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[FIC] Strife: Trust Nobody

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I have tasked myself with attempting to make a novelization of Strife for this years NaNoWriMo. I'm not sure if it'll be any good, but maybe the project will hep get my head re-aligned.

There will be some differences from the retail version of the game:

I'm going off the demo version of the town/early interactions (You meet with Harris rather than Rowan, Have to break into the Governor's mansion as a loyalty mission, and at least in that version the town hall hasn't been bombed out in the beginning. That'll probably will happen in story but I'm not sure.)

Even though we don't Hear the Mercenary (player character) speak he does have text responses. So I'm going to try keeping him fairly quiet, but there's going to be me pointing out things as the story progresses (mainly just how.... killhappy Blackbird (mission control) is.

Probably going to make the latter levels less mazelike since writing out backtracking over switchpuzzles sucks. Might take advantage of a shortcut you're offered depending on what path you choose, even though that path leads to the bad ending.

The Guards will have more lines, mostly in reaction to things going on.

Anyway I have no idea how far I'll get and if people don't like it sorry. Just using this as a 'get my brain kicking back off again because I haven't written in months' project.

Input/Feedback encouraged and would be appreciated.


The Comet struck without warning; we lost our paradise in a single violent stroke. The impact impact released a virus, that swept the lands, killing millions. They turned out to be the lucky ones. For those that did not die became mutations of humanity. Some became fanatics who heard the voice of a malignant god in their heads and and called themselves The Order. Those to us who are deaf to this voice are helpless against these psychotics, who wield weapons more powerful than anything we can muster. They Destroy our Women and Children; forcing us to hide them underground and live like Animals in constant fear for our lives. But there are whispers of discontent. If we organize can we defeat our masters?

Weapons are being stolen. Solders trained. A Movement is Born of life long Strife!

* * *

My name is unimportant. It’s just a label to distinguish me from some other half starved sod trying to get by in the world. I’ve gone by dozens of names depending on where I’m at and who I’m working for. Not trying to put the mysterious act on for the sake of effect like so many people in my line of work. I just don’t rightly recall which name was the one I was born with.

Oh well.

Today I was Markus and I’d gotten wind of some big dust-up between the Order and a bunch of idealists stirring up trouble. I’ve read the fliers, heard stories of a time before the Order when everything was gentle and kind and the usual land of milk and honey business. Doesn’t matter that I happen to agree with the core sentiment that the Order is slowly killing the planet. It’s too big for anyone, but finding coin enough so I can get some food. That’s something small enough for me to solve.

Tarnhill’s one and only watering hole was giving me little to work with. Everyone too busy soaking in watered down hooch was full of the worn out from last shift and the barely gotten any sleep about to start the next. There wasn’t much here other than one of the Order’s garrisons and a supply depot. One target’s too well defended to take on, and the other too close to the first for anyone to be stupid enough to try. Didn’t even see enough that would make rumors spread all the way to Larkhul. Could be I’m a new face and nobody trusted me. Could’ve been that I was very obviously armed; scatter guns seem pretty rare around these parts and for a population apparently only allowed to buy crossbow bolts for hunting someone walking around and not one of the Order's flunkies spooked them.

Guards didn’t seem to mind. Then again if here is like everywhere else I could’ve knifed someone in front of them and they wouldn’t care outside of making sure it doesn’t affect productivity in the mills and factories and the whatever. These thoughts crowded in on me while I tried finding a place to bed down for the night. Food mostly got shipped in since the gears and cogs don’t move if your workers are too weak from hunger to be productive; so that meant no barns or outbuildings to sleep in.

I did another loop around the settlement. What wasn’t part of the medical pavilion and the couple shops to blow meager wages on were built from whatever materials could be scrounged, stolen, and I doubted any of it would survive the next storm. There was a room above the tavern that I’d considered, but when I tried there were a dozen guys in there. So no dice.

Guess the one advantage this place had was there were bricked pathways going way out past the warehouse/fortress/whatever complex, so you had clear lanes everyone built along that weren’t immediately walked ruts. I’d started to consider paying for a girl just to have a warm place to sleep when I saw guards moving through the shantyhouses. People were being pulled. No accusations. Just ‘Come with us. Now’ in that slightly distorted inhuman monotone they had.

“Come with Us.” Old man got snatched up.

“Come with Us.” Smallfry from the other end of the shanty bloc. Couldn’t have been more than a kid by the looks of him, but he looked mean. Looked about to fight when he got a rifle butt to the face.

