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Offline LinnScarlett

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Port Green
« on: January 07, 2013, 04:33:45 pm »
As promised before the holidays, here is the first part of my Imperial Guard story 'Port Green'. If there is interest in it, I will get around to correcting and uploading the rest of it, as well as continuing it. As always; comments, critiques, opinions, ideas and the like are all very welcome!



Port Green


Quote
“Like any newly-commissioned young Commissar I faced my first assignment with an eagerness mixed with dreadful trepidation. I was, after all, the visible embodiment of the will of the Emperor Himself, and I could scarce suppress the tiny voice which bade me wonder if, when tested, I would truly prove worthy of the trust bestowed upon me. When the test came at last, in the blood and glory of the battlefield, I had my answer; and my life changed forever!”
-   Ciaphas Cain, To Serve the Emperor: A Commissar’s Life, 104.M42


SEVEN YEARS… they had passed so quickly. I remember the day I arrived on Syngia as if it were yesterday. I had been so nervous, that when I set foot on the Valkyrie’s ramp after we had made planet fall I nearly tripped. Those steps had been my very first steps outside of the Schola Progenium of Nova Stern, out ‘in the field’ as they say; about to have the first, tentative tastes of what life would be like if I graduated. I had been assigned as a Cadet Commissar to Commissar Iain Krüger, regimental Commissar of the 387th Cadian Armoured Regiment. He was to show me the proverbial ropes of a morale officer in the Imperial Guard, which had turned out to be a whole lot longer, tougher and more constricting than I had anticipated. Life with the 387th under the tutelage of Commissar Krüger had its ups and downs but eventually I had managed to settle in and commit to my prescribed duties, swiftly becoming a Junior Commissar under his guidance. I learned a great many things from him in those years and upon reflection, I can say I was content.
        However, internships do not last forever and the reality of this rudely woke me from my complacent life about half a year ago. Initially, I had been positively thrilled when Commissar Krüger had announced that I was finally ready for promotion to the full rank of Commissar. If I had known then what trouble fate had in store for me, I would have happily remained his student-aide indefinitely. You wouldn’t believe the déjà vu I had when I found myself once again on the ramp of a Valkyrie about to step down into a new life. Yet this time I was on my way to my very own regimental assignment as a Commissar.
        Needless to say, standing on top of that Valkyrie ramp, on the brink of the start of the rest of my life, I was perspiring and weak at the knees and nervous like an Obscura-user under Inquisitorial scrutiny. Part of me wanted very much to turn tail back to Syngia, but the Syngian Wars were over and so were my years as a junior: It was time to stand on my own, or not at all.

