“One idea has dominated me since I was very very little, nesting in my bones and, like blood, bloating my flesh and keeping me alive. It is important to understand it as soon as possible. In fact, and that’s really all there is to the idea, one must understand it too soon. What’s the idea? The threshold. Any situation bears with it a certain threshold of violence. Some situations just aren’t tense enough, so people often hang around with guns, but they’re not really willing to use them. Men, like animals, must build themselves up to killing, you know: hunger, hate, even madness need nurturing and time, and strength. A broken man won’t stand up to murder you, and no one feels like killing a stranger on the spot without some kind of confrontation. And that’s what gets them. When you’re fighting over dice, no one’s supposed to draw a gun. Same: you fight a war, no one’s supposed to light the nukes. Well, guess who’s the one who always wins at dice? And we won the goddamn war, didn’t we? You have to burn it – the threshold, I mean – and burn it before anyone else does. Grab hold of unexpected, paroxysmal violence. That’s a human thing no animal can do. A new instinct. Spill blood while the dice are still rolling. Be ready to stab over a dollar, and shoot over a dime. And when everyone expects you to do so… well, that’s when you have to get really cruel.”
A disturbing piece of Scavvy savvy, as an introduction to the warped minds, and bodies, of the Scavvy Necromunda gang I’m currently painting, and as a reminder of the extreme-right-wing undertones of many survivalist fantasies.
Being the chief of a tribe of leprous cannibalistic outcasts, likely to be shot on sight by any “respectable” citizen and hunted down by packs of religious fanatics, while the toxic fumes from the most vicious landfill in the known universe are painfully mutating your body into a mass of fluorescent gangrene, is clearly not a breeze. Now do it on just one leg. Despite his brutal philosophy, Black is definitely having troubles staying alive, and lately he has been leaning dangerously over the edge between absolute authority and minced meat. He lost a leg to an enforcer’s metal mastiff and his skin is rotting away from malnutrition and the exposure to chemical waste. He lost his hair long ago, but no one has yet survived a comment on his eponymous black toupee. He sports an ostentatious autogun, and an array of banned grenades and imaginative torture tools he is more often using on his few subordinates than on the many enemies of his caste. Stress can be heard in the camp like the grinding of teeth. One by one, he will have to kill all of his minions, and soon he’ll be dead or alone. Sleep does not come to him anymore, just occasional lapses of consciousness from which he comes up with a jolt and cold sweats as if he’d been hit by a bullet. For the first time in his short excruciating life, he’s been thinking of turning one of his infamous peaks of violence upon himself – beat everyone else at the game and be the one to end it.