Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Leaving New Baja

“See Marshal, I told you we’d be ready,” Sasha looked up at Kain Delacroix seriously. She looked considerably healthier since the last time she and the marshal had had words. Her gang of street urchins had been regular volunteers at the Port Tower Revisionist soup kitchen for nearly four weeks now. They had set up shop in an abandoned arcobloc and spent most of their time helping the Revisionist mission. So when Sasha got the word that the evacuation was happening that night, she had every member of her gang - all of them survivors of the Baja Starport – packed and lined up on the street.

Kain couldn’t help but smile. “Good job, deputy. Load ’em up and move ’em out,” he called out dramatically to the driver, tossing his thumb over his shoulder to signal the kids to climb into the Longrunner behind him. They climbed onto the big truck, the children all smiles as they sat on the outside. Kain shrugged. “They’ll get in when the redjackets come out,” he smiled to himself and then climbed up next to Sasha.

“You can live with us, Marshal,” Sasha had to yell over the roar of the truck and the wind. “But I know you’ll probably get some sort of apartment,” she added, realizing that this adult would never live like her and her gang. She hoped the marshal wouldn’t see her blush.

Kain pretended not to hear. He could feel the bitterness ebb away for a moment. It was replaced by sadness. Here was the reason he stayed in Baja in the first place. Here was the reason he decided to help with the evacuation despite it all. The people of New Baja might be making a big mistake moving underground, but they still deserved his help, and these kids most of all.


“You don’t have to leave. You know that, right, Kain?” Lenny Green stood in the street outside the New Baja city hall. The street light flickered quietly and hummed, and the former beat cop looked a little sheepish. “Really. You could stay and--”

“And what Lenny? Get a tan? Enjoy the air? I’m already a Southerner. At least in Newton the lakeshore is above ground.”

“Look, I’m sorry. It’s a surprise to me too. But I think it’s for the best.”

“You just take care of this place, alright, Chief Green?” Kain had little patience for any calming words.

“I will, Mr. Delacroix,” Lenny extended his hand.

There was a moment’s hesitation, but Kain shook it. After throwing his tin star on Lloyd Dunn’s desk, turning on his heel and storming out without a word, it was the least he could do. He got into the jeep, turned the wheel and drove out into the daylight. He had an appointment to keep.


After the evacuation, the ruins of Baja Tower were as private as they could be. So many were killed here during the War and those who remained were on the first trucks to the caves.

So a private booth in an empty bar in the observation deck of a broken, deserted oasis tower is effectively as remote as the far side of Helios.

Andrei Zuttstein sat across from Kain Delacroix. One of his men was just outside.

“It’s a shame it had to end this way, Kain. New Baja is ours now, sure, but everyone’s aware that Dunn’s little stunt is a big ‘fuck you’ to us. He’ll pay for it,” Zuttstein looked a little tired, but that affable, cunning look in his eye was still there. He sipped on a glass of water and wiped his mouth with his shirtsleeve. “You know, had you said yes to me that night in Hassan’s bar, well, it wouldn’t have come to this. I figured that if there was one person who I could trust to let in on this op from the get-go, it’d be you, Delacroix.”

“But no,” he continued, “you had to let these savages get to you. And you liked playing the hero, didn’t you, Kain? Maybe,” he smirked slyly, “maybe you thought that if you had done some good in Baja, it would erase the evil you did here too?”

“I know it doesn’t work like that.”

Andy lifted a remote control and a pressed a button. A trideo screen lit up. A Republican news channel was on. “That Hermes 72 network is something, Kain. Leave it to the CEF to give us poor colonials an unrestricted global news and communications system. They’ll do more damage this way than the entire war, mark my words,” he chuckled. For a moment, Kain recognized his old comrade. Then Andy looked more predatory than ever. He pointed to the screen and smiled. “Ah, there’s the old man.”

On the screen, Kenichi Tenaka, recently deposed commander of the Legion Noire, was walking out of the Palais de Justice in Port Oasis. The caption read: “Tenaka – Not Guilty.”

“A closed military court ruled in favour of Prefect Tenaka today. The former Legion Noire commander has been absolved of all responsibility for civilian massacres that occurred during the Battle of Baja, thanks to the efforts of his defence attorney Louise DeRouen. Furthermore, DeRouen’s own investigation and evidence he collected has implicated terrorists from the Emirate city of Basal for the massacres…”

“Would you look at that,” Andy Pearl closed the monitor. “Two birds with one stone.” He turned to Kain, his face dark and hardened, “Time for you to go, Kain. Don’t come back. We both know the truth of what happened to us in Baja.”


Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.