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Everything posted by James LaHaye

  1. As I let Dawn know today, I'll be pulling out of HEX. Not, I want to stress, because of or due to any of the recent drama, but because I keep getting the dreaded block when trying to write for him. Dawn OOC is free to make whatever use of LaHaye she wishes as GM fodder.
  2. "Plenty more - and try not to get everyone shot!" LaHaye said over the sounds of screeching spiders, shouting Nazi's, screaming people and gunshots. It was a testament to the extremity of the situation that he didn't even stop to smile charmingly at the pretty girl, instead grabbing a second pickaxe and running back over to his embattled comrades-in-chains. "Juno!" he yelled, and the pantherish Latina looked up in time to grab the handle of the pickaxe that LaHaye extended to her as he charged past, swiping at the spider menacing the group of prisoners with the one in his other hand. Cussing in Cajun French at the disgusting beast, LaHaye's wild swing was good enough to make the thing scuttle sideways on it's hairy legs, letting out a chittering whistle of outrage as it avoided the makeshift weapon. "More tools in that wagon!" LaHaye called to the other prisoners, waving them towards where Teagan currently stood.
  3. Greeeeeat! It had to be spiders. LaHaye managed to mentally snark even through his instinctive reflexive terror. He hated spiders. Snakes were fine. Snakes he was comfortable around. But spiders, especially big spiders, freaked him the fuck out. And these spiders were goddamn huge. Still, there was no way he was going to sit back and watch as Graham got his insides liquified and sucked out through a straw (he really hated spiders), and he damned sure wasn't going to sit back while Juno threw rocks like an star pitcher for the Yankees on crack. There had to be something he could do to help, here. Rocks. Broken up rocks. Why would they be hauling rocks? For construction, probably. Grind them up to make aggregate, or maybe the rocks had some ore in them. But what else was in the wagons. If anyone was paying attention, they'd have noticed Jimmy LaHaye being decidedly un-dashing and unheroic as he turned and ran past the rock-wagon to the next one in line, lifting the tarp and peering under. There had to be something useful - tools, weapons, a spare F-16 Viper with air-to-ground payload... Right now he'd take anything over trying to fight giant arachnids with frickin' rocks.
  4. Initiative: # 10 Details:[7d2 (1 1 2 2 1 1 2)] 3 succs
  5. Exchanging a glance with Juno, Jimmy likewise scooped up the manacles and clicked them into place around his wrists. Wherever they were, whatever these Nazis wanted, the presence of shackles at least meant that they would prefer living captives, even if it was only a slight preference. He helped Graham to stand, clicking manacles into place around the veteran's wrists with the same meaningful glance he had given Juno. Right now, they were out of options, so survival was the primary goal. The longer they lived, the greater the chance of turning the tables. He loaned Graham a shoulder to lean on. "C'mon, ol' timer. We ain't leavin' even a ground pounder behind, eh?"
  6. "Temporarily." LaHaye nodded in return, his voice also low. "Right now, so long as we're not too much trouble, we live. And they live." He nodded to the others, then gave Juno a look filled with fellow-feeling. "Endurance is going to be our strongest weapon right now. Stay strong, stay alert, and be ready for a real opportunity." He gave her a crooked smile, though his eyes were grave. "And then we use it, belle lionne."
  7. "I was stupid." LaHaye murmured back, his gaze somber as he regarded the wounded Graham. "Who'd a thought they'd shoot like that? Who the fuck even bothers to cage people then shoot them?" "Nazis, dumbass." muttered Graham, his eyes still closed. "Don't take it too hard. I went along with the plan." LaHaye wiped the blood off his face, then glanced at Juno. "They'll be alert for something now. We need to fly low and slow, 'kay? These cochons are just itchin' to shoot more of us."
  8. "Not only widows, but well-comforted widows." LaHaye promised Graham solemnly in a low tone, ignoring the man's blood on his face. "You relax, soldier. Let the not-doc work, and we can extract some payback together, hey?" Graham grabbed his hand, nodding. "Just promise me the next plan will be better." "Ah, mon ami, I cannot make promises like dat. Word would get out if I became responsible." Jimmy replied with a small smile. Graham echoed the smile, then closed his eyes and rested.
  9. "Whaddya mean, share the water?!" Jimmy said loudly, staring at Juno in a reasonable facsimile of disbelief as he jabbed an offensive thumb at Graham. "This trop mal cochon took the last of the meat, and you want me to share water with him?" "What th' fuck did you call me, gumbo?" Graham near-bellowed as he squared up to LaHaye, who in turn faced off right back to the man half a head taller than himself. A glint in the homeless vet's eye showed he was on top of the plan. "You better hand over that bottle before I shove it up your ass." The answer was a torrent of gutter Cajun French that would have made LaHaye's mother slap him, then wash his mouth out, then slap him again. Graham went red in the face and pushed LaHaye against the cage wall with a two-handed shove, only for the bantam-like aviator to bound right back into him, flailing ineffectually. LaHaye had done stunt work, and knew how to pull a punch and fake being hit, and though Graham might not have had the same experience, the vet was more than eager to play along. The two of them roistered back and forth across the cage, grappling, swearing, shoving each other and now and then landing a punch which looked, in the moving light, to be painful. The other occupants of the cage shouted imprecations, scrambling out of the way of the two brawlers, backing up and alternately jeering at the fight or imploring the two of them to stop, depending on the individual. Through it all, Juno kept half an eye on the guards, waiting for her chance...
