Here's Ch 18-Pt 2 folks. Enjoy-K&K
Legato was BOD and plunked down each guy's preferred beverage in front of him even before the ice roaders had ordered anything! Legato is a mind-reading 'BetaZoid'- remember? As Alex picked up his 'sasparilla' soda a voice of thunder behind them almost made him drop it.
"You clowns were pa-thet-ic out there today! I sure as Hell hope ya can drive better for real than ya did in simulation today! Otherwise ya might just as well throw in the towels, boys! I took it easy on ya, children when I designed that deck you've been playing on all day! The real 'Gysymeo' is gonna be a hundred times worse than that 'walk in the park' I set up for ya! If you guys are oro passes for truck drivers on Terra we are really in trouble, man!" yelled an exasperated Faye Valentine who had set up the holodeck's 'Gysymeo' sims for Rally Vincent.
"Look here Missy, you just wait until ya see us in action- in 'real' action- next week! We'll sure as Hell show ya who's pathetic, old gal!" thundered Bear who looked about as ferocious as a tame kitten. Faye rankled at the 'old gal' reference but said nothing. Suddenly-
"I sure as jigoku (Hell) hope so, tomo mine! I wouldn't wanna be sneakin' into a Fxxxing warzone for nothing, ya know so you guys had better not let us down! Practice all you want. The holodeck's all yours. If ya don't wanna practice you don't have to, however, you'd better be shimatta (damned) sure ya can get the job done when the time comes, kiddies!" warned the Boss. She, Faye and Rally were standing in the rec room's doorway.
Drew decided to ask a stupid question. "You didn't really mean all that crap about all of us always being er armed, did ya, ma'am?" he chuckled.
"Of course I meant it, tomo. I never say anything that I don't mean, mister." replied the redhead coolly.
"Then er why the devil ain't the three of ya armed right now, mum?" demanded Eric and the other five smirked. Instead of answering him Kei nodded to Faye and Rally. Without a word each one of them flipped their blazer back to reveal an ion cannon nestled in its shoulder holster. Kei gazed steadily at the ice road troupe.
"I expect all six of ya to be similarly armed the next time I see ya." she warned quietly. Hoist the storm flags high when the Boss gets real quiet like that because it usually means that all Hell's about to break loose, folks!
Bear hastily apologized for his outburst and the trio of kawaii deadly beauties left for the bridge. After they'd gone Eric glowered daggers at Drew.
"Who in the Sam Hell ever told you that you knew how to drive a rig, Drew?" he yelled.
"Yeah, that's right, man! He almost cut me off when I was roundin' that big old cliff going onto the Kanzaki!" agreed Rick.
"All I gotta say is that the good Lord was looking out for me when Drew almost pushed me into Bear, that he surely was." said Alex and he crossed himself several times.
"He'd damned well better stay the Hell outta my way next week when we do the real thing!" roared an angry 'Polar Bear' (Hugh).
"Shut the Fxxx up- all of ya! It wasn't my damned fault!" yelled Drew.
"Well it sure as the Fxxx wasn't my mine! Maybe you're gonna tell us that your brakes weren't no good like ya said last year on that run to 'Diavik' (a diamond mine in the Terran Arctic outside of Yellowknife in the Canadian Northwest Territories- about 675 miles south of Inuvik) in my truck? Only ya can't say that because we ain't driving real rigs now are we?" howeled the 'Polar Bear' and--
"If the good Lord--" began Alex.
"Is mentioned once more I will have Ryuuk introduce you to him, my dear sir!" exploded Light Yagami who was sick and tired of the ice brigade's constant bickering!
"All the Hell I said was I did not ask to end up here at this damned place over two hundred years in our own future on a space jalopy run by a bunch of dizzy dipstick broads!" whispered Drew and the 'Polar Bear' nodded his head slowly.
"Yeh. That's something we can both agree on, pal." replied Hugh.
"The good Lord--" ventured Alex but Eric kicked him in the shin and he hesitated.
"Leave Alex alone, man! That little punk ass kid don't scare me none! It's still six to one, ain't it? I like those odds!" said Rick angrily.
