Approx. 4900 words
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2015 SJ
The Ork Situation:
written by SJ
Lana followed Trundo through cave passageways mostly. He seemed in a hurry, but walked like he was a little tired. They stopped to rest fairly often and the one time Lana checked her watch, she saw it was close to early morning. Eventually, after passing through a small cavern, she followed him into a narrow passageway in which he had to walk sideways to fit though; soon it opened out into a large, lit, cavern.
The cavern was home to at least a hundred Orks, mostly females and children. To the right, there was also a large community of Gretchen.
The Ork village, if it could be called that, was organized in three rows of buildings, small homes made from wood, metal, and cinder blocks; some of them had a garden and a few animals nearby. Trundo was met right away by several women and children, who were glad to see him. However, when they spotted Lana, the village became quiet, all of them staring at the Space Marine, angry scowls from those nearby.
She continued to follow Trundo down the first row of buildings to the right. One of the female Orks spat down by Lana's feet as she walked. He tried to calm people, saying she was a friend, which seemed to help a little.
Then a Gretchen ran up pointing at her eagerly. "That the one...that the one. She save Graban's life. She shoot big spider. Boom! Spider fall dead. She good Terra. She save Graban's life."
When the young Gretchen ran back to play, apparently to finish reenacting the event with friends, the mood in the Ork village softened toward her...becoming almost friendly.
As she followed Trundo to the far side of the village, she thought about what had just happened: Propaganda from the Eridani Corporation considered the term Grot to mean, slave, and thus, many believed some Gretchen were actually Ork servants. But, this was obviously wrong. Grot simply meant, young, or juvenile Gretchen. They were NOT slaves, but very respected members of their society. In the distance, she could see Gretchen and Ork children playing happily together.
Trundo's small home was a little larger than the size of a normal living room, made mostly out of metal and cinder blocks. Inside, a back area had been dug into the cavern wall, another room which doubled the size of the house, a kind of bedroom.
She watched as he called his wife's name, "Gabba," and they hugged. Behind Gabba was what looked like a young Ork, who he shared a hug with also.
Gabba remained in the rear part of the home, the young Ork next to her, partially hiding behind her...but, peeking out as if he or she was very interested in seeing the Space Marine visitor. After talking awhile with Gabba and his Ork child, he returned to Lana, hesitating, like he wanted to say something, but didn't know how.
The Ork child came out a little, but stayed close to its mother. It was dark, but Lana thought the Ork child looked a little thin...and it had long hair, about shoulder length, which meant it had to be a female. Lana tried to smile at her and wave, but she leaned closer to her mother.
Gabba pointed at Lana and said her name, saying she was a friend.
As Trundo tried to think of what to say, Lana began to think the child was a Gretchen female, one being raised by Orks. After all, the Ork couple were a little old to have a young child.
Finally, Trundo spoke, pointing at his child. "That Shyva. She a little afraid right now. But, she always ask questions about Terra people."
Lana looked at him and asked. "What's she want to know?"
He delayed, sighed, then finally spoke clearly, recalling a past event. "Way back when I younger Ork, I went to Trading Post. After Savage Orks attack, I go in...I find Terra baby hidden under sink. I not know why Terra leave baby, but when Terra soldiers attack, I have to take baby home to Gabba. I want to take Terra baby back to Terras...but, they at war with us." He sighed. "So...Gabba and I raise."
At first the meaning of the story didn't register, then Lana's jaw slow dropped, realizing what had happened...and who Shyva was. "She's Terran?"
As he nodded, Gabba and Shyva began moving closer to Lana, the young girl seemingly braver, repeating the Space Marine's name to Gabba.
It was hard for Lana to believe. After she had said a few, silent, oh, my, God's, to herself, she looked at Trundo, then at Gabba and Shyva. The young, Terran woman had dried mud on her face and hair, something obviously to make her look more Orkish. But, she clung closely to her adopted mother, like any child would for a mother she cared for and needed.
