Forum adverts like this one are shown to any user who is not logged in. Join us by filling out a tiny 3 field form and you will get your own, free, dakka user account which gives a good range of benefits to you:
No adverts like this in the forums anymore.
Times and dates in your local timezone.
Full tracking of what you have read so you can skip to your first unread post, easily see what has changed since you last logged in, and easily see what is new at a glance.
Email notifications for threads you want to watch closely.
Being a part of the oldest wargaming community on the net.
If you are already a member then feel free to login now.
Subject: The illustrated Adventures of Smirking: A grot's life (a surprisingly long Gretchin Biography)
SkagNet- a tired old Runtherd formerly a BloodAxe Kommando
GorGoff NarGrim- the local Goff Big Boss
GrodMek RazNazz- a Bad-Moon Mekboy in the employ of GorGoff
SnazzGutz- a Bad-Moon Painboy in the employ of GorGoff
WazzBad NazzKop- A powerful Snakebite Wierdboy
GogGob- a very religious Snakebite ork and follower of WazzBad
UzKop- a Bad-Moon Flashgit. One of GrodMek’s cronies.
Chapter 1: Spawning-ground : illustrated :
The moons were shining through a gap in the treetops, the air was still but quite cool and the hum of early spring was about the spawning ground. Young squiggly beasts snuffled between the fungus outcrops and munched greedily on the slugs and caterpillars, eager to grow large enough to munch greedily on other larger creatures. Bright winged insects hovered over a bed of pungently scented flowers and were sucked within in the blink of an eye. A bright green, newly spawned grot eyed up these sucking plants with envy. Those bright winged insects did look tasty but they always flew away long before he could catch them.
He devised a cunning plan. Tearing the red funnel off the nearest plant he stuck his lips inside and drew a few practice sucks through it. His lips tingled and itched and the smell was almost overpowering but he was sure this plan would work. He lay on his scrawny little green back in a clearing a few paces from the rest of the plants and waited for his meal to arrive.
It felt like a long wait. He had gotten used to the smell but his lips felt like they were on fire and just when he was beginning to lose interest, there it was. A particularly fat and juicy looking insect was hovering heedlessly toward him, duped by his cunning disguise. As the bug got closer he squirmed and itched in anticipation; or was it the irritation of the funnel flower on his lips? The bug was nearly within sucking range when the over eager spawnling leapt up and made a frantic grab at it. Buzzing furiously to remain airborne the bug weaved clumsily between his grasping fingers until finally with a last desperate swat, breakfast was served.
The little spawnling grot sat on a rotting log and inspected his catch. The insect was shiny and blue and surprisingly weighty. It was dazed but still twitching in an effort to fly. He collected its many coloured wings in one green fist and yanked its only hope of escape away. Casually tossing the crumpled wings behind him he turned his victim over, looking for legs to pull. Grinning with malicious intent he plucked at each leg one by one. Finally he dangled the morsel above his gummy maw by its last remaining limb and devoured it with relish.
He burped loudly and smacked his lips suddenly realising how swollen they had become. He poked and prodded them painfully with a scrawny little digit and glared angrily at the smelly funnel flowers. The hungry grot took a cursory glance around the edge of the clearing, looking for an easier way to catch more bugs. Briefly he caught a glimpse of something strange; a pair of beady red eyes peering out from the cover of the trees. There was a rustle in the undergrowth behind him but the eyes were already gone. He blinked and rubbed his own eyes and was about to go investigate when suddenly the world went dark.
* * * *
It was herding season. The spawning peak had come very late this year and the hunting had been poor. Old SkagNet was a runtherd and his herd this year was much smaller than last year’s. Now, so late in the season he knew pickings were slim. Despite this he had already captured more grots this evening than he had expected to find in the whole nights hunting. Unfortunately, the only grots left to catch in this spawning ground were the rejects; the weedy runts, the late developers and the wild feral-grots, but SkagNet was desperate. He needed more grots, of any kind. The more he could sell in town when the big-mek market arrived the more teef he’d have to buy better runtherd gear. His trusty grabba stick was irreplaceable but some of his other gear was showing its age. His old net was very worn and frayed and had already let slip his first grot of the evening: a slippery little sneak who he’d been stalking since sunset. He could hardly believe the little grot’s evasiveness, especially given the stock he put in his own hunting skills.
Once, a long time ago, SkagNet had been a Blood Axe Kommando, the sneakiest and most slippery of ork infiltrators; deadly squads of hunters and trackers who could operate behind enemy lines for months setting traps and sabotaging enemy camps. They wreaked havoc and destruction when the enemy least expected it. He had seen plenty of action and had the scars to prove it. More than that, he had the eye patch, the peg leg and more than one missing finger if any more proof be required. He was an old ork, worn out and almost toothless and now his Kommando days were a long distant memory. His old squad was disbanded and the new Boss, a Goff, didn’t like the old Blood Axe hanging around. “Don’ Trus’ Ya!” He had complained. “Any ov you sneakin’, cowardly BloodAxe Boyz. Buncha Snivillin’ Grotz! Why doncha go an’ teach dem ta sneak!”
So here SkagNet was, teaching grots to sneak, and apparently he had nothing left to teach this one. Had it not been for the four other grots he had bagged already he would have felt redundant. He had come across each one while stalking his escaped prey, as if the little sneak had been using these other grots as decoys to distract him while it slipped away. He almost admired its cunning, as much as is possible for an ork to admire a grot.
The old runtherd’s sack was getting heavy and his old muscles needed a rest. SkagNet slung it casually in the bowl of a large tree root and sat cross legged before it. He secured a chain around a loop of protruding root, delved into the sack and removing his captives one by one, clamped them in irons. Four pairs of eyes blinked feebly in the moonlight as each struggled to comprehend its situation. SkagNet considered each in turn noting their character before pronouncing his judgement. The First appeared to have been asleep in his sack and was just now awaking, not yet aware; it seemed, of anything else but the pale moonlight: A sleepy late developer.
Another had its tongue up its left nostril, eyes crossed inward following its own progress: a reject.
The third in line just stared back at him, with furrowed brow and clenched fists. It was small, even for a grot, but didn’t seem to realise this: a runt, if a feisty one.
The last and most recent addition to SkagNet’s herd had the most peculiar bright red lips which appeared to itch irritably and took up most of the grot’s attention with scratching them. He paused a little longer considering this fourth and most unusual grot. “Skrachit? Itchit? Skritchi… . Hmph!” Skagnet had used all these names before. They were common names for grots but this creature was decidedly uncommon. It smiled back at him with its ridiculous mouth, as if to mock his indecision. He grunted a sigh and resolved to come back to this one.
Leaving them chained to the tree, the old ork tramped off into the forest. His grots watched him go and when he was out of sight they began to argue.
“RUNT! RUNT! RUNT! RUNT!”
* * * *
When SkagNet returned carrying an armful of broken branches and three limp squiggly beasts the row had escalated into a brawl. Fuggit was sitting on top of Runt pressing his face into the ground and taking the opportunity to taste inside one of his ears despite Runt’s furious squirming defiance. Slaka slept curled up in the bowl of the tree behind them and the other grot sat up on top of the root to which they were all chained most entertained. SkagNet threw a beast carcass in their general direction and sat down a short distance away. He began to crack and arrange his branches. The commotion of the grots died almost instantly and they all stood around the dead beast prodding and inspecting it. SkagNet glanced around to see four pairs of little red eyes staring at him expectantly.
“Squig” he grunted, indicating the dead squiggly beast.
The grots blinked stupidly and refused to understand.
“Nosh!” elucidated SkagNet. He lifted one of the other beasts and dug his five remaining teeth into its flank tearing out a mouthful of flesh.
“Gnosh.” he concluded before swallowing.
Fuggit got the picture immediately and the rest followed suit. Even Slaka seemed to be wide awake now and focused on the midnight feast. Satisfied with their progress SkagNet returned to his sticks and nibbled on a leg of squig while he worked. It was then that he caught a glimpse of a familiar pair of eyes watching him from the cover of the undergrowth. It was his prey, that sneaky little grot. He pretended not to notice and resumed his work. He’d teach that little grot a few lessons in stalking yet. He striped the longest branches of their bark in long fine stretches, and wound the bark strips into a rough rope. Using some of the bark rope he lashed the stripped branches together. By the time he was done the grots had eaten well and were happily bloated with indigestion.
SkagNet had constructed a wooden cage, a length of rope and a makeshift net; or was it a noose? He’d never been too precise with these things; it was a tangle of knots and loops and would suffice for his purpose. It was time to set some traps. He left the grots with a supply of unused sticks and short pieces of bark rope. They may have been watching him work and he hoped they might attempt some building of their own. He plodded off into the forest and was gone for the rest of the night.
When SkagNet returned the sky was pink with the coming dawn. He eyed his rabble of grots with weary hope. Runt was bound with bark rope and looking very displeased. Fuggit, his captor was sitting upon him, squinting inward at his own nose again which this time he was picking with a dry bone. Slaka was asleep and the other nameless grot sat amusing itself with the sticks that SkagNet had left for them. Without the rope to bind them together its attempt at construction had been pathetic. It welcomed SkagNet with the same irritating little grin he had received earlier. SkagNet sighed with dissatisfaction. If only it had shown some skill at construction, some inclination toward one use or another, a penchant for violence even. Yet still there was something odd about this one, and not just those stupid red lips.
“Gobgit? Grotgob?” Still the name eluded him. He paced over to the cage he had built earlier that day and deposited a body in it; Small and green and limp with a wild feral expression still hardening its unconscious features.
SkagNet considered his nights hunting. Five grots, some with promise,.. he caught his breath at a muted tread in the undergrowth behind him which ceased just as suddenly. He wrapped up his mental tally with a sixth on the loose. He slumped down against a hefty tree to sleep through the day, dreaming of the prizes his traps would yield come evening time.
* * * *
As the noonday heat hung heavy on the sleeping camp a silent, sneaking figure emerged. Covered head to foot in mud and rotten leaves it stealthily approached the sleeping ork. Slaka, the only waking grot casually observed the figure’s progress. Slowly and carefully the interloper raised the ork’s left trouser leg and began unscrewing the blots holding his peg leg in place. With a final jolt the leg came free and the ork awoke. As SkagNet’s eye adjusted to the bright light of his surroundings it fell on the startled mud caked creature before him. It appeared to be carrying a large metal club. No sooner had he hefted himself upright when he came crashing down again face first. Now everyone was awake and though squinting and disoriented all eyes were on SkagNet. Slowly SkagNet began to understand. That metal club had looked familiar. He raised his head in time to see the thief turn tail and flee, dropping his heavy leg in its panic. SkagNet’s leg bounced on an attached rubber boot heel and landed next to the cage. The caged grot grabbed one end and dragged it in, pulling it free from the boot which would not fit between the bars. The other grots pointed and laughed as SkagNet dragged himself into a sitting position and cursed the noon day. The feral grot began thrashing crazily about its cage with the old ork’s leg bashing the wooden bars to splinters. Groggy and humiliated, SkagNet sat amidst the uproar. He shuffled over to the cage and waited for his chance. Then reaching in with one swift grab he took the grot by its throat and it dropped the leg with a heavy metallic thud. The wild grot grasped and bit and struggled as SkagNet retrieved his dismembered limb and fumbled to reattach it with his free left hand. Soon the grot went limp with asphyxiation, and giving it a final shake to be sure, SkagNet relinquished his grip. This was the second time he’d had to strangle the creature. It would not be tamed easily.
After a breakfast of squig meat and wild mushrooms he checked that his captives were secure. Runt was now free of both the bark rope and of SkagNet’s chains but he had not run away. He sat just outside of Fuggit’s reach teasing him pulling grotesque faces and crossing his eyes. In the harsh daylight SkagNet noticed for the first time that Fuggit hadn’t been looking at his own nose all this time. He was cross eyed. His marketable value plummeted. SkagNet grabbed Runt with his stick and slung a noose of bark rope around his neck. He jerked the grot away and led him into the forest to inspect his traps. Daylight or not he needed cheering up.
SkagNet was beginning to despair. He had plodded on along a circuitous rout leading back to the camp inspecting each trap along the way. A number had been sprung but held no captive. He suspected his prey had seen these tricks before. Another trap had caught a large squig which he had taken as small consolation. He and Runt had eaten their fill and saved the rest for the others. Runt was becoming adept at slipping out of the rope but still had never run. As they approached the final trap Runt spotted something up ahead and returned to warn the boss. SkagNet crept up to get a closer look and to his great relief found two grots at the one trap. One hung helplessly by an ankle some way above the ground and the other watched from below. The watcher was studying the trap and its victim, attempting to recreate a smaller scale model of its own, apparently with some success. SkagNet stepped out of his cover and approached the watcher openly. The watcher, seeing Runt following obediently behind considered itself in little danger. SkagNet lifted Runt and casually slung him into the new grot’s trap. As Runt hung upside down by one foot SkagNet retrieved his own captive. This new grot he named Naff and dumped him in the sack. The watching grot made a squealing protest as Runt slipped his foot from the grot’s snare and dropped clumsily to the ground. He got to his feet and hid behind SkagNet. “Don’ mind ‘im” Said SkagNet to the other Grot. “E’s a slipp’ry fella. Can’t ‘old ‘im myself fer long.”
Satisfied with this explanation SkagNet set off for the camp. Runt followed and the other grot watched him go. SkagNet turned.
“Oi! Nurd!” he barked. You comin’ or not?”
As the heat of the day faded to a balmy dusk they made good progress back to the camp but returned to find it in uproar. The wild grot was free and was wrestling the other grots for the remains of last nights supper. Wielding a shattered rib bone like a small knife the ravenous little beast was leaping about and slashing at his chained counterparts. Fuggit, Slaka and their nameless grinning friend were blocking the prize from all sides and fending off their attacker with club-like sticks. Runt and Nurd kept their distance as SkagNet waded into the furore. He grabbed the feral grot by the scruff and it flailed wildly as he lifted it. Aiming a jab at his assailants face the grot stuck out driving the splintered end of its weapon into SkagNet’s nose. SkagNet yowled in pain. His thick ork hide was tough enough to take a jab from an angry grot but never the less, his nose was sensitive. He sulkily throttled the wild grot, again.
“Snikkit!” pronounced the old ork, staring into the grot’s fading eyes before its body went limp and he let it drop.
The other grots lay around his feet nursing their wounds. Slaka was unconscious but SkagNet was in no doubt that he was just asleep. Fuggit nursed a few scratches but was otherwise fine. The other grot stood pointing at SkagNet’s nose. That same cheeky smirk was plastered all over its face.
SkagNet grabbed him by the torso with one huge hand and raised him to eye level. He had it. He knew the perfect name for this sardonic little grot.
This message was edited 15 times. Last update was at 2018/04/30 19:11:53
SkagNet gathered his camp and set off at a plod toward his home herding ranch. The grots gawped at the wide open plains that surrounded the woodland spawning ground. They felt rather exposed and crouched furtively as SkagNet drove them on into the night. Only Smirking strolled along with apparent disregard for the strange new world unfolding around him. Of Skagnet’s seven new grots only Snikkit remained in chains. Still too wild to be trusted he skulked at SkagNet’s side as the other grots marched ahead.
SkagNet had left the spawning ground with reluctance. He had not caught his prey. The seven grots before him were easily bagged but none were the one he had hunted. As a runtherd, he had achieved his goal. As a hunter, he was defeated. He felt the sting of old age; the shame of being a toothless old has been. Beaten by a grot. He was furious and he lashed and pressed his charges all the harder for his rage.
After a hard evening’s march the party finally stopped for rest. He tossed a small squig carcass to his grots and let out the chain for Snikit to join them. Their squabbling was vicious but in his foul mood he let them fight it out. It was good for his new group to establish their own pecking order. He slumped in the shadows of a large rocky outcrop and took a minute to himself. Gnawing on a dried bracket fungus SkagNet observed the murky sky. Clouds rolling in from the east spelled a storm. SkagNet considered his options. He had none. Even if he doubled their pace he would still have no chance of reaching his homestead or any other shelter before it hit. He groaned as his aged joints creaked into service raising him to his feet.
Resolved to move on the old runtherd checked his camp with a final glance around. SkagNet’s Kommando training was still second nature and he knew that many a raid had failed because the boys left their bombs behind at their last camp, or had forgotten to lift a vital piece of equipment. Out of the corner of his eye SkagNet thought he saw something: Something small, a squig perhaps, or a large bird. Whatever it was it had darted behind a tall rock on the far side of the outcrop just as he had turned. SkagNet jerked Snikkit from the pack and reeled in his chain. The grot shrieked a feeble protest but was soon silenced by SkagNet’s apparent lack of attention. Snikkit realised that he old ork had not even looked at him. SkagNet’s eye remained fixed on the middle distance, on a rock a few paces away. He held the grot by the throat still eyeing the rock and released the chain from Snikkit’s ankle. SkagNet waited until the grot had a clear sense of what was going on. Something was behind that rock and they were going to catch it. Slowly releasing his grip he indicated his intent with a grunt and a nod and began to stalk toward their prey. Snikkit followed suit in silent complicity gnawing the end of a broken leg bone from the squig carcass to a fine point. The pair of hunters closed the distance quickly and as quietly as they could until they were a few steps from their goal on either side. SkagNet stopped and snatched the weapon from Snikkit’s grip. A baleful glare from his one remaining eye and a stiff nod communicated a surprisingly clear plan of action to the eager grot: This was a capture and hold, not a stab and dismember kind of a hunt. Snikkit was to go round one way and drive their prey toward SkagNet who would be waiting here on the other side of the rock. The diminutive stalker darted behind the rock and a screech went up followed by the sound of scuffling. SkagNet waited a few seconds but soon realised his prey was not about to come running into his open arms. He rounded the rock to find Snikkit astride a beaten and bloody mess pounding away with gleeful abandon. SkagNet dislodged him with a rough back hand and scooped the unfortunate victim off the ground. This was the one, undoubtedly. Covered from head to green-skinned toe in what any self respecting Kommando would call…
“Smudge.” He mused aloud. A word that encompassed any material, no matter how foul that was lying around and could be liberally smeared on an ork’s body as camouflage, and as perfect a name for the grot Kommando that had eluded him until now as he could have hoped for. Snikkit stood and looked mightily pleased with himself as the boss inspected his handy work. SkagNet glanced down at him and grinned wide. He tossed Snikkit his half gnawed leg bone and spun on his heel.
