— Finn McCool
Finn McCool was a kobold. He and other kobolds traded technology and information to the beagles. He also traded information with some humans, like Bill Chambers, in return for 1960's music for his cassette machine.
He was four feet tall, described as squat and strong and had a face like a baboon's with a flat chimp-like muzzle. He also had a punk-rock hairstyle and wore cracked sunglasses, a leather loincloth and a leather pouch around his waist.
His feet looked human except for his talon-like toenails. To Joshua, Finn McCool looked like a mole.
The Long War
Hunting at the Rectangles
At the same time, Sally Linsay and Monica Jansson helped a troll named Mary and her cub named Ham escape from the GapSpace facility where they were held captives. Three weeks later, following a lead she got from another kobold to find where were the trolls, Sally brought her group to the Rectangles. There they got captured by Snowy, a beagle warrior from the Eye of the Hunter that has been tipped off about their arrival by Finn.
The prisoners were brought to Earth West 1,617,524, the beagles homeworld. Snowy, who couldn't step like all the beagles, had to be carried on Finn's back. The women and the two trolls were set to wait for the return of Snowy's leader.
Meeting at the summit
On a June morning, around the time Sally and Monica were taken prisoners around one point six million steps West from the Datum, Joshua Valienté and Bill Chambers boarded on the Shillelagh and took off from Datum Seattle in search of Sally and the trolls at Lobsang's request.
Bill, who was piloting the twain, headed for Mount Rainier as they stepped from Earth to Earth. They finally came to a stop on Earth West 110,719, an Earth filled with flying locusts that Joshua discovered ten years ago. Joshua spent the night on the mountain while Bill was watching over him from the ship and woke up at dawn to find Finn McCool watching him.
After a short introduction, Joshua handed over a cassette of The Kinks, a British rock band from the 60's, to whom Finn got hooked when he first heard "Waterloo Sunset". Bill explained that it was a trade good, a cassette in exchange for information. And in that case, information about the whereabouts of the trolls.
In exchange for the cassette, and after trying to get more from them, Finn told them that the trolls were hidden in a Joker. Before he could tell more, the talk were interrupted by a dozen of elves who were heading in the direction of Joshua. Finn stepped away, leaving Joshua to fight for his life while being surrounded on all side.
Finally Finn came back with reinforcements and elves and kobolds started to fight. Joshua took that opportunity to run away and got on the ladder dangling from the twain. As he was hanging safely from the ladder, he looked down to see Finn with one of his arm injured by a wooden sword and an elf towering over him, ready to finish him.
Joshua, jumped down, picked up a branch laying on the ground and smashed it on the elf's neck. The humanoid barely flinched and turned around to face Joshua. Finn took this opportunity and struck the elf a couple of times with his good hand, killing him.
By saving his life, Joshua, without knowing it at the time, shamed Finn according to the kobolds' culture. The kobold then stood up to face Joshua, yelled that he will kill him and tried to do it with a flying kick but Joshua was already running for the ladder and flying away.
Finn stood there cursing, with one of his arm leaking blood, as the twain disappeared in the distance.
The Eye of the Hunter
One week after Sally and Monica have been brought to the beagles' Earth, they were visited by Snowy and Finn who had his injured arm bandaged with a soiled rag. After Snowy introduced themselves to the women, Sally had a change to interrogate Finn, that she knew from before, about the beagles, the ray guns he sold to the canine sapients and about the angle he was chasing. A question to which Finn replied enigmatically by only saying Joshua's name.
The ruler of Snowy's Den being back from her trip, the group got into a cart and started toward the city. Once in the city, the cart was brought to a stop in front of the Granddaughter's palace where they were received in the ruler's chamber.
Inside the chamber, Finn hastily instructed Sally and Monica to show submission to Petra by laying on their backs with their arms and legs in the air. After this humiliating gesture, the beagle princess asked the reason of the humans's presence there and expressed her contempt for humans.
When asked why she shouldn't have them hunted down, Sally, to Finn's astonishement, told them they could get them more ray guns, like the one Snowy was carrying on his belt. Petra, after some hesitation, ordered to spare the women and had them, with Finn, sent to one of the end of the palace where they would remain during their captivity.
Three weeks after the audience with Petra, Joshua and Bill showed up at the Rectangles and were welcomed by Monica, waiting for them sitting on a rock covered with silvery emergency blankets. Monica briefed them about Finn's involvement, the beagles and the deal that Sally made. The trio stepped away to reach Earth West 1,617,524 where they were greeted by a dozen of beagles. Sally, in an effort to save time and having foreseen Joshua's arrival, made the beagles believe he was a human ambassador of great power. The beagles jumped Joshua and Li-Li, the beagle equivalent of a doctor, stapled him.
Joshua came back to his senses in Petra's chamber with a crossbow-like device sewn on his back. Finn was sitting in one corner, with a beagle guard towering over him, had bruises on different parts of his body and had one of his ear chewed off. Ear that was now hanging on a thong around Petra's neck.
The princess explained that Joshua had to serve as a hostage while Sally, Monica and Finn were going to retrieve more weapons at the Rectangles and then would be granted a chance to talk to the trolls.
The weapon cache
Monica, Sally and Finn made for the Rectangles while Joshua and Bill stayed on Earth West 1,617,524. Sally told Monica to get aboard the Shillellagh and run away but she refused since she thought that Joshua was there partly because of her since she knew him since he was a boy.
When she asked why Finn didn't run away, he replied that he was drugged by the beagles so he couldn't step but even if the drug's effects have ran off since then he didn't escape for fear of Sally's wrath.
Sally produced Joshua's ring and asked Finn to show them the way. The kobold took the ring in his hand, spun it and the ring, still spinning, rose into the air and flew to the base of the big temple-like building were it buried itself.
After a short wait, a whole section of the valley floor sank out of sight to reveal a ladder cut into a stone wall. Finn warned them that they only had eight minutes before the tomb would seal itself shut again.
Monica, being already sick since the Madison bombing, volunteered to go fetch the weapons in the radiactive building.
The temple sealed again, Monica was sitting on the dirt, shivering despite the heat, next to a heap of weapons she could bring back. It was at that moment that Finn told Monica and Sally to head back to the beagles and say goodbye to Joshua whil they still had time.
Joshua's in trouble
To Monica and Sally's surprise and to Finn's satisfaction, Petra had planned to give Joshua a honorable death when the deal was over has a payback for when he shamed Finn by saving his life. In an effort to help Joshua, Sally took Finn's walkman and they all rushed to the Eye of the Hunter and could only delay Snowy, who was hunting Joshua, with the help of Finn's walkman.
In the end, Petra only wanting a trophy, Snowy and Li-Li took off Joshua's left hand and said they would bring it back to their leader saying that his head was too chewed off to be a good trophy.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 The Long War - Chapter 2
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 The Long War - Chapter 45
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 The Long War - Chapter 43
- ↑ The Long War - Chapter 35
- ↑ The Long War - Chapter 39
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 The Long War - Chapter 48
- ↑ The Long War - Chapter 50
- ↑ The Long War - Chapter 51
- ↑ The Long War - Chapter 63
- ↑ The Long War - Chapter 64
- ↑ The Long War - Chapter 65
- ↑ The Long War - Chapter 66