  10. As Juno passed him some water and food Jimmy muttered "Same place as you, but a few thousand feet further up and movin' way faster, chere. But I can handle a gun if need be." She nodded as she divined his meaning, then went back to assessing their surroundings. LaHaye, for his part, stood up and got feeling back into his legs and arms before helping Graham do likewise. "You an aviator?" Graham murmured, stamping his feet a little in a 'hobo shuffle' to get warmer. "F-16s." LaHaye nodded, taking a drink of water. Graham regarded him from under bushy brows. "That'll be great if we need some precision bombing, man." he remarked sardonically. LaHaye shot him a grin. "I'd say we need it now, hey?" he looked around, then back at Juno. "We follow belle lionne's lead, back her play." He glanced down at Carl. "You dealin' in on dis?"
  11. "This is crazy." Thong-girl stammered, cuddling her twin who was weeping quietly. Strawberry, seeing the occupants of the cage were nearly all awake, shoved the cooler closer to the bars. LaHaye, head still aching, squinted at the twins as the Latina woman and the guards had their back and forth. "What's your name, chere?" he asked quietly, trying to keep his voice calm. She blinked once or twice to hold back her own tears and looked at him. "Jenny. And this is Jeanie." she replied, her own voice quieter. He nodded. "I'm Jimmy." he said with a small smile. "Leastways, dat is what my friends call me. And your name?" he asked the young black guy beside him, offering him a hand. "Carl, man." said the younger fellow, giving his hand a quick shake and appraising him. "You sound like you're from swamp country. My uncle on my dad's side, he's lived in Baton Rouge most his life - he sounds like that." "A man of taste, to move to a good place like dat." LaHaye smiled carefully - his lip was still sore - but genuinely. He turned an eye on the pacing Juno as she came near. "And how 'bout you, belle lionne?"
  12. "Ow." LaHaye didn't so much say as groan as he opened his eyes. The uncomfortable travelling arrangements were nothing compared to the pain of bruised ribs, black eye and yes, a split lip that caused him to wince from wincing. Gingerly, he felt the back of his head and side, hissing in pain as his fingers brushed the swollen knots there. The aviator blinked several times, working his head slowly side to side and forward and back, then focused on his fingers and the guards in the space outside the cell alternately. He didn't seem to have a concussion, though the headache was going nowhere soon. Then he took stock of his surroundings. Homeless dude on his left, young dude on his right, pair of Asian twins across his lap... "Din't I be at dis partay once afore?" he muttered, his accent stronger in his dazed state. Then he forced his aching head to focus on the actual uniforms of the guards beyond the door. The two girls across his legs stirred, for which he was grateful - he could feel his legs had fallen asleep while he'd been out cold. One twin raised her head with a moan, then looked up at him in alarm. "Hi." he grinned at her, then regretted it instantly. The girl was cute, but the pain in his lip was not worth it at all. She shook her sister awake and the two of them scrambled off his legs and against the bars of the cage, gazing around wildly. "Where are we?" the one who was definitely wearing the thong gasped. Her sister clung to her and stared around in silence. "A box car of a train." LaHaye said with a shrug, his eyes still on the guards in their black uniforms. "And I t'ink those gentlemen be the reason. We've been kidnapped by... Nazis?" Either that or this is the preamble for a really weird kind of New Years party. "Y'know, when I imagined a party like dis, I thought the pretty girls would be wearing the uniforms." he said aloud in answer to his own thoughts, still a little out of it. "And de 'party room' would not be stinking of shit."
