Thursday, November 17, 2016

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter X: Standing on the Threshold

I’m standing on the threshold. It isn’t the first time.

How long has it been, a few hours? I need to return to my duties. But where does my duty lie? The message said if I left I’d lose my chance to understand.

I’ve been here before, but I can’t think about that. It hurts. My head hurts, more than my head hurts. Nein! Concentrate. Choose!

I step back from the threshold. I’m not a prisoner; I can leave. I’m no one’s prisoner. I’m a soldier and this is my war.

Kable. It all started with him. Theodore Reginald Nesbit Kable, major in the CEF. Also a deep-cover NEC operative, real name Bearden. Tantalus. It all started there; it ended there for my father. It hurts.

I should seek medical help. The door is open. I can leave but I can’t go.

Katchelli, Mjr. Stone’s report. Dr. Bearden and camp 9a. It was all about blood. The blood of GRELs and Sand Riders and innocents. My blood, my father’s blood. That’s where it all started.

I’m dizzy with facts. There’s so much to process. The more I learn, the less I know. I need to slow down. I’ve been here three days already, reading 26 hours a day.

I need to slow down but I have so much to catch up on. I’ll clean up the vomit later.

I stepped back from the threshold. Like when father died, when he killed him. I went to the Spiritual Rehabilitation Center.

The place I’m in is similar. It’s spartan, a solitary book stares at me from a barren shelf, distractingly. I’m healing now too. I’m on a path of discovery and understanding.

I could leave that place whenever I wanted to. But I stayed. I did what I had to. Like what I need to do now.

I persevered. I persevere.

The next link in the chain was the Borodin package. More blood. Petit and I knew there was a conspiracy of keffers and Humanists. We thought it was Cln. Arthur and Hypolite working against Terra Nova, but it wasn’t. Petit… more blood.

We thought Kable and Layson were pawns when they were rooks. There's so much here! Wait, it isn’t in the file, he isn’t in the file. Or did I miss it, or did they? I don’t know. I need to slow down, I need to rest.

The book calls to me from the reading nook, invitingly. The kitchenette is well stocked if not interestingly. I have a robe to change into. I wash the clothes, I wash myself. I rest a little.

WestCore, WestCorp, WestEx, WestRim, where does it end?
From northern money to southern tech.
Slaves, trades and webbles.
Abacus and Hawk.

Surprisingly, I slept better last night. Though this information is the stuff of nightmares. The book helped. It rests there on the nightstand, invitingly. But I have to concentrate. The image of this conspiracy is growing clearer. But who is it perpetrated against? Am I a prisoner of their deceit? Is this real, any of it? How could this happen without the NGIS becoming aware? How indeed?

So I’m standing on the threshold like I have a thousand times before.

One step was all that separated me from freedom. A sort of freedom, the kind which leaves you with no responsibilities. They told me the choice was mine to make: ‘go or stay’. That was a condition of the rehabilitation. ‘You can’t embrace the Truth of the Prophet under duress. You must choose to be open to it, you must long for his compassion and pray for understanding. Faith is a state of action; the moment you stop, you lose it and yourself.’

Leaving was easy, Faith is hard. I dealt with my grief, with my pain. Not in drink or drugs, not in hatred or anger but in Faith. It was harder to look in than to look out, but I chose the harder path.

I always do. It’s what he taught me to do.

It's easy be skeptical, to look at the data regarding the Bear and dismiss it as tenuous links and coincidences.  What they have collected points to a network that has tentacles stretching into global academia, Humanist high-tech research, southern slavery and the northern industrial complex. Add Badlands mercs and security services and you have a global conspiracy.

Dismissing it would be easy. I  never do the easy thing. Just like you taught me.

A Humanist and a Keffer were working together against Terra Nova. Petit and I thought it was Hypolite and Arthur. So I followed the Borodin package from Port Arthur to the Humanist Alliance. Then fate stepped in again. Torgath intercepted it in KAD. According to my intel, that was meant as a fig leaf from Arthur to HIRA. I didn’t understand then.

It all makes sense, but does it ring true?

What is truth anyway? He said he loved me, he said he had never lied, that’s why he told me about your death. So what if he didn’t lie, he still hurt me!

I need to think about all of this. Consider the implications and what actions to take. Where does my duty lay? Is it with you, father, to the Prophet, or to the State? Must it not lay with Terra Nova first?

I feel as confused at the heroines in the anonymous book that awaits me, tantalizingly. Maybe they’ll have some answers for me?

'She sought knowledge, she sought a weapon, she found what she had always been looking for and never hoped to find. Here it was, all of it laid bare.'

I’ve finished the book. My tears stain the last chapter. Tears of sorrow and of joy. There is no title, there is no publisher and there is no author. The last page finishes not with the last line but at the bottom with a dedication.

‘For Dawn, for Summer and for Gabrielle.’

In the beginning, I had wanted to know how it would it would all end. I asked him what character I reminded him of. Every character in the book, every character in my life. Looking, hunting, running. Happy, heartbroken and hateful. At one time or another I was all of them.

I wipe my tears. I fling the book across the room and it comes apart. I’m staring at the pages strewn about the room. They lie there, hauntingly.

I’m standing on the threshold again, like I have so many times before. I’m a prisoner of my own making. Bound by love and loyalty to a dead father, by honour and fear to a corrupt institution and by doubt and hatred to an image of myself I don’t want to be.

No more.

I have faith in who I am, what I do and where I need to go. I'll do the hard thing. As I’ve never done before.

I step beyond the threshold.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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