Waking up was still a little disorienting. Despite the fact I had spent more than a handful of days at the infirmary, I still would wake up alarmed and confused unsure of where I was. Upon seeing the familiar blue and pink poster on the wall saying, “Get Whale Soon!” I sank back down in the bed and sighed deeply relaxing a bit. Counting down the days until I got discharged, one day I got a visitor. She soundlessly walked in the room and stood quietly waiting for the nurse to finish her routine check in. I grinned as the nurse looked slightly uncomfortable as my visitor waited quietly by the door not saying a word. I watched at the nurse rounded the corner and the door softly slid shut.
Krieger took a few steps forward looking… not quiet uncomfortable but definitely trying to gather the right words. I smiled good-naturedly and waited to see what brought her into the infirmary. Surely, she would understand that I haven’t gotten the opportunity to work on her project yet.
“We were under gunned or I would have never allowed you to have been in that fire fight.” She said suddenly. My eyes grew wide. That was definitely not what I was expecting…
“You should not have been in combat; you are not a soldier.” She continued. I looked away my cheeks growing hot, embarrassed by my weakness. “But that is okay. Do not be like me. You help in other ways and there are plenty of other men on our crew that are already like me..”
She reached inside her coat and brought out a gun and held it out to me. I held out both hands palm up to receive the gun, completely speechless. I glanced at the gun for a moment then looked up and locked eyes with Krieger.
“Take this for future use. It is a lot better than what you currently carry. Take care.”
And with that she left. I didn’t even get to mutter a thank you. I sat there for a moment and stared at the gun. It was a Stub Automatic Pistol and it looked brand new. Hearing the nurse’s footsteps approaching the room, I quickly stashed the gun away. As soon as I was out of here I would work on Krieger’s shock device. It was the least I could do. That was two things now that I felt like I needed to repay to Krieger. I was surely in her debt and she really was a good friend.
It seemed like forever before I was discharged, and I couldn’t wait to get back to my pandai and Technomat, but it was a short-lived freedom. Back to work. Sigmund and Nyx had somethings to do in preparation to us leaving Footfall, so the rest of us were sent on a mission to inspect the mysterious location we got out of the damaged datapad. I drove us to a warehouse district on the outskirts of Footfall and we easily tracked down the mystery address. I drove around the block to get a scope of the building and neighborhood. I took the opportunity to give Krieger her shocking device before who knows what happened on our trip.
“I forgot to give you this before we left the Titansbane.. I figured you might want it depending on what happens in the next couple hours.” I reached into my coat and withdrew the Pocket-Shock-it (patent pending) and handed it to Krieger.
“Thank you. It will come in handy in interrogation if we take on any prisoners.” Krieger responded, eyes never leaving the front window.
“Oh… I thought you were going to use it as a taser…” I guess I never really asked what it would be used for… I tried not to think about it.
As we drove by the second time, I dropped off Zarko, Emir, and Krieger in various places down the street to avoid suspicion. Parking in an alleyway a few blocks down, I left Hodor in the rhino and walked out to the entranceway of the alleyway so I could see Krieger and wait for a signal. I spotted the bottom of Zarko’s cloak as he disappeared into the alleyway down the side of the building and then watched Krieger as she approached a few men standing outside the front door of the building. She received a lowstick from one of the men and they seemed to be having a relaxed conversation. As some time went by the men seemed to start to tense up. Suddenly like a button had been pushed, the man seemed agitated and pointed down the street toward me. I held my breath wondering if we had been compromised but the man didn’t move and Krieger casually stepped away. Okay.. The man hadn’t seen me. Krieger probably said something to bristle the man’s fur. Krieg spotted me and as she walked by I turned and fell in step and we made our way to the rhino just in time for our micro beads to shout out.
“Shit just went bad!”
Immediately, Krieger jumped on top of the rhino and I didn’t hesitate to jump into the driver seat. I started backing up onto the street as Hodor jumped out the side. I frowned, confused and I bit alarmed, but he seemed to know what he was doing and I didn’t stop to ask questions. I could hear gun fire from above me and saw men in front of the building collapse. I drove past the front of the building and turned down the alleyway that Emir disappeared down. As I turned the corner, I could have swore I heard someone shout, “Oh, my balls!” Two additional men that were running down the alley way toward us, got a horrible surprise as we showed up suddenly, and I clipped both of them with the rhino and sent them flying through the air. I don’t think they got up but I didn’t stop to look. My mission was to find our men. Turning another corner, I spotted Emir on the ground with a guard holding a gun toward Emir. Krieg shot with without hesitation. Emir stood and started to follow where Zarko had disappeared inside the building.
“Where to?” I shouted.
“Lets go around!” Krieg yelled back, hitting the top of the roof.
If I didn’t know better, I would think she was having a bit of fun up there. I grinned mischievously, and slammed on the gas, racing the length of the back of the building and pulling into the other alleyway (the one Zarko originally went down). Two more men resided here and were also caught unaware. A couple of gun shots went off, and then a tumbling sound from up top, caused me to slam on the breaks. BUMPBUMP went the men and I came to a sudden stop. Krieger’s body rolled off the front of the rhino and my breath caught.
“…..You alright?” I shouted, opening the side door.
Krieger lay sprawled on the ground but her arm shot up flashing me the thumbs up. I shook my head and grinned. This was going pretty well so far.
We went to the side door and let ourselves in. I felt confident as I followed Krieger inside the dark building, but with an explosion and some smoke bombs later, my confidence fled like the light from this room.
“Kayp, you need to get the bay doors open and get some light in here,” Krieger said, drawing her gun and taking a few steps forward looking for the invisible enemy.
You are not a soldier. You help in other ways. Krieger’s words from the infirmary echoed in my memory.