  13. “Pardon me, herr?” Not a phrase that should trigger alarm in the 21st century, even in New York, he would reflect later. Crossroads of the world, greatest of all cities – at least if you were a New Yorker, LaHaye supposed. Personally, he preferred New Orleans or Savannah, but then he supposed he’d spent too long in warm climes and was spoiled for the balmy winters in his native Louisiana. “Ve are vondering if perhaps you can assist us, ja?” asked the bespectacled man with the tourist map and the moth-eaten suit. “Zis map, it is gut, but does not give ze local eye.” He should have known something was up. Really, really should have known. Not because of the accents – decades had passed since German accents were a warning sign to the once-Allied powers. But because why, out of all the thronging residents of Times Square on New Years Eve, would a pair of German tourists approach an American currently with a beer in his hand and trying to bump notables with a pair of girls who were dancing at an impromptu street-meet sort of affair. With a sigh, the pilot had given up on the two ladies – who were probably unaware he’d even been trying in the press of the mob, and focused on the two gents. Himself dressed in a fleece-lined leather coat and white scarf against the New York winter, he felt that their clothing was threadbare, to say the least. Poor bastards must be freezing. “Ve are trying to find our hotel before the – how it is said – ze ball drops, ja?” Spectacles asked. He was a tall, thin sort with pale grey eyes behind the steel-rimmed glasses. His companion, similarly tall with a bulkier frame under the coat, had remained silent with his blue eyes fixed on the shorter, slighter aviator. “Sure t’ing, man.” LaHaye had drawled with just a trace of his birthplace in a voice that flight school and the Air Force had been unable to smooth away. It mostly came out when he was drunk, or angry, or turning up the charm, but right now he was just a little buzzed and, nice though the two German fellas seemed, they were not the kind of person he turned up the charm for. He remembered finding the spot on the map they were looking for, and ingrained courtesy (they were guests in his country, and that was practically the same as guests in his house, as his mama would say) had led him to offer to act as a guide. And so he was hustling ahead of the two German fellas, away from the main thoroughfare and down a side street, when the small party had turned a corner and been confronted with three bulky thugs who, he recollected, had been wearing the same slightly out-of-date clothing as his companions. Even so, he didn’t see the cosh coming in time, before it filled his vision with starbursts and dropped him to one knee. As the five men had moved in, he’d popped up and smashed his bottle full into the face of Spectacles, who’d screamed and cupped his face in his hands, and then his feet were kicked out from under him. They weren’t that good at working a man over, he recalled. They kept getting in each other’s way a lot, cussing up a storm in German in between grunts as their boots kicked the fight out of him. An single Army Ranger he'd gotten into a fight with once had put him out in half the time. Still, it was four on one and only a minute or two of beating before Spectacles’ companion, the big fella, had bent down with the cosh raised and turned the lights all the way out...
  14. Jim LaHaye Capsule: In another era, Jimmy LaHaye would have been one of the legends of the skies - or else an honorable grave-filler. Great-grandson of a WW2 aviator, grandson of a Vietnam F-4 Phantom pilot, son of a Bird Colonel and himself a talented F-16 jockey, aviation fuel runs in his blood. Sadly, he bears more in common with his maverick great-grandfather than with the more disciplined, peacetime Air Force of his father's time. Irrepressible, fearless and someone who in another age would be a flying ace dogfighting the Luftwaffe over London, in a modern peacetime Air Force he is as out of place as a P-47 Thunderbolt. That would have been bad enough, but his gambling problem got him into a lot of trouble. The problem isn't that he's bad at poker, it's that he's terrible at picking people to play with, tending to pick rich or high ranking people with no sense of humor, who know other people with even less of a sense of humor. This, together with his terrible penchant for skirt chasing even those skirts he shouldn't be chasing (coughWing Commander's wifecough) is what led to his discharge and disgrace and subsequent disowning by his family after only one tour in the Middle East. He tends to see the humor in everything short of atrocity or truly dark matters, and usually has a one-liner, a quick-thinking improvisation, or an infuriating smirk to throw at a situation. He's almost as clever and charming as he thinks he is, which makes him somewhat of a pain in the ass to deal with. He makes a living as a daredevil and stuntman specialising in stunt driving and flying for air shows, TV and movies. His ability to pilot anything with wings and quite a lot of vehicles without them too provides him with a steady flow of work. He loves to fly, to show off, and to make pretty women either laugh or blush - both if he can manage it. Physically he is a roguishly handsome man, appearing to be no older than his mid twenties with bright, laughing green eyes and shoulder-length brown hair swept back rakishly . His voice, though educated, has a definite Louisiana French lilt, especially when he is being charming - or thinks he is being charming at any rate. YMMV.
  15. Tentatively proposing Jim LaHaye. Disgraced Navy pilot, daredevil, stuntman specialising in stunt driving and flying for air shows, tv and movies. Can pilot anything with wings and quite a lot of vehicles without them too. He's a golden-hearted scoundrel who in another age would be a flying ace dogfighting the Luftwaffe over London, but his gambling problem gets him into a lot of trouble. The problem isn't that he's bad at poker, it's that he's terrible at picking people to play with, tending to pick rich people with no sense of humor, who know other people with even less of a sense of humor. This, together with his terrible penchant for skirt chasing even those skirts he shouldn't be chasing (coughWing Commander's wifecough) is what led to his discharge. He tends to see the humor in everything short of atrocity or truly dark matters, and usually has a one-liner, a quick-thinking improvisation, or an infuriating smirk to throw at a situation. He's almost as clever and charming as he thinks he is, which makes him somewhat of a pain in the ass to deal with.
