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”


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