“Samul, do you know why you're here?”
The room only contained one light, a directed beam that came from the celling to illuminate a small man wearing the open jacket of an Imperial commissar. The voice had come from the dark and Samul, the man standing illuminated, knew better that to try and peer into the darkness.
“This looks like a convened Court of Inquiry. And as few have the right to have a commissar dragged from his bed by masked soldiers I must assume you are either my superiors, the Inquestion, or traitors.”
An amused laugh came from another part of the room. “A concise summation.”
The first voice rather testily responded. “Enough. I say X-4509746, the sun never sets.”
Samul stood straighter. “I reply, Y-853464, for the Emperor is our light. I confirm your authority as a senior commissar and representative of the Departmento Munitorum”.
“Samul D'loran, you are charged with laxity in the discharge of your duty. How do you plead?”
Samul gulped. Such an innocuous sounding charge was tantamount to accusing him of deliberately betraying the Imperium, for his duty was to ensure the loyalty of two thousand armed soldiers of the Imperial Guard. Any failure in that responsibility could lead to betrayal and rebellion.
“Sir I deny that charge, on my word as a commissar of the Imperium”
“No surprise there”, came the second voice again, this time sounding less amused. “If it's true then you'd lie to the Emperor himself, and as such we must rely on more than just your word young Samul”.
“I cannot offer more without knowing why I am accused!”
“You are accused by the facts! It has been brought to our notice that in the last year, since taking your position in the newly arrived regiment from Anantis, you have not exercised any of your powers to enforce discipline. Not a single execution, not one lashing for insubordination, not even any prison time for the myriad petty crimes that soldiers involve themselves in. Are we to assume you have a regiment of saints?”
Samul looked uncomfortable. “Um well... yes sir. That would be one way of looking at it. A regiment of saints indeed. I know the records say they come from a planet called Anantis, but its full name is 'The holy and righteous resting place of the divinely mandated martyr Saint Anantis'”.
For the first time a third person hidden revealed themselves by speaking “Bloody warp, it's that Anantis? Since when have they formed Guard regiments?”
“You know this planet?” came the first voice, clearly irritated.
“Of course I do, and so would you if you remembered your lessons from the Schola Progenium. A planet that boasts more shrines and holy relics than an entire subsector. Pretty much run entirely by the local Eccesiarchy. Has a bit of a reputation for, ah... being a bit strait laced.”
The second voice suddenly burst out laughing. “Stones! I remember that lot, didn't they expel all the local Adepta Sororitas for, what was it... yes ha, 'gross and scandalous breech of decorum', whatever that means”.
Samul sighed. “Yes sir. It took the Eccesiarchy nearly a decade to persuade the rest of the Sororitas not to fire bomb the planet back into the Dark Age. It all got very... tense.”
He shrugged. “But that's my point sirs. I have two thousand soldiers brought up by people even we think take religious things too seriously. They have a holy ritual for every occasion. Drill, mess, marching, dawn, sunset, rain, battle... everything has a prayer associated with it. They even have a prayer for silent manoeuvres based only on gestures”.
“The only official complaints they've made is that the rest of the Guard, and that includes us sirs, are too lax. I get dozens of polite suggestions every day on how I can 'improve moral' by extending punishments to officers and soldiers from the other battalions. And they don't hide their opinion. Quite frankly at this point I'm worried we'll have the first case of one entire battalion being accidentally shot in the back by the combined friendly fire of several other battalions next time we go to battle”.
“ I see.”
The voices in the darkness started to confer, but for Samul the words were blurred by the activation of a privacy device. Finally the dull hum ended and the voice spoke again.
"The charges are dropped. This matter bears further investigation but for the moment we are satisfied in your performance. May the Emperor guide and protect you”.
Samul looked relieved. “Sirs if you think I'm not doing a good enough job I'll gladly move to another post. I don't mind, really”
“Nice try but I don't think so Samul.”
Samul sighed again.
