The Lonely Mountain

Ezra practically skipped over to Emerson's ship when he landed. She already had packed her arctic survival gear in a lockbox and was eager to get underway. She looked to her dragon who regarded her with a grunt that hinted concern. Flying into cold weather on a dragon was doable, yet not recommended when a blizzard was about to hit.

"Sorry boy." Ezra said with a pat on her dragon's heavy scales. "This is too cold for you and I don't wanna freeze my ass off trying to fly you over the mountains. You'll have to stay behind." She smiled as she looked up at Emerson's hip. "I'll be in good hands."

When she saw Emerson she couldn't stop herself from rushing up to him and pulling him into a hug. Then came a kiss. It had felt like a lifetime since she'd last seen him, even though it had only been a couple days. She only stopped when she noticed Hammond was standing nearby. He didn't seem bothered though.

In fact, he looked determined.

"With that out of the way, let's discuss what we need to do." Hammond pulled out a holo-projector from his pocked and set it on the table in the galley. "Reports are coming in from the satellite that Golden Peak's gone dark. No signals of any kind have been coming in or out for the better part of a day now. And I believe it has something to do with that strange creature we ran into at the mines...

"I learned that there are certain cave systems that run throughout the region that all link to the mines in Golden Peak, and one linked right to the mines where we found that thing. I want to look into this quickly before the other megacorps catch wind and try to lock the place down. The way things got swept under the rug last time has me worried. And the fact that The Jericho Council turned a blind eye to my requests to further investigate the matter are troubling. And the Dragoon have been called in to look into this matter as well, but I want to get there first.. before evidence can be swept under the rug. Hammond Industries will always maintain integrity, and if something is going on here on Jericho it's my duty to reveal it.

"However, there's some in the Dragoon we can trust." He glanced to Ezra. "I got informed by an individual known as Whisper who told me that the person behind this blackout is a Crimson Kingdom scientist known as Lanstrom. Apparently, she's the manufacturer of The Queen's simulants and the chemist who develops their drugs. Word has it she's gone rogue. Evidently, there is one among the Dragoon who has been successful at hunting The Queen's upper echelon..."

"Jhonen Cross..." Ezra muttered. She nodded. "I've heard of him. He and his team took out The Wendigo and his pack a few weeks back. It's been the talk of The Eyrie for some time now. You think he'll head there too?"

Hammond nodded. "I asked this Whisper fella to try and get in touch with Cross to let him know we're interested in looking into this with him. However, we can't wait, we need to go to Golden Peak now. There's a blizzard coming in will prevent ships and dragons from venturing in for some time. And if there's something there that will expose what that thing in the mine was, if this Lanstrom person is responsible... we need to stop her. I've told Cross to meet us at Golden Peak if he is able..."

"We should wait." Ezra said. "I've heard of Lanstrom. She's not someone to trifle with. She built a simulant army for The Queen, no doubt she has plenty of protection. This is dangerous, Hammond. I don't recommend we go in alone."

"And if we wait for this blizzard to clear there could be more of those things rampaging across Jericho." Hammond said. "Do you want to take that chance?"

Ezra shrugged. "I don't know... This could go very badly, Hammond."

"We won't be going in unprepared..." Hammond said. He looked to Emerson with a smirk. "We will have more than just a shotgun and one rifle with dragonsbane rounds..."

The men looked to the stockpile of crates that had been loaded into the ship behind Emerson. It was enough weaponry to conquer a small moon. A lot of it from Hammond Inc's own weapons division. The best the company had to offer.

Ezra smirked. "Okay... that's a start..."

Hammond looked to Emerson. "I know we're going into an unknown situation, with a blizzard that will no doubt keep us there for some time. It's a risk, but I won't wait. I don't think we can afford to. If Cross has any sense he'll be heading there with his people soon too. With them we may be able nip this problem in the bud before it becomes one...

"So get the ship ready... we've got a long flight ahead of us..."

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