“Gerra move on Snikkit.”
He picked up a skull sized rock with his grabba stick and lobbed it at the rest of his grots with expert dexterity. It landed with a dead thud into the remains of the squig at the centre of the mêlée and showered them all with offal. The grots were momentarily startled to attention. A lash of his whip against the ground tore free a sizeable chunk of turf and the grots were more than motivated. They did not so much march as flee before their master as he drove them on.
* * * * *
They arrived at SkagNet s stomping grounds wet and dishevelled. The storm had hit and caught them out in the open long before they had reached home turf. SkagNet tossed his last and largest squib carcass into a fenced enclosure and held open a heavy rusty gate as his hungry crew charged inside. He let the latch drop with a clanking ring of metal on metal and disappeared into an adjoining sheltered hut.
Life at the SkagNet’s was simple. The code of ‘size matters’ was a simple one and could be largely applied across all of what passed for ork society. The orks beat on the grots. The bigger grots beat on the smaller grots who beat on the snotlings, and the snotlings beat on anything that moved that was smaller than a snotling. Orks ruled and grots served and snotlings were largely ignored, that was how it was. SkagNet was the only ork on the ranch so he was obviously the Boss. The next largest was a grot named Unki. A larger than average, seasoned and very useful grot who SkagNet had elected not to sell but to use around the ranch. The only other grot around apart from those recent arrivals was an oddly easy going creature named Fungrot. He was chiefly employed in the cultivation of fungus which fed a herd of Squiggly beasts which fed the herd of grots and SkagNet himself. Some grots were called gretchin. Unki and Fungrot were considered gretchin, at least they thought so: the new grots were just grots. SkagNet left the new grots in the tender care of his gretchin and for a couple of nights busied himself in the repair of his gear and the building of cages.
Nurd observed one evening as one by one SkagNet loaded up a stack of cages on a rough two wheeled cart, and counting them out Nurd thought he could see an alarming pattern emerging. Unki leashed a pair of squig-hounds to the front of the cart and sure enough, before the night was much advanced SkagNet was on his way to market with Naff, Nurd, Smudge, Smirking, Snikkit, Runt, Slaka and Fuggit and not much hope of an easy sale. When he arrived at the bustling throng that passed for an ork market SkagNet hoisted his old Blood Axe banner pole, much to the disgust of the mostly Goff crowd. He didn’t care; an ork was proud of his clan no matter how bad it was for business. With his banner on show and his wares, such as they were, on display he considered himself open for business.
Smirking peered out at the chaos of the market passing by his cage. Orks and gretchin alike looked back and laughed at him, he felt glad to be in such a happy place. Nurd was occupied in working out the going rate in teef for a grot like himself of more than average intelligence and was determined to settle for no less than five. Smudge looked terrified, cornered in his cage out in the open and on show. Naff sat and scratched himself. Fuggit was making obscene gestures and insulting anyone who showed anything more than a passing interest in SkagNet’s stall. Runt had slipped his cage and was sitting on top of it and occasionally running errands for SkagNet though he was still on sale. Slaka was asleep and Snikkit was doing his best to try and wake him up with a broken splinter of cage-wood.
“Grots fer Sale!” SkagNet growled over the din. A nearby Snakebite Wierdboy was causing quite a scene spluttering and fuming about Oomans and Waaagh!’s, a sure-fire topic to grasp the imagination of any ork crowd. SkagNet was glad that so many orks were at least gathering in his vicinity even if they were mostly facing the other way.
“Get yer Grots!” he drawled.
“Oi, SkagNet!” an ork yelled over the hubbub of the crowd. “Sellin’ snotlings now, are ya?” SkagNet ignored the heckler who had begun picking over SkagNet’s less than premium wares with a critical eye.
“E’s a day-grot." SkagNet proposed with an effort of enthusiasm. "Good fer guardin’ an dat.”
“E’s a lazy git!”
“Naff off, yer ould mug!” SkagNet hefted a dirt clod at the ork who laughed it off as he went on his way.
“Boss, Boss!” it was Runt returning from GrubGuts apparently empty handed. “Dey won' take squig teef, Boss. Not dees-uns anyways.”
“Buncha snivilin tightgits!” he grumbled. “Givus dem teef, an’ get back in yer cage!” SkagNet was broke and hungry and down to his last batch of miserable grots and nobody was buying. Smirking smiled at him benignly.
“Grots fer sale, too fer da price a won!”
Nobody was listening, the wierdboy’s crowd was getting bigger and more and more raucous. It was drawing other stall holders and the market was grinding to a standstill as the throng amassed around the frantic frothing prophet. A large and heavily laden ork clanked into view just off to one side of SkagNet’s banner pole. It was GrodMek the local Boss’s chief-hanger-on who thought himself something of a boss in his own right.
“Oi, GrodMek! Where’s me leg!” Skagnet yelled.
“Wot leg?” the crafty mekboy sniggered on the other side of his face knowing full well that he’d taken SkagNet’s bionic leg, ostensibly for repairs and sold it on to one of the Boss’s Nobs.
“yer cowardly mutt! You gimme back my leg or…”
“or wot yer snivilin grot? I sez oo ‘as da legs an oo ‘as da snazz-gunz an wot-‘as-ya!” he looked the old runtherd over with undisguised contempt and appraised his wares with equal disgust. “look-it-yer, bah!” he spat on SkagNet’s banner and considered that a conclusion to the matter.
Before SkagNet could respond a nearby ork’s head exploded in a shower of green mist and an unmistakable fizzle of pure raw Waaagh! energy. The Weirdboy’s rant was reaching fever pitch and the crowd went berserk.
“WAAAAAAAAAGH!” they screamed as orks clamoured, fought and tore their way out of the crowd in all directions.
“wait’ll da Boss ‘ere’s ‘bout dis!” shouted GrodMek over the clarion. “Der’s gonna be a Waaagh! fer sure!”
Smirking caught a glimpse of something creeping over SkagNet’s gummy maw. It looked, to Smirking like a smirk.
This message was edited 8 times. Last update was at 2017/09/01 20:13:44
Thanks for the vote of confidence.
As long as I have one interested reader i'll continue. I have all 12 chapters written it's just the proof reading that's the drag. So i'm cleaning them up one by one and posting each as i go.
Glad you're enjoying the read
Smirking: A Grot's Life. Chapter 3 Heist : illustrated :
Smirking trotted merrily along in line behind Unki, Fuggit, Smudge and SkagNet who led the party through the back alleys of what was known as the Mekzone. Slaka was posted in the rear; his daylight senses being best suited to rear guard at the hazy sunlit alley exit. Suddenly Unki stopped and Smirking plodded right into him, bouncing off his more heavily muscled frame he stumbled into a heap of junk. A large empty bullet-holed tin can clattered noisily to the ground.
“Shhhhhhh!” Snapped SkagNet. “Keep da noise down, we’z ‘ere! Dis is GrodMek’s workshop. Slaka, woz we spotted?”
Slaka shook his head.
“Good. Now stick ta da plan.”
Smudge disappeared into a crack in the corrugated metal sheeting of a building on the left while the other four stood and blinked at SkagNet blankly.
“Morka-mighty!” SkagNet cursed, “You lot is paffetic!” He clawed his fingers through his ragged hair squig trying to remember his own plan.
“E’s gone in der ta find da shootas,” he remembered aloud “Wen e’s foun’ ‘em, an’ ‘e gets back, you lot is goin’ back in wif ‘im.” SkagNet paused. He had picked each of these grots for a reason. He eyed them over one by one to jog his memory.
“Unki, you as da unkiest muscles, so you ‘as ta carry da shootas out.” He looked at Fuggit and Smirking, what possible use could have chosen them for? Smirking smiled like a loon as SkagNet stared blankly at the pair. Fuggit stuck his tongue out and was about to blow a rasp when SkagNet grabbed it and suddenly realised the unique qualities for which he had brought these two along.
“You two is da decoys. If ol’ GrodMek spots what’s goin’ on you ‘as ta dis-trackt ‘im while Unki an’ Smudge nicks da shootas.”
Lastly there was Slaka.
“An’ you go keep watch out front, an squeal if anyfink ‘appens.” Slaka nodded and made his way round to the front of the building. Smudge appeared sticking his head out through the crack he had entered.
“Found ‘em.” He whispered and ducked back inside.
“Go on den.” SkagNet ordered. Fuggit dived inside and Smirking followed. Unki looked dubiously at the crack. “Wot ‘bout you Boss?”
“I can’t fit in der! B’sides, sumone’s gotta keepa eye out ere. An’ anova fing. If yous see a leg lyin’ about I’ll ‘av it!” he clunked his peg-leg on the hard dirt ground meaningfully. “Now get in der!”
Unki squeezed in through the narrow crack and Skagnet scrambled over a low wall to wait in hiding.
Inside the mechboy’s workshop was dimly red lit. Smirking stumbled into Fuggit’s back as the grots bunched up inside unwilling to venture much further into the unknown. Slabs of scrap armour-plating, buckets of bolts and various mechanical detritus littered every available space. Narrow paths weaved between piles of rubbish in the floor, around stacks of scrap metal leaning against the walls and occasionally under large vehicle parts and frames slung from the roof. Smirking stared wide eyed at the treasure hoard unfolding before them.
“Wot’s we doin’ ‘ere?” whispered Fuggit.
“Snot-fer-brains!” Unki hissed. “Jus’ look out fer Smudge.”
A metal bolt flew across the room and hit Unki right in the face. It was a little larger than necessary to get his attention but it did the trick admirably. Smudge stood atop a bucket of them with another one in hand almost disappointed at the immediacy of his success.
“Der ‘e is!” shouted Fuggit.
“shuddup ya…” Unki let his hands do the talking as he gagged Fuggit. “Keep quiet an’ follow ‘im. He’s foun’ da Shootas.”
The three grots scampered over to where Smudge was hiding, keeping an eye on a figure in the next room. Flashes and sparks leapt from the work surface where another grot was at work repairing weapons under a green lamp.
“Oi Skab!” a deep and Orkish voice bellowed from a distant part of the workshop. “Where’s me burna?”
Skab flinched and fumbled his spot weld burning his thumb. He stuck it in his mouth and called “I’s gnearly dung wif it bosh!”
Skab pulled out the scorched digit. “I’s fixin’ da duff shootas!”
“Well ‘urry up will ya. I needs it fer ova stuff, der is a Waaagh! on ya know!”
“I know dat yer big lug” Skab mattured under his breath “dats why you tol’ me ta fixem!” He continued muttering as he went back to work. Smudge waited until he was sure the Mechboy’s assistant was fully absorbed in his task and then he set about explaining the plan.
Pointing and gesturing in sharp decisive hand signals elicited a trio of blinking confusion from his companions. Unki grabbed Fuggit’s mouth again as he breathed in to ask a stupid question. Unki was quite sure his own question regarding the gesturing grot was entirely sensible.
“As ‘e gone mad?”
Smirking smirked. Smudge’s shoulders dropped in defeat. Fuggit struggled for air.
“Look.” Smudge conceded, “E ‘as da shoota’s an’ we ‘as ta gettem.”
He paused for a ray of comprehension to cross their bewildered faces.
“I fought we wuz jus’ gonna lift ‘em like. Nick ‘em. Boss didn’t say nuffinck abou’ no ova grot ‘avin ‘em.”
“E wozn’t der a-mintago” explained Smudge. “But ‘e’s der now. Sjust bad luck.”
“Yeah, fer ‘im.” Unki squeezed harder contemplating violence.
Fuggit was turning a deep shade of green and his eyes were starting to uncross. Unki thought he must have learned his lesson by now and let him go. His resulting gasp nearly blew their cover. They all ducked as Skab jumped and a heavy spring went flying to ricochet off the lamp shade above the table. The bulb flickered out and he cursed. In the darkened gloom lit only by the red glow of the welding torch Smudge grabbed Unki by the arm and pulled him forward in an effort to grab the only such opportunity they were likely to have. As the four infiltrating grots crept stealthily into the room, Skab laid aside his burner and climbed up onto the table. The green bulb sputtered to life and blinked out again. Skab paused in the dark. Was there really another grot standing on his chair with his hands on the box of guns that he was fixing? The box of guns that he was standing on? He shook his head and gave the bulb an incredulous twist. The resulting illumination did nothing to allay his fears. Unki tugged hard on the box pulling it out from under Skab’s feet and they both landed in a heap on the floor as weaponry clattered around them. A second passed as all five grots took stock of the situation before each scrambled for the nearest weapon they could grab. It was a stand off.
The green lamp swung drunkenly over the scene as they stood, weapons aimed in trembling hands. Competing questions raced through their minds in rapid succession. Smudge hid under the table clutching a large shoota in both hands wondering if it was loaded. Would this grot be stupid enough to be welding a loaded weapon? His opponent was pointing a similar weapon at Unki; would he bother if he knew they weren’t loaded? His muscles twitched under the weight of the thing. It certainly was heavy: maybe it was fully loaded.
Unki pointed a stub nosed slugga at Skab. He had already tried to pull the trigger but it was jammed tight and wouldn’t move. He kept up the pretence and hoped the other grot hadn’t noticed. He envied his opponent his larger weapon wishing he had been the one to grab it first.
Skab stood cornered between three, maybe four strangers. He felt sure there was a fourth grot behind him in the shadows under the table, a totally unknown quantity. He considered his options. He couldn’t be sure which of the weapons leveled at him were ones he had already repaired, and he hadn’t been too particular about checking if any were loaded. Skab envied the bigger grot his smaller weapon. If he had been able to grab it in time he would have gotten the quick draw on him. Skab didn't know any of the strangers but one of them was pointing its weapon at one of its companions. Skab felt reassured even if his friend looked a little cockeyed. And what was that other grot smiling about? Did he know something Skab didn’t?
Smirking held a six shoota in each hand, and another slugga lay at his feet. He was grinning from ear to ear. Things were starting to get interesting at last.
Fuggit wasn’t sure what was going on. He had grabbed a gun and started pointing it at the others just so as not to be the odd one out. He felt his stomach churn with excitement. His bowls twisted in anticipation and then the sheer force of nervous tension erupted as he farted loudly. Five grots squeezed their triggers in unison at the sudden interruption.
Skab’s weapon misfired exploding in his hands. Unki threw his useless slugga at the stunned grot who staggered and slumped in a daze on the floor.
“Skab!” it was GrodMek. “Oi Skab! Wot is you up to in der?!”
Smudge sprang out of the shadows and flipping the box over in front of Unki, dumped his shoota in before gathering some more. The rest followed suit. Smirking slug his brace of pistols in his belted pants and joined the rest throwing in weapons from the floor as Unki struggled to hoist the box onto his back.
“Skab! I wants me burna an’ I wants it now!” the ork’s voice and his heavy metallic boots were coming closer. The grots ducked under the table. GrodMek appeared in the doorway a second later. Smudge wished someone had dragged Skab under the table too but it was too late. A noise came from outside.
“KooooooWaaaaah! KooooooWeeee” a clang and a guttural ork yell followed. The grots recognised Slaka’s warning call and knew that he had been rumbled from hiding and had scarpered.
“eh? Wos’at?” GrodMek paused a few feet from the table then his front door burst open and a voice called in.
“ol Grodders me ol’ chum. Da Boss said you’d be ‘ere’”
The Mekboy groaned. It was SnazzGutz the painboy. GrodMek turned and took a few steps toward the door privately dragging his heels for as long as he could. His attitude underwent total transformation however as he passed the entry into the hallway. With the biggest grin he could plaster all over his face he swept out of the room in a grand welcoming gesture to meet the ork medic. It never paid to offend a painboy and nothing establishes the wealth and status of an ork quite like a healthy set of sharp teeth.
Smudge made a break for the door. He waited until GrodMek was a safe distance down the hall and then signalled Unki and the others to get moving with the swag. Smirking moved up first followed by Fuggit, Unki took a little longer struggling under the weight of the box. Smudge set Smirking to watch the Orks and went back to give Unki a hand. Down in the passageway to the front door the two orks were doing what Bad-Moon orks do best, talking business.
“owright Snazza, Da Boss wants some new toys doz ’e?”
“Yeah, Propa Goff stuff ‘e sed.”
“Da biggr an’ stompia da bettr eh?”
“Dats right, an’ ‘e says you don’ ‘avde expurteez fer dat kind of fing so ‘e sent ol’ SnazzGutz to ‘elp ya out. So you does da worky bitz and I does da ‘urty bits.
“Did ‘e mention my fees?”
“Na! Typikal Goff, Neva talks bizniss.”
“Jus’ wants da stuff now an’ ya neva see da teef.”
“’is boys ‘ll ‘av your teef if ya don’t make good, Grodders me ol’ chum”
“Well showuz wotcha got den.” The pair turned and started moving toward Smirking who had gotten so absorbed in the conversation that he had forgotten to hide. SnazzGutz pointed at him.
“Dat yer ‘elper grot izee?”
