Please Don’t Feed the Warboss
03/08/2009 in Warhammer 40K
“Gonna smash ya, humie! Rip your bleedin’ ‘ead right orf!”
Mumpsimus sighed, and made sure he had the sign straight. Inside the cage, behind a foot of solid sheet-diamond, the xeno brute hurled itself around its prison. The noise was quite unbearable, and Mumpsimus was dreading the equally intolerable smell when he had to open the hatch later on that morning.
“There.” The sign was finally straight. His writing was crooked, but the sign was straight. “Please Don’t Feed The Warboss,” it said. Vilipend, the Chiliarch for the entire laboratory complex, had told him what to write, in his usual ‘why are you still here?’ tone of voice, but Mumpsimus had added the “Please” himself. Politeness was something he put great store in, along with punctuality and neatness.
“Gonna squeeze ya so ‘ard, humie, your bonez’ll turn ta soup! Then I’ll bite your feet orf an’ drink da soup! He, he, he.”
Mumpsimus frowned, perplexed. “But that’s not even remotely plausible,” he said. “Your kind can build spaceships and – and –” Mumpsimus’ knowledge of the Orkoids was still sorely lacking, but he was certain they had spaceships of some sort, “- and so on, and you think that’s plausible? Do you even think these things through before you say them?”
He shook his head, picked up his journal and began filling in his notes from the morning’s observations. The Warboss continued to rage and hammer its gargantuan fists on the diacris walls.
“I’s gonna eat your eyez, humie! Gonna stomp ya good! Suck out your brainz! Gonna grind ya –“
Mumpsimus put his journal down with a sigh, puffing his fleshy cheeks out. This was pointless. He stood up.
“I can’t get any work done with you going on like that, Foul Xeno.” He didn’t like addressing anyone in such terms, even a raging Warboss, but Vilipend had been very specific that it was a ‘Foul Xeno’ and that no-one should forget that. As if he could. “I’ll be back later.”
The Warboss was asleep when he went back in, but he knew it was just pretending. It hadn’t actually slept since it had been captured, sole survivor of a crash in some worthless swamp on some pointless world somewhere. The pretending was evidence of low cunning on its part, Mumpsimus had noted. It was also the reason for the sign.
Some of Mumpsimus’ colleagues in the laboratories had taken to putting small research animals into the Warboss’ cell at night, and then taking bets on how long they would last. Finally they went too far and stuck a prize razor-fluke in that Vilipend’s own techs had been augmenting. Vilipend’s head tech, Barathrum had come down here himself, all fire and brimstone, to retrieve his pride and joy, seen the Warboss asleep and stuck his arm in the feeding hatch to get his terrified razor-fluke back. Since one of Mumpsimus’ duties was to monitor the Warboss’ waste products, he had been the first to see Barathrum again, a couple of days later. Vilipend had ordered the sign be put up.
“We’re not allowed to touch this xeno,” Vilipend had said to him, while flicking through his message slates. “Several Magos Biologis themselves are on their way here, along with about twenty other official observers, some of them from departments I’ve never heard of, Mumpsimus.” He had turned and peered at Mumpsimus when he’d said this, then gone back to his slates. “Till they get here, no-one touches the filthy xeno. You’re going to look after it for me. Do not touch it. Am I making myself clear?” Mumpsimus had nodded. “You can watch it. Take notes. Take lots of notes, Mumpsimus. Who knows, you might see something interesting.” Vilipend had made that sort of grunting-whistling noise he made. Then he’d looked at Mumpsimus as if he was some kind of fish left out in the sun. “We have to go to work with the minds we’ve got. Are you still here?”
Mumpsimus placed the bucket of slop in the sliding tray and pushed it closed. The Warboss didn’t move.
“There’s your food, Foul Xeno. I’ll be over here if you need anything.”
Mumpsimus sat down and started filling in his journal again. Direct measurements and testing were out of the question, but he’d been able to work out the beast’s dimensions readily enough from what he knew of the size of the cell interior. It was truly colossal in the flesh, but loomed even larger in his nightmares; big, green hands reaching out for him, giant, filth-encrusted tusks lunging for his face. He really didn’t like being in here all day, but at least it kept him out of the way of his colleagues, and for that he was grateful. Some techs seemed to have almost no interest in the dedicated pursuit of knowledge, and an unwelcome interest in finding new and amusing ways to humiliate Mumpsimus on a regular basis.
