I have decided to write another story about my custom regiment the Krugs. The original story about them: the Traitor Librarian can be found here
Chapter 1: The commissar
Cadet commissar Petronia was watching the front line with her vigilant eye. All infractions, no matter how small, were reported by her. One had to be remain vigilant. Especially with scum like these penal legionnaires fighting for the Catachan 45th regiment. She was hated by everyone. Her mentor, commissar Diron, always told her not to be so harsh and avoid denouncing too much, but she did not listen. To her, every sin had to be punished. If it was up to her, she would put men to firing squads for not cleaning their lasguns neatly enough. Why was she so strict and exigent even by commissar's standards? Who knows.
"Commissar. " she voxed.
"What now my dear cadet?" asked commissar Diron who was getting tired of her constant reports.
"Sir. Some of the men don't recite proper the proper litanies while loading their weapons." she said.
"Anna please, leave them be. They have already enough troubles and do not need a commissar in their back to tell them to recite the Litany of Reloading each time." answered Diron.
It was unbelievable, how dogmatic people the Schola Progenium produced. The more they stayed in there, the more brainwashed they were. And from what Diron has heard, this new cadet stayed there for quite a long time.
Had she not this cursed surname, Petronia, she would grow up just like any other girl. Her life may have been as hard, but at least she would have parents to love her. Not that after all these years of indoctrination she cared. So far she could remember, she was always in the Schola Progenium. At least she did not remember her parents. Her oldest memories went back to when she was about four years old. She lived in that would be orphanage with other children. Most of them were older and she got beaten up by them a lot. No one actually cared. Some even encouraged them: "The more children fight among each other, the stronger they will be as adults." they thought. The only person who somewhat liked her, was her uncle. Being a colonel in the Imperial Guard, he however had little time to see her. He sent her a lot of toys that's true, but these were always some models of tanks or soldiers of the Imperial Guard. Nothing to interest a little girl, though she was lucky to even have toys. When she learned how to write and read, they communicated via astropaths. Sometimes life in the Schola was so difficult she dared to complain about it to her uncle, but that simply irritated him. He told her she must remain strong in order to serve the Emperor. He told her about the hardships every guardsmen under his command encountered and about how heroically they endured them.
So she had to endure her ordeal. She was the youngest among all the orphans and not only weakest, but somewhat clumsy as well. When she was getting older, her teachers always said she lacks the zeal to become an Emperor's servant. No matter how hard she tried, they always scowled at her. She spent most of her free time in solitude until one day in her late fourteens.
That day, she just stood in yard and watched sadly other people discussing. Then suddenly she just wanted to stand up and go somewhere. She did not know why, she did not know where, she just wandered where she felt to. She passed by a statue of the Emperor and neared the marble stairs. Instead of going to the Schola, she just passed by to the left and went round the waste. She saw a wooden door. She opened it and came into a dark room.
"Hello." she heard a whisper from behind. She turned startled.
"Don't be afraid" said the voice. It was a male voice, but a very soft one. It somehow calmed her. She could not clearly see the figure that was in front of her, but she was not really afraid any more.
"What are you doing here?" she asked the stranger.
"Wandering." he answered "Just like you."
"Oh really?" she asked sarcastically. "You leave the door shut wait until I come in and say hello to me behind my back. You call that wandering? How the hell did you know I was going there anyway?"
"I..." the stranger hesitated "I guided you there."
"You what?" she almost cried out.
"I... just used my... gift." answered the stranger.
"So: you're just saying that you're some kind of psyker and that you tampered with my mind?" asked.
When she heard no answer, she took it as a yes. "You freak!" she slapped him.
"Please. Don't be offended." answered the psyker. "I just wanted to talk to you... in private."
Despite finding all this weird, she was getting curious. "What do you want?" she asked "and stay away from my mind."
"Oh if I just could." said the psyker. "You see I can exactly know how you feel. I fell your anger and... frustration. You are lonely. That's why I just thought you would understand me." apparently I was wrong" said the psyker with sadness in his voice. "You see, I have to hide what I am for people would kill me if they knew. I know I will once master my skills to better serve the Emperor. That's why I don't denounce myself. Still others just avoid me: as if they knew what kind of freak I am."
