Saturday, January 31, 2009

29 January 2009 Penance 'n patience in Peace River

Making his way across the Bazaar, he pulled his shoulders in, lest he entangle himself with some ruffian. It had never happened mind you. This mild middle-aged Peace-Riveran from a management-caste family had never swung a fist in his life nor had he experienced the brutality of others, and he planned to keep it that way.

Head down, frown on full, he walked into the relative safety of the building's lobby and up to the sixth floor. He relaxed a bit, letting his shoulders sag. As he put the key in the lock, he heard noise on the other side. He released a sigh. They were already here.

The last few days had been horrible. The Boss, or bosses as he now came to see them - not so much for their inherent authority as for the way they did nothing but make demands of his time - were not what he had expected.

The Doctor, nominally the real boss, was adequate, but his company left much to be desired; Delacroix, that Southerner, was abusive, debasing and more than a little scary when he spoke about dispatching people with the same ease as he demanded fresh coffee. Tarmalin was mostly quiet, but Trevin could find no likeness of mind in him. He wasn't an introspective person: more likely a taciturn killer. As for Vonyran, well he was the opposite: loud and rancorous. Trevin half expected to have to chase out a pack of easy woman from the office and disinfect the board room table, again.

Trevin hung his jacket and sat at his desk. Accessing his terminal, he found a number of messages waiting: instructions from the bosses.

Trevin, remind Greyson to check public records for Lt. Vance outside PR as well as in. We think they were fabricated sometime during the war. If we can get our hands on his medical records, there may be some regional idiosyncrasies that can help. Don't forget to send out the pricing for the Z-list to the encrypted recipient and demand expedited payment. Check out who we have going out of PR from the BCG in the next days that have been vetted or referred from secure sources and give me a list. Thanks Trevin, Tom.

Cordial. Friendly in fact. Not very professional, but he supposed that was Chambers' idea of leadership. 'The Doctor!' Trevin scoffed to himself. He though about Lt. Vance. There was a piece of brute-like nastiness if ever Trevin had seen one. Coming in here without cause and tearing the place apart with his Peace Officer Corps, and just as the place was finally coming together! Chambers tried to console the office clerk by telling him that it suited him, as he had some remodeling plans anyway. 'Damn it!' thought Trevin, 'more paint.'

Make sure third and fourth party connections are used when you patch us to the Granis or the Forzi next time Vemeer. Also look into independent security agencies, preferably polar, to bid on a secure telecom hub for the office. Get Prabal to double check. D.

'Would a please kill you, sir?' Trevin’s mouth twisted like he had tasted something sour even at the thought of saying 'sir' to Delacroix. And then adding insult to injury, to have Prabal verify his work. Southern prat!

Vemeer,” the voice, silky and sinister like a well-placed blade between the ribs, came again. This time so clearly he could swear he heard it.

VEMEER!” Trevin looked up to find the dark figure of the Southerner towering above him and nearly fell back out of his swivel chair.

“Sir” the words came out somewhat brittle at first, “Yes, what - what can I do for you sir?”

Delacroix just stood there, eying him. It might have gone on forever if Tarmalin hadn’t come in and interrupted, “so, do we have fresh coffee, or what Kain?”

The languorous delivery of the Badlander's voice helped Trevin regain his composure.

“Of course, Mr. Tarmalin. Mr Delacroix, if you will excuse me, I will finish my work, and send out the morning confirmations. Then I would be pleased to get us all some fresh coffee.”

Trevin was able to inject his words with enough regained insufferability to match Delacroix’s stare evenly, defiantly. Delacroix left in a minor huff, Tarmalin looked perplexed at the exchange and Trevin sat down, smug with his minor victory. He logged an outgoing encrypted message to a Miss Pojhola in New Baja via the Hermes scrambler program Prabal had written, and an unencrypted secured message to a Mr. Quan of Prince Gable, both from Dr. Chambers.

There were a couple waiting messages from unidentified sources; opening them, Trevin saw that one was from Lt. Fenton, Vance’s partner. The other from Roger Zahn, the terrorist. Strange bedfellows this Badlands Caravan Guild kept, strange indeed.

Trevin brought the messages over to Dr. Chambers, said good morning, and was greeted with smiles and some useless small talk. A glare from Delacroix reminded him of the urgency to procure caffeine, but he didn’t let that press him out in an undignified manner. He checked the petty cash and found it nearly empty. The funds had evaporated, and in their place were bills for some electronics, pharmacies, ground coffee from the Cimmaro cafe (a delicacy), liquor bills, as well as some sizable receipts from Claude’s.

Trevin shook his head disapprovingly, let out another sigh, and went to make some coffee. 'I can't wait until they leave,' he thought to himself.


Hermes 72 - Heavy Gear RPG - Most artwork Copyright 2002 Dream Pod 9, Inc.