Marneus Calgar’s Barmy Army: 2010 Christmas Special
14/12/2010 in Warhammer 40K
THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE TANITH FETH-WIT
XMAS 2008: Marneus Calgar ruins a perfectly good Christmas poem. The new version of this poem is relentlessly copied, thereby plagiarizing the plagiarism.
XMAS 2009: Geri Halliwell bursts out of Marneus Calgar’s present. Lord Calgar poos his pants in front of the entire Ultramarines Chapter, bringing back memories for English football player and presenter Gary “Big-Eared Walkers Crisps Frontman” Lineker, who recently revealed that he shat himself during an England Match in 1990.
XMAS 2010: The most pointless, Abnett-baiting bullshit yet, which means the story will likely suffer one of two fates: 1) Removal from Imperial Literature. 2) A court battle for plagarism and/or defamation. 3) Jervis Johnson will come to my house and batter me.* Notice how subtly I said “two fates” and then gave it three?
*For non-Brits, to batter someone means to assault them, not smother them in congealed fat like some sort of monstrous cod.
* * *
The world had almost fallen to Chaos. Abaddon the Despoiler led his horde of pony tail wearing hardcases across the galaxy on a trail of fire, seeking to destroy the Imperium. (Apparently, the forces of Chaos didn’t view carving through the trillions of Orks and major Tyranid incursions as much of a challenge as running into the guns of T3 models wearing flak armour.)
All defence had crumbled in the face of this devastating incursion. (Apparently, the Orks had not realised that a galaxy-destroying Chaos fleet was flying about – so they continued to invade Imperial agri-worlds or go on a busman’s holiday to Armageddon, the poor ignorant sods.)
The galactic horror continued unabated… until Abaddon reached Ultramar.
Marneus Calgar smashed two traitors’ heads together and flung their ruined bodies away.
“Scratch two more Black Legion,” he boomed. The hundreds of Ultramarines following him cheered with righteous joy as they hurled themselves into the remnants of Abaddon’s force.
“You’re such a hero, sir,” Dick Bannerman affirmed as he freed the Chapter standard from an impaled traitor’s arse.
“Sir!” Brin Milo of the Tanith 1st piped up (not literally – his trademark musical instrument was still lodged in his large intestine). “My highly attuned senses warn me of imminent danger. Only you can save us all!”
“I know,” Calgar replied. “Fear not, my young and somewhat androgynous friend. I’ll save the day as usual, then it’s back to Macragge for tea and crumpets.”
“Would you like me to contact the brothel now or after the campaign, sir?” Dick said as he wielded the banner like Donatello’s bo staff, knocking enemy Space Marines hither and yon.
“Not that kind of crumpet, Number Two! I mean real crumpets, the kind you put butter on, that are made of… what are crumpets made of again, Milo?”
“I dunno, sir,” replied the black-clad infantry boy as he blasted traitors with his lasgun, “but you can put butter on women as well.”
“For feth’s sake, shut up about hookers,” Calgar said, punching a heretic straight in the nose. “We’ve got a galaxy to save. Besides, we’ve all got secret copies of Naughty Maiden magazine hidden under our beds. Especially me – my mattress is balanced on a three foot stack of them.”
There was a change in the battle’s dynamic. Abaddon the Despoiler had finally turned up and was roaring with hate as he kicked the living crud out of a squad of Ultramarines.
“I told you we were in shtuck,” Milo shouted.
“ABADDON!” Calgar roared. “I’M COMING TO REDEEM YOU, TRAITOR!”
“Shit!” Abaddon gasped, seeing Calgar heading his way. “It’s old Iron Balls himself! Let’s get out of here!”
“It’s too late for that, traitor.” Calgar stormed through the Black Legion and grabbed Abaddon by the scruff of his neck. “It’s time to pay for ten thousand years of being a thorn up the Emperor’s arse.”
“Please!” screamed Abaddon. “I’ve just wet my pants in front of my men. You have humbled me, Lord Calgar, and in so doing you have proven yourself the greatest warrior in the galaxy. I beg you, show pity on me!”
“I’ve got nothing but pity for you, mate,” said Calgar. “Even Pot Noodles have their shelf-life; and believe me, old love, there isn’t enough boiling water in the universe to save you now.”
“What – what the feth does that mean?” Abaddon was suddenly more baffled than afraid.
“I don’t know! But it’s time for you to get back in the carry case, bitch.”
“Nooooo! They’ll have to rename our Legion – AGAIN!”
“I know. ‘The Whores of Calgar’ sounds about right.”
Marneus, Hero of Macragge, levelled his gauntlet-mounted bolter at the Chosen of Chaos and fired a single round.
It failed to Wound.
Abaddon’s fright turned to a sneer.
“Ha ha! Have some of that, pillock. I’ve always said my pony tail brought me luck! It is now quite literally the Black Legion’s turn, and I intend to shove Drach’nyen (or however you spell and pronounce it) where the sun doesn’t shine.”
The Black Legion commander kneed Calgar in the crotch and pushed him away, then drew a sword that was so big it would turn Cloud from Final Fantasy 7 green with envy.
“Not so fast, dickhead.” Calgar assumed a triumphant pose which struck traitor and loyalist alike dumb with awe. “I haven’t played my trump in the hole yet. Milo, Bannerman, get up here.”
Calgar’s second in command and his trusty Tanith liason stepped forwards, looking at Abaddon like they were terriers and he was a lady’s leg. Actually, no they weren’t, cos that would imply something sexual, which wasn’t my intention when I began this paragraph. In fact let’s start a new paragraph altogether.
“Who are those dildos?” demanded Abaddon.
“These are my bitches.”
Calgar clicked his fingers and fifty First Company Terminators beamed onto the battlefield in an explosive flare of light, surrounding Abaddon and his remaining men.
“And these are my hoes!”
“Noooooooooo!” Abaddon howled. “Curse you, fate, my time came too soon. Oh, wait on, it’s my shooting phase!”
“Bollocks!” Calgar snapped. “Go on then, get it over with, but hurry up; Coronation Street is on soon.”
“Fine,” said Abaddon. “Black Legion, our shots are all probably gonna get saved anyway, but let’s introduce the Ultramarine lap-dogs to the concept of Swiss cheese.”
Every surviving Chaos marine opened fire. Predictably they all shot at Milo, not because he was less of a threat or easier to Wound than Lord Calgar, but because Milo is one of those annoying Wesley Crusher types.
Milo bent over backwards in an impossible slow-motion Matrix imitation as bolter shells left contrails across reality. Every single shot missed the nimble pipe-player from a Chaos-tainted (but not, due to some alarming oversight, Inquisitorially-sanctioned) forest world.
Except the last round, fired out of spite by Abaddon itself, which hit Brin Milo straight in the goolies.
Milo’s eyes bulged almost out of his head and he shot back up with a squeal.
“Ha, ha, ha, ha, staying alive, staying alive!” Milo sang in a perfect Bee Gees fashion as he danced with pain.
“I don’t believe it!” Abaddon cried. “How is he still alive? He should at least be a eunuch or something!”
Milo hobbled off the battlefield, shrugging Dick’s hands away as the standard bearer tried to lend support.
“You obviously haven’t read the Ghost books,” said Calgar. “Every time a major character takes a hit it either snaps a belt buckle on their webbing or it creases their foreheads – whatever that means.”
“Ah, I see. I don’t read pulp fiction shite. I started reading the Sword of Shannara on the recommendation of a Word Bearer, and to be honest it’s a crock of badly-written shash.”
“I’ve heard it gets better as the series goes along.” Calgar cleared his throat. “It’s my turn again mate, and I’m afraid we’re skipping straight to the shooting phase. Milo’s retreat counts as involuntary movement.”
“Get on with it, Ultramarine. As you said, Coronation Street is about to start.”
“Righty-ho. Have you got any last words?”
“Of course I have, idiot. If I should die, think only this of me… – nah, not really. I never practiced my exit speech cos the Games Workshop moneymen practically faint at the thought of changing the status quo, so I thought I’d never need it. Get on with it Calgar, so I can make my excuses to the Chaos Gods.”
“You never know,” Calgar said, levelling both his bolter gauntlets at his enemy’s face. “They might bring you back in 40K’s next edition.”
With that, Calgar pulled the triggers (or whatever it is that makes his guns fire) and Abaddon fell dead. The Chosen of Chaos was pushing pansies.
“I did it!” said Calgar. “I saved the galaxy and defeated Chaos! I’m a real hero!”
