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Port side, Krumpus Bay, right outside Teeftougua. A moderately sized shuttle broke away from a Space Hulk that orbited the bay. As it drew closer, curious eyes saw that it bore the emblem of the Scraplootas, a spanner and a bent strip of metal behind the front of some trukk engine with headlight eyes and teeth. The shuttle landed in front of one of the safe ports, the grot on duty giving the shuttle a nod and a salute as the engine cut off. The Scraplootas rarely visited Krumpus Bay, and thus did not have a designated docking area like the other big players in the sector, but they did have allies amongst the denizens they could trust fairly well. And they never had to fire on any parts of the bay itself, yet. At least not from their Space Hulk.
The door to the shuttle opened, a ramp extended, and down walked four nobs, a really skinny Weirdboy, a shrub, and a handful of grots.
The biggest one had a looted commissar's cap and was draped in a likewise looted Ethereal's robe. He didn't carry many weapons, save for a very large revolver at his waist and a decently sized chainchoppa, practically ceremonial by Ork standards. With bandoliers of mugs and two serving grots on his back, it was fairly obvious this Ork was serious business, for fighting, for interspecies interactions, and for a good cup of squig tea or coffee. His serving grots waved Scraplootas banners halfheartedly as he descended. This was Urtylug “Titanloota” Dursnik, leader of the Scraplootas. He looked noble, refined, even. Definitely by ork standards, almost by other more exacting standards. As both Warboss and Kaptin, he was particular about his titles, and calling him a Warboss offworld and vice versa was asking for a good krumpin’. In floating space station places like Krumpus Bay neither on world nor off, the distinction was at best blurry, so generally it was best to call him something along the lines of Warboss Kaptin or Kaptin Warboss or da Boss.
Next to Urtylug was his right hand Ork, the Big Mek Tinka Zizzbitz. A first mate of sorts, Zizzbitz dealt with all of the technical bits that running such a technologically sophisticated tribe required, or at least did it by proxy when he couldn't be zogged to do it himself. He had a powereye and wielded a powerklaw, which currently lofted a chest marked "GUBBINZ N BITZ." His arm underneath was intact, the chest was just so large and heavy that it required augmented strength or a bunch of grots to carry, and Zizzbitz wasn't about to trust a bunch of gits to his box of loot. At his belt he only carried an orange transparent kutlass with a chainblade, its bits were flashy and they probably zizzed a whole bunch when the kutlass was running. On his other shoulder sat a grot. A careful observer would notice that this grot was Blue, had a nasal slit like a Tau, had large Tau-like eyes, had hooves like a Tau, had the body shape of a female Tau, held a Tau Fio'la spanner in her hand like a Tau would, was wearing a squighide jacket that she made herself, and was definitely a grot. The kind of grot that aided a Big Mek in all of his duties loyally or got krumped. She didn't look like she got krumped much, and the Big Mek seemed to tolerate a lot of mischievous mucking about by this grot. Said grot was now trying to clamber onto Zizzbitz's head for a better view with minimal comment from the Big Mek.
On Urtylug's left side was a Kommando. Draped in a tarp, he carefully surveyed the area the way only experienced trackers and hunters did. Or at least, he looked around quite slowly and his nose had an itch. He spat out a small pebble or a tooth chip. It was hard to tell, because this was Rockeata, a moniker that was both literal and figurative, as he was as patient as erosion and as sneaky as an avalanche. And he ate rocks. It was rumored his waste matter could potentially be used as a dense, possibly red to maroon in color, building material, but horrible realization would never dawned on him, mostly because you can't be too bright if you go around eating rocks in the first place, so the literal application of a metaphorical turn of phrase was completely avoided. But if you wanted long winded stories about past missions and skirmishes that may never have happened, these were unavoidable. He was sneaking them in under his breath all the time. Urtylug's finest Kommando, Rockeata Brugg was a ded sneaky when he needed to be, and when he wanted to be, and when he wasn’t really trying, but he just looked out of place in the sprawl of Teeftougua. Perhaps you would argue that this was one of his better tricks. It was much easier to blend in than stand out in this sort of place after all. Maybe that was what he wanted you to think. …He still ate rocks.
Behind Urtylug was Fizzgutz Da Klerik, the Weirdboy Threegrot, and a shrub of dakka.
