Tales From the Nordic Troll - #6: Baggage (part 3)
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Aldous jerked his head toward the group of men marching in their direction. “Looks like they honked someone else off”, he muttered. - - - - Loomie turned and looked. Several men dressed in the fashion of the local enforcers marched down the street on either side of members of their former crew, each with his arms bound behind him.


“You got a lot of guts showing up here! You’re supposed to be dead!”

Gerrin drew a deep breath and replied “Well, that hasn’t happened yet”.

“You might want to work on that, you sookun sin (son of a bitch)”, Nadia glared at him.

“You know”, Gerrin continued scornfully, “you always did jump the gun on things. There’s an explanation here”.

“And I’ll bet you spent all night thinking it up”, she sneered.

One of the security guards approached them from the door. “Doctor Koshkin, is there a problem, here?” he eyed Gerrin.

Nadia waved him off. “No, I got this. We’re good, for now”.

“You sure?”

“We’re good”, she repeated. “I’ll let you know”.

“As you wish”, the guard said doubtfully, returning to his post.

Turning back to Gerrin, Nadia hissed “What the hell are you doing here?”

Gerrin ignored the question. “Koshkin? You re-married?”

“Well, being a mass-murderer’s wife wasn’t helping my career”, Nadia snorted.

“But Koshkin? He’s a plastic politician”.

“With a better name than you have! Now, what are you doing here?”

Gerrin paused for a beat. “Right now, I’m trying to get help for a girl with a gunshot wound”.

“What, did you try to kill her, too?”

“I didn’t try to kill anybody except the guys who tried to kill me first!” Gerrin rasped quietly but hotly.

“Oh, that’s a convenient excuse!”

Aldous broke it up. “HEY!!! Can you two do this later?!? My sister’s dying, here!”

Nadia looked from Aldous to Gerrin, then turned to the couch and bent over Loomie. “How did this happen?”

Gerrin answered “We were brokering for a cargo run and some former employees showed up with an attitude”.

“Oh, so you’ve gone from mass murderer to petty smuggler, is that it?”

“You think you can wait ‘till you get the whole story before damning me? Right now you got a job to do, so how about doing it?”

Nadia glared at him for a second, then turned toward Loomie, examined her, then called for a stretcher: “Gunshot wound, get her prepped, crank up the OR”. Turning to Aldous she said “You’re her brother?”

Aldous nodded.

Nadia took him by the arm. “Come with me, I have to ask you a few questions”. Turning back to Gerrin, she pointed to the couch. “You move from that couch and I call the authorities”.

Doc stepped forward. “I’d like to assist: I’m a trained corpsman and I’ve assisted before”.

Nadia looked at her carefully before replying “I’m sure you are, but I don’t know you. Wait here with him”.

She turned and escorted Aldous toward the double doors behind the desk, detouring to speak to the security guard before disappearing behind the large double doors.

Gerrin and Doc stood there, watching them disappear through the double doors. “Well”, Doc began, “at least we got her in the door”.

“Don’t worry”, Gerrin asserted, settling slowly to the couch, “Nadia’ll take care of her”.

Doc sat beside Gerrin as the operating room nurses prepped Loomie for surgery in the pre-op room. Nadia sat Aldous in front of a desk and questioned him about Loomie’s medical history. When she was finally satisfied, she said “I’ll need some blood from you for your sister”.

“Blood?” Aldous tensed for a second, hesitating before saying “Okay. Take what you need, but go easy on me”.

As the medical technicians prepped Aldous for the blood transfusion, Loomie lay on the table, unmoving. In her mind she drifted back to a time years ago…

* * *

…The Freeport spacedocks on Newhall were a haphazard collection of open landing spaces for ships and improvised buildings fashioned from large metallic cargo containers, some stacked two- and three-high with wooden balconies. Pedestrians and horse-drawn and petrol-powered vehicles traversed the streets lining the rows of landing docks. Several “town squares” had formed in open areas where the streets converged. Street vendors packed the squares selling anything from cooked animal meats to used mechanical parts. In front of the odd open container-building, common prostitutes solicited passers-by. The smell of seared animal flesh and other less savory things filled the air.

Loomie and Aldous trudged along the sweltering streets carrying all their belongings, having just become unemployed. As they marched along the wide dirt street past the converted metal cargo containers that served as buildings, neither one of them looked very happy.

