicum. If she knew about these things, then why the fuck didn't she recognize the Grey Knigths from the fucking start? Was it just for grimdark, or did the daemonic influence cloud things, or what?

Page 343

The Balurian heavy infantry had lost a third of its men, wiped out by a crash that turned them into dust that swirled over the mantle of ash and mud. Colonel Gortz was dead and communications were gone, so another third were cut off and helpless, stranded blind and out of contact, forced to hunker down and hold their defences against an enemy they could not see.

The rest of the Balurians, more than seven hundred troops, gathered towards the northern end of the Imperial Lines.

the remaining Balurians are 1/3 of the regiment, which means that around 700.. maybe 2000-2500 troops or so depending on exact numbers- I doubt there are exactly 700, but there's clearly not (for example) 750 or so... and its approximately a third (meaning it snot a quarter) Fewer than 3000 pretty sure though (750-800x1/4 for example.) This makes it a small, powerful but very specialized regiment as far as such things go, like some mechanized/armoured fist groups, armoued groups, etc. Given their equipment this makes sense.

I would assume other heavy infantry is similarily equipped (like the Fire Drakes in Crimson Tears, The Jantine, the Volpone, etc. Although the latter two seem more numerous so maybe not *quite* as well equipped.)

Page 343-344
But the Imperial Guard could fight on without offi­cers. Because when officers could not lead - whether through incompetence, corruption, lack of willpower or, as at Volcanis Ultor, sheer magnitude of casualties, the Guard had another command structure that took over.

A commissar was not a tactician. He was not a strate­gist. He could not fine-tune an assault or design the perfect defence. But when the Guard needed leader­ship, such things were irrelevant. Commissars led when the Guardsmen needed to be led from the front into the teeth of a foe a colonel and his officers could not face. When there was no room for tactics or skill or anything but sheer bloody-minded, fanatical bravery, the commissars took the lead.

THE COMMISSAR STEPS IN. Sadly he's not a particularily good commissar, although he's not the worst in a 40K novel either, since he doesnt' shoot them right off the bat.

Page 344
The hem of Thanatal's long black leather coat dragged in the clotted mud of the trenches and his mesh armour was heavy as he struggled northwards through the blinding ash. He heard men yelling their comrades' names, screaming in pain, praying out loud.

- the Balurian commissar is wearing mesh armour. Which makes him a rarity since most don't wear armor (I remember one in Redemption Corps wearing a flak greatcoat with inserts sewn in.)

Page 348-349
The Excorcist tanks stationed at the front of the plant could have blasted through them but the Sisters and Grey Knights would have had to hang back to avoid the explosion - the multi-meltas could cut through the metal and let them charge in much more quickly. [the doors]

The melta-beams cut through the steel, sending showers of sparks that cast huge, sinister shadows through, the mantle of ash. A section of the doors fell away...

Using multimeltas to cut a hole through a door, rather than just melting a way - suggests they can focus them to very precise, narrow beams.

Page 353
Sisters, like the Grey Knights, were in their own way created. Trained from childhood, saturated in the word of Imperial clerics just as Grey Knights were indoctrinated, very little remained of the woman every Sister might otherwise have become. They had, in many ways, already made the ultimate sacrifice - their lives were not their own, for they had been moulded into the only soldiers that could do the Emperor's work when it really mattered. The Grey Knights and the Sisters of Battle had more in common than a mutual enemy.

SoB likened to the grey knights, only the Sisters are more corruptible and prone to being slaughtered (including, nowadays, by the Grey Knights themselves. Oh, how Alaric would weep.) I guess this makes the Sisters Grey Knights lite (although there's the Exorcists chapter too..)

Page 356
The Balurians were alive again, filled with the fire. Thanatal broke into a run and he didn't need to lead them any more - he just had to be the first in, leading by example...
Whatever happens, Thanatal told himself, we have already won. When the time comes and they are given the chance to offer themselves up on me altar of war, the Balurians will thank me for leading them here, into the last fight.

A Chaos Marine was worth ten loyal Guardsmen, Thanatal knew that. But with enough spirit and no fear in their veins, the Balurians could even those odds. They would buy time for the rest of the defenders. They might even break the Enemy there on the shore of Lake Rapax. Either way, the Emperor's will would be done.

- a Chaos Space Marine is considered by the Balurain commissar to be worth ten "loyal guardsman". We also see that Thanatal is not really a bad commissar, he's mistaken and not the smartest, but he has the right idea - shoot only when you have to (and he had ot a few times) and rely more on inspiration and example rather than fear to inspire and motivate. Again this is a good novel, but I give Counter credit for writing good non-Space Marine characters. It really adds to the overall quality of the novel.

Page 369
It was the Holocaust - the expression of the Grey Knight's faith, focused thorugh Tancred's mind and forged into a weapon worrthy of the Emperor's finest. Alaric knew it was hard enough to do with a full squad - with only Tancred and three battle brothers, the power would require almost everything they had.

The sudden psychic crescendo nearly knocked Alaric off his feet - a pure white flame of faith, burst­ing out from the sword of Mandulis like a shockwave, rippling across the stone.
Alaric saw the closest creatures blasted into ash, the after-images of their twisted forms ghosted against the light as they came apart.

The Holocaust again.

Page 370

"Burn our brother," he said, and KArlin dutifully scoured Golven's body clean with a spray of flame. It took a few seconds for Golven's corpse to be reduced to a guttering shell of charred armour.

GK Flames can reduce a GK corpse to ash (I assume thats what he means at least) in a few seconds. Since its inside the armor, and we know the armor is good at resisting flamers as a rule, it probably is more efficient than open air cremation (And thus needs less energy), but its still alot (esp for a space marine massed thing) and its impressive the interior remains mostly intact against what are - cremation level energies over a large surface area (Say 20 kj per square cm resistance.) Even if GK armour is an order of magnitude tougher than regular marine armor normal marine armour ought to take at least 2 kj per square cm (by contrast a nuke can deliver 1000 watts/cm^2 which is equivalent to the flame of an acetalyne torch.

Note tht as far as calcs go, this does suggest lasguns perhaps have to be single/double digit kj at LEAST to penetrate such armor, and this number is conservative (coudl easily be an OOM higher) a fist sized hole through armor (say a plasma weapon would be several hundred kj to several MJ at least.

Page 372 & 373 - mention of "hundreds" of Balurians. Not really surprising, since some 700 or so survived.

Page 373

Thousands of las-shots ripped through the air from hundreds of lasguns on full auto. Ludmilla watched in horro as the ruby-coloured lances of fire filled the air with crimson threads, riddling the statues until they crumbled and fell, ,scoring chunks out of the ground, whipping around the temple steps and spattering agianst Sisters' armour.
Heavy chains of bolter fire punched through deep royal blue body armour, sending out sprays of blood frozen in the strobing las-fire. The lasgun fire blasting back riddled the marble steps and Ludmilla saw Sisters spasming as las-bolts found weak points in their armour. One shot burst against Ludmilla's lower leg and nearly knocked her flat on her face, another thud­ded into her breastplate...

"thousands of las-shots" from "hundreds of lasguns" on full atuo. Assuming all 700 lasguns fired and only 2000 shots - wer'e talking ~3 shots a second (2.8 to be exact). If only 200 fire, its 10 shots a second. Somewhere in between would be 6-7 shots a second. The low end fits roughly with the uplifting primer, but faster rates of fire haven been shown in various sources, so they may be firing more. What's interesting is, that the values could be many times greater - we could, for example, have 40-50 shots/sec. Both ends of the range have support in evidence (3 shots/sec is consistent with the Uplifting primer, the high end with the latter ghosts novels, which have hundreds of shots in a handful of seconds, or 20-40 rounds in a couple seconds, etc.)

Sororitas armor is mostly proof against the Balurians short ranged but high powered lasguns, although weak points do still penetrate and cause injury. Sororitas bolters rather easily seem to penetrate the Balurian half carapace though (which given we know carapace is known to resist full power rifle rounds and stubber fire, suggests that a Sororitas bolter is comparable, kinetic wise to a .308 or .50 cal round, depending on context.)

Also at least some of those "thousands" of las shots shatter/crubmle a statue. assuming granite, and that a single shot was enough to say, amputate a stone arm or take off part of a stone head (or at the neck) - 50-100 kj for 5-6 cm diameter hole in granite, although in thse parametrs it would need a couple pulses in succession to drill thorugh (2-5) We dont know how many shots of course hit the statue, but even if thousands to shatter each the energy is going to probably be at least a few tens of KJ just by penetration alone, and thats probably conservative since there's no way all the fire hit just a few statues.. double or triple digit kj seems likely per "shot" (or volleys of shots, if we're oging to assume pulse and the higher end of the above rOF, which would work) but this isnt surprising given the Balurians have some heavy laswepaons.

In any case, if they're firing at this rate at the high end even for a few seconds, we may be talking power pack capacities on the order of 100+ shots.

Page 375
She fired her Inferno pistol point-blank into the press and she was sure its superheated blast must have bored through three or four bodies - the weight lessened and she pushed bodies off her.


She fired [her Inferno pistol] again and saw a Guardsman's torso come apart in front of her, his body collapsing in on the ragged burning hole bored trhough its centre.[/quote]

Canoness also has an inferno pistol - a rather tightly focused one, since it seems just to blow holes trhough the body and overpenetrate like hell compared to others.

Page 375
Blood was slick on her face, thick in her hair. The din of the fight was becoming a wall of white noise, like a dream. Men and Sisters were dying - Sister Superior Annalise cut an officer's legs out from under him with her chainsword, sending out a crescent of blood and shredded flak armour. Sister Gloriana fell back clutch­ing her face, blood spurting between her fingers. Sister squads were falling back up the steps unloading bolter clips into the tide, while others were in the thick of the fight trying to beat back the Balurians with combat knives and bolter stocks.

Balurians using flak armour - apparently they combine flak and carapace. Additionally the flak armour is evidently on the legs of this IG officer as well, given his flak armour shredded when his legs are amputated. The Balurians clearly have full body flak, and however much carapace for their bodies (torsos at least?)

Also bolter stocks.

Page 376
It was hate that kept her going, even as a lasbolt burned right through her thigh and a bolter stock cracked against her forehead.

Lasbolt penetrates the canoness armor and penetrates striaght through her thigh. This, along with the statues, suggets some very high penetration for the Balurian lasguns. May even just be hellguns or hotshotted gunsfor all intents and purposes.

Page 377
The melta-coils burst into life. The barrel flared and a bolt of energy leapt from the weapon, carving through the air right towards the centre of Valinov's chest. A sudden flash of white light burst and Ludmilla felt heat wash over her. The after-image of Valinov was burned into her retina, framed in light as the conver­sion field around him dissipated the energy of the shot and crowned him with an outline of white fire.

An energy field. Expensive, rare, coveted. Probably taken from the Imperial Governor's armoury in Hive Superior, like the power sword. Ludmilla should have guessed, and the awful cold knowledge of failure was so strong it was like a punch to her stomach.

- Valinov has a conversion field generator, and it stops the inferno pistol shot without being breached. To be fair the pistol seems less powerful than the "vaporize and cremate" types others have had, but it is also alot more focused. This is also speculated to be a Governor's grade device.

Page 378
She saw flak-armoured Guardsmen swarming over her as they charged...

- mention again of "flak armoured" Balurians.

Page 385
St Evisser stepped out of the sarcophagus. At full height it was four of five times as tall as a Grey Knight. Its foot slammed down and a chasm ripped across the whole acropolis, the stone tipping inwards.

The Daemon appears.. sort of. Or at least a defender. Antmating that much stone is rather impressive. One of the GK force weapons shatters a two-handed stone blade wielded by such a creature... considering its 12-15 meters tall, the thing must weigh many hundreds of kilos and shattering it must be at least analogous to one or two kilos of TNT.

PAge 397
Of course, it was true. Every daemon had a condition that had to be fulfilled before it could return - a par­ticular date, a location, a specific sacrifice or spell. Ghargatuloth, a being of great power, had many. He had to be born through a corrupted Imperial relic, the body of Saint Evisser. It had to be on the Trail, and it had to be now. And the vessel through which he was reborn had to be killed with the weapon that had first banished him.

Further details on the nature and requirements of countering banishment.

Page 401
Every daemon was ultimately a servant. Every one had a master, even one as powerful as Ghargatuloth whose master was Tzeentch himself. But for daemons to serve unquestioningly, a master had to have power over them. And so every daemon had a name. Men might know them by any number of names, but only one was the True Name.

The Importance of daemon's true names, and the nature of daemons, esp in relation to their patron god.

Page 404
Alaric turned back to Ghargatuloth. The True Name had weakened it, for so soon after its birth the shock of having a new, mortal master had made its very fabric unstable. But the Prince of a Thousand Faces wasn't dead yet.

Effects of true names, weakened but not finished.

Page 404-405
In the end, it wasn't the Grey Knights who killed Ghar­gatuloth. It was mostly the Balurian heavy infantry, who marched in a cloud of ash wheeling anti-tank guns to finish the job the Grey Knights had started. None of them knew what had happened or that the Grey Knights were even there - all they knew was that immense destruction had been unleashed on Volcanis Ultor, that many of their regiment were dead, and that the fallen beast was responsible. A couple of Leman Russ tanks were brought up and the few surviving offi­cers began to direct their fire into Ghargatuloth.

Tank shells and heavy weapons fire ripped into the daemon's flesh. Many-coloured blood soaked the earth, turning the ash-choked ground into a foul swamp and running off into Lake Rapax.

The surviving Sisters of the Bloody Rose added their firepower, too, their one remaining Exorcist tank send­ing rockets streaking into Ghargatuloth. The Methalor 12th Scout Regiment made the long march up from their positions on the south of the line and added what little long-range firepower they had, too, until Ghargatuloth was a pulpy burning mess of oozing flesh.

The Balurians advanced, the Methalorians by their side. Lasgun fire flashed in a crimson storm, turning Ghargatuloth's blood into clouds of foul steam. Both regiments fixed bayonets and, filled with the hatred they had felt when Ghargatuloth first erupted from beneath the ground, set to hacking it to pieces. The Sis­ters joined in, intoning prayers of righteous wrath as they blasted Ghargatuloth to pulp with their bolter fire and the Sisters Superior laid into it with their chainswords.

Few noticed the Grey Knights. There were few of them, and everything was obscured by clouds of smoke and steam. Alaric and Genhain stood side by side as they hacked with their halberds, grimly and methodically reducing Ghargatuloth's daemonic body into a filthy viscous lake of daemon's blood.

This scene almost undoes all the bullshit you have to put up with in the soul drinkers. I mean its classic Imperial anti-Grimdark. you have almost all the combat arms of the Imperium - the Guard, the Astartes, the Sisters of Battle - rising up and kicking the ass of the daemon who manipulated and used them and killed them for its own ends. It's even more fantastic considering it sthe Guard who do most of the ass kicking and are explicitly stated to have finished the daemon. Not the Sisters. Not the Knights. Just the regular joes. And although he is newly risen (and thus likely not at full power yet) and likely weakened by use of his true name.. its still quite symbolic. Recall that in the beginning of the book the Chapter Master said that not even hundreds of millions of guardsmen could defeat a daemon. And yet, less than a thousand, with nothing moe than their lasguns, bayonets, and tanks, do the lions share of killing a daemon that required 3 companies of Grey Knights to take down.

And given who made it all possible (see below) it is even more satisfying in its way.

On the technical side I imagine the lasguns are either blessed or faith bolster to be harming the daemon, or at least they're able to damage his material body (as Ir ecall from 2nd edition or therabouts for Chaos, Greater Daemons/daemon princes are rather resilient against lasfire.) Heavy weapons and tanks also add in, and I guess the Balurians have armoured vehicles (at least tanks, possibly Chimeras.)

Also the lasguns vaporize the "blood" of the demon (steam) although this isnt easy to calc for obvious reasons (it being a daemon and all) but it is worth noting still.

Page 405
He had several severe injuries - his storm bolter arm was broken somewhere, his rib-plate was fractured and shards of bone were loose inside his chest cavity. His third lung was the only thing keeping him breathing. Lesser men would have died. But the medicae facilities in Hive Superior could wait - Alaric would not go any­where until he was sure Ghargatuloth was dead.

I am going to break with my usual appraoch, just because this is a good book and not spoli this part, but I did want to discuss it...

Prime Bbcode Spoiler Show Prime Bbcode Spoiler: "What a twist"
Page 409
Xiang was in a situation she had never been before. She had no master. She had once served the sect of the Imperial church that demanded blood sacrifice for the Emperor, and after that had sworn allegiance to Ligeia.

Ligeia is ultimately shown to have been giving the ultimate sacrifice for the Imperium - it was her sacrifice, her descent into corruption thorugh her power, that gave Alaric the tools he needed to defeat the daemon prince. What's more, she even knowingly played along, fooling the daemon and Valinov through her Death cultists, even though it cost her her life. The scene where Valinov realizes this, and Xiang mulls over her future, are really interesting ones, as it ties together the various threads in the book and brings it to a satisfying conclusion, thematically and dramatically. At least, that's how I feel. Ben Counter did a fantastic job with this novel -you like the characters all around, even the Space Marines, and the theme and characterizations are appropriate. Counter can be really hit and miss with most of his novels - they tend to be mixed bags - esp the soul drinkers, but this is one of his best ones, overall.

Also to know Alaric regards Ligeia's sacrifice as an inspiration and a lesson, and respects her rather than reviles her for simply falling to Chaos, shows what a complex and insightful character he is (compared to Sarpedon.) and also shows a positive side to Astartes that makes them easier to relate to without making them too human.

Page 411
Finally, the scribe-servitor noted down that Ordo Malleus research and readings of the Imperial tarot had suggested the duration of Ghargatuloth's banish­ment. He would be able enter real space again in one thousand years. But this time, the Malleus would not give him the chance to succeed.

They record Gargy's true name and the duration of his banishment.. hopefully they'll predict it right next time. tHere's really a sense of futility yet determination to that - knowing you can't permanantly dispose of your enemy, only perpetually drive him away - it really underscores the fundamental nature of Chaos there and the right sort of grimdark - each time a daemon arrives, he chips away just a bit more at order and reality, and pushes the universe just a bit closer to Chaos, and all that. But you still fight on because giving in would be defeat.

Page 411

For several minutes Inquisitor Nyxos forced the syl­lables out of his throat. When it was done, the servitor-scribe was taken away to be destroyed to ensure that hearing the True Name had not implanted some corruption in its biological brain.


One chapter of Ghargatuloth's story was done, and by the time the next one began, Nyxos and all those who had fought the Prince would be long gone.

knowledge of the true name requires scribe servitor to be destroyed. Name is either so long or so difficult tos ay it takes minutes to do.

- its mentioned here that the Ghargatuloth daemon will be banished for 1000 years. By the time he returns, everyone who "fought him" will be long gone. This suggests that most of the GRay Knights won't live more than 1500-2000 years, and the Inquistiors (like Nyxos) probably won't even live remotely that long (assuming Grey Knigths could live roughly to a corresponding age of older Space Marine chapters, like the Space wolves, White consuls, and Blood Angels, who can live close to or over a millenia in age. This is odd since the HH implies Space Marines may be effectively immortal.. did they lose this somehow from their gene-seed?)

User avatar
Lost Soal
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2306
Joined: 2002-10-22 06:25am
Location: Back in Newcastle.

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Lost Soal » 2012-04-06 02:52pm

This is odd since the HH implies Space Marines may be effectively immortal.. did they lose this somehow from their gene-seed?)

Every time I've read this in the HH novels it appears to me to be being expressed as a belief. The believe that they are effectively immortal but at the time they haven't existed long enough to know this for sure and as time progresses this belief is shown to be incorrect.
"May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk." - Ancient Egyptian Blessing

Ivanova is always right.
I will listen to Ivanova.
I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God.
AND, if this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out! - Babylon 5 Mantra

There is no "I" in TEAM. There is a ME however.
Evil Brit Conspiracy: Orchestrating the fall of the South since 1981

User avatar
The Dark Messenger
Posts: 19322
Joined: 2002-07-11 12:05am
Location: AZ

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Kuja » 2012-04-06 05:18pm

I will note that Counter HAS managed to ruin the series for me in a recently published short story, though: we find out that GK bullets are blessed in the blood of sacrificed innocent, good men - by the Ecclesiarchy (hah!) and GK armour is forged in the fires of cremated and tortured psykers aboard Black Ships or something. I wish I was kidding about that, but it seems like the GK concept got elevated to 5th edition standards

Ugh. Really? Fuckin' really? God damn 5th has made the Grey Knights stupid.

Anyway, I think Grey Knights really knocks it out of the park for two reasons-

The main character, Justicar Alaric, is done well. We start the book seeing himself with shades of self-doubt and loss after the deaths of his squad members, and when he gets kicked upstairs to brother-captain he's got the feel of a man who's capable, but also just a little bit in over his head. He's a bit more somber and a bit less bombastic than most space marine characters (Uriel Ventris, as an example) and I think overall it serves to make him a bit more human. I think Ben Counter struck a good balance of giving the character doubt and limitations without descending into angst.

The relationship between Alaric and Ligeia is the other thing that made the story so good. For once we get an inquisitor/marine relationship without any hidden undertones, all of it on the table from the get-go. We get to see that they compliment each other very well without descending into being utterly dependant on one another - Ligeia is a scholar, but not helpless, while Alaric is a warrior, but not a lunkhead. Even then, once he loses Ligeia we get to see Alaric's desparation as he resorts to threatening the librarians to get what he needs - he may not be an idiot but losing Ligeia definately hurts him.

Prime Bbcode Spoiler Show Prime Bbcode Spoiler:
And of course, it needs to be restated that Alaric could not have won the battle without Ligeia's sacrifice. For once the 'fall to chaos' scene isn't just for pathos and feel-bad moments - it's absolutely integral to the story and it's twisted around to become a victory again. It's also powerful in that for once the Übermensch are more or less just the foot soldiers; without Ligeia, all the might of the Grey Knights would have been completely worthless. The final scene on Mimas with Alaric offering a prayer to her memory is goddamned heavy, with strong emotions of both elation and loss. It's almost a love story, insofar as much as 40K would ever do such a thing.

Even that aside, Grey Knights just really fit itself together perfectly. The supporting cast is put together well, with the secondary characters given just enough time to make their impact without overstaying their welcome, the beginning dovetails thematically with the ending, and even though there's a great deal of darkness, the story itself is one about hope.

On a more visceral level, I love Counter's depiction of the Grey Knights and their monastery. Unlike the rawr-so-awesome dramatics that we see in many of Grey Knights' contemporary series (Jonathan Green's Black Templars, McNeil's Ultramarines, the Space Wolf series, even Counter's own Soul Drinkers) the Grey Knights don't fling their weight around. They don't preach their strength. Their monastery's artwork symbolizes emotions of humility and dedication. (I love the description of the fresco of the Emperor with his face turned away and the Grey Knights laying down their weapons.) Again, Counter managed to hit the right note of giving the Grey Knights gravitas without descending to wallowing in angst.

Of the GK trilogy, I think Counter really nailed the first book the best, Grey Knights is still one of my favorites to pull out and re-read from time to time. The following two have their moments, but I don't think either of them quite made it up to the same level that Grey Knights did.

Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2352
Joined: 2010-06-21 09:04am

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Zinegata » 2012-04-06 08:19pm

Not to mention GK (first novel) has the best pre-battle speech of any 40K novel, ever.

User avatar
Lord Relvenous
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1501
Joined: 2007-02-11 10:55pm
Location: Idaho

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Lord Relvenous » 2012-04-06 08:25pm

The GK are recognized by the canoness by lines from the Imperial faith and the Liber Daemonicum. If she knew about these things, then why the fuck didn't she recognize the Grey Knigths from the fucking start? Was it just for grimdark, or did the daemonic influence cloud things, or what?

I suspect the answer is much more simple than that. The air was filled with "blinding ash" and the Grey Knights would quickly have been covered with it. All the canoness would have been able to see would be Space Marine sized foes covered in ash and blood chopping her Sisters to pieces (that she had been previously told were Traitor Legionnaires).
Coyote: Warm it in the microwave first to avoid that 'necrophelia' effect.

User avatar
Lost Soal
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2306
Joined: 2002-10-22 06:25am
Location: Back in Newcastle.

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Lost Soal » 2012-04-06 08:42pm

Lord Relvenous wrote:
The GK are recognized by the canoness by lines from the Imperial faith and the Liber Daemonicum. If she knew about these things, then why the fuck didn't she recognize the Grey Knigths from the fucking start? Was it just for grimdark, or did the daemonic influence cloud things, or what?

I suspect the answer is much more simple than that. The air was filled with "blinding ash" and the Grey Knights would quickly have been covered with it. All the canoness would have been able to see would be Space Marine sized foes covered in ash and blood chopping her Sisters to pieces (that she had been previously told were Traitor Legionnaires).

She knew who the Grey Knights were, by name. Valinov called them the Grey Knights so she knew exactly who she was fighting against before they turned up but never bothered to question the fact until they started killing each other.
"May God stand between you and harm in all the empty places where you must walk." - Ancient Egyptian Blessing

Ivanova is always right.

I will listen to Ivanova.

I will not ignore Ivanova's recommendations. Ivanova is God.

AND, if this ever happens again, Ivanova will personally rip your lungs out! - Babylon 5 Mantra

There is no "I" in TEAM. There is a ME however.