“MORE THAN six months I spend in transit from Syngia to Port Green. The planet is situated in the galactic north-eastern corner of the Segmentum Obscurus, some way beyond the Gothic Sector and near Dimmamar, the birth world of Saint Sebastian Thor. Port Green was the Frontier World on which my new regiment was currently stationed. The planet had been colonised by the Imperium several decades ago. Although it was thought to be a Maiden World, there has been no sign of vengeful Eldar thus far; which is not to say that life on this distant colony has been quiet and peaceful.
        A nearby Ork ‘Waaargh’ has spilled into the system in recent years and due to the planet’s valuable resources – and undoubtedly its proximity to the Shrine World of Dimmamar – Port Green was deemed of sufficient importance to the Imperium to warrant a full scale planetary defence war. At the time of my arrival, this 317th day of 874.M41, nearly a dozen regiments are stationed across the planet and beset by the foul Greenskins along various front lines, giving the planet’s moniker a whole new inflection.
        I had anticipated that life as a regimental Commissar was going to be vastly different from my time as a Cadet, or even my time as a Junior Commissar. For one, I would be all on my own, which was a positively daunting prospect after having previously ever done my duties in the reassuring shadows of my seniors. I am a senior now, and the thought of all their responsibilities weighing down on my shoulders alone felt uneasy. However, not in my wildest nightmares had I even come close to the reality of my new assignment. I had given it a lot of thought during the six months I spend in transit, and yet somehow it had never crossed my mind that the Imperial Guard was as varied a patchwork as the Imperium itself. Certainly, the regiments at Syngia hadn’t been identical. Even though the majority had been Cadian regiments, there had also been Gundrunite rifles and Ultarion shock troops, the Colonel-Commissar’s Tanith First-And-Only, and at one point even the renowned Valhallan 597th of Commissar Cain.
        I realise now that these had all been comfortable, wholesome Imperial Guard regiments of the most standard calibre. The kind whose picts lavish the Uplifting Primer and recruitment posters the galaxy across, and like an unwitting recruit I had made the mistake of thinking all regiments so. In all honesty, the word ‘Catachan’ meant little to me beyond ‘some jungle hellhole or another’. I knew they drafted some of the Imperium’s finest jungle fighters from there, and I also knew they were notoriously troublesome. None of which helped lift my mood at learning this very morning that I was to be in charge of the decimated remains of a regiment such, and get them back into fighting shape at the double to boot…”
 “Commissar Hark!” someone hailed in a curt and solid baritone that hit my eardrums like a gun shot and who added, after a moment, with badly concealed surprise: “Ma’am?”
        I put my digi-stylus down and glanced up. It was one of the jungle fighters. He stood just inside my burcloth habitent, blinking against the gloom. His large hand still held the leather flap aside and let the moist, sweltering heat in that I had so desperately tried to keep out. His tall physique made him stoop in the diminutive quarters I had been given earlier this morning and made them seem positively tiny and crowded. You see, he was wide in the shoulders and heavy in the arms and all around corded muscle under sun-tanned skin, as seemed to be the norm for this regiment. He was also stripped down to the bare minimum of what might, with a great deal of imagination and good will, be called a uniform; wearing only a low cut, green-grey and sweat-stained tank top with tiger-stripe camouflaged fatigues. And between his combat boots, Aquila-tags and red bandana, that was it.
        A curved, machete-like blade and a worn canteen hung from the belt at his hips in addition to what I suspected to be immolator grenades. A Mark IV Lascarbine was slung across his back by its bandolier, which was tacked with additional power packs and a spare knife the size of my forearm. He had the same rough, square and blunted features I had seen on the other men, which was undoubtedly the result of their home world genetics, and which privately reminded me of a bunch of grumpy, pug-faced Obscura-hounds the size and shape of baby Ogryns. The only things that marked him as different from the others was the dishwater blonde hair sticking out from under his bandana here and there, and the smattering of freckles across his cheeks and nose, underlining his blue eyes. The others had, by a large, seemed darker complexioned, with brown or black hair and dark, unfriendly eyes. “Colonel Steele sends his apologies, but he’s busy,” the man continued when he saw he had my attention.
        Of course he was. I straightened a little and pulled my most dignified, commissarial expression onto my face. This was the second time in five hours that the Colonel had stood me up, allegedly being ‘too busy’ to honour the rendezvous I had requested. Fool me once, shame on you…
“And you are?” I asked as I pointedly looked him up and down. There was nothing about him that so much as hinted at his rank or unit.
“Sergeant Daniel Rock, second squad, third platoon of C company,” he replied as he finally let go of the leather flap to step farther inside and salute. “The Colonel assigned me to your discretion.”
