Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kragor the Merc: Headhunted

It turned out Erza still had some unfinished business to attend to, so had to stay on the island, but at that moment it was good enough to have two days of sleep to look forward to. However, bad habits die hard and after one day in easy mode the brain wanted work again, so we check the bounty board. It seemed the gang was in on the idea which was the best news so far: no matter how poor the result or how bad the pay experience improves everything. But in the end it might be that we got a little bit too much of that in one doze.

About the same time we had decided to run a bounty mission Elizah informed us we had been headhunted for another mission. Must've been due to the island mission and that meant there could be cash in it. However, nothing prevented us from running a little hunt on our spare time. So we did, but the intel we gathered on the top business made me realize I'd been pulling it too far; they were out of our league for the moment. Blame it on that stupid biomod - I think it gets me in a good mood and prevents me from thinking straight. Luckily, the others seemed to reach the same conclusion so was no need for me to bring it up. We cashed in on some low-level bounties instead, which made it a good day.

The mission for which we had been headhunted involved an escort for a corp called GERO. They were represented by a young talkative woman who seemed fairly new in the game. Some secret high-tech gear was to be transported some secret route from a secret location. Ed managed the negotiations so we got a shitty deal, but at least it would be some good advertising. Or so I thought.

A jeep took us out into the middle of nowhere; we had to turn off everything to prevent us from knowing where we were, which was part of the plan. Then we waited for the transport to arrive. Big terradyne with a sole driver and no escort. Considering there poor pay it seemed outright stupid. But it could just be a test of some kind. But the real test was still to come.

The terradyne had, beyond the spacy driver's compartment, a small outlook at the front and two seats at the back. We had a 48h trip ahead so took up positions, me and Ed at the rear and Angeline, Juron and Lucas at the front, and soon took off. Was relieved that someone else was driving for once - never took this job to be a trucker. First day passed with no incidents and the second seemed to be going well. That was until me and Lucas heard some noise, followed by the demand to "stop the truck" - spoken in our own com-channel. That was enough for me to take things serious. I had two options to be able to see what was going on: climb a ladder to the top of the moving truck or throw myself off. The first would put me in a really nice outline for anyone aiming at us, so option B it was. At that point the truck stopped, which I didn't know if it was good or bad. Got off and saw some figure in armor standing in the tower. He was still talking at our com-channel so I took a shot. The moment after an arm came leaving the outlook - I later learned it was Lucas'. Ed, who had taken the ladder and covered the distance over the truck came down firing - until Juron ordered us all to stop. Seemed the attacker had us at a severe disadvantage. There was some discussion going on but as I was out of the picture for the moment I took a look around. Ed's run across the vehicle had made it quite clear that if there was anyone else around with a gun they had chosen not to fire it. Meaning it was a stupid fight to fight. I spotted a contraption with a camera above the road about the same time a com-call came through that everyone was going to live, which sounded fair. Then Juron and the driver came around to offload something from the cargo - the attacker had only requested a single piece. So he had intel on the secret cargo, intel on the secret route and the corp was paying us shit-grade salary and body parts was coming out from the vehicle. Again it was clear we were out of our league and there was little to do - little I cared about doing - than getting the dude what he wanted. The only thing that buggered me was that the driver seemed upset about it; meaning he had either no tactical sense whatsoever or he was getting paid really well for delivering that cargo. Neither put me in a good mood so as we prepared to head out - requested item left at the road - I told him to shut up.

Eventually we reached our destination, with a new escort and our contractor waiting at the scene. Our only piece of luck I guess; the state of Lucas and Angeline - who had both been taken down with a sword - got our contractor a bit out of balance. There was some exchange with the driver but no real intel on what could have transpired. Generously the corp offered to supply a bionic arm for Lucas and we were given full pay (petty cash in comparison) and a somewhat honorary dismissal. It was all a clear reminder that to do jobs in the Fringe you need to be able to react in the back of your brain in any situation - there can be no hesitation. And yeah, money and fancy gear helps, too.

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