“Yeh dats Ska.. eh? Angabout, Oower you!?”
Smirking yelped and ran for it. Smudge and Unki ducked down behind the box they were carrying and hoped they wouldn’t be spotted. Fuggit stood in the middle of the doorway to the green-lit store watching Smirking disappear into the gloom and wondering where the other two had gone. It was the alarming appearance of two angry orks that quickly made up his mind to run after Smirking.
Smirking ducked into a stack of scrap iron, squeezing between the cracks and out the other side. He hoped that making a few short cuts between the stacks of rubbish in the storeroom would buy him some time to find somewhere to hide or better yet, wherever it was that they had entered in the first place.
Fuggit ran straight down the middle of the main track between the piles preferring the open ground for speed to the more complicated and probably dangerous gaps in the piles of scrap. GrodMek spotted the cross eyed grot and gave chase SnazzGutz followed the resulting shenanigans with great enjoyment, his grim orkish guffaw resonating through the dusty air of the storeroom. Fuggit ran for his life. He rounded a wide central stack and about-turned as he spotted GrodMek waiting for him to come full circle. He jumped a fallen girder and ducked under an overhanging steel bar. GrodMek plodded over and smashed aside the obstacles with reckless abandon causing a small avalanche of scrap metal parts to dislodge Smirking from his hiding place. Fuggit spotted his friend ducking into a doorway not far off to his left and changed direction to follow. He hopped up on a long armour plate and running the length of it turned to look for his pursuer. He caught a glimpse of GrodMek’s boot coming down on the other end and before he knew what was happening he had been catapulted through the air and landed hard against the frame of the doorway he was aiming for.
Fuggit was dazed and confused. He might have picked himself up if GrodMek hadn’t done it for him.
“Oo do ja fink you is eh?” GrodMek tried to shake the answers out of the already shaken grot. Fuggit couldn’t remember any.
“Avin’ sum trouble wif yer grots Grodders?” SnazzGutz’s smile was especially toothy and dripping with disparagement.
GrodMek’s mind squirmed for excuses, feeling like SnazzGutz was getting the better of him. In Ork business the big teef went to the ork with the big ideas and any other orks involved were little more than tools in the hand of the master.
“Dis one’s fer you Snazza.” GrodMek tossed the shaken Grot at his feet. Fer eksperimentz like.” He added, as if he hadn’t just thought of it. Come ‘ere an’ I’ll show ya wot I ‘az in mind.” GrodMek groped inside the door for the light switch hoping that the resulting illumination would shed some light on what he apparently had in mind.
Smirking blinked as a light came on. He peeped out through a crack in his hiding place and watched as the two orks entered the room. GrodMek appeared to be looking for him. He was looking for something. Smirking’s heart nearly stopped as GrodMek turned and looked right at him. The Mekboy’s eyes lit up.
“Dis is it!” he exclaimed to the somewhat baffled Painboy who was carrying Fuggit by one ankle swinging upside-down like a wet sack of bones.
“Wot? Da can?”
“Da KILLA KANN!” GrodMek bellowed, becoming more enthused and animated than he felt any right to be.
"I s’pose it’ll av shootas an’ legs an’ dat?” asked SnazzGutz looking at a bare half rusty oil drum in the corner with a large cracked dent in the side. Smirking tried to stop his knees from knocking as he quivered inside the barrel.
“An’ dis fella goes inside dozz ee?” he shook Fuggit like a loose engine part. “workin’ da worky bitz?”
“Dat’s it! You undastan’ purfik” GrodMek could hardly believe it. It was the greatest plan he had never come up with. He was impressed at his own genius. “Da Boss’ll want eeps of ‘em, an’ we’ll be rollin’ in da teef!” he enthused. SnazzGutz eyed the old tin can and the raggedy grot in his hand with doubt. GrodMek turned him around and quickly knocked out the light before he changed his mind.
“Snazza me ol’ pal, finkaboutit.” The pair plodded off talking business as Smirking slipped away, forgotten and unseen.
There was no one outside the Mekboy’s workshop to meet him when he got out. SkagNet and the others were gone. If the other’s had even made it out. He had made it out, he thought to himself with some measure of personal pride, and he still had his pair of six shootas slung low in his pants. Smirking played with his long tall evening shadow as he swaggered on back to SkagNet’s place, pulling twin pistol quick-draws at stray squigs and snotlings and blasting imaginary enemies with imaginary bullets. He wasn’t just a grot any more. Now he was armed. Now he was a Gretchin!
This message was edited 6 times. Last update was at 2017/10/06 17:29:58
Thanks guys. This chapter was pretty dialogue heavy, which in Ork fiction is never easy. I hope it was all comprehensible and not too difficult to read.
I'm aware that American readers in particular (to say nothing of 2nd language English speakers) may find it more difficult to catch due to a naturally limited exposure to Eastenders. (Yes folks in the US, we lucky UK TV viewers have a soap opera where everyone talks like Orks all the time. Some of them look like Orks too!) I like to think that in the animated version of this book I'd have the Mitchell brothers do the voices of GrodMek and SnazzGutz.
Chapter 4 'Ere we go 'Ere we go 'Ere we go! ~ : illustrated : ~
Smirking was tired and practically sleep-walking when a vehicle raced past almost running him over. He was coming to his senses slowly and even the noise of more engines approaching from behind wasn’t warning enough to get out of the way. An Ork biker bumped him roughly off the road. Bruised and disorientated Smirking rubbed his side where the impact had hit hardest and gawped as his hand came away covered in red gore. The fact that his own blood was green didn’t cross Smirking’s mind as he staggered to his feet convinced he was making his last mortal stand. An hour and innumerable vehicles later the sun was beginning to set: Smirking was still alive and following the trail of red paint left by the Evil-Sunz cavalcade. Apparently they had been too excited to sleep all day and had not bothered to wait for their vehicles’ new coats of red paint to dry before leaving for the Waaagh!
Vehicles of all shapes and sizes roared by in front and behind, all travelling the same direction. Smirking caught snatches of their repeated chorus of "’ere we go!" as they rattled along to 'Da Waaagh!'. Smirking was heading out to SkagNet’s ranch on the outskirts on the last leg of his lonely evening walk but realising that he had overshot his destination on the red road he now turned against the flow of traffic and headed back to where he thought the road to Skagnet’s must be. As vehicle after thunderous vehicle hurtled past he felt like the only green-skin on the planet going in that direction. Huge trucks with grimacing fenders loaded to bursting with chorusing orks and massive battlewagons bristling with all manner of offensive paraphernalia threatened to crush him, shoot him or otherwise dissuade his progress by sheer weight of mob mentality.
At last, Smirking was tired, filthy and lost. He couldn’t find SkagNet’s ranch, he had narrowly avoided being run over all evening long and the only prospects his miserable life had left was to find refuge or die alone in the wilderness with only brown shrubs and the occasional toadstool for company. Smirking was not smirking. He came across a large rock and decided it was best to climb up and sit on top of it. Any sensible ork driver, if such a thing existed, would steer around such an obstacle. He sat atop the rock watching the vehicles roll by. Occasionally he had to dodge the odd bullet from an exuberant passing truckload of orks but he soon learned not to bother. The combination of their ramshackle vehicles jostling them at speed, their terrible marksmanship and his small stature made for a less than alarming hit ratio. Smirking just smiled and waved them pleasantly onto the Waaagh!
A medium sized truck rolled into sight, not too heavily armoured or apparently well armed. Just a rough covered wagon painted with bright glyphs, dags and squared spirals, moving slowly and being overtaken on all sides by smaller and faster vehicles. It was also being bumped and bullied aside by heavier and more deadly ones. As they approached Smirking’s rock most of the other vehicles moved to one side or the other to swerve around. A couple of big bruisers thought to jam the brightly painted truck between them and as the wave of rolling steel approached his island fastness Smirking thought he could guess their cruel intent. He slipped down behind the rock and crouched low bracing for impact. As two horrendously noisy battlewagons passed on either side the expected crash of metal on stone wasn’t nearly as deadly as Smirking had feared.
Thick exhaust smoke from the passing vehicles mixed with the billowing dust clouds of the slow speed collision covering everything in a dark choking morass. The Ork driver could be heard bellowing instructions to his crew.
“All out an’ push us backabit!” Smirking could hear a few feet hit the ground and scuffle through the scrub to the foot of his rock.
“an’ sumb’dy ‘as ta crank da engine!” He could hear grunting and the scraping of metal as the vehicle was backed up under the considerable power of green elbow grease.
“’ere,” an ork voice grunted. “gizza look in der wouja?”
Smirking began to smirk. Feeling a little more confident in his own continued survival he dared a peek over the rock. The dusty moonlit air allowed a view in silhouette of an ork and several grots assembled around a crippled wagon. One grot and the ork were looking under the bonnet and assessing the situation while another two grots were working an engine crank.
“It’s dat fuel pipe!” shrilled a familiar grot voice.
“’course it’s da fuel pipe!” barked the ork. “Oi, GogGob,” he called to the driver, “I fink it’s da fuel pipe.”
As the dust cleared Smirking beamed a wide smile as he sat on top of his rock throne in triumph watching SkagNet and his pals busy themselves in fixing GogGob’s wagon.
Naff was swinging from an engine crank protruding from the front of the truck and Unki was holding on to his ankles trying to work the mechanism.
“Not dat way!” yelled GogGob craning his neck out the window trying to see over the open bonnet, “Crank it da ova way!”
Nurd had his head under the hood and was bashing merrily at the vehicle’s insides. SkagNet jumped down from the engine and booted the crowd of watching grots aside. “Get on back in der yer useless lot.” He bumped the hood down on Nurd’s head and pulled him out by the leg.
“Ferget dat now, get back der and fix da rest of dem shootas!” He slung Nurd in the general direction of the rear of the truck.
Smirking watched as old SkagNet considered the engine top and bottom. He rubbed his chin and muttered low and broodingly as he looked around for inspiration. His eye lighted on the diminutive grinning grot and twinkled. SkagNet’s gummy maw twisted into something that couldn’t really be considered a smile.
“Oi, Smirking, k’meer and hold dis willya?”
Smirking was overjoyed to be back among friends but a little disappointed at SkagNet’s complete lack of acknowledgment of the fact of his miraculous, triumphant, even heroic escape from GrodMek’s workshop. He jumped up onto the wheel arch and leaned in over the engine to see what SkagNet was showing him. SkagNet thrust a dripping pipe into his hand and stuck the end in where it was meant to go.
“’old it der!” He barked.
SkagNet hopped down and cranked the shaft hard and the engine roared into life. Parts flew up and down and rattled and whirled around Smirking’s shaking hands as he held the pipe in place.
“Awright we iz good ta go!” SkagNet bellowed over the noise.
“You!” he stared at Smirking with his one beady red eye, “keep oldin’ dat or ye’ll get ev’rythin cov’rd in squig oil and maybe da whole engin’ll e’splode roun’ yer ears!” Smirking’s smile dropped.
The wagon began to roll slowly away. Skagnet swung himself into the cab beside GogGob and they were off, back on the road to da Waaagh!
Smirking held on for grim death. His teeth rattled and his arms ached as one hand held tight to the pipe and the other kept a white-knuckle grip on the frame of the wagon. Every bump and jolt brought the heavy bonnet hood down on his shoulders and his legs flailed helplessly in the wind knocking and thrashing against the wheel arch. He hoped this wasn’t the beginning of a long career as a grot rigger.
Inside the cab SkagNet sat mending his nets and wargear as GogGob drove and prattled on as Snakebite orks tend to do about ork religion. It was a no-brainer for SkagNet to figure out how the other ork had got his name. He was what the other orks called an “‘oly rolla” and he never shut up.
“der’s no doubt, Skagers” he continued. “WazzBad NazzKop” he announced reverently giving the now famous wierdboy from the market his full and proper title “is da Mighty of Mork. Mork’zmighty-Morksamazin.” he added without a thought.
“I knowed it soon as dat boy’s ‘ed went boom. I asn’t seen waaa en’gy like dat since I was a pigdok back when ol ZogWort waz round.”
SkagNet rolled his eyes, ere we go again he thought.
“did I eva tells ya ‘bout me’n old ZogWort?”
“Yeah! ‘e turned yer squig-‘ound inta a Squiggoth an’ den only paid ya fer a squig-‘ound.” SkagNet summarised hoping to avoid the full story.
GogGob turned a hard swerve around a broken tree stump and a chorus of complaints erupted from the rear where the grots were being hurled around.
“Keep it down in der!” barked Skagnet.
“We nearly der yet boss?” moaned a tired voice.
“jus’ get dem shootas workin’ an’avago at ‘ittin’ somfink.” SkagNet slumped back into his seat. “Morkamighty, dey’s a mis’rable, useless lot.”
He suddenly remembered GogGob who was a twitch away from slamming on the breaks and kicking them all out on account of SkagNet’s irreverence and he added
“Sorry old Goggers I woz jus’… I mean…” SkagNet squirmed in his seat. He had sold his entire squig herd and ranch to the snakebite ork for passage to da Waaagh! and if he blew the deal now he would be left broke and stranded in the middle of nowhere with a pack of snivelling grots.
“ Sorry an’ all but… well anyway, you woz sayin...? “
Luckily the only thing GogGob loved more than Gork and Mork was a willing ear.
“I woz sayin’ how it’s obvious WazzBad NazzKop is Gork’s Greatest. Gorksagood’un-Gork’llget’em.” he added “cause ‘e’s such a parful weirdboy.”
SkagNet let the confusion slide. Mighty of Mork or Gork’s Greatest, the titles like the deities themselves as far as Skagnet could tell were more or less interchangeable. He knew better than to ask GogGob for the finer details.
“I neva’ seen a boy’s ‘ed go up like dat, an’ on’y down at da market, ‘magine wot it’ll be like at da Waaagh!” SkagNet imagined an entire army of orks; heads exploding one by one as a bunch of humans stood around laughing at them. Waaagh! energy, the psychic force generated by a gathering of bloodthirsty orks and channelled through one such as WazzBad was an unpredictable and dangerous weapon. SkagNet hoped to be very far away on the other side of any battlefield that he might share with the weirdboy.
“An wot ‘bout da Boss den?” asked SkagNet asked, referring to GorGoff NarGrim, the undisputed Goff warlord of the whole greenskin army. The real leader of the Waaagh!
“GorGoff. ‘asn’t ‘e bin chosen o’ Gork an Mork? “
GogGob shot him an evil eye.
“Gorksagoodun-morksamazin.” Skagnet added for good measure instantly regretting his question.
GogGob went off on a massive rant on how GorGoff was a tool, albeit an impressively powerful one in the hand of Gork
But not the chosen one partly due to his being a Goff and not a Snakebite but mostly due to the obvious favour of Mork
bestowed on WazzBad NazzKop da Greatest o’ Gork an’ Mightiest o’ Mork!
As the snakebite ork continued to jabber and rant SkagNet let his attention drift. He could hear gunfire from the back of the vehicle. Nurd had evidently had some success in fixing GrodMek’s old shootas and SkagNet’s runt herd was slowly but surely becoming a gretchin mob.
SkagNet fiddled idly with some orange tassels hanging from the window frame. Little carven boars and bone fetishes dangled on the end of each string of fuzzy orange hair and swung in rhythm to the bouncing suspension as the wagon roared at now considerable speed after the cavalcade of other ork vehicles. A pair of flailing legs hanging out of the bonnet beat a rhythm on the wheel arch in front of him like the war drums in his day dreams. SkagNet’s eyes lighted on a filth encrusted effigy stuck to the dash. It was a typical depiction of Gork and Mork; A squat, doubled orkish figure with thick arms and a grim tusked face on each side. SkagNet guessed it was made of earwax.
“eh.. Skaggers…” there was a tone of discomfort in GogGob s voice. Skagnet slipped out of his reverie. He could see a large assembly of ork vehicles stopped and forming something of a traffic jam in the mouth of a wide valley between two high rocky outcrops.
“bes’ slow down, Goggers.” He suggested.
“das wot I woz sayin’, I can’t! Da breaks is shot!”
SkagNet remembered the last time they had attempted to slow down. They had been riding the breaks for more than a mile before they had eventually hit Smirking’s rock and the burning smell all along the way hadn’t been reassuring. This time apparently the breaks were useless and they were travelling much faster than before.
“No breaks!?” SkagNet wracked his brain for what to do as GogGob weaved a path through the outskirters on the edge of the ork mass.
“Dat’s it! Skagnet yelled, jumping up and banging his head on the roof of the cab.
“Shoot da breaks!”
“Shoot da Breaks?”
“Da Wheels, I mean!” He yelled back to the oblivious Grots in the rear.
“Oi! You lot, we as ta stop! Shoot Da wheels!”
“Shoot da smeggin’ wheels yer daft gits, or I’ll ring yer paffetic necks! I swear ta Gork I’ll..! he flinched a glance at GogGob who was too busy frantically steering and praying to be much bothered what SkagNet was saying.
“mork’zmighty Gorksagoodun mork’zmighty gorksagoodun…” he chanted under his breath.
A volley of small arms fire erupted in the rear but with no discernable effect.
“Smirking!” inspiration hit SkagNet like a bug on the windshield. He stuck his head out of the window and called to the grot’s flailing legs.
“Smirking! Let it go!” he couldn’t be sure if he was being heard over the roar of the engine.
“Let go da pipe! Smirking!” It won’ blow up I woz jus’ pullin’ yer leg!”
Smirking’s toes struggled for purchase on the wheel arch and his hand slipped out to lift the hood off his aching shoulders. A soot blackened and bruised grot emerged from underneath the bonnet and smiled at SkagNet in utter relief. The engine sputtered out but still they were not slowing down.
