Odesa Prime – 01: Battle for the Mine

June 1, 2015

Lord Phagotus Rotgutz’ eyes adjusted slowly to the harsh light over head flooding his view.  Eye lids slowly fought the cake of mucous and dust to make out what had happened.  Both of the Lord’s hearts beat slowly as they came out of their slumber.  His body distant, nerve relaying the texture of the rubble well after his hand sifted through the steel and dirt, everything round him more like the memory of a dream instead of his life in real time.  His chest rumbled vomiting up a wad of coagulated phlegm reflexing into a deep gasp for air, body convulsed, unable to satisfy his lunges his unresponsive body slumped back to the ground.  His last thing he remembered was the blurry silhouette of a large ork walking up, blotting out the sun.

A series of abrupt, almost rhythmic rocking motions brought Phagotus to, the air that he struggled to breath before was now easily flowing through him, the familiar smell of his life fluids, the tang of Nurgle’s blessing in the air, the small bloat flies inches from his nose collecting on the crude and filthy tables his face rest upon. A moment of savoring the smells and sights he quickly realized that not all was right, he was on a table and someone was rocking the armor he was wearing.  A quick jolt and his attempt to get up failed followed by the clattering of metal instruments on metal floor.  His head turned he could now see the painboy standing over him equally shocked as the Chaos Lord.

“Skagnabba, how long have I been out?”  Of the Orks the painboy seemed the closest to the Plague Lord, they shared a bond most marines wish they had that went beyond brotherhood but a complete alignment of trust and philosophy, Phagotus was comforted knowing that Nurgle’s own was looking after him through the guise of this Ork.

“‘bout two days, boss.” One of the painboy’s orderlies swept under the table and loostened the wrench Skagnabba dropped from a wad of cables and tubes, handing the tool to his master.  “Da naff landa miffed into a m’tin, all da mek-parts is zogged and yer digga boys need new gubbinz.  Once I’m dun fix’n ya, nurd, I’ll fix da boyz.”

The ork picked up a small hose dripping with the familiar green/brown liquid that gave the painboy his strength, tugging the slack out of the line, brought it around into the canister on Lord Phagotus’ back.  Within seconds the Chaos Lord could feel the flow of life into his flesh, his cheeks quickly filled, his arms surged with strength pulling his body off of the table.  His eyes now level with the dok’s and appreciation grew.

“Lets bring tha boyz in!” he sounded.

The camp was like an infirmary for Orks, gretchen and the occasional confused Nurgling everything wearing a film of dust and grime.  As the lord turned his head to look at the gretchen assistant he could feel the skin on his neck collapse and give way to the warm contents of a boil seep from his body down between his skin and armor.  The small green assistant, grin full of point teeth stood eagerly by his side holding the large slab of metal and mess of technology that was his power weapon waiting for any command that might give his tiny life meaning.  It was comforting knowing that this thing trusted his every thought.  He had seen Orks so wrapped in their fervor that they ripped their assistants in half because another Ork slighted them.  Trust in this camp is gained much faster than it is deserved.  Though they have different names for Nurgle they seem to be able to use their competitive natures to push past and still do Papa Nurgle’s bidding.  This thought, though a steady reminder to the Lord’s distinctly different way of thinking, was enough to keep him working with the Orks.  Each time he recited that mantra it seemed to ease the discomfort.

Big Mek Spankruk, a few mekboy assistants, Painboy Skagnabba, his assistant and the floating head of Warboss Snaggfang Bug Bugga awaited the Lord’s rival.

“We’re all here.  Tufgob, bring out tha oomie.” the big mek boomed from the incomplete track unit he was perched on in his new and discordant workshop.  An Ork runtherda walked in through a service door to the rear of the shop leading a human dressed in the dirty uniform of a mine worker. Skagnabba quickly looked over to Lord Phagotus to see his reaction to the presence of the human.  The Chaos Lord smiled, looking the human over he could see the familiar star on his arm subtly darkening the inside of the uniform, slowly burning its way through.  Perhaps Chaos trusted its own too readily as well.

“Tell that boyz whut you told me.” The big mek ordered.