“You didn’t need to beat him like that”, Loomie admonished her brother.

"Gouniangyang de (Sonofabitch) deserved it”, Aldous growled, rubbing his bruised hands.

“It’s just a misunderstanding, that’s all”.

“Misunderstanding?” Aldous turned to face his sister. “Loomie, he was all over you like a Reaver in rut”.

“He just-“ Loomie stopped for a second. “How do you know Reavers get in rut?”

“You know what I’m saying”, Aldous retorted, resuming his march.

“So you had to beat him almost to death?” Loomie demanded.

“Hey!” Aldous whirled. “Just because he taught you to fly don’t mean he gets some play!”

“I don’t know”, Loomie moaned. “Maybe I was just too friendly and he got the wrong idea”.

“That ain’t no wrong idea, that’s jumping on a weaker target”.

“Well, he was kinda drunk, I think”.

“No excuse!” Aldous turned and continued up the street.

“Yeah, but we need the work”.

“Not that bad”, Aldous retorted. “We can find another ship”.

“And how long is that gonna take?” Loomie reminded him as they continued along the street. “We still need to eat from time to time”.

“We’ll find a way. We’re in a spaceport. Someone around here’s got to need a pilot and a mechanic”.

“And what if we don’t?”

Aldous turned again. “Then we -“ suddenly something caught his eye. He craned his neck to look back down the street they had just come up. Someone familiar was coming their way. “Oh, this don’t look good”, he murmured.

"Shuh muh?" (What?)”

Aldous jerked his head toward the group of men marching in their direction. “Looks like they honked someone else off”, he muttered.

Loomie turned and looked. Several men dressed in the fashion of the local enforcers marched down the street on either side of members of their former crew, each with his arms bound behind him. “Those were the guys talking to the captain this morning”, she mused. “What do you suppose it means?”

Aldous continued to stare at the advancing men. “It means we head the other way and we don’t know those guys”.

They turned back the way they came as they heard shouts of “Hey! You!”

“Keep walking”, Aldous ordered.


“What do we do now?” Loomie asked worriedly.

“I say run”, Aldous answered. As they rounded the corner he broke into a sprint. “Come on!”

Loomie dashed after him. They both fled through the streets, weaving in between pedestrians, colliding with several as they tried to escape the men who had taken their former crewmates. Few that they passed paid them any mind, save for the dozen or so they bounced off of as they fled. They continued their mad dash for several minutes, turning down streets at random. Finally Loomie followed Aldous into a dark, narrow alley between two of the improvised buildings, stopping well inside the darkened passage. It took almost a minute before Loomie gathered enough breath to gasp “You think - *gasp*– - we lost ‘em?” *gasp*.

Aldous held up a hand and tried to control his breathing. He listened for a few seconds before moving cautiously toward the opening. Scanning the street he saw no sign of pursuit. He withdrew slowly back to the shadows. “Let’s wait here for a few minutes. Then we can think about finding a place to stay”.

“But where?”

Aldous pulled a rag from his pocket and wiped his forehead. “I don’t know, I’m trying to figure this out”, he answered, watching the street for several minutes from the shadows of the darkened alley…

* * *

Gerrin and Doc were still on the couch hours later, mulling over the dingy white walls and fake plants of the waiting room. Doc examined the signs and posters on the walls, written in three languages. She pointed to one. “That third language, that’s Russian?”

Gerrin nodded.

The double doors behind the admittance desk opened and Nadia came out in soiled operating scrubs. Gerrin and Doc stood up: “How is she?” Gerrin asked.

“I got the bullet out”, Nadia answered, “but she’s still in the woods. A few minutes later and you’d have lost her”.

“How long ‘till she can go home?” Doc asked.

“She needs to rest here for awhile, and after that, she’s going to have to take it real easy for at least a week”.

Gerrin exhaled slowly. “SpasEEba (Thank you). Really”.

“Thank your mechanic. The way he sings your praises, I think he’s in love with you. Doesn't want you touching his sister, though”.

Doc stifled a laugh as Gerrin asked “Where is he now?”

Nadia replied “He gave blood for his sister. Process made him a little loopy. He’s resting in the recovery room ‘till he stops recounting movies. Overall he seems a good man”.

“He is a good man”, Doc broke in.

“Yeah, they’re all diamonds”, Gerrin added.

Nadia looked from Doc to Gerrin. “Well, this one says I’ve got you all wrong”.

