February 7, 2019 at 8:10 am #15728
[Evening, Thursday March 25, 2077; Gray Bear Lodge, Yellowstone Park, Sioux Lands]
Shrike pulled up in front of Al and Haydee in a scrunch of gravel and they bundled in to the borrowed car with as much haste as they could muster before hightailing it back for the hills… there was still about a hundred clicks to Devil’s Den but with a vehicle that ground would be considerably easier to cross. Of course avoiding the Sioux patrols would be correspondingly harder but hopefully they were deep enough behind the border that it would be less of an issue. That said, the rumours of trouble around Yellowstone had been doing the rounds of the shadowboards recently and it would be just their luck to be stumbling in the the centre of a military operation designed to keep the unwary away from unusual astral phenomenon…the kind of phenomenon that they were actively seeking…
#91February 7, 2019 at 3:03 pm #15734
It felt so very good to be able to drive in a car with a working climate control, stereo and soft seats. I had even managed to shut of the annoying warning that the car really wanted to connect to the matrix for urgent updates. I prefered to rely on the map my suit received – now freshly updated with information of one of the numerous S-K spy satellites. There was an interesting bit of IR activity around the Devil’s Den. A military cordon according to Puck’s helpful annotations.
“Time for the good news, bad news game: Good news, we are on track, on time and have delicious Fasasu treats (Fat Salt and Sugar) to feast upon. Bad news is, we’ll have to walk the last three klicks – through a cordon secured by the NAN Forces. At least one ranger batallion and possible one or two platoons of wildcats. And those guys won’t let themselves be fooled with a fake Piasma.
We have about half an hour to come up with a good idea how and where to overcome them without getting caught. Have a look at the maps I’m sharing.”February 7, 2019 at 6:15 pm #15745
“Fooled by a fake piasma. Sheee-it, kemo sabe, they’d jist be disappointed it warn’t real. Those fellers is the real deal, way I hear tell.”
Al bent his attention to the maps. He’d always wanted to see Yellowstone. Now he was almost there and it was nothing but a way station on his route to another twisted unreality populated by Lovecraftian ne’er-do-wells. But at least he had beers, cigs, and self-heating soyritos.
“Well, we ain’t gon’ outfight ’em. An’ we ain’t gon’ sneak past ’em. They’ll have sensors, sentries, demons, an’ drones. Which needn’t be insurmountable in itself, but all we got is this here map, an’ they’s operatin’ in they own back yard. Nah, we ain’t gon’ find somethin’ in this map they own planners an’ computer simulations ain’t sussed to already. Can’t say I got a clear plan, but broad stokes I’d say it starts with a might big distraction, somethin’ll pull eyes an’ boots. An’ then, if’n we’s really as sneaky an’ wiley as we think we are, we might have a chance o’ slippin’ by whatever skeleton assets they leave on watch while the rest is off a’bear huntin’.”
He paused to suck some of the spicy filling from his soyrito. He liked to slurp them empty and then chew on the doughey shell separately.
“An’ whatever we use fer the distraction, it should die. That way they don’t go tryin’ ta track any strays.” He looked around innocently. “We could draw straws….”February 9, 2019 at 7:10 am #15761
“I was asking for good ideas, not suicidal ones.” I remarked tiredly.
“No, I was thinking more along the lines of taking Sian up on her earlier idea and go in underground. Devil’s Den does have an extensive cave network. It’s the only way we can evade both drones and spirits patroling on the perimeter.”February 9, 2019 at 11:02 am #15768
Although he’d obviously been joking, Al chuckled at the thought of any of these guys jumping on a grenade for the cause – he didn’t figure self-sacrifice was in the character profile of anyone that lived for thousands of years.
Then again, he’d seen both Shrike and Sian take some balls-out risks on behalf of their coworkers in Boston. Hell, just going to Boston (not to mention here) had been a pretty damned risky proposition.
So they were really lucky, really badass, or…being slaves to dragons they simply did what they were told.
“Groovy baby. Distances were too much an navigation too uncertain ta be practical with that patrol, but now that we’s this close…I jist hope once we’s past the cordon we come up fer air. An’ if we do access this…wherever we’s goin’….through the existing caves, let’s go in with multiple ways out. Otherwise, Sian here buys it, then we’s more’n likely in there ferever.”February 9, 2019 at 11:59 am #15770
“True, but then, were would be the fun in this, if we didn’t have to risk our lives just to get to the place were we are going to risk our lives and our sanity.”
I smiled. “Ah yes, at least it won’t be dull.”February 9, 2019 at 10:19 pm #15784
Sian nods. ”I can do that. My engineering and geology experience will help make sure that the tunnel I dig does not collapse and I can put small air shafts in at intervals to keep us in fresh air. Depending on the soil we find, I would think that we could make several meters every few seconds, which means that we ought to go the three klicks in less than an hour. My sense of direction is pretty good, too, but I am always glad for others to help me keep going in the right direction.”
She turns to Al. ”You alright with me using my sorcery to do this?”
February 11, 2019 at 11:08 am #15805
- This reply was modified 6 months ago by Mercy.
