So, a few days ago I was browsing through Women Fighters in Reasonable Armor
(which is the best thing ever, and if you're not familiar with it, ignore this entry and go check it out). This reminded me of Dark Heresy, so I ran a google image search to look for pictures of Sisters of Battle.
Now, I should preface this by stating that the vast majority of the pictures I found were excellent. I'm honestly not sure how many were official art and how many were fanart, but pictures like this one here
are exactly what I was looking for. And they're all over the place: this one
has a lovely atmospheric feel, while this one
has an eerie executioner vibe going on. (I think it's the hood and the bare arms.)
(Edit: I realize now that all three of those are from the same site, but I was taking interesting ones from a huge variety of images. There's more out there.)
And there are also some that I wasn't expecting, but love anyway: the first two pictures here
are absolutely adorable
, (as a side note, most of the pictures lower down in that thread are distinctly of the awesome variety). This one
is cute too, if you ignore the unfortunate corset-like appearance of her armor (seriously, how does she have room in there for both shielding and the internal organs it's supposed to protect?)- I'm imagining her as a really enthusiastic novice. "Let us go forth and slay the unrighteous in the name of the God-Emperor! WHEEEEEE!"
But then you get the inevitable pictures like this one
. Or these
NO. Just no.
Those are not Sisters of Battle. Those are Sister-of-Battle-themed strippers, and if they existed in the Dark Heresy-verse, they would be smote in the name of the God-Emperor because you do not mock his chosen like that.
That last picture annoys me for two reasons- the obvious one, and because that is the wrong way to go about lesbian subtext for the God-Emperor. I honestly approve of the subtext (and even text) about the Sisters of Battle- it makes sense in the setting, it leads to a lot of interesting character development, and I just personally think it's kind of cool. But when it's that kind of male-gaze fanservice lesbianness? That gets squicky. And I feel like I could do it better, except that I can't draw.
Scene: A door hisses open and two Sisters enter a locker-room-type area where the power armor is stored. One is half-supporting, half-carrying the other, because her armor's been badly damaged and the servos on one leg have completely shut down. It's obvious they've been through some enormous battle- neither is badly injured, but they've taken a lot of hits and their armor is covered in soot, blood and alien gunk.
They get out of their power armor- with some difficulty and possibly a crowbar, in the case of the more damaged suit- and just lean on each other for a moment, heads touching, hands on an arm or a waist. (Hard to describe a Headbutt of Love, but you all know what I mean.) They're covered in sweat and blood, utterly exhausted, they've probably lost comrades who they'll mourn later- but right now, they're just taking a moment to support each other.
What I'm trying to get to with this description is, there's no UST here. It's all been resolved already. These are the Wash and Zoe of the forty-first millennium. It's a private moment- they're looking at each other or they've got their eyes closed, and they are emphatically not
cheating out to the camera- and it's obvious both that they're in a comfortable, loving relationship and that they are absolutely terrifying fighters
I'll close by saying I agree with whoever posted the large image in this
thread: "They may not be pretty girls, but dammit, they're soldiers, not strippers. They should be butch, and fearsome, with scars and bionics and tattoos and biceps and calloused hands. Yeah. Dainty they aint.