Word Count: 1012 (not including title)
The Kids knew nothing about war, fresh faced young enthusiastic kids, in with the new transfers from the Home World to bolster our numbers on this Emperor forsaken world. They are all eager and they are all mine to introduce to the reality of the wars, and not the romantic stories of heroism and valour that no doubt the elders tell at home.
I am Sergeant Cordax of the Nova Scotia 53rd foot sloggers. We have been on this world of Agamemnon IX for three years; the forces of the arch enemy have dug in tight and what started as so called simple battlefield skirmishes turned into entrenched warfare. It’s a cluster frag and the big bosses know that.
Not that anyone is stupid enough to voice it; I’ve seen the Commissar shoot people for less. I look to the heavens and, not for the first time, wondered if the Emperor was really with us, or if it was just some big fruck off joke. You know, the Emperor is all watching and we are taught to believe that he is everlasting. Sometimes I wonder if he is not just laughing, cause he sure as hell hasn’t heard any of my prayers for the last twenty years.
With some reluctance I look at my orders once more, we are to infiltrate the enemy lines and get back some of our men they have captured. One of them is Captain Lorenzo, our commander, I don’t have much hope getting him back, and chances are he’s dead, or at least he had better be. Cause if we bring him back and the Intelligence guys get their hands on him, or the Commissariat, he will want to be.
I light a cigar and offer up a prayer to the old man, take a last look at my squad of rookies and turn to my Corporal and shrug.
“Sarge, they are just kids, they won’t know how to do this, it’s not like the training fields at home….”
I cut him off with a look, I can see his point and I understand his statement, but in this day and age we do not have the luxuries of easing the newbies into a mission, not anymore. He understands, good ole Jockie, he always understands, and he doesn’t like it any more than I do, but he understands and with a couple of harsh words that cover his concern for the kids, he gets them to move out.
Its hells journey, it doesn’t matter how many times we do this journey or how many battlefields we cross, everyone is different and everyone is a level of hell that no one has ever been to before. No wonder half the men and women in our Imperial Guard Regiments the Imperium over end up either becoming desensitised to the acts of war, or spend the rest of their lives in a lunatic asylum, or wishing themselves dead on some other world, just for the peace from this everlasting war.
“Sarge, Sarge is we nearly there yet?”
I glance across to see one of the newbies, a young kid with eyes like fire and the name Connell stitched across his uniform, the colours don’t matter
anymore, and we’re all up to our arses in muck and shit.
“Bit eager isn’t you Connell?” I ask as I peer over the edge of the trench, he, like the others have made their first kills and I suppose it’s a good feeling for him to send one more soul back to the God-Emperors own hell.
“I just want to kill every last one of the Frackers Sarge” he enthuses “To help reclaim this world in the name of the Emperor”
“Be careful what you wish for son”
“Stick with me and do as I say and we will be toasting that when we get back”
The first to die is Macray, a young man who was our sniper, instead the sniper got caught in the back of the head, where the shot came from I have no idea, I was certain we were too far behind enemy lines to be a target.
Next to die was Jerros, a young woman whose chest opened up like a peach and splattered Jockie with blood and shit, Jockie died next with Marisa and Yves, a grenade landed near them and blew them into so many pieces I would be cleaning it out of my uniform for weeks.
“Is it the enemy?” Connell asks, terror in his voice, now it sinks in.
“Not really” I reply and cock my weapon
“The Emperor loves us all” Connell whimpered.
Without a thought I shoot him in the leg and crouch down to read his horrified face. I take the knife and draw it across his throat. They were right of course, there is rot in the company, but they keep sending me the newbies and I keep making sure they fall. Several years ago, too many now I was in a temple, an old temple, one that had never been seen before.
That’s when it happened, a being so full of martial honour and pride he showed me the true path of the warrior. I care little for the cultists that run amok in the trenches, they do not serve him like I do. I am sent with a higher purpose, ever since I was 19 I have been served with a higher purpose.
I lost my innocence on the world of Hargave, but in its place I found a reality that makes perfect sense to me. I shoot myself in the leg and the arm, to go with the other scars I have had to inflict upon myself. It will be a few days before we are found but when we are found, they will say that it was bad Intel.
I look down at the bodies and wonder how Jockie never cottoned on to my true calling, it does not matter, nothing matter, all that matters is blood for the blood god, and he does not care from where it flows.