K59 is an otherwise unnamed Commissar imprisoned by the Inquisition for executing too many of his own men. He was the subject of an anonymous writefag's thread relating the events that led up to K59's imprisonment to an Inquisitor. Basically a story of an unscrupulous badass.
Interrogation and imprisonment by the Inquisition after accusations of heresy. His loyalty was in question, his reputation ruined. Nope, this wasn’t where Commissar K59 had seen himself on his 40th birthday. And now he was even calling himself K59, like his interrogators. It wasn’t possible that he was becoming more like them, however. He had already been just like the kinds of people who had been torturing him for weeks now, and he imagined that was the reason he was here. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
His toothless mouth formed a genuine smile, the skin cracking open and beginning to bleed again. K59 imagined that he looked like shit, but he had always looked like shit. Now he just had an excuse, and no matter what the interrogators said, he was still the Emperor’s piece of shit. No more, no less. Today it would all end, and he would receive either the benediction or the oblivion he craved. He trusted he would get what he deserved too, as long as he answered truthfully.
Light assaulted his eyes and dirty skin, blinding him, as the darkness of his world was interrupted by the entrance of today’s interrogator. Pain had been nothing new to K59 even before they brought him here, and even if he died unforgiven he would breathe his last content that he was one tough motherfucker.
He wondered if they would ask him that. Fucking his own mother was probably the only thing he hadn’t done in service of the Emperor. Nope, he had shot her in the face and been done with it. He wasn’t sure she had deserved it, but it was always his policy to be safe rather than sorry. That’s what she had taught him, Emperor rest her soul.
"Stand, K59." The voice that assailed his ears was a new one, somewhat more powerful and handsome than the twisted, inexperienced little bastards who had been violating him so far. Somebody new then. As he climbed to his feet the disgraced Commissar wondered if this one would ask the right questions. A pair of Inquisitorial Storm Troopers rushed into the cell and dragged him out, his feet scraping the floor as they followed the new torturer down the dark hallways. Piteous moans erupted as they passed, and K59 grinned again. Pathetic swine, they were.
The Storm Troopers threw him into a room he had not been in before. It was nicer than usual; it had less blood on the surfaces and the table in the middle of the room didn’t smell of vomit. He also noticed a curious lack of torture implements along the walls. That was just disappointing, he thought as he clambered wheezing to his feet. Beatings were useless. K59 had beaten weaker men than he to death and not gotten a word out of them.
"Sit, K59." He sat. The new torturer gestured for the two Storm Troopers to stand back, and they took their positions at the back of the room. Their massive hellguns were charged. The Commissar laughed, a sick, wheezing, phlegmy sound. Were they afraid he would try to escape, after all the better opportunities he had already passed over? K59 sobered up and prepared himself for another round of mind games as the new guy sat down on the other side of the curiously clean table.
"I am Inquisitor Schrodinger. I have a motto: if you lie to me, you will die. Maybe." K59 felt the corner of his mouth twitch involuntarily. This man had a real sense of humor! An out-of-place element in the fucked-up personality of a professional torturer.
"If you tell the truth, you will be treated fairly." He remained silent. K59 saw the opportunity he was being given and took it:
"Maybe." Schrodinger smiled.
"I am impressed that your mental faculties remain so intact. I have been watching you, K59, and you have been treated most harshly by the harshest of my interrogators under the harshest of circumstances. Would you agree?"
"Maybe," replied a grinning K59. The Inquisitor smiled again, and the Commissar wondered what his game was.
"I am not here to torture you, K59. You have survived this long, something most of my prisoners do not manage. During this time you have answered many questions in a manner that I believe was truthful, and your answers do not make you a heretic. Now you will answer my questions, and you will do truthfully." K59’s always-working mind reached an interesting hypothesis:
"Can you detect truth and falsehood, Inquisitor?"
"Maybe. First question, are you prepared?"
"Your initial charge was heresy for excessively harsh treatment of the soldiers under your command. Do you agree with the charge?"
"Why is that?"
