Sunday, October 12, 2014

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VIII: 'Kids These Days'

Lyta gave Ennik a nudge. Well, more than a nudge, a sharp jab in the ribs. ‘I ain’t forgiven you yet,’ she had told him the day before, or was it the same day? Ennik didn’t know anymore.

The Longrunners they‘d met up with on 25.SU.27 were trundling along at their slow and steady pace towards the Prince-Point Pass. Ennik has just mentioned in passing he probably knew of some food caches that were left over from the war that the partisans had used. Rations didn’t go bad, they just were bad. Surprisingly, Todd had suggested they head back over the Colden Pass and try and deliver these foodstuffs to the rovers they had come across a couple days before.

As an old rover himself and with a soft spot for Badlanders with stories of woe, Ennik jumped on board. They’d planned to grab a moored antelope and use it to backtrack, find the cache on the Karaq side and give it to the rovers before rushing to meet the caravan again on 28.SU.27 at the Khayr ad-Din trade route cutoff. Lukas wanted no part of it at first, but sanctioned the relief mission when he realised it just might ingratiate them with the rovers enough to call on them as a B-team someday. More surprising than Lukas’ consent was Lyta and Fennec’s desire to join the day trip. Lukas opted to ‘stay on mission’ and travel with the crates.

It had been a quick drive back to Mt. Colden and a slow ride up the chairlift to the top and back down the other side. It took Ennik a while to find the old mining caves where the resistance fighters had cached valuables during the war. It figured he’d pick the wrong one. He wondered how different things would have been if he’d found the food instead. The rovers would have been able to feed themselves and their families; some simple, struggling ex-soldiers like him could maybe get out of the misery they’d been living for the last few cycles.

Ennik shuddered as the image of the dead bodies of those desperate men lying in the snow came back to him. ‘That could’a been me,’ he reflected.

So it was the morning of 27.SU.27, he remembered. Todd had killed those sorry souls late on the 25th. They had climbed back over the peak and rested on the western side through the early morning of the 26th before getting back in the antelope. They had achieved the exact opposite of what they had set out to do:  killed some of those men, not saved them. Taking their leaders away from them -- such as they were -- and turning their desperate situation into a dire one.

The antelope came to a stop and Lyta and Ennik silently got out, crossed in front of the hood and took each other’s places -- Ennik now driving his shift and Lyta catching some sleep. He adjusted his mirror, not that there was anyone out here, but he did it all the same. He caught the reflection of Fennec and Todd sleeping. Sleeping like a baby. ‘The sleep of the innocent,’ he snickered to himself.

By the time he had cycled through to the back seat and both Fennec and Todd had taken their turns at the wheel it would be late that night and they would probably be back with the caravan.

Ennik would tell Lukas about Mark Kim, but not how he knew about him. He’d hoped his indiscretion about the Abacus List wouldn’t bite him in the ass -- not to mention the other things he’d said that he shouldn’t have! These ‘kids’, as he still thought of them, could be at Dapez’s RLM base on the 29th, about the same time Ennik would be getting back to Khayr-ad Din. Or they’d continue on their way, maybe heading into the Great White desert on the 30th to find their people.

It was probably the long and exhausting trip over one end of Mt. Colden and back over again and again coupled with the bad sleep in the antelope. ‘No,’ Ennik checked himself, it wasn’t all that. Long hard hours was what he’d always been used to. It was the killing that made him feel like shit. It seemed like every time he met up with these ‘kids’, he came away feeling old, tired, and dirty. He felt like having a drink.

Lyta had fallen asleep with a scowl. Could have been for Ennik, but it coulda been for Todd or even Lukas. Todd still slept soundly; it actually gave Ennik a chill down his spine. And then there was Fennec. He really hoped she knew what she had gotten herself into when she’d agreed to signed on.

He shook his head in dismay. ‘These kids.’

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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