Chapter 7 Waaagh! GorGoff
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!”