Drew and I sat in the little hole in the floor of a bar, on the outskirts of Chi-Town, and drank, joined by a fellow whom we didn’t know. Not sure if I wanted too either, but his credits were good and he paid for the pitcher of swill. I call it swill cause they had nothing worth pouring into a vehicle, let alone a human (or cyborg). Then, it happened….
That noble headed, chivalric, cyber-knight, Sir “josh.0” showed up. If drew knew he was fronting the job and didn’t tell me, I’ll dismember him in his sleep….but….I digress. Sir “leaps a lot” gave us some details, not all mind you, about the job. Something was off though, our white knight was a bit less squeaky clean and a bit more….grey. Maybe he wouldn’t be so intolerable to work with, maybe he wasn’t as bad as I remember. In any case, the job was simple, haul supplies to some people in need in EDO. From Chi-Town….what was I thinking. Oh I remember, there’s a few people in EDO with some debts to pay, and if all goes right, I may just get the nuclear engine for the death wagon. And get my name off the blacklist.
Drew’s internal clock would have been more accurate, but somewhere between 10 and 11, we caught up with Sir Loin, of the bovine, and hooked up what appeared to be an armored trailer to the APC. Drew parked his hovercraft ON the trailer and tool up residence in the turret bay of the APC. I say turret bay, as the turret itself was non-existent , and an elaborate hatch made from a bank vault door was in its place. Our new “caffeinated” friend rode alongside as guard, as did our employer, whom I’m starting to like at this point. Don’t get me wrong, we aren’t best buds or anything, but I think I’ll stop making up names for him and just go with “Josh.1”. A minor upgrade to our last dealings.
This is the part where life gets…..interesting. I was there at Groc’s compound the day the hand of god decided to come out of the heaven and give the shocker to old Groc and his crew, so the beam emanating from the sky was no new thing. What was new was that it hit Chi-town….Let me say that again, just to impart some seriousness to it, IT HIT CHI-TOWN…..Within seconds the air was ablaze with coalition forces, all moving toward the city proper, and radio reports were sketchy, but it sounded like they had said the emperor was dead….if that is true, then we are in for a whole heap of trouble in the months to come.
We however pressed on. I’m not about to stick my neck out for the emperor, alive or dead, and since he wasn’t footing the bill for our delivery, I was all about the job, however, watching a well defended and powerful city get struck by something that only Cross would use, (speaking of which?) leaves us all with a bit of paranoia.
As we drove, our escorts (josh.1 and “burnt?”) noted another APC behind us, matching our speed. We decided to let them pass and proceeded to keep them about 200ft in front of us. Scout/decoy/fodder, call it what you will, my instincts paid off. There was an ambush, and they were looking to take us. But they got the 1st APC instead. See launched some missiles and the cyber knight started screaming! Something about magic/fire and big monster. Kinda garbled, but it made me hesitate for a second. Long enough to ponder hitting the lead APC with a volley of HE missiles. Then I remembered, the HE were in the shed out behind the outhouse near the shop. I’d have to do with plasma missiles instead. One volley and the beast lay dead. APC saved and crew unhurt. What are the odds? Damn I’m good.
We let the first APC go ahead of us, why not, they are now our DD (for those of you not in the know, that’s “designated decoy”). Time for a nap, Drew can drive..
A Little Later….
So much for a nap! That APC we let get ahead of us must have met an untimely demise. There are flames and wreckage ahead. The wreckage looks clean though, no blood or bodies, tracks leading off to the southeast. The guards are on it. Drew checked the wreckage and found some supplies we could use. Good, the previous owners don’t look like they’ll be needing them. We are sitting ducks here……got to keep moving. 35mph and the guards can catch up.
Radio contact has Josh.1 and Burt followed the tracks and found what looks like the remains of a beast, right limb missing. No personnel from the APC. No sign of them, but there is really no time for a detailed inquiry into it. We need to get out of here. This road is poised to take us out if we let it.
But it begs the question, why would a magical creature, only affected by fire, even care about a convoy of food. never mind the fact that it’s happening right after the empire was assaulted. No coalition support? Coincidentally, these creatures appeared to have been waiting for us for some time, why didn’t the coalition even detect this? Who knows, but maybe, just maybe, the food we’re hauling is just a cover, or worse yet, we’re just a decoy.
The guards are back, nothing really to report. We are pressing on, and on high alert. Swing shift on driving detail. Guess the cot is gonna be home tonight, I hate sleeping in my armor…..
To be continued…….