Finishing my breakfast I get up from the table and rinse my flatware, down a quick glass of water and head towards the viewing room. The viewscreen is
one of the newer paper-thin models which is essentially pasted on the wall. I pick up the controls and sit on my favorite bagseat. Reclining I turn on
the viewscreen, switch it to the global newsfeed.
A few pointless stories about social servants rescuing pets, a spiel given by a young looking old woman, now a man reporting the latest terrorist
activities on Tedin. It seems extremist elements of the Planetary Resistance Alliance are fighting skirmishes on the borders of two countries called
the U.S.A and Canada. Fighting has been fierce and it seems the P.R.A. insurgents have the upper hand.
Tarvinian forces have never dealt with a threat like this. Rebellion simply does not occur on Tarvin. It seems the insurgents have recently developed
a new projectile weapon system. A handheld firearm that, when the projectile strikes its target, a small explosive device embedded in the projectile
detonates, turning the target into a chunky crimson stew leaving no hopes for survival. Though only prototypes according to the reporter they are
effective nonetheless. On top of their rapid weapons development programs the P.R.A. insurgents battle using something they call “guerrilla
warfare” apperantly this fighting technique can be attributed to a warlord from a country on Tedin called China, from centuries before the
Tarvin/Tedin planetary brotherhood pact back when the most common name for Tedin was Earth.
The total casualties of the skirmish have not been determined as of yet, however, estimates range in the upper hundreds for Tarvin and only about a
dozen P.R.A. insurgents. Though, if the reports can be belived (which they cannot) the Tarvinian Planetery Peacekeepers have taken a high ranking
insurgent as prisoner.
In the family study I hear the telecomm bleeping and blooping, its way of letting me know someone is hailing the household. Standing I move through
the archway that leads to our study and remove the telecomm from its cradle.
I answer, “Fynns”
A brief moment before Ryck’s voice floods my ears, “Kalvyn, good your up, you watching the ‘feed?”
“yeah,” I say, “sounds like the P.R.A. boys aren’t taking ‘please, backdown and submit’ as an order. They really hate us.”
“them Kal, they really hate them.” Ryck replies in a stern voice.
Them? Ryck has always had a distaste for the T.R.C. but he has always referred to the collective as ‘us’ never ‘them’. Something has
“them?” I ask.
“yes, Kal, them. You’ve got an hour till study with Galendra, be there.” Ryck says.
“right. Ryck why-“
A boistorous click invades my ear canal. He knew what I was going to say, he usually listens patiently to my complaints regarding study with Galendra,
bastard. Ryck seems somehow different today. I must have a word with him in person before I resign the evening.
Last I heard, todays assignment is a quick ‘listen in’ at a local restaurant in Vertis proper nothing too serious or dangerous. In the intel game,
however, things can go bad real quick. You have to become a nobody, a nothing. Suspicious people attract attention, I’m never a supicious person. I
was trained by a man that is widely considered to be a living legend in the tight knit intellegence community. Ryck Razer, my fathers best man. My
only true friend on this planet.
Returning the telecomm to its home, I make my way back to the viewing room, the time display in the bottom right hand corner of the viewscreen reads
‘0.1.5.7’ less than an hour, Ryck. I head up to my cell to wash and dress for my study hall with Galendra. After my shower I go to the closet,
still drying my hair, to pick my clothing for the day. Looking outside it seems there is a brisk wind blowing judging by the ballet the branches in
the orcwood tree are performing, its nearing the middle of Harvest so it will be chilly outside.
Appropriately, I choose a black and yellow coat with slightly rubbery ridges running along the sleeves, a simple black under tunic and a pair of
pleated black work trousers. The coat is one of my favorite garments, personally. Galendra once said it brightens the flecks of yellow in my light
green eyes, plus I think it looks great with my dark shaggy hair. I take a final look in the mirror before departing my washroom, I should really
shave but I don’t want to be late to study hall. Actually, I want to be early, Galendra admires punctuality.
Returning to my cell I take a seat on the edge of my bedding to slip on my boots. they are made from sturdy synthetics like most materials on Tarvin,
but the soles of mine are a super soft polymer designed specifically to cancel out noise when I move in them,once I even jumped from a crate of about
two meters only to land on the concrete floor below with the sound of a shadow passing. They work phenomonally.
From the lower level I hear the portal open from the outside, yes I really can distinguish the difference; its part of the training.
Mother calls out, “ Tanya, Litia?” she says, “Kal?” both sisters would be at work by now.
“Up here mother, in my cell. Have you got the coffee?” I ask plaintively.
“of course Kal, oh, I also seen the note you left on the preserver. I got the really hot ones your sisters hates so much.” I can hear the smile
even if I cant see it.
I reply gratefully, “Thank you Mother! How thoughtful of you!”
Sliding the secondary boot onto my left foot I stand, straighten my coat and begin the descent to the lower level which still reeks of burnt meat.
Mother is waitng in the kitchen. Already brewing is a pot of coffee, it smells incidiously delicious. I kiss my mother on the cheek and proceed into
the viewing room once more where the viewscreen is babbling about some man out of Gloori District which has been detained on suspicions of being a
“supporter and cohort” of the P.R.A. I ignore it for the most part and glance at the time display which now reads ‘0.1.8.3’ I better get
going. But not before I have my cup.
