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Fanfic / When In Doubt, Blame the Eldar

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The fifth Planetary Annihilation Multi-cross fanfic to be written, this story follows the misadventures of the Sufficient Velocity and user Blackhole 1, of Wail of the Banshee fame.

Much to his annoyance, Commander Black finds himself shoved into a commander chassis and sent hurtling toward a planet.

The kicker?

It's Kronus from Warhammer 40,000, AKA 'the one place where I'm not even remotely the biggest fish in the pond'.


Spacebattles thread

When In Doubt, Blame the Eldar provides examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Like in most PA Self-Inserts, the Precursors. Otherwise averted: most of Black's enemies are sentient alien empires.
  • The Ace: Thomas Servarion. The kid has psychic powers, is able to keep up with the training regime of the Imperial Guard despite being SIX, and can easily complete advanced calculus equations. Justified: He's actually the temporally displaced Primarch of the XI Legion, so this is to be expected.
    • Broken Ace: He's also virtually friendless, lost both of his parents to a crazed mob, was essentially disowned by the Emperor, and loses his third father figure to the scream.
  • Adorkable: Magos Vacille. Also Larrissa.
  • Aliens are Bastards: It's Warhammer 40,000, so this is a given.
  • Anti-Magic: The Atropos device. It absorbs warp energy to generate a micro-version of the Tyranid's Shadow of the Warp, impairing any warp-based abilities in its effective range. Initially, it causes headaches for all of Black's psyker companions. A scaled up version is fitted onto a Jaeger warmech, allowing it to fight a LIVING SAINT on even terms.
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  • Bad Future: In chapter 30, Taldeer reveals that she ended up helping Black because of two of these: one involved him turning into an evil Artificial Intelligence which is implied to exterminate the Imperium and either killed off or (more likely) enslaved the Eldar, while the other involved The End of the World as We Know It. It's telling of how much Taldeer cares about her people when she states that the first outcome is the preferable one.
  • Batman Gambit: The Inquisition, in a moment of clarity, realizes that Black is beyond their ability to defeat given the Imperium's current level of technology, so they decide send out members of the Mechanicus to try and find archaeotech that will level the playing field. However, they need to make sure that they can keep an eye on Black at this time. They know that he trusts General Lucas Alexander, as he helped Alexander defends Kronus from Kyras, but know he won't willingly go on what amounts to a suicide mission, so what do they do? Arrange a Kangaroo Court scenario where he will end up volunteering himself to be their envoy to Black.
  • Behemoth Battle: Bloodthirster vs Jaeger mech. Bloodthirster wins, easily.
    • Living Saint vs. Jaguar mk II. Jaeger pulls off a Taking You with Me.
  • Culture Clash: Not only between the various factions that Black meets, but also between Black and his companions. Black severely disdains several of the Imperium's policies, but usually only makes that known when those policies (such as religious extremism) cause problems for him.
    • Given this is a setting in which said religious extremism is enforced due to the psychic effect it has on reality and the Warp and is central to survival of mind, body, and soul...either the writer forgot this detail (and the rest of the necessities of Imperial policies) or he will eventually learn the hard way. To say nothing of Chaos being fully capable of corrupting technology.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Normally, this is Averted in the story, as unlike other commanders, Black is usually up against foes who are more than capable of fighting back against his Iron Tide and winning. In fact, Black is usually on the receiving end of such battles.
    • However, there is one straight example in the story: the space battle in the Kaurava System. Here, Black utterly demolishes an Adeptus Ministorum fleet, even though said fleet has a flagship with a Nova Cannon onboard it. The only win the Imperial forces manage to achieve is denying Black access to the cannon by scuttling the ship.
  • Darker and Edgier: Compared to all other PA Self-Inserts, it is definitely this. Notably, the author does not downplay any of the native faction's ability to fight and frequently finds himself losing battles, because his opponents simply have more experience with war.
  • Darkest Hour: The entire story from Chapter 30 onwards: The Emperor dies, Taldeer is possessed by a daemon (which is exorcised), and it becomes apparent that the 40k universe is going to die, leaving Black with no option except running away as fast as possible.
  • Dead Fic: Hasn't been updated in well over a year, and the author hasn't really spoken with anyone about it.
