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Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:00:00 - [1]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:19:08
I could not finish this story in time, but I believe it was a shame not to post it. It might be continued someday.

L'amour peut régler vous libérez
(Love can set you free)

The buzzing alarm clock was a life preserver from another night of nightmares. However, it had that certain grating, trespassing noise that gave Wahpekute Assiniboine no sympathy as his fist came down on it hard, squelching the errant chirping. The alarm did not come apart like pigeons flocking off the ground, instead, the hydroxide-based graphite padding kept the alarm quite safe. Air vented from the porous sac as it collapsed, and the alarm was silenced. Satisfied the intruder was taken care of, the muscles in his arms relaxed, and fell back down, hanging off the side of the bed. Morning had come, again.

The blue top sheet had all but fallen off his body and off the bed, hanging like suspended rain. The black hairs on Wahpekute’s legs were erect and gasping for any warmth they could lay their tentacles on. Toes cracked from stiff posture as old life grinded back into them. His skin was dry and irritated, demanding some kind of treatment be taken soon. In the midst of his body’s needs, the Minmatar’s eyes finally opened, soaking in the room. Deciding to retake control of his body, he lurched his torso forward and brought his knees up, coming to a stop after his arms could support the weight.

There was hardly any light, as the sun was on the other side of the tall apartment building. Instead there was a rare royal blue curtain on the horizon, only visible for maybe half an hour, as the rising sun would flood the smog-ridden atmosphere of Nakigao with a noxious orange glow. Wahpekute might have considered himself lucky to have an unobstructed view of the sunset, if only he wasn’t sentimental. Every morning a blue sky, and every night a beautiful sunset. It was the fog that made the sunsets so spectacular, and the benumbed beauty was boring him.

Turning his attention to the morning routine, the Minmatar swung his legs to the side of the bed and set his feet on the ground, kicking aside clothes and empty water bottles. Dragging his elbows atop his thighs, he hunched over to look at the dirty floor directly beneath him: Loose change, half-eaten food packages, dust, an ant or two, and a towel. Wahpekute took a few deep breaths to charge up his soul for the day. It seemed everyday after his thirty-third birthday seemed to get longer in the morning, and shorter at night. Gene therapy kept his body in the prime of a twenty-five year old boy, but his mind was a different story. Then after deciding it was time to get moving, Wahpekute got up.

After kicking a few more items out of the way, he made it to the stand-up shower in the wall. Closing the translucent door behind him, he turned on the cold faucet, and braced his face in front of the showerhead. The gushing water spiked his facial nerves, and shocked his chest cavity as it ran down. The Minmatar let out a grunt of pain as the cold swept through his system, shaking every cobweb off his CNS. Feeling the freezing water had done enough, his hand spun the hot faucet, and the temperature of the water went up to acceptable levels. As the water ran off his head and down his back, he took a moment to think about the nightmare he had last night. They were images of things from the corporation wars grasping at him, invisible claws from behind tugging him away, and more recently, things from inside the Incursion Gate breaking away and moving by their selves. They had never made any sense for as long as he had them. Soaping his body should be his only concern right now, and he tiredly put aside more problems that he couldn’t solve.

A few minutes later, Wahpekute turned off the shower and stepped out. Grabbing the towel off the floor, he shook it strongly, sending dirt and paper wrappers flying through the room. One speck got under his eye, and he cursed himself as he blinked it out. Once the towel was clean enough, he wiped himself off, and then applied his hygiene stick under his arms. Reaching for the clothes dresser, his eye caught a picture frame. It was his old Endless Corporation Peacekeepers squadron press photograph, along with his unit’s photograph. A bubble of memories passed through his head.

Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:01:00 - [2]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:02:47
The “Crackerjacks”, he mused. A bunch of guys who did nothing but fight the enemies of Endless. They had killed many, and never backed down from a good fight, despite the odds. How distant it seemed now, things were simpler back then. Now there was no enemy to fight, no blood to demand, only the hidden stabs and slices from everyone, everyone who secretly tried to take advantage of you. Shaking off another echo of the past, Wahpekute got dressed. Nothing more than black ribbed shirt, light tan pants, sneakers, a dark brown light trench coat, and his Endless issue blue sunglasses. Taking no time to hesitate in front of the mirror, he walked out the door and locked it behind him.

