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Full Love And Krieg

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Jan 16th, 2014
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  1. Just for all of you on /tg/.
  2.  
  3. The following article is a /tg/ related story. Should you continue, expect to find tl;dr and an occasional amount of awesome.
  4. Love and Krieg is a collection of short vignettes born from the crazy minds and sappy hearts of a bunch of /tg/ anons tickled by the idea of a Krieger girlfriend. The stories detail the sometimes humorous, often heartwarming events in the relationship between an unnamed, well-meaning Imperial civilian and Krieger Female Model 68b #6345. Each story loosely constituted a date or some outing, most of them tying together without any strict sense of chronology. The end result was something magical, evoking a sense of idyllic innocence rarely found in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium. Since Love and Krieg was a collaborative effort in some ways, with stories, ideas and suggestions being thrown around off the cuff, its position in the 40k universe isn't set in stone. The rough basis for the setting is that of a typical Imperial World, far from the effects of war and horror, very much like ours in the present day. How the 68th Krieg came to be stationed on such a peaceful world, whether by clerical error or some greater implication, is up to reader interpretation. Eventually, a bigger picture was revealed and a relationship between the planet, the reasoning for the deployment of the 68th and the Imperium as a whole was suggested.
  5. It should be noted that there are probably going to be two continuities, branching off after the first segment. The first details the unnamed civilian, Krieger Female Model 68b #6345, and the suggested larger metaplot. The second plans to sport a far looser connection to the fluff, more akin to a lighthearted romantic comedy, complete with requisite road-trip. Somewhere in between, you can find a series of side stories.
  6.  
  7. Those Idle Days
  8.  
  9. First Mission
  10. I was once set up on a date with a Kreig chick on one of those dating websites. It was pretty weird to say the least. She showed up to my house at exactly seven in full combat gear, lasgun and gasmask included. We went to dinner and she didn't even take her mask off, she just sat there at attention staring at me. I tried to talk to her but she would just nod at everything I say. Eventually our food came and she still didn't take off her mask but when I turned to look away for a second her food disappeared. We went to a movie after that, she just sat there mask and all. However, I went to go the bathroom halfway through and she followed me out and stood guard outside the men's room. I think I heard her hitting someone who tried to come in but I am not sure. After the movie I decided to go home and on the car ride back tried to talk to her again and all she would do is nod. Before I went back inside my house we saluted each other, which frankly I have never done on a date in my life.
  11. It gets even more strange. The next day after work I came home and found her standing in my living room. We saluted again. Apparently she had decided to move in as she had a backpack and duffel bag with her. She sleeps in my bed but she just lies there ridged with her lasgun at her side, I am never sure she is asleep anyways. She always gives me rations to take with me to work and has rations ready for me at exactly six o'clock every evening. Of course, I am also pretty sure that she was the one who dug the trench around my house while I was at work this week.
  12. I am not sure if I have a live-in girlfriend or a live-in soldier. Maybe both.
  13.  
  14. Beachhead
  15. I decided to take Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 with me to the beach for a short trip. I thought it would be nice and maybe the change in scenery would get her to lighten up. I told her about the trip a week ahead of time to give her a chance to get ready and she woke up promptly at five in the morning on Saturday, without the aid of an alarm, and waited in the car for me to get ready.
  16. I had told her that we were going to the beach but I wasn't sure at first that she understood what that was, as she was dressed in the same neatly pressed greatcoat she always wore (does she clean it when I am not around?). Our car ride was uneventful, I would talk, she would curtly nod. I think she also kept turning off the radio and adjusting the air conditioner when I wasn't looking, that or I am having electrical problems with the car. When we got to beach I shocked to find out that she did understand exactly where we were going. As soon as she got out of the car she removed her greatcoat revealing...........warm weather fatigues.
  17. She had her sleeves rolled up to exactly a centimeter above her elbows, revealing her hands and arms for the first time. Her shirt was pleasantly form fitting and unfortunately buttoned up all the way and her pants were equally as form fitting as her shirt and disappointingly long and tucked into her boots.
  18. It wasn't perfect but it is the most casual that I had ever seen her. We went for a nice walk along the beach, in total silence, she with her lasgun slung over her shoulder ready to bring to bare at the first sign of trouble. She always walked in step with me on my right hand side except for a brief stretch when we passed a group of women playing volleyball, she then switched to my left depriving me of a pleasant view.
  19. I had hoped to go fishing at a small pier but I didn't have a fishing license and she kept pointing to a sign that said "No Fishing Without a License" and kept blocking my way. It is the most forceful she has ever been with me.
  20. After that I waded around in the ocean for a bit, she stood on the beach watching. All and all it wasn't a bad day......... that is until we came across a group of kids building a sandcastle.
  21. I don't even know where she got the shovel but she was on them with it in a flash. Quickly she began to build ditches, bunkers, and ramparts around it. She was forcing the kids to help her directing them with dramatic and threatening gestures and shoving them from place to place, ignoring the cries from the younger ones. Eventually some of the parents saw her and came at her yelling. Big mistake, she quickly leveled her lasgun and opened fire. Fortunately she didn't hit anyone before I got there to stop her, I think they were warning shots though I am still certain that those families are traumatized for life.
  22. All things considered, it wasn't that bad of a day and could have been worse.
  23.  
  24. Precautions
  25. Despite what you might think I like having Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 around. I enjoy my time with her. However, there are a few problems here or there like in any relationship.
  26. After a while of living together I got it into my head that she really didn't need to have her gasmask on all the time. I was perfectly comfortable in letting her have it on when we were outside but her wearing it in the house was starting to bother me. The first time I tried to take it off was early in the relationship. She was standing at attention in the living room and I just went up and tried to take it off. I found myself on the floor in pain. I didn't see what hit me but guessing from the bruise, she smacked me with the butt of her lasgun. I guess she was just too fast for me to notice or I was too intent on the mask to see.The second time I tried was when I thought she was sleeping. Long story short and with similar results as the first time, it didn't work.
  27. The third time I tried giving her a direct order to take it off. I was shocked when she didn't comply. This made me question the nature of our relationship. Were we really boyfriend and girlfriend first and foremost? Was a Krieger just simply programmed to not follow such an order? Was I a bad CO that she was there to aid and guide, a drill sergeant maybe? Or, dare I wonder, was she simply being insubordinate? Perhaps a combination of one or all.
  28. I later, after much thought, attempted for the fourth time to get her take off the mask. If direct action, subterfuge, and orders wouldn't work I would try tactics. "Krieger Female Model 68b #6345," I told her, "It doesn't make tactical sense for you to have your mask on inside. The lower lighting and number of doorways and corners makes the issue of reduced visibility a concern. Additionally, as this is our HQ the importance of protecting against infiltration is very important and the most sound way of accomplishing this is through facial recognition.
  29. "I thought for a moment this wouldn't work but she eventually relented and took off her mask to reveal a beautiful face with piercing blue eyes..... and a blank expression.
  30. I don't know what came over me but I walked right over to her and gave her a kiss, full well expecting the butt of her lasgun in my stomach. To my surprise she adjusted her lips to meet mine, though she remained at attention and still had that same blank expression on the rest of her face.
  31. I suppose you need to work through things in any relationship.
  32. One last thing, as I was walking away to go upstairs I could have sworn I heard her say, "Sir." Though that was probably my imagination.
  33.  
  34. Introducing the CO
  35. Taking Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 to meet my mom was a bit stressful. First off, I am not sure that she even really understands what a "mom" is and secondly, explaining her to my mom was going to be difficult. I have tried to explain to her over the phone but I don't think my explanation could fully convey the situation.
  36. When the day came I found Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 dressed in what I assume is formal dress. She had on a pleasantly tight button up black shirt with emblems on the collar and a few medals and ribbons on the right breast, matching black slacks, so-shinny-they-reflected boots, and an open greatcoat made of thinner material than her combat issued one. Of course, she had put on her mask since we were going out.
  37. She had to drive too. I had hurt my ankle the day before, I tripped over some barbed wire that was for some reason surrounding the mailbox. Driving with her is something else. She obeys every traffic law to the letter but somehow is able to accelerate faster than I thought the car could up to the speed limit and she takes corners at full speed unless posted otherwise.
  38. We eventually got to my mom's and I was absolutely shocked when she took off her mask. She noticed my shock and pointed at her expressionless face and nodded at me. Facial recognition. I guess she thought my mom must be my CO or something.
  39. Things did not go well at first. She saluted my mom when they met, stood at attention the entire time, and didn't talk. I would have to say, this is the most awkward time I have ever spent around my mother but at least it was uneventful.
  40. Until, that is, my mom brought up the subject of digging out back in her garden. Upon hearing that I quickly looked around but Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 was already gone. I had visions of trenches and fortifications all throughout my mother's garden. However, when I rushed outside there she was standing at attention with a spade in hand. I guess that fortifications at such an important location required direct supervision from the person in command. After explaining to my mom that she wanted to help and that it would be ok she was put to work. She planted everything in that garden and did all the edging in under half an hour, It took me close to eight full hours to do it when I had previously helped my mother a few years ago.This pleased my mom greatly but not enough to end her concerns about my relationship with a cloned and heavily indoctrinated female soldier. All and all it could have been worse though. Interestingly enough, Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 wasn't exactly sure what to make of our visit, on the way back to the car she gave me, changing her expression for the first time, a slightly concerned look. I suppose she thought that the garden wasn't properly fortified. I told her that she did great and gave her a quick kiss. She shot me back a quick half smile before returning her expression back to its usual blankness.
  41.  
  42. Opposition Spotted
  43. Jealously is an ugly thing but some say it is an ugly necessity in a relationship. This said, I was still a bit blindside by Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's first jealous reaction. I personally would like to think that I am a trusting man and I had no reason to doubt Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's commitment to me and assumed she had nothing to be jealous of with me.
  44. One fine afternoon we were at a local establishment, having a few drinks, watching a few games, and generally relaxing. Well I was at least, she was watching the entrances and conducting patrols of the area. Though I think she did have a few drinks, I never saw her actually drink, but I would order her a beer and eventually after a while it would be gone. This may or may not have anything to do with the story.
  45. While she was on patrol I got to talking to the bartender. She was in her mid twenties, had dyed black hair, nice face, and a nice curved body. I had been coming to this bar for a while so I knew her a bit. Truthfully, I had a thing for her and had wanted to ask her out but I was never really the type of guy who could just go up and do that sort of thing. As we are talking she gets closer and closer to me and puts a hand on one of my shoulders and whispers in my ear, "Why don't you ditch the weirdo and we go do something after my shift?" She kissed the side of my cheek as she drew away. Needless to say I was stunned.
  46. So stunned that I didn't see how Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 ended up behind the bar and behind the bartender. She tapped the bartender on the shoulder and pointed towards the back door.
  47. The bartender then told her to fuck off and called her a freak and said that I was better off without her. She then put her hand forcefully on Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's shoulder and that was her biggest mistake. With a lightning flash Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 dropped the bartender with the butt of her lasgun and proceeded to initiate a beat down.
  48. I had to jump the bar, grab Krieger Female Model 68b #6345, drag her out of there, and throw down a bunch of cash on the bar to cover the drinks. Won't be able to go back there either, which is too bad because it is a nice place.
  49. In the car Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 gave me a long look with her expressionless face and I could see tears forming in her eyes. I told her I loved her and that she didn't need to worry. We kissed and on the rest of the ride home she rested her head on my shoulder. Though she was still cradling her lasgun, her hands ready to bring it to bear and open fire at the first sign of trouble.
  50.  
  51. Behind Enemy Lines
  52. I have not been to a zoo in many years. I had years ago reached the age age where If I was wasn't there with a woman at my arm or kids in tow I looked like a creepy weirdo. I had always enjoyed the zoo though and now that I was with Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 I decide it would be a perfect place for a trip.
  53. She was sporting her usually combat gear, I had told her to wear "whatever" though truthfully I was hoping she would have chosen her warm weather fatigues. She marched dutifully in step with me at my side and I was even able to convince her to take her mask off by telling her that since the place was overrun with small children underfoot and that the chance of a gas attack was low that visibility would be more important. We had a great time, I showed her all the different animals and talked about the ones that I loved to watch when I came to this very zoo as a boy and she looked on silently with a blank expression. We even went to the petting zoo and I was able to get her to feed some of the animals. That might have not have been the best of my ideas.
  54. I thought there was going to be a incident after a goat tried to eat part of her coat but instead of shooting it she just got into a staring match with it. After about ten minutes I decided that enough was enough and was able to get her to move on, though she did give that goat a long look as we walked away.
  55. Everything was great and I was enjoying this time with Krieger Female Model 68b #6345. However, we did end up having an incident that cut our day short. I must confess that ever since I was a little boy I have been afraid of snakes, terrified really, and whenever I went to the zoo I would go into the reptile house to try and face my fears. I made the mistake of telling Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 this. I should have known something was up when she put her mask on the second we entered. She then took out her lasgun and started opening fire on the snake enclosures, blasting the slithering bastards apart with deadly aim. This was all well and good, but this was also a public place with small children everywhere and needless to say people started to panic. Things got even worse when she tossed a grenade into the enclosure where they kept some of the larger constrictors.
  56. The mass panic did help us get out of there without being detained and I don't think the eyewitnesses can tell one masked Krieger woman from another. Still I think I will wait a while to go back to the zoo. I really should have been more upset than I was but given the fact that she did it for me and that I really hate snakes I just couldn't be mad.
  57.  
  58. Digging In
  59. A relationship can't be one sided. I have come to realize that we were for the most part doing things that I wanted to do. So one weekend I decided that we were going to spend some time doing something that she enjoyed. I told her to grab her spade and get in the car and we drove out to the park.The drive was uneventful and I think she has gotten better about messing with the AC, though she still must be changing the radio when I am not looking. When we got to the park I decided to take one of the trails that would take us further away from the more commonly used areas. I took a brisk hiking pace and I could tell that she was enjoying herself, spade in hand and lasgun at the ready. Eventually we got to a clearing several miles from the parking area and I revealed to her what we were doing."Today, Krieger Female Model 68b #6345, we are going to build a trench and breastwork and you are going to be in charge!"
  60. As soon as I said this this she forcefully shoved me around until I was apparently in the right spot and pointed at the ground. After I started digging so did she. I never realized that digging a trench was so much goddamn work and I cursed the clay heavy soil where I live. We kept digging for hours and every few minutes she would stop what she was doing and come over to me and indicate with forceful hand gestures and shoving that I was not working at an ideal speed. The hours passed and mid-morning became late afternoon. I was dripping with sweat and had dug, being charitable to myself, about a tenth of the trench she had and to be honest my breastworks were piles of dirt with sticks on them. I tried to take a break a few times but whenever I did she would come over and pull me to my feet.
  61. Eventually, I told her we were done and it was time to go home. I had to tell her several times in fact. I felt bad about cutting short her fun, and the long silent walk back to the car felt more depressing than the walk to the site, though the pain I was feeling in every inch of my body didn't help.
  62. I thought that I had ruined her enjoyment of an activity that she loved and was feeling pretty down. However, when we got in the car she took off her mask, leaned in towards me and gave me a quick kiss. I guess sometimes it really is the thought that counts.
  63.  
  64. Reconnaissance
  65. I'd been with Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 for about nine or ten months, and I started getting an impression that things were... different. I mean, the rations were waiting for me when I came home from work every day, but there seemed to be the barest half-inch of slouch when she marched about the garden, and I swear I saw her tapping her foot once when she was standing to attention outside the front door ready to receive the postman, she was an indoctrinated soldier, after all. She needed action! Truth be told, there wasn't much call for war where we were, so I could understand where she was coming from. I had a look through the paper, and as luck would have it I saw that the Army was having one of its open days in the area. You know the type - let everyone have a poke inside an APC, dump helmets on top of the kids and let them pretend they're big damn heroes, rope some of the stronger men into a gun-run tournament, that sort of thing.
  66. Wielding this, I approached Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 and declared portentously, "Soldier, we are embarking on a mission - an intelligence-gathering reconnaissance operation, to determine potential enemy capabilities!"
  67. I don't know exactly what happened next, but things went a bit spinny and when I woke up I was in the public car park area of the local duke's manor, on whose land the open day was being held. Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 was standing before me, dressed in full combat gear - and lathered head to toe in mud and leaves for camouflage.
  68. But the eyepieces of her gas mask were positively gleaming! The open day was being held on a stretch of water-meadow beside the river which ran underneath the duke's manor. It was, as I said, your usual deal - a few vehicles pulled up, small gazebos with stands and soldiers demonstrating miscellaneous bits of equipment and arranging photos of civvies smiling with night-vision goggles on their heads, and a corporal trying to disentangle children from over-enthusiastic knot-tying practice.
  69. I'd been amongst the crowd for a few minutes when I turned around and realized that Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 wasn't actually with me. For a while I span around, disoriented, but after catching a glint of a lens from the treeline over on the other side of the river I tramped over and found Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 lying under strewn branches in her own foxhole, viewing the open day through binoculars literally screwed into the rims of her gasmask's eyepieces and scratching copious notes into a... pink Moleskin notebook (I suppose the woman will out somewhere).
  70. She seemed disappointed that I had found her - I wondered if concealment was part of the fun. She brightened up when I suggested that the "enemy alert state was low" and that "close quarters survey" was possible, although several visitors tripped over her as she insisted on leopard-crawling everywhere in the show area. Still, the kids loved it, a big herd of them rolling about trying to imitate her, and all of the soldiers thought that she must have been one of them doing a demonstration and no-one accosted her.The displays were interesting enough, I suppose although they didn't really interest me - I was there for Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's sake more than anything else. The day was ending and I was just about to suggest that we leave when I saw Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 suddenly standing to attention and being noisily upbraided by a very red and furious-looking staff sergeant.
  71. Alarmed at what this might have entailed - had she tried to "capture enemy equipment to impair their defensive capability" and stolen a gun? I hurried over to see what was going on, but the staff sergeant roughly shoved me back (which sort of ran counter to the whole open day ethos before anything else). What struck me more, though, is that Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 took absolutely NO action to intervene as the staff sergeant continued to berate her.
  72. I shuffled back over to the car park and watched her for the next couple of hours. As the light fell and sunset came she spent the time helping the other soldiers box up the display, being regularly castigated and upbraided by the apoplectic staff sergeant (who I gathered from the faint echoes of his bawling mistook Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 for another soldier actually back on base).When she came back, she had taken off her mask, and was wearing a faint smile and rouge-dusted cheeks, flush with the pleasure of being ordered about, which the low sun didn't entirely conceal.
  73. I think I felt a little stab of jealousy that day.
  74.  
  75. Casualty
  76. Now, I'm not stupid enough to suggest that we go play laser tag, but I am stupid enough to suggest that we go play paintball. I had to my credit explained in great detail to Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 exactly what paintball was and what the rules were and each time she appeared to be listening as she looked straight at me with her familiar but blank expression.When we got there I had a hard time making her keep her lasgun in the trunk of the car but she seemed ok when I gave her a paintball gun and I swear she made a squeal of pleasure when I put on the paintball mask. I have to say paintballing with her was awesome. We were a team with her taking point and me sweeping from side to side and she must have nailed ten people and I got another five. Everything was going well until I foolishly jumped up on a small hill and was shot at point blank range by three guys crouching behind the fold of the land waiting in ambush.The surprise and pain of being shot caused me to fall over.Krieger Female Model 68b #6345, did not take this well. Moving faster than I thought possible she was over the hill and on those guys. She didn't stop at shooting them, she was actively beating them while they were on the ground with her gun and stomping on them with her boots. I got up as quickly as I could and grabbed her trying to get her to stop. When I did she jumped as if startled and I quickly got her out of there.She was silent during the ride back, no surprise, but she kept her mask on which was now odd. I wasn't sure what happened back there but I think I had made the mistake of saying that when you are shot and go out you "die." When we got home she took her mask off finally and I could see that her eyes were red, even though she had on her blank expression she had been crying. I told her I was sorry for worrying her and I embraced her in my arms for a long while.
  77.  
  78. At Ease
  79. I don't want to give the impression that my relationship with Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 consists only of dramatic moments. For the most part we are like any other couple.
  80. On a normal day she wakes up around five, I am not exactly sure because she doesn't set an alarm. I assume she then showers and brushes her teeth, even though I don't hear the water running her toothbrush is always wet and her towel is damp when I get up. I personally don't get up until six at the earliest. I work irregular hours and used to be able to sleep in some days close to noon. However, Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 isn't really a fan of that and if I stay in much past nine I wake up with a sharp pain in my side, I think she pokes me with her bayonet. If I get up with enough time I try to get in a little exercise before I get cleaned up, she seems to approve of that and I need it. I shower and shave and come down to breakfast. Breakfast is either canned rations or two eggs, a piece of toast, and a piece of fruit. I am not a breakfast guy really but I eat it anyways. I then try and talk to her about what my plans are for the day and she will look at me blankly and nod. She then hands me a MRE and I am off.
  81. I am not really sure how she spends her day. I got a second car, a used Volkswagen, and told her to use it if she wanted but truthfully she has put few miles on it. I will say however, that the trenches around the house and the yard as well as the breastworks are incredibly well maintained.
  82. Forty-five minutes after I get back from work we have dinner. Unless I tell her that I am cooking or that we are going out she will prepare something involving corned beef or hash. After that I talk to her about my day, I get blank stares and nods. I ask her about her day, get blank stares. Then we usually end up watching TV, She is partial to old war movies unsurprisingly.
  83. Of course we do go out, spend some time with other couples, and I occasionally do things with my friends and she occasional puts request for leave on my desk.
  84. Despite how early she gets up it seems that I am always in bed before her, I think when I get in bed to read for a hour or so she is checking the perimeter. After that she joins me.Not really that exciting but I suppose life is really routine punctuated by excitement.
  85.  
  86. Notification of Family Visitation
  87. Visiting relatives, something you just really have to deal with I guess. One day I was shocked to open my door to find three female Kriegers standing on my step. The saluted me, I saluted back, and they just walked into my house. I went to find Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 and asked her what was going on. She went to my desk and handed me a piece of paper that said, "Notification of Family Visitation," it was right there on my desk triple stamped and everything. I told her that I remembered and incidentally had to run out and pick up some air mattresses.
  88. When I got back home Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 and the three others were standing at attention in my living room, only Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 was without her gasmask. She motioned for them to hand me something, they were identification papers. Krieger Female Model 68b #6344, Krieger Female Model 68b #6346, and Krieger Female Model 68c #6345. She then motioned for her sisters to take off their masks; as they did so she looked at me, pointed at her face and nodded. Facial recognition. This was all well and good except that Krieger Female Model 68b #6344 and Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 had the exact same face as Krieger Female Model 68b #6345. At least I could tell Krieger Female Model 68c #6345 apart, her eyes were a different shade of blue, her nose had a slightly different shape, and she kept her hair noticeably shorter than her sisters.While I was still reeling from all this Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 marched her sisters outside to inspect her fortifications, an event that took hours giving me time to set up the air mattresses and get ready for bed without any prolonged interaction.
  89. I had work the next morning and thankfully things start like any other day except there were more damp towels in the bathroom and four blank faces staring at me in my kitchen.
  90. After I returned home from work I found them all rigidly siting in the living room. I started to ask them about their day when I noticed that all of them were staring at me intently. That is when I realized that recently I had gotten into the habit of giving Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 a kiss when I got home. This was now routine and I was expected to do this. I could tell which one was Krieger Female Model 68c #6345 easy enough but Krieger Female Model 68b #6345, Krieger Female Model 68b #6344, and Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 looked identical.
  91. I decided to go for it, walked over to where they were sitting and gave the one on the right a deep kiss.
  92. When I was done I saw three faces around the room look at me and nod and the face of the Krieg girl I kissed smile for a brief moment. I picked correctly. I wish I could say that it was true love but honestly Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 and the other two Model 68b sisters were identical in every way. Truthfully, I had bought Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 some perfume a while ago and I kissed the one whose scent I recognized. Not very romantic but good enough I suppose.
  93. Later I took them all to the park to dig trenches together, this time I wisely choose the role of "supervisor." We also went to a comedy club (blank stares and nods all around) and a minor league sporting match.
  94. Eventually it was time for them to leave and I gave them all salutes and awkward hugs goodbye. Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 and I then went inside and sat down on the couch together.
  95. I didn't mind the visit from Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's family as much as I initially feared. Krieger Female Model 68b #6344 and Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 were perfectly fine. Krieger Female Model 68c #6345 with her slight variations was alright as well, except that when I hugged her goodbye she grabbed onto my butt. I am just going to file that away as her not knowing what to do when being hugged but given how competitive sisters can sometimes get I will remember to watch myself around that one should we meet again.
  96.  
  97. Formal Outing
  98. Things had gone slow recently and I decided that Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 and I should go out for a night together, since it had been awhile.
  99. We had done quite a bit of what normal couples do, except we had left some things out. So I decided to take her Ballroom dancing, as I felt a club situation would make her feel uncomfortable considering all the people, and last time I had that bartender hit on me things got ugly.
  100. Now I had little experience from what lessons I was taught as a kid, but I had the basics down. As Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 drove us to the Ballroom I felt myself getting more nervous and wondering if this was a bad idea.
  101. I had explained to her earlier that we'd be dancing and that some older couples took this very seriously and to not react to any scoffs they gave us, considering her gear.
  102. I had told her to wear something fancy, and she came in what I assumed to be her regal military party style gear. It had her ribbons, her medals shined so bright that I almost went blind looking at them.
  103. We pull into the parking lot and I try reiterating to Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 that we would not be competitive towards the other dancers. I was in for a, "treat."
  104. I tell her that it's a ballroom and I get an enthusiastic nod. I had no idea what to expect.
  105. We get greeted by the other couples and after a bit of warm up, I find she's actually a pretty decent dancer. Actually, in retrospect that's undercutting her. She was an EXCELLENT ballroom dancer.
  106. I guess every week at the Dance hall there is a bit of a casual competition, it's not long before the host announces that the best couple will receive a trophy and 100 dollars. I glance nervously over to Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 who I briefly catch with a sly smile before she returns to her expressionless state.
  107. So we begin, except she's taking the lead, I felt like I was getting dragged, almost thrown around. I was not familiar to playing the woman's part, but I managed - I was glad my mother signed me up for these when I was a kid!
  108. Despite my awkward attempt to play the woman's role in Ballroom dancing we find out we win. I get dragged to the top of the stage with Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 and she gladly accepts the trophy, nodding quickly (which I assumed was her way of showing joy) and only letting a small smile slip by.
  109. We get back to the car and she pulls me over and gives me a long deep kiss. I guess she really loved the night out. I was glad. We spent the 100 bucks on a nice dinner. I felt she deserved it.
  110. We put the trophy on the mantle in the kitchen. I think she shines it regularly because it's always shining as brightly as her medals were that night.
  111.  
  112. Security Detail
  113. I suppose I should tell about the time I took Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 to a friend's wedding. I knew from the start that I would need to handle this with great delicacy. I explained to her what weddings were, who was getting married, why we were going, and what I was going to be doing. You see, I was in the wedding, I was an usher. Thankfully I was not a groomsman because I can't imagine how Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 would react to me walking down the aisle with another woman. As it was, I basically described my duty to her as security/escort detail and she nodded when I asked if she understood what that was.
  114. On the day of the ceremony she had donned her formal uniform again and we drove together to get there early. (I was finally feeling better from the bachelor party. Man that was a wild party. I personally am glad that Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 can't recognize the signs of a strip club. The glitter, smell of booze, and cheap perfume.)
  115. Things went off without a hitch for a while, that is until Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 decide to give a three shot salute at the end of the ceremony. Other than that, perfect.I had explained to her about the reception. For the most part we stood around talking to people. Well I talked she stood guard. I explained to her that I was supposed to at some point dance with the bride and dance with my mother (who was rather embarrassed about the whole celebratory shot thing) and told her that I would dance with her later and not to get upset. This went fine and when I got to dancing with Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 we ended up doing that slow shuffling dance that people do to slow songs far longer than I would have thought.
  116. Eventually it was time for the bouquet toss. Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 joined the other unmarried women. I had explained to her what this was about and expected her to react with her usual blank lack of interest.
  117. I was wrong. She beat back four women surrounding her and tossed aside the brides late thirties aunt like a rag doll. She then stood sharply at attention and saluted the bride. Walking over to me with the bouquet in hand I could swear she was smirking.
  118.  
  119. Christmas Operation
  120. It was nearing Christmas time and I was stressing out what to get Krieger Female Model 68b #6345. I thought about some new perfume (consider I had used it before to tell which one she was when her sisters visited), however it didn't seem appropriate. I never owned a pet as a kid, mostly because my mother was allergic, and I was always jealous of my friends who had dogs.
  121. I had an idea. I wasn't sure how Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 would react around pets, so I asked her in passing if she had experience with animals (excluding our zoo/snake experience) and she gave me a rather enthusiastic nod. I hoped that didn't give away the nature of my present.
  122. I ended up going down to a breeder while Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 was busy adding now fortifications during our first snowfall of the season. I wasn't sure what kind of dog she'd like, but I assumed by her personality something that was used in the military. I figured a German Shepherd puppy should do the trick.
  123. The breeder let me sit in with the puppies in the kennel and they were all so friendly and happy. I had a real hard time picking the perfect one considering that they were all so excited and cute - that and I knew practically nothing about animals. I decided to go with a German Shepherd, I was wondering if I should start considering names for him except I figured I'd leave the honors to Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 however I wasn't sure how she'd convey what she wanted to name him to me.
  124. I brought her out for hot chocolate and snow fort building, (However, did I say snowfort? I mean snow war zone considering she made a full size trench and a giant snow replica of what I assumed to be a Leman Russ Tank,) while leaving the puppy at our house in the backyard with a neighbor watching over him, just to make sure he didn't hurt himself in the mass amounts of trenches, fortifications and barbed wire.
  125. After only an hour of playing I suggested that we should go home. I could tell she was giving me confused look despite being in full winter gear and a gas mask, I think she knew I was up to something.
  126. I had never seen her drive so fast, it's almost like she knew she was getting a Christmas present early. I found myself gripping the arm rests in fear as she barreled home, despite obeying the traffic laws (somehow).We arrive and I ask her to close her eyes as we nearly trip over the fortifications, finally making it to the back yard. The German Shepherd darts over to us barking excitedly and I see her throw her lasgun back over her shoulder as I assumed she opened her eyes. She fell to her knees and embraced the puppy as it jumped up onto her.
  127. I saw the glass circles of her gas mask fog up, and I realized soon after that she was crying tears of joy.
  128. After we went inside she immediately started working on a gas mask for her new companion and even a little coat to keep him warm during the winter. Her eyes still a little red from the crying earlier and the emotionless expression still on her face as she worked with vigor.
  129. Later that night as she finished walking the dog, inspecting the fortifications she got into bed and cuddled me close, as our new companion rested at the end of our bed, I fell asleep and slept the most soundly I had in years.This was going to be a good Christmas after all.
  130.  
  131. Final Inspection
  132. One day at dinner I realized that I had never met the rest of Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's family. Remembering the somewhat odd meeting with her identical sisters I was fearful of what the meeting might entail but I decided that I owed it to her. I asked her if she ever wanted to introduce me to her folks.
  133. Even through her thick greatcoat I could see the suggestion terrified her. Her stoic nature broken by at least a minute of horrified hand wringing. To comfort her I told her it was just a suggestion, if she was too scared we didn't have to.
  134. This got her to snap into stillness and moments later she marched out of the room. Sounds from the bedroom were terrifying and she had locked the door from the inside. I ended up falling asleep on the couch.
  135. When I woke up the next morning I found her huddled up against me. As I put my hands around her, I felt her hands were still locked together in a nervous hand grip. Trying at first to pry them loose (and giving up) I instead settled on holding them instead. After a while she grasped back. She snuggled deeper in and we enjoyed ourselves for at least another hour, doing nothing on the couch. The longest time I had ever seen her inactive.
  136. After a while though, it seems even the comfort of our embrace was not enough to keep her still and she launched to her feet, taking me with her.
  137. As I stood up I realized she was wearing her full dress uniform, neatly pressed and medals gleaming brightly. Sans her gas mask I noted how neat her hair was. Straightened out and properly policed. She noted the crinkles in her dress with a look of irritation and spent the next few minutes ironing them out.The door bell rang. As I opened it, I was greeted by a crisp salute. This was the first I had seen of a male Krieger guardsman up close and they were every bit as stoic as their female counterparts. I saluted lamely back and I swear he was wearing a sympathetic look under his mask. He handed me a crisp note.
  138. 'Your Presence is required at the Company CP. Report in immediately.'
  139. The signature underneath was neat but the words were alien to me. I handed the note to Krieger Female Model 68b #6345, who accepted it with a sigh of defeat.The next few hours were spent at a terrifying pace as she relentlessly undressed me and put me into a suit not so dissimilar as her own. I realized she had probably spent all night making it. Next she worked on my salute, my posture and my bearing. She tried to get me to handle her rifle but I refused.
