Friday, October 31, 2008

29 October 2008 Betrayed in principal

Lenny Green, Chief of New Baja police, got up and left the room accompanied by Julie Pajhola. Flanking them as they left were the last four remaining guards in full riot gear.

“Why the hell do you want a place here?” Tom asked Kain after the cadre had left.

“To have a stake in things that are changing. You didn’t know DeValmont Doctor, she was a pistol, if her sister is anything like her and becomes major, New Baja may have someone sufficiently independent to keep the AST at bay, and that pleases me.”

Chambers just sat there slowly shaking his head. He was well past the point of negotiation or strategy. He looked over at Sam, the only person more annoyed than him in the room. Sam was making up a list in his head, a list of people to kill. Chambers wasn’t that far gone, he was still capable of reasonable thinking and he was putting that to use trying to come up with the best tactical way out of this mess. No, nowhere near as far gone as Sam yet, but not nearly as far along as Kain, Chambers wasn’t getting over this travesty just yet.

As for Gade, well, who the hell cared what Gade was going through! Tom was able to see that Hassan kidnapping charge that Green used to pull them off the streets was trumped up, Green had told them as much, but Gade didn’t give Tom and Kain the benefit of reasoning it out for themselves. He withheld information and in light of this and his other recent weaknesses, Tom was watching the scales of trust tip against the gear duelist.

“Is it OK if I kill Miss Julie?”

The cold delivery, the innocent tone of the question was enough to shock Tom out of his fitful reverie. Tom didn’t know how to answer right away. Alright, so Sam was really pissed-off and trying to occupy his mind but to ask that about the woman that Tom loved? As much as the question was revolting in its sincerity, Tom was more disgusted but the hesitation it elicited in him. He had to think about it and it was making him physically ill.

Tom chalked it up to anger and a sense of betrayal. He hadn’t been this incensed since Kain pulled the little disappearing act before entering Kayr-ad Din and left him holding the bag. At first Tom couldn’t see why he was so mad, the two situations were so completely different, but as he applies reason to the wound like a balm, he soothed himself into a frame of mind allowing for better insight.

Upon some reflection, he saw obvious parallels between the two instances. In both cases he was caught off guard and unprepared for the emotional weight of the situation. To Tom, information was something inherently desired, not only a means to an end but an end unto itself. He needed to know, he reacted badly to the unforeseen and his inability to prepare and anticipate was a personal failure driving him to doubt and self deprecation. Tom knew he was mad at himself for not seeing this coming. ‘This was supposed to be a holiday’ Kain’s words echoed in his mind and Tom knew that he had left his guard down.

A luxury he could ill afford and he as paying the price. And like a vicious slap to the face he knew why he had been blind.

“No Sam, you can’t kill her, she’s going to run the casino, Besides, you can’t kill anyone yet, were negotiating.”

Kain’s even response was meant to cool heads, he was taking this in stride after all. But Tom was still queasy. He could rationalize the situation and see his own overreaction, his own failure and push past that, but there was true, deep and affecting betrayal. Miss Julie has ensnared him, had not trusted him, she had delivered him to the witless Green and his amateurish plan. She sent them right to Hassan’s place; no wonder the cops were there before they even had time to check in. She had personally betrayed him, he tried to see her point of view, tried to mitigate the situation with hypotheticals involving pressure and outside dangers he was ignorant of but it was all for not. She had betrayed him. If she had needed him, he would have moved the Pacifica range to come to her aid. But she didn’t call on him, he fell into her web and she delivered him to Green as a convenient tool to get whatever they needed done.

“The difference between you and me Kain is that you left here disillusioned and disenfranchised by New Baja, I left with my illusions intact and now... You expected this from them, I know, but I didn’t. I never expected her,them to do this to me.”

Cold flame licked at every word as they poured from Tom like the tongue of an acetylene torch. Only no one was burnt or cut by his words save Tom himself. In fact he could see relief in Kain’s eyes. Yes, something had changed, Kain must have been apprehensive about latent loyalties but Tom was in the same boat as him now and that just garnered more of the southerner’s elusive trust.

“I guess you know what it feels like now.” Kain said, as if he need to.

“I’m serious I’m going to kill people.” Sam continued on his quiet and repetitive tirade.

‘Yeah’ thought Tom, that might feel good just about now. “Kain, get them back in here so we can settle this and get the hell out of this hole”

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Cost/Benefit Analysis

"Okay, everyone, listen up."

Kain stood on the wide rear bumper of Uptown, looking down on the assembled crew. Konnor and the Cardanos stood off to one side, and Jarlson and a handful of his mercs sat amongst the Dak Paracommandos, who had been demonstrating their technique using the "airplane hand" technique embraced universally across humanity. The merry-making in the wake of the Green Gang's defeat had continued for a number of days now. Not that work wasn't being done; in fact, efficiency was being maintained, according to the work orders Avatanya was returning to him. Rather, the pressure of being in constant readiness for the past season had finally been released, and the caravaners were eager to live life a little looser than before. Watches, of course, were still being kept, and Kain and Kelly had a good patrol schedule worked out. Just in case.

"I have a few announcements.

First, in consultation with Doctor Chambers, it has been agreed that Tessa Lin and Karin Hassan have more than proven their worth to this caravan. I am satisfied with their marksmanship--I think them unlikely to shoot any of us 'by mistake'--and their overall commitment and level of skill now entitles them to full share status as members of this caravan!"

Both girls were clearly surprised by the announcement. Their reaction wavered for a moment between eye-rolling and delighted whoops before setting in as wide, delighted smiles. Kain gave them a nod.

"Second, as far as caravaning goes, we haven't done much of that. I hope you haven't become too comfortable here in Trash Town, because it is finally time to roll out. Our official departure date is 6 Autumn, 1919. This means that, if there are any essential luxuries you can't face returning to the Badlands without, you should get them soon!

To assist you, my third announcement is...a cash bonus.

Every single damned one of you has again demonstrated that a finer crew could not be found. You are the toughest, most determined, orneriest, professional, completely insane band of raggedy-assed rolling merchant/fighters in the Badlands! You deserve to get paid! I'd be afraid not to! Ellen will cash you out, or let you reinvest according to the usual terms.

Lastly, and this is an announcement I regret to make, the Doc and I and a handful of others have to take a quick detour. We'll be leaving the caravan in the capable hands of Avatanya and linking back up with you later. I know I can count on you all.

