Friday, February 13, 2009

Kebabs, comrades and kisses.

She eyed him somewhat suspiciously before speaking.
“I would have preferred Claude’s”

He smiled.
“I too”

To the casual observer the pair fit in with the eclectic fair of the Labyrinth, seated as they were at a kebab stand built into the garage door opening of a dilapidated orange building on the third Terrace of Peace River.

Upon closer inspection though, the two diners did not quite blend in. They were both clothed in the fashion of Badlanders, but where she dressed to hide her presence, he sought to highlight his.

“You know Doctor, no Badlander dressed that way. Really, you look like you’ve come out of a Polar fashion designer’s version of Badlands chick.” There was contempt in the remark but bemusement in her tone, which surprised her more than a little.

“And I could say that your overalls are not at all becoming to your figure”

This man had caused a significant stir in her world in the last few days. His attempts at flattery were as misguided as they were unwelcome. He should be able to appreciate the need for her to hide right now. She shifted on her bench and changed the subject.

“I’ve heard tell that Roger is gone. I admit I didn’t think you were up to it.”

“That’s because I haven’t subjected you to my powers of persuasion.”

He didn’t take his eyes of her, making her somewhat uncomfortable. He was persistent, she would give him that at least.

“You know I’m very busy Doctor Chambers…”


“…and if you weren’t one of the mains reasons, I would not be here right now.”
“Nonsense, you enjoy my company and in spite of your discourteous disposition I am determined to enjoy yours. I promise next time I ask you out I’ll take you somewhere nicer”

He flashed a grin, she glared, someone ordered a kafta kebab with green chillies.



“…Chambers, You’re wasting your time and what is worse you are wasting mine. I’m not interested in what you have to offer.”

“My dear Madame Hitachi, I haven’t offered anything more than niceties, yet. But you are mistaken if you think I have nothing to offer you. Think of what I have already provided you with: A backdoor meeting with Gerald Simosa, restraint from PaxSec and now the POC and of course, the removal of your greatest rival and liability to your cause. And for my troubles I have received nothing but indifference, hostility and spite. ”

His tone was friendly, not boastful or demanding. He made a valid point, inescapably so, but he couldn’t appreciate the danger her movement faced if she was too generous in her trust. Still, she ought to be civil especially since he was right and she should find out what he was up to.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to offend…”

“Yes you did, and you’ve succeeded. Now that you’ve won can we stop playing that game, It tires me and I more sensitive than you may think.”

“You’re insufferable, can I finish my sentences please?!”

He clasped his hands together and brought them to his mouth while he lowered his gaze to avoid her eyes. His pantomime of the chastised victim was so unexpected to her that when he raised his mischievous eyes and allowed himself an insidious smile she bit the inside of her lip not to smile. She regained her composure quickly though, too quickly for his tastes.

“Tell me Doctor, do you get how important all this is, how dangerous it is; people here are dying here for what they believe in. Would you mind telling me what your part in all this is and spare me the flirtations or facetious remarks. What are you doing here in Peace River?”

“Actually, I’m leaving. My business here is done”

“What business was that anyway, why did you come here, surely not to take Roger Zahn out of the political landscape?”

“I came to see you”

She sighed, she was tired and anxious and more than a little scared, she had things to do and no time for this. He sensed had gone too far, or, maybe, just far enough.

“Well sort of. I was out this way to go to see someone I lo…,a woman, someone in New Baja. I had to leave in a hurry and while I was in the neighbourhood, I thought I would see how you and Gerry were coming along in solidifying your power bases. I was disappointed with what I found so I proceeded to do some minor house cleaning: A terrorist here, a dirty cop there…”

She swallowed hard, when this Southerner wasn’t making platitudes he was a bit too forward. He had just claimed responsibility for Lt Vance’s disappearance and she believed him instantly. He was sincere about everything he said, or so it appeared.

“Why are you interested in Simosa and myself? What are you hoping to gain?”

“Freedom for all Badlanders”

More bluster she thought quickly, but the tone of his voice and the unwavering resolve in his eyes stifled her initial incredulity. She scrutinized him; this strange Southerner who could be flippant one moment, somewhat charming another and frightening in his gravity the next. She was clearly growing to trust him despite herself but she didn’t understand him, she needed an explanation.


“Sooner or later, sooner really, the polar powers will start trouble again and they will wreak havoc on the Badlands in the process. People will die, a lot of people. Peace River is essential to Badlands independence; I think you’re essential to Peace River. I think you can affect change for the better. And that’s a beginning. I like beginnings, they’re the part where hope governs all.”



“Tom, I – I don’t know what you expect from me, but I don’t think I can help you achieve your goals, I have to worry about my people, their rights, the injustices they face. Your mission sounds noble but I don’t think I can be of any use to you.”

“Don’t worry about it Helena, I have faith in you and what you are doing. Let me worry about my big picture, just know that I am an ally, and if I can, I will help you. I ask nothing in return.”

With that he got up out of his seat, shook some dust of his jacket and turned to leave.

“What about he woman? How did that work out?"

She blurted it out, unable to stop herself and instantly regretted it. He stopped a moment, his back to her and after a very long second he turned and smiled, leaned over, took her hand and kissed it.

“She broke my heart. Happy New cycle.”

He said before disappearing into the living throng of fabric, movement and noise that makes the Labyrinth a single sprawling organism at the heart of Peace River. She sat alone a while and wondered at her question. If she had to trust him as an ally she had to gauge him as a person. She had acted out of instinct; his answer, his gesture and the sentimentality it all conveyed convinced her that he was genuine. He was romantic enough to believe and pursue what he said. That and she was curious, she shook herself out of her thoughts and went back about her mission.


Heavy Josh said...

Ok, there are a couple of problems with this post:

1. Helena Hitachi might not be willing to talk to the Doctor, given the fact that she's probably really, really busy in the aftermath of Zahn's disappearance.

2. Helena Hitachi likes girls. I'm just saying is all...

Heavy Josh said...

Also, she's actually quite able to fit in in the Badlands Quarter. I am pretty sure she was born and raised on the 3rd Terrace.

Certain Betrayal said...

susceptibility to charm and flattery is not limited to sexual orientation. It is entirely possible to be charmed or even attracted on several levels to someone whom you will never physically consummate. As for her fitting in, I gather, as will all great leaders, she has a presence, one she will try to hide like an famous actor in a crowd, which is never fully disguised. In the books she is always dressed in a professional fashion. Chalk it up to creative licence if you must.

Heavy Josh said...

As a general rule, I think it might be best to consult with me first before using major, named, Knight-level or higher NPCs (as per the Chess-piece system in the HG rulebook).

There is perhaps one or two pictures of Helena Hitachi in the books, not counting the one where she's burned to a crisp, and they do not support your claim Georges, as they are from 1932 or later, and are portraits.

Game Thug said...

Mmmmm. Burned to a crisp. You guys know I like my women battered....

Heavy Josh said...

Much better. Good stuff.

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