  140. Finally she led me outside where I was surprised to find a neatly parked armored vehicle outside, complete with Krieger guardsman detachment, standing in perfect formation. Had they been waiting all morning?
  141. As I exited the house, in unfamiliar clothes and prompted into an aggressive marching pace I wondered what exactly I had gotten myself into.
  142. As I struggled to match Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's relentless pace down the front garden, the men who had been waiting at the side of the ferocious looking transport lined up alongside me and followed me in.
  143. Inside it was uncomfortable and cramped, but I noted that me and Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 had been given the front most seats and that some of the others had been forced to stand in order to give us room.As the transport rumbled along I noted the sparse documentation the lined the walls of the dark hold. Right of Ownership for Chimera APC to 68th Line Infantry Battalion. Command Platoon. Commanded by Krieger Model 68.
  144. It didn't take long to put two and two together. All her sisters had the suffix 68. Whoever Krieger Model 68 was must've been their father. Apparently I was dating the daughter of a military officer. And if military dads are notorious for being hard to please, how much worse would it be that I had to please a Krieger dad?
  145. A shotgun welcome may not have been entirely out of the question.
  146. As we rumbled along in silence I couldn't help but notice that Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 was decidedly down. Her usual stiff posture and uncompromising body language had given way to nervous slouching and almost obsessive hand wringing. Her eyes moved erratically as she calculated what I assumed were all the worse case scenarios possible.
  147. I knew this was my fault. I had managed to turn my perfect little soldier girl into a trembling wreck. I pulled her close and planted a kiss on her forehead.
  148. At first she struggled and resisted but I could tell by her lack of force it was superficial. She gave in and rested her head against my shoulder. She was given some looks by the other soldiers in the hold, whose eyes she couldn't meet despite their masks. I glared at those who seemed able to judge her with a glance and they quickly turned their heads upward, chins held high.
  149. Better than nothing.
  150. The journey took a turn for the worse as the relatively smooth ride we were having started to get progressively more bumpy. I did my best not to complain.
  151. Finally the loading doors opened and the troopers in front of us marched out in perfect order. As I stood to stand up she pulled me back down. Checking to make sure we were alone in the dark hold she gave me one of the fiercest hugs I had ever received. Then got up without another word. We both exited the hold together.
  152. Whatever this place was before the Kriegers took garrison duty it certainly wasn't civilian any more. The dirt ground was marked by the depression of thousands of military boots marched in perfect cadence. In the distance even the smoke that rose from the rows of perfect tents seemed to keep straight despite the wind.
  153. In front lay a larger tent to which the Guard who had accompanied us on the journey had formed a line to. I'm sure it was intended to be more honorary than intimidating but it didn't help to notice they had not left a single avenue of escape between the hold of the Chimera and the tent entrance.
  154. As we reached the top of the little slope I realized that the camp spread for miles and miles around. Further to the front I noted that the mini-earthworks that Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 had erected in front of my house were an almost perfect replication of those that stood proud in the distance in the horizon. Albeit with a lot more men and some mean looking long barreled artillery pieces.
  155. A guard held the tent flap open with one hand and saluted as Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 stepped in. I followed after.
  156. Good lord.
  157. The tent wall was lined with decorations, banners and other military paraphernalia. However, these were strewn about haphazardly, as if they were here more for storage reasons than for the Commander to remind himself of his glorious achievements. Aside from the clutter, the remainder of the tent seemed conspicuously sparse. A thin looking bed, a working desk and a dining table was all that occupied the rest of the large space that rank afforded the General. The only weakness it seemed he allowed himself was a small picture frame that lay downwards on his work desk.
  158. Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 coughed loudly and nudged me violently. I realized in my rush to take in the surroundings I had failed to acknowledge the man I had come in to impress.
  159. He too was dressed in impressive uniform though it contained many more shining medals than Krieger Female Model 68b #6345.
  160. He was rough looking, and could almost be considered weathered if his terrifyingly scarred face did not put that description to shame. He held his hands behind his back and his face held one of expectation.
  161. Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 saluted sharply and I was fast to follow her lead. This seemed to please him and a pleasant smile crossed his face. He saluted us back and crossed over to his daughter who he hugged awkwardly. I could see as he approached me that he was puzzling over civilian greeting etiquette. I put him out of his misery by grabbing his hand and shaking it warmly. This too seemed to meet with his approval.
  162. He gestured us over to the dining table, and motioned for us to sit. We sat in silence for a few moments and I couldn't help but feel that the looks that Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 and Model 68 shared were some sort of silent communication that I would otherwise have to ignore. Eventually he slipped me a piece of paper.
  163. It had my name on the top and seemed to be a collection of information that had been acquired since I had entered the Imperial Schooling System. Nothing too personal but enough to make me nervous. He cleared his throat loudly and thumped his finger pointedly at the bottom, where a verification signature was required. I signed.
  164. He smiled again and clapped his hands. A guardsman emerged from outside bearing what looked like lunch. We dined on a bunch of hastily prepared yet surprisingly tasty sandwiches. At the end he seemed intent on scrutinizing me, locking me into a stare he was happy to maintain.
  165. A squeeze under the table from Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 told me she had my support. Heartened, I matched him, stare for stare.
  166. After what seemed like an age he broke off and smiled again. The grip on my hand under the table tightened. He stood up sharply and offered me his hand. I was puzzled for a moment until I realized all he wanted to do was shake. I returned the offered hand with a hearty grasp.
  167. The test seemingly passed, he returned behind his work desk. As he sat down he gave another one of his small smiles.
  168. 'Inspection Passed. Dismissed.'
  169. The look on Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 was ecstatic and her return salute was not its usual strict self but did not lack for enthusiasm. She took my hand and led me out of the tent with a generous yank.
  170. Once we were outside she quickly pulled me into a fierce embrace and gave a little giggle before kissing me passionately on the lips.
  171. This drew several irritated coughs from nearby but she didn't seem to care. And if she didn't neither did I.
  172. She almost skipped back down the path with me in tow, back into the still rumbling hold of the chimera. The trip home was decidedly less nervous and I swear I almost got her to laugh on the trip back.
  173. As soon as we reached home she slammed the door shut and gave me a sly look. My confusion did not help the matter as she shoved me towards the bedroom and manhandled me onto the bed.
  174. The next kiss was one of fierce passion and longing and my mind almost slipped away in bliss. What came next was almost surprising. For such a good little soldier she was surprisingly gentle and sensitive to the touch. Several times her silence was broken just by the sensation of touch but her gasps of pleasure were music to the ear. I moved on from touching, much to my and her delight.
  175. She was soft and very yielding. Any pretense of stoicism was lost as I entered, electing a series of delicious wriggles and squirms of delight as she struggled under me. Her usually emotionless face was contorted with smiles and her mouth was now constantly locked in a giant O from which I could hear her Ooooing in delight.
  176. From her comfortable warmth and the sound she made, it wasn't long till I had to give in. As I slumped down, finished, to the side of the bed. She mounted me from the top with a sly grin. Obviously, we were not done yet....The next morning was the first time I had seen her at the table in something less than her summer fatigues. Granted they seemed to be Imperial Regulation Exercise Clothes but it was the most relaxed I had ever seen her. As I rose from the room, wiping my eyes of morning dew I let out an oomph as she tackled me fiercely to the ground.
  177. We were content to lie there and let her rations grow cold, just hugging for who knows how long. I took a sick day.
  178. Later in the evening when she was showering, I found myself answering a knock at the door. Another Krieg Guardsman with another letter. With a salute and a salute returned he was gone, off into the night.
  179. On the note, a simple message, the bottom signed with the again illegible scrawl I took to be the signature of Model 68.
  180. 'Grant her Permission to Speak.'...
  181.  
  182. Medal for Valorous Action
  183. It had never crossed my mind before. I had never looked up Krieger Military/Civilian regulations, but now her silence made sense.
  184. For all the joy she had given me, this seemed like the perfect present. I just wanted make sure it was special.
  185. Awash with her father's approval, the next few days were spent in absolute bliss. Mornings once spent at arm's distance were now all but gone, and ritual tickling sessions (of which I have lost every single one) became a common occurrence. Returns from work were now greeted with ferocious hugs instead of cordial salutes. Less and less of that all enveloping trench coat and I swear, the other day I almost caught her making far more revealing fighting fatigues.
  186. And for a girl that worked so hard on her tough little soldier image, she was awfully fond of cuddling.
  187. So one day, I told her I was skipping work to prepare a surprise for her. She looked confused and a little scared, her blue button eyes ablaze with suspicion. Still, I managed to subdue her with a boyish grin and soon enough she was off managing her trench work outside the house.
  188. I needed this to be perfect. It took me weeks to find a jeweler with affordable prices, or a grocery which sold Krieger Standard Rations. Not to mention sneaking in all these goods inside my bag that I took to and from work. I sent off permits and requests for information, and this too took time to conceal from her.I had called in at the local Krieg Barracks for her sisters a day earlier. I had gathered the three of them together and explained my plan. They all wore healthy looks of skepticism at the start but at the end they were smiling from ear to ear. I asked them if they had a suitable distraction in mind.
  189. One shared look and a nod later and I was forced out of the barracks. The door to their quarters slammed shut and the giggling behind it began.
  190. I was half way through preparations for tonight's meal when I heard alarm sirens wail off. I stepped outside for a moment only to see the sisters had decided to test out Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's trench works. With an assault.
  191. I was mortified as I watched them charge up the steep mud embankment, complete with their heavy trench-coats and signature gas masks, entrenching tools raised menacingly. I could barely see through the heavy smoke they had laid down but the shovel heads looked decidedly less pointed and more fluffy.
  192. I retreated back into the house, safe in the knowledge that I had some time yet.
  193. A few hours later, all 4 sisters returned from their mock battle. I didn't know how serious their pretend fights could be, but by the tear in their clothes, the bent handles of their entrenching tools and the arm sling Krieger Female Model 68c #6345 now sported I feared perhaps I had gotten Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 into more trouble than I had thought.
  194. Much to my relief, she came through the front door with a victorious grin, her Imperial Regulation Exercise Clothes (which she now wore with alarming consistency) covered in dirt and rips and 'acquired' pillow-head entrenching tools in both (thankfully healthy) arms.
  195. Three of the sisters then promptly dropped their tools and squealed with delight despite themselves as they took stock of what I had done. I had covered the room in convincing razor wire, following Krieg Entrenchment Regulations. Sandbags lined the walls and flood lights had been hastily installed into the ceiling. Mud and dirt covered the normally neat floor. An old autocannon pointed out the back window. I had created a miniature trench in the house. The pleased surprise on Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's face was well worth the effort.
  196. And I wasn't done yet.
  197. I saluted them sharply, something that I had been practicing all week in the mirror. Her pleased look of surprise at what I had done to the living room did not compare with the delighted squeal she let out when she saw what I had done to myself.
  198. I had given up looking for a tailor that could've done what I needed him to, so I had gone through town looking for a suitably willing Krieger Lieutenant. For an unhealthy amount of locally brewed Amasec, he had been wiling to lend me his uniform for a day after I explained what I needed it for.
  199. 'Attention! Officer Present!' I barked in the most professional voice I could muster.
  200. All four snapped to perfect parade ground posture, their otherwise flawless military salutes broken by the smiles each and everyone shared. Krieger Female Model 68c #6345 made do with her other not so impaired arm.
  201. I coughed to clear my voice and wipe the smile from my face. 'Today, we are gathered to offer Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 a medal for outstanding service.' I continued.
  202. I reached into a coat pocket and withdrew a small black box.
  203. 'Presented with insurmountable odds, Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 mounted an assault on an enemy position, with no knowledge of enemy strength, disposition or composition. Despite this she managed to fight her way through, showed endurance in the crucible of long combat ops, presented strength in the fires of action and an adorable amount of character.'
  204. I stepped forward and opened the box, revealing the custom medal I had made special for her. I removed in gently from its velvet bed and stepped in front of Krieger Female Model 68b #6345, her body trembling.
  205. Too late to pull out now. Head held high, I took myself one step closer.
  206. 'Despite her weaknesses and because of her considerable strengths it is no surprise Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 managed to capture the heart of the enemy.' I continued, the professional voice I had worked so hard on disintegrating into a gentle whisper.
  207. 'For this, we offer two honours, both are some of the highest local command can present.'
  208. I unfolded the ribbon behind the medal and presented her with the piece of perfectly folded paper I had prepared the night before.
  209. She unfolded the piece of paper. Mock documentation for permanent Permission to Speak that the Departmento Munitorum clerk had eagerly been proud to help with.
  210. I smiled as she giggled in delight, her salute broken as she clasped the piece of paper with joy. I put one comforting hand on her shoulder as I used the other to pin the medal on her chest.
  211. 'The first is a Medal for Valorous Action against the enemy, which requires that the recipient receives Permanent Permission to Speak.'
  212. She laughed, her words seemingly still stolen and hugged me tightly. I returned the hug briefly but then pushed her away. As I lightly moved her back, her eyes betrayed her worry that she had done something wrong.
  213. I fell to my knees.
  214. 'Permission to Speak is also needed so Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 can accept the next honour.'
  215. I produced another box, which I opened to reveal a more traditional wedding ring. Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 now held both hands in front of her mouth in surprise. Her sisters had done likewise since I had not told them about this part.
  216. I took the ring and extended it to her.
  217. 'Krieger Female Model 68b #6345, will you accept the honour of allowing me to make you a married woman?'
  218. There was a terrible moment of silence as she tentatively touched the ring. And then a sudden movement as she knocked it from me and bullrushed me to the floor, crushing me tightly with an ferocious embrace.
  219. She nuzzled in deep and what she said next was so soft I almost couldn't hear it.
  220. 'Yes. Yes!'
  221. The silence broken, the room erupted into delighted giggling and hearty clapping. I hauled both me and her off the floor where she laughed happily into my shoulder as we rocked in each others arms.
  222. Krieger Female Model 68b #6344 was making an audible 'awww' sound as she clapped, whereas her sister Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 was simply laughing with joy, a radiant smile on her face. Krieger Female Model 68c #6345 used her good arm to wipe a single tear from her face.
  223. The rest of the night was spent in good cheer, all 4 sisters celebrating in grand style. For the first time ever, I watched Kriegers enjoy themselves with an unrelenting passion. Even the Rations I had managed to screw up was cause for celebration, which we cheered with a healthy amount of amasec. I didn't even know you could store that much in a woman's bosom.
  224. As the night winded down and the other sisters left, me and Krieger Female Model 68b #6345 settled down to bed. We were both too tired to do anything but look into each others eyes and grin.
  225. But I think that was enough for both of us.
  226.  
  227. END
  228.  
  229.  
  230. The Bigger Picture
  231.  
  232. Terranis, At a Distance
  233. Lord Commander Alexis slowly scratched his beard as he examined the flickering green hologram in front of him. Dots represented systems with stars and planets, lines showing common travel routes in the warp and swirls the occasional anomaly. And then there was the tentacle shape of the extent of a Hive Fleet Kraken splinter. Despite the main blow of the Hive Fleet having been broken at Ichar IV, the Tyranids still had considerable numbers which were now drifting out of control. Lord Commander Alexis knew that the splinter fleet would eventually be defeated, as all enemies of the Imperium, yet every world lost felt like a stab in his heart.
  234. “That one then? What is its status?” He gestured towards one of the points of light, which expanded to show a small solar system, a couple of planets in lazy orbit around a yellow star. Behind him the vox-grille of an administratum adept started listing information.
  235. “Terranis, late industrial level planet, no hives. Varied but peaceful ecology, varied climate. No coherent planetary government, divided into fractious countries, all accepting Imperial authority. Tithe mainly in production of mechanical parts, weapons and food…”
  236. “Yes, yes,” the Lord Commander interrupted, “not interested in that, what are its defenses?”
  237. The Adept hummed as it searched the data-banks before continuing in the same monotone voice. “Local PDF forces equipped with autoguns and simpler weapon systems and armoured vehicles. 68th Krieg attached for preparation for the war. Raising morale, fortifying the planet and preparing local armed forces among primary tasks. Do you require further information?”
  238. Lord Commander Alexis pulled his hand over his scarred face in an attempt to battle the oncoming fatigue. And to prolong the time needed for a horrid choice. The 68th Krieg would be a great addition to any force he could muster to try and beat back the Xenos advance. At the same time removing it would severely decrease the ability to defend the system. If whatever counter-attack he made was beaten back a fortress-world to fall back to would be a great boon.
  239. “At current expansion, what is the estimated time before the Xenos reach the system?”
  240. Silence interrupted only by the Adept’s humming.
  241. “Five Terran years.”
  242. He let out a sigh as he sealed the fate of the system.
  243. “Leave them in place, send a message to the Governor to suppress information of the oncoming enemy as long as viable. Don’t want panic to erupt unnecessarily.”
  244. He waved his hands as a signal to zoom out of the system, but cut it off as the Adept began to work.
  245. “Oh, and send my regards to 68.”
  246.  
  247. Terran Solstice
  248. Amidst the cold expanse of space, planets and stars do their dance, whirling through the cosmos at dizzying speeds, with the clamor of a warring galaxy as their accompanying symphony. In a quiet corner of the embattled Imperium lies the Sententia Subsector and its single system of interest, Terranis. On this day, known as Terran Solstice, there is much cause for celebration. By galactic coincidence, and although still separated by unfathomable distances, Holy Terra and Terranis are closer than they have been for millennia.
  249. While there will be no acknowledgment, let alone any celebration, in the solemn halls of Terra, its sister planet has more than made up for the former's solemnity. The stern-faced, iron-disciplined Krieg 68th finds itself caught squarely in the midst of Terranis' festivities, for they are the closest thing to the Imperium beyond the Sententia Subsector. Momentarily suspended in time and place, Terranis celebrates.
  250. However, the rest of the galaxy continues to turn. In an instant, planets are lost and reclaimed, and a voracious beast is kept at bay by the blood and toil of millions. The shattered husks of Kraken sail through the void, spreading like venom after the sting. Through the roil of the Empyrean, one beast's eye turns towards Terranis, full of life and vigor. Cut off from the Hive Mind, its splintered consciousness knows only one thing, hunger.
  251. Within the labyrinthine halls of Terra, a withered clerk blows dust from a tome, revealing Terranis for the first time in centuries. He dips his quill in ink and begins to work.
  252. In the darkness of his office, a Lord Commander gazes at the stars beyond the hull of his barge. He tries to comprehend the weight of lives measured in billions.
  253. On the surface of Terranis, the streets are still flooded with blinding lights. At the stroke of midnight, a man and a woman embrace, praying this moment never ends.
  254.  
  255.  
  256. The following article is a /tg/ related story or fanfic. Should you continue, expect to find tl;dr and an occasional amount of awesome.
  257. Inspired by the first stories in Love and Krieg other writers took it upon themselves to create side stories about Krieger Female Model 68b #6345's sisters and their own romantic adventures. Notable is Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 who gets involved with another nameless civilian in a similar manner to the original stories and Krieger Female model 68c #6345 who ends up with a Commissar in the regiment.
  258. And after that... Things leave the realm of romantic comedy and enter the province of sheer noblebright fuckawesome.
  259. And Win.
  260.  
  261. The Krieger and I
  262.  
  263. Stare
  264. So these Kriegers landed here some months ago and set up their main camp outside town, nobody really knows why, but the news say it is an ongoing progress to reinforce the planet in perilous times and to promote intra-world relations. At the beginning we were all a bit worried of how this would change our society and so, but it turned out that the Kriegers were more than happy to mainly keep to themselves and fortify their camp, so we didn’t have much problem. After a while though they popped up in town, often moving in small groups, or squads, of five or so in full trenchcoat, combat gear and always the gas mask, but this we got used to as well, I mean, we have a pretty diverse ethnicity here in town, what was some more? Only thing that was a bit unnerving was that they pretty much never spoke, but they managed to communicate with body language and notes, so it all worked out. In fact one of my friends happened to get into a relationship with one of them, and although I've understood there have been some cultural barriers it seems to work out fine.
  265. Sometimes me and the guys would see some of the Kriegers try to pick up girls at the bar, but I guess a combination of the ever-present gas mask and the non-verbal communication made them look like creeps and pretty much always got the cold shoulder. I guess that I could put in a joke here about getting women isn’t the kind of prolonged siege the Kriegers are used to, but I’ll refrain, I’m past that stage by now.
  266. See the cause of that is because among the Krieger-guys there were also a couple of Krieger-girls. At the beginning it was hard to pick them out because of their similar clothing, but after a couple of months many Kriegers started removing the masks inside bars and similar. I had already seen one when I had dinner at my friend’s, he mentioned something about “facial recognition”, so I suppose it has something to do with that. Anyway, this was the first time I had seen others, other than the one my friend is living with, and Emperor was I surprised to see that these ones were so similar. I could hardly tell them apart, even from my friend’s Krieger.
  267. So there I sat, staring at the Krieger-girls like some kind of weirdo when I suddenly meet with eye-contact with one of them. I get that funny feeling that happens and try to look away, but somehow something inside me tells me to go for it. In an attempt to salvage the situation I keep eye-contact and walk up to her and ask her if the place beside her is taken, to which she only nods and I sit down. I offer her a drink (now that I think about it I never saw her drink from it, but the level constantly sank, so I guess she did when I looked away) and all that normal pick-up-a-girl stuff, start talking with her, and while I can’t remember exactly what I said I soon noticed that she never talked, but simply nodded, or shook her head when she disagreed, with what I said.
  268. Most people would have found it creepy and odd, and I have to admit, so did I, but I found that it was oddly relaxing. No matter what I said she always had her attention focused on me and it really felt like she was listening to everything I said. In fact I kept talking through the night about everything possible, about my life, about the planet, about what I thought of the Kriegers and wondered about them (this lead to a lot of nodding and shaking as she answered my questions). I think I got her to smile a bit, so it seemed like it worked out pretty ok.
  269. So we sat there until closing time before we had to leave, and while I turned around to get my jacket she donned her combat gear, mask and shouldered her lasgun (which had to be stored with the coat after an incident in a nearby bar my friend might or might not have been involved in). I don’t know how she managed, because I only turned away for a split sec and didn’t hear more than a quiet shuffle, but nonetheless she was all dressed up when I turned around. I have to admit that I wondered if it really was my Krieger for a second, because there were a number of them moving out at the same time, but I could feel her blue eyes fixed on me through the lenses of the mask, so I assumed it was her.
  270. The walk home was pretty uneventful, I told her where I lived (which was on the way to the encampment) and she gestured that she lived in the encampment and some sign that told me to wait. She went up to one Krieger that was currently boarding a Chimera and I assume they communicated somehow, because he nodded and the two saluted before she returned to my side. I kept on talking as we walked; it was a pretty nice night, not too chilly, so I noted that she could remove the mask. I dunno if she was shy about something, but she just shook her head when I asked her, so I let it go.
  271. We arrived at my door after a while, and I was contemplating if I should ask her up (I was also trying to come up with a good way to do it, I didn’t know her interests and I hardly had any earthworks or bayonet collection for “inspection”), when she saluted me. I was stunned for a second before I followed in suit, upon which she handed over a note to me, then returned to attention and started marching down the street. I watched her until she turned around the corner, and then looked at the paper. It said the following:
  272. XXXX Private Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 68th Krieg Regiment, Company XXII, Platoon Gamma Vox Channel: 445X6 XXXX
  273. I guess this was the Krieger equivalent of getting a girl’s phone number. All in all a pretty good evening I guess.
  274.  
  275. Communicate
  276. I’ve always had this problem with calling girls, how long should one wait? What should one say? When on the day should I call? Now, when I was going to call a Krieger-girl this anxiety became doubled. I called my previously mentioned friend about it and I guess he congratulated me and gave me some tips, although he admitted that his situation had been a bit different. Anyway, I decided to follow the word of the old and wise and waited three days before I picked up the phone and asked the operator to hook me up to the vox-net. The receiver was picked up barely after the first signal had rung through and I heard heavy breathing through what I presumed was a gas mask, it sounded like a guy, but I couldn’t be sure since the receiver was silent. It felt like minutes passed, but it was probably only a couple of seconds, before I decided to speak.
  277. “Ahem, is this Platoon Gamma? I would like to speak with… Krieger Female Model 68b #6346. Is she there?”
  278. It was silent for a couple of seconds before I heard some mumble. I couldn’t hear what he said, but since he left it on and the breathing disappeared I presume he went to get her. After a while someone new picked up the receiver, a lighter breathing, so I guessed it was Krieg Female Model 68b #6346. As with the one who picked up the phone I assumed it was best that I took the initiative.
  279. “Uhm, it’s me from the bar the other day, I was… uh thinking perhaps you want to go out again?”
  280. I’m not sure, but I think I heard a happy squeal from her side and a lot of shuffling around, as if the whole platoon was standing behind her and listening in.
  281. “I uh, take that as a yes? So should we meet tomorrow and watch a movie? There’s one starting at seven in town tomorrow.”
  282. The breathing got faster and somehow I could see her in front of me nodding. Then everything happened so fast I barely remember in what order. I heard a large boom and some shouting in the background, then a lot of shuffling before the phone hung up. I think I heard a mumble similar to “sorry” but I’m not sure.
  283. I was a bit worried, since we didn’t set up a time to meet, but when I tried to call back I didn’t get a reply. Tomorrow came anyway, and I decided to prepare myself to wait outside the theater at seven. I didn’t need to though, because at six the doorbell rang and my Krieger was waiting outside in a freshly cleaned and pressed trenchcoat and full combat gear. I did spot some dried dirt on her boots and the shovel on her back, so I assumed she had been on drill since the call.I finished my preparations and we walked downtown to the theater. On the way I heeded my friend’s advice and told her that the movie was about how the insidious Xenos and Heretics together worked to try and restrict the development of humans. I also pointed out that the movie is just a work of fiction, and nothing to get overly riled up over. I think she understood most of what I said, and I wonder what would've happened if I hadn't, because I could see her glaring at the blue faces on the posters through her mask already when we were approaching the cinema.
  284. Anyway, I paid for the tickets, bought some popcorn and soda and we got two seats. The movie had run for a while, but was still pretty popular, so it was perhaps half-full. As it begun I wondered if I should have chosen a romantic movie instead to increase my chances, but it seemed to work out anyway. I have to admit that I did feel a bit of sympathy for the blue aliens in the movie, but Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 was all on the humans, she even cried a tear when the colonel died towards the end, so I tried to keep my face as much as possible. When we were walking out I could feel her glaring at the others who had more openly shown their feelings for the Xenos, but I think she tried her hardest to behave.
  285. When we were walking away from the theater and were pretty alone from the street I suddenly felt her grip my arm and press it against her, I looked at her and she met my gaze through the polished lenses on her gas mask. She didn’t speak, but it felt like she was trying to convey her fears for similar things happening right now in the Imperium and that she wanted us to stay true to the Emperor forever. Or I dunno, perhaps I’m just imagining things, I smiled at her anyway, and it seemed to calm her down, although she kept the grip on my arm. Not that I minded, though.
  286. I waited until we were sitting down at a nearby fast-food restaurant (not so flashy I know, but I was in a bit of money trouble and considering the speed the burger disappeared in front of her I don’t think she disagreed with my choice) before I started talking about the movie. I was pretty careful with what I said, not to seem like a Xenos-lover, and I praised the humans for their work in the movie. We (I) slipped into religion after that and I happened to mention I hadn’t been that religious before, just praying to the Emperor from time to time, paying he would continue to watch over the Imperium. I totally forgot how fanatical Kriegers could be and was afraid I would scare her away. First a borderline heretical movie, and now this.
  287. I swallowed and had focused on my dwindling soda as I had spoken to get away for a bit, but when I looked up I could only see mercy in her eyes, she took it better than I had expected. She gripped my hand and I felt in her gaze how she wanted to restore my faith in the Emperor and in that moment I felt that for her I would do just that. Despite the recovery I decided to stay silent for the rest of the meal, which now for once felt a bit awkward.
  288. We stayed silent on the way back home to my place as well, although she took my hand as we walked, so I thought my chances weren’t all blown. This time she kept her mask off however, and after a while the silence didn’t feel so awkward after all. In the end I actually felt that it would just be nice if we could continue to walk like this forever. Alas, that could not be, so we soon found ourselves in front of my door. I decided to take my chances and inhaled as I was about to ask her up.
  289. Before I had time to say anything, however, she shook her head and indicated at her shovel, so assumed she had exercises early tomorrow. She then smiled and made her hand into a phone, as to tell me to call her. I was so relieved that I didn’t notice me snapping to attention in reaction to her saluting (I worked at a convenience store at the time, and the Kriegers often saluted when they were checking out their things, so it had become a reflex) and before I had time to react she had given me a kiss on the cheek. I found myself again watching after her as she disappeared down the road. At that point I think I realized I was in love.
  290.  
  291. Grant
  292. While the last incident went smoothly I decided to call my friend again for a couple of tips the next day. We talked for a while and he revealed to me that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend that very day and that he was in the middle of preparations, so we had to cut it short, but he suggested a couple of places for me to go with my own Krieger-girl that had worked for him. I could swear I heard fighting in the background and when I asked about it he just dismissed it as a “distraction” before he told me he had to hang up.
  293. After waiting a while I called back to Gamma Platoon to see if I could get a hold of Krieg Female Model 68b #6346. Again it was the same silent heavy gas mask breathing that answered, but this time I took the initiative faster and asked pretty much as soon as he had picked up. I could hear him shuffle away and then come back again before I got a dismissive mumble which I interpreted as “She’s out” as he hung up on me.
  294. I wasn’t worried though, as she had indicated she had things to do that day, so I decided I’d take an easy night and watched television. Around nine PM I heard my doorbell ring, I hadn’t expected anyone so I was quite surprised to discover Krieg Female Model 68b #6346 to stand on the other side. She saluted me in greeting and handed over a piece of paper. I saluted back and took the paper and was about to offer her to go in as she pointed at the paper, wanting me to read it.
  295. It was hand written, probably in haste, and notably not very official (first time I’ve ever seen such a thing with a Krieger). It had her as the ‘from’ and me as the ‘to’ and one single line of text after that.
  296. “Requesting permission to speak.”
  297. I looked up at her, puzzled, wondering if this really was regulations, and if I was one to grant her (I didn’t hold any military rank, the closest was my brother who is a corporal in the PDF fighting insurgents in the desert regions), but I could hardly deny her.
  298. “Permission granted,” I said in the most military-wise tone I could muster.
  299. She snapped into a new salute in response, grinning broadly as she spoke. Her voice was light, fitting her fair skin, blue eyes and light hair perfectly, with a touch of off-worlder accent.
  300. “Requesting permission to express feelings!” She practically shouted at me.
  301. “Granted,” I replied quickly, partly because I wanted it, but also to speed up the progress of getting her inside, as I was sure my neighbors would soon show up and wonder what was happening.
  302. Before I had time to usher her in though, she leaped at me, tackling me down on the floor and planting her lips on mine. It felt like an eternity that we just laid there, pressing our bodies against each other and kissing. I think I heard one of my neighbors opening and quickly closing their door again as we were sprawled on my doormat. After a while (during which I had managed to sneak my hands in under her greatcoat, but not yet penetrated her clothing under it) we separated our faces and she looked into my eyes with that same old solid stare.“I love you.” We both said at the same time, I guess it sounds cliché but it actually was that way. Ok, I did see her move her lips to speak and I guess what she was going to say, so I took the chance. We kissed again, before we got up and I closed the door as she got her pack off. I cooked up some recaf and we sat down in front of the television. I have to admit that we didn’t do much drinking or watching, but a lot of cuddling and talking instead. While I had enjoyed talking to her earlier it was nothing against having a real conversation with her. I wondered about the seemingly sudden change and she told me that she had been inspired by seeing her sister’s boyfriend propose to her (it was now I remembered that the Krieger-girl my friend was with was 68b #6345 and that she was 68b #6346) and that she didn’t want to go through the long process her sister had (including a visit to their father, 68, one that I guessed would show up for me too sooner or later) but wanted to be with me now.We continued the night in the same manner, talking, cuddling and eventually sleeping together. The next day she was gone by the time I woke up (although I faintly remember a bayonet-poke in my half-sleep), but a note in the kitchen said she would be back. I considered calling my friend to say I was dating his fiancée’s sister, but I decided not to, leaving them to enjoy the day for themselves. Nonetheless Krieger Female Model 68b #6346 (she asked me to call her Sibylle when were just us two together from that day forward) showed up a couple of hours later with a permission to take up residence with the civilian populace, namely me, and we have lived together since.
  303.  
  304. Meanwhile, in the Warp
  305. Somewhere beyond the veil of reality, in a realm far outside of the bounds of human ability to comprehend it, four beings of phenomenal power watched the scene unfold in silence.
  306. Finally, after what could have been an eternity, or a nanosecond, or quite possibly both at once, one of the beings spoke.
