Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Last Son of Prano - Chapter 8.

Chapter 8.

D-Day minus 31.

He could spend the rest of his life reading, and some part of him admitted he would be content with that.

The room was octangular and very large. It was almost impossible to think that it was in the original plans for this station, as the shape was very irregular compared to the rest of the instillation's design. The floor was white with a vast array of tribal designs, which he learned were there to optimize the occupant's energy flow. The walls were covered in scrolls, each one it its own wooden slot in a vast grid of knowledge that surrounded the space. At the centre of the room was a low round table made of simple wood. There was no chair and the table was so low you had to sit cross-legged on the floor.

Gigaer spent much of his time in this room, absorbing scroll after ancient scroll. Many of his directed lessons were combined with either personal or ship combat. His skill with the kandjal was nearly unmatchable by anyone, and his abilities as a capsuleer were growing rapidly. Admittedly, deducing the finer points of philosophy while trying to keep your shields intact or your head attached was almost impossible at first, but the point was to help Gigaer think along multiple, simultaneous tangents. It was working, but he still enjoyed his time in the library.

There was very rarely anyone else who used the room, and distractions where nowhere to be found. Gigaer had spent entire days in deep study, and sometimes only stopped when someone came to see if he'd eaten or slept in the last 24 hours. Gigaer now wore robes similar to the ones the Elders adorned themselves with, though his were far less dramatic. A white loose-fitting robe and pants held together by a simple cloth belt. He thought it made him look like a cross between a monk and a martial artist. His kandjal displayed traditionally at his side, in a sheath hanging from his belt, decorated with the insignias of his clan, masters and status.

Gigaer's Planeswalker training was nearing completion, to the amazement of his tutors, who insisted that he'd accomplished in less then a year what should have taken five. After learning about the thousands of different spirits and deities, it was merely a matter of focused meditation. Knowledge unlocked all doors for Gigaer, and there was much to learn in this place. Unfortunately Gigaer's new found senses told him the serenity of this place would be gone soon. The storm that Vakor had mentioned in that meeting nearly a year ago, Gigaer could sense it on the horizon. A wall of churning black clouds that obscured his vision. The storm was unavoidable and it was almost upon them. A part of Gigaer feared it, though he could not understand why. He cleared his mind and returned to the scroll before him, sipping at some nearby tea.

The door, which lay directly ahead of Gigaer, opened silently and in shuffled one of Gigaer's attendants. Gigaer had several to see to his needs so he may stay focused on his studies. This one was a young girl who was very slight and usually silent. Gigaer could not remember a time where she looked him in the eyes, though he had done everything he could to make her feel at ease. She closed the door behind her and dropped to her knees, awaiting Gigaer's signal that she may enter and interrupt him. She floated silently over to his right side and whispered into Gigaer's ear a message, then retreated 2 feet from him, again on her knees, expecting instructions. Vakor wished to seem him immediately. Gigaer had not seen Vakor in months, probably due to escalating preparations for whatever the Elders were planning. Gigaer motioned for the attendant girl to put away the small mountain of scrolls he always seemed to create during these sessions. She nodded and began diligently as she always did.

Gigaer arose and shuffled out the door, where Rogi and Vani waited to escort him. They guarded him nearly every minute of every day, and Gigaer had to wonder when they ate or slept. Of course they refused to speak to him or look him in the eye, though unlike the others Gigaer thought these two genuinely feared him, as though he would cast a curse on them if slighted. Gigaer had become used to this prevailing attitude, though it was not easy. Unlike everywhere else in the galaxy, these people knew what the name Prano meant, and they feared and revered it. Gigaer did not acknowledge them or break stride, heading straight for the location Vakor knew he'd want to meet him.

Gigaer entered the room, expecting the same wooden table that had been there for months. Many of Gigaer's academic lessons took place in this room, and Gigaer had become comfortable here. It had become the centre of this station in his mind. This time, however, the table was gone and the shutters on the windows were closed. Gigaer entered and looked around. The lights were dimmed and the walls were covered in shadow. He focused on them and sensed out a familiar aura.

“Come out Eyes. I know you're there.”

Eyes stepped out, arms crossed and smiling in satisfaction. “I heard you could do things like that, but I had to see it for myself.”

Gigaer clasped Eyes' outstretched hand in greeting. Eyes had been teaching him the arts of stealth and subterfuge. Gigaer would never be as good as Eyes, but it was almost impossible to lie to Gigaer anymore. “What's going on here? I expected Vakor.” questioned Gigaer.

Eyes held the smile and led Gigaer to the windows. They opened to reveal a sight that caused a gasp to escape Gigaer's mouth. The ships were gone. The yards were deserted. Gigaer looked at Eyes for answers.

“Plans that were years in the making have been set into motion. Those ships were built for a purpose, and they have set out to perform their duty. Vakor and the rest of the Elders have gone with them to see it done.”

“See what done?”

“I can't tell you that. I'm here only to administer your final test. A mission of the utmost importance. Vakor needs you to retrieve an item and deliver it to his contact.”

Gigaer walked slowly away from the window, trying to calm his raging emotions and focus himself on the reality of his situation. He would probably never see this place or the Elders ever again, and while his training was more or less complete, he was unsure about his path from this point. Still, his master had given him a mission and his honour would not allow him to fail or decline. He looked back at Eyes, waiting for details.

“There's a Caldari spy that has learned of the Elders and their plans. He's a capsuleer with the Guristas and is looking to cash in on his information at a swap with a Amarr Navy Admiral. There's a Hurricane-class Battlecruiser still docked. All the details are in its databanks. If the Amarr get a hold of the Elder's plans, years of effort will be for nothing. It must be stopped.”

Gigaer could always read volumes from Eyes' silence. No words would need be exchanged. They hoped they would encounter each other again, but the future was becoming increasingly turbulent, and neither could say what tomorrow held. They respected each other, and with a quick shared nod, Gigaer ran out of the room towards the docks.

The halls were empty. Every person and piece of equipment had disappeared. The station was lifeless now when it was usually packed with activity and it sent a small chill down Gigaer's spine. This had been his home, after all. Passing the library he was in just recently, he saw the door open and the room bare. The Elders wouldn't have been so rash as to leave such precious items behind. Reaching the docks, Gigaer was shocked that the only two ships left were Gigaer's Hurricane and a Gallente Ares that must belong to Eyes. He ran into the pod bay and stepped into the capsuleer loading chamber. The automated systems here would get him into a pod and the pod into the ship.

Ten minutes later and Gigaer was through pre-flight and away. Gigaer didn't jump to warp right away, as he wanted to say goodbye to his home. He was almost half an AU away when he saw the Ares take off and jump to warp. Seconds later a series of massive explosions began to tear through the deep-space complex, finally coalescing into a mini-nova, vaporizing it. A huge shockwave raced out in all directions, and Gigaer barely had enough time to jump to warp before he was caught in it. His shields were drained to nil just by being too close to the wave.

Gigaer set course for the nearest stargate and began to review the details of his mission. Leaving another home behind him, he wondered if he'd ever find another.

No comments: