Chapter 9: Two Steps Back
As the guardsman's transport ripped through the warp towards Iona-7, above the surface of the planet itself, something was already arriving. Due to its small size, it was able to bypass the scanning systems on the planet's surface, and soon it began to enter the planet's atmosphere.
That night, only a few guardsmen and technicians stationed at Fen-Wrath Mine saw the meteor like structure as it fell from the sky. Very few paid it any attention, and those which did soon lost interest, realising they had more important things to do that watch meteors.
Unfortunately, it wasn't a meteor.
The hunk of metal and debris, which was roughly the size of a land-raider, crashed into the vast jungle surrounding the mine. It ripped through the ground for a few meters, coming to an abrupt stop as it smashed into a tree.
Then there was an eerie silence, only broken by the smouldering from within and around the wreck. After a few seconds, the silence was broken again.
"OW" yelled a gruff, low, growling voice from within the metal mess. "Dat urted me all over!"
"Dis hunka junk warn't meant to be comfy, ya soft slug!" growled another voice from within.
"Oi, shut ya traps and get outtah dis ting!" yelled an even louder, even more gruff voice.
After a few moments of clanging and crashing from within the rag-tag construction, a makeshift door was kicked off his hinges. From within it stumbled the instantly recognisable, green skinned, fanged form of an ork. Much larger and stronger than any human, it clasped an axe (refered to the orks as a choppa) in one hand and a pistol made from scrap metal in the other. His clothes and armour were in poor condition, as they tended to be for orks. As he looked around, he tripped over pieces of wreckage and rubble and fell flat on his face.
Another ork, almost identical to the first, followed him, and walked around his fallen companion, carrying a salvaged machine gun known as a shoota.
"Stop muckin about and get yer act together!" yelled the second ork as the first scrambled back to his feet.
"Who's muckin about ere like?" growled a much larger ork, known as a nob. He carried a huge hammer, that would take a human both hands to carry, which he held in one hand with ease. His head was sheathed in metal plates and cybernetic implants (including one which replaced his right eye.) Something about these salvaged metal plates upon his head made the orks he referred to feel fear just by looking at him. As well as this, he wore extra armour plates, a huge ork jump pack and a set of mouth armour referred to the orks as a "gob."
"Erm, no one, sorreh." chuckled the first ork weakly in response.
"Dats what I thought!" growled the nob. "Say, where's da other boyz?" he said, looking around.
"Deres only us two left. Da others didn't old on tight nuff when we was comin in to land." said the second ork.
"Aww zog it, I'll wake up da boss!"growled the nob, and he poked his head back into the metal transport the orks had built. "Ere, boss, we'z on sum new planet thing. Come see!"
A low grumble came from within, and moments later, a huge form stomped out of the crashed pile of metal trash. This nob was four times the size of the first one, and was dressed differently from the others. The clothes the other orks wore were salvaged and sewn together by grots, but this nob's clothes seemed surprisingly fancy. He had a waistcoat, fancy trousers, and a crumbled stovepipe hat, which he took off, popped back into shape, and put back on his head while looking around at the surroundings.
"Well then, this ain't so bad. I bet you my finest gubbinz that there's more boyz on this rock somewere." His voice was just as growled and gruff as the other orks, but strangely, he spoke with more elequantly and in an accent that made his voice sound somewhat upper class. He held a massive machete as long as a space marine is tall, and in his other hand carried a custom built assault rifle, which he held easily in one hand.
"Yeh, we's bound to find more boyz here. Shame the others wit us all gotten dead." groaned the nob with the hammer.
"They were too weak to survive, they weren't worth worrying about." replied the fancy nob. "Hop to it, mi gentelfoke, let's go a-huntin and a-lootin. Maybe we'll find some humies to scrap with!"
"Erm...boss..." said one of the orks. "Dere's only four of us. Don't ya think we's should get us some more boyz before we go smashin?"
"Hrm...what's your opinion, Metal Edd?" replied the huge fancy nob, referring to the nob with the hammer and the mechanical cranium.
"I's must agree. Dere's no point in smashin when wes can't smash dat much ourselves...erm...nots to say that yous not smashy boss; you's da smartest and smashiest boss we's ever met!" said Metal Edd. "Thing is, dere may be even smashier humie tanks and gits an stuff."
"Nice reprieve, Metal Edd. But yeah, if you all think it would be best, then we should probably go looking for more boyz." said the warboss. "So get together as much gear as you can from my transporty thing, and lets be going!"
The two orks nodded and scrambled back into the salvaged transport, grabbed as many useful looking pieces of metal and scrapped weapons they could find, and came out with two sacks tied across their backs full of gear.
"If we are all ready, then Metal Edd, lead the way!" said the warboss triumphantly. The four orks trudged off fearlessly into the jungle, but after walking for a few minutes, one of them little orks looked up to Metal Edd.
"Erm...Edd...where we goin?" he asked.
"Is you deaf, like?" replied Metal Edd, clobbering the ork over the head and knocking his helmet down over his eyes. "We's going to look for more boyz!"
"I know dat ya git!" replied the ork, straightening his helmet back into position. "Wat I mean is...how'd you know dere's orks dis way, and how'd you know theys wanna join us?"
"Erm...I's don't know de answer to dat one...I just figure if we's keep walkin, we'll find more boyz soon." replied Edd.
"Yeah, and when we do, they'd better join my gentelfoke, or I'll thump them all over!" growled the warboss.
"Yeah, we's could just loot em, I guess." chuckled the other ork.
"That we could." replied the warboss.
They walked on a little bit more, until Metal Edd stopped dead in his tracks, causing the other two orks, who weren't paying attention to him, to walk into the back of him.
