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RSI.com Terra Gazette: Crusader Admits Crime is on the Rise

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Crusader Admits Crime is on the Rise


By Anna Folsen

Contributor


Jett Barnes had never been to Orison on Crusader. The two-time Sataball Professional League MVP turned prominent Terra businessman and philanthropist had traveled extensively throughout the UEE, but never stood on the iconic city’s floating platforms. Following a June 26th business meeting on ArcCorp, he told associates of his plans to finally visit the sprawling shipyards over the massive gas giant owned by Crusader Industries. He climbed into his Origin Jumpworks 600i and took off toward the planet. Tragically, he never arrived.

After weeks of searching, Barnes’ family made public pleas for any information regarding his whereabouts. Finally, on July 23rd, a Freelancer crew on a supply run to Cellin, one of Crusader’s moons, discovered a debris field. A black box was retrieved among the wreckage and delivered to Crusader Industries’ security forces. Careful examination has since revealed that the destroyed ship belonged to Barnes.

News quickly spread about Barnes’ death and suddenly Crusader was inundated with requests from news outlets to provide further details. Despite public pressure, they refused to release any additional information to the public. According to sources close to the investigation, the reason for the silence is simple — Crusader Security’s investigative team has no idea what happened. The black box logs were corrupted and completely useless beyond identifying the ship’s owner.

Yu Sorenson, who’s a security expert at TPQ Consulting, is not surprised by the state of the investigation.

“Look, this is far from an Advocacy-caliber investigation,” Sorenson explained. “Whoever they’ve got working the Barnes case probably isn’t being paid particularly well and doesn’t have a lot of resources at their disposal. To be honest, it’s entirely possible that they’ve never worked a homicide before.”

Sorenson was quick to point out that the peculiarities of the Stanton System have created a unique situation within the UEE, one where corporate interests can effectively take precedence over all else, even the public’s security. Some, like Sorenson, see this as a foundational policy flaw in the Stanton System.

“From the deplorable working conditions on Hurston to Crusader’s apparent ineffectiveness to police the area around their planet, it’s become quite clear that each company’s ultimate allegiance is to their bottom line,” argues Sorensen. “It’s insane. Security decisions are being made on what is the most cost-effective for that company, not what’s best for the public.”

The tragic death of Jett Barnes is just the latest event to highlight the growing security issue in the Stanton System. Multiple independent watchdog groups have released reports that crime is on the rise within the system, but those numbers appear to be in stark contrast with official crime stats for the system.

According to Morgan Becker, a fellow at the Terra Center for Justice and co-author of one of the reports, “Having these companies in charge of their own security has proven to be a double-edged sword. It saves the Empire credits, but it also makes the tracking of accurate crime statistics almost impossible.”

Becker explains that when the UEE sold the stewardship of the system’s four planets to the mega-corps of Hurston, Crusader, ArcCorp and microTech, a condition of that sale stipulated that each company would be solely responsible for protecting their planet and surrounding sectors of space. Not only was each planet required to uphold the UEE’s Common Laws and standard penal code that all unrecognized systems must adhere to, they would need to provide regular, accurate crime statistics that detail activity under their jurisdiction. At the time, this agreement was seen as a cost-saving alternative to deploying Advocacy and/or Navy resources to the system. However, a clause in the agreement also specified that if criminal activity within the system surpassed an “acceptable level,” then UEE law enforcement officials could reassert its authority over the system.

For decades, Stanton’s unique status seemed to work to the benefit of both sides: crime rates remained low and the UEE saved credits. The reality was that the lack of an Imperial law enforcement presence in the system means that we are reliant on the four companies for security, yet there is no credible way to assess how each is performing in that role. The statistics we do have are compiled by the companies themselves, and there’s no government oversight to ensure their accuracy. In fact, it’s in their best interest to keep their crime stats low. Instead, oversight has been relegated to independent watchdog groups, like the Terra Center for Justice, who lack the resources to fully do the job themselves.

Last year, numerous analysts noticed an uptick in criminal activity based on their independent surveys. That spike was not reflected in the numbers submitted by the governing companies who, when presented with this discrepancy, stood by their data.

“They basically dared us to prove it,” said Becker. “We knew we couldn’t keep an eye on the entire system, so we focused our limited resources on tracking criminal activity around Crusader, where outlaw packs seemed to be on the rise. After several months of logging incidents, we recently presented our findings to Crusader, and placed them between a rock and hard place.”

After being confronted with the Center’s numbers, Crusader has today released adjusted crime statistics that bring them closer in line with what the Terra Center for Justice had recorded. Company executives acknowledged that policing the vast expanses of space around their planet has proven to be a much more difficult and costly task than expected, but they have pledged to invest more efforts and resources to improving safety in the area.