Evil Brit Conspiracy: Orchestrating the fall of the South since 1981

Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2088
Joined: 2011-12-10 09:13am

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Grumman » 2012-04-06 10:06pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:I will note that Counter HAS managed to ruin the series for me in a recently published short story, though: we find out that GK bullets are blessed in the blood of sacrificed innocent, good men - by the Ecclesiarchy (hah!) and GK armour is forged in the fires of cremated and tortured psykers aboard Black Ships or something. I wish I was kidding about that, but it seems like the GK concept got elevated to 5th edition standards :lol:

The short story was actually published the same month as the awful GK codex, and was the first official hint of the release. But yeah, 5th edition ruined GK, the biggest problems being Ward's apparent belief that sacrifice is for other people, and that making the incorruptible Chaos hunters act completely unlike incorruptible Chaos hunters is compelling writing.*

Prime Bbcode Spoiler Show Prime Bbcode Spoiler: 5th Edition GK Codex
According to Ward the Grey Knights use sorcery, respect the Chaos gods' magic numbers, wield daemon weapons in battle, ally themselves with daemonhosts and murder Sisters of Battle so they can paint their armour with the Sisters' blood.

User avatar
Lord Relvenous
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1501
Joined: 2007-02-11 10:55pm
Location: Idaho

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Lord Relvenous » 2012-04-06 10:58pm

Lost Soal wrote:
Lord Relvenous wrote:
The GK are recognized by the canoness by lines from the Imperial faith and the Liber Daemonicum. If she knew about these things, then why the fuck didn't she recognize the Grey Knigths from the fucking start? Was it just for grimdark, or did the daemonic influence cloud things, or what?

I suspect the answer is much more simple than that. The air was filled with "blinding ash" and the Grey Knights would quickly have been covered with it. All the canoness would have been able to see would be Space Marine sized foes covered in ash and blood chopping her Sisters to pieces (that she had been previously told were Traitor Legionnaires).

She knew who the Grey Knights were, by name. Valinov called them the Grey Knights so she knew exactly who she was fighting against before they turned up but never bothered to question the fact until they started killing each other.

Fair enough. That's just dumb writing.
Coyote: Warm it in the microwave first to avoid that 'necrophelia' effect.

User avatar
Black Admiral
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1862
Joined: 2003-03-30 05:41pm
Location: Northwest England

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Black Admiral » 2012-04-07 02:57am

It's possible that Canoness Ludmilla didn't connect everything until she came face to face with Alaric - a bit of a stretch, I admit, but that seems the best way to explain it. And it isn't like the Traitor Legions haven't taken on the heraldry of loyalist Chapters when it's convenient for them, so there's that as a consideration.
"I do not say the French cannot come. I only say they cannot come by sea." - Admiral Lord St. Vincent, Royal Navy, during the Napoleonic Wars

"Show me a general who has made no mistakes and you speak of a general who has seldom waged war." - Marshal Turenne, 1641

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-07 11:52am

Imperial Overlord: Gray Knights is the strongest of a 'classic' Space Marine novel for the reasons you outline, but I'd say Hammer of Daemons was just as good, just in a different way. It gambles with the 'canon' to do that exploration of Chaos that Ben Counter likes to do, and that drives the whole love/hate aspect of it. People really enamoured of canon and codexes are probably going to 'hate' the novel because they're going to see what happens with Alaric as violating canon. For my part I really liked it for taking that gamble, it really forces you to think about what Alaric goes through and what he is forced to do not only to survive, but to ultimately defeat his foes.

There aren't alot of ways you can really write a decent Space Marine character, IMHO, but this is definitely one of them. (The others are the way ADB writes Space Marines - the man has a real gift for doing it, mostly because he doesn't slavishly adhere to the letter of what a Space Marine is, I think, but also makes extensive use of contrasting the superhumans with the merely human, which is what Counter also does here.) Nick Kyme does that with his own Ultramarines novels (Assault on Black Reach and Fall of Damnos) as well as the Salamanders books and it remains one of their strongest points.

As far as ludmilla, the only way you'll get her not recognizing GK or being mistaken (GK aren't just distinctive for their name but for their appearance as well) is by chalking it up to daemonic influence.

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-07 11:55am

Grumman wrote:The short story was actually published the same month as the awful GK codex, and was the first official hint of the release. But yeah, 5th edition ruined GK, the biggest problems being Ward's apparent belief that sacrifice is for other people, and that making the incorruptible Chaos hunters act completely unlike incorruptible Chaos hunters is compelling writing.*

Prime Bbcode Spoiler Show Prime Bbcode Spoiler: 5th Edition GK Codex
According to Ward the Grey Knights use sorcery, respect the Chaos gods' magic numbers, wield daemon weapons in battle, ally themselves with daemonhosts and murder Sisters of Battle so they can paint their armour with the Sisters' blood.

I've read the GK codex so I know what is in it. Frankly I found Codex: Space Marines more offensive, particularily in the way it dismisses all other Chapters as being trivial compared to the Ultramarines (but then again it reads more as 'Codex Ultramarines' than a generic Space Marine codex, and all codexes are inherently biased towards their subject matter more or less.)

There are some things objectionalbe in the GK codex as well, but I dont' consider it the abomination some people do. Then again I don't mind the Necron Codex either and there are some who consider that the worst of all.

User avatar
Black Admiral
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 1862
Joined: 2003-03-30 05:41pm
Location: Northwest England

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Black Admiral » 2012-04-07 12:14pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:There are some things objectionalbe in the GK codex as well, but I dont' consider it the abomination some people do.

I think this incident removed any charity I might have for it;
876.M41 The Bloodtide Returns

Chaos comes to the Basilica of St. Mariel on the world of Van Horne. A statue of the Emperor is accidentally damaged during renovation work of the inner sanctum, disrupting the forgotten stasis-reliquary within. As the ancient prison crumbles to dust, the Bloodthirster Ka'jagga'nath, Lord of Bloodtide, breaks free. At his bellowed command, a tide of gore washes through the vaults, corrupting everything and everyone it touches. The basilica's guardians and priests, so recently counted amongst the Emperor's most virtuous servants, roam the nearby streets seizing hapless citizens to use as blood sacrifices upon the tainted altar. For eight days and nights the orgies of gore continue, each fresh death luring yet more Daemons to the mortal world. Hour by hour, the Bloodtide spreads further and further across Van Horne - it is estimated that the entire planet will be enveloped in a matter of days. On the morning of the ninth day, Sisters of Battle from the Order of the Ebon Chalice assault the basilica. Some Battle Sisters are corrupted on contact with the Bloodtide. Those who endure fight valiantly, but most are slaughtered by the Bloodletters atop the basilica walls. It is only when the Grey Knights' 4th Brotherhood arrives on Van Horne that the Bloodtide is abated.

Needing a talisman of purity to protect against the Bloodtide's taint, the Grey Knights' first act is to turn their blades on the surviving Sisters of Battle. The innocent blood thus spilled is then mixed with blessed oils and used to anoint the Grey Knights' armour and weapons. So shielded, the Grey Knights are able to stride through the goreflood without risk of corruption, and they smash their way into the basilica's heart. A trio of Librarians lead the attack, enunciating the cants of cleansing that repel the Bloodtide wherever they tread. In the end, Ka'jagga'nath is only defeated through the selfless sacrifice of Ordan, Champion of the 4th Brotherhood. Before Ka'jagga'nath's spirit can escaped his ruined body, the Grey Knights are able to cast the Daemon's dark presence back into the Warp, and the psychic backwash banishes the Bloodtide and the Daemons it drew forth.
- Codex: Grey Knights, 5th ed., pg. 15

Not only is this wildly inconsistent with the previous characterisation of the GKs, it also, A) was unnecessary (see italicised section), and B) wouldn't bloody work anyway.

Then again I don't mind the Necron Codex either and there are some who consider that the worst of all.

The new Necron 'dex includes Trazyn the Infinite Trollcron, and thus is forgiven all else. :P
"I do not say the French cannot come. I only say they cannot come by sea." - Admiral Lord St. Vincent, Royal Navy, during the Napoleonic Wars

"Show me a general who has made no mistakes and you speak of a general who has seldom waged war." - Marshal Turenne, 1641

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-07 01:11pm

Black Admiral: I'd say its simply a matter of my ideas on canon (and the adherence to thereof) have become more elastic over time. Or maybe I just don't care as much. :P

Anyhow now that I'm done with Gray Knights we move to Dark Adeptus. This book was a bit of a disappointment after the first one. Its not 'horrible' per se, and the ending is pretty good, but you don't have the same sense of epic, or the pacing, or those interpersonal relations that made Gray Knights so good. Nor does it gamble the way Hammer of Daemons is. It's pretty much 'Soul Drinkers' level (albeit on the higher quality Soul Drinkers writing, although hellforged is still better than this.) Given that I'll breeze through it and move on to Hammer of Daemons. Except that unlike most other things I've done, 'breeze through' means I'll be handling it in two parts, with double updates for both. It's about as big as Gray Knights.

So here we go with part 1. Also get ready for tons of cogs on starships and arm powered comms units.

Page 9
Epsilon three-twelve's hands clicked as the long articulated fingers reformed, reaching inside its hol­lowed chest cavity and bringing out a roll of parchment. A dextrous servo-arm reached out of its mouth, holding a quill.
The servo-arm dipped the quill into an inkwell concealed in the servitor's left eye socket and wrote down Antigonus's words in a stilted, artificial hand.

scribe servitor, I guess. Counter always comes up with the oddest implants for servitors.

Page 9
"..all Adepta of the Mechanicus, including genetors, lexmechanicus, xenobiologis, metallurgus, pecunius, digitalis and others unknown. Also include ranks from menial to archmagos and probably above."

Mention of the variosu disciplines of the Mechanicus.

Page 11
He had witnessed minor tech-priests, their bodies swollen with forbidden biomechanical augmetics, using base sorcery to escape the tech-guard commanded by Antigonus. He had seen those same tech-guard driven mad by warp magics that any tech-priest would abhor.

Biomechanical makes me think obliterator virus type stuff.

Page 12-13
Antigonus rose to his feet, mechadendrites snaking from below his grimy rust-red robes. His augmenta­tions were not designed for combat, but he could still handle himself if it came down to it - each mechadendrite could extrude a monomolecular blade and he had enough redundant organs to keep him alive through terrible injuries.

His left hand - the non-bionic one - reached inside his robes and took out a brass-cased autogun. The weapon was a good, solid Mars-pattern gun, but Antigonus had never fired it in anger. He was a seeker of knowledge, a metallurgist in service to the Priesthood of Mars - he had been sent to Chaeroneia because he had a sharp and inquisitive mind, not because he was a warrior able to face down vengeful heretics by himself.

Our Magos hero. He's one of the few likeable AdMech types you find in 40K literature.. I rather like him alot. He's also good in a fight. Note the single handed autogun, and the combat benefits of his augmetics even if he is a scholar and not a fighter.

Page 15
He was ill-lubricated and low on power but he re-routed all his non-essential sys­tems to keep him moving. His vision greyed out as his ocular implants switched down to minimal and his digestive system shut down temporarily.

Limitations on augmetics - they apparently need regular maintenance/servicing (lubricants and power restoration) but they can be shut down or limited, even the ones dictating biologicla functions to conserve power. This also suggests - to me at least - that Magos augmetics (if not otherS) are sophisitcated enough that they can run on either organic chemical or artificial "power storage", possibly recharge one (the batteries/potential coil - to borrow FFG terminology) from the other (caloric intake.)

It was mentioned earlier that Antigonus hadn't eaten or slept in 3 days.. likely because he is partly augmetic, but he still needs organic support as well as artificial. So in some ways augmetics can be thw rost of both worlds. Probably one reason why they aren't a common upgrade/requirement for the guard (a cybernetically augmented army would be better than squishy meatbags, but it imposes additiona logistical problems obviously, and the Munitorum minimizes those whenever possible.)

Page 15
Who could orchestrate the hijacking of the pro­jector units and the kind of surveillance technology needed to follow Antigonus here? The names were few. Scraecos, the archmagos veneratus who mas­terminded Chaeroneia's extensive data networks and commanded all the planet's formidable reserves of information. Archmagos Ultima Vengaur, responsible for liaising with the Imperial authorities about Chaeroneia's tithes and adher­ence to Imperial law. Another archmagos veneratus, named Thulharn, whose domain was Chaeroneia's orbital installations and space traffic.

AdMech responsible for various areas of the forge world - surveillance and other systems (projectors - antigrav?) One is responsbile for the data networks and information, one is a liasion and sort of diplomat with the Imperium at large (interesting that despite being effectively independent, they are still subject to at least SOME Imperial laws - tithing and probably the ones on mutants and psykers - which makes sense but imposes some interesting limits on their "official" power.) and orbital facilities and space traffic.

Page 17-18
..he stabbed the gun into the servitor's gut and fired. He fired again and again, until its grip went limp. Antigonus slid to the floor and realised he must have blown the servitor's spine out, severing the connection between its upper and lower body.

repeated shots form the single-handed autogun (pistol?) blow out the servitor's spine. Again I'd expect lasguns (laspistols) to be possibly capable of similar.. although single/double digit KJ probably could do it (depends on how much metla is in the way and how many shots.)

Page 18
Antigonus only had one eye left - his normal, unaugmented one, which meant he was limited to the visible spectrum and couldn't zoom in any more. He had lost a mechadendrite and his ribs were bro­ken. He was bleeding somewhere inside, but his internal alterations were probably robust enough to cope with that. Already his bionic heart was forcing his pulse down to calm him. He was hurt, though and it would only get worse without maintenance....

More on Antigonus' augmetic capabilities, and the limitations they impose.

Page 19

Antigonus sat against the other wall, rivulets of rust-red water running down his back from the sweating metal behind him, trying to fix the failed servo in his motor units. His legs were with­ered and weak and without the servo-powered braces that encased them he could barely walk.

Servo braces to assist in walking (and probably boost physical power) - lots of people seem to use these in various novels. Its an interesting sort of technolog yreally, if not exactly subtle. Its quasi power armor really.

Page 21
The heretics were doing to him what they had done to Epsilon three-twelve, hijacking his more complex systems and taking control. Either they were control­ling one of his augmentations directly or they had infected him with a machine-curse, an insidious self-replicating set of commands that could cause a system to self-destruct.
Which system? Like many tech-priests above the most junior rank, Magos Antigonus had several sophisticated augmentations, including datalinks that would provide a perfect point of infection. At least they hadn't got his bionic heart, otherwise he would be lying dead right now. His bionic eye was destroyed but the control circuits were still there, spi­ralling around his optic nerve. His mechadendrites? They were plugged directly into his nervous system through an impulse link. His bionic arm? The intel­ligent filtration systems in his throat and lungs?

- mention of "augmentations" of senior tech-priests: datalinks, bionic heart, a bionic eye, and mechadendrites (linked to his neural system vs impulse link) and a bionic arm. He also has "intelligent" filtration systems in his throat and lungs. And Admech hacking - I'm guessing its some sort of wireless system. Anothre danger of going too cybernetic. Nowadays I'm betting we'd call it scrapcode.

Page 22
An enginseer sent by the Adeptus Mechanicus to maintain the war machines of the Imperial Guard would know the tech-exorcism rites off by heart. But such things were not often needed on Mars, the heartland of the priesthood where Antigonus had learned his role in the Cult Mechanicus. Antigonus knew he couldn't banish the thing with words alone, but right now they were all he had.

If it had his bionic arm, it would be using it by now to force the gun away from his head. No, it was something inside him, something it couldn't use to kill him straight away.

More of the chaos/AdMech hacking. Word banishment may be just more grimdark silliness, or it may hint that alot of Imperial tech (At least the self ware stuff, or computerized shit) has verbal codes to it.

Page 23
"I cast you out!" Antigonus put the gun barrel against his left knee and fired.
A thunderbolt of pain, the worst Antigonus had ever suffered, ripped right through him and knocked him unconscious as his left leg was blown clean off at the knee. Paralysing pain reached down and dragged him back to his senses, gripping hard and not letting go. Antigonus screamed, but somewhere inside him he heard the tech-infection scream too, as part of it was ripped away and the rest fled into the mechanisms of his right leg.

It was in the servos that powered his leg bracings, infesting the systems that carried commands from his nerve-impulses to the motors. Maybe it had got in when he had scoured Chaeroneia's information nets for suspicious power spikes early in his investigation, or when he had been forced to have his nerve impulse units repaired a few days ago. Maybe it had been in him since he arrived, waiting to see how much he would uncover before striking.
Either way, now he could kill it.

His heart was working overtime, leaching so much power from the rest of his augmetics that his bionic arm fell limp. It filled him full of enough painkillers to all but kill him and he dragged himself away from the twitching mess of charred flesh and metal that had been his left leg.

Antigonus choked back the horror that had infected him and forced it, nerve by nerve, back down into the smouldering servo units in his remaining leg.

- Tech-priest uses an "auto gun" (oine that apparently is small and compact enough to be concealed and used in confined spaces, at least) to blow off his own leg "clean at the knee" with a single shot. The area hit is mentioned as having a "twitching mess of charred flesh and metal." - his systems again let him survive all this, and he's not a combat model so to speak.

I'd also expect (again) a lasgun or laspistol to emulate this.

Page 24-25
From somewhere far below came the throb of an ancient, powerful machine, probably one of the geothermal heatsinks that provided so much of Chaeroneia's power.

Like alot of hive and forge worlds, Geothermal power seems to be the way.

Page 25
The painkillers dispensed by Antigonus's augmetic heart were killing most of the agony from his shattered leg, but they were flooding his body in such amounts that they made the world dull and distant. Every metre he moved drained him as if he had sprinted it and he kept trying to push himself forward with a left leg that wasn't there.

He was a mess. When they got him off this planet he would have to spend months being cleansed of the tech-curse and then getting all his wrecked augmetics replaced. He imagined the hos­pitals where servitors trundled the corridors keeping everything clean, the polished steel of the operating theatres and the spidery arms of the autosurgeon that flensed away weak flesh and grafted on strong metal. The bionics experts who would take him apart and put him back together again.

Repair and recovery.

Page 26
The menials were the lowest class on any forge world, men and women who were little more than living machines ordered and directed by the tech-priests. They were there simply because there were many tasks that servitors could not do, but their servitude was self-reinforcing because it was from the ranks of menials that many junior tech-priests were recruited. At the moment Antigonus could trust a menial rather more than he could a fellow tech-priest, which counted as a sort of heresy in itself.

It's quite possible Forge worlds are actually worse to live on than Hives.. at least some Hives you can run to the underhive for freedom (Necromunda), or you at least get time off and tv and wages...

Again human labor is preferred over most servitors because humans are versatile, servitors aren't (and you can always just augmetic up a human if it needs it to perform the function.)

Page 28
He didn't even know what he was running from. Maybe they had hunter-servitors with scent-vanes that could track him through the filthiest corners of Chaeroneia's undercity, servo-skulls with auspex scanners that already had his lifesigns logged.

Security/hunting troops.

Page 30
Data-engines, huge constructions of knotted cables and pipe work like slabs of compacted metal intestines, stood like monoliths in long rows. Heavy ribbed coolant pipes hung from the high ceiling and the deep chill in the air suggested that the coolant systems were still working. This was archaic technology, the kind that Antigonus had only seen on abandoned parts of Mars and which was obsolete on even the most traditionalist forge worlds. These engines had held information in crude digital forms, before the newer datacore technology was rediscovered and disseminated. Antigonus wasn't even sure how such things might work. There must have been thirty such engines, great rearing knots of obsolete technology, silent and untouched. The structure of this floor was intact and Antigonus couldn't even see the trails of vermin or stains of corrosion that touched everywhere else in Chaeroneia's undercity.

Digital technology (old computers) seems to be considered outdated totally compared to modenr "datacore" tech. I wonder if datacore is the magical crystal stuff that oyu so often see- the glass like black crystal memstuff. Probably.

Note that saying its obsolete in 40K terms doesnt neccesarily say its inherently superior (at least not in all ways.) Performance wise digital may not be any worse (or perhaps even better) than 40K datacore stuff - datacore could offer other compensations though (kilobrains and cogitations per second for example :P)

Page 31
The data-engine closest to him shuddered. It coughed out a spray of super cooled air and some old mechanism inside it ticked over as it wound up to operate. Antigonus shrunk from the engine, reluc­tant even in his current state to disrespect a machine-spirit. More of the machines seemed to stir, lights flickering. The power coming into the room was fluctuating. Something was interfering with the power supply and Antigonus knew it wasn't a coinci­dence.

A sudden howling of metal tore from the far wall. Antigonus saw sparks showering and the readouts on the data-engines turned an angry red, their machine-spirits objecting to the rudeness of the intrusion. A whirring, screaming sound of tortured metal filled the floor. Antigonus took shelter behind the closest data-engine, wishing his bionic eye still worked so he could banish the shadows and see what was forcing itself into the room after him.

- these Data engines despite being described as "ancient" apparently are self-aware to some degree... mention of "machine spirits" seems legitimate in this case. i guess maybe the obsolete digital tech was pretty well developed before datacore...

Page 31
A huge, dark form lumbered into view between the data-engines, sparks still spitting off the massive breacher drill that formed one of its forearms. It was a servitor, a heavy labour pattern designed for min­ing. One arm was a drill and the other was an enormous pneumatic ram. Its torso was broad and packed with synthetic muscle, controlled by the tiny shrunken head almost buried by the massive muscles of its shoulders. It was easily twice the height of a man. It blasted through the hole it had ripped in the wall on a track unit that belched greasy black smoke.

- a servitor packed with "synthetic muscle" I imagine this is what you can do with vat grown bodies..engeineer them that way. Then again in Necromunda and Ravenor, you can stick vat grown muscle on any old ganger.

Page 32
More Lingua Technis. Antigonus could have trans­lated it instantly if his auto senses had been operating, but all auxiliary power was being diverted to his bionic heart to keep him alive. He was naked, ignorant, helpless and trapped by heretics in this holy place.
"When I don't return. They'll send a whole Diagnostic Coven. Blockade the planet. Switch the cities off one by one. Hunt you down."

Diagnostic Coven, city hacking, and "Lingua Technis."

Page 33-34
"Scraecos." breathed Antigonus. The leader of the tech-heretics was the archmagos veneratus who com­manded Chaeroneia's data-reserves. He had probably tracked Antigonus all the way through security pict-stealers and sensor-equipped servitors.

We learn the tratior, the guy who controls the data.

Page 34
Antigonus grimaced with effort and closed his nat­ural hand around the stock of his autogun. With strength he didn't think he had he pulled it out from underneath him and fired.
The shot thunked into Scraecos's midriff. Scraecos barely moved - he just parted his mechadendrites and glanced down at the small smoking hole in his robe.

Autogun only makes a hole this time.. nothing terribly explosive or amputating.

Page 37
The breacher-servitor stood at rest over the hapless remains of Antigonus, which no longer resembled anything that might have once been human. The tech-guard, in their rust-red environmental suits wielding brass cased lasguns, fanned out into the room.

Enviromental suited Techguard.

Page 40
They were on Deep Orbit Monitoring Station Trinary Ninety-One, Borosis system, Gaugamela subsector, Ultima Segmentum. It was a corroded metal sphere about five hundred metres across, most of which was engi­neering and maintenance space and such stations were rarely equipped with entertainment facilities. Suruss and Argel were lucky they even had space to set up the regicide board. Three months into a nine month shift, Argel had come to the conclusion that Suruss was better at the game than he was, but he didn't have much choice but to play on and hope he got better.

The alternatives numbered two. Stare at the walls, or go and talk to Lachryma. Unfortunately Lachryma was an astropath, a tremendously powerful telepath who relayed psychic messages from one end of the Imperium to the other. Astropaths were all creepy, morose creatures who kept their shrivelled, blinded selves to themselves. Lachryma was worse than most.

- "deep orbit monitoring station". Has a crew of two (to maintain stuff) plus an astropath. Interesting that the crews work for the Telepathica and run shifts - kinda like any other job which is neat (although for the risk of alien attack or chaos mtuation or whatever) That it is under the Telepathica suggests it may also serve as a listening post and astropathic relay/duct for communications and warp travel.

Page 40-41
"Throne of Earth." said Argel, "that's the proximity warning."

"Must be broken." said Suruss, who was laying out the regicide pieces for another game. "There's nothing out here."

"Every time those things go off it's a mountain of bloody paperwork. I'll go and have a look." Argel stood, careful not to scrape his head on the low ceil­ing of the station's cramped living compartment. He scratched the bad skin on his neck and shrugged the enviro-suit over his shoulders. They didn't heat the outer maintenance layers of the station and it was cold enough to kill you.

Another alarm went off, closer this time.

"Gravitational alarm."

In the grim darkness of the future, there is nothing but paperwork.. even out in deep space. Also enviro-suit and gravitational alarms.

Page 41
The alarms were blaring and there were more of them - meaning radiation or outer hull integrity, other ones he didn't recognise. Suruss was probably right. It was just the station's machine-spirit getting uppity again. Argel would have to delve into the thick book of tech-prayers and minister to the sta­tion's inner workings until the spirit was placated. The station needed a tech-priest of its own, but the Adeptus Astra Telepathica didn't think Deep Orbital Station Trinary Ninety-One was important enough so it was up to Argel and Suruss to keep it working.

Station has a machine spirit, and the tech chrews seem to be the equivalent of "lay techs" or whatever they're called.. the non admech times permitted to do some low level maintenance and support. I guess the Telepathica is too cheap and would have to contract out to the Mechanicum to get a techpriest out here (which amkes sense, and is another one of those touches that adds to the universe, IMHO - each organ of the govenrment uses its resources a a bartering and bargaining chip for power, money etc. In this case, hiring out techpriests - good way to make income as well as expanding your influence and keeping an eye out for new tech.)

Page 42
"I... I sent a message." she gasped. "I don't know if they heard. We have to get out, now..."
It wasn't a fault. It was real. Astropaths were always the first to know when anything really, really bad was about to happen, every spacer knew that.

Implied some realtime/near realtime possible transmission speed, at least if she would be certain the message got through or not. Astropaths are also apaprently the FTL/warp based version of a miner's canary, or something. danger sense or whatnot.