"They deserved it. There is no room for mercy in the Imperium."
"None at all?" K59 shook his head.
"The Imperium of Man cannot have emotion. The Imperium of Man must be as merciless and uncaring as those it fights. The Imperium of Man is not about the people that make it up, but the big picture, the entirety. If I execute a thousand men for cowardice and ten thousand men fight harder as a result, then I have won a great victory. If I execute a thousand men and nine hundred fight harder, I have received a minor defeat. As such, next time I execute a thousand men, I must ensure it is effectively placed so as to motivate the most men possible. It is by sacrificing what is actually the minority to empower the majority that you win."
"Very well. I bring your attention to your graduation from your Schola. Your mother was present, and she was absent from the compulsory Ecclesiarchal service. You labeled her a heretic and killed her. Was that strictly necessary?"
"No, but it’s better to be safe than sorry."
"Indeed. Now tell me, the incident on Puryhn. What is your justification for your actions?"
"We were fighting the hordes of Slaanesh, that’s hard enough. One thing that I understood quickly about the faceless masses of the Imperial Guard is that individually they are strong, but in numbers they are weak. I interviewed each of the men in my regiment before leading them into the warzone to ensure there was no weakness Slaanesh could use against them. Of twenty five thousand men, I only executed forty-six. And trust me, Inquisitor, I have an eye for these things."
"I’m sure you do. Please continue."
"Once we were down there, everything went quite poorly. Colonel Harrys was the most incompetent officer I had the displeasure of serving with, and the poor fuckers that were his soldiers ended up on the ground out of position, without defined supply and support lines, communications were fucked, our defensive perimeter was irregular, and it took four hours to correct everything to my satisfaction. If we had been attacked in force during that time, I would have been forced to shoot the Colonel, shoot his officers, and then shoot myself as the 117th died around us."
"But you did shoot the Colonel." interrupted Schrodinger. K59 frowned.
"I’ll get to that. The first enemy attack was a nightmare, and was obviously intended to wipe us off Puryhn in one fell swoop. Poison gases, unnatural fogs, insane magicks, daemons, traitors, I even spotted a few traitor Astartes." K59 stopped to spit a rather sickly looking glob of phlegm on the floor. "Anyway, we were hit from everywhere. Every flank, from the ground and from the air, they attacked both our minds and our bodies. Once it was obvious that we were going to hold under the command of myself and that fantastic Lieutenant Himmel, the dread legions of Chaos fell back to try a different style of attack."
"If I may interject, K59. Are you afraid of Chaos?"
"Are you afraid of death?"
“Then continue.” K59 began to feel that this was more of an interview than an interrogation, but continued nonetheless.
“Right, so here we are having fended off this massive attack. We went down with just under 25,000 men, a full regiment. After this battle we were probably left with 16,000 soldiers fit for duty. The rest were too badly injured or dead, and I ordered that those unlikely to recover be given the Emperor’s Blessing. Colonel Harrys protested, but I told him that we would not win if we allowed useless men to drain the energy of useful men. It’s quite simple, but he continued to disagree. So I shot him in the face and took overall command.” The Commissar paused for a moment to give the Inquisitor a chance to comment, but when he didn’t K59 kept talking: “Anyway, I noticed quickly that there was this...gas...fog stuff permeating the entire planet. After a few days of being there, it caused hallucinations and nightmares. A few men started acting like Emperor-damned degenerate heretics, masturbating in public and fucking each other behind fuel stores. You’d better believe I gave them what they deserved and set a good example. I was getting the hallucinations too but like me, most men were strong enough.” K59 stopped, and began to look extremely angry. Schrodinger was genuinely taken aback by the depth of passion K59 obviously felt as he continued to talk:
“I was getting these dreams, but I was setting an example. I was out there in the camp, walking the walls and the trenches, talking to the gun crews and giving the men a good pat on the back. I had the preachers working overtime, I was giving a speech every second I had to spare between running the army, I did everything I could. But as I said Inquisitor, individually men are strong. Together, they are weak. It all started on the seventh night, and we hadn’t seen a thing of the Slaaneshi the whole time. Then some nameless, pathetic officer in a gas mask that I had kept alive only because he had a head for numbers ran in and told me that the men were rioting. Apparently some son of a bitch had taken his bayonet and castrated Lieutenant Himmel, and everybody else had just taken it as a sign that it was time to betray everything they lived and stood for.” A tear began to run down K59’s dirty cheek, and he began to shake with rage.