"It's really six to two counting 'Ryuuk', that 'shinnygummy' thing of his!" whispered Bear.
"All the Hell he's (Light Yagami) gotta do to kill ya is to write down your name in his little book is the way I heard it, guys! So if I were you, Alex, I sure as Hell would not get him riled up, that I would not!" breathed Eric.
"Point taken, my firend. I'll shut up for awhile, that I will." replied Alex.
"Well I dunno about you guys but I'm going back up and practice some more." said Bear. "Anyone else coming up?" he asked and all of them nodded except Rick.
"How about you, 'Oil Pan'? (an insider truckers' joke because back on Terra Rick broke an oil pan on one truck and wrecked a second while he even managed to screw up a third!) You coming too?" asked Drew.
"I think I'll just check out the pretty ladies here around the bar but do have yourselves a good run up there, fellas." said Rick before one of Hugh's 'Polar Bear' meathooks spun him around to face the bigger ice roader.
"We gotta depend on each other if we're gonna survive this wacked out gig, man! I sure as Hell don't like driving on an untested ice road especially with a bozo like you that drives the way you do, me old boyo! You've already had one accident and put two rigs in the Fxxxing shop back home so you will practice with us or I will damned well know the reason why!" Hugh bellowed while he force marched Rick out the door and to the lift. For the duration of the voyage the ice brigade faithfully practiced driving over the treacherous and deadly ice roads of 'Gysymeo' until Hugh and Alex were actually complimenting Drew!
Jon Harlock (Harley) dropped in to watch a few times and gave them a few pointers. "Be careful and if the ice turns into a black looking-glass get the Hell off of it as quickly as ye can 'cause that'll mean the ice there be less than half a meter thick." he advised.
"Wait a minute, Harley! Didn't 'Cat' just tell us that the average temperature on 'Gysymeo' this time of year was like minus eight hundred degrees Fahrenheit or something?" demanded Rick.
"Aye laddie but on 'Gysymeo' the freezing point for liquids is only minus seven hundred and ninety degrees Fahrenheit giving ye no more temprerature fluctuation than ten degrees or so either way. The Tomoko be about sixteen kilos deep and the Kanzaki be well over fifty but at some points she be bottomless, lads and the half gravity pull of the planet's twelve moons plays Hell with the tides. Remember that on 'Gysymeo' Tomoko as well as all other fresh water bodies are effected by the tides same as the salt water oceans and seas. And those tidal swell waves crest betwixt sixty and a hundred meters in the seas and the oceans but only twixt ten and fifteen meters in the rivers and lakes. (Suddenly all six of the hardened ice road veterans went ashen-faced!) Now dinna be getting all discouraged, laddies. There be a vital piece of equipment available to ye here which ye dinna have back on Terra. Ye'll all be wearing that thing with your ice world gear just like that one that Mr Drew be wearing now. (Jon pointed to a D-ring dangling from the compact backpack strapped to Drew's back) Mr Drew, onegai (please) pull that D-ring on your pack if ye dinna mind." said Jon and Drew, apprehensive as ever, gingerly did as he'd been bidden.
Whoom! Instantly Drew's entire body was encased in a clear cocoon made of micro-mithril Kelvinite and Drew looked like he had just gained over five hundred kilos! "That 'cold suit' be thermally insulated and airtight, waterproof, shock resistant, self-contained and totally safe, lads. Dinna struggle, son. Ye be perfectly protected and that liquid filling up the cocoon be 'Landocine' and it do have a high oxygen content. It be comoletely breathable and it'll last for one hundred and twenty solar hours, boyos. The stuff contains nutrients so ye willna starve to death nor die of thirst while ye be waiting to be rescued. Just inflate it when you jump outta your rig and ye'll be fine." explained Harley.
Han and Legato briefed them on the ice world's quirks and then at last Mae, Neko and Revy coached them on the use of weapons. Kei had decided to have all of them carry Mark XII's and that's when they hit a snag. Alex flat out refused to bear (no pun intended folks) arms as it was against the 'way of the good Lord' so finally an exasperated Kei gave in. So long as the other five bore arms Alex did not have to!
Cont in Ch 18- Part 3