“Come with Us.” I felt a hand on my shoulder. Then another hand on my other shoulder. I looked. Couldn’t see anything under the helmets except for softly glowing red eyes. The grip was strong, painful even. I’d like to think I’m a pretty big guy. Between the two guards I was hoisted like a sack of turnips.

Don’t know where they took me. When I woke up I hurt. Had a guard standing over me. Again there was no face, just those eyes. “We’re going to kill you.” Normally these things had a creep monotone going on but there was a hint of something there that might enjoy the act.

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New Section since it's nanowrimo and you cannot stop writing or your momentum dies. Hey guess what? Now I'm in the actual gameplay section of the game. Yaaaay!


My guns were gone. I was being stared at by something with a gun. I say something because I was pretty convinced these guards, acolytes, whatever weren’t human. Unfortunately this meant the smart options were out since it already announced it was going to murder me. I had a punch dagger in my boot, which was convenient since I was on the ground and my hands were lose enough it wouldn’t see me fishing around. To it I was down, weaponless, and it had a gun.

I was dead to rights. Knife throws vs someone with a gun generally just ends with the knife nut being dead and anything remotely valuable pulled off of ‘em. My knife should not have tumbled so well. It was an off balance thing meant to have my whole arm pushing behind it rather than something to be thrown. It shouldn’t have hit between the guard’s eyes.

The Pit’s own luck my Pa would say. All that good luck balanced out by the guard’s death throws flinging his weapon into an open river of. Green... I don’t know what it was but it was hot and stank and other than giving me a handy way of dumping the body I wanted nothing to do with.

When I looked around it became clear where I was; waste disposal. OK fine I think at least part of it was sewage but human waste is not a glowing green. Other than swimming down the river of.... Stuff the only way out was a single door, that probably had the other guard that grabbed me guarding it. I’ll spare you the details of knifing someone from behind and dumping the body. Only take-home lesson is it’s a lot harder to cover someone’s mouth so they can’t scream when they have a face obscuring helmet with only a narrow slit that gets a bit wider for the eyes. Ah well. Acolyte armor is tough up front, but the neck’s still exposed and when one doesn’t see you coming they apparently bleed like regular men, even if they aren’t men..

Since I wasn’t sure if I was going to get jumped by more guards I hung around there. Sure the fumes were the stuff of nightmares but even if every breath was causing me to gag I was still breathing. This left me with little to do and I wasn’t going to sleep. It was like this til I saw a balding man with a bright red tunic flag me over to another side room in the stone walled complex.

When I crossed the threshold to the room the door shut and blowers turned on giving me an indescribably wonderful breath of fresh air. “A guy like you who's good with his hands could make some real deals.” The man guided me to a seat and poured me a drink. “if ya hooked up with the right people.”

Was my drink poisoned? Unlikely. True the man likely would have sold his own mother out for a farthing, but I’ve worked with his sort before. They were fences, dealer. Guys like him needed guys like me. ”Run a little errand for me and I'll make you a rich man.” He took a long drink. “Call me Harris, mister...”

“Markus.” The corners of my mouth twitched into a faint smile as I looked this Harris over. It probably wasn’t his real name, but I’d say it was close enough for what I needed. “I’ve got nothing better to do.” Normally I’d try playing off like I was taking valuable time out of my life to go do a favor for a ‘dear old friend’ that needed a leg up. Build trust. Play the Game a little. Right now though I was tired, stank, and I was more than a little irritated my guns were gone. Had a nice little las pistol tucked in the boot opposite my knife. Key word there being had.

We finished drinks and Harris laid the job out for me. “The Order's Sanctuary by the river is their private torture chamber. Hidden inside is a golden chalice. Swipe it then meet me at the tavern and reap your reward.” He even gave a little chuckle like it was so silly a task.

Something didn’t smell right here. Usually by now numbers are being offered. “How’m I supposed to do that? The guards took my weapons.” Maybe I should have instead asked him for some hard figures, but other than my holdout knife I didn’t have any weapons on me and it’s been Years since I’ve been in that kind of spot.

“Here’s a crossbow.” Harris dropped a crossbow and a small quiver of bolts on the counter between us, “Just aim and- Right you seem to know what you’re doing.” My hands remembered how to take one of these things apart. Sure the crossbow wasn’t going to win any awards for looks, but it was in good working shape. “Remember grab the fancy cup and meet me at the tavern.”

