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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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Written by: S. W. Garfunkel

Composed by: Archer O’Sullivan

First (and only) Performance at the Grand and Most Excellent Opera of Sibelius 854 M.41


SAMUEL (his Lieutenant)
FREDERIC (a Traitor Indentured)
RUTH (a Maid of all Work)
EDITH (Seneschal Stanley’s Daughters) KATE
CAPTAIN COROCAN (Rogue Trader, of the Nevermore)
MEPHISTOPHELIA (Daemon of the Pit)

Chorus of Traitors, Mabel’s Entourage and Sisters, Crew of the Nevermore,
Entourage of Sir Joseph’s Relations, Arbites


The Market of Footfall Orbital


Bridge of the Nevermore


Chapel of the Nevermore


Bridge of the Nevermore
So I'm not sure if /tg/ is interested in this, but fuck it, I might as well post it. If you're a fan of comic opera, you might like it. Even if you're not, you might find a few things to laugh at.

Rest assured this isn't a "straight" edit of any one opera. I've mashed quite a few of them together in a sort of unholy musical hodge-podge.
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SCENE. – The bustling market of Footfall Orbital. Traders divers show their wares, but flee as the TRAITORS approach. SAMUEL, the Traitor Lieutenant, leads the band at first. FREDERIC enters last, in a despondent attitude.


ALL. Pour, oh, pour the Traitor grog;
Fill, O fill the Traitor glass;
We whom once the nobles flog’d,
Let the trait’rous bumper pass.

SAM. For today our Traitor ’prentice
Rises from indenture freed;
Strong his arm, and keen his thoughts:
He’s a Traitor now indeed!

ALL. Here’s good luck to Frederic’s ventures!
Frederic’s out of his indentures.

SAM. Two and twenty, now he’s rising,
And alone he’s fit to fly,
Which we’re bent on signalizing
With unusual revelry.

ALL. Here’s good luck to Frederic’s ventures!
Frederic’s out of his indentures.
Pour, O pour the Traitor grog, etc.

FREDERIC rises and comes forward with THE ARCH-TRAITOR, who enters.

ARCH. Yes, Frederic, from to-day you rank as a full-blown member of our band.
ALL. Hurrah!
FRED. My friends, I thank you all, from my heart, for your kindly wishes. Would that I could repay them as they deserve!
ARCH. What do you mean?
FRED. To-day I am out of my indentures, and to-day I leave you for ever.
ARCH. But this is quite unaccountable; a keener hand at scuttling a transport or raiding a colony never shipped with us afore.
FRED. Yes, I have done my best for you. And why? It was my duty under my indentures, and I am the slave of duty. As a child I was regularly apprenticed to your band. It was through an error -- no matter, the mistake was ours, not yours, and I was in honour bound by it.
SAM. An error? What error?
FRED. I may not tell you; it would reflect upon my well-loved Ruth.

RUTH rises and comes forward.

RUTH. Nay, dear master, my mind has long been gnawed by the cankering tooth of mystery. Better have it out at once.

RUTH.When Frederic was a little lad he proved so brave and daring,
His father thought he’d ’prentice him to some career void-faring.

I was, alas! his nurserymaid, his father my provider
I took and bound this promising boy apprentice to a Trader –
A life not bad for a hardy lad, though surely no crusader,
Though I’m a nurse, you might do worse than make your boy a Trader.

I was a stupid nurserymaid, on breakers always steering,
And I did not catch the word aright, through being hard of hearing;

Mistaking my instructions, which within my brain did prate-er,
I took and bound this promising boy apprentice to a Traitor.
A sad mistake it was to make; there’s never been one greater.
I bound him to a Traitor – you – instead of to a Trader.