-Happiness is just a word to me-
-And it might have meant a thing or two-
-If I had known the difference-

The orange haze began to fall upon the awaking world as it began to go about their busy lives. Ground traffic had begun to fill the streets of Nakigao. Walking pedestrians kept their pace criss-crossing walkways and street corners while listening to their music or planning the day’s schedule on PDA’s. Traditional cyclists had a lane in the main streets; some had on their business clothes on and briefcase tied to the seat, others had lighter sweat clothes and a backpack. Most people carried personal air filters through the heavily polluted air. Some were stylish, others were simply for needs. Those who could not afford it had a cloth over their nose and mouth, or toughed out the air, hacking or coughing sporadically.

High above the ground and in the air, luxury air transportation carried VIPs and other executives to their destination in smoother, faster vehicles. By their sides was always a security shuttle or two, as deterrence to keep would be assassins at bay. Stationary floating signals would direct air traffic up or down to keep high-speed collisions from happening. Every once in awhile, a large Ishukone Security vessel would pass over the skies for its brief patrol sweep.

Between the two layers, a snaking steel string suspended by nearby buildings drilled through the space provided. Hanging from the line came a magnetically accelerated monorail train, zipping along to its various destinations. Inside the carts were dozens of Caldari men and women, reading their morning publication on their electronic tablets, watching the news on their eyewear, or meditating for the day’s work ahead of them. Like cattle, they remained silent and docile, never speaking a word to each other. It was a perfect pattern of Caldari philosophy, expect for one errant strand: the large Minmatar male who stooped his head to avoid banging the ceiling every time the monorail bumped.

Wahpekute did not do much of anything in the cart as well, but being a 6’7” Minmatar in a world of 5’6” Caldari, one could not help but draw a few stares and quick glances. He remembered the first time he ever boarded the monorail. The train had stopped on the platform before he could get down to the opened door, and had to dash to the cart. He had made it just in time to stick his arm in the door to keep it closing, and forcibly reopened the doors. Before he could step in, he looked at the people. Everyone had let out a unanimous shout of terror, which Wahpekute misjudged as the door complaining. Everyone was frozen with terror, eyes widened and mouths agape, and all staring at the Minmatar, causing to freeze Wahpekute too. In that moment of awkwardness, the doors closed in front of him and the monorail moved on, the occupants still unmoving. The Minmatar decided to take the next train and not put on such a show.

“Next stop, Pheonix Rising Incorporated and Ooaji Food Incorporated,” cooed the female PA, in a soft, efficient, motherly tone, pulling Wahpekute out of his memory. A slight smile would cross nearly all of the passengers every time they heard the PA speak, except for Wahpekute of course. It reminded him of someone he thought knew in the past, some motherly figure. But he could not remember, so the echo was put out of his mind. His stop was coming up.

The buzzing rail above him signaled the slowing down of the magnetic couplings that helped the carts glide along steel wires. It was a gradual process as the platform closed came closer and closer to the carts. It was at first just a plain white line, but as it got closer, the intricate docking system became more visible. The train had slowed down to a slow pace, and was aligning up for the docking procedure.

Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:03:00 - [3]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:04:03
Overhead, the monorail cradle waited a few seconds for the train to come to a halt. Once it stopped, several powerful mechanical claws clasped onto hooks in the roof of the carts. The arms then lifted the train off the wire in one clean smooth movement, and extended the carts onto the platform, perfectly in sync with the extending steps that unfolded from the undercarriage of the train. After a soft jerk, the doors opened, and dozens of Caldari smoothly exited the monorail, while those waiting to embark courteously and patiently waited on the sides of the doors as to not obstruct the disembarking passengers. In the midst of the pack of people, Wahpekute made his way towards his corporation’s building.

He entered the pathway that led into a quad-sectioned garden. Some people were sitting on benches along the path, eating their breakfast or talking to coworkers. The garden itself was a plaza of genetically-altered plants and trees, designed to withstand the toxic atmosphere and turn out some oxygen, although some quipped that they polluted as well. At the intersection of the perpendicular paths was a Zen Garden, gravel neatly raked with a few large smooth stones, and an older man quietly tending to it as the path encircled the centerpiece. Only the most absent-minded Gallente tourist would dare tread on a company’s Zen Garden, it was considered a personal insult, one has led to the disappearance of many mistake makers.

