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Sister Julien.

Julien is a man's name.

  • And? People end up with weird names.
  • It's probably supposed to be Julienne, with the extra letters discarded. "C[a]iaphas" and "Bro[c]klaw" probably follow the same kind of logic.
    • But if you discard those letters, you get the Masculine form of the name (Julien is the French version of Julian).
  • It's the year 40,000 and there have been a couple of apocalypses along the way. Some language drift over names is to be expected. Hell, there are names that have switched between masculine, feminine, and unisex drastically over even the last century.

How is Jurgen Pronounced?

I've always thought it as being pronounced "Yergen" like the common German name Jürgen, in keeping with the sort of pseudo-German theme naming of the Guard. But I'm wondering why, if this is so, there's nothing to notify the average reader, who wouldn't pick up on it, of this. Is there an official pronunciation that will hold me off until Dead in the Water?

  • I've always pronounced it "Jergen", mainly because it seems that, given his lack of hygiene, naming him as a reference to a brand of soap (Jergens) would be the kind of ironic Stealth Pun that Sandy Mitchell would make.
  • The "Dead In The Water" audio drama uses the German "Yergen" pronouncation, so I think that we can consider that the proper way to say it. Of course, the spelling naming him like the soap brand probably is a pun as well, though purely a written rather than spoken one.

Cain's childhood

The lack of information about Cain's childhood is suspicious in its absence. The fact that he was educated in the Schola Progenium suggests that he was the child of Imperial servants, either military officers or someone in an official civil position, and records of them should exist somewhere just to allow him entry. Unless there was some special circumstances that got him in, but even that should have a record noting why. Further, when he was admitted to the Schola, his file should at least indicate where he was picked up, and by whom. He may have been recruited away from his hive of origin, but given the mobility oppertunities for someone, especially a child, born into the lower to mid levels of a hive city, it is unlikely he could have gotten far. It is also possible that what records do exist were sealed or removed by order of the Inqusition, but if they were to do that they would at least put falsified files in their place, as Cain's large public profile would only draw more attention to the missing documentation. Given the Right Hand Versus Left Hand operation of the Inquisition, Cain's association with Inqusitor Vail, and the fact that she is publishing Cain's memiors (for distribution only within the Inqusition,) it seems likely that some other Inqusitor would get curious enough to start digging, and finding nothing at all would set off more alarms than finding something bland.

  • The Imperium has been known to forget about entire planets due to rounding errors. This is no big deal. That being said, I have a theory of how the son of two cowardly troopers could become a commissar (assuming Cain wasn't lying about their status): Cain's luck is inherited. In other words, his parents were trying to run from something, got killed, and looked like they died heroically for the Emperor.

Night Vision

Uh, I know that this is a Crapsack World, nobody understands technology at all, and this is minor nitpick, but Cain takes it as AMAZING when the Tau have like, night vision and thermal sights on their vehicles. 40 centuries into the interstellar future?

  • Cain's adventures happen mostly out on the Eastern Fringe, which is sort of the ass-end of the galaxy and is much less developed or densely settled. With less infrastructure, the night vision gear you might see Stormtroopers or elite light infantry getting issued elsewhere are nonexistent.
  • Tau blacklight tech is something distinctly different from thermal sensors. Imperial Guard units do have thermal sensors (referred to as "heat-see").
  • You also have to keep in mind the wide gulf in technology and beliefs about technology between the Imperium and other races. To the Imperium, anything more hi-tech than the stuff they have now is heretical "technosorcery" since they don't understand the science behind it, whereas it's just equipment to the other races.
  • I think that they do have such devices, the Imperium is just very... particular about them. In a lot of the cases with the Tau's technology, what the Adeptus Mechanicus (and anyone educated about technology from them) is horrified by is less that the Tau's technology is advanced, and more that it is so advanced without showing the proper obsequious to the Omnissiah in its construction. They tend to think of their own devices as operating on a kind of animism, believing that it has a soul and is allowing its user to make use of it, while Tau constructs are soulless constructs. The idea that a construct could take the place of "techno-magic" is terribly off-putting to them.
  • maybe he was still getting used to the idea that these xenos were this advanced ( night-vision is probably very advanced tech, and cain is (almost) just as xenophobic as the rest of the imperium).