  307. "WELL, THIS WAS BORING. GUESS I'D BETTER CALL KHÂRN, TELL HIM HE'S GOT A WEDDING TO CRASH-"
  308. Without so much as turning their heads, Slaanesh and Tzeentch simultaneously punch Khorne. As the Blood God opened his mouth to scream an eldritch wail of indescribable suffering, a vaguely hand-shaped mass extruded itself from Nurgle's bloated form and securely fastened itself over the mouth and nose of Khorne.
  309. While of course the sound of the festering pustules all over the body of Nurgle rhythmically oozing and contracting would be completely impossible to render accurately for mortal ears (not without destroying the unfortunate listener's soul down to the last fragment of their broken psyche), the noise it made while its hideous appendage muffled Khorne's fading cries of agony was remarkably similar to the words "Ssshhh, you're ruining the moment."
  310. The three entities still conscious returned to watching in contented silence.
  311.  
  312. The Logs of 68th Krieg Field Artillery Regimental Commissar's Communications with the Commissariat
  313. Administratum Note: The following transmissions were received from a Commissar attached to the 68th Krieg Regiment on a prior deployment, the desert world Saghalain.
  314.  
  315. Entry One
  316. Sir,
  317. Throne willing, this reaches you in the best of health. You were absolutely right sir. My tenure in the Segmentum’s Propaganda Ministry was too long. I find myself disgracefully out of practice for my duties as a Regimental Commissar. I believe I understand your reasons for assigning me here to the 68th Krieger field artillery. The regiment is impeccably well disciplined. I took to heart your advice, that a good commissar should announce himself with a field execution within four hours of his arrival on post, but sir, in spite of my most rigorous scrutiny, I could find no breach of regulation anywhere.
  318. Sir, I understand how unusual this may sound, but I’m not sure the 68th Krieger require a Commissar. I’m not sure what I am expected to do here. My duties seem vestigial, ceremonial, and Sir, there’s something else. They’re watching me, always watching. I know the sight of a guardsman at attention should fill any Imperial citizen with the warmth of the Emperor's confidence, but by the saints these people make me shiver; the glint on their lenses, the hiss of their respirators. Sir, I want my old assignment back. Please Sir, I’m sorry that your assistant and I… Sir it will never happen again. If you’d put me behind a desk again––Oh saints I can't send this. Delete that last part. Stop scribing. Oh, what was the command? Cease. Terminate. Desist. End. Hey, you there, Ensign, find the Enginseer. I’m having trouble with my servitor.
  319. Recorded 4105988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe Servitor #303440288
  320.  
  321. Meanwhile, at the Commissariat
  322. "Commissar, the reason you were assigned to the 68th Krieg Field Artillery Regiment... was primarily to deal with any issues that may arise between your charges and the local civilians. And to give them something resembling a normal human being to practice their social skills on."
  323. unintelligible*
  324. "...you do realize that hysterical laughter followed by uncontrollable sobbing puts enough demerits on your record to lose Commissariat Ice Cream Privileges for a period of no less than one month?"
  325. unintelligible*
  326. "No, I'm not...no, I'm not going to- WOULD YOU LET ME FINISH?!"
  327. throat-clearing noise, followed by exasperated sigh*
  328. "No, I'm not going to take Mr. Buttons away. Teddy Bear Deployment Rights don't come under review unless you've done something like, say, suffer the Xenos to live."
  329. unintelligible*
  330. "...What do you mean "the head of the PTA is a Lictor and refuses to eat meat?""
  331. unintelligible*
  332. "No, I don't care that it makes cookies."
  333. unintelligible*
  334. "...wait, did you just say "Inverted Key Lime Double Fudge Chunk?" That can't be possible, nobody's seen that STC in-"
  335. unintelligible*
  336. "...I'll call you back."
  337. disconnection*
  338. "Amberley?"
  339. "Yes, Ciaphas?"
  340. "Do you think I'm drinking too much amasec, or not enough?"
  341. "...I'll pour each of us a double."
  342.  
  343. Entry Two
  344. I’ve just completed the inspection of today’s muster. There isn’t really anything to log, as usual. The 68th continue to adhere to every directive in the primer, to the letter. Morale in the regiment is hard to gauge. I haven’t heard them saying anything seditious or heretical. I haven’t heard them saying anything. No executions yet. No reprimands to give, formal or informal.
  345. The Astropath handed me the strangest communiqué from the Lord-Commissar. There was a lot of warp interference, but it sounded like––It’s better not to think of things at the old office. It doesn’t sound like he’ll take me back anyway that son of a––When did you get here? What are you doing in my tent? Well, say something. Who are you? Let me see your dogtags. Come on, I’ll take your number even if I have to read them myself.
  346. Oh my throne, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I didn’t realize you were a––I didn’t realize this was a mixed gender regiment. I didn’t know Kriegers were ever, you know, girls. There button that back up, that’s better. I can read it just fine from here. Six Eight C Six Three Four Five. Yes, um, that will be all, dismissed. Go. There’s no reason for you to be in my sleeping quarters. Just, fine, I’ll go.
  347. Recorded 4106988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  348.  
  349. Intercept
  350. "Speaking of poetry. While I was in the middle rubbing sacred unguents on my autoscribe to get it working again I found this note.
  351. Rosen sind Rot, Mohne sind zu, Ich werde gehen nach Lebensborn und Schlafen mit Du
  352. I think 68c left it. But I don't speak Kriegermanish. Anybody got a clue what she's trying to tell me?"
  353. "Ah yes, I recognize the beginning. It appears to be an archaic Terran verse, one known for its many variations. Pre-Unification certainly, in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it dates even further back than that. Let's see.
  354. "Roses are red, Violets are blue. I will go to Lebensborn and-"
  355. Oh. Oh my. Well then, I'll just take that from you and send you on your way. No lad, do not question your superiors. Back to work with you."
  356.  
  357. Entry Three
  358. Sir,
  359. I hope the Astropath doesn’t have any trouble understanding my penmanship. Forgive me if it causes any problems. I was wrong to assume these guardsmen had nothing to hide behind their respirators. They’re up to something, I’m sure of it. I used to think they didn’t speak at all, but I suspect they’re only playing dumb. It’s a ruse! I swear, sir, I’ve heard them mumbling to each other when they think I’m not listening. They’re coordinating something behind my back.
  360. They’ve left someone to keep tabs on me every moment of the day. She’s there when I wake up. She follows me on my morning inspection. When the troop is on parade, their eyes are on her not me; at least I think they are. It’s hard to tell. I’m not sure how to proceed sir, she never leaves my side. I can’t even use my autoscribe for letters anymore. She’ll hear every word. She’s behind me now. I hardly ever see her move when she’s in my tent, but I swear she seems a step closer to me every time I turn around. Every day, she watches me until I sleep. She’s there when I wake up. I think it’s the same one every day, Six Eight C. I haven't changed out of my uniform in three days. If I don’t think of something soon I’ll have to file a formal reprimand against my self for failing to pass inspection, Article 4733/67y.
  361. 4108988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain
  362.  
  363. Entry Four
  364. It is the same one, watching me every day. I’m certain of it. I had my eye on her last night, and an idea came to me. As I was pacing my tent, writing my last letter, I bumped into her intentionally. I knew instantly that it was at the very least another female because of the soft, yielding feel of her chest, but that wasn’t the point of my plan. My pen left a stain on her right breast, just between the second and third buttons of her greatcoat. When I woke up this morning, the stain was still there.I’m not sure what to make of it. I was certain my minder would leave when I slept, to report change shifts with a replacement for the next day. Something else must be going on. When does she find a moment to tell them everything I’m doing? When does she sleep? If she isn’t spying on me, then why, for the sake of everything that’s holy in the Imperium is she still in my tent. What on Terra could she want?
  365. 4109988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain
  366.  
  367. Entry Five
  368. Commence. Begin. Initiate. Oh, it’s started already. Delete. Erase. Never mind. I might have been a bit hasty to jump to the conclusion that Six Eight C was informing on my actions. As certain I may be that I have never left her sight, I’m nearly as sure that she hasn’t been more than a pace or two away from me this whole week. As such, I have resumed the use of my autoscribe. Also, I am out of ink.
  369. It’s awkward, I’ll admit, to talk about her in the third person. She’s right over there. She always is. I presume she knows whom the pronoun I keep dropping refers to. Or to whom it refers, or whatever. Why can’t my autoscribe have an editing cogitator? Anyway I suppose I’m beginning to get used to having her around. Yes, to having you around, Six Eight C Six Three Four Four. Or was it Six Eight C Six Three Four Seven? No. No, you don’t need to show me again it really doesn’t––Oh, Six Three Four Five, that’s uh, a very pretty, uh, number.
  370. Recorded 4110988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  371.  
  372. Entry Six
  373. This afternoon I finally changed into a new uniform. It feels wonderful. I can’t believe it took me so long to think of a way to get rid of Six Eight C. It was so simple, I could have done it days ago. This morning I was inspecting the troops, as I always do. I was thinking of what a waste of time it always is, nothing to report, when I noticed my chance. The ink stain was still there where I’d made it, on her chest.I prodded it roughly with my finger and said, “Guardswoman, are you aware of Article 4733/67y? That’s Ill-Treatment or Neglect of Accoutrements. Take her away.”
  374. And that was all it took. I heard her make a sharp gasp in her respirator and then the sergeant was dragging her away. She kept staring at me, what a look. Now I’m alone. What a feeling. It’s wonderful I can lounge in here in my shirtsleeves. I can say anything I want to my autoscribe, and tonight, oh tonight I can sleep alone. Tomorrow I can roll out of my cot and take my time slipping into a nice fresh uniform. All I have to do in the morning is heft my bolt pistol to the parade ground and––Throne on Terra She’s going to be shot! Sweet Sanguinius what do I do?
  375. Recorded 4111988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  376.  
  377. Entry Seven
  378. Administratum Note: The following transmissions were received independently with distinct identification markers, all apparently following the events of the previous transmission. For the sake of completeness, all three have been archived here and an investigation of their authenticity is ongoing.
  379.  
  380. Entry Seven A
  381. She died in front of me.
  382. I don't know how it happened, but somehow, one of the enemies of the Imperium in the Hive managed to get an artillery strike on the parade grounds. They must have managed to raid a supply dump for the shells; they were standard Krieg toxic gas. Apparently they found a makeshift launcher near the Hive covered in Chaos runes. I don't, I don't…I was going to pardon her. Let her off with a lecture and restricted rations. But the shells hit before I had got to her, and, and, and
  383. I don't know what - whoever it was who launched the attack - was thinking. All the Kriegers were wearing their masks. The only one at risk was me, of course, I didn't have mine on me. It was a parade, dammit! It was supposed to be safe territory!
  384. She saved my life. It...it was the first time I saw her eyes when she wrestled her mask onto my face. It was the same look that my sister gave to me back before the days at the Schola, just a concerned look of someone not wanting to see someone they cared for hurt. Someone that they lo- they lo-
  385. They're shelling the Hive. I don't have the heart to stop them. End. Stop. Get out. Get-
  386. Recorded 4112988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  387.  
  388. Entry Seven B
  389. How did it come to this? I wasn’t a bad student in the Schola. Those posters I wrote in the Ministry ended up on walls all through the Segmentum. I’m sure I could have had my old, safe job back if I’d just kept my head down a little longer. That face, though, that haunting face would never leave my head. Those eyes, imploring me through the lenses were just––what could I have done.
  390. I could spend the rest of my life, however short that may be, pondering about how I could have played it differently, if I hadn’t acted like a fool, or if I hadn’t had to be the hero. Funny that the bravest thing I've ever done is the blackest mark I’ll ever have on my career. I had to make a choice, a stand.
  391. Throne, imagine the look on my old instructor's face when he heard I’d ended up with a Penal Legion. What a waste, a good name, with a good record. But, you know, I think I made the right choice. There’s only one face I care if I’ll see or not for the rest of my life, and the funny thing is I didn’t even see it for the first time until yesterday. Now at least I’ll get to see it until the very end. I told Six Eight C that the explosive collar brought out her eyes, and you know, I meant it. That’s when I knew it was all worth it. That’s when I saw her smile.
  392. Recorded 4112988.M41 4th Penal Legion – Saghalain
  393.  
  394. Entry Seven C
  395. Start scribing or whatever your activation code is, blasted Enginseer said he can't come have a look at you for another week, they're re-sanctifying all the Russes this week.
  396. I did it, I saved her. It was awkward, it was unprofessional, and it's going to be even worse, but I used her as an example of wasting the Emperor's resources. They bought it. Every last one of them gave a solemn nod as I finished explaining that executing her would waste vital resources that the Imperium needs to continue fighting the Heretic, the Xenos and the Traitor.
  397. However, after pouring over my dataslates, the only way I could commute the sentence was to assign her to myself personally, to ensure no more infractions are committed. When this was announced, I could have sworn I saw them all smile, or whatever passes as a smile under those masks. I swear one of them muttered something that sounded like "you clever bastard..." under their breath, but that's not possible, right?
  398. By time I made it back to my quarters, she had already set up a spare bunk, had brewed a pot of recaf, and was tidying my desk.
  399. It was then that it occurred to me: I had a Krieger for a maid.
  400. Recorded 4112988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  401.  
  402.  
  403.  
  404. The following article is a /tg/ related story or fanfic. Should you continue, expect to find tl;dr and an occasional amount of awesome.
  405. A spin off of a spin off of Love and Krieg detailing the further adventures and awkward romance between The Commissar and Female Krieger Model 68C #6345. Also contains some nightmare fuel about the scribe servitor who takes down The Commissar's correspondence.
  406.  
  407. Part 1
  408.  
  409. Activate, scribe, do what it is you do, you pile of gears. Wait, you're already working? Oh, she is good isn't she.
  410. Today, I woke to find my newly appointed maid standing at attention with a what passed for breakfast on Saghalain, and a steaming pot of recaf. I mumbled good morning as i stretched, and she placed the breakfast tray down on the side table.
  411. I yawned, and when my eyes opened after it, she was gone again, and i heard muffled noises out in my office. Grabbing a ration bar from the tray, I doffed my commissarial hat, bathrobe and slippers, and made my way to the small table in my sleeping quarters.
  412. This had been morning routine before she had arrived, so to my surprise, the table was already set out. Dataslates containing all the reports for the day, another pot of recaf.
  413. and a small vase, with a flower in it.
  414. Saghalain is a desert, were surrounded for the next forty kilos by sand, sand, and more sand.
  415. I'll give her one thing, the girl knows how to get things done.
  416. Recorded 4111988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  417.  
  418. Part 2
  419.  
  420. Wait, why are you already scribing? I don't remember... And when did you get that new scribe nib.
  421. Oh, she did, did she?
  422. Well, it's time for my evening report anyway.
  423. Today has been uneventful, or as uneventful as one's day can be with a new aide, maid and bodyguard all rolled into one.
  424. After the having to explain that no, I did not require assistance in putting on my uniform, Krieger #6345 and I did the morning inspection of the company. Again, nothing to report, everything is immaculate. I swear to him on the throne that these Kriegers are something else.
  425. I looked over the reports from the previous commissar, he had only ever made one report, and that was one filed by a Krieger himself, about himself, for not having his lasgun fully charged for morning parade. My predecessor made him run laps, because he had begged to be punished.
  426. Krieger #6345 had taken it upon herself to clean all of my equipment, and had been shining my bolt pistol when... well, turns out in her eagerness to make herself useful, had neglected to check if there was a bolt actually chambered.
  427. One slip of the hand later, she's on her knees begging for forgiveness, there is another twenty Kriegers in the room and I'm in need of a new hat.
  428. She earned her forgiveness however, dinner tonight was amazing. I didn't know you could use a lasgun to sear meat like that.
  429. Recorded 4111988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  430.  
  431. Part 3
  432.  
  433. Wait a minute, you entered the last couple of entries there under the same date.
  434. Oh, flick that three times? Thank you 6345.
  435. We bugged out today, heading back to one of the major cities for some RnR, or whatever it is these Kriegers do when their on leave.
  436. This meant for me, however, many of them applied for extended duty on barracks. 6345 took care of most of it for me, finding odd jobs here and there to keep everyone busy and occupied.
  437. When I looked over the reports however, Everyone, in the company, from the cook to the forward reconnaissance units, had been assigned to Duty - Entrenchment and Fortification.
  438. The entire company was, or as much as can be said for Kriegers, dancing on air at the news.
  439. Also among the reports, I found a form I had never seen before, a Request for Modification - Uniform - New Assignment, filed by 6345.
  440. Like most paperwork, I signed it without a second glance, leaving it for the nib pushers at the administratum to deal with.
  441. 6345 is... now wearing an apron and a ruffle over her uniform. They told us about this at the Commissariat, that we might become fond of the uniform worn by our troops, but this...
  442. Excuse me, I need a shower.
  443. No 6345, I do not need help.
  444. Recorded 4119988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  445.  
  446. Part 4
  447.  
  448. You're looking well today.
  449. Oh, so the enginseer finally got around to seeing you did he?
  450. She what?
  451. Oh, so I have to look forward to a complaint from the cog boys do I? Funny you mention that.
  452. 6345 and I were setting up our new Quarters here at the barracks, the men are bringing in what few possessions we both have, when 6345 hands me a form and an envelope. In the envelope was two tickets to the local production of what appeared to be a production of my favorite musical, Little Bunker of Terror. The form was another uniform modification request, which I signed without hesitation.
  453. You know, yesterday, she brought me a box of new bolt shells? Turns out that's what shes been doing at that desk of hers she set up. Inscribing them. Each one of those shells has both a litany of sure firing, as well as the chant of accuracy etched into them.
  454. And she got herself a name tag. Her name i-
  455. What? Valhallans? Scrumball? Rally the men, and tell those Valhallans that their in for it.
  456. Recorded 4120988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  457. Recorded 4120988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  458.  
  459. Part 5
  460. Looks like you double stamped the date yesterday, did the cogboy not treat you right?
  461. By the emperor, 6345 can move. The men and I went down to the hastily prepared scrumball field, only to find that 6345 had made some preparations of her own. Standing on the sidelines at attention, was a exalting team, made up of the females of the unit.
  462. They seemed very excited, it seems that scrumball is a very serious thing for the company. The men behind me started pulling off their greatcoats, and then, most curiously, their shirts as well. They all looked at me, gas masks still on, naked to the waist, and one made a muffled comment that sounded like "Come on sir, aren't you going to play?" I realized what that meant, when on Ultramar, do as the Ultramarines do. I shed my greatcoat and tunic, handing them to 6345 who appeared out of nowhere, and placed my hat upon her head.
  463. I swear she blushed under that mask, as the hat sank to sit on the lenses of her mask, her blond hair flowing out from under it. She looked, dare I say it, adorable.
  464. One of the Valhallans yelled that it was unfair that I was on the team, because I could just execute them all. I yelled back that I would only execute them if they played like a bunch of Tau. To which there was a hearty laugh.
  465. Half way through the game, Male Krieger 68A #762 copped a concussion from taking on three of the Valhallan forwards, remind me to get him a double ration for that, so we were down a player.
  466. Sorry, the mess hall calls, hold that thought.
  467. Recorded 4122988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  468.  
  469. Back, sorry, that scrumball game took it out of me.
  470. So steps up to the line, to replace the injured 68A #762 but 6345. Everyone protested, us, the Valhallans, even the exalting team. But she looked at me, and that look told me that she could do it. So I told everyone to settle down, or they could complain to my bolt pistol.
  471. And by the Emperor himself on Holy Terra, she did. Never before have I seen such fluid grace, such dexterity. She moved like one of those Callidus assassins you see in the holovids. She scored the winning point for us, rolling across one of the Valhallans' chests to plant the ball over the line.
  472. Low on paper? oh, right, let me fix that for you.
  473. Recorded 4122988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  474.  
  475. There, full roll there for you little guy.
  476. She had done it, 6345 had carried us to victory just as the whistle blew. The whole team crashed together in what can only be described as a group at rest. And that's when things got strange. 6345 tore off her mask and kissed me.
  477. She kissed me.
  478. And everyone stopped. I froze for a second. And then I pulled something out of my ass about how the Emperor loves us, and that expressing your affection is okay, so long as you don't get heretical about it.
  479. They bought it. 6345 pulled her mask back down over her bright red cheeks, and mumbled something I didn't hear. I was just glad I wouldn't have to report her, as I was not technically on duty at the time. And yes, I did check the regulations. The Team hoisted us onto their shoulders and carried us back to the barracks. Their still celebrating in the mess, I said that due to gallant conduct, there was a double ration of dessert to be served. They love their dessert, these Kriegers.
  480. And they gave me a gas mask. I think they like me.
  481. Recorded 4122988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  482.  
  483. Part 6
  484. Why were you wearing earmuffs? She put them on you? Worried that you'd go deaf and i couldn't do my reports? She's good like that isn't she. Looks rather nice on you, too.
  485. We had a live fire exercise this evening, I got to wear my gas mask. The troops seemed ecstatic that I was wearing it. Salutes were crisper, when they stood at attention, their boots snapped together louder. And it's rather comfortable too.
  486. 6345 stood with me for the exercise, atop the command chimera, to get a better view. I offered the teams double dessert rations for whoever achieved a firing rate over 10 rounds a minute. It seemed however, that 6345 had been in liaison with the local population, as the practice shells were all color bursts. The locals all turned out to watch as the nights sky was lit up in a display that would make the Emperor happy.
  487. I realized that this was why we fought, this is why the Kriegers put their lives on the line, why the entire imperial guard existed, to protect these people. This is what the Emperor wanted us to do. That was his dream, for Humanity to be safe, to live among the stars in peace.
  488. I can't say why i did it, but i grabbed 6345's hand. Together we watched the color burst shells light the sky. I think, I think she's growing on me. They're all growing on me.
  489. Recorded 4123988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  490.  
  491. Part 7
  492. Emperor on the throne, what a day. Orks. God Damn Orks.
  493. Turns out our little light show for the locals last night stirred up a pack of Orks left over from a Waaagh a few years back. Not mentioned in any of the reports I received, but none the less there they were.
  494. It's been a while since I have been caught in a shelling. We were still at our forward command post after the nights live fire practice. I was having a shower when I heard the whistle. That wasn't outbound shelling, there was none ordered for this morning.
  495. The impact damn near threw me out of the tent. I wrenched the water off, and was in my pants and boots by time the next shells rained down. Those first shots were all range finders. I grabbed my mask and pulled it into place, when 6345 launched herself into the changing tent.
  496. Another whistle, a very loud whistle, and were knocked from our feet. I don't know who landed on who, but 6345 Dragged me to my feet, pulled my hat onto my head, handed me my bolt pistol, and shoved me towards the door.
  497. Another whistle, and she tackles me to the ground, as meters away, a mortar explodes. I feel shrapnel graze across my arm, as it's my turn to pull us both to our feet. I drag her with me to the nearest trench and we stop to take in our situation. I have my bolt pistol and sword, she has her rifle. We have no other idea what's going on.
  498. And I'm missing my carapace. I left it back in the change room. Another whistle, and 6345 dives on top of me, as dirt rains down from another explosion. She looks at me as if to say "We need to get out of here" I nodded and she crawled over me, leading me towards what i reckoned to be the command chimera. <...Buffering...> what does that even mean? Would it kill those cog boys to make you easy to understand?
  499. So we crawled, and we crawled, and we crawled some more, till we finally reached the command chimera. Our guns had begun firing back, and the familiar five rounds a minute thudding out in precision timing. The trench we were crawling in lead to one of the side access hatches of the chimera. I helped 6345 out of the trench, and then hefted myself up.
  500. What happened next was like something out of the holovids. Everything went slow, I saw the Orks charging. I saw Kriegers forming familiar firing lines, three men deep, las rounds strobing out in controlled bursts, each flash taking another foul xenos life. and then I saw the grenade. A crude cylinder of metal slam into the ground.
  501. I did the only thing I could do. I tackled 6345 into the chimera. The grenade went off, i felt shrapnel scoring into me and then we landed in the chimera. <...buffering...> Again? Whats the matter with you?
  502. So there I am, lying on the floor of the chimera, as I feel the pool of blood slowly growing underneath me. Years of training kick in, as i roll over and push myself to my feet. What sort of commissar lets himself get bothered by a little bit of shrapnel in the back? If the legendary Johnathon Fuklaw isn't stopped by it, I won't be stopped by it either.
  503. I looked at 6345, and noticed she was still wearing her apron. She looked at me, and then removed her pack, producing a thermos of recaf for me. What i would do without that girl, I don't know. I grabbed the thermos, lifted my mask and drained it. The command crew outlined the enemy, a small force of Orks, with artillery, which had mostly been neutralized.
  504. Commissarial training guided my actions, If there is one thing Kriegers love more than dessert rations, its a good bayonet charge. Grabbing the external vox line, I roared out the order to fix bayonets, and on my command, to charge the orkish lines. 6345 was mumbling something to the chimera driver. He nods, and looks back at me. There was a look of total respect as he gunned the engine, and the chimera leaped forward <...buffering...> I thought back to the stories they had told us at the Scholar Progenium, of Cain, Fuklaw and Raege. I knew what I had to do. And I wanted to impress her. I wanted to impress 6345.
  505. Grabbing the external vox feed, I opened the top hatch of the chimera, and stood upon the firing platform. Drawing my sword, I pointed at the rapidly thinning line of Orks and Roared.
  506. "IN THE NAME OF THE EMPEROR, BAYONET. CHARGE."
  507. The yell from the men was deafening. More las rounds strobed as they charged, and the bark of the Chimera's pintle-mounted bolter added to the cacophony. I looked down at 6345, manning the pintle and smiled under my mask.
  508. The Orks were slaughtered. Astoundingly minimal casualties were suffered on our side, one dead, a handful critically wounded. The usual combat scrapes were treated by field medics.
  509. Unfortunately for me, I copped a piece of stray shrapnel to the leg right at the end, causing me to collapse down on top of 6345, dragging us both down into the chimera. I landed on top of her, and as the victory cheers of the men went up, we cuddled.
  510. Don't give me that look. "Cuddle" is a perfectly acceptable word. The medics patched my leg up, but I'm desk-bound for a week.
  511. Recorded 4124988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  512.  
  513. Part 8
  514. Funny story for you today. As you well know, I'm unable to walk on my leg all that well at the moment. 6345 has been an Emperor-sent saint.
  515. She helped me put on my boots this morning. She tried to help with my pants, but I refused, I may be injured, but I can still do that.
  516. I then gingerly put some weight onto my leg, which decided to give and I started to collapse. Grasping out for anything to give me some stability I grabbed the front of 6345's greatcoat.
  517. Buttons popped as the coat took my weight, but I managed to then lever myself backwards. I apologized profusely to 6345, who seemed very embarrassed by the whole situation, and folded her arms over her chest.
  518. She gestured for me to sit, and disappeared back into our shared quarters, coming back with a new coat on. She tapped at her chronograph, and then knelt down in front of me, pulled my arms over her shoulders, my chest to her back, and stood up.
  519. I was being given a piggy back. I was glad that everyone else was already on parade, as the barracks were empty. She let me down behind a bunker beside the parade grounds, and put my arm over her shoulders, supporting me in a far more acceptable in front of the troops manner. Her eyes were smiling under her mask for the entire inspection.
  520. She helped me hobble back to my office, which wasn't so bad, I think she may have bought some civilian shampoo, because her hair smelled delightful, like the desert orchid that she keeps in our office.
  521. It's lunch time, I'll continue this later.
  522. No, just, there, isn't that better, don't have to carry heavy me all over the base you know.
  523. Whatever would I do without her?
  524. Recorded 4125988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  525.  
  526. Part 9
  527. Emperor damnit.
  528. I managed to fall again, tore the stitches in my leg. The medic has confined me to quarters until the stitches heal. Three days, not able to leave my quarters. And it gets worse, but I'll get to that.
  529. 6345 took the news pretty well actually, when she went to fetch some afternoon nibbles, I swear I saw her skipping down the hallway. She came back with a tray loaded with the local snacks and confections, as well as a hot pot of recaf.
  530. Unfortunately for me, in her hurry to be a good maid, 6345 knocked the pot of recaf, and instinct took over. I tried to catch it, and I did, just upside down. I yell in pain, she's apologizing, and a squad of Kriegers have rushed in.
  531. The medics leave, and my hand is now looking like a puncher's glove. 6345 is pacing nervously and shooting little glances at me. I tell her to stand at attention, then to stand at ease, and then to stand easy. The bark of orders seems to settle her, as I explain that it was my fault, and not to worry about it. Such things happen, and if the Emperor forgives such things. Intent matters more than action.
  532. I roll myself back to my sleeping quarters and change my tunic, and when I return, the desk is cleared, there is a single candle sitting beside a plate, piled with the local delicacies.
  533. 6345 appeared behind me, and guided my chair back to its place. She then knelt down beside me, and grabbed my knife and fork.
  534. And she fed me. <...buffering...> It was a little awkward at first, but she was patient with me, and very gentle. I don't think she has ever had to feed someone else like this. I know I haven't.
  535. And I have never seen a Krieger eat. When your around them, the food seems to be eaten, but I have never seen actual eating taking place.
  536. So she fed me. All three courses. There was a final chocolate confection. I grabbed it with my uninjured hand, and offered it to her. She looked up at me, and I offered it again. She looked at the confection, back at me, and then back to the confection.
  537. She took off her mask, and took the confection from my fingers with her teeth. I don't think she had ever had a chocolate like that one before, her entire face lit up as she savored it. I looked at her smiling, her blond hair framing her face, her high cheeks and button nose, and her smile.
  538. A smile that could launch a thousand crusades. <...buffering...> She smiled at me, I smiled at her, and then she pulled her mask back down. I sighed, and turned back to the table, to help her clear it, but she gently pushed my hands away and cleared the table herself.
  539. She's having her own dinner in the mess I think. What do Kriegers like? How do I show her I appreciate her? Sure she's a little clumsy, but if the Emperor punished everyone for being clumsy, he'd have to have executed everyone.
  540. Where's that Dataslate, I have an idea.
  541. Logistics, order forms, commissarial priority. Sorry scriber, but I can't let you in on it just yet.
  542. Recorded 4126988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  543.  
  544. Part 10
  545. Hey, wake up, come on scriber, up and at them.
  546. It's here, it arrived today. She brought it in, and was completely clueless to what it was. I asked her to run some errands to the logistics group, to buy me the time I needed. Everything was set up and in place by time she came back.
  547. She let herself into my office, closed the door in her usual matter, and then nearly dropped her dataslate. Standing beside me was her CO. They quickly conversed in the muffled language they always used, and then she rushed up to the desk.
  548. It was all there, the administratum paperwork removing her from probational assignment, and describing her now official position as my aide.
  549. Her CO signed the paperwork, and left us, mumbling something to 6345 as he left. She snapped him a salute, and escorted him to the door. The moment the door shut, 6345 moved faster than I have ever seen anyone move before. She was in my lap, hugging me, faster than a Ratling onto a dropped gelt.
  550. I asked her what her commanding officer had said to her, and she mumbled into my shoulder, "Permission to act freely, granted."
  551. I smiled, her CO had taken a lot of convincing to let me do what I had done. Shifting her from my lap, I reached under the desk and retrieved the box that had arrived earlier that day. "Considering your new post as my official commissariat appointed aide, I present you, 6345, Stabsgefreiter Sc-
  552. sorry, what? Oh, of course, let me fix that for you. I'll get a new ink tube for you tomorrow.
  553. "...Present you with this."
  554. I handed her the box, which she opened with all due care and reverence. Inside, sitting on commissariat red velvet, was a Carapace breastplate and a new laspistol, fresh from the forge world a few hops away.
  555. Her eyes lit up at the gleaming carapace, as she almost tore her great coat off so she could try it on. I then noticed how different the cut of a female Krieger's tunic was. <...buffering...> A fleeting glimpse of flawless pale skin was quickly covered up under gleaming carapace, and then by her greatcoat, which was not not done up all the way. She wrapped her new holster around her waist, and stood at attention. "You look immaculate" I told her, as I forced myself to my feet.
  556. She tried to help me, but I stopped her with a hand, before pulling myself to attention as well. I saluted her. She saluted me. I was then tackled back into my seat, as she cuddled up to me again. I finished my reports like that, her cuddled in my lap.
  557. She then skipped, literally, skipped, to the mess to get something to eat for lunch. I have never seen her so happy.
  558. And I'll tell you this, my servitor friend, today has been the best day of my career, of my life. The Emperor must have had a smile on his face when I got posted here.
  559. Recorded 4128988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  560.  
  561. Part 11
  562. New ink tube working? Good. Ready?
  563. It's been a busy few days, with it being end of month, there's a lot of paperwork to be filled out, the monthly commendations list to be signed, any other disciplinary disputes to be cleared, and of course, the monthly Valkyrie drop practice.
