Monday, July 22, 2013

Gauntlet - Episode 3.



Episode 3 – Late Birds Loot Little

Perched at the promising portal Dyzon stood poised with his commlink already in hand. A deep chuckle was already building from inside him to fill the car’s cabin with its mirth as the Bloody Bachelor began to laugh loudly. “My apologies,” he sarcastically spat with a soft sneer. “But a late bird loots little my losing lady. The pickings albeit slim are presently picked clean. Better luck next time, though!”

 A string of strong speech exploded from the small speaker that managed to be nearly audible enough for everyone on-board to clearly decipher. Anything but cordial the angry answer was dripping with violent venom. “Horns will have you for this,” the vengeful voice vowed. “That was our task for the taking and you know it! Mark my words; nobody continually cheats Eris Clanless without paying a price. There will come a day when your debt will come due and Dizcords Daemons will be the ones collecting!”

“Wishful thinking to be sure,” Dyzon declared with a giggle. With a wave of his hand he further added to his implied insults before stepping off the train to land skillfully into an empty seat beside Caess. The dutiful diminutive driver took only a glance to ensure everyone was once more back on-board before he directed the trusty transport to pull clear from the Titan Train. In trailing cloud of dust the bold bandits disappeared once more into the distance. Taking with them what treasures they had thieved and leaving only terrorized travelers.

Marshall turned his attention back to the second curious conveyance as it now circled in a slow circuit. If he had overheard everything correctly and these were rival renegade rogues then he figured they had a decision to make presently. Either they were going to try their luck at locating any left-over loot before the Titan Train reached town, or they could turn tail. Some might assume there was a chance that the thwarted thieves would chase after the bandits who seemingly bested them. But there was something in what he had heard that hinted to Marshall that it wasn’t altogether likely to expect.

This Eris person had claimed for whatever reason that robbing the Titan Train was somehow assigned to them. And while no two criminals can be considered to act alike, Marshall knew enough to know that they also didn’t typically permit competition among themselves either. So either something strange was going on here between these two bickering bands of bandits or he just walked into a ridiculous rivalry. Possibly even both; he wasn’t going to rule anything out. He was about to be new in town after all.

The Titan Train slowly returned to a more appropriate pace and as it did the reluctant would-be robbers retreated back the way they came. “We’ll be on back to town soon enough,” the old man said softly. The sudden sound tugged at Marshall’s attention like a leash until he spun around in his seat to face the elderly excavator. “How regular are little experiences like this,” Marshall asked, careful to keep the harsh edge dulled from his tone.

“Those two have been at each other for months now,” explained. “See, one will pull something or other off and then next the other has to. We got ourselves a visit from the Bull-Boys today, odds are now we’ll see something out of them Dizcords Daemons lot soon enough. That Eris isn’t exactly the most forgiving or friendly of sorts. Word is she may be on this side of civilized, or as close as an Uraor can be but she is still one of them savage sociopaths.

Before long I’d wager they’d both be at each others throats like two packs of dusk hounds. You ever seen some dusk hounds tear into something? Well it isn’t exactly a pleasant sight, mind. But I gather someone not exactly familiar with the ways out here isn’t liable to understand the matter. Out here the New Republic don’t rightly reach far enough to have a say in much. As long as they keep getting fed the shipments they seek they aren’t about to nose in on any local disputes.”

“Wait a tick,” Marshall interrupted quickly. “You said the local law, he don’t come out here into this area to enforce anything. So if he can’t be bothered to keep the peace for anyone on their way to or from town, then how much safety is there for anyone who lives there?”

The old miner licked at his dry lips and then squinted to regard Marshall with a serious stare. His expression was as firm as granite and wisdom pooled itself in his marble eyes. “You’re starting to catch on pup. Out here on Newport nobody comes expecting an easy life or a safe one. You work for every scrap you can and make do with whatever this world will let you keep. It’s as simple as that. I’ve been robbed more times then I care to keep a count on and have had my share of hardships. But I still got my life and the drive to dig my way back in and cast my lot again. Who knows, I may strike it rich or I may find myself a final home in the dirt but as long as I have the ability to keep moving forward I am going to. Most folks who come to Newport all have that in common. Especially those who decide to make a try out of the town. That’s why they named it what they did; Redemption. You’ll either find it out here through your own sweat or you won’t. But ain’t nobody never found it for themselves by worrying over who was going to look after them.”

While the toothless traveler’s words lingered with Marshall the Titan Train finally began to come to its rightful stop. A sharp signal marked the massive mechanical beast’s ended journey, at least until its next trip back. And as it did the passengers all began to shuffle their way to depart. But Marshall found himself oddly distant as he moved through his own motions. Automatically he reclaimed his stored baggage and ensured all his belongings still securely strapped together. His mind was still hung on the old man’s words and how they had reached into him.

They had named this town Redemption, and people had been flocking to it for one reason or another to try and find it. He figured for most that meant finally finding a worthwhile life after making it to Newport. But so far all he had seen was people still looking for their dream. Maybe things would be different once he had a look around town. “Yeah, how much does one old miner know anyways,” Marshall decided before stepping out the door.