I soon found out, beyond all doubt, the scope of this disaster,
But I hadn’t the face to return to my place, and break it to my master.
A nurserymaid is not afraid of what you people call work,
So I made up my mind to go as a kind of Traitorous maid-of-all-work.
And that is how you find me now, a piratical ship-raider
Which you wouldn’t have found had he been bound apprentice to a Trader.
RUTH. Oh, pardon! Frederic, pardon! (kneels)
FRED. Rise, sweet one, I have long pardoned you.
RUTH. (rises) The two words were so much alike!
FRED. They were. They still are, though years have rolled over their heads. But this afternoon my obligation ceases. Individually, I love you all with affection unspeakable; but, collectively, I look upon you with a disgust that amounts to absolute detestation. Oh! pity me, my beloved friends, for I love the Imperium and Imperial ideals with all my heart, and must reject your heretical ways henceforth!
ALL. Poor lad – poor lad! (All weep.)
ARCH. Well, Frederic, if you conscientiously feel that it is your duty to return to the Imperial fold, we cannot blame you for acting on that conviction. Always act in accordance with the dictates of your conscience, my boy, and chance the consequences.
SAM. Besides, we can offer you but little temptation to remain with us. We don’t seem to make heresy pay. I’m sure I don’t know why, but we don’t.
FRED. I know why, but, alas! I mustn’t tell you; it wouldn’t be right.
ARCH. Why not, my boy? It’s only half-past eleven, and you are one of us until the clock strikes twelve.
SAM. True, and until then you are bound to protect our interests.
ALL. Hear, hear!
FRED. Well, then, it is my duty, as a Traitor, to tell you that you are too tender-hearted. For instance, you make a point of never attacking a weaker party than yourselves, and when you attack a stronger party you invariably get thrashed.
ARCH. There is some truth in that.
FRED. Additionally, you respect all beliefs, and will never kill a loyal Imperial servant despite his opinions differing from yours.
ARCH. Yes, yes, I have always held that a man is bound by his beliefs, right or not, and should not be punished by them.
FRED. Then, again, you make a point of never molesting an orphan!
SAM. Of course: we are orphans ourselves, and know what it is.
FRED. Yes, but it has got about, and what is the consequence? Every one we capture says he’s an orphan. The last three ships we took proved to be manned entirely by orphans, and so we had to let them go. One would think that the Imperium’s mercantile fleet was recruited solely from her orphan asylums – which we know is not the case.
SAM. But they were all orphans, for they told me so themselves!
FRED. What, all of them?
SAM. Yes, all of them!
FRED. All ninety thousand of them?
SAM. Well nearly all of them!
ARCH. But, hang it all! you wouldn’t have us absolutely merciless?
FRED. There’s my difficulty; until twelve o’clock I would, after twelve I wouldn’t. Was ever a man placed in so delicate a situation?
ARCH. Well, it’s the top of the tide, and we must be off. Farewell, Frederic, and though from this day forth you may bow and scrape to He on Terra, hold always in your heart a shard of traitorous allegiance and rebellion.
FRED. I will! By the love I have for you, I swear it! Would that you could render this conflict of ideals unnecessary by converting, and living a blameless life of an Imperial servant !
ARCH. No, Frederic, it cannot be. I don’t think much of our profession, but, contrasted with respectability, it is comparatively honest. No, Frederic, I shall live and die a Traitor High.

ARCH. Oh, better far to live and die
Under the brave black flag I fly,
Than play a sanctimonious part,
With a Traitor head and a Traitor heart.
Among Mankind I am assured,
All Traitors all quite well obscured;
But I’ll be true to the flag I fly,
And live and die a Traitor High.
For I am a Traitor High!
I cannot tell a lie, a lie
I am a Traitor High!
For I am a Traitor High!
ALL. You are!
Hurrah for the Traitor High!
ARCH. I cannot tell a lie, a lie
I am a Traitor High!
ALL. He is!
Hurrah for the Traitor High!

ARCH. When I sally forth to seek my prey
I help myself in a noble way.
I burn a few more ships, it’s true,
Than a well-bred pirate ought to do;
But many a lord on a first-class throne,
If he wants to call his fief his own,
Must manage somehow to get through
More dirty work than ever I do,
For I am a Traitor High!
I cannot tell a lie, a lie
I am a Traitor High!
For I am a Traitor High!
ALL. You are!
Hurrah for the Traitor High!
ARCH. I cannot tell a lie, a lie
I am a Traitor High!
ALL. He is!
Hurrah for the Traitor High!
Exeunt all except FREDERIC. Enter RUTH.

RUTH. Oh, take me with you! I cannot live if I am left behind.
FRED. Ruth, dear Ruth, I leave to seek my fortune alone. For Footfall is most wondrous strange: far different from life aboard the Traitor vessel. Why, what’s this?

Forward SCRIBE.

SCRIBE. Afternoon, sir, mad’m. New to Footfall, I see?
FRED. Yes, yes. We have just arrived. Now...
SCRIBE. Well, may I see your papers then?
FRED. Papers? Hmm, this is a conundrum, for you see, I have no papers.
SCRIBE. No papers. No papers. Oh dear...


Ink spots on paper and whispers of abbots
Finely wrought forms and the comfort of habits
Brown ink and red ink and cherubs with wings
These are a few of my favourite things

But you two are new here and our fine traditions
Give me some leeway for new acquisitions
For a mere fifty thrones you can be on your way
And I’ll leave the paperwork in disarray.

FRED. But sir, that is all the money I have! (He Holds Out His Purse.)
SCRIBE. No matter! (Snatches Purse.) On your way then!
Retreat SCRIBE, forward GUARDSMAN.

GUARD. Afternoon, sir, mad’m. New to Footfall, I see?
FRED. ...Perhaps...
GUARD. Well, have you registered for the Draft?
FRED. The Draft? Oh no, I don’t want to serve in the Guard!
GUARD. What’s that? You seem to be lacking Imperial spirit, maggot. Now, if you don’t want to be drafted, the Guard requires a donation. Those look like a fine set of pistols on your belt, whot...


