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« on: <04-17-14/1555:10> »
This is the epilogue for my campaign that just ended last night.  I know it's completely out of context, but I wanted to share it because I don't often actually get to end campaigns on my own terms, and I think the readers here can appreciate some of the content, even if it's not all explained:

Requiem For a Queen

The distant staccato chatter of small arms fire still found it's way through Chicago's street canyons, but the fervor of the fighting was waning. The blizzard, just hours before so forceful and malevolent, had been reduced to confused eddies of swirling snow colliding with each other in every intersection. A battered Ares Roadmaster trundled off the freeway exit and into the parking structure, the barrel of its formidable autocannon discolored from heavy use. Deep chemical score marks decorated the armor, and a few panels were deformed enough to pull away from the rivets. The thick military tires were half-shredded, loose strands of rubber slapped against the concrete as it slowed to a stop.

Only a loose scattering of people remained, most of the others having been evacuated during the battle. Those that were present stopped what they were doing to applaud the team as they exited the van. Ogre hopped out first, his white body armor gleaming in the fluorescent lighting. He looked around briefly at the sound of applause, gave a small and sheepish wave of thanks, and then headed to the rear doors to meet Lambda who had come around from the passenger side. Lambda didn't seem to register the crowd, his short hair was plastered to his head with sweat and his green and brown mottled armor was unbuckled in key places to hang loose on him. The scabbard on his thigh was empty. Together they opened the back doors to let Sansa and Bolo out. Sansa came first, moving in a heavy fashion that was very uncharacteristic. Her long red pony tail was a tangled mess, crusted with mud. Her countenance was ashen, even for her, and streaks of pale red on her face show where blood was wiped off. Ogre and Lambda both helped Bolo out of the truck. He stumbled out, legs barely moving, and would have collapsed outright if he wasn't supported. He was still in full body armor from head to toe, a criss-cross pattern of gouges and dents painting every inch of it.

Out of the crowd, Sandy and Dick came jogging. "Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, y'all did it!" he exclaimed with his contagious exuberance, but the smile ran off of his face when he saw the state of Bolo. "Is he okay? FRANCES!" he yelled into the garage and somebody answered and came running with a EMT's medkit. Dick hurried over to Bolo and Sansa filled him in,

"He got hit from both sides, he's stimmed for now but starting to fade," she said, resting her weight against the side of the van. Dick looked at her for a moment,

"What about you?" he asked. She shrugged in response and glared into the distance. Dick knew that look, her pride took deeper wounds than her body. Bolo slumped in Dick's arms, finally succumbing to unconsciousness. Dick lowered him to the ground as the EMT rushed over and knelt above him. He feverishly began to look for the latches and buckles on Bolo's armor.

"We're going to need to get him out of this," the EMT ordered.

"No!" Lambda and Ogre responded in unison. The EMT looked up at them, a confused and rather hopeless look on his face. "Let's move him over to triage first," Lambda said, gesturing towards the collection of cots and erected plastic sheet dividers that comprised the ad-hoc medical facilities. The EMT nodded and Dick easily hefted Bolo like a giant sack of potatoes and carried him off, Lambda following along.

Sandy approached Ogre, "So what happened out there, old boy?" Ogre inhaled deeply and let out a sigh of contemplation before answering,

"Where to start... we dropped a consecrated tungsten rod from orbit right on top of Goro-gan, then Masha and her mantids called forth some kind of extra-dimensional bug-eating frog. We never saw the thing except for its tongues, it took all of the mantids and the queen of the hive into the sky and they were gone."

Ogre's matter-of-fact delivery ruled out any chance that he was exaggerating, leaving Sandy's mouth agape as he tried to piece it together. "Well, I reckon I don't need to understand it. So Masha's gone?"

"Yes, and Becky 99 and all of the other mantids we saw in the sky," Ogre replied.

Sandy nodded thoughtfully, "I think they knew all along what they were getting into. The ladies always seemed to know their fate. What are you all going to do, now?" he asked Ogre. Ogre huffed sarcastically,

"Who knows. We can't go back to Seattle, and I'm ready to be done with Chicago."

Sandy smiled, all the warmth coming back into him, "I think you misunderstood me, ol' boy. What do you all want to do now? McCallister and I can make it happen."