“CALGAR! CALGAR! CALGAR!” the resurgent Ultramarines chanted, their faces shining with pride and hope.
* * *
“CALGAR! CALGAR! Can I dip my sausage in your sauce?”
Marneus Calgar groaned as Brin Milo’s squeaky half-Welsh, half-Irish, half-something-else accent woke him from dreams of glory and Calgar remembered what a fething wreck his life was.
“Can you what, you Tanith man-bitch?” Calgar said as he pulled himself upright from the settee where he’d fallen into a drunken stupor the night before. Puke was all down Calgar’s blue shirt. His blue trousers were stained dark and yellow around the crotch. Pringles and pork scratchings fell from Calgar’s hair as he sat up; it was like a dandruff doctor’s nightmare.
“I said, can I dip my sausage in your brown sauce?”
As Calgar’s bleary vision returned to normal, he realised Brin Milo was waving a large Cumberland sausage in his face. It was breakfast time.
“Thank the Emperor for that!” said Calgar. “I thought the strain of being without women for all these years was starting to tell.”
“Er… no.” Milo hurried away, looking freaked out.
Calgar clutched his head.
“Oh, God, I hate the day after Black Friday,” he groaned, referring to the final Friday before Christmas when everyone went to the pub straight from work. “I’m so fething hung over! I hope I didn’t get my nob out again this year.”
Chaplain Derrick was on his way past at that particular moment, and he gave Calgar a salacious smile.
“You certainly did, my Lord,” the Chaplain said with bright eyes and a lip-licking smile. “It was my… I mean our… honour to stare at it for many hours. I mean… not stare at it. In fact, I barely noticed it at all. I’d best get back to my devotions.”
The Chaplain hurried away.
“I’m sure there’s something funny about him,” mused Calgar.
Meanwhile, Dick Bannerman (the banner man) was wrestling with the new Windows 7000 laptop, trying to buy a Rhino from www.goldenthrone.org.imp/motoring.
“Enlarge image?” he was heard raging. “Yeah, let’s stretch it by a whole three pixels. Bastards! Look at it, you can’t even see the manufacturer’s badge!”
“Balls to the manufactuwer’s badge,” Tech-Priest Nerdingham replied. “If it’s made on Maws it’s pwemium shit. If it isn’t, it’s pwobably only got an awmour value of ten. A woodpecker could get thwough it.”
“You could surely fix it, venerable brother-Tech.”
“Yeah, if you want to waste thwee tuwns before I manage to woll a six. And you can knock it off with the ‘venewable bwother’ cwap. Do I look like I belong in a dweadnought? I’m eighty-thwee years old, Dick, I’m pwactically a babe in awms.”
“God-Emperor!” thundered Dick. “Look at where they put the fething handbrake! How are you supposed to do a handbrake turn?”
“It’s a tank, mate, not a wally car.”
“Yes, but -”
“Will you two shut up?” roared Calgar. “I’ve got the fairy godmother of hangovers. The army value just increased to 3500 points in time for Christmas so you can buy what you bloody want.”
“Sorry, my Lord,” Dick called back.
“Misewable git,” Nerdingham muttered.
“I heard that!” said Calgar. “The nerve-glove for you mate, pain level ‘jumping into an empty swimming pool’. Get to it!”
Marneus Calgar looked around for something to take his headache away. He saw the Astral Phone, a hotline directly to the Chapter’s top astropaths. He picked it up and dialled.
In the Astropathic chamber, Cullinus Rex (Master of Sendings – a title that earned no end of toilet mirth from Calgar) had a red phone safely locked in a glass cylinder. The phone start flashing red and beeping.
“Oh, God-Emperor, it’s him again!” the Astropath grumbled. He answered the phone: “Good morning, British Border Control, we’re currently offering free housing and high-spec saloon cars to all illegal immigrants. Which benefits may we offer you?”
“You can knock that off for a start,” Calgar’s voice crackled. “Why do you always pretend to be someone else every time I ring? Anyone would think you don’t enjoy sending my top-level communiques across time and space.”
“Of course I do, my Lord,” Rex said with a weary sigh. “Is this another message for the Emperor’s Stripes Chapter?”
“Who else? Message is for the Chapter Master, Gluteus Maximus. Message reads: ‘America – where the men have bigger tits than the women.’ Heh heh!”
“Shall I address this one from you?”
“No. Put Brin Milo. Yeah! Put Brin Milo!”
“Sir, such racism between Chapter Masters is unseemly. Surely you should be working together rather than antagonising one another?”
“The last time I worked together with that wanker, the Stars and Stripes flew above Macragge and I ended up getting excommunicated by a bitch of a Battle Sister.”
“You shouldn’t have showed her your erection, my Lord. The exertion required for her to lift and carry an electron microscope into her bedchambers gave her a serious hernia.”
“Just send the fething message. Don’t forget, it’s from Milo.”
Meanwhile, Dick and Nerdingham were wandering the halls of Macragge, marvelling at the way the winter sunlight fell in through giant windows and stuff (insert nice winter morning description here), and pretending that they weren’t surreptitiously looking for places their presents might lay hidden.
“Where’s the paragon of maturity?” Dick wondered idly. “He owes me a fiver from last night.”
“BurrrrrRRRRRRPPP! Mmm, that tasted like Cheeky Vimto.”
“Lowd Calgaw appears to be in the toilet.”
Bannerman knocked on the lavatory door.
“Feth off, I’m getting washed!”
“Begging your pardon, my Lord,” Dick said, “we were just wondering what our mission will be this Christmas.”
“Mission? Our mission, Dick, is to recover from our hangovers, and hold ourselves to our nightly pledge that we will never go out on the piss again.”
“But sir, this is our first feature-length story. Shouldn’t we make it overblown and packed with car chases and stuff?”
“You can bollocks! I’m listening to Christmas songs until Home Alone 2 comes on, then I’m stuffing an entire roast turkey down my throat.”
“Same as usual then,” Nerdingham muttered.
“I heard that, tech-priest! The nerve-glove for you mate, pain level ‘Saved by the Bell: The New Class’.”
“Aw fething hell!”
Fresh from his scare with Calgar and the sausage-dipping innuendo, Brin Milo made himself busy trimming the Ultramarine base. There were already a number of Christmas trees and other decorations but Milo fancied a bit of snow… even though it was mid-December and the base was in a mountain range, so snow was not exactly in short supply.
“Jingle bells, Calgar smells, cos he needs a wash!” Milo sang to himself as he sprayed fake snow over everything. He started into a corridor which was lined with portraits of Calgar. Milo’s singing died to a hum as he glanced suspciously around, looking to see if anyone was watching. Spotting no-one, Milo began singing again as he sprayed a ringmaster’s moustache, a devil-worshipper’s goatee and a pair of Janine Melnitz specs on one of Calgar’s portraits, the song interrupted by immature chuckles.
“MILO!” Calgar yelled. Milo accidentally sprayed a streak of snow straight across the portrait and a section of wall. He looked back the way he’d come, expecting Calgar to have seen what he’d just done, but Calgar wasn’t there; he must still be in the common-room, trying to recover his wits.
“Fetch me a cup of tea!” Calgar ordered. “Three sugars. And a French Fancy! Not the horrible brown ones you keep bringing me – I want a yellow one. You’d better not have eaten all the yellows, Dick!”
“Sorry, sir!” Dick called back. “They’re magic, they made me do it!”
“The nerve glove for you, Dick, pain level ‘Watching the entire series of Caprica’.”
“Aw, FETH!” Dick complained.
When Milo had served Calgar his tea – in a mug the same size as the FA Cup – the ninny from Tanith received his orders for the day.
“Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to locate my stash of presents.”
“And if I choose not to accept it?”
“Then I flush your head down the bog and make you find them anyway… with wet hair.”
“In that case, I’ll do it. Where should I start?”
“Try storage level 3. There’s a rather large wooden cupboard in there that seems to have appeared out of nowhere. I suspect Dick has dumped his load in there.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“My presents, Milo. I heard him bringing them in from one of the Rhinos last week so I know he’s definitely got me something. Try and find Gran Turismo 5. I’ve been waiting millennia for it and I’ve played all 14 Forzas that came out in the meantime. GT5 is going to piss all over Forza 3, I just know it will.”
“On what do you base that assumption?” Milo asked. “I mean, Forza 3 was pretty amazing as a driving sim, and GT5 is just a rehash with all the same cars.”
