Monday, August 31, 2009

I'm Getting Too Old For This...

Barrington Basin, 40 Spring TN1920:

The machinegun finally fell silent. It radiated heat in the desert sun, causing all the air to shimmer around the barrel and the sights. The pistol grip was warm.

"Gade! Check in! Gade!" Kain's voice called in harshly through the commo. It snapped Gade back to the here and now, the adrenaline suddenly dumping out of his bloodstream. He took a deep breath.

"I'm fine. I'm fine," Gade called back hoarsely. He felt the buttstock against his arm, and realized how tightly he was gripping the pintle-mounted weapon to his torso. He slumped down a bit, "is it over?" His ears were ringing.

"Affirmative," Kain replied tersely, "go check on the others," Kain meant Ben and Isobel, and the gravely wounded Silas and Ethan.

"Right," Gade finally slumped down into the ruined cab of the Longrunner. The ambush had been well-executed. A single rocket hit the cab, immobilizing the vehicle and causing casualties. The assault teams had gotten close, and nearly stormed the truck's cargo bay. Ben had laid down as much fire out the back of the truck as he could, while Isobel lobbed grenades. There were bodies strewn behind the truck. But the only way to make Mordeds and Morganas stop an assault is to kill them outright. There was no such thing as suppressive fire when dealing with GRELs.

Kain and Sam managed to enfilade and flank, and started killing the GRELs that had hit the truck in the first place. Gade's job was to draw as much fire as he could by manning the machinegun that Kain and Doc Chambers insisted be mounted on the cab of each Longrunner in the convoy. "You never know, right?" one of them had said. He eased himself out the back of the cab and winced. The whole cabin smelled of charred flesh and burning metal. Gade patted himself down and winced again. His shoulders hurt and he had cracked a rib. The light flak bodysuit would have to be replaced. He had been shot at least four times, all flesh wounds, all minor.

They sure stung though.

"Gade, coming in," he called out before shouldering his way into the cargo bay of the Longrunner. It was a wreck. There were bullet holes everywhere, the living quarters, the galley and the trading shop were all ruined. Gade could feel the whole truck listing to one side. The wheels had been shot out enough that his beloved Longrunner wasn't going anywhere.

The smoke was irritating his eyes. He knelt down beside Ethan and Silas who were slumped on the floor of the galley. Silas was in a bad way, but Ethan needed a hospital, and soon.

"How bad are they?" Ben crawled over. His face was blackened and he had a nasty bullet graze along the length of his arm.

"Dunno, but I'm no doctor," was the reply, "does the girl know anything about patching up?"

"Don't think so," Ben slumped down against the wall and took out a first aid kit. He sprayed his arm down slowly, wincing as the disinfectant did its work.

"Gade!" Kain climbed into the galley, still running on pure adrenaline, "the commo system's out. We need to get to our gears and hook up the Hermes 72 to Lex." Kain was already onto the next obstacle, "take Sam with you. Get word to WestBase for a medivac hopper. Get word to everyone. I'm not losing anyone today."

"Right boss. On it," Gade winced as he got up.

Kain handed him back his pump-action grenade launcher, "take it."

"Nah. You keep it for now. I need both hands to drive and do the mods. And Sam can't shoot it worth shit."

"Fine, fine," Kain would have smiled in a less serious time. A motorcycle engine started up outside, "best catch up to Sam," he paused, swallowing hard, "stay safe."


Outside WestBase, Barrington Basin, 1 Summer, TN1920:

"Are you sure about this?" Natty smiled up sadly to her husband, "I can take care of myself, and if I can't manage, everyone here can help out."

Gade nodded, "I know. Think of it as a working vacation. I've got the tournament, and I've got a few projects to keep me busy," he patted his wife's belly.

"That project is already well-underway. You're just a not-so-innocent bystander at this point," Natty chided him, "but alright. I won't mind having you around, I know that. And when the little one comes, you won't miss it." Natty frowned, "Kain doesn't need you?"

"Nah, not really. He figures it's time to let me make money for the caravan as a duelist, and he's going on some little research trip. Besides, he's got Sam to protect him."

"Yeah, but who's gonna protect Sam?"

"Kain?" Gade grinned, and kissed his wife before she could protest.


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