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Tales From the Nordic Troll - #7: Strange Bedfellows (part 1).
Sunday, November 23, 2014

Loomie pointed out the window. Gerrin stiffened as his gaze followed her arm. The small town in the window in front of them was dotted with flaming buildings and plumes of rising smoke. Several buildings along the landing field stood half-charred, while some had already collapsed in on themselves. Several bodies were strewn across the ground on the landing field. “Ni gan shenme ne (What the hell?), Gerrin murmured. - - - - Loomie looked at him. “Turn back?” - - - - “Not an option”, Gerrin snorted. After a pause he mused “First the business with that packet, then St. Ekaterina, now this. Is it just me, or does the ‘Verse hate us lately?”


CATEGORY: FICTION    TIMES READ: 3332    RATING: 9    SERIES: FIREFLY

The still desert stretched out for countless miles in every direction, the deathly silence broken only by the occasional scree of an overhead bird. From the rocky hills to the prickly brush of the flat plains, almost nothing made a sound.

The empty silence was interrupted by the growing roar of a ship’s engines as a dart-shaped object flew over the empty expanse, soaring between the sparse clouds and disappearing as fast as it had appeared.

Sitting in the pilot's seat of the Nordic Troll, Loomie checked her instruments, looked out over the landscape slipping by beneath her, took the intercom handset and pressed the “talk” button. “Cap’n, we’re almost there. Should be touching down in five minutes”.

“Good. I’ll be up in a minute”, Gerrin’s voice answered her.

Gerrin and Reilly sat at the dining table on the mess deck, discussing a program Reilly and Lewis had cooked up. “So, go over how this works again”, Gerrin continued.

“The main body is just a database file we made up”, Reilly recapped. “The problem is, the data page itself is good enough, as long as no one looks too hard at it, but to get it spread around the cortex we’ll have to rig up a worm program to work it into the servers every time someone calls up the sheet”.

“And what about these friends of yours who can write the worm program? Your kind of friends don’t work for free”.

“Well…” Reilly thought for a second. “They might help us out if we move some cargo for them. Come to think of it, one of them might even take that fuel hog in the cargo bay off our hands”.

“I wouldn’t count on that”, Gerrin mused. “Fuel being kinda pricey, I don’t think any one of our current or prospective business contacts is going to want a fuel-hog truck”.

“Well”, Reilly huffed, “It’s not doing us any good crowding up our cargo bay. Right now, we’re lucky we had room for what we’re hauling now. Better hope what we’re picking up isn’t as big”.

“It won’t be, but what about this cargo your friends might want us to carry? What is it?”

“You’d have to ask them”, Reilly said evasively.

“What is it?” Gerrin repeated firmly.

Reilly raised his hands. “I can’t testify to what I don’t know”.

“Well”, Gerrin surmised wryly, “that certainly puts my mind at ease”.

The intercom interrupted their conversation. “Captain”, Loomie’s voice sounded nervous, “you might want to get up here!”

Gerrin and Reilly looked at each other and rose from their chairs. Reaching for the intercom, Gerrin responded “On my way”.

Gerrin and Reilly started up the short passageway between the mess deck and the ladder to the cockpit. “Think about it”, Reilly continued. “Thanks to that hospital visit, there’s probably a tag on each of us, now”.

“You could still take off”, Gerrin retorted.

“I was seen with you, too”, Reilly reminded him, “so I’m probably tagged”.

They reached the top of the ladder to the cockpit a minute later. Gerrin stopped beside his pilot. “What is it?”

Loomie pointed out the window. Gerrin stiffened as his gaze followed her arm. The small town in the window in front of them was dotted with flaming buildings and plumes of rising smoke. Several buildings along the landing field stood half-charred, while some had already collapsed in on themselves. Several bodies were strewn across the ground on the landing field. “Ni gan shenme ne (What the hell?)", Gerrin murmured.

Loomie looked at him. “Turn back?”

“Not an option”, Gerrin snorted. After a pause he mused “First the business with that packet, then St. Ekaterina, now this. Is it just me, or does the ‘Verse hate us lately?”

-

-

......To Be Continued.

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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…

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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”.


Tales From the Nordic Troll - #7: Strange Bedfellows (part 6)
Staring out the open bay, Durant mused “It does make you wonder, though, why some people want to dominate or destroy everything they see”.
. . .
Gerrin’s answer was grim. “Some people just can’t feel good about themselves until they feel bad about someone else”