“I’m a fanboy, Milo, and fanboys are never wrong. Don’t you read our short-sighted, opinionated ravings on Youtube?”
“You’ve got a point there, sir. I’ll attend to the job immediately.”
“There’s no time for you to go to the toilet, mate, the clock is ticking and Christmas is getting closer.”
“I didn’t mean that! I meant – never mind, this is a Barmy Army story, everything is going to get turned around so that we’re making poo jokes all the time. I’ll report back presently, sir.”
After Milo left, Calgar rubbed his hands together with glee. “Ten thousand cars, only a tiny fraction of which are modelled in HD and the rest are upgraded PS2 graphics; nearly all the cars have been available in the last THREE Forza games; and there are no less than EIGHTEEN types of Honda S2000. Aren’t you just GLAD we had the excitement of waiting 5 years for this?”
Milo entered Storage Bay 3 and found that Calgar was as good as his word. This came as a surprise, since Calgar’s word was usually worth less than a bed that Calgar had slept in naked.
Anyway, cutting to what little plot there actually is this year (which is A LOT more than last year), Milo ended up opening the cupboard and peeking inside. It was big and dark. Old coats and stuff hung down from the brass rail.
“Brass!” Milo thought. “Crikey, that reminds me of Khorne!”
Pushing his fears aside, Milo pushed the coats aside and poked his head into the cupboard. Moths and stuff flew out of the pockets of coats. A hat fell from the shelf above and landed squarely on Milo’s head. Dust came off it. There was a musty, heavy smell in the air which made him sneeze. He sneakily wiped his nose and mouth on the sleeve of one of the coats.
“Crikey,” Milo said, his voice muffled by the wardrobe. “It’s like the Tardis in here! Dick could have stuffed a Trojanload of prezzies in here and we’d never have known! I wonder if mine’s in here too?”
He clambered inside the cupboard and had a look around. It smelled musty and was dark and warm. He knocked on the back wall of the cupboard. It seemed heavy enough.
“Come in,” a voice said from the other side.
“Holy ess haitch eye tee!” Milo said. “Is someone behind there?”
“Well that’s hardly surprising,” the voice replied. “It is a door.”
“A door? Are our presents behind there?”
“Presents?” the voice replied. “What are you on about, son of Adam?”
“Son of who? I’m Brin Milo. My dad was called Norman.”
“All right then, Brin Milo, son of… Norman. Are you coming through or shall I wait here all day?”
“Coming through where?” Milo said. Then his eyes adjusted to the darkness and he saw what he’d been missing.
There was a door built into the back wall of the wardrobe.
“Feth me,” Milo murmured. “The lengths Dick goes to when he’s hiding our presents.”
Milo opened the door and crawled through.
Then he crawled back into the wardrobe and closed the door.
“What’s wrong, Brin Milo, son of Norman?”
“That’s fethed up. There’s all snow and stuff, and it’s outdoors.”
“What’s wrong with that? Are you agoraphobic or something?”
“If ‘agoraphobic’ means ‘freaked out by finding an arctic wasteland in my wardrobe’, then yes, I am very much beyond treatment.”
“Brin Milo, son of Norman, stop faffing about and come back through. It was written that you’d turn up and save us one day. You are a hero to us.”
“Shit, you’re joking.” Milo couldn’t get back through the doorway fast enough.
He stood up and looked around. Everything was covered in about eight feet of snow. More snow was falling from a midnight blue sky. The snowfall was so dense it almost resembled a mist.
A small figure danced into view. He looked a lot like the devil. He wore a friendly smile and carried an umbrella. He didn’t look threatening, even though he was clearly a Chaos mutant.
“Do you know where you are?” the creature said.
“I… er… Silent Hill?”
“Oh no no no,” said the creature with a chuckle. “Silly boy. I really ought to put you over my knee and spank your bare behind until your weeping turns to screams.”
“Let’s not, you fething freak. Not unless you want to know what Tanith straight silver feels like inside you.”
The creature chuckled. “Now now, we’ve only just met! Do you expect me to fall for the lines of every young man who clambers into my world?”
“I’m going back through,” Milo said, starting back towards the wardrobe. There was a door in the middle of nowhere leading back to the familiar realm of dusty coats, sacred duty and Marneus Calgar’s fething self-important whinging.
The creature grabbed his arm.
“Now now, Milo, son of Norman, I was just joking with you. You’re going to have to be more robust if you wish to survive in the fabled realm of Narnia.”
“And if you want to survive, you’ll drop the ‘son of Norman’ crap. It’s doing my head in.”
“Of course, Milo, son of… never mind.” Tumnus let him go. “Let us get to business, if you’ll pardon the untimely sexual pun. I am Tumnus the Faun and you have entered my place of dwelling: Narnia, the kingdom of eternal winter.”
“Sounds like England.” Milo regarded Tumnus. “You look like a daemon of Khorne. How come your firey blood isn’t making the snow melt into steam?”
“Khorne holds no sway here,” Tumnus said easily, then his expression darkened. “Instead, we must put up with a frigid bitch who makes it snow all the time. Getting a snowball upside your head is all well and good the first few hundred times, but after that…”
“It’s easier to leave the ice clogging up your earhole.”
“Indeed.” Tumnus regarded Milo with something approaching respect. “I can see you’re not another poorly-educated member of the ‘Me’ generation. Perhaps you feel there is more to life than sex and booze?”
Milo remembered the shenanigans of last night, the so-called Black Friday.
“That’s right, I definitely think there is more to life than having six girls bouncing up and down on top of me while the Second Company command squad encourages me to down a yard of vindaloo sauce.”
As if on cue, Milo’s guts rumbled and a wet lager-and-curry fart leaked out.
“That’s good news.” Tumnus politely wafted the air in front of his nose and tried not to look repelled by Milo’s Tanith flatulence. “If we’re going to save my land, there is someone I’d like you to meet.”
They set off into the snowy waste.
“You should decorate this place,” Milo said. Stick a few fairy lights on the trees. It is nearly Christmas, after all.”
“That’s the worst tragedy of this place. Not only am I freezing my nuts off all day long, Christmas never actually arrives here.”
“What!” Milo gasped, appalled at the blasphemy of it. “That means -”
“No togetherness; no enjoyment of tradition; no get-togethers with the family around a giant turkey, no watching the Garfield Christmas Special and singing along to all the songs…”
“Indeed, Brin Milo, son of – sorry. It’s a crap deal, to be fair, and we all wish someone would do something about the White Witch.”
“It’s her fault Christmas never comes?”
“Then she really is a frigid bitch!”
“Do you not know of her?”
“No,” Milo admitted. “I just hate Christmas humbugs. ‘Uhh, I hate Christmas, it’s an ordinary day to me, I’d rather get drunk or go to work and earn double time, uhhh.’”
Tumnus chuckled. “We’re getting close to where I’m supposed to be meeting my friends. Tell me more about your world. Who is lord and master there?”
Milo thought of Calgar.
“You don’t want to know.”
They trudged along in silence. The cold began to bite through Milo’s Tanith fatigues.
“You seem cold,” Tumnus observed.
“It’s hardly an afternoon in Tunisia,” countered Milo.
“I know. I’ll warm your cockles with a nice tune.” Tumnus produced a wooden flute and began to dance around the place, playing an embarrassing and atonal tune.
“Now I know what Calgar means about my pipe-playing,” thought Milo.
A few minutes later, Tumnus apparently grew bored and put the flute away.
“What did you think, Brin Milo?”
“Well, it wasn’t exactly the theme to Last of the Mohicans.”
“Thank God for that. Annoying overblown crap.” Tumnus squinted ahead. “My friends should be just over the next rise, on the frozen lake.”
“A frozen lake. Cool.”
“Not so cool when half of your friends, the marine life of Narnia, are entombed beneath the surface.”
There wasn’t really anything to say to that so Milo kept his mouth shut. This flute-playing wazzock who looked like a daemon was upset about a few dead fish.
Eventually, Milo said, “My world died too.”
“Really?” Tumnus inclined his head. “I thought Earth was just entering its second world war?”
“Feth, no! There have been about a million by now. Humanity has spread to the stars and is currently wishing it hadn’t. My home planet was called Tanith. It got blown up and… well, that’s about it to be honest.”
“I’d like to blow the White Witch up.”
“Don’t worry, mate, we’ll drag her back to Ultramar and hand her to the Inkies. They’ll rip a confession out of her.”
They stopped walking.
