Chapter II
(Updated: 5-July-16)
  •  reworked Grimgork's story to first-person account
  • Continued KG Gunnarson's story

Captain Xieng
“Sir, we have to move” said Sergeant Misu, the Vox Operator as soon as Xieng had finished his message to the unit.
While the Captain was outside the tank to ensure no survivors would climb out of Yamoto’s tank the rest of the heavy group had stopped and formed a defensive parameter around him.
And it became quite necessary as the Orks had realized they stopped and in return started a charge at them.
“Heavies, head east, turrets on enemy” Captain Xieng spoke into his microphone while checking the rest of the battlefield.
The other groups had completed their sweep north and now continued their circular movement towards the east. This maneuver would give them back some distance to the Orks.
“Keep them at arm’s length while we regroup”
If they timed it right…
The heavy tanks were considerably slower than the Leman tanks and APC’s and the maneuver would be out of synch with the others. Xiang’s group had turned around and now rumbled with a speed of 20 km/h across the plains. They kept their guns trained at the onrushing Orks and held a bloody harvest. But the Greenskins kept on coming!
Out of the throng of bodies’ new shapes emerged.
Bright red.
Adventurous constructs, assembled from whatever the Orks could find. A forgiving mind could call them motorcycles - when in a good mood. But regardless of what they were, they were fast. And closing the gap fast.
The tanks big guns started to miss, the explosions ripping the ground behind the speeding machines.
“They are too fast! Unbutton and man the Stormbolters!” ordered Xieng already opening his own hatch and climbing up.
He grabbed the Stormbolter, swung it around to aim at the Orks and cocked it. As soon as he chambered the first round he squeezed the trigger and the first burst of rounds fired off.
Besides him Sergeant Suren, whose Bolter station was inoperable after the crash with Yamoto’s tank, manned the second Stormbolter and opened fire too.
Their first burst were falling short and they adjusted their aim.
The next bullets hit the mark.
Orks fell off their contraptions, others lost control and swerved off course.
Xieng looked south, observing the other groups. They had now completed their eastern swing and headed south, bringing some of their sponson mounted guns to bear again.
“Head south!” he yelled into his microphone.
One after the other the heavy tanks altered their course and their hulls pointed to the south.
This maneuver would increase the distance to the lava ravine, and hopefully lure some of the Orks to continue their mad rush.
If they just timed it right…
But they had to eliminate the fast moving machines first. The alternation of course got them closer, as they could maneuver faster and simply cut across.
All the Stormbolters were now firing. Spitting out a hail of bullets.
But the Orks were close enough to return fire. Their sluggas and shootas had a shorter range and were a lot less accurate, but the Orks didn’t care.
And naturally the first stray round hit its mark and the commander of one of the Malcador tanks screamed, slipping back into the turret.
This would be a close fight!
To his right he saw that one of the machines had closed the distance and the passenger jumped off and climbed one of the thanks.
At full speed!
It was a massive Ork, armed with a power claw and a gun slung across his back. He climbed up the tank. The loader of the tank swung his Bolter around, but before he could open fire the Ork slashed out with the claw and killed him instantly. Blood spraying the top of the tank.
As the dead body fell back into the turret the gunner inside realized what was going on and rotated the turret wildly around.
The barrel of the canon hit the Ork and before he could get a steady hold he was knocked off the tank. Xieng couldn’t see what happened to him. He vanished in a cloud of dust.
But on the other side of the tank two more Orks managed to climb the deck. The first reached the open hatch and threw a grenade into the turret.
Smoke erupted from the turret and the tank jerked to a stop.
The Ork yelled defiantly shaking his fists at them. The second Ork grabbed the tank’s Stormbolter and swung it around aiming at Xieng and his tank.
Heart pounding Xieng adjusted his aim and fired.
He kept his trigger squeezed and sprayed the tank with bullets. He didn’t stop till the chamber was empty and the bolt hit home.
Only now did he realize that he had been yelling at the top of his lungs.
His tank rumbled on, leaving the now burning Macharius and the dead Orks behind. With shaking hands he opened the ammo feed and removed the empty ammo box.
Only a few machines were still following them and the tank crews could concentrate their fire. Within seconds the Orks were finished off.
That had been close.
They lost only one heavy tank and had killed a lot of Orks, but it was just a little sting in the Orks’ side. To really make this count, they had to continue killing Orks.
Many Orks.
