This story is set in the 40K universe. Any resemblance to massive corporations wishing to sue me for copyright infringement are purely coincidental. [size=+1]On Being Orky[/size] 1. I am Imperial Archivist Rhes Octofel, and this is the record of my heresy. I shall bore you with the details of my capture by the Ork War Boss Grazl, although you may be quite familiar with them, for I am eager to relate the crimes I have committed and thus purge my soul. I admit that I had no love in my heart by the Orks when I was plucked from the ruins of Istere, capital city of the Imperial world Sorcim, and taken before the War Boss by his Stormboyz. They were repulsive creatures, the physical incarnation of brutality itself. Their smell was reminiscent of the fungus they were descended from, their flesh a mottled green, infested here and there with swamp mites. The Stormboyz themselves strove to emulate the discipline of the Imperial armies, and as such dressed themselves in uniform armor and helms and marched themselves about in ragged ranks. It was a grotesque caricature, really. I remember shying away from them as they clunked heavily into the antechamber of the Librarium Archivium in the heart of Istere. Their wide shoulders scraped the walls, and I do mean they scraped; the armored shoulder pads they wore gouged deeply into the ancient walls and left small avalanches of dusty plaster to fall to the floor in their wake. Their armor was dull and black, although a checkered band of yellow and black ran about the circumference of their chestplates and across the borders of their shoulder plates; this told me that these were followers of the Bad Moons. I would insert some drama at this point, saying that the Bad Moons were some of the most evil and despicable of the Space Ork clans, but it would a frivolous waste of language to do so: all of the clans are equally brutal and deserve the cleansing of Imperial fire. I supposed at first that I wasn’t slaughtered outright because of my physical stature; after all, I was merely an old, hunched human, with graying hair and thin round spectacles. If I said that I weighed as much as an Ork’s leg, it would be an insult to the Ork. But eventually I came to find that I had been kidnapped from the ruins of my beloved archive purposely. Great green hands that could have easily crushed the life right from my body instead stuffed me into a great sack of woven mesh. Draped across the Ork’s shoulder like a beggar woman’s laundry, I was carried back to a gigantic battlewagon, all painted a garish red, and decorated with bands of yellow and black and streamers bearing the fiendish visage of the Bad Moon icon. Behind me, in my shattered sanctuary, I could hear the thunder of Orkish bolters and the screams and cries of my acolytes as they were put to death. I had never been inside an armored vehicle, much less one built to the crude specifications of the Ork hordes. I was thrown, in the net bag, into a dark hold (and rather roughly, I first thought; but I later learned that my captor was treating me quite gingerly by his standards), which was hot, humid, and stifling. The whole contraption then thundered, followed by a hideous growl and lurch which I was sure must be due to Imperial bombs detonating against the hull. But, no; I felt my equilibrium change as the battlewagon began to churn its way through the rubble-strewn streets of Istere. Imagine sealing yourself inside a metal drum and many people pounding on it with large wooden branches and metal pipes; this is only what it sounded like, riding inside this metal machine which was an affront to all things blessed and Imperial. I cannot begin to describe what it felt like, or my gnawing, unyielding fear as I was thrown about by the violent changes in direction, speed, and, it seemed at times, gravity. During this trip, which I may call thus only for lack of a better term, I was thrown up against another soft bundle. I cried out, and was rewarded with another tortured human voice. It was one of my acolytes, Hijan, who was a bright young lad just of an age when the Imperial Guard might consider pressing him into service. Instead, he had enlisted in the pursuit of history and knowledge at my temple, the Imperial Archives of Sorcim. We cried to each other in glad tones, though we also shared a few moments of vomiting and retching and cursing the very genetic material of the Orks, should they chance to have any. The ride seemed to take forever, although I doubt that we were in the belly of the battlewagon for more than an hour. When we came to a stop, discernable by a lessening of the noise beyond our ringing ears, it was occasion for apprehension, not joy, for now we would face something we were sure meant us no goodwill, and was surely more perilous than our mobile prison. We were, of course, right, but in a different way than we presumed. The rear hatch of the battlewagon was flung open with a hollow sound of metal on metal, and in spilled the fine sunshine of Sorcim (it had been a rare and beautiful day, when the smog