Earlier this year, I decided to build a Grey Knight army. I had some cool kitbash ideas (keep an eye on our Instagram for some pictures of those coming soon) and felt it was time to dip my toe into the Imperium. As part of that, I’ve tried to explore the Grey Knight lore starting with Mortarion’s Heart and continuing with Incorruptible an audiodrama by David Annandale. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the story to get me excited by Grey Knight lore but at the same time, it wasn’t terrible.
Incorruptible is set just after a mission on Sanctus Reach and follows Grey Knights Justicar Styer as they track down some missing ship. Upon locating the Purifier ship, Blade of Purity, they find signs of battle and possibly chaos corruption. Apparently, a Grey Knight has never fallen to chaos and the idea that one might have sent chills through our characters. So they must explore the ship, find their missing brethren and discover the truth of what happened onboard.
And that’s pretty much everything. It’s a fairly standard search and rescue story without much else going on. The fear over the idea that a Grey Knight has fallen to Chaos is a cool hook and the doubt that plays across Styer and his terminators’ minds leads you down some interesting paths. However, and spoiler alert for the rest of the story, it’s not true. It turns out the Tyranids are involved and rather than Chaos taking over the Grey Knight, it was Tyranids. For me, this was the most boring outcome to the story and while I’m sure the alternative would have shaken the core of the Grey Knights’ lore, it means that the set up for this story doesn’t match the conclusion. And while there are some cool fight scenes, you could probably remove the Grey Knights and replace them with any other chapter or faction without needing to change much else.
As this is a short there is only so much Incorruptible can do. And I appreciate this. However, at the same time, I don’t quite understand what it was trying to do. Perhaps Styer and the Blade of Purity are part of a wider narrative and this is tying up a loose end, so is satisfying from that perspective. But as a standalone short story, there’s a lot of planting without much payoff. Perhaps the relief that a Grey Knight hasn’t fallen to chaos is meant to be the big climax that the story is working towards, but it is a bit of an anti-climax that it was just the Tyranids. And there isn’t much to explain why they are there – I didn’t even realise the Tyranids were meant to be involved in Sanctus Reach, but maybe the ship is drifted somewhat? Incorruptible baits you with the idea of a Grey Knight being possessed and swaps it with random Tyranids, which leads to a hollow ending.
Having said that, is this a bad short story? No, it’s fine. It isn’t remarkably good or bad and it hasn’t given me a great insight into the Grey Knights. However, I didn’t know the possession thing so that’s something, I suppose. So in conclusion, you can probably skip this short story if you are looking for some Grey Knight fiction to sink your claws into and my search continues for a story that gets me excited about these demon hunters.
Thanks for reading. If you want more short stories, then check out my review of Ursarkar Creed: Last Step Backwards. Alternatively, check out Gav’s article his UI fatigue with Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey for something different.
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