Kommando Kaptin Gron may have been built like a grox, but currently he was squeezing through the pitch-black air vent like an unwilling grot oiler crammed into a trukk exhaust. Gron wouldn’t admit it to the boyz, but he had a bad feeling about this mission; a hot itch at the back of his thick skull that was impossible to reach. Gron’s mentor, Old Naffskab, had always told Gron to never have more than five Orks in a kommando mob. That way, the grizzled nob had explained, you could always count them off on the fingers of one hand, so you knew when one was sneaking up behind to slit your throat. The young Gron had appreciated the advice. A week later Kaptin Naffskab lost a couple of fingers to a faulty stikkbomb. Within the hour Gron had snuck up behind the old Kaptin and slit his throat.
But now Mek Skumbog had joined the krew, bringing their number to six. Gron would have shot the mek in the face the moment they were out of sight of camp, but Skumbog was under Warboss Grimzod’s personal protection. Rotkop – Gron’s electronic know-wots expert – had whined bitterly, complaining he knew enough to handle the Dark Stabba when they found it. A punch in the face had stopped Rotkop’s bellyaching, but the mek couldn’t be dealt with so easily…
The Warboss had called them Gron into his ‘field tent’ the day before, in reality a dirty mass of canvas propped up by rusted girders and hung with Blood Axe banners.
‘I’m da best,’ Warboss Grimzod had told Gron in no uncertain terms, poking the Kommando Kaptin in the chest with a massive green finger. Each prod was punctuated by the clinking of Grimzod’s many self-awarded medals. Gron bit down on his anger like a madboy biting a gnasher squig. ‘I’m da best,’ continued Grimzod, ‘but I need everyone to see it. Da ‘Umies have a weapon. It’s called da Dark Stabba. Very killy. I want it, den all da ‘Umies and all da Boyz will see I’m da best. Dat’s where yooz come in. Sneak into der base and steal if fer me. Take Mek Skumbog with ya. He’ll help with da know-wots.’
Thinking back to that moment soured Gron’s mood further – although generally any type of thinking soured his mood. He tried to shake it off and concentrate on the task at hand. It always amazed Gron that ‘Umies made air vents big enough for Orks to squeeze through. Did pinkskins really breathe that much air? They wouldn’t be doing much more breathing once he got his boys out of the vent, Gron gleefully imagined. The Kaptin always made a point of going first in vents; because he was the boss, but also because he hated the smell of Snikbad’s dung-covered boots. Snikbad was firmly behind him, followed by Rotkop, Dregshak, Mek Skumbog, Snatchit the ammo runt and finally Dakkagor bringing up the rear with his big shoota. Dakkagor was very protective of his massive gun, he’d bite your head off if you touched it – quite literally in the case of Fetchit, their previous ammo runt.
Gron reached a vent grill and peered down through his green sneakin-goggles. He couldn’t see much, but he could hear the crashing of forge hammers and smell the tang of warm oil. Gron knew ‘Umies had three different names for da boyz that they would shout when they spotted his kommandos: ‘Orks!’, ‘Greenskins!’ or ‘Oh Feth!’ A pair of ‘Umies strolled past underneath them. Gron couldn’t hear any of those words amongst the babble spilling from their puny mouths, so he assumed that they remained undetected.
‘Snatchit!’ rumbled Gron. ‘We need yer runty fingers!’ There were complaints from behind as Snatchit the grot squeezed under armpits and past dangly bits to reach his Kaptin. Slowly, one-by-one, Snatchit loosened the vent grill screws. As he removed the final one, the grill tumbled away into the hanger below, clattering noisily on the rockcrete floor.
‘Oops!’ squeaked Snatchit, ears pinned back against his skull with fear. Gron silently locked eyes with the diminutive greenskin, glowering at it as the seconds ticked by.
No alarm sounded, but a ‘umie wandered slowly over to investigate the fallen grill. As he looked up towards the air vent he was hit full in the face by a flailing Snatchit, propelled with some force by Gron’s strong right arm. The ‘umie flailed wildly as Snatchit clung on for dear life. Gron lowered himself from the vent like an alpha primate swinging down from a tree, seized the struggling ‘umie and snapped his neck in one fluid motion.
‘Thanks boss, but I almost ‘ad ‘im,’ tittered Snatchit. Gron grunted and kicked the ammo-runt into the shadows of the large munitions containers that were concealing the arrival of the mob from the rest of the dimly-lit hanger.
‘Der it is, boss,’ breathed Rotkop as he peered over the crate. ‘Da Dark Stabba.’
Gron raised his sneakin-goggles to get a good look at the hulking Shadowsword tank in the centre of the hanger. The massive engine of war appealed to Gron on some primal, innate level. The site of it fired his imagination, and not in the usual unpleasant way.
‘Yooz sure yooz can ‘andle da elektrikal know-wotz?’ Gron muttered to Rotkop.
‘Oi! Dat’s my job!’ exclaimed Mek Skumbog, putting a meaty hand on Gron’s shoulders.
‘Sound like I don’t need yooz any more, so you’ll be getting da chop,’ said Gron, spinning around and slicing his choppa through Skumbog’s neck. The mek’s head tumbled to the floor, a surprised expression appearing on his face as it rolled away. The rest of the mob looked on in shock. Snatchit whimpered.
‘Zoggin’ eek boss! What did you do that for?’ muttered Dakkagor.
Gron shot them a toothy grin.
‘We’re gonna take dat tank fer us. Den I’m going to be the warboss, and we’re gonna to make sure that everyone can see it!’
About the Author
Chris Buxey is a writer, laser safety officer and occasional Tony Stark impersonator. He lives in southern England with his wife and two children. Chris has been travelling the Warhammer 40K universe for nearly thirty years and has so far managed to keep his heresies hidden from the Inquisition.