The muffled thump made him look up. The bucket was in pieces and the slop was dripping down the inside of the clear cell walls. He caught it looking at him. The Warboss shot to its feet with startling speed and began hammering on the diamond again.
“I’m da biggest, an’ da strongest an’ I’m da Warboss an’ I’s gonna stomp all ah youz when my boyz getz ‘ere!”
Mumpsimus leaned over and activated the cleansing nozzles. Cold water drenched the inside of the cell. The Warboss seemed to find new plateaus of rage and dashed his massive form from wall to wall like some rubber ball in a box being rattled by a giant. Mumpsimus left the water on long after the slop had been sluiced away, but even so he had to finally concede that the water tanks would run out before the Warboss’ rage, and he turned it off.
He put his journal down, and walked over to stand in front of the cell, his black Adeptus robe wrapped tight around him.
“Your ‘boys’ are not coming, Foul Xeno. You are alone. Your ‘warg’ is defeated. You are to be tested and probed and, in all probability, sliced and diced. You are buried deep on a world whose sun you have never seen and never will. You are alone and you will die alone.”
The Warboss stared at him, its huge chest rising and falling, and despite the twelve inches of solid diacris, he took a step back. Still it said nothing, and just kept staring at him, until finally he retreated to his chair to write up the incident in his journal.
He stormed into the observation room the next morning, threw his journal and book on the desk and strode up to the diamond wall. The Warboss was sitting down, picking at the claws on its feet, and didn’t look up.
“Well. The mighty Warboss. Cutting its toenails. Bossed any wars today? Bossed much of anything?” Mumpsimus started striding up and down. “Look at you, Foul Xeno. Pathetic. Humbled by the might of the Imperium. Stuffed in a box like – like – like an old shoe. You even look smaller. Warboss,” Mumpsimus spat the word. “Don’t look like a boss of anything to me.”
Mumpsimus leapt back as the fists slammed into the wall ahead of him with a sullen thud, followed moments later by the maw of the beast, gaping wider than the grave, yellow-brown tusks scraping against the diamond. It let out a low, guttural laugh, and he saw the fire in its alien eyes – banked, but mocking him still.
He dropped heavily into his seat and with a long, slow sigh began trying to get the purple ink out of his hair and clothes. And his book. Dammit all, it had got on his book, too. It was going to stain, he knew. Did they care? Of course not. Did they think about that when they ‘accidentally’ tipped the bottle over? He paused. Yes, he had to concede. They probably did.
He muttered curses under his breath as he scrubbed at his clothes, and in the cell the Warboss watched him.
Since he had started observing the Foul Xeno, he had become enraptured with the mysteries of the life-cycle of the Orkoid race.
Tests had shown that the Warboss was producing spores – more and more of them as the days passed, in fact. They were filtered out, of course, and retained for testing. In the wild these spores would be the first stage in the production of new Orks, one of the key reasons that Ork infestations were so aptly named. Like dry rot in old timbers, you could never be sure you’d got all of it. Turn your back for a minute and it would be wall-to-wall Orks in your front room, smashing your china and eating your gran.
But the Warboss fascinated him. What made an Ork a Warboss in the first place? Being the biggest, the baddest, the strongest? Was it really just as simple as that? Take this ‘warg’ of theirs, for instance. It seemed to be the case that having enough Orks around would result in one of them becoming a Warboss – just like that. The more Orks there were, the stronger the Warboss would be, it seemed. Was it all just down to spores and their bizarre anatomy, or was there something else?
He’d watched the Warboss for weeks now, and made endless observations, but had got no closer to an answer. He had, however, been able to disprove his pet personal theory that Orks were actually powered not by fungal symbiosis but by electricity. It had been a disappointment, since he had written quite extensively on his elaborate theory after it came to him one night, but his remote instruments had confirmed rather rapidly that no such electrical charge existed within the body of the Warboss. It was a pity, since his theory was so well constructed and his writing had been confident and pithy, but sadly the facts had failed him.
Then one day, it occurred to him to just ask the Warboss.
“Why are you a Warboss?” he asked. He spoke slowly, of course, and used large hand movements, since he still couldn’t fully accept that Orks spoke Low Gothic as their native language.
It didn’t look up.
“We’re both stuck in here, Foul Xeno. We both speak the same language.” He paused. “After a fashion. You might as well help me out with my observations.” This struck Mumpsimus as carefully reasoned, logical and, as such, entirely impossible to resist. “Why are you a Warboss?”
He was getting a bit exasperated now. “I mean, it’s not as if I’ve been unpleasant to you.” He winced. “Apart from the water. Yes. I’m sorry about that. It does keep you clean, though.”
