Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Conversations about a Gun

Gade sat down in the courtyard of the caravan compound, leaned his back against the Behemoth's tire and looked across at his almost-complete Tiger heavy gear, Gun. The gear stood silently in the shade, somehow forlorn. His mind played over recent events and the conversations he just had...


"Look, Natty, I just thought that you'd have found at least a radio, you know?" Gade sighed as he peered into the armoured head of the Tiger. Natalia was standing across the gear's torso from him, looking at the same thing: no electronics.

She grunted, somewhat hurt, "Gade dear," this was a warning, "it doesn't work that way. I can't install just a radio. You need all sorts of supporting electronics. And then there's the neural net," she sighed, "or lack thereof. It'd be much easier if we had a neural net to work with."

Gade dismissed her hurt tone. They had agreed that she'd have a solid electronics suite ready when he got back, after all. "Yeah, I know. I would have transferred Scrap, but it took me about two seasons just to get him used to that Iguana. He'd have to be wiped before we put him in here."

That was out of the question, Natalia's pained grimace indicated. "We'll just have to find another N-Net."

"Yeah. Know anyone with anything good?"

"N-Nets are rare in the heaps, you know that," Natalia helped Gade get at the cockpit controls. She sat in his lap.

"But you know someone, don't you?"

"Maybe. Zania's not easy to find. But she owes me," she double-checked the connections and the chips that were intact, "the thing is, you really will need the perfect N-Net."

"Something stubborn like a Barnaby?" Gade chuckled.

"And evil as a Pack Lizard?" Natty caught the reference and started quoting the lines of the old song.

"Fire in its eyes."

"Poison in its gizzard!" Natty laughed. She turned and kissed him happily.


An hour later:

Gade was looking at the state of the armour. Or the lack of armour, it seemed. He could have sworn he had found two wrist pieces, but now there was only one. Eduardo probably took one for a dueling gear he was backing while Gade was away. Didn't matter anyhow, and Gade was still going to be looking for other armour plates regardless.

"Just one more thing to collect," he muttered to no one in particular. A scraping noise on the ground behind him made him stop and turn.

"Ladies," he said, looking unpreturbed by the sudden appearance of Tessa Lin and Karin Hassan.

"Hey Gade," said Tessa, almost sheepishly. The girls had been rather cold to him since Natty arrived on the scene. Karin nodded her greeting.

"Ladies," repeated Gade.

"So, we were thinking," Tessa looked up at the pilot/mechanic, the pitch of her voice rising as she spoke, "that it would be alright if we ... er ... stopped our arrangement. You know..."

"Yes, alright. I think that'll be fine. You don't need me looking out for you anymore, that's for sure," he chuckled, "so you don't have to...?" Gade paused and looked at Karin, who was trying her best not to cry.

"It's ok Gade," Tessa frowned, putting a hand on Karin's shoulder. Gade moved closer to the two girls, comprehending suddenly.

"I'm a little too old for you, Karin. And I'm in the wrong line of work," he looked around at his gear and the caravan, "and I'm from this place."

Karin looked up at him defiantly, "you're a good man, Gade. No matter what stupid stuff you did before, you're a good man. You took us in...after...after..."

Tessa's look of exasperation was all Gade needed, "c'mon girls, there's some armour that needs repairing. Grab a glue gun, we're going in."


Returning from the kitchen with a big piece of salted jerky, Gade found that Gun was already being looked at.

"Carmichael," nodded Gade and chewed slowly. He watched as the older man climbed down off Gun's back and gingerly put his feet to the ground.

"Gade," the reply was typical of Carmichael. He was a Westerner, and he could smell his people a mile away, "nice gear you've got here."

"Yeah, it is."

"Pity about the V-engine though," Carmichael took a swig from his flask and then looked over his shoulder to the spot where the gear's engine pack would be.


"Thought you should know," continued Carmichael without really pausing in the first place, "that if you're looking for a good engine, there's more options than a Jaguar's or another Tiger's."

That caught Gade's attention. Carmichael was actually being helpful. That's when Gade caught the look in his eye. Carmichael was hungry. Carmichael liked gears.

"Yeah," the older man let himself grin as he watched the younger man catch on, "you could probably do some work on a Sidewinder V-engine and get it to run on this machine just fine. It's a WV-series called the 733TCd. I saw the schematics during the War, when we were trading intel on design specs to make logistics easier. Northerners using Southern parts, and vice-versa."

"Thanks Carmichael. I'll keep it in mind."

"Wait son, I'm not done," he growled in retort, eyes gleaming, "the 733TCd is well and good, but the engine you really want. The engine you really, really want..." Carmichael lowered his voice conspiratorially, "is the WC-series they used for the Desert Viper Two. The 760J. It's designed for a gear with no wheels...and when I saw the specs for it, well, I knew right then and there that if you strapped that thing to the back of a Hunter, or, say a Tiger, with a little mods, you'd get some real juice. Perfect for a dueling gear, you might say."


Gade sat in the shade across from Gun, his back against the Behemoth tire and pondered the possibilities. It wouldn't take much to fix Gun up and put him in the tournament. Too bad Gade didn't know the first thing about dueling, or macromoves or any of that stuff. He learned from the ground up and didn't have time to refine his techniques. He sat in the shade as the midday heat made the ground just beyond the shadow sizzle wondering just how he'd figure out the finer points of dueling.

"Hmph," Peter Smit sat down next to him, taking off his hat. Beads of sweat ran down his face, "couldn't sleep," he looked over at Gun, then back at Gade, "yeah, I guess you couldn't either."


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