"You take a lot of risks by telling me that." asnwered Petronia. "You know I could just denounce you."
"I know." answered the psyker "I know. It's just that, if even you don't understand me, then I guess nobody in this place will and what's the point of living like this anyway?"
She saw his point. She knew her duty, but she simply could bring herself to do it. They became friends and later she even felt in love with him, but all that did not last.
After less then one year a dean came in her classroom. All the students got up and the teacher made an aquila sign, then knelt in front of his holiness to kiss his ring.
"Stand up son." said the dean.
The teacher did as he said and asked "To what do we owe your visit Father?"
The dean simply ignored him and turned his attention to the class. "Is Anna Petronia here?" he asked.
Petronia's heart began to pulse quickly. She stood up and tried to hide her nervousness. "Yes father" she said "Present."
He beckoned with his finger, inviting her to come with him. When they left the classroom, two Sororitas put handcuffs on her and the Dean said "By the order of the holy Ecclesiarchy, I arrest you."
They took her to prison for heretics. Desperate screams could be hear all over the place, but the guards seemed deaf to them. Sororitas put her in a small cell with nothing in it. Nothing but web , lots of spiders and... a human skeleton. "What are you going to do with me?" she asked with a trembling voice the two sisters of battle.
"That's for the dean to decide." one of them answered and locked her in.
After a couple of hours they took her to the interrogation room. Four members of the Ecclesiarchy were sitting behind a table and a huge aquila gleamed over them.
When she arrived in front of them, the dean let her kneel and kiss his ring and then they all said a quick prayer. "Emperor of mankind, praised be thine name, thine will be done. Purge us of our sins as we purge the unfaithful and from the temptation and evil deliver us."
"Sit down please." said the Dean and offered her a seat. "Do you know Mathiel Az?" he asked.
She cast her eyes down and said "Yes."
"Look at us when you are talking." said the dean.
"Yes father." she repeated and looked into his eyes. Although his voice was very paternal and he looked as someone who wants to help her, she did notice the malice hidden behind his friendly eyes.
"Did you know he is a psyker?" asked the father.
"Yes father." she answered.
"And why did you not denounce him to the Holy Ecclesiarchy? Don't you know what your duty is?"
"Father please. Try to understand: he is not evil. He trusts the Emperor. His faith is stronger than even mine. He sincerely believed, that he could master his skills enough to be useful to the Imperium. He wanted to serve the Emperor as we all do." she said.
"So you still think, that you did good when hiding his secret." said the dean.
"I do father." she answered.
"I am afraid he deceived you using his witchcraft." said the dean with false sadness. "He turned you into a witch."
"No! That's not true! " she answered horrified.
"Denial is the first reaction of all witches. If we have to force you to tell the truth, so be it." he said, then he ordered to the Adepta Sororitas guarding the door "Get off her clothes."
Had he not been a holy man, Petronia would swear he was enjoying the sight of her being naked. The sisters leaned her on a table full of wires and began tie her.
"This is the last chance to tell us the truth." said the dean.
"That was the truth!" she cried out.
Then the infernal machine was turned on. At first she felt a pleasant warm, but the heat began to rise quickly. Petronia found out she was completely paralysed and could not even scream. She had a constant feeling that her bones were going to break. She saw the acolytes praying, but she could not hear their words. After a couple of minutes, the pain ceased.
They let her drink and then asked her "Are you ready to confess?"
"What do you want me to confess?" she asked in desperation "I will tell you anything you want!"
"Now you are only trying to avoid the pain." answered the dean. "We cannot accept your confession, for it would not be sincere."
Then the torture continued. After several hours of interrogation she somehow knew exactly what these four men wanted to hear and if not, the pain was there to guide her. She was telling awful lies about herself. How she was venerating false gods with the psyker, how they were planning on releasing awful Daemons in this world, she had to denounce her family she did not event know about and so on. At the end they gave her a paper to sign. She was so exhausted, she did not even take look at it. She just signed it whatever was in there. She just wanted to be back in her cell. That's exactly where they led her. When she was finally there, she laid on the floor and slept.
A female voice woke her up. "Anna Petronia?"