However, the question remains if any such efforts will be enough to make up for the lack of UEE authority in the system. How many more innocent people, like Jett Barnes and countless others, must die before crime in the system has surpassed an ‘acceptable level’ and the UEE is forced to take direct action?

It is rumored that security will be the main topic at this year’s Stanton System Conference, the annual meeting where the corporate-planet leadership discuss system-wide issues. Some have already begun to petition for the creation of a joint Stanton Militia, but it remains to be seen whether such a far-reaching change will be considered by the planets.

For now, all that can be done is to let people know that when they enter the Stanton System, they do so at their own risk. The UEE will not be there to protect you, and there’s no guarantee that security services provided by one of these planet-owning mega-corps will be there when you need it most.

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    • Przez Game Armada
      Writer’s Note: Part one of The Knowledge of Good and Evil was published originally in Jump Point 2.9.
      Street make you rat, no choice i’ give. Know tha’ truth, an’ live.
      Tha’ first rhyme ‘m learn on Bazaar Street. Truth is, street don’ owe null thing ta no one. Jus’ livin’ is debt ta the street. Street come ta collect wheneve’ i’ will. Null stop it. Rat like me got start tha street young. Real young. Innocent? Maybe. Ain’ null long till know ’m poor. So learnin’ suits and comp. Gear ’m fixin is stole most-like, sold on tha Black. My work done clean? Maybe. Know what a know neve’ gone get me none place. Know ‘nough ta stay live. Null know ta much cause that kill rat. ’m rat, an street owns me.
      Got bitter in hole like Bazaar Street slum. Got come out tunnels and face sky. Got “practical” after ticks. Me? Got two skills that gear rats has: one skill ta learn tech as ’m take i’ apart, two skill an ‘magination an guess how supposed ta work as a put thing back right. Tha’ suit come from ‘facturer ain’t never heard of? ‘Sure Boss, can fix.’ Tha’ be the way, ta live on Bazaar Street. Or ya die.
      Only best like ’m get be “gear rats.” Bazaar bosses won’ get rats in if you ain’ good at business. Rats no’ good at business if ‘em null learn gear. An ‘em can’ none learn tha gear if ‘em weren’ into tha Bazaar. So how ta got good, make an ‘mpression an get be gear rat? Break rules, none get caught, an make good on i’.
      Wasn’ gonna be “nothing” workin’ scrap or debt slave. Rats got risk some. Hav’ ta. Get caugh’ breakin’ rules an be off ta slavers null time. Find way pass guards an through holes ta watch from corner an learn business. Them bosses knew we’s there, sure. Them know how Bazaar work. Got caught once time. Guards a‘most gave me ta pack creepers ta watch. “Pay due and the street might none eat you.”
      Doin’ a’right as gear rat. Got clients who know me. Some who want more out o’ me ain’ gon’ give em. An’ ‘m only 10 ticks. Sick like creepers them, bu’ pay creds for fixin’. So ’m ‘fix’ ta bazaar shop ‘bout now. Null work fa full rotate. Boss gon’a rage some maybe.
      Glint this lady. She been in eve’ fix shop and hack stand down da line, b’for she get ta Boss Dirk shop an me in i’.
      “I’m looking for a fixer.” Da lady say.
      “Ya found one. Hells lady, you found dem all. Glint i’ all down tha row. Some’n tells you need special fixer an ’m best here ‘round. Wha’ you need?”
      She look ‘round, “Shouldn’t I speak to the shopkeeper, young one?”
      Lady don’ know then. First time in Bazaar, maybe. EZ creds.
      “Boss is out. ’m here, an ’m you fixer. You want somethin or just gawkin’ at street rats? ’m best fixer in Bazaar. None need proof. You got need lady or jus’ suckin’ O2?”
      She come up with an old comp glass out her clothes. Almost like lady dress from fash vids but coat like. ‘m got good eyes an ain’ seen no place big ‘nough ta hold that comp. Take scan on it quic’.
      “Tha’ oldie? Ain’ even none facture mark on i’. Deal ta sells ya newa one Dirk has in shop.”
      Craz Oldie none bite. “No, young one. I need this exact device repaired. So I suppose I’ll have to go elsewhere if all you can do is sell and not fix.”
      That some barter talk. From this Oldie? None first time in Bazaar, locked on that now.
      “Don’ work for none-names or ‘nonymous. What you tag youself?” Put out my hand to seal i’.
      “I’m called Mother Superior by most.”
      “Got,” said me an grabbed her hand to seal le-git deal. “’m can fix your comp Mom Super. Hold one.”
      So went on i’ and done. Lady watchin’ whole time. Like street rat tryin’ ta learn tech. Simp damge on one board. Old damge some. Othe’s fixe’s prob look lock at i’ an done miss i’.
      Lady look an’ gawk some. “I looked a hundred times and never saw that. How did you see such a small thing and know to fix it?”