The crash of the cannons and rattle of sabres
Suicide missions and sniping at neighbours
Lasguns and foxholes and living like kings
These are a few of my favourite things

But you two are new here and our fine traditions
Give me some leeway for new acquisitions
I’ll take those pistols and you can go free
We couldn’t use your type in the infantry.

FRED. But sir, these pistols are mine! (He Holds His Pistols.)
GUARD. There’s the Guard’s pistol’s now, boy. (Snatches Pistols.) Now get out of my sight, maggots!
Retreat GUARDSMAN, forward PRIEST.

PRIEST. Afternoon, noble sir, kind mad’m. New to Footfall, I see?
FRED. Lived here all my life, in fact.
PRIEST. Well, surely you can spare something for the poor of Footfall. We have so many poor here, and the station is so very cold. Your fine coat and boots, for example, would make a poor waif very happy on a cold nightcycle. (Weeps Gently.)


Burning the incense and beating the children
Taking confession and cursing at women
Drinking, carousing, and multiple flings
These are a few of my favourite things

But you two fine people don’t know my traditions
Give me some leeway for new acquisitions
Hand over the coat and the boots and the socks
Or I will be forced to kick you in the rocks

FRED. (Wincing.) That’s not particularly honourable. (Hand Over Coat, Boots, and Socks)
PRIEST. The Emperor thanks you. The poor will thank you. (Takes Clothing in Arms)

Retreat PRIEST.


When the Scribe comes
When the Guard calls
When the Priest feels sad
I’ll run away rather than give them my pay
For they’ve taken all I had.

FRED. They have taken all I had, Ruth. My coins, my coat, my weapons... But I still have you, Ruth. Dear, gentle Ruth.
RUTH. I’m afraid not. For you see, now that you have none of the accoutrements on which my safety and livelihood depended, I see no reason to keep your company further, and quit it forthwith. Goodbye, dear Frederic.
FRED. Goodbye, gentle Ruth.

Exit RUTH.

FRED. Alas, I am now truly alone in a strange and harsh place. Robbed of all I might call mine own; adrift on a sea of troubles. But what’s this? What strange and noisome party draws near? A bevy of young noblewomen!


What shall I do? Before these gentle maidens
I dare not show in this most revealing costume!
No, no, I must remain in close concealment
Until I can appear in decent clothing!

(Hides behind a stall as the Girls approach.)
GIRLS. Walking now on peasant decking,
Skipping rivulets of filth,
Servants our eyes will avoid
By the ever-rolling void,
Swollen with a fetid meal;
Our stance and grace amazes
One who long upon it gazes,
Overlook the wretched massed,
Walk we hardy little lasses,
Till man’s affection and respect we steal!

EDITH. Let us gaily tread the measure,
Make the most of fleeting leisure,
Hail it as a true ally,
Though it perish by-and-by.

GIRLS. Hail it as a true ally,
Though it perish by-and-by.

EDITH. Every moment brings a treasure
Of its own especial pleasure;
Though the moments quickly die,
Greet them gaily as they fly.

KATE. Far away from toil and care,
Revelling in the long-stale air,
Here we live and reign alone
In a world that’s all our own.
Here, in this unpleasant den,
Far away from noblemen,
We’ll be lords, and make decrees –
They may honour them who please.

ALL. Let us gaily tread the measure, etc.
KATE. What fresh hell is this? Edith, you promised a diverting walk, not a tour of the rotting underbelly of Footfall.
EDITH. I did? But I thought you were navigating! Oh dear...
ISABEL. And where is Papa? Remember, he is not as young as we are, and we came over a rather difficult terrain.
KATE. But how thoroughly delightful it is to be so entirely alone! Why, in all probability we are the first upright beings who ever set foot on this area of the station.
ISABEL. Except the mutants – it’s the very place for mutants.
KATE. Who aren’t human beings at all, really.
EDITH. And who can’t be said strictly to set foot anywhere. Tails and tentacles they may, but feet they have but rarely.
KATE. But what shall we do until Papa and the servants arrive with the luncheon?
EDITH. Perhaps we should recite Imperial hymns at the top of our lungs?
ALL. Yes, yes! The very thing!
EDITH. While nude!
ALL. Huzzah! While nude!
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Please continue.
They prepare to carry out the suggestion. They have all taken off one shoe, when FREDERIC comes forward from his concealed position.

FRED. (recitative) Stop, ladies, pray!
GIRLS. (Hopping on one foot.) A man!
FRED. I had intended
Not to intrude myself upon your notice
In this dishevelled and alarming costume;
But under these peculiar circumstances,
It is my bounden duty to inform you
That your proceedings will not be unwitnessed!
EDITH. But who are you, sir? Speak! (All hopping.)
FRED. I am a Traitor!
GIRLS. (recoiling, hopping) A Traitor! Horror!
FRED. Ladies, do not shun me!
This evening I renounce my vile profession;
And, to that end, O pure and peerless maidens!
Oh, blushing buds of ever-blooming beauty!
I, sore at heart, implore your kind assistance.
EDITH. How pitiful his tale!
KATE. How rare his beauty!
GIRLS. How pitiful his tale! How rare his beauty!