Never mind that in the desolate shantytown environment of Teeftougua even the toughest weeds were withered and pitiful, this shrub looked well watered and large enough to hide a nob inside. It also apparently grew fresh dakka. Whenever a grot tried to pick one of the dakka fruit, the shrub also grew a boot to kick the grot. The shrub would then grow Snekkit's head and yell at the grot for disturbing his foliage. Snekkit was the second in command of Urtylug's Kommandoz, and was doing his best to be a notable swashkrumper, just like Urtylug himself. He actually had more successful missions than Rockeata, but no one was keeping track, Snekkit volunteered for ever mission, no matter how many he was already on, and half of them were suicide missions anyway so they didn't count. He had a soft spot for Blue, mostly because she was blue though he had made attempts to paint parts of her a nice violet, and brought her on the missions she could attend, much to her delight and Zizzbitz’s eternal vexation. There were rumors that Snekkit was never the same after they landed on that Necron Tomb World many cycles ago, but Snekkit wouldn’t know what you were talking about. Another suicide mission? Sure sign him up.
Fizzgutz Da Klerik was dressed in robes and held a large chained tome about indoor plumbing and animal husbandry while Titanbound (and you) that someone had carved "DA BUK" into the cover of. He was constantly surrounded by grots, for he was the Scraplootas' grot herder, though the grots often seemed to be herding him. Every so often he'd pick a grot at random to throw Da Buk at to keep them in line. The grot would just dodge Da Buk, pretend to get hit anyway, and then make sure Fizzgutz got it back. The nob really should be throwing something around that he was chained to in the first place. Da Buk contained the holy scriptures of Gork and Mork, or so Fizzgutz assumed, as he was illiterate and he considered reading unorky, as it was. It didn't stop him from opening the book, pointing at some line or other, and then preaching the ways of Gork and Mork, never once looking down at the page. The grots would politely clap each time he finished and he would wipe his face of any hanging spittle with the pages. He was also a recruiter of boyz, quite impressive actually. He'd take the ones that were mucking about and hit them with Da Buk while reciting something or other incoherent and then the grots would help add the boy to the press gang. Thus the hapless recruited Ork would be impressed twice fold. The grots also did their own sort of recruitment as their numbers mysteriously swelled over time, but Fizzgutz didn't notice. And the grots don’t matter anyway. They don’t count.
Finally, Threegrot was just there, the first Weirdboy (who was totally a Weirdboy and not like three Weirdgrots standing on each other’s shoulders) that Urtylug saw in the ship. It was helpful to have Weirdboy support in case something went pear-shaped, just so Urtylug could fight weird with weird or weirder. That was tactics. Urtylug could only be matched this way, never beaten. The Warboss never noticed that the first Weirdboy (definitely an actual Weirdboy) he saw every time he went looking for Weirdboys (really real Weirdboys) was Threegrot (who was definitely not a fake Weirdboy), but that was probably expected of a busy Kaptin like him. Threegrot knew though. Dressed in a trench coat, he lurched around like three Weirdgrots standing one on top of the other. But of course he was not actually three Weirdgrots standing on each other’s shoulders. Something like that would be way too ridiculous and definitely wouldn't happen. Sure, thousand foot tall Ork Titan named Boris wasn’t too silly, but Threegrot actually being three grots? Ridiculous. Most people didn't even notice Threegrot, as hard to not notice a skinny Weirdboy that grumbled from chest and hip level and occassionally produced small zaps of energy from his limbs and eyes and chest and hips.
Today was the Scraplootas day in town. Urtylug was looking for work, Zizzbitz wanted to talk some shop and trade for flashy bits, Fizzgutz was out to recruit and preach, and Blue wanted to look around. It was only the second time the Scraplootas had been to Krumpus Bay since she joined them. The first time she hadn't left the space hulk as she was still trying to get used to being an Ork. Today she was all eyes and ears, taking in the sights, breathing deep, and then coughing whatever it was that she just breathed in back up.
Fizzgutz was the first to break away from the nobs and about half of the grots dispersed with him. Any boyz who were muckin' about and would hear the word of Da Buk and was smaller than Fizzgutz was applicable for recruitment into the Scraplootas front line. Strangely enough, these days there were boyz that actively joined.
Zizzbitz and Blue parted ways at the edge of the merchantile area. There was a new sparky bitz bazaar there that Zizzbitz wanted to check out that had sprung up since the last time they were there. It wasn't so volatile that it had gone up in a massive fireball or imploded or anything yet, so it had to be somewhat legitimate. Blue of course went where her mount went, though she looked longingly at the shrub. As much as she looked forward to the sparky bitz, she wanted to see how Urtylug did business in Krumpus Bay. Oh to be a fly on the wall, or a grot underfoot...
So Urtylug's retinue Rockeata, Threegrot, and the shrub, which grew boots when it needed to get places. Sometimes Snekkit's head also poked out of the top when he wanted a better view. There were also grots, but the grots didn’t count.