After the heat and smoke of the engine the wind on Smirking’s face was like a breath of paradise. Smirking looked around and grabbed a tighter hold of the truck as GogGob swerved and weaved like a maniac between parked battlewagons and dashed mobs of orks aside like a wrecking ball. A few orks shot after them and bullets whistled overhead and ricocheted off the body work.
“dat’s me glyph paint ‘oldin’ out.” Explained GogGob with pride. “Non’a yer old armour guff! ‘s too ‘eavy an fulla rust anyways. Glyphs’ll keep ya!”
He swung the vehicle around a last barricade of parked bikes knocking a row of them over like dominoes before the truck emerged into the open and inviting valley mouth.
Relief. They were out the other side. There were a couple of smoking wrecks ahead but nothing GogGob felt he couldn’t avoid.
Understanding fell on SkagNet like a gargant’s foot.
“Oly-Zoggin-Gork!” he screamed “It’s a minefield!”
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2017/09/19 00:11:33
Smirking wasn’t sure how it happened but he was back under the bonnet of GogGob’s wagon. He noted with some confusion that the engine was nowhere to be seen only a thorny shrub and some rocky ground underneath. Only seconds ago, he was sure of it, he had been riding high with the wind in his hair-squig. The road was clear ahead and the angry ork mob left behind. The dazed grot struggled to his feet levering the heavy vehicle hood off his back. It fell with a clang that underscored the surrounding silence. Smirking was alone again.
He watched as a detached wheel rolled along the ground still going its own merry way before promptly exploding in a shower of dirt and smoke. Realisation froze Smirking to the spot. There were bombs in the ground! Someway distant lay the upturned ruin of GogGob’s wagon. It looked not unlike the other vehicle wrecks scattered about the valley mouth. Most of the front of the vehicle had been blown off and the cabin was badly mangled. The rear looked to have survived more or less intact and Smirking could make out a few of the other grots starting to emerge from the wreckage.
SkagNet detached his peg leg and slipped himself free of the mangled frame of the cabin. He prized his metal peg free and winced at its bent shape. He had a throbbing headache but was otherwise relatively unscathed, GogGob however hadn’t fared so well. The Snakebite ork had gone to meet his makers. He’d bought the farm afterall, SkagNet joked.
SkagNet did what any ork would expect of a close friend and promptly fleeced the corpse for anything of value. He slipped a Snakebite charm from around GogGob’s broken neck; a string of large yellowed grox tusks and boars teeth all carved with religious glyps and orkish wards, and smacked out a couple of good canines to boot. The only other things worth taking were a pouch of dried squig meat and a reddish brown hair-squig.
“Fanx Goggers. Go wif Gork me ol’ chum. Gorksagoodun.” he added superstitiously. He swung himself out to sit on top of the wrecked vehicle and screwed his wonky leg back on. Stuffing a strip of squig jerky into his cheek SkagNet considered his next move.
The truck hadn’t made it very far into the minefield before it hit a mine. The momentum of the vehicle aided the explosion in pushing it further still into the danger zone. SkagNet’s wreck lay almost a quarter of the way in but Smirking had been catapulted with the engine hood still further right into the centre of the minefield. Behind SkagNet a throng of angry and frustrated orks bayed and kicked their heels, unable or unwilling to go any further. Off into the open valley beyond, SkagNet could see a small signpost about as tall as a grot which he presumed denoted the boundary of the minefield. A warning sign left by the humans to warn other humans not to enter.
”’ere, Nurd. K’mere.” He groaned through his soggy jerky. His grot of higher-than-average intelligence scampered gladly up on top of the vehicle.
“Waddya make o’ dis?” Asked SkagNet not rhetorically.
“Der’s bombs in da ground boss.” Nurd informed his ork of less-than-average intelligence.
“I know dat! But ‘ow do we get fru em?”
Nurd pondered the problem.
“wot way Boss?”
That was a good question. SkagNet looked both ways. On one side he had a mass of maddened orks, pent up and ready to lash out. On the other a free and open country, albeit one mined with explosives. Smirking smiled and waved at him in the near distance.
A large mob of Defkopptas flew overhead eliciting a flurry of gunfire and rage from their grounded kin. One caught fire and went down into the minefield on SkagNet’s left causing a cascade of explosions all along the path of its collison. A roar of approval went up from the mob and SkagNet could see one of GrodMek s Flashgitz grinning from ear to ear in triumph. Nurd had an idea.
“Cud we frow stuff?” he pondered aloud. “’eavy stuff. Chuck it like, onta da bombs?”
SkagNet liked having this little grot around.
“Get da wheels off.” He ordered. “An’ anyfink else ya reckon I can lob.”
Nurd smilled and set about putting his plan into action. Before long SkagNet had, stacked on top of the vehicle three tyres, one of which was already in very bad shape, a crate of small scrap metal bits which on their own wouldn’t have weighed enough but together in a crate made for a sizeable object, and a truck door. Unki and Nurd were still at work on removing the wagon’s tailgate but SkagNet decided to make a start. Taking a well inflated tyre in hand he rolled it in Smirking’s direction and carefully marked it’s path as it went. It rolled for some distance. The assembled grots stared intently as did the engrossed mass of orks behind.
The tyre was launched skyward and landed with a metallic thunk near another wreck.
“Gorkdammit SkagNet!” called an ork from the mob “you’re a Gorkdammed genius!” It was none other than GorGoff NarGrim the warlord himself. Nurd ground his teeth with resentment at the misplaced compliment.
“K’mon.” grunted SkagNet turning his back on GorGoff. He had never liked the Boss and he wasn’t about to start grovelling for his praises now. He hefted the door onto one shoulder with his arm through the window space, swung another tyre on top and picked up the ragged wheel with his free hand. The grots were impressed at his orkish strength. Nurd gathered up his tools and slung them in his belt, having distributed as many working weapons around the mob as he had fixed he felt this an ideal opportunity to unburden himself of the responsibility of fixing any more. Fungrot carried all their food supplies in a back pack almost as fat as he was himself, and Unki and Smudge struggled with the remaining crate of heavy vehicle parts. Following SkagNet in line they trod the thin path to the newly made crater. Once there SkagNet unburdened his load with methodical care before trying again.
Smirking sat with rapt attention watching his approaching saviour’s gallant rescue attempt. Never before had he felt so valued, so appreciated as to warrant such devotion and downright reckless heroics. He smiled and wept like a crazed buffoon.
SkagNet’s second tyre didn’t travel nearly as far as the first before it went up in a shower of grit and fire. Smudge jumped and dropped his end of the crate spilling vehicle parts all over the place.
“Pick’em up.” Groaned SkagNet, painfully aware of his limited progress and equally limited resources.
He plodded off with his raggedy tyre and door to make another attempt while the grots gingerly tiptoed around sweating and trembling as they refilled the crate. An explosion went off behind. For a second SkagNet thought his grots were toast but it was only another vehicle wreck survivor aping his own genius strategy. He laid his door down carefully and flopped the damaged tyre out in front. It didn’t go very far.
“Oi, where’s Naff?” Nurd slapped the grot in question over the back of the head and directed him toward the ork. Naff plodded innocent and dutiful as ever to his Boss’ call.
“Push dat wheel for uz, willya?”
SkagNet pressed the grot into service without waiting for an answer. Naff pushed hard and the wheel rolled a wobbly windy path which veered to the right and would almost have begun to turn back in on itself if it hadn’t exploded in a shower of green muck. SkagNet felt it a worthy effort for such a pathetic excuse for a grot.
Smirking began to have his doubts. Where were they going? Were they letting Naff take the lead? Had SkagNet and his buddies given up on him after all? He snapped a twig off the bushy shrub and started banging on the truck bonnet with furious desperation.
SkagNet looked up, hearing Smirking’s din he observed that the grot possessed another lob-able item for his service. He hefted his truck door onto his shoulder and moved off.
“Folla me you lot.” He barked. The grots eyed him suspiciously but had little choice in the matter. Unki and Smudge lead the reluctant train with their heavy cargo.
Once in Naff’s crater SkagNet inspected the vehicle door. It’s outer side was a little rounded and after he applied a bit of pressure on the frame it was a little more rounded. He aimed for Smirking and slung the huge improvised discus across the ground, it skipped and skidded and ground to an uneventful stop.
“Hmmmpf.” He mused. “Go geddit ladz.”
Nurd stopped beside him and looked up incredulously.
“Not you.” The ork muttered at him.
Runt made a hop into the skid and tip toed forward followed by Snikkit and Fungrot. Slakka yawned and plodded on like a sleepwalker. SkagNet waited until they had reached the door before proceeding himself. When he arrived he inspected the ground around them. An explosive device was clearly visible sticking out of the ground almost dead centre between them and the eager smirking grot. SkagNet sat down on the door and scratched his chin. Smudge and Unki dropped the crate noisily beside him and groaned with relief of their burden.
“Yeah dat’ll do it.” SkagNet grabbed the crate up and flexed his sizable arms muscles testing its weight.
“Get b’hind da door youzunz.” he suggested without much import.
Nurd was already there and Smudge and a few others soon followed suit. Fungrot simply turned his heavy backpack to face the blast and crouched in its considerable shelter. SkagNet lobbed the crate into the air and held his breath as it landed just next to the device but failed to trigger it. Snikkit drew his weapon impatient for some explosive action and fired a flurry of rounds at it. The resulting spray of shrapnel almost took his head off as flying vehicle parts blattered against both the door and Smirking’s bonnet.
“fanx.” said SkagNet twisting a sliver of crate wood out of his forearm. “I fink.”
Smudge, relieved of his burden and apparently convinced of his own safety proceeded forward. The diminutive dirt encrusted sneak was the first to reach Smirking’s island and reunite the stranded prodigal with his mob. SkagNet was less convinced of the path between them and let each of his grots go first before he joined them with his door. Snikkit picked up a particularly spiky looking shard of crate wood on the way.
Smirking beamed at his hero. His smile dropped slowly as SkagNet passed by without a glance, dropping his door almost on top of Smirking and grabbing up the engine hood. He tested its weight in his hands briefly before tossing it like a boat out into the lake of mines. It went an impressive distance on the now stonier ground before it was launched skyward. It landed some distance away behind them and bounced before setting off another mine. SkagNet’s mob watched it fly again. Smirking imagined it might come to rest back on the front of the wagon but it fell short.
Looking back SkagNet could see the ork mob now fully mobilised in attempts to cross the mines. Wheels and armour plates were being stacked and other gretchin mobs were being harassed into service as mine sweepers. A flurry of explosives erupted all along the length of the valley mouth as the effort began in earnest. SkagNet felt it was time he hurried up before the less timid tactics of the mob caught up with them.
He grabbed up his door and made a dash along the skid trail of the bonnet. The grots followed a bit surprised at his change of tac. No sooner was he at the edge of the crater when he slung his discus door another length along the ground. His last piece of scrap triggered another mine and flew away leaving him empty handed. He plodded slowly the short length of safe road and slumped down to ponder the last leg of his journey. The little human signpost stood not far off daring him to have a go. The grots gathered round and struck similar poses of deep contemplation.
“Oi, Nurd. Where’s me tailgate?” Asked the ork, knowing the gretchin had left it behind.
He knew he could have stomped the tailgate off himself but he had been too eager to get on, out from under the gloating scrutiny of GorGoff and the rest of the other orks. He gazed back at the wagon longingly. A pack of Deathskulls had reached it and where stripping its precious bits with savage enthusiasm.
“Zoggin lootin goodfernuffink…” he muttered under his breath.
He was out of time. There was nothing else for it. If he didn’t just move now he would find himself surrounded by rolling mine triggers and roaming grot mobs and flying projectiles all likely to set off every explosive in his vicinity and put an end to his last Waaagh! before it had really begun.
“Ok fellas.” He sighed “gerra move on!”
He kicked the nearest grot in the behind and it landed clumsily on the virgin turf of the minefield and instantly froze in terror. SkagNet winced; it was Smudge, his best sneaker. He looked at his remaining grots deciding to choose a little more carefully who went next. He unslung his grabba stick from his back, picked up Smirking by the waist and tossed him over Smudge a little further out. Smirking landed in a heap, arms and legs sprawling with a mouthful of grit. The next to fly was Runt. He landed with a little more skill and quickly turned to see who was next.
SkagNet was rubbing his chin and squinting down the line of grots. There wasn’t far to go until the sign. Another stepping stone ought to do it but it was further than he was willing to toss a grot without risking a long skid in the dangerous ground.
“Awright Snikkit, op it!”
Snikkit took a run up. Smudge caught the first hop full in the gut and Smirking got the next in the back. Runt didn’t wait around to be another stepping stone and promptly squirmed to one side. Snikkit kept up his pace none the less and in another bound and a leap was past his intended spot and first to reach the sign. Runt made a leap onto the same approximate spot and followed him to the finishing post which Snikkit had already ripped out of the ground to inspect its pointy end.
SkagNet almost pulled out his hair squig. Typical grots, he thought. A mob of Storm boyz was just passing his position flying overhead. In an oily jet propelled leap they cleared the edge of the minefield and promptly formed an orderly drill line trying to look as officious and orderly as their smug young faces would allow. SkagNet would have spat if not for fear of triggering a mine. A flurry of blasts too close behind for comfort shocked SkagNet into action he glanced back at the oncoming horde. A merciless wall of vehicles belching smoke trundled impatiently behind a huge swarm of snotlings and grots driving them forward in their terror and panic. SkagNet grabbed up a grot under each arm, Nurd and Slakka, and legged it. Smudge narrowly avoided the crooked peg leg which dug into the ground where he had lain. Smirking caught the boss’ boot and rode on his leg as he continued out of the minefield. With another carefully judged vault on his peg and a clamouring, bounding hop SkagNet had made it.
He shook Smirking off his boot and dumped the other two. Safe on the other side SkagNet watched his remaining grots as they worked out an elaborate series or leap frogs. Smudge hopped forward into Smirking’s spot and Unki filled the vacant space. Runt made for the goal opening the way for Smudge to move on. Fungrot moved as soon as Unki had space to go and so the last four made their way one by one to safety. As he waited SkagNet considered his luck; or was it skill? He had just successfully navigated a minefield only losing a single grot; and a weedy pathetic naff one at that. Naff was so useless he hardly counted. As he congratulated himself on his own unprecedented genius his eye lit on a fat toadstool growing in the shade of a rock. His eye naturally wandered to Fungrot who, in the same moment had spotted it too. It was too late. Fungrot hopped off course, eyes glazed with fungus lust.
“Fungers!” SkagNet yelped as time slowed to a crawl. “Noooooooo!”
Smudge dived for safety closely followed by Unki who landed on top shielding him from the spray of green guts and gravel. SkagNet slumped bereft as all around him emerging orks and gretchin roared past in huge battlewagons and trucks, bikes and wartracks with a deafening chorus of engines and chants of “ere we go, ere we go.” He didn’t hear any of it. All he could hear was his tummy rumbling. Fungrot his cook, the stupid fungus obsessed grot had gone and got himself and all SkagNet’s tasty treats blown up. He felt something rummaging in his pocket. It was Smirking. He pulled out a strip of squig jerky, offered it to SkagNet and smiled.
This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2017/09/23 08:31:30
It was from south park (not quite sure why I watch the show, a bit chaotic and terribly immature), on a Black Friday epidosde. Sorry, it's more American than I thought about initially, and I don't know far the shows made it into the world
Irishpeacockz-Blackjack needs a pay raise for being the welcomer to the crusade
Palleus-Write a school essay about Kroot! Pride. Prejudice. And Cannibalsim.
Subject: Re:The Adventures of Smirking: A grot's life (a surprisingly long Gretchin Biography)
Thanks for the heads up. It was thrown up there in a hurry. I'll fix it when I'm adding the next chapter on here.
In the meantime folks, if you can't wait for the next chapter feel free to enjoy the two foot wide version in the article feed.
Edit: sorted, thanks.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/05/18 14:55:49
Nobody waited for SkagNet. He wasn’t expecting a drive by parade in his honour or some grand gesture expressing an outpouring of gratitude from the massed greenskins who he’d led through the wilderness almost singlehandedly on their way to the promised Waaagh! He didn’t expect to be thrust into the dizzy ranks of GorGoff’s elite cronies for his innate Blood-Axe genius to be better appreciated and utilised in the coming conflict. Nor was even expecting a rousing chorus of “SkagNet, SkagNet he’s our Lad”, but a lift would have been nice.
He picked himself up, dusted himself off and whipped his grots into line. They weren’t the only ones short on transport. Mine fields have a tendency to remove the wheels from under your feet and a steady trickle of stragglers were moving off on foot following the dust trails of the more fortunate. Only a few diehard Deathskulls remained with the stricken vehicles risking their lives for some choice salvage.
The dispossessed greenskins marched slow and sullen, the former exuberance and frenzy of going to war giving way to dusty daydreams and idle minded battle plans.
SkagNet recalled his Kommando glory days: entire months concealed behind enemy lines, the haunting of his foes, the bewildering surprise attacks, the devastating sabotage, the downright lowdown sneakiness of it all!
His wonky peg-leg slipped a thread in its socket and threw his balance breaking his stride and his reverie. Brought back to his present reality SkagNet’s shoulders sagged in forlorn realisation. He was no longer a Blood-Axe Kommando. Now he was just a Runtherd with the sorriest band of grovelling gretchin he had ever seen armed and mobilised. This, he decided with grim dismay was truly to be his last Waaagh! This time he would not be considered an elite, indispensable and highly prized asset, but fodder; the bottom of the ranks, as low as an ork could go and utterly expendable. He stopped marching crestfallen and depressed and slumped down in the dirt to sulk. His motley crew plodded on ahead of him unawares, each equally lost in their own thoughts. Smirking turned. His smirk dropped. SkagNet glanced up and, spying the gloomy look of genuine concern on the face of his familiar little clown quickly made an effort to appear distracted. He fussed and groped in his pockets and emptied a stone from his boot as one by one each of his charges turned and observed. He finally settled with some relief on his wonky peg-leg. In an effort to save face he removed it and made an elaborate gesture of dissatisfaction by throwing it at his gretchin.