Then he had a stroke of genius. As well as filtering out the spores, the waste system filtered out everything else – who knew what the exalted Magos of the Adeptus might want to look at when they arrived? The Warboss had shed several teeth – as well as several dozen pounds by the look of it – since arriving. And if Mumpsimus remembered his texts correctly, teeth were valuable to Orks.
He rummaged through the storage bins and shelves in the adjoining room, and finally found what he was looking for. He returned to the cell, and tapped on the diamond with the largest of the teeth.
The Warboss looked up.
“One tooth per answer. How about it?”
“Dat’s my toof.”
Mumpsimus struggled and failed to contain a smile. “And I’ll give it to you if you answer my question.”
“Give me my toof, humie, or ah’ll smash ya!”
“Smash away, then.”
Mumpsimus knew the Warboss would try, and it did, but it gave up surprisingly quickly this time. It stood, lowering at him. He tapped the tooth on the diamond again, the sudden possibility of success making him feel giddy.
“Your toof – sorry, tooth – for an answer to my question. Tell me why you’re a Warboss.”
“‘Cos I’s the one ‘oo sez ‘go here, boyz and kill dat, boyz’. ’Cos I’s got the power of Gork and Mork. ‘Cos I can smash anyfing, humie. Tin cans, pointy-stick-men, Chaos boyz, anyfing.”
“But how did they choose you to be Warboss? Were you the biggest and the strongest?”
The Warboss snarled at him. Then he remembered his promise and dropped the tooth into the hatch and slid it shut. As the Warboss took it, he held up another.
“Were you? The biggest and so on?”
The Warboss just laughed, deep and slow. “Stupid humie. I’s not da Warboss ‘cos I is da biggestest an’ da strongerest. I’s da biggestest an’ da strongerest ‘cos I’s da Warboss. Stupid humie.” It laughed again.
Mumpsimus dropped the second tooth into the receptacle, perplexed. He was all out of teef, but if the Warboss was as stupid as it looked, he would get those two back the next time he turned on the water jets.
He was surprised, then, when the Warboss spoke to him. “Who’s your Warboss den? When we gonna rumble?”
Mumpsimus chuckled. “We don’t have a Warboss. Well, if we do, it’s Vilipend, I suppose.”
“An’ is ‘ee da biggestest an’ da strongerest? I’s gonna stomp ‘im good, anyways.”
“Your stomping days are over, my friend. I mean – Foul Xeno. They’re gone. It’s just you and me, now.”
Mumpsimus was feeling rather pleased with himself the next morning.
Not only had he spoken to the Warboss – had an actual conversation even – but Orphrey, one of the senior techs working on the next level up in Augmetic Genital Replacements had actually stopped to talk with him in the corridor outside. Had invited him to the mess for lunch. Had spoken to him warmly, as an equal. As a colleague. Had taken his leave with a hearty handshake and a pat on the back.
So when Mumpsimus arrived in the observation room and saw his sign was missing, he was not unduly put out. A prank, but a mild one. He could rise above it. They would return the sign in a day or so; if not he would make a new one before Vilipend happened to drop in.
The Warboss was mostly silent that morning, and Mumpsimus managed to catch up with his notes, especially those on the conversation. He was tempted to read some more of his book, but put it aside for later. Then he took one of the sample centrifuges that had begun malfunctioning the day before from its mount, and started to recite the Litany of Minor Machine Spirit Appeasement (#43). He spread his tools and unguents out as he sang the rote words under his breath.
“Wassa ‘cockweasel’, den?”
Mumpsimus froze, uncertain what he’d just heard. He turned. “What?”
“I have no idea what you’re talking about, Foul Xeno. Leave me in peace. You’ve made me lose my place in the litany.”
He failed to appease the centrifuge’s machine spirit, and decided to ask his new friend Orphrey’s opinion in the mess at lunchtime.
When he returned to the observation room, his mood was as dark as his Adeptus robe, which he carried wrapped in a tight bundle. He threw it down on the floor and kicked it.
The Warboss looked up as the cloth bundle hit the diacris and the robe flapped open.
“So, wassa ‘cockweasel’, den? He, he, he.”
Mumpsimus stormed up to the diamond wall, fists clenched, face thunderous. “You could have told me. You could have bloody well told me.”
He snatched his robe up off the floor, spread it out on the laboratory bench and began searching for a solvent that would dissolve the glue sticking the sign to the back of his robe. It still read “Please don’t feed the…” but the last word was no longer “Warboss”.
