Author Topic: Tom Rackham  (Read 2756 times)

thedoombaboon

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Tom Rackham
« on: October 30, 2012, 12:12:50 PM »
Thomas Rackham realised that of all the papers strewn over his desk, his eyes were only focusing on one – the latest Danger Team’s comic (Issue #538) already labelled with a neatly cut sticker on the outside of its bagged and boarded tomb. As usual it had been carefully read twice before being placed in the plastic, with Tom now happy just to gaze tiredly at the scene depicted on the cover, before eventually archiving it with the others in the one part of the house Andrea allowed him to occupy.

On the cover, Danger Team’s leader and much loved hero, Buck Steele – the core’s proudest Marine – had been captured by Power Comic’s founder and Tom’s favourite artist, Tim Shaw, battling on a Martian moon after the whole of Danger Team had travelled into the future as the only way to defeat the threat from the Blood Plague...

Massaging his forehead Tom allowed his gaze to shift from the comic book to the crudely printed balance sheets in front of him – torn as usual by the printer. How could there be so many minus signs, he was so careful, so consistent. This couldn’t be him, could it? Or was this part of Arthur Dashwood’s plan.

Dashwood Enterprises was in trouble. The overbearing CEO and Toms Father in Law, Arthur had been over stretching the boards finances, one deal too many and now the government wanted answers, and Dashwood Enterprises were looking for scalps to offer up.
The new look in Andrea’s eyes had confirmed things. His wife had continually belittled him since their marriage six years ago, laughing at his slight frame, the joy he took in comics and his quiet, considered approach to life. Tom knew about the affairs, Andrea flaunted them in his face proud to show him the men he could not be.

Lately though, she’d turned to his work. She knew too much....details of private conversations, key account details, terms only Arthur would use. Dashwood Enterprises needed a scapegoat and Arthurs beloved daughter was happy to steer Tom firmly into the spot light.

Buck Steele wouldn’t stand for this....course he wouldn’t. Buck would storm into the old mans office and leave him spinning on his leather office chair with one punch. As for Andrea.....Buck wouldn’t need a woman like that, not Buck...he didn’t need anyone.
Tom rose from his chair, hastily gathered the papers into his briefcase, before carefully placing the comic book on top – pausing briefly to cast his eyes on the advert on the back cover.

“Cryogenics? – The things they can do these days”.

Shutting off the office light, Thomas Rackham headed for the apartment up in the hills, exchanging one hell for another.
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #1 on: November 05, 2012, 09:18:37 PM »
The day is finally over. We ventured further today, out of our grimey neighbourhood the cities more affluent areas. I recognised nothing but felt more comfortable out of our litter strewn home. I'm starting to enjoy the company of my new colleagues. They seem interested in finding out what is going on rather than the usual daily horrors of the hostel. I worry that they put their faith in me as their soldier as I have done in HIM - what a mistake I have made. This body is depleteing. I try to exercise as much as the hostel allows but I am struggling to retain the tone. I must renew my regime as I cannot go back, but I am in pain. I am reminded of the Arabian Nights stories where vengeful Jinn would trick the unwary who failed to specify the details of their wishes - only I have no-one to blame but myself

A break from the daily routine provided focus and the library, yet more. Dashwood Enterprises have grown - its almost unrecognisable apart from the usual venom running through rhetoric littering their computer page. The faces have changed but the vipers are still there.

And so am I.

Taking solice in the business tomes & student primers at the library (little has changed and what has can be easily learned) I find myself fortified by a new crusade. I am a stakeholder in Dashwood and if only I can infultrate them, my lineage will be in no doubt and they will have to pay what I am due. Then I can truly start the retribution. But I need help.

I found a copy of Danger Team comics today. HE is still alive... . There have been many changes but the feel and smell of the pages remains - a portal to my former life. We rested briefly in the park and I remembered sunny afternoons taking a break from the office to enjoy the new issue.

Hours later Buck Steele is in my mind again as a lay upon the bare matress at the hostel as I mindlessly play the genuine Buck Steele dog tags from issue #490 that hang around my neck, Toms neck. The gulf between Tom and Buck showed itself this evening and for once it didn't go un-noticed - particularly by the airforce guy. I'm not sure how this will play out.

Comic-con will be happening soon.

 
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2012, 05:25:42 PM »
Something comfortable about the routine here at the store. Folding countless army unifroms in various states of repair, that musty, outdoors smell filling the air - each telling a story of their previous owners. The boss seems happy with us - at least the Buck Steele routine is enough to entertain the odd collection of people that frequent the store. Seems the big 'ole marine vet still stirs these people.

