“So den, we’z krumped ’em good!”
“Yes. I know. The esteemed Overlord Yrendrikh knows as well. I have relayed this exact statement to him in Necrontyr seven hundred and fifty times now. You do not need to repeat it.”
“YOUZE CAN’T TELL ORKZ WHAT TO DO, METALMAN! I’LL BASH YOUR ‘EAD IN!”
Lord Narmoren shook his head, attempting to sigh. No sound emerged. An almost reflexive action, a memory from when he was alive, now useless and ineffective.
“While the tales of your, erm… conquests… are certainly riveting, Lord Hagdakka –”
“Yes, ‘Boss’ Gakhamma, His Magnificent Lordship Yrendrikh wishes to discuss more… philosophical matters.”
“I’z da smartest Ork in the WAAAGH, so I’z da wun youze want!” grinned the Ork.
“That… was my understanding,” lied Narmoren. “His Lordship has a question about the concept of ‘dakka’.”
“Yes, but he wishes to know what you do when you cannot add more dakka.”
“What do you do when you cannot add more dakka?”
“…I don’ get it.”
“When you have added all the dakka you can, what do you do?”
“Y’ADDZ MORE DAKKA!”
“No, you have added all you can. You have no more dakka to add.”
“MORE DAKKA!” bellowed the Ork, clearly excited at the prospect.
“No, you cannot add more dakka.”
“…I still don’ get it.”
“Obviously,” replied Narmoren, turning to Yrendrikh to translate the exchange. Yrendrikh was clearly not pleased, but did not press the issue. Narmeron’s gratitude at this was very nearly a tangible thing.
“His Esteemed Lordship has no more questions. Report in tomorrow morning, at dawn. Try to be quiet. We do not want the eldar to know we are here.”
An enormous explosion billowed up from the Ork camp in the distance, quickly putting an end to that dream. The warboss looked out at it, and began whooping and cheering at the destruction. Narmoren tried, in vain, to sigh again.
All hope of stealth was now effectively gone. Narmoren slumped in a gently-floating obsidian chair, staring up at the holomap above him, at the colored haze representing the necron camp, the ork camp, and the presumed eldar territory.
Anagnosto III was a curious world. The planet’s axis was so starkly tilted that the poles were large and uninhabitable, inhospitably hot in the summer, deathly cold in the winter. A belt around the equator was the only place worth contesting for most lifeforms, yet those poles held the deposits key to the Harkhann Dynasty’s war efforts, and to control the poles, they first had to control the planet.
Unfortunately, it was already owned by an entire Exodite civilization. Most irritating. And while a necron tomb did sleep beneath the surface, it did not seem like it was preparing to awaken any time soon. Like so many other tomb worlds in the dynasty, something had evidently gone wrong, and the tomb would have to be forcibly awakened to be of any use, which meant directly invading the planet, and with the dynasty at less than a quarter strength, it was hardly ideal.
But it was necessary, Narmoren thought. Without Anagnosto III, the dynasty was in no position to resist invasions of its own. This had to be done early or not at all.
“These greenskins are useless,” boomed a voice in Necrontyr from across the table.
Narmoren leaned forward onto the table, picking absentmindedly at a nick on the back of his left handplate. He rocked forward and back in his chair a bit, almost nodding in agreement with his liege, but not quite.
“They could be made to serve us.”
“They could be sacrificed like the vermin they are for us,” came the response.
“Like I said.”
A groaning wheezing noise, like the sound of a broken fireplace bellows, filled the shelter.
“Sometimes I think the only reason I allow you to live is because you make me laugh, Narmoren,” Overlord Yrendrikh choked out.
“It is a legitimate strategy, my lord. If we can activate the tomb world beneath, we will have the legions we need to take this world by storm.”
“The orks cannot get us inside.”
“No, but they do not need to. They need only lead the eldar away.”
“The eldar are too smart for such an obvious ploy, Narmoren, and you know it.”
Narmoren stared back up at the holomap again. The fog was thick and distinct around the necron camp and the allied encampment, but the eldar territory had a fuzzy, thin quality to it. Neither the necrons nor the orks knew for certain where the eldar were hiding.
“My lord…do the eldar know we are here?”