"No no no please please don't take me back there." she babbled.
"Take these clothes." said a sister of battle. "You are released."
In front of the prison her uncle waited her. She hugged him, tears in her eyes. "Uncle... I"
"Not here." answered her uncle. "Wait until we get in my aircraft. We can talk there."
When they got in, he asked her "What the hell were you thinking? Do you know how lucky you are, that I was going to pay you a surprise visit? If not, the Ecclesiarchy would just burn you tomorrow. You are lucky I have some friends in there. Do you know how many people I had to bribe to get you out alive? If this got to the Inquisition, even I would not be able to save you. Harbouring a psyker is a great crime, why did you do this?"
"I loved him." she said "What happened to him?"
"Blackships. That's what happened to him." answered her uncle. "As for you my young lady, you are not old enough to know what the true love is and even if you knew, you still must not forget that above all, you must love your Emperor. You know what he teaches us: suffer not the witch to live."
"I am sorry uncle." she said.
"That's not enough." he answered "From now on, you must promise me, that you will be a perfect student in this Schola. You know you are very lucky to be here. If you get yourself in any kind of trouble, don't expect me to help you a second time. You already disappointed me enough: do not fail me again. Remember: our family name is important and I don't want you to let anyone a slightest opportunity to ruin it. Especially not the Ecclesiarchy."
"I won't uncle. I won't" she promised.
She took her promise very seriously this time. She decided to join the Imperial Guard one day and make her uncle proud. At sixteen, she began the training to become a commissar and despite all the hardships she encountered, she always did her best.
Her first training was with the drill sergeant Rahdim, who was infamous for being very cruel and who even trained the future stormtroopers.
They lined up at the training centre and Rahdim started his shouting "Listen to me maggots! You want to become commissars? It won't happen unless you become perfect guardsmen first. I won't tolerate weaklings understand? If you die during training it's not my problem. Do you understand ? "
"Yes drill seargent." answered others.
In the first session, they were given guardsmen uniform with lasguns on their back and they had to run, get down, up and run back to their place. They did this for endless hours until complete exhaustion. The sergeant Radhim certainly wasn't joking about deaths at his training. Those, who were clearly unable to follow the quick pace, were shot on the spot. When he finally eliminated those whom he deemed weak willed, he said:
"Allright that's enough for today. Change clothes and attend to the mass. Tomorrow, we will do the same, but with gas mask and yes there will be an extremely lethal gas, so you had better learn how to put your mask correctly. You will be given masks tonight, so consult the guardsmen uplifting primer on how to put them and practice it."
Besides the rough training by the sergeant Radhim, she had to learn about Imperial Guard tactics, about Imperial Guard jurisdiction, the working of Munitorum, a techpriest gave them rough instructions concerning Imperial vehicles and finally they had to learn some rhethorics. That's where Petronia discovered her skills, that were unknown to her before. She had a very persuasive voice. In one of her first classes she already quoted Lord Solar Machrius' speech with a very convincing voice.
"Men! Here we stand again. Another enemy to defeat, another world to conquer. As always our enemies underestimate us. We are only men they say. I say it is more then enough. As soon as they will see our glorious armies they will change their minds. Disciplined volleys of lashots will strike them down. Our heavy weapons teams will pierce their armour and our artillery will bring the very sky crushing down upon them! We will use everything we have to our advantage. Nothing but ashes will remain of them. Despite of this great amount of weaponry, you must however not forget our greatest weapon. It's not our mighty earth shakers, it's not our immense plasma canons, it's not our numerous lasguns: courage my friends, courage beats them all. So do not hesitate, fight in the Emperor's name and earn your glory as Imperial Guardsmen!"
After this speech everyone was eager to get already on the front, but Petronia did not seem quite satisfied. She began to improvise. "I know you are far away from your homes and families. I know you are tired of these endless fights. You are from so many worlds and you carry them in your hearts, but never forget why you had to do these sacrifices. It is not for me, but for your families and loved ones you fight. You fight for humanity. The Emperor protects us all, but you must do your part, if we are to survive. Our enemies are numerous and we fight them on thousands of fronts and we will crush them all, so that one day we dominate the Galaxy. Prosperous industrial worlds are our future guardsmen and we contribute to it by our blood in the Emperor's name!"
