Part 9: Session 008: Wheels
Session 008: Wheels
Day 8, 1919
I looked Jesus "Black" Amorales in the eye. He looked right back.
"What's done is done, I suppose. I know I don't like the idea of an employer trying to silence me after a job is done. Your business with Kerano is concluded, right?"
Black nodded. "If his hitmen no set foot here in Ciudad de Oro, we no more have problems, he and I."
"I still want to collect on this job, however," I said. "And he'll want proof I killed you."
Kerano snapped his fingers and a follower stepped up. He spun the man around and fished around inside his backpack for a moment before producing a passport and a pendant, which he gave to me.
"Daniel Kerano, he have these on him when I kill him. I save them in case I ever have to prove to the rebels that I was the man killed him. You give them to Ricardo, he will know who you got them from, since he hired me."
I looked the items over. The pendant was made of brass and had an inscription on the back. My Spanish wasn't great but I surmised from the words "su cumpleaños" and "madre" that it had been a birthday present from his mother.
"This should do nicely," I said. "Thanks."
"No, thank you, señor," said Black in return. "Too many mercenarios, they only listen to money and not to reason."
"It keeps us professional," I said. "I made an exception for you."
"And I will no forget it, I promise. You could do much good, I think, to help keep Presidente Defensa from choking Algeyra to death. You spend much time down here, the rebels will find you. You will see the true condition of Algeyra then."
He gave a sharp whistle and his band moved out onto the road out of town as the sun began to set. I returned to my own group and readied ourselves to head back north.
But first a couple of new items in the various lootable containers here in Ciudad de Oro. This is a basic tourist backpack which provides excellent inventory expansion. The main drawback is how long it takes to get items out. We should use backpacks for storing items we won't be needing in the heat of combat. Also, mercs wearing backpacks cannot roll, which is important for people who spend lots of time in the prone position such as machine gunners and snipers.
This is an awesome medical pack that speeds up the healing action by 10 times! However, it's much bulkier than our other first-aid kits, so it can't be stored in vests or belt pouches.
We also found a few more 400g blocks of TNT, which Deadmeat will hold onto. This is a mining town, after all.
It was a long trip, but we were not waylaid again on our way back into the protected zone.
Day 10, 0410
We went straight to the statue in the middle of town to find Kerano there with his bodyguards, chewing down a thumbnail. He was visibly relieved to see us.
"Ah, you have returned! Did you have luck in finding my brother?" He craned his neck to look among us. "I see he is not with you..." His acting was superb.
I decided to do a little acting of my own. I sighed and produced the passport and pendant from my pocket, holding them out to him. "Your brother is dead. These were in the possession of the man who killed him."
"That son of a whore!" raged Kerano as he took the items from me. "What was his name? Did he tell you his name?"
"Jesus Amorales," I said. "Apparently a well-known burglar down there. Getting him to talk was easy."
He leaned in a little, hungry for details. "Yes? How did it go?"
"I was very persuasive, and I made your feelings on the matter abundantly clear to him. Rest assured, your business with your brother's killer is now... concluded."
Kerano grinned at me, and for a moment I thought he was going to hug me. Instead, he flashed a roll of bills at me and put it in my hand. "I will tell my friends about you, mercenario! You play your cards right, you will not want for money in Algeyra!"
I put the money into my breast pocket, smiling back. "Sounds good to me, Mr. Kerano. Whatever you got, I'll take it."
"That's my boy! Now, if you'll excuse me." He put up his hand and his dogs stepped between us, thus ending our second meeting in the same manner as our first. As we walked away I looked back to see him talking on a cell phone.
"Fratricide is unforgivable," grumbled Deadmeat as we marched along the main road through town. "We should cut off the man's tahkhshetim and feed it to him."
"I too am in favor of severing whatever it is the lady has put forth!" cried iastudent.
"We'll leave him be for now," I said. "It's good to have connections, even if they're not with the most savory of people."
We passed by city hall and, surprise surprise, Mr. Reyes was loitering on the front steps.
"Beacon!" he called to me. "Come here, I have a job for you!"
I sighed and stopped the team, then jogged up the steps. "More tax collection?" I asked.
"Oh, no, no, that is a job for common thugs!" he said, in no way insulting me in the process. "I have something much more important needed now: a package delivery."
I rolled my eyes, and sighed again. "Okay, where's it headed?"
"No, it's headed to me," he said. "I need a trustworthy man to pick it up in Santa Maria and bring it to me. Enrique Martinez, the mayor, he needs to ship some governmental documents to me for my files. Very sensitive things, you understand. Talk with him there."
