Friday, June 10, 2011

Koreshi Chronicles – Chapter III : Taking care of business

“OK, I still don’t get it. If there’s nothing to steal, then what are we doing here?”

Lukas gave Lyta as emphatic an expression of exasperation and annoyance as he could through the half light which showed the half of his face that still could express such things. Respecting the arithmetic of the situation, Lyta was asking for the fourth time.

“Appearances, Lyta. It has to look like we stole something.” He said tersely, modifying the same answer he had given three times before.

“Well, it’s a stupid plan,” she retorted in a brusque whisper.

Lukas’s sigh was inaudible and he was saved from any more discussion as Todd gave the signal from within the compound. In seconds they were through the fence undetected and inside the hangar. They went though the motions: broke locks, disabled some surveillance cameras and interrupted the power to the warehouse long enough to somehow steal two new gears in transit from Northco to a client in the Emirates and get away without a clue as to their identity, but not without a trace.

Eighteen hours later, Lukas and Lyta sat in waiting area of an office in the core district of Prince Gable. Todd had decided his presence was not needed and had retired back to the library where he had spent every moment not dedicated to scouting for the caper.

Someone informed them that Ms Claire Vanhoven was ready to see them. She smiled broadly as they came in, a smile that was practiced to the point of appearing genuine.

“I’m impressed,” she said, and she was. She gave Lukas an envelope which he took inquisitively; her smile did not waiver. Inside were bills, lots of them.

“40,000 marks,” she said silkily, “not bad for two weeks’ work?” Ms Vanhoven moved back around her desk and smoothly creased her short skirt before plunging into her oversized executive chair and crossing her flawless long legs.

Lyta looked confused and Lukas suspicious, which provoked what was meant to be a disarming laugh from the businesswoman. It did not have the desired effect.

“Shall I explain?” She raised an exquisitely plucked eyebrow. “It’s a sure thing. I can pay you because the constabulary has already filed the report. The two gears are as good as reimbursed under the insurance contract of the shipping company.”

“But we didn’t steal anything!” Lyta couldn’t help herself from saying aloud. Ms Vanhoven swiveled to meet Lyta’s furrowed brow and gave her a cute frown of sympathy which helped Lyta to put down her confusion by conjuring up irritation.

“There are basically two kinds of insurance scams,” she offered helpfully, “inflated claims and fabricated claims. Stealing a couple of gears out of a secure compound in a busy industrial sector is next to impossible; only the very best thieves could pull that off. However, making it look like they were stolen is considerably easier.” She steepled her fingers together in a triangle, manicured nails clicking against each other as the digits met.

“I have an insurance contract for eight gears being shipped south for a private client. Militaries don’t insure their gears. Only private citizens or corporations do that because the TNTR requires insurance on all freight which graces their trains. I have eight serial numbers, eight bills of lading, and eight customs forms.”

Vanhoven inclined her head slightly and smiled again, as if to encourage a timid response or a reluctant guess. Lyta bit the inside of her cheek, trying to suppress the urge to break something beautiful.

“But there were only six gears.” Lukas offered, drawing her sharp and immaculately painted eyes back onto him.

“Yes,” she said through crimson lips. “Now, if you don’t mind, I have some more paperwork to file. I do hope we will have the pleasure of working together again. I never forget reliable and discreet professionals.” Legs, eyes, lips, nails and a broad smile showed them to the door.


“Now back to the Desert Wolves?” Todd asked as they huddled around a short table littered with take-out Mekong food in their motel on the outskirts of Prince Gable. Lukas shook his head. “No, now we use this money to track down Kaspar. How’s the research going?”

“Research?” he said, as if unsure what the word meant.

“Yes, Todd, you know that thing you do in the library everyday?” Lyta offered sarcastically.

“Oh, that. Well I know a bunch of things; you know it reminds me of Dr Travis Chang in the Thurso Manning novel about…”

“Todd!” Lyta and Lukas interjected in unison. Confusion, hurt and resignation followed in quick succession over Todd’s features.

“Well, I looked into a lot of the names and people related to the 9A thing and the WestCore mine and stuff that Ennick told us about. Which reminds me, Marshall Sullivan is dead.”

Lyta choked on her dumpling while Lukas chewed his Loyang noodles pensively.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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