“I had planned for some sort of uprising, because I knew that I was stronger than most of these men. But when I looked out the window of my command office, I saw men running around doing nasty things, men I had trusted. They were eating each other, raping each other, covering themselves with mud and mutilating themselves.” K59 then began to laugh maniacally.
“But I had planned for it! I trusted most of them men out there, but there were some I trusted more. Our regiment didn’t have a full supply of gas masks thanks to some cheap, incompetent shit in the Munitorum, but I had a couple thousand. Enough for the Storm Troopers and the most loyal men. Ones I thought deserved to live. Only a couple of minutes after all hell broke loose did these men organize themselves and carry out the orders I gave them: kill everything not wearing a gas mask. It was easy too. I ran outside with my bolt pistol and a chainsword and just got stuck into every man I could see. First guy I killed was busy taking a dick from his best mate. I probably should have been quicker about it, but I was a little pissed off at the time. I broke his mates spine and cut his legs off, then had his first mate watch him die before I cut him in half. His tears made me laugh so hard, I remember it. If there’s anything I take pleasure in, Inquisitor, it’s serving the Emperor. And you can’t serve the Emperor any better than you can killing heretics. Any time I made a heretic cry before he died left me in a good mood all day.
Anyway, we won that battle. We didn’t win the one the next day, but I didn’t expect to. With only a couple of thousand men left, we didn’t have a chance against the Slaaneshi. We launched ourselves back into orbit before they could finish us off.”
Having been silent for some time, Inquisitor Schrodinger spoke once more:
“And that was your first battle?”
“It was the first time you had killed people?”
“Oh no, don’t forget, I killed my mother a few weeks before that.” Schrodinger looked thoughtful for several seconds, then asked another question.
“Tell me about your capture on Teron.” K59 frowned, then nodded.
“Right, so as you know this was a few years after Puryhn. I was a little more senior now, a little more hard bitten. I was the senior Commissar in charge of the best soldiers I’d ever had the pleasure of serving with, the 57th Krieg Death Korps. Damn good men those ones, each and every one. They knew the meaning of sacrifice alright, they and I got along really well. Teron was a good, law-abiding Imperial city on the planet of the same name, as you know, and it was my pleasure to serve there. Until the Dark Eldar landed, I think I only executed fifty or so people. Damn good people.
Anyway, the damn aliens started raiding the outskirts. I, to my discredit, assumed it was a small raiding force. I accompanied the two companies sent to secure the outskirts, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The Eldar pulled the wool over our eyes nicely, and we fell for it. We thought it was just a few raiders, but as it turns out it was a damn big raiding force that those faggot aliens tended to muster. Our vehicles were gone before we could see what was going on, and the rest of us went to ground. They came from all over the place, skimming vehicles and jetbikes, tall, lanky pussies on hoverboards with spikes that cut heads off as they passed, soldiers that flew and some that ran along the ground. Crazy drugged-up half-dressed women with whips and the like.
But these weren’t any soldiers, they were the Krieg 57th. They took cover, they set up the heavy weapons we still had left, and they started fighting for everything they were worth. The terrain was on our side, and I think the Eldar were forced to jump the gun for a reason I’ll get to later. Their grav-tanks had to go high to get any good shots on our men, because as it turns out the destroyed tanks were more use than they would have been intact. You’d be surprised how good cover a Leman Russ could be when the Emperor gives it his blessing.
