Friday, June 26, 2015

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter IX: The Thoughts that Bind

25 Spring 1928

Lyta sat on the bed of the hotel room, her knees tucked up to her chest, her hands wrapped around her thighs. She stared off at nothing, her mouth clenched in a tight line.

Lukas, Fennec, and Todd had all gone off to their various observation points, and Miranda Winters had left almost as soon as she had arrived to attend to Paxton business. Ti watched his girlfriend from the window, his expression concerned. “Lyta,” he began tentatively.

“You should have told me,” Lyta snapped without looking at him.

Ti let out a slow breath. “Lyta, I only just found out.”

“When?” Lyta spun around to face him. “When did you know, Ti? Today? Last week? Half a season? How long have you known where Jonas is and you didn’t tell me?”

Ti took a step forward and kept his voice level. “I still don’t know where Jonas is. In fact, we still don’t know that the webble is for Jonas. That’s why we have to follow it.”

Lyta shook her head, nearly quivering with anger. “But you knew he was in the north. You could have followed him! You could have investigated! You… you could have…”

Ti sat down on the bed opposite her. “I tried those things,” he said. “They all fell short. The webble’s the best way to find him.”

Lyta looked away. “But what if it doesn’t work? What if it’s already gone? What if we lose it on the way, or they figure out we’re following them and detour, or if they lead us into an ambush? What if they kill us, or we kill them and then we never find out?”

She felt Ti’s hand lightly on her shoulder. “Then we’ll find another way. We’ll find him, I promise.”

Lyta pulled away and hugged her knees tighter to her chest. Her voice was soft. “I wish I believed you, but our track record of things going according to plan isn’t that high.”

She felt the bed move as Ti shifted his weight. “Lyta, what’s really going on? What’s wrong?”

Lyta sprung up from the bed and began pacing the room, an animal trapped in a cage. Her hands clenched into fists at her side. “You saw what they did to the people at Creighton. Some of them couldn’t walk. Some of them could barely move. And they’ve had Jonas for half a cycle and now they want to put a webble in him! Who knows what they’ve already done to him?”

“We’ll get him back,” Ti insisted. “We won’t let them webble him.”

Lyta’s fists knocked again the sides of her legs. “They already have him, Ti! They have him and they’re experimenting on him and it’s all my fault!”

Ti’s eyes widened slightly and he stood up. “Hey, now—”

Lyta wasn’t listening. Tears welled up in the corners of her eyes. “I knew where he’d gone. If I’d just followed sooner, I would have found him before they took him. I could have saved him. I was too slow and now he’s captured. I let them do it. And I let you get killed and I let Lukas leave and do all those horrible things with the slavers and…”

Ti’s arms wrapped around her and she collapsed into them, her head pressed into his chest. “I let it all happen and now it’s happening again,” Lyta whispered. Tears darkened the fabric of Ti’s shirt.

“Shh,” he murmured. “Lyta, this isn’t your fault. Sometimes things happen. Sometimes people make choices. You can’t blame yourself for everything that happens around you, or you’ll fall into yourself and never climb out. Say it: it’s not your fault.”

Lyta lolled her head back and forth, crying silent tears.

“Say it,” Ti insisted. “It’s not your fault.”

“It’s not my fault,” Lyta muttered unconvincingly.

“I’m alive and we’re going to get Jonas back. And Lukas is with us for now. We’ll pull through this.”

Lyta squeezed her eyes tightly shut.

One of Ti’s hands stroked the back of her head. “Do you trust me?”

Lyta sniffled. “Yes.”

“Then trust me that we’ll make this work. We’ll get him back. No matter the cost, I’ll get Jonas back.”

Lyta took a deep breath. “Okay,” she said at last. “Sorry.”

Ti lifted up her head and brushed away a tear. “Don’t be sorry. Never be sorry for what you feel. It’s what makes you who you are.”

Lyta sat down on the bed, her fingertips absently tracing the patterns on the bedspread. “Okay,” she said softly.

Ti watched her for a moment. “If we’re going to find Jonas, the first step is figuring out where the webble is.” His voice was gentle but firm. “That means you and I need to start asking some questions around town.”

Lyta closed her eyes. “Yeah.”

“We’re operational now. You need to pull yourself together. Can you do that?”

Lyta looked down at the bed and pulled her hand back to her lap. “Yeah.”

Ti’s voice softened. “Do you want me here, or would you rather I made myself scarce?”

Lyta thought about it for a moment. “I think I want to be by myself.”

Ti nodded, then leaned forward and kissed her forehead. “I’ll be downstairs at the bar. If you’re not down in fifteen minutes, I’m gonna dock the time off your pay, okay?” He cracked a grin, his eyes searching hers.

The corners of Lyta’s lips turned every so slightly upward. “Okay.”

“Okay.” Ti traced his thumb down the side of her cheek. He watched her for one moment longer and then made his way to the door, pulling it shut behind him.

Lyta stared at the closed door for nearly twenty seconds before taking a shuddering breath. She stood up and took a ready stance in the middle of the room. “Okay,” she whispered to herself, and began the first steps of the Perfect Form.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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