Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Note to self

Memo re Mobile Ops Platform


Mobile base of operations for extended covert operations.
1. Fuel capacity for self and multiple (minimum 3) Heavy Gears
2. Limited repair capacity.
3. Munitions storage capacity.
4. Crew facilities (minimum 4)
5. Limited offensive/defensive capacity.
6. Low profile; typical Badlands appearance.

Platform Options:

1. Longrunner Caravan truck. Superior flexibility, mobility, long range independence.
2. Barnaby/Behemoth/ Superior Gear facilities. Inferior anonmymity and flexibility.

Recommendation: Longrunner

Upgrades Required:

1. Mechanical lab
2. Armour
3. Some weaponry
4. Auxiliary fuel tank
5. Hermes 72 rig
6. Smuggling compartments

She has me in stitches

27th Spring TN1920 30:15

"You know doc, I must say I approve of your anesthetic, but you sure you're putting those sutures in strait?"

When Gade came to he found himself in the Hangout's med bay. Doc Chambers managed to close the nicked artery he received during the duel, all that was left were the saber marks left all over the rest of Gade's body.

"Not that I don't trust ye or anything."

The Doc handed Gade another glass "Considering my patient I wouldn't be too concerned, besides I was gonna give you the bottle as a wedding gift, but seeing as how Natty can't drink anymore, may as well enjoy it now. 1904 was a good year."

"That it was doc, that it... wait what do you mean Natty can't drin..."

"Say doc, you almost done fixing up my husband? I wanna know when I can give'm a good beating myself," Natty walked into the room still a little frazzled. She walked over to Gade's bed and took a seat. She was still in her wedding dress

"I'm about done, just uh... take it easy on him for a few days. I'll get Thom to change the dressings tomorrow morning," the Doc replied quietly.

"So tell me snukie, how many more old friends to you think are gonna show up trying to kill you?"

"Fairly certain there's no one else hun'," Gade replied, "in a hurry to have me for yourself are you?"

"Well not just me; the little one may get a little bored of it all."

"The little one?" Gade looked up at his lovely bride, confused. "What do you mean 'little one?'"

With a little tear in her eye, Natty took his hand and held it to her belly, "I was gonna tell you at the reception, but then I got a little distracted," Suddenly showing a glimpse of a smirk she went on, "You know, what with the sword fight over honor and all..."

"Hehe well you did marry to me, did you expect anything less?"

"NO," Natty was emphatic, "but just... take it a little easy, it's bad enough I won't be around forever, I don't wanna leave an orphan behind."

"Oh hun, I'm not going anywhere... Besides you're not going anywhere for a long time either. Now c'mere, we got a marriage to celebrate... just take it a little easy on me. I'm a wounded man"

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

16 July 2009 There are promises, and then there are promises....

Spring 27, TN1920.

Trader's Way District, Khayr-ad Din.

Suarenzi Anna cursed her luck as she hurried through the maze of tents, pavilions and stalls that comprised Trader's Way. There were caravan trucks, and barnabies yoked to carts, the streets were dusty and unpaved, and Anna was getting more than a little sick of the all-pervasive smell of rotting garbage that did not abate. She had been delayed on the Gamma maglev, and now she was lost in the Trash City.

"Dammit Seba, where the hell is this Caravan Guild of yours?" she cursed again, as she rounded a corner and hit a dead end. The squalor of a laundry stall made her reel. She checked her Protectorate Army cadet uniform for garbage stains.

"Hey there soldier girl," a grimy scab of a man looked Anna over, "where ya runnin' to?" He grinned toothily. Another two men were behind him, blocking the way back to the main throughfare.

Anna suppressed a tight grin as she flexed her fingers into fists a few times.

"You gentlemen could either tell me where I can find the Badlands Caravan Guild now, or after I break your heads."

Anna sighed as the three men rushed her. She had hoped to give Sebastien at least a few hours warning before the Hernandez clan blademaster arrived. So much for that.


The wedding was over, the meal was finished. The band had started playing again, after Suarenzi Anna and Kolban Dominic had crashed the party, and Tessa and Karin sat in the hall, vibrant in their youth and their formal dresses, trying to make sense of the situation.

"Ok, so now, Gade..." Karin started.

"Sebastien," Tessa interrupted.

"Right," Karin nodded, watching the wedding party erupt in chaos as the Hernandez blademaster walked out of the hall, "so Sebastien was engaged-"

"Betrothed," Tessa interrupted again.

"Betrothed," Karin's patience was infinite, "right, to some girl when they were both really little, up in the Protectorate."