So, charge your glasses...and let's have a toast to the [insert cool name...The Guild? The Awesomesauce?] caravan!"

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tigger and Green

At the Battle of Baja, TN1917...

"Sergeant," Captain Bell saluted and then nodded. It was early morning, and B-Company's commander had actually managed a two-hour sleep. It was a well-earned luxury out in the hills surrounding the CEF-held city of Baja. The Bad Boys of B-Company would be going into the thick of it today, having spent the last two days hiking in their gears, getting into position to flank a major CEF outpost.

"Good morning Cap'n," the young mechanic replied quietly. He had slept an hour. Tigger had needed some major work. But the mechanic was certain he had done his job right.

Tigger was the Sabertooth Heavy Gear that Bell drove. A command variant of the Tiger heavy trooper gear, Tigger was fast, lethal and well-protected. Extra armour around the cockpit was standard for the Sabertooth. That was good, since Captain Bell led from the front. His only request was that his gear be tended to with extra care.

"Rough night Sergeant?" Bell looked positively radiant compared to the scruffy mechanic. Neither man had shaved or bathed in over three weeks, "I suppose you'll be able to get your rest soon enough. Let's see what Tigger says."

"You betcha, Captain," replied the mechanic. He had already started up the gear's APU and was running one last diagnostic. He scratched his chin, tugging at the whiskers there. He'd have to shave, despite the sand and the fatigue. Didn't Vasquez have a solar powered trimmer?

Bell climbed into Tigger's cockpit and fired up the engines. He plugged into the communications system.

"She's purring like a kitten. Good job, sergeant."

"Thank you sir. It was nothing."

"That's probably a lie. There's something waiting for you at the PX after you get a bit of shut-eye," Bell's voice was even, but he certainly appreciated how much work went into getting a gear that had been through three weeks of cross-country travel ready for a crucial assault. Other gear engines were starting up in the distance, "gotta get moving Sergeant. See you on the flip side."

"Sir, I still don't know what that means."

"That's alright Sergeant," Bell chuckled as Tigger began loping towards the rally point, "neither do I!"

The mechanic watched as the Sabertooth half-skated and half-prowled around a bend. Tigger had been doing that before he had been assigned to the gear. He shook his head. No one could explain why the neural net insisted on that sloppy start, and only after maintenance work had been done. Captain Bell insisted that at all other times Tigger responded with 'great bounce.'

"Hey Sergeant, where's my gear?"

"Oh, hi Lieutenant Green," the mechanic turned to see the sneering face of the company's XO, "she's right over here." The Mauler Bear, an anti-GREL machine loaned to the Bull Dogs for the assault, was under a camouflage tarp.

"You got her ready?" Green sneered, "I've got lots of work to do today."

"Everything checks out sir. Good hunting."

Green Anton nodded.

Friday, October 24, 2008

All we ever do is talk: Part 3

Ellen was busy at work. Between the tournament, the Badlands Caravan Guild and the new confounded Casino idea, she was swamped in paper work. She heard the office door chime and looked up as Konnor came striding in. He flashed her his patented smile and a wave of his hand. But before she had time to speak Tom was out from his office and by her side. She frowned. She never got to have any fun.

"Konnor!" the Doc began, "good timing! Come on in. Ellen drop whatever you’re doing."

'Sure,' Ellen thought, standing while managing to stifle a sigh, 'it's just your work anyway.'

She and Konnor entered the Doctor's office. It was a little less sparse now that a number of trinkets and ornaments from various sponsors adorned the shelves and walls. Bill Pearce was sitting in a chair opposite Tom's desk. Ellen sat on the couch with Konnor and took out her electronic note pad and stylus. Tom pulled his chair from around the desk and scooted up close to them next to Bill. Before speaking he surveyed the faces around him.

"I’m leaving town for a while and I need you all to hold the fort," Doc Chambers began, "Bill, the caravan is pulling out of Khayr-ad Din by week's end. Right now it’s our second best recruiting tool and I need you to keep doing what you've been doing until we pulled into this trash heap. Talk to caravaners, homesteaders and clans and get them onboard. You guys will be moving a bit. Ben and Avatanya will be in charge of destinations, but wherever you go, you are the diplomatic corps. Keep the message alive in my absence Bill." Tom slapped Bill on the back. The young man and the Doc had gotten pretty close since Bill had been shot. Ellen swallowed hard and kept taking notes.

"Which brings us to our number one publicity device," Tom turned to Konnor who had the good sense to realize that the Doc was talking about him, "I would just like to congratulate you, Konnor, on another great score yesterday in the dueling tournament. You are doing wonders for the BCG. Why, Ellen can barely keep up with the applications and the ballots for the Neil Motor Works prize."

Ellen smirked. She was keeping up just fine. The Doc continued:

"I need you to do me a favour Konnor. Whatever happens in the tournament, I need you to represent the BCG next week when we draw the winner for the Longrunner. I spoke with the NMW rep and some of the Spider's people, and we're all doing a hoopla just before the end of this series. Will you do it?”

Konnor shifted a bit in the Barnaby-leather couch. "Uh Doc, I can do the thing, that’s no big deal, but I got a question: if the caravan is moving out, um, well I hate to seem ungrateful but..."

Tom waived him off and stopped him from stammering.

"I’m sorry Konnor, I’m going about this all backwards. First things last and all. I’ve just finish a lease deal with the Spider’s midget today: we have a place for you and the Cardanos to set up shop to continue working on your gear. Trust me, you’ll find it a bit roomier than sharing the Cave with Gade and Carmichael. In fact, you will be kind of christening it." Doc Chambers smiled at Konnor's confused look. It wasn't that Konnor was stupid. It was just that he had other things on his mind nearly all the time. All the logistics that the Doc was so good at didn't come easily to Konnor at all. But that's what Hector Cardano and his son Leon were for.

"You see, this is a gear bay capable of housing a score of gears, it will be the base of our duelist-themed casino. The high rollers'll come to gamble where the Duelists work on their gears and carouse. It’s actually just outside my window here, right next to this tower."

Tom was up now and pointing out of the office window. Konnor just smiled.

"Doc, you guys are too nice. And just think, if I hadn't scrounged up Gade's big ol' revolver like that out in the Maze, we'd have never met." Konnor chuckled as he followed Tom's finger to a little patch of free space in the Core, "alright, sure, me and Hector and Leon...we can handle that sort of thing."