FRED. Oh, is there not one maiden breast
Which does not feel the moral beauty
Of making worldly interest
Subordinate to sense of duty?
Who would not give up willingly
All matrimonial ambition,
To rescue such a one as I
From his unfortunate position?

GIRLS. Alas! there’s not one maiden breast
Which seems to feel the moral beauty
Of making worldly interest
Subordinate to sense of duty!

FRED. Oh, is there not one maiden here
Whose homely face and bad complexion
Have caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man’s affection?
To such an one, if such there be,
I swear by all the Saints above you,
If you will cast your eyes on me,
However plain you be – I’ll love you!

GIRLS. Alas! there’s not one maiden here
Whose homely face and bad complexion
Have caused all hope to disappear
Of ever winning man’s affection!

FRED. (in despair) Not one?
GIRLS. No, no – not one!
FRED. Not one?
GIRLS. No, no!

MABEL enters.

MABEL. Yes, one!
GIRLS. ’Tis Mabel!
MABEL. Yes, ’tis Mabel!

Oh, sisters, deaf to pity’s name,
For shame!
It’s true that he has gone astray,
But pray
Is that a reason good and true
Why you
Should all be deaf to pity’s name?

GIRLS. (aside) The question is, had he not been
A thing of beauty,
Would she be swayed by quite as keen
A sense of duty?

MABEL. For shame, for shame, for shame!


MABEL. Poor wandering one!
Though thou hast surely strayed,
Take heart of grace,
Thy steps retrace,
Poor wandering one!
Poor wandering one!
If such poor love as mine
Can help thee find
True peace of mind –
Why, take it, it is thine!
Take heart, fair days will shine;
Take any heart – take mine!

GIRLS. Take heart; no danger lowers;
Take any heart-but ours!
Exeunt MABEL and FREDERIC. EDITH beckons her sisters, who form a semicircle around her.

EDITH. What ought we to do,
Gentle sisters, say?
Propriety, we know,
Says we ought to stay;
While sympathy exclaims,
“Free them from your tether –
Play at other games –
Leave them here together.”

KATE. Her case may, any day,
Be yours, my dear, or mine.
Let her play away
While the sun doth shine.
Let us compromise
(Our hearts are not bionics):
Let us shut our eyes,
And talk of economics.

GIRLS. Yes, yes, let’s talk of economics.


The ship has grain in good supply,
The stocks are rising very high,
Continue fine I hope it may,
And yet they fell but yesterday.
Tomorrow they may fall again
(I hear the station wants some grain),
Yet people say, I know not why,
That stocks of grain will go awry.

During MABEL’s solo the Girls continue chatter pianissimo, but listening eagerly all the time.


Did ever maiden wake
From dream of homely duty,
To see her morals break
For such exceeding beauty?
Did ever maiden close
Her eyes on waking sadness,
To dream of such exceeding gladness?

FRED. Ah, yes! ah, yes! this is exceeding gladness!
GIRLS. The ship has grain in good supply, etc.


During this, Girls continue their chatter pianissimo as before, but listening intently all the time.

Did ever Traitor roll
His soul in guilty dreaming,
And wake to find that soul
With peace and virtue beaming?


Did ever maiden wake --- Did ever Traitor loathed --- The ship has grain, etc.
From dream of homely duty --- Forsake his hideous mission
To find her daylight break --- To find himself betrothed
With such exceeding beauty! --- To a lady of position!


Stay, we must not lose our senses;
Men who stick at no offences
Will anon be here!
Treachery their dreadful trade is;
Pray you, get you hence, young ladies,
While the coast is clear!

FREDERIC and MABEL retire.

GIRLS. No, we must not lose our senses,
If they stick at no offences
We should not be here!
Treachery their dreadful trade is –
Nice companions for young ladies!
Let us disappear.
During this chorus the Traitors have entered stealthily, and formed in a semicircle behind the Girls. As the Girls move to go off, each Pirate seizes a Girl. ARCH. seizes EDITH and ISABEL, SAMUEL seizes KATE.

GIRLS. Too late!
GIRLS. Too late!
Ha, ha, ha, ha! Ho, ho, ho, ho!


(Traitors pass in front of Girls.) (Girls pass in front of Traitors.)

Here’s a first-rate opportunity ----- We have missed our opportunity
To get married with impunity, -----Of escaping with impunity;
And indulge in the felicity -----So farewell to the felicity
Of unbounded domesticity. -----Of our maiden domesticity!
You shall quickly be parsonified, ----- We shall quickly be parsonified,
Conjugally matrimonified, -----Conjugally matrimonified,
By a master of divinity, -----By a master of divinity,
Who is located in this vicinity. -----Who is located in this vicinity.