To the south the other groups finished their circle and were now heading back. Straight at the enemy. Still blinded by the rising sun the Orks didn’t realize the change of course and were surprised when the tanks drove at them. Guns blazing.

Sergeant Major Tufail
Sergeant Major Tufail pressed the headphones to his ears. The Battalion had started its attack!
He followed the orders by Captain Xieng and the excited chatter of the crews. He looked at his watch. A few more minutes.
They were the furthest down south and he had no direct vision of the battlefield, but several Servitor Skulls operated along the line of skirmish and updated the data screen in front of him. The enemy was a mass of red dots. So many that it looked like a solid red zone. The attacking units of the 3/69th symbolized by green dots were moving closer to the enemy.
Despite the distance Tufail could hear the sound of battle. The distant rumble of explosions.
As the green symbols had covered about half the distance he monitored the quarrel between Xieng and Yamoto. Perturbed about this additional hitch he raised the microphone to his mouth.
“Start the engines!”
While the green symbols on the data display started their movement north, he could see that the enemy forces in front of his position moved also.
Xieng had foreseen it properly. The Orks now exposed their rear to them.
His hard was racing and he had a funny taste in his mouth. This was going to be it! The moment they had trained for, but never expected to really happen. The Empire of mankind was in a constant state of war across all the galaxies and fought on many fronts against countless enemies, but here in this nondescript, remote system the prospect of war had never been a real consideration. Even for the members of the Planetary Defense Forces of the Imperial Guard. But for this strange combination of events that lead to the Ork invasion they were now facing imminent battle.
Sergeant Major Tufail was wondering how many of his 12 vehicles and 60 men would still be alive at the end of today. A cough by his gunner brought him back to the here and now.
“Move out!” he said into the microphone “Follow my lead.”
The tank lurched forward and steadily picked up pace. The Leman Russ was more agile than the heavy Macharius tanks and could reach a speed of almost 30 km/h on the flat plains. But the accompanying Chimera APC’s were almost twice as fast and had to hold back to keep formation. The Chimeras could normally hold up to 12 guardsmen, but for this mission they had only a few aboard. One Chimera was packed with scanners and jamming equipment to keep the formation cloaked as long as possible while collecting as much information of the enemy as possible.
All 12 vehicles of Tufail’s group were equipped with Dozer Blades.
The data display showed the altered courses of the attack groups up north as well as the growing separation of the enemy from a group of red dots right in front of him. Tufail wondered what they would find. Did the Orks have cooks and field kitchens?
He was still standing in his open hatch, despite the increasing dust raised by his vehicles. He preferred to fight with open hatches and keep a better overview. But this had only been manoeuvers and training fights so far. Today there would be real bullets.
A small rise directly in front blocked the view to the enemy, but now they left the cover of another hill that had blocked their view north, and he could finally see the dust and smoke of the battle.
It was too far away for any details. The flashes of the explosions and red glow of fires were building a sharp contrast to the bright light of the sun in their backs and the long dark shadows they cast.
As the tanks started to round the rise he cocked the Stormbolter in front of him. Sergeant Tufail looked around and was pleased to see that all Commanders had their hatches open and manned their Stormbolters.
He took a deep breath, his heart pounding fast and loud.
They rounded the little hill.
There they were!
Immediately the tanks and APC’s opened fire.
They crashed into the surprised enemy.
With their dozer blades the vehicles plowed through the camp. Yelling at the top of his lungs Tufail kept the Stormbolter firing. Spraying bullets left and right.
The vehicles cut through the Orks like a scythe. The surprise was so complete, the Orks didn’t even have a chance to fire.
As the first box of ammunition ran out, Sergeant Major Tufail took a breather and looked around while reloading. The tank kept on firing.
Apparently they had ambushed some kind of workshop. Heavy equipment and half-completed machines were strewn around. All kinds of tools and metal pieces were visible. A later examination of the gathered data would probably reveal what the Greenskins were stitching together, but to Tufail it looked like some kind of ramp or launching mechanism.
It didn’t matter.
They would ensure that none of it ever became operational. He guided his tank to run over a large heap of metal and crush it.
He couldn’t see any surviving Orks, so they concentrated on destroying equipment. They drove twice around the workshop, blowing everything to pieces and setting the rest on fire.
“Regroup and back to the assembly point” he ordered.
One after the other the vehicles disengaged and drove back east.

Wind is loud. I, Grimgork am in the air. Flying fast, fast, fast. This is fun. I look to side and see many more Orks. Good Orks.