Teeftougua Merchantile Zone, named by some git, was a chaotic hot mess of stalls, shops, restaurants, slums, and schizophrenic urban planning. The second largest market in all of Krumpus Bay, there was buying and selling and trading and bartering, with a dash of robbery and fighting, as far as the eye could see. Of course, considering how cluttered the place was, it made the depths of a hive world look spacious and open, the eye couldn't exactly see very far. Here rogue traders rubbed elbows with rogue Orks and rogue Eldar alike. There were also the rouge traders, Orks, and Eldar, but the less that was said about them the better. Grots and all sorts of feral children ran amongst the stalls and shops, slitting coin purses, swiping loose teef, and lifting valuables when possible. There was a beat to the whole business, like the teeming market was an organ of some sort, blackened by soot and fatty due to misuse, but thriving. This regular pulse quickened with the Scraplootas’ arrival. Heads turned as Urtylug passed. His name and his tribe’s name cut through the stalls like a hot chaincutlass in some soft humie git.
Urtylug breathed deep, and then swallowed. Now this was the stuff. This was nostalgic. Walking in with his best boyz, causing a small commotion, eventually finding a job in the middle of setting the place on fire... Good times.
Of course nowadays, he couldn't walk in with all of his best boyz because there were too many, and one of them was a thousand times larger than the rest of the boyz. And this wasn't so much a commotion as an uproar. Some of the more cowardly gits actually closed up shop as he approached. Others brought out their finest wares. The Scraplootas name was outright shouted as he walked pass. And even so, though sorely tempted, he really didn't want to start a fire when he could just as easily order a Boris air strike.
The times changed. Urtylug's hat and cloak was a testament to that. He could technically declare Waaaargh on anything in the sector and have a right go at it. He had the boyz, he had the teef. ...Was this Orky? Were these the things that an Ork thought? Why wasn’t he the underork anymore? Why wasn’t everything a fight now? Nobs barely even challenged him for the position of Kaptin anymore. Was that right?
Maybe these were unorky thoughts, maybe some of his boyz would shake their heads if they knew what he thought sometimes. After all, the reason he was here was downright unorky to begin with.
This visit to Krumpus Bay wasn't because the Scraplootas were hard up on teef or anything, it wasn’t a fight to stay alive. Far from it. The Scraplootas were rolling in the ivory, painful as that was to do. They couldn’t spend it fast enough without jettisoning it off. Urtylug just thought it was poor form to be mucking about without a thing to do. Picking fights and buying fights in the sector began to really feel like mucking about. The Eldar Farseer who had supplied them with much of their work had been recently distant. The pointy-headed git actually hadn't responded to any of Urtylug's recent hails, despite the previous enthusiasm she had expressed for all things Orky, or at least all things Urtylug. It was a damn shame, but perhaps it was time they parted ways anyway. There weren't any Dark Eldar left to krump in the entire sector. The Scraplootas had checked twice, and even krumped a few empty bunkers just in case. Anything that the Eldar would want from them now would be secondary to Craftworld business.
The thought of paying the Craftworld a visit to see if the Scraplootas couldn't rack up protection teef had occurred to Urtylug. But he had no idea where the Eldar were now to begin with, and well, again, they weren't hard up on teef or anything. No point in antag- antagan- antago- being a backstabbin' git to those who had previously treated him well.
The main issue with this luxury was that idle hands were the playthings of mutinies. Urtylug knew this all too well, having participated in several. He wasn't above krumpin' his own boyz when they got out of hand, but he really would rather to have them be krumped by some other force. A good Warboss was always fightin' an' winnin' but it was best when your boyz were fightin' an' winnin' too. This was probably a factor in why Urtylug didn't suffer from more insurrections than he would have otherwise with the amount of boyz he regularly recruited and then dispensed of. Unorky thoughts these were. Planning for the future. Thinking past the next krumpin', the next fight. ...Maybe it was unorky to think this way. Didn’t this sort of unorky forward thinking made him a better Ork? Wasn’t it cunnin’? And he was facing unorky circumstances. He needed a job. He needed an outpost to raid or a Waaagh to attend or humies to betray or this was just an unorky social visit to an old friend.
The main issue with this luxury was that idle hands were the playthings of mutinies. Urtylug knew this all too well, having participated in several. He wasn't above krumpin' his own boyz when they got out of hand, but he really would rather to have them be krumped by some other force. A good Warboss was always fightin' an' winnin' but it was best when your boyz were fightin' an' winnin' too. This was probably a factor in why Urtylug didn't suffer from more insurrections than he would have otherwise with the amount of boyz he regularly recruited and then dispensed of. Planning for the future. Thinking past the next krumpin', the next fight. ...Maybe it was unorky to think this way. But didn’t this sort of unorky forward thinking made him a better Ork? Wasn’t it cunnin’? And he was facing unorky circumstances. He needed a job. He needed an outpost to raid or a Waaagh to attend or humies to betray or this was just an unorky social visit to an old friend.