I took a deep breath and ran to the bay doors. I would get them open and I would help my crew. Hodor came through the front door and ran to the right, away from us, and from across the room I could hear Zarko shout to Emir. Gunfire echoed horribly throughout the empty warehouse, and between the deafening thunder of the firefight and the smoke choking up the air, my head was pounding and it was hard to think straight. Reaching the wall, I walked along it with my hands brushing against the stone bricks feeling for a lever or button or anything sort of mechanism that would get the giant bay doors open.
“Krieger, there are no controls on this front wall…” I said through the microbead. I fought to think of a way I could possibly get to the back of the building where the door controls had to be located. The safest way would be to run outside and around out of the firefight but that would take too long… The rhino! I could drive the rhino aroun-
“Krieger. Get away from the bay door!” I shouted through the microbead. Why would I drive all the way around the building when I could drive through the bay door! I was driving a tank after all!
I took off outside, relieved to be able to breath easily again, and jumped into the rhino. Aiming at the front door, I took a deep breath and slammed on the gas.
Dazed, I brushed the bangs out of my eyes and was discouraged to see that the door still head in place. I backed up and punched the gas again.
A bear sized hole appeared in the door but it still held its place and the front of the rhino was smashed to hell. I winced as I reached up and found a cut on my forehead. Wiping blood away from my eyes with the back of my hand, I rammed the door again. That the heck was this made of? Frustrated that I couldn’t get through the door, I was starting to panic. My crew needed me… I needed in this building! Backing up farther to give myself a more powerful hit, I yelled a lot as I drove as fast as I could at the door.
Finally the door caved in enough that the rhino burst into the room. I frantically looked around trying to locate my team. I spotted Hodor fighting with a man to my right; he seemed to be doing just fine. I squinted into the dissipating fog and my stomach turned as I spotted the unmoving body of Krieger abandoned on the ground. From this distance, I couldn’t tell if she was unconscious or dead… Gun fire snapped my attention to the back of the room and I saw two men shooting at a lone Zarko. He seemed to be quickly fading as he fought, looking like he was about to go down at any moment. I would never forgive myself if my whole crew died because of my inability to win a battle against a damn door! I squinted my eyes, calculating the room, and slammed my foot on the gas racing across the empty warehouse. Reaching just past the halfway mark, I slammed on the brakes, and went into a dangerous skid across the floor. The rhino impaled the column directly in front of Zarko and my head slammed into the steering wheel. Dazed and the wind knocked out of me, I struggled to lift my head to see out of the front window. A slow smile spread across my lips as I saw the aftermath of my crash. I had managed to hit one of the men shooting at Zarko and as his body went flying through the air he managed to hit his ally and both men were against the far wall in a pile. Zarko quickly recovered from my unexpected arrival, dodged to the rhino for cover, and took advantage of the temporarily disarmed men. The fight was soon over.
We found Emir in a back hallway unconscious and I ran to Krieger to check and make sure she was alright. It was an unfortunate fight…. And I felt guilty for my inability to get to the team quicker. Next time I would not fail them…
Once everyone had a moment to breathe we started inspecting the warehouse. I was confused by the huge hatch on the center of the warehouse floor and went to find a means to open it. Spotting a small black box on the wall, I ran over and found a sort of keycard device.
“We need a keycard!” I called out across the room. I heard a grunt from someone behind me as they flipped over a body to inspect their pockets.
I carefully opened it up the keycard device with my knife and tinkered with some of the settings in side the cover. I couldn’t get it to activate. It was unfamiliar from the ones I had seen in the past, and I couldn’t locate anywhere a card could be inserted…
“Oh duh!” I muttered, bumping my head with my head and wincing from the cut I forgot was there. These devices were magnetic, the card just had to touch the surface. “Guys, these authorization devices need a sort of magnet.”
“There are no cards here. They don’t even have anything in their wallets.” A frustrated Zarko replied throwing an empty wallet to the ground and walking away.
I carefully reassembled the device and slowly wandered the room thinking of where a keycard would be hidden. I didn’t like to be near dead bodies but I slowly wandered up to one, wracking my brain to where this man would hide a sort of activation or identification item. They indeed had nothing in their pockets. Coats with buttons on their sleeves. No hats. Nothing in their boots. That wouldn’t make sense anyway… Retrieving something from their shoe would take way too long in a hurry. Each man seemed to have a small simple notebook. Maybe something magnetic or metal in the lining of the book? Something metal?…. Buttons!
Cutting a button from the sleeve of the man, I took it over to the device on the wall and touched it to the surface. The ground started to vibrate. The hatch slowly opened and a sort of elevator was below. We all hopped on and underneath the warehouse we found a small room with paperwork lining the wall and a computer at a simple desk. Krieger found a flask of some kind of fancy booze and Emir discovered a half smoked cigar with a familiar tobacco packed inside. I think we had found the lair of Zulfikars mole. We took some time to pack up the room into the rhino and we thankfully found no trouble getting to the Titansbane despite the horrid state of the rhinos smashed front end.
We went to Zulfikar with only a few things with us as proof incase we someone got intercepted. We had a bit of trouble getting into the base because of Krieger’s sharp tongue but Emir was quick to smooth their ruffled feathers. This was silly we needed to get to Zulfikar immediately. Finally getting inside, Zulfikar seemed surprised to see us. We explained what we had found and handed him the cigar and flask while showing him photos of the paperwork we had confiscated. His face turned into rage and he called in his seneschal Shylock. (Hmm I feel like I have heard that name in a book before. ;) ) Zulfikar had him seized and I inwardly smiled at our good fortune and finding this guy. It seemed like we were in his good graces once again and redemption felt nice.