By a master of divinity
Who resides in this vicinity,
By a master, a master, a master,
Of master, of divinity.
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The PRIEST has entered unnoticed . He is wearing FREDERIC’s coat and boots.

PRIEST. Did someone call?
ALL. You!
PRIEST. Aye, me.
ARCH. Sir, I have need of your services, for I and my... friends all wish to enter matrimonial bliss posthaste!
PRIEST. Have you... payment?
ARCH. Coin as good as any, in plentiful supply.
PRIEST. Well, I see no reason that this union should not proceed. Oh, but we need a witness!

The GUARDSMAN has entered unnoticed . He is wearing FREDERIC’s pistols.

GUARD. I’ll serve as good as any, if there’s coin involved. For I have seen more terrible things than this unhallowed union. But where shall I sign?

The SCRIBE has entered unnoticed . He tosses FREDERIC’s purse from hand to hand.

SCRIBE. As a master of records and works papirical, I can provide. A few coins to cover my ink and parchment is all I ask for my trouble.

ARCH. Then it is settled. Proceed, priest.

(coming forward)

Hold, monsters! Ere your trait’rous legions
Proceed, against our will, to wed us all,
Just bear in mind that we are Wards of the Emperor,
And father is a famous Seneschal!

SAM. (cowed) We’d better pause, or danger may befall,
Their father is a famous Seneschal.

GIRLS. Yes, yes; he is a famous Seneschal!

The SENESCHAL has entered unnoticed.

SEN. Yes, yes, I am a famous Seneschal!
SAM. For he is a famous Seneschal!
ALL. He is! Hurrah for the Seneschal!
SEN. And it is, it is a glorious thing
To be a Seneschal!
ALL. It is! Hurrah for the Seneschal!
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And now, for the part you've all been waiting for..


SEN. I am the very model of a modern Trader's Seneschal.
I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral.
I know the price of produce and I quote the fights historical
From Cadia to Damocles in order categorical.
I am very well equated too with matters most heretical
I understand the Eldar both the Craftworld and piratical.
About the Inquisition I am teeming with a lot of news...
With many cheerful facts about their acolytes and retinues!

ALL. With many cheerful facts, etc.

SEN. I am very good at spotting fakes or any sign of treachery
My constant kind restraint conceals signs of my master’s lechery
In short in matters animal, vegetable or mineral.
I am the very model of a modern Trader's Seneschal!

ALL. In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
He is the very model of a modern Trader's Seneschal!

SEN. I know Imperial histr’y from St. Drusus to Macharius
I unravel diplomacy on matters most precarious
I quote Sebastian Thor on the matters of divinity
And can recite all his sermons with unrivalled magnanimity
I can curse in seven languages with all manner of vulgarities
And steal from orphans and the poor and perishable charities.
At auction I can value what a man has never seen afore
And doing so sing praises of his holiness, Saint Malcador!

ALL. And doing so sing praises, etc.

SEN. Then I can write a datascript in Necron circuit-cuneiform
And tell you every detail of my master’s finest uniform.
In short in matters animal, vegetable or mineral.
I am the very model of a modern Trader's Seneschal!

ALL. In short, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
He is the very model of a modern Trader's Seneschal!
SEN. In fact, when I know what is meant by “Harridan” and “Hierophant”,
When I can tell at sight a Nurglish Death-Bloom from a potted plant,
When such affairs as surprises and sorties I’m more wary at,
When I return to speaking terms with all the Commissariat,
When I learn what progress has been lost in plasma gunnery
When I can do a week without accusal of a felony
In short, when I’ve a smattering of elemental strategy...
You’ll say a better Seneschal has never fought in zero-G!

ALL. You’ll say a better Seneschal, etc.

SEN. For my military knowledge, though I’m dutifully and erudite
Is lacking both a tutor and any form of formal oversight.
But still in matters animal, vegetable or mineral.
I am the very model of a modern Trader's Seneschal!

