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11.09.2012 , 04:35 PM | #57
Chapter 24. Interlude: Calling Home

No game spoilers.

"Mama! How are things?"

Mama's holo image smiled at me. "Well, going well. And you?"

"Keeping busy. I can't complain." That was just about literally true; any matter I could think of to complain about was classified to some degree now that I was in Havoc Squad. "How's your gentleman caller?"

Her smile developed dimples. Words can't express how glad I was to see that smile back when she started seeing Glend a year or so ago. How glad I still am to see it. He's just another West Ford City native, not a resistance guy or anything, but he seems solid enough. "Glend's doing very well," Mama continued. "The factory's doing better business every year. As for the shop, we had a fire here a couple of weeks back, but nothing bad. Just enough to scare everyone and dump suppressofoam on everything."

"You all right cleaning up? I can send some credits your way."

"You already send enough, Vierce. Between Glend and me we had enough on hand to clean things up just fine."

Now that was an odd thought. Even if Glend had been around for a while. "I suppose he's taking care of the house, too?"

"He's on to things that need fixing sometimes before they know they need it." She gave me a half-thoughtful, half-mischievous grin. "I'm sure I can save some chores for you to do the next time you're in town."

"Oh, don't let the house fall apart on my account." Mama always had a list of assorted repairs and brute-strength tasks she could use help with when I came by. It would be doubly odd to lose that. "But maybe save one or two things."

"I will. Now, then. Have you heard anything from Kirsk lately?"

"Afraid not. I've been busy with work; I was hoping he would be in touch with you."

"Not for months."

"Last I saw him in person was Nar Shaddaa." I skipped the parts about his ship being stolen and him being embroiled in what had looked like a titanic gang struggle. "He was doing great. Spoke to him briefly a couple of weeks ago. He's running guns for the resistance on Balmorra these days."

Mama sighed. "Just like his first paying job, hmm?"

"Same job landing the same kind of weapons to fire at the same kind of people. Balmorra's better off for his doing it, even if I really, really hope they have some more work-oriented fighters to take the fight from there." She still looked uneasy. "Don't worry. Nobody's ever going to catch a pilot as crazy as him." Assuming he had his own ship back. Or assuming he knew his way around whatever ship he had begged, borrowed, or stolen since then. Anyway, Kirsk's lurching, erratic flight style was incredibly hard to get a lock on. More than one Imp gunner had died trying.

"I'm sure he'll be all right," Mama said unconvincingly. "I'd rather he were all right closer to home doing something safer, but you know Kirsk." She forced a smile. "He'll get in touch when he's ready. What about all this you're doing? Are you still recruiting?"

That was about the most detail I had given her thus far. "Not actively. I've got the two sergeants and that prototype droid I talked about, we're on an errand we've got to clear up before we go back to thinking about possible newcomers."

"I see. Well, Sergeant Jorgan and Sergeant…who's the other one?"

"Dorne," I said shortly. I hadn't told Mama anything but Dorne's name. The less Mama knew about the local former Imperial, the better.

"Sergeant Jorgan and Sergeant Dorne will just have to step up."

"They do, Mama. Havoc Squad doesn't carry dead weight."

"I'm glad." She looked off camera. "Well, I need to be going. Call me if you get any news from Kirsk."

"I will. Love you, Mama."

"Love you, too, chief." Her image winked out.

Dorne caught up with me after I headed out to the mess. She had some paperwork or other to ask me about. While we were talking it occurred to me to wonder where her brother Aleksei had ended up. He was all the family Dorne had on this side of the fence; it must've been a real relief once he defected to be allowed contact again.

And it's a comfort to know your people are all right. So yeah, I did wonder a little. But it wasn't my place to ask, not really. I didn't exactly have any place to start.

So I signed off on her completed form and got out of her way.
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