‘Oy, where’s my Grobnik!?’ bellowed Guzzla. He heaved angry breaths through his nose, breathing in the exhaust stink of the garage. A few pig-eyed orks from around the Mek Shop glanced his way, but kept quiet. He caught the eye of a gunner from a different buggy who stiffened under his gaze. The ork shrugged. His indifference made Guzzla’s greasy palms itch with anger. He stomped up to the smaller ork to clout him on the top of the head with a meaty fist.
‘I don’t like repeatin’ myself!’
The shrugger rubbed his head, smearing oil onto his green skin. He looked around for a safe way to scarper from the bigger and angrier Guzzla, but found none. ‘Er, sorry boss,’ said the ork. ‘What’s a Grobnik?’
‘What’s a Grobnik?’ Guzzla snarled. ‘Well it’s me bloody good-luck grot, innit? Painted ‘im blue for luck! That’s why my rig ain’t never crashed!’ He thumped his chest. One of his oil-stained hands found itself gripping a heavy spanner, and brandishing it like a club. The gunner hastily pointed off to his right, and Guzzla tramped off in that direction. The gunner wondered if the blue grot had actually gone that way.
Guzzla left the Mek Shop, the muggy haze of the Mek Shop was replaced by the dry heat of the ork war camp. Boyz scampered back and forth among the ramshackle buildings. They hauled slugs and fuel, dodging spoor and unidentifiable patches of moisture. They’d make their next push against the enemy today, when the Warboss said so, and everyone wanted to be ready. Guzzla could feel the buzz in the air, like invisible green electricity filling his limbs with energy. He needed to find his Grobnik now; there was no way he was going to be in the back of the Speedmob when the fight kicked off.
Guzzla stalked through the camp, shoving lesser boyz out of the way as he went and snatching at grots as they scurried past to check them for blue paint. When he asked other orks, they pointed this way or that, trying to send Guzzla away. He was beginning to think the other orks were ganging up on him to play some sort of trick. Frustration was giving away to a simmering rage.
‘Dance you git!’ Guzzla heard a rumbling voice from down the track, followed by a roar of laughter. He followed the sound to the other side of a ramshackle tent. There he found a small mob of boyz gathered around a table, upon which a blue grot was prancing about and waving a little checkered flag.
‘Haw haw haw!’ laughed the biggest amongst them. ‘Lookit ‘im go!’ He was a big brute, at least half a head taller then Guzzla, and had a brutal hydraulic claw where his left hand should be. A proper Nob with a small gang of boyz around him. There was a moment of indecisiveness inside
Guzzla. The Nob on his own could probably take him in a fair fight, let alone with the help of his boyz; he was a Speed Freak driver, not a fighter and footslogger. The Nob was big, and the old pale scars that criss crossed his hide spoke of a lifetime getting stuck in the thick of it.
They outmatched him. There was no way to reclaim Grobnik for his rig. Guzzla slumped his shoulders and turned away, deflated. He looked back for one last glance at the blue painted grot, and managed to catch Grobnik’s eye. The git stopped his dancing around, and waved over at Guzzla. The mood of the table dropped, and the boyz turned to look at Guzzla. The Nob curled his lips back in a snarl.
‘Who’re you then?’ The big ork asked, shoving one of his boys to get around the table. Guzzla’s fist tightened around the giant wrench in his hand. His palms itched. The Nob saw the gesture and cocked his head sideways. ‘You lost, mekhead?’
Guzzla’s body acted on instinct, and he didn’t realise what was happening until the blow had already landed. His wrench smashed into the Nob’s face in a spray of blood. The big ork growled and spat, so Guzzla hit him again, swinging from above. The blow knocked the Nob to one knee. He swung the wrench two-handed and felt the crack of the Nob’s skull as it connected, sending the brute to the ground. Guzzla looked at the bloody mess at his feet, then up at the small mob of boyz. They stared back at him. Grobnik still stood on the table, smiling stupidly.
There was a groan in front of him and the Nob began to rise. Guzzla caught sight of a power cable going from the orks pincer claw to a small generator on his back. He reached down and managed to grip the line just before the ork hit him with a dizzying uppercut. Guzzla staggered back from the hit, the cable coming with him. The Nob snapped his claw once before the residual charge ran out, and the limb died. Guzzla grinned and advanced again with his wrench held high.
A small crowd began to form as the Nob’s boyz circled to cheer on their boss. They argued that wrecking the power claw was dirty fighting, while others reckoned it to be a proper cunning move. Meanwhile, with the orks attention no longer on him, Grobnik climbed off the table. The blue-painted grot held his little checkered flag against one shoulder like a rifle, a parody of the fancy human soldiers they’d been fighting. As the scrum got bloodier behind him, Grobnik marched off into the camp, humming cheerfully to himself.