The universe is a big. The epic tales are known but what small unimportant things can be found that hint at untold stories?
Kacksol was put in charge of the reclamation team tasked with cutting up the old shuttle in the 9th Yard. It was an ancient Bruiser II, a reliable class but ultimately discontinued from service due to an inefficient fuel ratio.
The Emperor only knows how long its been sitting here, he thought as he shifted his cutter harness to began to angle saw away a segment of hull. The work was hard but Kacksol enjoyed it, it was honest work.
Sections of pitted metal fell into the waiting servo-truck, slowing filling the large bucket section.
Unseen by Kacksol or the rest of his team a small section of hull turned as it fell, revealing crude letters carved on the inner section.
Pol, Asiv, Gariti, Jilt, Sunnor. Partu. Stevos. We leave our names here so that something of us goes on for soon we will be dead. Let the universe remember we died righteous, fighting the darkness.
Soon filled the servo-truck brought the scrap to one of the furnaces and the hull plating was added to the waiting flames.
Letter found nailed to a gutted chaos landraider
Meeb loike scrappin uumies. There are lots a dim an loike us da biggur they are da tougha they are. Meeb loike da wunz dat are awl messed up from messin' wif da warp da most. They taste rilly gud.
It included cooking suggestions.
My name is Sera and I want my daddy to come home from space. Hes really nice and I miss him.
In his hand a small soul cried in denial. Not this way, not to these! But the ork was oblivious as it hammered the strange stone into the wall. He liked the way the light played on the shiny stone. He liked fighting the strange thin things that made them. That's why he always led his warband against them. They were good fighters, but that just made his boys tougher.
On the wall the screaming soul of the farseer joined the howls of the other Eldar souls nailed to the wall of Boss Grosnorks throne room.
Jaul basked in the warp that lapped through the failing Geller shields of the ancient battleship. Standing on the hull he pulled off his helmet and enjoyed the sensation of his flesh shifting and crusting to form a seamless protective skin over his face.
The false warmth where there should be cold, the numbing pain... the wondrous ever changing glory of Immaterium. Beneath him he could feel the others indulging their own passions. Once he would have joined them but hundreds of years of embracing ever vice and depravity had dulled such simple pleasures. Now he basked in the pure realm of sensation, undiluted by his own wants and needs.
He laughed as he watched his fingers push through the armoured glove of his armour, fingers twisting in tune with the pattern of the warp. The ship metal under his feet began to buckle yet as always the mark of his master protected the ship. The huge scintillating brand of Slaanesh across the mile long hull.
Once he had served another god. Duty, order, faith and denial, the creed of his people. But after a grueling battle for a planet he no longer even remembered he had seen the rescued people celebrating and rejoicing, calling thanks to him and his brothers. Yet those very saviours were to just march back into the grey ships to return to cold halls and prayers to a silent god?
That was when he first heard the whispering of Slaanesh and without a moment of regret he turned his back on his duty and god, instead following a new god, one who was far from quiet.
On the hull he playfully pulled the last of his armour away, letting it fall and twist into nothing in the warp. His body shinned. He could feel the changes even his masters mark, tattooed in substances vile beyond imagining across his body, struggled to contain. Even for a chosen champion what he did was madness, yet he knew he could never return to the confines of his old form.
And then he heard a whisper in his soul that sent his mark burning. He could feel his god calling yet he ignored the pain, for pain was just another sensation and he was finally past caring for such mundane things. Slaanesh threatened and cajoled but he merely smiled with one of the new mouths forming on his face.
He listened to the new voice and without a moment of regret he turned his back on his screaming god. Wings burst out of his back and he laughed to see the rippling changes exploding out from his talons. The mark of Slaanesh flared then twisted into a new mark, one that constantly shifted and changed as he watched.
Jaul and his new god laughed as they felt the anger of Slaanesh. Soon he would be assailed by his former brothers in the ship. He was unconcerned. A universe of possibilities opened up before him.