The human shivered in the presence of these goliaths, he spent a lot of time amongst ogryn, but this was different, even the Chaos Marine was larger and more intimidating than the ab-human.  The small creatures, the gretchen, that scurried about were sharp and terrifying, the building itself also seemed to breed danger with jagged metal, sharp razors and open flames everywhere.  Never in the human’s life had he felt so much fear.  Each muscle spasm of his, each reflex to a movement in the room was as clear as any narration. This cultist did not want to be here.

“Talk, oomie!” barked the Big Mek.

Not expecting the thunder of the demanding Ork the cultist reeled back against the minder who brought him in.

“We, we want to give you the Kachat Claustrium Mine to help the great gods free us from the oppression of the emperor.  Please, take it, we want nothing more than you serve you through our labor.” The man pulled his heavy, dirt encrusted hoot back and worked his way to a kneeling position.

Smirking, Big Mek Spankruk gestured out the front door with a greasy pipe wrench. “Gittit boyz!”

“Come with us, my loyal serf.” The Chaos Lord commanded of the cultist who quickly rose to meet his new master.

Skagnabba couldn’t help but look over at the grimy vat that was the temporary home of his beloved warboss, wondering, hoping, praying that he saw how the Big Mek was ursurping the warboss’ position as he let himself daydream of the day Bug Bugga stepped foot again in the camp and beat the treacherous Big Mek into the dirt.  A slight smile seeped out of him as he, the Lord and the cultist left the Mek shop.

The morning was breaking over the quiet mining town, though it was obvious to the Orks that this town had not always been so calm, the remnants of struggle still fresh on the land marks. Smoldering piles of corpses, barracks torn to rubble, guard towers decommissioned, gates torn down, swatches of debris bulldozed from the streets, tents set up on patches of dirt.  This town knew strife and knew it well but you could see the ease and sense of accomplishment on the mine workers tired faces as the Ork battlewagons lead by nearly a dozen warbikes rumbled into camp.

Several tents were set up outside of the mine entrance with miners busily attending injured soldiers and one battered orgryn, the cautiously stopped what they were doing as the Orks pulled up.  They had sent runners out the day before looking for other resistance fighters and hive gangers to help with their revolution, but the jagged toothed glyphs looked different than any hive gang symbol they had ever heard of.  When the dust settled around the bikes it was obvious that these were no gangers and they were no muties either, these were Orks. Though nobody here had ever seen an Ork in person the large green monsters fit the bill perfectly.

A few of the cultists lifted their autoguns but the leader lifted an arm up and motioned them to lower their  rifles. “We’re not winning this one, men” Alban rocked between fear and hope for a moment before deciding on hope that maybe these beasts were here to help them liberate the camp or at least kill off the Empire’s guard.

Skagnabba pulled himself from his mobile painboy station, followed by his biker crew approached the cultists.  “Who da boss uv dese weedy gits?”

Either confused by the sounds or a bit scared that these mammoth creatures were addressing them the cultists were frozen and befuddled.

“He asked where you leader is.” A hooded titan of a man walked forward from the throng of tense Ork muscle.  As large as he was his head only level with the shoulders of the green skin gorillas.  Alban barely making his putrid face out under the hood, an open sore on his blue/brown face oozed a viscous liquid making its way to his chin.  Flies made bombing runs on his make-shift armor and rags for tastes of the necrotic compound crusting in the morning sunrise.

“I am Alban, I lead these men before you. We were miners here in the Kachat Claustrium Mines but we have taken it back and lay it before you, my great champion of Nurgle.” Alban motioned the men to kneel.  He was grateful that he had taken to reading the Necronomicon and listened to the words of the Word Bearer zealot.  Alban wanted nothing more than to give everything to these saviors and adorn the name of the four gods with as many gifts as he could.

One of the boys, an aspiring runherda in the crowd belched “incoming!”  A slight but growing sound of an engine now caught the boys attention, a motor too consistent to be of Ork design, it was Imperial.

“Git to yer bikes, lads!” ordered Skagnabba as he raced to his, hopped on and tore off to the right of the camp.

“Round up as many of your men with arms and let us put the empire and their false got to rest.” Many of the cultists were already gathering their weapons.  The miners who had probably slept many nights in their rags seemed to almost already look the part of Nurgle’s deputy.