“Follow me on this one, my liege. The eldar know the orks are present. This is undeniable. We have had casualty reports, and that explosion would hardly avoid notice. But do they know that we are here?”
“I would assume so.”
“Have our forces sustained any casualties as yet?”
Narmoren looked directly into the Overlord’s eyes. To Narmoren’s knowledge, not a single necron had fallen since the forces made planetfall.
“…no, Narmoren, we have sustained no casualties. But surely they saw our ships.”
“A fair point. Perhaps one worth hedging against. Here is what I propose, master…”
The first rays of light began to creep over the horizon as Yrendrikh and Narmoren made their way to the assembled orks. If it was at all possible, the orks were actually louder now than the explosion had been. The chanting and WAAAGHing filled the air, a deafening cacophony that could surely be heard from the other side of the planet, much less from the eldar encampment. Behind the two Necron nobles, three small squads of Immortals marched single-file, as a bodyguard.
Yrendrikh drew near Boss Gakhamma and began to speak in Necrontyr again, with Narmoren quickly and smoothly translating.
“There has been a change of plan.”
“We will not be committing our full forces to the initial assault.”
“We will not be committing our full forces to the initial assault.”
“We will be bringing fewer of our warriors to this fight, at first.”
“…we are starting with less ‘dakka’.”
“WUT?! Youze can’t do dat! MORE DAKKA!” the warboss bellowed, flailing his arms like a child in a tantrum.
“Ah, but think of ‘Gurkanurka’.”
“Yes, those, your gods, whatever they are called. One is brutally cunning, and the other is cunningly brutal, yes?”
“We propose a strategy that will please both of your gods, Lord Bakslamma–”
“BOSS GAKHAMMA!” the warboss shouted, barely registering the actual meaning of what Narmoren was saying.
“Yes, Boss Gakhamma, I am sorry. We propose that in this battle, you be cunningly brutal, by hitting the enemy directly, full-on, from the front, while you allow us to take the brutally cunning role.”
“How youze gonna do dat?”
Narmoren prepared to speak, but then, behind him, the plan began to demonstrate itself.
“The eldar know we are here. But if they believed we were not…”
The first necron transports began to lift off and take to the skies, lifting the various elements of the necron encampment and the bulk of the necron forces away, back to space.
“Then we are free to strike where they least expect us.”
“Hey! Youze runnin’ away from da fight, metalmans!”
“No,” Narmoren corrected. “No we are not. But the eldar will believe we are, and then, when they think we are gone, and when you have them locked in battle, we will strike from their rear, and they will all be destroyed.”
“…ooh, I fink I see da plan now. Youze gonna run away, and den come back when they fink youze gone, is dat it?”
“…elegantly put,” Narmoren lied.
“When do we get to da fightin’?”
Narmoren looked to Yrendrikh and translated the sentiment. Yrendrikh did not even speak. He simply chopped his head forward once, and turned away.
“ALL RIGHT BOYZ! LET’S GO GET US SOME ELDAR ‘EADZ FOR ME BOSSPOLE! WAAAGH!”
The already-deafening clamor doubled in volume, and the necrons slipped away, their footsteps drowned out, as the last of their ships slipped away into the morning sky.
The secret entrance to the tombs below was quiet. Deathly quiet. That was good. No eldar had tried to stop them yet. That was good. From the immense noise that echoed across the landscape from miles away, the orks were locked in ferocious combat with the eldar and were putting up a very strong fight. That was good.
So why did Narmoren feel like something was just about to go wrong?
With a flourish of his staff and an ultra-sonic burst of speech, Narmoren slid the hidden door open, and the party prepared for their descent into the catacombs.
The din of the battle outside faded quickly as the strike team made its way down the obsidian corridor. Only the sound of the necrons themselves could be heard, clanking through the dusty passageways, disturbing air that had been still for millennia. The occasional whine of canoptek spyder servos met them every now and then, confirming that something in the tomb was certainly still functioning.
The sounds should have been comforting, but it was what was not there that had Narmoren on edge.
There had been absolutely no eldar resistance on the way here. None at all. While it did mean the plan was working perfectly, it made no sense for the eldar to be careless enough not to set up some sort of guard, unless…
“Here it is. Gold team, prop up those obelisks. Silver team…”
Narmoren barely listened to Yrendrikh as he thought of the possiblities.