“Lousy piece o junk!” he barked. Satisfied that his audience were suitably distracted with the task of retrieving the bent length of pipe that insulted his every stride SkagNet attempted to compose himself.
“’ey Boss.” came a tentative whisper. It wasn’t a familiar voice. SkagNet forgot his troubles for an instant as his beady eye squinted through the sun glare for a face.
“Wot’s it like Boss?” it was Smirking. SkagNet suddenly realised for the first time that he had never once heard a single word uttered from those ridiculous red lips. Nor either that he had believed that Smirking was dumb; he never answered back nor indeed, he now realised, refused or resisted SkagNet’s commands in any way. He had always simply smiled and…
“Eh?” SkagNet blinked, bewildered.
“Da Waaagh! Boss.” Smirking insisted. “Wot’s it like?” SkagNet’s eye drifted off into the middle distance. Visions of fire and smoke and blood and violence twisted a gummy grin that spread slowly across his age worn features all the way to the corners of his eyes. Smirking’s face lit up with shear infectious joy.
“Ahh Smirking!” he clapped the little gretchin heartily on the shoulder almost breaking a clavicle. “Wot’s it like?” he enthused. “It’s wot we’re ere for!”
SkagNet guffawed and pulled himself up on one leg using his grabba stick as a walking cane.
“Ya eva wanna just smash sumfink but when it’s all smashed up you jus wanna smash sum more? An’ yer sick o’ smashin’ up yer own stuff so ya get yer mates roun’ an’ dey all wanna jus’ smash stuff so yous all go out an’ smash up sum junk an’ den da owners o’ da junk wanna fight cause ya smashed up der junk an’ den der’s a big scrap an’ ya blast ‘em like…” Skagnet whipped out a slugga with alarming dexterity and unloaded a few rounds at a forgotten boot lying on the ground allowing his pistol to finish the sentence. Smirking didn’t quite follow but was none the less amused.
“Den dey get der mates roun’ an’ it gets a even bigga scrap and dey bring der blastas an’ der trucks and ova junk an’ yer all as a real good scrap an’ stuff’s on fire an’ ye can’t see fer da smoke but den ya can sneak up and blow up der junk on da sly an’ even blame der mates an’ den jus’ sit back an’ laugh at em all scrappin togever an’ sumtimes dey gets smart an’ den dey gets mad acha an’ den dey gets sloppy an you gets yer digs in easy, all like…” SkagNet stabbed at the air with his grabba stick and throttled invisible adversaries with hideous delight before overbalancing and toppling over in heap back down eyeball to eyeball with Smirking.
“D’ye see?” he grabbed Smirking by both arms and stared wildly in his face all crazed and dribbling with enthusiasm.
“Dats da Waaagh!” SkagNet was desperate, almost begging him to understand. Smirking smirked nervously. A gallery of faces had formed a semi-circle around them. Even Slakka looked wide awake paying full attention. Snikkit drooled and his eyes flickered with more than his usual amount of crazy. Beholding his mob of eager warriors SkagNet’s Blood-Axe pride once again mastered his faculties.
He had heard tales of ZogRod WortSnagga and his so called Kommando Runts: An elite force of highly trained gretchin, in the hands of a bumpkin Snakebite. But these; he reviewed his painstakingly hand selected team in quiet self admiration: In the hands of a true Blood-Axe with real Kommando skills.
Smudge, a natural born infiltrator the finest example of gretchin sneakery he had ever trained.
Unky, the powerful physique of an ork, almost. A small ork, a gretchin sized ork.
Runt, small and nifty and a talented escape artist.
Slakka, a rare diurnal operative with superb day vision.
Nurd, intelligence and knowhow, the brains of the outfit, after SkagNet of course.
Snikkit, wild, feral, the untamed violent malevolence of the greenskin race.
SkagNet turned and realised he had been holding the gretchin by the arms all this time. Awkwardly he released his grip a little dumbfounded. He still couldn’t figure this grot out. He had taken every rotten job SkagNet could throw at him and always came out smiling. Every back handed slap every boot in the rear and every lash of his whip only made the little clown all the more loyal and willing and somehow able. SkagNet just smiled at the little guy, standing there rubbing his arms looking sheepish. He had rekindled a fire in the old Blood-Axe’s belly when it was most sorely needed. Maybe he was special. Maybe even old GogGob’s kind of special, gifted, or charmed or chosen or some-such mystical nonsense.
SkagNet glowed. He truly had it all. This was going to be a great Waaagh! after all: The first of many in his illustrious new career as a runtherd freebooter. He would show ZogRod, He’d show GrodMek, and GorGoff, he’d show them all.
Nurd returned to him his peg-leg. Now a little straighter missing its worn out rubber shoe but with the screw end newly greased. SkagNet didn’t care to ask where he had gotten the grease from. He screwed it back in place noting with satisfaction a grinding sandy texture in the oily muck improving the grip on the threads. He looked around for his boot but finding only the old, shabby, bullet riddled thing presumably discarded by another sore footed ork, he abandoned the search. After all, where they were going there were plenty of spare boots.
This message was edited 7 times. Last update was at 2017/08/28 22:52:40
All the way along the road to ‘Waaagh! GorGoff’ SkagNet spoke to his mob of grand plans and schemes including each of their various roles and specialisations. He schooled them in his favourite ambush tactics and tried to remember any titbits of useful knowledge on the human Imperial Armies they were shortly to encounter and demolish. Tanks to sabotage, tanks to steal, tanks to avoid on the battlefield. Weapons to loot for ammo, weapons that if found should belong to him alone, laser weapons unfit even for snotlings. Names of famous humans and the even more famous orks who had squashed them dead, and any other impressive details he could recall from memory convincingly contrive. He had Nurd distribute what little weapons and ammo they had between them while Snikkit provided a few sharp or heavy objects with which to stab, clobber or otherwise maim the soft and pathetic enemy. Finally Smudge applied the smudge and SkagNet declared them all “Ready fer da Waaagh!”
The first indication that they had arrived was another stricken vehicle crawling with Deathskulls orks. This vehicle however was not of ork design and what was left of it looked to SkagNet distinctly human.
“Dis is it boys” he said, trying to sound like he knew what they were doing.
“we’z goin’ in!”
A couple of grots made for the human vehicle thinking he meant them to start looting but he grabbed them quickly and directed them on past it.
“not in der!” he grumbled, trying not to make eye contact with the fiercely possessive blue-faced orks glaring at them.
“In der! Inta da Waaagh!” He picked up his pace and led his grots at a shambling trot trying to mimic the traditional frenzied war cry and charge of the ork race. His gretchin followed dutifully if not impressively. Trying to discern where or against what enemy they were supposed to be charging. Their feeble high pitched voices combined with their general confusion made a mockery of the waaagh! and the whole thing fizzled out into a lacklustre cross country dash.
SkagNet gave up. He glanced around the supposed battlefield looking for something to battle with but the bulk of the ork army had been through this area long before and had left only wreckage and bodies in their wake. He supposed he could at least use the opportunity to loot some more ammo before the real fighting began.
“Nurd!” he gasped, still catching his breath.
“Go look fer dakka.”
SkagNet watched as Nurd made for the first ork body he could find. Satisfied that his most intelligent grot could be trusted to find the right stuff he tried again.
Snikkit looked up already plastered in viscera from whatever foul mischief was occupying him.
Find da ladz some proppa stikkas! Real ‘uns dis time, nun’yer junk!”
Snikkit ripped a shard of bone from a corpse and waved it aloft all dripping with gore, before jabbing it in SkagNet’s direction with a vicious little twist. SkagNet marched over drew a blade and dashed it to splinters in a brutally powerful stroke. Snikkit sucked his fingers which stung from the vibration of the impact.
“Arder ones, like dis!” Oomies as ‘em round der bellies on a strap, or in der boots.” SkagNet explained. “course, da orks’s ones is best, so look sharp!”
Snikkit set about looking for better hand weapons for the gretchin mob and SkagNet looked around greedily. He thought he’d push his luck.
“Smirking!” he hollered, but Smirking was already right beside him, smirking as always.
“Find us sumfink shiny. I wants a new blasta, sumfink dead killy.” Smirking made to move away but was arrested by a thick hand on his shoulder.
“not an ork one mind” SkagNet muttered conspiratorially. “gizza big shiny Oomie blasta.”
Smirking wasn’t sure what he was looking for but he felt sure the dead humans around would be able to help. He went to ask them.
SkagNet plodded on leading his gretchin in an elaborate game of creep and sneak, hiding behind cover from imaginary enemies and outflanking their unheld positions. It was all good training he told himself. He passed more and more scenes of recent battle; a couple of still burning ork vehicles and a human tank to match told him they were getting close. The smell of promethium smoke sent a chill of nostalgia down his think orkish spine. He ducked low and led his band in a crouching run against the line of the smoke blown in the wind as if to use the smoke cover to evade enemy fire. The now not too distant sounds of gunfire would have completed the illusion but for the lack of live rounds flying through the smoky air. SkagNet congratulated himself. They were getting it, his kommando grots were coming along well. Smudge was a natural and the rest were learning fast, accepting the three he had on loot duties.
Nurd had a wearying way of looking at him that almost made SkagNet feel foolish. Nurd didn’t much participate in the sneaking and stalking. SkagNet suspected that may change in the event of enemy contact threatening his life.
Snikkit was still as wild and untamable as ever. His new found interest in human anatomy was distracting him from picking up any of SkagNet’s valuable Kommando training, but again, the chance to encounter a living human may help him focus his more malevolent tendencies.
Smirking on the other hand was singularly engrossed in his search for a new toy for SkagNet. He strolled around oblivious to all but the ground in front of him. SkagNet winced to see such total disregard for stealth, tactical squad cohesion and forward scouting in one under his own command. He kept up with the rest of the group but often strayed far out into the open to investigate a promising group of corpses. SkagNet thought that even confronted with a squad of live humans Smirking would probably stumble blindly into them, smile and ask them for a blasta for the Boss.
Smirking thought he could hear gunfire over the crackling of the wreckage fires, but none of the others seemed too worried, least of all SkagNet, who still kept up his games with the other gretchin as he had for most of the night. The moonlight was patchy as smoke and cloud drifted aloft and Smirking kept his eyes down, giving every cluster of human bodies he could see his full attention looking for anything of interest. Already his pockets were full with a few of their rounded knobbly green bombs and a pair of guard issue binoculars. He had also found a length of thin but very strong rope which he had used to help hold his bulging trousers up. He had found lots of their laser shootas, which SkagNet had spat at and a big bulky pistol which the ork had inspected with great interest and then thrown away due to its empty magazine.
He glanced up. SkagNet and the team were still a long way off but they were moving in the same direction. They had stopped to hide behind a crumbling stone wall evidently about to sneak up and ambush yet another abandoned human vehicle. At least he assumed it was abandoned, it was immobilised and deep inside ork held territory and he hadn’t seen any humans alive yet. The gunfire though, was getting considerably closer. A group of Orks not far away were firing off rounds and laughing but they sounded more like they were having a lazy evening target shoot than an actual Waaagh!
Smirking resumed his search looking for more bulky human pistols or the ones SkagNet had described as “like dat on’y bigga.” At this stage anything that wasn’t a laser shoota would do. Along this length of the same crumbling stone wall a group of humans had evidently made their last stand as the ork cavalcade rolled through and crushed them wall and all under their tracks. Smirking climbed the rubble mound and began heaving rocks off the buried bodies. Something glinted reflecting a brief moon light glow. Or was it a green blinking light. Smirking dug deeper and got a skinny hand to it. It was warm; warmer than the bodies anyway. He pulled a small avalanche of rocks free in his haste to uncover the buried treasure and pulled it clear. It was an odd shaped thing. A human weapon; rounded and fat at the business end and all smooth and silvered. It smelled of ozone and he could feel its barely contained energy tingling in his tentative grip and making his hair squig fuzz with static. He felt sure he’d found just what the Boss was looking for.
Smirking jumped up on top of the wall and waved frantically to SkagNet, arms flailing and capering around in the least covert manoeuvre SkagNet had ever witnessed. A familiar voice not far off stilled his leaping heart.
“Oi, wots dat you got?” GrodMek demanded.
Smirking turned slowly knees quaking, face cringing and smirking in nervous terror. GrodMek was busily liberating a track assembly from a stricken ork wartrack. His trukk and trailer were backed up close by to receive the stripped gubbins and his cadre of Flashgitz stood ready to fend off any over-eager Deathskull looters.
“It’s a zoggin’ Sun-Gun!” GrodMek balked dropping his wrench “Giveus dat ye li’le git fore ya melt yer own face off!”
“Dat’d be pretty funny Boss!” guffawed one of GrodMek’s snazzgun toting Flashgitz.
Smirking did what every good gretchin does when given a direct command by a fully armed ork with lots of fully armed ork buddies and complied immediately without question.
“Wotchoo doin’ wif a sun-gun anyways?” GrodMek barked as he snatched the weapon from Smirking. “Grotz ese days!” he left the statement hanging as he inspected the workings of the weapon.
“Ere UzKop!” he called to a very hairy faced ork “’ave a crack wif dis.”
He tossed the fully charged plasma gun to the ork in question and stood back to enjoy the result. UzKop caught it in both hands but immediately let go with one as if burnt.
“Zoggin-Mork dat’s ‘ot!” he winced before taking aim one handed and one eyed at a knot of small stone buildings they had been idly shooting at.
“Take dis Oomie grunts!”
The resulting blast was blazing bright in the hazy twilight and considerably more accurate than Smirking had expected considering the distance and the race of the marksman. A corner of a facing wall was hit causing a small amount of masonry and roof to collapse in. A brief flurry of answering las-fire fizzled out around them as UzKop dropped the weapon like a hot potato and sucked his scorched fingers in pain. The other Flashgitz roared with laughter.
“Oomie sun-gunz,” GrodMek explained retrieving the gun from the ground. “dey can’t make ‘em right. I’ll fix dis one inta a new snazzgun for GorGoff, he’ll like dat!”
“Nog iff it burngs ‘is fingers ‘e wongt.” UzKop complained through a mouthful of throbbing digits.
Smirking made to move away while they were preoccupied but didn’t get far.
“You onea SkagNet’s are ya?”
Smirking froze on the spot and broke into a cold sweat.
“Oi SkagNet ye lazy ol’ git!” GrodMek hollered. “Yer late!”
SkagNet’s head appeared above the top of the vehicle which he and his band of Kommando Grotz had just successfully out-flanked. He didn’t look pleased to see GrodMek.
Playin’ ‘ide’n’seek wif da grotz is ye?” GrodMek mocked. His cronies chortled loudly on cue.
“Gerrova ere!” he commanded with enough vehemence to both quell the sniggers and to quick-step the pace of SkagNet’s reluctant progress. SkagNet eyed Smirking with undisguised contempt as he approached. Clearly he wasn’t impressed at his grot’s latest discovery.
“Da Boss will be well appy wif ‘is nuu blasta.” GrodMek gloated, indicating the large silvered sun-gun. “I reckon ‘e’ll be dead grateful.” Smirking beamed with hope.
“To Me!” GrodMek snapped at him.
That pompous bullying mek-boy wasted no opportunity to rub the old Bloodaxe’s nose in it and Smirking had provided one. SkagNet just sneered. Smirking wasn’t smirking anymore. The rest of the Gretchin mob gathered around SkagNet’s feet and stood around trying not to be noticed by the other orks.
“Yer all ‘ere den? Good!” GrodMek grinned with malicious intent. “cause it seems ta me you grotz betta get busy. Der’s no slakkin’ off in my Waaagh!”
SkagNet elected not to offer any corrections just yet.
“an’ b’sides…” Grodmek paused eyeing the distant smouldering ruins of their target. “I gots da purfik job for ya!”
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2017/09/11 21:09:37
As SkagNet urged his mob forward toward their ominously quiet target he couldn’t help but wonder if this was the end or the glorious beginning. A low sunrise spilled out across the landscape bleaching the colour from the sky and turning everything in front of SkagNet to a confusion of orange blurs and fuzzy silhouettes. He had spat at GrodMek’s boots and taken his lads in a full frontal assault just to spite him. He’d be damned if he’d have the wretched Bad-Moon mekboy and his flunkies scoffing and joking at any good honest Bloodaxe stealth manoeuvre. SkagNet didn’t much care for accusations of cowardice by the cowards sending him to do their dirty work. He’d show them. He’d walk through these humans like a ghost and vanish into the Waaagh! like a legend and leave GrodMek and his cronies behind to skulk ingloriously in the rear.
A burst of las-fire shattered his delusions if nothing else, and he double timed his gretchin mob to the left. Keeping as low as possible they moved into cover behind a corrugated metal out house that wreaked of excrement. Smudge dived in under the rear wall and emerged covered in unspeakable filth. He offered a handful to SkagNet who liberally applied it to his face.
“Right you lot!” SkagNet addressed his mob.
Seven pairs of beady red eyes stared up at him in a mixture of desperation and excitement. Snikkit was somewhat preoccupied in vandalising the corrugated metal walls of their cover but SkagNet didn’t bother to stop him. Their target was comprised of two stone buildings. The larger of which had taken most of the incoming fire from GrodMek’s Flashgitz. Its rear wall was almost collapsed and parts of the roof had fallen in. A blank gable faced them. Across a small gravelled yard into which the buildings faced, another smaller building loomed unscathed, almost serene amidst the din and smoke of the Waaagh! Not a window pane nor even a flower pot had suffered a blow and it sat in defiance of SkagNet’s assault like an invincible bastion against the green tide. SkagNet eyed it warily as he formulated his plan.