      “Seen once on board like i’ some ‘bout one tick back. Null forget wha’ got once. ‘m bes’ fixer here lady. Know i’ truth.” ‘m got hand out ta get paid.
      Lady pays, real creds. An she made outbounds real slow. Glint her spottin tha shop few count. More an once. Craz Oldie that. Boss say late’a tha’ Mom Super is’a Sis-ter. Info Trader. Neve seen one trade none. Sis-ters trade kine’a info Rat don’t need. Thin’s like got rats killed. Things maybe boss gon’ need know.
      Craz Oldie, white some in da head hair. ‘m think she know ‘m got fixin for wha’ she gots broke. All razzy show ta go all dem other shops. Knows she gonna get me to work in and on i’. Ain’ null rhyme ta tha razzy show she do. Wha’ ain’ no rhyme for is dead danger. So I glint an lock her in my head. Gon bring Craz with her sum tick. Rat’s gotta sure gut on dat.
      She come back aft’ seven day. Got bring me comp, buying favs maybe.
      “Wha’ ‘m do with tha’ old comp lady?” Oldie comp, better than I ever had. Old like some comps and gear I fix on.
      “Whatever you wish I’d suppose. You seem to have a knack for such things.” Oldie gab like Up’s do. Lookin at me as ‘m null take it.
      “Got paid for fixin’ tha comp ya brought last. What this buyin’?”
      “An investment in your talents is how I see it.”
      Boss Dirk got tell me once tha’ investment means long time debt. Some neve’ collec’. Some collect on i’ big. Null know which when i’ come. Them got risk some. Got profit? Maybe.
      Aft’ long think ‘m take i’.
      Mom Super don’ say null else. Jus’ smile. Know risk when got some, but lady rub i’ in with tha smilin’.
      Casey Gang glint tha comp an Mom Super makin outbound aft’. Should’a ‘magined thems ta come an take tha comp. Boss Dirk only protect his gear rats when tha shop’s open. Nights long som’times. Near snuffed me when Casey boys took i’. Tha chunk one ben’ ove’ me ta gab some.
      “You should know better than to try and have nice things.” ‘m got spat on then. “You’ll never be an Up. You’ve got a debt to pay and this street owns you. You’ll always be a street rat.”
      Half swole, dim eye an hungry ‘s how got to bosses shop nex’ light up. Boss Dirk don’ say no-thin’. Night business, that. Rat business. Think some ‘bout Mom Super “investment” an’ long debt ‘m got. ‘m know it when ‘m take tha comp. Turned on me boost quick tha risk.
      Why tha hell can’ craz Up leave rat like me ‘lone?
      Stop tha’ b’for i’ got bigger. Why’s get a rat killed if ‘m look deep. ‘m try an clean in tha sink an’ snatch glint of me in tha reflec.
      “Tha color blue and black on bruise look shiney.” ‘m think.
      Think then, tha’ blue on black look shiner on them. Smile’n hurt. Tha’ didn’ stop it. Twistin’ trouble back on itself ‘nother skill rats got know no matter what. Learnin’ tha’ figures ta how long ta live ya might got. Slum luck, razzy Up in RSI gear come in tha shop jus’ then. ‘m face all bust an hard ta gab. Up see an went an called out Boss man ‘bout roughen rats.
      “Wasn’ Boss” ‘m say.
      Up’s none copy wha’ rat saying. Got rage some aft’ look me. Up walk out on Boss Dirk. Boss Dirk don’ ev’n look at me, “Go on walkabout and I don’t want to see you till you make it right.”
      Like hearing death, that.
      None be in the shop cause ‘m lost him creds. Maybe big creds. Know what game Bazaar boss playin’. Got make up the creds, street debt that, or null work shop more. Work is Safe-ty. Gets rat trade bits, tools. Gear rats snuffed if got null shop an boss. So got ‘magine ta make cred back, boost fast.
      ‘m got system ta make good. Priorities. Lock wha’ work pays an’ who ‘m owe wha’. Neve owe none long. Nose out ‘thers business until them got in mine. Neve’ start fight. Finish ‘em hard if them come.
      Got debt ta street an know tha’ good. Know null ask questions. Know ta dodge tha creeper. Know drugs kill some, but bein’ desperate be better at killing. Know ta steal fast, run an null fight, cheat fair, deal double an null trus’. Trus’ sa kinna deal get you killed while ‘em all smiles. Slums got say, “Killed by kindness.” Learn tha’ boost quick.
      P‘rent leave them crier kid on tha streets at five ticks old. Mine did. Tha’ when a ‘come rat an could beg ‘n steal my live. Same tick p’rent don’ have ta take tha crier ta Gov medics none more. Gov Medics give shots and make sure rats got ID. Gov Blues got to know who they arresting is. Gov cares bout lookin like they care. Lookin like Up’s don’ ignore packs a rats ‘round Bazaar.
      When ‘m five ticks them camp up and in ‘gether. Crawl tunnels. Oldies be too big ta get through. ‘s when my learn tha rhymes. Street rat learnin’ them. “Learn tha rhymes, live long times.” Youngie’s makes safe camps in tunnels. Safe nights, mostly. Seen my first murder at seven ticks, over pride. Honor worth killin for when rat got null else.
      When ‘m nine ticks, beat some seven tick with mu slag cause them stole my las’ food. Two ticks or three more an seven, you gettin’ too big too ta get in tunnels. Ones dat stay, after them “grow up”? Them dead. Might find ‘em after. Maybe long aft’. Ones dat got stuck tryin to get out da wors’. Ain’ none soul in ’em eyes. Null.