Work is followed by dinner. Bliss. Good food, a beer and friendly chat. For a time I forget where we are, when we are and who I'm supposed to be. Nice to be Tom for a little while.

Its later now, we have returned to the hostel, the chaos of the rally still ringing in our ears. As we learn more of this time, it is clear that this is far from an enlightened time. Old predjudices, fears, hatred are still here bubbling over. We have seen the worst of this tonight, barely escaping violence our selves - the crowd baying for blood. Tonight stands as a reminder that this is not our time and whilst people look the same we stand out and next time we may not escape unscathed.

I've made no progress on Dashwood Enterprises - but that's fine. They can wait - as they have done all these years. To be honest I know in my heart of hearts I can't just walk in through the front door.

The next copy of Danger Team will be hitting the news stands in the next few days 
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2012, 06:08:25 PM »
Nice to wake with a sense of purpose. Being away from the hostel at the store is building focus. Schmidt seems like a good guy, though how he is making money from our employment baffles me. He says he enjoys the company, but as I'm well aware businesses don't balance themselves and footfall isn't high in this part of town. Might see if I can take a look at his accounts, perhaps help him out a little and fill in a few gaps.

We're being followed. Spotted the car minutes into the walk to the store - stuck with us all the way, despite us splitting up. Buck would've confronted them, but Tom just wants to get on.

One mystery solved this afternoon, Schmidt gave us a glimpse of the back room - seems he has a firing range back their and to my horror, a competition has been suggested. Walker was in his element as I'm increasingly conscious that he knows the truth. I thought about Buck and laughed it off. Despite a slight issue with a smoke bomb (Schmidt seems to have a highly irreverent side, somewhat reckless) the shoot out went ahead.

Pistol just didn't feel right, shot all over the place - Walker noticed - he must be loving this.
Asked Schmidt for an SMG and he obliged, gripped it like Buck and opened up. Ace'd it. That'll do. My wife used to call it a 'little boy trying to be a man' but the hours at the Greenleaves Gun Club were a weekly release. Looks like it was time well spent.

Dinner at a cannibal restaurant - didn't have the gut to try the meat. Every step forwards to normality gets knocked back three by this city. Not sure I'm ever going to fit in...
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2012, 06:04:36 PM »
It looks like our fortunes might be changing....

The somebody that was following us ended up getting us. Remember something like this in the classic Danger Team run (issues #233 - #239) where Buck first heard about the blood plague and Eddie nearly died trying to save......sorry, I digress. Woke in a warehouse, drugged and now imprisoned. I quickly headed to the door and was in luck - key in the lock on the other side. Grabbed a paper from the wall, just like Buck (issue #234). Flung off my belt and used my buckle to push the key, just like Buck (issue #234). The key missed the paper and clattered noisily to the floor, not like Buck (issue #234)

Finding another way out we made our way onto the street. Easy...not quite.

Our new captors turned out to be far from that. Democrats. A guy named Peterson, something about PR for the campaign. Peterson seemed very keen to help us and to uncover the, shall we say, less than adequate running of the revival hostels. Promised food, clothing and a new home I was more than happy to gladhand over at the hostel with the press. After all I am the US's favourite Marine - ooh rah!!!

Its night now, we are sitting in our new surroundings. I have my own room - bliss. Now we just need to wait for our next task for Peterson - leafleting, door knocking etc - should be easy.

My mind is fixed on one thought. Peterson mentioned that Dashwood Enterprises are a major sponsor of the Republicans and the loathsome Heller. I'm sure the Democrat PR team would love to hear my story, what Dashwood did. Skeletons in the closest. I could almost write the attack ad myself.

Maybe in the end it will be Tom that steps up for this mission....

Forgot to buy the latest issue today. Shame.
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2012, 05:15:38 PM »
Schmidt seemed fine with me terminating our employment. Guess he understands how things go. The M16 certainly eased the conversation so no bridges burned.

Been feeling more Buck than Tom for the last few days - need to strike a balance as I need Tom to keep the momentum up on investigating Dashwood. That's the reason I'm here. No.....more than that - I need to find the descendants as well. Complete the job. But its tough. Being Buck feels great, gets me the respect Tom could never get. Even Walker seems to be playing along at the moment and with the team 'on mission' at the moment life feels good.