We’re flying through air fast, fast, fast. Grimgork and other Orks will attack humans from the air. Good plan.
Grimgork will strike and kill humans. Many humans. I can count to ten, but I will kill many more than ten. I am good Ork. Am good killer. Grimgork smiles showing teeth. Killing Teeth.
Wind is loud in ears, but machine on back is louder. Is not good rokkit Grimgork flew many, many times before. Orks have no rokkit this time. Not here. Grimgork does not know why they are here. Ork plan was for big war on human planet with Boss Ma’Kakaah, but navigashun was wrong. Ork on control was wrong. Stupid Ork! Is dead now.
Flew wrong way and came here then. Not many ships, but humans blasted some ships. Foolish humans. Seven ships landed and many, many Orks are now here. Boss Shucktuck sayz Gork and Mork told to make new Waaagh and kill humans here. Good plan!
But with ships many things destroyed. Have no tanks, have no trucks, have no rokkits. Stupid.
Had to fight with Shoota and Slugga. But Grimgork and others are good Orks. Killing many, many humans. Grimgork is good killer.
Looted many, many things from humans. Things to build new Ork weapons. Mek Cutnweld is good Ork, has many, many ideas. Ideas for killing humans. I love killing humans. Grimgork smiles showing teeth. Killing Teeth.
Cutnweld had idea for Sormboyz. Make them fly through air again. Is not rokkit, but is rokkit. Is new thing. Mek showed on Gretchin first. Shooting Gretchin with new rokkit on back from launcha. Flying fast, fast, fast. Gretchin lost control and smashed to ground. Stupid Gretchin. But Stormboy tried next and was shooting high in air. Flying fast, fast, fast. Shouting “’ere we go!” Good Ork.
Now all the boyz have new rokkit that is not rokkit on back. Flying fast, fast, fast.
Sun is coming up, making things all bright. I look around around. Have good plan. Boyz will fly to sun, find humans there on ground and then fly down. Will surprise humans and attack quick, quick, quick. Killing many humans. Grimgork likes killing humans. Is good killer.
Today I will kill many, many humans. More than ten.
I see something in the air.
Is human ship. Ship flying in air.
Grimgork signales the boyz and points at ship flying in air. Other Orks understand and nod.
“’ere we go!”
Are good Orks. Grimgork smiles showing teeth. Killing Teeth.
Da Mek was good Mek, had good ideas; many, many. Like killing claws for Grimgork. Is not like powa Klaw, has no motor. Is like three knifes on knuckles. Grimgork can still use hand and grab Axe or Slugga, but sharp killing klaw is extra weapon. Weapon for killing humans. Cutnweld was good Ork, was good Mek.
Grimgork nods, but wind cut in eyes. Am flying fast, much wind in face. Have no goggles, now wind is in eyes, making eyes wet. Stupid wind! When crashing on planet had lost much equipment. Stupid crash!
But even with eyes wet I can see ship flying in air. Moving arms a bit I fly in direction of ship flying in air. Orks will come from above and land on ship quick, quick, quick. Then we will fight, killing humans. Grimgork likes killing humans. Am good killer.
Close now!
Adjusting rokkit that is not rokkit I become slower. Matching speed of ship flying in air. Look around. Other Boyz there.
Grimgork roares. Loud scream!
We all drop down on ship. One Ork screams, missing ship and falling down. Rokkit that is not rokkit not on. Falling fast, fast, fast. Stupid Ork.
Grimgork boots with toes covered in steel land with a loud thump. Making dent in deck. Grimgork can hear screams. Human screams. I look around and see Orks firing at humans. Humans running away screaming. Grimgork laughs showing teeth. Killing teeth.
I see a human coming around corner with gun. Human raising gun and fire at Grimgork. Bullet hit Grimgork. But I am big Ork with thick skin. Bullet hurt, but not wound. Grimgork screams at human.
Human keeps firing at me. Grimgork raises axe. Big axe. I love big axe. One step, two step, quick, quick, quick. Am at human still firing gun. Grimgork raises axe.
With loud roar I slash down.
Lots of blood. Splashing around. Axe deep in human. Human no longer firing. Human falling to floor. I smile showing teeth. Killing teeth.
Will come back later and get souvenir, have to fight more humans now. Step around corner.
More humans there, with guns. Firing at other boyz. See Ork on ground. Many holes in chest, is dead. Stupid Ork.
