Doghouse Blues

Emperor Cal is Comin' to Town (2nd May 2181)

2nd May 2181

Up in the foyer they could hear ’Enery trying to calm a spooked Rudolph.

“We’ve got to get out of here. It isn’t safe” said Chick.

As they emerged their comms sputtered into life.

“Attention Strontium Dogs do you copy?” called a voice. They replied in the affirmative.

“This is D Platoon Eagle Company, be advised that we are inbound and our ETA is sixty seconds. Is the package safe?” The cavalry were coming.

“Rudolph is secured” said Clarissa, “I repeat. Rudolph is secured.” Next to her Anwyn staggered to her feet.

Moments later the Lander appeared, replete with winter camo effect. As the skids touched down a rear hatch opened and a platoon of ACR armed mercs appeared, forming a defensive perimeter around the craft. Clarissa waved, and a Sergeant ran over with another rifleman.

“Sgt. Callan” he said in a matter of fact way. “Hicks here will take control of the animal.” ’Enery duly handed the beast over.

“You might be interested in these” said Callan, holding out his datapad. “Our observation drones show 9 vehicles heading this way, from south of the town hall. Take a look.”

As Clarissa examined the feed she counted nine ATVs speeding across the snow. Eight of them displayed what looked like Roman eagles, plus the addition of fabricated horses heads on the front of the roof, and along wavy horsetail fixed to the rear. The other vehicle looked like a cross between an ATV and a sleigh, and bore a pair of antlers.

“‘Call me Cal’ is on his way with reinforcements” she said. “I’d guess that’s over 50 troops. Is there any chance of help?” Sgt. Callan sucked in his teeth and grimaced.

“Well now” he explained. “Our mission is simply to secure Rudolph and lift off again. My understanding is that you Strontium Dogs were taking care of Cal.” The hard faced mercenary looked deadpan. Clearly he was no pushover.

“But we can’t handle a whole company on our own” she said. “And you’re professional mercenaries!”

“That we are Miss” said Callan. He paused. “Tell you what” he said, thumbing through his datapad. “Maybe if I can draw up a standard contract here, I can get my platoon to assist. How about Cr 500,000: half the reward money for Cal?”

Clarissa sighed. Clearly they were getting screwed here, but they didn’t have much choice.

“Fine” she said. “Where do I sign?”

“SIgn here, and again here for settlement within 30 days” said the Sergeant. Moe noticed another soldier was filming the transaction.

Once the deal was done the mercenaries reacted quickly. What looked like large plastic bags were pulled out of the vehicle and gas cannisters attached. "

’Enery guessed that some sort of foam or catalyst was being pumped in as the bags expanded to make what looked like firing positions, about a dozen feet wide and four feet high. Quickly the mercs carried these to positions around the lander and used a tool to stake them deep into the ground. Instant cover.

Half of the mercs took positions roughly north of the lander, while the others, including two weapon drones controlled by the Lander copilot, faced south near the pond, using the west side of the Town Hall to cover their flank. The Strontium Dogs took their position on the east sound of the Town Hall, at the corner of the main building itself or around the Annexe. They were all set up within less than ten minutes.

“They seem to be taking their time” called Sgt Callen over the comms. At that moment hidden speakers blared into life around Christmastown.

“O most wretched of people! I have filled this place with good laws, and principles of justice, and wealth, and comfort, and prosperity, and abundance of other blessings, you miserable wretches. You fools and cowards have harmed my paradise of order and cold, with chaos and fire! " spoke a clear voice, sounding English and precise.

“Know that I am a God! You cannot harm me, and even if I fall I will arise stronger and destroy you” the voice continued.

“And now, all citizens of Christmastown. Rise up and destroy the interlopers gathered at the Town Hall. To assist you in this task, my genius has composed this little ditty” He cleared his throat, and the sound of sleigh bells and christmas type music started to blare through the speakers.

“You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Emporer Cal is coming to town
Emporer Cal is coming to town
Emporer Cal is coming to town

He’s making a list,
Checking it twice;
Gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.
Emporer Cal is coming to town
Emporer Cal is coming to town
Emporer Cal is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake

With sharp bright blades and great big guns
Stabby stab stab and zappy bang boom
Emporer Cal is coming to town
Emporer Cal is coming to town
Emporer Cal is coming to town

He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So please be good
And if not its just too late

You better watch out
You better not cry
You better not pout
I’m telling you why
Emporer Cal is coming to town
Emporer Cal is coming to town
Emporer Cal is coming
Emporer Cal is coming
Emporer Cal is coming to town"

Disconcertingly, Moe was humming and tapping his toes.

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