After stepping out of the garden, the Minmatar looked up at his corporation’s building, as it was a beautiful sight to see, even if he didn’t appreciate it anymore. The central plume structure rose up a wide base, with geometric translations of swirling blue fire, reaching up to the red and gold phoenix rising from the flames. It was an exaggerated metaphor, as so many other Caldari buildings attempted, but it was more subdued and subtle. Folding out from the sides of the obelisk were two daughter buildings, slowly curving in, spreading like silver wings over an open orange sky. Wahpekute saw the bird, he saw the metaphors; he had seen it for the past four months. It ceased to do anything for him. Closing his eyes momentarily, he resumed his path and entered the main doors.

Stepping inside, Wahpekute made his way through the main hall. It was a wide open space, with many individuals having individual conversations, their voices carrying up against the slanted glass front wall and into the ears of sound recording and observation equipment. There were some guided tours passing through, the guide spitting words outs in many languages trying to control her wandering multi-cultural sheep. Passing the front desk, he made his way up the half-level of stairs, and down the center hallway created by meeting rooms walled with polished poly-wood. At the end of the hallway was a silver-steel elevator with one young security guard watching over it. The Minmatar approached him.

“May I see some identification?” the guard asked plainly, holding out a larger modified black PDA with card analyzer. Wahpekute reached into his inner-left coat pocket and pulled out a red card with a yellow square with his right hand, and removed his sunglasses with his left. After putting his shades away, he slid the card into the PDA, keeping his thumb on the yellow square. The PDA beeped and scanned the card, and the display brought up the mug of one Wahpekute Assiniboine, Director of Asset Security. Authenticating the individual, the guard motioned for the Minmatar to remove his card, which he replaced back in his coat pocket.

“Good morning Director,” the guard snapped formally and quickly bowed, Wahpekute merely motioning a nod. After the bow, the guard slipped his card in the elevator panel, waited a few seconds and yanked it out. Nothing happened. The guard tried it again, still nothing. He turned to the Minmatar and quickly nodded an apology with a nervous chuckle, and tried the card again. It worked, and the elevator doors opened up for Wahpekute to step inside. He placed his left hand on a scanner, let it identify him with an automated response, and pushed the level marked “S-B”.

After a short trip down the shaft, the doors opened up again, and Wahpekute stepped out into Security’s front office. The round Caldari woman behind the reception desk saw the Director walking in, and immediately twirled in her chair to meet up with her superior, taking tiny precise steps. In her left arm she carried a plastic folder and an electronic tablet, which clacked against the secretary’s long nails. Wahpekute knew her as Ms. Hakudai.

Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:04:00 - [4]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:18:00
“Good morning sir,” Hakudai greeted Wahpekute. “Here is today’s report. Matrix reports 3 attempts of hacking last night, all refuted and traced, the State has sent personnel to arrest the people. So far no reports of disturbances along the buffer zone. We have these guests touring the compound, and they should stay out of sensitive areas. Oh, and President MacAllen wants a meeting with you and Director Shondi this afternoon, this folder has details before the meeting. I’ll send in some coffee as soon as possible.”

The woman was a machine, Wahpekute acknowledged. He would lose his mind in this crazy world of Caldari operations and procedure. Once Ms. Hakudai peeled off from his stride, the Minmatar made his way to his office, if you could call it an office, and opened the door. Inside was another trashy room not to misplaced from his apartment. Paper scribbling were all over the place, a dart board held several balanced knifes and darts embedded in it’s body, and his computer had be left on. Some of his cabinets were half open and unsorted, and some of the overhead lights were in need of replacing. He tossed the tablet and folder on the desk non-chalantely, and fell back onto his chair, crushing an errant paper or two.

How things had changed from distant days of Endless and Oracle. The warrior had grown too old to be useful to fight with cloak and dagger, so they had stuck him in some corner in the basement, sucking whatever life Wahpekute could offer. Yet he still served, it was the only thing he knew how to do. His eternal friend and superior Vasdenjas Bokor had given him the chance to make something of his life, and he couldn’t let him down, nor his race of backwards, ignorant brethren. However, life had slowly dwindled from rebirth to living death, as nothing of personal importance had happened to him. His Karanna had grown up, Jake was growing older, his few friends were distant to him. Life seemed to have very little left to surprise Wahpekute with.

-Asked myself what it's all for-
-You know the funny thing about it-
-I couldn't answer-
-No, I couldn't answer-

Somewhere in the bowels of PRI Security, Wahpekute was strolling around, checking on people and operations. He had changed out of his clothes and into the crisp black uniform and cap of PRI Security personnel. It was not just any kind of uniform, but a suit of armor, protecting the user from flak debris, piercing projectiles, and most high power energy guns, courtesy of PRI R&D. It had yet been tested in an actual event, but Wahpekute put his trust in Director Popov’s promises, so it was a question of faith until an event proved the suit worthwhile. Although, it was also very comfortable and easy to move in, quite unlike the Endless Marine Corps load out he had the displeasure of taking several times for ground combat and sabotage.

