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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all!

I recently was spurred into writing again, and I've been trying to work my way back into it by writing out some softer (less polished), shorter pieces. This is a one-off I wrote from the perspective of Sights, an Imperial Stormtrooper. There's some subliminal (but not that hidden) messages and story-line going on, but it was mostly just a fun piece to put together. The story contains large amounts of profanity (as it is written from the viewpoint of an everyday soldier), so be wared.

NINJA EDIT: All the profanity got ***'d out, so no worries! If you would rather read it without all these annoying ****, then head here. Otherwise, enjoy below!

The inspiration for this story came from reading a wiki-article about Low Gothic. For those of you who don't know, Low Gothic is the speech of your ho-hum imperial citizen, pretty much 40K human vernacular. Descriptions are brief and extremely vague of the speech, so after some extensive research I found sources for a few bits and pieces of Imperial Guard slang. From there I invented a bunch of new terms and started laying some stuff on paper. I really wanted to relay what the subjective understanding of a basic imperial soldiers experiences would sound like. This story isn't so much about what's happening as it is about how they would describe what's happening. What kind of slang do they have? How would they express this, or this? Etc etc. This story has extensive footnotes to explain each reference, and those are half the fun, so feel free to browse any that you don't get right away.

Well, here it is! C&C is most welcome and appreciated!
Toy Soldiers

The rattlin’, that’s always the worst part.

Some will tell you the crawlers[1] are crowded, but with what we’d been eatin’ the past few weeks none of us took up much room.

But that ****in’ rattlin’, gets inside your head it does.

“****in’ Bullseye[2] down there Sights…” Closet gestured down the bay with a nod of his head, persuading my eyes to follow.

Bullseye he was…no smarter than a ****in’ plank[3] these conscripts were. Not sure why they had stuck me and Closet with these old men and boys[4]…****in’ joke it was. The Man[5] had told us that we were droppin’ in behind enemy lines…had another ****in’ Officer Hero[6] on our hands here; wanted me’n Closet join up and keep their hairnets[7] on straight. So here we were, two Tin Men[8] in a crawler filled with Bullseyes, waiting to die.

You’d be surprised how quiet it gets…rodents[9] know there’s not much to say, gun-babies[10] don’t know what to say. The silence rules the ****in’ air; that is, ‘til the Earthshakers[11] start. Swear to ****in’ Feth, damn things’ll be the end of me when some Pretty Boy[12] forgets he sent us in ahead of the ‘nami[13]. Couple’a mudboots[14]-turned-Coassacks[15] lit up Lho Sticks[16]…as if we ain’t close enough to dyin’ already…

Then comes the Last Silence[17]. That’s when you know you’re green[18]. The engines roar to life and a gun-baby vomits; just another ****in’ day.
I can feel the treads moving as I rise to my feet. The ride is always smoother than you ‘spect, but you never expect much.

“Listen up krill[19], cause I’m only gonna say this once. Keep your hairnets on, your heads down, and your laser sights[20] pointed forward. You keep one ear on your comms, and your other ****in’ ear on your ****in’ comms, you hear me?”

The silence meant yes.

“You got a cooker[21] or a fryer[22] you stay in the rear ‘til I say so. You want to live you move when I say so, duck when I say so, stop when I say so—you ****in’ don’t breath 'til I say so, understood?”

The silence meant yes.

“Unless you want a nice flamer tan[23], you stay out of Closet’s way. There’s three tight fistin’s[24] movin’ with us in Electro Weasels[25]. They’re goin’ in first to clear the DZ[26], then we’re out.” I couldn’t help but pause as an explosion rang out and shook the ****in’ crawler. It was too close to be anything but another fist goin’ up in smoke. The look on these dregs[27] faces…”Make that two Weasels.”

“Now, we ain’t got no Hangmen[28] on this drop. Don’t look so ****in’ giddy, cause if you are found wanting[29] in the field, I’ll ****in’ do it myself. Clear?” The way they looked at me I swear another crawler’d gone up.