"Right." Tessa sipped on her virgin Shirley Temple.

"And then Gade-"


"Right. Sebastien. So he joins the Woof-Pee Army during the War, and he deserts with the Green Gang...the proto-Green Gang," Karin nipped Tessa in the bud, "and then becomes Gade."

Tessa nodded, watching Natty talk with her hands angrily at Gade. She did not understand grownups.

"Ok, so then Gade and Natty meet here, fall in love, and then Gade leaves for Baja," Karin continued, "all the while, he's still betrothed to some chicka up in the Protectorate."

"Who he's never met. Right." Tessa smirked at Karin's attempt at Equitorial Hispanic.

"So now that Gade's married to Natty, he's broken the betrothal to this other girl, and that means that his family will get kicked out of its clan up in the Protectorate, if they don't settle this..." Karin blinked.

"By fighting with swords." Tessa finished her sentence.

"Man, Westerners are stupid."

"That's what I've been saying the whole time!" Sam shot out from across the table.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Marching Orders

Kain had an actual swagger stick tucked under his arm. Prophet only knew where he'd found it.

"We have been through a lot together this past season, and you have all performed well. We have faced down superior forces, improvised, and brought lamentations to the women of our enemies.

However, we are now faced with a mission well outside of our usual mode of operation.

Some of you have been in this sort of action with me before, the last time we were in Khayr-Ad-Din. This time will be different. For one, all of you WILL be involved, in one role or another. Second, this is a moment of vital importance to two of our own.

You will feel under prepared. You will feel exposed. You will be afraid.

All of this is irrelevant."

Kain stalked among his troops, head up, looking them each in the eye as he passed.

"You will do your best. I will accept no excuses, no justifications. I will not accept failure."

He stood now in front of the assembled group. They were road-weary and slightly rag-tag; the very archetype of the Badlands caravan.

"This wedding will go perfectly.

You will be formally attired.

You will be organized.

You will be on time.

You will dance, you will socialize, you will enjoy yourselves.

You will create a sparkling memory for Gade and Natalia.

Avatanya is on point for this. She will give you your specific assignments. Those in need of financing can talk to Ellen.


Monday, July 13, 2009

Obligatory Bridal Shop Scene

The aren't many bridal shops in Khayr-ad Din. In fact, there aren't any at all. It just so happens though, that Jacqueline Bruna runs an exclusive dress shop for the city's jet-set, located in the newly renovated Core Tower. And that's where Natalia Meredine and her friends found themselves one hot spring afternoon.

"Wait. Why am I here again?" Natty glared at herself in the full length mirror, greatly disappointed. The dress she was currently trying on had "too many buckles and not enough bustle," as Avatanya put it. It was all wrong, and did not do her, nor Ms. Bruna's shop, any justice. Natty fumbled with the zipper, scowling. Then her hands shook. She tried to swallow. Her knees buckled. Natty could feel the world swallow her up.

"Are you alright miss?" Jacqueline Bruna raised an eyebrow, demonstratin' just the right level of concern a high-end Core Tower shopkeep was supposed to show towards someone from the Badlands Caravan Guild.

"She's fine. It's just nerves, is all," Avatanya Brom stepped in between shopkeep and customer, her voice mothering and husky, "poor thing's getting married this week. To a duelist," she appended with the disapproval she knew that someone such as Ms. Bruna might appreciate.

"Oh! Many happy returns then, miss...?" Jackie Bruna was a good judge of character, and she quickly determined that the bride-to-be and her entourage were definitely characters.

"Meredine," Natty nodded, barely standing; she leaned heavily on Avatanya's arm, while Tessa and Karin circled the wagons, drawing up a screen of potential dresses and accessories to shield Natty from prying eyes.

"I'm fine, I'm fine," Natty scowled as she gulped for air, whispering, "just the stress... Just think Av," she straightened, "getting married is more aggravating than getting shot at."

Avatanya snorted.

"Miss Bruna," Natty smiled to the girls as she slipped out of the dress. She breathed out slowly and regained her composure, "I've been shot at, clobbered, concussed, bombed and I've even once had the distinct pleasure of rappelling down the side of the Paxton Executive Tower."

Jacqueline Bruna approached, sizing up her customer, "it would seem you've led a full and adventurous life."

Natty sussed herself out in the mirror, crossed her arms and then shot a glance over at her three companions. The four caravan women exchanged a knowing smile. Jacqueline Bruna didn't know the half of it.

"How about this?" Jacqueline produced a sheer purple dress. It was all of elegant, simple, alluring and vivacious.