His sidearm was also a product of PRI, the “Gremlin” .50 USP. It had two primary ammo types: A shotgun-pattern shell that had adjustable spread of two feet from 10 to 30 yards with 7 “Boston” shells per magazine, and a high-velocity armor-piercing bullet with shrapnel capsule for increased damage after passing the armor at 16 “Rhino” rounds per magazine. Besides the intended ammo, an internal computer with micro-mechanics allows the loading of most recognized CONCORD small arms ammunition. Wahpekute did have a chance to use the gun in the field after an attempted Minmatar suicide bombing a month ago with a Rhino round. After pacifying the terrorist, witnesses said that there was nearly nothing left of the man’s back, like as if something had taken a massive bite out of him.

After making his rounds of the complex, he headed back to the Security lounge for a quick lunch before his meeting with the President. Walking inside, there were only three other employees inside, one lying on the couch attempting to sleep, and the other two sitting at a table and eating their lunches and talking. The two looked at him when he walked in, and immediately began to smile and giggle, and turned back to their conversation. Wahpekute gave them puzzled look, but brushed it off after a moment. He walked over to the row of tall lockers and began to approach his.

“The Director’s here,” suddenly spoke the employee on the couch, stopping Wahpekute in his tracks, surprising the Director. He turned to the source, who was still lying on the couch. The employee saw the Minmatar looking right at him, and raised his hand and waved. The other two employees giggled some more. Again Wahpekute was puzzled, but annoyed that he had become the center of attention all of a sudden. Deciding nothing had happened, he moved between the bench and his locker and comboed in his key, and opened the door, looking for his lunch card.


Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:07:00 - [5]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:22:10
Something leaped out of the locker and at Wahpekute with a growl. It wrapped its fore limbs around his back and its head was in his chest, mouth open. A sudden shock and fear wiped his body of thought save one: Slaver. The surprise threw him backwards, and his legs caught the bench and set his upper body falling to the ground back first. He curled his neck to brace for the fall and to try look at the monster that attacked him, but there was black hair blossoming and keeping the creature hidden. The hard but carpeted intercepted his fall, and the Minmatar’s head snapped back and banged against the ground, his brain receiving a kinetic slapping. He had lost most control of his body, and felt very groggy and dizzy. The form suddenly leaned up and the hair was tossed back, revealing the assailant.

“Surprise!” giggled a decidedly feminine voice. The room was suddenly filled with laughter.

His eyesight returning, he looked at the figure now straddling his chest. A petite frame encased in a black uniform that seemed familiar, the custom tailoring encasing decidedly feminine curves. The face becoming clearer after stray wisps of short black hair were brushed back out of it. Her olive skin seemed illuminated by the light from the ceiling, her smile reflected that light and her bright brown eyes looking directly into his. He remembered who it was. It was Rebecca Himawari, of Warehouse and Inventory.

“Oh, gee I’m sorry about the fall!” Rebecca quickly apologized, realizing the Minmatar was not in good humor at the moment. “I didn’t know you were that close!”

Wahpekute could only grumble at that time. He tried to get up, but his muscles still weren’t functioning properly, and could not quite push him off the ground. Rebecca dismounted the Minmatar and tried to pull him up by his arm, which was enough to help him launch off the ground and sit back onto the bench. He held the back of his head, which had produced a little lump, but not nearly the horrific damage it could have been against a harder solid floor. Rebecca was busy with his other arm, holding and petting it like some domestic animal.

“Is there anything I can get you?” she eagerly inquired. “Water? Ice? A snack? A pillow?”
“Nuuuhhh,” Wahpekute half-replied.
“Are you sure? Maybe you should sit here for awhile, are you sure you don’t need anything?”
“Uuughh… Ice, ice please.”
“Right away Director!”

Rebecca let go of him and trotted off to get some ice, while the other employees did nothing but stare at the Minmatar, for fear of losing their jobs should they do anything to make him mad. Shaking some sense into his head, he heard the ice machine churn out its wares, and the clutter of a bag. He let go of his head and brought the arm down, flipping the other in expectation of the bag of ice. Suddenly a very cold sensation came over his head, and he flinched down with a yelp to get away from it. It was really cold.

