The crew makes ready to move out in the morning. They put in a requisition for some supplies, including climbing gear, explosives, and cold weather gear.
Wyoming checks in with Loyal to see that she’s doing alright. As always, Loyal is taken by surprise by the question. After thinking about it for a minute, she asks why Wyoming went camping without her. Wyoming said she thought Loyal was busy, but now that she knows it means that much to her, she won’t exclude her again.
That night there’s a party at the Officer’s Mess. Wyoming has invited everyone from the motor pool. Mason mentioned it to Sarge and his yoga buddies, and there’s a tense moment when they show up, and the crowd isn’t sure what they’re there for. Mason approaches them, and they discuss the mission briefly. Wyoming has already gotten a head start drinking when she interrupts them, and tells them their mission is to party. She spills her drink on Mason, then moves off to go dancing.
Later on, Wyoming formally introduces Loyal to Mason. She immediately pegs him as ex-Coalition, and he explains what led up to his last mission for them. They debate the relative good that the Coalition does. She asks if it’s alright to speak with him more later.
Johnny B gets spectacularly drunk, and makes himself the center of attention. It’s not long before he drags Argyle into it and starts in on stories from the old days. Argyle notices that many details of the stories have been exaggerated somewhat, but he also notices that Johnny does it as much to talk Argyle up rather than himself.
Puck is there, along with Lore Blackhand. They’ve taken up an unobtrusive position in a corner to have some quiet conversation. As a going-away present, Lore gives him a dagger with runes carved along the blade.
A not insignificant amount of time is discussed regarding a team name, as well as callsigns for the individual members. They decide upon:
- Team: Chop Shop
- Argyle: Gearbox
- Wyoming: Cowgirl
- Mason: Sir Knight
- Puck: Spectre
- Loyal: Mad Dog
- Johnny B: Lampshade
- Sanchez: Wheelman
The next morning, Loyal and Wyoming are the first to arrive at the vehicle bay, carrying all their gear. Loyal has Cat in a carrying case. Mason arrives some time later, followed by Puck (who had gotten up early to spend some time testing out his dagger), and Sanchez. Argyle and Johnny B are the last the show up. Johnny is wheeling a handcart loaded up with three or four cases of booze.
It’s apparent by the way that the cab has been decorated that Sanchez certainly had a hand in the design. Everyone loads up. Sanchez is driving; Wyoming is riding up front with him. Mason is up top manning the railgun. Everyone else is in the back. Loyal has let Cat out and is watching him explore the living quarters. Argyle still has a hangover, so he goes back to sleep.
Sanchez tells Wyoming about how he left the Pecos Empire and joined the Legion. Wyoming comments on the fact that so many of the Legion had willingly walked away from their own people. Sanchez says that before the Legion came along, there wasn’t any better option. Wyoming expresses her doubts about the Legion; she says she’s gotten into more than one debate with Stevens about wanting to build something, but he says it’s not their place.
Sanchez enlists Wyoming in assisting in reading his stack of maps. The conversation waxes and wanes over the next couple of hours. Wyoming is dozing lightly when Sanchez notices something.
Argyle wakes up and can feel the truck slow to a halt. Sanchez gets on the radio and says they want to see this. Argyle gets out and heads up front, and they can see a rhino-buffalo. What’s odd about it is that it’s just sitting there. A moment later, they see a figure stand up and wave. Wyoming waves back, and immediately runs to the back of the truck to get her bike. Argyle follows, and the two of them approach.
The rider climbs down when they arrive, and they greet each other. The rider, who is Simvan, introduces himself as Ug, and his mount as Strong. Wyoming asks if she can pet him; Ug says something unintelligible, Strong snorts, and Ug says that she may.
Ug explains that he is a Windspeaker who communes with the Earth and Wind, and he moves from tribe to tribe. The tribe he is most recently with has a problem, and they look to him to find a solution. He has consulted the Earth and the Wind for an answer, and now they have arrived. Argyle asks how they can help. Ug tells them to follow him back to the tribe’s camp. Wyoming asks if she can ride with him, and he agrees. They mount up, and Strong stands up. At his full height, he is 25′ tall. He begins to move, ponderously at first, but then picks up speed. Argyle follows on his bike, and Loyal takes over Wyoming’s bike when the truck arrives at it.
The crew gets to where the rest of the tribe is camped, and Wyoming & Argyle see a sight that is familiar, but different. There is a scene reminiscent of the Go Fasta Krew, but instead of vehicles, there are lots of animals of various types. The rhino-buffalo is certainly the largest, but in amongst the Simvan, Wyoming can see a couple of Fury Beetles, and lots of smaller animals, including ostrasaurs (the most common riding animal).
Wyoming heads to the back of the truck and makes for Johnny’s alcohol stash. Johnny, who has just woken up, begins to protest, but Wyoming shoots him a look. She says it’s a peace offering for the folks outside. She grabs a couple of bottles and heads back out.
Ug is conferring with some of his fellow Simvan. One of them is obviously the chief, and he expresses some mistrust of the outsiders, but Ug stands his ground, and the chief eventually relents. Ug turns to the crew and tells them to follow, it’s time for council.
The crew follows the chief and Ug into one of the tents. Everyone sits. Ug asks permission to facilitate communication with blessings. Argyle says that’s alright. Puck watches closely as Ug casts a spell.
Ug introduces himself again, and now his name is translated as Talks With Wind. He also introduces the chief Strong Like Rock.
Talks With Wind explains that the tribe has found a dragon egg, and it is their intention to keep it and raise the dragon. However, it has come to attention of two other groups, who have each come to talk to the tribe. One group wants to destroy the egg, and the other wants to take it.