The Orks instinctively spread out like the plume of a bird intimidating it’s foe. the cultists, still new to conflict hurried to take form in front of the boys not understanding the savage nature of the Orks behind them.  They wait.  Lord Phagotus Rotgutz was still getting accustom to the Ork way of combat, as an Imperial marine he had seen his commander take over Militarum regiments, setting them up in firing lines to await their prey somewhat like the Orks do, but as he lead his own marines into combat this was not how it was done. He also knew that, despite being formidable warriors they were still not the elite shock troops he was accustomed to, and with that shift the rules of the game were different.

The engine slowed to a purr dying compared to the highly audible rumble of the warbikes currently skirting the town square.  Lord Phagotus’ heightened senses could barely make out the slam of a heavy metal door followed by the sounds of power armored feet striking the ground fading off into the distance.  Debris and broken job shacks still obscuring the sound, they continued to wait.

As the painboss wheeled around the corner with his retinue of eager Ork bikers he could make out the out of place gleam of silver metal in heavy humanoid form race across a flattened house, the lead marine blazing through a barely hung exterior door.  Within the blink of an eye the marines were hidden behind plastcrete door jams, windowsills, fractured walls and piles of rubble.

“Lets git, ‘em Boss!” Yelled an eager boy, exceptionally brutish and a seasoned Ork, one of the few bikers that insisted in Skagnabba hook him and his bike up to the green ooze that coursed through the painboss and Chaos Lord’s body.  Each time Skagnaba looked at the boy he could see the green fading to a pallid, splotchy and puffy form of beautiful, his work manifest.

The thought jarred when a blinding flash struck above a brick building a few structures down the street.  Skagnabba screeched to a halt with the other boys following in kind.  Not a second later another smaller flash a house down to the left in between them and the horde of boys.  The ground pounded and within seconds the biggest shiny metal construct appeared like a hallucination above the roof top of the building the bikers were hiding behind.

Before the Orks could react the dreadknight filled the street with gush of blue flame and machine gun rounds scattering the boys.  One boy was hit so hard most of his torso was forced in through his bike seat and embedded in the frame while the wash of blue hot flame cooked another bike igniting the squig fuel, blowing up the bike and sending the rider face first into the wall of the building next to them, crack his spine and leaving most of him in a heap on the ground half propped up by the soot stained brick wall.

Skagnabba walked his bike back, several Orks followed suit preparing for the marine and his exo-armor.  As expected the monstrosity hopped down into a volley of dakka fire and a counter strike, chains, pipes, spears and cleavers clanked off the gleaming plates.  Even Skagnabba had a hard time finding a place to insert his cocktail of toxins he toted as a weapon.  With a swirl like a helicopter blade the dread knight spun his force halberd over head and cleaved two Orks from their bikes cooking their blood as the blade swept through their bodies.  For a brief moment as the Grey Knight leaned down tp swept through his enemy the Nob found his opportunity, leaping off of his seat he plunged the pokey parts of his power klaw into the side of the metal monster yanking a high-gothic embossed ceremite plate off and gouging a promethium line creating a thin spray of fuel squirting up into the dread knight’s arm cavity.  The Astartes staggered back a step giving the Orks a chance to brace themselves for another attack.

Alban quickly saw the second burst of light erupting a block away in the direction of the bikers.  Eyes still adjusting to the glare he could make out the silhouettes of a half dozen large knights, swords and halberds in hand fanning out and walking towards them, silver armor still crackling with a static energy rippling over the surface.  He had only taken note before the rebel’s attention was drawn again back to the APC that came to a stop in front of the miners.  Two side doors flopped down creating ramps for several man-sized marines dressed in ornate imperial carapace armor and carrying high tech laser rifles with cables stretching to power pack on their backs.  Eyes glowing, cutting through the low morning light.  A sixth member wearing Scholastica Psykana robes held his laspistol with less vigor, Alban could tell the psychic had other ideas.

Several pops came from the hotshot guns making an unintentional cover for the flash of shunting Grey Knights.  One cultist fell as a flood of psychic flame rolled over the cultists and Orks behind them.  The Gray Knight librarian paused to gain his composure as the rest of his unit blazed the Orks with withering storm bolter fire.

With every change in the battle, lasgun fire, teleporting terminators, dread knights, shunting nova marines and psychic flames the combatants barely noticed the rising sun, illuminating the smog from the city like a layer cake of warm colored clouds, rays of light darting through each one stitching the sky into blanket of awe.  All this tranquility a stark contrast to the violence on the ground, the cool colored armor of the Grey Knights, the cold tones of the plastcrete buildings and gray piles of rubble.