        Despite the rather obvious sidelong glance he gave it, I did not close my personal journal as he approached. I wrote it in High Gothic and I’d bet thrones to stones he had no clue how to read that. I merely contented to frown disapprovingly at him. To his credit, he did avert his gaze from it, although he gave sign of neither embarrassment nor regret.
        Assigned to my discretion? I don’t mind an aide, don’t get me wrong, but what in the Warp was I supposed to do with a baby Ogryn? And more astutely, where was I going to leave him in my modest quarters? I wondered right then and there what the Colonel was getting at. We’d hardly met, as he’d made a point of avoiding me since I had arrived here this morning, and there was absolutely no reason to eke me the honour of one of his men as a personal flunky. It occurred to me that I was being stalled. Why?
“Show me to him, Sergeant.” I said as I got up from behind my improvised desk of stacked ammunition crates.
“Ma’am?” He looked at me uncertainly.
“Your Colonel,” I added by way of an explanation as I walked around my desk and up to him and the entrance of my habitent.
“The Colonel is bu–,” he had the nerve to start, and I rounded on him on the spot.
“You listen to me, Sergeant Rock, and you listen well,” I retorted, drawing my voice to a tone that brooked no refusal as I narrowed my eyes and fixed a glare on him. “You are going to bring me to your Colonel, and you’re going to do so right now.”
“Yes, ma’am!” he replied with a jerky nod, clearly taken aback by having found that, despite my gender, I had the infamous verbal bite of my office after all. I kept my gaze fixed on his for good measure. He better well remember it.
“Well…?” I asked, with just the right hint of irritation smitten impatience.
“This way, ma’am,” he complied, moving out of the habitent and actually holding its leather flap open to me. I drew myself up, clasped my hands behind my back and strode out, giving him a minimal nod as I passed him. As soon as I left my habitent I was forcefully reminded of the fact that my uniform was black and I gritted my teeth against the moist, smothering heat that slammed against me. Blinking under the searing glare of the sun above, I tugged the bill of my cap down to better shield my eyes. The radiation of the swollen star was powerful enough to blind through even the briefest of glances in its direction. It was high summer and Port Green’s off-centre eclipse was bringing the planet dangerously close to its giant sun. It was maddeningly hot with average temperatures running above 30°C, and it would get hotter still.
        The Sergeant dropped the habitent’s flap behind me, and fell in step beside me with the ease of a well-drilled trooper. I took care to hide it, but to my surprise we did not walk further into the encampment. Instead, we veered to the left and towards the civilian colony at a stone’s throw distance, which instilled me with a dark sense of foreboding. It would seem the situation was graver still than I had thought.
        In the few hours since my arrival, I had been confronted with the sorry state my new regiment was currently in. There were jungle fighters everywhere, and they were doing nothing. No training drills, no patrols, nothing. They were loitering about, playing cards, drinking, clearly dispirited and bored. Supplies lay where they had been dropped, their covers left carelessly open and their contents at the sun’s mercy. Vehicles stood everywhere and nowhere in various states of unattended maintenance like the forgotten toys of a spoiled child. I scowled severely. Getting the regiment back into fighting shape was going to be a chore. And now that we had started towards the civilian colony, rather than deeper into the encampment, I had a pretty good guess at who was to blame for this lack of form. We marched up to the colony at a pace swifter than I found strictly comfortable in this climate. The Sergeant seemed unfazed.
        The civilian colony, and our encampment for that matter, was located on a large expanse of cleared ground, flanked on all but the western side by the encroaching jungle. And though we were well beyond our nearest jungle front lines, the look of the unfortified encampment made the spot between my shoulders itch every time I looked upon it. This was no field trip. Even the civilian colony was better protected with its immense electro-fence.
        The colony itself was a sprawling village of rectangular flakboard compound habs, neatly arranged and completely identical. The roads were straight and deliberate, and the surroundings clean. There was folk around, going about their business. Imperial citizens of the smudgy, outback type one would expect in a frontier colony. There was a fair share of my new men hanging around among them as well, standing out from the crowd like Ork ballarinas at a beauty pageant. That would have to be remedied.
        We turned a road this way and that and much to my displeasure, but not surprise, we walked straight to what was very obviously a bar. It was an establishment the likes you find the galaxy across: badly lit, and worse aired, filled with the scum of this throne-forgotten colony, and my frakking Colonel.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2013, 04:16:10 pm by LinnScarlett »
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Offline Restayvien