Urtylug found his connection sitting at an open bar, or at least as open a bar as you could have in this claustrophobic market. The git was getting as hammered as an Ork could get without a proper mallet.
"Gork be praised, Urtylug!” The drunkard that called out to the Kaptin had large graying sideburns that ended at his chin. He was smoking a squigar and had a dirty looking cap with a round brim, and was dressed in brown and green camouflage.
Urtylug tipped his hat in response and walked closer, "It's been squig years, Gibz Kaztrukk. 'Ow've ya been?"
"Ha, been muckin' about. It's da same ol' fing out here in Teeftougua." Kaztrukk had his band of Freebootaz dissolved into the Minnitboyz many bad moons ago, before they were the Scraplootas. Kaztrukk had saw potential in how Waarkton did things, and, being an enterprising Ork, retired as Kaptin to become an adviser for a while before taking his leave to find his fortune in Krumpus Bay. Perhaps he was unorky, but not many Orks lived to Kaztrukk's advanced age. He was fightin' and winnin' in his own way.
"'Ow are da boyz?"
"Oh, dey be fine. Too much muckin' about fer my likin'." Most of Kaztrukk's boyz were lost in taking the Titan, but Urtylug wasn't about to tell Kaztrukk that.
"I 'ear ya got a titan now? Dat right? Yer da 'Titanloota' now?"
"Dat's right. Nice soundin' title, eh?" The retinue was starting to draw a few looks. Especially at Snekkit's shrub and Threegrot.
Urtylug shook his head, "We made it proppa Orky. It even finks it's an Ork. It is an Ork. An' it's da Scraplootas' signature now. We land, we brin' in Boris, boom, dey know it's da Scraplootas. An' if dey don't know, dey know fer next time." He punctuated these points by pounding the bar hard enough to leave an impression. That certainly drew attention.
"Aye, dose stories end up 'ere. Though dey ain't always attached to yer name. Ya give dem addedtyheaded emoboyz and dem Chaos gits major grief."
Urtylug shook his head, "Mebbe we do like trouble. Anyhow we made it proppa Orky. It even finks it's an Ork. It is an Ork. An' it's da Scraplootas' signature now. We land, we brin' in Boris, boom, dey know it's da Scraplootas. An' if dey don't know, dey know fer next time." He punctuated these points by pounding the bar hard enough to leave an impression. That certainly drew attention.
"Aye, dose stories end up 'ere. Though dey ain't always attached to yer name. Ya give dem pointy-headed emoboyz and dem Chaos gits major grief."
"Oi ken drink ta dat!" Kaztrukk raised his squigbeer in a toast, which Urtylug answered with a swing from his own mug. After nearly choking on the squigar that he didn't take out of his mouth before drinking, Kaztrukk asked, "So, whutsa great big git like you doin' in a place like dis?"
"Oi came to ask if ya 'eard anyfin..." He looked left and right to see if anyone was paying attention, before leaning in.
"Oi ken drink ta dat!" Kaztrukk raised his squigbeer in a toast, which Warboss answered with a swing from his own mug. After nearly choking on the squigar that he didn't take out of his mouth before drinking, Kaztrukk asked, "So, whutsa great big git like you doin' in a place like dis?"
"Oi came to ask if ya 'eard anyfin..." Urtylug looked left and right to see if anyone was paying attention, before leaning in.
A party of Orks a table away was certainly paying attention.
“I'm zoggin' sure it's dem." The biggest one pointed at the flag that one of the grots on Urtylug's back was idly holding, a crude representation of the Scraplootas insignia on it. "Dey is da ones dat blew our ship to zog."
"We ken krump dem, dey got less boyz den us."
"Shaddup. I make da ordahs around here." The biggest Ork smacked his subordinate in the back of the head, sending the smaller Ork face down into the grime that made up the bar's floor. "I say we need ta do sum re-kon-er-since. Grotbrain," He motioned at the smallest one of his boyz, "Go see if dey got anyfin' up dere sleeve."
Grotbrain took a good look at the Scraplootas and then turned back, "Dey don't got sleeves, Biggutz sir. 'Cept da skinny boy. But I fink he only got arms unda dere. Noffin' ta report."
Biggutz put his face in his non-mechanical palm "It's a zoggin' expres-expressh- sayin'. Now git."