Grimgork grabs shoota at hip and raise it. Firing bullets. Many, many bullets. Hitting humans. Bam, bam, bam!
Much more blood now. Human blood.
All humans now dead on ground and boyz running forward. Jumping over dead through door of ship flying in air. I walk to other door. Boots with toes covered in steel making loud sound on deck. Thump, thump, thump.
Open door and step inside. Tunnel in ship flying in air is dark. No human in sight. Many, many doors. Humans are hiding behind doors. Stupid humans!
Shoota in hand Grimgork tries first door. Is closed shut. I snort, shaking head. Locking door will not help. I step back and raise foot. Boot with toes covered in steel crashes into door with loud bang and door flies open.
See three humans hiding in corner arms over head. Stupid humans!
I fire shoota. Bam, bam, bam!
Every bullet hitting mark. Much, much blood. Humans dead. Grimgork likes killing humans. Am good killer.
Grimgork goes to next door. Is not locked. Good.
Open door, but room is empty. No humans inside. I snort.
I walk down tunnel to next door. Grimgork wonders why humans built so many rooms in ship flying in air. So many doors and only room for 2, 3 humans. Waste of space Grimgork thinks. And much work for Grimgork.
Walk up next door. Locked again. Kick door with boots with toes covered in steel. Door crashes open. Loud screams inside. Many humans here. One comes running at me with sword in hand. Screaming loud.
I am surprised. Humans never run at me!
Human slash down on my arm with Shoota. Hurt much. Ouch!
Shoota falls to ground but I still have killing claws on knuckles. With backhand blow I cut deep in human body throwing it aside. Human crashes into wall, sliding down. Lots of blood on wall. I smile showing teeth. Killing teeth.
Humans now screaming louder. Stupid humans.
With a roar Grimgork uses axe. A wide swing with the axe. Hitting humans. Many humans. One swing, two swing. Swoosh, swoosh, swoosh! All humans dead.
I roar.
Grimgork no longer green, everything red. Will Grimgork now be fasta?
I laugh.
One last door at end of tunnel in ship flying in air. I try to open, but locked again. Grimgork snorts and kicks in door.
Room is big and dark.
Only one human here.
Is fat man. Clothes all black.
Human raises hands at Grimgork. Asking for merci. Foolish human. Grimgork never mild. Always kills!
Grimgork likes killing humans. Am good killer.
Fat man screams louder, down on knees.
I slash with killing claw across fat man belly. Screaming very loud. Pink snake coming out of belly. I look nosy.
Fat man grabbing at belly, tries to hold snake inside. Screaming loud all the time. Much blood, but not enough.
One more slash with killing claw across neck.
More blood now. Splash, splash, splash.
Fat man gurgles now. Falling forward on belly and face. Foolish human is dead.
Grimgork is happy. Have killed many humans now. Will be many more than ten. I smile, showing teeth. Killing teeth.

Colour Sergeant Gunnarson
“One minute” said Gunnarson looking at his watch “make sure the Skulls capture everything and relay to HQ.”
They were standing at the bottom of the ravine. He had spent the last 30 minutes organizing the position of his men.
“And remember” he continued “when I give the signal it is essential that we pop smoke!” He looked at Sergeant Dupree and the Corporals around him.
“I don’t want to lose anybody just because the fly-boys don’t know who is friend or foe!”
He had given smoke grenades to the two Bolters at each end of the line as well as to the heavy Stubber in the center.
“And you Sir” said Gunnarson looking at Officer Cadet Brunnthaler “Need to stay here at the Vox. We need to have an authority person in communication if anything goes wrong.”
Everybody was aware that this was a parking position for the young officer where he could do no harm – hopefully.”
“OK, to your positions” he went over to the center of the line just below the Stubber.
“10 seconds”
The Recon Skulls relayed the images directly to the data display mounted on his forearm. He had extended it to maximum size and could make out the hundreds of Orks starting to stir in the dusk.
A faint whistle.
It grew louder.
One, two, three explosions.
Gunnarson looked at his display. Disappointed.
Colonel Estara had promised him a “rain of steel”. Yes, the explosions were right on top of the Orks, who started to get up and ran around in confusion.
“On target” muttered Greenberg into the microphone of his Vox communication unit.
If they only had three guns trained at the Orks, there wasn’t much damage to be done here. Gunnarson clenched his jaws.
Just as he muttered to himself “Never trust an officer” the whistling started again, louder now.
