Thursday, February 22, 2024

BESM - Palomino: Treasure of the Sierra Mecha 3

Our wandering heroes - Kate the gambler and terraformer, Jake the gunsmith and tinkerer, and Se-No-Wo-Te the displaced Native American - are participants in increasingly tense events around an illegal mine outside the town on Grace, on the mining moon of Palomino.

After the morning refusal of eggs and picking up some coffee, and an inquiry into whether Se-No-Wote's tribe used peyote, Jake and Se-No-Wote went to work. 

Kate received a radio call from Fochenflick, requesting a ride. Unlike Mr. Fleiss, he was permitted to ride inside the mech; he wanted to chat with the miners. Jake took up a position a couple of klicks away, and Se-No-Wote snuck as close he could in his mecha. One of the miners got into a mech as well. 

Fochenflick proposed that the miners take their 130 thousand, split it three ways not four (Granger's stake being moot) and leave. Kate took the opportunity for a thermal scan of the area and found a few buried satchel charges but nothing unexpected. Fred made threatening noises. Fochenflick noted that Fred was wanted for murder in Palomino City. They had until the end of the day to pack up and get out. "The stakes at this table are bigger than you know. Pick up your ante and walk away." He climbed back into Kate's mech.

Immediately after they left, an argument broke out between the three miners. Se No Wote maintained his watch. Jake went back to the Granger place to look for parts, finished fixing the water sensor, and dumped some of the local water in. Definitely contaminated with something not naturally occurring, something he had read about before in some military source.

Kate took Fochenflick back to the house and mentioned that she thought he had been inclined to let him stay. He noted that he might be bluffing. She declined a wager on this matter. 

At the camp, an agreement was reached. Fleiss, in a mech, headed off by himself, did some excavation and appeared to have uncovered his share of the gold. He laid out three satchel charges, wired them up, and reburied them. The other two stayed some distance away in the meantime, ostentatiously not watching what he was doing. Having satisfied himself that his gold would not be stolen in his absence, Fleiss got out of the mech and began climbing down the hill. At some point he began waving his hat in the air, eventually attracting Jake's attention. He wanted a lift into town to arrange transportation for the miners and their gear. Jake was supposed to be fixing the fence to make sure no more cattle wandered into the canyon, so Kate volunteered to run Fleiss in. She let him inside this time so she could crank the speed up and get this done quickly. He managed to lose his balance and fall into her at one point, and laughed at the need for a seatbelt, but only for a moment. She dropped him off by the livery stable, wished him luck, and suggested he stop by the hotel when he said he might be staying in town a while. 

Meanwhile, back at the mine, the other two were digging up their own stakes and the one set aside for Granger. Se-No-Wote apprised Fochenflick of their apparent intention to leave. In the midst of this, Eb got out of the mech and began gathering small items from his tent. Fred, still in his own mech, walked up to the tent and fired up the drilling hand on the mech. 

Se-No-Wote stood up from his hiding place, too late to keep Fred from making a very large hole in Eb, and turned his mech's sonic attack on Fred. Fred tossed a satchel charge at him. The ground underneath him caved in from the force of the explosion, partially trapping him. Se-No-Wote requested assistance and fired his mech's fist at Fred, destroying the other mech. 

Jake fired a missile long-distance in assistance. Mech parts (and Fred parts) rained down over the edge of the mesa. "Salvage rights!" He went back to fixing fences.

Since Kate was closest to town, she volunteered to tell the sheriff. Halfway there she had second thoughts; was there any real need to tell anyone about this? Hardly anyone knew they were there to begin with. They weren't supposed to be there. It would mean a lot of trouble... she sighed and called Garner to come out to Fochenflick's place, then called her boss to let him know. "You know, I'd like to go through a couple of days with you people without a frickus," the sheriff opined.

She decided it would save time to pick up Fleiss now, since undoubtedly he would be wanted. At the livery stable, a small crowd had gathered to talk about the man trying to rent a wagon with a bag of gold dust. Kate spun a rapid story about her distant cousin having spent too much time in the desert, tetched in the head, had tried this thing before, and managed to get in, grab Lamont and get out. On the way to Fochenflick's she told him what had happened to his partners. 

Fleiss pulled a gun and ordered her to take him to his gold as quickly as possible. Without his notice she turned on the communications relay; their conversation alerted the sheriff as to the situation. At the mesa, she climbed out ahead of Fleiss, gave him the requested twenty paces. 

"Don't move another damn step!" Eb – astonishingly – ordered, holding a shotgun with his remaining arm, accusing her of being Lamont's lover and the two of them conspiring to steal all the gold (Kate burst out laughing). While the two erstwhile partners argued and Lamont tried to convince Eb to let him get a doctor. Kate volunteered to go, got back in her mech with a profound sense of relief, where she updated the others. Jake got on her loudspeaker and pointed out that the two of them were fighting over nothing and he could take them both out with one missile from two miles away.

Eb appeared to have accepted this, and fainted. Kate grabbed him up gently, like a mech running an egg-spoon race, and headed for the doctor in town. "Tell him I... the wires...." 

Lamont was headed to where he had buried his share of the treasure.

Kate lunged for the radio as the booby-trap blew Lamont to small pieces, and Eb breathed his last.

Gold-laced dust rained gently over the plain. Jake threw all the stuff he didn't want to salvage down the mineshaft and launched a missile into it, with Fochenflick's hearty endorsement.

And thus ended the situation on the mesa. Jake got access to the sheriff's database to find out what was in the water. 


Since you're not willing to stick around for the alcohol, you can't have pie. Fochenflick to Se-No-Wote

Hey! No fadin' into the darkness! Jeb

Eb is down? Eb is soup! Tom 

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