Grotbrain was only slightly larger than a grot, and had no trouble surreptitiously edging closer to the gathered Scraplootas which were still surrounded by grots despite the fact that the grots were insignificant to the story. As they were to all stories.
The subordinate, Whaddagit, picked himself up, "Oi, Biggutz, whut's da problem? Dere's only two nobs, a shrub, a skinny boy, an' a bunch o' grots. An' I don't fink dat skinny one as much fight in him. Or much anyfin' really."
"Shaddup. I ain't takin' no chances wid dese sneaky gits." Biggutz saw Grotbrain walking back, confused. "What didja fink, Grotbrain?"
The smaller nob scratched his head, "Sorry boss, I gotta go check on mah oven. I fink I left it on before I left da ship."
"What da zog are ya talkin' about? We ain't got no oven on da ship." Biggutz paused, "We ain't got no ship neither." It was blown to zog.
Grotbrain shrugged helplessly, "I dunno boss, just gotta do it. Can't 'ave da ship blowin' up." The ship that had already been blown to zog.
Biggutz scratched his chin as he watched Grotbrain wander off. The git was going to get a good krumpin' later, but he couldn't figure out what just happened. Then he felt it. Three pairs of eyes bore into the side of his head. The skinny one was staring straight at him. Must have been a Weirdboy. It suddenly made sense. He beckoned for a serving grot to come over, flicking a toof at him. "Go and bother dat skinny git fer me." The serving grot immediately dashed off, only to find himself oddly perplexed. He wandered back to the bar and asked the bartender if they had an oven and if it was on.
Biggutz took this as confirmation, "Dem gits brought a Weirdboy wid them. Don't get too close ta da skinny one." He picked up his looted bolter, "Now let's go krump dem good."
The twenty or so Orks sitting at his table started to cheer, but Biggutz cut them short. They finished with a quieter cheer and picked up their weapons.
"Kaptin, dis iz remindin' me uv da time we was dealin' wid them Chaos gits on dat tentacly world. Da one with the roight gits dat--"
Rockeata glanced behind himself with a rock he had chewed flat and shined with spit. It was hard to make out anything in the rock, but twenty or so Orks had a hard time hiding, especially when moving as a mob.
"Warboss Kaptin, dis iz remindin' me uv da time we was dealin' wid them Chaos gits on dat tentacly world. Da one with the roight gits dat--"
Urtylug raised a hand at Kaztrukk and then made a swiping motion at neck level, "Toime ta make yerself scarce, Kaztrukk. Trouble."
"Oi ken fight! Bin ages sshince oi had a good krumpin'."
"Aye, and dey'd krump you. An' yer no good krumped. 'Sides, yer skunked like a grot swimmin' inna squigbeer barrel."
Kaztrukk raised a finger at Urtylug and tried to tap his nose, "Oi'll meet up wid ya later den at da sshafe ‘ouse?"
"Sure, iffin ya git outta 'ere in one piece."
"S'easy. Oi got ca-me-o-flag." He pointed at his brown and green patterned clothes, "Watch."
Kaztrukk picked up the bar stool he had been sitting on. It ripped free from the bar with a metallic crunch. He then proceed to sidestep out of the bar area while everyone watched, giving a final wink at Urtylug before stumbling into the crowd, still holding the bar stool.
Urtylug was then surrounded very quickly by a large number of other gits. He sipped from his mug in an unhurried fashion before giving it back to one of the grots for safekeeping.
"Ken oi help you?"
Biggutz nodded. "S'dangerous bein' a hoity toity Warboss Kaptin inna place loike dis." He gestured somewhat violently with his powerklaw, nearly swiping Urtylug in the face. The Warboss did not flinch, merely slowly turning his head to look at the threatening git.
"Youse da big Warboss den? Uv da Scraplootas?" The standing Ork placed an arm around Urtylug. As mockeries of friendly gestures went, this one would be more convincing if the arm wasn't shaking. Well, they were about the same size at least. Might not turn out too terrible.
"Aye, an' Kaptin. Dats who oi am. What it to you gits?" Urtylug very carefully gestured for his mug again, keeping both of his hands in plain sight. For a second there he was worried. But if this was the git they were all following...
Biggutz nodded. "S'dangerous bein' a hoity toity Warboss Kaptin inna place loike dis." He gestured somewhat violently with his powerklaw, nearly swiping Urtylug in the face. The Kaptin did not flinch, merely slowly turning his head to look at the threatening git.
"A-a big nob loike you ain't safe bein' all alone." All alone? How many did Grotface say there were? Weren't there other Orks besides him? Sure the grots were still present, and they all watched that drunkard leave, but where did that nob and skinny weirdboy to his side go? The details were suddenly muddy in his head.