Ya wan ter know stuff? Fine me'll tell ya ubbout a rilly gud ork. 'E's dead 'ard an 'e's mean an 'e's rilly cleva. 'Is name iz me, Deafclaw!
'Aha. Du ya tink yer painboys scare me? Ya uumies so stoopid. Lissen an me'll tell ya why ya shud membur me, Deafclaw!
Wen me was lil' me was already big. Me ad mi own bunch o' boys. Mostlee grots an maybe Gruilski did eat dim durin' da long winta but still.
Den me was trained ter 'unt down squigs. Da big nasty wunz too. Me got rilly gud at it, ad da meanest squigs an won lotsa teef in da squig scrappin pit. Everyone said dat da bestest squigs around belonged ter me, Deafclaw!
Ubbout dat time da bugs ad their big waaagh against us, dat wuzza laff. Me an sum lads grabed sum o' da more bity wunz an threw dim in da pit wif da squigs. It was fun but me lost lotsa teef an squigs.
So afta dat me had ter wurk fer Dok Seeggh so ee wuud fix up mi arm an leg dat da bugs ad eatun wen they jumped outa da squig pit. Mainlee me 'elped 'old down da uvver patients. Sumtimes they didn't wan ter be patients an me ad ter clock dim a few timz so ee cud make dim bedda. Everyone knew da bestest ork nurse was me, Deafclaw!
Furst fing da dok did was giv me this grabby claw arm, den afta me worked there awhile an ee trusted me ee gave me this great nyoo leg.
Anyway wen me was finished wif da dok me ad ter git sumwhere else fast before da locul bosss asked who set da dok an 'is patients on fire. Well fairs fair, me ad ter test owt da built in burna in mi nyoo leg.
Turns owt dat seddin' stuff on fire iz fun. Me was da bestest at startin' dim an wunce me eben set wona dem big uumie gargants on fire. Boss Grantnik said it was da bestest fing 'e'd eva seen an ee didn't mind it ad already fallun ober an was full o' lootin' Deathskulls.
But dat was bad time fer me uumie. Deathskulls are bad news. They didn't tink it was funy an afta they chased me around fer awhile they beet me up an nikked mi burna leg. Den they set me on fire. Put me roight off fire me tell ya. Dankfully me rolled inta their store o' ammo an in da explosion me was fired roight ober their 'eads an landed on top o' a uumie dat was sneakin' up ter shoot da boss.
Dat wuzza bit o' luck as da uumie ad a rilly shooty shoota. Nobody was as shooty as me wif dat shoota. It was so gud da mek boys begged me ter let dim make it eben more dakka. Well ya kan neva ab enough dakka so me said ok, but da mek boys godda fighin' ober which dakka ter put on so me jus' clocked dim abit an said donz be sillee, put awl da dakka on! Afta dat everyone knew who ad da most shooty shoota, it was me, Deafclaw!
Me shot loads o' stuff, tanks, walls, biggur tanks... but da shoota was gerrin almost... me donz know... too dakka? It made me skin tingle an melted da tank me leaned it on so me an da meks did da onlee fing ya kan du wif a shoota too shooty ter fire. Weeb fired it from a kannon atz a moon.
Da moon broke in twuu. Me an da meks woz laughin' so 'ard an den da bits fell on da elda weeb woz there ter scrap. Everyone said onlee wun ork ad a shoota so dakka it cud win a waa wif wun shot an dat was me, Deafclaw!
Pity ubbout da boss an da boys who woz scrappin dim elda at da time tho.
Notes: Writing lots of ork, even with the help of a ork translator, can hurt the head. Not sure if there will be a pt.2, or if I'll ever explain who the humans are who could capture such an ork as Deafclaw! and what other adventures he got into before he ended up telling his tale to the stoopid ummies.
Um this is probably one time I'm not too interested in having spelling or grammar errors pointed out :)
Every regiment seems to have a creep. You know, the guy you never turn your back to, even with the enemy shooting at you. For us that's Corporal Garret.