Then Gabba spoke, like she needed something only Lana could give. "Shyva older now. She not child anymore." She looked at Trundo, then back at Lana. "When she old enough, we tell her she Terra." She looked down sadly. "She say she not want to be Terra. She want to be Ork." She looked back at Lana. "But, she can't be Ork. She Terra. But, we can't help her like Terra can. Only Terra can do. You help Shyva. Talk to her."
Lana was almost overcome with emotion: Trundo, an Ork, had found a female Terran baby. And, unable to return her, he took her home and raised her with his wife. They fed her, cared for her...loved her. At this moment, Lana had made up her mind about the Orks: They were NOT monsters...they were anything but.
When Lana slowly sat down on the rug in Trundo's home, she looked at Shyva, but, didn't know what to say.
After Lana sat, Shyva smiled a little and spoke. "You Terra? What like to be Terra?"
Gabba, Shyva, and Lana remained sitting. Trundo stood. But, still, Lana didn't know what to say...what could she say. She sighed thinking about a war that might already be starting outside the mountain.
"Dado say Terra parents leave me behind at Trading Post." Shyva looked sad, then asked. "Why they leave me? You know?"
Lana was about to try and explain what happened. Then she remembered. Trundo was one of the Ork names Daphne mentioned, a friend of hers. She thought a few seconds, then came to the realization...a strong possibility. She looked at Trundo, then Gabba, and asked. "Do you have anything left over from when you found Shyva at the Trading Post?"
The two Orks looked at Lana, thinking. Then Shyva mentioned something. "Banka. Gabba say I have banka."
"A blanket...from when she was a baby." Lana got the gist of what Shyva said.
Then Trundo quickly stepped into the back of the home, searching. Gabba got up and joined him, then returned with a very old, worn, blanket, almost falling apart. She held it up and showed Lana. "This with Shyva when baby."
It was an old, faded, pink, blanket. In one corner, Lana could plainly see some embroidered letters. Some of the thread had unraveled, but she could still read the name: Nancy.
Lana had trouble speaking at first, surprised and elated. "She's Nancy." Lana had to take a breath, then spoke louder, starting to get up. "I know who her parents are." Then she sat back down to speak directly to the young girl. "I'm sorry. Your parents didn't want to leave you. They were on the ferry when the Savage Orks attacked the Trading Posts. Had they'd tried to go back for you, they would've been killed." Lana sighed and almost cried. "They thought you were dead. They loved you--they still do. But, all this time...they thought you were dead."
Trundo sat down next to Shyva and tried to explain. "Remember when I tell you bad Orks attack Trading Posts. Dado go in to save Terra's. But, they all dead. Only you alive." He smiled. "What Lana say is truth. If Terra parents think you dead, that reason they not come to take you back."
Shyva sat and thought about what she had just been told. She said something, speaking to herself. "I still wish I Ork. Then I have Ork boy friend...not be lonely."
Lana thought to herself, "of course...Shyva should be almost sixteen years old by now." Like Gabba said: She's not a child anymore. But, there's nothing they could do. It was obviously why they asked for Lana's help.
Shyva looked at Lana, then asked, like she very much needed to know. "You think Terra parents still want me?"
Lana smiled. "Of course they want you. I talked to them several days ago. They'd be overjoyed...just to know you were still alive."
"Maybe...I could meet Terra parents." Shyva spoke softly, suggesting. Then she turned and looked at her adopted parents. "But, I not want to leave Dado and Mado." She started to cry, a dilemma she was unable to solve. "I can't leave Dado and Mado."
"No, no." Lana tried to explain. "Maybe we can go someplace were your Terran parents can meet you and your Ork parents."
"A place near Whiley." Trundo suggested. "There places near Whiley." He looked at Lana. "Maybe Shyva parents meet us there?"
"Yes." Lana agreed. "I need to get my scanner information to Dempsey's HQ. I can give him the info, then go and get Ian and Daphne." She looked at Shyva. "I can tell them you're still alive, and were they can meet you."
Then Gabba thought of something that scared her. "You think Terra's come and take Shyva--"
"No, no...not let Terra's take Shyva away." The young woman became frightened also.
