“We don’t fight fer food, or fer teef, or guns, or cos we’s told to fight. We fight cos we woz born to fight. And win.“—Grukk, ork boy
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Imperial Voxcast (3 590 742.M41)—Ork scavenging parties are becoming an increasing nuisance in the Acheon Suburbs, a contested area of Hegira’s besieged capital, Susa City.
“The xenos are looking for scrap metal, abandoned tools, electronic equipment—anything they can get their hands on,” a military spokesman said during yesterday’s weekly military briefing.
Such materials are taken to what the xenos call their “Mekboyz,” a subclass of ork society that cobbles together the ramshackle weapons used by the xenos.
Preventing the orks from using human manufactured goods against the Imperium is a priority for all military units on the front lines, military officials say.
One such scavenging mission was challenged just two days ago (3 587 742. M41) when a platoon from 2nd Battalion, 728th Cadian Regiment, encountered a similar-sized force of orks in the now-evacuated and strongly contested Cygore Market District.
At approximately 09;00, the 1st Platoon of Delta Company caught sight of a small group of grotlings (a diminutive subspecies of greenskins) dragging three small artillery pieces down a city street.
Assuming that these xenos would never be so close to Imperial lines without a strong ork presence nearby—and well aware of General Order 17-C, which requires all units to stop xeno scavenging—the platoon’s commander, Lt. Harkom Willark, ordered a hasty advance.
“I split my forces, admittedly a risky move,” Willark told reporters after the fight. “Two squads moved directly to the center of the market, hoping to lock the xenos in combat, while a third squad, supported by a heavy weapons team and our psyker, tried to get around them on the right flank.”
Two platoon snipers moved into a tall building in hopes of killing the ork commander, as leaderless orks are generally less aggressive and often prefer to retire to fight amongst themselves for command of the mob. But a sharp-eyed grotling spotted movement in a building window, and the xenos turned their artillery on the spot and collapsed the building. Both snipers were killed.
At about the same time, the orks apparently became aware of 1st Platoon’s flanking effort. Using the winding streets to cover their advance, the xenos moved forward and ambushed the squad.
“It was a surprise,” Willark acknowledged. “But although we took losses, we had good support from our heavy bolters and our psyker. We thought we could win the day.”
What Willark didn’t know was that the orks were accompanied by a shaman—the xeno term for a psyker. Using xeno witchcraft, the shaman teleported himself and another mob of boyz across the market to the fighting, and “things went down from there,” the young commander said.
The battle was over in minutes. Despite killing a significant number of orks, the guardsmen eventually were overwhelmed.
What happened next is partially conjecture. It appears the ork shaman attempted to teleport his mob again—this time directly atop Willark and his platoon command squad as they moved down a narrow alley.
“That could have won the battle for the xenos, but something went terribly wrong,” Willark said. “There was a flash of light to our front and then horrific screaming. The shaman had miscalculated in his witchcraft and teleported himself and his companions into the stone of the surrounding buildings.”
Many of the xenos died instantly as their bodies materialized inside the stone, but some xenos were only half-buried and, although mortally wounded, were still conscious—and in such shock and pain that the even battle-hardened guardsmen were horrified by what they saw.
“I ordered my men to put the dying xenos out of their misery,” Willark said. “It wasn’t out of mercy to the xenos. I wanted them to suffer. But to the orks’ screams of agony was unnerving the men.”
The screaming also appeared to unnerve the ork warboss, who had just turned the corner into the alley when the teleporting orks met their fate just meters in front of him.
“I heard a grunt and looked, and there was this huge ork—with all the markings of a warboss,” one guardsmen shared. “He just looked at the screaming orks for a moment, his eyes widened in shock, and then he turned and ran.”
With their warboss spooked, the rest of the xenos lost their will to fight and hastily withdrew, Willark surmised.
“As we searched the area, we found piles of scrap that the xenos had been collecting—scrap they would have taken back to their Meks,” he said. “But they just dropped everything and disappeared.”
Several squads from the 3rd Penal Battalion were deployed to the site to collect anything of use to the xenos, and when they finished their work, 1st Platoon escorted them back to Imperial lines.
“I guess we lucked out,” Willark offered as a final comment on the fighting.
* * *
TheGM: This was just a quick fight on a Sunday afternoon—and what a hoot. The Gaffer was not happy when my psyker transported a mob of boyz across the table, effectively countering his flanking attempt in an instant. I whacked him good.
But I got cocky. My second attempt at teleporting my troops right atop the platoon commander was a potential game-winner. Given the narrow confines of the city however, I had to roll on-target with my scatter die. Well, I scattered into a wall, and my Peril of the Warp roll called for the worst possible outcome: the unit was wiped out.
Ah, well. When you play orks, you gotta go for it. You just gotta.
The Corvus Cluster is a Warhammer 40K blog documenting our gaming adventures in the fantastical sci-fi universe of Games Workshop.
Categories: Hegira Campaign