Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter VII: Unbalanced

Lyta leapt from rooftop to rooftop, along the walls of the enclosed caverns of New Baja. Layers of anger washed over her as she rolled and tumbled, her mind as tumultuous as her body. First, she was pissed that she wouldn’t get to go to Junira Loresh in time to run the B’Ti. For the first time since her days with the Bathani Ratir, she had been training – really training – and no one would be able to see the results of her work.

Second, she was pissed that she had come so close to home, only to realize it wasn’t her home any more. Gone were the oasis towers of her youth, the neighborhoods where she had played as a child, the familiar skyline she had been too young to see as a vast expanse for her to explore. New Baja was not her city. The ever-present water threatened to drown her, and the cavern roof threatened to bury her. Baja was no longer her home, she was forced to accept. Nowhere was home.

Finally, and most upsetting, she was pissed that Lukas had lied to her. Oh, he withheld information from her on a regular basis: details about their employers or the specifics of jobs, dealings with Nicosa Renault, and any number of tiny details that he deemed unimportant for her to know. Lyta didn’t mind that. She didn’t want to deal with the minutiae of their contacts anyway. If Lukas wanted to take charge and only tell her what she needed to know to get the job done, that was fine with her.

This, though… This was different. It was the first time she could remember that Lukas had hid a part of himself from her. He’d changed his face, and he hadn’t told her. Hadn’t even been planning on telling her. If it hadn’t been for the Humanist prison intake, he might never have told her. He would have let her live in a lie for the rest of their lives. If anything, the only thing he seemed sorry about was that she and Todd had found out.

Lyta planted a foot against the cavern wall and leapt across an empty chasm between buildings, catching the far roof by a hair’s breadth. She felt the jolt in her hands as she caught onto the edge, pulled herself up, and kept running.

Once, not so long ago, Lukas had hidden the truth from Ti. He’d kept secret who they were working for and what their end-goal was. Lyta had been angry then, not because of the omission but because it had made her choose between her brother and the man she loved. She hadn’t blamed Lukas for not telling Ti their secrets. She understood. Lukas didn’t trust Ti because he didn’t trust anyone with their ultimate truth – no one but his siblings. They were an insular unit and Lyta was prepared to sacrifice anything else to keep that unit intact and alive. Lyta had always assumed that Lukas worked from a similar mindset. Why wouldn’t he?

She grasped the upper beams of a scaffolding rig and swung downwards, rolled across an empty platform, and launched herself away. She realized too late that the balcony on the next building was enclosed by a layer of glass, and she barely managed to angle herself to avoid injury. She half-fell, half-tumbled until her hands grabbed hold of the railing two levels down and clung to it, breathing heavily, trying to force herself to keep moving.

A thought occurred to her for the first time: what if Lukas didn’t care about her the way she cared about him? What if she was just another person to manipulate for his own gain? What if he kept her close, not out of love, but because she knew too much to be let loose into the wider world unsupervised?

Lyta rolled onto the balcony and staggered, her hands on her knees.

She loved him, she reminded herself. He was her brother. They were a team. It wasn’t like he was going to get rid of her.

But it wasn’t like he was telling her the truth anymore, either.

Lyta took a shuddering breath. She was reading too much into this. It would get her in trouble. Lukas obviously had a reason for not telling her about the surgery, something he wasn’t ready to share with her yet. Lukas had lots of reasons for what he did, and they tended to become clear in time. He would have told her, sooner or later, that he’d gotten his scars fixed. If he hadn’t, it was because it was part of some larger plan, and he was angry not that she’d found out, but that she’d found out too soon. Maybe it was because he knew she wouldn’t be able to lie properly about it if she knew. She was a shit liar, and they both knew it. Maybe he was protecting the whole team.

She gripped the balcony railing and vaulted over it, felt the wind rush across her face and neck.

That was it, she told herself firmly. He was her brother. He wouldn’t hold something back from her without a good reason. He still loved her, just like she loved him. He still trusted her, just like she trusted him. He would do anything for her, just like she would do anything for him.

Wouldn’t he?

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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