Chapter 4 'Ere we go 'Ere we go 'Ere we go!
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 then 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!”