“The White Witch,” Tumnus said gravely.
“Yeah, that bitch.”
“You don’t really mean that.”
Milo stared at the Faun. “Of course I do. We were just talking about what a fething lesbian she is. You made her sound like the embodiment of feminism in its ‘We hate men, we want everything, give us liberty and give you death’ form.”
“Now now, I’m quite sure I didn’t say anything like that about Her Radiant Majesty.”
“What’s up with you?” said Milo. “Did that flute playing suck all the oxygen from your brain? You made her out to be a horrible piece of work. I believe the words ‘frigid old bitch’ left your oversized, possibly homosexual lips, and you said it in a way that implied she belongs in a nursing home that stinks of piss.”
“You flatter me, Tumnus the Faun,” a female voice said.
“Oh feth,” Milo said. Tumnus was rigid with fear. “That’s her, isn’t it?”
“She’s been standing behind me for the last couple of minutes, hasn’t she?”
Tumnus nodded again. He was shaking so badly he looked like he’d got Parkinson’s.
“Then in that case,” Milo said, turning around with a brilliant smile, “she’ll be familiar with our sense of humour.”
“So that is what you call it.” The White Witch was an absolute fething beauty. Imagine Keira Knightley if she was even better looking and had Angelina Jolie’s legs and tits. “I call it insulting prattle which melts one’s already underwhelmed brain. Who are you, son of Adam, and whom do you represent?”
“I am Milo, son of Norman, not Adam. My leader is Marneus Calgar, son of… a bitch.”
“Calgar.” The Witch put a delicate finger to her lips. “One has heard of his sexual prowess. Long have I desired him in the sack.”
“You must be talking about the alternate version from Graham McNeill’s imagination. The real Calgar is stunningly incompetent in bed. Even he has to fake it.”
“Enough of this nonsense!” the White Witch snapped. “Poor NoPoet has been sitting down writing this for four hours straight and nothing has even happened yet. The audience is getting bored, aren’t you, you horrid caravan-load of ungrateful twats?”
“I don’t think we should insult them,” Milo said. “You know what the internet’s like, you can’t bring humourous barbs into it, people always take it the wrong way.”
“Who said one is being humorous?”
“Can I just -” Tumnus said, starting to edge away.
“Yes, bugger off, Tumnus the Faun, one is sick of the sight of you. If one catches you dissing one again, one really shall cut your tail off, and one really does mean that in the way you think.”
Tumnus ran like feth.
“My friends will rescue me,” Milo said defiantly to the Witch, hoping she didn’t realise Calgar and his Barmy Army were anything but Milo’s friends and were unlikely to give a toss about his plight when Home Alone 2 was on.
“Good luck,” she replied. “Time flows differently here compared to the 41st Millennium. By the time your friends even notice that you’re gone, I’ll have ground your bones to make my porridge!”
As Tumnus reached a safe distance he turned and yelled at Milo, “My frigging hero. You brought the White Witch upon our heads and got yourself captured. You’ve doomed us all, you Tanith twat!”
With that, the Faun did indeed bugger off, leaving Milo in the clutches of the ferally-smiling White Witch.
Luckily for Milo, Marneus Calgar’s sense of patience was running on empty – again.
“Where is that little feth-wit?” Calgar breathed as he strode down the hallways, looking into every room he passed – including the toilet, where Apothecary Mender was happily squatting while reading the latest Blood Bowl results.
“Remember to wash your hands this time, Apothercary. Brother-Captain Donulsson is still recovering from peritonitis.”
“Feth off,” the Apothecary grunted.
Calgar left the grumpy old bastard to it and headed for storage bay 3.
“Milo, I’ve been waiting for you to report back for nearly thirty seconds. Have you found my presents yet, and is GT5 among them? Milo? Answer me, you Tanith tit, before I flush your head down the bog.”
Calgar strode over to the wardrobe and opened its door. He sucked in a breath to bellow Milo’s name – and inhaled several moths. By the time he’d finished choking, Dick Bannerman and Brother-Tech Nerdingham had arrived to thump him on the back. Most of the moths flew out of his mouth unharmed, but alarmingly, one of them came out of his right ear. The Ultramarines watched it flutter away in amazed silence.
“Anyway,” Calgar said, shaking himself. “Milo was last noted heading into this wardrobe, looking for… something.”
“What?” Dick asked with a look of dark suspicion.
“Definitely not GT5. The point is, he hasn’t come back out yet.”
“Then why don’t we go in there and look for him?” suggested Dick. “I hid the presents under a mouldy old coat which nobody will even want to touch, so they’re safe til Christmas day. To be honest, nobody will want to touch the presents either, since they now smell like mildew.”
“Bwin might be in twouble,” Nerdingham said, ignoring Dick.
“Don’t be insane, you pair of wazzocks! We can’t all climb in there at the same time! What will the Warrior Lodge say?”
“Sir, we aren’t supposed to be running warrior lodges.”
“Er… of course, Dick. I was speaking in metaphor.”
“Ah. A metaphor for what, sir?”
“Just get in the fething wardrobe.”
Calgar bundled his men inside and crammed in after them. The door swung itself shut behind them (more for comedy value than anything else).
From the outside, the wardrobe appeared to swell and shake.
“There isn’t any woom!”
“Shut up, you girl.”
“Ow!” Dick cried out. “I banged my fething head. Stop pushing me!”
“That’s ‘stop pushing me Sir’.”
“Why is your hand cwadling my bottom?”
“That’s a coat sleeve, mate.”
“I’m quite certain that it’s your hand, my lord. Only the Gauntlets of Macwagge are that big and perfect for cupping things in.”
“Ah, shit!” Dick cried. “There’s a spider!”
“Careful, Dick, I don’t want anybody kneeling on my presents! Milo, are you in here? This is bloody ridiculous.”
“Ow! Get off! Those are the fingers of my shooting hand!”
“You never hit anything anyway cos you only use a pistol. Ahh, me bastard knee! I’ve just crushed somebody’s paint set. Milo, if you’re in here I’ll feed you to the Space Wolves!”
“Wait, Lord Calgaw! I’ve found something! Aah, watch it, it’s gonna -”
The entire back wall of the wardrobe fell down. Calgar, Bannerman and Nerdingham went tumbling along it and into the snow.
“Where they feth are we?” Calgar said, rising to his feet and brushing snow from his arms. “Is this that spare bedroom nobody’s ever been in?”
“If it is, sir,” said Dick Bannerman, looking at a nearby lamp-post which illuminated a pine wood, “we didn’t get it from MFI.”
“When I said speak normally -” Calgar said to Nerdingham, but the tech-dude simply shrugged.
“MMM MMM MMMMMM!”
The voice was coming from beneath the wardrobe’s back wall. Dick and Calgar lifted it between them, revealing a flattened Tumnus the Faun.
“Thank you,” Tumnus said. “Some fat bastards just gave me the pancake treatment. I feel like freshly-laid tarmac.”
“FETHING HELL!” Calgar said. “It’s a Bloodthirster! Quick, men, frag it!”
Calgar levelled his bolter-fists. Nerdingham and Bannerman drew bolt pistols. They emptied their magazines into Tumnus the Faun, killing him in a horrifying splatter of blood.
“That was easier than expected,” Calgar said. “He must have been a Bloodthirster from Warhammer Fantasy, and therefore easier to kill with our advanced weapons than its 40K equivalent.”
Bannerman touched a button on the armoured sleeve of his left arm. A little screen popped up and began bleeping.
“I had a locator beacon surgically implanted into Milo’s right arse-cheek in case he decided to run off with the Chapter’s silverware,” the bannerman explained.
“That’s prudent… and slightly wierd,” Calgar said. “Let’s find the little feth-wit and reprimand him on pain level ‘Season 4 of Battlestar Galactica’. If he survives with his intelligence centre intact, we can send him out to look for my presents – properly, this time.”
Bannerman glared at Calgar at this revelation of Milo’s purpose. Caught in his bare-faced bullshit, the Leader of the Ultramarines, who thought the Primarch Leman Russ was named after a tank, could only give a guilty smile.
“Once again, Lord Calgar puts me in the poo,” Milo moaned. “Why doesn’t he just wait for Christmas Day to see his presents like everyone else? The fat fething chuff.”
“Oh, cease the flapping of thine lips,” said the White Witch. “One feels like she is in the company of an old misery-guts.”
Milo glanced sourly at the dwarf driving the Witch’s sleight. It was Wee Man from Jackass. Wee Man gave Milo a very unpleasant smile.