The surveillance of the hostels goes on. Watching from the roof was a real rush. Buck Steele, surveying the city. Criminals like rats crawling around, all under Bucks gaze - afraid, wondering when their time might come. The rest of Danger Team busy, collecting info, tightening the the trap. Tom had better not fuck this up.....

New issue of Danger Team today. Thought about what it would be like to have a beer with their Buck. 
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2012, 06:20:08 PM »
Then...

I arrived home late evening, the warm air cooled slightly by a breeze drifting over the valley. The lights of the city blinking, serene away from the day to day grind of downtown and behind me the start of the plains, the sky pitch black and offering a gallery of stars. It ought to be idyllic but this was just a limbo between the horrors of work and the horrors of home. God knows what Andrea would be waiting to say, her usual venom planned over an afternoon whilst fucking her latest affair - the pool of oil on the drive telling me that Joel had been here this afternoon and that he still hadn't got his car fixed. I  turned my key in the door and went into my, well her, house. The tirade began before I even could make out her features at the top of the ornate staircase rising through the building - her form silhouetted by the antique lamps that her parents had given as a wedding gift. For once I felt far above this particular storm, my mind elsewhere. The advert on the back of the Danger Team comic which had appeared now for a second time on the latest edition. Could it really be that easy?

Now,

We cased the warehouse this evening. Odd returning to a place of captivity but interesting to piece together the events of that night. This had been a temporary holding place and someone had visited - someone from the gang with the obvious physical enhancements. A bare mechanical foot had made the marks in the thick dust on the floor. Someone had wanted us.

Two thoughts as we headed home,

Thinking back earlier to ripper jacks, we need to get someone on the inside - perhaps I have to get some work done - see how it works and what is really happening with the body parts,

Thinking back further - I really hated those wedding present antique lamps...

Comicon is next weekend.
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 04:42:22 PM »
So that's what feels like.

To kill.

Was it me? or did Buck do this? He would have. It would have been necessary. Justice needed to be done, I mean they wouldn't send in Danger Team unless it was critical - like issue #538...the agent that had colluded with the Blood Plague. "Had to be done", Buck had said.

So did this.

Perhaps they weren't dead?.....come on Tom, you saw the blood, the fragments of brain and skull splashing into the air like the fountains at Dashwood Enterprises that you used to stare out at from your offices, wondering what it would be like to live like Buck Steele. It never felt like this.

But it "had to be done"......."and kid, its gonna have to be done a whole lot more before we're through"

You're right Buck....You're always so right

....
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2013, 04:46:36 PM »
I've been getting far too relaxed.
The distractions of the campaign and the hostel visits are taking me away from why I'm here. Justice needs to be done.

Approaching the time when i need to show my hand - but to whom. Peterson?..maybe. I need someone who can get inside then i'll have everything I need to expose them. I can imagine seeing old Dashwoods face now, imagine seeing him while it all falls apart. Just need to be careful not to get sloppy. This is simple accounting, seeing where the numbers are missing, showing where things were changed.

Collecting evidence.... then destroying all of them.

I write this laying in a hospital bed, my new eye aching but otherwise nothing seems particularly new. Not sure what all of the fuss was about.

Time to work on the guns...
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #9 on: February 12, 2013, 04:01:46 PM »
Damn it....

Two red cross-hairs blinking out as the life drains from the body. I look back at where Schmidt is laying and am overwhelmed with a feeling of guilt. This wasn't his battle, it shouldn't have ended up on his doorstep.

I spotted him the moment we walked in - shifty, looking at everything and nothing. In the short time I worked there I'd gotten used to the usual clientele - a shambling cast of weekend warriors, old vets etc, but not this guy. This guy didn't belong, from his long black coat to the gleam of tech barely hidden.

We were sitting ducks when it went down - 5 or so of them laying siege to Schmidt's place. With the power cut (clever bastards) we were screwed. Yes we ended up out gunning them but I'd hardly call this a victory

Someone wants us bad and is willing to risk lives and capture to get us and the list of people who have a grudge against us grows daily. Will Anders want us attached to his campaign if this hits the news? The heros of the revival hostels fighting it out in the streets?

I hope so....we need his support more than ever now 
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 01:57:40 PM »
The blood is still thumping in my veins as I lose myself in the hypnotic flash of lights from other vehicles as we speed through the streets back to the apartment complex.
How did this all happen? - should have been a milk run and then it exploded in our faces. When Anders hears about this its pretty safe to say we'll be going from the dream team to mopping the floors of the campaign HQ.