"I promise." Lana was serious. "I promise, my word as a Space Marine, I won't let anyone take Shyva away."
There was a pause were everyone seemed to just sit and think. It was Shyva who spoke first, happy. "So we go on long trip...go to see Terra parents?"
Trundo, Gabba, and Lana spoke at once, telling her, yes.
"Lana...you say I have Terra name, too?" Shyva asked, smiling.
"Yes. They named you, Nancy."
"Nanny." She mispronounced.
"That's close enough."
Shyva was happy...so Trundo and Gabba were happy for her. But, they would rest for today. Trundo knew a faster route to the channel than the one they had used before. Tomorrow, he said he thought they could make it in one day, which made Lana happy. However, she desperately hoped the war hadn't started by now.
By the morning of the next day, Trundo, Gabba, Shyva, and Lana had exited the mountain and were walking across a high, grass-covered, foothill next to the mountains. They were high enough to see the channel way in the distance, about fifteen kilometers away. They were all carrying enough food and water with them for about three days, not wanting to delay foraging.
They stayed on open, grass-covered hills most of the way to the channel, then, in the dark, had to follow a path until they reached the coast. It was well past midnight. Trundo wanted to travel down to were Whiley's ferry was, but Lana didn't want to waist anymore time than she had to. She told them to wait there. She'd swim the channel, find a road, then be back as soon as she could.
The Orks looked at Lana. Swimming was foreign to them. They thought she would drown. But, as she took off her clothes, she assured them she was a good swimmer.
For the second time, Lana stood wearing only her underwear, which was actually a kind of swimsuit underwear, anyway. This time she also wore her belt, stripped down to only one pouch, which held Dempsey's scanner and her Federal ID card, both which she knew were completely waterproof. Then she dove in.
Swimming was one of the other activities she had liked to do with her Aunt, doing so in a lake next to their town. They had raced several times. Only this time she wasn't racing against her Aunt, she was racing against time, to stop a war.
She made the crossing in a little over fifteen minutes, wet and tired. In the distance there was a road, and she spotted a civilian speeder with two people, parked. She ran to talk to them.
Next to the speeder were a couple teenage Terrans, a boy and a girl. Lana stood breathing heavily, holding her ID card, speaking frantically. "I'm a Special Ops Space Marine. I just returned from a mission in the Ork territory. I need to get some information to Colonel Dempsey's HQ right now." She thought a second. "I need to use your phone."
The couple where startled beyond words. As the girl handed Lana her phone, the Space Marine figured, since there were two people out on the road, maybe the war hadn't started yet.
Lana had memorized a special phone number that connected directly to Dempsey's HQ. After only one ring, someone answered, a commutations corporal. "Dempsey's HQ. Who--"
"This is Officer LaFong. I need--"
Nearby over the phone, she heard Dempsey's voice. "LAFONG?" He let out a cheer, just before taking the corporal's place on the phone. "You made it back! Did you get that information?"
"Yes, sir. I have full set of scans of several Savage Orks, one of them close up. They--are--real!"
He heard him give orders to the corporal. "Get Marylla on the phone. Tell her LaFong is back with complete proof of the existence of Savage Orks." He returned his attention to Lana. "Where are you? Can you send me those scans?"
"Is that Colonel Dempsey?" The boy exclaimed, wondering.
"I'm on a regular phone right now." Lana explained. "It doesn't have enough memory for me to upload it to you."
"Where are you right now?" Dempsey need to know.
"I have a locator on my speeder." The boy mentioned.
"Son...can you give me that number, please." Dempsey quickly asked.
"Is this really Colonel Dempsey?" The boy was still amazed.
"Yes, son. Please give me that number. Lana, you stay with that speeder, I'm sending a shuttle to you right now."
After a "wow," the boy listed the number.
Then Lana thought of something. "Colonel, I'm going to wait for you at Whiley's cabin with the speeder."
"Whiley's place?" The boy asked.
"Yes." Lana was surprised. "You know were that is?"
"Yeah...it's right down the road...about ten minutes."