“If you liked the way I drove that firework-powered shopping trolley, you’ll love the way I drive this fething sledge.”
Milo remembered the scene from Jackass: The Movie. Although heavily staged, the scene still ended with things blowing up and people rolling around clutching their knees.
Two pale blue horses were pulling them across the winter landscape. Narnia was beautiful, if rather cold. Milo was in the back of the sleigh in a monkey cage. It was like some horrific version of Father Christmas out delivering presents on Christmas Eve. Milo thought that this grim circus was the last thing any child would want coming down their chimney.
“Does one care for a Turkish Delight?” the White Witch said. Wee Man’s smile became predatory.
“Yeah,” Milo said. His greed overcame any sense of self-preservation.
The Witch turned awkwardly in her seat to hand him a piece of chocolate. The way her white winter coat opened showed Milo a rather tasty curve of breast. He grinned like a pervert as he accepted the chocolate and started to eat.
“We are nearing one’s castle,” the Witch said. “You will be one’s guest, then after a sumptuous feast you shall tell one exactly why a horrible little troglodyte like you is walking around making my kingdom smell like kitty litter.”
“Yeah,” said Wee Man. “If you lie, we’ll stick you in a jail cell with Mr Big… and they don’t call him that for nowt.”
Suddenly the Witch felt something warm and wet in her hair. She squeaked in dignified outrage and turned to face her Tanith captive.
“One hopes that is bloody well not what one thinks it is!”
“I spat my Turkish delight out,” Milo explained, melted chocolate around his mouth. “I thought it was like a Mars bar, not a thin layer of chocolate surrounding a chunk of, well, like mouldy jam or something.”
“That is still disgusting, but it is quite a relief,” said the Witch. “One thought you had tossed off and hit me in some bizarre friendly fire incident.”
“Maybe later,” Milo sighed, looking through the bars of his prison as the Witch’s moonlit castle drew nearer. They banged over a snow-covered rock. “If we survive this fething journey.”
Meanwhile, Calgar was leading his expedition in the right direction for a change. This was mostly due to Milo’s footprints still being faintly visible amid the settling snow, but partially due to a phenomenon called ‘something fething going right for a change’, as Calgar put it.
The trio crossed over a bunch of snow dunes and crossed onto the frozen lake. It was a large expanse of frozen water… what did you expect them to see, the Starship Voyager frozen underneath? (Actually something like that happened in the Voyager episode ‘Timeless’, which was rather awesome. I suggest you watch it when you’ve finished reading this. But please don’t go away just yet. I have already spent five hours of my life on this project of madness, the least you could do is share a fraction of my suffering!)
“What the feth is this?” said Calgar.
“It looks like -” Bannerman started to say.
“If you say it, I’ll kick your arse back to the wardrobe.”
“Of course sir. I won’t say that it appears to be a frozen lake. Look, it even says it on this sign post here.”
The Ultramarines stared at the sign post, which pointed towards the lake. It had a single place name on it.
“The twail just ends. But where is Bwin Milo?”
“Oh, knackers.” Dick knelt in the snow and picked something up. “Look, it’s Brinny-Boy’s transmitter. Something scared him so badly he actually parped it out of his system.”
“Hello.” The voice was male, but sounded funny, like it had been run through a voice synthesiser.
The Ultramarines looked around, then at one another.
They looked down. All they saw was a beaver returning their perplexed stares.
“Did that fething thing just speak to us?” asked Calgar. “Ooh! I know! We’re in a pantomime!”
“Milo?” Bannerman called, glancing around. “Are you playing a stupid prank?”
“He’s gone with the Witch.”
The Ultramarines were aghast to realise the beaver really was talking to them!
“I get it,” Calgar said. “I’m still pissed. I drank more than even my preomnor could handle.”
“Which Witch?” Nerdingham asked the Beaver. As a tech-priest in his spare time, he was used to dealing with weird stuff, so he got over his shock before the other two.
“You don’t know who the Witch is?”
“I believe we’ve established that.”
“Wait a minute!” Calgar declared. “The Witch! This really is a pantomime. We’re in the Wizard of Oz.”
“This is Oz?” said Bannerman. “I thought they had lots of sun, and tons of schoolgirls wearing paedophilically short skirts. Unless Home and Away is written by liars.”
“That’s Australia, you pleb!”
“Listen,” said the beaver, “I’d love to stand here all day hearing your ridiculous banter, but my wife is waiting for me. Let’s get back to my house and we can discuss plans.”
“Plans for what?” asked Bannerman.
“You do want to get Milo back, don’t you?”
“No,” Calgar snorted.
“Of course we do,” Bannerman said pointedly. “Who else will do our ironing? You lead and we shall follow. What, er, what should we call you?”
“Call me by my name: Mr Beaver.”
“Mr Beaver!” Calgar laughed in disbelief. “That was my nickname at university.”
“Really?” asked Mr Beaver, clearly flattered. “Why?”
“Because I used to get loads of… er… that is to say that I – never mind.”
They trudged on through the snow.
“I’ll tell you what, it’s bloody nippy out here,” Nerdingham said, getting an undistorted sentence out. Then he spoiled it by adding, “I hope my bits don’t wust.”
Calgar threw his arms round the shoulders of his comrades. “I wouldn’t worry about it, mate. Dick’s bits rusted years ago. Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to the place of beavers we go! How I remember the last time I sang that! I was itching for weeks afterwards. Bloody NHS, they managed to prescribe the wrong cream for it. The doctors were exhausted after dealing with millions of health tourists from the cesspits of Europe. My willy wilted like a grape dying on the vine.”
“For feth’s sake, sir!” Bannerman complained, pulling away.
Calgar started to sulk. “Now that you mention it, Nerdingham, it is quite cold, especially with Bannerman around.”
They reached the Beavers’ house. It was a large tree stump which might once have been part of a dam. Mr Beaver tried the doorhandle to find it locked.
“Come on, my dear,” he said, knocking. “I’ve brought the Sons of Adam. You want to meet them – you won’t believe the things they say! I think they’re rehearsing for a Monty Python tribute.”
There came a rattling from the other side of the door.
“I’m coming, my lover,” Mrs Beaver replied. “Just let me sort these security locks… and this one… and the padlock… and the bolt… ooh, the chain’s stuck… can’t be too careful in these days of Witches and dwarves who kick themselves in the head…”
“Come on!” Calgar demanded. “I’m freezing my bollocks off out here!”
“Nearly there, luvvie! Don’t you be impatient – you be worse than Mr Beaver when he’s waiting for me to take my knickers off!”
“Thanks for that image,” Bannerman said.
With a final clank, the last lock was released and Mrs Beaver let them all into the kitchen.
It was distinctly uncomfortable for the eight foot tall humans in full power armour. Nerdingham’s servo-arm was jutting straight through one of the windows – which Bannerman had already promised to pay for from the new Ultramarines army budget. He wondered how many points a small section of double-glazed glass would cost.
At least the Ultramarines got a cup of tea each.
“I’ll get us all a nice spot of dinner,” Mrs Beaver said. She squeezed past the Ultramarines and went out of the door.
“Where’s she going?” Calgar said.
“With it always being so cold,” Mr Beaver replied amiably, “we keep our spare food round the back of our house. It saves money on buying a freezer.”
Mrs Beaver came back in.
“Thank fethery!” Calgar said. “I’m starving!”
“Here you go my dears,” Mrs Beaver said. She handed each of the Ultramarines a small log. She and her husband began to tuck into theirs, chuckling good-naturedly.
“You always spoil me at tea-time,” Mr Beaver chuckled.
“What in the name of Father Christmas is this?” Calgar said, holding his log. “We can’t eat wood!”
“Well, technically, sir -” Bannerman said.
“Mine’s delicious,” Nerdingham said, chowing down. “Tastes like carrots.”
“I’ve got news for you, mate,” Calgar said. “You must have been eating the wrong type of carrot.”
“Listen,” Bannerman said, having surreptitiously hidden his dinner behind a large pot plant, “Mr and Mrs Beaver. While we appreciate your hospitality, we still need to track down this White Witch and rescue Milo.”
“Ooh, no, you can’t travel at night!” Mrs Beaver said.
“Listen, love, I’m the Leader of the Ultramarines,” Calgar boasted. “No fether picks a fight with me unless they want to LOSE. I’m known throughout the galaxy for being hard.”
Yes, Dick thought, but that’s down to the number of pornos you watch.