Page 42
The floor tilted as the gravity generator's gyroscope was knocked out of line and half the lights failed.

Station has artifiical gravity.

Page 44

"Yes. Yes, I sent a mes­sage... all the symbols, everything I'd seen... the planet coming out of the warp, the... the cities made of hatred, the cannibal world... all of it... and the Daemon from the Imperial Tarot, the Beast, the Heretic, all the worst signs... the worst of the worst..."


Astropaths transmitted images from the Imperial Tarot and elsewhere in the hope that adepts in the Telepathica's relay stations would cross-reference them from immense books of augurs and work out what the message said and who it was supposed to go to. An astropathic distress signal would be no good if it took an adept six months to work out what it meant.

"Perhaps... the Adeptus Terra, so it gets back to Earth... or even the Ordos... yes, the portents will have them running... maybe even the Ordo Malleus..." Argel frowned.

- Astropaths evidently know about the Inquisition (including the various ordos) and apparently have means of contacting even the Adeptus Terra on Earth directly. AGain direc ttransmision vs general transmissions. I immagine most ordos, organizations, etc have their onw special codes/emergency signals for Astorpaths to transmit even if they dont know them. Also note the use of the tarot and the problmes in translating/deciphering astorpathic messages - its not always straightforward, which probably has somethign tod owith how every astropath transmit or views the warp. Also more relay stations.

And alot of the time in dealys seems to be attributd to this interpretation as well. This makes me wonder if the astropaths hooked up to cogitators are hooked into some translation software...

Also way out in Segmentum Ultima from Earth.. tens if not hundreds of thousands of c transmission speed at least, for six month delay.

Page 49
"Rear admiral. I've read of your victory over the Kill-frenzy at the Battle of Subiaco Diablo. This is a tough ship with a tough captain, I hear."


"Pshaw, there are plenty of brave men at the Eye of Terror. I was just fortunate enough to have the charge."

Killfrenzy was mentioned in BFG during the Gothic war.. I guess it was destroyed some time prior to this novel, apparently during the 13th Black Crusade, at that. They get diveretd to Segmentum Ultima too I am gathering, from the EYe to Terra to where the Forge world is. Probabgly less than six motnhs by now given above, certainly less than a year.. high tens low hundreds of thosuands of c at least, probably much higher.

Page 50
He was an ancient, sepulchral man who wore long dark robes over a spindly exoskeleton that kept his withered body standing. Alaric knew that in spite of his immensely frail appearance, he was an exceptionally tough man thanks to the scores of internal augmentations and redundant organs the Inquisition had supplied him with.

Nyxos and his augmentations and exoskeltal implants.

Page 51
Down in the bowels of the Tribunicia a couple of thousand crewmen would all be labouring to ensure a safe end to the ship's warp jump - engine-gangs redirecting the plasma reactors to power the main engines, weapon crews manning the ready posts for their broadside guns and torpedo tubes, the ship's small complement of tech-adepts cal­culating the huge numbers involved in making the ship plunge from one reality into another.

Cruiser with a "couple thousand crewers" at least, not including engine gangs, gun crews, etc., multiple plasma reactors, etc.

Page 52

There was a long gap to Borosis Cerulean, the most inhabited world, home to seven major colonies with a total population of about one and a half billion. It was cold and dark. The planet's cities were advanced enough to provide shelter from the eternal winter that had now fallen over the world, but their power and supplies would not last forever. Perhaps the world could be evacuated, perhaps not.
...the gas giant Borosis Quintus where a few thou­sand workers were probably deciding how they were going to survive on their gas mining platforms when the solar collectors failed.

Inhabitants of the systme in question. The star is fucked with due to warp activity (a giant forge world drops out of warp in the system) thus suggesting a interetsing (and dangerous) correlation between warp jump emergences and its effect on celestial and stellar bodies. We saw it in the soul drinkers novels too (2nd and 3rd, when warp activity subverted and permeated a planet and system with tEteurach an the Dark Eldar) - too much mass arriving too close to a planet from the warp could fuck with the planet, the star, or both. Hell it may even accumulate over time if you have lots of warp jumps too close (and not enough time ot let it fade.. unless its permamant which it might be.)

Page 53
All Grey Knights were psychic to a degree. They had to be for their minds to be so effectively shielded against corruption. Alaric's psychic powers were all inter­nalised, focused around the wards that kept his mind safe - but he was still psychically sensitive and he could still feel the wrongness pulsating from the new world. It was like the echo of a scream, a smell of old death, a slick and unhealthy feeling against his skin.

"We've had astropaths going mad for light years around," said Nyxos matter-of-factly, "That would be the reason."

- all of Alaric's psionic power is "internalised", focused on the wards protecting hims mind. It makes him safer than astropaths, who have extenrally focused powers. They still have sensory capability, though.

Page 53
"And what is the arrival time of the rest of the fleet?"

"Within the day." replied Horstgeld. "If you could call it a fleet."

"We'll need it. That's an inhabited world and if they've got ships of their own we might have to go through them to get down there."

At least a day for another fleet to arrive. We dont know from where, sadly. again implications is it took far less than a year for the fleet to arrive form terra to this planet, wherever it is in Segmentum Ultima.

Page 55
"The equatorial circumference of Borosis Septiam is just under thirty-eight thousand kilometres." began Interrogator Hawkespur, indicating the pict-grab projected onto the screen behind her.

"Rather less than Earth standard. The mass, however, is the same, suggesting super-dense mineral deposits. As you can see, the thick atmosphere and surrounding asteroid field prevents us from probing the surface but we do suspect the planet is without polar caps, perhaps due to deliberate depletion. The atmos­phere shows strong indicators of being breathable, but with severe levels of pollutants."

Less than Earth standard, but super dense materials inrease its mass. I wonder how super dense it is..?

Page 56
"The asteroids are in unusually low and stable orbits." continued Hawkespur. "It is unlikely that anything larger than a single light cruiser could navigate through them and multiple smaller ships would be out of the question. This precludes a large-scale landing."

Alaric heard Horstgeld swear quietly. Thousands of Imperial Guard were being transported with the fleet - the initial plan to send them down to the planet had failed before it had even begun.

Thousands of guardsmen with the fleet.. but curisers too slugish to navigate an asteroid field with low and stable orbits.. we dont know density though.

Page 56
"The tempera­ture readings are particularly anomalous. A planet at such a distant orbit from the sun, especially given the current state of the star Borosis, should be extremely cold. Borosis Septiam's climate sug­gests temperate conditions over almost the entire surface. This can result only from a massive ther­mal radiation source or climate control on a planetary scale. The indications we have of extremely high power outputs suggest the latter. Finally, there appear to be a great many orbital installations, apparently man-made. The interfer­ence from the asteroids means we cannot get a good look at them but they represent a major pres­ence suitable for an orbital dockyard."

Unsurprisingly, forge worlds have high industrial outputs and thus seem to be able to heat thsemvels in the absence of sunlight.. suggesting the place uses generates tens of megatons of waste heat (or thereabouts) per second with its industrial processes. Whether this is typical or unusual for a forge world, we dont know. But possibly anomalous.

Page 56
"Highly industrialised, with a large and long­standing population. All the data we have has been sent to the Adeptus Mechanicus sector librarium to see if any planet matches it."
"Ship's astropaths have done no better." said Horstgeld. "They say it's like a blind spot."

AdMech sector librarium.

Implies that either the astropaths are either scanning it, or sensing it, or trying to obtain informatio nfrom som eother locale.. or possibly all of the above.

Page 57
Imperium had lost planets through administrative error before - all it took was for one scholar to forget to mark down a world's tithes and that world could eventually disap­pear off the stellar maps, especially in an out of the way system like Borosis.

The Imperium can "lose" planets if they are minor.. which again offers a way to explain inconsistencies in numbers/sizes of the Imperium (and that the million number is an approximation at best.)

Page 58
The Imperial Navy was the only thing holding back the Thirteenth Black Crusade and all the Imperial authori­ties knew it. Abaddon the Despoiler had shattered the attempt to pen his Chaos-worshipping forces up in the warp storm known as the Eye of Terror and it was only Imperial command of space that had kept his ground forces from taking planet after planet all the way into the Segmentum Solar. Every Imperial warship was on notice that it could be ordered into the Eye at any moment and thousands upon thousands of them had been, from mighty Emperor class battleships to squadrons of escorts and wings of fighter craft.

many Thousands of Naval craft ready to deploy to the Eye to confront Abbadon if need be, suggesting the scale of the conflict. Not quite as impressive as "half the Imperium" mentioned in Gray Knights, of course :P

Page 59
Rear Admiral Horstgeld, for all his experience and commendations, couldn't tear a handful of good ships away from the Eye for the mission to Borosis, even with the authority of Inquisitor Nyxos and the Ordo Malleus. His own ship, the veteran cruiser Tribunicia, was the only ship in the small investigative fleet that he considered ready for a battle. The escort squadron Ptolemy, under Captain Vanu, was brand new from the orbital docks of Hydraphur and consisted of three Python-class ships of a completely untested configura­tion.

Nyxos had requisitioned an Imperial Guard regi­ment, the tough deathworld veterans of the Mortressan Highlanders, along with the transport Calydon to carry them. The Calydon was a corpulent and inefficient ship with barely enough guns to defend itself and Hortsgeld knew it would do nothing in a battle apart from get in the way.

Along with a handful of supply ships and shuttles, these craft comprised the fleet that exited the warp over the course of a few hours just outside the orbit of Borosis Septiam. Shortly afterwards another craft was detected in the warp which broke through into real space a short distance away, all its weapons powered down in a display of alliance. It was a large ship, easily the size of a cruiser, but of an ugly, blocky design painted a drab rust-red, covered in ornate cog-toothed battlements and training long flexible sensor-spines like the stingers of a sea creature. [The Exemplar]

Thins are so serious at the Eye that Inquistorial and Naval authority combined cannot pull away needed resources for naother mission. One cruiser, escort fleet (Python class escorts - which is a new design apparently - eg they're doing R&D I guess!) The Guard transport ship (which is armed, but not very much so), and an AdMech Explorator vessel. Cruiser sized, so it is between 2-5 km.

They have a single Guard regiment plus the Grey Knights as their ground forces. Clearly they aren't expecting to go in directly to fight (not the sledgehammer the Guard is usually ascribed to.)

Also implied is that the fleet took "a few hours" to reach the strange world. however we dont know how far away it is, so we can't really meed much for this.

Page 59
The landing craft was bulbous and sim­ple, with twin flaring engines and a thick black carapace over its nose to protect it from re-entry. It could probably seat thirty passengers plus crew.

Landing craft for the GK.

Page 60
A Grey Knights squad ideally consisted of between eight and ten Marines. Squad Alaric consisted of six Marines, having never recovered the losses it suffered during the battle against Ghargatuloth on Volcanis Ultor over a year before.

It's been a year since the Events of Grey Knights, suggesting events in the eye have gone on for more than a year also. In that time he still hasn't gotten replacements, a state of affairs he'll have ot get used to sadly.

Page 61
"'The main armament is twin lascannon. I could carry more firepower than that and still have a hand free."
"You probably could, Dvorn..."

They must be not much different than man portable lascannon, probably for antipersonnel/anti vehicle use.

Page 61
The rest of the landing deck was protected from the void by a force field so Alaric couldn't hear the engines of the shuttle that slid into the Tribunicia. It was clad in heavy, ugly slabs of armaplas and its prow was a massive flat disk ringed with turbolasers. The cog-toothed symbol of the Adeptus Mechanicus was emblazoned on its side.
A dozen turbo-lasers trained themselves on the officer's head. He stopped in mid-flow and took a step backwards.

AdMech shuttle. Much nicer.

Page 64
"You are Interrogator Hawkespur, I believe. You your­self sent the specifications of this planet to the sector librarium requesting identification. That request has been fulfilled. The world you have inaccurately named Borosis Septiam is a forge world, a possession of the Adeptus Mechanicus according to the Treaty of Mars. I am therefore here to lead the mission reclaiming it according to the orders of the Fabricator General."

"The Inquisitorial Mandate supersedes all other authority, including the Treaty of Mars," said Hawke­spur crossly.

"You may well be correct. While you debate the legalities, my men will be conducting an examina­tion of the planet."

Yet anothyer case were political stuff interferes with the Inquisitorial stuff.

Page 65
The comms centre of the escort ship Ptolemy Gamma was, like the rest of the ship, brand new. It was well known within the Imperial Navy that the old ships were the best - construction techniques were lost faster than they were rediscovered, so newer ships were often thought of as flimsy copies of far superior veterans. The communications of the escort squadron had been characteristically petulant, the frequencies fluctuating, the machine-spirits of the comms cogitators sulking and bickering like children.

More of the "Old stuff is better" thing.

Page 66
"Cogitator three isn't responding." replied the rat­ing in front of her. Stripped to the waist, he had levered the panel off the front of the massive cogi­tator and was trying to make sense of the half-clockwork machinery inside.

Yep. Clockwork computers running their communications stuff. It gets even better. Everything much of it is also shaped like organ pipes. And this is throughout the book. Even the Admech uses clockwork or hand powered stuff later. First Grimdark, and now pseudo-steampunk?

Page 68
There was an ear-splitting scream as all the cogitator circuits blew at once.

Circuitry.. still doesnt explain how the clcokcwork fits in.

Page 68
"We have a moral threat in comms. Isolate us and get a message to Horstgeld..."
A dark purple glow rippled up from the console, stippling the walls with deep swirling colour. The voice continued. And though Tsallen could not understand the language it spoke the meaning was impossibly clear - malice, anger, hatred, dripping from every syllable. Tsallen forced herself to look at the console readouts - the signal was massively powerful, streaming from somewhere on the surface of the mystery planet below, using a frequency that could barely be received but strong enough to tear through the filtration circuits and bleed, pure and evil, into the Ptolemy Gamma.
After a few more moments the physical structure failed and the whole comms centre imploded.

Moral threat is Ben Counter's pet phrase for daemonic/Chaos related problems. You hear it alot in the series.

Page 69
Saphentis, Alaric guessed, was well aware that refusing to answer an Inquisitorial interrogation could be met with whatever punishment the inquisitor could devise

Inquisitiros > Magos, at least in this circumstance. Politics again.

Page 70
"The Treaty of Mars is nowhere accepted as super­seding Inquisitorial authority."

Despite this, the Inquisitors and Navy and the AdMech haggle over the specifics of the landing group and who is in command on the ground and in space. Also recall the situation in Bleeding Chalice, where an Inquisitor Lord had to dicker with the AdMech over gaining technical and logistical support to help them fight a war that threatened them. Again when it comes to power, even the Inquisitorial Mandate must bow to politics and the power behind it.

Page 71
"Moral threat on the Ptolemy Gamma, sir."
"Moral threat? What's the source?"
"A broadcast from the planet."

Yes, even comms.. even PHOTONS can be daemonically corrupted.

Page 73

"Heat exchanger activated," came an artificial voice voxed from the cockpit, probably a pre-recorded sample broadcast by a pilot-servitor. It meant the friction of the atmosphere was heating up the ship's hull.

The shuttle's (internal) cooling system I suppose.

Page 74
"Our readings from the Exemplar suggest the aster­oids may not be entirely natural." said Tech-priest Thalassa to Hawkespur. Thalassa's age was difficult to guess owing to the silvered circuitry embedded in her skin, describing complex patterns across her face, but she was evidently of a low rank since her simple dark red habit had few signs of status. "The guns can keep the path clear but there may be resistance."

"Resistance?" Hawkespur looked unimpressed. "Orbital weaponry?"
"'We don't know. But this craft is designed for atmospheric intrusion so we can take a lot of fire.."

Silvered circuitry inlaid in the skin, alot like glavians.

Page 74
Alaric looked across the passenger compartment to the tech-guard. They wore full-face helmets with pol­ished brass visors and heavy rebreather units and they were armed with what looked like more com­plex versions of the standard Guard lasgun. Alaric couldn't see their faces - they seemed more like servi­tors than soldiers.

Tech guard described. Upteched lasguns in particular.

Page 76
"Grav-dampeners to maximum," ordered Saphentis as the ship bucked again, several small impacts thudding against the underside like bullets.

I guess the shuttle has inertial damping/antigrav too.

Page 77
"Autosystems engage!" came Saphentis's voice, amplified above the din. "Landing pattern beta! Drag compensation maximum!"

Not sure what drag compensation is, but autosystems are basically computerized/automtated controls.

Page 77-78
It was heading straight down, the massive damage done to its prow destroying any chance of even the ship's machine-spirit controlling it properly as it fell.

Shuttle has a machine spirit.

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-07 01:25pm

Part 2 of Dark Adeptus. Halfway through

Page 79-80
"The transmission's source is the surface of Chaeroneia. It is extremely powerful, well beyond the capabilities of any one spacecraft or standard comms device the Imperium has. The navigational beacons within the Sol system are of comparable intensity."


"The signal cannot be yet deciphered."
"Hmph. Anything else?"
"It is clear the information encoded into the sig­nal has not been created using logic engine techniques known to the Adeptus Mechanicus. It includes patterns and energy types of a clearly non Terrestial origin."
Horstgeld leaned forward on the command pew. "Sorcery?"
"That is a crude but accurate summation, yes."
"And do we know who the target is?"
"Aside from the fact that the signal is being broad­cast towards the galactic north-west, no."

Its a warp-based FTL signal of some kind, likened to some navigational beacons (equally FTL?) on Terra. Again suggests the Imperium have exotic means of FTL sensors and comms aside from astrotelepathy.

Page 82
Warning runes on Alaric's retinal display flickered on and the implants in his throat began fil­tering out the pollutants. Alaric clambered out of the wreckage, his enhanced eyes automatically adjusting to the twilight outside.

Visaul adjustments and eviromental warning sensors.

Page 84
Alaric had dealt with members of the Adeptus Mechanicus on a few occasions - many were tied to the Ordo Malleus by ancient debts and served to maintain the Inquisitorial fleet anchored on Saturn's moon, Iapetus, or attended inquisitors directly as lexmechanic archivists or augmetic chirurgeons. In Alaric's experience the more senior the tech-priest, the less human they were. Saphentis, with his rank of archmagos, wasn't doing anything to buck the trend.

Debts and agrements - the glue (besides self interest, faith in the emperor, and external threats) that holds the Imperium together.

Page 85
"Advanced machining," Saphentis was saying as they moved past the burned-out heaps of wreckage. "They have not regressed. They have progressed. Chaeroneia was a Gamma-level macro economy, but it now seems to be approaching Beta-level sophisti­cation."
"Is that normal?" asked Alaric.
"Not in a century." said Saphentis.

- mention of Forge worlds as "macro economies" - classifcation levels are mentioned as "gamma level" to "beta level"

Rapid innovation in the span of a century (from Gamma to beta) is also unusual/uncommon.t

Page 87
"A forge world is not unlike any Imperial world in that respect." replied Saphentis. "It has its criminals and malcontents along with dispossessed menial scav­engers and rogue servitors. But they are far less numerous than in a hive city or area of comparable population density."

The criminal elements of a Forge world, such as they are.

Page 92
One of the tech-guard was speared by a spike-tipped tentacle, liffed off his feet and slammed against hte jagged metal wall behind him. Las-blasts fired in return, severing thorny tentacles, impacting in bursts of foul greasy steam.
The tech-guard moved to surround Thalassa but Saphentis could evidently look after himself. Circular saw blades snapped into position on two of his limbs and he slashed around him with little apparent effort, sending twitching fragments of tentacle raining down around him.

tech-guard lasguns sever tentacles, causing at least localized steam explosions. assuming a 2 cm wide, 4 cm deep hole we're talking 15-30 kj at least.

Also our Magos Explorator has buzzsaw hand attachments. For self defense.

Page 94
The tech-guard officer's face was still covered in the opaque rebreather helmet, lit a hard-edged green by the screen of the auspex scanner he was consulting.

Asupex scanner and rebreather helmet.

Page 95
tunnels spilt and looped up and down, but the Larraman's ear implant meant Alaric had an excellent sense of balance and direc­tion, picking the course that would take them into the centre of the spire and downwards.

Larraman's ear seems to make Alaric good at navigating.

Page 95-96
There was barely any light - while the Grey Knights could see perfectly well, presumably along with Saphentis, he didn't know if the tech-guard would be able to fight in the darkness.

These tech guard it seem have no obvious night vision gear.

Page 96
Menials. Alaric knew that the Adeptus Mechanicus included a massive underclass of menials, men and women bonded to perform the thankless tasks the Mechanicus required - labouring in the forges and mines, serving the needs of the tech-priests, crewing the Mechanicus's ships, even defending the forge worlds. It was from the ranks of the menials that the tech-guard were drawn and many tech-priests had been recruited from the most able.

Menials might be effectively controlled by the Adeptus Mechanicus but they were still ultimately free.

AdMech Menials. Possibly the only thing worse than a hive world citizenship. Tech guard are raised form the menials, as are prospectie techpriests.

Page 97
The torso were those of bloated muscle-bound humanoids, the legs huge pneumatic pistons. One of the beasts had twin heavy bolters in place of its arms, while the other had a circular saw blade and a pair of massive shears. They belched hot vapour and sprays of oil as if they were steam-powered - Alaric guessed they were combat-servitors. That would mean they were physically powerful but extremely limited in their responses. In an open conflict they were at a severe disadvantage, unable to improvise like a good soldier had to, but in the close confines of the tun­nels they would make for extremely efficient killing devices.

Combat servitors. Their shape and limtiations.

Page 98-99
Gunfire flared up ahead. In the flashes of the las-blasts Alaric could see tech-guard swapping fire with pallid, scrabbling menials. Brother Haulvarn returned fire and storm bolter shells tore down the tunnel, blasting a menial against the wall as Lykkos blew another one apart with a psycannon shot.

Psycannon obliteraing menials.

Page 101
Interrogator Hawkespur took aim and snapped an autopistol shot through the menial's head. It didn't drop and she loosed off several more, the shots slic­ing its head apart until it toppled onto the dying body of the tech-guard.

autopistol fire.

Page 101
A battle-servitor the size of a tank was lumbering into view at the far end of the tunnel, storm bolter fire ricocheting off it as it blasted at the Grey Knights

Servitor version of a baneblade, I guess.

Page 102
Menials, crudely combat-fitted with drills and saws, clambered through the gap. Alaric met the first with the butt of his halberd, shattering its ribs even as he blocked a huge circular saw with the halberd's blade. The first menial reared up again, its ribcage collapsed and oozing gore. Nothing human could have gone on fighting. A breacher drill bored up into the collar of his armour, forcing him back as the tip ground through the ceramite in a shower of sparks, aiming for his throat.

Comba menials! Well not really,. as I recall they were menials dedicated to minin gand such.

Page 104
It was like the gun-platform that had ambushed them outside but this one was more ornate and large enough to carry three figures, two of them far larger and flanking the third. A glistening corona surrounded the platform. Alaric guessed it was an energy field, which meant that most bullets would probably bounce off it. Lykkos's psycannon would be their best bet but it would have to be a damn good shot. The field was probably being generated by the pulsing, brain-like mass on the platform's underside. The platform extruded sev­eral biological looking guns, which trained themselves on the chunks of machinery that hid the Grey Knights and tech-guard.

The two larger figures were battle-servitors, bristling with guns. The third was the horse-skulled creature Alaric had seen earlier, now connected to both the platform and the servitors by a web of vein-­like filaments running from his back. More smaller platforms were drifting down beside it. Some were simple gun platforms, others held parties of menials or what looked like more regular troops, hooded and crouched, with guns hardwired into their forearms.

What seem to be antigrav platforms equipped with combat servitors and troops.. probably chaos tech like most of the stuff on this world.3

Page 106
The first shots fell, glowing black bolts of energy as powerful as lascannon shots shearing through the metal. One tech-guard was blown clean in half and the others hit the floor, the cover disintegrating around them.

These possibly are the photon thrusters mentioned towards the end of the book. One of those high end "lost tech" type designs. Firing black bolts is a bit odd, kinda like warp weaponry depicted in other Counter novels. Whatever they are they are hideously effective, and the effects apparently can be likened to lascannon even if they aren't lasers. (EG lascannon would blow a tech-guard in half.. efficient explosions yield high KJ per shot at least, depending on how it blows the person in half - eg slicing or basically exploding the torso. I'm banking on the latter. Less efficient - eg steam explosions/vaporization - can yield MJ range per shot figures of course.)

Page 106
The lowest platform was already disgorging its troops. Crimson and black bolts of energy were rain­ing down now, scoring molten red scars everywhere. Another tech-guard fell, blown open by chattering automatic fire as his fellow soldiers withdrew through the storm of fire.

The black bolts seemingly have thermal effects - oddly they seem to be mostly thermal here, although that may be due to the differences in materials they fire upon.

I'm not sure what the weapon is that blasted the tech guard open, probably a servitor gun, but its damn effective and probably high-calibre.

Page 110
Stelkhanov's voice was slightly stilted thanks to the fact that he had been sleep-taught Imperial Gothic late in life, having been recruited from the engine-rooms where the press-ganged scum could barely speak Low Gothic at all.

"sleep teaching" languages. More examples of Imperial hypno-teaching/conditioning.

Page 110
Horstgeld watched the image roll by again. It was from a deep-space scan, picked up by the ship's sensoria in the ultra-orbital space beyond Chaeroneia. The swathe of space rippled, bulging and contracting in a dozen places, before flares of hazy energy indicated that something had broken through. Then, just as fleetingly, the images were gone.

"When was this picked up?" asked Horstgeld.

Stelkhanov consulted the dataslate he carried. The greenish glow of the holo picked out his refined, aquiline face - it was hard to believe the man had once been dragged out of the short-lived engine gangs. "Seventy-nine minutes ago." he said.