Right. Harris let me out through a door that didn’t have me gagging through the green river putrid again, for which I was very grateful. It was morning, I was hungry and broke. Difference from this morning being now I had a job to do.

It was only then that I’d realized the second guard had a gun and started cursing to myself. Harris probably had the body stripped and dumped by now and gun or no gun I wasn’t going back into that stench hole.

By the river. Only river here was more a stream really that divided the garrison and the power station, warehouse, prison, and in general everywhere people were allowed to go without getting shot. I started to pace ‘our’ side of the river. Sanctuary, and as it happened the sewage plant I was brought to, was on the garrison side. Hm. Normally I’d consider the idea of drainage since that worked up in Shackleton when I had to get in some rich burro’s home on a contract, but here they did things careful. Pipes were grated off s’far as I could tell.

Trouble is while the pipes are secure I saw a small dock by the bridge. To the Order’s credit it wasn’t that easy to spot just passing through. It had to be a trap though. If the sanctuary was their local torture pit wouldn’t they use a lightly guarded secondary way in as bait for idiots like me?

I watched, waited, and planned when I’d go in. Then, when next shift changed I decided to go for a swim. Light and Shadow the water is cold. Cold hands. Cold feet. It wasn’t far. Just swim a little and then haul myself in before anyone or anything could see me. Waited what felt like an hour, but was more likely just a couple minutes, in a cluster of barrels.

Stairs. Door. Then I took a lift up. Nobody home so far, but the lack of alarm worried me. Where was this cup? The next door I tried was locked and was sturdier than the thin layer of cracked wood suggested. More doors and a little doubling back to make sure I hadn’t overlooked something. Finally one of them opened and I saw an emaciated man in tattered remains of clothing. He looked up at me with a mix of resignation and sadness. He thought, no I couldn’t speculate on thoughts.

“I don’t want any trouble. I’m in enough trouble with what that bastard Harris did to me.” I don’t know who this man was but I lowered my weapon. Before I could ask him to explain he started babbling, something about a Programmer and- “And they think I’m some rebel traitor please you gotta help me.” The man practically sobbed, clinging at the hem of my tunic.”

The man had obviously been beaten, poorly fed, and run through interrogation. The fact nothing on him was physically broken suggested he hadn’t been here longer than a few days; just long enough for sleep deprivation to start to set in. For several long minutes I just stood there while he clung to me sobbing then I guided him to his bed as gently as I could manage.

“I’ll be back for you.” He was quiet.... Until I started to shut the door. Then he started shrieking. I didn’t want to kill him, knew his mind was starting to snap and probably thought I was some trick the Guards were playing just to mess with him.

So I ran. Down the hall and ran a door and when I cracked it open saw the back of another guard and Tarnhill’s one and only tavern. Door closed and I looked around. Screams were normal for here right?

A guard walked past me then stopped. Sweat started to bead at the back of my neck and my grip on the crossbow tightened.

“I WON’T LET YOU TRICK ME AGAIN! NEVER AGAIN!” The prisoner’s shrieks were loud even this far from his room. “NEVER! NEVER AGAIN!”

The guard clapped me on the back. “If they scream like that then you’re doing your job right.” There were hints of pride in the guard’s wrong-sounding voice. “First Interrogation?”

I nodded, not quite sure what to say and fearing if I said anything I might give myself away.

“Bit of advice friend.” The guard’s relaxing and apparently assuming I was a Questioner unsettled me. “You look too clean if you’re wanting to blend in. The posture isn’t something you can help I guess, but everyone will know you’re one of ours.” The door opened and he shoved me out and bellowed. “AND IF WE HAVE TO DRAG YOU BACK IN HERE YOU WON’T COME BACK OUT.”

Amazing how much contempt a monotone can convey. I straightened my tunic and checked my crossbow before trying to put distaince between me and that building. No guards. No obvious tails. Trouble is that Thing mistook me for a plainclothes. That worried me. Put me on edge. Maybe it was a trick to see who I’d try running to with news I might have been made.

Heh. I needed a drink and had business with a thin rat-face there anyway. Handy how some things work out really.

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Very good, aside from a couple of sentences that need some proofreading so as not to be mangled run-ons.

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Appreciate the feedback (and the fact other people actually read this.) Right now editing is at a minimum, but if/when I pass the 50k word mark I'll slow down, go back, and start doing cleanup. Important thing is to actually get words down and this year's NaNo is complicated by the fact I'm moving this month. So why do it at all? Could say it's an addiction I guess.

