The Big-Mek's lifeless body slumped upon the deck as Smirking twitched and convulsed like a mad thing, his fingers still outstretched smoking in the breeze.
A nervous crew of grots in a little galley came alongside and Smudge took command of the situation. The Big-Mek was stripped of a few choice items before his carcass was unceremoniously buried at sea. It slid off the sub and obligingly sunk beneath the waves, and not a moment too soon.
"Oi, gitz" it was GrodMek's chief Spanna, the one they called GitFingaz, poking his head out the hatch. "Where's da boss!"
Smudge turned coolly and told him a bare-faced lie.
"He went up to da BizMork to talk wif Aaris."
"He says we have to heave to. You got some ropes and that?" Nurd didn't wait for an answer but stepped on over the incredulous Spanna's head and proceeded to unlock a stowage box. Producing a thick steal cable he tossed one end to another grot. "Here Grunt, tie 'er off."
GitFingaz climbed out on deck and gave Smirking a questioning look. "Wot's up wif dis guy?"
Smirking was taking a little while to regather his faculties. He was a gibbering mess.
"Um, he's a bit scared of GrodMek... Oi! Swab!" He yelled to a likely grot lackey, "mop him up will ya," he indicated that Smirking needed clearing off the deck. "Orks is on da deck!" He added with feigned deference to the newcomer.
"An' where is GrodMek?" Fingaz was looking around the Biz-Mork for any sign of the Big-Mek.
Smudge instantly regretted reminding the ork of his missing boss. "He went on ahead," he assured the ork vaguely.
Fingaz spotted an item in Smudge's hands. "Wots dat?" It looked familiar, like a piece off one of GrodMek's personal gubbins. Smudge had to think quick.
"Oh yeah, he said you'd know what to do wif it." He tossed the pilfered piece to Fingaz without further comment and then quickly produced a flask. "Fancy a swig O' Rott?"
* * * * *
Smirking awoke to find his hands were already busy tinkering and adjusting. The small machine of dubious quality he had been building was quickly hidden behind his own back. GrodMek was having difficulty adapting to the idea of sharing his latest inventions with the other inhabitants of Smirking's crowded brain.
Smirking blinked and took note of his surroundings. He was back on the Biz-Mork in the Kaptains Ready Room. The wash of emotions from all directions was nauseating. The familiarity and security of a homecoming from Aaris warred with the intense resentment and avarice of GrodMek. The BigMek's plans and devices cluttered up the Kaptain's table and even the fact that the Kaptain's chair provided more than ample room for Smirking's grotly rear did nothing to quell the rising animosity between the two. WazzBad who harboured no such feelings for the place and wanted nothing more than to be out of there foreswore all claim to the Kaptain's chair as BlackGull sitting in judgement as ever claimed it all wholly in the name of Da Chosen One. Sleekit was furiously calculating his options and preparing to throw his conniving support behind he likeliest candidate when suddenly Smirking threw up.
The projectile vomit was a thing of dire consequence. Viscous and sparking with lethal energies it spewed forth upon the table and instantly destroyed both plans and furnishings alike. A green flame erupted and belched dense oily spoke as it consumed the table and its contents.
All thoughts of interpersonal rivalry were momentarily suspended as all beheld the grotesque outpouring of the their contentious bickering with unanimous admiration. Smirking was becoming a proper warp-head and no mistake. Feeling a little better already he plonked his boney behind down in the Kaptain's chair uncontested and beheld his handiwork as a cluster of Fire-grots burst in and doused the smouldering ruin with buckets of sand and sea water.
Smirking spoke not a word as they laboured to neutralise his boiling vomit but simply presided in his position of power. The stuff was potent for all the small amount of it but soon the grot clean up crew had it contained and they quickly decided to shuffle away out of sight. As the smoke began to clear Smirking became aware that one remained waiting by the ruin of the desk anxiously wringing his hands. It was Nurd.
"What's going on?" Smirking croaked, his throat a little worse for wear.
The relief on the other grot's face was palpable and he immediately launched into a desperate tirade.
"Smudge told 'em GrodMek was here, boss." Nurd blurted in a panic, "He had to! We've left 'em all on da Sub but you know orks, dey won't listen to Grotz an' dey won't wait for long. Dey'll be up on da BizMork soon an' when dey finds out dere's nuffink but Grotz up 'ere were all done for!" He took a long breath. "Smudge is keepin' da chief Spanna sweet wif a bottle o' Rott but it ain't gonna last!"
Smirking silenced Nurd with a swift flap of his winged arm and held the gesture while his inner thoughts conversed.
"We gotta keep em on da sub" Sleekit squeaked.
"Dem's MY ladz, yer grot git!" sulked GrodMek
"Well dey ain't welcome 'ere!" Aaris bellowed.
"Dey're your ladz too, some ov'em."