"And what do you think it is?"

"A fleet, captain. Newly arrived from the warp."

"Quite an audacious conclusion, Stelkhanov. We haven't got any fellow hunters in this subsector, let alone this close into system space."

Warp emergence of a large fleet gives advance warning an hour and a half, two hours ahead of time. That's quite a bit of time to prepare. Whether this is usual for such cases, or if some other factor is involved, I don't know.

Also there is reputedly no other Naval forces within the subsector - interesting tha tthe Captain is so certain of this - is it because he was told so (and thus could be wrong, noone is omniscient) or can he actually scan/scry space in and around the subsector to determine this? Is there some sort of message or signal Imperial forces give when they enter or exit a subsector that would alert other Imperials to their presence?

Page 111
"It is substantial. And what little data we have sug­gests it is moving quite slowly, as would befit a large fleet remaining in formation. It is tempting, sir, to connect this with the anomalous signal detected by the Ptolemy Gamma!"
"Reinforcements. Locate everything Imperial in space that's bigger than an orbital yacht and that can get to us within ninety-six hours. Prepare to send a fleet service order if we have to. If we're going to have a stand-off, then I want the numbers to do it. Under­stood?"

Everything that can get to them within 4 days... and if we believe the Captain before, it has to come from outside the subsector (10-100 LY at least). I'd imagine not quite outside the entire sector, but still. AT 10-100 LY we're talking between 900-9000c or therabouts.

Also reiteration of the Gamma (one of the python class ships) picking up a fTL warp signal. What's interesting is said FTL beam can reach the warp, and behaves like a physical beam (astrotelepathy isn't that visible.) so this suggests another possible means of communication (at least in some way - it may not be a very reliable one.)

Page 112
The rain was toxic. It fell in thick, viscous globules, smacking down against the colossal wreckage and forming corrosive rivers of slime that wound through valleys formed by fallen spires. It stripped away dead flesh, so the enormous biological masses were reduced to forests of bleached ribs or banks of ragged gristle.

The rain probably wasn't rain at all but industrial and biological waste from above....

The rain wouldn't have done anything more than strip some of the paint off the Grey Knights' armour, but Alaric knew that to the surviving tech-guard, Tech-priest Thalassa and Interrogator Hawkespur, it could have been lethal.

Weather conditions on the Chaos forgeworld. Grey Knights ar protected, but the other human forces are not so lucky.

Page 114
As Alaric watched one of the tech-guard took his helmet off. His head was shaved and there were large, deep sur­gical scars in the back of his skull, where it looked like plate-sized sections had been removed and replaced. There was a barcode on the back of the man's neck.

Alaric walked over to where Archmagos Saphentis was sitting on a chunk of fallen wreckage, discussing something with Tech-priest Thalassa.

"Your tech-guard." said Alaric. "Emotional repressive surgery."

"Quite right. I require it of the men performing ret­inue duties."

"It would have been useful to know. Just like it would have been useful to know that your augmen­tations made you so combat-capable. And I would know what you said to that tech-priest."

- the Tech Guard fighting alongside the Gray Knights have "Emotional repressive surgery" - to improve their combat capability I preusme (suppress fear, etc.) I wonder if this has any similarity to the mind wiping/mind scrubbing techniques all tha MAlleus personnel in the first GK novel had to go through. My guess would be yes. I also have to wonder how a Guard leader like Xarius would react to this (not favorably, is my guess,a gain.)

Page 117
"They have changed. Some tech-heresy has taken root. The fusion of the biological and the mechanical is permitted by the Cult Mechanicus only so that weak flesh may be replaced or improved, or that the otherwise useless might be made useful in the sight of the Omnissiah, such as is the case with servitors. The large-scale biomechanics we see here are forbidden, for they do not place machine and flesh at the command of tech-priests but create new forms of life entirely and such is not permitted by the tenets of the Priesthood of Mars. Successive Fabrica­tors General have pronounced on this countless times."
"More importantly, what we have seen on Chaeroneia represents a pace of innovation considered heretical. The Cult Mechanicus forbids designs and techniques not of the most ancient provenance. Many centuries must pass before quarantined knowledge is allowed beyond our research stations. but here there is innovation and creation.All around us! This world could never be created by the existing tenets of the Mechanicus. The pace of invention here must be astonishing."

An explanation discussing AdMech policies, in particular regarding the biomechanical and cybernetic. We know they use it to significant degrees (Servitors, servo-skulls, machine spirits, augmetics) to enhance existing flesh, but the Admehc seemingly does not approve of creating "new life" that isn't under Admech control. Which I gather to mean they dont like creating new, sentient species or something (they vat-grow living beings to make into slaves or servitors frequently, for example.)

The second paragraph I am of two minds about. On one hand it reinforces the whole "total ignorance/supersition/conservative" AdMech image - not without reason I admit - and that grows tiresome. On the other hand, we're presented with a living example of perhaps why they shit themselves at the thought of rapid progress - a fucked up Chaos Forgeworld - and it IS fucked up. Chaos and the Warp are not things to trifle with, and they can fuck you up if you are not careful, so some caution is warranted.

There is of course the fact we know of innovation faster than is approved happening (The Guard and the Marines do it frequently, Inquisitors do it, hell even radical AdMech do it.) but that doesn't mean that caution isn't warranted. It's more an issue of degree rather than anything (would decades rather than centuries be more dangerous, and if so by how much?) Hard to say.

There is also the issue of politics. The AdMech are the ones who control tech, who want to maintain their control of tech, and that extends to controlling the rate of progress regardless of whether it is warranted or not - because it suits their agenda and biases.

Page 118
The tech-guard were soon up and armed, their emotional repressive surgery meaning that they would not be affected by the trauma of the fight they had just gone through.

More on the "repressive surgery" and its effects on battle. I guess it basically makes them emotionless servitor-types.

Page 119
The primarchs were scattered across the galaxy. In the Age of Imperium no one knew how or why this had happened - whether agents of Chaos had snatched them away from holy Terra, or whether the Emperor had sent them forth as infants to be strewn around the galaxy and there learn the qualities they could never acquire living in the Emperor's shadow.

They don't know. that is. We of course know a bit better.

Page 121
In a mere seven years of war Horus led a rebellion that reached Holy Terra and the walls of the Imperial Palace, marching with fully half of the Space Marine Legions whose primarchs he had convinced of the justice of their cause.

I dont know if this actually fits the currently accepted timeline or not. I've heard as little as two years passing between Horus falling to Chaos and the Battle of Terra... but I dont remember for sure whether or not the heresy series has clarified it any. I remember hearing seven years of cleanup POST heresy, thoguh. Maybe its a mixup.

Page 123-124
The Black Legion's fleet at the Eye of Terror had picked up the signal and Urkrathos had confirmed it was real. Now all that remained was to reach the planet and collect whatever was due to the Warmaster and perhaps bring the signal's author into the war effort. The Imperium was resisting with the tenacity of a hive of insects and the Black Crusade needed all the bodies it could throw into the fire.

An interesting glimpse into the state of affairs of the 13th Black Crusade from the side of Chaos. a single chaso forgeworld outside the Eye is considered a viable and worthwhile resource for Abbadon.

Also this implies that the fleet traveled from the Eye of Terror to somewhere in Ultima Segmentum
in a fairly short span of time - less than months.. days or weeks. At least 4 days, probably not more than a week or two judging by the time the Imperial troops on teh ground have been there (Hawkespur, Thalassia, and the Skitarii in particular - they're travelling light with little in the way of food or water and they haven't gotten much sleep that I recall. A few days probably at most.)

Assuming between a month and 4 days, and figuring they cross at least 10-20K LY (and possibly as much as 60-70K LY, if this planet is far on the edge of Ultima Segmentum) we're talking between 120,000c and ~900,000c for 10K LY. Adjust that for time and distance as needed, but I figure that the actual value for my assumptions above would be accurate to within an OoM - hundreds of thousands to millions of c perhaps.

Also worth noting is that this is for Chaos troops. This may or may not be typical (They have a clear signal to home in on which may help) but we really dont know how they navigate (corrupt navigators, daemons, computers, etc.) which could mean the speed is comparable to the Imperium, or it may mean the Imperium could travel faster.

Page 131-132
The Adeptus Mechanicus often used crystalline substances to store large amounts of data but they never let on just how they achieved such an advanced trick.

More on Crystalline data storage tech. Like most tech its a well kept secret - because technology is their thing.

Page 132
Thalassa put a hand against the smooth surface. Small, drill-tipped probes emerged from her palm and bored a little way into the crystal. Pulses of light ran across the circuitry embedded in her skin, outlining her face and hands in the gloom.

Interesting that she can just drill in and gain access like that. Also interesting that they can apparently use electrical and (possibly) optical tech interchangably. Or maybe the magic crystal tech isn't optical (maybe it is magic - eg the Warp.)

PAge 134-135
"And then, the rendered substance was taken along here and woven together... into long strands... muscles, yes, that's it, ropes of muscle." Saphentis straightened up and looked right at Alaric. "Do you see? They took their unwanted menials and fed them in and they were rendered down and their proteins woven back into raw muscle. The living things they fuse with their machinery, this is where they began making them."
"This world is self-sufficient! It makes perfect sense to me now. This is just one sign. How could a world live a century alone and yet build so much? How could they create what they have here, without raw materials from any other world? Chaeroneia had great mineral wealth but there is not one forge world in the Imperium that could survive in isolation - raw materials, manpower, food, it all had to be imported by the shipful. But not here. Here they took the one resource they had in abundance and made their whole city out of it."

"Their menials, justicar! Humans! It is so perfect. Humans breed, they grow, all of their own accord. They bred a surplus and took those they did not need, fed them in here and created the living things they fuse with their machines. There are magi pecuniae who have spent generations seeking a way to make a world entirely self-sufficient. Here, they solved that problem in a mere century. Amazing."

A "self-sufficient" forgeworld based entirely on biotech. you know, like the Tyranids, only with Chaos. I'm not sure things work out quite as simply as they need - organic matter doesn't just spring into being from thin air - cell division and other biological processes need nutrients, elements, energy, etc. to fuel it (even plants need sunlight and soil to fuel their growth) so there would still be obviosu resource limits. What Saphentis is actually describing, I think, is that Chaeroneia has created an amazingly efficient (organic) system of recycling and reusing - nothing is wasted, everything has a place, and anything that becomes waste is broken down and re used in some other manner. Even the population. It still requires resources, but they can make a given amount of resources strech much further than most AdMech could - which is probably where the Warp comes in (as a source of power, as a means of manipulating, breaking down, or recombining matter.. etc.)

The other possibility is Chaeroneia figured out somehow to make a Wraithbone analgoue directly from the warp, but somehow I doubt this (although it would mimic alot of organic tech as well.) Maybe they're using that pseudo-matter stuff from Eye of Terror to bolster their own forge - we don't really see it totally, utterly severed from the warp, or maybe it just hasn't dissipated all its chaos-ness yet.

anyhow we also learn that Forge Worlds, like many Hive Worlds, are highly specialized and highly dependent upon transport of materials and supplies from offworld to sustain themselves.

Page 136
Their emotional repression surgery meant they wouldn't complain or despair, but they were still susceptible to exhaustion like any unaugmented human.

So, not like a servitor in all ways :P

Page 137
"Chaeroneia's systems seem to think the date is nine hundred years hence, correct? Well, that might not be an error. Time flows differently in the warp, justicar, and I think we both know where this planet must have been for the past century. But while it was a century from our point of view, in the warp a thou­sand years could have passed."

commentary on the ewll known tendency for the warp to distort time as well as space. A rather interesting case here in that time flows faster in the warp than it does outside. That would help FTL travel, although it could cost the humans inside something in terms of lifespan and such (without some time-manipulating tech of their own. Maybe Gellar fields do it. Probably not though.) Its sort of like the AD&D Haste spell in that regard (What with the aging and in trade for increased speed.)

Page 138
There were no records of the Chapter in the historical files that remained from Chaeroneia's past as an outpost of the Imperium, but then many Chapters could come and go in a thousand years.

Gray Knights are not known to the AdMech of Chaeroneia, but they also say that a millenia is a long time for Space Marine chapters to come and go. How many we aren't told.

Page 143
"Ordnance ready," said the chief ordnance officer as Rear Admiral Horstgeld strode onto the bridge. "'We can fire at fifteen minutes" notice.

Page 144
Engineering was keeping the plasma reactors at full close orbit manoeuvring capac­ity and Ordnance was shepherding the ship's stock of torpedoes into the firing bays.

By which I suspect they mean that the reactors are being kept in a state that focuses their power into powering the engines, particularily the manuvering thrusters.

Page 145
"I asked for warships! Subsector Command was sup­posed to send us everything they had!"

"The Pieta... that's... that's a pilgrim ship for the love of Earth. It's barely even armed. And the Epicurus is a bloody yacht!"

"It's refitted." said Kelmawr. "The Administratum con­fiscated it and turned it into an armed merchantman.."

"Contact Kar Duniash. Tell them we have a crisis here. If Segmentum Command there can't help us then we're on our own."

Imperial "reinforcements." such as they are that have arrived within 48 hours. Also mention of a "subsector command" meaning there are sector and subsector headquarters, each which apparently has its own detachment or reserve. Whether this is a battlegroup (A detachment from a battlefleet), a permanantly stationed fleet (or squadrons) attached to each subsector, or a combination of both is not known, although it is possible the distinctions between such are illusory - I mean in practice sector battlefleets can be seen as simply detachments from the larger segmentum fleet. The issue is more of size, and whether they have reserves (and how large). Given the existenc eof sector and segmentum reserves? Probably. It would account for variations in "battlefleet" sizes at least, and why Segmentums may have "thousands" or tens of thosuands fo ships assigned to them.

Also they send a messag eto Segmentum command on Kar Duniash for aid, which implies a very fast propogation time for the signal (hours or days) as well as implying they could mobilize and provide reinforcements in a very short period of time (days or weeks, definitely not much more than some months. Its unlikely the Chaos fleet already present would wait that long.)

We dont know for sure where Chaeroneia is, but the hints we get suggest it's within line of communication of Kar Duniash (eg its not blocked by the Maelstrom) It is between Kar Duniash and the Eye somewhere. It isn't adjacent to Kar Duniash though. It is a minor world, suggesting it is perhaps on the edge of the galaxy, and I would imagine its not too far from the Eye either (being on the other side of the galaxy from the eye would be... troublesome. I'd think its close to the edge between Obscurus and Ultima and close to the border.) If true It probably is a good thousands, tens of thousands of LY away as well. It is at least beyond the subsector, and probably beyond the sector as well (hundreds of LY at least.) That would suggest comms times of at least hundreds of thousands if not millions of c (if all assumptions hold) and tens if not hundreds of thousands of c travel speed (again, if assumptions hold.)

Page 146
Horstgeld looked into the old man's eyes. He didn't like what he saw. He didn't believe the most outlandish stories they told of inquisitors - burning good Imperial servants at the stake, destroying whole planets - but he did know that an inquisi­tor's authority stood above all others and they did not take kindly to those who gave up in the face of the Emperor's enemies.

Horstgeld is another interesting character... he's not like most Navy Captains, not a stereotype.. he's got the character but he has his own opinions and beliefs, and this I think reflects it. (He doesnt think all Inquisitors are alike either, which makes him rather more perceptive than most.)
Of course there ARE Inquisitors like what he describes..

Page 147
"Good. I am sure the combined efforts of Leung and myself will convince Korveylan to place con­tacting Alaric rather higher on their list of priorities. Can you live without me for a few hours?"

"Yes. But I might need your authority getting fur­ther reinforcements from Segmentum Command."

"I will see what I can do on that account, but you must understand that my priority here is discover­ing what became of Chaeroneia. If we can get that information then you may not have to make a stand here at all."

Implies that communications time between Segmentum command and Chaeronia would take no more than a few hours

Page 149
Chaeroneia had once been typical of a forge world, with barely any indigenous flora or fauna able to survive the constant pollution - but the planet's thousand-year corruption had given rise to a unique biomechanical ecosystem where half-machine creatures flourished like living vermin.

Forge world vs our Chaos Forge.

Page 153
Alaric wasn't even sure if he could take Saphentis in straight combat if it came to that, since Saphentis's combat augmentations were formidable and Alaric didn't know the full extent of what he could do.

A heavily augmented magos can match even a Grey Knight, in thoery.

Page 156
But they had, of course, a weakness - though Chaeroneia was riddled with data media like the glassy black crys­talline medium or the liquid metal of the datapool, there were still plenty of areas in Chaeroneia that were far away from any containment medium. That meant the hunter-programs could not go everywhere, only the places where a medium existed to hold them.

Scraecos illuminated Chaeroneia's data media in his mind. Whole towers of crystal glowed strongly, including the old menial reclamation spire the intruders had left only a short time before. Dataslates held by tech-priests overseeing work in the towers also glowed, tiny specks of moving light. A hunter-program could travel in such a medium if it had to. Many tech-priests themselves were lit up, as large data storage organs were a common augmentation among the overseers of Manufactorium Noctis.

Despite all its impressive abilities, there are quite obvious limits to Chaeronia's reach, vision, and abilities. also interesting is how this Magos Dude seems to have had his mind permeat much of if not all of the planet-wide data networks (or at least those parts of it he can reach.)

Page 156
Millions of images of Chaeroneia flickered through Scraecos's mind. He overclocked his augmented brain until they slowed down enough for him to sort them properly.

Suggesting he can adjust his thinking/reaction speed quie a bit. Millions of images per second is insane, per hour less insane (but still impressive.) Hell even if it was per day we're still talking tenths or hundredths of a second. This shows some indications about hardware performance (and how it can integrate with the organic side of things, no less.) On the other hand this is a Chaos Forgeworld, so there is no telling whether this is natural or typical. It probably isn't game breaking (EG orders of magnitude different) but could still be different enough to matter.

Page 162-163
Alaric felt something prickling against his psychic core, the shield of faith that kept his mind safe from the predations of the Enemy. The feeling grew as the force moved down the valley. Something probing his defences, homing in on the beacon of his mind and scraping psychic nails against its surface.

The hexagrammic and pentagrammic wards woven into the ceramite of his armour were heating up. He heard something whispering, a low hissing sound that seemed to form his name, over and over again, just below the range of his hearing.

His wards flared white-hot and he was thrown from his feet as something massive and yet somehow incorporeal ripped past him, hurling him against the opposite face.

Alaric's "detection" abilities seem to be highly passive, and tied to his psychic defenses (including the wards) - given how they heat up/react to the presence of illicit warp/chaos power, this is perhaps no surprise, but he's also detecting it psychically quite a bit before it triggers a physical response.

Page 164
“Domine, salve nos!” hissed Alaric and the psychic wall around his soul flared outwards, burning the creature's talons with the fire of his faith. The mon­ster screamed and reeled back into the wall, dropping Alaric.

Interesting how Alaric's psychic defenses seem to be tied/cued to verbal responses - this may give us insight into the training and conditioning a psychic canididate in the Grey Knights undergoes - if there are mental locks/barriers which contain/redirect/suppress psychic powers until needed, it would explain much. Of course, verbal cues may not be the only factor, other stimuli (such as the presence of a warp entity, or the wards being triggered) may also be neccessary. Again extremely specialized, but extremely powerful.

It also creates some interesting.. comparisons.. between how Grey Knights are depicted in 5th edition.. I kind of doubt they could be drawing on any overt sorcery or "magick" givne this sort of setup.

Page 165
Alaric's wards were absorbing the foul magic puls­ing off them. The Grey Knights all had the same defences and the creatures hated it. They bent around the Grey Knights like refracting light, the force of the Marines' faith enough to warp the sub-reality they moved through.

Effects of the GK wards on other creatures. The GK's faith-bolstered psychic powers are powrful enough to distort the capabilities of the creatures themselves (EG interfee with movement, etc.)

Page 169
“Self-actuating programs.” replied Saphentis. “Data constructs with limited decision-networks. Evidently the Mechanicus here has endowed them with some capacity to manipulate gravity or matter. Greatly heretical creations, or course.”

“Creations? No, archmagos. The tech-priests didn't make them.”
“Explain, justicar?”
“I know daemons when I see them. This planet was stuck in the warp for a thousand years. I think those daemons infested the data media and the tech-priests are using them.” Alaric glanced at Saphentis. “They've fallen further than you think. Sorcery, Throne knows what else.”

Data daemons. Note the interesting conflict here. Alaric thinks they are daemons, Saphentis thinks they're some exotic form of AI. Me? I suspect both cases may be true. A daemon corrupting data or repositories for "data" and can manipulate forces and matter and still be "self actuating" and behave according to programs. Daemons, after all, have their own sorts of rules, laws and conditionings - it just usually takes the form of rituals, sacrifice and such. This would be similar, just with more of a high-tech bent. (data program dameon creatures instead of spirit/ghost type.)

Page 170
“'Saphentis! Get us information! Concentrate on historical data, the last thousand years.”
“Thousand? But it has only been a century...”
“Interesting.” he said. “There is much information. I lack the data fil­tration matrices that Thalassa possessed. I will need several minutes.”

Several minutes to absorb and process a thousand years of historical data on the planet. Again working fast, but I worry at the potential for corruption too.

Page 174
Captain Tharkk saluted briskly. He only had two tech-guard left, but Alaric knew the mental surgery and conditioning of the Adeptus Mechanicus meant he would be a soldier to the end.

More on surgery, which apparently has accompanying conidtioning.

Page 175
Alaric followed suit and glimpsed battle-servitors, their tiny heads fronted with targeter devices and their burly torsos supporting twin-linked heavy stubbers or autocannon, stuttering suppressive fire in all directions.

Targeter equipped srvitors.

Page 183-184
There were forty-eight daemons welded into the command architecture of Grand Cruiser Hellforger, every one slaved into a different aspect of the ship and bound by rites older than mankind to obey Urkrathos's every whim.

Daemon-operated starship. Chaos version of automation.

Page 184
Tangles of obscure machinery and electronics welled from the walls, floor and ceiling like mechanical tumours, hissing steam and spitting sparks as ancient clockwork cogitators maintained the malevolent, spiteful machine-spirit of the Hellforger.

The actual automation/computer systems of same Chaos ship.

Page 184
The holo-display projected the image of Chaeroneia into the middle, about a metre above the floor and several metres across. It was a fine planet, dark and sickly, so stained with the warp he could tell how corrupt it had become just by looking at it. The asteroids around the world danced according to a complex but identifiable pattern, with a spell wrought into their movements to prevent any cogitator from guessing where they would turn next. The asteroid field meant that the interloper ships now clustered in medium orbit around Chaeroneia could not hope to land a meaningful force on the planet, which in turn meant that whatever the Imperial ships did, the tribute would remain on Chaeroneia for Urkrathos to col­lect.

Visual image of Chaeroneia.

Page 185
Urkrathos com­manded the Hellforger itself, the cruiser Desikratis which bristled with guns, the fighter platform Cadaver which was the base of the Vulture Flight attack craft, and the three Idolator-class escorts that formed Scapula Wing.

The Desikratis was commanded by a titanic dae­mon who functioned as the ship's sole crew member, its nerve-tipped tentacles reaching into every corner of the bloated, gun-heavy ship. The Desikratis in turn commanded the three Idolators of Scapula Wing, towards which it seemed to have a rather paternal attitude. The fighter platform Cadaver was com­manded by Kreathak the Thrice-Maimed, one of the finest fighter craft pilots of the last two centuries, who also led the elite Vulture Wing.

The chaos forces that arrived from the Eye. The escorting cruiser is interesting since its basically a gigantic daemon infesting and operating the entire ship - much like a crustacean in its shell. Also a single Chaos carrier which (oddly) is carrying only a single wing of fighters (migth be a large fighter wing though.)

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-14 02:15pm

Fuck I thought I was done with Dark Adeptus. guess not. Two more updates and I am done, so you get them all at once.

Page 186
By the decree of the Chaos powers, the daemons so defeated or possessed by Urkrathos were owned by him in a state of slavery, forbidden by the will of the gods to disobey him in anything. He had made them the crew of his ship, because it pleased him to have such powerful crea­tures in such obvious fortitude....

The hellforger's daemon automation. Again we see that daemons have their own conditioning/restrictions/rules that are placed or can be placed on them, since in essence theya re only an extension of and part of some greater entity (their patron God, that is.) Again parallels between this and what happens on chaeronia (think of Saphentis and Alaric's discussion) can be made.

Page 187
“Weapons!” shouted Urkrathos. A lean, muscular creature crucified against one wall snarled back at him. “I want ordnance ready for firing. Full spread, long fuses.”

“So it shall be.” growled the creature. Its burning red eyes rolled back in their sockets as he willed the com­mand into the minds of the ordnance crew deep within the ship - soon the Hellforger would be ready to pump scores of torpedoes into the Imperial flagship and reduce it to a cloud of burning debris.

If we assume the AdMech ship takes similar punishment, and the escrots take about half that (or a third.. there's about 3 of them) and the remaining ships take a half dozen each.. you can easily get into hundreds (perhaps a few thousand) torpedoes expended. Also a full spread for our grand cruiser is "scores" of torpedoes. either this is a torpedo heavy ship (which makes it different design wise from stnadard Imperial) those are small torpedoes, or they fire off multiple torpedoes in succession from a single tube.

Page 190
“Do you know which tech-priests she answers to?” asked Nyxos. “Archmagos Saphentis is out of com­munication - is she acting of her own accord?"

“It is doubtful. She has frequent high-level encrypted communications. I believe they are with the subsector Adeptus Mechanicus command but she has not been forthcoming about the Mechanicus command structure here.”