“Perhaps so,” said Mr Beaver, “but the White Witch has more than one monster on her payroll and she uses powerful magic. Our Lord Protector, Aslan, was turned to stone along with half the Narnian Army. That was one hundred years ago. It has been winter ever since.”
“A hundwed years? Why did you not waise a new army in that time? You could have conscwipted half the planet by now.”
“With Aslan gone, there’s no-one left to train them,” said Mrs Beaver.
“This is all well and good, but – uh-oh.” Calgar’s stomach gave a bubbling groan which travelled the length of his colon before dying in an abominable whine. “I had a vindaloo last night and I’m suffering from Ghandi’s Revenge. Where are the bogs? They’d better not be outside.”
“Bogs?” asked Mr Beaver.
“British slang for toilets,” said Dick.
“Ah. It’s in the back room,” said Mr Beaver.
“Thank the Christ-Emperor for that! I’d hate to have a log freezing on its way out like a brown icicle. Mind you, it might come in handy during rugby and wrestling matches.”
Calgar had to force his way past the other Ultramarines, banging his head on the roof in the process. The toilet door banged shut behind him.
“Where does the White Witch live?” asked Bannerman.
From the toilet, everyone heard Calgar unzipping the fly on his armoured trousers, then extended rustling as he tugged his trousers down.
“In the castle,” replied Mrs Beaver. “It’s not that far from here.”
“Ooh! The seat’s cold!”
“Then we’ll set off as soon as Lord Calgar is done.”
There came a tearing sound of toilet roll, followed by a horrid burbling as Calgar blew his nose. It seemed to go on for minutes. Images of pea soup and lime jelly sprung to everyone’s minds. There followed a sharp sniff as Calgar attempted to clear his nasal cavity.
“You can’t do that!” said Mrs Beaver. “There are ghosts and evil animals just waiting for someone to try. They are loyal servants of the White Witch. They either don’t know about Christmas, or they don’t believe in it, so they are happy to put up with this place looking like a shite version of Switzerland.”
PPPPPP! “Uuuuh! AAAAAUUUUUHHH! Get out, you bastard!”
“We’ve alweady used up all of our ammo, Standard Beawer,” said Nerdingham. “We might need we-inforcements.”
“AAAAAGH!” The Lord Calgar started to sob. “Someone help me! Please!”
“Why does the metal man talk like that?” said Mrs Beaver.
Nerdingham stared at her. “I happen to have a speech impediment, caused by insewting metal teeth into my gob that were pewhaps a size too big.”
“Ah. I wondered why you’ve got an overbite big enough to fit my head into.”
“Still,” Dick said, “they come in handy when he eats those wooden carrots.”
Peeeeeeeeep! PPPPPPLLLLLLLL! PPPPPPPLLLLLLL! THUMP-SPLASH!
“Aaaah! Fists of Guilliman, that feels good! I’m a new man!”
“Ahhhhhhhh! Oooh! My fething ring’s on fire!”
“He makes even more noise than you do, my dear,” Mr Beaver affectionately told his wife, who smiled.
The Ultramarines exchanged glances.
“I’ve just lost two stone!”
“So,” Bannerman said after an uncomfortable silence – punctuated only by five staccato toilet farts from Calgar – “we need a plan of action. If we cannot travel to the Witch’s castle overland, and we lack either land speeders or large shovels, we must find a new way.”
Everyone looked at Nerdingham, who was watching the snow fall through the windows.
“Tech-priest?” enquired Bannerman. “Any bright ideas?”
“Oh, sowwy, I wasn’t listening. Yes, of couwse, I can build a telepowter. I’ve got the necessawy sellotape and stwing.”
“You have a reputation for being able to build marvellous items out of any old crap,” Dick smiled.
“Oh yes. I built a Wendy house for one of the Chapter serfs who was pwegnant. Unfowtunately the Wendy house collapsed on her child. They were still digging him out when we stawted looking for new Whinos online.”
“Er… hmm,” said Dick. “Perhaps we should re-think this.”
“Thank the Emperor for that, I’m finished. Oh crikey, here comes another one! UNNNNGHHHHaaaaa!” PLOP!
“Is he gonna fething hurry up and stop shaming our entire Chapter?” Dick said, losing patience. “Lord Calgar! Come on, sir, we’ve got a plan!”
“Give me a fething minute, Number Two. I haven’t even wiped my arse.”
The sound of tearing toilet paper followed Calgar’s proclamation.
“Right,” Dick said to the Tech-adept. “You get started on building a teleporter unit out of string and sellotape; meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Beaver could perhaps lend us some Narnian clothes so that we blend in.”
“That might prove difficult,” Mr Beaver said carefully, “considering you are eight foot tall superhumans, and we’re a bunch of talking animals. Nevertheless I should be able to find you something.” He pottered off, muttering to himself. “I’ve got that old vest I’ve been wanting to get rid of, and Mrs Beaver’s fur coat has never been the same since those doormice nested in the pocket…”
“Oh no… oh feth me,” Calgar said, sounding utterly horrified.
“Don’t tell me he’s had another poke-through,” Dick moaned. “He had a pot of bleach strapped onto his trigger finger for three weeks last time.”
Calgar popped his head round the door.
“Excuse me, Mrs Beaver. I don’t suppose you’ve got a plunger?”
“I can’t wear this! I look like a fething gypo!”
“It’s the only way, sir. We would stand out too much in our armour.”
Calgar and Bannerman stood dejectedly, dressed in rags cobbled together from clothes so old and horrible that not even a pair of beavers would use them to line their nest. (What the feth do you actually call a beaver’s habitat anyway? Their den? Their lair? Feth it, no-one cares!)
“This is definitely entering pantomime territory, Number Two.”
Nerdingham only just suppressed a snort of laughter at the sight of his battle-brothers.
“Come to think of it, why doesn’t that poxy smegger have to wear this stuff? He stands out even more than we do, with that giant crane-thing on his back.”
“I am opewating the device,” Nerdingham said, holding a small box that said TELEPOWTER UNIT CONTWOLS on it.
“Fine,” said Calgar. “Before we leave we’d better have a solid meal. There’s no telling how long we’ll be out there searching for that Tanith feth-wit. If I missed Christmas morning because of him, I’ll rip those bloody pipes out of his arse only to push them straight back up again – only further, this time.”
“Fine,” Mr Beaver sighed. “Conveniently enough, we’ve got some non-talking rabbits here in Narnia. Try hunting a few and we’ll have some proper nosh.”
“You might not want to use the n-word any more, mate,” said Calgar. “Today’s degenerate kids think it means to suck something.”
“Today’s degenerate kids also think that ‘lose’ is spelled ‘loose’, Mr Calgar. Look on Facebook and laugh at everyone who gets it wrong; I guarantee you’ll lose your voice before you’ve finished working through your friends list.”
“Yeah, but -”
“Shall we hunt some rabbit, sir?” asked Dick. “The sooner we’ve eaten, the sooner we can get going.”
Calgar had one bolter round left and he hit the first rabbit square on. Unfortunately the rabbit was only just bigger than the bolter round. They didn’t manage to scrape enough together to do anything with.
When they trudged back in, dejected, they decided to rib Nerdingham to cheer themselves up.
“Oi, Nerd-boy,” Calgar said. “Say ‘rascally rabbit’ again.”
Mr Beaver shot and killed several rabbits, then skinned them, boned them (ooh-er etc for today’s degenerate youthful loose-ers) and cooked them.
They were interrupted as they sat down to dinner.
A beautiful woman – and Brin Milo – magically appeared in the already crowded room. They glowed blue and were shot through by a rolling line of static; a hologram.
“I told you we’re in a pantomine!” Calgar said, pointing at the woman. “Look, it’s Widow Twanky.”
“The White Witch!” Mr and Mrs Beaver gasped in horror.
“Is that her?” Calgar gave a long and vulgar wolf whistle. “She’s a bit of all right. Resist her, Milo, she might try to restrain you by sitting on your face!”
“Silence, Ultramarine.” The White Witch had a voice like bitter music. Not the Evanescence kind, ‘I’m dead inside because you killed me’ etc, she wasn’t an emo by any means. It was more along My Chemical Romance lines – ‘YOU’RE dead inside because you’re a fething bitch’.
“Presumably you wonder why I have appeared to you like this.” The Witch gave the Ultramarines a haughty glare. To her consternation, they merely sat at the dinner table in silence.
