This article is awesome. Do not fuck it up.
The following article is a /tg/ related story or fanfic. Should you continue, expect to find tl;dr and an occasional amount of awesome.
A piece of 40k writefaggotry found floating around the interweb, posted to 1d4chan for the viewing pleasure of Fa/tg/uys and Ca/tg/irls.
We will not retreat. Reflexively, I lift my inferno pistol and look to the men. If I see even the barest trace of cowardice on one of them, I will not hesitate to shoot him. But there is no fear in their eyes, and I turn away, unwilling to let them see the shame I feel for suspecting them.
There are those who would question why I'm ashamed, and on the face of it, they'd be absolutely right to. This is a Penal Battalion, after all- but then again, I have served with the 1st Savlar Drop Regiment for quite some time now, and I should have known better. These men are not afraid of death, whether it be from my weapon or the enemy's; they have long since resigned themselves to oblivion. And so have I.
Our orders were to fall back, actually; there were too few Chimeras, too little time, and General Fontain wanted all the Guardsmen he could get for a counteroffensive. Heh- I'll bet you my Macharian Cross he'd be quite miffed to see the transport convoy set aside for us loaded instead with all the civilians we could fit in them. By the Emperor, we even piled them into our equipment trucks- it's quite surprising, you know, how much space a flamer and its fuel ration take up when you see it for the first time.
Warp take that arrogant bastard anyway- the way the men and I saw it, if he couldn't win a battle when he had the advantage of numbers, terrain, troops and vehicles (three weeks ago, when the heretics first rose up in rebellion), there was no way he'd be able to win now.
There were others, my fellow Commissars foremost among them, who warned us that even if we did survive the coming battle we'd all end up hanged as traitors for disobeying direct orders from my lawful superior. Like that would have persuaded me; I was born on Armageddon, I know a von Straab when I see one.
Besides, I knew for a fact that the General was desperate- his brother, a captain in the Navy, was executed for incompetence a month or so before the rebellion started. His family's fall in status after that, and his performance during the war, told us that his priorities weren't exactly focused on protecting the Imperium or its civilians.
The night before the evacuation, I woke up to find my Sentinel Commander holding my inferno pistol to my head, a massive sheaf of papers in her hand. They were signed statements from the regiment declaring their unanimous wishes to stay behind, and to have their transports given to civilians. I then showed her the orders I signed right before I went to sleep, authorizing exactly that.
Bastards. If I'm going to meet the Emperor, I'd like to do it without bags under my eyes, thanks you very much. I'm a Commissar- I have an image to keep up, damn it.
And so now, I find myself and my men in this ruined city, determined to buy as much time as we can for the transports to escape.
I know, I know- a Penal Legion? Placing the lives of others over their own? Yeah, and tell us one with Orks in, I know. Hells, the reason we're the '1st Savlar Drop Regiment' in the first place was because the men had managed to steal an entire shipful of grav-chutes- look, don't ask me how, they still wouldn't tell me. Besides, they stole an Inferno pistol and a Macharian Cross while they were at it, and those are not gifts you sneeze at. I was with these men when they (oh, all right, we) stole Bjorn the Fell-Handed, though. I only admit this now because I know we're going to die- and besides, Bjorn had fun. That has to count for something, right?
They're coming closer now; I can hear their screams in the distance. With each victory (or rather, with each of General Fontain's failures) the heretic armies grew stronger, both from the demons they summoned with innocent blood, as well as from traitors from other Guard regiments.
I am proud to say that not one man in this regiment has turned. We may be criminals, every man jack of us, but we're not traitors. If I may be forgiven the conceit of including myself among these men, I would like to inform anyone who finds this missive that we do not have faith in the Space Marines, or the Inquisition, or whatever jumped up, power-armoured ponce with a medal the Administratum or Departmento Munitorum decides to throw at us.
But we have faith in the Emperor. And we have faith in the Imperium.
I saw a little girl earlier, while my men were unloading the trucks.
She couldn't have been more than six years old. She was wearing a small, pink dress that had seen better days, and she was crying for her mother to let her go; apparently, they left Mr. Woofles behind.
She was to be left behind herself; apparently, Fontain thought of all the civilians as (and I quote) 'combat-ready fanatics, ready to die for the Emperor', and told us to give them whatever weapons we could spare so they could cover our retreat.
The sergeant of my Ratlings walked up to her. He told her everything would be okay, and that after we won the battle, we'd come back, and we'd have Mr. Woofles with us.
I'm glad we're staying behind.
They're coming now; the traitors are in visual range. I look back to the men again. Beside me are the Wardens, our regiment's elite soldiers. They're the only soldiers in plain sight. The rest of my men are in the buildings; urban combat is where the men and women of Savlar are best suited to fight.
I do not have to see their faces to know the hardships they have went through; like I said, this is a Penal Battalion, and this isn't the first battle we've seen, though it is the biggest and the last, that's for sure. But as my eyes sweep over our soon-to-be graveyard, I notice things about my soldiers, things I have seen before, and I will never see again.
I see discipline, where I should have seen bedlam.
I see composure, where I should have seen mindlessness.
I see true dedication, where I should have seen blind fanaticism.
I see humility, where I should have seen resignation.
I see determination, where I should have seen selfishness.
I see peace, where I should have seen terror.
I see faith, where I should have seen faithlessness.
I see nobility, where I should have seen filth.
I see these brave men and women, these ill-born, ill-fated scum of the Imperium, and I am both ashamed and thankful. I am ashamed that they would accept me, a Commissar of all people, as one of their own, and I am thankful to the Emperor that He had blessed me with their presence.
We are the 1st Savlar Drop Regiment. We are a Penal Battalion. For our crimes against the Emperor and the Imperium, we will pay for with our lives. We are the lowest scum of the Imperium's dregs.
And we know no fear.