Mumpsimus could feel his reddened cheeks beginning to cool down from the veritable firestorm that had engulfed his face in the mess, but his shame, embarrassment and anger took much longer to seep away. Unable to remove the worst of the glue after an hour of scrubbing, he threw the robe to the floor with a hissing curse. Then, with a heavy sigh, he crossed the room, picked his robe up and placed it carefully in the rubbish chute.
“You could have told me,” he muttered, but the Warboss didn’t look up. Mumpsimus returned to his centrifuge, and renewed his efforts to appease the unhappy spirit within.
“I can fix dat. Fix it right up.”
Mumpsimus whirled. “Oh, can you? And, pray tell, what a Foul Xeno knows of the Litanies of Repair and Mending? Can you recite Litany Number 510 of the Small To Medium Apparatus Codex? Which unguent should be used on concave surfaces that do not reflect direct light, and which finger should be used to apply it? Or do you just hit things until they obey you? Well?”
The Warboss was silent.
“I didn’t think so. Now, please be quiet.”
“Orks’re good at fixin’ tings. Got nuffink ta stomp, humie. Gives us summat ta do.”
“You’re actually serious, you giant, green lump.” He held up the centrifuge. “You think you can fix this? With those?” He pointed at the Warboss’ fingers, each thicker than Mumpsimus’ wrists.
The Warboss nodded. “Uhuh.”
Mumpsimus stared at the Warboss for what seemed like forever. He was smaller, Mumpsimus realised with a start. He wasn’t just losing weight, he was actually getting smaller. Remarkable, thought Mumpsimus, he would have to look into that. Try and take some more measurements. Then it came to him. The spirit of philosophical enquiry was to experiment. Do something new and see what happened. Not a popular philosophy in these parts, that was certain, but a philosophy close to Mumpsimus’ heart. Experiment. Take a chance. Try something.
“Alright, Foul…alright, You,” he said, attempting to capitalise the personal pronoun by a combination of frowning and sounding officious. I’m going to regret this, Mumpsimus thought. “Fix it.”
He walked as imposingly as he could to the feeding hatch, placed the centrifuge in and slid it carefully closed. Then he stepped back warily, always watching the Warboss, who was baring his many tusks in a hideous approximation of a smile.
The Warboss picked up the centrifuge in one shovel-like paw and then looked right at Mumpsimus, a twinkle in his dark-green eyes.
Oh, no, thought Mumpsimus.
With a roar the Warboss brought his other hand down, palm open, slamming his hands together. Bits of centrifuge shot out and pinged off the diamond walls.
“You – you – you barbarian!” Mumpsimus screeched. “You ignorant, violent, thrice-cursed – Foul Xeno!”
He kicked the diamond wall and instantly regretted it, feeling something snapping at the front of his foot. He screamed a combination of anger, pain and limitless embarrassment, and hobbled from the observation room heading for the medicae ward.
In the cell, the Warboss looked at the scrap lying in his hand and littering the crystal floor.
“Nows it’s properly broke, I c’n fix it.”
For a moment, Mumpsimus thought it was another practical joke. There was the Warboss, sitting in his cell, and there was something that looked quite unlike any centrifuge he had ever seen, but that was undeniably an apparatus for separating liquids through rotation.
He stopped, and looked around the observation room, leaning this way and that on his crutches, but none of his fellow techs were present and about to spring some wearisomely funny surprise on him.
“Did you – did you do that?” asked Mumpsimus.
The Warboss nodded.
“And it works?”
The Warboss nodded again.
Mumpsimus suddenly realised the flaw in his plan. “And can I have it?”
The Warboss stared at him. “Want squigs. I’s ‘ungry fer some real food. Anuvver humie’d do,” it snorted.
Mumpsimus grimaced. “I can’t help you there. Sorry. I can – I can get you some solid food from the mess, though. No more slop. Real meat – well, real meat substitute.” He paused, his desire for exactitude overcoming his desire to get his hands on the centrifuge. “Simulated real meat substitute.”
The Warboss paused, then picked up the ludicrous-looking device and placed it on the hatch tray. “’S a deal, humie.”
Still wary, Mumpsimus took the centrifuge, placed it on the bench, finally found the power connection after some prompting from the Warboss and fired it up. It clanked and some smoke came from somewhere he couldn’t trace, but it spun incredibly fast.
“If you paints it red, humie, it spinz faster.”
