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!"



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