“Ooh, I’m sorry!” Rebecca repeated. “I was just trying to help.”
“Errrr…” Wahpekute grunted back.

She handed him the bag of ice, which he applied to his head on his own terms with a wince. Rebecca kept standing in a closed stance, holding one hand with the other. After a minute, the Minmatar got up and turned to the girl. She seemed very sorry and apologetic, fidgeting around like she was.

“How did you get into my locker?” Wahpekute asked very slowly.
“Well, Simlu over there from Matrix, he helped me open your lock,” Rebecca explained, and Wahpekute shot a glance over at Simlu, the employee on the couch, who smiled nervously and twitched a bow with a scared chuckle. “He was going to warn me when you were in the room, and I spooked you when you opened the locker.”
“How long were you in there for?”
“Only maybe five minutes? But it was too long; your locker stinks. I bet I stink now too.”

Rebecca proceeded to open her locker, took out a can of aerosol spray, and quickly gave herself the once over with it. Once done, she looked at Wahpekute’s locker, and sprayed some in there as well. Then she turned to the still sitting Minmatar, thought for a minute, and sprayed him too. He jerked back with another yelp, to which she quickly apologized again. She quickly put the spray can away, and backed off a little.

Wahpekute looked at the clock on the wall. He had run out of time for a little lunch, and had to be at the Security meeting soon. He dropped the ice bag on the bench and closed his locker, making sure Rebecca wasn’t in it first. He then proceeded to walk to the lounge door. But before he could step outside, Rebecca has scuttled up next to the door and extended his cap into his face, throwing Wahpekute off again.

“Your hat sir!” she prompted.
“… Thank you,” Wahpekute responded, carefully taking back the hat.
“You know you’re gonna go bald if you keep wearing hats.”
“But I don’t have…”

Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:08:00 - [6]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:09:39
Rebecca giggled as Wahpekute realized the implied meaning. He sighed, and walked out the door, closing it behind him, leaving the strange girl to herself.

-No one owes you, no one's to blame-
-Save for bad genes or DNA-
-Ask your conscience the why and how-
-Do it then, Do it when, But do it now-

“Our automated systems detected, thwarted, and backtracked three intrusion attempts this week. Investigations underway. Our new data fortresses are performing to specifications, preventing all casual access attempts, and only allowing the serious offenders a chance at getting in. Two of the suspects from last week's attempts have been apprehended by State and all their data assets seized, pending forensic analysis for evidence to secure the convictions.”

The meeting with President MacAllen went on, with the occasional grumble and complaint from Wahpekute’s stomach. He was still rubbing the back of his head, trying to soothe the nagging thought of that girl out of his mind. As Director of Matrix Security Xavier Shondi continued his report, the Minmatar could not help but let his mind wander to Rebecca. After all, he had not had that kind of contact with a woman before. Minutes went by and the woman continued to be etched in his skull. Director Shondi continued his report.

“We've uncovered at least two more personnel who are not properly securing their intellectual property according to our regulations and, as per your approved protocols, have seized said assets, pending their coming to my office for discussion on the topic. For Tuymoka, this is his second transgression. As you are well aware, his third transgression means summary termination. That is all for this week’s report.”
“I see,” President MacAllen closed. “I will see to it that the State’s investigations are forwarded to your database. Ser Popov will receive the report regarding his coworkers’ lack of security practices. Thank you Director. Now then, what of Asset Security?”

The conversation shifted to Wahpekute, still rubbing his sore head. Shifting his posture on his chair, he rubbed his eyes and met the President eye to eye.

“Well sir,” the Minmatar began. “No disturbances have been reported along the buffer zone or within it since the terrorist threat. The two-week period for scrutinized employee, applicant, and visitor screening is up, and we have returned to normal screening. This has resulted in the releasing of four employees, rejection of twelve applicants, and denial of about thirty-five visitors for the total period. The tours have been completed, and there were no breechings of secured areas.”
“And what of the investigation of the late Ser Bulsei?” asked MacAllen. “Has anything turned up that was not previously apparent?”
“No sir. Investigations have led to no other conclusions. It has been decided that Ser Bulsei’s death was self-inflicted. His background shows some psychological troubles, and there was no sign of a struggle. It has been ruled as suicide, possibly related to the large misshipment of materials he was involved in before his death.”
“What of security preparations for this weekend’s demonstration?”
“We have two cruisers on active space duty, as well as four assault frigates on standby should anything unexpected happen. There have been no visitors or breaches of perimeter. The test area has been surveyed and it seems there is no sign of pirate…”
“I mean the ball, Director.”
“Oh, well, seeing it is my night off, I have assigned personnel to cover night duty and Director Shondi is in charge of possible diplomat espionage. Do you require anything else?”