  • Deconstruction: Of PA Self-Inserts as a whole: while Black has virtually unlimited logistical capabilities, he's still a relatively ordinary micro-biologist up against civilizations who have been fighting non-stop war for at least 3,000 years. Additionally, his ability to copy any form of technology is useless against several factions, such as the Orks, because they rely on magical powers (e.g. the WAAAGH!! field) to function properly.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: Downplayed. While the scream appears to come out of nowhere, several of the readers on spacebattles noted that Thomas' rejection of the Emperor in his interlude may have been enough to finally kill Big E, as it amounts to his last uncorrupted son (assuming the Primarch of Legion II is dead/corrupted) basically calling him a monster. For someone who is literally a living corpse, being told by their last hope that they are, essentially, a failure, may have been too much. It also indicates how much Thomas misunderstands the situation. Believing someone's achievements and all that completely different people did after him somehow means all of his good achievements (every single thing except being a terrible father) should be thrown out the window. Also, it ignores that the Imperium's and Emperor's ways are the absolute only ways to survive. Which is effectively why everything is doomed. Thanks to Thomas..
    • Subverted. There have been hints throughout nearly the whole story. Taldeer's visions were one of the earliest warning signs, with the less concrete ones being as fitting for the Star-Father as for a rouge Commander Black. Everyone just assumed it was about Black. The next big warning sign was the Sisters of Battle being able to summon a Living Saint with a daemon summoning ritual. They summoned a demon of order. And lastly, this very possibilty was even brought up in story, with Black drawing a parallel between the Birth of She-Who-Thrists and the Imperiums last ten thousend years of worship.
  • Didn't See That Coming:
    • Black was not expecting the Wraith Construct he found in one of the Necron's Tombs to still be active.
    • Or that said construct, Orkanis, would want to join him.
    • He definitely didn't expect the Necron Lord of Kronus to still have a personality (even though this is hinted at in Dark Crusade.
    • Meta example: Barring a few exception, nobody expected Thomas to be the PRIMARCH of the XI legion of space marines.
    • But all of that pales in comparison to the events of Chapter 30 and beyond: NO ONE, ABSOLUTELY NO ONE, IN UNIVERSE OR OUT, expected the Emperor to DIE and become the Star Father.
  • Epic Fail: Black's initial attempts to get robots to adapt to rough terrain.
  • Failed Future Forecast: Up to Eleven: Taldeer saw two different bad futures involving Black, but neither of them come to pass, and the one that does is worse than the other two.
  • From Bad to Worse: A frequent problem for Black: Whenever something goes bad for him, it usually starts small, then snowballs out of control.
    • The Biggest Example, however, is Chapter 30: The 'Scream ends up destroying Black's commander, which, while a great loss, isn't irreplaceable. Then, Taldeer ends up being replaced by a daemon of Slaanesh, which Black is able to exorcise. Not a total loss, but it does compromise Taldeer's position on Black's entourage and is traumatizing for both Black and Taldeer. THEN, it turns out that most of the Imperial Guard's psykers died from the scream and that their navigators can no longer see the Astronomican, implying that the Emperor has died. At this point, things have gone beyond bleak.
  • Genre Savvy: When Kyras orders that Kronus be subjected to Exterminatus, he does so in person, and brings the Scientia Est Potentia with him, knowing that Black won't be able to hack into it like he did with the Armageddon.
  • Hidden Agenda Villain: Taldeer and her seer council, for a given value of villain. The only thing we know about their plans is that they involve getting Black to fight the Necrons.
    • This is Subverted in Chapter 30, where Taldeer ends up coming clean about her agenda: she had seen a future where Black ended up allying with the Tau to fight the Imperium forces on Kronus, only to be backstabbed by the Tau, which provided the Imperium the chance to destroy Kronus while he was busy dealing with the Tau. This drives Black insane, causing him to shed parts of his personality until he becomes an entity like the Tyranid Hive Mind, only interested in consuming things and growing stronger. In most of the timelines that Taldeer saw, he ended up enslaving the Eldar to harness their psychic power. She initially planned to destroy him, but changed her mind after seeing another future that ended up being even worse then that one (apparently, it was The End of the World as We Know It). Upon seeing that future, Taldeer decided slavery to Black was very much the preferable outcome for her people.
  • How We Got Here: Black's chapters are told this way, with him addressing his mysterious listener(s) or alluding to future events from time to time.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Again, it's Warhammer 40,000, so this is a given. ESPECIALLY in the case of Chaos.
  • Kangaroo Court: General Lucas Alexander's trial for siding with Commander Black to defend the people from the Blood Ravens, who Azariah Kyras had ordered be subjected to Exterminatus. Notably, they don't actually plan to have him executed: realizing that Black is a greater danger than can be defeated at the moment, the Inquisition decided that they'd need to have someone spy on him so that they can find out his weaknesses. Since Black trusted Alexander, they arranged the trial so that Alexander would end up unintentionally volunteering himself as the envoy.
  • Lemony Narrator: Black is one, and frequently makes a point of noting how his hopes for certain outcomes were crushed very quickly. Some people find this very annoying.
  • Logical Weakness: When fighting Tau stealth suits, Black gets around their invisibility by using grenadiers to aim at the area where he detects they are firing from. Even though he can't see them, the artillery's area damage kills several of them and forces the remainder to fall back.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: Black (technology) vs Daemons/Living Saints/Psykers (Magic): While Black's tech would probably let him curbstomp any other magical entities, the sheer power behind 40k's magic-wielders means that, whenever Black goes up against one, he's practically guaranteed to lose.
