Thursday, December 11, 2014

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VIII: Cool And Collected

Early Autumn 1927, in or near Port Arthur.
She looked cool even as she collected the empty mugs off the tables. Her dark hair cut in a steep angle complimented her high cheekbones and sharp jaw line. She never went out in public without donning her smokey makeup, which in the dim light of the bar made her beautiful features truly striking. She was more than cool, she was hot and she knew it.

It was part of the job. You couldn’t operate a bar in the GREL quarter without some kind of appeal, and, her micro-brew notwithstanding, what made the place a hit was its eponymous owner. Any given night the place was hopping. It gave her a good living. Not in the receipts of the sales, which were very respectable, but as a perfect cover for collecting gossip, making covert deals, and putting people together. All of which worked best in a crowd.

Of course it also attracted another kind of attention, the wrong kind, but she had handled the biggest part of that.

She flirted with a few patrons. That too was part of the game because there were always small hassles. There was the mustashed caravaner who always got his hands on the best narcotics for her GREL clients. He tried to get his hands on a bit more than that, but she always deflected him without completely putting him off. There was the pushy officer who could usually be convinced to gloss over the cyclical red tape of permits for little more than a promise, though from time to time she came to collect.

Another patron entered her web. Like the others he thought he was special, maybe he was too. She’d put more effort into nurturing that relationship than many others. She’d spent several weeks six seasons back nursing him to health after some northern bitch chewed him up with a rifle. She gave him a wink as he took a table.

Minnie surveyed her small kingdom with pride. She had carved this place out of hostile territory and dug herself in, biding her time. It was an accomplishment by any standard, but it was a victory for someone like her, coming from where she did. Still, all the pride in the world wasn’t satisfaction.

Satisfaction was too close to happiness, and that would only come when everyone who had brought her here were buried deep in the sand. She never confided and never trusted anyone with her goal, her dream. She never let the mask slip. To everyone she was just Minnie: the cool wheeler and dealer who collected information and whatever else anyone wanted for a fee.


She was cool and collected as she focused on her work. The way he had taught her to be. She viewed everything she did in only three ways: immediate, short-term, and long-term.

Any given day was 90% comprised immediate stuff, things she could quickly file or dismiss. Questions she had the means of answering. Some 9% of her day was short-term; it would would require some more ‘leg-work’ as he had called it in his old-school way. The thought of his spy novels made her smile. There had been a long time she couldn’t smile when she thought of him. It pleased her that she could now. It was him who had given her her love of reading and that love of reading that lead to love again.

Then there was long-term stuff. It didn’t come up often, but those were the really interesting and truly important parts of her work. And, she thought, her life. That morning, as she reviewed her reports in a cool, analytical, and dispassionate manner, the important parts of work and life overlapped.

A Neil Motor Werks sales rep had met with the HA ambassador. It would have been immediately dismissed as trivial had her routine facial recognition scan not found an anomaly. The name and the face didn’t match. Had she not known that Torgath was coming to Port Arthur she might not have recognized Lukas masquerading as the NMW rep. He was good after all. So they were finally here and they were somehow involved with Hippolyte.

Col. Gerti, as well as her father before her, kept a close eye on the ambassador. ‘Vater mir helfen’. Gérald Petit had also been watching him and died for it. Hippolyte was smuggling things for the Earthers. She had come close to intercepting it in Khayr ad-Din a cycle and a half ago. The last time she has seen Torgath. So it was that her long-term interests in life and work coincided.

It was a distraction, one that might affect her work and one that would certainly challenge her ‘cool’. She was excited and she didn’t care. It was unlike her. Something in her had changed, and that too made her smile.


It was cool out and he collected his jacket up around his neck. Helios was setting behind the horizon and he regretted again that there would be no fires tonight to warm him and liven the conversation with his companions. Not that they talked much with him. He didn’t take it personally, though. He was an outsider.

‘Funny,’ he thought, that he didn’t take it personally. He was working with a bunch of Sand Riders in whom he trusted in order to do what was necessary for the greater good. They shared a common interest and even affection for the person who bridged their two different worlds, but they would always see him as an outsider.

The parallel was so strong that he wondered if he had subconsciously orchestrated it as a form of purgatory, or was it catharsis? Actually, if anyone had arranged this it was the very man who stood by his side.

“Do you have doubts?”

“Always. I’ve just decided to take your advice and not let them dictate my actions.”

“So you have found faith.”


“They are the same.”

“Hurry back, Jonas.”

“I will, Titan.”

He watched the Sand Riders gathered around and wished their Thral a safe journey in the tongue which he was only just starting to understand. Ti gave Jonas a nod and a smile and watched him walk off into the desert towards the light of the city which grew inversely as the rays of Helios disappeared entirely.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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