“Smudge an’ Nurd, sneak roun’ an’ get ready.” he indicated with a thumb over his right shoulder.
“We’ll get der attenshun, an’ wen dey make a move, you sneaks up an’ surprises ‘em.” Smudge nodded and loaded his blasta as if to confirm his orders before slipping off around the corner. Nurd followed suit tentatively on his tip toes.
With his A-team on the complicated and tricky surprise flanking manoeuvre it was time for SkagNet to make his move.
“Snikkit as da right idear.” Snikkit glanced up from wrenching a corner of metal sheeting out of its fixings and grinned like a psychopath.
“We’ll ‘ide in ‘ere an’ keep watch fer oomies.” SkagNet levered the corner of metal sheet out of the frame and allowed the rest of the team to squeeze inside the festering cesspit. As the space inside the outhouse became more and more cramped SkagNet selected his B-team. Smirking and Runt were unceremoniously booted out the outhouse door which was quickly slammed behind them.
“You two go ‘roun’ front.” SkagNet explained through the crack of the door.
“Boss?” Runt protested.
“Jus’ sneak in da front door. Dey fink yer on da ova side anyways!” SkagNet tried to sound convincing.
“Dey’re prob’ly lookin’ fer Smudge an’ Nurd!” he suggested.
Runt wasn’t convinced. He turned to Smirking for support just in time to see him disappear around the gable wall. Runt decided not to wait for SkagNet’s encouragements to become brutal and quickly followed Smirking around the corner. A large square pot against the front wall of the stone building made for a convenient obstacle to hide behind. It contained a bushy sort of tree in which Smirking had found a snail which he was poking out of its shell with a long sharp fingernail when Runt ducked in beside him. SkagNet eyed the ominously tidy building on their left watching for any signs of humans. Not a petal stirred in the carefully potted window boxes. Surely any human inside would have spotted the two gretchin in the yard. A rumbling sound to the left grew more distinctly through the thin walls of the outhouse. SkagNet couldn’t spy anything through the crack of the door but the silent house across the yard and the bare partially ruined gable wall beside him.
“Slakka!” he gruffed “Watcha see?” Trusting to the Grot s better day-sight in the golden morning light he relinquished his lookout spot. Unkie shifted out of the way pressing against the metal walls noisily, SkagNet winced and froze. Snikkit played in the reek as the rumbling grew louder.
Smirking gulped down his morsel tossed the empty shell to Runt. Runt began searching jealously for another snail while Smirking dived in under the lower branches of the bushy tree and shimmied through to the other side landing in a heap on a rough front door mat. Dully he became aware of a rumbling noise which grew suddenly sharper as if emerging from behind an obstacle. He caught a glimpse of something large and boxy moving slowly onto the gravelled yard and instinctively ducked.
“um.. Boss…” Slakka hesitated. “whatcha call dem fings agen?”
“wot fings?” SkagNet queried, creeping uncertainty squirming in his gut.
“I fink it’s onea da ones you said was bes’ lef’ alone.”
SkagNet listened to the ominous rumble with a sickening feeling of dawning recollection.
He shoved Slakka out of the way and pressed his eye to the crack in the outhouse door.
The blast was devastating. Smirking came-to still lying on the front door mat covered in shards of earthenware pot and dirt. A burning remnant of bush sent a trickle of smoke into the warm hazy air which smelled much more heavily of explosives than seconds before. Everything was still and deadly silent. Or was it? Smirking was dazed and confused he dreamily fingered a fragment of snail shell which lay just in front of his face in the gravel and dirt unable to recollect himself.
A flurry of fire emerged from GrodMek’s Flashgitz on the hill as SkagNet and his team skulked in the outhouse watching the drama unfold. A huge Leman Russ Battletank had entered the yard and apparently seen fit to tackle two gretchin with a blast from its main ordinance cannon. In the ensuing chaos both GrodMek’s mob and an incoming group of Deathskullz in a heavy battlewagon had begun a battle to claim the enemy tank for themselves. The vehicle turned on its axes. SkagNet flinched as the outhouse fell momentarily under the muzzle of the dreaded battlecannon but the vehicle continued to turn lining up its imposing frontal arc on another target. He scanned the flanks for sponson mounted weapons and once satisfied of his own relative safety made a break for better cover.
Under the barrage of heavy incoming ork fire, none too accurate and apparently indiscriminate SkagNet and his crew emerged from hiding and stole to the front door of the larger stone building, navigating fallen masonry, a large crater and something sticky before ducking inside the building. Unki grabbed Smirking by the scruff on his way in and tossed him inside. He sat slumped in the doorway watching Snikkit and SkagNet make short work or a pair of startled guardsmen. Another human emerged from an adjoining room but already wounded and barely able to fight he didn’t last long as Unki blasted him with glee. Smudge and Nurd appeared from the same doorway shortly afterwards. Nurd was warring a wide grin and a human officer’s flat cap. One more room was flushed of any possible threat by Slakka using a handful of sticky bombs. Smirking didn’t hear them go off but Slakka seemed happy whatever the result. SkagNet was obviously giving orders now and the rest of the lads were starting to form up and look serious. Smirking was dragged without warning by the feet away from the door and dumped in a corner next to a dead human. His ears were ringing now and he slowly realised he couldn’t hear what anyone was saying. SkagNet s lips were flapping and he was looking at him like he wanted a response. Smirking just smirked and nodded and SkagNet gave him up for a fool.
As the smoke in the yard cleared SkagNet’s gretchin held their ruined building objective admirably against the mob of angry possessive Deathskullz swarming over the vanquished human tank in the yard, still being bombarded by GrodMek’s boys. There were no more humans to be seen so SkagNet took a few pot shots at a pretty flower pot in the window of the ominously untroubled house opposite and considered its obliteration a small personal victory.
This message was edited 4 times. Last update was at 2017/09/19 00:20:54
Nice bit of action in this chapter. It's saddening how close we are to getting to the end. Just a heads up, there's two chapter 7's right now, so I'm not sure if it's like a part two to chaper 7, or just a typo or something, but I figured I should give you a heads up.
This message was edited 1 time. Last update was at 2015/05/27 02:14:15
Irishpeacockz-Blackjack needs a pay raise for being the welcomer to the crusade
Palleus-Write a school essay about Kroot! Pride. Prejudice. And Cannibalsim.
Subject: The Adventures of Smirking: A grot's life (a surprisingly long Gretchin Biography)
A longer chapter this time but one of my favorites. Another example of the kind of thing that actually happens to Gretchin mobs in games of 40k.
I was trying to think of the kinds of things I use Gretchin for in games so we've had the (really just kinda fluffy) mine sweepers use, and the bog standard troops holding a rear objective use but this chapter sees them in the common enough, "I'm gonna throw these useless troops over there on the flank to hold up my opponent's no doubt more expensive flankers" use, you know, the one that sees them killed or broken by the end of turn 2 or 3 if they're "successful". Anyway, happy reading folks.
Chapter 9 Hunters in the Hills. : illustrated :
"Oi, SkagNet, yer sneaky git!"
SkagNet froze on the spot. He knew that voice and dreaded the face he knew was lurking behind it. GorGoff NarGrim, the Goff Warboss, the inestimably dangerous and undeniably lethal undisputed leader of the Waaagh! himself was addressing SkagNet, personally, by name…again. This time SkagNet missed the luxury of a minefield between them.
"Where're you sneaking' off ta dis time?"
SkagNet's tired old brain turned over in his thick boned cranium searching desperately for a reasonable lie, any story, any excuse that would loose him from the ever tightening grip of the warboss. In his desperation he almost made silent appeal to Nurd to come up with something smart but his innate orkish pride refused to allow such an affront before the paragon of orkishness that was GorGoff.
"Da hills… Boss." he snivelled in abject failure, still unable or unwilling to turn and look.
"Fought you'd skulk away off an' get lost out in da big rocks didja?"
SkagNet heard the massive clanging steps and grimy sucking pistons of the warboss' mega armour thump toward him so he turned to at least anticipate the inevitable if not fatal blow.
"Fought you'd 'ide out der an ambush da Oomies dat tried ta get roun' be'ind us?”
"I… I fought… I mean I woz jus'… Boss, I… "
"Quit your zoggin’ snivvling your paffetic Bloodaxe sneak an' do your job!” GorGoff levelled a steel fist the size of a truck wheel at SkagNet's head causing the old runtherd to snap out of his terror induced stupor. He jumped to it with a will.
"at once Boss! Sure fing Boss. You can coun' on me Boss."
He had no real idea of what exactly his job according to the Warboss was. All he knew for sure was that he was going to do it.
"an' anuver fing." GorGoff interjected. “I 'eard dat Weirdboy Wotizface.”
GorGoff almost landed his second attempt to slap some sense into the old fool. Luckilly for SkagNet a four foot wide steel fist is an easy thing to see coming. Even with only one eye. The back-swing alone nearly unbalanced the furious warboss.
"Yes… 'im. E's been poppin' up 'ere an' dere an' taken' lads off wif 'im. Last I 'eard 'e woz out in dem 'ills an 'e 'ad a bad turn. Came over all Waaagh! sick an’ killed a buncha ladz. Some of dem woz my boys see. A couple o' my lads made it back an' tells me allaboudit. Course I smacked 'em up good-an'-proppa fer leavin' in da frust place."
Skagnet was losing his focus. Was GorGoff getting at something? Was he just ranting about his rival or was this some sort of "job"?
"soooo… " SkagNet winced."You wan' me ta look fer Waz… " he swiftly corrected himself "dat Weirdboy… " he paused for admonishment. "in dem 'ills" he continued, "an if I sees 'im… " SkagNet eyed the trembling fist of GorGoff warily "I'm ta…” how should he put it? SkagNet pondered. “Giv‘im yer best." he euphemised meaningfully.
The full purport of the finished statement struck both orks simultaneously with surprising uneasiness. Although not a race to shy away from a little murder in general every ork knew that the assassination of a wierdboy was cultural heresy. GorGoff may as well have asked SkagNet to paint himself pink and run away from a fight. Still, they each concluded, it was as the only way. GorGoff NarGrim was the undisputed leader of the Waaagh! was he not? WazzBad NazKop was a charismatic weirdboy who's cult was growing and drawing more and more eager boys into its dangerously unpredictable and self destructive circle. It was no way to win the Waaagh!
SkagNet was too old and wily to be sucked into the weirdboy's madness like other younger orks might be. A weirdboy's power was augmented by the hyped-up psyches of the orks surrounding him but SkagNet's lowdown sneaky cunning, and that of his gretchin charges wouldn't add to the weirdboy’s power, wouldn't be noticed. He was the perfect candidate; there was no question about that. The only question was which of them had really thought up this scheme of low down treachery? SkagNet suspected he knew the right answer.
"Great idear Boss!"
SkagNet spun on his peg-leg and made a clean break of it heading for the high ground before GorGoff, or his hulking power claw had anything more to add to the conversation; the logical conclusion of which, SkagNet knew, was that GorGoff was a coward and a traitor who would sooner hire an old Bloodaxe to do his dirty work than face the awesome raw power of WazzBad himself.
GorGoff watched the old ork limping away, almost enthusiastically he thought. How typical of a Bloodaxe; only too willing to jump at the first opportunity to switch sides and take up with the enemy against his own greenskin race.
"Dirty zoggin' turncoat cowards." GorGoff muttered as he turned his back on SkagNet and his gretchin, shifting his gaze back to the front line. His forces were already set to repel the pathetic daylight advances of the humans but once night fell again…
"Den I'll 'ave sum fun wif 'em."
* * * * *
SkagNet was in his element. Stalking the upper passes of the lower rocky foothills his blood sang with the hunt. Smudge followed his example ducking and weaving in and out of cover now scouting ahead, now covering the rear. Smirking plodded along merrily. The satisfying crunch of gravel under his heels told him his hearing was at last returning, that and the sound of SkagNet’s gruff tuneless humming. He grinned at the old runtherd with his usual benign indifference and for the first time SkagNet actually smiled in return.
They were on the trail of a band of frenzied orks. Not a difficult trail to follow on account of the nose bleeds common to Waaagh! energy infused orks, and the litter of spent shells from their enthusiastic skyward burst of gunfire. Not to mention the occasional vomiting fit of the Wierdboy that left greasy bubbling acidic messes here and there, and of course the odd headless corpse. As had occurred back in the market, the event that had signalled WazBad’s ascent to Wierboy Warphead status, when the raw psi-energy built up in a crazed boys head to dangerous levels sometimes it would simply explode. SkagNet crouched over the latest “head-banger” and tasted a toadstool which had sprouted from under its arm pit.
“We’s gettin’ close.” He announced.
“It’s sweet boss” Smudge was sucking the cap of a similar fungus.
“Nu ones is sweet.” SkagNet explained “takes a coupla nights ta get propa stinky.
More if it’s a real full Naz like we ‘as t’night”
Smudge devoured the information and the toadstool with equal relish, while Snikkit tore at the dead ork’s bullet belt.
SkagNet moved on but just a few paces on the trail vanished. No bodies, no vomit, no spent shells or even tell tail blood trails. Not even so much as a discarded knucklduster. The dusty gravel trail was undisturbed and fresh as steaming grox dung and SkagNet was stumped.
“Maybe dey jumped Boss” Nurd was hovering at his usual distance between earshot and the reach of SkagNet’s stick. SkagNet leaned over the rock skree on one side of the path looking down into the valley below with an inquisitive eyebrow raised.
“Not jumped down dere.” Nurd tried to hide his plaintive disdain of the ork’s dull mind. “Da weirdboy. He made ‘em all jump. Teleport like.”
Skagnet looked miffed. Nurd rolled his eyes and resigned himself to the only means of communication left to him. “’ere we go ‘ere we go ‘ere we go” he sang with flat dead pan resentment. A flash of realisation flared in SkagNet’s red eye and Nurd shuffled off to be smart somewhere else. He knew better than to expect gratitude by now.
“WazzBad made ‘em jump…” SkagNet muttered. It was bad. He had heard of this sort of thing before. Wierdboys were capable of transporting a whole mob of orks from one end of a battlefield to the other in the blink of an eye. The trouble was they often had very little control of when or where or how far even. Control was not a common facet of the Wierdboy mentality. SkagNet kicked a rock off the edge of the path with enough savage force to send his loose ragged leather boot hurtling after it. He was furious. He felt cheated. A full night’s stalking wasted. His prey vanished into the warp without a trace. Leaving him and his boys high and dry alone in these Gorkforsaken hills like a lot of…
SkagNet paused. They were alone, in the hills, as he had wished. Just like he had planned, he corrected himself. He cocked a half smile at his own genius. He’d given both GorGoff and WazzBad the slip. Not to mention that insufferable mekboy GrodMek. He was the Boss up here. These were his hills, his own stomping grounds. He began to gruff a low throaty guffaw. Banditry and ambush, booby traps and covert ops! A long and devious career flashed before him as he rubbed his flabby jowls in thought. Waaagh! SkagNet, he mused. I wasn’t too late. The eastern horizon was lightening and SkagNet surveyed his position. He dumped his rucksack on the ground and produced a roll of netting wire and some of the humans knobbled hand bombs.
“Unkie!” he growled. “Haul me stuff up dat slope an’ set up camp.”
He indicated a steep incline rising nearly three times his height to a hollowed out cave-like dent in the rockface. Tossing the heavy bag at Unkie he turned his attention to the job in hand.
“Now we is gonna learn some real Bloodaxe work!” he beamed.
Smirking and SkagNet and all the others were smirking.
* * * * *
SkagNet explained the mechanism to Smirking for the fifth time. Smirking understood enough of the concept by now to let the matter drop but Nurd suspected that SkagNet just enjoyed the teaching of dirty tricks too much.
“Da Oomie comes by an’ steps on da wire.” He demonstrated with his unshod foot.
“Da wire is attached to da Bomb” he looped the end of another wire into the pin of another looted frag grenade which he lodged between some heavy rocks on the side of the track.
“an when dis bit comes out..” he jangled the metal ring with a grimy claw
Den we jumps down from da camp an bangs ‘em on da ‘ed an nicks der stuff.”
Smirking smirked with evident delight. He liked the bit about jumping out and surprising the unsuspecting victims of SkagNet’s ambush. Nurd rolled his eyes. He had practically schooled SkagNet in the successful application of the trap himself. The boss had obviously done it before but was stumped for lack of a pair of trees to tie the trap between.
Unkie had set camp up in the hiding place and was trying to catch some sleep as the dawn had broken some two hours before. Slakka with his keen day vision was posted a little higher up at a point where he could overlook the track on the side from which they had approached. Nurd felt that Slakka’s eyes might better serve overlooking the other direction but that was to be Smirking’s job and he didn’t want to contradict the boss, especially as it would probably result in his reassignment to the same task. As it was he was to wait in the hide out with Unkie, Snikkit, Smudge and SkagNet and judging by Unkie’s snoring that was the place to be.
They were all awoken by a loud blast. SkagNet jumped to his feet, one of them anyway, and was stunned to be staring a human in the face. A startled looking man in a tall spindle legged machine, standing in the midst of smoke and dust clouds below but with the pilots cab exactly on a level with Skagnet’s own elevated position.
“Enemy!” the man yelled, as if a round of exploding frag grenades at his vehicle’s ankles hadn’t been confirmation enough. SkagNet blinked stupidly.
