Monday, March 14, 2011

Koreshi Chronicles: Chapter I - Percentages

21 Spring, 1916

21 Spring, 1916

He rubbed his eyes with his knuckles, they itched and his head ached. He caught his own reflection in the cracked mirror of the empty café and suddenly realized how disheveled and distraught he looked. His life had spiraled into a nightmare over the last two weeks, since the keffers invaded, since…

“Mr. Lassander, glad to see you’re doing…well.” The incoming woman abruptly and uncomfortably stopped her pro forma greeting when she realized just how hollow it sounded. She was compact and athletically built, cloaked in desert travel clothes over light armor and rather dirty. Donovar Lassander would have usually recoiled at being out in public with someone of that unsavory nature, but nothing was usual anymore he reminded himself. Changing the subject, the new arrival tried her hand at humor. “Nice place, but the service sucks”

Donovar smiled weakly, pulled out a flask from his jacket, and handed it over; the desert rat happily accepted it. “It used to be a nice place, like everything else…Anyway, thank you for coming. I know the risk you’ve taken,” Donovar said.

“And I know that when you call, it’s usually been well worth the risk. Your support over the last cycles has been well appreciated, Mr Lassander. So what can I do for you today?”

“Bragga, I need to smuggle something out of the city.”

There was a pause as the cloaked figure stared frankly at the fallen gentleman of means who had been helping finance arms deals between Paxton and the Badlands resistance for three cycles. The woman named Bragga wasn’t surprised by the request, it was what she did after all, but smuggling had passed from being an art before the CEF invasion into near mysticism since the drop ships had landed four weeks before.

“Give me some details, Mr Lyssander, and I’ll give you a fair assessment.”

Donovar nodded dejectedly. He knew this wasn’t going to be easy. “About 250kg worth, fragile and extremely precious.”

“Tough, very tough. Size?”

“About the size of three teenagers and an adult. If it helps, they can move under their own volition.”

Bragga nodded her understanding. “I don’t know if it can be done yet, but if it can, it will be expensive”

“Damn the cost! I’ll pay anything and you owe me.”

Bragga always tried to be polite with the rich, it helped to get their money, but everyone was short on patience since the Earthers had crushed Baja under their heel and attracted the destructive interest of the 2nd Armor and Legion Noir armies out there pummeling the city into sand and blood. Bragga was no exception. “Listen, moneybags, before Baja went to shit, you had it pretty good while the rest of the planet burned. Yeah, you helped. Your money must have armed an entire regiment, but don’t think for a second I don’t know you always made a percentage. I don’t owe you a damned thing!”

True panic and despair showed in Donovar Lassander’s red eyes. Bragga chided herself; she hated loosing her cool -- that could get a smuggler killed. She took another gulp and handed the flask back; Lyssander drained it.

“OK, I’ll see what I can do. You and the family have got to be ready to go at the drop of a hat, you hear? Make the usual financial arrangements for the transaction. Make it for 500, all in advance.”

Dovovar should have balked at the price: his entire family fortune for passage for four, but such things had truly lost any importance to him. He would have borrowed ten times that amount to have made it five tickets. He nodded his assent. “We’ll be ready,” he said tersely.

Bragga pushed herself up and walked around the table and clapped the financier on the shoulder. “I’m sorry for what I said, Mr Lassander. We do owe you a debt. I’m sorry we couldn’t have tried this a few weeks ago, before your wife…well, I’m sorry.”

The smuggler left the dilapidated remains of the café and the broken pieces of Donovar Lassander and made her way back into the tunnels bellow the city to avoid the CEF patrols. The fighting was in a lull, but it wouldn’t last. She would try and get the rich man and his family out. After all, with her percentage, maybe she could buy her own way out.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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