The inconspicuous shrub in the middle of the bar also gave a slight cough.
Urtylug sighed and took sip from his mug, "Wut's yer business den? Dun fink yer after jus some protectshun teef."
Biggutz laughed, and a bunch of his cronies laughed with him. The laughter died out quickly when Urtylug set his mug down with a resounding tap. TAKIKUL JEENEYUS it read.
"N-no, Warboss, Kaptin, yer Scraplootas, they blew our ship ta all zog."
"Well, we wuz finkin' we otta get anutha ship outta you, since yer here an' all." Biggutz's arm was not on Urtylug's shoulder. And he was now standing a respectful few inches back.
"When wuz dis?" Urtylug turned suddenly, making the twenty Orks surrounding him flinch collectively, he leaned against the bar and took another sip from his mug.
"When did my boyz blow yer ship ta all zog?"
"It wuz 'round four cycles ago. We wuz tailin' yer hulk afta youse looted a 'umie world. An' den yer kommandoz blew us up! It wuz only a bit uv tailin'!"
"Den how'd ya gits survive?"
"We clung ta debris until we paddled our way ta dis dump."
Urtylug contemplated this for a second. Well. Perhaps these gits would be useful after all. But the less they were told about how space worked the better.
"Oi dun remember."
"Ya, ya dun remember?"
"Fer you gits. Da day da Scraplootas graced yer lives wuz da most important day in yer lives. But fer me? It wuz... Tuesday."
Biggutz pointed his looted bolter in Urtylug's face, nearly knocking off the commissar's cap, "YA FINK DIS IZ A JOKE?"
"Yer roight, it wuz probably Friday."
The bolter fired. The customers who hadn't left cleared out now.
As the dust settled Urtylug's face remained unexploded. The side of the bar next to him did not. He had redirected the bolter with a slight push from his mug.
"Now why'd ya haveta do dat? Firin' on a Warboss Kaptin's no good fer ya health."
Biggutz stepped back and readjusted his aim, or tried at least, his arm was shaking far too hard.
Urtylug got up, "Oi'll overlook dis mistake, an' offer yer boyz da chance ta join da Scraplootas. 'Ow's dat?"
Biggutz lowered the shoota, was this git serious? "An' me?"
"You? Yer ded either way."
Before Biggutz could raise the bolter again, he was pummeled by a mug. He flew across the bar, SUYENEEJ LUKIKAT branded on his face.
Urtylug got up and started walking toward the git.
Biggutz shot wildly, making Threegrot drop his Somebody Else's Problem Field. The bolts were deflected into the surrounding area. Urtylug remained unscratched.
The bolter clicked empty.
"BOYZ, WHERE ARE MY BOYZ." Biggutz looked at the Orks who should have been backing him up. They were all surrounded by grots, save a few that had apparently been felled by a Kommando chewing rocks and the nob that the shrub suddenly sprouted. The grots were all armed to the teeth. Who let grots carry weapons like that? It was a new concept to Biggutz, but apparently standard fare for the Scraplootas. The numbers had never been on his side to start.
Urtylug pinned down Biggutz's powerklaw with one arm and carefully broke it before the hapless Ork could react, "Tell me, ya git. Iz dis unorky? Iz dis sorta fing outta da purview uv wut orks do?" His voice was calm and he looked pensive, perhaps even troubled. The revolver at his belt was in his hand now.
"Mebbe. Oi dun fink dis situashun iz very orky at all."
"Iz I fightin'?"
The Kaptin twisted the pinning arm, causing Biggutz to yelp in pain.
"Iz I winnin'?"
The Warboss twisted the pinning arm, causing Biggutz to yelp in pain.
“Iz I brutal an’ cunnin’?”
"Iz you krumped good?"
"Oi'm krumped pretty good." No boyz. No weapons. At the mercy of someone else.
"Den it is Orky, izn't it?"
Urtylug's revolver went off once.
"...Oi told ya it wuz no good fer ya health."
A younger Urtylug would have left this place burning. A younger Urtylug would have left no survivors. But that wasn't how he became Warboss. That wasn't how he stayed Kaptin. Burnin' and lootin' everything wasn't the way he ended up with a Titan, the way he ended up krumpin' half the sector. He didn't always appreciate every single one of the boyz he could round up as much as he did now. He didn’t always appreciate the sacrifice they made for his causes. Yes. It might have been unorky. Maybe it was a sign he was getting soft or like them humies.
He got up, and looked back at the other Orks. Most of them who weren't dead from the initial struggle were relieved of their weapons and being prodded along by grots. Standard press gang procedure here. Fizzgutz would throw the book at them yet. But when had it become standard?