The Orks heard it too. Yelling and roaring.
And then hell broke loose!
Explosion upon explosion ripped the ground. Earth thrown into the air. The sound was ear splitting. More and more rounds came in.
He could no longer separate the individual explosions. The ground shook around him. And the intensity of the bombardment grew even stronger. He couldn’t comprehend what he saw on his data display. It looked as if the ground itself rose and heaved. Fire erupted all over.
Over the constant crash of the explosions he heard screams.
But they didn’t come from the Orks!
He looked around.
Several of his men had slid down to the bottom of the ravine. Hands over their heads they huddled on the ground. Their eyes pressed shut.
Gunnarson spit out the dust that gathered in his mouth. The air was filled with it. He couldn’t breathe. The dust was so thick in the air he pulled up his kerchief to cover his mouth and nose. It stung in his eyes. It was everywhere.
Swallowing hard he tried to focus on the data display again, but all it showed was smoke and dust with flashes of light in it. A chunk of earth hit his head and he realized that he didn’t wear his helmet. A bit late he donned it.
The next explosion was so close it rattled his teeth. More of his soldiers slid down the ravine wall and huddled down.
“No closer now” he whispered tightening the straps of his helmet.
The explosion threw him to the ground. With a grunt the air left his lungs. He looked up at the sky. Dust and smoke everywhere.
Dizzily he got to his feet.
All soldiers were now at the bottom of the ravine. The Bolters and Stubbers were still at the ledge, but the crews sat on the ground. Luckily the explosion hadn’t killed anyone. He could hardly see Brunnthaler and Greenberg at the Vox set through the dust. Wearily he got up. He could see Sergeant Dupree rising too.
At first he didn’t realize it.
The explosions had stopped.
“Damn!” he ran forward to the loader of the Stubber. “Gimme the grenade!” Shell-shocked the soldier looked at him blankly.
“Smoke! Smoke! Smoke!” he yelled while trying to rip the grenade from the soldiers belt.
“The fucking bombers are coming!” finally he wrestled the grenade free.
“Throw those damn grenades!”
He fumbled with the pin. His fingers slipped and he had to grab it again.
“Go, go, GO!”
He saw Dupree lobbing a Grenade over the ledge.
The pin was free and he threw the grenade.
To his right the Bolter crew was still crouched on the ground. He ran over and seized the grenade.
Through the echoing silence after the bombardment he heard a distant rumble.
They must be close if he could hear it through the ringing in his ears. He pulled back his arm and threw the grenade out of the ravine.
Blue smoke hissed.
Frantically he clawed at the wall. On all fours he climbed the ravine to the ledge.
He raised his head over the edge and scrutinized the battlefield. Through the smoke and dust he could just make out the mouth of the canyon.
As the roar of the jets grew louder he could make out the first two shadows coming straight out of the canyon.
Straight at him!
Before he could slip down he saw the bomber rise and bank hard to his left. The second bomber followed banking to the right. Both bombers released their bombs.
While the bombs separated from the bombers in a wide graceful arc. The jets pulled up and with their afterburners kicking in accelerated away.
The bombs opened and released a shower of small bomblets.
Just before they hit the ground proximity fuses triggered the explosives. Hundreds of explosions ripped across the plains. Just as the explosions faded another pair of jets exited the mouth of the canyon and repeated the maneuver.
This time each bomber released only one bomb.
Unconsciously Gunnarson was aware what would happen next and squinted his eyes.
Both bombs exploded in fiery balls.
The flames engulfed the ground burning everything in the area. The blast and heat hit him together with another wave of dust.
Coughing he ducked his head beneath the ledge of the ravine. Through the buzz in his ears he heard another pair of jets approaching. Squinting over the ledge he saw the two bombers shooting out of the canyon, one after the other.
But instead of banking away they kept flying straight at him.
The first bomber rose up and released his cluster bombs. The bombs opened, releasing their deadly content and a carpet of small explosions covered the area in front of the ravine. But the second bomber kept going straight.
Didn’t he see the smoke?
“Duck! Duck! Duck!” he yelled sliding down the ravine.
The explosion shook the walls.
A wave of heat and flames washed over them.
Even Gunnarson raised his arms over his heads and screamed.

Dunja Bell

1 comment:

  1. Hope you catch the mention of the Dencara Class ships. Poor ol' Gunnerson is immortalised as the Imperial Navy names a ship after him.