Author's notes and production process:
Phew, it is finally done. The background story for the satirical universe I have created with the help of friends and perhaps a bit too much beer. Remind me not to try this stunt again.
That said, the inspiration for this nonsensical story came from a conversation I was having with a few close friends. We played the Warhammer 40K tabletop game and were sickeningly familiar with the background of the universe, and we were watching The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi back when it first aired in mid-2006. It was not a good combination, as we discovered. It did not take long before we started referring to Haruhi as "The Empress", because of the way She..…sorry, because of the way she behaved in the SOS-Dan clubhouse.
Episode 11 only added fuel to the fire. For those who require illumination, that was the episode where Haruhi led the SOS-Dan and their fleets of battleship against the Computer Club in the game Day of Sagittarius III. That was the moment when I sat down and went: "Holy crap, this might just work!" Haruhi's uniform, Haruhi's posture, how she issued her commands, the way she led her troops into battle, and most of all, the sheer authority she radiated, reminded me of a certain Emperor that I had read of from all the Warhammer 40K stories I collected.
And the whole Haruhiism business. A pseudo-religion revolving around Haruhi, a person worshipped as God by countless fans of the series when the popularity of the anime was at its peak. Even now, she is still worshipped as such by hardcore Haruhiists. Members of the faithful, you know who you are. I salute you.
With these in mind, I got down to work around July 2006, right after The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi ended. Work on this project was inconsistent, interrupted by various issues. Concepts were created, thrown away, and in some cases picked up and reworked. For example, originally, Kyon, Mikuru, Yuki and Koizumi were the only Primarchs heading up the Space Marine Legions, and there was no galactic civil war of any sort, just one happy story where humanity had pwned all opposition, everything ran smoothly and ticked along like clockwork. However, I became increasingly dissatisfied as I worked on that idea. The concept was too boring for me to write about, and I figured if I am going to write, I much rather enjoy myself in the process.
Fine words, but easier said than done. As I searched desperately for another concept to work on, productivity dropped drastically, and nothing was written for 3 months. Then I picked up a copy of Dan Abnett's (Empress bless his soul) Horus Rising and watched the first few episodes of Code Geass, and the final pieces of the puzzle fell into place.
The Horus Heresy of Warhammer 40K was an epic story, full of betrayals, heroic last stands, and loyalties being tested and found wanting or sufficient in equal measure. I knew of the story from various sourcebooks and Internet researches, but I had no impetus to use it in my own 40K/Haruhi crossover. However, Mr Abnett's excellent portrayal of the origins of the Heresy practically forced me to at least consider the possibility of including such a wonderful epic in my own fanfic. One question remained: who can I use to replace Horus? Who was strategically brilliant enough, and yet harbored the seed of rebellion within himself? Who would have enough ambition to attempt to overthrow Haruhi and crown himself as the new leader of mankind?
The teenager known as Lelouch Lamperouge provided the answer. Here was a man who fit the bill to a tee. Strategic and tactical brilliance? Check. Rebellion? Check. Willing to sacrifice the lives of many to achieve his goal? Check. This guy is perfect!
Not to mention "The Talon of Lelouch" had a nice ring to it…
Once I made the decision to use Lelouch in my story, the floodgates opened. The path was clear for other characters from other anime to be in this story, and it was a path I took more than willingly. Before I knew it I was contemplating characters from dozens of anime series. The Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha franchise was practically a shoo-in, since I was a huge fan of the series and I love and adore Fate-chan. Also, the announcement of Nanoha StrikerS made it possible for the Dark Angels, Empress' Children and Blood Angels to be led by 3 teenage mages rather than 3 loli ones. Some urged me to use the loli versions of Hayate, Nanoha and Fate regardless of StrikerS, but I resisted the temptation, figuring that the adult version would command more respect from the Astartes than the loli version. Imagine if you will, that you are a 3 meter tall superhuman in power armour, and you are being led by a loli mage that somehow packs more ranged firepower than you and your entire company combined. I would feel depressed in that situation…..but I digress.
The decisions for the rest of the Legions and the characters to be included were made in drips and drabs. I had forgotten some of the reasons why I roped in certain characters from certain series. I do recall that Sawatari Makoto of Kanon fame was included because I thought she was uber-cute while Negi of Negima was included simply because I needed an opponent for Nanoha. Konata was included because I admired her wit and her devotion to Haruhi (oh the irony), while Kurosaki Ichigo was in because I wanted a violent but honorable character that could be easily corrupted into rampant bloodshed.
