“Suddenly, I am popular!” Celeste pulled up her holo-display listing two new messages. Leaning back on the sofa sipping her early morning coffee, she reached up with her free hand gesturing to decrypt and read the first message:
<#!== PRIVATE MESSAGE KEY: CLJ2LZJFJR7RN7TCLPCN ==>
Omni onto me.
Big bruiser trailing me.
Data archive still safe, but not sure for how long.
New price due to risk: 50,000 ISO
Will tell location and decryption keys if you pay.
“Pshh, amateur,” Celeste rolled her eyes as she gestured the next message into the display.
Meet me at Cloudspire, tomorrow, one o’clock?
Have something for you.
“Oh, oui-oui!” Celeste sat upright and smiled. She checked the date and time on Titus’s message. “He sent this last night? So he means to meet today? Mon Dieu, he could learn to communicate better, that man.”
Early one spring morning Titus wandered casually around his garden, the lone wolf prowling his domain. The small paths he’d laid out through the trees, and the bright sunlight that caused the first early blossoms to shine, presented flickering reminders. He walked effortlessly, a clear alternative to his previous life outside of Atlas, a life that involved hunting and slashing a hard path through the detritus of a crumbling world in order to find a new home; someplace to plant roots and grow something beautiful and reminiscent of his distant origins.
He knelt and brushed his fingers over the first tiny yellow petals of an apricot bonsai, marveling in their bright light. All around him early flowers blossomed and brightened the world with their explosions of color; yellow, white, pink, orange, red. At that moment, seeing the luminescent possibilities in every direction, Titus thought of Celeste, their nascent friendship so similar to these flowers. A rush of memories came through in every color; white and pink ice cream, the blood red remnants of a bar brawl. His eyes came to rest on a string of white cherry blossoms standing out against the blue sky, and as a light breeze caused them to dance he saw the streak of white through her blue hair.
In as much as a tree seemed a solitary thing, and so alone, it survived as part of an ecosystem. It gave to the world in which it existed. A gift was in order.
Springtime delays, but here’s another logbook entry from CMDR Sakeel…
Something fragile exists in the minds of people. Some delicate thing that, after exposure to living, sometimes cracks, sometimes shatters into pieces. The result can be entertaining, frightening, or simply sad. This isn’t exactly an uncommon occurrence either. Hell, it’s possible that it happens naturally, to everyone, at some point very early in our lives. We emerge from a warm, dark place, into a chaotic opening filled with bright lights and all sorts of smells and sounds that are constantly changing, and we cry out. It’s at that point that that tiny, fragile component of our minds gets its first crack. That first, ‘Holy shit, reality!’ reaction that we all have in our infancy. Then another cracked individual tries to comfort us.
Later on we meet our neighbors, other cracked individuals. People walking around with their own cracked little bits rattling around in their dome, sometimes a little more or sometimes a little less than others. In the case of Ahamad Cleaver, those bits might have been bouncing around up there a little too long, and rattled more of his other bits loose.
My character bounty hunting his way through the story.
The backwater region of space around Mikunn exhibits a few oddities. The Mikunn system itself an escape landing point for two exiled imperial brothers who formed a feudal government and then expanded and won an election in the neighboring HR 7327 system. Their latest territory, being arranged as I write this, is a new station commissioned via the peace treaty brokered by the folks in Kwatee. For all their efforts at establishing fiefdoms the old-fashioned way, hiring mercenaries to wage little wars and acquire more space, all of their successes came from peaceful and democratic processes.
No less bizarre is the neighboring Sukua system. On the current galactic map the system comes up as Federation territory. Inside the system, however, there are two mining and refinery stations. Forest Depot, run by the feudal Sukua Noblement, remains independent while the other, Wang Base, an unsanctioned outpost, has a Federation allegiance tag and charge over the system but flies a pirate flag.
Finally got a new post up on my adventures through Elite: Dangerous. Thought I’d start a little arc and see how that goes…
I knew a guy once who used to say that paranoia was an art. You have to find just the right level of paranoia to live effectively, happily. Too little, and people will walk all over you. Too much and you’ll get a visit from the folks in white coats who fit you with a jacket that encourages you to hug yourself and then escort you off to a room with soft walls. Shortly after I left Lugh I found myself reminded of that old advice when a strange message came across my comms panel.
A new Elite: Dangerous logbook post is up! This one about the first days of the war in Lugh.
When the gears of the war machine start to churn there’s some sort of an attraction generated, as if the grinding of the components create a magnetism that draws mankind; compels us, encourages us. I used think that it required fuel, a source of energy that powers the motors, such as a political or religious belief system, or simple greed. Then it needed a little something for upkeep, typically the blood of the participants and victims. Lately, though, I’m thinking that it’s a perpetual motion machine. Everything that it needs to run is already available within it. The war machine has always been running, and always will.
Got a little sidetracked by some stuff over the last couple weeks, so I’m kinda behind on these, but the latest Elite: Dangerous logbook entry is up. CMDR Sakeel investigates slavery in imperial space.
The difference between you and me can get a little fuzzy. Hell, the difference between a person and a rock gets fuzzy out in imperial space.
I’d been lingering in Ngaiawang for a week, watching the kids ramp up for the next little skirmish out at Falisci, and running through some minor wear-and-tear repairs on the Asp, when a guy approached me in the bay.