Dear Space Marine – Pest Control

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The following is a reprint from Unwinnable Weekly Issue Twelve. If you enjoy what you read, please consider purchasing the issue or subscribing for the a month. 


Editor’s note: Each month, Unwinnable’s resident advice columnist dispenses wisdom from the ages in response to your email and Twitter questions. He just happens to do so from 38,000 years in the future. With the help of the ancient computer CHAD and the mecha-tentacled Magos Valence Mak, Tech-Marine Aurelius Ventro of the Imperial Fists delivers the enlightenment of the Emperor to your unworthy human eyes – as only a Space Marine can.







Dear Space Marine,

Can you recommend a Codex Astartes-approved method of purging insects from the home?

Chris Maire @dinosaursssssss


Dear Chris Maire @dinosaursssssss,

I am gratified to learn CHAD’s Automated Temporal Information Transfer (AUTO-TIT) protocol is working properly, as your mention of the Codex confirms. Thus may your infant species suckle from the wisdom-teat of the blessed tome’s author, the most holy Lord Roboute Guilliman, Primarch of the Ultramarines. Suckle, Chris Maire @dinosaursssssss. Suckle.

While I applaud your efforts to comply with the Space Marines’ most sacred codes of martial honour, it is obvious your primitive mind cannot comprehend the text. For nowhere in the Codex does the Lord of Macragge trouble himself with such unworthy topics as the elimination of household pests.

However, the Codex does provide ample advice on the extermination of repellent, inferior xenos-breed life forms. This knowledge has proved especially useful in my current posting, the backwater world of XB-0701 – known to rogue traders in the sector as “The Stench.”

The Stench is so named for its vile olfactory effect. The entire planet, aside from the cave complex in which CHAD, Magos Mak and I are situated, is a massive festering bog. Great geysers of noxious gas erupt incessantly from every square metre of this foetid swamp, as if the globe itself were suffering a terminal case of flatulence. The reek of decay and effluvia permeates every molecule of solid matter. It is, in short, much like your era’s “New Jersey.”

Let me put it another way. During the Battle of Greshal Prime, I gutted a particularly gruesome Ork Nob from snout to crotch. As my chainsword tore through the creature’s disgusting flesh, its viscera showered my armour in an explosion of foul ichor. It smelled exactly like you’d think the inside of an Ork smelled. For three days after our victory I had the Chapter armour-serf soak my battle-plate in a vat of boiling sanctified water.

As a kindness to the serf, I then submerged him in the cleansing liquid to remove the stink from his flesh. As it turns out, unmodified humans cannot survive long in such conditions. Lesson learned!

The stench of The Stench is worse than that. Magos Mak has simply shut off her olfactory sensors. Yet even through my helmet’s rebreather filters, my genehanced senses are offended by the fetor of this place. Needless to say, The Stench attracts a wide variety of repugnant insectoid xenos-forms. As these horrid vermin constantly invade our cave complex seeking food and nesting space, it is impossible to perform our study of this archeotech site without taking extraordinary measures to repel them.

It has thus been incumbent on me to adapt standard Codex tactics to combat this menace, may Guilliman forgive me. I share these now in the hope that you may adopt some of them to purge your present infestation.

1. Drone Strikes. With the assistance of Magos Mak’s mechadendrites, I affixed primed bolter rounds and motion detectors to several floating servo-skulls, then programmed them to execute a patrol pattern near the mouth of the cave complex. Periodically we will hear a most satisfying “thud” as a mass-reactive round finds its mark, burrowing into the creature’s tainted flesh and exploding it from within. CHAD’s research algorithms indicate robotic strikes on unsuspecting targets were a popular and morally acceptable tactic in your time as well.

2. Plasma Lamps. In your time, humans employed “bug zappers” to attract insects with light, then fry them with electricity when they approached. I have constructed more efficient analogs using spare plasma cells and some creative wiring. When a pest approaches one of my strategically-placed “plasma lamps,” a blast of superheated gaseous matter explodes outward, searing through exoskeletons and flesh with the heat of a supernova. While fusion technology has not yet been invented in your ancient world, CHAD’s research suggests access to fissile material is quite easily obtained from one of your many poorly-maintained “nuclear silos.”

3. Flame. You do own a flamethrower, do you not, Chris Maire @dinosaursssssss? Use it. Use it everywhere in your home.

4. Live Burial. Perhaps you already know, Chris Maire @dinosaursssssss, that we Imperial Fists are masters of fortifications. Unfortunately, I do not get much opportunity to develop my construction skills on this assignment. To keep in practice, I recently devised a scheme to ensnare a particularly large and repulsive insect, a flying beetle of some 1.5 metres’ length. First I applied a viscous mixture of Mechanicum glues to an isolated alcove in the cave wall. Then I affixed a small amount of nutrient paste and a crude bell fashioned from spare servos. When the beast attempted to land and consume the paste, its furry legs were stuck in the unyielding glue. Still it undulated, attempting to break free, thus ringing the bell to alert me to its capture. I then approached, carrying an auto-trowel and several bags of rockcrete. I knelt before the creature and began building a wall — slowly, methodically, savouring the beetle’s panicked hissing and chattering. When finally the wall was near completion, I imagined I heard it say: “For the love of the God-Emperor, Ventro!” “Yes,” I replied, “for the love of the God-Emperor.”

For the love of the God-Emperor
and Holy Terra, I remain
a most diligent and vengeful
exterminator of foul xenos-breeds,

Aurelius Ventro
4th Company “Fists of Dorn,”
Imperial Fists Chapter



Follow Aurelius on Twitter @DearSpaceMarine or send him questions directly to

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