Tom sat back down and looked smug. He turned his attention to Ellen and some of his joviality waned. She was sitting crossed legged, her arms crossed, with an accusing brow raised right at Tom. He cleared his throat and tried to regain a cool disposition.

"Ellen, I need..."

"Save it Doctor Chambers," Ellen used Tom's full title to denote just how nonplussed she was. "I’m not going to stay here alone while you take Sam to run off somewhere and the Caravan leaves town. What am I supposed to do in Khayr-ad Din alone? I didn’t sign up for this."

"Ellen, please." Bill and Konnor did their best to admire the scenery.

"No." Ellen had learned much from the other strong female caravan members.

"But Ellen, no one else-" the Doc began.

"Take as much crap from you," she interjected, "I know" pause, "I told you before, I don’t work for you."

"Ellen," the Doc knew that he wasn't going to get any help from Bill.

"Save it, I’m sorry," she said flatly, "I don’t want to make a scene Doctor."

"Guys, will you step outside just a minute?" Tom breathed out slowly, "Konnor stick around. I want to show the place."

Bill and Konnor left the room with obvious relief and closed the office door behind them. Ellen sat resolute, her position was the same, her body language was unmistakable.

"Actually, Ellen," Tom began, "you work for the caravan and the lines are pretty blurred where that ends and where the Guild begins. We all have our roles, for some of us like Jo and Pete that means taking bullets. I can’t do much more for them, but they are staying here in town under medical supervision and that means someone has to stay here with them. I am taking Sam on a little trip to try and see what I can do to shake him out of the funk that has lingered over him since we got here. I am also going to go and take care of a personal matter and try and make up for a very big mistake I made at the expense of the woman I hope will forgive me and spend the rest of her days with me. But the larger picture is that the Guild needs to be stable here for a while and the Casino is still in its fledgling phase. I need you to do your part and allow me to do mine. I need you to stay here with the wounded and maintaining this base of the organization that Bill is going out there to help build. Will you do that for the caravan if not for me?"

Ellen didn’t make eye contact with Doctor Chambers. The edge in his voice, the switch from his exited cheery disposition to the stern paternal figure that chastised her sense of devotion made her shy away from his eyes. She thought he was being selfish at first, but it was about duty. It was always about duty. He was doing his and she had to do hers. She simply nodded, and he didn’t say anything as he left.

All we ever do is talk: Part 2

Kain sat on the sandy desert soil. The sky was dark, save where stars twinkled and the points on the horizon where Khayr-ad Din shone brightly and the caravan compound eeked out a faint glow. He breathed deeply, slowing his heart rate. He tried to feel the earth beneath him and the energy which traveled from the core of the world to the point in his center. He could hear Koldur’s voice clearly in his head:

"Feel the strength from the sands fill you. Become that strength."

As his senses expanded in the martial art-induced meditative state, he was aware of the approach of two men long before he could hear the soft sound of sand shifting under feet. He opened his eyes, un-alarmed as he knew who to expect. Tom dropped down in front of him, a smile barely discernible on his face in the dark. As he sat, from behind the doctor, appeared Ben. Taking a cue from his guide he sat next to Tom facing Kain.

"Thanks for coming out Ben," Kain began, "the Doc and I wanted a bit of privacy to discuss things."

"And here I thought you were going to whack me," came Ben’s soft reply.

"Benjamin, if I killed you, I would be depriving myself of the pleasure of watching you suffer through each day knowing I am right and you are wrong."

"About what Kain?"

"Uh, everything? I thought that would be obvious by now."

"Kain what you consider to be self-evident is the product of your own delusional narcissism, not reason. As such, only you can perceive this constructed world in which you claim to be right." Ben's retort had a hint of pontification in it.

Tom interjected before Kain could reply: "Gentlemen, I am not a sufficient audience for you both to begin yet another ideological demolition derby."

"Very well Doctor, we’ll come to the point. Ben, Tom and I are going away for a short while."

"We’re taking Sam and Gade with us to." Tom threw in. Kain continued.

"Avatanya will be running the day-to-day operations of the caravan while we are gone; you guys are hitting the road again. I need you to look into the names on that list while you are out there."

Ben nodded sagely; there was gravity in Kain’s voice as he mentioned the list.

"Ok, is that it?" said Ben.

Kain just looked at him through the dark before Tom spoke up.

"Yeah, that’s it. You and Avatanya work out the route together. We already told her to defer to you on all questions of navigation and scheduling. You should also know that Bill will be speaking to you to know where the caravan is going."

"When are we moving?" Ben asked.

"Just as soon as we hand over the Sedated Six to the Marshall after tomorrow," said Kain, who paused before adding, "I don’t need to tell you just what-"

"No Kain, if there is someone you don’t have to have to explain anything to, it’s me," Ben cut in quickly.

It was only when Tom felt the mandatory ominous silence between the two old "friends" had made a sufficiently dramatic mark on everyone present, that he finally spoke. "Gentlemen, I think we could all use a drink."

All we ever do is talk: Part 1

“Kain, I need to get back to New Baja.” Doc Chambers started without preamble. He and Delacroix had been sitting in lawn chairs observing an impromptu ball game that had sucked in a dozen members of the caravan crew. In spite of urging by Karin and Tessa, the newly-dubbed R/C twins, Kain and Tom were quite content to sit it out and play the role of referee on an occasional call.

It was the day following the assault on the Green compound and spirits were running both high and liberally depending on the sport. At the moment, the two spectators were imbibing their spirits along with ice and a tropical Southern fruit juice.

“You know part of why I have to go," the Doc continued, "and you could guess at the rest. I need to talk to Dunn face-to-face and settle some accounts. I also need to talk to Julie.”

“About the casino?” Kain asked before taking a long draft of his beverage. The Doc gave him a non-committal look and Kain just smiled. “Ok, I can’t begrudge you your taste Tom, she is quite the woman.”

Tom smiled somewhat sheepishly from behind his glass, drips of condensation beading down. The moment came and went as a furrow creased his brow.

“I want to take Sam with me, keep him busy you know; maybe a change of scenery will do him some good. Come to think of it, I might suggest that even Gade might want to come?” Tom had fixed his gaze on Natty by this point. The young woman was running to catch a long ball, hands extended.

