Thursday, June 1, 2017

Koreshi Chronicles - Chapter X: Clean Slate

It was nearly dawn. Ennik had been up all night with the Doc, Oscar, Mads, and the Humanist tech. He gazed exhaustedly at a little capsule and then the smooth black slab on the counter. He knew that some magical combination of the two would produce cawfee. The problem was, as his stare alternated between blank, quizzical, and frustrated, he couldn’t conjure a notion of how this was accomplished. 

 The old B&B Ti had lined up to interrogate Katerina had been pretty fancy before the war and even after more than a decade of neglect remained comfortable and well equipped. Perhaps too well equipped. The smooth product of sophisticated industrial design, totally devoid of knobs or buttons, was highly aesthetic but, as far as Ennik was concerned, useless.

Defeated, he patted his chest and found the packet of cigarettes. Staring at the device while reflectively lighting a cigarette, he recognized bitterly the irony that he probably needed a cup of cawfee to figure out how the damned thing worked.

Lukas walked into the kitchen, drawing a nod from Ennik. Striding up to the monolith, he waved his hand in a downward motion on the right side. He picked up a capsule and placed it on the top, then he reversed the motion with an upward wave. The capsule slipped inside the monolith as though it were sinking into quicksand. Lukas efficiently located a cup nearby -- the one thing Ennik had managed to do was find a cup and had in at the ready. Lukas placed it at the base of the monolith and waived his hand in a upward motion on the left side of the black block.

A spout extended from the object, angled towards the cup, and once safely above it started to produce a hot stream of the desired drink.

Lukas brought the drink up to his nose and took a deep whiff. When he looked up Ennik was staring intently. His cigarette was mostly ash and his face expressed strained concentration.

Lukas paused, watching Ennik, who in turn was looking at the cawfee machine.

“Do you want one?” Lukas finally asked, breaking Ennik’s trance.

“Heh, call me paranoid but I think that contraption may’ve been specifically engineered to prevent me from ever having cawfee again.”

Lukas cracked a smile and handed him the cup. “We had one when I was a kid. My dad liked gizmos and my mom liked cawfee. He used to let me make her the first cup before I went to class.”

Lukas repeated the gestures with practiced ease. The only break in his efficiency was when he had to hunt to find another mug. “I haven’t seen one of these in 15 cycles,” he said distantly.

“Hey, I don’t know how you did it, but thanks.”

Lukas opened the right cabinet and, cup in hand, gave a final wave to produce his cawfee. “You can buy me the next one,” Lukas answered.

“I mean the TDI tech. I was resigned to say goodbye to Katerina, or at least I thought I was. But the Doc’s neural suppressor brought back my little sister and suddenly I wasn’t looking at one of the Bear’s betabels, I was looking at my Katy who used to steal my screwdriver set to dig out bad weeds on the farm.”

Lukas nodded. “Lyta used to play with my models like they were toys.”

“Models are toys.”

“No, they aren’t,” Lukas answered as he took Ennik’s empty cup and refilled it.

“They're just toys for the anally retentive,” Ennik said with an appreciative nod when Lukas had given it back to him full of piping hot goodness.

“So what now?” Lukas asked as he made himself another.

“A clean slate.”

“What?” Lukas asked.

“Just something she was mumbling before she finally fell asleep. Now I’ll take her back to the Prince Gable. Priti -- Detective Kahn -- will get her checked out. We may have to stay there a while to start her rehab. Candy’s at the Meredine Clinic too, but she’s doing a lot better. It’ll be a full house.”

“You and Detective Kahn, hunh?”

Ennik gave one of his characteristic grins.

“Good for you.”

“Seriously though, about the TDI guy. I’m sure that cost you or it’s going to in some way,” Ennik said gravely while Lukas just gave a shrug. “Anyway, I really appreciate it. I know you and I haven’t always seen eye to eye...”

“That’s because we had different goals.”

“...So I just wanted to know why you did it. Why put yourself out there for me, for Katerina who’s spent the last few cycles trying to kill or capture you?”

Lukas finished his cup and set it down by the cawfee machine. Staring at it again he paused. “I’ve got a sister too.”

Lukas gave Ennik another nod and left him alone in the kitchen.

He took a deep sigh. The gang would be heading to Lyonnesse later that day. Ti was going to negotiate with Nicosa Renault and Lukas would find out that Ti had known about her for some time. Lukas might even find out that it had been Ennik who had tipped him off.

The mechanic looked at the featureless appliance and wondered how it worked for a while before deciding that he didn’t need to know.

Heavy Gear Roleplaying Game


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