Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VII : Looking at the Bigger Picture

A longrunner's six independent suspension systems cushion every bump and hole in the road, minimizing discomfort and providing a smooth, steady ride. On well paved roads all this functionality is for naught. The vehicle seems underused and over-designed.

Lumbering along the highway out of the Trondheim Valley, Benelice's caravan of longrunners rolled unusually quickly. For roads such  as these, which she often travelled on her trade route, the behemoth's suspension could be locked in order to achieve higher speeds. Benelice was reflecting on this mechanical fact with inexplicable melancholy.

"Innayi, is that all?" Benelice's attention returned to the projected image of her father on the screen. There was a weird lag as it routed from his console through the Hermes 72 and then through half a dozen proxies and encryption protocols before filtering to her via a compressed cellular burst. It was laborious, but in the Alliance, you could never be too careful.

She flashed a smile to chase the errant thought away and nodded to the question.

"And where is Riley now?" Her father asked, the lag emphasising her sense of distraction.

"Probably on his way to Oxford by now,” she lied. “Would you like me to look into it?"

"No, that won't be necessary. I am relieved that you are moving away from the danger. I only wish we knew more about these characters, what the Doctor is up to and how this ties in to the Comptroller.”

He was giving exposition, a tactic of his when trying to intimidate someone into giving something away. She realised this meant he knew she was lying. He paused before making his final point.

“If the BCG is trying to make inroads into the Alliance, I want to know."

"I'm sorry I was unable to find out more, Abbi." She knew him and he knew her and though there were things they couldn’t say to each other, things they had learned to avoid saying to each other, they both knew what she was apologizing for.

"Well, “ he started again, his voice resonating doubly with the lag while his smile betrayed that he accepted her white lie without incident, “I know you are always looking at the big picture, Innayi. If this Jax is right and the wine is as profitable as he says, regardless of the Doctor’s interest, I’m sure you will find a way. You never dissapoint me.”

Benelice signaled that she would and she terminated the communication feeling guilty. He obviously suspected her true motivations and she was letting him down.

She moved through the cramped passage into the next compartment where she unlocked the door to her modest cabin. Inside, Riley was still asleep -- knocked out, she reminded herself.

When he finally woke up he was confused. After some uncomfortable explanations on her part regarding Jax, the explosives, and Bakhir, his mood changed for the worse.

"Dammit, B, we have to do something," he said plaintively in his slow drawl.

"Jax and his people are already on it," Benelice protested feebly.

"You don't know as much about them as you think," he retorted. "They don't work for the Doc. We don't know who they work for. The explosives could be going from the wrong hands into worse ones! We have an obligation to do something!"

Benelice swallowed hard. She had miscalculated. Her father's implied criticism echoed in her mind. She was more focused on Riley's safety than on doing her duty to her father or even protecting the innocent. It was too late to call the POP; to be effective she would have to give them details that would inevitably implicate her in some way.

"B darlin’, we need to go back. Not for the Doc or your father's interest. You've got to see there's a bigger picture than all that. People's lives are at stake and we have to do the right thing.”

Riley and her father were tectonic forces that usually pulled her apart. In this instance they were both telling to do the same thing. Literally! She knew that they would collide and form a mountain range of difficulties for her to overcome. Somehow that made her feel better.

The longrunners were moving smoothly along the the highway towards their next trade post. It was going to be an easy trip. But that wasn't what they were designed to do. She called the lead truck in the caravan and told him to unlock the suspension and cut across country on the straightest trajectory towards Gropius. It would be a rough road, but that’s what they were built for.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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