This improvisation was quite unexpected, but it really moved the teacher, because it reminded him of his young days, when his elder brother was recruited to the Guard and he had never seen him again.
At her seventeenth birthday she had received by an astropath a message recorded by her uncle.
"Anna. This will probably be the last time you hear from me. We are loosing this war. You just cannot imagine how deadly these creatures we are fighting are. They are called Tyranids and will be the death of all of us. Before I die I want you to know how you ended up in this place. I know they never tell people why and that's for their own good good, but if I die here, I think you should know. Unlike most orphans here, your parents are still alive. Your father, Alexander Petronius, is a well respected aristocrat. You just have the misfortune of being a bastard. Your mother was your father's maid. When he learned, that she was pregnant, he wanted her to abort, but she refused. She seeked my help and I had pity of her. I knew your father could not officially accept you as his legitimate daughter, so I adopted you and made sure you were taken here at Scholam."
That was the last time she had seen him. He was apparently devoured by Tyranids along with all the men under his command. She became somehow apathetic to it. After all these years of indoctrination she only cared for one thing: joining the front as soon as possible. She simply had no emotions for her family any more: she did what her uncle always wanted her to do: she loved the Emperor above all. After several years of training, she was eventually ready to join the Guard as a cadet commissar.
The fray was incredibly bloody and as always Petronia was in front along with the penal legionnaires. After ten years of training she received from commissar Diron, she came to understand them much better. The days she was just a mindless fool were gone. She now knew the guardsmen psychology and learned how to motivate them. When she first came to the 45th Catachan regiment, she was dissapointed that the reality was far from what they taught her at scholam. The guardsmen were less pious and disciplined, then the Imperial propaganda pretended them to be, but now when seeing these penal legionnaires desperately fighting the orks at close quarter, she realised that the real guardsmen are even more courageous then she thought them to be. They used everything they had against enemies: bayonets, shotguns, knives, fists even teeth. Perhaps they fought for their own lives, but they fought bravely nevertheless.
Then she saw this giant monster. Using her bolt pistol, she cleared the way towards it and with a mighty voice she screamed "Rally to me!". Several legionnaires spotted her target and they started shooting at it with their shotguns. With one mighty blow of her power fist, she struck the weakened ork Warboss and it literally exploded. They have won! The penal legionnaires held their line while the Catachans pushed the orks from the flank. Now that their warboss was dead, the orks lost their will to fight. They have retreated. Winning the war was now a matter of days.
That night the Catachans celebrated wildly their victory drinking and dancing. Petronia was surprised by their musicians. She had to admit, that they played very well. Their insturments were crude, but they made a pleasant sound.
An imperial officer came to her. "Cadet Petronia?" he interrupted her thoughts.
"Yes sir." she saluted.
"At ease Cadet." said the captain. "May I ask you why are you not celebrating with the officers, rather then these filthy Catachans?"
"I prefer to be with my men." she answered. "We fought for ten years together and I grew fond of them."
"As you wish." said the captain. "Our general wanted to give you this.", he took out a medal. "But as you were absent, I was given the honor to give you your first decoration." He pinned the medal at her chest. "Good job killing that Warboss." and shook her hand.
"Thank you captain." she said.
"I take my leave now. The Emperor protects."
"The Emperor protects." she answered.
The next day she was summoned by commissar Diron. "I see they gave you a medal Anna."
"They did sir." she answered proudly.
"I'll give you something more." he said and took out a commissar's hat. "It's yours now."
"Yes your training is finished Anna." he said. "I have already signed your promotion a week ago, but I needed you there to help me. Now you have definitely proven, that you deserve it. The war will soon be over and the High Command decided to relocate you to another front and another regiment, where they desperately need new commissars."
"What kind of regiment sir?" she asked.
"I am not really sure. They are some fresh recruits from a world called Krug. This world was somehow special that they did not have to pay tithes in men. Now they do, so they have raised something like two thousand of regiments of rookies and they desperately need all the commissars, they can get. You will be assigned to the fifth regiment under the command of colonel Aigar."