The Thaw

Started by Tyson Hazard, October 07, 2021, 08:42:54 AM

Tyson Hazard

October 07, 2021, 08:42:54 AM Last Edit: October 07, 2021, 08:49:52 AM by Tyson Hazard
A small hover vehicle zoomed across the surface of a frozen lake, cracked and broken ice jutted here in there as the ground spat out snow and flakes in its wake. The vehicle closed in on a dilapidated outpost, silhouetted on the horizon by a setting sun, almost hidden by trees. The rising of two moons over a massive snow topped peak caught his eye.. IT wasn't often that scenery made Tyson take notice, but this particular sunset was on the order of spectacular just above amazing.

His face covered in a breathing apparatus with a pair of goggles to deal with extreme cold, the aging vet was not exactly recognizable. But facial recognition was low on his list of priorities for this job. Running guns was never something he enjoyed, it meant more questionable weapons in the hands of even more questionable people, and too often the guns meant for peacekeeping, did the exact opposite. These folks out here, they weren't his preferred clients... but credits spent, either way, and if it weren't in his pocket... they'd be in somebody else's.

"Coming up on Fort McClellan, two clicks, the client says the bloody guerilla's will meet us at the rendezvous and the return cargo will be transported by ship back to his holdings." Said the woman in a warm looking parka and tactical gear in back with goods. She'd been mostly silent, even her name withheld. Her gestures had been the only thing that tipped off her gender, that and the curt greeting she'd given to the port master when they had arrived on this little snow ball of a moon. With daytime temps hovering just south of zero, and night time temperatures colder then the icy hell of the truly damned, it was less then an attractive vacation spot. Living here was hard, as the terraforming could only do so much this far out. One could breathe the thin atmo for a few minutes, but more then that was asking for permanent lung damage. This was the perfect place for guerilla's and bandits to call home.

"These idiots are still fighting for some reason."

"Which means shiny coin for us." Ty said curtly looking to change the subject.

"Didn't you used to be one of 'em?" She asked, almost challenging him.

"That war ended," He replied somewhat flatly.

"There's never has. Damn stubborn Browncoats. Then again folks like you saw the light. It ain't worth fightin-" She said, seemingly congratulating him.

"Ain't my war, and just so we're clear... there are no folks like me. Let's just get this done." Ty said after a moment, keeping his eyes locked forward. As the trees began to recede from the elevation they were at.

One ship to deliver; a different ship to pick up. Nice and tidy. IT kept the authorities off the scent of a gun run, and it had been his idea when he had been approached. He thought about all he had riding on each job. Seychelle was damn near twelve now, and there had to be dozen things he needed the credits for. He didn't much like taking advantage of the desperate and the needy, but that was the gambit. As they zoomed by a burnt out house that lay in long abandoned ruins, he couldn't help but remember what this was all for. Each job mean coin to keep the ol' place goin, to give the homestead a shot at another year.

"Any word on the pickup ship?" He asked through the small comm device near his mouth.

"What do you care?" The woman replied, finally responding in a deep but feminine tone.

"The more I know about the Op, the better it'll go... plus I don't fancy being stuck in this frozen hell a second longer then" He insisted.

"The Oddity? Odessa? Damn screen's freezing... must be negative 10 degrees out here. No wait... the Odette." The woman's voice chimed back.

"Never heard of it. Any word on the ETA? You know in case the natives get to thinkin' maybe they keep the guns AND the cargo." He inquired, as he noticed storm clouds on the horizon.

"Not yet, just make the transfer and wait for ex-fil. You worried about the pay?" the woman asked. Her mercenary tone unmistakable.


All the military speak unnerved him, he knew his accomplice was a former purple belly, and a friend of the client on this job. It felt too close to working for the Federals, but again... credits spend. This was life out in the far flung bits... take the work and don't ask questions.

He came near a familiar site, a trench line with sandbags and rocks piled for defenses. The fort was remote, a few guard towers, surrounding a tiny settlement of a few dozen stone dwellings at the base of an immense mountain of rock and ice. Out here mining and precious minerals were hot commodities... but Ty could only guess as to the value of the mysterious cargo he was hired to protect and see delivered back to the client. To the client, He was an insurance policy, nothing more. An experienced hand who could make the difference if things went south. That suited Ty just fine. There wasn't much in the 'Verse that could be relied on... things being complicated was always one of them.
"Alright, and by the way if we blow up, 'm totally haunting you, seriously, there'll be booin' and everything."

Tyson Hazard

October 08, 2021, 09:31:25 AM #1 Last Edit: October 08, 2021, 09:55:56 AM by Tyson Hazard
Hazard Homestead ... 2 years earlier

A shot rang out in the evening air. Then another. Two thuds in rapid succession nailed the narled stump of an Oak that stubbornly protruded from a small hill near the homestead.

