Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hopes and dreams

When Maia entered the rat-trap apartment she, Sam, and Kain were holed up in, the big ex-soldier was cleaning the oversized pistol he favoured.  Though she was quick to hide it, a brief flash of disgust rippled across her features.  She went into the bedroom, there was some rustling, and then she was gone as quickly as she had come.  There was no eye contact.

Kain knew that look.  He'd seen it many times before, though Maia was better than most at concealing it.  He gave a mental shrug as he passed the brush down the Raptor's barrel.  There were bigger problems than Maia's sense of moral superiority.

First, there was the mole.  Kain didn't suspect that there was a mole; he wasn't pretty sure there was a mole; he knew there was a mole.  That in and of itself wasn't a problem.  There was always a mole in these bands of armchair revolutionaries.  They were too easy to buy, too comfortable with their own lives, too removed from the plight of their poorer brethren.  The problem was that he didn't know which one of them it was.  The traitor had been in the group he met that first night; of that there could be no doubt.  And, clearly, killing the entire group was not an option.  It would gut the revolution, such as it was (imagine Maia's face then!), and besides--it would take more time to execute than Kain could spare.  Sam would expedite the killing part, but the finding part was always the more tedious....

He examined the recoil spring for signs of lateral torsion.  He'd noticed a slight pull to the the left he swore hadn't been there a month ago.

The first problem led directly to the the second.  None of the intel could be trusted, so operational security was a complete write-off.  And, damnably, the tunnels were gold.  No, they were magic.  Literal, special ops, ninja-assassin magic.  The stuff of which Legion Noire wet dreams were made.  A backdoor to the Emir's bedroom--an unlocked backdoor.  Admittedly, said door was only accessible after a SCUBA dive, a nightmarish crawl through pitch-black tunnels filled with unknown and presumably poisonous critters, and...well...Prophet knew what else, but an unlocked backdoor nonetheless.  And now there was a very good chance that the tunnel could not be used--

Frowning slightly, Kain gently filed a burr on the extractor.

--producing the third problem.  After the tunnel, the next-best option for entry was a HALO jump from a stealth aircraft.  And Kain didn't have access to a stealth aircraft.  Or a parachute, for that matter, though he remembered hearing about a way to improvise a paraglider from a saccaru leaf....

Reassembly was quick.  Kain had practiced it until he could do it blindfolded.  One handed was going to be tricky, but he thought he'd get it down in the next week.

Not for the first time, Kain wished Gade were there.  That boy had a rare talent for improbably workable ideas.  And for the obviously insane.  Reflecting back on some of the least believable situations Gade had scraped out of brought a grin to his face.  Kain really wished Gade were there.

And Ben.  And Jo.  And Peter.  And Teg.

He clenched his teeth as he slid the magazine home.  If they were dead....

If his friends were dead, Kain Delacroix would write a new chapter in the history of Okavango with the blood of those responsible.


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