Why isn't Jurgen a quartermaster?

This has been bothering me since starting reading the series but why has Jurgen not been promoted to a job as a quartermaster? The guy is so skilled at scrounging that he could probably find those Baneblades that General Stubbs lost! I get that he wasn't well liked by the Valhallans but I'm pretty sure they would get past that if Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM vouched for him.

  • Short answer: Because he's Cain's personal aide, and Cain likes it that way. 'Nuff said.
    Slightly longer answer: The very fact that Jurgen is anything other than a low-rank soldier serving in an artillery unit is a very fortuitous fluke; he was an undesirable soldier assigned to an equally unappreciated wet-behind-the-ears commissar as a practical joke. Both his personal hygiene habits and his pariah gene (which both make him unsettling to ordinary humans) would probably make him repulsive enough to most other people to effectively can his chances at promotion through normal channels. The fact that Cain's personal aide is a blank keeps Cain shielded from adverse psyker influence or probing, his obstinate personality and repulsive countenance are handy at keeping at bay anyone Cain doesn't want to talk to, his dedication to his work alleviates much of Cain's workload, and finally there's that melta that he always carries around. Amberley Vail also prefers that Jurgen stay with Cain because it makes things convenient for her as well; whenever she suspects she needs a blank handy, she can just pick up Cain, and Jurgen naturally always accompanies the commissar. It would be perfectly natural for an Inquisitor to ask for a HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!! to help her out, and the fewer people who know about Jurgen's secret, the better.

Why hasn't Vail gotten her own book yet?

This is purely me wishing for things that probably where never planned but why hasn't Amberly gotten her own spin off? It would be awesome.

  • She's too busy editing Cain's memoirs to write her own.
  • All the best parts are State Secrets. She could could tell you about them, but then she'd have to kill you.
  • Tell that to Eisenhorn and Ravenor. Actually, though, it's probably Mitchell who's too busy churning out those gosh-darn Cain books.

Why didn't the Necrons take Jurgen to be turned into a Necron Pariah?

He has the pariah gene and they had plenty of chances to snatch him (e.g. when he and Cain were the only survivors of the attempt to blow up their teleporter in Caves Of Ice). Was he just too scruffy, even for them?

  • Probably because they never caught him. It's kind of hard to turn someone into a Pariah if you can't catch them to turn them into one.
    • But as I said, they had plenty of chances. I mean he was in their lair, had the only weapon which had a chance of damaging them and when they'd killed the fire team (and thus knew they were there) the only one with him was Cain (armed with what may as well have been a butterknife and a pea shooter). Surely they would have the means to notice a blank amongst their would-be assailants?
      • Except they didn't catch him when he was in the middle of their lair, and there's no evidence that the Necrons can just spot a Blank/Pariah candidate.
      • there is a difference between blanks and pariahs. Blanks are a natural development, while pariahs are created by the decievers Pariah gene. the effects of pariahs are also way stronger than those of blanks, just as the side effects (to the point that pariahs are so off-putting they are usually lynched as children). Jurgen is just a normal blank, so he probably isn't "good enough".
  • That bit of fluff of human untouchables being turned into Necron Pariahs didn't exist at the time (Caves of Ice was released in '04, Do W: Dark Crusade, which said Necronized blunters were the Pariah's, came out in '06), and the way that the Pariahs acted in Co I sort of implied that Mitchell was treating them as though they operated on psychic powers or somesuch.

Sulla's Memoirs

At the end of Caves of Ice, Cain mentioned that Amberley spent a great deal of time debriefing the 597th and telling them to never say what they found under the mines of Simia Orihalcae. Yet in Sulla's memoirs, there are descriptions of Necron warships engaging the Gargant. This is a direct violation of an Inquisitorial order. Why wasn't the manuscript pulled? Did Sulla get in trouble for that?

  • IIRC Sulla's memoirs were pretty vague about the actual nature of the Necron ships, pretty much only describing their look and what their weapons did (or something like that). Perhaps that was vague enough that the inquisition saw no reason to pull it, as anyone who recognized them would have to already have known about Necrons and anyone who didn't would just assume it was an abstract description of some Imperial tech.
  • The memoirs were also published at a time when the Necrons had moved from shadowed threat to full blown menace in many areas. By this time the cat was well and truly out of the bag.