Edited to fix a few rather glaring problems near the middle.


Nobody looked at me when I walked in. Even the bartender chose to look past me rather than directly at me. Given I was snatched up in the middle of the night by guards that had a habit of making men disappear I couldn’t really blame them. Instead I made sure my crossbow was pointed away from anything or anyone that would get hurt if it accidentally fired and rapped my fist on the bar.

“My name is Call.” The Bartender grunted but still wouldn’t look at me. “Where is Harris? Red tunic, face that looks like a weasle and a snake were his parents. Balding. know where-” The bartender pointed up the stairs then jerked jerked his thumb towards the wall. Taking this to mean the first door up the stairs I left my crossbow on the bar.

Sure enough when I pushed the door opened Harris was sitting there shuffling papers and apparently had just poured himself a drink.

“Get lost kid you’re botherin’ me.” Harris didn’t even bother looking up from what he was reading to wave me away. It was fortunate I’d left the crossbow at the bar because I wanted him to talk.

This... offhanded dismissal caused me to grab the scruff of his tunic and spin him around to face me. He would acknowledge me and answer. His wide eyed terrified expression was interesting. “Hey I know kinda looks like a setup. I’d never do that to such a brutal killer like yourself. Huh, all this fuss over a cup, weird.” I hadn’t even started explaining why I was back before he started babbling.

He pulled free of his grasp. “Got the fancy cup?” I nodded even though I had no such thing or intended on getting his stupid chalice. He didn’t ask for details so I had to assume he was just working off a pre-made routine and he was hoping to force me back into it. “Now get ready gold and glory like I promised. Just come with me to meet the Governor.”

“I’ll keep the chalice. Thanks.” The look on his face almost made up for the fact he’d tried putting me through the wringer.

“No second chances.” Harris looked smug even as he tried making this little me-shaped problem go away. “Oh Gua-URK!” My dagger made sure he could never double-cross anyone ever again. A quick search of the body turned up a nice little bundle he’d kept just under the counter and a couple keys that might’ve been useful.

Since Harris was a man that needed to have secrets as a part of his job I thought maybe there would be a hidden compartment or something of the sort in his desk. Tried fiddling with it for awhile and then started using keys when I found locked compartments. Sure I’d expected papers, or maybe a holdout pistol and another bundle of money but when the desk pulled away from the wall and a trap door unlocked. Wow. He had his own little bolt-hole to hide in. Slick.

Huh. Suit of armor and a helmet. I tried it on and even though it felt just a little tight I could make it work. Well fine the sleeves were too short so off they went, but not every day you got a little added something. Between the new leather and the helm I should be far less recognizable. Time to get somewhere before Mister Harris ended up getting found.

“Hello?” Combine the sudden voice in my ear with the burst of noise that preceded it and I whirled in surprise, almost knocking some random drunk over. “Command, A comm unit has just been activated... Am receiving audio and visual from... somebody.” Girlvoice. Hadn’t heard a woman’s voice since I’d left the creech.

“Not sure who had this thing before me.” I continued to walk, deciding a slightly staggered ‘drunk’ hobble appropriate given I was apparently talking to myself. “But I picked it up off somebody selling people out to Tarnhil’s governor. Might wanna make sure you haven’t been giving the Order directions to your little hidey hole around here.”

My drunken stumbling took me to the nearest food vendor. I didn’t care if it was Rat, Roach, or whatever since it smelled good. Money changed hands while the girl in my head kept talking. “Since this comm unit is working you’re still fully human.”

Interesting thought there. Maybe this was something Harris was sitting on but couldn’t have actually used. “Maybe we can try to trust eachother.” OK don’t think of it as a girl talking. Just... think of it like a really odd sounding guy. Good better, less weird. Consider this a test; there’s a flamethrower in the Governor’s mansion. We need it. Get it and maybe we can work out something more permanent. Oh, and you can call me Blackbird.”

I looked around and frowned at the big guard covered complex on ‘our’ side of the stream. Lots of guards. Imposing building carved into a cliff face. That had to be where the Governor was camped. “What can you tell me about this guy?”

The voice at the other end sounded apologetic and more than a little frustrated. “All I know about Governor Mourel is he likes playing both sides against the middle.” Well that actually worked in my favor. Maybe I could even convince the guy to hand the hardware over nice and easy like.

