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Librarium

Squiggles Gets His Wings

“Boss! Boss!” squeaked Shine-it the Gretchin, running into Nuzzgrond’s tent.
“Wor iz it?” growled Nuzzgrond, his deep tones indicating he was grumpier than usual.
Not that he didn’t have every reason not to be. His plan to loot Mellissa had only been partially successful; they’d grabbed a lot of gubbinz, but lost a lot of boys. Conducting a tactical retreat (i.e. getting out of there sharpish) in the face of reprisals from Task Force Warhound, he’d led the boyz in a hijack of an Imperial ship and exited the system Mellissa system with an Emperor class battleship snapping at their heels.
Which is how they’d ended up in this stinkin’ jungle world. Nuzzgrond vision of leading a great Waaaagh full of boyz armed to the teef with looted ‘oomie weaponry had gone up in smoke, along with much of the ship that had bought them here. And after the landing there had been even more problems – they’d be harried from the jungle by intermittent Kroot raids. Nuzzgrond wouldn’t have minded, if only they would stand and give ‘im and da boyz a proper fight, rather than sneakin’ off into the trees before he could get to grips with them. He couldn’t even send boyz into the forest to get the best building materials for a fort (which is why they had these poxy tents) without them falling into a spiked pit of being strung up by their ankles like a tasty squig.
Sometimes, Kaptin Nuzzgrond wished he was still just ‘one of da boyz’, without all the problems of command on his shoulders. A zoggin big boy - of course - that was dead killy and had lots o’ dakkadakka. And perhaps some other boyz what followed him. Then again, why settle for boyz when he could have Nobz as followers? He’d be the biggest of the bunch – stood to reason didn’t it? They’d be so impressed with him for being the biggest and most ‘urty boy of all that they’d have to give him a special name like ‘Big Nob’ or ‘Big Boss’, or maybe even ‘Warboss’. Oh…

Pulling himself out from his revere, Nuzzgrond remembered that he had this little Grot to deal with. It was Shine-it, so this was probably something to do with his medals, and judging by the diminutive slave’s unsettled tones, it wasn’t good news.
“If you’ve lost me “Dead Choppy” medal again, I’ll pull yer zoggin’ ‘ead orf!” muttered Nuzzgrond sorely, recalling the time he’d had to go on parade without it.
“Nah, it ain’t dat boss,” whined Shine-it, hopping from one foot to the other in agitation, “it’s a message from Gron.”
Nuzzgrond had sent Gron and his dead sneaky kommando ladz out into the jungle a few hours ago with orders to find the Kroot tree-village. Once he knew where it was, Nuzzgrond was gonna get da boyz together and give dem birdies a krumpin’.
“Says he’s found some gubbinz that you should take a look at, right quick,” continued the Gretchen servant, running around in tight little circles, “I’ll get Wazdakka da mek, you’ll need ‘im to tells you what da gubbinz are!”
“Yer cheeky little runt!” cursed Nuzzgrond, sending Shine-it sailing out of the tent on the end of his boot, “I ain’t stupid, I know what gubbinz are! And I’m da boss, so I says who goes. Now go and fetch Grimtuff and ‘is ‘Ard Boyz, and as many of da other ladz as you can round up. Oh, and Wazdakka.”

---

Nuzzgrond emerged into the long rectangular clearing at the head of his noisy entourage, and regarded the open space with squint-eyed suspicion. No trees grew in this area, only scrubby vegetation. To his left, the large Ork could see that the clearway terminated abruptly at a line of trees, the burning yellow sun hanging overhead in the bright clear sky. To his right lay a vine-choked hanger; the concluding destination of Shine-it’s relayed directions. Trying to ignore the irritating chirping of the birds and the shrieking whoops of the lizard-monkeys, Nuzzgrond led his extended bodyguard of ‘Ard Boyz and Slugga Boyz along the tree-line towards the flimsy metal building. He’d considered telling them all to be quiet and sneaky, but the huge whirling pylons on Wazdakka’s Kustom Force Field (never leave home without one) would have made it a bit pointless. Occasionally it would loudly discharge a massive blue spark between two electrodes, resulting in an ozone stink and a momentary hush in the jungle cacophony.