Kain just looked at his partner for a moment and then let it pass. “Hell doctor, I think I could use a vacation too. Let’s go get out of the sun in New Baja”

Thursday, October 23, 2008

23 October 2008 Flying yellow death from above.

Ms. Elira Nandy
Suite 302, Colbrook way.
Badlands Quarter, Peace River.

Fall 5, TN 1919

Dear Mother,

Though I will always be your son, I write you now as a man. Today I stand a little taller, a little prouder. I know that I am more than what I was before and for the first time I don’t know my limits.

Like many great men and woman of our generation, I have now been tempered in the fires of pitched battle. I experience my own personal Baja yesterday.

I told you about the troubles we’ve had, attacked on end by rovers and rogue gears; well it has all been orchestrated by a disaffected tyrant by the name of Green Anton. This puke has been after us since we got to town and it wasn’t plain bullying, he was out for blood.

Well yesterday we showed him. I am man enough to admit I had some reservations when Kain Delacroix, our leader, picked me to join the assault team, but you should have heard the speech. It wasn’t for me, it was for everyone else. He told them all he had faith in me, that I was going to make them proud.

We were a special infiltration unit, part of a greater all-out assault on Green by a mixed force of paraglider commandos, mercenary gear units and infantry. Green was held up in a fire base, confident in his bastion. We had to go in and root the coward out.

We entered through a secret tunnel but soon were in danger of being uncovered and the whole plan would have fallen apart. It was all up to me to save the entire attack. Kain and I heard an approaching sentry drone, as the others pulled back he and I deftly climbed to the ceiling and held in silent wait for our prey. Kain dropped behind it to attach the fiber optic wire, while I managed, still clinging from the rafters, to pull the fastest hack ever and deactivate the drone while it was still moving. It was brilliant. Ever the quiet professionals, there was no time for self congratulation, we pushed on.

We entered the base in the gear and tank motor pool bays and split up. The Doc and his team stayed there to cover our retreat and disable as many gears as possible so they would be combat ineffective. Me and my team moved deeper into the heart of the base, straight to the command center to deal the critical blow.

This is when things got hairy Mom, this is where the men are separated from the boys and techno geeks from the warriors. The Paraglider commandos delivered their attack. Muffled whoomfs alerted us to their job well done. Then we took it up a notch: Mortar fire. Our support was pelting our enemy with mortar fire and finally the most brilliant bit of unconventional weaponry since the wooden horse, we flew in a tanker truck and dropped it on them like a giant incendiary bomb.

Using the main assault as a distraction we assaulted the command tower and surgically overtook their security room. Inevitably though, our luck ran out and we started meeting real resistance. Sam got pinned down in the cross-fire, but he was a constant hail of silent death from his pistols. I had taken up a strategic position out of fire, Kain was trying to get to a vantage position. Avatanya, who is mentally ill, blew up a perfectly good wall instead of using the doors to try and get around behind the enemy. A lot of grenades went off all over. I saw my life pass before my eyes and then Josephina was hit. Time slowed down but before I knew it, it was all over. Apparently Sam had used a large explosive called a satchel charge. It was a pitched battle. I saw Kain kill a man with the butt of his rifle. Blood lust can affect some of us like that in battle.

Meanwhile the Doc and team B came under fire and pulled back, they managed to skirt around the attacking force and come back up behind them, that’s called outflanking. A strategic mistake pitted them against 4 gears. Under normal circumstances they should have been finished, but Gade made a suicidal attack with another satchel charge to save his comrades. You know, I’ve heard about heroics, but when you get down to it, you just do what you gotta do to save the comrade next to you. I get that now. The Doc jumped into a gear and took out another opponent and Gade, still recklessly fighting against the laws of probabilities took on a rather large gear, a modern day David and Goliath.

I moved to the communication room and broke through the jamming so our main force could advance. We used remote guided axel-born explosive devices. That’s guerrilla warfare talk for car bombs with R/C. They were so demoralized when we started dropping big yellow dump truck of death from the sky on their heads! That is when they gave up.

Gade caught Green trying to escape in a gear and that is pretty much it. Today is another day, the beginning of the rest of my life. I know its hard to understand, I didn’t understand until I went through it, but there is a powerful bond that binds us together. I know I am now more than just part of the team, more than just their resident genius, I am now a brother.

I love you Mother.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Preparations 2

"Alright, try it now!" Natalia called into the comm, a little frustrated.

There was a moment's hesitation and then a loud whoosh came from the Spitting Cobra's two rocket packs. They were firing in unison. This made Natalia very happy.

"Excellent!" Ari replied through the comm, "great work Natty."

"Thank you Mendelbaum," Natty smiled tightly to herself. The Spit's fire control system was rather cantankerous, and it took her a few hours to get the two rocket packs to talk to each other through the gear's neural net. Still, she noted that Kain would no longer be pestering her about linking the two rocket packs. That was something.

"Alright, I'm ready to try the designator," Sam's voice was eager in the Iguana.

"Copy that," Avatanya and Josephina were ready with the first guided shell for the caravan's heavy mortar, captured long ago in the final battle with the New Baja Gang.

"Oh man, it feels weird using this mortar," Sam rambled a bit. It was true. The two heavy mortars of the New Baja Gang had caused much havoc for the Regulators back in Baja. This would be the first time the weapon would be fired since its capture. "Target designated. Fire when ready."

Josephina and Avatanya nodded to each other, gently lifting the large shell into the breech of the mortar. Most mortars were fed from the muzzle, but this weapon was so large that it had a breech. Lifting a 45kg shell over your shoulders was deemed impractical by the Paxton team that designed the mortar so long ago. The two women backed away from the mortar and hid behind a low wall. The shell had been modified to hold a guidance chip and deploy fins for terminal guidance. Tampering with artillery was never a good idea. Josephina held the remote trigger.


The mortar kicked down with a loud thump.

"Hey, guys, any day now. This is getting ... whoah." Sam stopped talking when the round impacted with a loud explosion.

"Well?" Avatanya asked.



"What was I aiming for again?" Sam asked, "because, it's not here. Neither is the shack that used to be next to it. The designator works."


Kain looked at his visitors with the skeptical look fathers tended to reserve for their children's more peculiar requests.

"Aww..." Tessa and Karin whined in unison, "but everyone else is busy! It's so boring! C'mon Kain, we can help!"

"I just think it's better if you stayed here with Peter, Ellen and the Imashen, just in case we need to get moving quickly," he replied.

"But...but..." Karin recovered first, "but we're better at it than anyone else in the whole caravan!"