“Elvira, baby, that ship done sailed back in Boston. It’s your immortal soul. An’ anyhoo, I seen back in Beantown how good ya are with all that devilry.Ya wanna dig ol’ Al a tunnel, by all means dig a tunnel. Maybe the fact it’s fer savin’ the world an’ all o’ that’ll git ya some latitude at the Pearly Gates.”February 11, 2019 at 2:04 pm #15810
I smiled at that remark: “Pearly gates – not bloody likely. You know, I’ve met my maker before – and I wasn’t terribly impressed. Red stars over red sands, getting judged by someone who never had to schlog through darkness and pain doesn’t sound remotely fair to me.
So it’s settled then: We tunnel through the bedrock. Best place would be that emergency parking bay before the first roadblock. We can let the car return on it’s own and it will look like we noticed the signs and headed them. From there we can climb down the ravine and access the bare rock directly. That should save you one or two castings.”February 11, 2019 at 5:57 pm #15820
“Sheee-it, Shrikester, we all ain’t got but one Maker, an’ He done suffered more’n us all. Creation after the manner o’ the flesh, though, that can be a whole diff’rent story, I’ll allow – din’t ya say once you was made by the big Golden Gecko?”February 11, 2019 at 6:48 pm #15823
Sian chuckles. ”I have studied many of this planet’s religions and I have noticed that they do not all agree on the creation………………….or the creator. For myself, I no longer remember how I was born or created, whichever it was. That event is so far in my past that my memory does not hold it. I am sure that I put it in a journal but that tome was left behind on another plane and I have no idea how to get back to it. What I do know is that I am here for a purpose that is not yet completed, so I must continue to struggle on.”
275February 12, 2019 at 2:36 pm #15841
“Blinky Binky was indeed my creator – and in regard to the other one… I missed Christ by a decade or so. Heard a lot of people talking about him, but I’m quite a bit fuzzy on the details. But I remember I really liked the stories about him. A real rebell and trouble maker. Quite funny what history made of him. Anyway, I guess if I really had to face him, I bet I’d get along with him as long as I don’t mention the murders…”
I smiled at my mostly forgotten ventures in the wastes of Kanaan.February 13, 2019 at 12:36 pm #15891
Al spoke to Sian. “Honey, jist cuz folks don’t all agree on somethin’ don’t mean one of ’em’s not right. But power to ya fer not given up on yer search.”
Shrike’s understanding of theology and appreciation for his Savior were both clearly limited. But that wasn’t what Al wanted to talk about. Something drove him to ask: “Okay, so if’n ya didn’t mean the Lord Jesus an’ ya didn’t mean the lizard, what maker was it you was talkin’ ’bout havin’ met an’ been judged by?” And then, without knowing why, Al pressed: “In the red sands red stars place…”February 14, 2019 at 3:11 pm #15915
Sian listens a bit and interjects where she can. ”I do not truly ascribe to any of this world’s religions, but the closest I ever felt to any sort of religion is what I got from Buddha. Many of his teachings resonated with me for some reason. Have you heard of him?”
276February 14, 2019 at 3:27 pm #15916
“Sure. Yoga. Incense. Little chantin’. Not sure it’s enough ta make a religion out of, though. But hey, ta each his own.”February 14, 2019 at 5:01 pm #15920
I replied: “Funny you should ask that. I met a god once – or a thing as close to a physical god as you could get. Took some effort to wrangle it down and put it away. But no, I was talking about old Lofwyr, alright. He made me – with a little help of my mother and a heap full of magic madness. As I said: I wasn’t terribly impressed.”February 14, 2019 at 10:45 pm #15929
Sian smiles at Shrike. ”And there is a major difference between us, my friend. I seem to have a much better relationship with my Master than you do with yours. I cannot remember a time when Schwartzkopf has been mean or ill tempered towards me. I confess to always being impressed in his presence. On another note, how far away is this parking lot we are heading to?”
277February 15, 2019 at 7:35 am #15931
“It ain’t far. What woulda been a couple days’ hike gon’ now be under an hour.”
The car was nothing much, and did not have a windshield HUD, so he pulled out his commlink and showed her.
“They’s a scenic turnoff here. It’s the last legit tourist spot afore ya hit the military cordon, an’ it’s outta LOS o’ they first checkpoint. Which ain’t ta say they won’t have eyes on it, but I’d not imagine anythin’ insurmountable. What’s more, the spot’s blasted outta the cliffside, so you’ll have easy access ta bedrock.”February 15, 2019 at 9:41 pm #15945
Sian pays close attention to Al as he describes the location. ”I suppose that we could do something with an illusion to fool any cameras or drones that might be watching. Sending the vehicle back would help with our story that we got back in the var and went back to the town.
She looks over to her new companions. ”Can you cover the illusion? It would not have to be too detailed or too long, since I would only need a few seconds to get several meters into the ground and we can go into the tunnel. I can even disguise the entrance to look like nothing was done there.” Grinning she adds a comment about keeping a concealed air vent open.
278February 16, 2019 at 7:13 am #15950
I replied to Sian: “I guess it’s the difference between working for a fucking dragon and fucking a dragon. I’m quite happy as things are…”
“Yes, to all of that: Concealed exit, sending back the car from where we took it and with any luck no-one will notice us crossing under the cordon.”
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