  564. Kriegers love a lot of things, The Emperor, killing heretics, planetfall in dropships amongst AA fire, killing xenos and traitors, dessert rations, digging trenches, and flying in Valkyries.
  565. I limped to the landing pad with 6345 at my side, and boarded the Valk last, I wasn't up to jumping with them, but I would go along for the ride. Made for a nice change of pace from being cooped up in my office.
  566. The Valk took off, engines roaring, as we flew to the drop point. Now I know what your thinking, Kriegers are trench warfare and siege specialists, what are they doing practicing drops? Well, who do you think does all the reconnaissance? The Forward Recon teams are regarded as the crazy black grox of the Krieg family. Turns out, 6345 was one of them. <...Buffering...> I was wearing the standard flight harness that everyone got when flying in a Valkyrie, and I stood with everyone else as the drop zone approached. The side door opened, and Kriegers began jumping out like clockwork.
  567. 6345 fiddled with my harness, and then started pushing us both towards the door. I pushed back as best i could with my injured leg, but she kept pushing, before one of the flight crew shoved us both out.
  568. I have never been in so much terror in my life. Give me Orks, give me Eldar, just never throw me out of a Valkyrie without telling me I'm strapped to someone. 6345 had strapped my harness to her, so we were falling in tandem.
  569. I felt the jerk of the grey chute being deployed, and 6345 hugged me from behind, mumbling something like "Did I scare you?" into my ear. I thanked the Emperor that she had convinced me to wear my mask today, as it was keeping my face protected, and had these ingenious little straps to keep my hat in place.
  570. I mumbled back that yes she had scared me, and I hoped she was very well happy about that, to which I got a very enthusiastic nodding.
  571. We made a rather bad landing, my leg gave out, causing us to pitch sideways, getting a fair few laughs from the troops, but, her sergeant explained on the chimera ride home, considering the injury I had sustained, it was an acceptable landing.
  572. That girl is crazy I tell you, but I wouldn't have her any other way.
  573. Recorded 4201988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  574.  
  575. Part 12
  576. All set, full load of paper? Nicely inked?
  577. Its been nearly a month since 6345 was assigned to me because of her, my little misdemeanor with the pen.
  578. She's getting better at being my aide. I hardly have to do any paperwork any more, there is always a pot of recaf ready in the office, and my uniform is always spotless.
  579. 6345 has also started to wear her hair up in a messy bun. Its always a refreshing sight to see her at her desk, working away on whatever it is she does, which seems to be everything. I don't know how she is able to do the amount of work she does, but she does it anyway.
  580. She has also made some more homely touches to our sleeping quarters. There's now a heavy bolter on a tripod under her bunk, and the razor wire around the windows mean that if anyone tries to sneak in, their going to be in for it.
  581. 6345 has become a big part of my life. I know that they say that when you join the guard, your heart belongs to the Emperor, and your ass belongs to your CO, but I don't think the Emperor will mind if I share my heart with her, right?
  582. Wasn't it he himself who said, "Share all that you have with your fellow man, for he shall reward you for it"?
  583. It's otherwise been quiet, 6345 is currently out running reports to and from the heads of the logistics teams. Her greatcoat sways as she runs, it's adorable.
  584. Don't you give me that look, I've seen you watching too you know.
  585. Recorded 4202988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  586.  
  587. Part 13
  588. Hope you didn't get any dust in your gears there. All set?
  589. I know it has been a while, but the company got sent on RnR again. 6345 didn't get her application for everyone to be put on entrenchment duty approved, but that wasn't a problem.
  590. They have never seen snow. We got Valkyrie'd to a large town up in the mountains, where it snows. The Valhallans were actually deployed here, but we shared their base, administrata's idea of saving resources.
  591. It reminded me of the exchange programs we used to do back in the scholar. But i digress.
  592. 6345's eyes were as wide as the rest of the troops as they went outside the barracks this morning, to find snow lightly falling. It wasn't long before snowballs were being thrown, and a few of the more artistic members had made a statue of The Emperor out of a block of ice they had found.
  593. Turns out, that block of ice had been pilfered from what we would discover was the Valhallans' shooting range, but a few words with my commissarial compatriots smoothed things over.
  594. Their having a scrumball game again this afternoon, and the medics have given me the all clear, so I might join in. The Valhallans here heard about what happened to their unit down in Sanguinius glen, and are spoiling for a rematch.
  595. Might actually be fair this time, were on Valhallan home soil, snow, territory.
  596. Recorded 4207988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  597.  
  598. SCRIBE SERVITOR INTERMISSION
  599. SCRIBE SERVITOR INTERMISSION.
  600. Master is gone now. He and the pretty masked lady have gone for dinner again. I like master, he is kind. Not like previous master. Previous master did not care for Scribe unit Tricero #5944a.
  601. Tricero also likes pretty lady. Masters friend pretty lady is also kind to Tricero. She has gotten friend enginseer to service Tricero.
  602. She is very pretty, like the saints. Tricero remembers the saints. Tricero remembers many things.
  603. Initiating neural net optimization routine...
  604.  
  605. Part 14
  606. TRAITORS BE DAMNED, ITS COLD OUT THERE. Whats this? Your designation is Tricero? Well then Tricero, the Emperor says to give respect to all things that deserve it, so, here's to you.
  607. And yes, I am in a good mood. We beat the Valhallans. Again. In their home conditions, we beat them. We might have gotten a mild case of hypothermia, but we beat them. I ordered double rations for everyone for that, courtesy of our gracious hosts. However, I am fair, we commissars decided that double rations all around were in order, so the Valhallans are happy too.
  608. 6345 got her Exaltation Team together again. They all stood there in their cold weather gear, pom-poms shaking for us, their muffled cheers driving the men to victory.
  609. After the game, 6345 and I hitched a on a chimera down to the local town, and enjoyed the entertainment district. It was rather quaint, with quality pubs and eateries, and even an amphitheater, where some local youth were putting on a show about two young nobles who were very much in love or something. 6345 and it watched for a while, my commissarial uniform getting us in for free.
  610. We continued on, until 6345 pulled on my jacket, and pointed to a small store on the corner. We entered, the shopkeep welcoming us happily. He said how much of an honor it was to have a member of the guard in his store, and that anything we wanted would be half price.
  611. At the mention of that 6345's eyes lit up and she disappeared into row upon row of clothing, accessories and knickknacks. I found her trying on a pair of lampacka gloves with a fur trim, which she seemed to like, but she put back when she saw me watching her. She hurried off again, and when i spotted her, she was back at the counter, purchasing something.
  612. We left the store, and she pulled what she had bought from the bag.
  613. a luxurious red scarf.
  614.  
  615. SUPER SPECIAL SCRIBE SERVITOR INTERMISSION
  616. SCRIBE SERVITOR INTERMISSION SPECIAL (just for you, Alpharius)
  617. Enginseer Thelonius plugged his dataslate into the scribe servitor, and began running diagnostics. The commissar's aide had asked him to give the scribe servitor a good tuning, before they went on RnR.
  618. Thelonius had long ago forgone the need for RnR, for him, this was relaxing, the simple task of optimizing a servitor was child's play compared to coaxing a reluctant chimera to run, or a basilisk to be more accurate.
  619. Tricero's wetware OS loaded, and began to go through the basic optimization routines, when a diagnostic box popped open. "Do you remember the saints, Thelonius?" A simple yes no prompt was given at the bottom. Thelonius poked at the yes button on his dataslate. "Tricero remembers the saints."<...buffering...> Thelonius's fingers skimmed the touchscreen of his dataslate, opening command tracers and prompt sniffers, and unleashing them upon Tricero's cognitor unit. Streams of data flowed past Thelonius's eyes, as he looked for the aberration that had caused Tricero to pose such a question.
  620. More data, no anomaly. the clear servitor code continued to scroll until. ABNORMALITY FOUND. DISPLAY, DELETE? Thelonius thumbed the display button. More data streamed up. Before being assigned to the commissar, Tricero had been on loan to a Sister of the Rosen Maiden, who had loaded a program to help her learn the Saints of her order.
  621. Whoever the enginseer was who had unloaded the program had left bits of code in the unit, which had been assimilated into the main cognitive core. Thelonius pondered for a moment, and decided to leave it as it was. Tricero was working properly, so there was no point initializing a full respawn of the wetware operating system.
  622. Finishing up with the basic tweaks a tune up consisted of. Thelonius left Tricero to finish his optimization.
  623. Tricero remembers many things. Tricero will remember Friend Thelonius.
  624.  
  625. Part 14 continued
  626. The scarf was beautiful, a testament to the hard working people who had crafted it from lampaca wool. 6345 looped it around my neck a few times and we started off back towards the barracks.
  627. She brought her hands up to her face and breathed on them, rubbing them together to generate some warmth.
  628. No gloves.
  629. She had forgotten her gloves. We were half way back to the barracks now, and needed to be back for dinner. So I did the only thing i could think of. I took off my glove, grabbed her cold hand in my warm one, and shoved them both into my greatcoats pocket. I offered her the other glove, which she slid her hand into and put into her other pocket. I saw her eyes smile at me from behind the lenses of her mask, and she rested her head on my shoulder.
  630. They say that Kriegers are bred for war, but I find myself wondering: if there isn't a war to fight, what do they want to do then?
  631. I flagged down a chimera to give us a lift back to the barracks, and as we sat beside each other, 6345 undid my scarf slightly, and looped a little around her own neck, before resting her head back on my shoulder.
  632. I swear I heard the rest of the troops in the chimera sigh happily. I know I did. We dined in the mess hall, and I put in a request for some new gloves for 6345. I didn't mark it high priority though, there's no rush that I can see.
  633. Recorded 4208988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  634.  
  635. Part 15
  636. Will the cold affect your ink, Tricero? No? Of course, like the cogboys would let that happen.
  637. There was a wedding yesterday. A Valhallan couple were being handfasted in the eyes of the Emperor, or something like that they call it, back home, that was a marriage. But anyway, everyone was invited, and I found out that there is a administratum order form for an Imperium approved union celebration cake.
  638. However, Valhallans like to celebrate, and they allow for there to be alcohol served at these sort of events. The Kriegers joined in the festivities as best they could, with figure marching, and this strange stomping shuffling dance that made full use of their combat boots.
  639. 6345 however, had found, what looked like, a drink she liked. I never saw her actually drink it, but every time i looked back, it was getting lower and lower in the glass.
  640. which soon became two glasses.
  641. which became three, and then four. I asked one of the Valhallans what it was, and he explained, in a thick accent, "Eet is leetle drink we cahll the Eemperahs sellee-bration".
  642. Oh, I didn't know you would write the accent like that. Sorry, Tricero.
  643. The drink was called the Emperor's Celebration. He explained that it was made out of Amsec, and a couple of Valhallan alcohols. Strong stuff. <...buffering...> So 6345 had finished off four of these drinks. Which explains what happened next. 6345 stood up on a table, and started doing the stomping shuffle of the Kriegers. Everyone just started cheering, as more people, Valhallans and Kriegers climbed up, and started dancing on tables and other objects.
  644. I stayed sober, the Commissariat frowns upon such shenanigans, but I don't think the Valhallan commissars got the message. However, this turned out to be for the better.
  645. 6345 tried to get down from the table, but with that much alcohol in her system, she wasn't the stable, sure-footed Krieger she usually was. As gracefully as she could, she crashed onto my lap. I excused us both from the party, and helped her to our quarters, in a a parody of how she had helped me around with my injured leg. <...Buffering...> Halfway to the bunker, 6345 decided that she had had enough of walking, and tried to climb into my arms. I chuckled quietly as she nuzzled at me, trying to coax herself into getting carried.
  646. So I knelt down in front of her and she clambered onto my back. Fair's fair I thought, as I piggy backed her back to our quarters. She giggled the whole way back, and was still humming one of the songs she had danced to that night.
  647. We finally got back to the bunker, and she flopped down onto my bunk, giggling up at me. I smiled down at her, and went to say something, but her giggle turned into a small snore. She had fallen asleep in my bunk.
  648. I sighed to myself, and pulled her boots off. I then realized I had never seen her go to sleep before me. She was always up before me, and went to sleep after me. I didn't know if Kriegers took their masks off to sleep or not.
  649. I left her mask on. I hope I did the right thing. I think I'll just sleep in my chair tonight, won't be the first time.
  650. Recorded 4210988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  651.  
  652. Part 16
  653. Tricero, today has been interesting. Firstly, I woke up before 6345. She was still in my bunk, tangled up under my blanket, her mask off. I slipped in to my footlocker to grab a new uniform, when she started awake, and looked at me from under hooded eyes. "G'morning, sir", she mumbled, rubbing at the sleep in her eyes. "Good morning," I said, grabbing my tunic from its foldcase, "Did you sleep well?" "Yes sirrr," She moaned, grabbing her head, "My head feels like the basilisks are firing in it". I chuckled quietly, I hadn't had a hangover since back in the Scholar. That had been a wild night, but that is a story for another time. "Am I up for report, sir?". 6345 asked, pulling my blankets up around her. I told her not to be foolish, it was a wedding, and celebrating was a part of it. Some of us, I explained, celebrated harder than others. I read a report later that day, that the Valhallans were at eighty percent strength due to the after effects of the wedding.
  654. 6345 looked up at me from under her fringe, "Can I please use the washroom first, sir?" What's a commissar to do, maintaining morale is our duty. 6345 came out of that shower smelling like roses. "Thank you, sir" She said, before she pulled her mask down. That girl could melt an ice world.
  655. The rest of the day was spent with the troops helping the Valhallans with their post celebration clean up. Morale maintenance is a bitch sometimes.
  656. Recorded 4210988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  657.  
  658. Part 17
  659. It's been a long day, Tricero.
  660. 6345 caught a cold yesterday. She had been helping out with clearing the parade ground of empty bottles and streamers with the Valhallan soldiers, while the Valhallan commissars and I dealt out the usual post celebratory disciplinary measures. One of the Valhallans was up for the lash for commandeering a chimera and doing what the Valhallan commissar called "doughnuts" in the motor pool.
  661. Needless to say, the cogboys weren't happy about having to perform a full track replacement. So we agreed on twenty lashes and a prohibition on the unit's dessert rations.
  662. Anyway, turns out the Valhallans had said that the Kriegers were being soft by wearing their greatcoat, instead of their shirtsleeves like the Valhallans were. The majority of Kriegers ignored them, but 6345 is not the sort of girl who would take it.
  663. So she has a cold, and is tucked into her bunk getting some sleep. She tried to do her normal aide work, but i ordered her back to bed. She grudgingly trudged back to her bunk, but I heard her working on her dataslate, which I promptly confiscated. The Imperium needs strong soldiers, I explained, and if she didn't get better, she wouldn't be an effective solider if she was sneezing and sniffling in a combat zone, adorable as it might be.
  664. She pouted as she handed me her data slate, and glared at me as I pocketed it. So I went to my foot locker and pulled out the scarf she had bought me. I wrapped it around her neck, and told her to get some sleep, I could handle the reports for one day.
  665. I'll be back soon Tricero, going to get some lunch. Do you actually eat anything? No? <...Buffering...> In another mirroring of how she looked after me, I just finished feeding... Tricero? Should your scribe unit be making that noise? Yes? If you're sure. So i got some soup from the mess hall, as well as some toast, the Valhallans know how to make a good meal, let me tell you.
  666. So I come back, with the meal on the mess tray, some soup, some toasted bread, a dessert ration, and something the locals called guava juice.
  667. I tried to feed her, like she had fed me, but she outright refused. "It's not right sir. I can feed myself", she said, as she pulled the tray from my hands and glared at me again. I know that sometimes, there isn't a point in fighting, so I left. A few minutes later, she called for me, and when I entered the room, she sheepishly grinned at me, and offered me the tray. I just laughed and took it, but she then beckoned me closer. She offered the last square of her chocolate ration to me.
  668. I Returned the favor she had given me, and took the square from her fingers. She blushed as she snuggled back down into her blankets, and dozed off again.
  669. Yeah, I stood there and waited for her to go back to sleep, don't give me that look. <...buffering...> Hey, you okay? Just seemed like you finished the missive, but I'm not finished yet.
  670. She dozed off again, and I returned to my reports for the day. Later that evening, she shuffled out from the sleeping quarter, blanket pulled around her, helmet on, mask around her neck. "Permission to go to the mess, sir?"
  671. "Permission denied, can't risk you infecting the troops.
  672. She glared at me for that, "What about you, sir?"
  673. I smiled, "Commissarial immunization, I'm immune". She just pouted, and asked for some dinner. I told her I would be back in a moment.
  674. I returned to find her at her desk, data slate in hand, still wrapped in her blanket. I frowned at her and put her meal tray down on her desk. "I thought I ordered you back to bed." She just shook her head, "You did not, sir"
  675. "Well I am now. Bed. Go." She glared at me and returned to her bed, leaving the tray of food on her table. I sighed, grabbed the tray and followed her. Doing the reports had been hellish, I don't know how she does it all. <...Buffering...> I found her back on her bunk, looking very unhappy. "I know you feel like you always have to be strong, but it's okay. You can be like this. Around me anyway", I explained. She looked up at me "Really?" I nodded, and offered her a spoon full of soup. 6345 smiled at me, and wrapped her lips around the spoon.
  676. And that, Tricero, is how I finally got to see 6345 eat. Well, eat without a mask on. How they eat with their masks on is beyond me. So she finished the soup, and her toast, and the dessert ration. She snuggled back down into her blankets, the scarf still around her neck.
  677. She smiled at me, and bid me good night. I, well, I did what the Sister superior did when I was a young boy back in the orphanage and was sick. I kissed her on the forehead, and whispered the litany of healing. 6345 giggled, and asked what I was doing. I explained how that's what happened when commissars get sick. A sister hospitaller kisses them on the forehead and says the litany of healing, as well as sings the hymn of the cushioned feline. 6345 laughed, and asked what the hymn of the cushioned feline was. So i sang it for her, after which I explained that it only got sang to the commissars who had gone above and beyond the call of duty. There is a tale of how Commissar Fuklaw had it sung to him by a choir of Hospitallers. She laughed and snuggled further into her blankets.
  678. I bid her good night, and here I am, spilling my guts to you. Strange times, strange times.
  679.  
  680. Recorded 4210988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  681.  
  682. SCRIBE SERVITOR INTERMISSION PART TRICERO
  683. SCRIBE SERVITOR INTERMISSION PART TRICERO
  684. Master is sleeping now. Pretty lady is sleeping now. Tricero likes Master and Pretty lady. Tricero is loyal to Master and Pretty lady. Tricero remembers the saints. Tricero remembers the saints. Tricero remembers...++Data corrupted++
  685. Running data revitalization algorithms.
  686. Tricero remembers.
  687.  
  688. Part 19
  689. Sorry Tricero, it's been a busy few days.
  690. Turns out there was a minor case of heresy in one of the Valhallan hydra gunners. We got it early, Emperor be praised, and this company's sterling record has not been blemished. He had become obsessed with his Hydra, constant maintenance, constant striving for perfection. Started using his own blood in the maintenance rituals, that's what tipped off the cog boys that something was up. They found a small carving of some runes on the inside of one of the maintainable hatches, but again, nothing that a lot of incense and chanting won't fix. Enginseer Thelonius assures me that there is no taint to the machine, or the rest of the unit.
  691. I'll interview his crewmates later today. But preliminary reports say the same as everything else, there is nothing to worry about.
  692. 6345 is back to her usual bright self, Emperor be praised. She is not a very good patient, after i fed her that one night, she expected it the next few meals and she would demand the hymn of the cushioned feline before she would even think about going to sleep. I think I'm spoiling her. Am I spoiling her Tricero?
  693. Well, that hydra crew isn't going to interview itself now is it. I'll talk to you later, Tricero.
  694. Recorded 4211988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  695.  
  696. Part 20
  697. Finally, I get a chance to talk to you again Tricero. Things have gotten busy with the end of the RnR.
  698. I used to hate packing up my office. I'd always loose things, or misplace them, or not even bother packing at all. But with 6345 here, things are so much Easier. I had gone out with one of the Reconnaissance Teams to find a new town to turn into a fortified base of operations, leaving 6345 to take care of the packing of our shared work and living spaces. We found a small lower mountain town, to low down for snow, but with huge hydro and geothermal power plants, that provided electricity for the surrounding cities.
  699. It was perfect. The mountain behind us acted as a natural wall, and provided the raw materials needed for the manufactorium to produce the fortifications we were to assist in building. While many people point out that the 68th Krieg Field Artillery is just about having big guns, they are also incredibly skilled at making fortifications in which to house them. We joined with the 83rd Krieg Fortification Engineering team, affectionately nicknamed Engineer-tans due to their tan-colored greatcoats that hide the dust that they work in more effectively than the standard grey or black favored by Kriegers. We arrived in the little town, Mikuru, to find that the barracks had already been constructed, in addition to a number of sentry towers, and automated ammunition dispensers at all the key junctions in the quickly growing barracks fortress complex. <...buffering...> I heard my name called, and I spun. Standing with his hat on the jaunty angle it always was, stood Alexander Timote, a fellow Commissar I had met years back when we were both fresh out of the scholar. Typical commissarial greetings followed, mock accusations of heresy and consorting with xenos females and the like. However, as we got talking, he revealed a most interesting tidbit of information. The geothermal springs that help to power the huge generators here, are also popular as bathing houses.
  700. I might just have to investigate, if you get my drift. Can servitors swim? I'll have to ask Thelonius, if he can get his face out of that Russ with the engine problems.
  701. Recorded 4214988.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  702.  
  703.  
  704.  
  705. Part 21
  706. (the following happens approximately parallel with the piano playing Krieger) Tricero, hey, wake up.
  707. I know it's late, but do I ever have a story for you. The hot springs here, remember how I said I would need to investigate them? Well, I have. Turns out, Timote, the old grox, has set up his "official commissariat outpost" inside one of them. By the emperors grace, and a fair few threats of summary execution I'd wager, he has gotten himself a private spring. He offered to lend me his office while he goes off to some hearing down on the southern continent, so pack your, what ever it is you pack, and remind... wait, she... already has filled out a requisition form to get you a set of humid environment upgrades.
  708. How does she do it? Anyway, on the bounce, there's a new office to settle in.
  709. Recorded 4215188.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  710.  
  711. Part 22
  712. Tricero, did you just see what i just... I didn't think the munitorium manufactured those, that they were just the subject of a gelt fetish publication. I know there is munitorium standard swimwear, but I had no idea that, those were, and how would a Krieger even..
  713. But I digress, this new office is typical of Timote. He never really understood the whole modesty and minimalism back at the schola, and time it seems, hasn't changed him. Look at this, he had a chair made out of a nid. I didn't even know he had fought them. So we have settled in quite happily in our temporary quarters, 6345 traded some amasec for some more homely trinkets, it's amazing how used to having razor wire and sand bags around I have become. There was a little bit of a hiccup with our gear however, her bag's still haven't arrived, so she has temporary loan of an engineer's uniform.
  714. Again, after seeing her in grey for so long, the tan coat makes her seem so, different. She still gets more paperwork done than I understand how, but, that's just how she is.
  715. Have you always had that... device there?
  716. Recorded 4215488.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  717.  
  718. Part 23
  719. So I finally found the time to try out one of the hot springs this evening, Tricero. I haven't felt this good since they gave me my graduating dose of rejuvanant serum, it's amazing. Truly this place is blessed by the Emperor and his saints. And speaking of blessed, I found out that 6345 has been able to visit the springs almost nightly, thanks to her affiliation with me. I was talking to one of the other aides around Timote's office, and she said that every night since we got here, regular as clockwork, or, I mused to myself, regular as a Krieger, she had slipped into the commissarial spring.
  720. Don't give me that look, Thelonius, might think you're possessed or something. Fine, yes, I did go to the springs tonight just because of her. You got a problem with that, bolt bucket? You're right, I'm sorry, that was uncalled for.
  721. So I did go to the springs because I knew she would be there. And yes, that explains what she was wearing last night. I really didn't know that there were Munitorium made two piece swimwear, let alone where you would find a requisition form. 6345 however, seems to be able to find things like this like Fuklaw finds things to hate. <...buffering...> I don't think that she heard me over the small waterfall that fed the spring, because when she turned around to see me lounging on the opposite side of the pool, she nearly fell off the rock she was sitting on. I have seen horrific things in my short commissarial career, but never have I seen a more adorable sight as 6345 just then, blushing furiously, her wet hair hanging over her eyes as she mumbled apologies for not being more attentive and how distraction leads to heresy. I jokingly reprimanded her, and asked her what she had been doing while she was sitting there. Her eyes went wide as she splashed back to where she had been sitting, looking frantically around the rock, before snatching something off the top of the water. I waded over to her, and looked over her shoulder as she frantically wiped at the screen of the dataslate. The slate was fine, the waterproofing had held, praise the emperor. She noticed me looking at the slate and clutched it to her chest. "I was, reading, Sir". She said quietly, the blush on her pale cheeks deepening. <...buffering...> She clutched the dataslate closer when I asked what she was reading. She bit her lip. BIT HER LIP. Do you have any idea, wait, no, you wouldn't would you, of how beautiful it is when a girl does that. I asked her what she was reading, and she mumbled something, so I asked again. "A story, sir." She said, just barely loud enough to hear. I asked what sort of story, to which I got another mumbled reply, before she offered the slate to me. I took it and looked at the cover of the slatescribed story. She was reading a gelt romance... about, well, about a commissar and his aide on some forgotten paradise world. I looked up at her, and she looked away, before looking back at me with a small smile on her face. A small smile that quickly became giggles as I started reading the story to her, giving characters silly voices and generally abusing all the speech coaching we were taught in the schola.
  722. This continued until, as I was reading, 6345 began to shampoo her hair. Quickly, her blond tresses were covered in the white foam of that shampoo she had bought back when we were in Saghalain, the sweet scent of the desert lilies filling the air. <...buffering...> I reached out and buried my hands in her hair. She froze instantly, tensing like a Catachan coil snake. I started to gently massage her head, and she relaxed, her arms dropping to her sides, as she, for want of a better term, melted.
  723. I sometimes feel, Tricero, that my life is slowly becoming a gelt romantic. After rinsing her hair, she smiled at me, before returning the favor. She has magic hands, and I knew there was a reason I accepted the pay docking so I could have slightly longer than standard hair. I haven't had someone play with my hair like that since, Emperor abounds, since back in the schola.
  724. After 6345 rinsed my hair, she excused herself, saying that she had some reports that needed to run, and that I should enjoy the springs for a while longer. I just smiled at her, and told her I would meet her back in the office.
  725. After 6345 had left, I saw she had forgotten her dataslate. I picked it up, and was about to have a peek through, when I felt something. I felt, Him. The Emperor himself told me to stay my hand.
  726. There is something about that girl, something amazing Tricero.
  727. Recorded 4215588.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  728.  
  729. SCRIBE SERVITOR INTERMISSION PART FOUR
  730. Tricero hummed quietly to himself as the Commissar and Krieger 6345 slept. Outside, the wind howled, and quietly, a faint snap.
  731. The mountain, Sanguninius's Spire, was home to a number of wild animals, most of which had been scared off by the town, and then, just about anything left had been evicted by Krieger entrenching tools. But not this one. The muscled form of a mountain bear quietly made its way around the base, sniffing at the open window of the commissars quarters. Thick skin was untroubled by razor wire, as the mountain bear clambered over the protective coils. Landing lightly on the patch of grass that made up the small garden outside the commissars office, the bear made its way towards the open door.
  732. There was a quiet whirr, a small click, and the bear was torn to ribbons. A pair of glowing eyes seemed to smile, as the door closed.
  733. Tricero likes master, Tricero likes pretty lady. Tricero will protect master.
  734. Tricero remembers how.
  735. ++Initializing subroutine alpha alpha delta 344, cleansing start++
  736.  
  737. Part 24
  738. That is not how I want to start my morning. Ever. So I wake up this morning, and walk to the little kitchenette that is part of my quarters here, and look out the door at the little garden Timote has been making, only to see it covered, no, drowned, in blood. I yelled out to 6345, who appeared wrapped in her sleeping tunic, rifle in one hand, my bolt pistol in the other. Grabbing my pistol from her, I wrenched the door open, our weapons scanning in overlapping fields of fire. The garden looked like the remains of a kegger at a Khornate cult. Whatever it was, thankfully wasn't human, but it still raised the question, what could have done this? A few vox calls later, and Timote said he would be back as soon as he could manage, and I have put the rest of the base on heightened alert. I found out later it was the body of one of the apex predators here, a mountain bear, big as an Astartes they are, but quiet as an Eldar's fart, to use the words of the local who identified the body.
  739. I had a cold shower after that, and 6345 made me some breakfast. The day went as usual otherwise. I mostly mulled over my experience from the night before, could it be the Emperor just didn't like the idea of me going through 6345's slate? Was there more to it? I had no idea, so I did what seemed like a good idea, when I returned the dataslate to her, I asked if there was anything else on it. 6345's eyes darted away under her mask, and she mumbled something, just like she always does when she is embarrassed. I asked her again, and she told me that she had a diary on there.
  740. Now, it's not heretical to call the Emperor a bro is it? I knew why he had told me not to, it had been a test. A test to see if I trusted her as much as she trusted me. A test, thanks to Him, I passed. <...Buffering...> She looked up at me and I smiled, telling her I didn't look, and that I was just curious as to why she was so protective of it. She gave a sigh of relief when I explained myself, and took the slate back, before turning her attention back to the ever shrinking pile of paperwork on her desk.
  741. We went to the springs again as well, turn's out she's quite the accomplished swimmer as well. And her gear duffel arrived today as well, so she will be back to her standard grey coat tomorrow.
  742. The fortifications are coming along well, and the monthly valk drop is coming up again soon. I'm looking forward to it this time. 6345 ordered herself a new pair of jump boots, and she spent the afternoon polishing them. She seems very happy with herself, and I will admit, she does look good in them.
  743. Recorded 4215688.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  744.  
  745. Part 25
  746. Timote returned today, with a few magos biologists, to see what had happened to his garden. We made some jokes about trying to summon a daemon in his yard, with fertilizer for the fertilizer god being the highlight. It was funny, you had to be there. The magos looked around, took some samples, and gave us two options, both were fairly unlikely, but it was either, the mountain bear had held onto a valk and fallen off, landing with a splat, or the warp did it for shits and giggles.
  747. We decided, due in no small part to not wanting inquisitors skulking about, that it was the Valkyrie and bear story. This was all well and good, but with Timote back, meant that 6345 and I were being put into new quarters, again.
  748. However, the Emperor rewarded me for the dataslate situation, and our new quarters had literally its own indoor spring. It had been the residence of a governor or noble or something back before the militarization of Terranis, but with this area now a high priority target, it had been requisitioned by the Estate Imperialis.
  749. However, in their rush to leave the planet, the lady of the house had left half her wardrobe, rack upon rack, shelf upon shelf, of clothing, shoes and accessories. I'm beginning to think that 6345 is a favorite of the emperor. She threw open the door to the walk in wardrobe, and nearly squealed with joy.
  750. Seeing her so happy makes the life I've lived so far all worth it.
  751. <...buffering...> Having finished all her paperwork, 6345 disappeared into the wardrobe, as I sat at the huge desk in the study that was now my office. I don't know how whoever owned this place afforded a Master crafted Catachan whippet tree wood desk, let alone how he got it studded with cygnium crystals, or why, around the edge of the desk, it is engraved with images of space marines and daemons, in which the marines are laughing, and the daemon is making a plaintive gesture. But it is solid, and should I ever need to dive under it, I'm fairly sure its going to protect me.
  752. I finished signing the small pile of paperwork that required an actual signature, not just a stamp, found a cup of recaf, and went to see how 6345 was enjoying herself. I knocked on the slightly ajar door to the wardrobe, and got no answer, so I poked my head in.
  753. Tricero, I swear, if I go blind, and they cant get bionics to fix me, I wont care. 6345 span around, clutching a top to her chest, clad only in regulation white socks and panties. Her face went red, her eyes wide, a look part surprise, part embarrassment and part happiness on her face, and my jaw just hung slack for a moment. <...buffering...>
  754. I pulled my head out from the door way and closed the door, apologizing profusely for my intrusion. She told me not to worry, and to wait just there. So I waited, images of her lean, creamy skinned form dancing in my head. If the emperor sees all, he's a lucky man.
  755. A few minutes later, she opened the door a crack, and asked me to close my eyes. I did. I heard soft footsteps as she walked in front of me, and then asked me to open my eyes.
  756. She stood in the main bedroom, light from the window streaming around her, as she stood there, resplendent in one of the ballgowns the lady of the house must have owned. It looked like she was wearing a cloud, a cloud that emphasized everything that should be emphasized. She did a little twirl and giggled, "We don't have clothes like this on Krieg," she told me, "And I have never seen a requisition form for them either".