had been pushed away by high winds). We were dragged from the cold metal floor of the wagon by more great, gnarly green hands, then carried on the backs of Bad Moon Stormboyz up a grassy slope, while I tried doggedly to prevent my spectacles from being crushed. At the peak of the slope, on the warm, soft grass, we were dumped unceremoniously from our nets. I landed on my belly, with my nose just an inch from the steel-riveted toe of an Orkish boot, which was about the size of my head, and I just cowered there, eyes scrunched shut, waiting for the end. I needn’t have bothered. After a few moments, as I found death not to be forthcoming, I opened my eyes and looked upward. The Ork, who was indeed a Stormboy, was standing at something approximating attention, or perhaps parade rest, or perhaps a great tree that had been the victim of an accident involving great amounts of radiation and genetic mutation. In any case, he simply stood, staring expectantly at something behind me. I slowly rolled over and looked, and there saw the most grizzled old Ork that I could have imagined (although I could only have done so late at night, in deep sleep, after some poorly digested cheese). He was festooned with baubles and ribbons, and not a few human skulls dangling on silver chains, and over his head, attached to his iron carapace by a great, t-shaped iron bar, was the banner of a War Boss of one of the greatest Ork clans. From the belt around his middle hung various weapons, and I counted among them not less than six different pistols, an Eldar shuriken catapult, a Techmarine’s vibro-sword, and something that might have once been a small dog but was now more of a moldering handkerchief. Beyond the knoll we perched on, the War Boss’s eyes tracked the Orkish rampage across Istere. Orkish aircraft groaned overhead, dropped bombs and rockets among the center of the city, and swooped away. In one quarter, which I recognized as being very near to the headquarters of the Socrim planetary garrison, I saw what looked to be a Gargant stomping among the ruins. Where its cannons fired, great gouts of flame, smoke, and debris erupted from buildings and whatever might be taking refuge within them. The Imperial Cathedral was aflame, as were most of the buildings that were not already reduced to rubble. As I watched, another building collapsed as a pulsa-rocket slammed into its base. It was a long, slow death, as the top of the building twisted down into the base, gargoyles and arches and all manner of beautiful architecture smashing to the ground in a great cloud of grayish dust. I sat both in awe and horror, for I, who had lived my entire life within the confines of one or another Imperial archive, had never seen such destructive force. I was simultaneously sickened by the thought of the thousands and thousands of good Imperial citizens who were dying at the hands of the Orks, their only crime being that they were human. I looked again at the War Boss, but saw no sign of either pleasure or regret in his features. Orks, I later came to learn, are bred to destroy, and there is nothing that will keep them from this end. As we stood (or in my case, and Hijan’s, cowered pitifully) upon that knoll, fighter-bombers of the Imperial Guard screamed inward and pounded at the Orkish formations. Huge plumes of smoke and debris billowed upward as their munitions found targets, and I nearly lost myself and cried for joy. As it was, I held my tongue, so as not to lose it, and said a silent prayer to the Emperor. There were too few of the Imperial aircraft left, however, to affect much change in the course of the battle, and in more and more places the yellow banners of the Bad Moon war host could be seen raised over the city. The Gargant rumbled about with impunity, and much of the destruction now seemed to be out of pure spite, or perhaps, in Orkish fashion, celebration. Flak wagons sent a steady cloud of tracer fire into the sky and drove away the last Imperial air cover. I sat transfixed by what I saw for over an hour, there at the feet of the Stormboyz and their War Boss, for I am a historian, and the events of man and foe have ever captivated me. Hijan wept silently. But it soon became clear that the battle was over, even if the death and destruction continued. The Imperial forces were crushed, and inside I felt as if part of me died with them. The Orks controlled Istere, and would most certainly be marching upon the other civilized areas on Sorcim even as this battle was winding down. As I sat pondering this despairing thought, I was hauled roughly to my feet by the hulking Stormboyz, and was thrown to my knees before Grazl, War Boss of the Bad Moons and whichever clans had joined them on this campaign. Now I trembled, for as I stole a look into the eye of the War Boss, I saw only the Void. Here was a being that existed solely to wreak havoc, and my life was as dust to him. In this judgment, however, I was too hasty. © 2004 ~ Andreas Udby. If you'd like to read more, please post some constructive feedback for me. Thanks!