ALL. But still, in matters vegetable, animal, and mineral,
He is the very model of a modern Trader's Seneschal!
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This is highly heretical.
Please proceed.
SEN. And now that I’ve introduced myself, I should like to have some idea of what’s going on.
KATE. Oh, Papa – we –
SAM. Permit me, I’ll explain in two words: we propose to marry your daughters.
SEN. Dear me!
GIRLS. Against our wills, Papa – against our wills!
SEN. Oh, but you mustn’t do that! May I ask – this is a picturesque uniform, but I’m not familiar with it. What are you?
ARCH. We are all single gentlemen.
SEN. Yes, I gathered that – Anything else?
ARCH. No, nothing else.
EDITH. Papa, don’t believe them; they are Traitors – the famous Pirates of the Expanse!
SEN. Pirates of the Expanse! I have often heard of them.
MABEL. All except this gentleman – (indicating FREDERIC) – who was a Traitor once, but who is out of his indentures to day, and who means to lead a blameless life evermore.
SEN. But wait a bit. I object to Traitors as sons-in-law.
ARCH. We object to Trader's Seneschals s as fathers-in-law. But we waive that point. We do not press it. We look over it.
SEN. (aside) Hah! an idea! (aloud) And do you mean to say that you would deliberately rob me of these, the sole remaining props of my old age, and leave me to go through the remainder of my life unfriended, unprotected, and alone?
ARCH. Well, yes, that’s the idea.
SEN. Tell me, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan?
TRAITORS. (disgusted) Oh, dash it all!
ARCH. Here we are again!
I love this. I hope you don't mind if I copy/paste it into a document and use some extracts during my DH campaigns.
SEN. I ask you, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan?
ARCH. Often!
SEN. Yes, orphan. Have you ever known what it is to be one?
ARCH. I say, often.
ALL. (disgusted) Often, often, often. (Turning away)
SEN. I don’t think we quite understand one another. I ask you, have you ever known what it is to be an orphan, and you say “orphan”. As I understand you, you are merely repeating the word “orphan” to show that you understand me.
ARCH. I didn’t repeat the word often.
SEN. Pardon me, you did indeed.
ARCH. I only repeated it once.
SEN. True, but you repeated it.
ARCH. But not often.
SEN. Stop! I think I see where we are getting confused. When you said “orphan”, did you mean “orphan” – a person who has lost his parents, or “often”, frequently?
ARCH. Ah! I beg pardon – I see what you mean – frequently.
SEN. Ah! you said "often", frequently.
ARCH. No, only once.
SEN. (irritated) Exactly – you said “often”, frequently, only once.

SEN. Oh, men of dark and dismal fate,
Forgo your cruel employ,
Have pity on my lonely state,
I am an orphan boy!
ARCH and SAM. An orphan boy?
SEN. An orphan boy!
TRAITORS. How sad, an orphan boy.

SEN. These children whom you see
Are all that I can call my own!
TRAITORS. Poor fellow!
SEN. Take them away from me,
And I shall be indeed alone.
TRAITORS. Poor fellow!
SEN. If pity you can feel,
Leave me my sole remaining joy –
See, at your feet they kneel;
Your hearts you cannot steel
Against the sad, sad tale of the lonely orphan boy!
TRAITORS. (sobbing) Poor fellow!
See at our feet they kneel;
Our hearts we cannot steel
Against the sad, sad tale of the lonely orphan boy!
ARCH and SAM. The orphan boy!
See at our feet they kneel, etc.

ARCH. You may go, for you’re at liberty, our noble rules protect you,
And honorary members of our band we do elect you!

SAM. For he is an orphan boy!
CHORUS. He is! Hurrah for the orphan boy!
SEN. And it sometimes is a useful thing
To be an orphan boy.
CHORUS. It is! Hurrah for the orphan boy!

SEN. And, you, unhappy former Traitor. I am not unmerciful either: you shall be given a berth aboard my master’s ship, the Nevermore, ‘ere the day is out.
FRED. There was never a more pleasant proclamation made to me. I go, and I shall serve under the Imperial flag as faithfully as I served under a Traitor banner.

Girls and SENESCHAL go up rocks, while TRAITORS indulge in a wild dance of delight on stage. The SENESCHAL produces a flag emblazoned with the Aquila, and the ARCH-TRAITOR, produces a black flag with an eight-pointed star. Enter RUTH, who makes a final appeal to FREDERIC, who casts her from him.

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Go right ahead!

Later on, we've got Tech-Adept Buttercup, as well as the classic favorite, "There's A Light Over By the Cadian Gate"
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SCENE.–A classical frigate’s bridge. A view of a planet gently turning in the back. CREW of the Nevermore and FREDERIC discovered seated cleaning, polishing.


We sail the void so dark,
And our captain’s ship's a beauty;
We are set to make our mark,
And to capture heathen booty.
When we hunt through the void
We are always employed
And we stand to our guns all day;
When at anchor we ride
On the Scintillan tide,
We have plenty of time to play.



Hail, fleshy crewmen, look to your station.
See the Machines aren’t given undue privation;
Miracles of design and cunning artifice
Should not be so abused as this.


I’m Tech-Adept Buttercup, named Adept Buttercup,
Though I could never tell why,
But still I'm called Buttercup — metallic Buttercup,
Worker of miracles I!

I've knowledge mechanical and precepts fanatical
I've bionic limbs filled with knives;
I'll cut you to laces and carve off your faces
It’s unlikely you will survive.

I speak fluent binary; don’t even try-nary
To work the machines without me;
I speak with their spirits, you’re dishevelled misfits,
Compared to a bright bourgeoisie.