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2013, 04:51:55 pm »
Very nice (half way thorugh and will finish when I have more time)! Good attention to detail/knowledge when it comes to the existing fluff.

A few things to consider though:

This guy is quite chirpy and casual for a Commissar (at least when compared with how they are usually depicted and the role they perform). Also quite quick to admit his own weaknesses. To be brutally honest it doesn't sound like the thoughts/narration of a Commissar, with their supreme self-confidence, self-righteousness, occassional arrogance and general stoicism. Perhaps (if you struggle to write in such a fashion) you could alter it so that it is another character talking about the Comissar, who is more laid back you can then have the character you want described outwardly as I outlined above, but the more casual narrator revealing the Commissars inner waverings and musings.
There are also a few grammatical errors but I guess this is just a draft so that's to be expected.

But that aside it's solid and enjoyable, I wouldn't mind editing it a bit to 'fit' what I've said above but I'd be suprised if I can find the time. Plus I know most authors (including myself) would get a bit touchy with people changing their work. ;) :)

+1 karma for the contribution!
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 04:56:03 pm by Restayvien »

Offline LinnScarlett

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2013, 05:13:38 pm »
I am really glad you like it!
Although I see you might have missed two quite pivotal details in the story:

1. He is a She
2. She is very green

Commissar Alicia Hark has only just been elevated such (a few months earlier) and butt-kicked to her very first assignment as a Commissar after her apprentice years. The Cain quote at the start is illustrative of the story, and the intimidation of being foisted into these responsibilities, for which you have trained your entire life, and then find yourself aflaunder, with no one to bank on but yourself.

I chose to write in her PoV, to illustrate the difference between, ultimately, how Commissars (incl. her) are seen by their men/women, and how they might really be (their thoughts and considerations). Just because you appear to have balls of steels and the tongue of a serpent, doesn't mean that is what you are. And I intended to play with that dynamic.

I chose her and her personality because I didn't want 'just another Commissar' of the variety we find the galaxy across. :)

That, and 'Port Green' is also a bit my reprieve out of Super Grimdarky Grimdark (of for example Burn The Heretic and Aquila), it's a bit more humoristic and light, but with notes of serious combat and drama regardless. Lighter reading and, for me, lighter writing, so to say.
« Last Edit: January 07, 2013, 05:26:25 pm by Linn Scarlett »
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Offline BigToof

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2013, 06:41:30 pm »
Hi Linn!

First off, great new series.  I have a soft spot for female Commissars, so I'm looking forward to this one.
I'd love to see how she develops and also to the other characters.
Since Catachans and Commissars get along like cats and dogs (or rather, cats carrying frag grenades and small bite-sized schnauzers) it will be interesting indeed!

Best,
-BT
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Offline Restayvien

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2013, 10:01:51 am »
1. He is a She
I did miss this.
Quote
2. She is very green
I didn't miss this...I just found it difficult to believe that an apprenticeship under a Comissar (lasting a couple/few years) would be a walk in the park and leave the apprentice so green at the end of it. I imagine it's pretty gruelling training, considering they outrank (and often outperform) Kasrkin Storm Troopers which are superior to the best troops we have on Earth (and that's saying a lot!).

Quote
I chose to write in her PoV, to illustrate the difference between, ultimately, how Commissars (incl. her) are seen by their men/women, and how they might really be (their thoughts and considerations). Just because you appear to have balls of steels and the tongue of a serpent, doesn't mean that is what you are. And I intended to play with that dynamic.
I did pick up on that and I think it's a great idea. :) Having said that I'm wondering how 'soft' (for want of a much better word) someone could be whilst maintaining that kind of outward persona and fulfilling a role that demands so much.

Quote
I chose her and her personality because I didn't want 'just another Commissar' of the variety we find the galaxy across. :)
That, and 'Port Green' is also a bit my reprieve out of Super Grimdarky Grimdark (of for example Burn The Heretic and Aquila), it's a bit more humoristic and light, but with notes of serious combat and drama regardless. Lighter reading and, for me, lighter writing, so to say.
That's fair enough. :) Maybe I am just projecting my vision of 40k too much...looking forward to reading more!

Offline LinnScarlett

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2013, 11:28:03 am »
Glad you approve, BT!

Hehe, Cain manages it, Resta? And he's a 'coward', rather than just more considerate.  ;)

Regardless, kicking Catachan shins is usually a good way to get yourself fragged really quickly, which is another reason why I considered using her more adaptable disposition.

The story might suffer a bit from short posting, it's really more novel-format than my short stories and takes a bit to 'gain steam'.

I'll get around to posting more, soon!
I need more time to do the Emperor's work!

You can read my stuff on 2S's Fluff and Stories.

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Offline LinnScarlett

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2013, 01:51:19 pm »
More! And some action, too.



I need more time to do the Emperor's work!

You can read my stuff on 2S's Fluff and Stories.

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Offline BigToof

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 04:04:52 pm »
I like it!