That elicited a raised eyebrow from Kain, "really now?"

Both teenagers nodded solemnly.

Kain hit a button and spoke into a mic, "hey, Gade, what's the range on those R/C units you're putting into the trucks?"

There was a pause for a moment. Kain kept his eyes on the datapad he had been looking over until Gade replied.

"About 2km, give or take."

"And how many trucks do we have?"

"Three ramp trucks, and..." Gade paused as he checked with the rest of the crew working on the trucks, "a half dozen flyers."

"Thanks Gade. Your pilots should be there in about five minutes," Kain flipped the comm off and turned to the two girls, "under no circumstances are you to talk to any of the mercs unless there's an emergency. Once all the trucks are deployed, you are to take a jeep back to the caravan and wait with Ellen. If your position comes under fire, keep your heads down, crawl back to the jeep, and meet Ellen at the caravan. Wear medium flak. Take your sidearms. Do not use them unless you absolutely have to. Are we clear?"

"Crystal!" replied Tessa sharply. Karin nodded.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

No Stealth Suit Required

The Core tower radiated heat in the noonday sun. The central oasis tower rose up from the trash of Khayr-ad Din and anyone willing to suffer Helios' harsh rays was treated to a spectacular view of the ramshackle trash city from up on the observation deck. Sergeant Eric Grossman, formerly of Les Parachutistes Infanterie Maritimes 21ere Regiment, was braving the heat, gazing out onto the city below him.

"You know," Grossman talked to himself, a habit he picked up during the war, "we need a name. And we need a way into that base."

The paraglider assault was a key component of this scheme Kain and Doc Chambers cooked up. Grossman was being paid well, and that meant that his end of the bargain had to be upheld. The lack of a team name was also a problem. It bothered him that the six of them couldn't come up with a name. Especially since this would be their first airborne strike since the war. It wouldn't be right to go into battle without a unit name. He leaned back against the bench and squinted up into the sky.

"Wow, it's hot. What do they say? 'Mad Dawgs and Norlights go out into the noonday sun.'" Grossman chuckled. He supposed that made him a Norlight then. Before the war, the idea would have been insulting. Now it just made him laugh. He watched the daks circle high in the sky; the ambient temperature meant that the large flying lizards didn't have to flap their leathery wings - there were plenty of thermals to keep them afloat.

Grossman smiled. He just solved both his problems. He just had to get inside before his brain baked in this heat.

Friday, October 17, 2008


Slow down.
Breath, breath, breath.
Concentrate on the breath and slow everything down.
In, out, inhale, exhale.
Slower, slower, slower.
Focus and…squeeze.

Careful not to move, not to tense up, the action is over but it is one in a continuous flow.
I adjust my sights, I look closely, inspect the target area and see the contact.


Still breathing, I focus on the breath, on the action as a transient moment through which intent travels on the way to purpose. It is both its own end and a means to another end, like each breath it serves its purpose but is part of breathing which itself is just another part of a greater whole. A fractal image of cause and effect.

Inhale, exhale. In, out. The bolt slides in driving the 10 mm bullet into the breach and out as it slips back to locked position for firing. Smooth as breath, I do not falter, I do not strain, I focus on the target. Focus. Concentrate. Inhale. Squeeze. Exhale.


Slowly each movement flows like a concerto, each action a note, a singular perfection in harmony to create perfection in unison. Concentrate, breath, cut. Slowly end the incision in a flowing arc upwards. Keep the pressure constant, you are the scalpel, its part of you and through it you express action drawn from the inner intent. Move slowly. Move ever so slowly.


Precision is a form of prayer, a meditation which allows the soul and the body to communicate through the act of concentration. Focusing though the sights of a rifle or on the line of a scalpel is one and the same. Center on the intent, on the action, not the circumstance. This is how you get through murdering your enemy from 400 meters or a dear friend from 4 mm.

Breath, breath, slow down and concentrate.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Preparations 1

"Alright people, listen up," Kelly's sous-sergeant voice rang out in the open space between all the Longrunner trucks, "we've got a full week ahead of us," she looked around at the assembled caravan crew, her gray-eyed gaze settling on each of them for a moment: just long enough to leave an impression. It was a talent well-honed on this crew.

"A really tough, long week. I'll read out the roster assignments and you'll get to work ASAP."

Everyone fidgeted. Ari scratched himself and grunted.

"Brom, you're on trucks. Same goes for Trishaw," everyone knew Kelly meant business when she addressed the crew by their last names. It meant that she alphabetized and categorized the list on the datapad she now held in her hand, "Imashen, you'll be helping them."

"Knox, get your medical supplies in order. You'll be liasing with Jarlson's people to establish a casualty collection point."

"Mendelbaum, you'll be prepping gears. I don't know how many of ours will be involved, but you had best get them all stocked, fueled and ready to roll."

Kelly looked down at her datapad and nodded, "Meredine, you'll be doing some optimizing on the Spit. Link the rocket packs. Then see if you can't scrounge us up a Target Designator for the Iggy."

Natty nodded, taking down notes on her own electronic notebook.

"Trishaw, once you and Brom are done trucks, go help Mendelbaum."

Then Kelly took a deep breath and read off her list: "Cantor, Dragushan, Meredine, Nandy, Pearce, you'll be doing small unit infiltration techniques and some range time with me," she looked at Prabal Nandy while tried not to sneer, "joy."

"You've got your chores. Meet me back here in ten minutes for some calisthenics," Kelly LeBeaux frowned. Everyone departed.

Everyone but Prabal Nandy.

"Er, excuse me, Kelly," he began, nervously looking over his shoulder as he approached her, "I think you made a mistake."

"Oh?" that statement brought an eyebrow up. Kelly was already checking another list on her datapad, and hadn't yet looked up at Prabal.

"Yeah, want me to do infiltration tactics and ... calisthenics? Range time? With you guys?" Prabal didn't know if he should be terrified, indignant or possibly flattered.

"No," Kelly began, still looking down at her work, "I don't want you anywhere near a firing range, Nandy. But Delacroix thinks that you might be useful on this job, so if he decides to take you along, I figure you had better not get me killed," Kelly's angry eyes were leveled at Prabal.

"..." the hapless computer hacker was in over his head.

"What the fuck do you want, Nandy?"

"Do I get to carry a shotgun? I think I'd like a shotgun." Prabal was in over his head, but he didn't know it yet.