"You missed." Declan said, shaking his head. The old man studied the landing spot, as the little girl kept her arm outstretched, the small caliber gun one of Ty's. Her head was in thick fluffy puffs, hair that as caramel as her eyes  focused on the target, a small tin can on a stump near the corner of the large transport depot, which bore the words "Hazards' Last Stop" in fainted iridescent blue paint. The dilapidated repair port had been one of the few spared in the war, mostly because it hadn't been working for a decade and wasn't considered a threat to anyone. Four landing pads, a small repair bay fit for smaller transports and cargo haulers, a generator that worked when it wanted, and a little cluster of maintenance sheds, duty posts, and refueling compartments, made up the remainder of the outpost.

It had taken every well  earned and ill-gotten gain Ty had procured in his time in the black, as well as a loan from Persephone banker who had promised a decent interest rate, and delivered a devil's bargain of a deal. Still, the homestead was a place start over. IT had taken about a year of blood and sweat, and more then a few tears, but the place had come alive again. The local town, a place called Mercutio, hadn't welcomed the new arrivals warmly at first. That had changed when the small shop brought business, a place for half a dozen men from the town to work, and brought in real mechanics and even a lawyer and a post office. It even gave them a place to share the local crops with merchants from half the sector, rather then having to bring them another 100 miles to the nearest hub. A small fee meant they could earn more for their yields, and it helped keep the homestead profitable, for a time at least.

"I didn't miss, I was aiming for the stump!" Seychelle said with a smile.

Declan chuckled. "Alright, you have me there little one."

"What in the name of... what are you two doing!?" Tyson said as He approached from the house, having returned from a sojurn to town earlier then either of them expected.

"Now Ty... you know I-" Declan said looking guilty, the old man picked up his hat and approached sheepishly.

"Daddy we were just-" Sey fired up.

"Making holes in that old stump? I thought I told you no guns?" Ty cut her off, trying his best to not be too angry.

"She told me you said it was ok... plus the girl's got to learn sometime." Declan said, the old man stroked his beard, and shrugged. He was his granduncle on his fathers' side, too old for the last war, and way too old to be told what to do. Still here he was, teaching his great grand niece something Ty had forbidden.

"Like never maybe? I don't work hard as I do to have you actin' the brigand." Ty scolded as he folded his arms.

"Now Ty-" Declan tried to intervene.

"And you, Uncle, your wife's been missin' you, how about you find your way home?" He said as respectful as his temper would allow.

"Alright, but don't punish the girl, was my idea."The man gave the girl a pat on the head, and moved off towards his home down the small hill that lead towards town.

"Sey, if I ever catch you playin' with my old gun-"

"I know, I know, it'll be seminary school. How come you let Roland shoot?"

"Roland is nearly grown, and he obeys me when I tell him things. And now I'm thinking bein' a shepherd is too easy on you." Ty said sharply.

"I gotta learn to shoot like you, what if we get raided like in them stories? Or Reavers come-" Sey said pouting, her age showing in her manner.

"That's back during the war Sey, war's long over. Reavers don't come this far, and We ain't got much too worry round here except bill collectors, and as much as I would like to shoot 'em-" Ty spoke quickly.

"The Hendersons' boy knows how to shoot a rifle, and the Cantor's twins can each hit a bird from 300 yards..." Sey continued, digging in.

"You ever see em' do it?" Ty asked actually seeming impressed.

"Well" Sey admitted after a second.

", Besides your missing the biggest 'why not' of all." Ty said abrubtly.

"Why not?", Sey blurted.

"'Cause I said so!" Ty said sharply as he picked the package of bullets from near where she'd been shooting.

"Sey, I know my rules seem tough, but I promised your mother I'd keep you from endin' up like I did. You have a chance to be someone smart and tough and quick, without hurtin' people, and this little place could be a real hub someday with your name on it. Schoolin' is your way to a good life... not a gunsight." Ty couldn't help but lecture the girl, though he felt certain that she knew all this from memory.

"Ok. But-" She tried once more. Ty admired her stubborness... she was his daughter alright.

"No 'buts', now run and get ready for supper. Ms. Henshaw made us up somethin' nice and I don't want you ruinin' it with gun oil. Now scoot." He ordered this time, giving her a voice that left no room for wiggles.

Ty retrieved the gun from her, and watched as all 5 feet of her scampered back to the small white two story wooden cottage, at the far corner of the property. He knew that she was ignorant of the massive debts that were piling up due to the new restrictions on ports, and the crackdown on unregistered repair bays. As it stood, they were just breaking even, but the old debts were going to becoming due any day, and the status quo wasn't going to last long. Leaving Sey was never an option he wanted to consider, but without earning serious coin, there was very little choice.