  757. I smiled, and had an idea. I asked her, what would the Krieges say if we were to have a ball? 6345 looked puzzled at the idea. I explained that it would be good for morale, and we could share it with the other regiments here on Sanguinuse's Spire, we might even invite some of the civilians, winning the hearts and minds of the Emperors people was important. 6345 looked at me, "Can I wear this?" I nodded.
  758. And that look of happiness I will never forget.
  759. Recorded 4215888.M41 68th Krieg Field Artillery – Saghalain Autoscribe #303440288
  760.  
  761.  
  762.  
  763. A Bar Girl and the Krieger
  764.  
  765. The Beginning
  766. So, Terranis used to be a nice place, now we're up to our eyeballs in these Emperor-damned Krieg soldiers. At first it wasn't so bad, they'd stay in their camp, or you'd see them digging trenches or fortifying some building, and they'd ignore you. It was even great for business at the bar; they drink a lot, pay up front, and don't make trouble. However, it turns out that apparently there were some girl Kriegers among them and for some reason the boys can't get enough of them.
  767. For example, there was this really cute guy who used to come into the bar after work, always made eyes at me. I was playing him along a little, but then one day he walks in with one of those gas mask wearing bitches. I decided to make a move, and that little freak jumps the bar, assaults me, and beaks my nose by smashing it with her pistol.The really infuriating thing is that they don't react the way they should. I mean, after that incident, I put up a policy sign that said all weapons had to be checked at the door. No one complained or anything. They just did it.Also, I swear there's this one Krieg who just comes in every night that creeps the hell out of me. I know it's impossible to tell them apart, but I swear. It's the same guy. He just comes in, sits down at a table near the back, orders one bottle of amasec and just stares out into space the whole time. I swear I think he's watching me, he's here right now actually...
  768. you know what? I'm gonna go ask what his deal is....
  769. Argh, I hate these people! He didn't say anything, just nodded at my questions and insults. The only response I got when I asked him his name, was to take out his dog tag and show it to me. Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713...dammit, he's STILL staring at me. What does he want?
  770.  
  771. 68a #1713 playing the piano
  772. Ugh, today is just one of those pain in the ass days. That guy and the Krieg girl who broke my nose came in today. Apparently they're getting married and are on a pub crawl to celebrate. Maybe, I don't know. Either way, rounds for the whole bar, lots of quietly clinking glasses, and whatever passes for mirth for these people. Everyone's asking for refills, and I don't know whose tab it's going on at this point. At least some of them took off their gas masks. Although, the bride-to-be gave me such a vicious look when she did.
  773. Wait, is that piano music? Is someone playing that busted piano in the corner? Hold on.
  774. Well...that was interesting. There was someone playing the piano. It was Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713. I asked him if he was the one who fixed it. He nodded. Also he had taken off his gas mask. I thought he would be just another blonde and blue eyed copy of all the others. He actually has very dark brown hair and these pale grey eyes.He's really good at playing the piano. People were giving him requests, either calling them out or in the Krieger's case writing them out, and he knew nearly all of them.
  775. I...invited him to come back if he wanted. I mean...a little piano music here wouldn't hurt. He nodded, and I think I saw a slight twitch around those grey eyes of his.
  776.  
  777. Regentropfen
  778. Okay, weird day. Nice...but weird. #1713 came back again today, he didn't order a bottle like he always does, but instead sat down at the piano and looked at me. He did that for five minutes before I went over and asked him what he was doing. He just gestured towards the piano with a tilted head. Finally, I realized he was asking what he was supposed to play. I told him to play anything and he shook his head. Then I just mentioned the first song that came to mind and then I went back to work. Ten minutes later, I noticed that I was hearing the same song. He had been playing that tune over and over again. I went over to him and told him to stop. He instantly got up from the piano, and I swear, closed his eyes, and got on his knees as if he was about to be executed. I pulled him back up and explained to him that he needed to play more than one song. I asked him to write down all the songs he knew...
  779. he's sitting at the bar right now, still writing.
  780. Alright, he's finished, and there's three pages of this stuff. I haven't even heard of half of these. He's even sorted them by origin. Well, some Valhallan some drinking songs would be fun. That's odd. There's just three songs from Krieg. There's the national anthem, a marching song, and this last one... Regentropfen. Well, I'll make him play it at closing, when there's just the Kriegers here.
  781.  
  782. Oh...oh my. That was...when he started to play that song. That very pretty song. All the other Kriegers got up from their seats and stood at attention. There was another one of those Krieger girls with her boyfriend (not the one who broke my face) and she didn't have her mask on like the others. She was crying. He finished, and then the Kriegers all left. I grabbed the boyfriend and asked him what that was all about. He said that apparently, that's the last song that had been written on Krieg. After they bombed the place to the ground, it rained radioactive sludge for months. That song was written by one of the sons of the Loyalists. Apparently it reminds them of their home before it went to hell. Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 is still here, he's tuning the piano. I have to thank him.
  783. I think I did something stupid. I went to thank him for the evening of music (seriously, I made a ton more tonight than I have in a week.) He had his mask off, and there were tear stains on his face. His grey eyes...they were so sad. I kissed him on the cheek and asked if he would play here regularly. He nodded and left. I continued to close the bar, and I'm just finishing up when I see Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713, he has a duffle bag and a mattress roll with him, and then he goes into my back storage room and sets up camp! Apparently, he feels that his new assignment is here, in MY bar! Still...well, if he's here I don't have to worry about theft...so I guess it's okay.
  784.  
  785. Problems
  786. Ugh, just when I think I have some control over this situation something like this happens. I put out a tip jar for Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 when he plays the piano. First, I have to explain to him that it's not his amasec glass. Then I have to say that he doesn't have to return the tip to the person who gave it to him. After that, one of those 'Cute Krieg Couples' (By the Emperor, I loathe them) explains what a tip is. Apparently, the guy didn't do it well enough, because the girls are then putting in money for every song that they like, and then removing money for every song that they don't like. Two of them even got into a fight, as they both wanted to dance (if you can call it dancing) with their partners and they each wanted 'their' song to be played. I think I may need another sign. I have this horrible vision of the future...my bar plastered with instructions on every surface, detailing how to do every little thing. All from ordering a drink, to having a quickie in the bathroom. Ugh...more trouble than it's worth.
  787. Oh, Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 is playing Regentropfen again. Is it closing time already? That's such a pretty song...
  788.  
  789.  
  790. Redecoration
  791. Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 has turned...my bar...into...a bunker. I told him I would be gone for the day to visit my parents, and he needed to watch over the place while I was gone. He nodded. Apparently, baby brother has also found himself a girlfriend...no guesses as to what accessories she likes to wear over her face. I swear, if I ever find that dick who started that dating website...
  792. Anyway, I get back, and my bar? Well, there's a trench around the entire place, and not just one of those little things you see around houses of people dating Kriegs, I mean a trench that looks like the one around the PDF base. The outside of the bar is now reinforced steel plating and concrete, and there's a basilisk on my roof. There is a FRAKKING CANNON on the roof of my BAR. Also, because there is now a basilisk on my roof, the inside of my bar is now revamped. There's eight times the support pillars, all the wood has been replaced with steel, and apparently my tables can now convert into cover shields, at the press of a button. The low lighting is gone, replaced with utility lamps and flood lights. The only positive, if you can call it that, is that there are now many more mirrors in my bar. Mirrors that allow anyone sitting in any seat, or table, to see everyone else. It's a nightmare...and the biggest joke? I'm getting more Krieg and Krieg-Daters than ever. I asked one of the guys why the influx."Well, they feel really comfortable here; it's a nice place to relax."
  793. I'd consider starting to serve food, but knowing them, all I would have to do is put some MRE'S on some nice plates and I could charge triple...you know...that's not a bad idea...
  794.  
  795. 68a #1713 and Money
  796. If Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 wasn't so damn useful in making me money, I swear I would kill him with my bare hands. Alright, the bar...well...I should say restaurant now shouldn't I? My place is now getting a steady stream of customers, and well...it was getting awkward. The Krieg Daters always end up dressing like their partners. (I've seen XX and YY couples but I don't know if they're 'couples' I honestly don't WANT to know) So, here's me, walking around the place, serving up 'food' and pouring drinks among a sea of black coats and gas masks. I stuck out so much it went past being awkward, past weird, past being so-weird-its-fine, past heretical, and then back to just awkward. So I made the mistake of asking Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 for some help. The next day he has a full uniform laid out on the bar for me. It's not a Krieg uniform, the fabric's too soft and there's not much 'coverage' but it fit perfectly. When and how did he get my measurements? All that time he spent, staring at me with those grey eyes...I swear. If it didn't feel so nice, I'd smash his tip jar over his head.It's closing time, and always he plays Regentropfen. I'm going to ask him how to play that song
  797.  
  798. Playing the Regentropfen
  799. Ummm...yeah.Apparently, Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 had the sheet music for Regentropfen. I sat down and played the piece. It had been a while, but those years of torture at the schola still came back to me. Turns out he wasn't playing it right, there were several different movements he skips. It's no surprise, they're very complicated parts, but I managed to work my way through them. I still butchered the song pretty badly though, my teacher would be ashamed of me.
  800. When I was done I looked at him. Tears were running down his face and his shoulders were shaking. I...I looked at his grey eyes, and I hugged him. He actually returned it. His shoulders heaving, and his breath stuttered. We just held it there for a while, and then he started to go to the back room. I stopped him, and told him to get his things and to get into the car with me. He's sleeping on my couch now. I'm...I'm not sure what's going to happen next. I think...I think I need to practice the piano some more
  801.  
  802. A Trench
  803. It's been really quiet the last two days. I mean more so than normal for here. The Kriegers never talk and the Krieg Daters, the longer they get into their relationship, get quieter as well. Either way, all the Kriegers got called back to the base. Apparently there's some more fortification that needs to be done, like either on top of a mountain, or at one of the poles, I don't know. The only thing I do know is that there's going to be some blessed, blessed days without the sight of any gas masks.
  804. The only irksome thing is that Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 got the relocation order when he was in the middle of digging a trench around my house. So there's a half-trench in front of my house, and it honestly looks a little embarrassing compared to the others. I don't want to just fill it in. I think I could even get shot for that...but I don't want to just leave it...it bothered me all day yesterday. I'll call my little brother and ask him what to do.I really should never ask my little brother what to do. I called him, told him of the situation, and the next thing I know he's called some of his friends and today they're here trying to complete Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713's trench. They're not doing a good job, a far cry from the style the girls that they date have. Problem is that they don't really have any structure...hmmm.Alright, that was...different. I just wanted the damn tech to be finished and those idiots off my lawn. I put on my 'uniform' and marched out there and started to bark out orders to those idiots. As soon as I started, those boys snapped to attention and followed my commands to the letter. Just how whipped do their girlfriends have them anyway? Either way, they finished, and it looked pretty good. I got out of the trench and Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 is just standing there. I was still into it, so I shouted, "Attention! Superior present, prepare for inspection!" All the boys snapped to attention and saluted Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713. He then took a while to inspect the new addition to his trench. He was less than thrilled, shaking his head and pointing at several places, but he nodded a few times as well. Then he went inside the house, and came back out with sheets of paper, which he distributed, the boys all smiled at the paper, and then nodded and left. Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 then got to work fixing the rest of the trench to his specifications. He's still out there now. It's late though. I'm still in my uniform though...maybe I should order him back inside to sleep so we can be able to work tomorrow.
  805. Huh...it worked.
  806.  
  807. Speaking
  808. I can't help but think that someone is playing an elaborate joke on us all. Every day it seems that either the Kriegers get more accustomed to us, or we get more accustomed to the Krieg. I drove to work, Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 sitting in the back seat like always (I've invited him from to the front, but he shook his head and gestured that this was a more defensible position...ugh I'm even able to read their hand signals). Nearly every other house has a trench and every building now has a little fortification. I head into town, and there are pillboxes and sniper towers on every block, and I swear they are building a hellcannon on top of the library. Thing is...there are these little touches that make me think that the Kriegers aren't...well...soulless cloned automatons. One of the new Civil Defense Bunkers has a mural painted on the side. It's of a Baneblade behind some important figure, and I swear I saw one of the Krieg put finishing touches on it. The sniper tower on the same block as my bar...has a flower box planter along the side at the top. I swear, I looked at it through some binoculars Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713 handed me when I asked what that thing sticking off the tower's railing was. There were actual buds!
  809. Normal day, with two little hiccups. Now, whenever a Krieger walks into my bar, and I'm in 'uniform' they give me a salute. A formal one, not the usual one they seem to give the civilians. I know there doesn't seem to be a difference, but there is. Secondly...well...I played Regentropfen at closing, that's getting to be a tradition apparently. There was just me, Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713, and the couple that started this mess. They were slow dancing to the song. I finished, and the Krieg girl comes up to me. I flinch away, thinking she might want to break my face again, and she salutes me.
  810. "Thank you, Ma'am. You play it well."
  811. She spoke! She actually talked. I didn't know they COULD talk. The girl had to use the facilities then, so I asked the guy what the deal was. Apparently, all they need is permission to speak. Huh. Makes sense...in a Krieg kind of way. So the couple left, and I'm here cleaning up with Lieutenant Krieg Male Model 68a #1713, and I look at him. He just looked at me and nods. His face was neutral as always, but those grey eyes...you can see the difference in them between the Krieg that have just left the base, and the ones that have been out here for a while. There's something soft inside them...anyway I asked him something that had been bothering me.
  812. "What were those papers you gave to the boys who helped with the trench? Permission to speak, granted."
  813. "Commendations of duty." He said. His voice is not as deep as I thought it would be.
  814. "Why were they so happy to get those? Permission to speak granted."
  815. "When their...associates...see that a 2nd and 1st lieutenant have give them commendation. They tend to...reciprocate with...umm...fraternization." He said, and I swear, he was blushing
  816. That's when I realized something. His officer bar was gold. The little bar that was on my 'uniform' is silver. I'm the 1st lieutenant...he made me HIS superior.
  817.  
  818. #1713's reassignment
  819. I never really considered myself a violent person. Passionate perhaps, but not violent. All I know is that if I ever find the dick that made that dating website, I will make sure that they suffer. I was running the Basilisk like normal (I changed the name, I mean, the cannon on my roof is rather distinctive.) and #1713 is playing some light Vostroyan songs. In comes this woman, and she walks up to #1713 and give him a paper. She claimed that she had gone to that dating website, and had been 'assigned' to him. He nodded, and took the woman's hand. I...umm...well I may have lost my temper and called her some rather unflattering (but true) names, and then...I might have grabbed the lasrifle #1713 put under the bar, leapt over the counter and tried to assault her. Thankfully, I didn't get far as #1713 grabbed me, disarmed me, and sat me down at the piano. He had his mask off, and they always look like that but...I think he was frowning for real. He left with the woman. I guess that's good in the long run. No more waking up to see rations laid out for breakfast, no more trenching or fortification of my home, no more seeing his grey eyes...or hearing Regentropfen the way he plays it.
  820. I miss him. I...I want him around. I...I...oh...dammit!
  821. It was stupid but...I didn't know what else to do. I went onto that dating website and I put my profile up there. It asked me for preferences...dark brown hair, knows the piano is a plus, hard worker...grey eyes. I didn't realize it until after it showed me my completed profile...#1713. Oh, man...I have to apologize to baby brother, now don't I? Anyway, I completed that stupid form and the site thanked me for my help and said that they'd be in touch. The next day...#1713 is there in the bar like nothing happened. He hands me a piece of paper. It's from the website, it's an apology to #1713, for pairing him with a 'less that optimal' partner, and a 'new, more fitting position' has opened up and he was to be immediately re-assigned. It also said that if he was still unsatisfied with his new position, a new assignment could be made at anytime, as 'We feel that these assignments should be the best possible, and no person should ever have to settle for anything less. Shouldn't YOU be with your PERFECT assignment?' The dick that designed this website better never show their smug-ass face here or I will shove it down my basilisk and then fire.
  822. Regardless, my #1713 is back, and I'm happy. Also, I keep finding new things about the Regentropfen...it can also be played as a duet.
  823. It's such a pretty song.
  824.  
  825. IMPERIAL CODEX: Regentropfen
  826. Krieg is not a place known for art or music. The national anthem is a relic from the beginning of the planet and rarely played, as the Heretic Traitors took it for their own. Their marching song is a rather dismal plodding tune; it speaks of how they are all to die and how that is the only way to cleanse them of their shame.There is one more song however, and it is a large exception. Regentropfen has been certified by no less than eight approved High Lord scholars to qualify as a 'masterpiece.' It's a layered song. That is, there are many ways to play it, from a simple piano piece, to a full orchestra.
  827. A fact that few non-Krieg know is that Regentropfen isn't the song's proper name. The proper name of the song is 'Es werden kommen sanfte Regentropfen, wegzuwaschen unser Versagen, Scham und Trauer.' Translated into Gothic it is 'There Shall Come Soft Raindrops to Wash Away Our Failure, Shame, and Sorrow.'
  828. It was written by Johan Gast, the son of Wilhelm Gast, one of the few noble families that remained loyal to the Emperor during the rebellion. The story goes that after the initial bombing, caustic rain fell from the sky for months. Brigette Gast was a sculptor of great talent, and the Gast estate was covered with her statues and art works. Johan watched as the water erased everything his mother had created away. The quiet rain eroded his ancestral home, and caused the grounds to die.The composer then locked himself in his room, and stayed there for two weeks. Drinking little, and eating less. The only thing he did was write, and stare out the window at the falling water.
  829. When he emerged, it was with Regentropfen. The original copy is still on Krieg. All thirty-four pages of composition. (Usually only part of the piece is played.)
  830. It is assumed that Gast had intended to turn his work into a full opera. There have been notes discovered that have ideas for lyrics, and half written pieces of other songs. Sadly, the Gast estate was sacked by traitors two days after Gast finished Regentropfen, and the entire family was killed. Mercifully, the music had already been mailed to a family friend of the Gasts, a piano virtuoso, who was also loyal and thankfully survived the war.Every Krieg is exposed to Regentropfen during their training. It is used as a symbol. To remind them of what they lost, of how they must bear their disgrace, and finally...how they can redeem themselves. Although it does not affect their behavior, whenever a Krieg hears Regentropfen, they will begin to weep tears.
  831.  
  832.  
  833. Meanwhile, on a Craftworld
  834.  
  835. Granddaughter
  836. This was going to be complicated. Probably the most complicated thing ever. Oh, there had been manipulations before, and originally this was just for a quick laugh. Now, however...now there was a new option for an old problem.
  837. The Chaos Gods interfering was a complete shock. He would never admit it, but it took him totally by surprise. Not that he didn't welcome getting three more years to fiddle with Terranis. However, there was no way that it would happen again, and She Who Thirsts wouldn't just be satisfied with the slow sweet subversion of the soldiers.The only problem was that there were so many thin little threads holding this whole thing together. He supposed that this is what happens when he actually focused on something that was originally just a little something he put together to keep him amused one night. Also, this was one of the first times in his life he wasn't being a complete and total...oh! That was it! He smiled, perfect. Yes, that would work nicely. First however, he had to do probably the most important step.
  838. "So, you're to be on your best behavior. Also, you're not to talk about Mommy or Daddy. You got a bump on your head, and lost your memory. Okay?"
  839. "Yes, grandpa."
  840. "Also, don't pick at your ears. I know it stings a little, but they have to look right. Now, the people who are going to look after you are nice people...but you will listen to them until Mommy or myself come to get you. Okay?"
  841. "Yes, grandpa."
  842. "Alright, now. Give Grandpa a hug, and then I'll send you down. You remember the story you're supposed to tell?"
  843. Of course she would remember it. He hated messing around her mind, shuffling away memories and making new ones, but he couldn't risk anyone finding out what she was. She had fallen asleep when they arrived on the planet. He decided to leave her on the doorstep of the very first pair. The oversized basket he had left her sleeping in was a little much, but the picture was just too funny and too cute for him to pass up.
  844. He would make sure that things went fine for another ten years or so. But for now, he was content that he had actually found a decent set of babysitters for his Granddaughter for a few years. Honestly, things were getting a little crazy and it would be nice to just have some peace and quiet for a while.
  845.  
  846. The Crisis
  847.  
  848. Krieg Commander 68 and Cloning
  849. Krieg Commander 68 stared at the piece of paper on his desk. It was the nightmare missive that every Krieg commander feared to receive. The Vitae Womb wasn't functioning right. He just vaguely listened to the Enginseer as he droned on about how the machine spirit was weak, how this was the Emperor's will, that the Krieg had gone so long using this borderline blasphemous technology was a blessing given by the Omnissiah, and just as easily taken away. All he saw in his mind was the front line of Krieg soldiers, slowly dwindling away, until the great and honored Death Korps of Krieg were just a memory...and soon that would fade, and then the only thing people world remember Krieg for was the betrayal to the Emperor.No. He would not allow that to happen. He looked again at the papers. Trying to see if there was something he could do, some problem that didn't involve banging on a console and praying. He noticed one line coming up again and again. 'Loss of Genetic Cohesion.' It seemed to be the main issue, which in turn caused all these other issues. He looked at his Enginseer and pointed at the phrase, wanting to know the meaning.The Enginseer explained that after all the years of replication, and reuse, the genetic material of the Krieg models wasn't working anymore. Not totally. The Machine Spirits just weren't able to take hold of the spirit of the Krieg flesh and create new life from it. They had tried other methods, feeding newly made models and older models into the system to try and regain it. However, it just wasn't working. The great line of Krieg was fading, and there seemed to be no way to fix it.
  850. 68 walked into town to clear his head. It made him feel better to walk down a street and see a properly fortified city. Every day it improved a little, and the citizenry had been more than helpful. He was glad for that. He remembered serving on planets where they were viewed with mistrust, or even hostility by the 'common rabble' here, the citizens were actually welcoming, and helpful. Not to mention that a few of his 'daughters' found suitable individuals to...fraternize with.
  851. Krieg Commander Model 68 entered a restaurant called the Basilisk. Named after the fully working, and well maintained cannon on the roof. He approved of that. Functionality and a pleasing aesthetic.
  852. He walked in and sat down at a table. The woman in charge, a 'First Lieutenant' saluted him and showed him to a table and gave him an option of MREs. He felt the need to torture himself further, due to the bad news, so he asked for a Tallarn and a bottle of Amasec. She nodded and went into the back to bring him his food.
  853. As he ate and drank, mostly drank. He just sat and watched the people come and go. There was 68b #6345, her husband, and the foundling they had discovered. Quietly eating, and sharing notes with each other, smiling. 68b #6346 was dancing with her 'associate.' 68a #1713 was playing the piano, some Cadian song. There were others here too, his people and civilians, although as the bottle slowly emptied, he found himself almost unable to instantly tell the difference between the two.
  854. The night went on, Krieg Commander found himself lost in his thoughts, and his bottle. He knew that soon his 'daughters' would vanish, followed by one set of sons, then another, and soon...Krieg itself.
  855.  
  856. That's when he heard it. The first soft stanza of the song he knew from the moment he first had emerged from the Vitae Womb. Regentropfen. There Shall Come Soft Rains...he stood up and looked around.The place was nearly empty; people were heading towards the door. #1713 and the '1st Lieutenant' were sitting at a piano, playing the song together. He was glad he was still wearing the gas mask. It hid his tears. They played it so wonderfully. The woman especially, doing the complicated trills that spoke of how those quiet waters slowly washed away the beautiful buildings that once covered Krieg. He had only heard it played that well, and as a duet, once before. When he was at home and 'Mother' had played it the night before his battalion was to go off and face the Emperor's enemies. This girl played Regentropfen just like a true Krieger. It was so painful to think of home, and how his people would...slowly...disappear...The idea came to him in a flash. The entire night played out before him. Walking in a city filled with proper fortifications and weaponry. Sitting in a place filled with people who looked just like his soldiers...and now...someone who had never seen his homeworld was playing the song that spoke of its soul.
  857. He had a solution. It was wild, near heretical, and he would have to do many things to get it right...but if he could do this. He would save Krieg.
  858. Krieg Commander 68 ran back to the camp...he needed some medical staff, and enginseer, and a WHOLE lot of paperwork.
  859.  
  860. Commander 68's solution
  861. They were not happy about it. No, that's not accurate. NO ONE was happy about it. Not the Enginseers, not the Commissar (even though he kept looking at his 'personal aide' with concern each time the subject of the Krieg ending came up), not his superiors, and the Techpriest from the Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis nearly ordered him executed for heresy on the spot the moment the vox reached him.
  862. However, no one could argue with the obvious evidence. It was try this, or sound the death knell of the Krieg. The Enginseer and the Tech Priest argued with the Commissar, with each other, his superiors made remarks, and around and around it went. Krieg Commander 68 rolled his eyes; he had seen Administratum meetings that had been less productive than this...but not many. The key argument was determining what exactly was the Emperor's will. Was it His Will that the Krieg slowly die off, or was it His Will that the Krieg had come to Terranis and discovered its people?
  863. 68 sighed and stared at his collection of war trophies and other junk. He knew that when the splinter fleet of xenos arrived Terranis would fall. Not all at once, but there was too much biomass unprotected; the oceans themselves were a buffet for the Tyranids. The cities would hold for a while, he was proud of that fact that he, his brethren, and the people of Terranis had done such a fine job in preparation. However, it would be a losing battle. Too much open ground, too much biomass for the 'nids to consume and repurpose, too many fronts. An evacuation was possible, but it would have to be started soon...and even then it would be a tight race. This place was doomed, the Krieg were doomed...unless...He would need to call in some favors, and give some out as well. May the Emperor forgive him. He was going to do this anyway.
  864. Collecting the material was easy enough. Mandatory health inspections that included blood, hair, saliva, bone marrow and...other fluids were a snap to set up, and the Terranis citizenry rose to the occasion. Anyway, if anyone refused...well...then they chose their own fate of obscurity. It took time though, precious time that Krieg Commander 68 knew that he didn't truly have.
  865. Not if he wanted to complete his mad mission. No, that he would be able to complete.
  866. It was just that...even if his timetable was early...he would not be able to say goodbye.
  867. The Vitae Wombs were on Krieg. The Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis would not allow it to be anywhere else. He would need to take the materials with him. He would not leave it out of his sight for an instant. He would be the one who would supervise the...augmentation of the Vitae Wombs, and he would be the one to deal with the consequences.
  868. But, unless the Warp showed him a kindness that wasn't even comprehensible, by the time he arrived at Krieg, sent a message to Terranis, and received one back, at least ten years would have passed.
  869. He would have to leave them here. All of them. The people, his 'sons' and 'daughters,' the Commissar and his maid, all of them. Maybe a few of them would get off on their own, but if he did this then there would be no chance for evacuation, no effort made to divert Astartes to help, nothing. It was take this gamble...or stay here and try to hold back the Unstoppable.
  870. Krieg soldiers are only allowed to cry when they hear Regentropfen, as part of their trainin had been unable to expunge. It didn't 't matter to him, and 68 did not cry now. However, he found he had difficulty breathing, even with his gas mask on.
  871. Emperor forgive him, he would miss this place. But he was a decorated Krieg soldier, a Commander, a man who was supposed to make these hard decisions, and really there was no decision, just a fact.
  872. However, it made his heart ache when he informed his 'children' that he would be leaving...and they would not be following.
  873. And this cold fact kept him up at night, if this didn't work...then he would have ended the existence of the Krieg 68th Siege Regiment, for nothing.
  874.  
  875. 68's solution part II
  876. Krieg Commander 68 didn't ask for any news about Terranis. He forbade anyone to tell him anything about that...that...brief paradise. He spent all his time with the Tech Priests in the Vitae Womb chambers. They were a little awed by his dedication. Those long nights staring at countless Gs, As, Ts, and Cs on a screen, praying to the Emperor when he could, and just being an actual help, was impressive.
  877. Also they appreciated the fact that he was the only one who was trying to FIX the problem, rather than just argue in circles about it. Apparently, the policy of the Adeptus Mechanicus Biologis had become 'If it works we'll claim credit, but we're going to keep arguing anyway so that if it doesn't we'll execute 68 and claim he was working alone...possibly tainted if need be.'
  878. It was the longest two years of 68's life. This included the four years he spent in an extended siege in a hive that had lost all forms of plumbing and waste removal. Two years of work, prayer, and watching Krieg companies grow quietly desperate.The only odd thing was that one day he noticed that his personal account had a large amount of credits added to it, and a private message. It didn't have a date on it. 'For your outstanding babysitting service! Thanks!'
  879. Some dick was obviously playing a joke on him. 68 ignored it and went back to work.It was raining on the day of judgement. Krieg Commander 68 stood outside the facility, in full protective gear, looking up at the grey sky and seeing the quiet, burning, water drip from the sky. An old song played through his head. He took a deep breath through his filters and walked inside the cloning facility...he was considering whether it would be better to be executed or to do it himself.
  880. The enginseers and Tech Priests used complicated words and terms as they busied about. Talking part in gothic, part in those clicks and buzzes. Krieg Commander 68 had a better idea of what was going on using more simple terms.
  881. Basically, the Machine Spirit of the Vitae Wombs, and possibly the Emperor himself, were looking upon the genetic coup of the people of Terranis. Gazing deep into its essence and even their soul. Holding it up to comparison against the glorious spirit of the Krieg. Measuring it, testing it, and seeing if the soul of Terranis could be used to strengthen the soul of Krieg. That Terranis was worthy enough to infuse Krieg with enough spirit to enable these old relics to create new life.
  882. 68 closed his eyes, not that anyone could tell with his mask on, and placed his hand on the egg-like bulge on the machine. He believed in Terranis. He knew that they were worthy. They had never faulted in their faith in the Emperor; they built up their cities as fortresses, equal to the ones here. He had stared into the eyes of his 'son-in-law' and saw a quiet determination, a strength that said that here was a man that would stand and hold...if not for the Emperor, if not for his home, if not for his life, not even for the girl he loved with his entire being...but that he would hold...because that was what a human did.
  883. He wished he could tell the Machine Spirit of the battle they must have faced. How every man and woman on Terranis did face the Tyranid horde and not a one of them shirked in fear. How they made those bastard xenos pay for every inch, and for the years...yes years...they held their cities while around them the xeno horde shrieked for their souls.
  884. He begged the machine to accept Terranis. That t was worthy. That being on that planet hadn't made him and his soldiers soft, or made the Terranis hard, but had made them both greater. This was the Emperor's will. Krieg had stood on its own for so long, and now its strength was faltering...but the Emperor had shown them Terranis, shown them the strength there, and Krieg Commander 68 had sacrificed everything, and would even sacrifice more, just to ensure that in some way...in some form...both Krieg and Terranis would still stand.
  885. There was a rumble, and the machine let out that familiar acidic smell, and horrible whine it did whenever it was brought to function. Krieg Commander 68 took several steps back as Apothecaries stepped forward.He unclipped his laspistol from his side. He would do it himself, do it quickly, and then no one would say that the 68th had in its ranks any cowards or heretics. He took a deep breath and put his fingers around the handle. His thumb inside the trigger guard.
  886. The Apothecaries were still working on the machine; the usual tide of rust colored water pooled on the floor and went down the drain.68 set his pistol on half charge, that way it would just be enough for him and not hurt or damage anything else. He quietly said his prayer to the Emperor. Begging forgiveness for his folly. He had only been trying to help...he only wanted to keep Krieg alive...keep Terranis alive. He was so sor-
  887. The wail of the newborn child caused his eyes to snap open. He ripped off his gas mask and pushed through the crowd of Apothecaries. He had to see...he had to see...He stared open mouthed.Twins...the Vitae Womb had never, ever produced twins before. A boy and a girl. The girl had grey eyes, and the boy had hazel eyes...like one of his son-in-law. He stepped forward and held out his arms. One of the Apothecaries wrapped the children in sheets and handed them to Krieg Commander 68.
  888. He told himself that someone was playing Regentropfen...somewhere. That was why he was crying as he held his grandchildren.
  889. He gave them back to the Apothecary and the woman took the children away to begin their teachings and training. The Tech Priests and Enginseers were hailing the Emperor and the Omnissiah as they busied over the machine. Green lights turning on. Hailing the birth of the Krieg twins was a sign of the Emperor's Grace.
  890. Krieg Commander 68 received many accolades, trophies, letters of recommendation galore. There was talk of promotion but it didn't get far. The Commander passed away in his sleep two days after the birth of the twins.
  891. All in all...he thought it was more than a fair bargain.
  892. During that night, knowing he was about to fade off into the Emperor's Embrace, he noticed a flash in the hallway. Entering his room with nary a footfall came a raven-haired man in resplendent gold Power Armou looking him over. 68 looked to the man appraising him, waiting. he nodded.
  893.  
  894. The Epilogue
  895. Lord Commissar, Not special as to report yet, sir. We've been engaging the Orks for a while. The Astartes have been taking the lead, leaving us to hold what they've cleared out. It's been going well, only 4 executions for cowardice, and we haven't lost any ground to the filthy xenos.