“Actually…” The President leaned back in his chair, the orange light from outside soaking through the windows and painted the room. “I require your presence.”
“Excuse me, sir?” Wahpekute tossed back at MacAllen. “What do you mean?”
“I mean exactly that. Several important State representatives will be attending this demonstration, and not only would I like the comfort of having one of my most trusted security personnel there to make sure things are smooth, but also because we need to display them the advantages of current our, diverse, executive staff. This is mainly Ambassador General Bokor’s idea, and it sounds good enough to warrant this request.”
“I am to appear in uniform, I presume?”
“No Director, you are going to be a guest that night, not an employee. Formal attire is required. Our tailor will set up an appointment to take your measurements. Ms. Hakudai has your invitation. Now, if there is nothing else gentlemen, I believe this meeting is adjourned.”

Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:10:00 - [7]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:20:29
Wahpekute and Xavier rose from their chairs, and bowed to their president, and Adrian MacAllen rose and returned the bow. The President then pushed a button on his desk notifying his secretary he would be ready for his next meeting shortly, while the two Security Directors made their way to the exit. A slight displeasure had already sank into the Minmatar’s mind before he left the office. He had been looking forward to time alone.

Inside the secretary’s room, Sareenah Takayuchi, Vice President of Development, was sitting patiently on a sofa, tapping away at her tablet. She was wearing a dark rose business suit, the skirt cut just below the knees in front but with a longer tail in the back that floated behind her when she walked. The shoulders, of course, could pass off for bladed pads in the gladiatorial arena. Spotting the two Directors leaving the President’s office, she uncrossed her legs and pushed herself up onto her high-heeled shoes, bringing her close to Wahpekute’s height.

“It seems one of our Security Directors isn’t his usual charming self,” cynically observed Sareenah, eyeing Wahpekute as he quickly bowed to Sareenah. “Pray tell me what could possibly pull him down to this level of brooding?”
“Our Director of Security,” Shondi jumped before Wahpekute could respond. “Has been asked to come out of his shell and appear in public at the demonstration, and is unhappy because he won’t be able to use that time to hole up in his apartment.”
“Well, congratulations on your invitation to society, Director Assiniboine. I do hope you find it more enjoyable than your own little world that revolves around you. If you’ll excuse me, gentlemen.”

Sareenah began to walk into the President’s office, but stopped suddenly and turned to the two men again.

“Oh, Director?” she stated, in the most official, business tone possible for the situation while still remaining slightly sardonic. “Bring a date.” Huffing a chuckle, Sareenah walked into the office, the doors closing behind her. Wahpekute was left in shock and confusion as to his new orders. As the Minmatar pondered his assignment, Shondi ushered him into the elevator, and requested the Security level as a common destination.

“A date?” Wahpekute echoed, the order starting to soak in.
“I’m sure you can find one,” Shondi chimed in. “I know Ser Bokor uses an escort service every now and then. Perhaps he could recommend you someone.”
“I don’t understand his taste. All I see those women do is stand there like vultures, listing around him, and then he takes them back to his chambers and in the morning discards them.”
“Well, what is your taste?”

Wahpekute stood there stunned for a moment, unable to answer that question. The hiss of the opening door saved him from the need to answer, but Shondi did not need further enlightenment. The two directors stepped out and received their share of attention from their assistants. They parted with a slight bow of the head, and went their separate ways.

The rest of the day went on. Reports were filed, personnel were monitored, and rounds were made. Outside the sky passed from an orange glow to a bleeding red as the day ran dry and changed to dusk. The massive flock back home had begun as workers packed up their things made their ways back to their families. The Minmatar was not part of this migration; he was required to stay the night and patrol the compound. He did not mind it one bit, the solitude was the****utic, and the lack of official business allowed him to concentrate on his observations of the grounds, more like the prowling hunter he somewhat longed to be again.

The Minmatar made his way back to the security lounge to find a bite to eat before the night’s patrol. Inside were a few employees opening and closing lockers, hoping to make it home before the immense gridlock of Caldari people kept them occupied in transit. Standing next to his locker was a familiar figure from recent memory. Rebecca was leaning her delicate shoulder against a nearby locker holding her small, black backpack in her hands. It seemed she had been waiting there for awhile.