“What is wrong with them?” the Witch asked Milo surreptitiously. “Has one turned them to stone already by mistake?”
“No, my lady,” said Milo. “They’re waiting for you to cut their food up for them.”
“Because – er – you’re a woman. The Ultramarines don’t do equal opportunities.”
“Oh. Well.” The White Witch was quite taken aback. “Balls to them, then. They don’t get a change to beg for mercy. Come, son of Norman, we have our victory ritual to prepare.” The Witch swirled her cloak around herself and Milo and then they were gone.
“Come back!” cried Calgar. “I’m not cutting my own fething food.”
“Now listen,” Bannerman said to Nerdingham as they prepared to teleport. “Are you completely, 100% certain that you’ll put us somewhere quiet, but close to the Witch’s castle?”
“What do you think I am?” said Nerdingham indignantly. “You’ll be in and out without the Witch knowing you wewe evew thewe.”
“Right,” Calgar said. “Here goes, chaps. Operation Incredible Stealth commences on my mark. Set your chronometers – now.”
Their watches all beeped.
“Shit,” said Calgar. “Mine’s gone off now.”
“So has mine,” said Bannerman. “I told you not to buy anything from Hong Kong.”
“Feth it anyway. Nerdingham, beam us out.”
“Yes, Lowd Cawgar. You might feel a moment’s discomfowt.”
There was an incredible explosion of light as the Ultramarine heroes embarked upon a secret and highly sensitive mission: to rescue Milo and, in a most dignified and professional way, put the fear of fethery into all evil Narnians.
The White Witch well and truly had her spell on Milo. What the temptations of Turkish Delight had failed to do, a few good sessions of feeling her boobs had sorted. Sanian and her alter-ego, the Sabbat Martyr (amazing how effective a disguise you can create with a pair of specs and slicked-back hair), were truly forgotten, not just by Dan Abnett but by Milo too.
They were sitting at a huge feast table in the middle of the Witch’s courtyard. The sun shone down upon a bleak, yet strangely beautiful, landscape. Statues of animals rose or crouched in various positions of attack and surrender. Hundreds of animals that could be considered evil, such as big spiders (enough said), kangaroos (rapist bastards) and pheasants (you don’t think they stand in front of your car and smash your bumper by accident, do you?) were present. It was a bit like the scene from Labyrinth when all the goblins are surrounding David Bowie and the baby.
“To my impending victory over Narnia!” The Witch raised an ornate goblet filled with sacra. She’d learned the secrets of its manufacturer from Milo, who was now her man-bitch.
The assembled monsters roared.
“One has got spies everywhere. We shall spot Lord Calgar and his handsome, manly side-kicks from a mile off. Especially the one in red with the buck teeth.”
The monsters roared again.
“This young boy of Tanith has been converted to our side through the power of my breasts. When Ibram Gaunt kicked him out of the First-And-Only due to Milo shagging a Saint, Milo’s self-inflicted penance was to become Marneus Calgar’s little biatch.”
The monsters chuckled and pointed at Milo.
“And over there, stands the pride of Narnia, frozen forever in stone. Look at Aslan and laugh. Laugh, laugh until you piss yourself. I did!”
Suddenly there was a blinding explosion of fire in the sky. Two superhuman bodies materialised out of nowhere.
Dick Bannerman crashed down onto the feast table, smashing it utterly beneath his bulk.
Calgar fared much worse. He landed on something solid which crunched beneath him. Recovering his wits in less than a moment, he realised he’d broken the statue of a colossal lion, which could mean only one thing.
“Boris Becker’s Balls!” exclaimed Calgar. “I’ve killed Aslan!”
“Stand, Ultramarines,” the rather shocked Witch said as her beasts formed a circle around the Space Marines.
Dick and Calgar got to their feet. Not only had the teleport process burned the shit out of their skin, it had disintegrated all of their clothes. They stood before their enemies, bollock naked!
The Witch stared at Bannerman in amazement.
“One can see why your parents decided to call you Dick.”
Dick covered his manhood in embarrassment.
“What about me?” snorted Calgar.
“You? Oh. yes.” The Witch dragged her eyes away from Bannerman’s crotch. “Let’s put it this way, it’s true that Dick Bannerman is always carrying your Chapter’s flagpole… in his trousers!”
“So what have I got then?”
“You? It looks like you had your little finger removed and surgically attached to your knacker-sack.”
“Harsh,” said Calgar, as Dick winced. “It’s really cold, and when I was younger there was this incident -”
“Why are you here?” Milo gulped, astounded. “And why are you naked?”
“We’re on a sacred quest to prove to the universe that Space Marines aren’t eunuchs, what do you think,” Dick grumbled.
“This is all that Tech-priest’s fault,” said Calgar. “What a fething cock-up. You wait til I get my hands on that nobhead. Come on, Milo, we’re getting out of here now.”
The Witch smiled and her assembled beasts cackled.
“One thinks not. Boris, take them.”
A bear strode forwards. It was a very big, very peed-off-looking bear, having heard his namesake taken in vain. (Bears must be evil, otherwise why would the Americans get so much pleasure from hunting them down and shooting them?)
Boris grabbed Calgar’s arm in a giant paw.
“Back off. I’m an Ultramarine.” Calgar shrugged the bear away. “White Witch, I present you with an ultimatum: hand us the kid and allow Narnia to celebrate Christmas. Oh, and turn everyone back from stone and stop making it permanently winter, et cetera.”
“Or what?” she smirked.
“Or I come over there and shag you to death.”
“A bold statement for a virgin to make. Creatures – kill them both.”
There followed a Matrix-style battle scene in which Calgar and Bannerman kicked the crap out of everyone in their way. Unfortunately they were overrun by weight of numbers. Take that, Smurf-lovers.
“Any last words before one turns you to stone?”
“Yes, my lady,” said Bannerman. “You were very interested in my willy. If I give you one, will you let us go and return peace to Narnia?”
“Er… actually, one probably would.”
“What the feth?” Milo started. “When I talk to you like that you call me a pervert and threaten to tell the police.”
“Men are not the only gender who live by double standards. Besides, son of Norman, I wasted eight grand buying a year’s supply of Turkish Delight that you haven’t eaten, not to mention that you do one’s head in.”
“Son of Norman?” said Calgar. He and Dick looked at one another, then burst out laughing.
“You can laugh, with a first name like Marneus! It sounds like something you spread on toast!”
“That’s the nerve-glove for you, son, pain level ‘Star Trek: Enterprise – Season 2′.”
“Enough of this prattle,” the White Witch said. “Dick Bannerman, let us get down to business, then you can all feth off home.”
Dick gave Calgar a beautifully smug smile as he followed the Witch into her castle.
“Do you want the nerve glove an’ all?” Calgar called after him.
“I’m shagging the Witch. I don’t give a feth!”
Five minutes later he was back.
“Finished,” he said with a grin.
“Bastard!” the Witch shouted out of her bedroom window. She was in her underwear. “Beasts, kill the selfish sods. Tear them limb from limb, then bring one their love members that one might sling them in the bloody fireplace!”
“Uh-oh,” Milo said as the three men stood back to back in the middle of a closing ring of hostile animals. “How are we going to get out of this one?”
“I’ve got an idea,” Bannerman said. “It’s quite a good one an’ all. Beasts! Hear me! It is in your interests to join the Ultramarines and overthrow the slack-tittied tyrant who yells at you from her bedroom!”
“Right, mate,” Boris the bear said. “I’m looking forward to eating you all up then pooing you out three days later.”
“I’m not joking!” Bannerman said desperately. “The Witch conceals a great truth from you!”
“Oh God,” Wee Man said from the back of the crowd where it was nice and safe. “She’s not a carpet-muncher is she? I knew I’d never get a go on her!”
“Even worse than that, friend! The White Witch uses her magic so that Christmas never arrives here.”
“So what?” shouted a badger (vicious, feral dog-wannabes). “It never arrives anywhere else either.”
“That is not true, black-and-white skunk-thing,” Calgar spoke up, having belatedly caught Bannerman’s drift. “Even now on my home planet of Ultramar, my warriors gather around the telly to watch Home Alone 2, safe and warm in the knowledge that we will soon be opening our prezzies.”
“Presents?” a donkey (stubborn arseholes) sneered. “Nay bugger gets presents no more. The Witch told us presents represent corporate greed, or some such bollocks.”
“If that is true,” Milo squeaked, “why did I get a shitty Commodore that didn’t work last year? And a framed photo of Dame Edna with a box of Kleenex the year before? Thanks for those by the way, my Lord Calgar.”
