Oktar was the Commissar for the Hyrkan Regiments and had notable attachments to a number of Imperial Guard units. Using his influence as Commissar, Oktar was able to expound his martial philosophy onto Hyrkan commanders, emphasizing the values of honour, unity within a regiment, cohesiveness within a strong command structure, and the value of individual troopers on the battlefield. Oktar's philosophy helped develop Hyrkan regiments into elite infantry units and his pupil Gaunt would cross-apply many of these values when he assumed command of the Tanith First. Oktar also believed in leading from the front and always placed himself in a position to advance with the men in his command, despite the dangers he faced. According to Gaunt's memories, Oktar was a fierce combatant in his own right, who, with the help of certain members of the Hyrkan 8th, was able to instruct Gaunt in solid combat technique.
It was Oktar who gave Gaunt his first attempts at command and advised him on the proper ways for a Commissar to lead troops of the line into battle. One of the distinguishing features of Oktar's relationship was the fact that he referred to him as "Boy", a moniker Gaunt loathed, especially after the Hyrkan troops decided to give him the title as a permanent nickname. Even on his death-bed, Oktar always asked for the "Boy". Oktar's advice always played a key role in Gaunt's future decisions and might have even been a factor in Gaunt's retreat from Tanith. With Gaunt's father having been killed in action with the Jantine Patricians, Oktar provided the father-figure that Gaunt had lacked in his early youth.
Oktar's confidence and belief in fighting from the front earned him high honours when he personally led the Hyrkan 8th into a massive victory over Orks at Gylatus Decimus. Unfortunately for Ibram Gaunt and the Commissariat, Oktar was accidentally served poisoned wine at the victory feast on Gylatus Decimus, a hidden parting gift from the Orc Warlord that had fled the planet. The poisoned wine was highly surprising and underhanded, given the Orks racial desire for frontal assault and glorious single combat. The poison was however, extremely efficient, killing several members of the Imperial high command staff on Decimus in the space of a few minutes. Oktar had only taken one sip, enough to condemn him to a slow lingering death as the poison, which had no known antidote, fought a war of attrition against the Commissar-General's stubborn immune system. Oktar forced himself to live long enough to sign the papers promoting Gaunt to full Commissar, declaring that he had known Gaunt was ready for such a promotion for a long time, but had not want to let him go. A short while after the signing, Oktar died surrounded by Gaunt and the commanding officers of the Hyrkan. Gaunt would go on to lead an illustrious career as a Guard Commissar-Colonel and continued to apply Oktar's advice to his command of the Tanith.
- Winning is everything, but the trick is to know where the winning really is.... We're political animals, Ibram. Through us, if we do our job properly, the black and white of war is tempered. We are the interpreters of combat, the translators. We give meaning to war, subtlety, purpose even. Killing is the most abhorrent, mindless profession known to man. Our role is to fashion the killing machine of the human species into a positive force. For the Emperor's sake. For the sake of our own consciences.[1a]
- 1: First And Only (Novel) - Gaunt's Ghosts: The Founding (Omnibus) by Dan Abnett
- 1a: "A Memory" after Part VI, pg. 233