"Could you take me there please?" She got in the back of the speeder, at the same time contacting Gannon and Bull, telling them to bring her shuttle to Whiley's cabin...and to bring her a new set of clothes.
The boy and the girl got in the front seat of the speeder and began driving.
"Thank you, son. Someone will be there in about ten minutes, LaFong. And...nice work. Dempsey, out."
For the second time within a week, Whiley was surprised, stubbing his toe as he came running out of his cabin when he heard a loud speeder horn go off. He ran up, and for the second time in the same week, spotted Lana in her underwear.
"So, you made it back, huh?" He looked at how wet she was. "What'd you do...swim the channel?
"Yeah." In the distance, she had already spotted a shuttle coming. She turned to the boy and girl. "When that shuttle get's here, you guys can leave." But, they didn't seem to want to.
Then Lana got a call. "This is Officer Allen. Officer LaFong?"
"We're almost to your location."
"I see your shuttle."
"We're going to land in that opening only briefly--"
"I'll give you the scanner and you can leave. I have another shuttle coming in from Fort Marathon."
The shuttle was small, smaller than the speeder the boy and girl had. It didn't even really land. Lana handed off the scanner, and it took off quickly.
As Lana sat down waiting for her shuttle, Whiley, seeing she was cold, brought her a blanket and served her some warm, Ork, mead. After about thirty minutes, she got a call.
It was Dempsey: "We just examined that information you gave us. It's absolutely amazing--"
"I'm here too." She heard Prime Minister Lancaster's voice over the com link up. "They just woke me up and Dempsey sent me the scanner images." She sighed, impressed beyond belief. "How did you get such a close up picture and scan of this Savage Ork? They look absolutely monstrous."
"My Ork escort had to kill that Savage Ork before it attacked me." Lana responded. "Sorry, I wasn't able to get a picture of it's beheading, but we were running for our lives at the time."
"Oh, my God." Marylla gasped.
"We have another problem, LaFong." Dempsey started to explain. "We can't get a hold of Warboss Nazoreg. We can't get a hold of any of the Orks. They are not answering our calls. They are on some sort of radio silence." He sighed. "Which means they're probably getting ready to attack. I've had to order my tanks and artillery into position for battle."
"Oh, God." It was Marylla's turn to sigh. "I hope we're not too late."
Then Lana sighed, her voice not really serious. "So what do we do...send someone to go to the Warboss personally? Get him to answer his phone?"
When no one contradicted her, she and Whiley looked at each other. He laughed. "Looks like they got another job for you to do."
Lana looked at him like, you've got to be kidding.
Then he was serious. "If you can get a close up scan of a Savage Ork, then, well..."
"Do you have any friends that know the Warboss personally?"
Whiley sighed with defeat. "No." Then he became serious. "All I know, if you walk up to the Warboss with a communicator in your hand, he's gonna take great pleasure in cutting your guts out and strangling you with them."
She smiled, wryly. "Thanks for the graphic imagery."
Colonel Dempsey didn't know what to think about Whiley and Lana's conversation, but, he made a suggestion. "LaFong, I have a Special Forces communicator. It's shaped like a small statue--"
"If she get's caught, which she will, and the Gretchen examine that thing, which they will..." Whiley remained serious. "Then--"
Dempsey interrupted, then continued were he left off. "What I was trying to say, was, this communicator can't be tracked by satellite. LaFong will need to tell the Warboss that, of course. And if the Gretchen check it out, they'll be able to tell she's telling to truth. That's why the Orks have stopped using wireless communicators. Our satellites can track them and spot their positions."
There was silence for a few seconds, then Whiley mentioned. "Do you think Lana will live long enough to tell the Warboss that fact?"
Dempsey sighed, hopelessly. "I don't think she'll live long enough to even reach the Warboss."
After another pause, Marylla spoke. "Then, all we can hope for now is once the main battle is over...they'll talk to us."
"That will be after hundreds have died." Dempsey followed up. "I don't think either of us will have much to say after that."