“Hello sir,” Rebecca spoke as she bowed slightly in Wahpekute’s presence. Wahpekute only looked at her for a second and opened his locker, not speaking a word to the woman. He pulled his uniform jacket off and laid it on the bench behind him.

“I wanted to apologize for my earlier actions today,” she continued. “I know it was very unprofessional and perhaps a breach of a few PRI security codes of conduct. I just want to make sure you aren’t mad, because it was only meant as a joke. We’ve seen you come in day in day out with nothing but the same look of trouble in your eyes, and so we, well, wanted to get a laugh out of you. I’m sorry if we dishonored you in anyway.”

Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:11:00 - [8]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:12:54
“There is no disciplinary action forthcoming,” Wahpekute shot back while going through his locker, without even looking at Rebecca. “If that is what you are inquiring about. So you can worry not.”
“Well, to be honest, I was more concerned about you than myself. Seeing that look of fright in your eyes when I surprised you was bothering me the rest of the day.”
“You know there are other ways to get my attention than leaping out of my locker and violating eight codes of conduct, unless that is the kind of attention you want.”
“It’s hard to get the attention of a man when he has an emotional titanium shell surrounding his tougher stoic demeanor… I’m sorry.”

Wahpekute resisted the urge to glare at her, and continued to sort his locker, now stinking of a flowery Caldari female fragrance. He was hungry again, but there was a lot on his mind that an old soldier had to wade through, and this ball made everything a little more difficult. He sat down on the bench and stared at his locker.

“What’s on your mind?” Rebecca asked, trying to slip around Wahpekute’s defenses.
“Oh, it’s the stupid upcoming ball I have to attend,” Wahpekute grumbled, thinking out loud. “The President wants me there as a guest, and the Vice President wants me to bring a date. I have no idea how I’m going to deal with this.”

Rebecca’s face lit up like the sun. “I know,” she exclaimed. “I can be your date! I’ve always wanted to rub shoulders with the executives.”
“Wait, what,” Wahpekute stammered, taken aback by Rebecca’s sudden burst of happiness. “You want to be my date?”
“You’re cute enough, in that hard-luck case kind of way. Besides, who knows, I could be seen and offered a promotion or something.”
“So you’re using me.”
“Well, in a sense you’d be using me too, so I think it’s a fair trade off. You get a date, and I get to mingle. Deal?”

Rebecca outstretched her hand into Wahpekute’s face, leaning back slightly. The Minmatar gave it some thought. It would solve his need for a date. She was, nice looking, he guessed. But, he tried to think. Was there anything to second guess? Any other catches? Nothing popped through, so he took Rebecca’s hand.

“Great,” Rebecca confirmed enthusiastically. “Not much time to find a good dress. I gotta call my friends and let them know. I’ll see you around, date.”

Rebecca trotted out of the locker room and left Wahpekute with a slightly puzzled look on his face. Despite all the social norms everyone knew, he was still uncertain he did the right thing. Shrugging it off, he went to the venting machines to find something to eat. There was work to be done yet.

-What can I tell you, this guy you see-
-I can't help feeling, so cool hip and so free-
-I don't believe in getting hooked on love, no not me-

The night of the ball had come. He had the tux on and fitted, the hover limousine was ready, the invitations were in his coat, and yet Wahpekute was still not ready. The ex-soldier fidgeted inside the limo as they pulled through Rebecca’s neighborhood, filled with neon signs advertising anything from life-altering sofas to genetic-enhancing sodas. Wahpekute’s eyes darted between advertisements and the youth on the streets digging into every fashionable commodity, if only to be hip for a few minutes. After crusing through the streets, the sleek, jet-black hover vehicle turned and hissed to a stop at the main doors of Rebecca’s building.

Wahpekute stepped out of the limo, and looked at apartment. It was a bleached white face with pink frames, an obvious female-only flat. There were about a dozen or more so of these same buildings, imitation or replicas. It was rare a design was found to be unique, as plagarism was rampant in the arts here in the Caldari State, as there were no laws regulating intellectual property not pertaining to productive business. A tune would be fresh for a minute before others would copy it and beat it to death. Those who lived by art had to not only be original, but a ruthless businessman, as the consumer had a short attention span, and a lost customer meant no yen, and no yen meant no food tonight.

Returning his wandering mind back to his task at hand, Wahpekute walked up to the door-woman, standing solid and firm. She was armed with a glo-rod, a non-lethal tazer meant to keep drunken males from running in and grabbing whatever pieces of ass they could find. It was a job he did not envy.