I gave him a look. "It pays, right?"
Well, money was money, and I almost had the sixty thousand I needed for the GAZ the Sagrada dealer had on reserve for me.
After arriving in Santa Maria, I noticed the immediate police presence now in the town. There wasn't much bustle of construction but I figured government red tape was something that transcended countries and cultures.
Mr. Martinez was hanging out in the bar while he waited for his mayoral offices to be renovated. He gave me the package and sent me on my way.
This is a piddly little side mission we're doing for the money, so we're just rushing through the narrative.
After dropping off the package, I had a look to see if Marselo had any new stock in. He did.
Marselo reminded me that I could pick up the GAZ as soon as I had the money. With five mercs in tow and the amount we had humped around the Algeyran countryside already, I decided to make scrounging up the last few thousand my new priority.
The Mauser M712 "Schnellfeuer" was developed in Germany in the early 1930s as an update to the C96 pistol. The M712 made use of several advances in firearm design that had come about since the inception of the C96, most notably a detachable box magazine and select-fire capability. The M712 fires the same round as the original C96: 7.63x25mm. The ammo is rare, however, and all of our mercs are already using weapons suited to their roles, so this wouldn't get used.
Even more compact than the Mini Uzi Beacon is already using, the Micro Uzi's rate of fire on full-auto is an insane 1700 rounds per minute! However, like the M712, we already have plenty of close-in firepower, so we'll be passing on this as well.
Las Vacaciones had a good buyer at the bar and I knew I could get top dollar (or eldo) for the odds and ends we were still lugging around.
A surprising sight met me in the bar as I went to talk to the merchant there. There was a downright elderly gentleman sipping some whiskey and puffing on a cigar, dressed as though he were a mercenary.
I couldn't help myself. I walked over and greeted him.
"Hey grandpa, what's with the getup? Aren't you a little old to be playing soldier?"
The man laughed once, blowing a cloud of cigar-smoke into my face. "Hah! Playing? I'll have you know I was popping gooks along the 38th Parallel while you were still a twinkle in your daddy's eye, how's that grab ya? The M1, that was a real rifle that fired a real round, sonny. Had wood to grab, not that bullshit plastic you soft-bellied wannabes are toting around these days."
I had to admit, I was impressed. "Still in the game?"
"Nah, with my wife gone, I'm ready to go out in the way I'd always wanted but those damn Koreans never gave me," he grumbled. "I can't shoot as good as I used to but I still know my way around a first-aid kit and an AP mine. Figgered I might as well do some good in battle one last time before I check out."
"Huh, I see. Well, if I need your services in the near future, I'll look you up. I'm Beacon."
"Eh, what? Bacon? Call me Pip, Bacon. Yeah, as in 'it's a pip.' I bet you kids don't use that kind of slang these days, do ya?"
"No sir, I don't think so. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go jitterbug over and get me a sarsaparilla at this here speakeasy."
"Wiseass," grunted the man, trying to hide his smile behind his cigar.
The merchant paid good money for the extra pistols and magazines we'd been lugging around. I checked my funds and I had almost sixty-nine thousand. That would get me the GAZ with a little bit of a buffer to boot.
The merchant also had a new piece for sale, which I couldn't resist picking up.
Our first for-real rifle has arrived! The Mosin-Nagant M91/30 was the standard rifle of the Soviet Army in World War II. It fires the beastly 7.62x54R round, though it can only hold five rounds at a time. The rifle is bolt-action, meaning the bolt must be manually operated between every shot, giving it a slow rate of fire. It's the best weapon we've come across so far for long-distance shooting, and its accuracy rating is much better than the Benelli, so Pitch will be using it until he kicks the bucket (or until we find something better, but Pitch will probably kick the bucket before then).
Money in hand, I headed back to Sagrada to pick up the GAZ. Mr. Carmona seemed pleased to be able to give me something so useful, but he also had a request of me.
The promise of five thousand and a hard-to-find MP5 was enough for me to agree to help. I went to the lot where the GAZ was parked only to find my team already admiring it. I tore them away from it long enough to brief them on what we were going to do.
The GAZ-69s were built in the early 1950s and predate the much more common UAZ-469, which is based off of the GAZ design. An original GAZ-69 in working order would actually be worth quite a bit today as a collectible.
A vehicle drastically reduces travel time, which, if you've noticed how much running back and forth we've been doing, is a godsend. It also provides lots of storage, which lets us transport all the loot from a battlefield back to a merchant, where we can take out what we want to keep and then sell the rest with a couple of clicks. Faster travel and increased earning power! Awesome!