  16. The unpacking hadn't taken long, and then there was nothing much to do until dinner time, so the newlyweds remained in their cabin, obviously committed to enjoying one another's company. The 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door swung slightly with the æthership's motion, and the steward smiled as he came away from having delivered the third bottle of champagne to a tousle-headed and robe-wearing LaHaye. ,, It's nice to see two people so in love, he mused, remember his own honeymoon. ,, "Heart flush, queen high." Olivia said with a grin, laying down her cards on the bed. "Got you good." she added with satisfaction, reaching out to rake in the sizable pot of pennies they'd been building up over the last hand. ,, "If only you had." LaHaye drawled. "Shame that I have four aces." Olivia looked at his cards as the Englishman laid them down, and her smile fell. ,, "That's three hands in a row, and I'm just about cleaned out." she declared with some disgust. "Are you cheating?" ,, "Cheating?" LaHaye enquired mildly, tilting an eyebrow as he started to shuffle the cards again. "Not as such. For instance, I'm not doing this.." This was a rapid shuffle or two, followed by a quickfire face-up deal that left Olivia with a pair of twos and LaHaye with a King-high straight. She folded her arms and stared hard at the unrepentant scoundrel, who shrugged and reshuffled, unapologetic. "No tricks like that. It's just that I have luck powers." he said simply. ,, "Luck powers." Olivia said evenly. ,, "Oh, indeed." LaHaye smiled as though nothing were amiss. "Did I not mention that?" ,, "No. You didn't." Olivia replied, the temperature in her voice dropping. ,, "Could have sworn I did..." LaHaye mused, then shrugged again and smiled at her. "Don't pout at me. You're the one that wanted to play cards." ,, "I might not have, if you had told me you had luck powers." she said in a tone of voice very close to a growl. Drawing herself up with every ounce of dignity she could manage with that... that MAN grinning at her like a schoolboy who'd dropped a dead frog in her lap, Olivia rose from where she had been sitting on the bed, glaring down at the figure stretched across it. ,, "Sorry." said LaHaye. "Must have slipped my mind." ,, "I want to go to dinner, I think. I'll just get presentable." Olivia declared, before flouncing to the bathroom and pointedly closing the door on the laughing LaHaye. As she washed her hands and regarded herself in the mirror, she smiled despite herself as she remembered his grin. "Such a brat." she muttered as she smiled. ,, Meanwhile, LaHaye bounded to his feet and got changed into the nicer of his current stock of suits with his usual commendable speed. Adjusting his tie, then his cuffs in the mirror, he smiled a little to himself, humming under his breath.
  17. "Whatever you say, darling." LaHaye replied with a fatuous look of adoration on his face that, despite her mixed feelings on the matter, made Olivia giggle. He checked himself in the mirror: the tailor in Bangkok hadn't done a bad job of altering the off-the-rack linen suit, but LaHaye was glad that the æthership would be stopping over for a few days in Bombay, where he knew a top-notch bespoke tailor who could whip up something much snappier, more suitable for London. That engendered a thoughtful frown: was he so ready to fall back into Society? What would they make of his traveling companion? LaHaye was relieved, upon a moment's examination of his feelings, to realise that he didn't much care what they thought. So, I'm not the shallow youth I once was, he mused as he adjusted his jacket cuffs, staring into the eyes in the mirror. So what am I now? ,, "Let us hope that people are ready to be scandalised." he said with a faint grin as he turned from the mirror. He crossed to the one bag he hadn't unpacked and opened it, pulling out a holster harness with his twin automatics. Olivia's hand rested gently on his arm, stopping him, and he turned to look down into an earnestly beseeching gaze. ,, "You won't need those, will you?" she asked him a touch plaintively. "I mean, we're not here to fight. We're just going to be traveling, miles above the ground." ,, "On an æthership, with roughly a hundred people we do not know." he argued reasonably, his eyes on hers. "Not counting the twenty-strong crew, any one of which could be an agent of Pok or of the Axis. Livy..." he turned and took her hand in both of his, his tone gentle. "I've been charged to deliver you safely to London, and I will do so; whatever it takes, I intend to keep you safe." Unable to keep eye contact, Olivia looked down, a blush rising in her cheeks that felt as though it was threatening to ignite her hair. Flirting, playful LaHaye was tough on a girl, but sober, gallant and protective LaHaye was little short of devastating, all the more so for his sincerity. ,, "Okay." she murmured, letting her hand slip reluctantly from his clasp. LaHaye smiled slightly and took off his jacket, swinging on and arranging the rig in the mirror before putting the jacket back on again. The guns were in the small of his back, arranged one above the other in a cross-draw position. For someone who wasn't a Dynamic, they might be clumsy to draw, but he would have no problem. There was no sign of the weapons, even when he raised his arms over his head and to the sides, just as Tunbridge had promised when he'd had the thing made. Perfect. Olivia watched, then looked back at the case on the bed. "You won't be..." she left the question hanging. ,, "Oh, no." LaHaye grinned a little. "There's not a concealed