Friday, August 9, 2013

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VII: Knowing Your Enemy

28 Autumn, 1926

Lyta kept a lookout behind them as they pulled away from the distribution centre. The roads were perfectly smooth and flat; they moved without a sound above the hum of the engine. Lukas, to his credit, was doing an excellent job driving like he knew where they were going, but Lyta was pretty sure he didn’t. He hadn’t had time to set up safehouses in Oxford yet. Certainly he didn’t have any safe houses big enough for a 20-foot stolen shipping crate.

She grumbled to herself. Bhakir and his people had been ahead of them at every step. It was, she grudgingly admitted, an exceptionally well-planned op. They’d had the trackers, the correct redirection papers, the key and pass-code to enter the crate, a means of overriding the systems at the distribution depot, a getaway vehicle, and plenty of manpower. She wished that she had that kind of resource allocation at her disposal.

She glanced down at the pictures she’d taken as she’d surveyed Bhakir and his men, thumbing through them. Her finger hovered over one of them, in which the logo on the side of the shipping container was in full focus. “V I R” it said, she thought. She passed the phone over to Torgath. “Grizz,” she said softly, using the ridiculous new operating name he’d chosen for himself.

Torgath looked up. “Yeah?”

“Figure out what company this is, would you? It’s on the side of the crate.”

Torgath stared at it a moment longer, then nodded and busied himself with his data-glove.

Lyta took back her phone and tipped it from side to side. Maybe it didn’t say “V I R,” she thought. She cocked her head to one side. Maybe it said “W R.” Lyta frowned. “W.R.” could stand for “West Rim,” a thought she didn’t like at all. “West Rim,” she muttered to herself. Hadn’t that been one of the WestCorp subsidiaries? All of the WestCorp companies had the Bear’s claws in them up to the knuckles. They kept running into him, even when they were trying to avoid him. But this? The Borodin Package, the Koreshi, the genetic testing…

She shook her head. She was probably just imagining things. There were probably lots of companies in the South with “W R” as their initials. Or maybe it was “V I R” like she’d first thought. She was tired, and she was coming up with conspiracy theories, when she really needed to be worried about security and about Bhakir.

He was good. Damn good. He knew his strengths and knew how to take advantage of them. Lyta’s leg still throbbed from a shot that had nearly dislocated her knee, even though her flak. She smiled despite herself. Bhakir was good, but she’d been better. And Gabriel had nearly flung himself into the middle of the fight, the idiot. The smile faded from her face. Yes, Gabriel had apparently had a decent enough uppercut to knock a man out – which surprised her, given that she was pretty sure all Humanists were total pacifists – but trying to get between two trained close-combat fighters, and him without any armor at all… She wondered if he even realized the danger he had nearly thrust himself into. She shook her head in exasperation.

She still needed him, she reminded herself. The access panel to the crate was so close she could almost reach out and touch it. She had reached out and touched it, back when Gabriel was messing around with the transport platform’s circuitry. The mechanical lock she could probably manage well enough on her own. It was sophisticated, but with a little time and the right tools she could get it open. The electronic lock, on the other hand…

Gabriel had proved adept enough at opening Bhakir’s safe. He’d be able to open the crate. If he had tools. If he had time. If he could stay functional despite the deep gashes in his leg. Lyta set her jaw. There were twenty-four Koreshi in that crate. They were being experimented on by… someone. For some purpose she didn’t pretend to understand. They had to get it open. She had to free her people.

The truck rolled on through the dark streets of Oxford, but the night wouldn’t hide them for long. Sooner or later, they’d have to find somewhere to work. Somewhere to rest. Somewhere to hide. Somewhere to figure out what the fuck was going on.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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