{ I do not own Warhammer 40,000, and I am not making a profit from this story. But I love the 'It is the 41st Millennium' thing, so I'm putting it in my story too. }

It is the 41st Millennium. For more than a hundred centuries the Emperor has sat immobile on the Golden Throne of Earth. He is the Master of mankind by the will of the gods, and master of a million worlds by the might of his inexhaustible armies. He is a rotting carcass writhing invisibly with power from the Dark Age of Technology. He is the Carrion Lord of the Imperium for whom a thousand souls are sacrificed every day, so that he may never truly die.

Yet Even In his deathless state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the daemon-infested miasma of the warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomican, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor's will. Vast armies give battle in his name on uncounted worlds. Greatest amongst his soldiers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors. Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defence forces, the ever vigilant Inquisition and the tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from aliens, heretics, mutants - and worse.

To Be A man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.

Chiros, Segmentum Pacificus, 907.M41

I was charging. My breath fogged the sinister goggles of my rebreather mask. The pristine morning dew was being disturbed by the footsteps of thousands of men. The sky was grim, stormy, and full of Imperial dropships. The weight of penance was pressing down on my shoulders. Penance for what Krieg had done. They taught us everything about it, so we would know what we were atoning for. I held the weight, as I had held it every day until then, and after then. The enemy opened up on us, and the man to my left dropped to the ground with a las bolt in his head. My name was Franz Russtad. I was from Krieg.

I was charging. In the distance I could hear a voice...my voice. Cheering on the men, not that most of them needed it, but it was my job to shout and make speeches. I couldn't see their faces, they all wore their rebreather masks like part of their skin, not that I objected. My storm coat brushed around at my knees. I took a deep breath, a breath of fresh air. With the Emperor on our side, it would khekking well stay fresh.

'Chaos claims the unwary or the incomplete.

A true man may flinch away its embrace,

if he is stalwart, and he girds his soul

with the armour of contempt.'

I couldn't remember the source of that quote, but it rang true. I led the way into hell, bolt pistol roaring defiance. My name was Vladmir Korsakov. I was from Vostroya.

I was charging. Well, not me, but my tank was. Charging straight into Emperor only knew what, but I comforted myself knowing that this was how things were supposed to be. The commissar bellowing litanies at the top of his lungs to my right. The lines of infantry advancing quickly and calmly despite the onset of enemy fire. I focused, and the stubber I was manning spewed death in the general direction of the foe. My name was Josef Sagell. I was from Cadogus.

I was charging. So to speak...hands firmly on the controls of my Valkyrie Assault Carrier, I was flying myself and my cargo hold full of soldiers straight into the thick of the assault. Vox was breaking up, as the warp storm churned around me. That was an interesting thought...MY Valkryie, was it? I'd have to come back to that, as I was about as close as I was going to get to the deployment point. My hand found the switch for the 'drop' light. My finger hovered over the button. Then alarms were going off, my Valk was shaking, all hell was breaking loose. All I could manage to say was "I'm hit!" and that was likely all I was going to say for the rest of my life, because it wouldn't last very damned long, would it? My name was Jeren DeSang. I was from Aexe Cardinal.