    • Once he gets the Atropos Device, though, things start to turn in his favor.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Several of Black's more altruistic actions come back to bite him in the ass.
    • His attempts to convince the Blood Ravens to back down lead to Kyras trying to subject Kronus to Exterminatus. However, this could be attributed to him discovering compromising relics regarding the chapters past, which is not out of character for Space Marines.
    • Black decides to spare the Sisters of Battle after defeating Saint Anais, after which he lets Stubbs place them in refugee camps (With guards, of course). When the Scream hits Kaurava, they become Angyls and begin corrupting the natives.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The events of Chapter 30: The Day the Galaxy Stood Still, completely alter the direction and tone of the story. The scream destroys Black's commander, one of his companions goes into a coma, the Ar'ka cannon is destroyed by demons, the imperial psykers can no longer see the Astronomican, a large portion of Kaurava IV is devoured by the warp, and the sisters of battle become angel-esque creatures, indicating that the Emperor has died and become the Star Father, shifting the setting from normal 40k to the 50k of The Shape of the Nightmare to Come. It's at this point that it becomes obvious that, unlike any other PA Self-Insert, NOTHING that Black can do will be able to fix the universe, and that his only option is to try and escape before the universe destroys him.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: The Inquisition may not like Black at all, but they are willing to work with him, both to achieve mutually-beneficial goals and avoid antagonizing him when they are in no position to fight him off.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • While Black may have the body of a commander that lets him build an army from scratch, his opponents have been fighting for much longer than he has, so he frequently finds himself losing his initial battles.
    • After Black defeats the Orks, he tries to replicate their technology, like any good PA Self-Insert would. Since Ork technology relies on the WAAAGH!! field emitted by Orks to work, he's unable to do so.
      Black: No, I won’t elaborate on it. You can guess the results yourself. Hint: they were embarrassing, explosive, and explosively embarrassing.
    • Black's robots are designed to fight by shooting at units. When several of his bots end up fighting the Kroot, they usually lose, as while they are strong enough to kill the Kroot with one punch, they lack skill at close quarters combat.
    • Most of the factions he meets on Kronus do not trust him, as all of the other powers on planet are trying to kill them. Furthermore, many Imperial characters actively fear him as a Man of Iron, ancient robots that ended the Dark Age of Technology. This makes it difficult to find allies.
    • When Black goes up against Eliphas' Word Bearers, they summon a Bloodthirster to destroy his armies. Black responds by building a giant mech to fight it and equips it with a sword that can double as a railgun. During the fight, the sword is rendered unable to transform due to damage sustained from blocking an attack from the daemon. However, this ends up working against the Word Bearers, as Black's completely robotic army lacks both blood and skulls, which causes the Bloodthirster to turn on them.
    • After the events of Kronus, where Black killed the Ethereal overseeing the planet's defense, the Tau massively upgrade their defenses at Kaurava.
    • In general, Commander Self Inserts tend to portray the SI as being able to fix all of the problems in the universe, no matter how massive, through Progenitor Hypertech Bullshit. Here, though, it's frequently noted that this is incredibly unlikely, as most of these problems cannot be fixed by shooting things. Most of the problems are caused by deep seated problems that cannot be solved with More Dakka.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Captain Davian Thule and General Lucas Alexander both fit the bill: both genuinely wish that they didn't have to fight the other and go out of their way to avoid doing so as long as possible. Ultimately, Thule has to act first when Kyras gives him orders to wipe the Imperial Guard out immediately.
    • Also, Shas'O Kais: he is genuinely respectful of Black and, after Black forges a request to Tau High Command for enough transports to pull all of their people out of Kronus, wishes that they would never meet on the battlefield again, because he sincerely doesn't want to fight him!
  • “The Reason You Suck” Speech: Black gives a very scathing one to Caerys after learning that she foresaw The Scream and never bother to warn Taldeer as she anticipated that Black falling to Chaos would be a "better" alternative to protect the universe.
    Black: (speaking in Eldar) Caerys, you truly are a living embodiment of the worst aspects of your species.