Anyway, their vehicles took a hammering and backed off pretty quickly. The problem was there were only about 140-something of us, and there were still nearly eighty very dangerous alien warriors attacking us. If I was with anybody else, even Cadians, we would have been fucked. But I wasn’t, this was the Krieg 57th.” K59 smiled, and his lower lip shook with genuine emotion: “One guy, Konarsk, grabbed a few mortar shells and jumped off a blasted tank into the middle of a bunch of their dancing warrior-whores. One las-pistol blast to one of those shells while he was still airborne and that’s one less squad of aliens we had to worry about.” K59's eyes lit up. “THOSE are the sorts of men the Krieg 57th were! I didn’t have to execute a one of them, they fought to the death and took more aliens than I could count with them. They shot and stabbed and when they were deprived of their weapons they kicked and bit, I didn’t have to execute a single one of them. One of them even bit an Eldar’s finger off!” K59 laughed uproariously, and the Storm Troopers at the back of the room traded looks. The prisoner they had been mistreating for the last few weeks still made them nervous.
Schrodinger leaned forward, interested in what he knew came next in the tale: “What happened next, K59?” The Commissar sobered up, and continued.
“Well, we were taken. Myself and about seven others. We were all that had survived, we fought that hard. I’m ashamed to this day that I never got the chance to kill my men and then myself before we were captured, but I admit that the Eldar were just faster.” He mimed the action of placing a gun to one’s head then having it pulled out of his hands. “But I wasn’t having any of that, my men didn’t deserve it. The last thing I had done before they took us was spat out one of my teeth, one of those expensive ones that explode on a timer. Nobody knew I had one, but by the Emperor I never knew they exploded like that.” K59 nodded. “Killed the last living men among those brave two companies I led into battle, all seven of them. Best tooth I ever bought, and I saw the thanks in their eyes just before it exploded. It was the least I could have done. There were no more tricks up my sleeve, however. I was taken, tortured, torn apart and put back together, taken to the brink of death and all the way back.” K59 leaned back in the chair with a look of pure satisfaction on his face. “They taught me the meaning of pain, which is the reason your torturers didn’t get much satisfaction of me. The Eldar were rather surprised too, you wouldn’t believe how much effort their torturers put into making me scream. And scream I did, but I never broke. The Emperor blessed me, and while I had lost track of time I was eventually busted out. The rest of the 57th came after me, and as it turns out the Eldar had just tortured me out of spite: they never got the chance to take me off-planet. Eventually they were found by those brilliant bastards of the 57th. The Eldar tortured me for three weeks straight, and all I have to show for it is this damned phlegm!” As if to underline the point, he spat another globule of the stuff onto the floor.
“They left me in top notch shape after a few months with the finest surgeons money could buy. The 57th spared no expensive in rounding up the best care Teron had to offer, but I’m getting ahead of myself here, back to how the Death Korps busted me out.” Once again, K59’s face lit up. The skin around his eyes creased as he smiled wider than the Inquisitor had seen any man smile. “When the Guardsmen found me, the Eldar torturers were still at work on me. I remember listening to the aliens scream as those fantastic sons of bitches got creative with all the gear they found in the room. Music to my ears. I even got the honor of watching some of it and by the Emperor, when I say creative, I mean creative! It was brilliant, there was this clever young lad named Belski, he was a medic. He knew more about human and alien anatomy than any I’ve ever met, he was a real brain. He had-“ the story paused as K59 laughed uncontrollably, “-he had this weird contraption they had been using on me that repairs flesh that it is used on. Belski was having a fantastic time seeing how far it worked. He was popping the thing’s eyeballs and fixing them, digging holes in him, burning him, it looked like great fun. I was a tad blinded by pain at the time, but I think Belski knew cheering me up was the best thing he could do for me. When he chopped off the xenos’ dick and forced it down his throat I think he found the limits of the little contraption, but it was great while it lasted.
So yeah, I woke up quite a while later in a hospital. But there was nobody there. I hobbled out of my bed and found that the doctors had done a real good job with me, which was always good. I grabbed the greatcoat some good soldier had left me and wandered out onto the street. The whole area was deserted from what I found, though I could hear fighting in the distance.”
