M41.999
Granichina V Hereticum Exterminatus Crusade
Campaign Day 21
11:59
Location: Camp 88 - Mess Hall

Sergeant Avery Hoffman grimaced as he picked up his plate of grey sludge that stood in for what his squad had been looking forward to; beans on toast. He took a sip of his canteen of water. At least that didn't taste like rancid milk.

"What is this crap sir?" Smirked corporal Bisenti as he noticed his sarge had gotten the same 'food'. "Looks like some of that omelette you made last tuesday!"

Hoffman gave Bisenti a cold, hard stare then smiled. He looked around and looked at the other 7 survivors of what had been a ten man squad.

Damn, interrogation makes you hungry. Thought Hoffman as he saw his men eating like pigs. Though they were civilised enough to use their knives and forks. Who knows what this stew consisted of?

They need their fingers to fire guns after all. Mused sergeant Hoffman to himself.

"Are man, this sucks." Chuckled private Jenkins, "I thought we were gonna get what we asked for. Beans on toast. Ice cream... "

"Amasec!" Chipped in private Fleischer. "Good ol' booze! Wipe away the pain!"

"Amen to that!" Yelled several of the men at once.

Hoffman stopped shovelling the savoury stew into his again dry throat and looked up. He was surprised. They had all almost gotten killed today, either by heretics or the Inquisition, and they were talking about alcohol already.

Some people... Hoffman's trail of thought was interrupted by private Ackerson.

"So, sir, you ever been drunk... on duty?" He asked nervously, aware that Hoffman might just turn him in to the commissariat at any moment for asking such a question. Being drunk on duty was punishable by death after all.

The sergeant looked up. All his squad's eyes on him now, all eager for his answer. Hoffman licked his lips as he thought of an answer. Should he say... or not?

"A while ago, private, I got drunk on duty... yes." He answered, knowing what they were going to do next.

"Tut tut, sir." Said corporal Bisenti as the men laughed silently at the thought of the strict sergeant Hoffman being drunk. Bisenti shook his shaven head in mock disappointment.

"So, what happened?" Asked private Ambrose from the other side of the table.

Hoffman glanced at each of his men. They were gonna get a kick out of this. He sighed.

Might as well get this over with then... Thought the sergeant as he opened his mouth to speak.

"I drank too much. Well... this much." He made a hand gesture that made the squads eyes widen in amazement. "I got so drunk I started to hallucinate."

He paused.

"Then... in my drunken mind. I decided that colonel Wilson was a grot."

Hoffman was interrupted by the men's bark of laughter. Some even started to weep tears of hilarity as they wondered what their sergeant had done next. Men at nearby tables paused to hear the whole story, ears turned towards the sergeant, eager to hear this story's punch line.

"Then," he continued, regardless of his men's grinning faces and the muffled sobs of silent laughter, "I went up to the colonel and punched him at a grots head height."

"Ouch!" Shouted Ambrose, Jenkins, Hood and Wilkinson all at once along with some men from other units as they imagined what that must have felt like. The rest of the audience winced visibly.

Hoffman nodded and continued. "Wilson fell over forwards on top of me, clutching his jewels." He looked up and at the people watching him closely before continuing, "I had to wash the latrines for six months after that." He said finally.

The men, including those at other tables, started laughing with renewed vigour. After a while, they carried on eating, the foul tasting slush forgotten in their joy of knowing the antics of their sarge.

Hoffman blushed at admitting his foolishness and glanced at his watch. 12:07 that gave them 47 minutes to get prepped for departure to camp 89 with Inquisitor Lancelot. Hoffman took a long draught of water before addressing his squad.

"Right men, fall out to the armoury. Let's get ready to roll!"

"Ooh ra!" Yelled the men as they left the mess hall, glad to be rid of the food and still laughing.

The armoury that stormtrooper unit 21-Alpha was assigned conveniently right next to the mess hall Hoffman's men had just eaten at.

The eight man squad jogged together to armoury 5, taking the chance to glance at the sky... it was still in the beginning stages of turning daemonic, though the clouds were blue now.

The remnants of 21-Alpha filed in through the small side door into the small warehouse that stored all their equipment for them and other squads besides too.

"Right men, get to it, find your shelf and prep up. Including ration packs and fluids ok? We don't know how long we're gonna be out there." He added to the entire squad.

"Yes sir!" Smirked the men as they got to the task at hand. Private Ambrose silently miming punching corporal Bisenti at a 'grot's head height'. The men laughed upon seeing this play and Hoffman joined in.

Might as well help it blow over. He thought to himself as he chuckled at the two men's antics at winding up their sergeant.

Hoffman found his shelf quickly; it was right next to the side door. He was already wearing his helmet carapace armour so he just needed to strap on his back pack, pistol holster and grabbed a hellpistol he checked it's cell then, satisfied at its usefulness, holstered it. After holstering it he picked up a battered hellgun and checked it like his pistol. He slung that over his shoulder.

Then he proceeded to, just like his men, pick up power packs, grenades, rations, and water. They all then placed, squeezed, shoved or punched their mound of equipment in the correct storage areas on their armour or in their back pack. Finally, they each clipped on their tri-dome helmet with inbuilt Mk Xl re-breather.

Hoffman checked his watch again. It read 12:45.

"Right, lets get to it ladies. Ready?"

"No sir!" Yelled the men gleefully. Hoffman knew what was still on their minds

"Well get to it then!" Laughed back Hoffman.

It was 12:50 when they were almost finally ready to roll out to the parade square they had been told to meet the Inquisitor at.

"Right... let's go." Said Hoffman as Wilkinson and Ackerson eventually managed to clip on the bulging vox set onto Bisenti's back.

"Man, I hate this box!" Remarked a tired Bisenti loudly as he struggled to get to his feet.

The men marched out the door towards the square. Bisenti slightly slower than the rest with the bulk of the vox system on his armoured back. The now unnaturally coloured sun glaring down on them.