“I am here for Sei Himawari,” Wahpekute told the door-woman. “Would you call her down.”

The door woman looked through her PDA, and found the appointment.

“Welcome Ser Assiniboine,” the door-woman barked. “You are five minutes late. Sei Himawari has been waiting for you. She will be down soon. Stand clear of the doors please.”

Inquisitor Cruciatus
Posted - 2004.01.21 19:15:00 - [9]

Edited by: Inquisitor Cruciatus on 21/01/2004 19:15:56
Wahpekute stepped back and far out of the reach of the door-woman, retreating back to the side of the limo. Within a few moments, a figure flowered with blue walked out of the building and into the night. In her arms were two wispy silk ribbons that fell down nearly to her feet, like twin tails. The dress itself was slim and elegant, gently shimmering in the light. The figure’s hair was bundled up in the back and tied together by two sticks in traditional Caldari style. Wahpekute was not sure, but it might have been Rebecca.

“Hello Wahpekute,” Rebecca cooed, seeing her date standing there in boyish awe of her. “How do I look?”
“Uhhh,” Wahpekute paused, unsure how to answer that question. “Fine?”
“If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that meant I wasted a four hundred thousand yen on nothing. But, I’ll take that as a compliment, coming from you. You look fine yourself, you ought to wear things like that more often. Should we get going then?”
“Yes, the demonstration is going to start in about two hours.”

Rebecca walked up to the door and stopped expecting courtsey treatment, but Wahpekute just stood there, comepletely oblivious to what Rebecca was waiting for.

“Wahpekute,” Rebecca hinted. “The door.”
“What?” Wahpekute shot back.
“The door.”
“What about it?”
“You’re supposed to open the door for me.”
“I am?”

Rebecca just simply nodded her head with an understanding smile, and motioned for the door. Wahpekute finally opened the door and stood aside to let Rebecca in. She slipped in, leaving Wahpekute outside wishing he still had this night off to himself. He soon stepped inside as well, and the limo hissed and glided out the circle drive back into the street.

The two employees of PRI sat in strange silence for a long time as the limo zipped through air traffic. Wahpekute didn’t want to be anymore uncomfortable than he already was, so he kept his mouth shut and his eyes elsewhere. Rebecca returned the silence in kind, only glancing at Wahpekute once every few moments, although the silence was beginning to annoy her. She sought something he and she could talk about. An idea came up, and she turned to him.

“Tell me,” Rebecca began, looking at the ex-soldier. “Who will be showing up at the ball?”
“Well,” Wahpekute began, at first debating whether or not to break the silence. “The productivity directors from the State will be there. A few companies of the Gallente, Amarr, and even Taggart have representatives on the invitation list.”
“What about our executives? Who am I going to have to impress?”
“President MacAllen obviously, Vice President Takayuchi, R&D Director Popov, Ambassador General Bokor, but we have yet to replace the late Supervisor Bulsei yet, your boss.”
“Not to speak ill of the dead, but I didn’t like Ser Bulsei. He was really nosey, you know, getting into everyone’s face and business, even outside of work.”
“His suicide does not bother you then?”
“Well, suicide isn’t good anytime, just that it’s one problem off my mind.”
“I wish it were that simple.”

Rebecca leaned forward to get a better look at Wahpekute’s face, with a puzzled look on her own face. Wahpekute only stoned himself up and resumed his typical steely demeanor. The soldier wasn’t about to let anything else out, but he was surprised he even uttered that phrase to someone else.

-You're saying, I'm such a fool hiding my thoughts away from-
-you girl I know it's driving you wild-
-I'm sorry I'm a Cool Kat baby.-

To be continued...

Later boys and girls, now if you excuse me, I have to go join the Army.

Band of Brothers
Posted - 2004.01.21 23:08:00 - [10]

Don't let he army goons get to ya, TC

Cya around (great story)

Khal St
Triax Inc
Posted - 2004.01.22 12:17:00 - [11]

Fantastic Cruciatus, look forward you next piece...

Tyrrax Thorrk
Habitual Euthanasia
Pandemic Legion
Posted - 2004.01.23 10:17:00 - [12]

Damn.. I crave the rest of it Shocked

Freelance Unincorporated
Posted - 2004.01.23 10:26:00 - [13]

great story! Very Happy

Soar Angelic
Posted - 2004.02.25 10:54:00 - [14]


Excellent written, can't wait to


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