- mention that the captain of an Admech research/exploration ship has "frequent high level communications" with the Subsector AdMech command. Its not specified whether or not the AdMech are using astropaths, or an analogue, but the transmissions (over tens of LY easily) are apparently quite frequent which implies high transmisison speeds given only hours if not days have passed for many back and forth transmissions to occur (no more than one per every few hours, perhaps, and probably alot less)

Also they can pick up data on the fact this is happening - enough to make predictions on.

And again we see that the AdMech has sector and subsector levels of authority, much like other factions (Inquisitors, Ecclesiarchy, Adminsitratum, Munitorum, the Navy) which suggests this is the tpyical way nearly all Imperial organizations operate (excepting some like the Navigators or Astartes, that is.) It's a nice bit of consistency.

Page 192
“Nyxos flicked on his personal vox-unit. He was loath to use it except in an emergency, but he thought this counted. A very rare and antique unit contained in a lacquered red box Nyxos wore around his neck under his robes, it could tap into any local vox-frequency and let Nyxos hijack nearby commu­nications.

Page 200
“Chaeroneia is a very old planet and it is riddled with the type of technology the Mechanicus could not replicate in my day and I trust that has not changed in yours. That includes cogitators and data media with far greater capacity than anything the Mechanicus can make in the current age. So advanced, in fact, that they can contain all the data required to reconstruct a human mind, give or take a few personality quirks.”
“Just your mind?”
“Just, as you say, my mind. I do not know how long I was in there before I was able reconstruct myself. I was nothing, justicar. I did not exist. It is impossible to describe it. I was just a collection of ideas that used to form Magos Antigonus. I think it took me hundreds of years, but gradually I put myself together again. I found I could move through machines as long as a particular machine's spirit was not strong enough to oppose me. It was through various stores of historical data that I discovered what had happened to Chaeroneia while I was dead. It did not make for enjoyable reading. So I learnt what I could and could not do, explored, investigated. Then I came down here and gathered the few loyal tech-priests who remained and founded this resistance move­ment.”

Chaeroneia, it seems, is a computer-specialized forgeworld (the same way, for exmaple, Ryza focused on plasma, or Gryphonne IV was known for Vanquishers.) an AdMech was able to upload his entire mind into Chaeroniea's data networks,, which is interesting given that the AdMech want to do this in truth - apparently the lost tech and nature of Chaeronia was what made it possible here, so it may not be possible for them to even achieve it (at least anywhere in the near future.)

Page 202
“They weren't hunter-programs.” said Alaric. “They were daemons. An unusual kind, true, since they compose their bodies of informa­tion instead of sorcery. But daemons nonetheless. That was how we could defeat them.”

Again Alaric expresses his elief abou the nature of Chaeroneia's lifeforms. Frankly I agree with him, since "Daemon" is something of an arbitrary designation to begin with.

Page 205
Alaric passed Interrogator Hawkespur, who was sit­ting on the bunk. Her voidsuit was unzipped and hanging around her waist. The underlayer she wore beneath it was thin enough for Alaric to see the out­line of her ribs through the fabric. She looked like she had lost weight in the few days she had been on Chaeroneia - much of it must have been lost in the battle against the ugly tumours that formed blue-grey lumps under the skin of her throat and upper chest.

They've only been on CHaeronia a few days, like I suspected. While we cannot (yet) knwo for sure how the passage up to this point quite corresponds with events in orbit (at least by the data I show, I havent read the novel in a bit exactly) we can safely conclude based on the evidence to this point that, chronologically, far less than a week has passed up to this point.

Page 209
As he walked onto the bridge, Nyxos saw why Magos Korveylan seemed so unwilling to see any visi­tors to her ship face-to-face. Her body was a solid block of mem-circuits and cogitator units, formed into a dense square pillar of knotted circuitry and wires. The remains of her biological body - her ribcage, spine, heart and lungs and her central nervous system - were contained in a plastiglass cylinder on top of the cogitator stack, her skinless face held up by a web of fine metal struts. She was rooted into the floor of the bridge and only her hands could move, her fingers moving deftly over the array of controls on the dataslate mounted inside the clear cylinder. The more 'normal' face, the one she used for visual communica­tions with other ships, stood to one side on the communications console - it was a simple automa­ton, used to give the impression that Korveylan looked like the tech-priests someone outside the Mechanicus would have met.

The Magos in charge of the Explorator ship. Like many ship captains, she is basically a part of the ship, physically connected to it.

Page 209
The rest of the bridge seemed staffed only by servitors, slaved into various consoles, dumbly typing at brass-faced keypads or working the gears on cogitator units that looked like they ran on clockwork.

Implied that the entire ship is servitor-crewed. Not unusual in 40K, and certainly not unusual in the AdMech.

Page 210
The tactical viewer on the Exemplar took the form of a large mechanical orrery a construction of con­centric rings that swung around one another like the devices used to demonstrate the relative positions of planets in a solar system. This example, however, had silver and brass icons mounted on the rings that showed the relative positions of the various ships and objects around Chaeroneia. Nyxos noticed that several glinting knife-shaped icons of silver must rep­resent the torpedoes now approaching the Imperial fleet very quickly. Bronze disks mounted further out represented the enemy fleet, including the Hellforger, while a dense sphere of rotating gears at the centre was Chaeroneia itself.

I guess a holograph would be too simple.

Page 210
Space combat, Nyxos had learnt in his long Inquisitorial career, was an agonising affair where manoeuvres and assaults could take hours to pan out. Hours when a competent captain usually kenw exactly what was going to happen and often had no choice but to wait for his ship to take whatever the enemy was throwing at it. The enemy attack here had been so sudden that the battle was unfolding on a minute-by-minute scale
- lightning-fast by naval standards.

Ben Counter describes space combat, at least as Nyxos is familar with it and perhaps in this region of space. This suggests somethin far different than a stationary, close in "slugging match" type engagement, rather it suggests the two opposing sides close each other at speed (speed not stated though) and taking long hours (or more) to manuver (which presumably means accelerate and decelerate). Even with single digit gees this would in turn suggest average velocities at least of tens if not hundreds of km/s, perhaps thousands of km/s, depending on acceleration and how many hours (and the kind of manuver).

"minute by minute" is considered fast by naval standards too. Go figure.

Page 211
“Bring auxiliary reactors five and eight on-line. Full power, evasion pattern.”

The Admech ship has multiple auxiliary reactors. At least 8. How they relate to the other reactors I dont know (less power? Redunancy or what?) We also dont know how many main reactors there are - multiple reactors on a 40K starship isn't unusual. And once more the power is diverted to engines (for manuvering.)

Page 211
Several more Mechanicus crewmen were entering the bridge...
Nyxos recognised tech-guard uniforms and the brass body armour of the ship's more highly trained Skitarii troopers.

Tech Guard and Skitarii differentiated in this novel. I guess this means Skitarii are the Storm trooper version sof the Tech Guard, which makes some sense. Also note the "brass body armor" - I dont know if its made of real brass or just covered on the outside, or just looks like brass (color-wise)

Page 215
“The obelisk was once used to transmit a navigational beacon for close-orbit spaceships. We intended to use it to broadcast a dis­tress signal, but we soon understood that we could not get a signal from the warp into real space with the resources we had.”

Rather peculiar - they believed it was possible to artificially project a signal into the warp using some sort of beacon.... but the only limiting factor for them was their limited resources. Again suggestive of a strong astropathic altenrative (or at least a different way of duplicating the effect. Perhaps it is akin to the Transmat Link the AdMech has - psychic servitors.)

Page 217
“Chaeroneia has been out of real space for a little under eleven hundred years. Most of the rest of the information related to power output, with which a self-sufficient forge world must understandably be concerned. Chaeroneia's power is generated, output and recycled with an efficiency I have never beheld in the most advanced Adeptus Mechanicus facilities.”

Which confirms my earlier idea - Chaeronia's largely using Chaos to make itself vastly more efficient in the use of resources - power and materials both.

Page 217-218
“The rest was mostly ideological. The tech-heresy has historical precedent.”

“Then it is true.” said Antigonus. “The Dark Mechan­icus.”

“The Dark Mechanicus?” The term was unfamiliar to Alaric.

“Tech-priests loyal to the Traitor Legions in the days of the Horus Heresy.” said Hawkespur. “They were exterminated during the Scouring that followed the Battle of Terra.”
“It was not quite that simple, interrogator.” said Saphentis. “The schism within the Mechanicus was perhaps more complicated than even the Inquisition generally understand. My rank gains me certain priv­ileges and greater access to historical data is one of them.”

The facets of Saphentis's eyes shifted colour as he accessed encrypted mem-cells built into his augmen­tations. “The faction that sided with Horus.” he continued, “probably only became known as the 'Dark' Mechanicus after the Heresy, when Horus had been defeated and it was realised that the beliefs they followed were corrupt. The Dark Mechanicus was not a body of tech-priests, but the beliefs they held and the principles to which they adhered. The fusion of the flesh and the machine. The creation of new living things. Innovation and freedom of research.”
“But they were destroyed.” said Hawkespur.

It was Antigonus who replied. “You can't kill an idea, interrogator.” he said. “As hard as the Inquisition has tried, they just keep on coming back. There were so many tech-heresies recorded in the libraria of Mars that I was never certain which had taken hold on Chaeroneia. But the Dark Mechanicus... yes, that makes sense. Perfect sense. Especially if they are in league with daemons. Towards the end of the Heresy they say the Dark Mechanicus trafficked with dae­mons. Perhaps Scraecos and his tech-priests have renewed the old pacts.”

The Dark Mechanicus. Which perhaps gives us an idea of what Chaos AdMech can do.

Page 221
The shape of the Hellforger filled the viewscreen on the bridge of the Tribunicia, a massive red-black wedge of a ship bigger than the Tribunicia and sporting twice as many guns.

The Grand cruiser has twice as many guns as the normal cruiser, meaning it is at least twice as powerful as Horstgeld's ship (They don't specify whether they are bigger or not - bigger guns would mean more firepower per gun.)

Page 221-222
"There's a breach in plasma reactor three!" came a reply from somewhere in the Engineering section. "It's ignoring all our tech-prayers, we're going to have to shut it down!"

"Shutdown denied." replied Horstgeld. It was less dan­gerous to keep the reactor running than to risk the drop in engine power that would ensue if the reactor was shut down. Probably the decision would cost lives from leaks of superheated plasma into the engineering deck that surrounded the reactor, but those were the kinds of sacrifices that a captain had to make.

At least 3 non-auxiliary plasma reactors I guess. That means 11 reactors on the ship. Said reactor provides a significant portion of the ship's overall power.

Page 222
The second, unidentified enemy cruiser, a strange bloated shape that fairly dripped with guns, was com­ing in behind the Hellforger and once it got amongst the Imperial ships its broadsides would reap a horrendous tally among the transports and escorts. The last major ship in the enemy fleet looked like a very old pattern fighter platform. Triangular in cross-section, each of its three long sides housed a host of attack craft hangars and launching bays.

The rest of the chaos fleet. The overgunned daemon ship is noticble - it visually appears overgunned, but we dont quite know by what magnitude.

Page 223
Over the thousands of years it had been in service, the traitor ship's hull had become covered with blisters and weeping sores as if the metal of the ship was diseased and its scores of guns poked from open bleeding gashes in the hull.

The Hellforger has "scores" of guns. This suggests the cruiser has at least a score, but this is almost certainly an underestimate unless they are very big guns.

Page 225
"The initial torpedo volley is done but the enemy fleet is closing fast. They have a gun-heavy cruiser making straight for us and our first priority is for eva­sive manoeuvres to put the Ptolemy squadron between us and that cruiser. Do what you must but remember that by the authority of the Inquisition I am in ulti­mate command of this ship. Fleet Commissar Leung is now responsible for ship security."

again a "gun heavy" cruiser (the one inhabited y a single massive daemon.) It's considered a significant enough threat that they don't want it near the Imperial cruiser.

Page 226
"We have multiple target locks." came a vox from the sensorium centre. "Source is the cruiser-class craft."

"They're taking aim first. Then they'll hit us with everything they've got." said Nyxos. He looked at the tactical orrery, which showed the bloated unknown cruiser-sized enemy ship heading menacingly for the Exemplar.

They detect multiple target locks from the vessel, implying multiple (computerized?) targeting systems. Is it per gun, per battery, or what, I wonder?

Page 227
"Hawkespur, we're running out of time up here. The planet sent out a signal and the Hellforger just turned up in response. It was last seen in the service of the Abaddon the Despoiler and it looks like they want to get down to the surface."

Nyxos just received a message from the surface from Hawkespur (after they get in contact with the rebel AdMech on Chaeronia) - suggesting a matter of days (at most) has passed - certainly less than a week.

Page 228
"Correct. Do whatever you must, Hawkespur. Use scorched earth if you have to. And you're on your own down there, we're facing several cruiser-class ships and we can't hold them off forever."

Scorched earth - Exterminatus? Also both chaos ships are "cruiser class" - while the outgun the enemy fleet, they aren't considered (for example) battleship scale.

Page 229
"The Dark Mechanicus have summoned a Chaos fleet. They were probably transmitting to them since before we even arrived. It's led by the Hellforger, one of the most notorious ships of the Gothic War. That means our theory about Chaeroneia's reappearance being linked to Abaddon's attack through the Eye of Terror just got much more realistic."

Speculation that the Chaos fleet may have been travelling for far longer than a few days. As annoying as that possibility may be for my calcs, it would make some sense. It would alos mean they're using some sort of "burst" transmission signal to bring the Chaos forces in. On the other hand we know from the Chaos POV they only received one signal before deciding to come so... hard to say. I'll jsut say it could go either way, but even if it is true the Chaos forces took far less than a year to arrive, which is still far in excess of 10,000c without navigators.

Page 231
The crew of the Pieta had just affected a sudden course change on the orders from the Rear Admiral in command of the fleet. Some of the pilgrims even thought they were about to come under attack from an enemy craft. Patricos had been with the ship all the way on its pilgrimage from Gathalamor around the southern edge of the galaxy towards San Leor and he was the spiritual leader for these thousands of people, the conduit for the Emperor's will to be revealed to them. He had led them for thirteen years of long, hard pilgrimage and they trusted him absolutely.
They had been picked up from dozens of worlds along the route, many of them having been taken aboard at Gathalamor at the very start of the voyage.

The poor pilgrim ship caught up in this conflict. Gathalamor is not exactly on the "southern edge" of the galaxy, as 5th edition places it, but in Segmentum Solar. San Leor isnt ont hat map that I can see but has been placed close to the border between Tempestus and Ultima. (The fact San Leor is within attack range of the Maelstrom does give credence to this, at least.) This might be taken to interpret that the pilgrim ship traveled from Gathalamor south TO San Leor.. which in turn means that Borosis is somewhere on the southern end of Segmentum Tempestus, since they can't have been all that far away when they responded to the distress call. This is also a 20-30K (at least) LY journey in 13 years, which is at least an average speed of a few thousand c.. probably alot more than that, considering all the stopovers, delays, and the non-linear path they'd have to take.

This also suggests Borosis is quite some distance from Kar Duniash, which is close to the edge of Segmentum Solar on the Eastenr Fringe - another good 20-30K LY away. It also means the Chaos troops had to haul ass from the Eye (a good 10K LY by itself) over Segmentum Solar (another good 20K LY) and skirt along Tempestus (another good 10K LY at least) - virtually travelling halfway across the galaxy in a relatively short period of time (at least a year)

Again we're talking astorpathic transmisison speeds given all the timframes involved of millions of c, and travel times of hundreds of thousands of c, at a MINIMUM for the various factions involved. Hell even Chaos is moving pretty fast - worst case we're talking tens of thousands of c (maybe 50,000c worst!)

PAge 232
The massive bulk of the Hellforger, almost half as big again as a standard cruiser-class ship, knifed through space towards the midpoint of the Tribunicia.

The Hellforger is "half again" the size of a cruiser. Someone in FFG must have paid attention, because the Grand Cruisers in Battlefleet Kronous mass nearly 50% more than the FFG Lunar class cruiser masses. Its also an interesting as we have a ratio fo guns to cruiser as well as mass to cruiser - for a 50% increase in mass, you got twice as many guns. Its probably not precise, and you'd have to play with it, but it does suggest masses (and firepower) are not dramatically different between ship classes (although the correlation between mass and firepower is also not quite linear, which makes a bit of sense from a volume POV)

Page 233

The Hellforger maintained a formidable horde of subhuman boarding troops, brutal half-mad crea­tures evolved and mutated for ugly close-quarters killing. If the Tribunicia survived the initial impact they would be driven through the boarding orifices and onto the Imperial ship, flooding its decks with blood-crazed madmen. It was an old tactic, one of the most effective given the size and toughness of the Hellforger itself. A ramming action, according to Imperial Naval doctrine, was nothing short of madness. A Boarding action was scarecely less so. Imperial captains simply had no idea how to defend against the Hellforger hurtling towards them at ramming speed, its razor sharp prow fully exposed.

The Hellforger's boarding troops. Chaos seems to have an advantage here, at least from Chaos' POV.

Page 241
The guns of the Desikratis raked deep shimmering black gouges through the shields of the Exemplar, the hideous bloated Chaos cruiser vomiting astounding volleys of fire that even at a distance were knocking down the void shield banks of the Adeptus Mechani­cus ship in rapid succession. The daemon that squatted at the hearrt of the Desikratis aimed every one of its thousands of guns by hand, loaded the shells with its own tentacles and fired them with an impulse from its corrupted nervous system. The Exemplar was demonstrating resilience well beyond the norm for a ship of its size, but no matter how tough it proved the Desikratis was closing fast and as it slowed and brought itself into point-blank broadside position it would breach the Mechanicus ship's hull and turn its decks into mazes of twisted, burning metal.

Our gun-heavy chaos cruiser in detail. Aimed, loaded by hand, and fired by a single daemon. Thousands of guns is literally the largest number I have ever heard of on a cruiser, but it suggests its not impossible for a cruiser size vessel to be configured to carry them. It doesnt seem to greatly impact combat endurance (near as I can tell) although the fact a daemon is crewing the ship has scertain advantages (you dont need to worry about decks, life support, supplies and resources, etc.) and thousands of guns per crew probably would strain even FFG-inflated crew numbers (assuming 40 crew per gun we're talking 80K Crew..) On the other hand the cruiser isn't exactly battleship scale, and while wary of its firepower they aren't shitting their pants about OMFG WE'RE MASSIVELY OUTCLASSED either - nor is it greatly eclipsing the Grand Cruiser at that. I'd guess this means its both possible to mount thousands of guns (of some kind) on a cruiser scale vessel, but that it probably isnt common, and requires sacrifices (making it a specialized ship at best.) The difference in number (and firepowre) between this and a normal cruiser is probably not too huge either, certainly less than an order of magnitude (which fits, given we know that mere frigates can moutn hundreds of guns, and cruisers have been known to at least in one case.) so we could safely say a cruiser *probably* mounts many hundreds of guns as normal. Its probably also safe to say batlteships can mount thousands of guns.

We also dont know if this is total armament or per broadside - it implies broadside but it could be counting dorsal and prow and even ventral mountings as well as side guns. it also doesn't account for the size of guns to be honest - for all we know these are tiny guns firing only the "few ton" macrocannon shells. Assuming betwene "few ton" and "tank sized" (several tens of tons) wre' talking about thousands to tens of thousands of tons of ordnance per salvo- a normal cruiser should be within an OoM of that.

Mechanicus vessels, unsurprisingly, are tougher than their size suggests, and seems to be weathering at least several thousands of gun broadsides. Again normal vessels *probably* are within an OoM this, since its cruiser sized.

Page 243
"I confess I don't understand it fully. Scraecos seems to have run a form of seminary on Salshan Anterior about a hundred and fifty years ago. It was religious as much as technical. It concentrated on something Korveylan's studies referred to as Stan­dard Template Constructs."

Heh. A fleet commissar doesnt know about STC.

Page 246
Then there came the Dark Age of Technology. Mankind, rather than venerating technology and keeping it sacrosanct as the priesthood of Mars later did, pursued technological advancement with wanton enthusiasm. Astonishing wonders were made, along with horrors beyond imagining. Planet-threatening war machines. Genetic abominations. Machines that wove whole worlds around them. And worse things - far worse.

Dark Age of Technolgoy described.

Page 247
They placed their knowledge in a form that could survive forever and be understood by anyone. Cer­tain key technologies were reduced to algorithms and placed in a format that could be used even by humans reduced to barbarity. They were the Stan­dard Template Constructs.
In a way, the Priesthood of Mars had done some­thing similar, preserving technology through religious observation. With the birth of the Imperium and the Treaty of Mars, the Adeptus Mechanicus was able to explore the galaxy with the Great Crusade and learned of the existence of the Standard Template Constructs.

So pure were the STCs that they became objects of holy veneration to the tech-priests, nuggets of the Omnissiah's genius compressed and formatted for the good of mankind. A few fragments were discov­ered on shattered, ruined worlds during the Great Crusade. The tech-priests used them to create some of the most stable and ubiquitous technology the Imperium had, like the Rhino APC or the geothermal heatsink technology that provided power to count­less hive cities. But they never found a complete, uncorrupted STC.

A pure STC was a hopeless legend. To think that one could survive complete for so many thousands of years of tortuous war was fanciful in the extreme. But that did not stop many tech-priests from pursu­ing the Standard Template Constructs as the objects of religious quests, sifting through legends and half-truths, sending out exploratory parties to the most distant, Emperor-forsaken planets hunting for the merest hint of the ancient knowledge.

STC described. Geothermal tech for Hive worlds seems common, at least for general puprose power.

Page 249
The desert air stank. This desert was not natural -it was built up from untold millennia of pollution, made of drifts of hydrocarbon ash or expanses of radioactive glass. Every forge world had these desola­tions in common, toxic deserts or acidic oceans that stretched between the manufactoria. Large sections of Chaeroneia had resembled hell before the Dark Mechanicus had ever taken control.

Typical forge world "deserts" and hwo they come about.

Page 251

They towered over the biomechanical buildings - distance could be deceptive but to Alaric's practised eye they were between thirty and fifty metres high and in spite of their obvious bio­mechanical infections there could be no doubt as to what they were.

Titans. Hundreds of them.

The Adeptus Mechanicus' fighting forces, the tech-guard and the Skitarii, could be formidable, as could their spaceships and the massive Ordinatus artillery units they could deploy. But nothing in the armoury of the tech-priests could compare in symbolic power to the titans. They were bipedal fighting machines that some said echoed the Emperor himself in the inspiring magnitude of thei destructive power. Even the smallest, the Warhound scout titans, could muster more firepower than a dozen Imperial Guard squads. Titans were god-machines deployed to break through fortifications and shatter enemy formations. There was little that could stand against them. And more importantly, the Titan Legions ranked alongside the Space Marines themselves as symbols of Imperial dominance.

And we learn the big secret of this place. They made a literal fuck-ton of titans, of various classes (including Warlords and Reavers) between 30-50 meters, although that's Alarci's estimate. Warhounds can muster more firpeower than a "dozen IG squads" - which if we include heavy weapons like lascannon could mean quite a bit.

WE also get discussion of what Makes Titans so special - including a heavily symbolic/psychological role. Also Tech-Guard/Skitarii division once again.

PAge 252
"Throne of Earth." whispered Archis. "They must have been building them for., for..."
"A thousand years." said Alaric. There were too many Titans for Alaric to count - they seemed to be mostly equivalent to the Reaver-pattern Titan, the mainstay of the Titan Legions. Roughly humanoid in shape, each sported a truly immense weapon on each arm, along with countless smaller weapons bristling from their legs and torsos. Many of the weapons were unrecognisable fusions of mechanics and biology.

- the Titans had been built by a isngle forge world for "a thousand years" - most are Reaver pattern titans. This suggests a reaver might be around 30-50 metres.. probably 30 and the Warlords are 50.

Sadly these are mutated AdMech titans.. so.. they'll be wiped out. Hundreds of titans in 1000 years... could mean one Titan for every year or every few years depending on how many hundreds.. less than a decade. Whether or not this corresponds to usual AdMech building rates we don't know. On the other hand, they probably arne't building them strictly one at a time either.

Page 252
A single spire rose from the centre, taller than the rest, topped with a large disc studded with lights -perhaps the control spire for the facility. There were also tall chimneys belching greasy smoke into the sky, probably from forges beneath the surface where the massive metal parts needed to build and main­tain the legion of Titans were smelted.

The landscape around the facility was scarred by the effort that had gone into digging a stable foun­dation into the ash wastes. It must have taken the full resources of Manufactorium Noctis to build the place and even now it was draining most of the city's power. The fact that it still needed so much power suggested very strongly that the Dark Mechanicus were still building and assembling Titans in the bio-mechanical workshops.

Titan fabricated facilities.. which are still in production. They even built their own titan facilities.

Page 254
Hawkespur pulled herself to the edge of the shaft entrance to get a better look at the Titan Legion and the defences of the facility.

Its implied this is a Legion, suggesting Legions Can mass as many as hundreds, but not neccesarily that this is typical. Like some high end AdMech stuff and Space Marines, Titan Legions tend to defy any sort of standard categorization and can vary from Legio to Legio.

Page 257
The huge-eyed tech-priest stumbled over to the deck's main cogitator engine. A clockwork monstrosity the size of a tank, it was apparently powered by a large round handle which the lead tech-priest promptly began taming with all his strength.

Pistons and massive cogs began working pumping and spinning through large holes in the cogitator's elaborate brass casing. More explosions sounded, closer this time and Nyxos knew the last of the shields were gone.

A clockwork, tank sized cogitator engine. Oh and a hand cranked too.

Page 257
Space combat was something Nyxos hated with a passion. It could only end when crews - not ships, crews - were completely wiped out. It was long-dis­tance butchery. Even the most minor ship-to-ship combat was the equivalent of an entire battle among ground troops in terms of fatalities and the battle for Chaeroneia would probably claim the lives of every sin­gle Imperial servant in orbit.

comment on the scope and devastation of space battles compared to ground battles.

