Rise of the Shadowcocks
Most of us that were pressed into training for our new Regiment were culled from one of two groups. We were either those of the prison population with sterling records (relatively speaking), or those that were the worst, most vile, most dangerous members of our "community."
The Imperial Guard is no place for half measures, it seems.
When they assembled us to be herded into the transports to begin our training, they told us exactly how many spaces the transport would have, which was exactly one half of the number of us that were assembled to get on the transport. In a rare fit of composure, I didn't comment on how this reflected on the ability of our superiors to determine logistical arrangements, and it's a good thing I didn't. The first training exercise was to see which ones of us would actually make it on the transport.
Before that could completely sink in, our benevolent trainers pointed out that there was only room for half of us in the transport, and none of us were going back to the Cell Block habitation center, allowing us to do that particular bit of math ourselves.
I got on the transport with minimal incident. Well, I lost a tooth. What I mean is this: I didn't kill anyone, and I did my best to do just what I needed to do to get on the transport. Nothing excessive, and mainly sneaky if I could help it.
Once we were on the transport, I immediately set about trying to tend some of the other "winner's" wounds. I'm not that nice, but I am my mother's son. These guys would be fighting along side me. Better to get them used to seeing me as a boon than a bane to their existence. Make an impression. That's what I always say. Actually, I say a lot more than that, but hopefully my new friends would weigh having their wounds tended against my incessant chatter and life and limb would win out.
I know what my mother taught me. I know I can learn more about Medicae and general healing. However, this book that they gave me, that I'm suppose to consult . . . it's worthless.
There are several procedures that might make sense if you had a full medical facility, which we'll never have in combat. There are prayers that take so long to recite that the patient will be on his way to the Emperor before I can open my kit.
On the other hand, I know I need to know what page the book should be open to, and what prayers I should be saying, or else I'll be on my way to the Emperor while a more suitable medic cites chapter and verse without doing a damn thing for his patient.
Being me, I said what I thought out loud, once. I ended up having to spend the day stitching all of the prayers from my handbook onto the flesh of the corpses we got to practice on until I could recite them from memory. Could have been worse.
Live Fire Exercise
After we had been training for some time, they decided to give us a live fire exercise to prepare us for battle. They took us and dropped us out of ships (hooray, we learned we're going to be Drop Troops!) into a remote area that we had to cross and hold for a number of days before they came to extract us.
Now, in our particular block, we had gotten used to a particular form of entertainment. One of the higher ups had a relation that was a Rogue Trader, and he brought in these flightless hunting birds from a Death World, and we'd bet on the fights between them.
Turns out, the Emperor and his servants love irony. The area that they dropped us had been seeded with these flightless hunting birds: shadowcocks. Damn hard to see in the shadows, nearly as tall as a man, sharp pecker and tearing claws. Rotten things to deal with when you aren't betting on them from a safe distance.
Lots of wounds, a few deaths, but the most notable thing about the exercise was that Colonel Trask, the man that was going to be our CO, and the functionary on Kommitzar that first brought the birds in for our entertainment from his relations roaming the starts, decided to meet his troops in the field. He caused quite a stir in the command structure, but it turns out he's actually competent at surviving and shooting straight, and even if he gets better gear than the rest of us, the fact that he put his neck out to prove that he was willing to do this sort of thing made an impression.