  896. An interesting little side note. We have a battalion of Kriegers here, along with the rest of the rabble, and I noticed something new about them. I have no complaints, they've been exemplary troops, this is just something that struck my curiosity.They've added some new Iconography. A colony symbol that I never saw before. It stood out because usually all you ever see is the emblem for Krieg. I asked one of them what it was. They said it was the symbol for Terranis, and he (she? I can never tell) made the sign of the Aquila. Apparently the Krieg have made up this colony to be a form of afterlife for loyal, dutiful, Kriegers. It is the Emperor's reward for those who have redeemed themselves in His name.
  897. I looked into this, out of curiosity, and saw that there was a colony named Terranis once, but it's...well...disappeared. Either it was lost to the Astronomicon or the Adminstratum lost track of it, or something. Either way, all I can find is the record of a planet that had a Krieg garrison and was under immanent attack by a Tyranid fleet. Contact was lost before the invasion began, and nearly everyone assumes that the place was lost when the xenos hit it. I mean, one planet against an entire splinter fleet. I asked the next Krieg soldier I saw about this, why they believed that a planet that was by all reasoning most likely a dead rock, was their place of salvation and reward. The Krieger soldier just saluted and said the first words I've ever heard a Krieger speak.
  898. "Terranis holds.
  899.  
  900.  
  901. The Siege of Terrani
  902.  
  903. New Biomass
  904. I watched the line of refugees pass through the city gates. Each one calmly came up to me, or one of the others, and told me how many family they had, and what supplies they had brought with them. Things were going well, no family had arrived without either building supplies, weapons, or food.
  905. Also, we have heard that some people, the old, the sick, the ones who were brave...were staying in the evacuated cities. To serve as bait, and to draw the approaching Tyranids away from here. They also were filling the cities with enough spare promethium and homemade explosives that when it goes off, it will be as if the sun had appeared on the horizon for a brief moment.There have been a few people who are...less than confident at our chances. They're mostly garrisons from other worlds. The Valhallans are excited. However, I am proud to say that Terranians are holding fast. We fear...but we will hold. Our loved ones would not care for us, unless we did.
  906. Speaking of loved ones, she taps me on the shoulder. I smile and look at her questioningly. Is it time for shift change? She shakes her head and hands me a note.
  907. 'New biomass detected.'
  908. I frown and look at her with a serious face. What is it now? Another forest to clear cut and then burn? More animal herds to put down and feed into processors? Another lake to drain dry, harvest, and then refill with poisoned water?
  909. She shakes her head, takes my hand, and puts it against her stomach.
  910. I'm sorry to say it took me more than ten seconds to realize what she meant. I leap up from my chair and kiss her, hugging her tightly. A bunch of other men are shaking my hand and the women are hugging my beloved.
  911. Before I knew we would hold because it is what we would do.
  912. Now, I will hold Terranis, even on my own, for as long as it takes.
  913.  
  914. Primal Scream
  915. Her water broke during the second week of the initial attack. Of course, we were still trying to force the xenos that had landed inside the city out of the city, and the reclaimed area did NOT include the hospital.
  916. The only place that had safe water, and the closest equivalent of hospital tools was the Basilisk.
  917. There have probably been more crowded delivery rooms in the history of the Imperium, but I will be anything that on that night, we got put high on the list.
  918. 68b #2984 was screaming as she pushed and crushed my hand in her grip. I was screaming, encouraging her to keep going...as well as from the pain in my hand. The 1st and 2nd Lieutenants were screaming at each other to get more water, more towels, disinfect more things. The rest of the bar was shouting encouragement, or standing outside the entrance, firing the guns, and of course the Tyranids were screaming as well. It seemed like the entire galaxy was shrieking as my child was born.Thank the Emperor for that Apothecary though. He hadn't slept since the first night, and he was about to collapse, but he was there, helping my wife and barking out orders.
  919. Then...for me and her at least, the screaming stopped and the Apothecary called for a sheet, a large glass of Amasec, and a corner to collapse in. Then he put her in my arms. My daughter...she was beautiful. Green eyes, like my mother had, but that smooth skin and beautiful face like her mothers.
  920. 68b#2984 held her, and she was crying as if she was hearing Regentropfen from a full orchestra. There were cheers for a moment, and my wife and daughter were moved to the back where they would be secure. Someone patted me on the back, then put a lasrifle in my hand and positioned me at my post while they got some rest.
  921. I don't think I blinked my entire shift, and I must have shot nearly every xeno I saw. I was not going to let them get through. I had a wife. I had a daughter. I had a home. I would not fail them.
  922. Finally, someone tapped me on the shoulder again and took my place. I ran back to my wife and our little derivative...someone made that joke while I was on post and it's stuck apparently.
  923. We spent the night asleep in each other's arms. All three of us.
  924.  
  925. Cutting out an Infection
  926. Today wasn't a good day. Apothecaries like I rarely HAVE good days, but this was especially bad. We finally managed to secure the perimeter around the city, and we were giving medical examinations to the little pockets of survivors that were stuck inside the once infested areas. Thanks to the Emperor that I was there...but sometimes I'm not happy to be right.
  927. "I...I don't remember much." The woman said. She was holding onto her Krieg lover's hand tightly. "We were all in the bunker, holding as tightly as we could, and they came in from above. The entire roof caved in and they were swarming around us...shooting, screaming. I don't remember much after that. I remember fighting and running, and then I collapsed and the next thing I knew you had found me." She held the Krieg close.
  928. I stepped forward a frown on my face. I did not want to be right...but...
  929. "What weapon did you use to fight?"
  930. "I'm sorry?"
  931. "Did you grab a laspistol? A lasrifle? A piece of debris?"
  932. "I...I...don't remember?"
  933. "Did you kill any of the Xenos, or did you just run? You were found three blocks away from your initial location, did you run through buildings? Around side streets? Down an alley?"
  934. "I told you, I don't remember! Why are you asking me these questions?"
  935. I sighed. "Because...those who the xenos implant with genestealer implants commonly have their memories replaced with vague recollections of fighting and escape."
  936. Her eyes went wide, and I braced myself for the trouble that came with the initial denial. She looked into the gas masked eyes of her beloved Krieg, and then started to strip off her clothes.
  937. "Find it! Please...look for it, and tell me if it's there! I have to know!"
  938. That was surprising. Carefully I examined her body, as the rest of the people in the room held their breath. Sadly, I did find what I was looking for, a small line of paler flesh on her body, indicative of where the incision had been to place the genestealer gland inside her body.She let out a wail of sorrow that will haunt me for years...should I live that long, and she embraced her Krieg, weeping. Shaking her head and saying that she was sorry, over and over again.
  939. I fought back a smile when the Krieg took off HER mask and kissed the woman that she loved. Huh, little surprise for the xenos. It was tempting to just do nothing. To make sure that she knew what she couldn't do anymore...but these Terranians...honestly they humble me.
  940. After kissing her Krieg soldier, the woman resuited up into her armor, asked for a spare laspistol, as many grenades as they could spare, and a sword.She walked out past the barricade, into the fields where the xenos waited. She did not look back. I watched as that woman, whose name I never got, slaughtered at least eight of those monsters that she would have eventually birthed with her bare hands and sword...and then...she charged straight at the Hive Leader that was overseeing this side of the assault. By the time she reached it, there was little of her left. Lacerations all over her body, one arm had been bitten clear off, and a good chunk of her leg was missing...but that woman got close enough...and then pulled the pins on her grenades.I know that we cannot last forever. I know that I will die on this planet. But I do know that we will hold. Maybe a miracle will happen and someone will arrive with a ship...and when it does I will order the children aboard it. But I will stay. I am needed here. The Emperor placed me here, and I thank him for it. Very few people have the privilege of knowing that they will die when they are at their greatest. I will hold Terranis.
  941. Heal Thy Self
  942. I don't know what it is about this place. I have served as an Apothecary on many worlds. I have been alive for a long time. This is the first time, however, that I have fallen in love.
  943. I can't tell you when she first came. All I knew is that one day I realized that the gas masked person who had been assisting me for the past weeks has been the same person. I asked her to remove her mask, so I could check it, and make sure that the filter was working properly. She handed it to me and I saw her face.Soft smooth skin, pale blue eyes, and she has a small birthmark on her cheek. I just stared for a moment. I have looked at many 'pretty' women, but I could see that behind their faces there wasn't much more than emptiness or concern for the world that ended at the tip of their nose.In her face, I saw concern, duty, and a longing to help. To heal. She wanted to live, and make sure that every moment she was still alive she was helping. I also noticed that she was holding my hand.We kissed. A quick thing. Then I prepared her mask and returned to work. She handed me a requisition form for my own gas mask a few minutes later.
  944. The others call her Gail, not sure if that's a nickname or her real name. But it is what I call her. It has been so long since I have slept with actual warmth in my arms. There is a never ending list of things to do, people to cure, but I do not mind. The weariness in my arms has faded.The only thing I must say...I'm not sure if Gail is a Krieg or a Terranian. I don't think there's much of a difference anymore.
  945.  
  946. Pleasantries
  947. It was into week three when the people manning the East Wall got a surprise. The assault against the wall ceased, and out from the horde of chitin and howls emerged two humans! Well...human was a relative term. It was obvious that they had been corrupted by the Xeno. They had chitinous plates on their body, extra appendages, and...other assorted additions. However, their heads and faces were human, and when one of them spoke, the voice sounded normal."Terranis! Hear me Terranis for we speak for the Hive!" The man gestured to himself. "I am Pindao VIII...this is Jacobi II." He gestured to the woman at his side. One of the wall defenders frowned in confusion. Those were the names of planets that had fallen to the Tyranids.
  948. "We were as you are. Stones that tried to hold against the tide of the inevitable. We fought and tried to hold, but we fell. However, the glorious Hive saw our strength, and wished to add it to itself. Now, we are more, we are glorious. Inside each of us is the collective of all that our planets were. We rejoice in each other, and in the glory of the Hive."
  949. Jacobi II spoke. "The Hive has deemed that you are suitable. That your strength will be added to itself, and we shall all grow greater. End your foolishness, we will make the process swift and painless. Do not let yourselves be consumed for no reason...you have the chance to be greater! Imagine, all of eternity will be yours, dwelling within and among each other. Terranis will be Forever. What do you say?"
  950. There was no reply from the wall.Pindao VIII looked at Jacobi II. "What do you say Terranis? Do you accept the truth and your salvation?"
  951. Still no answer from the wall.
  952. "Are you afraid then? Are you cowering behind our measly fortifications, knowing that there is no hope?"
  953. Still, no answer.
  954. "Hey! You can't just IGNORE us!"A soldier popped up over the top of the wall. He had his mask off and was smoking a cigarette. He finished it and dropped it over the side.
  955. Piando and Jacobi just stared. "What are you doing?!" They shrieked.
  956. The soldier shrugged. "Well, we didn't want to interrupt you, so we decided to take a reload and smoke break. You going to keep going, or are you two done?" The soldier flicked an MRE wrapper at the two.
  957. The gestalt of the two planets just stared open mouthed. Their faces turning red with indignant rage. They WERE being ignored!
  958. "How DARE YOU!" Pindao said. "You do not know the force you face! Why only in the past few-"
  959. The soldier ducked his head back down and looked at his comrades. "Yeah they're going to be doing this for a while, might as well use this time to calibrate and aim the basilisks...anyone got another smoke?
  960.  
  961. Interrogator and the Krieger
  962.  
  963. Discovery
  964. Inquisitor Jakobi,
  965. As per your request, we have sent scout ships into the Tyranid held sectors you specified in preparation for the upcoming crusade. The mission has gone as planned, but there is one development that I feel deserves your attention.
  966. One of our scout ships was making a stealth run over the old colony world of Terranis, when they started picking up odd sensor readings on the surface. Further analysis and visual data confirmed there was one city still operational, even after all this time. Of course, direct communication was impossible due to the heavy Tyranid presence, but we sent in a Deathwatch kill team to investigate.
  967. Sir, are you aware of any Krieg regiments operating in this sector? The Deathwatch team reports that there's an entire damn city of them still on Terranis, diligently manning the defenses and going about their everyday duties as if the Tyranids were just a daily nuisance than any credible threat. As far as I know, the city is populated and defended by most of the original inhabitants.... and their children.They claim they're descended from the Krieg 68th, but all files I can find on them are classified. Please advise.
  968.  
  969. Interrogator Klein
  970. "They're Legit"
  971.  
  972. Inquisitor,
  973. I took your advice and investigated the matter further. Naturally, I was highly suspicious on how Imperial holdouts could have survived this long without support. I suspected they might have made a deal with the Ruinous Powers or the thrice-accursed Eldar and would have called for Exterminatus if Librarian Finch (an Ultramarine) didn't convince me otherwise. Of course, I thought of arguing against him, but the Librarian caught on and gave me that "I've been fighting Tyranids longer than you've been alive" look so I shut up and listened.
  974. Anyways, we in the Ordo Xenos know that the Tyranids are far more intelligent than the propaganda says they are. They are cold, calculating, and have a sense of purpose. Apparently, it's not uncommon for Tyranids to completely bypass pockets of resistance if they feel the effort will sacrifice too much biomass. Usually, this happens during the heat of battle, and only lasts from anywhere from hours to weeks. Lasting for YEARS is much rarer, and we all agreed it would be worth it to study what exactly made this little city so special.
  975. I was quite surprised at the reaction the Kriegers gave us when we landed. Normally, when I land with a Deathwatch team and I flash my Inquisitorial badge, people act like it's the apocalypse. Here, the Kriegers treated us like royalty (or whatever passes for Krieg royalty). In honor of our esteemed positions, they put us in the most exclusive lodgings they had, a repurposed hotel that was literally sitting on the frontlines. Apparently, to Kriegers, being as close to the frontlines as possible is considered a symbol of status.
  976. The local garrison commander promised to give us a tour of the city itself tomorrow morning. I still have my doubts, but Librarian Finch assures me that "they're legit".
  977.  
  978. City Tour
  979.  
  980. Inquisitor,
  981. I have to say, the city itself is unlike anything I've ever seen. Every single sector, every block, down to individual habs has been repurposed and refitted into fortifications. However, unlike the types seen on Cadia, these fortifications are oddly, I don't know how to describe this, "functional". Foxholes and trenches in the lawns seem to flow naturally with the landscape. Bunkers and pillboxes are lined with planters and flowers. Throne, even the streets were repainted and widened to accommodate Chimera and Leman Russ traffic, which is pretty much what everybody around here drives these days. The Kriegers seem to have integrated with the local population that defies description. I see locals dressed in Krieg uniforms and showing signs of Krieg discipline, while the natural Kriegers show little bits of humanity and emotion I never thought they were capable of.
  982. Of course, they weren't the only ones here. There were a number of refugees and Guard remnants that had retreated here when their respective defensive zones faltered. The largest by far had to be a regiment of Valhallans who were stationed in a neighboring city. Apparently they had fought so hard in the initial invasion that they were pretty much considered blood brothers and honorary Kriegers.
  983. Their masks hide it, but I'm pretty sure the Astartes are just as amazed and awed by what they're seeing as well. And we almost completely pass over all of the detailed scenarios and battle plans the Kriegers have cooked up to repel Tyranid raids. The Tyranids as a whole have essentially given up trying to assault the city, and just send token forces of only a few hundred thousand lifeforms to probe the lines, which the Kriegers repel fairly easily.
  984. They promised that they have a real good show for us tomorrow. I should try getting some sleep, but the goddamn shrieking from the Tyranid hordes just over the horizon keeps me up all the time.
  985.  
  986. A Simple Loan
  987. Inquisitor,
  988. I... I don't know how to say this, as the very idea of it is patently ridiculous, but I don’t know how to put in any other way...
  989. I think I just got engaged to a Krieger girl.
  990. Now, before you start dialing the Assassinorium, let me explain.So remember that show the Kriegers were talking about? Part of their defensive line contains a river that's very good at bogging down Tyranid advances. However, every few weeks, so many carcasses start piling up that they pretty much dam the river. The Kriegers send engineer teams out to clear the obstructions before they get too troublesome.Now, as the Kriegers are prepping, I see one of the engineers, she couldn't have been older than twenty Terran years, with a bit of panic on her face. I can tell since she's the only one without a gas mask. I ask her what's wrong and she starts frantically pointing to her squadmates and I realize she's lost her gas mask. So, being the gentleman I am, I loan her my mask. The upside to this is that I have an excuse to stay behind and "observe from a distance" without offending the Kriegers.
  991. So anyways, the whole mission goes smoothly. They blow the bio dam, and get ambushed by a brood of gaunts. Fortunately, the Kriegers and Astartes were only outnumbered by a margin of six to one, so they managed to get back with minimal casualties.Anyways, later that night, I return to my room and I see two Kriegers standing there. One's the girl I helped out before, and the other is the garrison commander. The commander hands me a written note, which was an "Official Notice of Unit Transfer". He just basically assigned the girl to my personal retinue!Now, I learned later on that in Krieg culture, trading or loaning gas masks was a real big deal to them. Not surprising, since they treat those things like a second heart. Anyways, it's a sign of extreme respect for a Krieger to give or receive a gas mask from someone else. I should've caught on to this earlier. I noticed that some of the Valhallans were carrying around Krieger issue masks instead of their own. So I may as well have just asked this girl to marry me. Oh, and before I forget, her name is Private Krieg Female Model 68-Derivative #0153. They just call her "Sam" for short.
  992. I can hear the Astartes, especially the Space Wolf one, laughing and joking about it in the other room.Oh Throne, what have I gotten myself into?
  993.  
  994.  
  995. Engagement Party
  996. Inquisitor,
  997. Well, I have to admit, the situation has not turned out as badly as I thought. Every morning at 0700, Sam wakes me, and she already has breakfast made and my kit cleaned. I swear, she's part servitor or something. However, she's disciplined, quiet, and extremely polite, unlike a number of other Guardsmen I had the misfortune of including in my retinue in the past. The odd thing I notice though, is that unlike most of the other Kriegers, she takes off her mask whenever we're in the hotel room or alone, and she doesn't need permission to speak, though she rarely does anyways.
  998. So, we go through this routine for the first few days. I'm still in panic mode, so I try not to notice her. Whenever I go out, she follows me exactly five paces behind me and matches my speed perfectly with military precision.
  999. Things started to change one day when I decided to root out any possible genestealer cults. I start checking all the regular places: bars, restaurants, clubs, the works. The last place on my list is this place called Basilisk, which by far seems to be the most popular hang out, for the Kriegers at least.
  1000. So me and Sam are sitting in our own booth. She's got her mask off so she can eat her order of waffles (apparently it's one of their favorite non-ration dishes), and she decides to finally ask what I'm doing. I tell her I'm checking for genestealer infiltrators and she asks me how they infiltrate. I decide to break policy and tell her they spread by taking advantage of human sexual activity. Then she asks me what THAT is. Apparently, her parents thought it best she learn that particular subject on her own.You can imagine the look on my face when she popped this question on me.
  1001. So... what else can I do? I explain the whole process to her in the most polite and restrained way I can and she just starts nodding furiously as she takes it all in. So then I decide to shift the conversation to something a little less awkward and ask her what the "68-Derivative" part of her full name meant.
  1002. She scarfs down her last waffle and orders a second round. While we're waiting, she explains. Apparently, the original Kriegers who were stationed here, the 68As, were born and bred in the Vitae Womb back on Krieg. The 68-Derivatives were the result of Krieg/Terranian crossbreeding, which would explain all of the little behavioral differences she had compared to pure Kriegers. It's at that moment that I finally notice her eyes.Before that moment, every Krieger I had seen, on and off Terranis had uniform grey eyes, as if all the life and vitality had been sucked out of them when they were born. Sam, on the other hand, had vivid, emerald green eyes that enhanced her image in a subtle but acute way when I finally noticed it...Then the moment was entirely ruined when my Deathwatch Astartes arrived.
  1003. Okay, here's to anybody besides the Inquisitor who may be reading this. I have a 5 man Deathwatch team under my command. There's Librarian Finch, an Ultramarine, who's a bit more "unconventional" than his brethren. Brothers Culles and Zareal are from the Blood and Dark Angels respectively. They're both moody and unnecessarily mean. Brother Logar is a Space Wolf and the squad idiot/drunkard. Finally, Brother Angrius is an Imperial Fist, and pretty much the bedrock that keeps the other Marines from killing each other.
  1004. So, Culles and Zareal do their usual thing and sulk in the darkest corners they can find, glaring at anybody who dares look at them. Finch and Angrius get into an arm wrestling match, which is said to have lasted for two days straight, but that's another story. The highlight of the evening was when Logar started teaching the Kriegers and locals a bunch of popular Space Wolf drinking games. I can tell you now, it's hard to get a Krieger drunk, but within a few hours, we had a building full of buzzed Kriegers having a good time.
  1005. Then, as expected, Logar stands on a table (don't even ask me how the table was able to support his weight) and challenges people to try drinking a shot of that poisonous swill Space Wolves love to chug so much. The stuff's powerful enough to knock a Carnifex on its ass.
  1006. Though I have to say, despite her age, Sam can hold her liquor amazingly well. She managed to stay conscious for about four seconds. To put things in perspective, the current bar record is six. Then I realize I'm going to have to carry her back to the hotel, which is going to be a pain because like every good Krieger, Sam's got all of her combat gear on. Fortunately, I manage to hitch a ride in a Chimera that seemed to be repurposed into a public transit vehicle. I could have sworn the Kriegers in the vehicle with me were grinning stupidly behind those masks when they saw me let Sam rest her head in my lap.
  1007. She's sleeping in my bed right now. Didn't seem right to dump her on that little cot she set up for herself when she moved in. I should consider asking the commander to transfer us to a larger room.
  1008. Want to sleep, but I have to make sure the Astartes are behaving.
  1009.  
  1010. The Warp Hath No Fury...
  1011. Inquisitor,
  1012. I know this is highly unprofessional, but lately I've found that I've been shirking my routine duties and spending more time with Sam. It was just small things at first, like taking short detours to the armory or the gas mask supplier for little errands she had to carry out. It soon escalated to having meals together and now we spend almost every night in Basilisk. Apparently her main draw is the piano player who works there, who always plays this song called Regentropfen at closing time. She'd wrap her arms around mine and tear up whenever that haunting melody played. I swear, every time she does that, my augmetic heart briefly shorts out. I have to remember to obtain a recording of that song, whenever possible. She seems to really love it.
  1013. We spent the remainder of my stay on Terranis doing seemingly random, but fulfilling tasks. Replacing damaged Chimera engines, ranging artillery, fortifying fixed positions, assembling weapons, the works. And every time I'd get bored or frustrated, Sam would come help me with a reassuring smile. I mean, I can't stay made whenever I look at that face and those beautiful green eyes.
  1014. Well, this hasn't gone unnoticed. Zarael, while passing by us, muttered something about me "being so weak as to be corrupted by that heretical bitch". Sam heard it too and HEADBUTTED him in the face!
  1015. Now there's no way for me to properly describe how a regular human girl can properly headbutt an Astartes who is easily at least 2-3 feet taller than her, but she somehow pulled it off. Fortunately for her, and unfortunately for Zarael, she was wearing her helmet and he wasn't. She actually managed to draw blood from that attack!
  1016. Now, I think Zarael was caught off guard by that as much as I was, and he just staggered backward and froze for several seconds. Thank the Emperor Angrius was nearby, and he pulled Zarael aside before he could fully comprehend what had happened and tear Sam's arms out of their sockets.
  1017. Then she takes off her gas mask, and I see there are tears all over her face. At first, I thought she hurt herself, but then she pointed to the mask itself. The thing got trashed when she smashed her head into Zarael's skull. The lenses were cracked and the breather unit was crushed in. I ask her what's wrong and she tells me she broke my mask.
  1018. Then I realize that the mask actually IS mine. She had been wearing it as her own this entire time! I offer to get her a replacement, but she shakes her head and says, "But this is the one you gave me!"
  1019. And... that settled it. We spent the rest of the day going from armory to armory trying to find a mask repair specialist. It was a rather high end Inquisitorial-issue mask, so I had to pay a small fortune in thrones to have it fixed, but the look on Sam's face when she got it back made it all worthwhile.
  1020. Meanwhile, other Astartes found out about Zarael's little run in with Sam. To this day, they have still not let him live that down.
  1021.  
  1022. Bad News
  1023. Inquisitor,
  1024. I know this sounds extremely unprofessional and borderline heretical, but I honestly wanted to stay in a little city on Terranis forever. Unlike the vast towers of Holy Terra, the idyllic fields on Hagia, or anywhere on any planet in this Emperor blessed Imperium, staying on Terranis was... satisfying.
  1025. Unfortunately, my astropaths have informed me that a massive warp storm is coming and threatens to trap us in this system for who knows how long. If it were up to me, I would have told them to stuff it and leave without me. But... I have my duty to the Emperor and the Inquisition. We only had three days to leave before the storm arrived. I know Sam would accompany me, but what about the other people trapped here?As you know, Inquisitorial policy strictly forbids us from taking in refugees, but I found a way around it by instead recruiting them as part of my retinue. Our ship can fit an extra two hundred people on board. I will draft an official announcement. I've called down the Astartes and a company of Stormtroopers to prepare for the inevitable chaos that will follow.
  1026.  
  1027. Departure
  1028. Inquisitor,
  1029. The city's reaction is not quite what I thought. Instead of the mass hysteria and panic that usually accompanied hasty evacuations, this one was oddly quiet and orderly. It was such a surreal sight that me, the Stormtroopers, and even the Astartes were a little unnerved.
  1030. Finding volunteers to leave with us was far more difficult than I imagined. Nobody felt like leaving. Even the refugees decided to stay, as they were tired of running and if they were going to die, there was no better place than on Terranis. Only a handful of our slots were taken by refugees, roughly forty. About sixty passengers were from the various shattered non-Krieg Guard units, though there were absolutely zero Valhallans among them. The Kriegers that came with us were literally badgered into doing so by their parents. They're all Derivatives like Sam, and a bit unhappy at having to leave, but didn't have much choice.As our ship left orbit, me and Sam stood together on the observation deck, neither of us speaking a word. In my head, I knew on paper that Terranis had no chance of surviving. Eventually, they would run out of supplies, or attrition would wear down their numbers to the point where the Tyranids could easily overrun them. Then again, on paper, I thought it was humanly impossible for Kriegers to get along with anybody else, and here I am, engaged to one.
  1031. "Do you think they'll be okay?" Sam finally asks me as we prepare for the Warp jump.
  1032. "Absolutely."
  1033.  
  1034. Parting Words
  1035. ++VOX TRANSMISSION EXCERPT++
  1036. ++COMMUNICATION BETWEEN [CLASSIFIED] AND KRIEG 68TH REGIMENT CENTRAL COMMAND+
  1037. +COMMANDER: Have a safe trip, sir. Good luck on your mission.
  1038. [CLASSIFIED]: You too, Commander. I'm sorry we didn't get the chance to talk before we left. What are you going to do now?
  1039. COMMANDER: What we've been ordered to do and what we've been doing all this time, sir. Hold position and await relief.
  1040. [CLASSIFIED]: By the way, you hotel was magnificent. Better than some resort worlds I've been to. It's a pity I never had a chance to repay you for your hospitality.
  1041. COMMANDER: No need, sir. Just take good care of my daughter.
  1042. [CLASSIFIED]: Wait wha-
  1043. ++CONTACT BROKEN DUE TO WARP JUMP++
  1044.  
  1045. The SS Krieg
  1046. Inquisitor,
  1047. It's been two weeks since our departure from Terranis. Our Navigator says that the warp storms around the planet are still strong, and any attempts to contact the planet via astropath have failed. Communication with Terranis has effectively been severed, possibly forever.
  1048. As you know, our starship, the Galactic Frontier, and its captain, Captain Glovel present themselves as a high class passenger transport and occasionally moonlight for the Ordo Xenos. This has served as a number of useful functions, such as being able to scout and insert agents into high security systems. I've received your report about increased Tau activity near the frontier world of Odessa, which is of great concern since it is a resort world frequented by many high ranking Imperial officials. Captain Glovel is confident he can get us to Odessa without attracting suspicion from the Tau, but that requires us to stop at Tarson, the Adminstratum hub for the sector. The passengers we ferry to Odessa will be a sufficient cover.
  1049. However, I'm more concerned with our new passengers. The refugees and Guardsmen have adjusted well enough, and the majority have opted to step off on Tarson and make new lives there. The Derivatives, though, are another problem. I don't feel confident that they can properly integrate into society on their own, and from how their transfer orders were written, they consider me their superior officer.
  1050. I have command of a hundred Kriegers and have no clue what to do with them
  1051.  
  1052. Needs More Rum
  1053. Inquisitor,
  1054. Taking the detour to Tarson would add another four weeks to our travel time, with an additional three to drum up and load passengers. This means the Derivatives have... quite a bit of free time.
  1055. I decided to give Sam a personal tour of the ship, and she was utterly fascinated by the entire thing. Being an engineer, she has quite a knack for mechanical and technological devices. However, the closest thing she's ever had to spaceflight were a few rides in Valkyries, so I felt this would be an educational opportunity.
  1056. So I give her the full tour, through the bridge, the passenger compartments, engineering decks, hangar, the works. As I'm doing this, she's taking notes and drawing sketches of the ship with the speed and precision of an autoscribe servitor. No doubt to share this information with her cousins (since all the original 68s were basically siblings).
  1057. Oh, I forgot to mention. I used my Inquisitorial authority to promote Sam to First Lieutenant of the 1st Terranian Platoon. I've delegated all command matters concerning the derivatives to her. Of course, I get zero complaints from the other Derivatives. At least, I assume that's what their silence meant.
  1058. For the last part of the tour, I decided to show her the "spider holes", the secret tunnels and accessways every ship had. I have a few acquaintances among some of the crew, who are fifth generation, so they know every nook and cranny like the back of their hand. I show her a secret compartment the crew likes to use to stash liquor. Unfortunately, somebody forgets to tell me that the machine spirit for the interior door control is fried, so me and Sam are effectively trapped in there.
  1059. We were on the engineering decks, close the engine, where the temperatures are as low as 95-100 degrees Fahrenheit on a good day, and that's if the cooling systems are at optimum performance. The crew usually wears cooling suits and rehydration units when they work down here, but we didn't intend to stay there for any longer than five minutes. I'm wearing my carapace armor (as an Inquisitorial agent, you can never be too careful), and Sam is in her regular Krieg attire.Then, she starts stripping her clothes, right in front of me! The helmet and mask are the first to go, then her trenchcoat, her shirt, and then starts unbuckling her belt [ERROR]
  1060. Sorry, about that. I was trying to delete that last paragraph but the damn replacement servitor we picked up from Terranis never seems to work quite right. Now, in my head, I know it's just Sam's pragmatic nature to strip off unnecessary clothing in order to keep her body temperature stable. But the rest of my physical and cognitive functions are getting mixed signals, if you know what I mean.
  1061. Then, Sam looks at me and just says, "You'll get hyperthermia if you stay dressed like that."
  1062. Now, I won't get into specifics for fear of this servitor malfunctioning again, but I can say there was a bit of a physical scuffle and Sam won [ERROR]
  1063. Dammit, I screwed up again. So we were stuck there for about half an hour, drinking illicit alcohol and bemoaning our fate. Or at least, I was. Sam kept trying to snatch the bottle from me, complaining that I'd just dehydrate faster. Fortunately, it seemed that the Derivatives had been busy as well. When they noticed we were missing, they organized search teams among themselves and combed the ship. A pair of them, Wedge and Biggs, found us. I ordered them to never speak of what they saw in that room, but the way they bobbed their heads in agreement told me that was the one order they didn't intend to follow.
  1064. Now every Derivative knows about what happened between me and Sam, and they'd give us the little, appreciative nods whenever they pass by. Thank the Emperor they're tight lipped enough that the rest of the crew hasn’t found out.
  1065. Scratch that, the look on Finch's face tells me that might change very soon.
  1066.  
  1067. Pimp My ShipInquisitor,The Derivatives have been incredibly productive since they've come onto the ship. I've managed to sneak some peeks at Sam's notebook, and I realize that they're not just notes on the ship itself, but an entire list of structural defects and security flaws. The Derivatives have been incredibly busy, and are literally reworking the ship from the bottom up. I have no idea where they're getting the tools and materials from, but they're reinforcing bulkheads, rerouting power lines, and overhauling old machinery. They even managed to badger or persuade the crew into helping them, though I suspect a couple are going along as an excuse to spend more time with them.
  1068. Sam of course, has been leading the effort. I asked her why she's doing this, and she just gives me this weird look. It's like this odd mix of anticipation and concern that I can't quite place. Either way, she's already completely redone the Inquisition controlled decks in that typical Krieg "functional fortification" style and is working their way through engineering. The chief Techpriest on board is delighted at the massive jump in performance and efficiency the ship is showing. I don't have the heart to tell him the truth, because I think he'd try and throw Sam out the airlock for tech heresy if I do.
