Krug interrupted. "Ya wanna kill a tank or don't ya?
If ya do, den ya better do as I sez. Now shut yer yap 'fore
da 'umies hear ya!"
Krug looked around at his warriors.
They were busy checking their rokkit launchaz, making sure
the murky water of the sewer hadn't fouled the firing mechanisms.
He looked over at Grunk, thoroughly miserable standing knee
deep in filthy sewer water, a tankhammer strapped across
his back and holding the chains of two bomb squigs. The
boy had potential, Krug could see that, but he needed to
prove himself first.
Proving yourself in 'Da Krakkaz'
meant one thing. You needed to show the rest of the Tankbustaz
that you had the balls for the job. That meant you didn't
get to shoot a rokkit launcha until you had killed your
first tank up close and personal. The weapon of choice for
this 'initiation' was the tankhammer, a rokkit powered hammer
that could punch through armor like butter. The only catch
was in order for it to work, you had to be close enough
to the tank to spit on it.
The other chore that was always
performed by the 'new guy' was looking after the bomb squigs.
Bomb squigs were just as tempermental and unruly as normal
squigs, but with one major difference. They had massive
amounts of high explosives strapped to their backs. These
explosives were placed there by the meks and rigged with
proximity fuses so they would explode when the squig ran
under a tank. Now, meks aren't exactly known for the 'reliability'
of their contraptions and have no regard for 'operator safety',
so the duty of holding their chains always fell to the lowest
guy on the food chain.
The sound of a 'umie vehicle could
be heard above. Grunk's eyes lit up at the thought of getting
out of this stinking sewer and going after some 'big game'.
"Iz we ready now?" he asked Krug.
"Not yet." replied Krug,
listening to the sound of the vehicle's engine. It was too
high pitched and fast for a tank, it had to be a Landspeeder.
"Hear dat engine? How it's all whiney-like? Dat's a
Speeda. Dey'z too weedy an' quick to make for a good kill.
Too 'ard to get a solid hit on 'em."
A few moments later,Krug heard the
sound he was waiting for. He looked around at his boyz and
saw that they heard it too. A heavy metallic thumping, steady
and rythmic. The footsteps of a Dreadnought.
A smile spread across Krug's face
as he looked at Grunk. "Yer in luck, boy. Ya get to
prove yerself against a kan dat fight's back!"
Krug slid the heavy iron grate to
one side. He and the rest of his mob crawled out of the
sewer on their stomachs and took cover in the rubble strewn
street. He could see the Dreadnought advancing toward them,
flanked on either side by power-armored Space Marines. They
hadn't noticed Krug and his boyz yet; they were too busy
firing at the other orks in the surrounding buildings. The
Dreadnought was laying down an impressive amount of fire
with it's assault cannon.
An idea popped into Krug's head.
"Da marine boyz can wait. We'z
going after da Kan first." He looked over at Grunk
holding the shackles of the two bomb squigs. "Gimme
dem chains," he said. Krug rummaged around in his pack
and produced a large shell casing. He held it under the
noses of the two bomb squigs so they could get a good sniff,
then let them go. The two squigs scrambled over the rubble
and headed straight for the Dreadnought. "Awright boyz,
when da squigs get close, open fire," Krug instructed.
"Aim fer da gunz!"
The combined explosion of bomb squig
and rokkit engulfed the Dreadnought in a massive fireball.
When the metal behemoth emerged from the cloud of smoke
and flame, it's assault cannon had been utterly destroyed.
The Dreadnought was furious. Though primarily a machine,
the adamantium sarcophagus at the heart of the Dreadnought
still contains a pilot, the remains of a mortally wounded
marine sustained on life-support. Though long dead, those
entombed within a Dreadnought can still fight, and they
can still feel emotions... like anger.
"Battle brothers, continue
your advance. These miserable fools are MINE!" shouted
the Dreadnought as it advanced toward the Tankbustaz.
The Dreadnought, trailing black
smoke from the shattered remains of it's assault cannon,
smashed it's way through the rubble toward Krug and his
boyz. Krug looked over at Grunk and smiled, "Yer up,
boy. Make it count!"
As the Dreadnought reached their
position, Grunk lept from behind the rubble and swung his
tankhammer, triggering the firing stud on the handle. The
rokkit motor in the hammer's head roared to life sending
the hammer in a streaking arc right into the Dreadnought's
midsection. Grunk felt a surge of adrenaline and roared
savagely as the hammer connected with a sickening crunch,
tearing it's way through the legs and severing the power
train of the huge machine. The Dreadnought shuddered for
a moment and then toppled over in heap.
* * * * * * *
Once the battle was over, Krug and
the Tankbustaz returned to the wreckage of the Dreadnought.
Krug looked over at Grunk, "Lemme see dat hammer."
As Krug walked over toward the Dreadnought, Grunk grew excited.
His initiation was over and now it was time for his rite
of passage. 'Tanking Up' is a tradition where a rookie Tankbusta
devours the crew and drinks engine oil from the smoking
remains of his first kill.
Krug used the hammer to smash open
parts of the engine and life support system, while the rest
of his boyz collected the leaking fluids from the shattered
remains of the great machine. When they had finished, Krug
presented Grunk with a 'cocktail', served in the helmet
of a Space Marine. Grunk took the helmet, his hands still
shaking with adrenaline. In it was a steaming mixture of
motor oil, blood, and engine coolant, along with a fair
amount of fluid from the Dreadnought's life support system.
Grunk downed the whole thing and
then wiped his mouth on his sleeve. His stomach churned
and his head swam, but Grunk managed to keep the vile concoction
down. He looked around at the rest of 'Da Krakkaz', who
looked back at him with a measure of respect that wasn't
there before. He was now one of them.
Krug offered Grunk a rokkit launcha,
the chosen weapon of most of the boyz in the mob. "It's
yerz now, lad. Ya earned it."
Grunk eyed the weapon and remembered
how he felt crushing the Dreadnought face-to-face. "If'n
it's all da same to ya, Boss. I'd rather use da hammer."
Krug smiled as he tossed the tankhammer
back to the newest member of Da Kan Krakkaz. "Dat's