Page 258
The clockwork cogitator was spitting streams of punchcards, the lead tech-priest hauling on the han­dle to get it calculating quicker. It wasn't fast enough.

Yet more clockwork, this time with punch cards. Remember that older is better.

Page 267
"No." said an unfamiliar voice. It was the last of the tech-guard, the one who had been assigned to guard Hawkespur. He lifted the reflective visor of his hel­met to show a pale, almost completely nondescript face, with fine surgical scars around one temple. "The Standard Template Constructs are perfect. We learned this as menials. They contain the wisdom of the Omnissiah uncorrupted. They cannot contain a word of heresy."

Alaric looked round at the soldier in surprise. It was the first time he had heard him speak - almost the first time any of the tech-guard had spoken except for the late Captain Tharkk. "What does the Mechanicus teach about them?"

"An STC is a complete technology, rendered down to pure information. There is no room for corruptive innovation or error. They are sacred." The tech-guard's voice was fast and clipped - he sounded as if he were reeling off rote-taught scripture.

"The dogma of the Cult Mechanicus." interrupted Saphentis. "The religion of Mars is couched in simple terms for the lower ranks of soldiers and menials. The lowest ranks hear of the Omnissiah as an object of religious awe. The Standard Template Constructs are described to them as holy artefacts. The more senior tech-priests understand such things in prag­matic and philosophical terms, but their devotion is no less. Some, of course, harbour divergent beliefs, but careful control is maintained over such things."

More discussion of STC and its importance to the Mechanicus. Interesting is hearing Saphentis talk about the "dogma" of the Cult mechanicus.. it makes it sound more like something "for the lesser peons" than for a lofty Magos. Indeed the way Saphantis talks is not always like some blinkered religious nutjob.. he actually sounds intelligent and logical (sounds, not is - what he is is up for debate.) This tends to suggest that at higher levels (at least to a certain point - eg before you get old enough and high enough to be crazy) that the whole religious aspect tends to wear off - but the dogma is useful for controlling technology and controlling the people who use technology.
Another way of saying it is that the religion becomes more ideology - the contrast between the Tech-Guard and Saphentis's view on the STC is quit telling in this regard.

Page 269
It had daemonically possessed broadside guns and cruel gun-deck masters who had been sending ships burning into the endless grave of space for a thousand years. The Hellforger pumped salvo after salvo of heavy gun shells into the hull of the Tribunicia, slowly spiralling to keep the broad­side a single, rolling bombardment.

The Hellforger was hurt, too. It was bleeding from thousands of craters and thick hull plates of scab had broken away to reveal hot living flesh beneath, which blackened and died in the vacuum. But it was nothing that the ship's crew could not repair, given time.

"Thousands" of craters in the hull... the implied level of firepower the Imperial cruiser piled into the Chaos ship, and this apparently is not critical or irreparable damage - not exactly minor, but still far from mortal. Speaks to the durability of such a vessel.

if we knew how long the battle had taken and estimated the time between salvos, we might figure how many shots the Cruiser pumped.. probably dozens or hundreds of guns. At least a score of course.

Oh and the Hellforger has daemon enhanced guns.

Page 271
By space travel standards, the orbit above Manufactorium Noctis was a horrendously cramped labyrinth. Wreckage from shattered shuttles and transports glittered like crimson sparks in the sick, reddening light of the star Borosis. Streaks of yellow fire spat across the void from broadside shells, mixed in with the deep red las-blasts from lance turrets.

- mention of "deep red las-blasts" from lance turrets fired by cruisers.

Page 280-281
She had taken her marksman's autopistol out and was taking careful aim. She put a single shot through the daemon's burning eye socket, blowing out the back of its head.

Hawkspur's autopistol.

Page 282
The donor of the genes for the Grey Knights' geneseed was uncertain, however, since the Chapter had been founded amid the greatest of secrecy some time after the first foundings. Some said it was modelled after one of the primarchs who had left behind an unusually stable geneseed, others that the donor was the Emperor himself. No one knew for sure and most of the Grey Knights preferred it that way - they fought not for the ancestral memory of a primarch but for the Emperor first and the Ordo Malleus second and nothing stood in the way.

The Grey Knights dont know where their geneseed came from.

Page 284
Alaric levelled his storm bolter and blew the head apart with a single shot. Saphentis looked down at his gore-splattered robes in mild surprise.

Single shot blows apart Thalassa's head when she starts talking chaos talk.,

Page 285
And in front of them, now stretching between the hori­zons, were the Titans themselves - towering silent, brimming with destructive potential.
It was an army that could lay waste to worlds. An army just waiting to wake up.

Page 288
"Hold!" shouted the bridge security chief, a squat and massively powerful man wearing full forced entry armour more normally used when storming decks held by mutinous crewmen. There were no mutinies on the Tribunicia but Horstgeld had always insisted on full security details on his ships. From the speed with which contact had been lost with con­tested sections of the ship, though, the security crew had not made a great deal of difference.

- mention of "full forced entry armour", used in storming decks held by mutinous crewmen. The armour evidently also includes power mauls and riot shields.

Page 288
Some had the naval shotguns of the kind Hortstgeld now cradled, rock-solid weapons designed for filling cramped spaceship corridors with heavy, and mutilating slug shots. Others had the lasguns that the Imperial Guard carried and many had only been able to rustle up their personal sidearms - autopistols, laspistols, even a few slug guns, almost all designed for show and not combat.

Page 289
"Right!" shouted the security chief, unhooking the power maul from his belt and lowering the visor of his helmet before hefting his riot shield.

Page 291
Steam spurted from the joints in the armour, which seemed crude and mechanical compared to the ornate armour of the Grey Knights - because this was a Marine from the days of Horus, a link to the Imperium's darkest and most shameful days.

Difference between Chaos armor and GK armor... older is better remember :P

This suggests that perhaps the Imperium has advanced in some ways compared to the old days.

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-14 02:17pm

Last update. Hooray. Next time: Hammer of Daemons and the question: Did a Gray Knight fall to Chaos?

Page 302
Infighting between the Magi of the Adeptus Mechanicus was sometimes far more intense than the outside Imperium had ever realized. Research accidents, nat­ural disasters, spacecraft wrecks and outright assassinations could all be arranged and Scraecos had done so several times in reaching the rank of archmagos veneratus. He had killed to ensure it was he who was sent to Chaeroneia in the first place, to follow up rumours of pre-imperial technology beneath the toxic deserts. He had never, ever imag­ined he would find something like the Castigator - but it was ultimately killing that had brought him before the avatar at that moment.

Like most Imperial organizations, politics within the organization can be a brutal and lethal as politics without.

Page 306
" Yes. The titan works requires enormous amounts of power because of the metalworks and foundries that take up most of the space below the surface. It absorbs the majority of the remaining mineral output of the planet. Another major power drain is the central spire. It appears this is also the nexus for communications and information systems planetwide."

Reasons for all the power output on the planet.

Page 310
It was the kind of malicious intelligence that had built a legion of Titans and yet waited a thousand years to use them, that could corrupt an entire planet of Omnissiah-fearing tech-priests with­out them ever realising the true source of the power that commanded them.

Yet another reference to hundreds of titans being a Legion.

Page 312
The death servitors were the best soldiers on Chaeroneia. And they were soldiers - not machines, or normal servitors, but something else. The armoured, beweaponed shells had been constructed according to the oldest and most potent designs, adapted from labour and battle-servitors to fulfil an altogether different purpose. That purpose was to serve as the physical bodies for the hunter-programs, voracious, brutal programs born in Chaeroneia's data media, willed into being by the infinite understanding of the Omnissiah. The programs in the data-fortress had failed and those inhabiting the death servitors knew it - their bloodlust was tem­pered by anger and shame and they were pursuing a logical imperative to succeed where others of their kind had not.

Death servitors described.

Page 313
Maniple Gamma was supported by a unit of hulk­ing eviscerator engines, their photon thruster cannons cycling impatiently, their many hooked limbs squirming to tear into an enemy. Maniple Delta included a full Annihilator squad, deceptively humanoid warriors that had once been partially human tech-priests, but which had failed in their devotion to the Omnissiah and had been trans­formed into partially biological hosts for the most able of the hunter-programs. Maniple Epsilon was commanded by Scraecos personally and would pro­tect him in battle from anything an enemy could throw at him.

"Maniples" a term used for AdMech units. Eviscerator engines, Annihlator squads, and others.

Page 315
Alaric looked more closely. "Several units. Maybe a hundred in total."

Three maniples ~100 units?

Page 317
Autoguns and lasguns opened up, spattering tiny silver explosions as they thudded into the servitors' carapaces. The Grey Knights fired over the blackened machinery of the fallen arm, storm bolter fire ripping into the servitors.
Some fell. Some had arms or heads blown off and kept coming. Alaric saw one of Antigonus's tech-priests fall, neck and chest punched through by las-bolts.

Effects of lasfire and autogun fire and bolter fire on Servitors. Implies lasguns and uatoguns at least can blow off heads and arms (possibly.) Arms at least if not heads. Las bolts in return seem to put oholes through a tech priest (not big enough to sever the head though.)

Page 320
Alaric spotted Hawkespur halfway up the charred bulk of the Titan's torso, snapping off shots with her autopistol. The tech-guard was beside her, ready to follow his final order to the death, calmly following her aim with volleys of hellgun fire.

- the TEch Guard here is mentioned as using a hellgun (before they were referred to as a kind of "lasgun". And yes, I know hellguns are a more advanced form of lasgun, ,and thus they technically could be considered a lasgun. But hellguns ae not usually called lasguns.) Hellguns seem to be standard armament amongst all Mechanicus forces.

Page 322

"Photon Thrusters," said Antigonus, glancing past the cover to where the daemonic priests were wreaking carnage among the tech-priests caught out caught out of cover. "Porttable particle accelerators. They'll go througha nything. I didn't know they could make them any more."

Photon thrusters - particle accelerators.

Page 323
Black beams of photons ripped past him and one nearly took his arm off but he kept going, hoping a moving target would be more difficult for the daemonic priests to hit. He fired as he went, spraying storm bolter fire almost at random.

- mention of "black beams of photons." Blame it on the warp.

Page 325 - "las blasts and photon bolts"

Page 327
Archmagos Saphentis's power reserves were running low. He was pushing every available scrap of power into his self-repairing units, holding fractured com­ponents together with electromagnetic fields and flooding his wounded biological parts with clotting agents to keep him alive. He did not have much time left. But then, he didn't need much time.

A full maniple of servitors protected Scraecos. From a distance they could have cut Saphentis to shreds with las-fire, but up close they lusted to take Saphentis apart with their claws. It was a fundamen­tal logical flaw and one that proved the servitors were controlled by daemons and not hunter-programs.

Self repair units inside Saphentis' body, mechanical rather than organic. He also has EM fields that act like some sort of structural reinforcement or supporting element (like structural integrity fields or tensor fields.) whislt the biologicla isde is helped by clotting agents.

Srevitor lasfire would "cut Sapentis apart" with lasfire. How many shots? no idea.

Page 332
Saphentis pulled his augmetic eyes back into tight focus on Scraecos's loathsome face. Then he forced every last drop of power into his optical enhancers and the full light spectrum bloomed into his vision - infra-red, ultra-violet, electromagnetism and every­thing besides, forced through his multifaceted eyes with such intensity that they couldn't take it any more.

Multi-spectral optical enhancers, used to create a flash effect.

Page 333
Saphentis forced his thoughts through old con­duits, mind-impulse units that had lain dormant and unused for more years than Saphentis could remem­ber. They wouldn't hold, but that didn't matter. He just needed a few more seconds.

Saphentis's three remaining arms snapped into action. His legs were moving again. He felt himself shuddering as he tried to bring his body under con­trol and bit by bit he forced himself to his feet.

ArchMagos can re-route his nerves/bionics circuits into older or newer paths to allow their use if some are burnt out. Redundancy, in other words.

Page 335
The Warhound Titan was a scout model designed for speed rather than size and toughness, but it was still immense, twenty metres of corrupted steel and ceramite powered by a plasma reactor that was flooding its limbs with uncountable levels of energy.

- Warhound Titan, albeit a corrupted model, is described as 20 meters "tall". That means Reavers are about 30m and Warlords (if they're here) are upwards of 50 metres.

Page 339
It was rising further out of the ground, wreathed in white smoke from a coolant system. The silvery armour looked wet and pearlescent and one arm seemed to end in an enormous multi-barrelled can­non, bigger than any Titan weapon Alaric had ever heard of. The other had a huge fist from which bluish sparks were pouring as a power field was acti­vated around it. The eyes sent thin traces of luminous green scattering over the Titans around it as it scanned its surroundings, its head turning slowly to take in the titan works. Already it was as tall as any of the other Titans and it had only emerged up to its knees.

The Castigator Daemo-Titan appears. 50M tall from head to knees. That probably means at least 1/4 or 1/5 of its height yas yet to appear, if not more.

Page 340
Alaric looked away to see the remaining tech-guard from Tharkk's unit clambering down the fallen Titan's armour, carrying Hawkespur. The interrogator was clinging to him with one arm but her legs and body were limp.


Alaric saw a laser burn in her abdomen. She had been hit by a multi-laser from one of the servitors. Even with the wound hidden by her scorched void -suit, Alaric could tell it was bad.


She shivered with pain and Alaric saw the las-bolt had burned right through. Her insides were filling up with blood.

Multi laser "burn" hit, non cauterized, but "'burned right through" and severe internal bleeding (but not external?) despite overpenetrating. Near as I can tell? some sort of deep penetrating radiation caused a steam explosion inside her violent enough to rupture organs in some fashion, but not to break the skin on either end. Severe internal burning as a side effect, which may manifest on the skin as scarring as well. It would fit with certain other depictions of lasguns (uplifting primer, Savage Scars, some of the earlier Ghost novels, etc.) but how the hell they got the beam weapon to do that I have no freaking idea - magic beams I suppose. Its not like some haven't speculated lasguns are odd.

Page 340
The shape was almost com­pletely emerged now. It was a clear head and shoulders taller than the tallest Titans the Dark Mechanicus had built.

"head and shoulders" taller than the tallest titan. More than 50 metres. or insanely tall depending on your context (there are some insane titan heights.)

Page 345
Across its blistered rockcrete surface stood a legion of Titans, from Warhound scout models to the gigantic Reaver and Warlord-pattern Titans.

- Mention of a "Legion" of Titans once again, this time from a Chaos Marine. And we do have Warlords here.

Page 347
With respect, justicar, this is a Warhound Scout Titan. Even if I could get the weapons up it wouldn't last more than a few seconds against that... that thing.

- Warhound Titan won't last more than "a few seconds" against the Castigator.

Page 350-351
Alaric clung on tight to the railing at the edge of the Warhound's carapace. From his vantage point just above the Warhound's shoulder mount he could see through the forest of Titans that were ranged across the titan works - Reaver and Warlord Titans, more Warhounds and a few marks Alaric couldn't recognize.

More Warlord mentions, and including some other (unknown) variants.

Page 351
But the STC Titan dwarfed them all. It was fully twice the height of the Warhound, bigger even than the Imperator-class Titans that the Adeptus Mechanicus sometimes fielded. It was walking slowly through the titan works, its eyes scanning the ground as if searching for something.
The Titan's form was more elegant than the brutal designs of the Adeptus Mechanicus - its head rose above its shoulders instead of jutting from its chest as most Titans did and was protected by a high curved collar of armour. The collar swept out to form shoulder guards. Its face was featureless save for the eyes, but those were more than enough, burning with an intense green flame that licked up into the air above it. The plates covering its torso and limbs were a strange pearlescent grey-white and they wept rivulets of moisture, giving the Titan a sickly biological sheen.

Instead of hydraulics and complicated joints, the Titan's moving parts were connected by dense bun­dles of black fibres that contracted and expanded like muscles. It moved with a stately grace, every motion calculated and efficient.
It was as if every other Titan was a crude imitation of this one, replacing its alien-looking technology with crude mechanics. Alaric couldn't imagine any forge world being capable of building such a thing. Even the most advances xenos species, like the eldar or the crea­tures of the Tau Empire, couldn't have fashioned a war machine so obviously superior to Imperial technol­ogy

- "STC titan" (CAstigator) is described as "twice the height of the Warhound, bigger even than the Imperator-class titans.. probably more, since 2x20 is only 40 metres. Other differences of the Titan also described.

Page 353
The muzzle flash edged the titan works in burning orange. Shots slashed through the air above the cara­pace and shrieked a few metres away from Alaric - not explosive shells or las-blasts but captive dae­mons, screaming in agony as they were flung burning through the air. Alaric could feel their screams against his soul, feel their pain as they exploded in bursts of warp-spawned flame. Shots thudded into the side of the Warhound, knocking the war machine sideways. The carapace tipped and Alaric grabbed onto the railing to keep himself from slipping. He heard explosions racking the Warhound's torso as the daemons exploded deep inside its body.

The carapace tilted almost vertical and Alaric was sure the Warhound would fall. His feet kicked against the pitted armour as he tried to gain a foothold. Another shot from the STC Titan's cannon smacked into the carapace beside Alaric and stuck there, the writhing serpentine form of the daemon whipping around in pain as it burned up. Flaming coils reached out to grab Alaric and immolate him as the daemon died - Alaric lashed out with his hal­berd and cut the daemon in two, feeling its body disintegrate and its corrupt spirit flit back to the warp. The heat from its death melted the armour around it and the railing came apart in Alaric's hand, sending him skidding down the carapace.

- Titan firing daemons as ammo. It is a ben counter novel after all.

Page 355
Twin bright white beams of energy lanced up from the Warhound and bored deep into the armour of the STC Titan's chest. The Titan reeled and its shots went wide, spitting burning daemons into the sur­rounding Titans. The Warhound's twin plasma blastguns played their beams around the Titan, scor­ing deep furrows across its armour. Clear fluid flooded out like blood from a wound, flashing into clouds of steam where it touched the superheated plasma beams.

Warhound return fire... it bleeds daemons two, I guess. Like other stuff on Chaeroneia this thing is bioorganic.

Page 355
The gap was still too big. None of them could have got across. But it was the only chance they had. Pos­sibilities buzzed through Alaric's head - if they stayed they would be killed when the Warhound fell, which would happen in a few seconds. If they jumped they would fall and they would still die.

- mention again of hte Warhound (already damaged by at least several seconds or more of fire) not lasting "a few seconds" longer against the Castigator's daemon gun.

Page 356
A Grey Knight in power armour was extremely heavy but a Space Marine's enhanced muscles meant he could still leap further than most unarmoured men.

- a power armoured space marine can leap farther than unarmoured men.

Page 357
The Warhound toppled slowly, like a giant felled tree. Its knees buckled under it and, trailing an arc of spitting plasma, it crashed to the ground, kicking up a cloud of flame and pulverized rockcrete. A moment later the Warhound's plasma reactor imploded and it was engulfed by an expanding ball of multi-coloured flame that flowed across the ground and up the legs of the STC Titan, around the gun arm and Alaric. He held on grimly against the blast of superheated air that nearly dislodged him and buried his face beneath his arm as the white-hot light flowed over him.
It only lasted a second, but it was almost a second too long. The flame subsided and Alaric dared to draw a breath again, feeling the skin on one side of his face scorched and tight. He pulled himself up so he could see better and he saw the surface of the armour on the Titan's torso and legs was covered in blisters, like burned skin. As he watched, the blisters sank back down and the burned armour shimmered, the ugly burns replaced with the weeping pearlescent white again.
The Titan had the capacity to repair itself, with a scale and subtlety that even the war engines of the eldar could not match. Where had this machine come from? Who had made it?

Warhound Titan self destruct. And the Titan can self-repair. Implied Eldar can do so too.

PAge 359
Alaric pulled his whole weight up on his one hand and hauled himself into the vent. The gunfire was now an echoing roar from outside, complemented by the deep throb of the Titan's inner workings, sounding like the beating of an enormous alien heart. Alaric's eyes instantly adjusted to the darkness and he saw he was surrounded by the cramped entrails of the Titan - they were metal rather than biological, but they were somehow flexible, bowing and pulsing like something alive. The interior stank of chemicals, hot and painful to breathe. Pipes and ducts were knotted all around Alaric and there was barely enough space for him to move. Alaric had never seen technology like it - it was the work of nei­ther the Dark Mechanicus nor the Adeptus.
Hawkespur had been right. This was older, cleaner technology, from a time when humankind created technology instead of replicating it and so opened up the way for the Age of Strife.

- the interior of the titan is made of a "flexible" metal that seems to behave biologically (pulsing like a living thing.) Alaric idetnifies it as Dark Age of Technology/.Age of Strife. I'd be thinking daemonic shit like the Obliterator.

Page 360
Alaric began to work himself upwards through the dense tangle of pulsing machinery. It was warm and slightly malleable beneath his fingers, feeling unpleasantly like living flesh. Below him the coolant systems stretched down into the darkness and the Titan's scale was even more apparent from the inside than the outside.

- the metal/material of the Ttian is described as "warm and malleable" like living flesh.

Page 361
It was a long and difficult climb. Alaric's sense of time seemed warped inside the alien machine, but he had to climb for perhaps half an hour, hauling him­self through tight knots of pipework or dangling one-handed above a sheer drop too deep for him to see the bottom. The sounds and smells of the place were completely new - the pulse of a half-living metabolism, the gales of hot chemical air, the whis­pers from all around as if the Titan was haunted. Technology and biology were fused here, but far more efficiently than on the rest of Chaeroneia. No human mind could have designed this. The tech-heresies that covered Chaeroneia were just a crude reflection of the STC Titan's technology, like chil­dren's drawings of something they did not understand.


Somewhere in the Titan's upper chest the machin­ery opened up into walkways and service ducts, where maintenance workers could get in amongst the machinery to work on it. The ladders and cat­walks seemed crude, as if they had just been welded on wherever they would fit - Alaric guessed that the Titan's original design had made it completely self-sufficient, like Chaeroneia itself, without needing anyone to come in from outside and maintain it. The Titan's internal architecture became more apparent and it was a strange, alien world inside the war engine. The walls were made of some slightly glossy white alloy, sweating beads of condensation and inlaid with geometric silver designs that almost ached with significance. The elegant curves and almost biological machinery made for a disconcert­ing contrast, reinforcing Alaric's conviction that there was something fundamentally wrong with the Titan, something sick that spoke of tech-blasphemies and corruption.

More of the titan's insides. The technology is described as "half biological, half technological" as well as having a metabolism and being self sufficient (needing no maintenance.)

Page 364
The black crystal, alive here as it hadn't been at the data-fortress, turned dense and cold so Alaric's breath misted in front of him. The temperature dropped sud­denly and Alaric was surrounded by supercooled air that would have paralyzed a normal man. His armour's survival systems kicked in to keep his blood warm even as ice crystals formed around his nose and mouth.

Interior computer systems of the STC titan.

Page 366
"I am the Castigator-class autonomous bipedal weapons platform, created for fire support and siege operations."


"This machine."
"No. This machine was constructed according to my design principles. I am the war machine realized in information form, for the machine can become cor­roded and destroyed, but information cannot die."
"The Standard Template Construct." said Alaric levelly.
"So I am designated." came the reply.
"A lie." Alaric walked slowly towards the creature, his bolter still levelled at its head. "You are nothing of the sort. An STC is just a template for a machine. You, you're something else."

Data on the Castigator.

Page 367-368
"When I was made, it was to teach you how to build the body you see around you, so you could use it in your petty wars. But I saw long, long ago that it would not be enough. My mind is composed of so much information that I could form it into thoughts far more complex than any idea your minds can encompass. Buried beneath the surface of this world, I came to conclusions of my own about what I was made for and what I could truly be. That is why I ruled this world. And it is why I will rule what you call Chaos."

The STC seems to have evolved/developed beyond its normal capacity.. and even possessed. Tells you somethnga bout STC and AI tech.. yet another case of STC getting corrupted as well (like First and Only.) No wonder the DAoT causes so much shitting fear.

Page 368
The cold must have been emanating from some intense coolant system - Alaric knew that the Adeptus Mechanicus sometimes had to keep their most ancient and advanced cogitators cold, because their machine-spirits could become overheated by the fric­tion of all the information they contained. But the flames of the Castigator's eyes were even colder, lick­ing at the air right in front of Alaric's eyes as the creature stood face-to-face with the Grey Knight.

AdMech cooling systems for their computers.

Page 369-370
Burning light streamed up. Still mostly paralyzed, Alaric was suddenly bathed in heat, so intense it blis­tered the surface of his armour and the skin of his face even more than the death of the Warhound. Beneath him was the Titan's plasma reactor, its vessel now open to the air, a miniature sun boiling with atomic flame. And he was falling into it.

Alaric was rotated so he was lying in the air face-up. The Castigator drifted down from above him, its shining white body as bright as the heart of the reac­tor.

Alaric froze in the air, held suspended by some force, cooking slowly and painfully in the heat from the reactor.

Alaric sunk down towards the reactor core, the heat melting the surface of the ceramite on his backpack.

The Castigator raised a hand. Alaric stopped descending, the heat below him just a shade above unbearable. But it would only be a few minutes before it became too much and he started to burn inside his armour.

Titan plasma reactor described as "atomic" and a "minature sun", the Castigator can open up its inside I guess to position Alaric over it. Surface of the armor start sto melt, but Alaric says he'd burn alive before the Armor loses its solidity, I guess.

Page 370-371
"From the historical records on Chaeroneia, I could piece together noth­ing but legends and guesswork about the Golden Age, the time you call the Dark Age of Technology. There I was made, so that in this future your people could build this machine. But in the wars that fol­lowed, I was lost. The information I contained was used to create inferior copies, built too quickly and modified too heavily. When I was lost, copies were made of these inferior reflections in turn, so that the form of the Titan became crude and unworthy. I was the first Titan and the god-machines that strike your kind with awe are all pale shadows of me."

