Now, last Easter Kib, Norris and myself went to Warhammer World. We vowed right there and then that we would return next year sometime to do it again. But bigger and better. So, this sometime this Easter Kib, Norris, Mini-Kib, Big Twib, myself (Mini-Twib) and quite possibly Ian should be all making our way to Nottingham to play on a table the size and calibre we could otherwise only dream of. Also, a few years back I tried (and spectacularly failed) to organise a campaign, however I did manage to write a lot of back story. So, I took these two pieces of information and decided to have a go at bringing them together with a bit of back story regarding Orain Decaan and the Bakkan 29th.
Things had not been going well this past two weeks. Every day he would wake and get word that another man had been killed, or some equipment wouldn’t work. Of course the rations were getting low, but every time they came across some more of their dead they could occasionally find some ration packs. This wouldn’t keep them alive for long, and on foot they were months away from help; the 29th were a drop troop regiment, they didn’t have need of chimeras.
“We could bloody well do with them now” Orain thought to himself as he pretended to be stirred by Lt Grakis, the usual bearer of bad news…
“Sorry to wake you two hours early Orain,” ventured Grakis, handing the commander something warm and murky in a mug, “but Heff managed to fix the vox!” Orain took a long look at the mugs contents before taking a sip. It was bitter and he thought to himself that he better not enquire as to what he was, in fact, drinking. He knew they ran out of coffee 3 days ago; whatever it was, it was warm…and he hadn’t died from it yet.
“Tell him he can’t try it till we get to our next checkpoint,” Orain flatly stated, “if he tries it now they’ll get a location on us almost immediately.”
“Begging your pardon Orain, but he already did…”
“Feathing idiot!” Orain snapped, leaping out of his sleeping bag and staring to put on his armour in one movement. “Tell the men to pack up and be ready to leave in ten minutes; we can’t afford shelter here any more thanks to that…” the commander paused as he checked his las pistol’s power packs, “that…” all hostility left his voice and he stopped.
“Already got ‘em doing that, Oz.”
“You know Mikey, sometimes I wish he would just be a simple rifleman and not a damned have-a-go techie.”
“I know sir, sometimes I do too. But you have to admit that when we can afford to use it, having the vox working will be simply invaluable.” Remembering something, Grakis rummaged through his ammo pouches, “Got some fully charged mags for you, Oz. Had to fire ‘em so they probably wont be much good for long but still.”
“I’ll swap you for some empties, Mikey.” They exchanged cartridges. “Is Heff’s solar charger working? You could have plugged them in there now, save firing them last night.”
“Thought we might be needing them sharp-ish sir, didn’t want to take any chances.” Grakis put the empty mags in a pouch and turned to leave the commander to gather his things. He stopped, turned around and noticed his old friend suspiciously eyeing up the brew on the side, which he had just given him. “Oz, it won’t kill you; it’s made from the little brown berries we keep seeing. Basically its caffeine with a bit of vitamin C in there, better than coffee!” He left.
Orain picked up the brew again, brought it up to his nose, sniffed and mumbled to himself “Yeah,but I’d rather have coffee.”
A few minutes later a full backpack and mug of coffee substitute (thrown) emerged from a bivy, followed by Orain who immediately started shouting orders to un-busy looking men. “Guardsman, I want to see that Grox-brain Heff, right here, right now!”
A tall, almost ghoulishly thin man turned around to meet the Commander’s gaze and instantly came to attention.
“Yessir! Do you want Shifty too?”
Orain had taken off his eyepatch and was cleaning the gunk off it before this question. He paused to look at the young man with one and a bit eyes to make sure that he was uncomfortable before asking: “Did I ask for Shifty?” He began to take the bionic eye out of its pouch on his belt and cleaned it far too slowly for the Guardsman’s liking.
Finding it painfully hard to not look at the wound all he managed was a meek “No?”
Orain looked up, opened his bad eye as far as possible and prepared himself for the incredible pain that was to follow. “No. Exactly,” the plugs of the bionic eye found the connectors already implanted in his head and pulled the eye into place. With great concentration to not scream from this sensation he brought his gaze back to the wincing Guardsman, “So I don’t want Shifty then, do I?” He looked at the name on the uniform in front of him, “Run along, ‘Lanky’, and get him.” As the thankfully retreating Guardsman went on his way Orain turned back to his backpack, allowed himself a small smile and thought “I still have it.”
Through the trees and frosty ground, away from the main camp two men were hastily filling in the sluice pit, hoping to not be noticed. One was slight and seemed to be in charge of the operation (he was standing on the side giving ‘encouragement’) and the taller, broad, beast-like one was filling in the pit. He had no uniform on his top half; hot from unwittingly doing all the work, sweat was pouring off him and he seemed upset.
“He’s not gonna be mad at you for fixin’ it, Heff; he just didn’t want yer tryin’ it now is all” reasoned the overseer, taking something out of his pocket.