"Oh fuck me," Kelly growled. Then she stomped off.


The plan called for a small fleet of trucks to be loaded with explosives. It made perfect sense to her. There was some hair-brained plan to use trucks with ramps built over top of them as a way of driving trucks over the walls too, but that didn't concern her.

No, Avatanya Brom's only job was to rig trucks to explode. It was strange, she thought, that she had never actually done this before. The last time she drove a truck like this, someone else had rigged the charges. They didn't go off, thus sparing her life as she collided with a CEF convoy truck during the Battle of Baja.

She chuckled as she worked on the detonator of the first truck that was delivered to her. The irony of the situation was not lost on her. She thought back to Emil Brahms, the other Regulator with any real demolitions experience. When he heard Avatanya's story, he nodded sagely, and then calmly explained why the charges had failed to fire.

"I should have cold-cocked him right there," she mumbled to herself. Instead, Avatanya had listened intently: professional interest. It was entirely rational to know why she had lived. It meant that if it were to come to suicide trucks again, there'd be no misfires. Entirely rational, back then, in the aftermath of the War.

"I've gone soft," Avatanya shook her head ruefully.

"Yeah, I bet you have," a gruff male voice replied.

A scowl already formed across her face, "Carmichael, didn't expect you to be here yet," she said without looking up from her work.

Carmichael leaned on his cane, looking over the collection of trucks small and large. He grunted and wordlessly walked over to a lawn chair near one of the trucks. There was a little twinkle in his eye as he considered making trouble with Avatanya. But there was real work to be done. He took out a small portable computer and double-checked the designs he had drawn up. Ramps on the backs of trucks. He shook his head and smiled. This was his sort of plan.

Friday, October 10, 2008

09 October 2008 Showdown

"I tell you, I've never seen anything quite like it." Malone spoke earnestly; his wide-eyed expression communicating more fully the incredulity he felt.

"We came out of the meeting with them, and the saloon was deserted. I mean empty. Not closed. Cleared out in a hurry, food-still-on-the-stove, drinks-in-glasses-on-the-tables empty. Bushwhacked. Delacroix and his crew, they seemed to know what was up immediately. All he says is, 'You didn't leave a guard outside? Us neither. Oh well.' That's what he said. 'Oh well.' Like, 'I left the fan on. Oh well.' Or, 'Left the lights in the car on. Oh well.' And then it got crazier.

"Two of 'em, the doctor fellow and the dirty one with the huge knife, they went to check out the back. I swear on the grave of my mother, all we heard was shootin', yellin', the crash of bodies, and explosions-- What? Yes, explosions, as in multiples thereof. We heard that stuff, saw some smoke, and then they came back, covered in blood, blackened by smoke, and, may the Prophet strike me down if I lie, literally peppered with shrapnel. Sticking out of their armour, all over 'em.

"And if that...if that weren't enough, while that was happenin' out back, in front, that crazy sumbitch with the revolvers, he's outside facing off against four of them. I couldn't hear much of what they were saying, but what I did hear din't make no sense. Tarmalin, that's his name. He's talkin' and talkin', and suddenly there's a shot. I didn't know at the time, but Tarmalin shot their leader, Bill West, a cold hombre if I ever met one, square in the face from all the way across the road. I didn't get close enough to tell, but I think Delacroix said he shot West through the mouth. Blew the back of his head out. There were some other shots, and then Delacroix charged out, hefted an LMG out of their truck, and opened up. He cut one of them off at the legs. You remember Sonnegan? Like that. Stitched across the knees. Tarmalin killed another, while under fire from Green's sniper, and then Delacroix fed a couple of bursts up onto the roof and it was over. Four of them, totally bushwhacked, and they took out all 7 of Green's top men.

"With no casualties. Tarmalin took one in the shoulder, but otherwise they were untouched.

"When Chambers first sketched in his crackpot ideas, and Delacroix started going on about paragliders, I thougt their whole portion of this op was gonna be a wash. Cracker-jack nutjobs don't belong in the field with senseible folks. But after watching this...being there...well, it puts a bit of a different perspective on it.

"I guess what I mean is, there is no doubt that these guys are crazy. But hell, crazy like a fox."

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

02 October 2008 Medical Log

Dr T. Chambers
TN 1919, S35

(Sigh)Attack on caravan compound by mortar fire, two wounded one fatality. KIA: Pankat, Loran, 22…just 22 cycles. Fatal trauma from propelled secondary explosive materials. Probable cause of death was blood loss from multiple points of entry, notably, right carotid artery. He didn’t suffer. At least, that’s what I told his sister. Patient: Lin, Tessa, 18 cycles…Some minor lacerations and haematomas, minor displacement of the femoral, braced with splint and topical dermal trauma treated with standard sealant. She’ll be fine, maybe a bit freaked, but she’s from Baja, she’ll be fine. Patient: Smit, Peter, 52 cycles. Peter took major shrapnel wounds, perforation of the kidney, left lung which subsequently collapsed broken humerus, dislocated right shoulder with possible rotator cuff lateral tear, Right tibia compound open fracture with associated nervous and veinous damage. I’ve splinted the fractures, Knox and I managed to inflate the lung and derma-staple the affected internal organs. I started him up on an IV of anticoagulants to prevent clotting...goddamit it was close! I am so out of practice…Personal note: start working on your damned field surgery skills again doctor.

Additional. Medical File update for patient Salome. Tendon and ligament damage to right hand. Complete loss of use, given the extent of the trauma, conventional plastic reattachment will be futile, full re-growth candidate. Though I hope no one bothers with the bitch.

Medical File update for patient Voneran, Gade. Open subfile on ICD-10 code F19. Found stimulants in his bunk confirming suspicion I’ve had for some time now. He has displayed a psychotic break characterised by anhedonia and severe apathy. Possible atypical personality defect or traumatic relapse. Personal note: Kain thinks he’s feeling displaced guilt, which seems like a pretty good assessment, not suprisingly though, he does have the insight in to the mind of a sociopath. I guess I do have to beef up my psychiatry after all.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Bloodless Coup

Somewhere in the Westridge Range...

Medalev sighed with some satisfaction. His rag-tag band of men - human troopers and GREL soldiers alike, hovertanks, hover-APCs, some trucks - were now slowly picking their way through the mountains. After the mountains, it was the accursed dune seas of the Barrington Basin. But in the Basin: WestBase, the rendezvous point for all stranded CEF personnel on Terranova.