"Watchit, ya grots!" he growled.
"Sorry Edd, but...why you stopped?" said one of them.
"I spy wit my mech-eye, somethin beginning wit B." he chuckled.
"Big Gunz? Boots? Balls? What?" said on one of the orks.
"Nah!" replied Metal Edd, clobbering the ork again. "I sees boyz!"
"What sort of boyz?" asked the warboss.
"Orky boyz! We's in luck!"replied Metal Edd.
"I say, that's proper fruitful that is!" said the warboss with a hearty laugh. "Usual setup? You's gonna introduce me to them?"
"Dats what I was hopin you'd say!" replied Edd, hefting his hammer up into a combat stance. "Alright lads, let's go greetum!"
Metal Edd and the two orks stomped out of the forest and into a clearing full of orks. The camp appeared to be a tribe of reasonable size. Most of the orks in the clearing were asleep, but one or two were awake, and noticed the new orks entering their camp.
"Ere! Lads, wake up, dere's some gits just walked in ere!" yelled one of the orks. Within seconds, every ork was awake, had grabbed the nearest weapon and was prepared to attack, until they realised that none of them was anywhere near the size of Metal Edd. In ork culture, size and power equals status.
"Listen up ya grots and squigs!" roared Metal Edd, flanked by the other two orks. "Who ere thinks dey's hard enough to take me den?"
For a few moments, there was no response. Then, from the crowd, one or two orks came forward together.
"Who'd you tink you is den?" growled one of them.
"Dis is our teriorty this is!" growled another. As they did, others came forward.
"You may be big, but dere's only three of you an loads of us!" growled a third.
"Dats where you's wrong." chuckled metal Edd. "Dere's four of us." He turned back to the forest. "Boss, dey don't think we's hard enough to take em. What do you think?"
The huge warboss stomped out of the forest, smashing a tree out of way in the process with his huge machete. As he approached, the group of orks in the clearing backed away in awe.
"Is that so?" grumbled the warboss. "Well then, if he don't scare you, what about me then? Would anyone like to come take me then? I could always use another head on my pointy sticks!" he growled. None of the orks in the clearing said a word. "That's what I thought." The warboss advanced further and stood next to Metal Edd. He then addressed all the orks present. "My name is Erl Gray; most dapper and dakka warboss that ever lived, and this here is my second biggest lad, Metal Edd. Right now, I'm the biggest, so I'm the boss. You answer to me, you little muck-suckers, and if you don't like that, then Edd here'll take his Edd-Smasher to yours. Do I make myself clear?" he roared. All the orks in the clearing nodded in unison, conversing with each other in agreement. "Good, now wakes up and stop muckin about! Get your gear together and grab your shootas and choppas. I've got a waaagh to get up and running!"
Within seconds, every ork in the clearing was preparing for a fight. Armed various salvaged, warboss Erl Gray soon had a sizable warband under his command. Metal Edd patrolled around the clearing, making sure everyone was awake and ready to move on. Anyone who answered him back or "mucked about" was placed on the receiving end of his massive hammer. After he was sure everyone was prepared, he went back to Erl Gray.
"Dis lot is pretty handy. Got lotsa nice shooty and smashy gear, but dey's only got boyz. No nobz, no dakka tanks and no mechy stuff." He reported.
"That's ok, I ain't stopping with this lot." chuckled Erl Gray. He then stomped over to the nearest ork he had most recently recruited. "Tell me lad, would you happen to know if there's any other boyz near here?"
"Sure, boss. Dere's loads all over just like us." He replied. "Me an some other lads know where to find most of em."
"Good to hear. And is there anyone on this planet worth smashin? Any humies?" asked Gray.
"Sure is. Da humies have a huge, zog-off mine near da mountains. We's never tried takin it since dey have loads of dakka and boomy gubbinz there that blows us up before we can get close." replied the ork.
"That'll be no problem once I start a proper waaagh. Now listen careful boy..." he pulled the ork closer to make sure he was paying attention, and shook him a little as he spoke. "I want you and your knowledgeable lads to take Metal Edd and go find more boyz. Send some others all over to look for more boyz ya might miss. When you find any, tell em that Warboss Erl Gray sent you, and he's starting a waaagh. Anyone who wants to come join us is more than welcome, and everyone else...well...they'll get trampled and looted when we comes smashing there way!"
"Dat sounds fun! I'll get right to it!" said the ork in an almost joyfull voice. Before he could get going, Erl Gray grabbed him by the shoulder and pulled him back.
"And one more thing. Tell them that our waaagh's gonna go stomp the humies at that mine, and take it for ourselves!" he added.
"Oh, an get me a shoota," growled Metal Edd. "Mi old one gotten broken!"
"On it!" said the ork, as he ran to a nearby weapon pile and uprooted a shoota. It would normally take an ork two hands to use, but Metal Edd, being a Nob, could hold it in one hand. The ork chucked it to Edd, who seemed satisfied with it. Then Edd and a large portion of the orks in the clearing left to find more orks to join Erl Gray's waaagh. In the meantime, Erl Gray took the rest of his boyz to salvage the rest of his transport. He planned to use the salvaged metal to make a wall around the clearing to keep out the humans, and as his waaagh grew in strength and resources, this wall would eventually become an orky fortress.
And so it was that the worst nightmares of the workers and guardsman at Fen-Wrath Mine were realised. The orks had found a leader, and worse still, he was strong, cunning and would have no trouble unifying the tribes in the jungle.
The waaagh was coming to Fen-Wrath Mine, and unless the imperials arrived in time, there would be little hope of stopping it.