“Well”, Gerrin shrugged, “he’s still loopy from giving blood”.

“You’re still a good man, captain”, Doc responded firmly. “Mostly”.

Shie-shie (thanks)”, Gerrin muttered. “Always appreciated”.

Nadia looked from one to the other, finally centering her attention on Gerrin. “So, then”, she continued sternly, directly facing him, “Tell me why you’re here – and tell me why I shouldn’t call the authorities”.

…………….To Be Continued…


Wednesday, July 23, 2014 12:13 PM


It always makes my day when we get new news from the "Troll" "Keeps me flying"


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Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 4)
“People”, Gerrin continued, “we got things set in motion, we got a plan that’ll work, but we’re not going out there alone. Now, are you in or are you out?” - - - - The assembled farmers looked at each other. Five raised their hands. “I’m in”, they proclaimed one at a time. - - - - “What about the rest of you?” Gerrin demanded. - - - - The rest sat there, silent. - - - - Gerrin eyed them contemptuously. “Envy the country that has heroes, huh?” he growled. As he turned and stormed toward the door he added “Pity the land that needs ‘em”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 3)
The leader whipped out his gun and aimed toward Reilly. “Where’s my men?” He snapped. - - - Reilly looked around him. “Swallowed by darkness?” he offered. - - - “Gettin’ smart, huh?” The leader cocked the hammer on his weapon. “Well, I still got you now, don’t I?” - - - “Only two problems”. Reilly raised his hands holding the rope he’d been bound with. “I’m untied”. - - - The leader stiffened and cocked his head. “What’s the other one?” - - - Reilly gestured. “They’re here”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 2)
“Gentlemen“, Shepherd McGarrity started, “this won’t-“ . . . . “Shut it, preacher”, the leader snapped, turning his gun toward McGarrity. “Your services ain’t needed...” He raised his weapon. “…yet”. . . . . “Oh, that just won’t do”, Gerrin chided as he cocked his head. “I suggest you apologize to the Shepherd and take your leave before something bad happens to you”. . . . . “Take ‘em!” the leader roared as he whipped his pistol toward Gerrin and fired.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #9: Wild Cards (part 1)
“Don’t worry, captain”, McGarrity called back, gesturing to the man beside him. “I think this gentleman might have something a little more in line with your crew’s particular set of skills”.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 6)
Both ships were close enough to be clearly seen in the pilot’s window. “Might be a good time to turn”, Reilly commented nervously.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 5)
Bullets bounced off the hood and sides of the truck as Gerrin sped toward the far end of the building. Wilkins, perched on her stomach in the bed, maneuvered a small 10-liter plastic barrel with a fuse in the end toward the lowered cargo gate in back of the bed. Pulling out a lighter, she lit the fuse as Gerrin, firing from the driver’s seat, suddenly swerved away from the building.

Tales From the Nordic Troll - # 8: Business as Usual (part 4)
Whump! - - -
Reilly fought to keep from uttering a sound as the fist of one of Reznor’s men struck him in the stomach again. Reilly raised his eyes toward his captor and sneered “Trying to torture me or tease me?”

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 3)
Jacko slowly withdrew his hand from the box, producing a cigar, his eyes never leaving Gerrin’s. Placing the cigar in his mouth, he reached down and picked up a small, gaudy-looking lighter, which he also made a show of displaying for his unwelcome visitors. Producing a flame under the cigar, he puffed several times. Finally satisfied, Jacko leaned back in his chair and remarked to Gerrin “You don’t take instructions well, do you?”

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 2)
He felt something that could have been an electro-mechanical door bolt just as he became aware of a growing hum beneath the deck plates: a ship’s engines starting up. Okay, Reilly thought, this could be a problem…

Tales From the Nordic Troll - #8: Business as Usual (part 1)
Reilly struggled ferociously to break free. As he jerked and pulled against his attackers, he felt the sharp prick of a needle entering his neck. Reilly’s muscles began to feel numb and heavy. The hallway started to spin. Through a growing fog he could hear the contact admonish him loudly “It’ll only be worse if you fight it”. . . . . .

Reilly’s arms grew heavier. His eyes started to cloud over. "Tah mah duh hwoon dahn (Mother humping son of a bitch)", he slurred angrily. "Huogai daomei (You deserve whatever’s coming to you)”. . . . . . .

“It ain’t me”, the contact apologized. “It’s just good business”.