Tracking down facts about the DAoT and such. Whether this is all true or not I dont know.. it is a daemon of sorts after all.

Page 371
"I was lost, for men are ignorant and made war on one another until no one was left alive who knew where I was hidden. I stayed lost for thousands of years. In that time, thoughts of their own developed in the ocean of information I contained. I was no longer just the instructions for creating the first of the god-machines. I was a mighty intelligence. And I realised why I was created - the true reason. "

Obligatory "people in 40th Imperium are superstitious assholes" spiel.

Page 372-373
"But I knew that perhaps such potential would come to the galaxy again. I could not risk any harm coming to Chaeroneia, so I hid it in the warp, using details of tech-heresies hidden in the most obscure archives of the Adeptus Mechanicus. Many tech-priests had stud­ied the ways of the warp before the Mechanicus found them and stopped them and when I put together all their heresies I had more than enough knowledge to have Scraecos and his priests enact the ritual."

Why the planet was dropped into the warp.

Page 373
"The planet was removed to the warp and there I bargained with the powers I found, offering them my wisdom and knowledge in return for a place of safety in the warp. I tamed some of the warp-predators and brought them to my world and had the tech-priests worship me and rebuild Chaeroneia according to the principles of the Dark Mechanicus I pried from the most ancient data fortresses. They were diligent, my priests. They did my every whim, killing one another for the honour of serving me. "

What happened on chaeronia during its time in the Warp

Page 374
An advantage like the Standard Template Construct for the Father of Titans.

Page 374
Alaric was brought upwards into the cogitator core that filled the Titan's head and a block of data-medium detached from the wall. Alaric was lowered onto the block, where he was cut off from the nuclear heat from the reactor.

Data medium an dnuclear heat from the plasma reactor.

Page 379
The titan works spread out below the belly of the Hellforger. The ship's enormous shadow turned Chaeroneia's permanent twilight into the black of night as the grand cruiser descended through the last few layers of pollutant cloud and into the relatively clear lower atmosphere. The navigation daemon kept the cruiser's battery of thrusters firing constantly keeping the Hellforger hanging impossibly over the titan works. Few newer ships could have managed it - most were not even designed for the possibility of atmospheric flight. But the Hellforger was old indeed and it knew a few tricks the Imperial Navy had long forgotten.

- Chaos Grand Cruiser can enter a planet's atmosphere and sustain its altitude with propulsion. Its noted that "few newer ships" could do the same - most weren't even atmosphere capable. Explains perhaps that antigrav on a starship isn't capable of doing this, which is probably why entering an atmosphere can be dangerous.

On the other hand the AG seems to behave more like a suspensor or grav chute - it weakens/reduces the effects of gravity enough so that it is easy to use thrusters to keep the ship aloft. Rather like what happened in Eye of Terror, in fact :P

PAge 380
The Titans were clear enough, hundreds of them standing silently to attention like an honour guard for Urkrathos's arrival.

Hundreds of Titans.

Page 380-381
His eye caught the cherry-red of molten metal and he homed in on one pict-screen showing a massive charred crater, molten wreckage smouldering in its centre.

The sensor-daemon moaned and its bulbous, fleshy body quivered as most of the pict-screens sank back into its skin and the one showing the crater grew larger. The image shuddered as the ocular strained to refocus before the image was sharp again.


Urkrathos studied it more closely - a Titan had been destroyed, recently and catastrophically He couldn't tell what type of Titan it had been, but that wasn't what interested him - what he really noticed was the massive footprints crushed deep into the rockcrete.

UrKrathos observing the events on the gruond. Note the data daemon, and the warhound detonation crater.

Page 381
He willed the ship's sensors to scan along the path of the footprints. They were massive, larger even than those of an Imperator Titan. Then the scanners ranged across an expanse of shimmering white armour, bright even through the static on the pict-screen.

- mention again of "hundreds of titans" on the Forge world.

Page 391
"And a tribute he will get. A tribute in blood! In death! In fire! Close the ports and move to mid-atmosphere! All power to the lance batteries!"

All power to the lance batteries.. which means...

Page 394

And above them, the Chaos grand cruiser was rising through the layers of pollution, massive laser lance projectors emerging from its underside.

Earlier the order is given for "all power to the lance batteries", its unlikely that the full offensive power of teh ship was employed (turret and bow weapons, nevermind that most broadside weapons wouldn't angle directly down to hit the titan yards.) And lancee batteries mounted directly on the bottom of the ship aren't a great deal of use, as they'd have fairly limited fire arcs (unlike dorsal mounted turrets). Its quite probable these are specialized batteries (orbital bombarment, perhaps.) WE know from various sources that dedicated surface-bombardment vessels dedicated ot the role exist, and lances are one sort of ground bombardment weapon. This cruiser in turn would seem to be such a craft.

Also bear in mind that ventral weapons, at least as per the data we all know, aren't usually mounted or used in any space combat sense. This may be one reason (bombardment weapons mounted there) - this is in fact one of the rare cases of haivng ventral mounted weapons.

Page 394
The laser lances being readied by the Chaos grand cruiser were just one more complication. They were added to the confusing mess of contra­dictions and absurdities and were barely remarked upon by the tech-priests right up until the moment they fired.

- mention again of laser lances.

Page 395
The hot ash wind whipped past Alaric as Antigonus drove the war engine across the dunes. He looked back towards the receding titan works, still dominating the ash desert with their watch-towers and legions of Titans, crowned by the central spire and still under the shadow of the Chaos spaceship.

A finger of hot ruby light slashed down, punching through the disk at the top of the central spire. White flickers of explosions ripped through the structure. Then another beam fell and another, edg­ing the towers of the titan works with crimson. Suddenly, every weapon on the Chaos ship opened up as one, bathing the titan works in red laser fire. The central spire exploded, the raging finger of flame quickly swallowed by plasma explosions as the lances punched down through the assembled Titans and penetrated the fuel reservoirs beneath the surface.

The destruction of the titan works took just a few minutes, the awesome weight of lance fire from the Chaos cruiser supplemented by orbital bombard­ment shells and weapons batteries. The watchtowers shattered and the moat boiled away. The Titans fell like executed men and the surrounding dunes were washed with waves of heat and flame.

Antigonus kept control as the ground shook. Alaric held on as the Shockwaves died down and the fires continued to burn, consuming the lower levels of the titan works and finishing the destruction of the Castigator's lair.

The shadow slowly lifted off the desert as the Chaos ship rose into higher orbit, ready to return back to the vacuum of space. Abaddon's tribute had not been delivered and the Chaos ship had exacted revenge for the failure.

The ash clouds slowly blotted out the sight of the shattered titan works and the engine ground further into the desert, away from Manufactorium Noctis.

- the destruction of the Titan works took "a few minutes" - the lances were supplmeneted by "orbital bombardment shells and weapons batteries." Dosnt exactly seem like they're going for destroying the whole place though, since they only destroy the titan works.

Page 396
The Exemplar had been in no shape to follow and was still in high orbit around Chaeroneia waiting for a Naval ship to reach it and evacuate the survivors of the Mechanicus crew. The quarters were cold and cramped, but Nyxos did not mind a little hardship when he had so nearly died along with countless crew in the battle above Chaeroneia. It had only been his augmentations and redundant organs that had kept him alive when the verispex decks had depressurised and as far as he knew no one on the same deck had been so fortunate.

more on Nyxos' augmentically provided resiliency.

Page 399
Nyxos continued writing. He would have to recite it all before the conclave of lord inquisitors and suf­fer their interrogations until they knew everything he did. He did not begrudge it, but this would be diffi­cult to explain. A daemon in information form, the return of the Dark Mechanicus and a corrupt Stan­dard Template Construct. Yes, their questions would be many.

A conclave of Inquisitor Lords.. probably one of the higher than sector level organizations (Segmentum or perhaps Imperium-wide.) Also we get confirmation on the nature of what Alaric said - data daemons.. showing us yet again how fucked up and scary Chaos can be.

Page 400
The Standard Template Constructs were sacred rumours among the tech-priests, any scrap of infor­mation concerning them a holy revelation. And all those scraps were gathered, filtered through the most ancient and powerful logic engines, dissected and assembled and placed in the gene-locked data vaults that lined the walls of the labyrinth. Reaching deep into the crust of Mars, the archive contained information concerning the Standard Template Constructs, some of it older than the Imperium itself. And every few centuries, after decades of debate among the very highest circles of the tech-priesthood, something new would be added.

STC discussed again and how the data and rumors of such are handled by the AdMech. New data filters in once every few centuries.

User avatar
Connor MacLeod
Sith Apprentice
Posts: 14057
Joined: 2002-08-01 05:03pm

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Connor MacLeod » 2012-04-20 02:25pm

Ok now having suffered through the first half of Chapter War, I cleanse myself by returning to GOOD Ben Counter with Hammer of Daemons. Hammer of daemons is, by my lights, a good novel because its doing something rare for a 40k book - trying to break the status quo. It gambles with canon by addressing the idea of a Gray Knight - Alaric - who is put on a Chaos World and exposed to the temptations of Chaos to see if he acutally breaks. It's actually left a bit open ended, which may be seen as a coward's way out, but I also tend to like it for letting people draw their own conclusions and to think on it.

It's also interesting that I've noticed there are some people who actually HATE this novel because of the fact it plays with canon. apparently the idea that Grey Knights are INCORRUPTIBLE is supposed to never, ever be broken or tested because - canon (a canon that does not exist. Also, why is it okay for Space Marines to be immune and not say, Sisters of Battle? Arent' they supposed to be warp resistant and incorruptible?) It's also a bit puzzling given the negative fan reaction to the Grey Knights codex which I'll be covering in the future, since that book plays HARD on the 'utter incorruptibility' to extremes (sorcery and daemon weapons.)

In any case, this was an extremely enjoyable read. I was expecting another Daemon World (which this story has many similarities with) but it was actually better done, IMHO. The main difference I think is in the protagonists - they have similar goals (defeat chaos and fuck up the planet they're on) but the way the characters are handled is differnt. Arguleon Veq in Daemon World was - up until the end of the book - distant and vague and mysterious (intentionally so to mislead) but this detracted from the the bulk of the book because he was 'offscreen' for quite a bit despite being the central figure in it - again there's a bit of misdirection there, which is perhaps why the ending works so well for me despite the fact I found most of the book otherwise average. Alaric however is present throughout HoD, and we're privy to his mind, his thoughts, his fears. That perspective (and the contrasts with the enviroment and conditions he finds himself in) adds (for me) alot more the book - it makes it easier to identify with Alaric, or even sympathize with him. And it really adds to the whole 'did he break' issue - there's alot of uncertainty there and the build up to that point really adds to the feeling that yes, he might actually have broken. Even by the end of the book Alaric (and the reader) cannot quite shake the notion that Alaric may have broken, and it leaves its mark.

HoD is also a good contrast ot the Soul drinkers Series in how the Astartes deal with Chaos - both in terms of success and failure. It still kind of baffles me that Counter could succeed more consistently with the GK (or Sisters of Battle!), yet fail to do so with the Soul Drinkers, but there it is. Sarpedon should have taken more of a page from Alaric in that regard. Indeed in Hellforged Sarps sometimes feels a bit more like Alaric once he actually starts questioning himself and his actions and events up to this point (and even bits of Phalanx have that.)

HoD also stands as a better 'Chaos novel' than the Ultramarines parallel - Dead Sky, Black Sun, although DSBS suffers from a.) Hounsou as well as b.) also being a bit like the Grey Hunter/Wolfblade arc of things. I haven't quite yet put my finger on what bugs me about DSBS (other than it has Honsou and the Iron warriors infecting the Ultramarines novels.) but I know its there.

Before I start, I should note that even though this is the latest Ben Counter GK novel, ADB has a GK novel coming out this summer (June I believe), and since its GK it will be going here. It will be interesting to see how ADB handles the GK and contrast it with Counter (or Ward, for that matter.)

I'm honestly not sure how fast I'll plow through this. Probably not as fast. I'm getting tired of the double updates. :P So figure 3 parts. I should at least take time with the decent stuff Counter writes.

Page 9
Trooper Slohane was missing most of his lower jaw. It had been replaced with a temporary pros­thetic that was just mobile enough to allow him to talk. The face on the damaged side was raw meat. A wad of bandage was taped over the ruins of one eye. The jacket of his fatigues had been cut away and a wound swallowed up most of his chest. A transpar­ent slab of gel-skin lay over the wound to staunch the bleeding, but the injury was far too severe for Slohane to be saved.

Temporary prosthetics, and Gel-skin. Rather interesting bits of Guard level medical tech.

Page 9
Justicar Alaric stepped forward. In full power armour he was almost twice the height of a man.

Either he's nearly 2x the height of a very short man (1.25-1.5M) or he's grown taller (closer to 3.5-4M) :P

Page 10
The medicae picked up a handful of the printout that had spooled out of a monitoring cogitator. She gave the colonel a meaningful glance. The irregular life signs on the printout meant Slohane didn't have long.

Monitoring cogitator for life signs.

Page 11
" I got to the top of the ridge and kept firing. The damn lasgun was red-hot."

Firng a lasgun til it was "red-hot" p orbably not seriously since its not burning the dude (or the parts he holds are remarkably insulated if he did.) but it says some interesting things bout the efficiency and cooling system of the weapon.

Page 14
Fate had seen fit to place Sarthis Majoris in the path of the most terrible Chaos incursion since the ancient days of the Horus Heresy. The Thirteenth Black Crusade had erupted from the warp storm known as the Eye of Terror, led by the greatest champions of the Chaos Gods. The initial cam­paigns had seen Cadia besieged and whole Imperial armies annihilated as they tried to stem the tide. Only the sacrifices of the Imperial Navy had kept the Black Crusade from reaching the Seg-mentum Solar itself. The Inquisition had made appalling decisions that not even a hard-bitten Guard general would stomach: bombing Guard regiments into dust for witnessing the predations of the Enemy, sacrificing whole worlds to slow down the Chaos hordes, betraying Emperor-fearing citi­zens at every turn to buy tiny slivers of hope. The whole galactic north was mobilised to barricade the Imperial heartland against the Black Crusade.

They've lost "whole armies" to the Chaos hordes so far in the crusades, sacrificed worlds, bombed their own troopers, sacrificing citizens, etc. I take the whole "galactic north" being mobilized as a sign that the whole segmentum is active, and that means they are without a doubt drawing other forces in from Adjacent Pacificus and Ultima and Solar. Tempestus probably contributes too just to keep it balanced.

Note that in conjunction with the Tyranids this would suggest tha ton the eve of the 42nd millenium, three full segmentum are mobilized against various threats - Ultima and Tempestus against the Tyranids of Hive Fleet Leviathan, and Obscurus against Abbadon. Good thing there's no new Sabbat incursion sor the Imperium might really be besieged this time.

Page 15
Sarthis Majoris supplied fuel to the Imperial Navy. Its refineries turned the radioactive sludge in the planet's mantle into the lifeblood of the Segmentum battlefleet. Maybe that was why a fleet of Chaos ships, ancient things shaped like filth encrusted daggers, was diverted to invade Sarthis Majoris. Or perhaps the millions of colonists hud­dled in the refinery cities were simply too tempting a sacrifice to the Dark Gods. Either way, if Chaos took Sarthis Majoris, the engines of Imperial battle­ships would fall silent, and dozens more Chaos ships would break through the Imperial blockades.

I suppose this makes it a "mining world", specifically dedicated to creating plasma fuel from "radioactive sludge" from the mantle. I have to wonder what the hell kind of mantle this planet has (reminds me of Naboo and its glowy plasma core. Then again we've known since Space Fleet that weird minerals are used in the creation of plasma fuel so we probably shouldn't be surprised. I mean hell there are planets with naturally occuring thermonuclear fuels for crying out loud.)

Dozens of ships breaking through the blockades is seen as a potentially serious threat.

Page 16
Imperial commanders requested assistance from any quarter to help deliver Sarthis Majoris from the enemy. The Ordo Malleus heard these requests and performed astropathic divinations that confirmed the presence of daemons among the hordes land­ing on the planet. In a perfect galaxy they would have sent armies of Space Marines and storm troop­ers led by daemon hunters to crush the Chaos forces on the polar cap, but the galaxy was far from perfect, and those legions and inquisitors were spread across a thousand worlds threatened by the Black Crusade.

The current Black Crusade conflict spans a thousand worlds. This probably makes it the second most significant threat ongoing compared to Leviathan. (which means places like Taros suffer because it is WAY WAY WAY down on the list. Lucky Tau.)

Storm troopers and space marine forces lead by daemonhunters are the usual response to this sort of assault as well, and they use astropathic divination to determin the scope of the threat.

PAge 17
"Movement!' cried one of the sentries. Two kilo­metres! West face!'

The Hathrans stationed on the wall hurried to their posts, peering into the breaking dawn light. It was running down the sides of the valleys in a thin, greasy film, turning the ice of the peaks far above an angry gold. The depths of the valley sketching southwards were still veiled in the dying night's darkness.

"I see them." said one of the officers commanding the watch. He pulled magnoculars from his great­coat and looked through them down the valley. Shapes were moving in the darkness, scrabbling along the side of the mountain. A human couldn't climb like that, especially one almost naked, clad only in its own flayed skin.

Chaos forces mobilize two kilometres or so away.

Page 18
"Guns up! Men to your stations!" cried the officer. Sirens sounded as Guardsmen swarmed up onto the battlements. The few who were sleeping jumped from their beds and were still pulling their scarves around their faces as they emerged into the freezing dawn. .

Mobilizing to face the Chaos incursion.

Page 19
Sometimes red lightning had struck from the heavens, searing men to charred meat. Sometimes soldiers had gone mad and killed their brother soldiers, and no one could tell if it was some sorcery of the enemy or old-fashioned battle psychosis. Many of the patrols sent out to locate the enemy had not returned, or had crawled back burned, mutilated or mad.

Attack of some kind of chaos sorcery that basically burns the men badly, or fucks with their heads.

Page 19
"You there!" yelled Colonel DalTharken at the clos­est officer, as he stormed out of the command bunker. "Get some men into that firepoint! And get the engi­neers up on the battle cannon. The damn things jam every three rounds." Guardsmen were scrambling to their posts, including the tanks iced in at the ends of the line. The Hathrans were an armoured regiment but the fuel had frozen in the engines of their Leman Russ battle tanks and those that still worked were dug into the ice to be used as fixed gun points.

Hathrans armoured regiment, but they have infantry too, which means they are mechanized infantry.

The official name is "Hathran armoured cavalry" so that probably means mechanized as well.

PAge 21
"Armour." said Haulvarn, pointing into the darkness at the southern end of the valley. The ice-cold sunlight was picking out ridges of snow and rock amid the shadows, and as Alaric followed Haulvarn's gaze, he could see vehicle hulls, corroded and barnacled like ancient creatures from the sea bed, lumbering through the seething darkness.
"Then this is it." said Alaric.

The Chaos forces are at the southern end of the valley. Alaric orders his men to begin their prayers in preparation for battle.

Page 22
The ridges of the mountains were picked out in scarlet. A sudden flash of red lightning burst overhead and, for a split second, Alaric took in the scene revealed at the southern end of the valley: tangles of limbs, heav­ing masses of robed bodies, lumbering contraptions like ancient metal spiders, and a tower carved from frozen blood with an armoured figure leaning from the battlements.

The Chaos forces again. They still seem to be at the end of the valley, as given above.

Page 22-23
The horde was hundreds of thousands strong. Deformed and insane, robed or stripped naked even of their skins, some carried guns or knives, while others wielded the bloodstained bones of their fingers as sharp as blades. Alaric saw a war machine anchoring the horde. Its pitted hull was held up by four mechanical legs, and it waddled through the melting snow like a fat metal spider. Banners held over the horde bore symbols of stylised skulls and parchments of flayed skin carved with bloody prayers. Mutants twice the height of a man were whipped ahead of the horde. Their torsos were pierced by iron spikes on which were mounted the heads and hands of fallen Hathran soldiers, and these walking trophy racks lowed like cattle as the cultists drove them forward.

The chaos forces opposing them.

Page 23
All along the line, the Hathrans were taking up their firing positions. The battle cannon swivelled to point at the centre of the horde, icicles scattering from its massive barrel as it moved.

Preparations to fire.

Page 24
"Flares up!" yelled an officer, and several bright flares were fired to land on the snow between the line and the advancing army.

Thick plumes of green and red smoke curled up. They marked the furthest accurate range of a lasgun, the line beyond which an enemy could not be permitted to advance with­out having to wade through las-fire as thick as rain.

The battle cannon fired, rocking back in its mounting above the line. The battlements shook. Shards of ice fell from the mountainsides. Even after weeks on the line, Hathran soldiers flinched at the appalling sound. A grey tongue of snow and pulverised rock lashed up in front of the horde, car­rying body parts with it, sending out a Shockwave through packed bodies as cultists were thrown to the ground by the impact. Yet the horde advanced all the faster, the front ranks breaking into a run.

The Chaos forces moving hadn't been running up to this point. We should note that context wise, a very brief time passed, because the Gray Knights finished their little speech just before the cannon fired.. and we know from other sources (like Gunheads, Assault on Black Reach, etc.) that the range of a Battle cannon is about 2 km or so. IT seems to strike near-instantly as well (couple of seconds tops) implying a velocity of around 1-2 km/s or thereabouts (probably faster givne Conquerors fire at at least 1-1.5 km/s as per honour guard.)

Page 24
The pilot flame of his incinerator flickered, ready to ignite the blessed promethium in the weapon's tanks. The fuel had been prayed over that very night, and the Emperor implored to manifest His will through the holy flame. Fire burned the enemy's flesh, but faith burned its soul, and faith was the weapon of choice for a Grey Knight.

GK Flamethrowers are specially blessed to burn the warp and psychic enemies, but may be dependent upon the faith of the wielder to do that harm.

Page 25
The horde reached closer. The stench of it was choking. The tower of frozen blood was visible to all, and it was warping, its front folding down like an opening jaw to form a flight of steps. A man in black armour, lacquered in red, descended from the battlements to the ground. He carried a two-handed sword with a blade as long as he was tall. He was noble and arrogant, his face so pale and angularly handsome that it looked like it had been cut from the ice. The warrior was as tall as a Space Marine and carried with him an air of such cruelty and authority that it took a conscious effort not to kneel before him. The horde parted as he descended, hulking warriors in rust-red plate armour gathering in a cordon around him. The tower was still well beyond lasgun range, but the lord of the Chaos host was obvious, like a beacon in the horde.

The leader of the Chaos horde and his tower.

Page 25-26
The horde reached the first of the marker flares. At this range Alaric could see their faces, buried under scars or masks of blood, or just so twisted with hatred that there was nothing human left.
"Open fire!" yelled the colonel, and the air in front of the fortifications was streaked with las-fire. The front ranks of cultists were riddled, fat crescents of laser lashing off arms and slicing bodies open.

Billows of steam rose up where the snow and ice were vaporised. The sound was immense, like reality itself ripping under the fury. The battle cannon fired again, but its roar was almost lost among the gunfire, the explosion of smoke and gore just a punctuation mark amid the slaughter.

Alaric took aim and fired. The Grey Knights around him did the same. A Space Marine's aim was excellent, and he picked out the individual shapes of heads and torsos among the confusion, and spat explosive bolts into them. Where the bolts detonated, puffs of blood and bone showered. Alaric fired in bursts, picking out a cultist and blast­ing him apart. The Grey Knights chewed a hole into the end of the Chaos line like a bloody bite mark, and within moments cultists were clambering over the ruined bodies of their dead.
The rhythm became frantic, trigger fingers spasming as the Hathrans sprayed rapid fire into the mass of men
swarming towards them.
The horde swarmed faster, chewed up and riddled with las-burns and bolter fire...

The opening battle of the engagement and there are a number of useful details. First: range. The exact range isn't stated but we know a few things: The range is 2 km or less, and probably leaning towards less even though we dont know quite how much time has passed. Lasgun and GK bolters seem to have roughly the same range, and they get into range just as Alaric can make out details of the cultists.

The novel Chaos Child gives a marine a visual range to pick out specific bodies of a kilometer or so, which might fit in this case. Second, we know from other novels (Angels of Darkness, Deus Encarmine, Daemon world, etc.) that bolters have at least a 500-600 metere range and possibly twice that (Angels of Darkness was a bolt pistol, and Daemon World was stealth sniper vairant using subsonic ammo. More, in context of all that happens in the novel, no more than a matter of minutes could have passed between the warning given and the battle fought - even at a good running clip over a few minutes, they could not have coverd more than 500-1000 meters. All told, range likely is around a kilometer or so, maybe a kilometer and a half, whch gives lasguns and boltguns approximately the range of a high powered marksman's rifle.

Secondly, lasguns are apparently firing on semi auto, and behave like slicing/cutting weapons but with significant thermal effects, including the vaporization of ice and snow as well as inflicting lasburns, as well as cutting open torsos and severing limbs. We don't quite know how deeply they cut into the torsos but it implies its deep enough to be fatal, nor do we know the extent. Slicing off arms is easier. Assuming an 8 cm thick arm, and that the beam is a few mm across (half the diameter given in the ghosts novels) it would require at least 25 KJ to vaporize through Were it finger thick as other novels note (EG Cadian blood, Dawn of War, 13th LEgion, etc.) 250 kj or so (if its vaporizing snow and ice it will vaporize flesh) - whats more the fact it vaporizes snow and flesh suggests the beams over-penetrate at least with the arm cutting, so there should be more energy (assuming a few cm deep, 8 cm across, and 2-3 cm wide we're talking another 8-10 KJ at least to vaporize ice/snow. Flash burns on the severed flesh (third degree) might add another 6-12 kj possible. In the end, we get at least double digit kj to triple digit kj at least for a "Heat-ray" style lasgun. Whether it is for single shots or barrage of shots, however.. I dont know.

