The first time Sgt. Matius Grentanus caught sight of a primitive, blue-colored ork, wielding a stone axe of all things, was when his unit was fighting near the Barad Mine more than a year ago.
“It was the damnest thing,” he recalls. “Amidst the greenskins, firing crazily with their shootas and sluggas, was this blue-skinned ork running forward with nothing but a primitive axe. I was a bizarre sight, but as we were under attack, I didn’t waste time pondering the madness of it all. Who can understand the xeno mind.”
Other guardsmen have reported similar sightings, but these occasional oddities of the battlefield didn’t attract much attention from Imperial strategoes. At least, not until the Ordo Xenos of the Inquisition arrived to warn the Imperial High Command of the implication of these blue-skinned primitives.
“It turns out that these orks don’t have blue skin,” explains Major Vernetta Cunnane, an intelligence officer for the 728th Cadian Regiment. “These are feral orks who stain their skin with blue dye drawn from fungal growths.”
The reproductive cycle of orks is not common knowledge among Imperial citizens (xeno study is normally restricted). But, to the surprise of many, orks reproduce by releasing fungal reproductive spores that take hold in caves and shaded areas (such as ruined buildings). Over time, these spores grow reproductive sacs in which ork fetuses grow and eventually, fully grown orks tear themselves free of their birth sacs.
“Most orks are drawn immediately to the sound of battle,” says Scholar Galene Lydos, Hegira’s most esteemed expert in xeno behavior. “So, most newly born orks quickly make their way to the front lines and are absorbed into the ork armies.”
But not all, the scholar notes. There are vast unpopulated areas of Hegira, and if a colony of fungal growth takes hold in a gully or cavern, any newly born orks are unaware of the war or have any concept of greenskin technology.
“Left to their own devices, these isolated, feral orks exist at a Neolithic level, with weapons no more advanced than bows, axes, and clubs,” Lydos says.
That’s likely to change, Cunnane warns. “It’s not been reported until now, but the Inquisition last year interrupted an attempt by the ork warlord, Rumlar, to recruit one feral tribe into his army. (Inquisition captures ork warlord on Hegira)
Indeed, the number of blueskins, as some guardsmen call them, are being seen in increasing numbers on the front lines. Just recently, a mob of nearly 1,000 feral orks engaged the 4th Company of the Knights of Altair, where the xenos’ primitive weapons proved no match for the well-armed Astartes. The blueskins were wiped out to the last fighter.
An effort to recruit these primitive signs makes sense, even for an ork, Cunnane says. Although the greenskins have seized more than half of Hegira during the now-seven-year-old war, their casualties have been immense.
“Particularly after the fierce fighting of the 735-737.M41, and the orbital strikes agasint xeno positions in 738.M41, the ork hordes have been thinned out,” she explains. “There’s a reason why the fighting has been less fierce in the past year. The greenskins just don’t have the numbers to overwhelm our defenses.”
The recruitment of feral orks will hardly shift the balance of power, she adds.
“They are an oddity of ork culture that may perplex the typical guardsmen, but they should pose no serious threat to the military balance of power.”
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.