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So, this forum is not trafficked very heavily as compared to the 40k army fluff section. However, my planned army fluff is going to be very long, involve several plot twists, and generally be more like a short story than a fluff piece. Plus, they say the max should be two pages in MSWord and I am already well over that and haven't even really started. So, at the risk of being punted over here anyway, I will post this here, knowing it won't see a whole lot of views. Oh well.Lucky Brandt and the Sameter Second“That's what I like to hear, boys! Keep it up!”
Lucian Keenan Brandtis had learned three things in his 2 and a half days on the Chaser. First, none of the officers supervising the training of the Sameter Second ever uttered a word longer than one syllable; second, mentioning this or any of the other...personality quirks of his commanding officers was a very bad idea; and third, his drill sergeant, who he knew simply as “Sir,” was completely barking mad.
The first had resulted in his given surname being shortened to Brandt. He had never really held any attachment to his last name, but he rather resented being forced to give it up out of hand. Nevertheless, as he already had 'Brandt' taped on the front and back of his overly-large helmet, he had given up ever explaining to his superiors how to form a two-syllable word.
The second he learned in a far more jarring fashion. The first day, after their Founding Ceremony, as the Sameter Second was led up a gangplank leading to the hangar of the Chaser, they passed a charred corpse with a gaping hole in it's forehead. Still high on the adrenaline caused by the Founding celebration, most of the young men paid this no mind. Lucian was disturbed, however, and broke ranks (a very bad idea) to ask one of the officers (an even worse idea) what had happened to the man. The man turned to him and simply said, “Regis Talleus.” Then he walked away. Regis Talleus was the name of the Lord Commissar who was to lead their regiment into battle. The dead man was once the Captain of the Sameter First. The hole in the corpse's forehead had been caused by a bolt pistol.
The third Lucian had deduced after the first day of training. Called to muster after just one hour of sleep, many still reeling from the previous night's drunken excess, the Sameter Second was arranged in rows in the hangar of the Chaser. Lucian tried to look around using his peripheral vision. He wasn't really quite sure how many of his fellows had been recruited for this Founding (math had never been his strong suit) but he was sure there were several thousand, at least. Bunched up like this, in various approximations of the 'at ease' posture, Lucian couldn't help but hope that wherever they were going, they wouldn't be seeing much combat. One of the recruits a couple rows to his right started trying to itch his nose with his foot in an attempt to keep his hands behind his back. He fell over and knocked down six other newly-minted guardsmen as a booming, vox-assisted voice screeched into the still air of the hangar, “What in the name of the God-Emperor is this? I am supposed to make highly-disciplined killing machines out of you pansies? I'd rather be training a bunch of children! At least I'd know they weren't going to mis-fire their lasgun into my back!”
A huge man stepped out from behind the stairs in front of the massed ranks of the Sameter Second. He wore a knee-length greatcoat, and his upper body was encased in thick carapace plate. He wore a thick matte bolt pistol on his left hip and a dormant chainsword on his right. The chainsword looked like it had seen many battles, the chipped edges glaring in the dim fluorescent lighting. He also wore a vicious sneer on his face, and he continued to wear this sneer as he quickly walked over to the recruit who had caused the domino-effect as he walked in.
“What is your name?!?” He all but screamed.
The offending guardsman gulped audibly and stuttered, “I—uh—uh—I'm T—T—abbot.” He looked about ready to fall again, this time from lack of blood in his brain.
The man in the greatcoat continued to sneer. “Y—You a—are a d—disgrace! Drop and give me fifty!” The recruit stared dumbly at the man. “Are you deaf and stupid? I said drop!” He pulled his bolt pistol and pointed it at the frightened recruit's head. This got him to move, and crying, he started counting out push-ups. He was woefully ill-equipped to so fifty push-ups, and he started weakening almost immediately. As he pushed himself off the ground slower and slower, the large man and his bolt pistol inched closer and closer to his head. The recruit was whimpering audibly, and his whole body shook with the effort. After twenty, it was clear he would have to stop. The implication of this fact was lost on no one, as the bolt pistol came to rest just under the base of his skull.
Suddenly, a clear voice rang out above the heads of the startled guardsmen, “Preservation of life for its own sake is not to be commended where sacrifice offers a reasonable chance of gain. Nonetheless, the purposeless waste of life is equally to be avoided.”
The large man's eyes widened and his sneer turned into a feral snarl. He shouted, “Who said that?”
That same crystal-clear voice was heard again, this time saying, “I am Christopher Malcolm.” The voice was coming from near the back of the formation. The large man stalked through the rows of recruits, looking for Malcolm. When he found him, he leaned in so close to his face that their noses were nearly touching and said nearly inaudibly,
“What did you say to me, recruit?”
“I quoted from the Tactica Imperium, sir.” Even whispering, the voice was clear and true, and seemed to exude confidence and wisdom. Lucian craned his neck in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the owner of that voice, but there were too many ranks of guardsmen between him and the confrontation.
The large man said, “You dare to lecture me on the doctrines of the Imperium? What gives you the right to--”
“I have every right to object to purposeless loss of life, sir!”
An ominous click was all Lucian could hear in the next few seconds. A collective gasp came from the guardsmen near enough to see the two arguing.
“Shoot me if you wish, sir. Just know that you will be violating everything we stand for if you do so.”
“We stand for winning, and only that!” This came out a roar, and another gasp came from the crowd. “You would do best to remember that. Think about it in the brig. Jenkins! Put this damn idiot in a cell. Two months oughta get you thinking straight!”
Two months! The voyage was only set to last three! This man would lose what little training the rest of the regiment was likely to receive on their way to the fighting. The officer was effectively killing him off, and he knew it.
Apparently the man knew it too, because his confident voice rang out again, calmly, “You will not succeed in stopping me from serving the emperor that easily.” Then there was a slight scuffle, and the ranks of guardsmen began to open to allow Jenkins to pass with the man handcuffed before him. He walked just to Lucian's left, and Lucian was finally able to catch a glimpse of the owner of that near-perfect voice. What he saw shocked him. His face was completely unlined, and smooth except for a small goatee. His hair was smooth-shaved in the style of the miners, and his features were nothing extraordinary. No, what really shocked Lucian were his eyes. They were milky; an ugly, off-white color. He stared off into space, seemingly lost.
Christopher Malcolm was blind.
Next Episode: Training begins! The drill sergeant acts even crazier! Lucian gets a gun! And--Why the hell is the story called 'Lucky Brandt and the Sameter Second' if his name isn't Lucky? Tune in next time for this and other answers!
I know it's been a while but... do you happen to have more to this?
As you said, this isn't a highly trafficked forum - I try and remember to pop in every so often, but don't always find the time to read things (even though I should...)
But I kind of like the way this is going; you've got the rather enigmatic Christopher and you do have me wondering how Lucian becomes 'Lucky' - presumably not simply the result of his monosyllabic drill sergeants!