holster for that beast. She's going under the bed until needed." He fitted actions to words, snapping shut the locks and sliding the strengthened case holding the Piecemaker and it's assorted ammunition under the bed. "So, lets take a turn around the ship while she's in port, hmm?" He offered Olivia his arm and waited for her to take it before leaving the cabin, closing and locking the door behind them. ,, The æthership was worth a look, to say the least. Thick carpeting and giltwork adorned the corridors and passenger lounge, game room and ballroom. It was, in fact, a miniature luxury liner for the skies, and even the worldly LaHaye was quietly impressed with the sheer wealth it had taken to build such a vessel. At Olivia's request, they wandered out onto the observation deck, a passenger area that ran around the ship and had two levels, complete with screwed-down deckchairs and high, brass-adorned railings from which passengers could gaze out or, more likely, down at the world. ,, "Do they let people out here while the ship is in the air?" Olivia wondered aloud. LaHaye shook his head, then nodded amiably to another couple that they passed, affecting to ignore the shocked look on their faces at the mixed pair. ,, "Wouldn't have thought so during really high-altitude flight, dearest. When the æthership needs to get above the bad weather and make good time, for instance. But most of the time, cruising allows for passengers to get out and stretch their legs, provided they don't do something damn silly like climbing on the railing." An Indian deck attendant was ahead of them, his eyes watchful for likely just such an incautious act. Olivia looked up, noting the large gasbag that cast it's shade over the deck. The æthership was in port at the moment, tethered to a huge gantry structure that was it's 'dock' while the last preparations for getting underway were being made. Below them, a mere hundred feet or so, the dock workers looked tiny as they carried crates and baggage to the elevator shafts. ,, "Impressive, isn't it?" LaHaye noted. She looked at him quizzically. ,, "You've traveled like this before?" she asked. He smiled and shook his head, giving her hand in his a gentle squeeze. ,, "Never." he allowed. "This is a first for me, too. It's a nice experience to share, though. I'll say that much." He winked at her, his smile impish.
  18. "Co-habiting?" The expression on LaHaye's face was deadpan gold, though his brown eyes laughed silently from behind the bland, mildly confused arch of his eyebrows. "That's all behind us now, darling." He crossed the room with that flowing, eerie grace of his and dropped to one knee, taking her gloved hand gently and gazing up into her eyes. "You've made an honest man of me." he declared. Olivia blushed dark crimson under her cafe-au-lait skin and pulled her hand out of his unresisting grasp, trying to ignore both his chuckle and the sudden feel of her heart leaping into her throat. ,, "Stop that." she said, without real force to the words as she tried to look anywhere but at the handsome rogue currently flowing to his feet and moving over to the closet. It was hard to get angry with him sometimes, which was an additional source of frustration for the young woman. "I'm serious." she insisted, feeling safer looking at the back of him than meeting those smiling eyes and all-too-charming crooked grin- She forced herself to focus. "We're not actually married, so I know you don't seriously expect the charade to continue in private." ,, "Mmmm." James replied noncommittedly as he regarded the open closet. "And so?" ,, "So we have to... make arrangements." Olivia said, feeling her blush rising again. ,, "Oh, that." LaHaye - or Fleming as he was for the trip - said as he swung around to smile at her with a near-perfect expression of dawning comprehension. ,, "Yes." Olivia replied, feeling some relief approaching from the near-incessant teasing. "That. What do you propose?" ,, "I'll sleep on the right." James shrugged as though that settled everything and moved to grab his suitcase. Olivia blinked: evidently the light at the end of the tunnel was a train. ,, It had been determined that two Dynamics travelling to England would attract far too much of the wrong sort of attention. Axis spies were everywhere, and so Olivia Jennings and James LaHaye had become Jim and Livy Fleming, a young, foolish and scandalously mixed-race newlywed couple traveling in style back to England in order to present Jim's rich industrialist father with the happy news. After a surreptitious journey to Thailand, the two had adopted their personas and wed publicly before boarding the luxury æthership "Pacific Empress" to begin the long journey home. The æthership was a zeppelin, of sorts, but filled with non-flammable gas and propelled by means of six large engines and an æther-based power plant, it could travel vast distances somewhere between the speed of a ocean-going liner and that of a conventional transport plane or flying boat, and with a lot more creature comforts than the latter and less dangerously than the former in these troubled times. When she'd first heard the plan, Olivia had been thrilled to be travelling in such style. Now, five minutes into her honeymoon, she was wondering if they had a brig to lock up new brides who brained their stupid grooms with something heavy. ,, "Relax, dear." James told her as he began unpacking his case. "You shall have the bed, and I shall sleep on the floor." He paused and gave her a knowing look coupled with one of those fiendish, flirting smiles. "That is, if such an arrangement suits you."