At that moment, Lana spotted her Ops shuttle coming in for a landing. "Listen...my shuttle is here. It's not going to be daylight for at least another hour. I need to go do something. Let me figure something out. Just give me another hour. I'll try to get back with you before then."
Once she, Whiley, Bull, and Gannon were all together, she formulated a plan while she was dressing: "Whiley. Trundo, Gabba, and Shyva are located on the other side of the channel north of here. It's an open area with a hill--"
"A hill with three dead trees next to three rocks, right?"
"I know the place." His expression became curious. "What's Gabba doing there? And who's Shyva?"
She sighed. She wanted to tell him the whole story, but didn't have time. "Shyva is a Terran baby they raised after finding her in the Trading Post. Tell them I'll be there as quick as I can with Shyva's parents."
Whiley stood with his mouth open.
Lana followed up. "They'll explain it to you when you get there. We'll take you there in the shuttle, then," she pointed at Bull and Gannon, "we'll go get Ian and Daphne."
"If you're in a hurry, I can go there in my boat." Whiley pointed at a sizable shack next to the water.
She frowned. "You had a boat you could've taken me across the channel in?"
"Back then the Orks would've blown me out of the water." He responded clearly. "Now--the Ork patrols are gone. They're ALL getting ready for the battle."
"Okay, good. Go there in your boat."
He moved quickly toward the shack. "I'll tell them what you told me."
She addressed the two Space Marines. "Okay guys, we need to go to Talbert. Take me there and land right next to the town's City Hall."
"Right in the middle of the city?" That was Gannon.
"Yes...make sure you set the shuttle's emergency authorization code."
"Oh, yeah." Gannon remembered.
"Let's go...let's go." Lana had only her boots and pants on as they all ran to the shuttle, Gannon piloting.
Once the shuttle was in the air, Lana needed to make a call, something she was happy to do, but dreading. At first no one answered, but she let the phone ring and ring. Like before, she had no time to be subtle, and the Cottrell's only had a short time to see their daughter.
Eventually, someone answered. It was Ian, groggy. "Hello. Who--"
"This is LaFong...Lana, remember me?"
"Huh...oh, yeah." He became more awake, thinking the call was important. "Oh...LaFong. What happened? What--"
In the distance, over the phone, Daphne's voice could be heard.
He answered her. "It's LaFong...remember, that woman who came to talk to us several days ago." He switched to Lana. "Why are you calling so early? What's wrong--"
"Listen, I'm on my way to you right now. I'm going to land my shuttle on the front lawn of City Hall. You said you live near there, right?"
Then she heard Daphne right next to phone. "What did she say--land on the front lawn of the City Hall!"
"Yes. I going ask that you be dressed and ready to go by the time I get there, please. We don't have much time."
There was no answer...
Lana continued. "I'm going to be taking you to the other side of the channel."
"What...why?" Daphne was confused...as was Ian.
Lana sighed. She didn't know how to say what she need to say...how to tell them. "I'm taking you..." She choked, and couldn't continue.
The Cottrell's noticed it clearly, Ian asking, "what's wrong?"
"I'm taking you to go see your daughter, Nancy." Lana sighed, finally saying it.
"Our daughter? Nancy?" Daphne was worried.
"Do you remember an Ork named, Trundo? From when you worked at the Trading Posts." Lana explained, asking quickly.
"Yeah...I think so." That was Ian.
"Trundo?" Daphne recalled. "Oh, yeah, he was nice."
"Your daughter didn't die." Lana choked again. "Trundo found her at the Trading Post and has been taking care of her all this time."
Daphne started crying. "Oh, my God..."
"Why can't you bring her here, in the city?" Ian's voice was trembling.
"Please, get dressed. I don't have much time." Lana tried to stay strong. "Dempsey thinks the Orks may attack in the morning. This is the only chance to see your daughter."
"We're getting dressed now." Ian still sounded shaken. "We'll try to be dressed by the time you get here. But why can't you bring her here."
As the Cottrell's dressed, Lana explained. "Listen, your daughter was raised by the Orks. It all she knows. She's afraid you might take her away from her Ork parents."
