Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Both Alike In Dignity

False Gods: Plague Moon (VI)

The Either and the Or, in happier times (copyright terraluna5)
Welcome, citizens, to the Truth.

Poor old Tybalt Marr.

Bereavement is, of course, never easy or pleasant, and rarely quiet. When deaths occur within a military unit, we presume fury and noise is a particular feature.  Even so, there is perhaps something more at work behind Marr's desolate rage, something that certainly cannot be explained away by Marr and Moy resembling each other so closely.  Yes, the tales of heresy make it clear that the two were as inseparable as brothers.  But why?

Well, one option presents itself rather readily, doesn't it?

Homosexuality within military units is scarcely an uncommon phenomenon. The bonds of camaraderie and shared peril can generate potent emotional bonds.  That doesn't have to include lust, of course, but assuming every battle-forged chain between brothers in arms remains entirely chaste is an act of almost pitiable naivete.

The most obvious objection to the idea that Marr and Moy were lovers is the implication that Astartes have no sex drive to speak of in any case; that it was excised by the Emperor when he fashioned them to be his soldiers.  Loken's inability to appreciate beauty in women notwithstanding, there are two reasons to find this suggestion unconvincing.  The first is practical: can even the Emperor remove the concept of physical lust from a mind whilst leaving platonic devotion and lust for glory and battle (and ale, in the case of Leman Russ and his sons) still intact?  But even if such a thing were possible, where would be the benefit?

What little impossible scraps and contradictory images remain to us from the ancient days before the Long Night tell tales of sexual relationships within a unit being not only not unheard of, but actively useful.  After all, all else being equal, the chance each man in a unit will turn in flee in battle is inversely proportional to how much he cares about the fate of those he leaves behind. It is easier to leave a stranger to die than a friend, and both are easier than abandoning your lover.  The oft-suggested notion that a unit will become a less effective fighting unit if it is bursting at the seams with horizontal love affairs (as oppose to vertical ones, which genuinely can cause problems) seems to be not only incorrect, but precisely the opposite of the truth.

So if the Emperor wanted to manipulate his creation's sexual dispositions, removing them totally would, if anything, be counter-productive. If forging the strongest, most tightly interwoven army in the known galaxy were his aim, it would be senseless to throw away the capacity for forming the strongest bond a person can make with another outside their family. Indeed, efforts on this score should have been bent towards making the Astartes hypersexual, not asexual.

And really, in the final analysis, what evidence do we have against the idea? Only that the long-scattered and painstakingly reassembled historical accounts of the Horus Heresy tell us that the Astartes could not appreciate the beauty of the female form.  When we look at the relationship between Tybalt Marr and Verulam Moy, what response could there be to that fact than "well, obviously"?


What Was

Nothing to talk about this week on the dogmas of the quiet past.  This chapter is all about setting up what's coming...

What Is

It's not often we see Abaddon and Aximand on opposite sides of anything.  Who has the right of it here?

Has anyone actually bothered to fill the Emperor in on what's been going on?

Not as far as I know.

So what is Abaddon claiming about?  Is he just expecting the Emperor to be... omnipscient?  Is that the word?

It is not. I think Abaddon would argue that if the Emperor hadn't abandoned them, he wouldn't need to be told about what's going on.

Please.  This is clearly about the Emperor giving more freedom to the Astartes.  They've proven themselves enough for some autonomy.  That frees up the Emperor for getting on with more important stuff.

But Abaddon doesn't know what that stuff is.

Because there are some things the Astartes aren't ready for yet.

So he's simultaneously bitching about having too much and too little responsibility?

Exactly.  Stop whining, Abaddon.

Whilst we're on the subject of Little Horus, do you think he's regretting signing up for the Warrior Lodge right about now?

No. Little Horus is a follower rather than a thinker.

Really?  I wonder how much of that him being taciturn and not saying what he thinks. He certainly seems pissed off about being railroaded here.

Not for long.  He soon decides that he's made the right choice.  Though of course if Aximand wasn't in the Lodge, Abaddon would have been the only memeber of the Mournival there, which probably wouldn't have been enough for the vote.  It was too much of a concern with just Torgaddon missing.