“I want men on the hellguns ‘til the doors drop, then be ready to disco[30].” Comm told me we were close to the DZ as I retook my seat by the drop doors.

Closet tightened a nozzle above Flamingo’s trigger, his rebreather covering what I could see was a smile. ****in’ Bolt Magnet[31] he was, always itching his pointer finger.

“Giv’ ya’ a bottle of ‘sec[32] when we get back if you take one’a-the ‘cruits Kibbles’n’Bits[33].” Always a ****in’ joke with Closet, even when facin’ a drop. It was almost like he’d forgotten our first drop. ****in’ hairnet too big for my ‘ead, helpin’ a Hagrid[34] rickshaw[35] his speed bag[36]. When he asked me to help, I said, ‘Me?’ He just stared at me and said, ‘No I’ll get Hagen and Fleegan[37] to help, you ****in’ plank.”

I hadn’t ‘eard of that before.

There’re about twenty of us and two Chickenfoots[38]…we’d lost the Cow[39] we were supposed to be skankin’[40] behind. Commisar called us for a halt and said he needed someone to haunt[41] a few klicks ahead. I volunteered, thinkin’ I was gonna pull a Yarrick[42]. Me’n two other babies donned our bushpaint[43] and ghosted our way through the rubble up ahead, but wasn’t ‘til we hit the second floor of a chapel and planted roots[44] that I took notice. The ground up ahead looked to be shimmering, almost like moving. My mates couldn’t see the backside of a Titan from a Hive Spire, so they grabbed the pair o’ magnoculars[45] the ol’ commie[46] had lent us. Turns out some crab cakes[47] were scouting out the valley below. Ever since then they called me ‘Sights.’

That was the first time I ever saw me some Toy Soldiers[48] up close. Boys came in and swept through those crabs and a whole unit of Tomb Kings[49] like it was nothing. That’s when I knew I was a Donkey’s Ass[50]. ****in’ Imperial Storm Troopers…

****in’ Toy Soldiers…

[HR][/HR][1] Slang term for a Chimera

[2] Slang term for a new recruit or rookie; stems from the tendency to do dumb things in battle (like sticking one’s head up and providing a ‘bullseye’ for enemy snipers)

[3] Slang term for an Ogryn

[4] Slang term for conscript squads; refers to the tendency for conscripts to be scrounged up quickly and poorly trained

[5] Slang term for the general in charge of a battle

[6] Slang term for higher ranking officers, used in a derogatory nature; usually used to describe officers who tend to stay safe behind lines while their troops do all the fighting

[7] Slang term for a standard issue helmet

[8] Refers to warriors who wear carapace armor, a sight uncommon for most front line soldiers

[9] Slang term for a veteran of urban warfare, used affectionately

[10] Another slang term for new recruits

[11] Slang term for artillery pieces

[12] Slang term for a higher ranking officer, usually one who achieved his rank through officer training school or nepotism (and has never seen battle)

[13] Slang term for waves of shock troops

[14] Slang term for shock troops who have been previously deployed, but never seen combat; refers to a common complaint amongst them of having ‘mud in their boots,’ and that being their biggest problem

[15] Slang term usually used to refer to old veterans with too many stories; can also be used to simply refer to a veteran, usually of five or more campaigns

[16] An addictive narcotic smoked by some imperial citizens, involves inhaling laced water vapor into the lungs; can bring about slight buzzes, similar to small portions of ‘chol

[17] Slang term for the brief period between an artillery barrage and an infantry charge.

[18] Slang term for greenlit, or given the go to proceed

[19] Slang term for new recruits; refers to a long extinct species know for being on the bottom of the food chain

[20] Slang term for a lasgun

[21] Slang term for a meltagun, refers to the gun’s tendency to cook metal

[22] Slang term for a plasma gun, refers to the gun’s tendency to fry its’ user

[23] Slang term for scorches from proximity to heat

[24] Slang term for a devious and widely considered gross sexual act; used by some to refer to Armored Fist Chimeras that are completely filled

[25] Slang term for Chimeras outfitted with external plates charged with electric current; ‘fries’ enemies in a close proximity to help clear a deployment zone

[26]Short for Drop Zone

[27] Slang term for recruits, usually referring to the Penal Legion, but always in a derogatory manner

[28] Slang term for Commisars

[29] Slang term for a field execution

[30] Slang term for opening fire with a squad full of lasguns; used derogatively harkens the weapon’s notoriety of ineffectiveness

[31] Slang term for Sanctioned Psykers by non-psychics; usually used in a derogatory way.

