Stand straight, Recruits.
Today we bring you a first-hand account of the glorious life in the field as a member of the Astra Militarum. Private Jenkins is an outstanding guardsman and was chosen from thousands of candidates* to provide you second-wavers with some valuable insight that will serve you well as you make the transition from ‘freshblood’ to hardened soldier defending Armageddon. Raised on one of the agri worlds in the Epistol ring, Jenkins is a fervent devotee of the Church of the Emperor, a fine scholar and the perfect example of the guardsman you should all aspire to be.
The start of another exciting day in the service of the Emperor! While many of my fellow troopers were upset at the lack of hab units and field tents waiting for us on Sadal, I relished the opportunity to sleep in the open air. Being woken by the gentle light from its twin suns as they rotate back to the horizon is such an uplifting experience. Just upon opening your eyes, it becomes immediately apparent that today you are blessed by the Emperor. It always brings a smile to my face to not have frozen to death in the night. Though I do find my less fortunate squad-mates to be a great incentive when it comes to the vigilance and sincerity of my morning prayers.
Having only one set of clothing truly is a blessing. After a quick check of my laces – the silent killers, as my father used to call them – I am able to hop straight from my bunk and rush to take a front row seat*** at Priest Doherty’s morning prayers. It fills me with such pride to be part of a regiment with such a devoted servant of the Emperor’s word. It is utterly selfless of Doherty to stand with us in the dust, knowing that he will later have to have his attendants spend hours washing the dirt from the folds of his fine robes. I’ve even heard some of the men say that Doherty has forgone his rightful place at the head of our regiment in order to remain behind and spread the word of the Emperor to the second-wavers. To pass up such glory truly marks him as a great man. Today’s sermon was about the virtues of martyrdom.
The muster field here on Sadal is 500 miles from our encampment. I would gladly walk, but Captain Hall insists on busing us there in transports. Today, I was lucky enough to get a seat near the tailgate. Yesterday, I’d had to hang on to the outside of the rail, a bracing experience for sure! Wallen and Howes were less fortunate and tumbled off as we thundered around a sharp bend. For a moment I thought they might manage to catch us up, but the transport following closely behind knocked them into the dirt. I made the sign of the aquila and wished them well. Doc Yates was said to be a miracle worker and had never lost a man. I was certain that Wallen and Howes would be sent to the recovery orchard before lunch.
Originally, I had expected equipment checks to be more rigorous and involve some sort of testing. Mostly though, Lieutenant Tighe was just content that we had most items of equipment as listed on her manifest. Her rather casual approach was very comforting, especially for troopers who had lost their knives, socks or even ammo in yesterday’s dice game. I even braved to ask her a question, enquiring as to whether or not there was perhaps a smaller helmet available to me. She grinned in that warm toothless way you’ll come to love and told me not to worry, that my head would grow into it. This is good news as currently the helmet obscures a large part of my vision and occasionally falls off.
Morning rations are the best. My bunk-mate, Smiley, reckons it’s because we haven’t eaten in close to 12 hours. I think he’s being uncharitable. Vat-dried lactose and ambi-nutrient bars are not only delicious but provide you with everything your body needs to stay fighting fit****.
Officer breakfasts take longer to conclude than ours – I think it’s because they make sure we’re all fed before sitting down to their own chow – which normally leaves us with some unsupervised***** time to kill. Today, I’m throwing down against Harris. Having lost most of his kit, he’s been trying to wager his lasgun all week. I’m not sure what I’d do with a spare so I’ll probably put up the shorts I won from Bayton yesterday. We’re all a little fed up looking at Harris’ nakedness.
Read regimental standard**
The greatest part of my day! I mean, wow. I really wish this was written more than once a week. I’ll be damned by the Emperor if I don’t read it every day. Oh gee… next week I’ll be reading these very words! Emperor’s grace, we’re living in blessed times.
Power packs are in low supply, though we’ve been reassured by Lieutenant Tighe that we will be given all we needed upon planet fall to Armageddon******, so during today’s practice, we were instructed to simply shout ‘zap’ when we fired. Officer Rhodes would then tell us how accurate we had been. It’s truly amazing how keen his eyes are that he can do that. I hope to have him by my side when we get to Armageddon.
Another glorious day of service is over, and it’s dark now. Not the regular sort of dark where a roof keeps you hidden from the light, but proper Emperor-made darkness where the suns have gone to shine on other souls and the stars are busy lighting another portion of his mighty realm. I’m using what’s left of my lumo lantern’s charge to write this final entry (I hope it’s not dark on Armageddon, ha!). I’m so excited about deploying tomorrow that I doubt I’ll be able to sleep. I mean, Armageddon! I hope I’ll get to meet Commissar Yarrick! Tomorrow is going to be the best day of my life.
Thanks, Jenkins. An accurate and level appraisal of life on the muster.
Next week we’ll bring you more from Jenkins as this outstanding trooper tastes his first mouthful of xenos blood on the battlefields of Armageddon.
Thought for the day: “Ignorance is armour enough.”
* Inflated for effect. Jenkins was the only Epistolier able to read and write.
** Edited for motivational robustness
*** No actual seats are provided.
**** Assuming your body needs to function in combat for circa 15 hours.
***** While appearances may be to the contrary, we are always watching.
****** Based on the ammo requirement of the average guardsmen, expected to survive 15-hours in a combat zone.