Smirking squinted sleepily over the large roadside boulder he had been sheltering behind. The blinding wash of the sun was momentarily blocked by a second passing vehicle, not unlike the first which had woken him. Judging by the noise of stomping metal feet and the gigantic silhouette flitting between the sun spots of his seared retinas Smirking could tell that whatever they were he was glad to be hiding from them. He shielded his eyes with both hands, peeping through slatted fingers as it moved away; a huge, metal, two legged bird-like thing with a giant, wedge shaped head and an alarmingly large gun strapped to the side, following its partner in the direction of SkagNet’s ambush.
Curiosity warred with self preservation as Smirking tip toed out of cover stalking after them as they disappeared around the corner of the rock wall. A moment later a series of blasts preceded a scattering of dust and gravel from around the bend. Smirking held his breath and, still squinting through his fingers dared a peak around the corner. The sun wasn’t so harsh around the bend, the rocks casting the dusty track in shadow. A cloud of dust hung around the legs of the bird in front. It was now a little further downhill and some distance away. The rearward bird however was only a few paces beyond the bend and it was massive. Not so strong and well built, he thought, as the ork walking vehicles he had heard of; The Deffdreds and Killa-Kans. They were things of huge destructive capability, he had been told; Towering over the battlefield like great beasts of fire and slaughter. These things were more like really big squig-foul, with far fewer teeth, though admittedly rather stompy looking and nonetheless well armed.
A sudden explosion of gunfire ahead caused Smirking to drop on all fours and crawl for cover. Blinded again in the sunlit road and spitting out dust he clambered up against the rock wall and froze in terror of certain death.
SkagNet dropped flat and rolled to the back of the ledge as laser bolts angled up into the rock wall above his head showering him in hot rubble debris. Luckily the weapon was lower than his elevated position and the human couldn’t get an angle on him. He glanced round. Unki was rifling his pack, looking for slugs for a large shotgun lying split over his lap. Nurd was keeping his head down but his eyes up. Smudge looked nervous, cornered and frantic. Suddenly Snikkit sprang from the ledge in a frenzy of feral violence. He lunged for the human in the cockpit blade and teeth bared, bounced off the plexiglass of the vehicle's windshield and disappeared down into the billowing dust beneath.
SkagNet collected his wits. In the momentary lapse of gunfire and falling rocks he spotted a shape in the rocks above, a large stone, black against the pale blue sky poised to let fly. He hoped it was Slakka and not another human. Unki snapped the shotgun shut and shifted into a ready stance. Smudge twitched and wriggled uneasily. Nurd didn’t move.
A dull thud of crumbling rock below told SkagNet that either Slakka had missed the humans, or the human above him had missed his ledge. Another round of heavy laser fire sprayed them in dust as the wall above him took another pounding. The trace of impacts was leading up and away now, toward Slakka’s look out position. SkagNet gave Unki a grim nod before grabbing the other two grots by the scruff. Unki took up a firing position and let loose with an impressively loud if otherwise ineffective blast from his shotgun as SkagNet barrelled over the side a grot under each arm. They hit the ground in a heap.
Curiosity was again winning the battle for Smirking’s attention. Having gotten out of the accursed sunlight which had been spoiling his view he was now watching the scene unfold nicely framed between the legs of the rearward vehicle. From his slightly elevated position he could see Unki kneeling on the ledge and pouring fire down at the enemy like any proper green-skin should and with as much accuracy as his race were known to possess. Slakka had gone; either hiding from the Multi-laser rounds or off looking for another suitably large and loft-able object.
Suddenly a deafening roar erupted from the vehicle right in front of him. Smirking threw himself prone, hands over his ears and bum in the air. The thunderous barking auto cannon masked an alarmingly close rhythm of footfalls which seemed at first to surround then recede behind him as the vehicle backed up the hill trying to get a better angle into Unki’s flank. Smirking dared a glance ahead and then behind realising with abject terror that he was now somehow right in the middle of the fire fight. He ran.
SkagNet had landed on something soft but he was upside down and one of his arms was trapped under and behind his back. Smudge groaned from somewhere under there. Nurd was already up and fumbling at SkagNet’s belt trying to release the thick rusty iron buckle which held his whip. Now that the initial dust cloud was clearing SkagNet could see Snikkit clinging to the left leg of the lead walker gnawing at a hydraulic tube in a savage frenzy. SkagNet twisted his bulk and pushed himself upright. A sudden rattle of impacts above told him that Unki was taking some flack. Unki dropped from the ledge immediately after, at least what was left of him. SkagNet stared stupidly at the mess.
“Oi! Boss!” Nurd was slapping him and then he was handed one end of his whip; the wrong end SkagNet noted.
“We ‘as ta trip ‘em” Nurd screeched over the din.
SkagNet snapped to attention and grabbed both grot and whip. He tossed Nurd like a bolas in one direction and holding the other end of the whip made to loop around the closest leg of the nearest walker. Las fire flew in crazy arcs around their ears as the pilot struggled to get them under his firing arc. Nurd flew round like a grappling iron looping the right foot and holding on for grim death. SkagNet stumbled in beside Snikkit on the left and dragged him off the leg. He introduced the wild flailing thing to the end of the pilot’s access ladder and continued to apply Nurd’s plan. Nurd secured the big end in the complicated joints of the vehicle’s foot and jumped clear of the fray. He watched as Snikkit clung to the outside of the pilot’s cabin banging on the glass and stabbing at the armour with futile rage. SkagNet rode on the left foot now, unbalancing the vehicle’s step somewhat and tightening the whip as best he could. Nurd chuckled with malevolent glee as the hapless human pilot tossed the cab to and fro in an attempt to shake the feral grot on his windshield and the tethered bird danced like a headless squig-foul, or perhaps one with a really big head.
SkagNet was getting dizzy. He hadn’t expected this to take so long but he couldn’t give up now. Partly because he had somehow managed to tangle himself up in the ever tightening whip. In a moment of absurd clarity he saw Smirking pass by. He was running with his hands clutching his ears and screaming as he fled. He was not smirking.
At last the whip tore and snapped. The vehicle jerked and Snikkit tumbled to the ground beside Smudge who was just now making a sluggish attempt to move. SkagNet was suddenly raised on the vehicle’s foot to an alarming height and came down with a sickening squelch. Smudge looked much as his name suggested as the walker stepped back to engage the enemy with its multi-laser. The second walker opened up first with a burst of auto cannon fire on the now detached enemy and SkagNet broke. Dragging Snikkit by the drawers he shuffled in under the firing arc of the multi-laser. The Auto-cannon was silenced while the targets were obscured between the legs of its partner and with a last desperate lunge Nurd was scooped up and together all three of them tumbled and skidded down the skree into the valley below amid a hail of fire which fell further and further behind as they fled for their lives.
This message was edited 5 times. Last update was at 2017/08/28 22:49:31
GorGoff was in the thick of a prolonged human assault. The day had been bright, his south facing position had made for treacherously sunny conditions and all day long these pathetic little pink skinned aliens had been determined to run at the half blinded orks but never seemed interested in putting up much of a fight when they got there. He pounded another hapless human soldier into the mud and spat on him. Feeble and pathetic as they were however the sheer weight of human numbers pressing in from the right and was slowly squeezing his lads up against the rocky high ground on his left. GorGoff knew his boys had not been at their fighting best, but as the setting sun lent an evil glowing ember to his eyes he grinned like a shark. The night would change all that. Suddenly, as if someone had flipped a switch the noise of fighting died out. The annoying crack of las-fire was replaced with the hoarse yells of hard-done-by orks denied a fair fight as the humans ran away.
GorGoff spat in disgust and turned his back on the dull ache of the sunlight and the growing tedium of such poor sport. Then he felt it; a low rumbling in his belly. Little rocks began to dance and low dust clouds formed like mist from the quivering dirt. Perhaps the day wasn’t over yet thought Gorgoff, turning to face the red sky and heat haze horizon. There a massive armoured assault advanced riding upon a blazing dust cloud like a wave of fire.
GorGoff double checked, no that wasn’t fire, definitely just dust. He grabbed the nearest ork by the head and twisted him fully face to face.
“Tell GrodMek ta get ev’ry big gun we’ve got an’ point ‘em datta way!”
He didn’t wait for a response but simply threw the ork bodily in the direction of GrodMek’s camp. GorGoff stepped up onto the top of an upturned trukk and bellowed like the monstrous brute he was. The assembled orks of Waaagh! GorGoff went wild.
* * * * *
“GrodMek! GrodMek!” a frantic breathless and distinctly Goff voice broke the MekBoy’s concentration and as a result his welding torch burned a hole through the metal of the chassis he was working on. He reached for a patch but then considered his work. He was only welding patches at this stage. The weapon was as good as done and he may as well just bolt the glyph-plate into place. It was a while since he had seen a traktor kannon in operation but now…
“Da Boss! ‘E says ta get da gunz an’…”
“Da Boss wants ‘is gunz eh?” guffawed GrodMek at the Goff underling. He glanced briefly at the ork, checking for scars. Not a Skarboy, just a grunt. He let his derision flow unabated.
“Da Boss wants dis! Da Boss says Dat!” he mocked in his best fake Goff accent.
“…b-but he really said it.” The goffling stammered in notedly more rounded Bad-Moon-esque tones. Momentarily miffed at GrodMek’s apparent disregard for the boss’ orders and terrified at the thought of GorGoff’s reprisals he steeled himself to continue “der’s a ‘uge ‘eap ov oomie…”
“Wot!” blurted GrodMek “Too many Oomies for ya!”
“where’d’ya’want dis Boss?” asked a passing Deathskull ork.
“Wotsit?” GrodMek queried, ignoring the Goff messenger completely.
“a wotsit.” The blue faced ork offered demonstrating his particular level of ineptitude.
GrodMek eyed the object with an appraising scrutiny trying to look like he knew exactly what it was and how to use it.
“Put it on da wotsit pile” he conceded.
“da oomie one!” he added to the Deathskull looter’s back as he was already on his way. A constant bustle of Deathskull ork traffic milled about sorting and repairing looted wargear overseen by a handful of Bad-Moon orks, GrodMek’s Flashgitz. GrodMek surveyed his growing Mekworx like a king inspecting a new palace.
“GorGoff NarGrim ordered me ta tell you…” the Goff began again.
“Well GrodMek RazNazz is da Big-Mek ov dis ‘ere Mekworx an if GorGoff wants a new toy tell ‘im ta come geddit ‘izself!” GrodMek spun on his heel and stomped off toward his work shed, hoping the Goff wasn’t stupid enough to actually take that answer back to GorGoff.
Once inside a faint pounding in the distance caught his ear. Like heavy foot steps. Like heavy mechanised footsteps. Visions of GorGoff stomping his way in his fully mechanised Mega-Armour quickly distilled the full purport of his situation into perfect clarity. While the Goff outside fumbled with his wits GrodMek made a grab for a conciliatory offering and then flung the door open, grinning like the grox that got the guts.
“Ere ya go, ‘e can ‘ave dis.” He offered with infinite benevolence.
The Goff was wandering to the rear gate of GrodMek’s Mek-worx. GrodMek followed like a cringing jester holding aloft his prize.
“Wots dat?” the goff mused indifferently.
“It’s a Sungun” GrodMek began enthusiastically. “ I turned up da par an’ made da handle an’ trigga big enuff fer…”
His enthusiasm faded as he followed the Goff’s gaze away off behind him into the rocks, where an ork was clearly running from something.
GrodMek squinted. “Is dat SkagNet?”
“Not ‘im! Dem fings!” The Goff grabbed the sungun and let off a round from the Boss’ new toy illuminating the scene in a bright blue plasma flare.
GrodMek’s jaw dropped as a prize pair of long legged human machines stepped into range of his Snazzguns.
“Flashgitz!” He hollered making a dash for his shed. Every Bad-Moon ork in the facility dropped what he was doing and assembled as GrodMek emerged desperately fumbling the various accoutrements of his kustom-mega-blasta into place.
“Take ‘em down!”
The newcomer continued offloading glowing plasma rounds leaving no doubt as to the target in question. Excepting that he may have been trying to hit SkagNet, ork marksmanship and mentality being what it was he cared little either way.
The Imperial sentinels halted their pursuit under the sudden attack and turned their weapons on the massed ork gun-line assembling in front. They split up. One leaned to the side and broke into a long striding lope. The pilot kept his weapon trained to the front as his vehicle moved across the line trying to make for some higher ground. A flurry of multi-laser fire peppered the ork positions ineffectually.
“Dey’re stompy!” GrodMek enthused dropping the struts of his weapon’s bi-pod into place.
The Flashgitz took aim at the moving target unleashing a rainbow arc of fire as it ran. The second sentinel stepped slowly and deliberately back as the human pilot took careful aim with his auto-cannon. A torrent of heavy fire rained in on the Flashgitz from both directions.
“an’ shooty!” he continued, twisting the long barrel of the gun in tight.
An eager flashgit stepped out into the open trying to get a better angle on the running walker. His chest exploded as high calibre auto-rounds tore him apart in spectacular fashion.
“An’ dead killy!” GrodMek was elated.
He fixed an elaborate sighting mechanism to the top of his kustom-mega-blasta and beheld it’s orkish magnificence. His Flashgitz were having trouble hitting the moving walker so he left them to it. It was the standing target, he noted, that was doing the most damage. The Big-Mek tried not to flinch while the Goff continued to offload searing hot plasma within inches of his head. He eyed up his target and set the weapon’s charge to build allowing its sonorous thrumming to attune his senses to the task. He calibrated the beam confinement for armour, judged the distance, allowed for humidity, wind speed, ignored the flashing warning glyph. The tingle of static build-up tickled the back of his brain and told him he was ready. He sneezed and squeezed the release valve. A solid beam of green energy punched through the air and cut the human machine in two. The vehicle gushed oil and blood as the bulk of the cabin toppled off the still standing set of legs. GrodMek grinned with immense self satisfaction. He was brilliant.
SkagNet cowered like a snake under a rock as speeding hot metal death and lethal multi-coloured energies seared streaks in the air in every direction above his head. Nurd was a quivering mess and even Snikkit was suitably convinced of his eminent mortality. The danger however was short lived and as the second human machine went up in smoke SkagNet winced at his prospects. He had run away. They had all seen him. GrodMek and all the rest were witness to his shame. They could mock; with their big guns and flashy gear. Taking down two such machines was easy for them. He’d like to see them try it with just a handful of gretchin and a head full of know-wots.
If his old whip had held, he thought. That one would have toppled over the side, and then he could have taken out the other one easily. It was just two at once was the problem, he told himself. He could have climbed inside the one with the big gun and shot up the other one as it struggled to get its legs free. Then he would be the one riding the big stompy, shooty thing. He would be the one covered in glory. He sighed and his shoulders dropped pathetically low. Not the sorry old has-been who runs and hides with the grots. He cuffed Snikkit a savage blow to the head in his misery. Snikkit turned and bit him in the leg chipping a tooth on the rusty metal peg.
It was quiet. Apart from the war going on some way off behind him, the constant rumble of distant tanks and the louder orkish yells and dakka-dakka-dakka of gunfire, there was no immediate threat. He could hear GrodMek barking orders about the salvage of the humans’ walkers. A group of blue faced orks made to ransack the furthest wreck.
Maybe they hadn’t seen him, SkagNet hoped. Maybe in all the excitement of the fire-fight he had gone unnoticed, and if the blinding sunlight and the human assault would just keep up for long enough to slip away, “Gorksagoodun-Morksamazin” he begged, fumbling GogGob’s old necklace charm in desperate hope…
What was that? A pair of figures had emerged cresting the horizon of the rocky outcrop in front. Brightly glowing in the reddening light they stopped and looked at him. One pointed and waved with a large smirk plastered over his stupid little face. He began to trot down the hill past the still standing pair of legs while the other figure just yawned and plodded on after him in a lazy doze.
“Oi Skagnet yer paffetic piece o’ grox dung!” came a hated ork voice from behind. ”Stop ‘idin’ ova der wif yer grotz an’ bring me dem stompy gubbins afore I blast ya fer runnin’ like a weedy oomie git!”
SkagNet was surprised to see how many of the deathskull orks were working for GrodMek now. It made sense he supposed. With their innate tendencies to loot all manner of battlefield salvage and GrodMek’s abilities to put it to use they made a powerful combination. Whatever deal the Mekboy had stuck with the Deathskull bosses seemed to be at least satisfactory. The Flashgitz ability to immobilise vehicles without utterly destroying them probably had something to do with it. As he watched them strip the destroyed vehicle parts down and carry them away to their junk heap, GrodMek’s junk heap he corrected himself he spotted that something was going on.
GrodMek was shouting orders and a smug looking Goff beside him was laughing at his sudden agitation. Deathskulls all over the Mek-worx were dropping tools and running for their vehicles. A crew of blue faced Gretchin were loading crates of ammunition and large shells onto a flatbed while orks hefted a big artillery piece into position on the tow-bar.
“Must be a Waaagh! on.” Nurd offered unhelpfully. SkagNet just groaned. He didn’t have the energy to cuff Nurd round the ear but luckily Snikkit was now well enough attuned to SkagNet’s wishes that he didn’t have to. As the Gretchin tussled in the dirt SkagNet watched a huge cavalcade of artillery laden wagons roll out of GrodMek’s yard. It must be a massed armoured assault. The enemy tanks could still be heard rumbling in the distance. That must be it thought SkagNet surveying the emptying yard with its gleaming piles of unguarded scrap. The only thing that could lure so many Deathskulls away from this much loot was the promise of even more loot. He was also suddenly aware of not just the number of orks in GrodMek’s employ but also the sheer weight of firepower at the Mekboy’s command. Waaagh! GorGoff had been good to the old Bad-Moon Mek.