A younger Urtylug would have left this place burning. A younger Urtylug would have left no survivors. But that wasn't how he became Kaptin. That wasn't how he stayed Warboss. Burnin' and lootin' everything wasn't the way he ended up with a Titan, the way he ended up krumpin' half the sector. He didn't always appreciate every single one of the boyz he could round up as much as he did now. He didn’t always appreciate the sacrifice they made for his causes. Yes. It might have been unorky. Maybe it was a sign he was getting soft or like them humies.
And maybe if he kept fightin' and winnin' and krumpin' all of them gits that said otherwise, it was up to him what an Ork was and what an Ork did. Because the Titanloota was the biggest, the baddest, the most brutally cunnin’ and the toughest Ork in the sector, and would continue to be until some git was able to krump him. If that day ever came. Until then, he was going to keep doing what he did best. Because that was what an Ork was.
Zizzbitz walked into the empty bar area with a new box of gubbins that Blue was sitting on. He blew a low whistle. "You been havin' fun wid out me, Urtylug?"
Urtylug shook his head, "Nah, jus business."
The big Mek shrug, "'Ow wuz dat den."
"...Oi heard dere's a chance we could get outta dis sektor."
Kaztrukk's safe house was located at the far end of Teeftougua, and the motley krew made it there before the drunk did. He was still hiding behind the bar stool. The safe house, or SAFFHAUS (SSSSHHHH) as it was labeled in big bold letters, was a large shack painted a bright blue and purple and stood slightly elevated on the ground, apparently built directly on the ruins of the previous burnt down SAFFHAUS.
No space crickets could survive in Teeftougua, but one almost spontaneously popped into existence just to chirp when the Orks arrived at the SAFFHAUS. The gooey parts that did pop into existence were eaten by a passing grot.
"Kaztrukk, wut da zog?" Urtylug pointed at his head and the server grots lifted his cap to scratch for him, "Wut kinda zoggin' safe 'ouse iz dis?"
"Da bess kind! Sshee, no git iz shtupid enuff ta use a sshafe 'ouse wid shafe 'ouse written onnit. Espessshully 'cause da last un wuz burnt down onna same dirt!"
"So den ya did it cuz no git would inspekt it cuz no git is stupid enough." Zizzbitz stroked his chin, contemplating the line between idiocy and brilliance.
Urtylug nodded at the walls with a appreciative hmph, "An' ya painted it fer luck an' fer bein' sneaky. Very cunnin'. Oi barely noticed dat."
"Oi got lightss an' a ssiren fer noight when ya can't ssshee da paint. Dey go NOTTA SSSSHAFE 'OUSE. VERRYY SNEAKY." Appreciative clapping arose from the gathered grots, not that the Orks took notice.
The shrub bristled excitedly, "We could use dat on Boris an' take 'im on kommando misshuns!"
Another cricket nearly burst into existence. All eyes glanced at the bush, which sprouted shoulders and shrugged.
Blue broke down in a heap of giggles.
With the chastised shrub and Rockeata posted outside and Threegrot making paranoid paces while they were all surrounded by grots, the nobs and Blue took the conversation inside.
"Ain't dat odd? We ran inta evry'un else in dis sektor a few times. Even da skellyboyz, tho dey ain't awake yet. Kaztrukk seyz cuz dem weirdboy 'umies left. An' now? Dey iz back."
"You remember way back when, back before Blue, roight afta we nicked da Titan dat we ran inta sum 'Umies?"
"Da Weirdboy ones dat krump demselves?"
"Aye, da Foirst Membrins. Dem."
Blue tilted her head in interest. The Orks never talked much about what life was like before she was picked up. Something about talking about bad luck bringing more bad luck. Old Freebooter Tradition.
"We only ran inta dem once." And as far as Zizzbitz was concerned, once was more than enough.
"Ain't dat odd? We ran inta evry'un else in dis sektor a few times. Even da skellyboyz, tho dey ain't awake yet. Kaztrukk seyz cuz dem Weirdboy 'umies left. An' now? Dey iz back."
"An' if we ken loot it, we ken make it orkier." Urtylug got down to Zizzbitz's eye level and held out a hand.
"An' if we ken make it orkier, we gotta ticket outta dis sektor." Zizzbitz frowned and nodded. Not bad. He clasped onto Urtylug's hand and stood, pulling the Warboss up, "An' of course we ken loot it, we iz da Scraplootas."
"An' of course we ken make it orkier, we iz da Scraplootas." Urtylug's face split into the widest smile he could manage.