    Black: Your kind is truly cursed: too clever for your own good, not as clever as you think you are, and far too arrogant to notice. Too arrogant to see the folly in thinking you can bend the Ruinous Powers to your will. Your ancestors thought that, and they doomed the galaxy with their hedonism. The Emperor of Mankind thought that, and where is he, now? Dead, damned, and beyond all hope of salvation, because they thought themselves infallible. The universe has a way of punishing such hubris and yet the next generation of fools keep making the same. Damn. ''Mistakes''. I could give you advice, but I know you will not listen. I could snap your neck, but another will take your place. Instead, I will say this: You will not interfere in my affairs any longer. I will find a way out of this wretched universe and I will not have you stop me. And you will not touch Taldeer. Of all your wretched kind, she was the only one who saw the battle for what it is and knew that maintaining the status quo was untenable. Such wisdom is wasted on the likes of you. If I find out she has been taken back to Ulthwé against her will, I will have to pay your craftworld a visit to ask why. And I will not be as polite as I am now.
    Caerys: You...I will not let you destroy us, or twist us, or...
    Black: If I wanted you dead, all I needed to do was wait. Attacking you gains me nothing and if you are a prime example of your people’s leadership, then your extinction is only a matter of time. You have nothing I need, and your own leadership is causing more harm to the Eldar than I ever could. You had nothing to fear from me.
    • This is made even more impressive by the fact that Black was going to hide the fact that he knew the Eldar language up until that point.
  • Ridiculously Fast Construction: Downplayed: While still very fast, Black's build times are much longer than normal for a commander self insert, usually taking hours to do what any other SI would need minutes to do.
  • Rule of Three: Black's efforts to fight colossal enemies.
    • The first time, when he fights a Bloodthirster, he loses spectacularly and has to trick it into turning on the Wordbearers.
    • The second time, against a Nightbringer shard, he has to search for help to beat it.
    • The third time, against Saint Anais, he manages to win.
  • Schmuck Bait: The reason Black adds a bridge to his ship: Most people would try to control it in order to turn it against him.... even though, as a computer program, he has no need for a bridge.
  • Shout-Out: Black's first set of original robots resemble MECs and are even referred to as such.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Heavily on the cynical side: Black's narrations usually involve him mentioning how idealistic he was and how cynical he's become. In fact, it's even managed to eclipse normal 40k in it's level of cynicism, considering what happened in Chapter 30.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Black is able to pull this off with a BLOODTHIRSTER!
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: How Black's companions work together. Considering that this group includes a Wraith Seer, three elder seers and one farseer, a Lord General, a Comissar, an Imperial Priest, a Mechanicus Magos, a sanctioned psyker, a kaskrin, a Necron Lord and a BABY PRIMARCH, most of whom are taught to actively view the other as less than human (or whatever race they are), and that the Eldar are actively trying to manipulate Black toward an unknown agenda (which Black is aware of), this is very much justified.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Interlude: Thomas Servarion: It's revealed that Thomas is actually the Primarch of the XI Legion, and that both the Emperor and Magnus have been watching him and Commander Black. He's also outed as a psyker after he's loses control of his powers due to the dream.
    • Chapter 30: The Day the Galaxy Stood Still:An enormous scream rips through the Warp, Black's Commander is DESTROYED, a daemon manages to possess TALDEER, and Ozman is sent into a coma.
    • Chapter 31: Putting Humpty-Dumpty Back Together Again: Taldeer's mutations are revealed to the rest of Black's companions, it's revealed that the Ar'ka cannon was destroyed by demons during the Scream, and Stubbs reveals that his astropaths can no longer see the Astronomican, indicating that the Emperor has DIED.
      • If we ignore the fact that the Astronomican is directed by the Emperor, it is powered by a psychic choir. Without the Emperor, it would still be visible, but dimmer and Warp travel would be less precise and likely take longer. Astropathic communication would still be possible as the Emperor separated with a bit of his power, so it is no longer to connected to the Astropaths. Even if it was gone, the piece merely helps the Astropaths stay strong against the Warp, they aren't necessary for Astropaths to do their job. This suddenly puts a rather dark spin on the worth of keeping Emperor alive...oops.
    • Interlude-Selena Agna:The majority of the Sisters of Battle are revealed to have become angel-like monsters, indicating that the Emperor has become the Star Father and that the 40k universe is now heading toward becoming The Shape of the Nightmare to Come. Well, either that, or a much better place and this is all a misunderstanding by the characters.
  • What's Up, King Dude?: The Exodite King of Alnara is pleasantly pleased to talk with Black and his very crass and blunt attitude because he had grown tired of "clever men who dance around important issues like over-stimulated harlequins."
  • Worthy Opponent: This is how Shas'O Kais feels toward Black, after he goes out of his way to arrange for all of the Tau's colonists to be rescued when they pull off planet (due to Black killing the Ethereal overseeing the defenses).
    • The Orks becomes very giddy fanboys over Black as they deem his actions to be so "Orky" after he has sent a moon smashing into Lacunae, which they consider it as a beautiful work of "art," to the point of even referring him as the Avatar of Gork and Mork. Hence they see Black as a very worthwhile enemy to fight.

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