“But why’d he want it fixed if he ain’t gonna use it?” Heff stopped what he was doing, took a scarf that was on the unused shovel next to Shifty and dried his face from sweat. Shifty took out a small, thin white cylindrical object from the packet in his hand and put one end in his mouth. Realising what it was, Heff said “They’ll kill you, Shifty. Departmento Medicae says so.” He threw the scarf back onto the other shovel and got back on with shovelling.
“Yeah, in 50 years or so, if everything else doesn’t first” Shifty rummaged around in his pouches for a light. Chocolate, Obscura, more Lho Sticks, and condoms he had, but a light there was none. “Heff, where’s my matches?” This was a usual occurrence, they both knew what was going to happen.
Heff didn’t look up and said “Never seen ‘em.”
“Heff…” Shifty leaned on his shovel. “I want a stick. I need a light. My matches are with the Lho Sticks-”
“-Third pouch to the left” Heff joined in, and looked up at Shifty to be in time with him “Always have been, and always will.”
“Until you steal ‘em so I can’t smoke” Shifty held out his hand “I want them back, Lenny.” No-one in the regiment aside from Shifty, Orain and Grakis knew Lenny’s real name; these were the usual people who told him off.
Lenny stopped; he didn’t like being told off.
He looked at his shirt and quickly back again, and hung his head low. “Don’t see why you need ‘em is all, George.”
Shifty walked over to Heff’s pile. “Usual place, Len?”
Heff didn’t speak and just weakly nodded.
“Look Heff, the way I see it is that I’m not gonna make it till 60 anyway, which is when you say this smokin’ll start to catch up with me; so it don’t matter, ok?” Shifty padded down Heff’s shirt and found the matches. He took out all the packets, stuffed them into his open pouch aside from one which he proceeded to take a match out of and light it.
A hand fell on his right shoulder; Shifty immediately tensed up and went for his pistol.
In one movement Shifty took the hand on his shoulder and span around, using the momentum to throw the assailant face down on the floor. It was only then, knee in back and pistol at the young Lanky’s neck did he realise who was on the floor, “Emperor dammit, New Guy! Don’t just creep up on me like that; I could ‘a’ killed yer!” He never called the New Guys by their names; it made it easier to bury them, and they’d been doing a lot of that lately. Shifty clambered off and offered him a hand up “Credit where it’s due though, I didn’t know you were there.” Lanky stooped up and wiped some of the mud off his face.
“Sorry sir. Where’s Heff?” Lanky coughed out a leaf.
“Whoa, ‘sir’? I ain’t a ‘sir’ New Guy. We’re just Shifty and Heff.” He began brushing the young Guardsman’s uniform free of leaves. “I mean we have a rank and stuff but we ain’t ‘sirs’. Ain’t you figured us yet?” Shifty just realised his Stick fell out during the scuffle and began looking round for it. “You seen a Lho Stick, New Guy? I had one in my mouth when you creeped up on me.”
“Sir–Shifty, in the 29th Lho Sticks are prohibited articles, contraband. And I really do need Heff”
“First,” he said looking straight at Lanky, “First; you come up and give me the fright of my life, second; you tell me what I can’t have.” Shifty looked down at something half poking out from the bottom of Lanky’s boot “And now you’ve flattened what I’m not supposed to have anyway. Well done to you!” He turned and started to walk back toward the pit, clapping as he went. “Heff! Deal with New Guy, he wants you. I swear, if I have to talk to him more I might hurt myself!”
Heff had been watching the whole thing from a few meters away and he had a big grin fixed on his simple features. “Ok Shifty,” he beamed.
“Don’t start laughing at me for that, you big ox. Coulda been you he creeped up on…” Putting his hand into a pouch he began to pull out another Stick. “And don’t get on me about this neither, I ain’t had a smoke for 2 days and I want one, now that’s that. Where’d that box of matches go? Dammit, New Guy!”
The huge man came toward Lanky, still smiling. “What can I help with, Marshall?”
“Commander wants you to go to him, Heff” The smile immediately left and Heff’s shoulders slouched.
“Oh…well I best get going then” Heff turned to get his things.
“Oi, what about me, New Guy?” Said Shifty, Stick in mouth, walking towards them.
“He didn’t want you Shifty, he said as much.”
Shifty started to move away from Lanky. “Come on New Guy, can’t very well let Heff go to One Eye without me. He’ll scare the crap outta him” He had realised that if Heff went, he’ll have to finish filling the pit himself. He turned to Heff and said, “Come on big guy, I’ll take you to One Eye. We’ll straighten things out.” By this point Shifty had started to gather their things except one of the shovels. “You, finish that off, New Guy.” They both started to walk away.
Lanky knew defeat when it faced him; so he turned to the pit, took off his helmet and flak jacket. “Why do I get all the crap jobs?”
Wow this is a long time ago now (5th Feb 2015). I’ve more or less shelved the idea of the Bakkan 29th but I’ll leave this up and tag it with the MEF, because.
Orain, Mikey, et al might return at a later date. I’ll make my mind up when I get round to my guard.