“SkagNet!” a blast of green energy seared the ground not a grots length from SkagNet’s filthy unshod foot. GrodMek was standing in the gateway of his yard glaring with barely contained rage. The next shot would be no warning. That was assuming the first hadn’t been meant to hit. It was hard to tell given the general ballistic ineptitude of the ork race.
“I said bring me dem stompy gubbins afore I blast ya!” He repeated verbatim as if to a snotling. SkagNet pointed at the still standing set of legs behind him like a fool and was gently reassured with another ill aimed blast from GrodMek’s Kustom-Mega-Blasta. He jumped to work dragging the brawling grots along to task with as much eagerness as his life was worth.
As SkagNet carried a heavy mechanical leg assembly on his back he could feel the covetous eyes of a remaining band of Deathskulls like bugs crawling on his skin and for once was glad of GrodMek’s keen supervision.
“Don’t min’ da ladz SkagNet” GrodMek’s tone was almost conspiratorial but still managed to maintain his usual gun-to-your-head edge. “Take dem legz d’recly int’ da workshop.”
GrodMek went to give the gawky loiterers orders as SkagNet altered his staggering heavy laden course toward the workshop. His four remaining grots, Slaka, Smirking, Snikkit and Nurd followed behind carrying the second leg between them. SkagNet hefted the heavy limb down with a feckless shuck and noted the green stains on the thing’s foot where Smudge had been crushed. He sighed. Where had it all gone wrong? He was supposed to be out there stalking in the night and causing death and mayhem where least expected. He and Smudge and the rest of the gretchin kommandos were supposed to be deadly, silent, undetectable, unstoppable agents of destruction. Who was running this Waaagh! anyway? GorGoff? WazzBad? GrodMek even? Whoever it was it was all going wrong. If he’d just been left alone to do what he was supposed to be doing they wouldn’t be in this mess. Half of those enemy tanks rolling toward their position would already be wrecked and smoking hulks most likely blocking up the supply yards and causing logistical issues for the rest. Truth be told if GorGoff had allowed SkagNet to do his job he’d be walking this Waaagh! not wading neck deep in enemy armour. SkagNet spat on the smudge stained foot and kicked it with his own metal peg. As the rest of his hapless band dragged in their load he scanned the workshop for bionic legs and finding none but the two huge ones he had just delivered he turned and sulked out.
Smirking glanced around uneasily. He was not at all comfortable finding himself again in GrodMek’s workshop, albeit a hastily reconstructed field version. He glanced around noting the same red lights, the same types of boxes and tools and… then he saw it. The same old oil drum which he had hidden inside. His skin crawled with remembered dread. He imagined being again inside, frozen with fear as his friend, perhaps Nurd this time, like Fuggit before him was shaken and beaten and dragged of for experimentation. But something was different. It had wires now and other pieces bolted to the sides. GrodMek was building something, his imagined Killa-Kann was taking shape.
A sliding door on the far side of the room screeched on its rollers. GrodMek! He froze, looking around for help as a sliver of light from the opening door struck him like a search light and widened without mercy. Where was everyone? Had they abandoned him here in GrodMek’s workshop again? A pair of hairy arms slipped in and hefted the doors aside with a little brute force.
“Dat’s da one!”
Smirking quaked as a rush of shadows flitted in through the floodlit portal. He was sure they had come for him at last.
“Starter up!” barked the same voice. Smirking thought he recognised UzKop the Flashgit from the sungun incident and opened one quizzical eye. A group of orks crowded round a large oddly shaped weapon mounted on a tracked chassis. UzKop started the engine which was now beginning to roll the tracks and the weapon out of the workshop.
“wotsit?” a Deathskull ork asked as he followed behind.
“Dat’s a Traktor Kannon” explained UzKop like a condescending teacher. “Da Boss is gonna traktor GorGoff right outa da Waaagh!” They all left guffawing like idiots. Smirking turned and tiptoed around the puddle he had left on the workshop floor hoping to find SkagNet before anyone else found himself.
I like to imagine the nameless Goff messenger in this chapter as one of those generic plastic second edition box set goffs.
Every real Orks player has one! Almost as ubiquitous as the standard plastic autogun toting second edition gretchin. I have many of each!
This message was edited 7 times. Last update was at 2018/04/30 19:12:59
The MekWorx was emptied of every ork. GrodMek slammed the heavy gates behind them and stomped off alone back to his workshop smirking like a grot with absurdly swollen lips. SkagNet and his grots had been shipped off with the rest of the Deathskulls’ gretchin to crew the Big Gunz and they didn’t exaggerate, Smirking thought, these guns were big.
Smirking had no idea how to operate such heavy machinery but he had full confidence in Nurd's ability to look like he knew what he was doing. Nurd had been assembling their complicated ork-tech weapon as best made sense to him but many other crews had long since begun firing. SkagNet was in a foul mood and was being particularly non-communicative. He sat and ruminated sulkily, refusing to comment or help in any way. Not that Smirking could have heard any verbal communication over the brain splitting noise of the ork ordinance barrage but he still would have appreciated the old ork's input. His three glyph placards would help facilitate battlefield operations but they didn't quite cover all his questions. He had one for 'Fire' another for 'Reload' and the 'Jam' glyph which given the volatile nature of ork artillery might double up as 'Run!'
On his left Snikkit and Slaka were already at work offloading shells into the oncoming Human armoured assault. Their big lobber was a simple load and fire heavy mortar construction. Slaka spotted targets in the reddening sunset using a set of binoculars and adjusted the angle of the barrel while Snikkit cranked the firing lever with destructive gleeful abandon before both set about reloading another giant shell.
A fusillade of various types of looted kannons crewed by the Deathskulls’ gretchin chorused with practiced skill on the right. Beyond them Smirking thought he spied the same large track mounted weapon that he had seen before in GrodMek’s workshop. In the middle of it all Smirking’s ponderous and convoluted Zzap Gun sat atop a spindly tripod.
Nurd held his chin and scratched his head under his tattered human officer’s cap. He had assembled a long slender firing barrel to the fore which he had wired into a fat buzzing transformer to the rear. It was powered by a heavy duty liquid battery which rested on the ground beside them; Its thick acidic chemicals sloshed around with the vibrations of each thunderous report. A lever jutted out conspicuously from the transformer and a pair of shiny brass boluses on top swung in lazy circles in the wind.
An array of metres and gauges attracted Smirking’s concentration as a large red button blinked intermittently in the centre of the control panel. Smirking's finger moved with a will of its own inexorably drawn to the blinking red invitation. Nurd stepped back to observe the effect as a low volume bolt of yellow energy arced from the barrel and flew across the battlefield like a small feeble lightning bolt. It fizzled out with little to no effect but Nurd was sure he had learned what the button did. The whirling boluses stopped spinning and the gauges bottomed out. Nurd pawed the boluses and slapped the button but to no avail. He tapped the gauges in vexation and reached for the lever. A blast nearby from an enemy shell showered them both with hot rubble and told them that the time for experimenting with their new toy was over. The enemy tanks were upon them.
* * * * *
UzKop sat in the gunners seat of GrodMek’s Traktor Kannon eyeing up the various targets on display. A motley crew of Deathskulls capered around at his feet like eager squighounds, drooling over the armoured buffet that the humans were serving up. The rest of the Flashgitz congregated on his right yelling suggestions as they spied out targets with their telescopic snazzgun sights. UzKop tried to ignore their choicest selections and aimed for his clearest target; a transport vehicle which stood immobile supporting its heavily engaged former occupants as they struggled against some of GorGoff’s boys in the fringes of the real fighting. He fired up the main ‘konvershun drive’, twisted the focusing array a little tighter, dropped an anchor over the side, and then, taking the joy stick with theatrical gravitas for the benefit of his audience he thumbed the trigger.
The weapon lurched with the pull of its own attractive force but the anchor held. The target vehicle began to hover as UzKop pulled up on the joystick. He paused to gloat to his fellow Flashgitz but his lapse of concentration cost him his prize. The transport slipped from his hold and came crashing to the ground not far from its original position. The driver elected not to stay for another ride and it started to move off. The Flashgitz pointed and chortled and slapped each-other on the back in overstated hilarity. They jeered and heckled and generally enjoyed the unfolding comedy of the UzKop traktor kannon show.
UzKop knit his brow and tried again. Feeling like he had a firm grasp of the controls he very conspicuously cranked up the power and gave his audience a confident glance. A large wheel-like knob with a spiral design painted on it called out to his curiosity and was duly toggled before he gripped the joystick and braced for contact. Selecting the same transport, or was it a different one: UzKop cared little, he fired.
The vehicle leapt and spun corkscrewing through the air like a huge fish on the end of UzKops line. UzKop jerked and struggled with the joystick trying to maintain the hold as long as possible before the vehicle finally slipped from his grasp and plummeted with sickening velocity into the ground amidst the furore below. A cheer went up from the Flashgitz who had enjoyed the show immensely and were calling for an encore. UzKop lapped up the adulation grinning like only a Bad-Moon ork can.
A pair of Deathskulls had seen enough and were leaving on a wartrakk to claim looters rights on the stricken vehicle which was even now being overrun by Goffs. A half squad of hapless humans staggered from the wreck and were slaughtered in short order. A massive ork in heavy mechanically enhanced armour mounted the upturned machine and stomped up to its pinnacle to raise his enormous power claw and bellowed his rage at the human enemy. GorGoff would not be beaten down by armoured infantry and he stood tall and defiant over the battlefield heedless of whatever may be drawing aim at his magnificent form. Behind him on the hill UzKop grinned: he had found his next target.
* * * * *
Nurd cranked the lever and held up his hand as he watched the dials. Smirking waited with a hand on the firing button while the the battery sloshed, the transformer hummed, the boluses whirled and his hair squig fuzzed with static build up. Smirking eyeballed the sights which were a pair of nails hammered in at either end of the barrel and slapped the button in premature enthusiasm. There was a tank there, a big one. The emerging beam of energy zapped through the air and fizzled out on the tanks flank. Nurd looked at Smirking with withering condescension his hand still deliberately aloft. Smirking grimaced with chagrin and delicately removed his hand from the button. Nurd pulled the lever again, adjusted his hat to a more officious angle and thrust up his hand in readiness to give the signal.
Shells fell all around. Already a number of Deathskull gretchin crews had been hit; their bodies still lay where they had fallen. Their weapons however, no matter how badly damaged had been looted almost instantaneously by nearby teams returning from looting the battlefield. Below their slightly elevated position Smirking watched as the battle raged. The heavily armoured wave of enemy tanks had clashed with the immovable ranks of GorGoff’s finest and all along the front both sides fought with terrible ferocity for the upper hand. In some places stricken vehicles formed a last bulwark of refuge supporting dying clusters of humans surrounded by a tide of greenskins. At one point a group of tanks had found a week spot and had broken through the ork defensive line. They were struggling to defend a pair of troop transports which had followed them through and it was only a matter of time before their unsupported position became too tenuous to hold.
A thump on his shoulder told him that Nurd had been trying to give the signal while he was dreaming. Snapping back to himself Smirking didn’t bother to check for targets before he obediently slapped the button. A shock went through his arm and the gun went ZZAP much louder than before and with a considerably brighter beam of energy. The shot was wasted though as it didn’t hit anything. Apart from a tangy ozone smell in the air and a hot smoking charred patch of dirt on the battlefield Smirking had very little to show for his dead arm, which he shook to rid it of pins and needles.
Nurd, scanned the battlefield below for more targets and spotted a likely candidate. A Huge Leman Russ Battletank had broken through the ork lines and was coming their way. He screeched to Slaka and Snikit above the din and even managed to budge SkagNet from his lackadaisical stupor by frantically pointing and flailing his cap in the air. Slaka shoved at the big lobba adjusting its aim while Snikkit capered and gestured obscenities at the giant lumbering behemoth. Nurd swivelled the barrel of his Zap gun to bear and cranked the charging lever in desperate hope that he still had enough time. Slaka stopped shoving and stepped away from the lobber as Snikkit slammed down the firing mechanism. The mortar shell flew high and dropped to the ground much closer than before and they all felt the impact. The human crew in the tank must have felt it too but if they were even shaken at all by the very near miss they didn’t slow their progress. The wide muzzle of the huge ordinance cannon on the turret tracked the offending gretchin crew.
SkagNet’s eye grew wide with panic.
* * * * *
UzKop carefully measured the distance against his thumb with one eye closed and adjusted the power dial accordingly. He didn’t want too much of a jolt on this one, nor much spin, he dialled back the spiral knob, but not all the way. With little time to waste he grabbed the first vehicle he could get a beam on and heaved it aloft. A ponderously heavy battletank clearly not designed for aviation began to leave the ground and floated above the fire fight like a lead zeppelin. UzKop strained and wrestled with the joystick edging the massive object closer and closer to his intended target.
GorGoff still stood atop the upturned transport bellowing and whipping the assembled orks up into a fury of battle lust. So intent on his gathering horde was he that he failed to notice the gently rotating armoured assault vehicle floating directly above his position. He was gathering his forces for a Waaagh! The big charge that would break the enemy and turn the human assault into a route. UzKop almost felt a pang of guilt as he let the vehicle slip from the traktor kannon’s grasp.
He blinked, jiggled the joy stick, smacked the machine on the side with an open palm. Nothing. The huge tank still floated impossibly above GorGoff’s head, but something else was odd about it. It was beginning to glow. A nimbus of greenish yellow light emanated from it.
“It’s WazzBad!” yelled a Deathskull who was using UzKop’s snazgun sight for a telescope.
“Givus dat!” barked UzKop snatching the device. He clambered up on top of his seat and gawped through the scope, slack jawed and dumbstruck as the scene below unfolded.
WazzBad NazzKop himself had appeared; the combined psyches or the gathered ork mass providing him sufficient power to maintain the flight of the impossible floating tank which he now rode like an insane circus clown on a huge rolling ball. The eyes of every ork below were upon him and his power was unmistakably waxing to full manifest glory.
GorGoff looked up at last as the Warphead’s cavorting trot began to descend the spinning tank’s flank like a spider, in a doubled defiance of gravity and sanity, until the two would-be warlords stood impossibly face to face, head to head. This final brain boggling insult shattered the Goff WarBoss’ innate self-possession and his mind crumpled under the immense pressure of the Weirdboy’s Waaagh! energy.
GorGoff’s head exploded to the enraptured delight of the assembled throng. The resulting Waaagh! was an irresistible wave of destruction, cutting out the heart of the advancing enemy who wavered to a dead stop and then a messy retreat, as the warp fuelled fury of the orks smashed and rent asunder all in their path. In the heart of the mêlée WazzBad roared and wailed like a gibbering god of madness and death unleashing bolts of armour-melting energy from his fists and spewing vile corruption in the enemies’ terror stricken faces.
UzKop dropped his telescope and scratched his hairy chin-squig. He had been looking forward to being the first to tell the Boss the good news but somehow he didn’t think this was quite what GrodMek had in mind.
* * * * *
Smirking couldn’t see. He couldn’t hear much either but he had gotten used to that. He fumbled about on the ground barely able to see the hands in front of his face. His hand fell onto something wet that smelled of feet. He tossed the severed limb away and continued scrambling to his feet. Standing proved somewhat more difficult than he had anticipated and as he collapsed in a heap he recalled why. The enemy tank had fired on them. He remembered a brief flash from the big battle cannon on its turret before the world went dark but that was all. How he was still alive to remember anything was as much a mystery as that of the fate of the rest of his gang. The smell of fire and blood and the lingering scent of feet in his nostrils didn’t fill him with confidence. A light caught his attention; an orange glow growing stronger. Either the dust was clearing or a fire was growing or… Smirking tilted his head to one side to aid his failing mental faculties at he took in the phenomenon of a miniature fire tornado hovering above him. It was sucking in the smoke and dust and the air was beginning to clear as it grew in strength and started to shoot out little arcs of static. Smirking spotted the leg he had tossed aside and concluded, due to its size that it must have belonged to SkagNet. The Big lobber was gone, as were Slaka and Snikkit.
Smirking jumped at a sudden movement to his left, the body of SkagNet shuffled and rolled to the right revealing a very battered and dishevelled Nurd beneath. Once Smirking had helped him to his feet Nurd noticed their zap gun. The spinning boluses on top were still whirling in a tumult of crazy energies creating the fire tornado, the heat of which both gretchin could feel upon their faces. Then Smirking remembered the enemy tank. He took a pace forward and immediately fell back in fright as the enormous object of his search loomed into view cresting the rise almost within spitting distance.
First the imposing dozer blade and tracks which reared up and fell as the vehicles weight shifted over the lip of the earthwork revealing that same gaping maw mounted in the turret. Smirking fumbled for his guns but found nothing but a skinny unarmed grot in his soiled drawers. Nurd had to think quickly. He dived in behind the zap gun shielding his eyes from the inferno above with one hand and stretching with the other to slap the big red button to make a desperate point blank shot. He was vaporised in a flash. The surging release of energy destroyed both the weapon itself and the target, a bolt of white hot heat lancing through the armoured behemoth and cooking the crew inside in an instant.
Smirking sat blinking and mesmerised in the dust and heat, astonishingly alive. All that remained of Nurd was his hat which lay smouldering on the ground next to Smirking. In a daze Smirking reached out a finger and quenched a glowing ember on the brim producing a thin wisp of smoke that rose up and mingled anonymously with the rest.
Big thanks to everyone still reading along with Smirking. Over 500 views! Some really positive and encouraging comments too, I really appreciate it.
Keeping the Gretchin fiction scene alive!
This message was edited 2 times. Last update was at 2017/09/12 22:33:50