      Rats ride rails some time. Mos’ runners on Up business. Gov Blues that glint rats ‘ll lock on an then drop off long as ya don’ spook. Been here rails most two hours null-stop. Even seen one Sister, like Mom Super. Jus’ two Up’s on this rail now. One look’n like them wanna live Bazaar style, but like Up mus’ think i’ like.
      Ain’ found null mark ta pick till this ripe come on. Up punk got loose pocks an ‘m scan cred chit on him. Bad idea them chits. Thems way ta buy easier on the Black an no get flagged by central. Or get picked.
      Nex rail stop come up now an make my pick. Least try ta. Hands in tha marks pock an gots pain on my wrist. Aint none feel like it. Know quick what is. Honey pot. Gov Blue sting, an fell for honey. Blue grab me an latch on my shirt.
      “Well what do we have here? And why is your hand in that pocket do you think?” He gabbed.
      Got my words workin pas’ pain. “Glint lock ya chit gonna fall out an gon make sure i’ don’ Mr. Up.”
      “Mr. Up is it? Not Mr. Blue? I’m out here to catch scabs like you. Either you’re a dumb street rat or you think I’m a sap.” Him eye scan’n me at that. “You know I’ve caught you red handed. That’s a conviction right there.” Lookin’ a my hand. Stuck in the Blue’s pock. Made ta catch a snatch like ‘m be.
      Know solid ‘m on lock down. Null shake Blue’s Vid and Gab. Ticks in pris. Pris means knowin’ too much. Neve’ come back, rats tha’ got pris ticks.
      Got try juke this. Heard some Blues barter. “What i’ take ta not be red handed.”
      Blue come real close. “Well now, since you ask.” he say in hush say. Real close.
      Don’ eve’ think as I hit tha Blue. Ain’t got my slag, none on rails. Hit him same as any creeper. Then pain come. Blue’s suit lights come on. He din’ have his Vid rig capt’ing till now. Think ‘m deep in now. An he shocks me with his spark-stick. An world goes black.
      * * *
      Got none lock on how got ta Judge time. Most blur. Shock? Maybe. Craz Oldie come outa none-where. Like lady didn’ do ‘nough ta rat like me ‘ready. Thinkin’ maybe like she know how street works. She come in an on it.
      “Wha’ else you wan’ from me, Oldie? Ain’ got none else!” Aft’ I say it Judge tell me null ta “out-burst” ‘gain.
      Mom Super only look me once. ‘m stand there cuffs on an Judge gabbin at her like ‘m understan’. Craz Oldie goes on i’ hard. “This child has rights, Your Honor, and though guilty of a petty crime, this one is the victim of a crime much more heinous . . .” Gabbed in Up talk for me ta Judge. Fel’ like hours she gab at him. An got some Vid too. Can’ jist half it. An Judge got quiet some. Rats know when an Up got quiet some’ bad wrong.
      Then i’ come, “The child is remanded into your custody and an investigation will be opened.”
      Krac Krac
      Courthouse Blue got my cuffs off. ‘an Mom Super take my hand like sealin’ deal. Leg-it.
      “Come along, young one.” She say. An I got go with her Blue say.
      Understand sealed deals. Le-git. Some-else callin’ shots an ‘m jus’ rat.
      * * *
      Neve’ been this deep in bad ‘fore. “Ride the wave, you be okay. Don figh’ back, or be dead fas’” Got ride i’ an’ Trip ta tha Hall ‘s all blur an flashes some. Think nev been this far from Bazaar ‘for. Got ta i’ an all I has ‘s me and gov clothes. Indust kind door closin behind us. More like wall movin. ‘Bout time i’ close looked like just wall. Hallway we in ‘s dim lit. Tried lock where door is an what’s ‘round. So I won’ lose it. Doin’ i’ maked me stare.
      Lady catch me at it.
      “The only way in or out of here, young one.” She say.
      Lady know how ta make you feel “at home.” That what she’d called it. On the rails ride. Said it’s “home.” Cage? Maybe. I’m in deep grav well. Null booster. I got the one-in one-out as challenge an half threat. Well, would call i’ threat if didn’ think tha oldie was tellin’ truth. From tha look, place been built out the hull an old cryo-sleep. Kind ta carry all the gear, raw mat’erial an people ta build station an colony tha world. Some these been used. Once, long time gone. Jump tech made ‘em dead tech ‘fore some reached their destin.
      Is’n small hallway. Got be least five meter tall an three wide. Hall’s brown an dus’y. Dus’ floatin’ the air. Light come from clear roof an some non-stan wall tech. Eve’y two meters pillar come out the wall some. Lady starts down hall leavin me. I ain’ realize till ‘m left some. Cause I starin’ more. Got catch ta her an made I didn’ lose lock to tha door in my head.
      “I’ll show you to your room and where the meal hall and necessary are.” Mom Super sayin’ like tour Vid or some.
      “Is ‘m prisoner here? An guards?” Got ask. Got get tha lay here.
      Craz Oldie ‘most choked on laugh.