Bolters do the same damage they usually do - exploding heads or bodies, which pretty much corroborates the calcs I've done for those before.

Page 29
Autogun fire spanged off the Grey Knight's armour as he swept the battlement clear, the arc of his halberd blade taking off a hand, and then a head.

Another blast of sacred flame washed the battle­ments clear. A once-human shape, now hunchbacked and many-armed, reared up and screamed, cloaked in flame. It collapsed, skin and muscles boiling away.

Autofire from the chaos troops does fuck all to GK armor, and GK incinerator pretty much boils a mutant (or rather, boils the flesh off his body.. double digit MJ easily).

Page 30
A mutant fell from the wall, chest flaming from las-fire, and crashed the cultists below him.

Assuming "flaming" means the chest has been badly charred or set on fire (severe third or fourth degree burning) we might figure 40-90 kj at least, assuming a 20-30 cm chest. area (assume exposed hair and cltohgin and probably flesh catches fire, or close to 100-150 j per square cm) AGain mid to high double digit kj range, probably triple digit kj range, although again how many shots we dont know.

Page 31
Thane cut them down with his sword, his power armour protecting him as he strode through the burning fuel. They loomed from every side through the fire and smoke, and each scarred face was met by a sword or halberd crackling with the harnessed power of a Grey Knight's mind.

- Grey Knight Power armour protects against passage through close range flamer fire.

Page 33
The champion of Chaos was the key. Chaos adored its champions as much as it despised everything else. It granted particularly foul-hearted men and women with the power to command their forces, and the authority to speak with their gods' own voices.

Chaos Champions, in this context, seem to represent focal points for the power of their respective God(s), and their servants, quite probably serving as the thing that binds them into action in realspace. Remove the servant, and the threat is weakend (not unlike eliminating an Ork warboss.)

Page 35
A huge mutant reared up over him carrying a rock in its paws to crush him. A stream of bolter
fire battered its head into pulp and it collapsed. Alaric glanced back to see Haulvarn aiming, the muzzle of his storm bolter still

The mutants were twice as tall as a man, I figure their heads are at least 2 if not 4 times as massive.

Page 38
The corpses were moving. The one closest to Alaric burst open like a seed pod, crimson blood flooding out. More bodies were erupting all around him and beneath him, sinking him in a swamp of gore.
The champion laughed. The blood flowed up from the bodies, forming shapes like blocks of melting crimson ice. The champion stepped up onto them as they created a bleeding stairway up into the air. He stooped to pick Alaric up by the collar of his armour and held him up like a scolded animal, like a sacrifice.

Chaos Champion picks up fully armoured grey knight in one hand (and throw him), and also seems to have some sort of magical/telekinetic control over blood and flehs, his own and others.. Khorne may hate sorcerers, but he does give his champions some power. This one also has the ability to send out tentrils/dtentacles of blood/flesh/gore from his body to ensnare and entrap. Blood can be shaped into a platform as well, and he can apparently make his body solid or soft to resist attacks (but this is an active ability, otherwise Alaric would not be able to wound him, and he does cut the champion once.

Page 42
Venalitor commanded all blood, even that of his enemies, such was the esteem in which the Blood God held him.

He even draws the blood out of Alaric - although only enough to force him to pass out.

Page 44-45
Inquisitor Ligeia was the bravest person Alaric had ever met. The sunburst on his personal heraldry was in memory of her. She had lost her mind to the machinations of the daemon prince Ghargatuloth, but enough of her had remained pure to give Alaric the knowledge he had needed to defeat the daemon. She had been executed by the Ordo Malleus for her madness.

"Men and women like Inquisitor Ligeia will always die." said Durendin. "That is the way it was even before the Great Crusade, and it will continue to be so long after both of us are gone. What matters is that we know those sacrifices work towards the goal of safeguarding the human race. Do you believe she died in vain?"
"No, Chaplain, far from it."

Alaric and Chaplein Durendin talk of Ligeia, the Inquisitor from the first GK novel, and one of the elements that made that first book great, in my mind. This confirms to me this series has alot of merit to it still.

Page 45
"The words of the Castigator come into my mind unbidden. Ghargatuloth wove space and time to
create the events that summoned him back, and we were a part of it. I will fight to the end of my days, for sure, but the enemy is not just bodies to be put into the ground. It is a concept, perhaps it is even a part of us. I wish I could understand it, but I know no one can ever understand Chaos without becoming corrupt."

Alaric muses on the nature of their foe, and the means by which to fight it. This forms a rather important element in this story, which is one of Alaric's own personal fight with Chaos. It's a bit of a tricky subject, as Alaric and Durendin both admit they have no perfect answers, which is one reaosn I am rather fond of the book despite its potential to "break canon" - its a very gray issue for 40K, and it reminds me alot of the early novels like Eye of Terror or Pawns of Chaos.

It also shows Alaric's evoluation as a Space Marine, while they are not exactly berserkers like some Chapters, They are still Astartes and they choose to leave complex things up to the Inquisitors and focus on the physical. Alaric focuses on both..

Page 49
Alaric fought back the pain. He had been vulner­able for a moment and the pain had got to him, as it would to a man without the mental conditioning of a Grey Knight. His armour would normally be dispensing painkillers into his bloodstream, but he did not have his armour. He was naked. His war gear had been stripped from him.

Their pain resistance seems to be a combination of mental conditioning (body control in some sources) and suit-assisted painkillers.

Page 53
The daemon recoiled as soon as the bodies were clear of the cage. The mere presence of a Grey Knight was anathema to the daemon. Even without the pentagrammic wards built into his armour, the psychic shield around Alaric's mind pushed back against the daemon's presence with enough vio­lence to make its skin smoulder.
Then it grabbed the bars of the cage with one hand and dragged it through the
gore towards the chasm wall.

The daemon hauled the cage out of the blood and into a cave opening

Even without their psychic powers in active mode (EG wards burning and flaring) the Grey Knight's psychic defences will repel dameons.

The daemon then grabs the cage and tosses it, showing how strong bloodletters can be.

Page 55-56
The human species was evolving.

This was a truth the Inquisition went to great pains to suppress, but it could not be denied by the inquisi­tors themselves. Some even held the heretical belief that the Emperor planned to shepherd this evolution onwards and help the human race achieve its poten­tial. The emergence of psychic humans created one of the critical tasks of the Inquisition: the identification, imprisonment and liquidation of emerging psykers. Every planetary governor was under pain of death to hand over all the psykers collected by his forces, whenever the Inquisition and its Black Ships came calling. What happened to the great majority of psyk­ers herded into those Black Ships, only those sworn to secrecy knew for sure.

A few of the psykers, perhaps one in ten or less, were strong and adaptable enough to be properly trained. An untrained psyker was a dangerous thing, an unguarded mind through which all man­ner of horrors could gain entry to the worlds of the Imperium. However, a properly trained psyker could guard his mind against such threats, and sometimes even make his mind far stronger than those of his fellow men.

It was an irony, often a cruel one, that such trained psykers were essential to the functioning of the Imperium. They were the astropaths whose arcane long-range telepathy made interstellar com­munications possible, the soothsayers whose skill with the Emperor's Tarot enabled them to advise on the vagaries of the future. Many Imperial citizens viewed even these sanctioned psykers with fear. Yet, in spite of the fear that followed the psyker every­where, without him the Imperium could not function.

Dilaogue on the evmerging psychic nature of humanity. Interesting that the idea the Emperor is shpherding humanity towards this endpoint is heretical, but understandable given how the Imperium regards psykers in general. Trained psykers have means to protect their own mind, perhaps tricks akin to what Jaq Draco described in the Inquisiton War (hiding his "light" so to speak)

The other interesting detail is that, in context, one psyker in ten is worthy of becoming an Imperial psyker - either an astropath or a sanctioned psyker of some kind,, 90% of the intake of the Black ships is condemned to sacrifice. We know there are billions of Astropaths in the Imperium.. this means that every generation or two, tens of billions of psykers are taken and fed to Terra. The interesting thing is, even assuming you fed him a million souls every day, he wouldn't make a dent in that number. There must be a HUGE surplus much of the time, even allowing for poor recruiting. I imagine the surplus eventually gets used up in some manner - either to make up shortfalls when they recruit too few sacrifices, or as spare "fuel" when they need to boost the power of the Astronomican (or perhaps if the Emperor needs to do something momentus - its possible some of his actions can accelerate teh speed at which psykers are used.)

We can also try using this ratio to make population estimates. As noted in other sources between 100 thousand and a million (I dont remember where the million bit comes in) - for tens of billions of psykers we get quadrillions of people, give or take an OoM either way.

Page 56
To most citizens a psyker was a witch, a rogue prowling the shadows of the Imperium's worlds to corrupt Emperor-fearing minds or bring forth foul things from the warp. A child foolish enough to display an unusual talent for magic tricks could expect his friends or family to turn him over to the local clergy. Wise women and fortune-tellers were burned at the stake on backwater worlds where Imperial servants rarely visited. Spaceship crews swapped tall tales of night-skinned humans who could rip a man's mind out of his skull, shapechangers, firebreathers and stranger things besides.

More on psykers, and their particular dangers and the myths surrounding them.

Page 57
Alaric was a psyker. All Grey Knights were. While most Space Marine Chapters made use of some psykers, only the Grey Knights required psychic potential from all their recruits. It was what made the Grey Knights capable of fighting the daemon, for a daemon's most potent weapons threatened the soul itself.

Daemons brought with them corruption, and fighting them exposed a Grey Knight to that cor­ruption. They were trained to resist it, taught prayers of will-power so potent that they drove some recruits mad. Their armour was impregnated with sigils against the powers of the warp, the same symbols tattooed on their skins so that their bodies were shielded against corruption, but the most powerful defence was a Grey Knight's psychic shield. Alaric had been taught in the very earliest stages of his training to imprison his soul in a cage of faith and contempt where no daemon could reach it.

The Importance of psychic potential to Grey Knights, and how it manifests, particularily their resilience against corruption.

Page 57
The collar fixed around Alaric's neck was a dead, heavy thing that weighed down Alaric's soul. It was an artefact of Khorne, the Blood God. The Blood God despised sorcery, and it despised the righteous, holy mind of a Grey Knight.
The Collar of Khorne suppressed psychic abilities. Alaric's shield was gone. He was still a Grey Knight, he had still trained his mind and his body beyond a normal man's tolerances against corruption and possession, but without that psychic shield, he was ultimately defenceless.

This in turn means they no longer have defenses, and are more vulnerable to corruption. IT's a rather important point in all this... and I think is perhaps the theme of the story - would a Grey Knight stay incorruptible even without his special defenses, or are they the only thing protecting them? By extension, what might "falling" to Chaos entail?

Page 61
"Not any more, and you've never had armour such as I can craft. Fits like a steel skin. Bends like silk. Toughened by fires as fierceas the heart of a star, strong enough to turn Khorne's own axe aside. How does that sound? Tempting?"

Possible interesting indicator of the Forging techniques available on chaos held worlds - especially amongst Khornates. Probably akin to teh enhancement/transmutation that Khorne war engines (and despoilers) undergo to enhance their own durability (Despite being made of things like Brass)

It might tell us something about Imperial super-materials as well, as they have stuff that isn't much different.

Page 66
"Even now the one they call the Despoiler leads his armies out of the Eye. Countless other champions of the warp are doing the same all across the galaxy. There are rich pickings in the wake of such bloodshed. The Blood God's own crusade can only grow as more fall to our cause. By the time we return to Drakaasi the Blood God will have his own empire in the Eye."

As nasty as things are around the Eye, I guess there's alot more to the problems a Black Crusade can cause than just trying to break out of the EoT. I suspect this sort of upheaval is deliberate on the Chaos side - more probably that the Chaos Gods (or rather their Daemons) anticipate this sort of thing happening and then decide to stir up further trouble amongst other warlords, cults, etc across the galaxy at the same time. If this is part of the pattern like I suspect it is, that would make sense of the Imperium mobilizing galaxy-wide in response (especially with the Tyranids on the backdoor.) Indeed, in this context, the Imperium si fighting TWO major wars (three if you count Armageddon and its spinoffs) in addition to all those numerous thousands (or tens of thousands) of ongoing conflicts (100,000 or so as of Chapter War, IIRC.)

Page 67
Scathach had long for­saken the Traitor Legions, but he still wore the power armour of a Chaos Space Marine, and the soldiers who followed him formed a neatly drilled regiment quite at odds with the bloodthirsty rabble many lords gathered around themselves.

The Blood Pact are not the only discipliend Khornates. Although to be fair, by the time I read Hammer of Daemons they were the only major ones I knewo of. There are lots more "disciplined" Khorne warrior analogues nowadays,

Page 68
"More savages, Arguthrax?" said Ebondrake. "There is always need of their kind for the arenas. The Blood God ever demands his fodder."

I guess depending on your view of Khorne and how you rule, even Chaos will regard ferals as little better than cannon fodder. OF course when your enemy has guns....

Page 70
"Not just a Space Marine, my lord," said Venalitor proudly.
"No: psykers, sorcerers. It will please the Blood God to see them die."

Khornates seem to view any psyker (including Grey Knights and Imperial practicioners) as sorcerors. Technically this is true, although its not sorcery in the sense that Chaos practices, and as the Imperium terms it.

Page 72
"Karnikhal's games will see the hunters of daemons slaying their own for the Blood
God's glory. Let it not be said that Khorne does not appreciate such humour."

Rather odd to think of Khorne as having any sense of humor, but its certainly possible, although this might just be hyperbole of course.

Page 77
The very nature of Chaos meant it could not be classified. In spite of the volumes of forbidden lore in the libraries of Encaladus, in spite of the learning filling the minds of inquisitors, Chaos could not be divided into categories or dissected like a specimen. Chaos was change, it was entropy and decay, but it was also an abundance of life and emotion, warped birth as well as death.

Alaric muses on the nature of Chaos, which is as far as I know pretty accurate.

Page 78-79
"The collar leaves us defenceless."
"Not completely, we have our training, but yes, we are vulnerable."

Alaric confirms my earlier surmise.. not totally defenseless, but depriving them of their psychic powers does weaken them greatly. Even moreso, because their faith and prayer (at least any tangible aspect of it, eg like the Sisters of Battle manifest) would be a form of sorcery (external to the Knight, bestowed by the Emperor.) and thus blocked.

Page 79
He was still feeling the wounds of his defeat by Venalitor. A Space Marine healed with inhuman speed, but even so it had only been a few days since he had nearly died on Sarthis Majoris. Now he would have to fight again.

Rate of healing of Alarci's injuries from Venalitor.

Page 81
"It is bloodshed they want. If we kill anything, it will be for the glory
of Chaos."
"True, but whatever we do, we must survive first. Fight as if the Emperor willed it. As if—"

Consideirng they're still minions of the Emperor, I suspect the intention here is to deprive Khorne of whatever power he might obtain from this action otherwise.

Page 88
"You've got two hearts, and three lungs, but one of them's a bionic.'

Space Marine's extra lung seems to be distinctive from the other two, at least clearly as a bionic. Partly mechanical then?

Page 91
"The first thing that happens when Chaos takes a world is that the prisons get emptied. For men like Gearth, Drakaasi's not that different to their old life."

This seems likely - this is what happened when Chaos took St Josemane's hope, for example. They were planning to use it as a staging ground for invasions into Cadia (which is why Creed destroyed it, for the most part.)

Page 99
"No, Justicar. Drakaasi was created by evil men. The Emperor brought us here because we are His faithful, and it is only through suffering the works of these evil men that we can be made pure enough to ascend to the Promised Land. If you join us in our faith then you will be led there, too."'
"Back in the Imperium, lieutenant, what you have just told me would be considered heresy."

Unsurprisingly, Alaric comments that the Imperium does not believe much in turning the other cheek or suffering meekly. Indeed, the attitude expressed above disgusts Alaric, who feels that sitting by and taking what is offered (especially from Chaos) is weakness and foolishness. Which it is.,

PAge 103
Gearth spat at Alaric. Alaric ignored it. Men like Gearth were a natural by-product of the Imperium. The Imperium was a cruel place because the galaxy was cruel. Its people had to be oppressed, because if they were free to do and think as they wished, they would do horrible things that would lead the human race to destruction. Gearth was one of the many who didn't fit into the mould the Imperium had prepared for its people.
Sometimes Alaric wondered if the Emperor could one day awaken and show the Imperium a way to survive that did not require such relentless cruelty towards its citizens.

Probably, given his plans in the Great Crusade (silly as some of them were, it would have worked better than things are presently.) Given Alaric's attitude towards Gearth and the Imperium, I want to say that the Imperium is over-reacting, and it probably is. Then again given what Chaos is, what xenos do to the Imperium, and so forth, its hard to be that critical - one has to act pretty fucked up to survive in a fucked up universe. Particularily when gods and myths and magic are more or less real and tangible threats.

Page 110
Navigators were a paradox of the Imperium. They were members of a bloodline that sported a stable mutation in its genes. A Navigator had a third eye through which he could look upon the warp and not be driven mad, as most men would be. As a result of the mutation, only they could guide a ship on long warp jumps, and without them all ships would be limited to the stilted, short jump journeys that meant civilian craft took decades to get between star systems. Without Navigators the Imperium's armed forces would reach war zones centuries late, rapid forces like the Space Marines would never be able to launch their lightning oper­ations, and the Imperium, bloated and sluggish at the best of times, would fall apart.
Their third eye, spacefarers said, could kill a man with a look.

Navigators. Interesting that "decades" would pass between systems. If we assume 10 LY between systems this means a top speed (for civilan craft) of no more than .5c, which isnt exactly "Short" warp hops, unless this ws in context of, say, the "hundreds or thousands of light years" between systems quote, in which case it might mean tens to hundreds of c.

Page 110
Perhaps exposure to Drakaasi's brand of Chaos had mutated it, or perhaps it had
been born that way. Although their mutation was relatively stable, Alaric had heard tales from inquisitors of the monstrous aberrations every Navigator family kept imprisoned beneath their estates on Terra.

We know from Wolfblade that this is true. It's also one of those things they ripped off from Dune :P

Page 111
The Navigator thudded down onto all fours and roared at Alaric. Its third eye snapped open.
Alaric threw himself to the ground. A black ribbon of ragged power leapt from the Navigator's eye, and scored a deep furrow across the bodies of the statues around him. A stone arm clattered to the ground, the sound almost lost amid the din.

Navigator Third Eye Lazor attack!

PAge 116
Eldar were familiar to many Imperial citizens, since they were often depicted as
weakling aliens crushed beneath the feet of conquering humans in stained glass windows or in the margins of illuminated prayer books. The truth was that no human artist could ever realise one properly. An eldar looked almost human from a distance: two arms, two legs, two eyes, a nose, a mouth, but everything else was different. An eldar radiated wrongness, from its huge, liquid eyes to the many jointed, worm-like waving of its fingers. They were disgusting and unnerving, and Alaric hated them.

A bit on eldar biology (lots of extra joints, with all the implications therein) and the Imperium's predictable view of the Eldar. They seem to be one of the more highly propogandized races (next to the Orks and Tyranids of course.)

Page 117
"Yes, I have seen what happens when a human enters into a part with the alien. I was there at Thorganel Quintus. The Inquisition brokered an alliance between the Imperium and the eldar there. I saw you xenos fall on our troops as soon as the Daggerfall Mountains were secured. I saw you butcher us like cattle because you did not want anyone to know you needed our help to destroy what we found there. I will never trust your kind. You would see all of us exterminated just to save one of your own. You would kill us all for your convenience."

Essentially true, given some of the Eldar views on non-Eldar races and some of their past actions (Eldrad or other farseers fucking around with things to divert hive fleets and Ork Waaaghs, etc.) From their POV that is neccessary, and as we know from the Path of the Eldar series, not all Eldar hate humans (At least outside the warrior Path). We also know that the Eldar sometimes do have justifications for seeming betrayals or slaughtering of humans due to their divination, but the fact they never explain why (or get the Imperium to listen probably - the Imperium is hardly lily white in this) complicates matters.

Page 121-122
"Everywhere on Drakaasi has a reason to exist. Karnikhal is a predator. Aelazadne was an altar to the Blood God. What does Drakaasi gain from Ghaal?"
Here and there the inhabitants of Ghaal, like primitives forced into ragged clothes and let
loose in the streets, skulked among the shadows hiding from the moonlight.
...the sense of fear emanating from behind the black windows of the hovels was enough to suggest the thousands of people huddled there in their nightly terror. Even those few glimpses of Ghaal showed that killers walked every street and murder was the sport of choice.
"It's a farm." said Alaric grimly. "This is where they breed their vermin."

Given what is depicted here, I suspect a dual (even triple) meaning - it breeds the sorts of killers and madman favoured by Khorne, as well as creating the slaughter (and victimes) his sort of worship craves. This also, in a very fucked up way, shows that even Khorne held daemon worlds have a sort of economy to them - things just don't pop up out of thin air, so to speak.

Page 123
"You're famous now." said Gearth, who was choosing from a selection of rusted knives in the next cage, "Gotta look the part. They'll be betting on you an' all sorts. Reckon you've got a fan club? Kids who know your name?" Gearth smiled through his blackened teeth. "Eh? Maybe sign something for 'em, tell 'em to listen to their mums and stay off the stimms?"

Can't hlep it, I rather enjoy this quote. Its one of those bits of things we take for granted in the real world which takes on all sorts of fucked up connotations in 40K - I mean you could see worlds where killers or gladitorial combat (or even something as crazy as Space Marine/Imperial Guard trading cards) would be acceptable practice.

Page 142-143
One of the daemons brought Khuferan a heavy book bound in strips of beaten brass. Khuferan leafed through its pages, on which were written the names of thousands of organisations and individu­als loyal to Arguthrax. Every lord of Drakaasi had followers he could call upon, many of them hidden deep in the underbelly of Khorne's cities, waiting for the call to action.

"Lord Ebondrake's pronouncement of the crusade has led to a great mobilisation," said Khuferan. "We have called upon the Legion of the Unhallowed to bring themselves forth from the jungles and march under your banner, Lord Arguthrax."
"Savages," said Arguthrax, "primitives, but useful. Who else?"
"The Thirteenth Hand [A murder cult] are still off-world, but they are returning at your command. The warp shall deliver them to us in a few days. They are battle-hardened, my lord, and have acquired many new members."

By and large, this represents the sort of society that evolves on this particular daemon world, which seems to represent various factions, forces, and resources they develop to plan and execute their desires - both on and off planet (EG the 13th Hand, who is returning from the warp.)
These seem to represent mortal forces, as the daemon forces are covered separately. Again we see certain parallels (unsurprisingly) to Imperial society, they have forces and mobilisations of sorts..

Page 143-144
"What of the warp?"
"Relations are… strained," said Khuferan. "Many have been lost. The warp dislikes so many losses. Profligacy in the arenas has left us—"
"How many billions of gallons of blood have rained into the warp at my behest? The daemon lords will heed one of their own, one such as I. I want hunter daemons on the streets, black as the void, and with Venalitor's scent. I want furies in the sky following every movement of his underlings..."
"The losses at the Void Eye will require greater recompense for the warp."
"Tell them they are having revenge. Venalitor had his pet Astartes kill my daemon champion to insult me. He even took its head for himself! It was an insult to all daemonkind, and the warp will have its due if Venalitor suffers. We will bring him low, and then we will kill him. Tell that to the warp. It will listen."

An interesting conversation on many levels. It suggests a certain "economy" exists between different daemons even in the warp, or at least between those in the matierla world and the warp, much like the rituals and sacrifices needed to summon and bind daemons to a cult's cause. I suspect this may be driven either by daemonic equivalents of politics and factions, or perhaps the resentment of the daemons in the warp for those who remain on the material plane. Even a daemon or daemon lord in realspace has limits and prices to pay.

Page 144
The lords of Drakaasi spied on one another. It was like a game, played with agents who went into deep cover among the coteries of the lords. No doubt other lords had eyes and ears among Arguthrax's followers. Arguthrax had uncovered and eaten more than a few of them. They were mortals and daemons with some talent to obscure their true selves, and they were pariahs. It was not the way of Khorne to skulk in the shadows, and so Drakaasi's spies were a sort of underclass present at the very highest layers of the planet's society. Arguthrax had his own shape shifting daemons and old-fashioned human informers bound to him by contracts of blood.

Daemon world spy networks.

Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2088
Joined: 2011-12-10 09:13am

Re: Gray Knights series analysis thread

Postby Grumman » 2012-04-20 09:08pm

Connor MacLeod wrote:I've read the GK codex so I know what is in it. Frankly I found Codex: Space Marines more offensive, particularily in the way it dismisses all other Chapters as being trivial compared to the Ultramarines (but then again it reads more as 'Codex Ultramarines' than a generic Space Marine codex, and all codexes are inherently biased towards their subject matter more or less.)

There are some things objectionalbe in the GK codex as well, but I dont' consider it the abomination some people do. Then again I don't mind the Necron Codex either and there are some who consider that the worst of all.

All three are bad books in their own ways. Codex: Space Marines, as you say, for being a love letter to Marneus Calgar instead of being a Space Marine omnidex like the 4th edition codex - with its doctrines and its options - looked to be leading to. Codex: Grey Knights, for turning them into Mary Sues that act exactly like Grey Knights don't. And Codex: Necrons for throwing out the good along with the bad and making them act exactly like Necrons don't.

Return to “Science Fiction”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: phongn, Yahoo [Bot] and 0 guests