Schmidt's funeral was today - they did him proud. Not many people, but respectful and with military honors - what he would have wanted, and what he deserved.

Trying to piece together what happened next. Phone call from Flux, sounded weird, giddier than usual - the mission had gone sour and they'd pulled out and were waiting at the pub.

Took Vaughn to get the meds he needed to become Vaughn-ronica. Brave guy, this is one detail this Marine would not have signed up for. At some point Vaughn spoke to Christ - can't recall whether this was before our after we spoke to Ed and Flux. Something was very wrong, Leo wasn't with them at the pub.

Walker and I dropped everything and raced to the pub...

Drunk....the pair of them.....drunk while Leo is MIA. Every part of my started screaming the very fabric of the Marine core being burned in front of me like a flag. YOU NEVER LEAVE A MARINE BEHIND....NEVER!!!!!.

With Ed and Flux off mission it was down to me and Walker. No clever way to do this, no tricks left. Just have to walk in and get our guy. No weapons just strength of character and a Marine's integrity - more powerful than any rifle.

Christ was thrown by the move, saw the fear in his eyes - he's up to something alright and the last thing he thought is we'd come through the front door. Leo had taken a beating, confirming my thoughts about Christ, but let us take Leo and march right out.

That brings us to now,

Leo, whilst no longer critical is in a bad way
Ed and Flux, not in the van - Leo shot Ed with my gun (rough justice I know but I thought Leo had earned it). Ed took some damage to his armour and dignity - he'll be fine. Don't know where Ed and Flux are - don't really care
Vaughn - poor guy well, girl, well soon to be a guy again  - then he'll have to go through this again
Walker - thank god Walker is around God bless the USAF

The Mission - In tatters. Most of us have been seen by the target so its either go loud or give up.

Starting to feel jealous of Schmidt - at least he'll get a good nights sleep tonight.... 
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2013, 11:31:59 AM »
Running again...the mission back on. This is the feeling, this is what I was looking for - living Buck Steele. Not just wearing the uniform and talking the talk, but being the man, the cavalry, the marine.

Sprinting down the close knit backstreets feels like being back in the Sudan (#279). Danger Team dropped into downtown Khartoum to flush out the fiendish warlord Enboku el Bashir (and interestingly the first hint that scientists may be working on a precursor to the serum that first introduced the Blood Plague). Colonel Flint had radioed in a sighting of el bashir and his troopers and a gunfight was in full swing in a densely populated market area of the sprawling city. There we were, the whole of Danger Team in full effect, silently pushing on, driven by the sound of screaming and gunfire - synapses firing, adrenaline pumping... 

I round the corner to see Sam taking cover and Walker taking a hit - a mist of blood and masonry shielding the true impact of his injuries. The security team deployed around their van, the girls mingling around them in a frenzy of panic.

No time spent deciding, just cold reaction. Weapon shouldered and firing. No doubts, no worries about hitting civilians, just pure conviction.
An orgy of violence ensues, clinical headshots, man after man falling under the spit of my SMG, a one man Danger Team. Bullets crash into the wall that provides my cover, their mist of disintegrated stone an annoyance only - there's only one dog in this fight.

Its over as quickly as it began, Sam skids the van in issuing the coup de grace to the last poor souls fighting for life. End

For Buck the last panel would arrive and the page would close. For Tom its not so simple and the investigation must continue.
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"

thedoombaboon

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Re: Tom Rackham
« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2013, 11:24:11 AM »
The trap is ready to spring with everything falling into place perfectly. Walker and I upfront ready to storm the building - the waiting Fred Christ unaware of what is about to hit him. Ed and Diesel one house-over providing our eyes. The others?.....well, lets say they're out of the way.

Need to be careful. Fred's a cornered animal, he gambled on playing two parties and his luck's run out - not quite the messiah after all. Though he doesn't know it yet the one thing he has got is us - my enemy's enemy and that all. Lets hope he listens because we can't risk staying around to ask twice, not with all the secret service goons loitering around.

Leaning up against the wall my mind races through edition after edition. Would Buck have done that? Killed a man, horrifically, just because he could? Sure Buck killed many times, he's THE marine for goodness sakes, but like that?. For the first time in years my usually photographic memory of Buck and his world has failed to find a guidance point. Our paths have moved away. I'm neither heading towards Tom or Buck but to something else...
" I like my coffee black, just like my metal"