"Yes," Natty nodded moments later. She looked herself over again in the mirror, wearing the sumptuous dress, "that man doesn't stand a chance. This is the dress I'll be wearing when I start my greatest adventure."

Tessa let out a little sob. Karin wasn't far behind with the waterworks.

"Yeah," Avatanya nodded, "but what about shoes?"

Mother Barnaby

The Caravan's penchant for attracting (and returning) fire has mean that Gade Vonyran and the team of mechanics have been taxed to their limit, particularly since their workshop is situated in a converted Longrunner.

Long unsatisfied with the Bohemoth gear transport, Kain has been looking for an improved addition to the Caravan, and all his dreams came true when a surplus Mother Barnaby turned up. Designed to support a mobile hunter-killer Gear group, the Mother Barnaby perfectly fills out the support role for the Caravan's two teams of Gears.

Though a little awkwardly positioned, the commanding height of the cockpit facilitates the deployment of light weaponry. The pintle mount will fit either an AGL or an LMG, or even an MMG in a pinch. A SAM is kept at the ready to fend off aerial adversaries.

Big Momma
SV-990 Mother Barnaby
Heavy Gear transport
8 / +1

SENSORS:-1 / 2km
9mm Light Machinegun
2 / 50

Crew Accomodations
Military grade

Hostile Environment Protection

Improved Off-Road Capabilities
-1 to Terrain in MP, min. cost 1


Passenger Seating

Pintle Mount
Can carry one infantry weapon (F)

Reinforced Chassis
Absorbs first "Structure" hit

Rugged Movement System
Absorbs first "Movement" hit

100m, FF

Tool Arm
Cannot Punch

Tool Arm
Cannot Punch

Vehicle Bays
Can Carry up to 65 tons of Gears

Cramped passenger seating

Deficient ventilation system

Exposed AUX Systems

Large Sensor Profile
2Subtract from concealment

Weak Facing



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Three New Trucks

Now, out behind the concrete building that was the Caravan Guild's main shipping office was a big tarmac lot with a bunch of buildings. Most of these were old rickety warehouses, filled with items for special deliveries or for long term storage. Some stuff was just sitting there gathering dust too, but no one talked about how Kain made a bum deal with those snake-oil merchants back in Lagruda anymore. Well, not with him present, anyways.

One of the buildings was the truck garage, a massive edifice of ferrocrete and corrugated metal, made just like everything else in Khayr-ad Din: haphazardly. It was currently housing two Longrunner caravan trucks. Outside, a big Mother Barnaby gear transport and mobile repair truck was baking in the sun. Inside, Doc Chambers and Ellen Cranby were having a little heart to heart:

"No, Ellen, I simply won't fire her. The caravan is already short on gear pilots, and Torch is fully qualified," Dr. Tom Chambers was calmly inspecting the suspension of the new deliveries. The two new Longrunners and the refurbished Mother Barnaby were the result of the good working relationship the Guild had nurtured with Neil Motorwerks out in Fort Neil. Of course, Tom didn't know much about trucks or suspension, but he did have a critical eye.

"Fine Doctor Chambers," came Ellen's curt reply. She pursed her lips, surely a bad sign, "onto other matters," she looked at her datapad, "you've got us on a busy, busy schedule. Everyone on the caravan will be working very hard, and will be quite tired by the time we reach..." her eyes widened, "Creighton?! Don't you mean WestBase!?"

"Yes, I do," Chambers finally deigned to look at Ellen, who was downright radiatin' a vivacious mixture of anger and bewilderment. Tom had found Ellen to be a real bundle of joy these past few days. "The Guild has a job to do there, and either way, there's a new power in WestBase. A Colonel Charles Arthur the Third. He's working hard to bring the city under his control, and while I don't think he's won it yet," the Doc frowned at a scuffed metal panel on the Longrunner, "I've got a feeling he's the one to back. So you and Kain will have to make some inroads with the good Earther colonel."

"I see. Wasn't WestBase where you were set upon by two Mordred GRELs, Doctor?" Ellen jotted down a few things on the datapad with her stylus. Her hackles were raised high alright.

"Umm, yes. Yes it was Ellen," was the Doc's reply, "and I expect everyone in the Caravan to be extra cautious."

"And this other job there?" Ellen regretted asking the question, "what will that entail?"

"I think that it can wait until after the wedding," Doc Chambers smiled and turned the corner, coming face to face with Stacy, Scooter and Guillaum.

"Ah, just who I wanted to see," the Doc's eyes lit up, visibly relieved to let Ellen stew a moment, "tell me then, how are these vehicles shaping up?"

