“I‘m not happy about it. But nobody asks a fighter pilot for his opinion. If this so-called crazy ork, who goes by the name ‘Fast Eddy Rikken Orker,’ actually is claiming a feud . . . that he’s seeking me out in the sky . . . well, I’ll oblige him. I’m give him a taste of my fighter’s twin-linked lascannon.“—Lieutenant Emil Thuy, fighter pilot, Imperial Navy, in a public statement approved by the Commissariat.
NEWS REPORT, Imperial Daily Bulletin to Citizens
Ork pilot challenges Imperial hero to duel on Hegira
By Amicia Gellena
Bulletin Staff Writer
The ork invaders of Hegira are frightening: huge, muscular, fanged, brutal, and beastly in their love of violence. They are also quite insane.
How else to describe a recent voxcast picked up by Imperial intelligence officers attempting to intercept ork communications. Every day for the past two weeks, as the sun rises over the horizon near Susa City, a challenge has been issued by an ork pilot known to Imperial officials as Fast Eddy Rikken Orker.
The message: “To the “humie” pilot that shot me down, meet me in the sky. Let’s see who is the best of the best.”
Such a message makes no sense. In a war that encompasses an entire moon and involves millions of combatants, personal grudges should be impossible. Yet, as military authorities explain, the xeno mind is beyond comprehension. It is twisted, weak, a foul stain on the galaxy. It is to be annihilated.
It is not to be understood.
Regular readers of the Bulletin may recall the background behind this bizarre xeno challenge. On 3 870 738.M41, a Lieutenant Emil Thuy engaged Rikken Orker in a desperate dogfight in the sky outside Susa City, the capital of the war-torn moon known as Hegira. Over the course of a brief aerial battle, Thuy and his xeno opponent attempted to shoot each other out of the sky.
Thuy won the day.
It was believed that Rikken Orker had died in a fiery crash. Yet, if these voxcasts are to be believed, that was wishful thinking. Two days after Thuy’s heroic victory, the ork voxcasts began. Intelligence officers say the voice on the voxcast is the same every day. So, it seems, Rikken Orker lives.
In most instances, such bizarre xeno behavior would be ignored. After all, in the desperate battle for control of Hegira, how could an individual fighter pilot hope to search out a single opponent?
Yet, despite the odds, the ork’s challenge has been met. This reporter has learned that, in the past two weeks, Rikken Orker and his nemesis, Lt. Thuy, have engaged in two aerial dogfights.
After shooting down Rikken Orker, Thuy had no reason to think that the ork ace would make a reappearance, and, for a week, the young Imperial Navy pilot participated in several patrols and a mission to strafe ork armored formations southwest of Susa City.
Then, on 3 887 738.M41, a familiar red Dakkajet with yellow flames on its wings appeared out of the clouds near Thuy and fired a warning shot with its supa shootas—a clear signal of its intent.
To this second encounter with the ork pilot, Thuy did not shrink. Turning his aircraft to face the ork fighter, the lieutenant accelerated toward the xeno and fired his lascannon, only to see the Dakkajet conduct a barrel roll and dodge the shot.
Both pilots then engaged in a series of rapid turns, each seeking an advantage over the other. Thuy managed a glancing shot on Rikken Orker’s craft, then the ork managed a stall turn, got behind Thuy, and shot up one of the lieutenant’s wings.
With the ork ace on his tail, Thuy attempted a difficult “reverse turn,” but his aircraft stalled and spun out of control. Just before his fighter crashed, Thuy ejected and used his grav-chute to descend safely to the desert floor.
On 3 901 738.M41, Thuy was back in the air with a new plane. On routine patrol, he learned by voxcast that an ork aircraft was attempting to bomb a key Multi-Scanner deployed on the Imperial front lines outside Susa City. They navy pilot immediately headed to the site to defend the position.
Once again, Thuy found himself confronted with the familiar sight of a red Dakkajet. Intercepting the ork aircraft before it reached the Multi-Scanner, the two aircraft exchanged ineffective fire before the xenophobic banked away from the exchange.
Turning quickly, Rikken Orker turned and headed directly to his target. Thuy turned, accelerated, and managed to get on the tail of the ork flying ace as he began his strafing run. Although unable to prevent the ork from damaging the Imperial sensors, Thuy did manage to damage the Dakkjet.
Pulling out of his successful strafing run, Rikken Orker began to circle around for a second attack. Once again, Thuy managed to intercept the ork pilot in a head-on attack. In this exchange of fire, Thuy suffered minor damage from the ork weaponry.
Failing to stop the ork, Thuy attempted to turn around, but he could only look on with horror as the xeno aircraft flew past and made a second strafing run on the Multi-Scanner and destroyed it.
But Thuy was not far behind. After conducting a high-speed turn (a maneuver called a “wingover”), he managed to target Rikken Orker from the flank and pepper the ork’s aircraft with lascannon fire, shooting off one wing and sending the Dakkajet into a death spiral.
Still, Thuy’s heroics were too late. Rikken Orker’ had succeeded in his mission to to destroy the sensor array before crashing into the desert.
Dead This Time?
The initial Imperial voxcast concerning Thuy’s aerial battle announced that Rikken Orker was dead. That proved a premature prediction—and later recanted. A patrol sent to the crash site, which was only three kilometers from Imperial lines, found no corpse in the wreckage.
It is still possible that Rikken Orker crawled away from the wreckage and later died of his wounds. But given the stamina and physical durability of the ork species, military authorities say the ork pilot very possibly could return to challenge Imperial aircraft yet again.
Still, despite the loss of the Multi-Scanner, Thuy’s victory marks the fifth confirmed “kill” for the navy pilot, and he is now officially recognized as an “ace” of the Imperial Navy. We congratulate this promising young lieutenant for his service and success.
TheGM: Stormcloud Attack is a nice little game, and it has the added advantage of being fast to play. That’s important these days, as The Gaffer has been a bit busy. So, as there’s been no time to revisit the battlefields of Hegira, we’ve been pitting Rikken Orker against my newly created “ace”—the courageous Lt. Thuy.
It’s an interesting narrative sidebar to our campaign. We never intended to delve into aerial combat, but as is often the case in the Corvus Cluster, The Gaffer and I are not entirely in control of events. Sometimes things just happen. One day we only had a few hours to kill, and he had a copy of this small aerial combat game . . . .
So, here we are—enjoying something new in our corner of the 40K universe. And we’ve got ourselves involved in a grudge match.
Of course, I can’t help but point out to The Gaffer that Rikken Orker actually hasn’t shot down Thuy yet. We’ve played three games altogether. In our second duel (the first encounter in this article), I lost control of my plane and crashed. So, technically, he didn’t shoot me down. But I’ve shot down the ork ace twice.
Snort! Rikken Orker should hang his green head in shame.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.