"It's gonna get worse before it gets better," Major Medalev grunted to himself. He looked at the detail of Mordreds trying to un-stick one of the column's trucks. Each of them was over 300 pounds of pure muscle, gristle and bone. They fumbled over the lever and nearly tipped the entire truck over onto its side. The Jan GREL supervising them started yelling loudly.

"No brains," Medalev grimaced from the top of the APC.

"Sir!" Upton was pointing from the other hatch. Medalev turned from the GRELs and followed Upton's finger. He saw a party of about a half-dozen, all on foot, picking their way through the rocks above the column, heading towards it.

"Shit," Medalev had raised his binoculars for a closer look, and then lowered them in disgust. They were almost certainly CEF stragglers. The last thing Medalev, or anyone in this convoy, needed were more mouths to feed. No matter how much he hated himself for it though, Medalev wasn't going to turn them away. The poor major, however, was in for a rude surprise.


"Major Medalev," the squat, dark-skinned woman in CEF fatigues saluted in a manner far too crisp for the major's liking, "I am Captain Cecilia Lysanov, 4th tier commissar of the New Earth Commonwealth."

Lysanov paused, letting her voice ring out a bit in the mountains. The entire column had come to a halt when the six stragglers arrived. When Captain Lysanov insisted on presenting her credentials to an assembly of officers and non-commissioned officers, Medalev began regretting not scaring the Captain and what was clearly her bodyguard off with a burst of machinegun fire.

"Captain, I am Major Medalev, Colonial Expeditionary Force. This is my command, the 170th Battle Group," Medalev swallowed hard. The 170th was perhaps the size of a company, not a battle group.

Lysanov looked around at the assembled humans and GRELs, nodded sharply and continued, "Major, I have orders here from the New Earth Commonwealth," she spoke loudly. She knew what she was about to say would be grossly unpopular among the survivors here, "they have instructed me to rendezvous with your command and present you with new orders. You are to stop making your way to WestBase immediately."

There was silence. Lysanov's face was stonelike. If she was worried that she'd be shot immediately, she didn't show it. Medalev frowned, finger twitching slightly. This was the only indication of what he was contemplating: mutiny and treason. The weight of his service pistol seemed heavy on his belt, suddenly.He let his eyes scan the assembled men. He knew they were tired, hungry and angry for being abandoned. But he didn't know how things would play out if he shot this commissar.

Judging by the looks of her men, I know that I'd get killed right off. Medalev's brow furrowed. Lysanov was still stoic. He considered the fact that it would be a tragedy to have survived the landing at Baja, only to get gunned down by some Party shirt's goons. Another moment passed.

"Captain Lysanov, the 170th Battle Group stands ready to serve the Party and the New Earth Commonwealth," Major Medalev saluted crisply.

For now, at least.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Tessa and Karin were already asleep. Josephina, Kelly, Ellen and Avatanya were on duty. Natalia Meredine lugged her duffel bag into the girls' bunk room and found an empty cot. She sat down quietly and then let the bag slide through her knees until it hit the floor with a quiet thump. Natty sat there for a moment, her heart pounding in her throat, her eyes red with tears.

I can't believe he did that. I can't believe it. He's not like that. He's not like that.

She started crying again, sobbing as quietly as she could to avoid waking the two girls.

In the darkness of the room, Karin and Tessa looked at each other with wide eyes, adolescent fear mixed with morbid curiosity.


The next morning, Natty sat on the roof of the Hang Out, watching the sun rise. She alternately sipped and cradled a cup of cawfee, trying to do her best to keep from crying. She heard the roof hatch open, but didn't look over her shoulder to see who was coming up.

"Mornin'," Avatanya's voice was gruff as usual.

"Mornin'," came the reply.

"Noticed you took up the bunk in our room last night. How long you planning on staying, Natty?"

There was no reply for a while as Avatanya sat down beside Natty, her feet dangling over the front edge of the cargo bay roof. Natty drew her knees up to her chest.

"I guess for a while."

"Alright. Just curious, cuz, well, if you snore..."

Natty smiled, caught a little off guard, "I only talk in my sleep. In Equitorial Hispanic."

"Oh, nice. My late husband used to mumble in Indo-Arabic in his sleep."

"Was he a Revisionist?"

"No. I don't think he knew how to speak Indo-Arabic neither."

Natty chuckled, sipping on her cawfee. Avatanya didn't speak. She soaked in the early morning sun.

"Av...what...what is it with all you Baja veterans?" Natty began, choking back tears.

"You mean, why is it we're the most screwed up bunch of head-cases this planet has ever seen?" Avatanya's tone was genial, but her demeanor was serious.

"I guess. I mean, Sam didn't fight at Baja..."

"No, but all the other Regulators did, and they're all messed up. Josephina's still waiting for hovertanks to jump out of the alleys in Khayr-ad Din. Ari pukes like a faucet whenever he sees a burned out Caiman wreck. Knox donates half his pay to whatever Revisionist charity, just for doing his job right with us. Think of how many he couldn't save at Baja. And ever notice how Kain is around the street kids in town?"

Natty nodded.

"Look, whatever happened with Gade last night," Avatanya began, then paused and was thoughtful before continuing, ", you don't have to forgive it. But you have to understand it. It's guilt. Survivor's guilt. Every Regulator here...all we do, all the time, is try to live with our guilt. We lived through the worst meat-grinder in our history, but all our friends, all our enemies...they didn't. They bought it. Most of us end up turning their guilt into something else. Sometimes it's harmless, sometimes not."

"Why? I mean, you all went in knowing the risks. Why the guilt? You don't have to be religious to feel good about having a second chance," Natty frowned, grasping at the notion being put forth here.

Avatanya nodded as she swallowed hard, "we do feel good about having a second chance. I know I do, and I wanted to kill myself and as many GRELs as I could. But it takes time for people to go from point A to point B like that. Look at how Gade fought Salome. Almost exactly like how he fought Torch. He was sloppy, dirty and desperate. He's loaded out for short and medium range fighting, and the kid keeps on charging in to get messy. He's reckless because of the guilt. He was never trained, and he's only fighting on instinct. And all that guilt and shame is feeding that instinct. "

"Shame?" Natty smirked, "Gade doesn't know shame."

"What? Sure he does. He was part of the Green Gang. They do some nasty things. But did Gade try to stop any of it?"