Urtylug nodded at the drunk Ork, who was now nodding off, still clutching the bar stool, "Kaztrukk seyz 'e 'eard it wuz sumffink da Foirst Membrins got in dere ships. Some flash gubbins dey use cuz alla dem Weirdboy 'umies 'eadboom when dey in da warp." It was common knowledge that all Weirdboyz of all types headboomed more in the warp. The Necrons probably even remember this fact from when they were still flesh.
Zizzbitz considered this information carefully. The light in his powereye spun like a pinwheel, a gimmick installed by Blue because it amused her, "So dis flash gubbins iz sumffink we ken loot."
"An' if we ken loot it, we ken make it Orkier." Urtylug got down to Zizzbitz's eye level and held out a hand.
"An' if we ken make it Orkier, we gotta ticket outta dis sektor." Zizzbitz frowned and nodded. Not bad. He clasped onto Urtylug's hand and stood, pulling the Warboss up, "An' of course we ken loot it, we iz da Scraplootas."
"An' of course we ken make it Orkier, we iz da Scraplootas." Urtylug's face split into the widest smile he could manage.
"An' we gots a ticket outta da sector cuz we iz da Scraplootas!" Blue cheered from her seat on the gubbins box, swinging her arms wildly, nearly knocking the recorder grot out with her spanner.
"Aye, ya git," Zizzbitz picked up the box and Blue, "We iz da Scraplootas." Finally some excitement. They had mucked about enough even for the indolent Big Mek, "So dem Weirdboy 'umies, where dey be at?"
"Time ta come outta retirement, Kaztrukk." There was a glint in the Kaptin’s eye, "Yer teef, if ya really want it, iz in da Loot-Havva."
"Aye where mah teefs at?" The drunkard jerked to attention suddenly. The bar stool a thing of the past. "I ain't givin' ya nuffink wid out mah teef."
"Ya still got teef in yer gob, ya git, if dey ain't rotted from all dat squigbeer,” Urtylug raised his hand and had a mug placed into his hand. This one had the symbol of a raven taped to it, the red crystal on the body long since smashed and crumbled to dust, “Why dun ya come wid us? Safer fer yer skin den dis safe 'ouse."
Kaztrukk shook his head, "Nah, nuffink iz safer den dis safe 'ouse. No one knows 'bout it. No one ken find me 'ere."
"You gotta point. But. We iz in yer safe 'ouse. We knowz 'bout it. We ken find you 'ere."
"An' it's safer wid you, den 'ere, you say." Realization dawned on Kaztrukk's face like the arrival of a Tyranid Hive Fleet.
"Time ta come outta retirement, Kaztrukk." There was a glint in the Warboss’s eye, "Yer teef, if ya really want it, iz in da Loot-Havva."
Maybe it was too many gits and grots at once. But it would sort itself out. It definitely was not Orky to discriminate which Orks got to go on the Waaagh with you. Maybe the next Warboss was among this new bunch. Maybe the next Big Mek. Maybe some aspirin grot who had decided on a ridiculously long name for himself would join up today and make it big. You never knew. And you probably will never know.
Port side, Krumpus Bay, right outside Teeftougua. The moderately sized shuttle was still there, unmolested, not a tooth on its grill front emblem touched or even looked at wrongly. This fact may or may not have had to do with the crippled grot leaning on the side, polishing blood off his cane. He wouldn't be able to tell you how the blood got there, or how he was still alive as a crippled grot, or why the grot on duty was trembling behind his chair, or why he spoke in perfectly good low Gothic. But he was going to blend into the swarm of grots that now approached. And you would hopefully never see him again. Hopefully.
Have a wonderful day.
Urtylug looked back at Teeftougua as everyone else filed on. Fizzgutz had a good haul. A lot of gits and a lot of grots wanted to sign up to seek their fortunes with the Scraplootas. Another sign that the name was known far and wide. Was that good? Bad? Did Urtylug wish that he could go back to the old days with the Minnitboyz? Maybe. But this was good too.
Maybe it was too many gits and grots at once. But it would sort itself out. It definitely was not Orky to discriminate which Orks got to go on the Waaagh with you. Maybe the next Kaptin was among this new bunch. Maybe the next Big Mek. Maybe some aspirin grot who had decided on a ridiculously long name for himself would join up today and make it big. You never knew. And you probably will never know.
Urtylug breathed deep and swallowed. (A moist one this time. Nice texture.) Now this was being an Ork. This was being a Freeboota. On the way to another scrap where there was loot to be had. Living off the fat of the worlds and other gits, raidin' and krumpin' as he saw fit. This was what being Warboss and Kaptin was about.
It was a good day to be a Scraploota. And just the start of many more.