  19. "Not really." LaHaye shrugged as he relaxed further - and snagged another sandwich. ,, "Good." Tunbridge declared, tucking his notebook away and rubbing his hands together briskly as he rose to his feet. "In that case, I would ask that you oversee the delivery of the quinine to the clinic, then pack." ,, "Pack?" LaHaye narrowed his eyes at the major. "Why would I be packing, if I may ask?" ,, "Because, Captain, you are quite frankly wasted here in Burma. The Japanese may or may not invade, but we do not have the wherewithal to fight them here. Right at this moment, however, the skies over England are full of Luftwaffe planes. Our country lives under imminent threat of invasion by the German military machine. The Americans are helping as they can, but supply convoys across the Atlantic are perilously beset with U-boats. The war there is very real, and England needs you, sir." The major finished on a respectful note incongruous with his higher rank. LaHaye stood and moved to the edge of the balcony, absentmindedly chewing on his sandwich and staring sightlessly off towards the lightening eastern sky. ,, "I've not been back there in years." he said distantly. Olivia could detect a wistful note in his voice. ,, "Decades, even." Tunbridge noted, his gaze intent on the Dynamic. There was a snort of amusement from LaHaye. ,, "And I'm to just return?" ,, "Coming to answer England's call for help, James. A hero's welcome. It'll be good for the nation's morale to have her favorite son home again." ,, "I'm not a bloody hero." The words were spoken with quiet, savage bitterness, a sense of old pain filling the handsome officer's tone. "Get someone else to wave the flag." ,, "If you are not, Captain LaHaye, then I do not know who is. Begging your pardon." Tunbridge donned his hat and touched it's brim to Olivia. "I expect to have your orders back within a day or two, Captain. Ma'am." With that, the dapper major left them. ,, LaHaye couldn't finish the sandwich, instead pitching it off into the gloom like a boy resignedly throwing rocks at a lake. He turned back then to Olivia, with a wry smile on his lips. ,, "Well, they do say that no good deed goes unpunished." he quipped.
  20. Hagen - ,, If you want to bounce ideas off us, feel free to. We're always interested in seeing more people join the madness, and a spy-type who focuses on information gathering would be an interesting and challenging character to add.
  21. No particular hard feelings here, either. Though the drama with Crazy Girl was tasteless, in my mind.
  22. "Certainly not too much for me." The gallant statement was nevertheless as sincere as James's smile. "I'm glad you're not giving up. The world needs people like you, Olivia. It has far too many people like me, you see." His half-grin was razor edged with self-deprecation. "I blush to admit that your appraisal of me is a little flattering, however: there are certainly times where I have felt like giving up, or indeed have given up. Fortunately I found it a temporary state of affairs." he added cryptically, then glanced towards the door as it opened. ,, Major Tunbridge bustled into the office, not looking in the least owlish or unkempt at having been woken in the small hours of the morning. His officer's cap was lint-free and spotless, the regimental badge shining above the gleaming black brim. His uniform was pressed and similarly cleaned, and his face was freshly washed and shaved. All in all, the major looked the very model of an officer and a gentleman, well-turned out, brisk and efficient. LaHaye, aware that the major technically outranked him, touched his forefingers to his brow in a lazy salute, whereas Olivia made to rise almost immediately. ,, "As you were, as you were." Tunbridge said soothingly, motioning with his hand for Olivia to stay seated whilst looking pointedly at LaHaye, who showed no sign of even straightening up from his comfortable slouch. "And as you were, too, Captain." he noted with a raise of his eyebrow, not yet taking a seat. ,, "Why, thank you very much, Major." LaHaye said, stifling a yawn, though whether that was genuine or affected only he knew. His other hand tossed a leather document wallet onto the table before the major, then he leaned forwards and poured the other officer some tea. "Mission accomplished, I think." ,, "The deserters?" ,, "Dead. And the Japanese are probably re-establishing the nature of their 'friendship' with Pok Ma Ting." LaHaye swept a hand towards Olivia. "May I present to you Nurse Olivia Jennings of the American Red Cross, sir?" ,, "Of course, of course." the major murmured, doffing his hat and bowing slightly before he took a seat. There was nothing in the man's watercolor blue eyes but cool assessment as he regarded Olivia; she got the impression of a man who was all business, and put his feelings and opinions second to cold hard facts. Nevertheless, he was courteous. ,, "Olivia, this is Major Tunbridge, technically of the Royal Corps of Engineers, but actually seconded to military intelligence." LaHaye said as he finished the introductions. The major started, narrowing his pale eyes at the Dynamic. ,, "How the deuce did you come to that conclusion, Captain?" ,, "Oh come, Major. A mere major, yet you have your office in the headquarters building here, when the nearest Engineering regiment is fifty miles away. You have no dirt or grease under your nails, and those boots are strictly headquarters apparel, not at all suitable for a operational field officer. And they were using the Corps of Engineers as a home for the best and brightest intelligence officers back before my day. Experience has shown me that there are only two types of officer in the Engineers, and the ones with clean hands and boots are spies." The major stared for a moment longer, then chuckled, a surprisingly human expression from such a previously cold man. ,, "Hah. Well done, Captain. I am caught out, it would seem." Tunbridge did not seem overly upset, smiling slightly as he glanced at Olivia. "So, if I may impose, Nurse Jennings: how is it you come to be here, tonight?"