Natty shook her head, comprehension coming to her as Helios' rays cleared the Westridge Range's mountains.

"That's right. He only left the gang when they were gunning for him. And ever since then, he's been working off the debt he feels he owes everyone on this planet," Avatanya frowned sagely.

"How do you know all this, Av?"

An image flashed in Avatanya's mind: her three children dead, murdered in front of her. She had frozen and hadn't saved them. She put a hand on Natty's shoulder and smiled. It was the smile of someone who had embraced the second chance she had been given. She shook her head.

"Doesn't matter. You don't have to forgive him. You don't have to go back to him. But you have to try to understand what he's going through," Avatanya stood and headed back down into the Hang-Out.

Only when the older woman had disappeared into the truck did Natty put her head in her hands and began to cry.


Last Night

Gade walked into his room more tired then he thought. Natty's stuff was already gone, no surprises there. 'Just as well' he thought, 'maybe now she'll make her own friends in the group'. Having taken off his overalls, he found himself washing some of the blood and grease from his hands. No matter how much he cleaned off though, it all still felt there,



"WHY THE FUCK DO I ALWAYS SURVIVE!" Water bowl flung across the room, tools hurled at the mirror until it shattered. Now laying in the corner, knees to his chest Gade felt tears running along his temple as his head lay lifeless on the floor. "How do I survive? When will it be over? When will I get to rest?...

Asleep now, Gade was left in the corner, among the debris. Silent...

The Next Morning

Waking up with a groan as the sun hit him in the face, Gade brushed some of the strewn glass off his arm. He must have rolled over it in the night. 'Well, time to meet the Spider' he thought, picking himself up, 'let's see if he has anything I can do' and off he went, another day of distractions, another day of living.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Little to do with nothing

Three Weeks Ago...

"Hear that Tessa, that sucking sound once the turbocharger starts to spool? That's what we wanna hear." Gade and Tessa had been working on Gun's engine for nearly 3 hours. Even Natty had given up for the night and headed for bed. Tessa still wanted to learn more, and Gade of course was only too happy to teach. "The fan could use a little tightening, but don't over do it, it needs to run lose or the bolt will snap."

"So why is it worth putting such a big engine on Gun anyway?"

"Oh a few reasons: more torque means the engine can be pushed a little harder. Also, the adaptable armor Carmichael wants to add will weigh a bit more, but the bigger engine can carry said weight; not to mention the Ram Plate."

Tessa was listening enthusiastically, her liking all things mechanical was uncanny.

"Wait, that's gonna be too tight!"


"Oops..." Tessa had overtightened the bolt holding the fan in place, cracking the whole thing.

"Awesome... Now I'm gonna be here half the night finding a replacement that'll fit an engine this big. See, this is why I told you not to over do it."

"Sorry Gade, it was just an accident. You know I wouldn't do it on purpose..."

"Bah it's my fault for letting you kids around my engine..."

Suddenly feeling unwanted Tessa up and left. She could feel a few tears welling up, but they weren't for Gade to see, not that night, anyway.


A Few Days Later

"Hey Gade!"


Karin snuck up behind Gade, and in response to her greeting his head thumped right into a piece or armor. "Tessa still isn't feeling better so she won't be working with you today."

"Again? That's 2 days in a row," Gade shrugged it off and kept working, "Hopefully she'll feel better soon," Gade felt Karin's cold stare. Apparently he had struck a nerve.

"You know Gade, I'll always believe you've got the best intentions at heart, but you sure can be an idiot at times. She'll feel better as soon as you apologize."

"Apologize, what did I do?"

"You bit her head off for tightening a bolt or something... she was really upset Gade. Look she didn't want me to say anything but I want both of you happy."

"Well I suppose I should have a talk with her, and no, I'll not mention us talking Karin," Putting down his tools, Gade got up from under Gun and started cleaning up. "but tell me this Karin, are you always gonna be this good to me?"

"Well yeah, I already told you, you're a good guy, no matter what they say."

"Heh" Gade shrugged, starting to head towards the Hang-Out. "I may have to hold you to that Kar..." With that Karin was left with Gun, she wasn't really sure what to make of Gade's last comment. 'Probably just Gade being Gade,' she thought.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

From the Diary of Tessa Lin, 35 Summer, TN1919

That gala was cool, but I can't believe how cool it's been to be a mechanic on a gear dueling team. So there's the four of us: Carmichael's this old dude with bad legs that knows engines. He worked for Paxton before the War, and he's always growling or shouting. Seriously, he needs to relax. Anyways, he's always on my case, but he's kinda funny. Natty is Gade's girlfriend. I guess they have something worked out, because she's way too hot for him, and she knows it. She does the electronics and the fire control systems for the gear. I guess she knows her stuff, because Carmichael yells at her less than he does at me. Next there's Peter. He's almost as old as Carmichael, but totally different. I mean, how is it that one guy's such a jerk, and the other guy's so shy? I don't get boys. Peter was this gear racer up North before the War. The Innsbruck Death Track 1000. Yeah. That's like, the big leagues. So he spends most of his time teaching Gade how to duel, but he's really helpful with the rest of us. And then there's me! I guess I do a little bit of everything. There's so much to do, and even more to know. Yesterday Gun lost an arm and a leg in a duel, and now I'm learning about internal structures. Natty wants me to go to school in Peace River so I can ... how'd she put it? "Take everything you've learned here and make some money with it." I help with the gear, doing all sorts of things, like fixing armour, and welding knuckle spikes back on. And I figured out how to beef up the gear's legs. No more pressure juice problems for Gade! I still have to figure out how to fix engines like Carmichael though. He's scary good.

I guess I should say that Gade's doing pretty well. I think he's holding up ok, but everyone can see how worried he is about Natty when she's not looking. I guess when she fell at the gala she wasn't drunk, but no one's saying anything to me about it. I'm just a little girl, right? Grrr. But Gade's doing good in the tournament. He only lost one match, and he's got one more. We just got some spare parts last night...ok, so we just got a new Tiger that we're going to use for spare parts. I think Kain's coming back with some booze. Guess who won't be able to have any? I hate having to travel in groups of four, with a radio all the time. Doesn't Kain remember that I was living in Baja during the War? I don't care how bad those Green Gang Goobers are, they're not CEF.

Oh! Gotta go! We're gonna cut up a Tiger leg and stick it on Gun! Then we gotta do an arm. Maybe Gade'll be more careful tomorrow. But probably not.

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