“Show me your ID. Now.” A pair of guards got in my way as I was nosing around. Not sure what to do I took a slow step back and raised my hands slowly so they could see I wasn’t going for anything. Then, just as slowly, I reached into my trouser pockets and felt around before fishing out a rectangular thing. It had no image of who it was supposed to belong to and I wasn’t sure if it would work.

The guard snatched it from my hand and the red dots that were it’s eyes narrowed and i saw a line of red trace along first one side of the card then, after the guard turned it over, the other side before handing it back to me. “You are cleared for this area. Have a nice day.” Mechanical voice that held no warmth or cheer, or even the resigned boredom you might get at humans stuck with a boring job.

Once past the guards I straightened my back and started walking with purpose. The best way to blend in was to act like you belonged there. Hopefully they wouldn’t find Harris til after I was out of here, but I couldn’t worry about that just yet. There was the small matter of this widget. “You said you were getting a visual off this bucket.” I continued looking. Stone walls dressed here and there with wood trim, paint. It looked like someone had taken the cave me and about forty other brats grew up in and tried to make it fancy.

“I’m recording everything.” Blackbird’s voice was professional. “It isn’t that we don’t trust you it’s-” She hissed. “This looks interesting. Check it out.” I paused and grumbled, trying to figure out what ‘this’ meant. “The Door on your left.” I started to move and she suddenly sounded annoyed. “Your other left!”

Stairs, grey and rougher cut than the halls I’d been bluffing my way through. I frowned and looked around, turning this way and that half expecting guards or hidden sentry guns or... something. Nothing though. Nothing at all. Ahead I saw the hallway widen into a room and I didn’t like what the room held; blood covered tools of torture, items probably belonging to former guests tossed carelessly in the corners. Only after i managed to get my stomach to settle I saw what had to be Blackbird’s flamer.

When I went into the room to retrieve it I heard alarms sound and only then did I Look. Green security strip. Well. Nothing for it then. I ran into the room, scooped up the flamethrower and started running for the stairs. Sure there were guards up there, but dying trapped in a personal torture room was not how I planned on going out.

“You idiot!” Blackbird practically screamed in my ear while I ran, shoving my way past minor functionaries, guards, and finally I was out. Strange. No mad rush from other guards to follow me. I saw a few from the Governor’s complex stand at the gate staring at me. Hm this smelled-

“Watch out, Crusaders!” What wait what? My only other warning was the roar as rockets sailed past me. I’ve heard, for rockets, they were small; only about as big as your palm, but when dealing with something that exploded on contact I didn’t care how ‘comparatively small’ they were I didn’t want to get hit by the bloody things.

Shops closed up, so did the dispensary. Had to make a mad rush for the tavern. “Get away from the the big robots and I'll guide you to us.” Blackbird hissed what I felt was a pretty obvious course of action in my ear. Yes Yes I’m going to stand around and get rockets shot at my head by the big stompy machines. Would have told her that too but I was too busy focusing on Not Dying.

“Head over to the old town hall.” My guide’s voice was pannicked. I doubted she was thinking straight. Town Hall, that still smoking ruin? “When the Order bombed it we had tunnels dug so we could get in and out unseen.” In and out of where?

Ooooh. I ran to the tavern anyway. Up the stairs, smash a window with the flamethrower then I looked down. Oh light this was gonna hurt, but better hurt than dead. I jumped, knees bent, curled most of my body around the flamethrower so it wouldn’t break. Pain. Lots and lots of pain, but I could walk and it wasn’t quite the blinding agony I was expected.

Inside the ruins I was met by a stocky man with scars running down his face. He looked mean. He looked angry and before I knew what was happening he had me against the wall gut punching me. I screamed. My legs were already hurt, possibly fractured, and this man was beating me. “Stop! Please!”

Another blow to the gut. “Boy. I saw you walk out of the Order’s torture pit.” He flung me to the ground then stepped on one of my shins. “You ain’t walking out of here.”

“Stop! Blackbird told me,” I caught his foot and shoved him back. To his credit the man managed to stay upright. “She told me to come here you shadow blinded fool!”

“Blackbird huh?” He scowled at me and snorted dismissively. “Well lemme shut off the alarms.” A callouced hand helped me up after a time. “Macil is one flight down.” He even helped me down a passage and it was kinda fuzzy but I ended up in a bed with a red headed man sticking needles in me that took the pain away.

