The Adeptus Ministorum, the Ordo Hereticus, and the Ordo Xenos have determined the following account to contain instances of Hersey, specifically instances of humans willful associating with Xenos. Therefore this work is not suitable for Imperial Audiences and anyone caught distributing this work shall be sent to a Penal World as punishment. Glory to The God-Emperor!

This heretical story is inspired by the Deviantart drawing "Willpower Test" by NicklausofKrieg. He has some good drawings, and I suggest any fan of Warhammer 40,000 view his work.

From beneath a porch on a homestead cabin, an Imperial Guard Veteran stood watch over his sounder of Grox. In his arms he held a lasgun affixed with a bayonet, on his person he wore a grey army jacket, and over his face he wore a metal gas mask that he had been raised to see as a second skin.

The man is named Karl Werner, and he was a veteran of the Death Korps of Krieg.

For thirteen years, starting at the age of fourteen, Werner left his home planet and fought in the 9987th Death Korps Regiment. In the 9987th, Werner fought in half a dozen campaigns across half a dozen worlds. Werner's Regiment suppressed a workers strike on a polluted Forge World, battled Kroot Hordes on an Agri-world, defeated a Nurgle Cultist Rebellion on another Forge World, defended a Shrine World from Feral Orks, routed a Waaagh from a Hive World, and finally it with two other Regiments participated in a xenocidal purge against the Feral Orks who had controlled this planet.

Werner was glad to fight against Xenos, as he received indoctrination in their evils. They were all sadists who killed and tortured for depraived pleasure and in the name of ruinous powers, or so Werner was taught from birth. Werner was convinced that in all of existence there has never been a single Eldar or Tau or Ork or other Xeno with even a shred of goodness in their soul. They were evil killers to a man.

Now this Krieger was a civilian; his regiment and the other two which fought in this last campaign were given the Right of Settlement. The Planetary Governor who purged this Ork World - a spoiled Farfallen Nobleman named Rory Malone - was given the right to rule it on behalf of The Imperium. He renamed the world Mediolanum - a proper Gothic name - and began efforts to make it productive again. Imperial Civilians from overpopulated hive-worlds were brought in to repopulate the planet and the veterans of the conquest were granted the best lands for their homesteads.

That is why Werner is on a Grox Farm instead of in a Trench. Given the choice he would gladly reenlist to do what he was made for and fight the enemies of The Imperium once more. However no such choice has been made available to him; Planetary Governor Malone forbade the veterans from reenlisting as he wanted them to stay on Mediolanum to defend it should it be necessary to do so, even though this world has not been threatened once in the three years since settlement.

It is better to Die for the Emperor than to live for yourself.

"Well", mumbled Werner to himself, "if the Planetary Governor wants me to sit here and rot then I guess I have no choice".

In Life, Shame. In Death, Atonement.

Werner looked out over the muddy fields that made up his homestead. The Lobotomized Grox, dumb and brutish as always, were standing idle and aimless in the mud: in a few months they will have fattened up and Werner will butcher them and preserve their meat in the smokery before taking it to market. The Ducks, Geese, and Chickens are all roosting in the barn: Werner rarely kills them as he keeps them for their eggs rather than their meats.

The field mice were probably in their miserable in their burrows right now: fortunately Werner has not found any Vapour Rats in his traps yet and he hopes it remains that way. Back in the Krieg Orphanage one of the little devils bit Werner on the foot and left him ill for a month, cursed things!

A large gust of watery wind blew into Werner, causing him to shiver. He decided he could go inside now: nobody was going to try to rustle his Grox in this weather.

Grumbling to himself, Karl Werner attempted with tinderbox to light the stove in his living room. Once lit, he wrapped himself in an old army blanket and sat down on the wooden stool in front of it.

"Why does the cold bother you?" Werner asked himself. "It never bothered before."

But he knew the reason: while he had endured horrendous freezing cold and snow in the past, he had been with brothers and sisters in arms when he did so. Friends with which to discuss the trials of the war, friends with which to joke and jest make the troubles of life fade, friends with which to take comfort. Now Karl Werner was alone; almost all of his friends paid that final measure of devotion upon the bloody field of battle, and those who survived live too far away to visit or correspond with regularly. Werner's "neighbors" were either from different Death Korp Platoons within the 9987th Regiment, or were from different planets altogether (such as the Valhallan 1904th Regiment or the 552nd Vostroyan Firstborn Regiment, both of which were also settled upon Mediolanum).

Werner pushed thoughts of the past away from his mind, and soon drifted into sleep in front of his stove fire.

He could not have known just the unbelievable twist fate had in store for him ...