And then a loud PING confirmed the worst-case scenario, as an Immortal dropped with its head shot right off its shoulders.
“They are inside the tomb, my lord!”
“How? How is that possible?”
The vwooshing sound of a webway portal spitting out personnel told them all they needed to know. Sniper shots ricocheted out of the darkness at the Immortals, dropping some, distracting others. Canoptek Spyders, jolted from their catatonic caretaking by the obvious threat, rushed in to assist in repairing the damaged control chamber, while the Immortals turned their full attention to the interlopers.
“We will not let you take this planet again, vile machines,” a filtered eldar voice said from seemingly nowhere. “The orks on the surface above will be destroyed, and you with them!”
The two Necron noblemen brandished their warscythes in all directions, hoping to lay eyes on a target…but they could see nothing.
Boss Gakhamma pushed his boyz forward into the fray with all the courtesy and inspiration of a wounded badger. Despite this, the nearly suicidal charge was actually making significant headway. Having trampled a trench of warriors beneath their many, many feet and upended entire grav tanks by sheer orkpower, the green tide flowed ever onwards towards its inevitable end. Casualties had been high, higher for the orks than for the eldar in pure numbers, but every dead eldar weighed far heavier on the ancient race than the loss of any boy or nob did on the orks.
“KRUMP ‘EM, YA GITZ! DON’ STOP FIGHTIN’,” Gakhamma screamed at the top of his lungs.
“Oi, boss! What d’ya suppose dat buildin’ dere is?”
A large, pronged structure rose before them, a purple crystal clutched in its grip. The image was indistinct and hazy, and Gakhamma almost thought he was hallucinating it. But real or not, he sure didn’t like it.
“TEAR IT APART! Maybe it’ll explode! I love it when fings gets explodey!”
A spyder dropped to the ground, sparking from the gaping hole that had just appeared in its back seemingly out of nowhere. The surviving Immortals converged their fire in the space where the Autarch clearly must have been standing moments ago, but the Gauss beams passed through empty space and impacted harmless against the far walls.
Another Immortal dropped, bringing the total fallen so far to nine. As he struggled to reanimate, the same invisible blade that had skewered his torso impaled his mouth, pinning him to the floor, and he fell limp. Following the trail of destruction with their fire, the Immortals struck dangerously close to the columns the two nobles were using for cover.
Even beneath the surface, the noise of the battle outside still echoed down the passageways, though only the very loudest sounds were at all audible.
And suddenly, a very loud sound indeed echoed down. It sounded like a star had gone nova, right there on the planet’s surface.
And with that explosion, suddenly the Immortals had their target, as the autarch shimmered into view in front of them. Narmoren chopped forward with his warscythe, neatly beheading a ranger who had just now popped into view with a dagger at the ready.
The one-sided battle was no less one-sided now. Now, it was simply on a different side.
“Get dat big crystal-y gun off da eldar wagon! I want it mounted on my trukk!”
“An’ see if you can get somefin’ out of da wreckage of dat big crystal fingy wut blew up real good!”
“You got it, boss!”
“Not yet I don’! STOP MUCKIN’ ABOUT!”
“Sure fing, bo–AAGH”
“What da zog?!” cried Gakhamma as he heard the nob’s scream.
All around him, the ground was starting to shift. It was starting to rupture. The nob was caught on something…or something was holding his foot in place.
1A bladed hand shot up out of the ground and messily disemboweled the hapless, confused nob. All around Gakhamma, necrons began to rise directly through the ground, an endless silver tide to match the green tide that had won the day.
Monoliths and starfighters descended from the sky, adding their firepower to the firepower coming from beneath Gakhamma’s feet. The necrons, it seemed, had finally added more dakka, and they had done it in the most brutally cunning way possible.
Gakhamma stumbled backwards as a huge metal serpent with scythed limbs shot up from the ground. He stared at it in awe, at the dried blood that stained its blades, at the rust and pitting that spoke of its millions of years of service. The last thing that went through his mind, as the wraith began to descend on him, was Narmoren’s strange question.
“When you have added all the dakka you can, what do you do?”