I smiled, blissed out of my mind on whatever was pumping in my system. “You have earned our gratitude.” Blackbird’s voice was distaint. “That Flamethrower had building plans, documents, and micro-recordings hidden in the burnt out power cell. You saved lives today my friend. When you're healed go through the door and talk to Macil.” If she had anything else to say I couldn’t hear it because the doc took the helmet off.

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Aaand we meet Macil.


“Welcome friend. Welcome to the last flickering hope for freedom. We have sharp minds working on replicating the Order’s technology and many able bodied workers, but we lack that one... problem solver that will give us the edge.” To see a man old enough to have grey in his hair was rare. To see one with life enough to have such pashion in his voice almost unheard of. Macil’s eyes were not dulled or muddied by age. His eyes were clear, and he was looking right at me. It was almost the same look my father had in him before his mind left him.

“Help us.” He offered me a hand. Nevermind the fact only a few hours ago I couldn’t stand on my own two feet without blinding pain. What the medic here had was far better equipment than I’d ever run across. A spider like thing attached to my legs. Did things and after it was done I was good as new.

To have something like that in every village, creech, and anywhere else would have been enough to convince me to sign up. Seeing this group’s leader though; no wonder stories said these people would die fighting. If he was their backbone then Courage and Will weren’t in short supply.

“Sounds like a dream job doesn’t it?” I looked this way then that. Blackbird’s voice but I didn’t have the helmet on. Panic started to set in and I started backing away from Macil looking all around. The room was full of guards. True they were armored different than the Acolytes in town but a sick thought went through my head. Was I still in the Sanctuary and this all some sort of delusion to escape pain from being tortured?

Macil’s expression softened a little. “Frankly you were a mess when Jeoff brought you in. We could have let you sit and recover naturally, but broken bones take weeks to knit that we don’t have.”

Didn’t take much for me to figure it out on my own from there. “And while I was out you figured you’d add a few things Right?”

Laughter was Macil’s response. “Dio no Friend.” He then reached up to my head and pulled something out of my ear and showed it to me. After a long moment of feeling incredibly stupid. “While we have been attempting put some of the Order’s... modifications to use for our cause it would go against everything I’ve worked for to attempt such a thing involuntarily.”

That made sense really and even while I slipped the earpiece back in I realized it felt like it wasn’t even there. Interesting. Last time I worked with any sort of communications gear it was a bulky box of a thing that weighed as much as a brick and broke as soon as someone’d look at it wrong.

My mind was already made up and best make it formal. “Alright. I’m in.”

“Good.” Macil grinned wide as he used his grip on my arm to pull me into something close to a bear-hug. “Blackbird will continue to be your guide. Together you will help us unlock the secrets of the Order and their inhuman servants.”

“How am I supposed to-” My voice trailed off when I finally was let go. Macil seemed quite confident I could do as he suggested. Then again it could be quiet confidence was his normal look.

“Our last raid was a disaster and most of our troops were captured.” Macil seemed to act like I hadn’t spoke, but there was something about his voice that made me pay attention to him anyway. “I need you to free these prisoners.”

We walked down a flight of stairs and into a room full of people doing light only knows what with monitors, fine tools, little widgets, and a dozen different things I wasn’t even sure how to describe. Finally Macil handed me a flat rectangle of plastic similar to the ident I’d used earlier. “Take this key to see the Governor; he’s a corrupt puppet but he loves to make deals. Do whatever you need to free our brothers.”

“Uh don’t mean to complicate things but won’t the guards recognize me?” Of course I was worried. The job might have been hashed before I’d even had a chance to start it. Not the best way to begin my new career.”

Blackbird’s voice was reassuring as she spoke in my earpiece. “Don’t worry, these’ll be different guards and so long as you’ve got the right credentials just about anyone outside of Macil himself could walk in there.”

Well. That’s that I suppose. Key card tucked away. I got fitted for a new uniform. Well. OK maybe not ‘fitted’ so much as ‘here go through these and see if any of ‘em work.’ As much as I wanted a helmet I was going to have to go without for the moment since dealing while keeping your face covered generally made things harder. Sure you had intimidation on your side but I wanted to charm the man, not cow him into submission.

On my way back up the tunnels leading back to town I’d managed to catch the attention of one of the rebels standing guard. He clamped me on the shoulder and gave me one of the worst bits of motivational speaking I’ve ever heard. “No pressure, but if you foul up they’re all gonna die. Good Luck.”

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