Middle of nowhere, Algonkian-Manitou Council, 27 December 2050
We take a direct route toward the HNLA base, abandoning the snowbikes about a klick away and trudging the rest of way through the snow in the bulky NBC suits. At least they keep us warm as well as safe from the virus.
We spot the base after about another hour and a half. There are about five or six buildings, but the place looks quiet. Our current approach is pretty exposed so we lose more time circling around through the trees. Place looks dead.
As we move in to scout, Sharron hisses a warning for me to stop. Hidden in the snow is a trip wire and I nearly walked right into it. It's hooked up to a claymore mine. We disarm it and perform a more careful search that turns up a couple more before entering the camp proper.
The buildings are cold and a quick search reveals that most anything of value has been taken. We find a cleared area where the snow had melted and refrozen. Seems they had their own VTOL. The rest of the team joins us and we search the place proper but all we turn up is a datachip.
Zero makes quick work of it, turning up ferry schedules between Salish and Tsimshian, the name of one of the boats 'Queen of the North' and a set of navigation vectors. Based on the data, the boat will have already left Salish and is due to arrive in Kitimat in just a few hours.
Finlay gets on the comm', calling Osprey back. He lands at the base and we pile in. If we're lucky we can pick up the Wildcats and still make it to the boat a couple of hours before it arrives in Kitimat.
On the way, Zero uses the plane's satlink to do a little bit of scouting. She manages to hack into a NSA satellite and gets us a view on the coordinates just in time to see a couple of boats pulling up alongside the ferry. One is a big zodiac speedboat loaded with barrels, the other looks to be a coastguard cutter and has a pintle mount with a pair of LMGs on its forward deck. Worse, we can also see gunmen moving around on the ferry and what could be bloodstains around its bridge. Unfortunately, we don't get to see any more, as a couple of agents jump Zero. Only Finlay's quick reactions save her from getting her brain fried by Black IC, but the dumpshock still knocks her clean out.
We pick up the Wildcats and Cleo at the island, landing barely long enough for them to get onboard. Then Osprey pushes his plane as hard as he can to get us there ASAP. The Wildcats have plans of the boat and we work out a basic plan with them going for the bridge while we secure the passengers. The rest of the flight is spent in silence, well silent if you discount the roar of the osprey's engines being pushed to their limits.
Like the others, I spend the time checking my guns and loading them for bear. HE in the Winchester, APDS in the Cobra SMG and my trusty Cavalier Deputy seven-shooter. Then after what seems like a long period of waiting, Osprey calls out that he has the ferry in sight.
The Wildcats ork gunner takes up position by the side door, while Finlay and Sharron hang out the rear ramp with their assault rifles. A first pass reveals nothing but as Osprey brings the plane in over the rear deck and we start to rappel down, I hear the sound of automatic fire and the spang of bullets against the plane's fuselage.
Osprey pulls away as the Wildcats move forward. We split into two with Sharron and Finlay taking one set of stairs down, while I take the other backed up by Zero and the padre. Yeah, he's back on his feet but still looks like shit and has his left arm in a sling.
A burst of SMG fire sends Finlay and Sharron into cover. They return fire, eliciting a cry of pain as their shots hit true. We descend carefully. I spot one of the terrorists and snap off a round from the Winchester. I ain't aiming to wound and the heavy HE round takes the back of his head clean off. As he drops, I feel Zero's hand on my back. Another one off to the side. Zero takes a shot at him and I hear the padre calling on God to smite him but he doesn't drop. I roll as he fires. Bullets chase me across the deck but none hit home and the firing stops suddenly as Finlay takes him down with a well-timed burst.
I nod as we move deeper into the boat. We don't run into any more opposition and the wildcats report that they have secured the bridge, but that the controls have been shot up. We find the passengers in the main cabin. They are all dead, mainly from execution style headshots. Further searching reveals the eight barrels positioned around the boat deck. They are all wired up and as we get close, I spot a proximity trigger and warn the others to stay back.
One of the Wildcats is a demo expert and we discuss how to disable the bombs. They are wired up with proximity sensors, a timer and what looks like a seismic sensor as well as a bunch of wires that could conceal a fragload of tripswitches and trapped circuits. I wonder what the seismic sensors are for until the wildcats confirm that we are locked on a collision course with the Kitimat ferry terminal.
With time counting down, the wildcat suggests using ultrasound to scramble the proximity sensor allowing us to get close enough to disable the bombs. Zero rigs up Finlay's ultrasound sight to her electronics kit and goes to work. As she scrambles the bombs the wildcat and I move in and with steady hands and a lot of careful timing, we do manage to disable the booby traps on the bombs. However, we are unable to shut down the timers or the seismic sensors. Instead, we feed a fiber optic cable into each of the barrels, attached to a pair of goggles. This lets the padre cast a sterilise spell directly into the barrels to kill off the virus.
By the time we are finished, we can see Kitimat in the distance. My real hand won't stop shaking and the padre looks ready to pass out. With no way to stop the boat, I attach 3 sticks of dynamite to the main fuel line in the engine room and we bug out. Once Osprey has some height, I click the detonator. There is a small explosion followed by a bigger one as the ferry's fuel and the bombs strapped to the barrels explode. The ferry starts to lose headway then starts to list, flames and smoke shooting from its deck as it begins to sink.
Osprey calls over the comm that he is low on fuel but knows a place where he can refuel without anyone asking questions. Tired but happy to be alive, we agree to land there. The tiny uninhabited island lies somewhere off the coast, I cant say I was paying too much attention to where we were flying. I step out and fish half a packet of cigarettes out of my pocket. The padre bums one off me and I light him up, then mine.
I manage one draw before Finlay mutters 'Contact' over the comm and camouflaged figures appear out of the woods all around us. They move with precision, covering us and each other as only trained military can. I drop the cigarette and slowly raise my hands. I catch a glimpse of Osprey. He looks as guilty as hell and avoids my gaze as the injun commandos strip me of my weapons.
They haul us off to a nearby building. When the padre resists, they put a hood over his head and sedate him. Zero glares at the commandos with barely concealed rage and even Finlay seems angry, although it's hard to tell if its directed at himself for walking into a trap or at the injuns for catching us in it. The injuns for their part are pretty civil about the whole thing, the wildcats commander even going so far as to apologise about 'orders from above'.
Then we get hauled in for questioning. These aint military. In addition to a couple of shamans there are a bunch of suits. They look like sararimen in cheap suits but move like professionals. Great, injun spooks. An older, chain-smoking woman does most of the talking. I might be fitted with a cyber restraint but at least I'm still dressed and no-one's called me a whore, yet. Plus I figure the wildcats would of told her most of the story by now, so I bide my time and fill in the few gaps that I can. Like the eagle shaman who hired us to stop Martha, Martha's links to Terra First and what we know about the HNF and HNLA. She asks what we planned to do with the virus and I tell her she already knows what we did about it on the boat. Put a stop to it.
During the questioning one of the shaman keeps a watch on me. Probably got some truth spell on me. He kinda reminds me of an old drunk I ran into in a bar down in Salish one time. This old fella claimed to be a shaman and that he could see my spirit. He told me I had lost my totem and that my moon needed to be reunited with my sun or I would be lost in the dark. Then he called me a bitch and I clocked him. I woke up the next day in the local slammer. A few of the local braves apparently took offence to me clocking the old geezer. I was nursing a hangover and a headache when the old fella turned up and spoke to the deputy. He must of dropped the charges as the next thing I know I'm being escorted out of the county.
That all happened back before I knew about my magic abilities or who I was. I don't why it popped back into my head now, but I swear the shaman is grinning at me when they take me back to the others.