      “Ha! A prisoner are you?” Lookin at me over her shoulder. “No, young one. No guards to bribe here. No chains. Not even a mean look from your fellow inmates, as there are none. Just me and my fellow Sisters.”
      Like she read minds ‘bout bribes the guards. I got quick feel wrong for asking. Why’s she lookin at me tha’ like? Got my eye out a lookin’ at hers. Eye scanned blank wall I could find. “Ain’ this punishment, right? I got caught bustin’ up that Blue an now I gotta delta.”
      “None of that street slang here, young one. The word is ‘change,’ not ‘delta.’ The magistrate owed me a favor and released you to me under the condition that I maintain custody of you until your majority. So you are under my watch, yes. A prisoner? Hardly. You will find all the things here you will need to live and, if you so choose, learn.”
      She don’ say more for ‘while. I got some wha’ she gabbed but i’ don’ copy.
      “Ahh here we are.” She stop nex’ ta door look like metal sticking out. She pull on tha metal with her hand an i’ opened. A’hind i’ ‘s room with chairs an table. Walls right an left got four more doors.
      “The second on the left will be yours, young one.” She said.
      “Mine wha’?”
      “Your room, of course.”
      “Like shop?”
      Some’ mus’a mean somethin’ ta tha craz old lady. Like she got dus’ blinked an rubbed her eyes.
      “Of course. How could I be so foolish. This is obviously not something you’re used to. Each one of us here has our own place to sleep and have our own things.” She smiled like hidin’ think.
      We walk to the second left door an open it. I glint in tha place. Rooms bright. None like tha hall. Pair stan’ lights on ceilin’. Desk, chair at tha desk, an comp on tha desk. Jus like the one Casey Gang got took from me. Mom Super point ta ‘nother short table.
      “This will be your bed. I hope you find it to your liking.” She say i’ smiling at me. Big think ‘hind them eyes now.
      “You mean I get cot like tha Up folk?”
      Why I got feel wrong for asking ‘nother question? Null trying ta make Craz Oldie cry. She just was. I’m none gonna let this get beyond me. “Get out your depth, get dead.” That the way things work an look like gettin’ close. Got get handle on it. Old lady sittin on the cot an just lookin at me walkin around. Makin I got what this oth’ small room for. Two doors on i’ an pipe at the top. Some things hanging from tha pipe. Strange hook things. Trying not ta look close at ‘em an get caught starin’. Made over ta tha comp on the desk. Wanted lay hands on i’ an over since I locked on it. Don wan’a giveway that too fas’. Gear rat knows tha’ much abou’ business. Neve give too much ‘way. Is’n old as i’ look. Tap tha switch ta turn i’ on. Got greet by blinkin error lights ‘long the edge. Know this types, local fab. Lights come same order, ‘lways. Pre-boot got stuck. I go in an on it.
      Pop tha case secure clip on tha left edge.
      Run finger ‘long tha top an add pressure as I twist tha top half counter-clock.
      * * *
      My hand reached ta my tool belt. Lookin for contact bridgers pass tha anti-tamp sec switch. Hand missed. Got stop. Don feel the tab metal. My hand nev miss.
      Look down ta my left hand. Ones supposed to got that tab tool I need. Ain’ got my belt. Come ta me realz I ain’ eve’ in my own clothes. ‘m in somewhere wreck old ship . . .
      An someone behind me.
      Scream comes, null stoppin’ it. Long an hard an made old lady jump. i’ was tha lady a’hind me. She come up ta see what I’m doing. Got caught in wantin’ ta work on i’ an lost my ‘wareness. Los’ track surroundin’s. Let someone get ‘round behind. Wasn’ her wrong. I broke street rule an rhyme. “Back ta wall or them take all.” So you don get mugged, or creeper on you, or get got by slavers or just ‘cause.
      Jump up from tha chair leavin tha begin’ work behind an ran tha three steps ta tha’ smaller room. Duck in an close tha door. Dark. Dark can be good an can be bad. This is good. Got four walls an only one vector in. I know what was ‘round me. I’d knew when I saw i’ that this was my ‘secure’ when things went. A’ways gota have secure. If the Gov come on round up. If gangs got bad war. If druggies got them hands on some new. That when eve’ rat who knows street goes secure. Sometime you go ta secure an find som else there. Some secure ain’ good an you get caught out an’ways. A’ways got have at leas’ one.
      This is mine. Now I need ta stable an find out. I tried to get my breath down. Don’ want pass out. Breath hard an you pass out on street. All the CO2 dump from tha scrapworks were at the streets near Bazaar Street. Breath hard an ya pass out sure. Tha’ level tha odds ‘tween tha street rats an tha oldies in fight or chase.
      Null thing do but wait till pain come. A’ways does. I got fast breath. Stupid me ta got that way. CO2 hurt ‘ll kill fast some. Tha zone, fog CO2 tha’ collects ‘round tha’ cluster shops an alleys tha’ are all I know.
      Pain neve’ comes. Tha’ means I’m pas’ tha zone. Tha’ hits me square an hard. I’m shiverin’ but i’ wasn’ cold. For dark as i’ is, like in tha hall i’ warm dark with red and orange colors too.