  23. For a long couple of minutes, LaHaye said nothing, his eyes resting on hers as he silently wolfed down another sandwich, then another. The usual sparkle of sardonic laughter was not present in his gaze, and Olivia got the distinct impression that he was evaluating her and, possibly, offended by her words. He gave no sign of that offense, but the sudden change in his demeanour was unnerving. Finally, he finished his third, or was it fourth, sandwich and took a swallow of milky tea. ,, "Nurse Jennings... Olivia. May I call you Olivia?" he asked, then continued without further preamble or, indeed, waiting for her permission. "No thanks are necessary. I did what any true man, be he English, American or even some benighted savage from Papua New Guinea where, I believe, they still practice cannibalism, would have done." He paused, then added with a faint quirk of his lips. "Though the bit about the cannibal savage may be exaggeration for effect on my part..." He shrugged, then continued. ,, "You have suffered greatly at the hands of men in general, and Englishmen in particular. The latter... well, it fills me with anger, and the former with deep shame. I have never suffered as you have - I have no frame of reference. I have a great gift for languages, but I can't communicate on that level." He leaned forwards slightly, his hands clasped as he rested his elbows on his knees. "I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth. I was also born what we call a Dynamic. There was no great incident, no trauma that catapulted me from among the herd. It was a quiet thing, a secret thing. I was walking and talking far too early, but it was not commented on simply because my family were rich and afforded the finest tutors, well paid for their closed lips. Everything has always come easy to me: principles of engineering, physics, math, languages, tumbling, marksmanship... the list goes on. I've known adversity, but never because society treated me unfairly - no, unjustly. Most of the adversity I have encountered has usually been due to my tendency to stroll into harms way, to take the road less-traveled, and to march to the beat of my own drum." ,, "So despite getting disowned, dishonoring my family, escaping from gaol, years of attempted dissipation and debauchery, using mind-altering potions from funny little men in West Africa and smoking hashish, opium, and plenty of other smokeable substances with hopefully permanent damaging effects, despite carousing in the worst fleshpots of the world where, I'm sure, I would have died long ago of hideous ailments were I not a Dynamic, despite chasing Yetis, fighting pirates, engaging in any number of hair-raising, self-destructive pursuits, trying to lose myself and never think about Captain James LaHaye again..." he sat back, spreading his hands out in a 'here we are gesture', a wryly self-mocking smile on his face. "I find that I am, at heart, still a gentleman. And I am glad that this gentleman was there in that squalid little dungheap for you tonight. And I wish I had been there for you sooner." He stretched his arms out and over his head, yawning widely and sitting back in his chair. ,, "So... You wanted to know how to thank me? You can start by not being afraid of me, Olivia. I know, I know... it's not that easy. But that's my price." He winked slyly. "There's no rush. I can wait for however long it takes: I'm good at having lots of time to wait. In the meantime, though-" he gestured towards the coat she wore around her shoulders against the pre-dawn chill. "I wouldn't mind my cigarillo case. And do help yourself to another if the mood takes you."
  24. "Making a delivery." LaHaye said casually as he slid down out of the truck and came round to the passenger side to offer her a hand down. "And then I'll take you and your spoils of war back to the clinic. Right this way." He gestured towards the well-built house that served as the headquarters building, a more stately version of the colonial house that the hospital inhabited. This one had regimental flags and, of course, the Union Jack flying outside. "No, no. By all means hang onto it for now." he demurred as Olivia started to give him back his coat. A small troop of men stood at attention as he approached the HQ building, firing off crisp salutes which he returned with a laid-back tip of his hat. ,, "At ease, gentlemen. Sergeant? I'd like you to secure that truck, ensure nobody looks inside it, gets into it, or otherwise approaches it save for myself or Nurse Jennings, here." ,, "Sah!" the sergeant barked, snapping off another salute, his moustache practically vibrating as his boots stamped together once more. "Right you are, sah!" ,, "Good man." ,, Inside, the HQ building was not entirely asleep. Late night communications from England, India and Singapore were routed through here, and it was the luckless job of the watch officers to decide whether something was important enough to wake up their superiors, or else leave until said superiors were wakened under normal circumstances. At least the subaltern manning the main desk in the watch room didn't have to think too hard when LaHaye walked in, sauntered up to the desk, guided Olivia into a chair before taking one himself, and said "Wake Major Tunbridge would you, Lieutenant? And put some tea on?" ,, "Right away, Captain LaHaye sir." the junior officer said, before hurrying off. After ten minutes, he came back. "If you would follow me please, sir and madam. The major requested that you wait in his office upstairs. Tea will be brought." He hesitated, then added "And I took the liberty of ordering the night commisary to whip up some corned beef sandwiches, sir. I hope that is alright?" ,, "Capital, lieutenant. Good man. I'm famished." LaHaye told him as the two Dynamics rose and followed the junior officer up to Major Tunbridge's rather small office. They were seated on the balcony outside, a tray piled high with sandwiches and steaming pot of tea was placed between them, and they were left there to await the major. ,, "He'll probably be a little while, so we may as well collect ourselves." LaHaye observed as he leaned forward and poured Olivia some tea into a delicate-seeming cup before serving himself. "Well, I never. They actually trotted out some milk for us."
