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From: Simon and Fiona sfuller@******
Subject: Ganba (2)
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2000 12:34:27 +1000
Nightfall came as they reached the ghost town of Penong. They found a good
camping spot outside the town and settled down. Occasionally the pair would
mutter to eachother, but they ignored Eddie. A curse toward nuyen and his
agent Chalky on his lips, Eddie drifted off into an uneasy sleep.
He woke them before dawn the next morning, and drove into the pale grey
light. When the sun burst over the horizon behind him the others were asleep
again in the back. That was something that annoyed him since the trip
started, neither would sit in the front passenger seat, making Eddie feel
like a chauffeur. They slept on for another four hours, leaving Eddie to
quietly enjoy some of the most desolately beautiful country around, only
occasionally marred by distant Corp strip-mining operations. Eventually even
that was left behind, all the mines from here on were to the far north. He
was lost in peaceful contemplation when there was a cry from the back seat
“Jesus H Frag! It’s all flat!” Cross’ remark woke Lily, who looked out the
window and said “Wow!” The land was indeed flat, almost billiard table flat.
The only feature all the way to the horizon was countless grey clumps of
spinifex grass. Finally, Eddie thought, something that interests them
outside of that box that Cross keeps plugging into.

A couple of hours later, the endless flat terrain had lost its mysticism
even for Eddie. They had stopped for lunch, when Cross said “Cowboy, you
never told me you had bears out here.”
Eddie looked up. In the far distance there were some shapes that shivered in
the heat haze. He found his goggles and turned up the magnification. There
was a small group of large animals that did resemble bears in their body
shape, but their heads were long and ended in small prehensile trunks like
those of tapirs, and they were easily as tall as Eddie at the shoulder. “Oh,
those aren’t bears, they’re diprotodons. Herbivores. One of our Awakened
“They good hunting?” Cross asked eagerly.
“Not really, they’re big and slow and easy targets.”
“Sounds all right to me, lets bag a couple.”
“Look, I’ll find some camels for you if you want a good chase. These aren’t
even good eating.”
“I said let’s go, Cowboy. Don’t forget who’s nuyen is paying for this.”
Fine, thought Eddie. Hired help it is. “OK then, grab your gun, I’ll unpack
the bike.”
Eddie readied the small trailbike that he kept packed in the front of the
trailer, then got his hunting rifle. Cross looked at the bike and said “I’m
driving.” It wasn’t really big enough for two, but they climbed on, and
Cross gunned the bike. They shot forward, spraying fine dust over Lily and
the Land Rover, and kept accelerating until Cross hit a clump of spinifex
head on. Both men were thrown forward, and they landed on top of eachother
in another clump. Eddie’s shoulder burst into a flare of pain. “Frag! That’s
tough grass!” Laughed Cross, “More like a tree stump.”
Cross seemed unaffected by the spill, jumping up and bouncing toward the
bike. Eddie, on the other hand, took some time to pick himself up. “How
about you go on without me, I think you’ve dislocated me shoulder.” He
muttered, “And try going around the spinifex next time.” Luckily the bike
was unharmed, and Cross took off in another spray of bulldust.
By the time Eddie made the short walk back to the Land Rover, he could not
move his left arm. Lily looked at him as he sagged into the shade of the
trailer. “You poor man, let me see.” She slinked over to him and smiled. “We
’re going to have to take that shirt off, Cowboy.”
“I really wish you two would stop calling me that.” Said Eddie through
gritted teeth.
“You wear a cowboy hat.’ Answered Lily, slowly unbuttoning his shirt. “If
the hat fits, as they say.” She carefully slipped his shirt off and ran her
eyes lingeringly over him. “The shoulder’s definitely dislocated, and you’ve
lost a lot of skin from the elbow. Got a medikit?”
“In the back of the Land Rover.”
Lily treated his grazed arm with a tender, professional touch, then wrapped
her hands around his biceps, and said, “This’ll hurt.” Before Eddie could
react, she jerked the arm up. Eddie screamed, then swore. “Now we’ll make a
sling for that arm.” She said smoothly as Eddie’s mind slowly emerged from
its private world of red pain. In a moment the arm was slung, and Lily
massaged some anaesthetic gel onto the swollen shoulder. “All done. So, you
got a kiss for nurse?” she purred.
“I don’t think that’d be a good idea” he rasped.
“We’re not really married, you know.” Lily said, trailing her fingers down
his torso, “We aren’t even a couple. In fact, my name isn’t even Lily. You
want to know what it is?” She was interrupted by the sound of automatic
gunfire. Eddie jumped up and looked through his goggles. Cross was perched
on the bike firing wildly at the frightened beasts, which were lumbering out
of the way. Two were already dead on the ground. Suddenly the bike rolled to
a stop and Cross fell to the ground. Eddie grinned. He really should have
mentioned the diprotodon’s ability to spray a terrible stench when
“Is he OK?” Asked Lily without much concern.
“Yeah, he’ll he fine.”
“Good, now where were we?” she said, wrapping her arm around his leg.
“Look, Lily, not now, OK? Cross will be back soon, and he wont be happy.”
“OK Cowboy. I’ll be ready whenever you are.”
His head was filled with a pink sexual fog of desire, but his will stayed
strong. As enticing as she was, Eddie knew that the price wouldn’t be worth
it. To clear his thoughts, he busied himself by getting a shovel and digging
up some spinifex. It was hard going with one arm, and Lily wasn’t showing
any sign of wanting to help, instead she watched him from the shade, sipping
a cool drink through pouting lips. The hard work and physical distance
cleared Eddie’s head and calmed his body, and the anaesthetic gel had at
last numbed his shoulder. He cut the roots from the spinifex and proceeded
to boil them in a large pot of water. By the time Cross returned, cursing,
shouting and above all stinking, there was a good amount of black liquid in
the pot, with the consistency of motor oil. “Cowboy! You didn’t fragging
tell me they fired stink bombs!” Cross yelled as he wheeled the bike in.
“Poo! You smell like dead squid!” squealed Lily.
“I wasn’t expecting you to rush in there like it was miner’s payday at the
whorehouse. Who taught you to hunt, anyway?”
“Watch yourself, Cowboy. I am this close.” Cross growled, tossing the bike
“Relax, Cross. Look, smear this all over, it’s the only thing that will get
rid of the smell. But wait til it cools.”
Cross took the pot of black goo and looked at it in disgust. “Lily, help me
out here.” Lily screwed her face up, and looked like she was about to
refuse, but then she got up. They went behind the Land Rover, and began the
task of coating Cross in the stuff. Lily obviously was enjoying herself
immensely, making jokes about the terrible stench. After a long time, the
smell began to fade, and Cross came out from behind the truck. “Now give me
some water to wash this off.”
“Not yet, “ Answered Eddie, “It’ll just bring back the stink. You have to
let it soak in for a while.” Cross dressed in his smelly clothes, and as he
came around Eddie noticed shiny dermal plates under the goo. “We’re not
finished, Cowboy.” He growled.
Lily leaned over to him as Cross got into the truck, “Neither are we.”

