Throughout Imperial history, few institutions have proven to be as iconic, as captivating, and as mythical as the Killer Penguin Death Squad. Known, loved, and feared the length and breadth of the Empire, the Killer Penguin Death Squad is cited by citizens of every colony as being responsible for events both good and bad, and more stories have been written and songs sung about them than any other Imperial citizen or group.
The history of the Killer Penguin Death Squad dates back to the early Cullings of the Inactive in the Empire. As early as January 2001, legends spoke of "Killer Mutant Penguin Death Squads" seen out and about, and spurious photographic evidence exists from those days. This casual sighting would prove to be the spark which fanned a flame of interest -- by the 2001 Culling, the Killer Penguins Death Squad had become known as the shadowy, unseen presence which came in the night and stole the citizenship from vanished citizens. The Killer Penguins Death Squad(s) (no one has ever been sure if they are singular or plural) could appear at any time, pass any obstacle. An inactive citizen could not run, could not hide, could not find a wall thick enough to protect them from this unseen horror. Since then, the Killer Penguins have become a ubiquitous and much-loved cultural icon in the Empire, and have inspired short stories, modeling projects, artwork, and even flash movies.
Because of their association with shadowy, stealthy killing, the name of the Killer Penguin Death Squad has become linked to numerous groups within the Empire. Most branches of the military have used some variation of the name for their own units, much as words such as "reaper" and "ninja" can be found commonly applied to unit names in macronational militaries and peacekeeping forces. Just a few of the more well-known examples are the following:
- The original Killer Penguin Death Squad itself is believed to be an elite military unit answerable only to the Emperor and a few select members of government. Whether or not it actually exists is a question which no one has ever been curious enough to discover.
- The Killer Penguins are a semi-mythical unit within the Imperial Guard, allegedly responsible for spy-type activities. Members of the Killer Penguins are denoted by the letters KP followed by a number. It is believed that the Empire does not retain any actual KP agents.
- The Imperial Army maintains two separate units bearing the name. The Killer Penguin Space Marines are a unit of miniatures from the Warhammer 40K toy line, painted in penguin-like colours. Similarly, the Killer Penguin Death Squads Minis are miniatures from the Critter Commandos toy line, humanoid penguins in combat gear standing only a few milimeters tall. Both units are stored at the Aerican Embassy to Everything Else and see frequent use.
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