Thursday, August 6, 2015

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter IX: Changing Winds

They were camped somewhere south of New Baja, their tents camouflaged in the half-buried wreckage of a forgotten skirmish from the war. The wind was up and whipping at the shelters as a modest storm approached. Lukas and Todd were sharing one tent, Fennec was watching the Ranger in another and Ti and Lyta had settled into theirs.

"Lyta, when the storm passes, I'm going to take the Ranger back to the edge of her patrol zone. I'll need you to leapfrog Benelice to New Baja and tell Miranda to work something out with Paxton to feed the Ranger."

"Okay.” Ti could feel Lyta’s breath against his chest where she was nuzzled up. “Are you gonna rendezvous back with us in New Baja?"

He listened to the howl of the oncoming dust up and steeled himself. There was no way around this conversation, he had put it off too long.


Lyta’s voice was still tinged with sleep and partially muffled by the wind outside. "So... later, then? On the way north?"

He gently extricated himself and rolled onto his side so he could see her. His expression was burdened. "I'm going to have to follow up on another lead. I have quite a few ways of getting at the Bear but this is our best lead on Jonas, so you need to follow up on it. But without me. It could be some time before we see each other again."

Lyta yawned and rolled the other way. She hadn’t picked up on Ti’s demeanor. "But why? What's changed?"

“Lukas. I can't be around him or he can't be around me. Depends on how you look at it."

Lyta rolled over, sleep making way for annoyance. Her expression was incredulous. "Seriously? We're back to that again?"

Ti propped himself up on his arm. "No. not that, something else. Or maybe it is that. I explained why I didn't tell you I was alive. I wanted you to move on because I figured we didn't have a chance anyway."

“You were wrong.”

"I know, but before I came to that realization I messed up.” Ti swallowed. “When I came back I had the Doc tell Lukas I was alive but had them both keep it from you."

In the dark tent it was hard to make out expressions, but it looked like she was about to say something then thought better of it. He sighed.

"Yeah, I figured maybe you’d moved on, you know, grieved for me and didn’t want to burden you. But I also thought that if it came down to it again, you'd still choose your loyalty to him over me. So I put that choice on Lukas. He knew I was alive and I left it up to him to decide if you should know. I'm sorry."

"Y'know what I love?” Lyta started bitterly. “When everyone thinks they get to decide for me what I'm gonna pick. You, Lukas... hell, I bet Doc Chambers is even in there somewhere. No one ever asks, 'Hey, Lyta, what do you want? What do you pick?' No, they just decide for me."

Ti could feel her glare even in the darkened tent. "I deserved that. It was totally unfair to you. I'm really sorry, Lyta. Someone much wiser than me made me realize I'd done you wrong."

Lyta’s voice became, if anything, harder. "And now you're abandoning him because you can't get along with Lukas. That's what this is. You can't play nice with Lukas, so you're leaving us one man down when we try to save Jonas."

"No, that isn't it. At least not entirely.” Ti stumbled, trying to mitigate Lyta’s anger and failing. “Jonas is part of the reason I need to step back. He made me realize I had done you wrong, but he also helped me see I treated you brother unfairly. I've apologized to you and I need to apologize to him too."

Lyta paused, shaking her head slowly. "You need to apologize and then leave?"

Ti reached out and placed a tentative hand on her shoulder. "I need to apologize to him and let it sink in. He won’t be able to process it with me in his face. And you need me out of here too."

Lyta pulled away from Ti’s touch. "No. You wanna leave, that's on you. But you don't tell me what I need. This is about you and Lukas and both of you being too damn stubborn to work together. And if that's what you feel, then fine. Go. But don't tell me what I need and don't make this about me."

Ti was happy for the storm outside, it covered her angry voice. It wasn’t about to get any quieter.

"It's all about you, my love. It always has been. It's why I trusted you guys in the beginning when I shouldn't have. You're why I felt so betrayed. And you're why Lukas felt so betrayed when you and Fennec came to Creighton. We both love you and see each other as rivals. You're right. This is between Lukas and me, but you're right there in the middle. You two have made the first tentative steps in reconciling, but as long as I'm here, it's going to keep pushing him away.”

Ti was right; her voice did get louder. "He thinks I left him for you! Do you think that's really gonna change whether you're here or not?"

Ti made an effort to keep his voice level. "Yes, I do. It isn't going to happen all at once but you two need to mend fences and I'm in the way.  So I'm going to say what I need to say to him and then back off. You guys need to learn how to work as a team again, with him leading you. From there you can learn to be a family again. Then he and I can talk honestly.”

Lyta rolled over, her back towards him. "Fine."

"Please tell me some of this makes sense to you?"

Lyta spoke without looking at him, without turning towards him. "Look, Ti, you wanna leave? Then leave. You wanna give me all the reasons in the world? You've done that. Some of them even make sense. But you can talk until you turn blue and it's not gonna make me happy about it.”

The wind subsided a little and the sound of sand rushing past tent fabric waned. Lyta pulled her knees up closer to her chest.

“So if you're going... just go."

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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