[personal profile] purplekitte
Title: One Day More, chapter 7 (other chapters)
Fandom: Warhammer 40k
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1032
Summary: Khur: Things actually aren’t that bad. On a scale of Exterminatus to all other possible responses to a situation.

‘I can’t write this speech. Can’t. Someone else should do it. I have nothing to say that I can say.’

‘You give speeches all the time,’ Warda’s husband reminded her.

‘No, I speak in public all the time. Which is to say, I give instructions to people in groups in between giving them individually. Extremely practical instructions. A speech implies abstract thought, possibly even looking at the big picture.’

‘I’ve never known you to make morale worse.’

‘Because I don’t say the sorts of things they’re asking me to say! I tell people to shut up and go work on the habblock construction or weeding or digging latrines. No one wants to hear my opinions.’

‘I do.’

‘That’s different.’

‘No, really, what would you say if it were just me?’

Warda glared at Aali. ‘I would start by saying: “Things really aren’t that bad.” I feel like a bad person just thinking that.’

‘It’s been better.’

‘On the scale of a planet, we are slightly inconvenienced. If they were actually trying to kill us, they could have ignited the atmosphere. Or gone after the agricultural region. So five cities were destroyed. Planets are really, really big. The food is still there. Most of the clean water sources are still there. We didn’t even lose much heavy industry, because we moved the pollution away from our population centres centuries ago. The only problem was the breakdown of the infrastructure to get them to people. That hasn’t even been that bad since we got organised enough to reroute the automated shipments that would have been going to market in the cities to refugee camps.’

‘You could talk about that. All these strides forward we’ve taken to restoring order and social services. The resettling of refugees in newly built habs everywhere else. People moving on and living new lives.’

‘You do it.’

‘You’re the mayor.’

‘The mayor of can town.’ She turned her back on him to look out the hole in the wall of their aluminium shanty-shelter that served as a window, just in case everything had disappeared while she wasn’t looking at it. ‘It’s just a bluff. Act like you’re in charge and people will treat you like you are. Act like social order is still in place and people will go along with it. People want normality, so pretend it’s possible and they’ll grab the chance. Well, it helps that most people who went completely unhinged ran off to the hills to chew their own legs off or are still staring blankly at walls.’

‘You don’t have mention that. You’re only putting things in the worst way possible because you’re being contrary.’


‘Didn’t you learn these things in seminary?’

‘Inquisitor, not preacher.’ Ex-inquisitor. Very ex. People called her ‘Mayor’ these days instead of any other title, which was very, very good for her continued not snapping and yelling ‘All gods are sadistic bastards!’ in public, possibly while standing on a hill during a thunderstorm.

‘Still, no one’s asking for you to say anything that will go down in the history books as the best speech ever. If everyone ends up very bored while you talk about civil engineering problems, there’s not going to be a riot.’

‘I know.’ She searched for words, eventually sat down and put her face in her hands. ‘We have lots of problems that are extremely solvable. Then we have the fact that the ideological underpinnings of our entire society are gone. The ecclesiastic leadership either died in the bombardments or the lynch mobs, and we’ve been locking up or shooting any street preacher “inciting riots”. What are we doing? Where are we going? I’m just part of a cabal of middle managers, event organisers, and construction works pretending to be in charge with a message of “Sit down and shut up, regular service will be returning soon.” It’s not about logistics and supply, it’s about way of life and the entire soul of our people, and I’ve been avoiding that in any way, shape, or form like the plague.’

‘Either become a prophet, let anyone else become one, or acknowledge that you can’t control the future of grassroots-level social attitude,’ Aali said as unsympathetically as possible. ‘I have no idea what will happen without charismatic leadership either. The chapels are nearly empty these days. Is this tribulation to test our faith, where we must stand strong against the unbelievers? Is this a punishment we deserved for our sins? Everyone’s heard it and no one’s satisfied. The foreign iterators are more popular, because they only talk about how men should live now, while the past has dissolved into a vague nostalgic benediction “May you find the peace of the previous world.” You’re more popular, because you get things done.’

‘I wish I could move hearts and minds, but I don’t even know what I want.’ Warda could still remember vividly what she thought of as her last worldly desire. Soraya, her daughter, her only child, newly married, shot dead in the riots. She had thought she would kill every person in the galaxy for the sake of the false-angel who had killed her daughter eventually being on that casualty list. It had struck her she was completely and totally physically incapable of that, no matter what she did. She had looked through the blue angels like they weren’t even there and found an amplivox to start reciting instructions in the street for how much water every person should be carrying before they left and blankets and...

She still couldn’t bring herself to feel much of anything around the gaping emptiness. ‘I’ll summarise one of Arym Rosso’s reports. Never mind. I have nothing to say about what anyone should believe in.’

St. Warda Vega is attributed with ending the riots and restoring public order, infused with the holy light of the Emperor, after an attack on her homeplanet Khur by heretical Word Bearers during the Horus Heresy. She was sainted by Ecclesiarch Equitus II in 612.M34. Her remains can be found at the Shrine of the Blessed Dead in the Monarchia Wastes on Khur.

--excerpt from An Encyclopaedia of Imperial Saints and Heroes, edition six, published 413.M37

(a/n: I ended up spending the whole time writing up this dredging up memories of Hurricane Katrina, and all the things going on around me while I was busy being a teenager living in or around Dallas back then.

Meanwhile, even more Homestuck references than usual. The mail is sacred, and sacred is the trust between the Post Man and the recipients of his precious parcels. You have made a solemn pledge to deliver this letter, just as soon as you determine where this address is, or find any sort of discernible mailing address in this wasteland, for that matter. The mail is freedom. The mail is life. The mail is the very fabric of civilization. All you want to do is deliver mail. You do not want to be the stupid queen. And you do not want to wear this stupid mailbox crown.)
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