Mumpsimus walked up to the diamond wall. “I can’t use it, obviously. It’s a xeno device, now, devoid of any soul or spirit, but – thank you – err, what’s your name, Ork?”
“I’s Warboss Kankrizans. ‘Oo you?”
“Adept Tech Carfax deRiley Mumpsimus, at your service.” He gestured weakly at the cell wall. “Or thereabouts, at any rate.”
Kankrizans sniffed, and leered at Mumpsimus. “Still gonna stomp, ya, humie.”
Mumpsimus just grinned.
“Why don’ ya crush ‘em, humie?”
Mumpsimus lifted his forehead off the bench and looked at Kankrizans. “What?”
“Theyz dun summat. You should’a stomped ‘em.”
Mumpsimus put his head back on the bench. The dizziness would go away, he hoped, and then he could be sick again. Another day, another practical joke at his expense, this one involving a cross between a laxative and an emetic in his recaf. It had been a messy morning.
“I’m not like you. I don’t go around crushing people. Humans don’t do that to each other. Well, not the sane ones, anyway.”
“Hah! Yoor ‘avin a laff, intcha?” Kankrizans slammed his huge fists off the walls in glee. “Ev’ryone stomps ev’ryone. ‘S what keeps da sun shinin’, innit?”
“It’s easy for you. You’re a Warboss. You’re the biggest and the strongest. Someone disagrees with you – STOMP. Someone argues with you – STOMP. Someone makes your – your – squig tea or whatever too weak – STOMP bloody STOMP.” Mumpsimus groaned and banged his head off the bench. “I think I’m going to throw up again.”
“Stoopid humie. I telt ya. I’s only da biggest an’ da strongest ‘cos I’s da Warboss. You fink I started dat way?”
Mumpsimus looked sideways, nausea momentarily forgetten. “Well, yes, as a matter of fact. I did.”
“I gots ta be da Warboss by actin’ like one, see? Plenty boyz bigger’n me, stronger’n me, but dat don’ matter ta me! I knew I wuz da Warboss way ‘fore I gots ta be da Warboss, an’ dat’s how dat happened.”
“By acting like one?”
“You should’a stomped ‘em, humie. Way ‘fore dey gets you, you gots ta get dem. Crush ‘em. Den dey’re yoor boyz.”
“A pre-emptive strike? I would need to think about it. Maybe there’s some experiment I can -”
“What are ya? A humie orra cockweasel? Kick ‘em in da sak, den say ‘ullo’. Nevvur dun me any ‘arm.”
Mumpsimus snorted. “You’re insane. Or maybe I am, since I’m actually listening to you. Not to change the subject to something rational or anything, but why are you getting smaller?”
Kankrizans looked down at himself, and shrugged. “No boyz. No Waaargh! No need.” He looked up at Mumpsimus. “Still da Warboss, tho’. Maybe you my boyz now.”
Mumpsimus snorted again. “Sorriest bloody boyz you ever seen. If I’m your Waaargh! then Emperor help us all.”
“Nah, sod ‘im. I’s gonna ‘elp ya. Lissen up, Mumpy. ‘Ere’s wot ya do…”
Adept Tech Pilgarlick had had nothing to do with the laxative/ emetic cocktail his drink had been spiked with, and Mumpsimus told Kankrizans this, but the Warboss had insisted. Pilgarlick was the weakest of Mumpsimus’ tormentors. The greasy-haired, slack-boned technician was where Mumpsimus was to start.
It took every ounce of his courage, some exasperated cajoling and eventual bellowing from Kankrizans and, at the final moment, a double shot of jolliq but he did it. He paid Pilgarlick a visit early in the morning, before the shifts started, when the corridors were empty and quiet. Keep it short, keep it painful and keep it blunt, exactly like a cudgel, had been Kankrizan’s advice, and that’s just what he did.
The door opened, Pilgarlick’s spoon-like face started to sneer, and then Mumpsimus was in, one hand grasping the surprised tech’s groin and the other going over his mouth before he could make a sound. Get him up against something hard, Kankrizans had said, and so Pilgarlick found himself rammed against his dorm wall, Mumpsimus’ face very close, very dark, looking him right in the eyes.
Mumpsimus paused, and then gripped with the lower of his two hands, gripped with a lot of pent-up frustration and bottled-up anger. Pilgarlick’s eyes nearly popped out his head. Only then did Mumpsimus speak, low and soft and without stumbling over his well-rehearsed words.