      “Are you all right, young one?” Oldie ask through tha door.
      “Fine, lady!” I got shout back.
      “That’s good, dear.” She say back through tha door. “And you can call me Mother Superior whenever you like.”
      I don’ remember fallin sleep.
      I waked up screamin though.
      Tha’ happen twice in week one bein’ here. Sleep in tha closet-room got so warm feels like was somethin’ on top me. Aft’ second time like tha’ I left tha door open some bit, i’ let me see out into tha room too.
      “Seeing what way someone could come at you from was good.” ‘s what I thought.
      Sometimes I scream so loud i’ wakes all tha Sisters near with me. Maybe i’ woke more othe’s but I don’ leave ta find out. Neve asked. Didn’ care, what I told myself. Can’ say ‘m ‘mbarrassed an didn’ wan’a look weak.
      Got clothes now that didn’ itch. Can sleep night an null wake up coughin. Got food 3 times day.
      I’m in deep slag.
      Tha angle hasn’ come yet. Can’ eve’ see tha angle them Sisters playin’ to. Been ‘while an i’ start ta come clear tha’ Mom Super an ‘em Sisters want me in debt deep so I never get out. “Honor slave” like, cheap an EZ. So debt tha’ work for rest my life won’ pay back my owed.
      ‘m got ‘most dead screwed.
      Mom Super come ‘fore an walk me ta tha meal hall. Theres chairs ‘nough for ‘round hundred in tha meal hall. Sisters only fill ‘bout three fourths it. Mom Super got me sit by her ‘cause that way I wouldn’ be crowd-in with some Sister or come up on like she had on me. Clothes ‘m got eve’ got pocket ‘nough ta snatch food back ta room. Mom Super neve’ caugh’ me. Rat neve’ know when food gone got rare.
      Tried count eve’ time I ate food. i’ got more an more. Couldn’ pay that much back. Couldn’ not eat it. Real food hard got mos’ times. Breakfast some toastbread an paste an cheese.
      Soup lunch with cracker an’ plate real vegetable cooked in oil. My first real vegs that. I ate food paste sometime on at meal hall but eve’ tha’ was paste with flavor in i’ an came with cracker an cheese. Tha real food got tha kick though. Only fool rat turn down real food. If they gon’ hit me with bill I couldn’ pay, i’ gon’ be on full stomach.
      Full stomach. “‘m got soft.” Had say i’ out ta make i’ real.
      On street rats only got full stomach on spec days. Like when Gov paste dispenser malfunctioned. Or cargo food crashed near. Couldn’ sell tha goods no more so we rats got eat real tha’ time. Sick for days aft’. Couldn’ handle all that real food.
      Now I got real eatin’ eve’ day. Warm of i’ gone out. Or may jus’ didn’ have ta fight chill here. Don’ matter none way. “Loss ya edge an you got dead.” ‘m get soft an got ta fight.
      Got my plan to make good too. First got grab up tha bits tools made out some scrap, tha food got hid under tha bed, an all the clothes. Second gotta outbound my room got pas’ them doors an then to tha wall door. Or where I’m lock i’ ta be. Got tools ta get pas’ it. Got find tha control box. Null hard. Simp that. Pop tha door an out.
      None need detail figured. ‘s long as got ‘magination I’m gon’ got this. An got my honor back mine aft’. ‘m none gon’ be prisoner an neve’ slave. Let ‘em take my rep an say I don’ pay debts. I’m gon’ be free.
      Time make my out.
      A’most ‘sleep when I figure late i’ is. Gettin’ up an an got my things out ‘s lot more work than my practice. Opened tha door ta my room null makes sound but tha’ one into tha hall ‘s tricky.
      Got i’ jus’ open ‘nough ta squeeze an pull my gear through. Risky ta try an close tha darn door ‘gain. If I wrong, it might wake up tha whole place. Jus’ lef’ i’ part open tha’ way. Gon’ be obvious ta a’one tha’ scan it. I’m be long gone then.
      Sneak-move down tha halls. Heart pound’in like hammer. I come up on tha scratch an ding tha’ give ‘way where door come out in tha hall. Scan tha wall ta find control box. Foun’ place where control should be. Near tha floo. All’s in i’ relay module. Like for remote. Ain’ doin’ much ta help ‘less I got tha code or find tha oth’ end tha link.
      Tha’s bad news. Could be an’where. Like tha library that I couldn’ go in or outside where’m tryin’ go but can’ get. Got search eve’where an tha’ means ‘m gon’ get caught sure. An I ain’ eve start tha work ta bypass secure tha’ be on it! ‘M deeper in i’ an null way out, lock sure.
      I jump ‘cause tha door start open all on ‘s own. Rumbled an rack some an stop ‘bout half open. Blink tha dus’ out eyes tryin ta figure how tha’ happened. Null one outside. Blink mo’ dus an thought abou’ it. Miracle? Maybe, but rats none got tha’ luck.
      Out my instinct I turn ‘round.
      Mom Super standing three meters ‘way. She got mobiGlas on an up. Prob’y use ta open tha door. Craz Oldie lookin’ right at me.
