The adventures of the Politically Correct Marines

Brother-Sergeant Karvoth of the Ultramarines hacked left with his chainsword, the whirring teeth biting deep into the Ork's chest. The Greenskin roared in pain and anger as it fell from the top of the barricade, dragging Karvoth's arm with it. Grunting, Karvoth pulled his chainsword free and stabbed it back down into the xenos' face.

No sooner had the Ork stopped kicking than another leapt up to the top of the barricade. Karvoth sighed, drawing and firing his bolt pistol in one motion. The Ork fell backwards again, this time with a gaping crater blasted in its chest. It was going to be another long day.

Beside him, lined up behind the hundred-metre long barricade, the other Astartes of squads Karvoth and Ramorn fought with the same resigned, almost bored, actions. Having fought against the Orks for nearly two hundred years, give or take, there was very little that was new to them, especially given the Greenskins' approach to 'innovative tactics'. Same old battlecry, same old mindless charge, same old piles of dead Orks in front of the barricade. Really, the Ultramarines needn't have bothered with the barricade; it worked just as well to just let the bodies pile up into one.

But then, as is unfortunately common when plans are working perfectly, something went drastically wrong.

The missile launchers ran out of missiles.

Within minutes, the lumbering Ork 'dreadnoughts' and their smaller cousins were at the barricade, dauntingly undamaged. Space Marines, however, are dauntless - which is to say, they are impossible to daunt, no matter how hard you try – and a barrage of krak grenades sailed towards the Ork vehicles, blowing off limbs and blasting open armour plates.

The Orks were unperturbed by this, though, as they had many spare limbs on their Dreadnoughts for just such occasions, and it was much more fun with the armour off. So it was that they were just getting ready to crash into the Ultramarine lines, revving engines, spinning their spinny weapons, swinging their swingy weapons and firing their flaming weapons, as well as shouting unintelligible threats at the Marines, when the first drop pods came smashing into the ground behind the barricade.

From them strode Astartes clad in pale blue and white armour, who immediately set about resolving the combat with their boltguns. Karvoth couldn't help but wonder why they had modified them to shoot rubber bolts, though, since it now took at least eight to down an Ork, even to the head. Still, he was grateful for the assistance, and raised his gore-spattered chainsword.

"For the Emperor!" he roared. "Cleanse these foul xenos from this planet!"

"Ahem," said a voice behind him.

He turned. One of the newly arrived Astartes was facing him. Karvoth inclined his head. "Sergeant Karvoth of the Ultramarines third company. I thank you for the assistance," he said.

The other Marine gave his own nod. "Captain Daenor of the P-C Marines. We're actually a successor of yours, somewhere down the line."

"Oh," said Karvoth, anxious to get back to the killing. "Care to join me in slaughtering some foul xenos?"

Daenor shook his head, tutting. "Now, that's the sort of this we're here to stop."

"What?" asked Karvoth, "slaughtering foul xenos?"

"No – or technically yes. The words 'foul xenos' are what we object to. It's really not very good to be calling a group of people 'foul xenos' just because of their particular racial heritage, is it?"

"Uhhmmm… yes?" said Karvoth, struggling to get his head around what Daenor was saying.

"No. The Orkoid race – much as I hate to classify individuals into groups based on such criteria – make a valid and possibly necessary contribution to the galactic whole, and should be treated as no less equal than ourselves. Ergo, no slaughtering them just because of a minor disagreement over who gets this or that bit of land. And certainly no cleansing the entire galaxy of every single Ork just because of a disagreement with one particular group."

What was this strange Marine babbling on about? Karvoth couldn't for the life of him figure it out. He seemed to be saying that they shouldn't kill the Orks, but that couldn't be right.

"Look, Captain whatsyername, the Codex Astartes specifically states that in situations like this we should cleanse the planet of every single Greenskin."

Daenor tutted again. "Now that's a bit racist, don't you think?"

"Raci-what? Greenskin?"

"Categorising individuals by the colour of their skin is a huge step back in the fight for galactic peace. Rather, they should be termed by their individual names, or, if it is absolutely imperative that they be referred to collectively, then they should be termed 'Orks, Gretchin, and distinguishable subspecies of the Orkoid genus'."

That was it. This newcomer was definitely telling him not to kill the Orks. "Look, you," he said angrily, "The Emperor Himself created the Astartes to retake the Imperium from the xenos and heretics infesting the galaxy."

"And there we go again," said Daenor, shaking his head. "While it is important to recognise the critical role that past events have played in the evolution of the galactic whole, it is also crucial to realise that the galaxy has evolved, beyond the constraints of past events. While the Emperor did have some laudable ideals, the way in which he went about realising said ideals is completely wrong for the galaxy as it is today, completely wrong."

"What?" asked Karvoth, confused. They had a mission from the Emperor to cleanse the stars of xenos and heretics. What could be simpler to understand?

Daenor sighed. "Look, classifying people as 'heretics' just because they don't share the same belief system as you do is not only morally wrong, but also an obstacle in the path of diplomatic relationships and peace arrangements. The galaxy is a big place. Surely there is room for more than one species, and more than one religion?"

Karvoth scratched his head – or, more accurately, his helmet, as he had forgotten that he still had it on, what with all the intellectual stuff going on. He took off the helmet, and scratched his head for real. "Uhmmm… nope?"

"Wrong again," said Daenor. "Religious and racial discrimination are the largest barriers in the way of galactic peace."

One of the other P-C Marines marched up. "All combatants pacified, Captain. We couldn't be sure which side were the aggressors, so we were forced to pacify everyone to avoid discrimination, sir."

Karvoth looked behind him in mute horror. The P-C Marines were standing guard over a horde of unconscious Orks, and nineteen unconscious Space Marines. He rounded on Daenor. "What have you done?" he roared.

"Very good, Sergeant," said Daenor. "Ah, Captain, it seems that, regrettably, evidence as to who exactly began this fight was lacking, and so my men were forced to pacify everyone involved. Don't worry, they're only knocked out."

Karvoth quaked in anger.

"Now, I think it's time to leave," said Daenor, seemingly oblivious to Karvoth's quaking. "Sergeant? Bring the Thunderhawk down here would you please?" he turned to Karvoth. "Now, Sergeant Karvoth, it seems both you and your Marines are decidedly lacking in the diplomacy department, so my men and I will take it upon ourselves – no need to thank us, just doing our job – to bestow upon you the best training we can give. Now, if you will accompany me?" He gestured towards the approaching Thunderhawk.

Karvoth whipped his bolt pistol up and pressed it into Daenor's head. He was definitely a heretic. He had to be. "I go nowhere," he spat.

Then a rubber bolt struck him in the side of the head and everything went black.