Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Koreshi Chronicles: Titan's Tale - TN 1925, 28 Spring

“Katchelli will be moving soon, which means we’re finally going to see what’s going on behind the veil. NorthCo, the NGIS, they’re going to make their moves in the next couple of days, so I need you all to be focused and ready.” Ti was gently smiling. This wasn’t a pre-game pep speech, this was his way of calming nerves. “Let’s wrap this up, make it count, and make sure no one gets hurt.” With this, his team set about their tasks.

“Ti?” Nadya called gently after the others had disbanded. “Are you sure you can trust these assets? I know they have one of their own inside Katchelli’s operation, but they’re not exactly professionals.” Ti suppressed a smirk; Nadya didn’t like working with anyone but kin.

“Actually, they are professionals, more than us by strict definition since they make their living doing this. But I get your meaning. I knew these people a long time ago. I owe them.”

“Owe them your trust?” Nadya asked skeptically. Ti didn’t give out trust, it was earned, or as some of the Lelland Kin said somewhat dramatically to new recruits, it was ‘bought in pain and blood.’

When Ti and Doc Chambers made the Lelland foundation into a recruiting and training operation, they knew they had to pick the right kind of kids for their purposes. They had to be young enough to still be moulded but old enough not to be coddled. All the kin started out as troubled kids with potential.

Every orphanage, hospital and foster system that worked with the Lelland foundation across the Badlands picked the most disciplined and brightest to benefit from the Foundation endowments for higher education. But in the wake of the War of the Alliance, the best and the brightest weren’t always the most adjusted, and some kids with potential inevitably got left by the wayside.

That was where Ti picked them up. He’d spend three weeks with them, getting to know them. Making them work and sweat and help each other but also fight each other. He put them through trials in the desert where the constant effort of survival and physical hardship revealed who they were beneath pretense and misbehaviour. He knew firsthand that hardship was the road to self knowledge.

He had very few kids he considered truly beyond help. The worst were referred to psych units for professional help after an evaluation by Doc Chambers. The salvageable ones were sometimes sent back to their orphanages better for the experience or onto the Guild for internships. A select few, maybe one in thirty, Ti took with him in to the Pacifica Range to the Academy.

Those first few cycles he spent as much time as he could at the Academy. Now he tried to go back a couple times a cycle. He still made a point of trying to get to as many orphans as possible, but those wells were nearly dry. Nine cycles after the war, there weren’t too many kids out there to enlist. Orphanages were actually starting to close in some places in the Badlands, which was seen, on the whole, as a sign that the planet was finally starting to put that trauma behind them. Ti knew that the Lelland kids however would never, could never put it behind them.

Ti realized Nadya was still standing there, still waiting for an answer, apparently. As much as Ti tried to instill in each of the kin a sense of individual responsibility towards a shared family and duty, he knew that they weren’t all equally devoted to his ideal of Badlands freedom.

For many of them, it was devotion to each other, no less palpable and no less serious a commitment than the one he preached. And he knew that for others it was him. As much as he hated being seen as a personal saviour, there were some whose devotion to Ti’s cause was simply a byproduct of devotion to Ti, devotion or love.

“You know I don’t give trust, Nadya. I’m very miserly that way. But I have hope that they will earn it and may become kith, so don’t form any lasting prejudices, okay?” Ti patted her on the shoulder, gently urging her out and onto her assigned duties.

Nadya would do what Ti told her to, but thinking about the weird one, the one in the mask, and mostly the girl, she wouldn’t make any promises about staying open-minded.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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