“I know it was you, Pilgarlick. I’m watching you. Do you see how closely I’m watching you? Anything like that happens again. Anything. And I’m coming for you, Pilgarlick. And I’ll be taking these –” he squeezed again, “– with me.”
And with that he was away, closing the door behind him leaving a retching and terrified Pilgarlick curled on the floor.
After that, it was easy.
Fairly soon, the practical jokes stopped. Mumpsimus found he didn’t have to deal with the ring-leaders, just their hangers-on; it seemed that a coward’s sense of self-preservation could be turned into a powerful weapon in the hands of the unscrupulous, and Mumpsimus was beginning to count himself among their number. With Kankrizan’s invaluable assistance, of course.
The day Orphrey brought him a new sign to replace the old one – just turned up with it out of the blue, and hung it himself without being asked – he knew a sensation he’d never felt before in his life; power. Power in its rawest form; power over his fellow man; the redemptive power of philosophically applied violence.
Kankrizan continued to shrink. When his tusks fell out the new ones that grew in weren’t as big as the old ones. He even seemed less green that he had been. He didn’t seem to mind – Mumpsimus ensured he got the best food from the mess, and his new boyz made sure to bring it. Kankrizan even took a look over Mumpsimus’ journal notes for him, correcting some misapprehensions about basic Orkoid physiology.
He even took an interest in Mumpsimus’ book.
“Wossat, den? More notes?”
“This? It’s an adventure novel, traders and pirates and so on. Make-believe.” He laughed. “There’s orks in it! You wanna see it?” He put the book in the hatch, slammed it closed. “Been reading them for years. Always wanted to be a trader, when I was young. Travel the space lanes, make my fortune.”
Kankrizans picked it up, flicked through the pages, then looked at the picture on the cover. Then at Mumpsimus.
“Why don’ ya do it? Wos stoppin’ ya?”
“I’m Adeptus. Always have been. Can’t just up and change.”
Kankrizans just looked at him.
“Stop that. Stop looking at me like that.”
“Look, Kankrizans, it’s not that easy. Vilipend would – well, I just can’t. Not with Vilipend. I can’t just walk in there, punch him in the face and tell him that it’s my way or he’s going in a trash-grinder head first.” Mumpsimus paused, seeing the grin spreading across the Warboss’ face. “I can, can’t it? Holy Throne. Wos stoppin’ me?”
“Atta boy, Mumpy! You’s learnin’. You my boyz, Mumpy. Go Waaargh! on ‘is arse! But, lissen’. Forget da trash-grinder. I like it. ‘S got style, but s’a bit messy. Jus’ say dis ta ‘im…”
Vilipend actually started crying at one point. Snorting and snivelling and crying, and Mumpsimus hadn’t even got to telling him the good part yet – the part about the pliers and the vinegar. The old Mumpsimus wouldn’t have known what to do. The new one did. After that, it was easy.
“Seriously, Kankrizans. Are you sure you don’t want to come? Excitement. Adventure. Pirates. Spaceships. Massive, illegal profit.”
“Bein’ ‘onest wiv ya, it does sound good, but I like it ‘ere. Reckon I could be okay – you got dis lot well-schooled, I’ll tell ya! Ah’ve done the excitement, an’ the adventure. Might jus’ settle misself down. Slow da pace a bit. Kin always be da Warboss again tomorrer! Jus’ ‘ave ta want it, amma right?”
“So long, Kankrizans. Look after yourself. Don’t do anything I would’ve done.”
Mumpsimus was almost out of sight down the long corridor leading to the shuttle bays when Kankrizans shouted after him.
“Try a Waaargh! sometime, humie. Ev’ryone should try a Waaargh! at least once in der life!”
Two weeks later the Magos arrived aboard the Mechanicus transport vessel Enchiridion. They found a strange, greenish-hued ogryn by the name of Kankrizans in the observation room. They were, it is safe to say, agog at the sight of an ogryn reading a trashy adventure novel, while drinking recaf from a pint glass.
When they asked where the Adept was who had taken the copious notes, Chiliarch Vilipend, a curiously reserved, anxious man for someone in such an exalted position who seemed to have lost much of his hair quite recently, stammered, dissembled, obfuscated and then pretended to pass out on the floor.
When they asked Kankrizans, who was clearly some hybrid ogryn they had never encountered before, where the Warboss was he thought for a moment, and then replied, “’E was ‘ere, for a bit, but ‘e’s gone now. ‘E won’t be back.”
After the Magos had left, Kankrizans took another sip of his recaf and settled down to finish his book, which was good, and had orks in it.