First Contact

(posted Tuesday, September 13, 2005)

The sun filtered down through the clouds, illuminating the stone courtyard in the center of Founders Falls. The breeze coming off the canals was crisp and fresh, blowing the stench of brimstone and rikti monkey away from the downtown square. The Soviet Bear was not there to take in the sights, however. He was there for business.

His contact was Phillipa Meraux, a flame-haired, leggy dame with a penchant for pink zipper-vests. She had a face that had seen everything twice: hollow eyes, pursed mouth, and cigarette stains on her upper lip. Most guys do her story arc and move on, leaving her behind to pursue more important missions, but the Bear was entranced by this magnificent creature.

The Bear turned off his Ukranian Rocket Boots and cloaking device. His CCCP uniform was crisp and his energy conduits polished. He approached Phillipa timidly.

"Pardon me," he said in a passive voice, "do you have a mission that you would like to give me?"

"Soviet Bear," she replied in a tone reserved for taxi drivers or waiters, "You must rescue lawyers from the Freakshow. You only have an hour to act before the building is rigged to explode."

"You look nice today. That fleece vest is very becoming."

"Soviet Bear, you must hurry. The Freakshow cannot be allowed to do this!"

"Bah. My boots are fast and my blasts are mighty. Do you have a favorite flower?"

"Soviet Bear, you must hurry. The Freakshow cannot be allowed to do this!"

"Okay, dear Phillipa, I will hurry off and prove myself!" And with a start, the Bear rushed off to Steel Canyon to confront the Freakshow. Many Freaks were maimed in the ordeal, and ushered off to the Ziggaraut. After rescuing bourgeois lawyers and defusing the bombs, the victorious Soviet Bear went back to Founder's Falls. Despite night having fallen, Phillipa Meraux stood in the exact same spot.

The night was cold; the wind ripped around the alleys and canals of the Falls. Phillipa waited, arms crossed, for the Soviet Bear to approach.

"Phillipa, my dearest," said the Bear, "I have dispatched the Freaks and defused the bombs. Is there anything I can do for you now? Would you like to borrow my cape? The night air is cold, and you are wearing a sleeveless fleece vest."

"Soviet Bear, I need you to teach Crey Industries that they are not welcome in Crey's Folly. Defeat 35 Crey and come back to me."

"But darling..." the Bear stammered, "That's a suicide mission. I need at least two more levels of clearance before I can even attempt that! Don't you have another task, maybe taking you out for a walk on Ithaca Island?"

"Or," she began, "The Freakshow bombing may only be the first. Investigate a Freak named Haxxor Pwnzer in Steel Canyon and see if you can get to the bottom of this plot."

The Bear nodded in agreement and dashed off to Steel Canyon. While he was there, however, he decided to stop by an old confidant, technology enthusiast Tom Bowden.

"Greetings Tom," the Bear shouted heartily, "I have a question for you regarding matters of the heart. You see, Phillipa Meraux, in Founders Falls, is a lady of captivting charm and beauty. Have you any clue as to how to win her heart?"

"Soviet Bear, thanks to you I have a clean desk. Maybe you should talk to one of your other contacts instead"

"But Tom, we have a relationship! Do you not remember the raids against the Clockwork we conducted? Why do you not want to talk to the BEAR now?/"

"I have no more work for you, Soviet Bear. Maybe you should talk to one of your other contacts instead."

Angrily, the Bear turned and left. He got to the door of Haxxor Pwnzer's supposed lair, an office building beloning to Chaos Corp. He then had a brilliant idea; he needed to talk to another Russian. Another soulful human being who can understand the depths of his condition. He pulled out his comm unit and called Vitaly Chernenko in Skyway City.

"Vitaly Pavlovich, it is the Soviet Bear. I am trying to win the heart of a woman but am having difficulties. Will you help."

"Soviet Bear," drawled Vitaly, "you have done this city a great service, but I have no work for you."

"Bah, you too!" the Bear shouted, "Why do you give me your phone number if you do not wish to speak to me? Eh? Why give me your number at all. You contatcts are all the same, you give me your number and never speak to me again. You kulak, Vitaly. I am never speaking to you again!"

The Bear put away his comm and charged into the building. The Freak onslaught was fiercer than before, and the Bear was almost hospitalized in the fight with Haxxor, a Freak tank with a history of violence.

Face battered and uniform torn, the Bear limped back to the Falls. The sun had just risen, giving the buildings a warm, golden glow. Phillipa looked majestic in the sunlight. The Bear approached and said, "It is done, the Freaks are arrested and I have information..."

"Good work, Soviet Bear. Now, I need you to teach Crey Industries that they are not welcome in Crey's Folly. Defeat 35 Crey and come back to me."

Resigned, the Bear shrugged his shoulders and went to catch a train to Brickstown...

Two days later, Bear's friend Fej came to visit him at Cygnus Medical Center. The Bear had broken a three ribs and a leg while fighting Crey tanks in the Folly. Expecting to see the Bear depressed, Fej was taken aback by the Bear's wide grin.

"Bear," said a startled Fej, "I was expecting to see you a bit more depressed since you got so smashed up..."

"Bah!" said the Bear, laughing, "It is a flesh wound. Besides... I have the phone number of a beautiful woman..."