Sunday, April 14, 2013

From the Journal of Angar "Priest" Ween, Imperial Guard Medic (4-11-13); Part One

My Misspent Youth

I was born on Kommitzar, a penal colony in the Calixis Sector.  I'm third generation, meaning, the person that did whatever wretched crime damned us all was my grandparent, but my mother never really talked about her progenitors much.



Loosely speaking, there tends to be three groups of people on Kommitzar:  the planetary governor and his staff, the guards and prison administration, and the inmates, many of whom are several generations removed from the actual person that violated Imperial law . . . although living on Kommitzar in the inmate class tends to mean you end up doing something that would have got you thrown in here eventually anyway.



My mother was our block's healer.  We couldn't count on the officials to take care of the sick and wounded, so people from the population that could figure such things out are in high demand.  My mother was a wise woman.  If she stayed neutral and helped everyone, for a price, and never took sides, we had a much better chance of surviving gang fights and assassination attempts.

That doesn't mean the spill over didn't threaten us from time to time, but our family were rarely the actual targets of any form of violence.  We also had a deal worked out, that anybody that could pay enough got to stay in our place until they healed or died on their own.  The flip side was that we publicly posted who all we had staying with us, so nobody got the bright idea to raid us looking for hidden enemies.

That meant that right outside our door we often saw horrible acts being performed.  I got used to it.  Humans are made of red stringy stuff, so in a violent galaxy, you are bound to see that stringy stuff spill out from time to time.

Remember when I said my mum was a wise woman?  She was good at healing, but everybody has an off day, and sometimes you just can't do anything for a body.  To keep her reputation high, mum would send me out to find someone looking to settle a score with a body under our care that was about to pass on, and let them know we were putting them out, so they would meet their end long before anyone figured out that we couldn't heal them.

So childhood was fun.

Being slightly protected from the greater violence of the colony produced a particular personality quirk in me that I've yet to have fully excised.  When others have an internal monologue that serve to narrate their lives, I have a tendency to speak aloud whatever thought pops into my head.

One of the most notable times when this became a detriment is also the point at which I acquired my moniker of "Priest."  Ministorum Priests like to come to Kommitzar to preach to the inmates, to make sure that we understand that just because the Imperium keeps us pinned up and uses us for hard labor with no chance to escape, we are still part of the Emperor's plan, and we should be happy about it.



On this particular day, I remembered some obscure bit of religious lore that the previous Ministorum priest had extolled to us, and noticed that the current priest had said something contradictory.  Not only did I tell him that he was wrong, I proceeded to stand on a crate, above the crowd, and mimicked  the previous priest's voice and mannerism as I recounted the scriptural error.

I was flogged to within an inch of my life.  If my mother hadn't treated him for something that the local officials had not been able to help with, or that he didn't want to go them to have treated, I probably would have been killed outright.  As it stands, I figured out I'm not so keen on getting flogged.  Still didn't keep my mouth shut.  Similar situations taught me that I didn't like being stabbed, having my jaw broken, or being thrown down a ventilator shaft, but aside from learning what kinds of injuries I'd like to avoid, deep down I just can't quite make the connection between running my mouth and getting those injuries.

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

There had been a previous Regiment of Imperial Guard raised from Kommitzar before.  They were sent off with a Rogue Trader fleet and disappeared in the Koronus Expanse.  So when our population levels were reaching critical, both from within and from the new blood they kept sending us from around the Calixis Sector, the decision was made to raise a new Regiment from our planet.

I'd like to say it was the fact that I was carrying on in the family tradition of learning the rudiments of Medicae that led to me being pressed into the recruitment drive, but it was probably me saying, "I wonder what poor bastards are going to wind up disappearing into void this time?"  that actually got me hooked in.

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