After I enjoy my coffee I feel much more apt to tackle the day, though still queasy over the encounter to come, I bid farewell to my mother and exit
the house through the rear portal which leads to our hangar where I keep my scooter.
Outside it is colder than I had anticipated, at least 12 barriks, natural for this time of year but unwelcome nonetheless though still not cold enough
to cause a freeze. I zip my coat to keep the wind at bay. The large double portals of our hangar are not closed entirely as per usual when mother
opens them. Inside I reach immidiately to the left,the action is rote by now, flipping the switch that activates the lighting. There is a flight of
stairs crawling to an upper level, I follow them to the top.
To the right is my fathers old Transer Model Number Two, an antique worth more than its weight in food. I stare at it for nearly a full minute only
breaking the trance when I hear Mother’s voice yell my name from below.
I answer her call “up here Mother, readying my scooter.” I lie.
“Kalvyn, theres no need to lie, you always prep your sccoter before you resign the evening.” She knows me far to well. Because I’m most like my
father she says. Its true, I can tell.
“you know, Kal, it’s yours whenever you want it” mother says arriving at the top of the stairs.
I glance quickly, unbidden at Father’s Transer, it’s red enamel gleaming in the light peeking through the portals on the lower level, motes of
dust apply a certain aesthetic to my view as though the Transer were tearing through a cloud at mach speeds. I know the Transer Two can’t go that
fast but still.
“I know it Mother, but I can’t, I just can’t. I mean, I’ve never even sat in the thing, for Ura’s sake.”
A silence falls on the hangar that nearly deafens me. I look to my mother. Tears are beginning to well in her eyes and I feel that cold stone in the
pit of my stomach turn, seeing my mother like this is almost enough to make me hate Father. Why did the bastard have to leave us? I feel immidiately
guilty upon completing the thought, Father was no bastard, not by a long shot.
“don’t cry mother.” I say moving to embrace the woman that birthed me all those twent-two years ago. “you and I both know Father had his
reasons for leaving, there was nothing that could be done, Ryck said-“
“Damn what Ryck said Kal, he’s the man that sent your father away! You know that Kal, you now that.” She says with anger in her eyes. She
continues, “Still you work with the man.”
“He swears it’s what father would want and all I want is to believe Father would approve of me.”
“he would Kal.” She says, begginning to weep now. I hug her once more tighter this time kissing her on the cheek before disengaging the
Holding Mother at arms length I say to her quietly, “I know mother I believe you.” Not exactly a lie but nor is it the truth. “what is it you
came out here in the wind to tell me, Mother?”
“Right,” she says rubbing at her now red and puffy eyes. “Ryck was on the comm he wants you to report in at Webs earlier than he told you last
“Really,” Its not a question, I’m a too dumbfounded for questions. Why would Ryck ask me to report earlier than scheduled? Between his behavior
over the comm earlier and now this, I am begginning to feel uneasy about the rest of this day. Ryck has never had me report early.
“and what time am I to be there Mother?” I ask dutifully.
“now.” Comes her response.
“Now!” has Ryck gone mad? What about study, what about Galendra? “did he give any reason as to why I need to be at Webs immediately, this
doesn’t make sense Mother, Ryck has never asked me to come in early.”
“none, Kalvyn. Just said he needed you there now. His words.”
Needed me. “right. I suppose I had best get moving then.” I give my mother another hug and kiss her again on the cheek before mounting my Deltax
3200 airscoot. I press a small button on the control panel below the steeringbars, a portal begins sliding upward into the roof allowing me to
maneuver the airscoot out of the hangar with ease. Pressing the ignition my deltax screams to life with an electronic whir like a breeze of lightning
caressing your face, a brief static charge makes my hair stand on end then I’m off out of the hangar and into the windy New Cydonian plains.
Vertis proper is less than a ten minute ride on my Deltax. There is something freeing about opening the throttle out on the plains pushing the
airscoot to its limits, around fifty knots of wind blowing through my hair around the plastiglass windshield that protects my face from anything that
might be unlucky enough to get caught up in the vortex of my airscoot.
Arriving at the border of Vertis District I slow the Deltax to around seventeen knots. Cruising the wide thoroughfares at a height of about three
meteres. The pleebs below look up at me as though I were flying on a sow. Most of them see me daily, but still they never get enough, on the outer
ring of Vertis District Council members are rarely seen, most of these people have never even ridden in a flightcar let alone driven their own
The most these pleebs see of flightcars on a regular basis are the black specks zooming about the inner ring where the Council Chamber and all its
members live in the three-hundred-thirty-three meter tower that houses all Vertis District Tarvinian Royal Council members of which there are
seven-hundred for Vertis alone, larger districts like Tallando-Graff house even more.
Ahead I see the headquarters of Webs. Slowing to less than ten knots, I flip the switch labeled descension, another static whir and the Deltax begins
hovering in place as I twist the trottle lightly the airscoot begins to descend with the grace of a Novus bat. I park the vehicle and flip the switch
back to its original position. Dismounting the scooter, I reach into my pocket and pull out the airscoot controller pad, press the button that shows a
pictogram of a little man being zapped by a stylized lightning bolt and head inside to see what has Ryck behaving so peculiar.