[32] Short for Amasec, which is a commonly found liquor made from distilled wine

[33] Slang term for balls, usually referring to when a recruit is chewed out; the reprimanding officer is said to have had his ‘kibbles’n’bits’

[34] A slang term used to refer to a fat person; usually denotes stupidity, laziness, or inability to perform in the prescribed field

[35] Slang used to describe dragging a heavy weapon fortification

[36] Slang term for autocannons; refers to the noise the weapons makes when fired, akin to the sound of a boxing speed bag in use

[37] Hagen and Fleegan are two mythical guardsmen who sit in the two extra seats in Chimera APCs. The legend references guardsmen’s tendencies to ‘Hag’ (die) or ‘Flee’ (retreat). These two ‘guardsmen,’ death and cowardice, symbolically ride in every Chimera. The turn of phrase is often used to describe a ridiculous idea, or the how ridiculous the previous statement might sound

[38] Slang for a Sentinel Armored Walker

[39] Slang for a Leman Russ Tank

[40] Slang term for the process of advancing behind an armored vehicle, as it provides moving cover

[41] Slang for scout, hence the nickname ‘ghosts’ for scout units

[42] To kill an enemy and take a trophy back to your unit

[43] Cameleoline, a camouflage face paint distributed in standard guardsmen infantry packs

[44] Slang term for establishing vox communications

[45] Optical devices capable of enhancing the view of distant objects, can also track heat and enemy movements

[46] Short for Commisar

[47] Slang term for Necron scarabs

[48] Slang term for Storm Troopers or Kraskin Squads

[49] Slang term used generally to refer to Necons

[50] Slang term used to describe ‘lifers,’ as in military men; although drafted into battle until death, some guardsmen feel that their place is in the military, and as such are ‘in it for the long haul,’ much like a pack animal; it is believed it originally carried a negative connotation, one meaning ‘fool’ or ‘idiot,’ but that meaning has long since been replaced

Sir Proofreader
4,251 Posts
An interesting piece, I think you've managed to convey that rough uncultured feel that a soldier might tend to have.

I did find it a bit overloaded with slang, though, and thus a little difficult to follow. As long as I just assumed I knew what the terms meant and kept reading though, it flowed fine.

86 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
An interesting piece, I think you've managed to convey that rough uncultured feel that a soldier might tend to have.

I did find it a bit overloaded with slang, though, and thus a little difficult to follow. As long as I just assumed I knew what the terms meant and kept reading though, it flowed fine.
Yea, I was wondering about the mixture of slang within the piece. At least from a writing perspective, I wanted it to convey the difference vast difference, but also extreme similarity between Low Gothic and 21st century english. So because of that I tried to allow the slang a definitive presence.

But thanks for the comments!


Poet of the Deed
4,004 Posts
Hmmm, the only point I would raise from a fluff perspective is that IIRC the Stormtroopers are Schola Progemium graduates - that is to say that they are the orphans of senior (or relatively senior) Imperial officers - I find it hard to believe that they would be that uncultured - they come from the same place Commissars and some Inquisitors do, after all. If you're looking for an "everyday soldier" then a Stormtrooper might not be what you are looking for.

I would agree with Deadstar on the slang being overloaded even if I'm mistaken on the fluff point, in the same way that, say, historical fiction about Romans isn't written entirely in Latin, but instead might make occasional use of it on a key word, there are definitely slang terms in there that could be omitted without detracting from the general feel of it - its unlikely that a reader will remember all of those terms if they are dumped on them at once so they will have to break their immersion throughout just to check up on the same phrases, which means that they aren't paying attention to your writing as much as you want them to.

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