02/03/2009 in Warhammer 40K
I’ve lost it. I lost that a long time ago. I lost hope the moment the Enforcers grabbed me over the neck, broke my nose, three of my ribs and dislocated my shoulder. Twelve I was at the time. Twelve standard Terran years.
How old am I now? I don’t know. Twenty-five perhaps? I know I spent nine years on a penal world. Which one? I don’t know. They don’t tell convicts these things. We simply slave like servitors, without their bionic enhancements. We slave until we die; A life of servitude that will wash away our sins.
A life I abandoned. I could not endure it. The pain. The suffering. The hunger. The humiliation. The gang-rapes. The fighting. The dying. I wanted it to be over. It simply took too long to wash away what ever sin I as a child had committed.
For us, the ones like me, and we number quite a few, there is always the pious option. Nine years I spent in captivity, working the spice-mines of some forsaken rock of a world. How did I survive? Faith. A belief that the priests did not lie and that the God-Emperor would forgive me for my childhood errors. Every evening I knelt in the chapel. Knelt before the Great Father. The Emperor. Knelt before God.
But was merely dying a convict enough to warrant absolution? It did not feel that way. It felt like the cowards easy way out. Surely I could do more than simply toil and die. Surely I could fight. Surely I could kill in the name of the Immortal God-Emperor Eternal. Surely there was a way.
And I found it. The Legion. The Penal Legion. I had found the truth; To die in battle was the only way a heretic could save his soul. To die fighting the just cause.
So here I am, after how many years I do not know. How many battles? How many engagements? I cant tell. I don’t remember. Too many. Too many suicide missions to break the enemy front. To secure the breach. The gap in the line. So many charges. Cannon Fodder. That is what I am. Cannon Fodder.
I was never trained to be a soldier. We were, like cattle, herded aboard an Imperial Navy transport. Aboard awaited us the biggest bastards the Imperial Guard could dig forth from underneath soiled rocks no doubt. There wasn’t enough food to go around. Not enough water. Not enough air for such a large cargo.
First month, a third of us died. Killed. Convict turned against convict. Four hundred men, the weakest aboard, slain. Some by my hand. We were like dogs. Snarling and unforgiving. Twenty men kicking one lone man lying on the floor. The blood was never washed away. It lingered throughout the journey. The officers beat us up with force-rods. I broke an arm and a leg.
Then we were branded. 126th Gattaca Penal Legion. Not with lasers or surgery, but hot iron, across our right chest. The stench of burned flesh and hair still fills my nostrils. I can hear my own screams as I dream.
Surgery we had, though. Later, at some planet in some system in some cluster. Treated like animals. Beaten, kicked, pushed about. We weren’t men. We were heretics. We were criminals. We were traitors to mankind’s cause. We were traitors to her survival. It was here surgery took place, at this wretched place.
The Asimov Implant. Attached to my heart. I feel it still. Its cold presence against my naked soul. In the Legion, they take no chances. Should I try and revolt, my heart will be detonated. Should I try and run away, my heart will be detonated. Should I be taken captive by the enemy, my heart will be detonated. Should I not return from battle, my heart will be detonated. No one survives the Legion. It is the way it is. You repent through death.
We were given uniforms, old and worn, torn and dirty, filthy and covered in blood. Ripped and punctured by bayonet and incoming fire. My uniform worn by the hundreds of men that had held my place in the line before me, the place I was expected to fill.
A bayonet and a lasrifle, three ammo-packs and two fragmentation grenades, one flakhelm and a three day ration-pack. No medical aid. Instead, a pendant. The Aquila. And upon it, an inscription. ‘What’ you ask? Illegitimi Non Carborundum; ‘Don’t let the bastards grind you down’.
I guess that even in the Imperial Guard they understand that men fight best when they have a sense of pride. A sense of honor. They understand that in the end, the Penal Legion fights simply to mock their betters. That’s what I do these days.
Faith? Absolution? To hell with that. Faith has no more worth to me than dogshit under my heal. I fight because I have nothing else to do. I fight so I can smile at the Commissar at the end of every charge. Simply by surviving I piss on his uniform and the order for which it stands. By simply returning each day, after each firefight, I spit my officers in the face; Dead center.
How long have I served in the Legion? I don’t know. Days, months, years; It’s all a blur in the Legion. These days, I’m a cold vicious bastard, with no regard for life or civil respect. I kill civilians. Rape children in front of their parents. Execute husbands in front of their wives. Burn homes to the ground. I urinate to put out the fires of promethium that scorches dead bodies.
I have become the ultimate tool of the God-Emperor. An instrument that performs without remorse or pity until it can perform no more. I will march until I die. It is the way of the Legion. It is how we repent. It is how we find salvation.
Only in death does duty end.