Has Cain Actually Shot Anyone?

And I don't mean anybody in combat, I mean as a commissar doing his duty to remove undesirables from Imperial service. I finished reading Death or Glory not too long ago, and I vaguely remember Cain mentioning he could exercise his commissarial powers and shoot someone for insubordination as a worst case scenario. Now I know that Cain has the presence of mind to keep his people in line with loyalty rather than fear, but he has considered executing people from time. Now my question, is has he actually executed anybody yet?

    • He executed a couple of soldiers at the end of For The Emperor (although that was because they had already been infected by Tyranids). In Duty Calls he's asked if he might have executed any friends of the PDF troops who tried to assassinate him as if it wouldn't have been a surprise, so he might have done it occassionally off camera at least.
    • Also from For the Emperor, he orders his unit to open fire on some loyalist PDF.
    • And there have been cases where he simply has no choice but to execute his own troops. Given the length of his service and the huge, varying quality and standards of discipline/morale that can be found in the troops of the Imperial Guard, executions might simply be the best way to go. As in For The Emperor a trooper threatened him and his future love, Inquisitor Vail. All in all getting shot was STILL a generous act of kindness and mercy compared to what the Inquisition's response to that would have been.
    • There have been occasional mentions of having to organize firing squads, so it's safe to say he has at least off screen.

Amberley's complaints about Cain's memoirs

Dictionary.com defines memoirs "as a record of events written by a person having intimate knowledge of them and based on personal observation," and suggested synonyms are "journal, recollections, reminiscences." From Wikipedia, one writer states "a memoir is how one remembers one's own life, while an autobiography is history, requiring research, dates, facts double-checked." Why does Amberley, who has described "the Cain archive" as memoirs, complain ad nauseum about how Cain's writing focuses on his own experiences to the exclusion of the bigger picture? Isn't that what memoirs are for? Cain's memoirs never purport to be an autobiography or a historical document, and Cain himself probably never expected anyone other than Amberley to ever read them (and maybe not even her); why is she surprised that something written for his own benefit focuses on him? This reaches Wallbanger territory for me when she criticizes him for not describing events/battles on the other side of the planet that he took no part in (as if she expected him to write a referenced history), especially when the battles in question were extensively covered by historians and Cain would not know anything that would add to those histories.

    • It's probably less complaining for complaining's sake and more a reminder to her fellow Inquisitors that Cain's memoirs, which in some cases are the only remaining accounts of certain events, are not necessarily completely unbiased.

Blank Breeding.

Blanks are extremely useful against Warpspawn and are so rare, psykers are a dime a dozen in comparison. So why isn't there a program to breed more of them?

  • Jurgen's....personality problems aside, getting enough booze and credits to seal the deal shouldn't be that hard.
    • Hell, artificial insemination tech probably survived in 41st century.
      • The Death Korps of Krieg have cloning tech right? A cloned army of Blanks has got to be useful.
  • Blanks were added to the human gene pool artificially by Filthy Xenos; Filthy Xenos that were trying to harm the True Enemy, but Filthy Xenos nevertheless, and everybody knows they can't be trusted and have ulterior agendas. Use the blanks as they pop up, but don't encourage them to multiply unnecessarily, that plays into the Filthy Xenos hands more than the already questionable status quo.
  • Also, Blanks make people extremely uncomfortable in their presence, a whole group of them probably induces suicide in the handler or something.

Letting Soldiers out to Play on Keffia

In "Sector 13," Cain's first attachment (12th Field Artillery) are cleansing Keffia of Gene-stealers, those little so-and-so's that use Unwitting Pawns to spread the mutations to future generations. There is at least one continent infested, in a war of attrition. So then why the FRAK are the soldiers being allowed into the Red Light District? It's begging for contamination! Dozens of soldiers have to be exectuted! And yet...

  • You are aware that this is the Imperial Guard, right?

Why does Vail hate Sulla's writing?

While...fervent, it's not really horrible. Just melodramatic.

  • this is Vail, she's a very no nonsense type, the style might just bother her that much.
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