So placate your Buttercup —Tech-Adept Buttercup;
I have informed you all why;
Sing praises of Buttercup — Tech-Adept Buttercup;
Mistress Mechanicus High!
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FRED. Tech-Adept, we all respect your skill and dread proficiency.
CREW. Aye!
TECH. Your reverence is most logical, fleshy one. I recall well the weakness of flesh: the endless stumbling and mistakes which haunt my memory-circuits still, like a drill-bit boring at the immortal soul. Do you, fleshy one, experience similar emotional disturbances?
FRED. No, Tech-Adept, I can’t say I do.

Enter IGNATIUS IRON-EYE. He pushes through sailors, and comes down.

IGNT. I have though on such matters often! (All recoil.)
TECH. Your appearance would indicate as such. What ails this flesh-unit? He appears in poor repair.
FRED. Take no heed of him; it’s only Ignatius Iron-Eye.
IGNT. Terrible name, isn’t it – Ignatius Iron-Eye?
TECH. It is unnecessarily convoluted for such a minor unit as yourself.
IGNT. And I’m ugly too, ain’t I?
TECH. One flesh-unit looks much like another, but your upper dermal layers are most effluvient and discoloured.
IGNT. And I’m three-cornered too, ain’t I?
TECH. (Examines him for a moment.)You do appear to have three primary vertices situated roughly in a horizontal plane; an unusual arrangement indeed.
FRED. Well we wouldn't go for to hurt any fellow-creature's feelings, but you can't expect a chap with such a name as Ignatius Iron-Eye to be a popular character?
FRED. It's asking too much, isn't it?
IGNT. It is. From such a face and form as mine the noblest sentiments sound like the black utterances of a depraved imagination. It is human nature — I am resigned.

TECH. (Examines FREDERIC now.) Fleshy crewman, what is your designation?
CREW. That’s Frederic, just Frederic; he who was once a Traitor but has now returned to the warm and comforting bosom of the Imperium.
TECH. That designation prompts further investigation.
CREW. (aside.) And he loves, but he loves far above his station.

A maiden fair to see,
The pearl of minstrelsy,
A bud of blushing beauty;
For whom proud nobles sigh,
And with each other vie
To do her menial's duty.
ALL. To do her menial's duty.

A suitor, lowly born,
With hopeless passion torn,
And poor beyond denying,
Has dared for her to pine
At whose exalted shrine
A world of wealth is sighing.
ALL. A world of wealth is sighing.

Unlearned he in aught
Save that which love has taught
(For love had been his tutor);
Oh, pity, pity me—
A Seneshal’s daughter she,
And I that lowly suitor!
ALL. And he that former Traitor!

IGNT. Ah, my poor lad, you've climbed too high: the Trader’s Seneschal’s child won't have nothin' to say to a poor chap like you. Will she, lads?
CREW. No, no.
IGNT. No, Seneschal’s daughters don’t marry mere ratings, no matter the circumstance.
CREW. (recoiling from FREDERIC.) Shame, shame.
FRED. But it's a strange anomaly, that the daughter of a man who hails from the spire may not love another whose ancestors slaved in the underdecks. For a man is but a man, whether he be from Holy Terra or the lowest bilge.
TECH. Most logical: all men of flesh are roughly equivalent.
CREW. But look, our gallant Captain comes on deck, with his worthy peers. Let us greet them as so noble of gentlemen deserve.

Enter CAPTAIN COROCAN, followed shortly by the SENESCHAL, sorrowfully


CAPT. My gallant crew, good morning.
ALL. (saluting). Sir, good morning!
CAPT. I hope you're all quite well.
ALL. (as before). Quite well; and you, sir?
CAPT. I am in reasonable health, and happy
To meet you all once more.
ALL. (as before). You do us proud, sir!
What voice types (and fach) are these characters?
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TECH. Sir, you exhibit the weakness of emotion.
Some form of saline liquid is excreted from your eyes
Perhaps your mind is inflamed with fluid!
Confide in me — fear not — I am a surgeon!

CAPT. No, dread Buttercup, I'm sad and sorry—
My good friend, Seneschal Brown has a daughter
The fairest flower that ever blossomed on ancestral timber,
She is sought in marriage by Sir Joseph Porter,
Our Admiralty's First Lord, but for some reason
She does not seem to tackle kindly to it.
Her hesitance leads my friend to melancholy
And may spell disaster for all.

TECH. (pauses for a moment). Your problems are meaningless to me. I go. Farewell.


CAPT. (looking after her). A curious mechanical person is she. And yet...

Exit CAPTAIN, Enter MABEL, reading a data-slate


Sorry her lot who loves too well,
Heavy the heart that hopes but vainly,
Sad are the sighs that own the spell,
Uttered by eyes that speak too plainly;
Heavy the sorrow that bows the head
When love is alive and hope is dead!

