Garrison duty? Really? I may not remember my past, but I know I’m better than all this. Hence my street name of “Lazarus”. May not have returned from the dead, but since I don’t know my old life, I may as well have.
It’s cold. Really cold. I mean freeze your piss instantaneously creating urine-sickles kind of cold. And dark. No sun for almost 22 hours a day. Cold and dark. Great combination. If it weren’t for Kane, I sure as hell wouldn’t be here. And even then, I questioned it. The last time this whole crew got together, a dragon sat on me. Literally. And no, it wasn’t good times. I can’t say that I’m not expecting everything to go to drek and leave me stranded in the middle of nowhere Alaska. I miss the Barrens of Petersburg.
While Kane, Grummish, Dana, and Sunder get dropped off miles north of BFE Alaska, I get to stay here. They even took that newcomer Kira along. For her sake, I hope she knows what she’s getting into. Hell, if she doesn’t work out, she might have to worry about Grummish killing her.
Luckily I’ve got Katai with me. Always good to have a Panther Assault Cannon wielding troll nearby. Spitfire is also a welcome sight. A mage is always handy, but having one that looks like an African Amazonian just provides welcome eye candy. Rounding out the crew is Jazz. She’s a bit of a tom boy, but a rigger tends to be a mechanic too. I made sure we had a crew of “meat shields”. The Crazed Outlaws gang knew they were being paid 25,000 nuyen to come, all expenses paid of course, with 75,000 and keeping the weapons we purchased for them upon our return. A good deal, huh? I don’t expect they’’ll survive to collect. Oh well. Sucks to be them.
In the gathering darkness, I set about securing the Arctic Village, a tiny community. I get the crew to bring out the two sentry guns. We unload the snowmobiles and snow cats, then make sure everyone is armed. Well, everyone other than Katai. I swear he must sleep with that assault cannon of his. Jazz is relaxing in one of the large, cargo carrying Ares Dragon helicopters. She picks the one armed like a gunship. She insisted, and Gummy accommodated the request. I’m not sure who would track us down way out here and attack us, but then its not a question of being paranoid or not. More a question of being paranoid enough. And, then to be on the safe side, assume the worst case scenario, and prepare for something ten times worse.
Jazz notices first. She detects it through the helicopter’s sensors and immediately spins up the rotors. Katai, Spitfire, and I know exactly what to do. Katai, a heavy weapons expert, runs into the rear of the cargo Ares Dragon undoubtedly for an anti vehicular weapon. Shortly after the helicopter’s engines turn on, Runs With Caribou, the tiny town mayor and law enforcement officer comes out of the community’s small municipal building. Manifesting beside her are two nature spirits that look like animated trees.
“Lazarus,” she shouts above the helicopter, “what’s going on?”
“Not sure,” I reply. “Jazz, sit rep.”
“Two fast moving vehicles on the radar,” she says over the radio. “They must be really low for me not seeing ’em. We got a couple of minutes. Tops.”
“I got somethin’ for ’em,” Katai says with a hint of evil mischief in his voice.
“Well, sweethearts,” calls Spitfire over the radio, “there’s more bad news. We got armored troopers approaching from the south. Looks like someone knows how to fight in combined arms.”
“Hm, kind of like Yugoslavia,” I say automatically. But then it hits me. I remember my mission in the Balkans!