Wednesday, February 2, 2011

War Wounds

The Badlands Caravan Guild lot was bustling with activity as Helios began its slow descent from the sky. The dawgs and the daks crawled out of their hiding places, shelter from the noonday sun. A stripped-down Hunter was building a new junk pile, and a solitary truck trundled towards the lot's gate, kicking up dust behind it.

Inside, an impromptu meeting was taking place.

"She's traumatized, but she'll be fine. I've given her some sedatives to take before bedding down, and put her on a high protein diet to build up her strength," Celina looked across the kitchen table at Ellen Cranby. "She'll need a bit of monitoring, but she's one tough customer."

Ellen smiled tightly at the nurse, nodding.

"I'd also recommend that she start a training regimen. Don't coddle her. Light duty at first, but put her back on caravan escort when she's ready."

"You sure that's wise?"

"Oh, absolutely. Otherwise, she might begin to feel like she's being coddled, which will lead to further instability and depression." Celina passed the data disk back to Ellen.

"And the others?"

"More or less the same. Mr. Teg is the only exception. He'll need some surgery to correct the injuries he sustained in Okavango." Celina watched Ellen's response carefully. She's as tough as barnaby hide.

Ellen studied the datadisk, nodding. "Dr. Chambers will want to see these charts when he arrives. But I trust your judgement, Celina." Ellen let her shoulders drop slightly. Celina picked up the signal.

"Is something the matter Ellen?"

"Oh," Ellen smiled, embarrassed by the slip up in her business-like demeanor, "well, it's just... you have to understand, Celina, these people are my family. I've known them for over a decade. They've all been through the ringer, and I've... well, it's the first time any of them have been [i]violated[/i] like that."

Celina looked over the roster that the Guild had provided her. Her smile faded, "Brom, Chambers, Delacroix, Dragushan, Dunn, Hassan, Knox, Lebeaux, Lin, Mendelbaum, Pearce, Pojhola, Tarmalin, Slebovitz, Smit, and Vonyran. They were all at Baja, either in the city when it was under occupation, or as part of the liberating army. Well, count me and my wife too."

Ellen looked up from the table and met a thousand yard star that she had seen many, many times before.

"You too?" she asked quietly.

"Maia was part of the Peace River Army contingent that was at Baja. I met her in a field hospital." Celina nodded quietly, and placed her hand on Ellen's. "I barely know any of you, but I know what's been going through Josephina's mind since she's been back in Khayr ad-Din."

"This isn't as bad as Baja." Bill Pearce stood in the doorway, leaning against the frame.

"Bill!" Ellen was overjoyed, "what are you doing here?"

"Just got a coded message. They're coming home."


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