Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Koreshi Chronicles: Titan's Tale - TN 1921, 06 Summer

"You want to run an orphanage?" Doc Chambers asked, his voice betraying surprise and disappointment. After Chambers had helped get him out of New Baja and away from prying eyes, the doctor had hoped the young man would come work for him. When Chambers received notice that Ti Corovan had emerged from his cycle-and-a-half-long disappearance and wanted to meet him, he hoped, as usual, that it was an opportunity he could exploit. His expectations were being dashed.

"Yes. I've been following your endeavours, Dr. Chambers. I'm interested in your Lelland Foundation." Ti said, standing at military attention despite Dr. Chambers’ offer to take a chair.

"Alright, what about the foundation attracts you?" Chambers asked.

"I think there's a missed opportunity there. I know about your more laudable and public objectives: Giving the gifted a chance to excel. But there are different talents than doing well in school and being gifted at math. Also, there are other ways of helping the Badlands than producing artists and architects." Ti's speech was a little rehearsed but no less intriguing for the Doc, who had had much the same reasoning but not the least notion on how to go about exploiting the Foundation. Until now, the street-smart kids, those that didn't show obvious talents in a specific field, ended up on an irregulator internship within the Guild, “the university of life,” as Avatanya called it. It was one of the last contributions Kain had made before striking out on his own.

"We have some kind of outreach program already set up. I think it could use some refining, but it would depend what you thought you could bring to it.” Chambers took a second, eying Ti. “More important than that, what do you intend to make of it? What is it you stand for?" Chambers asked the young man.

"You're referring to the kids you have in the Guild doing caravan stuff. That isn't what I had in mind." Ti answered, showing no satisfaction at the doctor's surprise. Ti had been researching his would-be sponsor ever since the incident in New Baja. Marshal Green had vouched for him, but Ti had to be sure. Among other things, he had spent the last cycle looking into the Badlands Caravan Guild, the BDC, the Lelland Foundation, the Lucky Shot casino, and of course the doctor himself. Ti believed that Doctor Chambers might be the kind of man who could help him in his own objectives, but first he had to make sure that their fundamental beliefs aligned.

"So tell me what you think you can offer me and the Lelland Foundation," Chambers continued.

"First, tell me what you would do with influence, persuasion and the power to affect change," Ti replied. Chambers was again surprised but his expression quickly turned to one of amusement.

"You want to know what kind of man I am. That's fair. But will you take my word for it? I could tell you anything I wanted to, because I know something about you, Mr. Corovan. I know you were a very promising young athlete. I know you served with distinction in the Resistance during the Battle of Baja, that you were interrogated, tortured and gained the admiration of those who do not give it lightly. In short, you are honourable, focused, committed and brave. On top of all that, you are a Badlander, so you are independent and skeptical of outsiders." Chambers had kept a close watch on the youth's reactions; how a man responds to acclaim is often more revealing as how he reacts to insults.

"And you, Doctor Chambers, are a womanising, gambling and opportunistic Mekongese who's motivated by greed and personal glory. At least on the surface. I know what you project, but I don't know what you stand for. Why would you help me, or the worker caste of Peace River, or the folks of Shetland and put down the Green Gang here in Kahyr-ad Din or help police Baja and fight the rovers and volunteer in the clinic? Why set up the BCG as a cooperative rather than a private shipping company that would have made you richer? I know stuff about you too, Doctor. I know that what you do and what you project are often at odds and I ask myself why. So what do you really stand for?"

Chamber's ploy had failed, he had in fact fallen prey to his own technique and wondered how much Corovan had known and how much was conjecture before his monologue and how much Chambers had given away.

"It seems, Mr. Corovan, that we know a good deal about each other, except what we are both after. Unless, of course, we are after the same thing. I guess I stand for freedom, unconditional freedom from political oppression and religious dogma. I believe in the Badlands and keeping it safe and free." Chambers had rarely been so frank unless he felt there was something great to gain in such honesty. Somehow he felt this was one of those occasions.

"Freedom isn't free. I know better than most what it costs. Buying others’ freedom is more expensive still. So how far are you willing to go to buy that freedom? Given the means, how would you use them?" Corovan was unflinching and Chambers was inclined to trust him. Corovan just projected that kind of trust which was all the more surprising given his young age.

"I'm willing to do everything necessary," Chambers said. "How about you?"

"Everything necessary." Corovan's answer echoed Chambers' as he sat down.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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