Itou Makoto of School Days infamy was in because I wanted him to die. It was that simple. He was a last minute addition and thus forced me to alter some aspects of the story, but damn it was worth it.
Oh, and Rozen Maiden dolls as the Chaos Gods? I thought it oddly appropriate. Blame it on Saimoe and Desu, if you know what I mean.
I must admit at this point that looking back, I had no idea why certain characters were included, and frankly, some of the selections look out of place now that the entire background story is complete. Perhaps I was a tad too hasty with my Primarch selection, I don't know. Anyway, I shall work to remedy that issue, with hopefully minimal impact to the story. Please look forward to new characters replacing some of the existing, more inactive Primarchs.
So, for good or for bad, the twenty Primarchs were finalized then, and I had to assign and in some cases, design Legions for them. That took up time and effort too, as I had to bear in mind the specialized rules that I would be writing for the Legions, so that they would be playable on the tabletop. A great deal of time was spent on a rough sketch of their background, specialties, and game rules, and even then the task is still incomplete. I remember renaming the Emperor's Children into the Empress' Children, a joke that proved to be a hit among my friends. A name could not be thought for Naruto's Legion, so it became the Naruto Legion, in the vein of the Alpha Legion. The Swords of Fire was designed for Shana, for obvious reasons. More details about the individual Legions and their origins will be included in their individual Legion write-ups, so I shall not dally too much with this issue here.
With everything written out, designed, or at least worked on to a minimum level where they can be written about or referenced to, I finally started on the story you have just read. A mere 14 chapters, but they took roughly a year of on-and-off effort before I could even write out the first chapter. Perhaps the effort and the time could have been used on something more rewarding and enriching, rather than spent on a totally out-of-this-world fanfic based on the imagination of a half-demented, Haruhi-worshipping, tabletop-gaming otaku with too much time on his hands. Indeed, I have faced critics from the more hardcore members of the Warhammer 40K fanbase for "butchering" their beloved universe, with this one guy even hoping that "daemons devour my soul". To these critics, I have but one quote to answer with. The following line was originally written by Jervis Johnson, game designer of Games Workshop, the company that owns the 40K franchise:
"Sometimes it's worth doing things just because they're crazy, and exciting, and, well, cool; anything else is the icing on the cake!"
Mr Johnson has done a few things in his lifetime that left me, and a lot of other people, with an intense dislike of him. But this time round, I feel inclined to agree with him.
The next installment
Ah yes, the long awaited actual stories. Even I will eventually tire of writing stories in documentary style. So yes, I will be writing it from Kyon's point of view and yes, I think readers will enjoy it, if only for the quirky cross-series interactions that the characters will have. Articles based on the Astartes Legions are also in the pipeline. In addition, my partner Kerigis is working on Konata and her Ultramarines, so please look forward to our efforts!
Lastly, if you wish to take part in this grand project in any capacity, or if you simply have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me. You can find my email address on my profile. No promises, but I will answer where I can, when my schedule allows.
Credits and thanks
The Suzumiya Haruhi franchise is owned by Kadokawa, and Warhammer 40K is owned by Games Workshop. All other series and characters belong to their respective copyright holders.
I would like to thank the following people and companies:
Tanigawa Nagaru, for creating the Suzumiya Haruhi series. I bet that guy probably has no idea what he started all those years back….
Hirano Aya, Tomokazu Sugita, Yuko Goto, Ono Daisuke, Chihara Minori, for bringing the SOS-Dan to life with their wonderful voices.
Kadokawa, for publishing the Suzumiya Haruhi novels.
KyoAni, for animating The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi. Here's to the upcoming second season!
Games Workshop, for creating the Warhammer 40K universe that we know and love.
Kerigis, for believing in this project enough to partner up with me. Kerigis, if you are reading this, this is only the beginning. The road is yet long, and I am not sure if we can complete it, but let's at least try.
My friends, for the random discussions and proclamations of faith in the Empress that inspired me and kept me going when I felt like giving up. Once again, you know who you are.
My reviewers, regardless of whether they gave constructive reviews or not. You guys read the story in one form or another, so at least deserve my gratitude regardless of what you wrote in the review box. Though honestly, I still can't get over the "daemons devour your soul" bit, in a humorous way.
And lastly, you, my readers, who actually stuck with me all the way to the end of this one. You have no idea how much you honor me by doing so, or how much I appreciate you reading the story. This goes double for the reviewers! More of this stuff is on the way, so hang in there, would you?
The Empress Protects, and She Provides.