Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter X: Responsibility

“I don’t get it -- they’re criminals!” Major Beria said in exasperation, throwing his arm in the air. Colonel Arthur let out a sigh, straining to remain patient and hoping his subordinate wouldn’t launch into another tirade. Major Diego, the CO’s chief of staff, stepped in once again to mediate.

“Major Beria, surely you must appreciate that the larger threat must trump such considerations?”

“Why, because he says so?” Beria exclaimed, pointing at the the fourth man in the room.

Major Stone sat quietly in the corner of the large office as the head of SecBuro struggled to contain his frustration. He had said nothing in the last 20 minutes as Beria listed the not inconsiderable evidence against Quinn and his associates and pontificated on responsibility.

“No, Major, because I say so,” Colonel Arthur commanded as he slapped his desk with a strong open hand, his frustration finally spilling over. “Dammit, Major, I appreciate your feelings on the matter but I will not let the Forzi dictate how I respond to a matter of state security!”

There was a long silence. Major Beria opened his mouth twice but clenched it shut both times without uttering a word. His face was red with restraint. Finally he looked to Major Diego pleadingly.

The Colonel’s adjutant nodded and waited another 30 seconds before taking in an audibly deep breath, as though he were inviting others to do the same. “Major. We appreciate how difficult it is for you to police Port Arthur and that when this crisis passes, you will have to answer to the merchants and citizens who pay taxes and expect a rule of law in our city.”

“Yes, precisely,” Major Beria said exasperatedly. “They called SecBuro, they provided evidence that they were threatened and attacked on their premises, and two men are badly wounded and two others are dead. I know what you think of them and I feel the same way. If I could throw the Forzi in prison for their organised crime I would, but you know very well why I can’t.”

Major Diego stiffened slightly and gave Beria a warning glare. Major Beria’s head bowed and shook in frustration, realising the insult. Major Stone, still tranquil in the corner, shifted slightly in his chair, his curiosity piqued.

“Major Beria”, Colonel Arthur began solemnly, “I have ordered you in the past to overlook certain activities of the the various Wounded Knee cartels in our city because we need them. You’ve done a fine job parsing between overtly criminal and simply questionable practices, and I commend you on the execution of my orders. But right now we need Quinn and his mercenaries more than we need thuggish coffee shop owners.”

“And let’s not forget, Beria,” Major Diego continued, “the evidence does show that the Forzi overstepped the mark when they detained Quinn.”

“And you think that absolves them from murder?” Beria asked in earnest.

“No. They shall have to pay for their crimes, but only after they’ve had the opportunity to mitigate their sentence by helping us with Gustafson,” Colonel Arthur concluded.

Major Diego turned to Major Beria and cocked his head, expressing that this was a reasonable compromise. The head of SecBuro was known to be ill-tempered, but his fellow officers also knew this was only because he was passionate about justice. Colonel Arthur could tolerate a certain amount of bemoaning because Beria was very good at a very hard job and because, in the end, impudence aside, Major Beria was always obedient.

“Very well then. Major, can we expect Mr. Quinn to be released will all due haste?” Diego cooed.

“I won’t be held responsible for what they do next, or for any retaliation by the Forzi. And I hope you don’t expect me to try and arrest them after releasing him. We’ll never have another opportunity to hold them again.”

Colonel Arthur and Major Diego shared a look, momentarily cataloging the carnage that this particular group and the Forzi had wrought on the city in the past. Major Beria was right: there could be disastrous fallout from this decision and Beria would bear none of the blame. It gave them pause.


Colonel Arthur, military governor of Port Arthur; Major Diego, his chief of staff and secretary of state; and Major Beria, chief of SecBuro all turned to the corner of the office where Major Stone sat placidly.

He cleared his throat and shifted once again in his seat. “I’ll take responsability.”

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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