Among the skyscrapers of Gen Stulp, in the nation of Grudensaan, a man could be seen running down the sidewalk. He stuck out because of his speed, and also his off-world clothing. Soon he found his contact; an older robot with molded green torso and legs, bright yellow angular stylish gloves and boots, a helmet that looked modelled after ancient diving helms with four giant antennae protruding from the ears. A short conversation, then the shuttle was waiting atop the building. A few more short minutes and Lalslan was in the air, high above the island of the Grudensaan and into the upper atmosphere. Above, further, the clouds rolling beneath him through the shuttle window. The sky was his world for brief minutes, then the blackness of space.
A clever switch with a maintenance man after a clever break-in to a private hangar, and Lalslan was onboard a upper atmosphere freighter due to dock at a space station operated by an independent that traded in some of the shadiest stock in the galaxy. Lalslan had been hired to return something valuable, very valuable. A very particular woman.
The sounds in the freight hangar were deafening; machines winding, computers chattering, sparks jumping, gears whining. He escaped as quickly as he could to a side corridor and got his bearings. There was no way of knowing where she would be, who or what might be protecting her, anything. Part of Lalslan’s mission was to get out somehow if things went wrong and come back with better intel. That seemed unlikely. If he was caught, he wasn’t going to be making it out.
He checked his gun. Small rush of adrenaline.
Blue steel hallways lit with artfully placed fluorescent; antique tech for a quirky owner. Then, around one corner, a handful of Bresugese drones. They weren’t usually that difficult to destroy, but these might be custom built with black market mods; he decided to try and avoid them if possible. His blood was starting to pump harder. It wasn’t like him to get unsettled. Something about this mission…
He came to a computer terminal; it was state of the art, glimmering with shifting lights he couldn’t understand, it seemed locked into some kind of security pattern and he had no idea how to break into something like that. Door locks, shuttle drives- he could do that kind of stuff. Hardcore data hacking was far beyond.
He moved on, found a room with three elevators, took one at random, gun ready.
Luck! She was right there. Just two droids guarding her, their red and white armor plates shining in the electric gleam of the hallway. He ducked back a moment to be sure and ready, then opened fire.
A few seconds, barely more than a minute of intense combat with Lalslan firing at close range and using his fists between charges.
Then both droids were on the floor, a scramble of electrically sparking wreckage. He checked to make sure none more were coming and quickly ran and freed the captive. She looked up; her hair was loose, rough. Her clothing was black, military gear. She caught his eye a moment, then she was gone.
He knew she had no choice; the plan was to split and use seperate port lines back to the nearest Allied Kingdoms orbital district. He turned aside and left down the same elevator he’d come up, then back down the corridor to the maintenance dock. As he found himself alone using his com unit to request his own transport his mind roamed to thoughts of her.
They had been so close, such a short time and so long ago now. He’d never known her romantically, he couldn’t even consider who could. He had been a sort of disciple of hers while they were on the same team for some work on Maachip. She had taught him about mysticism, about following the path to truth, about enlightenment and opening and growing spiritually. Since then he’d rather lost track of it all, as she was about the only person that had ever talked about things like that. Usually for him it was just money, steal, kill, money, food, sleep, money. That was about it.
So she had brought a new kind of light to his life, but as most memories and inspirations with time it muted and faded away. When the bounty had come up to rescue her, it had woke these thoughts again and stirred his soul. There had been a deep value in what her messages had brought to him, a bright spot in a dark life. It was one of the reasons he’d jumped at this mission, to repay that debt.
Now she was gone again, and he knew he couldn’t follow. Did she even know what effect she’d had? He could only wonder.
In open space somewhere between Goan and Dremuc, a small ship glided along through the void.
The ship’s sole occupant had a headache, and had been having a dream about being surrounded by butterflies until he awoke and of course they all flew away.
His arc was taking him past a view of suns and planets and moons glowing in the void. He considered how far his life had taken him, as opposed to the lives of previous generations.
His people had come to space lately, and only out of necessity as their homeworld was attacked by the Bresugese and Geshente. There had been no real peace in all this time since, but for moments like these, a tiny speck before awe-inspiring vistas. Anytime you were off-world it seemed, there was this sort of rest, at least unless an enemy fleet was bearing down on you.
He was disappointed as usual when he docked in at AKM-Station 427, above the planet Dremuc. One step closer to the politics and realities of planet-side life.
Giant windows gave views of the planet above/below. It rolled gently by, like a spherical whale, the very image of tranquility. It hid its secrets with distance, cloaked the strife with cloud and mist. Sometimes, he actually wanted to go down, as long as he was watching from space.
Something stirred deep inside.
It was part of what she had told him…part of something he’d heard.
It was a sensation he’d never be able to describe to anyone, partly because likely no one he would ever meet would care, in his life of soldiers and criminals and security forces.
A lightening, a feeling of connectedness, of peace. It didn’t really come from anywhere…but there was a subtle sort of understanding that good could come, peace could finally wash over things, and that time and again the good had stood against the evil and would continue to do so. His heart soared and raced faster than his spaceship, his mind unfolded like a paper flower of infinite complexity. He could almost hear some sort of music from nowhere, a kind of source-less chord of harmony. That the truth was that conflict was temporary, and that the natural state was to return to peace.