  25. The girl was doing well, LaHaye mused as he swung open the passenger side door and stepped easily onto the footplate as the ungainly truck turned the corner as fast as Olivia dared. The worn tires slipped a little on the mud street, but the weight of the truck worked for the fleeing Dynamics, adding ballast to keep the truck grounded. He smiled at the nurse as she wrestled with the wheel to get the truck back on an even keel, then gunned the gas a little. He turned back to see two men had caught up with the truck and grabbed onto the tailboard, pulling themselves up onto the back of the now-accelerating vehicle. ,, That wouldn't do at all. ,, He hoisted himself up onto the side of the truck and, hand-over-hand, made his way towards the back, the toes of his boots finding purchase on the metal siding as he moved with utmost confidence and balance. The guard who'd jumped on nearest the passenger side was most surprised as he pulled himself into the back of the truck and turned to help his fellow, as a strong hand came round the canvas covering, grabbed him by the arm, and tugged him out of there with as much ease as a child would throw a doll. The scruffy thug let out a yell as he was catapulted out into the mud, rolling to a stop. LaHaye swung himself round into the space so rudely vacated and wagged a finger at the other thug as he drew the Piecemaker. The man took one look at the portable cannon, nodded resignedly, and jumped from the moving truck. ,, "Good lad." LaHaye muttered as he checked the load and looked aft, to see a jeep complete with a mounted machine gun swerve to narrowly avoid running down the sensible chap. "Oh, now this won't do at all." he said to no one in particular as the shouting men in the jeep gesticulated and leveled their weapons at him. He swung the Piecemaker up and fired. The solid tungsten-steel round penetrated the front grill, then the engine block of the pursuing vehicle, jamming up the works and causing a small explosion and gout of black smoke as the jeep veered and ground to a halt. LaHaye waved jauntily to the men as they boiled out of the stalled vehicle and tried to give chase on foot. "Can't have the nice nurse's medicines perforated by you fellows." Taking stock, he realised that they had to be approaching the checkpoint soon, and he swung back out and along to the passenger-side door with the agility of a monkey. Olivia started as he plopped back into his seat and smiled at her. "Had a couple of stowaways and a tail." he announced. "But they're behind us now." ,, "Good." Nurse Jennings said, her pretty mouth taut with tension. She'd seen some of what had transpired in the side mirrors: at least he hadn't casually gunned down another ten men. She nodded ahead. "What about what's in front of us?" At the end of Wan-Ting's main street, the checkpoint waited. ,, "Well, given time I could talk us through, but given that we're in a rush..." LaHaye squinted ahead. "The barrier is only wood." ,, "Got it." Olivia said tersely and sped up, leaning on the horn as she did so. She hadn't hit anyone yet - maybe someone was watching over her? She could see the soldiers ahead standing in the road and shouting, trying to flag the multiple tonnes of speeding vehicle down. She leaned on the horn harder in response, repeating staccato blasts of noise. They weren't moving! Were they mad? Was she? To stop meant capture and probably being in Pok Ma Ting's hands again... She leaned on the accelerator with all her might, stomping it right to the floor. ,, "Get the Hell outta the way!" she screamed in time with the horn blasts. Later, she might feel bad about cussing, but right now it felt like a release to scream and hammer the horn and make the engine howl like an angry beast. She was aware of LaHaye laughing - at her, at the Japanese, at the world, at himself - his laughter merry as he leaned out of the truck window, automatic in hand, and fired a slew of shots that kicked up dirt and sent the men scattering that little bit faster. Blood racing, hands so tight on the wheel that they felt like iron claws, Olivia crashed a stolen truck through a Japanese army checkpoint barrier while a crazy English legend leaned from the window and fired seemingly at random into the twilight. ,, They were beyond the checkpoint and maybe a hundred yards into the jungle before she calmed down, the adrenaline rush leaving her abruptly shaking. LaHaye leaned over and flicked on the headlights, only one of which seemed to work, then leaned back and lit up a slim cigarillo. She glanced at him accusingly as he calmly reloaded both .45s with a fresh clip (when had he fired off the other one?), and the confounded man's only response was a raised eyebrow and a crooked smile. ,, "So how are we going to outrun them?" she asked a trifle waspishly. ,, "Hmmm?" LaHaye re-holstered his automatic and took another draw of his smoke. ,, "The Japanese army." She said with emphasis. "How are we going to outrun them? Can't their jeeps go faster than this thing?" ,, "Yes." LaHaye was tempted to leave it at that, but relented and explained. "But jeeps with holes in their tires and cracked radiators won't be going anywhere." ,, "Oh." Olivia drove in silence for a moment, then "And Pok's men?" ,, "The Japanese will want to ask him a lot of questions, I hope. They'll block off the checkpoint with those useless jeeps and halt all traffic for awhile. With luck, it'll be morning before anything meaningful gets done, and by then we'll be well over the border." He exhaled blue-white smoke out of the window. "These are quite excellent." he remarked, looking at the slender rolled tobacco. "A present from my brother, you know." He quirked a curious eyebrow at Olivia and proffered the silver case. "Would you care for one?"
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