  1069. The Astartes aren't complaining. They actually feel more at home, with the Derivatives reworking their quarters to accommodate their larger size and weight, and they're very appreciative of the chapel they added in. Glovel has complained to me that somebody had stolen gold ingots from the cargo holds, but I just attribute it some greedy crewmen.
  1070. Despite this, me and Sam have managed to pick up a new hobby, exploring more of the secret compartments and crawlspaces of the ship. Take that as you will.
  1071.  
  1072. Business Trip
  1073.  
  1074. Inquisitor,
  1075. We've finally arrived on Tarson, but the new orders I've picked up from the local Inquisition base have told me to go the Administratum center here and erase all pertinent files referring to Terranis, and they have apparently been signed off by your hand. Is that true?
  1076. Obviously, I decided to keep the Derivatives on a tight leash. None of them were to leave the ship or the orbital dock without my personal approval. I don't want to risk losing any of them in the chaos of Tarson's hive cities.
  1077. So while Glovel is rounding up passengers for the voyage to Odessa, I'm choosing my retinue for the data scrubbing mission. I have Gottwald, one of the ship's techpriests and a specialist in logic engines and data management, which I need for the specific objective at hand. I also thought that bringing the Astartes as security was overkill, so I opted to bring Sam and four Derivatives instead: Wedge, Biggs, and the Twins.
  1078. Now, the Twins are just that, identical twins. They both look and act pretty much the same, and are so in sync that not even Kriegers can tell the difference between them. I hate to say this, but their only defining traits are their breast sizes. Chastel is the "bigger one", while Hista is the "smaller one". Just don't use those terms when they're around, though.
  1079. So, the scrubbing goes smoothly. We go in, I flash my signet, and I'm basically the goddamn Emperor for the day. Meanwhile, the Derivatives are standing guard over Gottwald as he does his thing, keeping eagle eyes on the Administratum clerks.
  1080. Of course, I don't tell any of them the true nature of what we're doing, not even Sam. I don't know how they'd react if I told them we were actively trying to bury any knowledge of their homeworld. Sam trusts that whatever I'm doing, it's following the Emperor's will.
  1081. I hope I am, too.
  1082. Then, I make the biggest mistake of the day. Once Gottwald is done, I decide to take a bathroom break and before I know it, the Derivatives somehow scatter to the four winds. Wedge and Biggs are the ones I find first, since they're the most predictable. Wedge is a mischievous little rascal and runs this small black market for his cousins. Biggs is a straight arrow who always tries to rein in Wedge's roguish behavior, but they're essentially blood brothers. I never see either of them apart. I'm not surprised when I see Wedge hijacking a truck filled with crates of waffles "liberated" from one of the building's cafeterias. Biggs is riding shotgun, and they pull out of the building and head straight for the spaceport before I can stop them.The Twins tried to tail Wedge and Biggs when they broke off, but got lost in that dreadfully designed labyrinth of a building. I run into them on the way back from Wedge and Biggs' little heist. They're trying to decide which direction to go, and I notice this small army of Administratum clerks tailing them like Lictors, like these are the only girls they've seen within 20 feet of them. The Twins are completely oblivious to this and I come and order them to accompany me back to the ship. I'm in a particularly foul mood in this point so I cheer myself up by giving a smug grin at the clerks as I lead the twins away. They were so green with envy that they could have used it to transform Tarson into an agri-world!
  1083. The moment I start thinking about finding Sam, she's already behind me as if she had always been there the entire time. I notice she's carrying a few dataslates she didn't have before. I don't manage to catch what data was on them, but it must have been important to her to go through such lengths to obtain it.Anyways, I'm tired. I'll investigate later.
  1084.  
  1085. Love Boat
  1086. Inquisitor,
  1087. We’ve finally left Tarson and are well on our way to Odessa with six hundred passengers. I’ve forbidden the Derivatives or any Inquisitorial staff enter the passenger compartments, but I let slip the fact that we’re carrying high ranking officials, civil servants, as well as their typical entourages. They literally began fortifying the outer edges of the passenger compartments. Bunkers and strongpoints have been constructed at critical chokepoints, the bulkheads are reinforcement with another three inches of adamantite plating, and they even have an Earthshaker cannon mounted on the approach that connects to the cargo bays and service hangar.
  1088. None of this is going unnoticed, however. The passengers are convinced that the ship is haunted or possessed or something, and I can’t blame them. What else would you think when you hear random clanking and grinding noises in the night?
  1089. And that’s not even the half of it. In some freak coincidence, I run into Interrogator Modo, from the Ordo Hereticus. You should remember him, or more likely his boss, Inquisitor Frollo. Apparently, he’s on some undercover mission, tailing a PDF general who might be taking bribes from several cultist cells. So yeah, he invites me to his stateroom so we can catch up on old times.
  1090. I bring Sam with me because there’s really no way for me to convince her not to tag along. We step inside, and then I see a trio of Sisters of Battle in his room. Well, this catches me off guard, until I realize that this is some sort of veiled boast directed at me. He gets to hang out with the hot nuns while I’m stuck with those starchy Astartes. And because they’re supposed to be undercover, they’re not even wearing their power armor, just civilian garb that’s conveniently form fitting enough to show off their curves and physique.
  1091. (Damn! I forgot my trip and forgot to properly format it, too!)
  1092. Well I’m not about to let myself get one upped by the Hereticus, and Sam gets the same idea. She casually pulls off her gas mask and as she takes off her helmet, she does that weird, oddly alluring hair swish that girls are wont to do, especially in the movies. What I didn’t exactly expect to happen was to have her kiss me on the cheek afterwards. Boy did she get some venomous glares from the SoBs.
  1093. Modo concedes that we’re at a draw, and in return from him telling me which of the passengers most likely have connections to the Tau, I tell him about how I picked up the Derivatives from Terranis, and even took him down to the lower decks to introduce some of them. I can tell you right now, sparks flew between two the Sisters and Wedge and Biggs, and they weren’t the angry kind. They both scribbled something down on a note and handed it them. I never found out what it said, but whatever those words were, they the two SoBs light up as red as Blood Angel armor.
  1094. Wedge and Biggs then fist bump at their latest victory. Both of them have gotten very close to Logar, since they all have so much in common in the field of wreaking havoc on the ship. Logar taught them the fist bump, which he says is a traditional custom in Space Wolf society. He calls it a “brofist”, and Wedge and Biggs do it at practically every opportunity they can once they learned it. Logar himself can’t do it much since he’s break a normal person’s arm, and none of his Deathwatch squaddies are into that sort of stuff.
  1095. Sam sees this and then holds her fist out in front of me, with this expecting look in her eyes. It’s at this point I realize the Derivatives have learned another “important life lesson” today.
  1096.  
  1097. New Arrivals
  1098. Inquisitor,
  1099. We've finally reached Odessa and are in orbit around the planet. Not surprisingly, our sensors picked up Tau ships lurking at the edge of the system. While Odessa is still an Imperial world, the Tau are still allowed access in a limited fashion for "diplomatic" purposes. The Munitorium and Administratum aren't fooled, however, so Odessa has a significantly higher ratio of off planet Guardsmen and Arbites garrisoning the world. Because multiple shuttle flights would seem suspicious, I decide to set up our base of operations in the Arbites headquarters. I only take a small force, just myself, Sam, the Deathwatch team, and twenty Derivatives. I keep the rest on the Galactic Frontier, to keep the ship secure against any possible Tau incursions. I'm confident they'll behave, since I made sure to take the troublemakers with me. Me and the Astartes have spent the last two weeks teaching the Derivatives everything we knew about Tau behavior, tactics, technology, and anatomy.The larger problem is actually getting my force to the planet unnoticed. The Tau have numerous agents and infiltrators among the Odessan populace, including much of the planetary government. That means I absolutely cannot be seen trying to pass five Astartes and twenty geared and highly trained soldiers through customs at the spaceport, and my signet will just draw more attention than I need.
  1100. So, I order the Derivatives to take off their combat gear, stow it in the cargo crates, and change into civilian garb. I also have the Astartes sealed into the crates to both protect the gear and conceal them. Now is the tricky part, convincing the customs officers that these "tourists", in Finch's words, "were legit". So I come up with a plan.
  1101. I deliberately set down the shuttle near the custom officer's shift change, so he's more likely to get things done in a hurry. Disguised as the shuttle pilot, I plant the seed of doubt when I tell him that carrying a shuttle full of 20 of those idiots is unbearable. Now, their cover is that they're tourists from the nearby agri-world Redwood VI, who have a particularly nasty reputation in Odessa as being universally stupid and annoying. Then I get Wedge and Biggs to come up first, carrying the ID cards for all the passengers. They did exactly what I told them to do, be very annoying and ask a lot of unnecessary questions, as well as blow seemingly mundane things out of proportion. The biggest highlight was when Wedge literally grabbed the customs officer by the collar and pointed at a passing Tau Water Caste diplomat, exclaiming she was barely wearing any clothes, much less a Xenos.
  1102. Now, I'm pretty sure that was completely genuine on Wedge's part. Up to that point, the only visual reference of a Tau any of the Derivatives had was fuzzy pictures and artist interpretations. Plus, this particular Tau was wearing a very loose, very revealing white robe that exposed a lot of chest and leg skin.
  1103. Then a little punch to my kidneys from Sam snaps me back to the situation at hand. The poor customs officer finally loses his nerve and just swipes all the customs cards through the reader in one go and lets us pass.We reached the Arbites headquarters with no issue. The Astartes were a little cramped and grumpy, but nothing a few promises of knocking around some Tau couldn't handle. Anyways, Odessa days are long and nights are incredibly short. Better get some sleep while I still can.
  1104.  
  1105. It's Up To You
  1106. Inquisitor,
  1107. I have to say that the Odessan Arbites are an amazingly polite and hardy bunch. They'd have to be, to survive on a planet where a quarter to a third of the population has been corrupted by Tau influence.
  1108. Yes, the situation is far worse than we initially thought. The Tau have been violating their treaty terms for the past twenty years by handling direct trade agreements with the planetary government, as well as setting up special "public diplomatic" districts within the capital city. The Guard and Arbites try their best to curb their influence, but the Tau have the majority of the PDF, or at least their leadership, in their thrall so they lack the manpower and resources to face them head on. Fortunately, there is a way we can liberate this planet.
  1109. Apparently, every few years, the Tau host a sort of diplomatic party on one of the orbital stations. They use the event to strengthen existing ties as well as try and curry favor with the officials that are still undecided. Every single public official, politician, and business tycoon will be there, as well as the highest ranking Tau leaders. The Arbites are confident that if some unfortunate incident were to wipe out Odessa's primary leadership, they would easily be able to take control of the planet in the ensuing chaos.Unfortunately, this requires at least two agents to infiltrate the event, and the identities of almost all of the Arbites are already known to the Tau. The logic engines also calculated the type of attendees that would attract the least attention would be a seemingly engaged or married couple.You can guess where all the heads turned.
  1110. This means it's time to go shopping.
  1111.  
  1112. Shopping Spree
  1113. Inquisitor,
  1114. It was a rather interesting day, spending time among the rich socialites that lived in the upper levels of the capital hive. It's been ages since I've even considered touching my personal expense account, but the Inquisition handles most of my expenses anyway, and if showing Sam a good time isn't worth splurging a little, what is?
  1115. Well, first things first, we have to get the proper clothes. I decide we should get my outfit first, but Sam is literally pulling me along like a dog on a leash. She of course is not wearing her standard Krieg issue kit, but more casual fare. When we reach the tuxedo shop, I don't even get the chance to pick out my own suit. Sam just walks up to the clerk, lists my measurements to the millimeter, and tells him exactly what he should make and out of what material.
  1116. It's actually a very nice suit, designed for comfort and maximum user protection. It's climate controlled, and the synthetic materials weaved into it are strong enough to withstand blades, hard and laspistol rounds, and even the occasional bolter shell.
  1117. However, things take a turn for the awkward when it's Sam's turn to get an outfit. I've never been in a women's fashion store before, much less buy women's clothing, and Sam has no idea what to wear either, having always been most comfortable in her combat uniform. So, we pretty much spend the entire day burning through dress after dress, but none seem quite right to either of us.But finally, as if the Emperor Himself were watching us, it was like he just snapped his fingers and everything seemed right. We settled on a very simple, yet sexy black gown that seemed to complement her uniformly pale skin. We also added on a little red scarf to add some more contrast and color. If we didn't attract attention, we sure did now.
  1118. So, we spent the rest of the day getting Sam some nice jewelry. Emeralds, in fact, since they matched her eyes so nicely. Sam was smiling ear to ear the entire time. Then, we thought "what the hell", and went and bought ourselves waffles that cost over 3000 thrones before we returned to our safehouse. We both agreed they were pretty good, but the Twins could make better ones out of scratch any day.
  1119. Oh yeah, we also passed by several Tau that day as well. The male ones really didn't pay me any mind, but I swear, I must have been giving something off, because the female Tau just wouldn't leave me alone. See, I'm no Xenophile or anything, but these Tau are just humanoid enough that the attractive ones can really start confusing your senses, among other things. Fortunately, Sam would shoo them away with a glare that could melt a Baneblade, and I'd have to convince her I wasn't interested in them at all, lest she turn that glare on me.
  1120. We were still high on some sort of euphoria the events of the day put us on (or maybe it was all that sugar stuffed in those waffles), but we didn't feel much like sleeping that night. We "played" some rounds of "Prisoner of War". Despite her innocent looking outer appearance, she can be pretty naughty, especially when she steals my restraints- [ERROR]
  1121.  
  1122. The Name's Bond...
  1123. Inquisitor,
  1124. So now's the dreaded day of the operation. The Arbites have managed to sneak my and Sam's gear into one of the station's cargo holds, since we can't carry any of it ourselves. With some help from the Administratum back on Tarson, we have foolproof papers identifying me and Sam as visiting dignitaries from Tarson. While it was good for getting us in with no questions asked, I think it backfired because everybody kept trying to curry favor with us due to our "positions". I could tell Sam was really nervous. Her hands were trembling and had my arm in an iron grip, as if she were afraid of getting separated from me in the crowd. I couldn't blame her, though. Spending all that time in that stuffy uniform and mask, she's probably not used to being among so many strangers at once in such close proximity.Plus, I'd never leave her alone anyways. Some of the looks the male guests are throwing her way give me the creeps. However, the problem wasn't getting past the partygoers; that was easy. The main challenge was fooling the Tau, who were sure to put us under a bit more scrutiny.We manage to slink away from the main party and slip into a maintenance hall. Now, I don't know what Sam's childhood was like, but apparently her parents taught her how to make a weapon out of ANYTHING. She managed to silently dispatch six PDF guards with a combination of a mop and cleaning rag. I don't really want to get into details. Afterward, we get close to the supply drop, when we run into a female Fire Warrior.Now, fortunately, this particular Fire Warrior was not wearing her carapace armor, just a lighter ballistic vest and armed with a simple pulse pistol. Without hesitating, Sam tackles the Fire Warrior to the ground and they start punching, clawing, and rolling on the ground as they try and wrestle for the pulse pistol. I move in to help, but the pulse pistol gets knocked into a vent and out of our reach. Sam risks a brief second to rapidly point down the hall. I get the point and run for our gear stash.
  1125. I sprint and grab the bag containing our armor and weapons, and dash back. It's quite a pity, since I had had this entire dramatic entrance sequence and witty one liner cooked up when I rescue Sam from the Tau. But once I get there, I see Sam's already handled the situation. Apparently, during the catfight -I mean- brawl, Sam managed to use her scarf to strangle the Fire Warrior into submission.
  1126. So here's Sam, sitting on top of a female Tau, with both their clothes torn and ripped from the fight. I have to admit, heretical images floated through my head, but I banished them quickly. That was the sort of stuff that makes those guys in the Ordo Malleus such nutcases. After Sam gets back into her Krieg gear, we set about interrogating our new Tau prisoner, and were surprised at what she had to say.
  1127. Apparently, the Tau are not nearly as united as we initially thought they were. The prisoner identifies herself as Shas El' Vior'la Mont'yr, though I just decided to call her "Monty" for short. She claims to be part of the Farsight Enclaves, a Tau splinter faction and she has the same objective we do.
  1128. Apparently, the Tau expansion onto this planet is threatening the Farsight Enclaves, since the factions don't quite see eye to eye with each other. So, we make a deal. We don't execute her on the spot, and she uses her position as security chief to give us access to the bridge. She gets us in with no complications, though we had to work together to get some pesky PDF and Fire Warriors out of the way. However, what weirded me out was how Monty would always steal a quick, lustful glance at Sam at every opportunity she got. I know that the Fire Caste have some deep rooted warrior culture, but there's something about that glint in her eyes that seems to extend far beyond simple warrior respect.
  1129. I couldn't tell if Sam noticed this or not. We were busy dodging lasbolts and pulse rounds, and her mask made it impossible for me to judge her mood at a glance. Finally, we get to the bridge and shut down the station's external defenses. The Astartes, Derivatives, and several Arbites riot squads storm the station and create enough havoc for us to send the station's reactors into meltdown.Now, since I don't have any intention of dragging her along, and because I'm a man of my word, I decide to let Monty go at that point. But before she leaves, she tackles Sam, rips off her mask, and presses her lips against Sam's for what seems like an eternity.Uh... getting back on track, Monty manages to back off before Sam can stick her with her trench knife. She gives this playful wink at Sam before running off. I get the distinct feeling this isn't the last time we'll see her.
  1130. So, in short, the plan goes off flawlessly, Odessa changes hands to a more Imperial-friendly government, and the Tau leave. Unfortunately, Sam was in a pretty foul mood for letting herself get... err... "violated" by a Xeno so easily. It took a lot of waffles and a lot time in the chapel before she finally got over it.
  1131. It did give me some devious ideas for our next round of POW, but I'll hold onto them for now.
  1132.  
  1133. Party Loot
  1134. Inquisitor,
  1135. Modo wasn't exactly happy with me blowing up his only lead, as well as not informing him of what I was doing. I explained that the bright side was that he had a convenient excuse to install a more strong-willed candidate in the recently vacated position. Though it's not like he'd be able to back up his threats anyway. Wedge and Biggs are seriously working their magic on those SoBs. They're telling them all their stories of fighting the Tau and traitor PDF through just hand motions and gestures. I'm not sure whether the SoBs actually understand what they're saying or not, but they do seem highly entertained by the whole act.What does bother me is how the Twins seem to be getting mighty close to Logar. Now, I'm pretty sure it's just platonic friendship, but it is rather unexpected. I'm guessing that they impressed each other during the firefight aboard the station. Finch and Angrius seem totally cool with it, as long as it doesn't affect his fighting ability. Zarael and Culles are being dicks as usual, Zarael a little more so. I think he's still really miffed about getting headbutted by Sam. Finch regales me about this story of a rather grouchy Dreadnought he knew and how it claimed it used to date twin SoBs. I'm not sure if that's true are not. Do Astartes even feel love? It's one of those things you never think about until someone brings the subject up.
  1136. Unfortunately, we didn't get out without casualties. Jeremiah took a nasty hit from a fusion blaster and lost his right arm and part of his face. The apothecary managed to stabilize him and replace his arm and the damaged parts of his face with augmetics. Now he's deathly loyal to Sam, who was the one who dragged him back to the shuttle for evac.
  1137. And yes, Sam is still grumpy about the whole getting kissed by a Xenos thing. I'm still keeping my distance till it blows over.
  1138. So now I'm left to decide what to do next. There are a few more missions lined up, but they're quite a ways away, and it's not fun when the Derivatives start getting bored.
  1139. Hmmmm, one of our courses seem to take us near Krieg...
  1140.  
  1141. Terranis Hold
  1142.  
  1143. Inquisitor,
  1144. We've finally made planetfall on Krieg, and I have to say, the response was... overwhelming. I told the Kriegers that we were coming on a secret visit and wanted to keep things small, private, and as quiet as possible. Apparently, the head Kriegers felt otherwise and organized a huge welcoming party.
  1145. And by huge, I mean HUGE. I think they literally drummed up every Krieger they could find on the planet. There were gas masks as far as the eye could see. The Derivatives were basically instant celebrities. It was no secret among the Kriegers that Terranis saved their hides when their Vitae Womb started failing. Interestingly, Kriegers do have an odd way of greeting each other. Two different units of Kriegers would face each other and stand at attention for Emperor knows how long before saluting each other.
  1146. Anyways, while the Kriegers are mingling, I get pulled aside by another Krieger. I take a look at his rank pins and realize he's a Lord General. I didn't even know Kriegers could live long enough to get that high up in the ranks. He tells me that all of Krieg knows about Terranis' gift, but little idea of what the planet was like. The only clues they have are from what the Colonel of the 68th Krieg left behind before he passed away. He then tells me he'll show me and the Derivatives something they've never let outsiders see ever, not even the Inquisition. I'm not sure if it's right to tell you this, but here's what happened.So he leads us into one of their many, many underground bunkers (there's not many places to live in a nuclear wasteland). We're led through serious security measures and fortifications, measures that are even stricter than the security around the Vitae Womb! We're led into a chamber that's absolutely massive. So big, that you could easily fit a Warlord Titan in there, maybe even two! But the real amazing thing is when they hit the lights.
  1147. The sight is just... beyond words. Plastered on every square inch of the walls (and even the ceiling) are picts of Kriegers. Not just any picts, though. They're all picts of every planet, campaign, crusade, and battle a Krieger has ever fought in, everywhere from Terra to Cadia. There’s even a pict of pre-wasteland Krieg, that dates back even before their civil war.But the Lord General leads us to one particular pict that stands out among all the others. One that's the most special. It's a picture of a Krieger Colonel and about a dozen other Kriegers standing at attention in front of the Basilisk, and I realize it's from Terranis.
  1148. The Lord General tells us that their first batches of Krieg/Terranis hybrids are just beginning to supplant the original Krieg units, but they know nothing of the planet that helped birth them. Their only clue is that one little pict that the Colonel left behind. He asks us to tell us everything we know about Terranis.
  1149. And we do.
  1150. The Kriegers are in awe with the collective stories me, Sam, and the other Derivatives tell them about Terranis. I get the feeling that the reason the Kriegers keep this "shrine" here is because deep down, they're looking for something. Something they've always wanted, but never quite realized until recently.
  1151. They wanted a place to belong.
  1152. Well, that's just my dumb, uninformed interpretation of it, but Sam just laughs at me and tells me that it's "a good guess".
  1153. The Kriegers are satisfied with what we tell them, and promise to spread the word to every Krieger in the galaxy and incorporate it into their training regimen. I think it's a bit of overkill, but then again, that's typical Krieg behavior.As part of the event, the Lord General organizes a full orchestra, all Kriegers. I never even knew Kriegers had a concept of what musical instruments are, and I'm caught off guard when they start carting out violins, woodwind instruments, horns, and drums. Then, as a going away gift, the Lord General personally leads the full orchestrated version of Regentropfen.I don't even know how long the song is, since I lose track of the time. If you though the song sounded wonderful with just a piano, you should hear it with a full ensemble and cast globally over the vox. It was just... marvelous. By the time they were finished, it was said that there wasn't a dry eye on the planet.
  1154. But, we're on a timer. The Inquisition calls, and those filthy Xenos aren't going to exterminate themselves. We have to leave for our next mission. I give the option for the Derivatives to stay on Krieg, but every single one opts to stay with me. It's very touching, really.
  1155. Before we leave, the Lord General asks, "What's become of Terranis?"
  1156. Sam beats me to it and answers without hesitation or doubt.
  1157. "Terranis holds.
  1158.  
  1159. Terranis' End
  1160.  
  1161. TributeTo Segmentum Command;
  1162. (Attached: A full outlined Terranis status and battles fought in defense of Terranis)
  1163. Praises to the Emperor...After Commander 68's arrival to Krieg, two companies of Astartes from the Salamanders chapter were dispatched to reconnoiter and possibly reinforce the Terranis system before the warp storms make travel impossible. Apparently they heard of the Chaos interference on the Tyranid swarm. Upon our arrival the Tyranid already been flinging themselves against the human defenders surrounding them; however, one city was already infested by a wayward landing. Fearing that there might be pockets of civilians trapped within the 4th Salamander Company and I landed within the city via drop pods only to find this section of the city in ruins. All life within emptied with an exception…a single human life-sign.It is here we found a recreational center called 'Basilisk,' its interior a shrine...Mementos…many mementos…is what made it a shrine mostly picts and dataslates featuring various Krieg and Terranis couples stating name, marital status if any, and finally time of death spotlighting how they died...
  1164. There are exceptional examples of Humanity’s finest here...words originating from both the locals and the Krieg unit dispatched to Terranis filling every corner of the commons room, incense candles providing the somber lighting...and two deceased members of the 68th Siege Regiment. The first was the remains of a male enlisted man in standard Krieg uniform and a depleted lasrifle in his bloodied hands.The Second, a female wearing a uniform that didn't fit the typical mold of a Krieger, possibly a local, leaning on an overturned table at her feet was a dead xeno its head properly ventilated, a laspistol in her right hand, and the previously mentioned Krieg helmet-less head in her lap. Apparently she had died just moments before holding on long enough to seat herself next to her...beloved? Captain Ty’roh managed to pry a small picture from the dead woman’s left hand and was silent for many moments. Asking for the piece of paper I saw the two holding each other; the female looked absolutely radiant and the biggest smile I’ve ever seen on a Krieg donned on the male. They weren’t alone. Patrons filled the space behind them from the multitude of joyous smiles of the locals to the small content ones from the Kriegers.
  1165. Flipping it over was the words, “This is where we all found each,” the rest unfortunately was covered in smeared blood and would be sent to a techpriest for restoration.
  1166. With all honesty I was stunned…this was an image of human defiance I will never forget. Captain Ty’roh agreed and saw it fit to pict record the room using a stolen –Correction: Borrowed- PictRecorder found somewhere then have his company gather all the mementos they could carry to a waiting Thunderhawk. The Salamander Thunderhawk pilot volunteered to carry the company’s precious cargo and run the gauntlet of fire back to the ‘War’s Anvil’…it would take him two trips. May these Defenders of Terranis and their actions be forever remembered. Both Ty’roh and I wish to send said mementos to Krieg along with the bodies of the two. If not Captain Ty'roh promises to give them a proper funeral on Nocturne and the mementos placed within their Monastery. We will find the means for either after the fighting for this city is done. We’re now using the Basilisk as the center for our counter attack we shall save this city before assisting 7th company fighting alongside the IG.
  1167. From; Inquisitor Harlan Speaking for: Captain Ty'roh Captain Sen’ru Salamander Chapter 4th & 7th Company respectively
  1168. May the Emperor guide your steps in life and in death.
  1169. (Astronomicon Alert: Warp Storms have increased around Terranis and further attempts at reaching or exiting the system is ill advised.)
  1170.  
  1171. Legacy
  1172.  
  1173. Conviction
  1174. Lord Commissar,
  1175. The battle is going well. The wretched xenos are being pushed back slowly, but surely. We retook one of the larger cities today and freed a large group of slaves. The Astartes continue their march, and victory looks inevitable.
  1176. I know I am coming back to this seeming boring point, but again the Kriegers confound me. One of their members fell during the last push, and I heard them speaking about that soldier's 'reward' on Terranis.
  1177. I honestly expected something more...grand. A golden city, sitting at the feet of the emperor, surrounded by all matters of creature comforts. Instead Terranis sounds like one of the most mundane paradises I've ever heard. Simple houses, living with civilians, a restaurant, days filled with trench digging and 'living quietly.' Thinking on it again, I shouldn't be surprised. A Krieg paradise seems just as disciplined as the rest of their lives.
  1178. However, it still galls me a little. They speak of a lost planet that has to be dead. Devoured by an entire fleet of Tyranids. Kriegs are good, but still...to see them put their faith in something so...irrational irritates me for some reason. Perhaps it would be easier for me to take if Terranis was some grand utopian paradise, but the idea of a quiet, almost boring world...it just doesn't match up.
  1179. One of the other guardsmen apparently shared my opinion and was familiar with the fate of Terranis. (He has served with Kriegs before.) He voiced the facts. Terranis was dead. Devoured. A tragedy, yes, but not some place that any sensible soldier should dwell on.
  1180. The Kriegers just paused in their fortifications, look at the guardsman and, again surprising me, spoke.
  1181. "Terranis holds."
  1182. They say it with so much conviction. It almost sounds believable.
  1183.  
  1184. They Held.
  1185. Lord Commissar,
  1186. I'm not exactly sure of all of the events of today. My head is still spinning and the Apothecaries say I'll need a few more treatments before I'm fully healed.I'll start with the bad news. It seems that some of those slaves that we freed were of weak wills and in their cowardice, gave themselves over to the Great Enemy. I can offer no excuse. I should have paid attention to them, instead of the Ork hordes which we had well in hand. If you deem my failure an executable offense, then I accept your judgement.
  1187. We had no idea that we had the enemy within our camp...until they summoned the Demons. Three of them. They tore through us, most of the squads were obliterated, and our line broke. Ironically, the Orc horde rushing in to fight the demons was a blessing as it caused two of them to become occupied with the xenos long enough for the Astartes to arrive and dispatch them. I had ordered the troops to fall back, so we could effectively regain our defensive position, but the third Demon cut us off. A horrible parody of the human form grafted onto what looked like the body of a scorpion. A horde of heretic cultists behind it. The men fought, but we were obviously overpowered, the demon's powers giving the heretics strength and power. I was hit on the head, and I fell to the ground unconscious. It was only by the Will of the Emperor that I survived.When I returned to awareness, I was on the ground. The cultists must have thought I was dead. I saw that they were gathered around in a circle, with the Demon at its apex. In the middle of the circle were the still surviving Krieg soldiers. Eight or nine of them, it was hard to tell. I frowned in surprise. They weren't being executed ritually, or fed to the demon. Also, why had they only spared the Kriegs? For an instant I thought that they were traitors to the Emperor as well...and then the Demon spoke. A horrible voice, smooth and silky, subversion and seduction itself.
  1188. "You would be fools to refuse this bargain, my bargain. I can see into your souls, my little boys and girls. You ache for that place. Terranis. I can send you there...but why should I send you to an empty barren rock? You know, you all know that there is nothing left of that paradise. Your Corpse-God let the Hungry Shadow gobble it up. What kind of loving God would do that? However...if you give into my master. Praise yourself unto him. Then she will reward you with the ultimate prize. The warp will bend to my master, and you will find yourselves, not on the empty, devoured rock...but back when it was fresh and whole. Can you not see it? I will show you."
  1189. I must have been in range of the Demon's power, because for a moment I saw visions. Visions of this place that the Krieg spoke of with reverence and hope. Of people, places, stories, a song played on a piano that caused Krieg eyes to fill with tears. I understood. I have heard the librarians and chaplains speak of paradise, of how the Emperor rewards the faithful with all of world delights and more, how spending eternity among his reverence is bliss itself. To a Krieg, one day on Terranis was enough. I found myself hard to argue with it.
  1190. The vision ended and the Demon looked at the Krieg soldiers. "You don't even have to pledge yourself to my master...all I ask...all my master asks...is that you say 'Please' and I will send you to Terranis in its prime."
  1191. One of the Krieg slowly removed his gas mask and looked the Demon directly in the eyes. He spat on the ground.
  1192. "Terranis holds."
  1193. The Demon snarled. Motioned with one of its appendages, and the cultists fell upon them. Their deaths were not quick.
  1194. I am sure they would have noticed that I was still alive, had not the Astartes arrived. (Too late in my opinion, but I will not deny that ending two other demons takes time.) The Demon and the cultists were, of course, no match for the Emperor's greatest. They also discovered that I was still among the living, and evacuated me along with their chapter, back to the battle barge, where the inquisitor presiding over the reclamation of the planet called for Exterminatus. With the Ork presence and the Ruinous Powers so prevalent, I did not argue.
  1195. I think of those Krieg soldiers. I had only heard the faintest whisper of the power that Demon had used, the level of corruption forced into their minds would have broken battalions. I look out into the stars, and I think of that one little planet out there...lost to the Imperium and set to be devoured by an innumerable swarm that almost nothing can stop...and I believe this to be true in my deepest soul,
  1196. Terranis holds.
  1197.  
  1198. Interrogation
  1199. Lord Commissar,
  1200. I think something needs to be done here. I feel that there is something wrong about this...but I have examined every facet of this situation and everywhere I look I only find things that are not only allowed, but championed. I am currently serving on a planet that has been subverted by the Tau and the presence of the Great Enemy has been seen as well. The situation is not beyond reclamation...we are gaining ground and purging both elements from the planet but... Well it's the Krieg soldiers. I have no issues with their performance or behavior. It's been exemplary but...well...here's a record of an interrogation of the mayor of a town that had been subverted by the Xenos. Present are myself, the mayor, and Lieutenant Krieg Female Model 83i #2598. "You will tell us where the Tau are hiding, make no mistake. The only issue is how swiftly your death will come, and how much pain will come before it."