I thought that was about him being a Lodge Member in general, rather than the Mournival.

But there must be other Lodge members that have headed to the moon with Loken?

No. Yes! Nero Vipus. Good point.  Do you think all this justifies Loken's nervousness about the Lodge?

I don't think so.  They'd have found a way to get Horus to the locals one way or another.

I suppose. In fact, thinking about it, if Loken had been in the Lodge it would actually have made Erebus' job harder.

Meh. Erebus would have dealt with him one way or another.

Perhaps. It's an interesting "what if", though.

I don't see it ever happening. Loken just doesn't need the Lodge; he already instills in his subordinates the attitude the Lodge offers - frank discussions and sharing of opinions.

Continuing with my awesome segues, why has Maloghurst suddenly surfaced at the Warrior Lodge after all this time? Why involve them at all?

The only logical option is that they're doing this to cut Loken out.  Otherwise, surely Maloghurst would go the Mournival, wouldn't he?

He could have gone to the Mournival anyway, with Loken off-planet.

Speaking of which, couldn't they have just radioed Torgaddon to get his input?

I think if someone had suggested that Erebus or Maloghurst would argue Lodge business is not to be broadcast over comms, but yeah; that'd be a crappy excuse.  The truth is probably that they don't want to give Torgaddon the chance to talk it over with Loken.

I suppose if Maloghurst went to the Mournival Erebus wouldn't have got a vote.

Except the Lodge rules require unanimity.  Though I think you're close; I'd say it's that if Maloghurst had discussed this just with Abaddon and Aximand they wouldn't have been able to browbeat Little Horus the way they clearly needed to.

Though he could have used the fact Aximand feels beholden to him, which I don't understand.

I think he's feeling beholden by proxy over Abaddon's careless whispers. Well, careless bellows.

How long has it been since the last chapter ended, anyway.  Horus must have taken a hell of nose-dive after telling his life story.  Or is this another lie?

You think Maloghurst is exaggerating the severity of Horus' condition?

Or Erebus has, and Maloghurst believe him. It's certainly suspicious that this decision is suddenly incredibly urgent the moment Torgaddon and Loken are off the ship. I think Erebus is panicking.  He knows the sword is about to be discovered.

But surely he knew that was coming? He didn't seem to have any kind of plan to recover the weapon.

Maybe he expected it to all be over by this point. Either Horus joins up with the Warp, or the sword kills him.

What Will Be

Will Loken be able to reveal the truth before Horus is given over to the Serpent Lodge? And will anyone believe him if he does?

Well, what is the truth?  I mean, he can reveal the weapon, but that's all.  This is why the timing of this chapter is a problem.  I don't know when Loken's found the sword compared to Horus being transported.  Or how long it will take Loken to get back to the fleet.  I mean, for dramatic effect I imagine he'll be just in time or just too late.  

I guess now that the other Astartes have embraced taking Horus to a place of sorcery they'll be more willing to believe this was done by a magic sword.

I meant whether they'll believe Erebus is behind this.

He hasn't got enough evidence to go against Erebus. The best he can do is argue there's clearly a traitor and suggest they contact the Emperor so he can get to the bottom of what's going on.

That's a good idea. I was thinking that if Loken just shows up with the sword no-one will care - they'll still want to get Horus to the Serpent Lodge -

Hate that name, by the way.

- I'd assumed, but -

Is it a Biblical reference?

- Probably, but my point is that the Lodge will want to heal Horus through the laying on of hands whether he was done in by a magic sword or a fairy bite.  Getting in the biggest guns available might be the only option available.

Where is Torgaddon likely to stand in all this? Right now he seems to be deferring to Loken, but the Lodge seemed pretty convinced he'd agree with Erebus' plan.

I'm not sure.  I mean, it could go either way.  I can see the logical arguments Loken would want to use, but I can't tell whether that would overwhelm Tarik's need to see the Warmaster healed.

No comments:

Post a Comment