Thursday, March 25, 2010


17 Winter, TN 1935

He looks just like his mother.

Bartholomew Vonyran jotted the line down in his datapad, the stylus ticking softly against the small screen. He sat cross-legged on a bunk, the only open space in the cabin. The caravan was moving, and everything was tied down and folded up. Bart watched a laundry sack sway gently as the big truck navigated the Barrington Basin. He looked back down at his datapad, writing furiously:

Everyone says that. But never to my face. They whisper it just as I leave to do a chore. Ugh. I can't believe that these people all knew my mom and dad. But it'd be alright if they'd at least TALKED TO ME LIKE A NORMAL HUMAN BEING and not like some sort of freak show! After two weeks you'd think that--

"Knock knock!" a woman's voice startled Bart. He looked up. The door to the cabin was open, so the interloper was at least announcing her presence politely. Bart swallowed, trying vainly to hide his datapad journal. It was Tessa, one of the younger members of the caravan, who was something of a mystery to him. Well, more mysterious than most of the crew, anyways. Also, she was pretty and exotic-looking, with big green eyes and very light skin. Bart's experience with the fairer sex was limited to homesteader girls, who were, in his experience, all kinda dull.

"Oh, uh, hi Tessa." Bart gulped, hand on the datapad, covering up the text display.

"Hi Bart!" replied Tessa, sliding into the room confidently. She carried a bowl on a tray, "thought you might be hungry after today, so I brought you some gulash." She placed it on the bed next to the boy.

"Oh! Thanks!" Bart said, genuinely. He was too wrapped up in his journal that he hadn't noticed how hungry he was. He crammed a laden spoon into his mouth, chewed silently a moment, and then swallowed happily. "Mmm. This is really good. Thanks."

Tessa nodded quietly. She looked the boy over, and sat down across from him on a little stool, leaning against the flimsy interior wall. "So, how do you like it?"

"It's good!" he blinked, confused, "I just said that!"

"No no, silly," Tessa leaned forward, and batted Bart on the side of the head, mussing his already unruly mop of hair, "how do you like working on a caravan?" She leaned back against the wall, the stool rocking a little as the caravan truck hit a bump. The boy was clearly formulating a reply. She watched him squirm.

"Oh, you poor thing," she chuckled, "you don't have worry about offending me. I was younger than you when I started on this caravan. And I figure you hate it."

"Really?" Bart put the bowl down and looked over at Tessa. He blushed, "I er...well, I don't hate it exactly." He looked down at the bed, cramming his hands into his jacket pockets.

"But you're wondering why your Pa put you in our tender care?" she smirked, though her eyes were very tender. When Bart finally looked up at her, he scowled.

"I didn't know her."

"What?" his tone had caught Tessa off-guard.

"My mother. I didn't know her," Bart said again, somewhat maliciously. He watched Tessa's face for a reaction, and then regretted what he had said. Her eyes were watery.

"You're even dumber than your father," Tessa stood, hands on her hips. She glared down at the boy, pulling a data-key off a little chain. "Here." She threw it onto the bed. "Breakfast is at 0400. See you there." She stormed out, slamming the door behind her.

Bart was speechless. He looked at the half-empty bowl, the tray, the spoon on his lap, the data-key on his bed. Dumbfounded, he took the data-key and slid it into the reader on his datapad. A video started playing:

"And here we have Natalia Meredine, 35, from... Where are you from Natty?" Tessa's voice was loud. She was clearly the one holding the camera, which jiggled a little as she zoomed in.

The screen showed the increasingly large rear-end of a slim woman, wearing a pair of baggy Northern-issue khakis. She was bent over, her top half buried in what looked like the electronics bay of a heavy gear.

"Wounded Knee," came the reply, "wait, Tessa, what are you..."

Bart inhaled sharply. He had seen pictures of his mother, purple hair and all, but when he watched her pull herself out of the guts of the gear, turn and face the camera with a scowl, he was sucker-punched. Natty was slightly pregnant. With him. And he did look an awful lot like her, he conceded.

"I'm just taking some video of you, for your boy!" Tessa was rapidly zooming the camera back out, as Natty's face had taken up the entire screen.

"Tessa, first off, I'm bigger than a barnaby right now, so thanks a million. Second, we don't know if it's a boy. And third, I'm going to shove that camera up your nose if you don't turn it off!" Natty glared, though her expression betrayed much mirth. "Now, get back into the cockpit and see if this bucket of bolts has any sensors!"

Bart's eyes widened. When Tessa had zoomed the camera out and put it down, he got a good view of the gear. He recognized it instantly. That was Gun.

The video blacked out.

--I just met my mother. They're right. I do look just like her.


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