“Why was it deserted?” the Inquisitor asked.
“Something to do with a plague zombie outbreak. The Krieg was busy killing them and decided that zombies being zombies I would be safe enough by myself. The civilians had all run for it, bunch of cock-eaters to a man. I had all of them killed once they got back, even those talented doctors. What’s the use being a genius if you don’t have the guts to use it when it’s needed? The Imperium doesn’t need talent, it needs talent backed by loyalty.”
“How many people did you have executed?” K59 looked thoughtful.
“Let’s see...about forty six thousand.”
“That didn’t seem excessive?”
“Perhaps it might, when you consider the drop in productivity the area suffered in the weeks it took to repopulate the area. But you have to look beyond that, Inquisitor. Productivity doubled after we left, because people were too scared to fuck up. And when the Orks invaded a few years later, the civilians fought back so hard that the Ork advance was considerably slowed before some Space Marine Chapter finished the job. That’s the sort of loyalty, the sort of Imperial citizen that you get if you kill the right people.”
“Good. Now tell me, Commissar K59-“
“You’re calling me Commissar now?”
“Don’t get ahead of yourself and don’t talk back, I can have you killed at any time. Now tell me about the failed diplomatic actions near Medusa.”
“That one’s easy. When I got there, the Imperial commander was in peace talks with the Tau. Something about sharing possession of the livable systems in the vicinity, I didn’t bother finishing the report he gave me. My first idea was to march down to his office and blow his brains out, but I had a better idea.” The Inquisitor raised his eyebrows. “Oh yes, it was my brains behind all of it. Tau Fire Warriors and Imperial Guardsmen solidifying their relationship with a joint training exercise? What a wonderful idea!” K59 grinned his toothless grin, and pointed a finger toward the roof: “Ah, but no prizes for guessing whose Guardsmen took part in the exercise. Krieg 57th, those blessed bastards never once failed me. Once the joint maneuvers started, the Krieg blew near two hundred Tau to the Warp. I had the artillery completely annihilate the observing Ethereal and the Tau Command Cadre, and then I walked into the Imperial commander’s office and plastered his brains all over the wall! That was a fine day, Inquisitor. Fine day indeed.”
“Do you consider that diplomatic talks with the Tau may have been beneficiary to the Imperium in the Medusa system?”
“Oh yes, definitely. However, xenos are only good to be used then disposed of. The Eldar in the area were highly antagonistic towards the Tau, and it was their help the Imperium needed in the system. So by fucking over the Tau we pacified the Eldar somewhat, though they hardly trusted us. But that’s okay, because we fucked over the Eldar too. The end justifies the means, Inquisitor.”
“Is that your motto?”
“What? I’ve already told you my motto: Better safe than sorry.”
The Inquisitor leaned forward, steepling his fingers. K59 assumed that now he would find out what this is all about.
“Have you ever heard of an Inquisitorial Commissar, K59?”
“There’s no such thing.”
“Exactly.” Not sure what he meant, K59 stayed silent.
“There’s a saying where I come from: the only thing harder than dying for a belief is killing one’s mother for it.”
“Well, that’s convenient then.”
“Indeed. Now, I have heard all of these things about you. Now I need you to prove something to me.” K59 nodded interestedly.
“Are you willing to die for the Emperor?”
“But you can detect lies.”
“Prove it anyway.” K59’s mind whirred. He had no idea what the Inquisitor was getting at, but he would be damned if this bastard didn’t believe that he would die for the Emperor.
“Give me a gun then.” Schrodinger immediately un-holstered his bolt pistol and slid it across the table. K59 picked it up, and put it to his head.
“Is it loaded?” Inquisitor Schrodinger smiled.
K59 chortled, and pulled the trigger.
To: Inquisitorial High Lord, Terra
From: Lord Inquisitor-Interrogator Schrodinger, Clearance Alpha-minus
Message format: Delayed Astropath feed
Thought for the Day: Better safe than sorry.