A couple of stinking, uncomfortable hours later, Eddie pulled up at a tiny
town that had built up around an all-Corp roadhouse that serviced the
convoys that came through from the inland on their way to the ports. As was
common in the outback, it was built totally underground except for the
refuelling point. Eddie got permission to use the showers, and payed well
for the water. All three washed the grit of days on the road off themselves.
Eddie sat sipping a soycaf at the cafe when Lily came out, barefoot and
fresh-looking. “You might as well make yourself comfortable, Cross will be a
while. That stuff sets like glue.”
“The poor baby. You better watch him though. He’s killed for less.”
Eddie didn’t think that sounded like a joke.
“You look like the kind of man who can really handle himself anyway,” Lily
winked, “I’m going to find out later.”
“Look. Lily, I’m flattered, but there’s no way, OK?” Lily wasn’t having her
usual effect right now. Maybe it was because all her makeup and perfume were
washed off, though she looked just as ravishing slightly damp and makeup
free. She sat down and leaned back in her chair, giving Eddie a long,
calculating stare. At last she said “I like you, Cowboy. There should be
more like you back home. Ever think of moving to Seattle?”
“What the hell would I do in Seattle?”
“With your skills, you could run the shadows like a pro in no time.”
“A shadowrunner? I’m sure the shadowrunners in real life don’t do half of
what they do on the trid.”
“Oh, you’d be surprised, Cowboy.”
Eddie looked hard at her, while she pretended not to notice. She brushed her
hair quietly. It was slowly becoming unavoidable that this pair were
criminals. Probably not shadowrunners, Eddie doubted that there really were
any actual shadowrunners even in Seatlle, at least not for long. But it was
obvious that these two were into some kind of major crime, and Lily seemed
to want Eddie to know about it. Well as far as Eddie was concerned, the less
he knew the better off he was. He sunk down in his chair and sipped at the
Eventually Cross came out, pink from scrubbing, but still with blackish
smears on his skin and lumps in his hair. He threw his smelly, tarry old
clothes in a bin and gave the pair a dirty look. “Lets go.”

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading about Ganba (2), you may also be interested in:


These messages were posted a long time ago on a mailing list far, far away. The copyright to their contents probably lies with the original authors of the individual messages, but since they were published in an electronic forum that anyone could subscribe to, and the logs were available to subscribers and most likely non-subscribers as well, it's felt that re-publishing them here is a kind of public service.