Monday, May 24, 2010

Righteous Peregrination

The barnabus iguana farted loudly. Brother Herbertson coughed, but didn't retch, as the warm blast of gas hit him full in the face. He knew it was never wise to hitch a wagon to a barnaby, but the pack animal was all he had available. He had gotten used to the smells and sounds the animal made, though he worried about the supplies in the wagon.

He chuckled.

Basal's night time activity never ceased to amaze him. The ruined city actually achieved some semblance of normalcy nocturnally. Merchants hawked their wares--what little they had--people congregated in bars and drank what passed for rotgut and beer, and repair workers tried their best to deal with whatever damage the previous day's shelling had done. The lizard-drawn wagon trundled past the ruins of a slum block. Brother Herbertson watched as survivors helped guide a Ground Hog work gear remove debris. Dead bodies, charred and broken, were piled up nearby.

He sighed.

Four cycles of guerilla seige warfare: most of the city-state had been destroyed many times over. Battles were hard fought in the clausterphobic ruins of a once proud city: a Basalite excursion would execute a raid via the Undercity; MILICIA or Emirate troops would retaliate with shelling, or a sniper would be ordered to pick off civilians. The lines were ever-shifting, and the seige never-ending. Brother Herbertson marvelled at the tenacity of the residents of Basal. Baja had been this bloody, but it hadn't lasted four cycles.

Baja. Brother Herbertson thought back to the Revisionist mission he led back then. It was his first posting outside of the Norlight Confederacy, and he took to the task of administering aid to the needy of of the ruined city with a steady zeal. When the Bajans moved underground, he knew his work there was done.

The wagon jostled as a wheel hit a small crater, knocking Brother Herbertson out of his reminiscing. Why was he thinking about Baja anyways? It was so long ago. 18 cycles since he first set foot in that hellhole. He began unloading what meager supplies he had scrounged for the mission. Then he found time for a short prayer for the dead he had seen on his brief excursion. His prayer beads still gave him comfort, even in the squalor of the mission. He looked around at the tired, dirty faces of the children, the bandaged wounded, and the homeless who now lived here. There simply wasn't enough for everyone, but no one complained.

Then it hit him: Kain Delacroix, Sam Tarmalin, Doc Chambers and Gade Vonyran. It had been at least 15 cycles. And there they were, talking to Srivan Irshan in that bar, looking more-or-less the same. He hoped they were coming to volunteer. Somehow, he knew that they hadn't. Still, the thought sent a warm chill down his spine: he had promised himself that if he had ever seen those four men again, he would pray that the souls of those they killed would have a happy afterlife with the Prophet.

But he caught himself thinking that those who served the tyrant Masao, those who had turned Basal into a bloody warzone, did not deserve any such reward.


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