From further away from the phone Lana heard Daphne. "No...we won't do that. I understand now."
"Yes...we wouldn't do that. I promise." Ian confirmed, then thanked Lana several times.
Lana ordered Gannon to take a side trip to Dempsey's HQ, where she picked up the Special Forces statue-scanner he had offered. Afterwards, Lana piloted the shuttle to the front lawn of Talbert's City Hall, picking up the Cottrell's. Then, she went to find where she left Trundo, Gabba, and Shyva, finding the spot quickly when she spotted Whiley's boat.
When the Cottrell's got out, Daphne was still crying. They were met by Trundo, with Gabba and Shyva standing back further. Ian remembered the big Ork from his Trading Post days and said hello as they slowly walked forward to be introduced to their long lost daughter.
Lana had told Gannon and Bull to stay inside the shuttle. Outside, she only glanced at the happy reunion, then stepped away. She refused to cry. When she was much younger, what was happening with Shyva was something she'd dreamed about...they day when her Aunt would walk up and introduce her to her real parents, saying they were still alive and wanted to see her, a happy reunion. However, long ago, she had to accept, that day would never happen for her, especially after the death of her Aunt.
She remained in front of the shuttle, not watching the event, thinking about what she could do next. There had to be someway to get to the Warboss, talk to him, get him to talk with the Terran leadership.
However, the earlier thought about her own life had depressed her. She began thinking about simply taking the shuttle, putting it on stealth, then landing near the Ork HQ and hoping for the best. But, of course, she'd have to take Gannon and Bull back to Fort Marathon first. When she stepped around to the side of the shuttle, she was met by an Ork she didn't know, an Ork carrying a Shoota weapon, pointing it in her direction.
Many Orks, throughout their adult years, still maintained some small amount hair on top their heads. Some, usually those in the military, let it grow long and wrapped it up so it stuck up out of their heads. It usually meant some kind of importance. Looking at him, she could see he was a sergeant of some kind. She was about to hold up her hands to show she wasn't armed, then she spotted Trundo with him. He pointed at the armed Ork. "This Nabzorg. Orks spot us during day. They send Nabzorg to see who we are. I know him when he little Ork...now he grow up and in Ork army." He frowned. "But, he wanta know what Terra's doing here. I try to tell him you friends. Only because he know me he not shoot you."
Lana looked at the new Ork, thinking of a longshot question. "Do you know the Warboss?"
The two Orks looked at each other, then back at Lana. Nabzorg answered. "I know Orks in Warboss personal guard. Nobz. Why you need know?"
She almost smiled. "You think you could get me in to see the Warboss?"
The jaws on both Orks dropped.
"I need to see the Warboss." She had an idea, speaking directly to Nabzorg. "You could take me in as a prisoner. Show me to the Warboss so I could speak to him."
Nabzorg looked at Trundo. "I think little Space Marine crazy."
"Maybe so...but, you take anyway?" Trundo asked sanely.
"It take me all day to run here." Nabzorg began explaining. By time we get to Warboss HQ, war already start. They shoot little Space Marine on sight."
She patted the side of her shuttle. "We can go in this. It has stealth. I can pilot the shuttle close to the Warboss' HQ, then you can take me in. They'll never see the shuttle. It'll leave once it drops us off."
Trundo looked down, then up, asking seriously. "Me, Gabba, Shyva...we like you, not want you die. You think this only way to stop war?"
Lana, in a way, realized she had gained the friendship of yet another family. She was no longer depressed. However, she answered anyway. "Yes. I think this is the only chance we have. Otherwise, many Orks and Terrans will die."
Trundo slowly smiled and looked at Nabzorg, who smiled also, saying, "so we go. I take you to Warboss as prisoner. You on your own after that."
Suddenly, they all noticed that the sky was getting lighter. They needed to move fast. Lana and Nabzorg got into the shuttle, surprising the hell out of two big Marines, while Trundo returned to his family. In less than a minute, the shuttle disappeared as it took off.