It wasn’t until the Orkoid parade was almost upon the large double doors of the hanger that the Warboss noticed the Kommandos. There were two of them, one concealed in the foliage on each side of the door, dark body paint and natural Orky komplexion allowing them to easily blend with the plants.
Dat’s dead sneaky, thought Nuzzgrond, impressed.
Suddenly one of the large doors rolled back to reveal Gron – Nob of da kommando boyz – nonchalantly smoking a cigar, the big shoota what he’d got from a ‘Umie tank slung over his shoulder.
“Oright Boss?” asked Gron, nodding casually.
“You got some gubbinz to show me den?” asked Kaptin Nuzzgrond, adjusting his favourite medal. Behind him, Grimtuff shifted his grip on his own big shoota. Wazdakka waddled up to stand beside his Boss, power claw flexing in anticipation.
“Yeah, where’s dis kontraption?” asked the Big Mek.
“Just in ‘ere,” replied Gron, rolling the huge door back the rest of the way.
The interior of the building was poorly lit, irregular shafts of light pouring through grimy windows providing the only real illumination to the depths. Squatting in the middle of the hanger floor was a long, low, menacing shape, wreathed in crawling creepers and other plant matter. But it’s nature was unmistakable – an image of airborne destruction written into the fungal DNA of every single Ork.
“Is a Fighta-Bomber!” gasped Nuzzgrond.
Endless possibilities – all of them violent – ran through the Ork’s tiny brain. If Wazdakka could get dis pile of junk in da air, they could drop loads and loads and load of fiery bombs on dem zoggin’ Kroot. But there were other implications too, Ork tech meant Ork spores, and Ork spores meant Orks. There must be some Orks elsewhere on this planet, and probably a backward lot too, judging by the way they’d abandoned this pinnacle of Ork ‘kultur’.
“Fought you’d like it,” grinned Gron, “but who’s gonna fly it?”

That was a good point, and one Nuzzgrond hadn’t considered. He regarded Wazdakka for a moment, he did seem the obvious choice, especially as he could nail the wings back on in mid-flight if da gitz AA fire got a bit too close. Then again, he needed his Big Mek on the ground, keeping the boyz safe with his kustom wotsitz. Besides, he looked like he was too fat to fit in the cramped cockpit anyway. No, it was time to find a ‘volunteer’.
Nuzzgrond scanned the assembled Orks, the all of whom were now looking at the ground and shuffling their feet innocently. As he turned, Grimtuff slowly (and quietly) edged around to stay directly behind his Boss.
One of the Slugga Boyz looked up to see if Nuzzgrond had picked anyone yet and inadvertently met the Kaptin’s gaze. His eye’s immediately shot down to look at the floor again, but it was too late.
“You’ll do,” said Nuzzgrond, walking over to grab the lad by his arm and give him a shove towards the plane. The Ork sighed and went where he was directed. There was no point protesting, da Boss had made up ‘is mind, so he suspected it was either this or indefinite assignment to ‘rescuing Snotlings from da drops’ duty.
“What’s yer name, lad?” asked Kaptin Nuzzgrond, watching the ‘volunteer’ rummage around in the vine-smothered cockpit. After a few moments he pulled out a dusty pair of flying goggles and a dirty white scarf.
“Call me…Squiggles,” the Ork replied, his beaming mouth a mish-mash of stained ivory.
Dat’s a stupid name, though Nuzzgrond.
“Okay den, find yerself a mate wot can work da rear dakka turret, den stay ‘ere with Wazdakka an’ ‘elp ‘im fix ‘er up,” ordered Nuzzgrond with a crocked smile, “an’ be quick about it. I’ve got some things fer yoo to do.”