+ inload: Nur. Na. Phom. +

The spindle trees here are long and whip-thin, and completely still. Even with half-a-ton of unman scratching its worm-ridden arsehole against the repellent bark with a look of idiot bliss, the ominous trees remain utterly, obscenely, inert.

Worse. Every single tree stretches high; maddeningly high, towards a sky as white and dead as a beached sea-ray. As though providing some cosmic balance with the impossible trees, it writhes. Flat and blank, and somehow in motion. The gelds studiously avoid looking at it.

It is in Drone's inhabitants. You can see it. As bullet enters meat, great heavy clouds of blood – slick and red and dark as sorrow – belch out. Along with their despairing, bovine screams, they weep out clouds of luminous... something.

We are Nur Na Phom. Humanity paradigmatic. Our gene-weave has been stripped and refined and engineered to survive; parsing away inherent weaknesses of our kin. Thus we survive our toxic homeworld – and thus we resist the moon-mist better than many.

Better. Not perfectly.


Other Martinets see – mock, accuse – flaws in individuals. I see further. This is not a flaw in our genescaping. Whatever is behind Drone's fecundity underlies the fundamental limits of humanity. This is beyond us.


+ The Monitor +

+ The euphemistic 'Monitors' have been assigned to many of the invading regiments, their tasks nebulous and unclear. Unlike the Nur of Na Phom, they certainly appear baseline human, and are thus cloaked and hooded, the better to ward off any miasmatic influence of the Moon of Drone. +

+ Their equipment, appearance and role clearly varies, but at whose command their Fell Osseous quills scrawl, and what they record, is anyone's guess. This example, bears one of the infamous Liber Negra of Aulos; on the leaves of which are recorded the writhing and esoteric lament of the transcendant being Yes+

+ Na Phom+

Na Phom geld with typical equipment.
+ The ritualistic and fatalistic culture of Nur No Phom stems from their wizened and artificially restricted gene pool; refined, cut down and stripped back savagely, in a desperate effort to trim away any potential vector for genetic poly-corruption; a response to an endemic threat that catastrophically altered the culture of the world; causing a mass extinction event that nearly saw the end of the colonists. +

+ Barely-legibale STC bank scrolls, studiously copied for generations – the originals long-lost – indicate that the people of Na Phom were force to abdicate genetic diversity in order to avoid extinction. A few strains of resistant humans were developed; that has been further winnowed by subsequent developments in the swamp-borne polyvirus. +

+ Today, all inhabitants of Nur Phom are all-but genetically identical; and regard themselves as ur-examples of humanity – a stable strain of being that is somehow 'more accurately human' than the rest of the Imperium. Given this opinion, one might expect the Na Phom to be arrogant or supercilious, but they are typically taciturn and stoic, sluggish and fatalistic. Most are entirely indifferent to their way of being, seeing little of note in it's disparity from the cultures around them. +

+ Such lack of diversity has its drawbacks. The Na Phom are catastrophically infertile, with barely one in two hundred able to procreate; and then only with a great deal of mechanical and medical oversight. As with their curious lack of interest in cultural self-reflection, so do few philosophies or cultures indigenous to Na Phom fetishise or even seem to value fertility, as one might expect. Instead, it is seen as a burdensome – even irksome – duty; with most Na Phom regarded the ability to excel in their duties, which are assigned in their early years, as the value to which to aspire. +

+ The Nur +

Gelds perfom most typical line infantry roles. 
+ The Nur form the military corps of Na Phom. Owing to the similarities between individuals, and a culture that emphasises excelling on behalf of others (for when those around you are closer than fraternal siblings, why not cooperate?) they operate as specialised medium infantry; working in groups of Gelds in support of Martinets. +

While they are genetically refined, their exceptionalism does not grant them particular advantages in combat. The Nur are not inherently stronger or resilient than other typical baseline humans.+

+ Their narrow but rigid band of genetic material is highly resistant to cancer and other genetic deviance, including that caused by low doses of alchaemical radiation. Combined with the strong immune defence built during a childhood on Na Phom does grant them some natural limited resistance to toxins, and a relatively quicker recovery time from traumatic injury; a trait exacerbated by the ready availability of blood transfusions, organ donation and the like. +

+ The Geld +

Gelded catechumen
+ Na Phom unable to breed are gelded in a coming-of-age ceremony; their generative organs irrepairably irradiated in order to reduce instances of tumorous growth. Gelds are more placid and obedient – though this makes them no less dangerous to the enemy – and operate in loose bands, directed by Martinets. +

+ The Nur rely on supporting air power and armour for heavier-duty strikes. Their standard-issue small arms are re-structured Chen-pattern las-spitters; light, rapid-firing but inaccurate – ideal for short-range firefights. +

+ Geld are not indentured. While most are largely indifferent to abstract concepts of freedom – being perfectly happy to serve alongside their peers – there is still a structure and rank system in place. This is mainly based on age and seniority. Younger Gelds join the ranks as catachumen; loosely equivalent to Whiteshields.

+ Martinets +

+ Marked out by genetic refinement, the skin of Martinets is rendered a soft, pastel blue redolent of ancient gods. Martinets direct and control swirling bands of Gelds, serving as an officer class. Despite the risks inherent to the military, and the continuing genetic shadow under which the population of Na Phom lives, Martinets continue to serve on the front line. +

Their presence on the battlefield undoubtedly has a ceremonial aspect to it, but there is also a societal reason many Martinets join the Nur: those who demonstrate military command ability are regarded as worthy of political tenure after their service is complete. +

Martinet on Unman

+ Unmen +

+ The polyvirus did not just attack mankind. Perhaps the great irony of Na Phom is that while their now-mythical STC system allowed them to manipulate their own genes to survive, the settlers were, for whatever reason, unable to maintain their partner species. +

+ Dogs, cattle, grox, birds and nearly all other higher lifeforms were wiped out by the virus, necessitating the back-breeding of analogues from resistant human stock. Today, manhounds, homo sub. equus and numerous other stabilised abhuman forms 'enjoy' an existence on Na Phom as 'unmen'; distinctly speciated by physical and cultural adjunct. +

+ Whether they remain blissfully ignorant of their lineage, or are somehow distantly aware of their stolen birthright, is a mystery that is unlikely to be resolved. +

1 comment:

  1. This feels like what if Cordwainer Smith was able to get into the nihilistic mindset of Warhammer 40000...


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