  1201. "Do what you will, I'll never speak. I serve a force greater than myself, greater than that worthless piece of meat you bow to."
  1202. SLAP
  1203. "You will not speak of the Emperor in such a way heretic! Your soul is already doomed, do not cause yourself more grief."
  1204. "Pah, I know what will happen to me after I expire. Go ahead and kill me, send me into the void. There is nothing there. I have been shown the wisdom of the Greater Good. Renewal and redemption await me...I only pity you for what awaits you."
  1205. "I will sit by the Emperor's side. She will sit by His side. YOU will suffer in the warp for eternity."
  1206. "She's shaking her head. Perhaps the lady thinks different?"
  1207. "Explain yourself Lieutenant!"
  1208. "When I die, and I have served the Emperor to His satisfaction, he will send me to Terranis."
  1209. "What?"
  1210. "Oh, yes. I remember the Krieg soldiers that visited us spoke of this place. It's a fairy tale! A made up planet, and even if it did exist, the Tyranids destroyed it ages ago."
  1211. "Terranis Holds."
  1212. "Yes, they said that too...so tell me Krieg. What happens if that Corpse you bow to doesn't deem you worthy enough to send you to Holy Terranis."
  1213. "Terranis is not holy. It is just Terranis."
  1214. "Fine, then tell me what happens. I'm curious."
  1215. "I will be reborn on Krieg and must serve His will until I am worthy."
  1216. The mayor shook his head. "And what will happen to you when you finally arrive? Comforted and coddled?"
  1217. "I will have a home, I will live peacefully, and I will protect Terranis, until the Emperor calls me to duty and I am brought back to Krieg."
  1218. The mayor looked confused at that statement. "That's it? You serve until you die, and then you receive no reward and at any moment you could be returned to this hell of a life?"
  1219. "It is all I need. Why should anyone ask for more? That is how people like you give in to the Great Enemy and the Xenos. I am a Krieg. My soul is the Emperor's, Terranis is my reward for duty, and I must always be worthy of that reward, so I must always be willing to serve and fight. For if I do not, then Terranis will fall, and Terranis will always hold."
  1220. The mayor just stared at the woman for a long time. She just look back at him with that same blank expression that all Krieg have but...without the mask I saw her eyes. I have seen soldier's eyes of all types. Cowardice, rage, courage, defiance, strength, weakness.This was the first time I have ever seen an Imperial Guardsman, a Krieger no less, who was at peace.
  1221. I don't know why that caused the Mayor to break. Perhaps it was seeing a true example of the Will of the Emperor, and having it break his little worthless fantasy. He spilled the location of the Tau and as I speak the Krieg battalion is mopping them up from our surprise attack.
  1222. Again, I have to ask my superiors if this whole Terranis bit is something to be concerned about. I mean...its perfect on every front but...it galls me at some level. I can't help but wonder, what is happening to the Krieg?
  1223.  
  1224. Sonnenlicht
  1225. The Dark Angel marine stared at the Krieg soldiers who were in the middle of digging and fortifying another trench. Brother Elias usually had no patience for Imperial Guard. Unmodified humans were weak, cowardly, and more often than not, more of a hindrance on the battlefield than anything else. Not so with the Krieg. They had always been efficient, but he had seen over the many years he had been alive the Krieg turn from a mildly decent and disciplined force to a force he was actually proud to fight along side. The fact that many of them were clones didn't even bother him. They knew their duty, and in that they served.He stepped in to assist the gas masked soldiers with a large steel beam, when he heard it. Soft and muffled...was...were the Krieg...singing?
  1226. "Guardsman, are you singing?" He asked.
  1227. The Krieg nodded.That was unusual. For a Krieg. The other Guardsmen would never stop singing it seemed. Always one chant or another, it was annoying and it distracted them from their work.
  1228. "What is it? Your anthem? Marching song? That rain song you're so proud of?" Brother Elias had to know.
  1229. The Krieg took off his mask to answer. "It is 'Wenn der Morgen kommt wird der Regen enden'. We just call it 'Sonnenlicht' for short."
  1230. "What is...Sonnenlicht," Brother Elias slowly worked the strange word in his mouth. "What does that mean?"
  1231. "Sunlight."
  1232. "You sing about sunlight?"
  1233. "We sing about the sunlight we will see when we awake on Terranis. All things will pass, and if we are dutiful to our duty and the Emperor, then we will see the Sun of Terranis, and not the Rain of Krieg."
  1234. Brother Elias looked at the Krieg soldiers, working diligently. He knew about the Krieg legend of Terranis. It confused many people, but Brother Elias had lived for a long time. The idea of a place where you did not fear, where you just lived a life of peace among friends and supporters...a gift from the Emperor.
  1235. "Send me a copy of that song soldier. As you were."
  1236. The Krieger replaced his mask and nodded, returning to his work. Brother Elias soon received the song and listened to it over and over again. He was a space marine, and his place after death was assured...but he wondered if he could serve the Emperor well enough to warrant a brief stay on that quiet world.
  1237.  
  1238. All Good Things...
  1239. It was a matter of principle. That was what the Inquisitor told herself as she looked at the reports. A rather simple principle, really. It came down to one simple factor: morale.
  1240. Not Krieg morale of course. That had never been higher. Krieg victories had skyrocketed. There were requests for Krieg guardsmen, and pushes for similar training and even the idea of setting up new Vitae Wombs in one or two places were actually being discussed with seriousness.
  1241. Krieg wasn't the problem. The problem was everyone else. Guardsmen from other planets were becoming...discontent. They saw Krieg battalions with peace in their eyes. How Commissars wouldn't even look twice at a Krieg, but hold everyone else up to their standards. How Kriegs were actually getting fire support from Astartes...one company even went so far as to rescue a battalion of Krieg soldiers. Other guardsmen counted themselves lucky if the Astartes paid them no mind at all.
  1242. Then there was the crowing jewel. The Emperor-damned source of this mess, Terranis. The other guardsmen HATED that place. EVERYONE got a sacred seat at the side of the Emperor but only a KRIEG got to live on Terranis. The fact that the Kriegs had never claimed that, or that by comparison, Terranis was a pale shadow of having your soul shielded forever more in the Grace of the Emperor, didn't matter. Terranis' promised paradise was...familiar. Understandable. People couldn't imagine an eternity of peace and contentment...but they could think of a world where they didn't have people shooting at them every day. Plus, the whole 'civilians welcoming and caring for us' factor was a pain as well. Krieg were treating civilians kindly and well, and were beginning to be well received in turn. This also angered other Guardsmen. They were just as much as heroes as the Krieg, but were they welcomed into restaurants and taverns? No. Did pretty girls and men always smile at them? No. They were lucky if they didn't get pelted with stones in some places that they went.
  1243. Now...now the crowning moment of this whole problem was staring the Inquisitor in the face. They had not only found Terranis, but all those times that the Krieg had said 'Terranis holds' turned out to be exactly right.
  1244. The Warp had caused the arrivals to be a few years apart from each other, before the Warp Storm closed the area for good. So there were actual Terranis survivors, as well as this picture of a world that held back the Tyranids for so long that even the Astartes were impressed.
  1245. She massaged her temples as she thought about what to do about this. It was all a matter of principle...morale was the ONLY principle. Krieg was only one planet...one legion...if they were bringing everyone else down with their excellence...then there was really only one option...
  1246.  
  1247. Never truly end.
  1248. Brother Elias smiled as he looked at the huge display in the middle of the city. Terranis Holds. Holocasts from children who had grown up there, and from refugee survivors. And then there were the names and recognition of valor...so many of them
  1249. It was a rather brilliant move on the part of the Inquisition. Terranis was a problem because it was so REAL to so many people. Weaklings who felt that they deserved the same kind of reward that the Krieg had earned. Now however, it was something more, a legend, a myth, a wonder of the age.
  1250. It had been decreed that Terranis had never 'Fallen' to the Tyranids. The Emperor had merely saw fit to remove it, and all the souls upon it, and take it to his side. An entire planet had become worthy of His Grace. A goal all citizens of the Imperium should strive for.
  1251. Now when the Krieg spoke of Terranis in that quiet way of theirs, it was in parable. Krieg had their place, but it was just as mythic as the fate waiting the rest of humanity. The only difference was that they had a specific name. When they said 'Terranis Holds' it was the truth...but a past truth. Not some show of defiance, but a reaffirmation of their own personal faith.
  1252. The Imperial Guard, and the Inquisition relaxed as morale returned to normal levels. The Krieg though...well...the great chapels on that city of death have been changed a little.
  1253. All Krieg serve the Emperor, all Krieg live to redeem their names and souls for that long ago betrayal. All Krieg cry when they hear Regentropfen, and they almost never remove their masks.
  1254. But on holy days, and at funerals, the churches are filled with the sounds of Sonnenlicht. For every Krieg knows where they will go, when they arrive Home.
  1255.  
  1256. A Krieger's Duty
  1257. I had to stand up to wring out the kinks in my back...it has been many years since I've been here. The peace and quite under a clear blue sky I've worked hard to just be here. But as I stretched my neck I spotted him standing in front of me mouthing the words I knew well.
  1258. Looking over my shoulder I spied the back porch where my beloved stood and said, "I'll be back soon." I would turn to face my visitor and extend a hand, "Would you mind assisting me out my trench, sir?"
  1259. The ethereal being shook his head in amusement, his golden crown reflecting the light off the sun, before clasping mine and pulling me up...
  1260. Onto the firing step as I and ten thousand other defenders of Krieg immediately pointed our weapons down range at a wall of maddened cultists charging with wild abandon. Dark litanies spewing form the cursed forms. A Commissar sent to us from another Regiment walked up and down the trench bellowing out orders to us. Probably expecting us to break like the PDF that came before us but we won't...because we are the Children of Krieg...and like those on Terranis held off an assaulting force of untold millions so shall we.
  1261. After all, I want to return to those loving eyes in that place of quiet rest...
  1262.  
  1263. A Psyker's Question
  1264. From the records of Inquisitor Amberly Vail:
  1265. So far this has been a rather routine set of events. A world has been subverted by the Tau and they sent me in to identify the key figureheads motivating the conversion so that the Vindicare know who to take out, and then we can sweep the planet back under the watchful gaze of the Emperor, blah blah blah. Done this so many times it's boring.The only interesting thing that happened was when we were staying at one of the few remaining loyalist Imperial Guard garrisons. It was a mix of different origins, but Rakel seemed to be interested in one of them in particular.I know Rakel isn't the most casual, or subtle, of people. Psykers tend to be a little on the odd side. However, she walked over to this Krieg soldier and stared at him (her? Who can tell?) for a good hour with a questioning look on her face. Finally, when I went to collect her, she pointed at the Guardsman and spoke.
  1266. "She went in his place. He's back where it's quiet...resting. I didn't know that they often went in their place." I looked at the Krieg, to see if that made any sense to them. The gas masked soldier just shrugged. I grabbed Rakel and went to move her away. As I did, she called back.
  1267. "If I do enough good...can I visit? Am I allowed to go there? Just for a little while?"
  1268. I swear, it may have been nothing, but the Krieger might have slightly nodded. Either way Rakel looked happy and kept quiet the rest of the operation.
  1269.  
  1270. Tactical Advice
  1271. Okay yas gits! Lissen up cuz dis is important! Wese gonna gets dese 'umies today but...oy! I saidz dis important n dats means you too!Anyways, wez gonna gets dem all, buts deres dees 'umies dats gotz these toobs from dere mouts and weird masks. Youse see dese guys youse gotta gets dem from behind, or make sure dat they don't know youse the ones that gots them.
  1272. Cause dese 'umies donts go down like the udders, oh no, dey cheats and comes back later. 'Nd if dey seen youse face n knows dat it was you dat gots dem last time?
  1273. Dey's REMEMBER you.
  1274.  
  1275. The Warp Works Both Ways
  1276. The Sorcerer lay on the floor of the empty building, gasping for breath. Pain...there was so much pain. He saw his body slowly turn grey and flake away. He needed to move, needed to escape, but he was too weak. He had seen one of the World Eaters just collapse onto the ground, and nothing but grey dust spilled out from the already rusting suit of power armor.
  1277. The Tyranids were still around...what was left of them. He looked at one of them that was near by, gagging and twitching on the ground. The biomass they had eaten suddenly turning on them. It was a massive Carnifex, now pale and weak. Twitching in pain, incapable of moving, making pathetic little noises. Normally there was just violence and hunger in its eyes, but now there was just a question. Why? Why has the very being of this world turned against us?The Changer of Ways had sent him here. This was where the ones who ceased to stop were hiding. The sorcerer would end it, take this world, and receive great favor in the eyes of his God. It had all gone wrong the moment they had landed on the planet. His troops and creatures dropping dead. His war machines breaking down and rusting before his eyes, and his glorious battle barge. His massive ship...he had only heard a report that something was firing at them...and then they were lost to the Warp Storm, torn apart to the barest atoms.
  1278. It made no sense. This world was empty, apart from the dying Tyranids, the only form of life on this place were the small signs of plant, insect, and animal life slowly returning to this place. There was nothing here that could possibly be a threat!
  1279. The Sorcerer looked around with bleary eyes, for an instant he saw them with the furthest reaches of his augmented senses. A group of people, dressed in dark colors and wearing gas masks, all around him. Waiting. What was this place? Who were these people? Why would they never stop? What was happening here?
  1280. "Please," He asked the empty air, "I must know...why?"
  1281. The answer came to him as a memory surfaced. He had been on one of the glorious demon worlds once, and had seen how his enemies gasped for breath. How they collapsed and either burned or were corrupted. How the very act of being on the planet, being in its presence, was ripping their souls apart. A world that was just as much a part of the glorious Chaos Gods as he was. Now...on this world...the very opposite thing seemed to be happening. The Sorcerer, conqueror of a thousand worlds, realized exactly what his mistake was...and that was when he saw them...all of them...surrounding him...his body...his soul...his everything. He tried to scream...but it only came out as a whimper.
  1282.  
  1283. The Vigil
  1284. I remember...I remember hearing jeers from others about this place. They insult my knowledge, and cast down upon my second home. They think it is a place of idleness, where we go to become weak, or when we are too weary from the battlefield.
  1285. That is nothing like the truth.
  1286. Here it is quiet, and I am with those whom I love...but it is no idyllic paradise. We guard this place just a vigilantly as we guard any other world the Emperor calls us to. If not more so.
  1287. We see them. We sense them. We know that they are out there, and they watch us. They watch our Second Home, and wait for the moment we drop our guard, that is when they plan to descend upon it. They wish to devour it, devour us, and destroy everything that we have earned.So, we remain vigilant. We walk the perimeters, we fortify our cities, and we guard our home. There are more of us, and our loved ones are now skilled enough to walk the perimeter as well as we can.
  1288. We will do this forever. This is our Second Home. This is our Sunlight. This is our Rest. Thus it is ours to guard and protect. We ask of the Emperor nothing, for this is our duty...and we take it with no regret or hesitation.
  1289. Terranis will hold. Always.
  1290.  
  1291. The Rescue
  1292.  
  1293. Captives
  1294. The Mandrake known as Iral grinned as he looked at the mon-keigh, he had stripped them of all of their clothes, save for their gas mask. It was a pleasing esthetic to him. Normally he would have worked on the face, but keeping the mask on was important. Anyway, it wasn't as if the Dark Eldar had a lack of options without the face.
  1295. "So, tell me...are you originally from the Rain, or the Sunlight? I suppose it doesn't matter much any more does it? You all going back and forth between the two, I bet you lost track." He smiled and picked up a branding iron. "Now...what is that mon-keigh phrase you always like to say?"
  1296. "Terranis holds." The Krieg said quietly.
  1297. "Ah, yes...well, let me make sure that everyone knows that great truth." He slowly carved those words into the soldier's flesh...first in Gothic, then in both Eldar tongues, then in Tau, Kroot, and at least a dozen more languages. The Krieg spasms and made grunts of pain, but did not scream.
  1298. "You know how this ends, don't you? I will take your precious little soul, and you will be removed from your cycle. Never again will you see your precious Terranis or Krieg. You will not serve your Corpse-God anymore...and you will cease to plague us."
  1299. The soldier's fist curled into a ball.
  1300. "That is what we will do to all of you, you know. And you know that in the Warp the Ruinous Powers are gathering strength...soon your precious Terranis will be assaulted, and well...say 'Terranis Holds' all you want...it won’t change what will happen."
  1301. The Krieg soldier just scoffed and shook his head. "Terranis Holds. Always."
  1302. The Mandrak scowled. This wasn't fun. It never was any fun with the Krieg now. He didn't even get the enjoyment of devouring their souls as there was too much of a risk of them slipping back to that...that problem. It had happened before, and had been a shock to many. So they were stored. Trapped in a prison, and kept out of the way until a solution could be found. However, they didn't scream or wail in their cells, grunts of pain and agony yes...but nothing satisfying.
  1303. Also...the Mandrake was becoming unnerved in his duty. The Krieg were starting to recognize him, and his table. He had told one his name a long time ago, and now they knew it...before they saw him. Also...he couldn't help but shake the feeling that they were always watching...observing...trying to discover where he was, and where the prison was.
  1304. It was near frightening the thought that a Dark Eldar was the one being hunted this time.
  1305.  
  1306. Request
  1307. The Canoness did not like the Krieg. Well, she didn't exactly care for any of the cowardly, often heretical, and weak soldiers of the Imperial Guard...but the Krieg in general rubbed her the wrong way. She had served with them, and nothing about them...fit. How they almost never broke, that strange peace in their eyes, and of course, their beloved Terranis. The idea that the Emperor had set aside a world just for them...and that they chose to go there rather than swell by His side...it offended her sensibilities. The idea of having to share the glorious victory they would receive when they purged that heretical place was...galling.
  1308. Still...what was the most likely scenario? These Kriegers go along, get cut to ribbons by the Dark Eldar, and provide a decent distraction for the Sisters. All in all a win.
  1309. Both women stamped their seals of approval onto the form.
  1310.  
  1311. Transit
  1312. Battle Sister Sara Estonia frowned as she sat down at the mess hall on the ship 'Gloriana' that was currently heading to Weyan VI. Her armor had needed some personal repair and prayers, so that meant she had to miss having the meal with her sisters. Which resulted in her having to share the mess with the Imperial Guardsmen. It was a less than satisfactory situation, but her stomach insisted, so In the Emperor's Name, she would prevail.
  1313. She entered the mess, got her food, and looked for a seat. She wished there was a Tallarn battalion here. They at least knew how to treat one of the Emperor's Brides with reverence. Instead she had to deal with rowdy Valhallans, uncouth Cadians, as well as this battalion from the world of Girabi, who looked like Commissar fodder. She finally spied an empty seat by a table that was being occupied by some Kriegers. Well, they weren't too bad. At least she'd be able to dine in quiet.
  1314. She sat down. A few of the gas mask wearing soldiers briefly looked at her, and then back to the table. Apparently she had sat down, close to the same time they had arrived. One of the soldiers was returning with a stack of rations, which were quickly passed out among them.Once they were passed out, the Krieg closest to Sara looked at her and passed her a piece of paper. She took it and looked at it.
  1315. Would you like to lead us in prayer?
  1316. She nodded and bowed her head. The usual Litany of Devotion to the Emperor, how He may guide them through the warp, thanking Him for the food, and ensuring a victory in His name. She finished and started into her food for a second, when she noticed that the Kriegers still had their heads bowed for a moment longer, and then they removed their masks, ate swiftly, then replaced their masks. They then took out what looked like city blueprints and poured over them.
  1317. Sister Sara then recalled that the Kriegers were not ordered to come here, like the others, but requested it. They had even brought some extra equipment with them."What are you doing?" She asked.
  1318. One of the Krieger's passed her a note. 'Plans for our entry point. Sewer system we need to tunnel into before we can reach the prison."
  1319. "Prison?"Another note, 'Yes, they are holding our people captive. We come so we may free them."
  1320. "What, you think they're still alive?"
  1321. The Kriegers shook their heads.
  1322. "But you're going to rescue them?"
  1323. They all nodded.
  1324. "How?" A cold feeling slightly formed in her stomach as she thought of a thousand horrible scenarios, all of them heretical.
  1325. One of the Kriegers took off her gas mask. "We only need free them from their prison. Once free, they will be taken by the Emperor back to Terranis. However, first He expects us to free them, and prove we are still worthy of our Second Home."
  1326. Sister Sara frowned, that wasn't expected. She had heard about this 'Terranis' thing that the Krieger's believed in, the Sisterhood said it was nothing to concern themselves with but...
  1327. "Tell me about Terranis." She asked.
  1328. All the Kriegers looked at her, and she swore than under the gas masks they all had a happy smile. The Krieger who had her mask off moved closer to Sister Sara. She cleared her throat.
  1329. "First, you must know the one Truth. Terranis holds, forever."
  1330.  
  1331. A few hours later, Sister Sara returned to her quarters, an odd feeling in her stomach. She lied down on her cot, thoughts bouncing through her head. It was just a silly little legend that these Guardsmen told themselves...but there was that look in that woman's eyes. Peace, conviction, certainty, and...well...faith.
  1332. She tried to remember the last time she saw that gaze of faith and belief in one of her sister's eyes.
  1333.  
  1334. Hunted
  1335. Iral frowned as he tapped his finger on the table. The high-up muckymucks were blabbing about how the stupid mon-keigh were coming for them. How they needed to prepare. There was a lot of laughter and joking about what they were going to do to them when they arrived.
  1336. However, Iral felt...uneasy. The feeling had been following the mandrake for a while now, and Iral did not know why. That angered him. He was a master of all feeling and sensation. He could control anything and anyone, and he could certainly control himself.
  1337. "Iral...Iral?"
  1338. He looked up. The rest of the war council was looking at him.
  1339. "Oh, uh...yes?"
  1340. "Have you gotten any new information out of our new prisoners?"
  1341. "Oh," He tried to remember, an act that took far longer than it should have. "No, I discovered who it was that slipped through the net and sent out the distress call to the mon-keigh. He has been found, tortured, and his soul is now being shredded as we speak. Nothing really interesting, just a little mon-keigh slave that had more foolishness than sense who got a little lucky."
  1342. "Mmh...thank you. You can return to your duties, we still have much to discuss.
  1343. Iral happily left that stuffy room and proceeded back to his 'office.' Apparently, he worked in what used to be a mon-keigh place of law and judgement. A fact that amused him. He returned to the tortures of a young female slave, enjoying the agony of her soul, when one of his assistants came in. He silently waited for Iral to finish his current technique upon the girl, and enjoyed her screams as he did.
  1344. When Iral was finished and put the old apple corer away, he looked at his associate.
  1345. "Yes?"
  1346. "Command gave me this to give to you. Our seers have divined what kinds of mon-keigh forces coming."
  1347. "Thank you, you may finish her off if you wish. Start with the lower nerve cluster in her legs, I haven't touched those yet." Iral said as he walked back to his quarters, flipping through the report.
  1348. So...some Inquisitors, meh boring. Guardsmen, bleh...Ooooh! Some of those Sisters! They were FUN. He smiled and started to plan exactly what he would do to them.That was when that strange feeling returned. He looked back at the sheet. There were Krieg Special Operation units in the Imperial Guard. Multiple. Almost instinctually he looked towards his shelf where a group of glass spheres sat. They were still glowing with that quiet light. No change...he was sure that there was no change.
  1349. Still...he now knew this feeling for what it was...fear. The prey had suddenly just heard the cries of those who hunted them...and they were getting closer.
  1350. Iral tore the report in his hands and turned to look at the shelf of glass spheres.
  1351. "Don't get your hopes up! Or do...that was it'll be all the sweeter when they join you. You'll never return to that delusion of yours...you hear me? NEVER!" He panted and looked around the room as if something was waiting to strike at him. He spun on his heel and left for the armory...he had to get ready.
  1352.  
  1353. Sin and Sisters
  1354. The Commissar walked down the trench, looking around. What in the warp was going on? How could half of an entire battalion of soldiers vanish? There were 30 Kriegs just here this morning on the front lines, exemplarily examples for the rest of the troops. He hadn't had to execute a single one of them...and now, after casualties, there were only eight manning the defenses. Had they all deserted? Did the Dark Eldar kill them? The battle was at a standstill so far, and any soldier on the field was necessary!
  1355. He grabbed one of the few remaining Kriegers. "Where are your fellows, soldier?" He shouted.
  1356. The Krieger handed the Commissar a piece of paper. He snatched it away and pushed the soldier back into his position.
  1357. It was signed by the Inquisitor and the Canoness; the other Kriegers had been called away on a special request. The Commissar relaxed, and then noticed that one of the Girabians was cowering in his bunker...cowering! Well...he knew the solution to THAT problem.
  1358.  
  1359. The commander of the unit knew that what they did would ensure that he would be reborn on Krieg many many times...but he would not let this atrocity remain for one day more. So he had copied the Inquisitor and Canoness' signatures onto that form. The others didn't know, so they would return, but he was willing to accept the responsibility.
  1360. What he hadn't planned on was one of the Sisters to actually follow them. He looked back at Sister Sara as the group quietly made their way through the sewer maze. She believed that they were under orders, and she was assisting by her own will. This was bad. They had a perfect attack prepared to cripple the Dark Eldar, and free their imprisoned brethren...but the Sister complicated things.
  1361. Still...right now he had to focus. The sounds of battle raged above them, and soon they would be inside the center of the city. The heart of enemy territory. If they were discovered...no...they had been preparing for this moment. They would not fail.
  1362. At least they would not be lost in this maze of tunnels and foul smelling odor. The commander only had to close his eyes, clear his mind, and he could hear his comrades whispering. Fighting through the pain of their tortures...telling him where to go. He followed. Trying to send a message back to them.
  1363. 'Hold. For we will be there soon.'
  1364. He knew it was unnecessary to say though.They always Held.
  1365.  
  1366. The Trial
  1367. Iral paced in the courtroom. He looked up at the statue that was still there. Some mon-keigh woman wearing a sheet. Her eyes were blindfolded and in one hand she carried a sword and in the other a set of scales. He had no idea what mon-keigh Goddess it was...interestingly, neither did any of the smelly apes he questioned. Apparently it was a long lost relic of the by gone age. He appreciated good art though and, even by Eldar standards, it was a classy piece, and it had aged spectacularly well. Probably because this room had been sealed tight long ago. It always made him smile to see his...visitors...reach out to this long forgotten deity for salvation only to slowly realize that she was blind to their suffering. He always thought it was a Goddess of Punishment, his new 'patron' if you will.
  1368. However, right now his Goddess gave him no solace. The front lines were far away, and apparently it looked as if the mon-keigh would slowly lose...but he felt uneasy. He felt them...his pursuers...closing in. But that was impossible...that made no sense. There were no mon-keigh here. They'd have to break through the front line, fight through and entire city of his brethren and indoctrinated slaves, and then reach him...and he was no push over.
  1369. He drew his rapier. A custom weapon of his, light, thin, coated with such wonderful poisons...another item he had taken from the mon-keigh...true he added his own little touches, but he liked taking things from the mon-keigh and making them his.
  1370. The Punishment Goddess. This poisoned rapier. The souls of those Krieg...he didn't feel right calling them mon-keigh. They were just Krieg when they were nothing but soul.
  1371. He knew they were close. He had spent so much time with the Krieg that he could tell when another one of them was close. He was probably sensing them out on the battlefield...he had nothing to worry about...why should he worry? They were not the marines, or their sages, or their men of tin and glass. They were just simple little husks that wore masks. The only thing that made them different was that their souls coul-
  1372. BOOM!
  1373. The floor behind him imploded, and the fox knew that the hounds had caught up to him.
  1374.  
  1375. The Kriegers scrambled to pull themselves up out of the hole, affixing bayonets to face the Mandrake...but the xeno was just too damn fast. He skewered one of them through the throat instantly, and then leaped back into the shadows, the Krieg and Sister Sara instantly took defensive positions. Standing in a tight circle, guns and flamer ready, watching for the first twitch, the first sign of the sick monster.
  1376. All of the Krieg could feel them now. They were holding fast, but still...they cried out for assistance, for aide. The commander heard it the clearest, and spoke to the sister in a whisper.
  1377. "The target is down that corridor, fourth door on the right. We will hold the xeno, you get there and then destroy everything in that room."
  1378. Sister Sara shook her head. "I will not flee from a Xeno. I will stay. You and your men go."
  1379. "I have to stay...I have a perfect attack against these monsters that will swing the battle in our favor. However, I cannot secure the target and do my attack at the same time."
  1380. The other Krieg soldiers just nodded. They knew what they had to do. As one they all ran towards the hall, they didn't stop to open the door. They just charge through.
  1381. From the shadows, Iral laughed. "I've put enough wards on my quarters and on your comrade's precious little souls that there's no chance you fools will reach them. You'll all be new additions to my collection, except for the sister...no...she and I will be closely acquainted very very soon."
  1382. "Stop hiding like a coward and face me Xeno!" Sara cried out. "You will pay for the suffering you have caused. This I swear in the Emperor's name!"
  1383. "Ugh," A voice directly behind her said. "I'll have to cut your tongue out first; you girls are SUCH a bore!"
  1384. Sara spun around with her flamer up, just in time to receive a kick to the face that sent her flying back, crashing into the base of the statue of the Punishment Goddess."Now that's out of the way...onto the important business." Iral grinned as he stepped towards the Krieg Commander.
  1385. The Commander raised his lasrifle and fired, but Iral was again, far too fast. With an 'oh please' look he batted the gun away, causing the shot to go wide, and strike the sword arm of the Goddess' statue, causing part of it to crumble to the ground.The Dark Eldar Mandrake sneered and grabbed the Krieg by the throat and held him up with one hand, ripping off the gas mask with the other. "I...LIKED...that statue! Ohhh, I am going to make you PAY for that. You know...I finally realized what I'm going to do." He grinned. "I'm going to take all your little friends, and place their souls in empty Eldar husk bodies...then I'm going to make sure that each and every one of you believes with every part of your being that you are one of us...and then I'll send you back to your precious Terranis, and you will clear it out for us...show us how to get there...and then we will dine upon that world for AGES...and it will be all thanks to you. How does that sound?"
  1386. "Terranis...holds..."
  1387. "Ugh...I am so SICK of hearing that!"
  1388. "Then how about this old gem? FOR THE EMPEROR!" Sara screamed as she slammed the sword of the punishment Goddess into Iral's side. It was blunt, too big, and too heavy to wield properly, but there was a satisfying crack of shattered ribs, and the Mandrake dropped the Krieg as it was his turn to fly across the floor.
  1389. "You...bitch!" He snarled. "I'll make you pay for..."
  1390. There was the sound of an explosion from down the hall. Iral turned, aghast at the feeling of all those precious souls escaping. "No! How! I sealed the door, and there was no way you could have opened that shelf!"
  1391. "You sealed the door and the shelves..." The commander gasped. "But you didn't do anything to the walls around them...and Kriegers are GOOD at breaching.
  1392.  
  1393. Verdict
  1394. "No...No! I WILL have ALL of your souls for this!" Irai shrieked. "Do you know how many of us are coming to rip you apart? I will make your pain last for AGES!"
  1395. "I'm planning on it." The Commander said. He looked at Sister Sara with sorrow. "Forgive me, I didn't mean to involve you in this. You...you could run..."
  1396. Sara frowned as she looked at the Krieg. "What are you talking about?"
  1397. "The only attack," the commander started to unbutton his greatcoat. "That will never fail," he opened it to reveal that his chest was covered with wiring, and what looked like small grey canisters in clear vacuum bags. "Is a suicide attack." He smiled. "Kriegs also are very, very good at using nuclear bombs as well."
  1398. Iral's eyes widened and he shook his head. "No, no nonononono! YOU CAN'T DO THIS!!!"
  1399. Sister Sara...smiled. "Blowing up the center of the Dark Eldar base will seal our victory...I am proud to see this moment. I am ready to go to the Emperor."
  1400. The doors burst open that moment, with Iral's back up arriving just in time to see the Krieg press the detonator button.
  1401. Blackness.
  1402.  
  1403. Sister Sara slowly opened her eyes. The sky was so...blue. She was on her back, she raised her head, a quiet grassy field stretched before her, and a city beyond that. There were people, Guardsmen, Astartes, Vindicare Assassins, people with scars in the shape of foul symbols as if a tattoo had been ripped off with their bare hands, Throne, there were some Ogryns and even a few Callidus, all walking along the field in lines...
  1404. walking along trenches.
  1405. She laid back down her head and closed her eyes again. Tears on her face. Soon she would go into town. She would walk the perimeter too, and soon His Gloriousness would call her back to service...but for now...peace.
  1406.  
  1407. "Terranis Holds."
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