Stacy looked over from the two salvagers, her face smeared with grease, "oh fine Doc. Just fine. Looks like we got two real fine new scores here. We'll have to drive 'em around a bit to get the real story, but it all looks good."

Guillaum kicked the tire of the nearest Longrunner, "oh yeah boss, solid. But whoever told you that these were brand new, well..." he winked at Scooter, who picked up the topic.

"Well, let's just say that I'm pretty sure I sold the Neil Motorwersk rep some old Longrunner parts before we signed on with you." Scooter shrugged, "but otherwise she looks good."

"And the Barnaby?" the Doc would talk to the NMW man later.

"Again, we won't know until we get it on the road for a while. But I'd sayshe's tough enough. I know that we'll be able to turn the Cave into a dedicated vehicle garage 'cuz of that beast," Scooter smiled toothily, "let the gear heads and their techs work out of the Mother."

"Yeah, sure will be nice to have a bunk in that new machine," Guillaum pointed lazily towards the Longrunner that was already outfitted for crew quarters and cargo hauling, "I'm sick of sleepin' in a cot in the Cave."

"Yeah," Scooter nodded.

There was a kind of awkward silence. Like somebody cut wind, only no one was owning up to the deed. The Doc looked at the two salvagers, and then at Stacy, and then at Ellen. Ellen was studying her dataglove. Violence radiated from her demeanor in rays.

"Hey, Doc," Stacy spoke up to the relief of everyone, "how's Sam?"

Ellen looked over at Stacy, her eyes narrowing slightly. What do YOU want with Sam now, you hussy. I'll do the asking about Sam Tarmalin!

"Oh, he's fine. Well, at least, he will be. The danger's passed, and he'll be back on his feet for the wedding," Tom replied quietly.

"Oh, good. Good." That awkward silence returned. Stacy tried frowning. It didn't work right.

"Well then," Doc Chambers straightened his jacket and looked over at Ellen with mild annoyance. He was pretty sure part of her job was to keep the conversation moving.

"Oh, right, sorry Doctor," Ellen smiled thickly. She was clearly enjoying watching the Doctor not relate to his employees, "come this way, we have to discuss logistics."

"Bye Doc!" Scooter grinned toothily again, waving, "we miss ya on the caravan!"

"No we don't," Guillaum whispered softly as he waved and smiled at the retreating CEO.

"Hey, he was a founding member! He saved our asses, remember?" Scooter looked indignant.

"Damn right."



Stacy rolled her eyes. "Can we get back to work, you two? These engines ain't gonna tune themselves, ya know!"


Multiple Menaces

The Caravan Casino was different things to different people, depending on their needs. For some locals, the Caravan Casino was a home away from home. The drinks were cheap, the regulars were interesting, and the place was kept real clean, at least by Khayr-ad Din standards. Meanwhile, the high falutin' gamblers who needed to feel that they were getting a so-called "authentic" Khayr-ad Din experience ended up at the Caravan Casino because it was outside the Core Oasis tower, in a slightly less, shall we say, well-maintained part of the Trash City. Dueling fans and aspirin' duelists ended up hanging around the Caravan because the place was a known waterin' hole for all sorts of duelists and mechanics. People showed up looking to be seen with the up-and-comers or the down-and-outers. Either way, if you were lucky or obnoxious, or both, you could get your picture taken with your favourite duelist. Then there was the Dueling pro-shop downstairs and 'round back that brought in your mechanics and even a writer for a magazine up North in Innsbruck once. The Caravan Casino was many different things.

Out back, behind the main hall and then past the pro-shop and past a crumbling pre-fab wall, the Caravan Casino became the main garages for the Badlands Caravan Guild, its duelists' hangars, the truck depot, and a shipping warehouse. If you were back around here, it was because you were workin' for the Guild, or you had some real specific reason to be visitin'. Doc Chambers, the Guild boss, wasn't too keen on having much foot traffic. Too much in the way of sensitive items moving in and out of the warehouse and the depot. People doing the normal buying and selling directly with the Guild did their business down in Trader's Way. But it wasn't much of a worry. The whole place looked like a glorified junkyard anyways, with old truck frames piled up, and a couple of rusted out work gears lined up against the outside of the garage wall. There was even a junkyard dawg named Menace who kept the hoppers and the more ambitious trash scavengers away. Or in this case, a couple of kids from New Baja...

"Olly, look, this is the place. Marshal Delacroix said this was the place," Sasha tugged at the teenager's arm and dragged him to the gate.

