Thursday

Joining the Nation - Part 1

1 year ago


Silver Night grimaced in the mirror. His image stared back at him with pale steel eyes, black uniform immaculate, the single star of an ICT Director on his collar its only decoration. He ran a hand through his short cropped brown hair, still damp from the post-pod shower, and carefully schooled his expression. Frustration and anger were signs of weakness.

Leaving his quarters he threaded through the passageways, toward one of the airlocks dotting the ICTS Swift. Greeting crewmen distantly as he made his way forward and cycled through, he climbed directly into the waiting personal transport and sank into the seat. He gave the destination and tried to relax as the Drake shrunk away behind. Usually the sights of the bustling Zainou station would have cheered him - today they just made him grit his teeth. Thousands, tens of thousands of people stumbling blindly around, blissfully unaware of what happened outside their little gray clad world. The transport glided smoothly to a stop at a nondescript platform. Pulling himself out of the transport, Silver strode through the entrance to the 'Contractor Liaison' offices.

Agentland, where you could see more podders and their leash holders than anywhere else. He navigated the maze of corridors, footsteps echoing in the dull, unadorned, gunmetal hallways. Halkkoiken Jakanerva's office had a small plaque beside it, humble for the man who had more firepower at his beck and call than anyone, except CONCORD or CalNav, for three jumps in every direction. Silver walked in and addressed the surprised secretary in a cold, controlled voice, "I will see Mr Jakanerva now. I don't have an appointment. Tell him it is Silver Night and to remember the special work I have done for him in the past."

As he waited, Silver looked around; automatically taking in the expensive but bland art on the walls, the precisely pruned plants flanking the doorway to the inner sanctum, the secretary's look of slight contempt, without really seeing any of it. The door to the back office opened with a chime moments later. Walking in he stopped in front of the desk and gave the surprised man behind it a hard look. "I'm done Jakanerva. I've come to collect my last pay in person."

The agent leaned forward in his chair, recovering quickly and used to some of the vagaries of podders, "You've worked for us for more than a year, whats the problem? We pay well enough, the area is good. What does another corporation have to offer? Is it those bastards at KK? I know you want better access to research assets, but most of their cybernetics and AI stuff is trash they make up to get grants. I'll have better access fo-"

"I don't think you understand Jakanerva, I'm not going to be working Kaalakiota, or for anyone in the State. In any empire." Silver's anger finally slipped his control, peeking out as he made an abrupt chopping gesture, cutting the man off, "I'm done with all of it. Podders never venturing from the safety of CONCORD battle groups. Going out and slaughtering pirates, mercenaries, poor enlisted bastards, and whoever else we are told. Working for empires and their minions! Corrupt, stagnant scum hiding in the iron fist that crushes you. The same goes for pilots that continue to huddle in here with you. Podders have been given the opportunity and ability to do something great, and they waste it on bastards like you."

He took a deep breath and reined in his temper, voice flat, "I'll be loyal to the Caldari people till I die. Even to the State, in a way. But I'll decide how. Maybe not always the loyalty they would prefer. Hopefully just the loyalty they need."

Silver turned on his his heel and walked from the office, nodding to the secretary as he swept through the outer door. Returning to the platform, he slid into the car, feeling drained. He had finally cut ties, not least in his own mind. Now he just had to figure out what was next. Perhaps a vacation, of sorts.

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