Alicia is starting to grow on me, and I want to see where all of this is headed.
It seems sort of quiet now, almost as if there's tension to be had, but it's a "lull" between chapters.
Or so it seems...

Still, want to see more!

Best,
-BT

P.S.  Oh, and Lady Commissars unite!  I had a grand time with my "Lord" Commissar Vaskov, and wish C. Hark the best in dealing with those Catachans.  The "Sgt. Rock" reference made me smirk.
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Offline LinnScarlett

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 04:22:25 pm »
I like it!

Alicia is starting to grow on me, and I want to see where all of this is headed.
It seems sort of quiet now, almost as if there's tension to be had, but it's a "lull" between chapters.
Or so it seems...

Still, want to see more!

Best,
-BT

P.S.  Oh, and Lady Commissars unite!  I had a grand time with my "Lord" Commissar Vaskov, and wish C. Hark the best in dealing with those Catachans.  The "Sgt. Rock" reference made me smirk.

On the mark you are, BT! It is a lull, in that the story is intentionally starting 'slow', to create a false sense of security. And then rapidly accumulating grimdark shit will start hitting the van in swift succession until the van breaks and explodes!

This is 8/34 written pages uploaded to 2S so far. More will come in the coming days and weeks as I fix the story and jerk its convoluted plotlines straight. And then, of course, I will continue writing it if you all haven't grown bored of it yet. ;)

Yea, a lady Commissar was the next thing that appealed to me as a writing topic, after my lady Inquisitor! Writing about 'Alicia and the boys' is always rather relaxing for me, as I can freely draw ideas from all sorts of episodes and experiences from my teen-years as student-trainer hanging with our High School's rugby team. I'd love to know more about your lady Commissar?

Brownie points for picking up the reference, by the way! This story is absolutely rampant with random pop-culture references (for no other reason than 'teh lolz'). I think you can already spot three movies, if you look for it! I had a field day coming up with names for my Catachan, especially.
I need more time to do the Emperor's work!

You can read my stuff on 2S's Fluff and Stories.

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Offline BigToof

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2013, 08:34:05 pm »
Hi Linn,
Well, I'll try and compress Katya down into something resembling conciseness, although it's sort of like smashing together 3-4 years of work :)  (Wow has it been that long?  Where's Cammerz when I need him?)

She started off as a foil character for a Junior Officer in the Vostroyan army, and then sort of picked up fans and a life of her own.  So, I actually had to give her backstory :)
She's a very gruff sort of individual who doesn't like to talk or emote or really anything social, which scares the nutmegs off of Vasily, who it turns out, is the only person that she actually likes.
Katya's backstory is that she is the daughter of an Imperial Governor, who was the victim of an uprising that occurred on her birthday.  The rebel forces bombarded the manor, and trapped Katya as the only living party guest in the burnt out basement.  With nothing else to live off of, she survived for weeks on murky water and... the still rotting flesh of her family and friends.

So... yeah, she has issues.  Which were compounded, when she was selected as a Stormtrooper, but then proved to be far too scary for anything but a Commissar.

She was my ice queen of the storyline, which contrasted nicely with the Praetorian genki girl Temperance Windsor-Smith, who was Vasily's other romantic interest.  They went through pretty much literal hell together, fighting against Chaos, Necrons, Dark Eldar, Orks and even bamboozled Space Marines.

In the end, Katya softened up, and admitted that she had feelings for Vasily.  After all is said and done, and all three retired well...

Vasily ended up bribing the local Ecchilarchy into letting him marry both of them.  Which is where the story ends.  Sort of a happy one, eh?

Best,
-BT
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Offline LinnScarlett

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Re: Port Green
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2013, 11:09:13 am »
Happier than most of us, I would say! I have no idea yet where Alicia will end up, although I've been off-handedly working on a 'cross-over' between her and the Inquisitors' stories (featuring the latter as the big fat radicals that they are) and she's all steel in there as they try to keep the Inquisitors from hijacking a warhound titan (...).

I'll get around to posting another piece, soon!  ;D
I need more time to do the Emperor's work!

You can read my stuff on 2S's Fluff and Stories.

Or, you can come visit my author page on Archive of Our Own. WARNING: NC-17