He felt torn between had to happen, and what could never be.
"Alright, and by the way if we blow up, 'm totally haunting you, seriously, there'll be booin' and everything."

Tyson Hazard

October 20, 2021, 08:11:58 AM #2 Last Edit: October 20, 2021, 08:17:37 AM by Tyson Hazard
"These goods are crap"

"These goods are what you paid for, and for the price they are a bargain," Ty said as the heavy set man across from him kept his arms folded as he held one of the weapons from the crates. He bore a pair of white binoculars, a scraggly bearded and scarred face that gave him an air of authority.

"Colonel Harden, The quality isn't-"

"Quality ain't what you paid for. These are off shelf, backroom, untraceable weapons. Your little war out here isn't cheap, and getting you goods ain't either. You want shiny weapons, you pay shiny coin." Ty said, his tone indicating that his patience was wearing. IT had been two hours of a run around, and still the rabble hadn't paid.

"We could just take'm send payment later-" Harden said, in a way that suggested it would be easy.

"That wasn't the arrangement," his female counterpart said, her hand almost going to her weapon. Several of the militia members grabbed for theirs, a moment of real violence was a second away.

"Or we could shoot you and say you never got here. I mean... you are alone." The leader joked. Several of his men laughed in the cold warehouse, there breath turning to steam in the near freezing air.

"You could, but a decision like that won't end well. I'm here to make the trade, you don't hold up your end-" Ty began as he shook his head.

"You threatening me-" Harden said, becoming agitated.

"Just remindin' you of the landscape. Now, I go back empty handed with no goods, or don't show back up... my employer and your benefactor is gonna want blood, and since mine would be gone and thiers ain't  exactly warm guess whose blood is gonna be on the table?"

"Now, think real hard about your position here. Right now, Alliance don't see you as an 'A' level threat, and my employer is happy to keep you stocked and locked... that arrangement changes by say, oh, wasting his runners? Might see that relationship get a might rocky. Now I get it, you been on the rocky end for a minute, got plenty a lies and too many promises?" Ty said without breaking his eye contact with the head honcho of the rag tag out fit. Ty could tell the man wasn't a veteran, as he handled weapons like one of the militia's the Browncoats had turned to in the war. The kind of men in those militia's could be brutal, and not fit to be considered a soldier. They followed no rules, and were more like brigands and thieves then actual forces.

"I've been where you are Colonel, low supplies, low morale, losing track of the enemy. Now how much longer do you figure you can hold out if you piss of your biggest supporters? How many other deals you got lined up? How many more fronts you wanna fight on? How many of them folks in the town yonder you think will stick with you if don't have a supply line?"

A moment passed and the man said nothing. Then he waved over two one of his 'soldiers', who pushed over the container full of whatever rare cargo that his employer wanted. Ty had guessed it was some sort of mineral, perhaps some cultural treasure... Either way they were packed in three little cushioned and enviro-stabilized containers large enough to fit a small person.

"We have a deal." Harden finally replied, clearly deciding not to go the hard way.


"I see why they sent you." His female companion sent to keep him on task chirped. She was seemingly tickled by the negotiations, and was almost gleeful.

"You speak their language." The woman continued as she leaned back listening as the cargo containers were loaded by two men of the compound. The cabin was sealed, and so she continued, confident they weren't being listened to.

"Desperation, struggling against the inevitable? Fools, living on the edge in a fantasy world that don't exist. That's who I used to be." Ty said as he checked the proximity scanner on the transport.

"What are you now?" She inquired.

"Me? I'm a man with a mortgage." Ty said musing aloud as they began to load the cargo.

"Think they'll find the tracker in the cases?" She wondered.

"Nope. Forty Eight Hours and it'll be a flash and splash." Ty said as he looked over to the small shell of a village near the compound. The small mining village probably housed a hundred or so unsuspecting settlers. The small place was large enough for a single church, marked by a mixed cross and symbol for life that was lit by a small neon filament. Ty watched as the light from it's steeple blinked on and off in the dark morning sky.

"All these folks about to be cooked by a barrage of ammo from the upper atmosphere. Shame really, the damn rebels lead'em to this. Using Civies as cover." He continued, considering the level of carnage that was going to ensue when they were clear. The explosions would be quick... and there would be one less group of 'freedom' fighters on the frontier, if everything the employer planned went of without a hitch.

"Not our problem. We get paid, and that mortgage of yours might be a little closer to being paid off. Smile Merc... you got 20K in creds to make you sleep a little better." The woman said as she tapped on the side of the transport as the sun began to rise on the horizon.

Ty put on his head gear and prepared to get out.

"Where you going?"

"To pray", Ty said he opened the door and jumped out, marching in the direction of the small building.
"Alright, and by the way if we blow up, 'm totally haunting you, seriously, there'll be booin' and everything."

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