      “I wondered when you would make your first try for the door, young one. I’m actually quite surprised it took so long.” Mom Super voice cut air like glass now. “You look prepared. That’s good. You may even have a plan. Planning and patience. Strong qualities for one so young to have.”
      “Wha’ you wan’?” I ask like she some kin’a spook.
      “To give you a choice, young one. Choosing is a sacred thing to us; In it we are free. It is obvious you have not felt as free as you truly are.” She say back.
      “Wha’ deal you got?” I say more sure ‘m in barter now. Barter ‘m got, solid.
      “I mean that you have a choice. You may leave and make the 20 kilometer trek back to the scrap yards and Bazaar and that life which you know, or you may stay and learn what the streets cannot teach you. What they do not want you to know.”
      ‘s not real deal, that. Thought tha’ get ta here been long but ain’ thought i’ 20 k-meters. I had ‘nough food for day, maybe two. Got caught by null knowing ‘nough. Rookie mis’ake that.
      20 k-meters. Trouble still with Boss Dirk in tha Bazaar when got there. An empty stomach.
      “None much choice.” I said out aft’ I think i’. Mom Super smile sad a’ me.
      “But it is a choice. One I offer you because I am a Sister of this Hall before I am your caretaker.” She say i’ slow like.
      ‘m none buyin’ it. “You haven’ show me wha’ angle ya playin’. Maybe ya jus’ makin’ me fat an you high dollar slaver an’ all. How ‘m know!”
      “You must be free to choose or I am not worthy to be a Sister, let alone the Mother Superior of these many here. We can give you what you need and more if you stay.”
      “I know right. Debt ‘s debt.” Eve’ rat know that.
      She stop cold. “You think that you are incurring a debt by staying here?”
      “Ain’ I? Wha’ I’m suppose think? An I see one an’ ‘m null gon’ jus’ be here an’ . . . null tha’ . . . I won’ be your slave!” Start lookin for way out tha hall ta secure.
      I stop cause Mom Super raise her hand. Slow like. Like she do ta quiet tha meal hall ‘fore meal. Hadn’ expected her ta be calm like tha’.
      “If I gave a way to repay your debt, would you stay?”
      TO BE CONTINUED…
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    • Przez Game Armada
      Every week, designers, engineers and other developers from our five offices around the world answer backer questions submitted on SPECTRUM and voted on by YOU. This week, we address questions on navigator careers, the Death of a Spaceman mechanic, ship VTOL and more.
      More about Death of a Spaceman here: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/engineering/12879-Death-Of-A-Spaceman
      You can submit your questions for consideration in future episodes of Calling All Devs here
      And for info on becoming a subscriber, go to: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/pledge/subscriptions
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    • Przez Game Armada
      Hello Citizens,
      Over the years, the Star Citizen community has enjoyed the opportunity to interact with CIG employees in a variety of unique ways. We’re now excited to offer a direct and organized process for creators to invite official CIG representatives to their podcasts, videos, streams, and talk shows. Head over to our FAQ to learn more.
      Help us make the How to Play section of the Star Citizen website even better, starting with Star Marine and Arena Commander. Take part in the contest for a chance to win prizes and leave your mark on the official Star Citizen website.
      Lastly, if you haven’t picked up a ticket for CitizenCon 2948, we still have Standard Access tickets available here. Join us at the Long Center, in Austin, Texas, for a full day of presentations and interactions, exploring the current and future developments in Star Citizen and Squadron 42.
      With that, let’s see what’s going on this week:
      Monday is another all-new episode of Calling All Devs, this time with questions about animations, VTOL changes, linking multiple quantum jumps as waypoints, Death of a Spaceman and the future of a potential career as a capital ship navigator. You won’t want to miss this one.
      Tuesday is lore day! The Lore Team will publish another in-fiction story to help cure your craving for more Star Citizen lore. Check out previously published lore posts here.
      Thursday, we’ll receive an update on the latest developments in the PU, and talk about the Legacy Armor in an all-new episode of Around the Verse. The embedded Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy will explore the lore, science and behind-the-scenes decisions involved in the design of the Osiris System.
      Lastly, make sure to tune in on Friday at 12PM PDT / 7PM UTC for another episode of Reverse the Verse, broadcasted live on our Star Citizen Twitch channel. Stay tuned for further information about who our special guests will be and keep an eye on Spectrum for the Questions Thread!
      And with that, we’ll see you in the ‘Verse.
      Ulf Kuerschner
      Community Manager