“No problem,” Calgar said. “They had a sale on at Poundland both years running. How lucky was that?”
“Yeah, right,” said Wee Man (he was speaking in a Yorkshire English accent for some reason). “And what did you get?” he asked Bannerman. “Tinsel to wrap round your balls for my lady the White Witch?”
“Actually, I got… sent to prison and assigned to a suicide mission.” Bannerman glared at Calgar. “My most hearty thanks for your generosity as well, Lord.”
“What are you moaning about? Just cos the cold cell floor gave you chronic piles. Anyway, we healed your battle-wound, didn’t we?”
“Yes, Lord. Surgically widening my arse to remove a pulse rifle made a positive impact on my well-being at the time.”
“So… Christmas does really exist?” said Boris.
“Yes,” Bannerman said. He reached around his back and pulled a wooden banner stump apparently out of nowhere. The stump lengthened like the acrobat girl’s staff from the Dungeons and Dragons cartoon. The Ultramarine Chapter Banner unfurled on its own. “I swear it on the honour of Macragge.”
Bannerman planted the flag.
“Er… you might want to watch what you do with that thing mate,” Wee Man said. “People might find the symbolism distasteful.”
Bannerman glanced down. “Tell me I didn’t just plant it in Aslan’s fething litter tray.”
“You did, mate. Look. No-one else’s frozen turds are that size.”
“Go and kill the fething White Witch,” Calgar interrupted, “and you’ll be seeing Father Christmas in no time flat.”
“Nooooo!” the White Witch screamed from above. “I’d have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you pesky Smurfs!”
The animals roared and charged into the Witch, attacking as a swarm with Immune to Psychology and 2D6 strength 4 attacks. The Witch failed her saving throw and died a screaming death. When she was dead all of the stone animals began to return to life. All of the snow faded and the sun turned extremely hot. Trees burst into life, birds started singing and midges gathered in the air above Calgar’s head, occasionally venturing low to irritate him.
“What the feth?” said Calgar. “It’s supposed to be Christmas!”
“It appears that Narnia is approximately six months behind Macragge,” Dick replied. “I think we’ve boobed on this one, my Lord.”
The animals howled and screamed in outrage.
“Summer!” Boris yelled. “Bloody summer! It’s months ’til Christmas! Outside everyone, get the Ultramarines!”
“LEG IT LADS!” Calgar said. “BACK TO THE WARDROBE AND THE SAFETY OF MCGUFFIN!”
“That’s Macragge, sir!”
“Shut up and get running!”
* * *
aND THEN WE WAS SURROUNDED BY nARNEAN aNIMALS aND THEN WE TOLD THEM THEM THAT THE WHITE SYKER (WHO WAS nAKED} WAS EVIL AND AN ENEMY OF THE EMPORER AND THEN THE aNIMALS CHASED HER AND KILLED HER AND IT WAS ALL mY DOING BECAUSE I AM THE lEADER OF THE uLTRAMARENS. aND THEN WE RAN AWAY
“I’d leave that last bit out if I were you, sir,” said Dick.
“Hmm. Perhaps so. I just felt I should mention our tactical withdrawal back through the wardrobe.”
“Of course, sir, and make sure you mention how I heroically jammed the wardrobe doors with our Chapter Banner, preventing those angry stoats from breaking through. In any case, I see your writing skills are coming along.”
“Yes, Number Two,” Calgar said, pleased. “I spent a hundred and twenty hours learning to type and I think it’s paying off.”
“What’s going on?” Milo said, joining them at the computer. “WOAH! Emperor’s support stockings, sir, talk about attack of the caps lock.”
“Go away, Brinny-Boy,” said algar. “This is Ultramarines-only stuff.”
“What are you actually doing?” Milo asked. “It looks like you’re having a screaming fit on the page.”
“I’m writing a mission report, actually.”
“What are you writing it for?” Milo wondered. “You’re the Chapter Master, who’s gonna verify it for you?”
“I’m preserving it for posterity if you must know. Besides, there are still nearly 24 hours before we open our presents and I find out if Gran Turismo 5 matches up to Forza 3. I’ve got to do something to fill a few minutes.”
Preserving what for posterity? We killed a faun and a rabbit, we crushed the saviour of Narnia, you two beamed into the Witch’s festival naked, Dick failed to satisy a woman sexually and we all ended up running away with all of Narnia cursing our Chapter.
Milo sent that thought telepathically, half by accident.
Calgar stood up, smiling in a friendly manner – which indicated a serious tantrum was on its way – and put his arm around Milo, who visibly wilted.
“Not another suicide mission?” Milo gulped.
“You wish.” Calgar produced a toothbrush. “Here’s a scrubbing brush,” he said, still smiling. “I’d like you to clean the toilets. Our brothers have just finished their daily ablutions; I must warn you, Brother Dolum has been at it again. He’s been on a healthy eating course and has had nothing but raisins for three weeks. It’s not very pleasant in there, I’m afraid. Oh, and someone clogged the communal u-bend with mysteriously crumpled up Kleenex. Vox me if you need some gloves.”
Pale and trembling, Milo set off, clutching the toothbrush so hard his knuckles turned white.
Calgar and Bannerman enjoyed a chuckle at the Tanith’s expense.
The screen display changed to the screen saver. It was a blue background. The words MARNEUS CALGAR IS A WANKER scrolled across in multicoloured letters. Fortunately, the mighty Ultramarine big-lad didn’t notice, as scrolling text made him dizzy.
“Anyway, enough of this writing stuff, it’s doing my head in.” Calgar switched the computer off.
“Sir, don’t!” Dick cried, but it was too late. “You’re supposed to save your work and then shut the computer down normally. We’ve talked about this. Now you’ve lost all your work.”
“Bollocks!” Calgar roared. “I spent ten minutes writing that! I wondered why my last fifty mission reports all disappeared. Bloody Microsoft, forty thousand years and they’re still shit. No wonder we’re on the verge of extinction by every alien race that gets a Codex, even though we’ve got tanks bigger than my fething weekend retreat. Well I’m not writing all that again, I’ll just have to remember it.”
“Why don’t we relax in front of the Christmas tree and a roaring log fire, sir?”
“Sounds good to me, Bannerman. Lead the way.”
As they set off, Bannerman said, “Perhaps you’d like some roast chestnuts again this year?”
“You’re taking the feth, mate.”
The sun rose over a beautiful winter landscape. Christmas morning had come.
Marneus Calgar feverishly waited four hours for the PS3 to install Gran Turismo, then another half an hour for the game to update itself. When the game finally loaded up, he nearly had an orgasm.
“Gran Turismo intros are the best ever! I can’t wait to hear what they’ve done to Moon Over The Castle this time around; GT4′s intro was amazing.”
“But sir, the GT theme only ever plays on the Japanese version. Europe and the USA get generic pop-rock songs.”
The introduction started.
“Here it comes!” Calgar cried to Milo and the assembled Ultramarine Chapter (at least half of whom were wearing new slippers or jumpers). Everyone present farted in excitement, almost forcing an evacuation of the room before the Ultras donned their helmets. Milo choked to death and lay there with his eyes open, but then suddenly blinked and came back to life like major characters do in American dramas when the writers try to fool the audience into thinking the character is dead.
The screen began to display random images of coal mines and people just doing random stuff. Instead of beautiful music or an insipid song which had no links to the actual game (I mean, Panama?), the soundtrack was apparently a monkey plonking a keyboard.
“What the feth is this crap?” Calgar spluttered.
Ten minutes later, the raucous noise was still blasting in the Ultramarines’ ears. Nothing of any import had happened during the introduction. There was no Moon Over the Castle and no Soul On Display, making a mockery of the Soul On Display naming competition (which, let’s face it, was yet another ploy to distract fanboys from GT5′s constant delays).
“Is it true?” Calgar whispered, his eyes shining with emotion. “Were the fanboys wrong?”
When the game finally got going, Calgar’s cries could be heard across hundreds of miles of lonely winter countryside.
“I CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!! THEY HELD IT BACK ALL THESE YEARS AND IT STILL ISN’T FETHING FINISHED!!! NUMBER TWO, FETCH THE XBOX, WE’RE GOING BACK TO FORZA 3!!!”
A very Merry Christmas from the Ultramarines, the Tanith 1st, the land of Narnia… and from your author.
MARNEUS CALGAR WILL RETURN