I've been kicking around in the Guard for nearly ten years and trust me you get to see every kind of degeneracy. Well the acceptable kinds anyway. Drink, drugs, women, whatever it took. Mine is gambling.
But Garret was special. His thing was memories. The things we all collected to keep us sane, the faded picture, the worn coin, the lucky cap... He got off collecting the keepsakes of others and wasn't very picky in how he acquired them.
I was gambling in the mess when it happened. It was while on ship which meant nearly a hundred of us crowded into a small chamber designed for twenty, desperately killing time and boredom while we waited to arrive at the next hell hole.
I was holding a hand of horus and cursing my luck. Davic was tapping his chin, unconsciously giving away that he had something good. Knowing I was out anyway I kicked him under the table. He stopped tapping and smiled ruefully. Garret smirked. Across from us sat the new guy, Kisling, green as an orks backside. He got added to us last planet as we were leaving. One of those join or go to prison type recruits. No older than sixteen no matter what his papers claimed.
I was unsure but my guess he had a good hand. I hope he did, because I was pretty sure he was betting money he didn't have.
“Well lets reveal shall we” chimed in Garret, a false smile playing across his face.
I saw some of the men smile at my hand. I might love gambling but she didn't love me. Davic showed a respectable near full Lords of Terra. Not bad but I could tell by the kids smile he had better. He threw down a full Lords. Garret just laughed and revealed a full golden throne. We started to hand over the money but no surprise, the kid was coming up short.
“Um I can pay it next payday”.
Garret scowled. “Kid you might be dead next pay day. Hell I might be dead. I'm sure you got some more credits somewhere eh? Or can get your hands on some fast”.
The kid was scared and his hand unconsciously reached into a pocket to touch something that seemed to calm him. Unfortunately I wasn't the only one to notice.
Garret learned forward “Hey kid, what ya got there?”.
“Oh nothing, nothing valuable, just a picture...” muttered the kid.
“Give us a look then and it better not be some money you were hoping to hid away”.
The kid pulled out a small picture and passed it over unwillingly. I could see what looked like a young woman smiling to the camera.
“Nice, this your girl?”
The kid nodded, reaching over to take the picture back, but Garret leaned away while holding it. Around Garret some of the others began to look angry, but we'd learned not to mess with his sport.
“Tell ya what kid, nice picture like this, I'll call it 50 creds”
The kid jumped up. “N-no!”
Garret just laughed his creepy laugh. “You ain't got no choice. Don't worry, I'll look after her”.
Suddenly behind him came a scream of rage. Philos, the weedy tank specialist, was charging Garret from behind. Then a blood spurt from a knife sticking out the back of Garrets neck.
We were all stunned.
“Damnation!” swore Davic, breaking the shocked silence. We all moved into action. I grabbed the kid and shoved him against the bulkhead.
“Listen kid, you saw nothing ok? You damn well swear on the Emperor that you saw nothing!”
The kid just looked at me in terror, but then another Guard passed him the picture which seemed to snap him out of it. “Uh yeah.. I mean yes sir”.
Of course the regiment captain was called. He arrived with a full medical investigation team. We'd done basic clean up but you just can't hid evidence from those guys. So we did the next best thing. We did it Guard style.
“What the hell happened?” the Captain demanded.
I stood forward. “Terrible accident sir. Corporal Garret was sharpening his knife when he fell and landed badly”.
The Captain looked at me in disbelief. “He fell badly. Onto his knife. Through the back of his neck?”
“Yes sir! Hundred men saw it sir. Warps own luck the poor devil. Just after losing a big hand in cards too.”
The Captain looked around. “That's what you all saw is it?”
A general mutter of Yes sir went round the room.
The Captain looked down at the corpse then turned to the med-tech. “Seems plausible. No need for further investigation, wrap it up.” The tech nodded.
As he left I heard the Captain mutter. “Good riddance you little creep”.