"No way!" yelled Sleekit, "No Meks, no Runthurds, none of yer big dumb Morka goons! They'll ruin everything!"
"We needs 'em, grot!" BlackGull pointed out, "Da Godz needs all da orks to come togevver!"
"An' what? Follow orders from grotz?" Sleekit wailed, "They won't do it!"
"It ain't natural!"
"It ain't propa orky."
Smirking nodded. It was plain ork sense, they all agreed.
"Dey'll follow Da Chosen One!" BlackGull asserted, "It's da will of da Godz! Dey can't refuse."
"If dey take one look at Smirking dey will." Aaris scoffed, "One squeaky order outa him an' my Runthurds'll feed 'im to da Squighounds. Morkalmighty, he's such a runt we could feed him to Mogz!"
"Oh, Mogz." WazzBad was suddenly interested at the mention of the Ship's Squig. Smirking jumped down from his seat and started making little squiggly noises but Mogz did not appear. Nurd shifted uneasily eyeing the mad grot with concern and growing alarm.
"I don't think we oughta let 'em see you like dis, boss." said Nurd backing away slowly. "I'm just gonna close dis door and you can call if you need anyfing."
"Dat's it!" Smirking yelled still twitching and ticking, trying to cram the exuberant ork personalities into some semblance of order. "Dey won't see us! We'll let 'em on da BizMork but we'll stay here and run da ship from da ready room."
"Oh yeah, dat'll work fine." Sleekit whined sarcastically, "The invisible Kaptain wif da squeaky voice on da loud speakaz."
"My boyz won't follow nobody but me!" Aaris declared.
"I dunno, Aaris, dey took orders from me jus' fine." GrodMek sniggered. "But I ain't no grot."
The collective force of every other inhabitant of Smirking's head made his eyes roll with enough torque to pull a Krooza into a dry-dock. "You might wanna look in da mirror, Grodderz." WazzBad giggled, "You'z in here wif us now."
"Well I'm... Wot it is is..." GrodMek fumbled for the right words but he was already way out of his depth.
"UzKop can do it!" Smirking blurted. He wasn't sure whose idea that was and nobody was claiming credit.
"Dat hairy Lug!"
"No zoggin' way!"
"Wot? Why not?" pleaded Smirking, "Anuvva ork voice? It might work."
"My chief Spanna GitFingaz won't do nuffink for UzKop!" bellowed GrodMek with all authority, "If it ain't my voice givin' da orderz...,"
Smirking leapt into the air, he had it! "Da Spanna, Smudge's Gut-Rott brew!" Smirking capered and yelled, "He's been drinking da stuff!"
"Sure, he's a slacker if I ain't about!" agreed GrodMek. "On'y works if he's cornered like a rat in a trap."
"I don't allow no Rott on my ship." preached Aaris, "Zaps yer discipline it does, slows ya down."
"Kan-it yer lugz." BlackGull snapped, "Da Chosen One iz talkin'!"
"Wot, da grot?" GrodMek, a little late to the party was still playing catch-up.
"He meanz Smirking. Smirking Da Chosen One."
"Look, neva mind! All we needs is more Gut-Rott." Smirking explained.
"More Rott? He's lost it, he has."
"I told you already..."
"Dis is wot you get when you lets grotz do da finking."
"Nurd!" Smirking turned to his somewhat unwilling audience. Nurd was one mad plan away from a nervous breakdown.
"Give 'em more Rott." Smirking's eyes were alive with more than a spark of madness, "All ov'em! Every ork on da sub. We're 'avin' us a big party on da BizMork and dey're all invited."
"Errr, ok boss." Nurd wasn't exactly following the plan but he was happy to have some direct orders for a change.
"And lock the door." Smirking continued.
"Err, you're not going to da party, Boss?"
"No, Nurd. We'll stay here."
"But I wanna go to da party." WazzBad moaned.
"No, we gotta stay outa sight til all da orks has all got brain-rott... "
"Comes of drinkin' too much Rott. Makes it easy for WazzBad to mess wif yer head."
"Easy for us now, Aaris." Sleekit pointed out. "And if we stays outa sight, an' all da orks hears is Aaris and GrodMek givin' da orders dey won't see no grot doin' da bossin', see?"
"It'll Neva work." Grumbled GrodMek.
"Dey'll all be off their 'eads!" Aaris complained, "you can't give orders to drunken Rott-addled zog-wits!"
"You got a better plan?" Smirking stamped and folded his arms, furrowing his brows in a stern expression.
For once the voices in his head fell silent.
He stepped back to the Kaptain's chair and planted his little green behind.
"Alright den." Da Chosen One resolved to take up his command to Kaptain Da BizMork to the will of Da Godz by any means necessary. He turned to Nurd and gave the order.
"Tell Smidge to Brew up some Rott. Invite da boyz over and lock dat door."