"You hear that?" Olly was trying his best to squirm out of the bigger girl's grasp. Calling him a teenager was a generous thing to do, in retrospect, "that there's a dawg, a big 'un if I ever heard it. C'mon Sasha! We can wait until someone sees us."

"Olly Indus!" Sasha turned on the kid, eyes glarin', "are you a chicken? Are you a coward? You're my best guy! You're my best sneak, and my best lockpick, and I've seen you boost a car faster than anyone. I picked you to do this internship... thingy with me, and you're gonna do it, or I'm gonna slap you silly and send you back to New Baja!"

The coarse mixture of praise and threats calmed the boy down. Not that Sasha was much older, mind, but she seemed to have things more under control. She turned and continued walking up to the main gate. There was a chain link fence and a couple of heavy chains drawn up across, blocking the gate. A large, dark skinned man sat at the gate, the brim of his straw hat pulled down low over his eyes as he leaned against the fence. The tiny chair he was in was straining something fierce.

Sasha swallowed as she walked up to the gate, Olly's hand still held tightly in hers. She brushed her sandy-brown hair out of her eyes and cleared her throat.

" me?" she began tentatively, "we're here to see Marshal ... Delacroix." Sasha blinked. The Marshal had never actually told him his first name. She had already started to wonder if he actually had one.

The man didn't answer. He just sat there, arms crossed, brim of his hat down over his eyes like he was asleep. Sasha didn't buy it. She approached him quiet, like a long-fang hopper movin' in for the kill. She could see his lips, curled down in a brooding frown, and hear his breath, slow and steady. She waved her hand in front of him, and when he didn't react, Sasha smiled, waving Olly by to slide between the pair of chains blocking the gate.

That's when Menace padded out curiously from behind a pile of tires. Olly stopped in his tracks. The big dawg was lookin' at him curiously, drool spilling out onto the concrete.

"I wouldn't go any further," the man muttered, "I'm the only one on right now who knows how to keep Menace from attacking." He had a thick Easterner accent: his r's rolled like they was barrels being pushed down a staircase.

"Well mister," Sasha put her fists on her hips and stuck her chin out. Olly backed up a few paces, what with Menace wandering over to the chain, his beady insect eyes reflecting Olly back a couple thousand times. He sniffed the air with his tongue, opened his maw and showed the two kids the rows of razor sharp teeth behind the one-fang-up, two-fangs-down sabertooth jaw set-up that most Terranovan critters have as a baseline.

"Well mister," Sasha said again, after making good and sure that she was a step back from the gate, but not from the big man, "I asked you if you knew Marshal Delacroix! You didn't answer, but you were awake. That's not very polite."

"Neither is trespassing, girl," Sid Teg stood up. The only way to describe a man like this is to liken him to a brick shithouse. His dark skin only highlighted his brooding, angry demeanor, which shot out of every pore, out of his eyes, and on the man's breath. His muscles twitched, "So what do ya want to see Delacroix for?" He towered over Sasha, who did her best not to wilt, her hands still on her hips.

"We're...we're from New Baja," Olly shot out from behind his erstwhile leader, his own courage gathering. No one messed with his boss, no matter what, "we're here for an internship...thingy."

"Yeah," Sasha drew her own confidence, a smirk on her face, "so you get Marshal Delacroix out here, and you call off your dawg mister. We work for Marshal Delacroix. We're Irregulators."

Just then, Josephina walked up to the gate, putting her hand on Menace's collar. "Sid, what's goin' on?" she petted the dawg, who purred in a very un-doglike way, its eyelids flitting up and down strangely.

"These two say they're interns. Workin' for Kain. From New Baja," Sid's disposition did not change.

"Interns, hmmm?" Josephina looked the two children over, "from New Baja? Well, they do look a little pale." She nodded in satisfaction, taking some pleasure in watching the two kids squirm in front of the dawg and the guard, "I seem to recall Kain saying somethin' about getting two New Bajan runts for cleaning chores. These must be them," she untied the chain from the post at the other end of the gate, motioning for the pair to enter. Neither of them moved.

"Oh, Menace?" Josephina chuckled, watching the new interns look at the dawg warily, "he only eats hoppers. Just make sure he smells you before you leave, ok?"

Sid rolled his eyes. Sasha stuck her tongue out at him as she walked past. Olly was less brave.

"You kids hungry? Thirsty? We've got some water..." Josephina wiped her forehead as she let Menace go back to skulking around the yard.

"Got any beer?" asked Sasha.

"Probably," Josephina smiled to herself as she led the pair into the main office.

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