It was still night when the young officer opened the door of his room in the bunker's quarter. He took his time to put on his uniform, as the officer had always said, no rush needed. He thought to himself that this incident was another one of the many that were happening here, the trivial, little things, as senior officers thought of them, but important for the morale of the men.
It was not uncommon here, for a guardsman to take his own life, after living through a strenuous incident or watching his brother or friend dying with nothing he could do about it. The senior officers thought everything like that as trivial; the drill was the same. They would fill out a report to the high command and send the box with the unlucky guardsman to his planet. They were, the 918th Regiment, full of misfits from other Regiments, they were like a fighting penal colony, and used for special missions only where the possibility of certain death was waiting.
He was walking confidently, as an officer would. Some minutes later, he was inside the narrow corridor of the barracks, watching the nametags on the locked doors as he went. He knew most of this men, and he had their trust. Mindlessly, he reached his Commissar's door. He knocked almost mechanically, waited for the answer, and then entered. His Commissar room was as large as the barrack itself, containing artifacts from worlds now lost, and books of histories no one taught any more. He saluted in his standard manner, regardless of the late hour of the summoning, and a deep voice came to an answer.
"Always by the regulations Siegler"
"Yes sir", said the young man confident of himself. "Regulations exist to be followed or..."
"Chaos would devour us?" his Commissar replied. "Don't be afraid of the name, Siegler, but of its acts. But I haven't summoned you here for a philosophical debate, I have called you for a special task" showing to him an extremely detailed planetary map bearing the Aquilla. "This is the planet Kasada, an Imperial planet as you can see. It is the main planet of the Gorhas system. An agricultural world providing the rations for the whole system which population is estimated at 400 million".
"Sir with all due respect, you have called me for a geography briefing of the planet?"
"Some months ago", continued the Commissar without noticing Siegler's remark, "We had information of chaotic powers gathering on the planet. Soon after this information, reports started coming in, about small scale riots and..." the Commissar paused.
"And, sir?" Siegler asked looking at his Commissar directly at his eyes.
"And plague. Men reported about a demagogue spreading the teachings of the Chaos Gods amongst the people. The riots, soon, erupted on the whole surface of the planet and the militia, or better, what's left of it did the best it could to defend the last city with the spaceport, Fort Timbenford. It is under heavy siege and none enters or leaves the town. So, your mission is to find the demagogue and kill him, no matter what, and then report through the vox-com to the planet's command in order to send the whole Regiment in."
"How many men will be at my disposal, sir?" asked Siegler steadily.
"Counting you, ten. You can go and rest now. In the morning, select the men, make the preparations, and start the mission. You must finish it as soon as possible", said the Commissar and turned his gaze upon the map.
"As you order, sir" replied Siegler, as he saluted and exited the room.
Now, lost in his thoughts, the corridor to his room seemed endless. He was thinking of the suicide mission bestowed upon him, the responsibilities and the possible outcome: death. He was not afraid of dying, he was afraid that he might die before his mission was fulfilled. He found himself outside his room but he could not enter. With all these thoughts in his mind, he made his way to the Chapel.