Thursday, January 22, 2009

Meanwhile, In Peace River

He didn’t mind the smell but the sound was sickening; like some half eaten meal being lapped up by a wild animal or the oozing fleshy sound of meat. He suppressed a shudder and tried to focus on his work.

Drawing his eyes away from the painfully slow workman silently moving in repetitive and regular movements he tried to push the tacky sound to the back of his mind as he finished filling the latest transit file from the ‘commissioned’ to the ‘billed’ file.

‘well, I`ll brake fo’ lunch now sir` The workman’s statement broke into Trevin’s concentration as he updated improperly tagged comments on the digital bulletin board of the BCG portal site. He looked to the time and saw that it was indeed mid-day, he gave the painter a nod and wished him a good rest.

The labourer put away his accursed rollers, at last silent in their washing solutions. Trevin looked at the work done and was pleased. The small office of the BCG in Peace River was shaping up. Just as well, according to a coded transmission, his boss was arriving in the coming days.

The clerk in the Badlands Caravan Guild office finished some last minor data entries before locking his computer terminal. He had been working there for a season now. It was little more than a hole in the wall on the third terrace. Everyday Trevin made his way from his sparse apartment on third terrace up to this office and set about doing his duties for the Guild. At the beginning of the season that meant very little, he oversaw the workman that reset the walls, and installed the dedicated Hermes network uplink. Then things started to change, both for the Guild and for Peace River.

The middle-aged man pulled out his lunch box, he used to go home for lunch and a nap, now that was no longer convenient. It seamed as if everyday new riots broke out in the streets, new protests. Mass disturbances that were an annoyance a cycle ago had become common fare and the scope of the unrest was reaching frenzying levels. Much better to stay inside the office and spare himself the grief of wading through the crowds milling about, perpetually on the verge of another clash with the Peace officers or worse…

In his job he had the unique privilege of knowing a fair bit more than the common Riveran. The BCG network portal was a nexus for information which people shared. As traffic on the portal grew, so did Trevin’s role of managing and intelligently classifying that information. Of course he had some help, a former contact of his who had recommended him for this position was providing him with programmes from time to time which helped him cope with the volume of useless information and weed through it for the interesting tidbits. The rest of his time was spent overseeing the work crews now reduced to a painter putting the final touches on the office and reviewing the receipts, transactions and commissions for caravans coming and going in the Peace River area.

The fact of the matter was that at first he was a little bored, as the work was almost nonexistent. Gradually it grew until now he could hardly cope, and he was relieved that his employer was coming to Peace River. At last he could request an assistant.

He was meticulously formulating a mental list of demands for this Dr Chambers when he would see him when he was woken by a dull thud. He new immediately that is was an explosion, not too close, by the sound of it, but unsettling all the same. He was sympathetic to the worker caste’s plight, he knew quite a few who had been abused by Paxton greed but he had a hard time abiding this violence. Soon there would be elections and he hoped that the new Paxton CEO would manage to quell the unrest which so violently disturbed placid day to day life in this city.

He thought of the violence, the bomb, it could have been terrorists or PaxSec, he was too well informed to have any illusions that one side was playing more fairly then the other. He thought of the senseless violence and the victims, soon there would be information on SNS and more posts on the BCG portal. He thought of the scenes he would be viewing and remembered the sickening sound of the paint rollers as it plastered the walls, the sound of blood drenched clothes and open wounds.

The clerk was momentarily overcome with revulsion, it rendered him ill. He was unable to finish his repast, instead he headed into the board room, sat on the bench under the window, and lay down. This room wasn’t as cool as the others and he could feel the warmth of the mid-day sun lulling him to sleep. As he drifted off his mind let go of the political intrigue of the coming elections, the trepidations associated with making demands on his long absent employer, the bookkeeping of caravan transactions and the confusion he would have to wade through this afternoon on the Hermes Network in the wake of this new violence.

In sleep came a blissful calm, he dreamt of simpler times and simple joys and the permanent crease that furrowed his brow gave way. And for a few minutes after he awoke and descended to the office Trevin was blithe, but soon enough the painter was back and so was the woeful sound of his roller and to make matters worse he had an encrypted message from the caravan out in the Barrington Basin waiting for him when he logged back on to the computer network. He thought about that information, the violence outside, the uncertainty that prevailed and the coming of the BCG head and his frown returned. He tied to ignore the world and concentrate on his work.


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