“They’re over here!” Yelled a boy on the far end of the boyz mob.  The nova marines went unnoticed as they shunted to the other side of the battle to engage rear of the Ork line.  Bolter fire and an inferno gush claimed the lives of two Orks who immediately turned to face the new threat.  One brother marine fell to the chaotic rain of heavy Ork slugga shots, the shells more a pronouncement of an upcoming threat and less a threat of their own.  Few seasoned marines feared Ork bullets themselves but they all feared what came next: the heavy weight of the Ork ‘choppa.’

A smear of red/brown metal and human tissue marked the scene where the knights had once been and the Orks were rounding the street corner to find more blood without having slowed down.

A thin and pallid psyker clutched his pistol to see how the fellow humans were going to react to the hotshot volley.  Having spent time with the Ordo Malleus he expected much more, perhaps better marksmen than the cadets he was tasked with leading which left him a little bewildered by the lackluster head count.

The Ork nob, itching to get into the fight, could now see a break in the arms fire between the miners and the humans quickly called to his boyz with the looted Astartes dreadnought power fist he used as a power klaw raised, “Lads, lets jump some heads!” Like a series of open stadium doors the Orks flooded through the cultists shrugging off las gun fire and baring down on the under protected humans.  Axes and heavy cleavers came down on the humans dismembering limbs, crushing heads and slicing armor leaving the nob to rush in and with one quick pull of a lever within the power klaw housing, displaced head and each limb of the sanctioned psycher.  Heavy breaths and chests heaving the boys looked around for the next piece of the kill when they noticed the Astartes Razorback APC back up and ready it’s two assault cannons.  This was no longer a victorious outcome.

The dread knight swung back cleaving the head off of a boy, paused for a half second and brought the shaft of the halberd back into Skagnabba’s warbike jamming the break lever down severing the painboy’s fingers and twisting the throttle grip.  The real wheel spun unable to move the bike with the dread knight’s halberd holding it it place.  The marine quickly let up as the bike with the crippled painboy flew off careening through the door of a supply shack.  Now it was just the nob, power klaw poised, and the promethium slicked dread knight, force halberd in hand ready to answer the nob’s call.

“You, follower, do you have demolitions or a demolishionist amongst your men?  We need that mine entrance secured.” Lord Phagotus requested of Alban.

Still rattled from the heavy losses his men were suffering he answered “Yes, my worship, we booby-trapped the mine a week ago and were going to pull the caps out today.” Alban turned his head, cupping his mouth yelled to the man closest to the mine entrance “Lydell, get the detonator and hurry.”

The cultist, Lydell, shouldered his auto rifle and scurried toward the cart containing several boxes of blasting caps as well as the electronic detonator and ran back toward Alban.  “Great, lets get back and give this thing a squeeze.  I imagine the Lord does not want this in the hands of those throne worshipers.

Lyle and the cultist next to him were thrown to their feet as the ground beneath them gave way.  A moment ago the sky was clear, now it was dominated by the towering, oil caked visage of the wounded dread knight, blue electricity crackling over each plate from the teleportation.

“May your hides boil the taint from within.” Neurons fired through synapses lighting the neural harness down through the suit into the inferno cannon baking the cultists before they even caught on fire.

The Lord staggered backwards, the ever present ooze and slime on his armor replaced with soot and ash.  A swift kick crushed the chest plate and sent Nurgle’s servant skidding backwards laying prone.

The dreadknight stood over the Chaos Lord, inferno cannon still burning and the halberd at Phagotus’ neck, “by the might and will of the Emperor, your time in this realm is over.  May the purging of your soul be carried through the warp as testament to the might of Terra.”

A quick high pitched scream of a bike moving flat out whipped through the air, scraping the leg of the knight grabbing the lord and dragging his near lifeless body through the streets.  With the last of his and the painboys’ efforts Phagotus was pulled on to the back of the dok’s warbike. “This world will not be as easy to conquer as Metta.  We must rethink our strategy.”

The Grey Knight librarian, Gaius, lowered his staff as his prey escaped on the smoke-belching warbike.  He turned to his Nova marines. “Seal the mine until we can purge the filth from its belly, then burn everything that looks green, we must not let the Ork seed take root.  I want not to lose a brother to the Orks again nor breathe the same air they breathe. Let us make it so.”

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