Sad is the hour when sets the sun—
Dark is the night to man’s poor daughters,
When to the ark the wearied one
Flies from the empty waste of waters!
Heavy the sorrow that bows the head
When love is alive and hope is dead!
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Jeeze, you don't ask for much, do you?

THE ARCH-TRAITOR - bass-baritone
SAMUEL (his Lieutenant) - baritone
FREDERIC (a Traitor Indentured) - tenor
RUTH (a Maid of all Work)
SCRIBE - comic tenor
GUARDSMAN - comic baritone
PRIEST - comic bass
MABEL - soprano
EDITH (Seneschal Stanley’s Daughters) KATE
ISABEL - mezzo-soprano
TECH-ADEPT BUTTECUP - vox-enhanced contralto
CAPTAIN COROCAN (Rogue Trader, of the Nevermore) - baritone
IGNATIUS IRON-EYE (Able Voidsman) - bass-baritone
LORD HIGH ADMIRAL JOSEPH (Ruler of the Fleet) - comic baritone
MEPHISTOPHELIA (Daemon of the Pit) - soprano
Enter SENESCHAL, sorrowfully

SEN. My child, I grieve to see that you are a prey to melancholy. You should look your best to-day, for Lord High Admiral Joseph Porter will be here this afternoon to claim your promised hand.
MABEL. Ah, father, your words cut me to the quick. I can esteem — revere — venerate Sir Joseph, for he is a great and noble man; but oh, I cannot love him! My heart is already given.
SEN. (aside). It is then as I feared. (Aloud.) Given? And to whom? Not to some officer of the watch or gilded lordling?
MABEL. No, father — the object of my love is no lordling. Oh, pity me, for he is but a humble voidsman aboard this very ship!
SEN. Impossible!
MABEL. But nonetheless true.
SEN. A common voidsman? Oh fie! (aside) Still, I suppose there are worse objects for her affection to fall upon.
MABEL. I blush for the weakness that allows me to cherish such a passion. I hate myself when I think of the depth to which I have stooped in permitting myself to think tenderly of one so very ignobly born, but I love him! I love him! I love him! (Weeps.)
SEN. Ignobly born more so than other voidsmen?
MABEL. Indeed, for he was raised from a babe amongst Traitors in the far Expanse.
SEN. (aside) Horrors uncountable! My own daughter, enamoured of one so base and foul? No, it cannot be. (Aloud.) Come, my child, let us talk this over. In a matter of the heart I would not coerce my daughter — I attach but little value to rank or wealth, but the line must be drawn somewhere. A man of that upbringing may be brave and worthy, but at every step he would commit heresies that society would never pardon.
MABEL. Oh, I have thought of this shift after shift. But fear not, father, I have a heart, and therefore I love; but I am your daughter, and therefore I am proud. Though I carry my love with me to the tomb, he shall never, never receive the fruits of it.
SEN. You are my daughter after all. (a ship draws nearer on the viewing panels, alarums sound quietly) But see, Sir Joseph's barge approaches, manned by trusty servants and accompanied by the admiring crowd of sisters, cousins, and aunts that attend him wherever he goes. Retire, my daughter, to your cabin — take this, his photograph, with you — it may help to bring you to a more reasonable frame of mind.
MABEL. Thoughtful as always, father.

BARCAROLLE. (invisible)

Over the darkest space
Comes the Lord High Joseph, full of grace
Wherever he may go
Bang-bang the macrocannons go!
Shout o'er darkest space
For the Lord High Joseph, full of grace
During this the CREW have entered on tiptoe, listening attentively


Sir Joseph's barge is seen,
And its crowd of blushing beauties,
We hope he'll find us clean,
And attentive to our duties.
We sail, we sail the endless dark,
And our saucy ship's a beauty.
We're sober men of true remark
And attentive to our duty.
We're smart and very neat
And quite devoid of fe-ar,
In all the Trader’s fleet.
None are so smart as we are.


CAPT. Now give three cheers, I’ll lead the way
ALL. Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurray!
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SIR JOSEPH. I say again, with no conceit
I am the ruler of the Sector Fleet,
Whose praise the Imperium loudly chants.

REL. And we are his sisters, and his cousins and his aunts!
And we are his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!

SIR JOSEPH. When at anchor here I ride,
My bosom swells with pride,
And I snap my fingers at a Eldar's taunts;

REL. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!
And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!

SIR JOSEPH. But when through the warp we go,
I make my way below,
And seek the seclusion that a bolthole grants;

REL. And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!
And so do his sisters, and his cousins, and his aunts!
His sisters and his cousins,
Whom he reckons up by dozens,
And his aunts
do go on, this is too entertaining to stop short of the full four acts
This is, indeed, why I came in here.
It did not disappoint.
I have no idea what is going on in this thread, but it looks awesome.
very good
I didn't know we needed this
Well done anon. Please continue.
That's wonderful

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