August 2009
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Bear Talk

While I was at Homestead I got to visit with Bear.  He and my brother were in the same team and were friends since childhood. To me he was always like a big brother.  Bear isn't so much part of our family as we are part of his.  If Bear took a liking to you, you were part of his family. It took some work to get that status and not everyone can do it. Once you do it, however, you were there for life. We jokingly call him Mother Bear because if you are dumb enough to hurt one of his "cubs," you would find yourself facing the biggest, meanest creature this side of a Rancor.  More on that later. Bear is a medic, or a priest, depending on how you look at things. Religion and healing are closely intertwined in our world. It's a generalization, but religion tends to be about memorization of the scriptures.  Scriptures tend to be about gods and legendary deeds, both good and bad, but they can also be about healing and how to do it right.  While they are out memorizing why Jesus was crucified, or the miracles of St. Tesla, or the teachings of Mohammed, or the rhetoric of the Late Great Buddha Hawkings, or whatever explains your place in the universe for you, they are also memorizing how to use the medic kits and how to treat different ailments.  They learn everything from the 17 steps to recharge a nano-kit to which herbs can be used in a tea to break a fever.  This is perfect for Bear.  Bear isn't stupid, but he isn't the quickest blade in the armory either.  He's what my dad called a "plodder;" he gets there in his own time.  Bear is an awesome medic because his instincts and reaction time are great.  So once he knows it, he knows it forever and never hesitates in an emergency.  If you have to know a Priest, Bear is the kind you want to know.  He doesn't try to convert you and he doesn't preach at you.  He lives his life according to his beliefs and sets the example.  He is awesome like that. Bear is also a mean close-in fighter, like his namesake. Bear is just a nickname given to him because he could be easily mistaken for a Grizzly in the dark.  Like the rest of his team, or myself, he has a complete personal system that has been upgraded and kit-bashed over the years.  Handed down from medic to medic.  Bear's focuses on personal and group buffs and melee combat.  This allows him to make himself as strong as a pack of rabid Grizzlies intent on mayhem. He carries old slug throwers to get the range if need be and he's not a bad aim with a bow.  My brother, who was the Coyote to his team, told me he once saw Bear cut down a tree with a single swipe, then beat a hunter-killer into submission with it.  Now my brother, taking a nickname associated with the Trickster and being a bard, was not above exaggerating a bit for dramatic effect.  When I asked Bear about it, however, he just said, "I had to, it was hurting Coug." In case you were wondering, everyone in my bro's team had an animal nickname.  Not just any animal mind you, but a local animal you might see out in the forest. Every team has nicknames for each other and they almost always follow some agreed upon theme.  It can get pretty comical, weird and obscure at times, but that is half the fun.  It's what makes you a team, rather than a bunch of strangers. I will tell you about my nick and my team another day.

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