      The Weekly Community Content Schedule
      MONDAY, MAY 21ST, 2018
                  Calling All Devs   (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/)
      TUESDAY, MAY 22ND, 2018
                  Weekly Lore Post   (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch)
      WEDNESDAY, MAY 23RD, 2018
                  -   
      THURSDAY, MAY 24TH, 2018
                  Around the Verse – Legacy Armor & Loremaker’s Guide to the Galaxy   (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/)
                  Vault Update   
      FRIDAY, MAY 25TH, 2018
                  Reverse the Verse Live   (https://www.twitch.tv/starcitizen)
                  Roadmap Update   
                  RSI Newsletter   




      Community Spotlight: May 21st, 2018
      We are constantly amazed by the contributions made by the Star Citizen community. Whether it’s fan art, a cinematic, a YouTube guide, or even a 3D print of your favorite ship, we love it all! Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here!



      View of Cellin by Cruma

      I can never get enough of a view like this. Cruma took this screenshot while playing 3.1.4 on his birthday! Belated congratulations, Cruma!

      Check out the image on our community hub.



      Poster ANVIL Crucible by Olaf_Jaeger

      Not the first time Olaf blew us away with one of his posters. This time, he's featuring Anvil Aerospace’s first dedicated repair ship, the Crucible.

      Check out the Community Hub post here


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    • Przez Game Armada
      Senior UI Programmer Hugo Silva stops by to discuss the continuing development of the Shop Item Kiosk system.
      To watch Reverse the Verse LIVE each and every week, tune into http://twitch.tv/starcitizen.
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    • Przez Game Armada
      This week, an in-depth look at Item Kiosk Shopping, and a new Ship Shape installment featuring the menacing Vanduul Blade.
      You can purchase CitizenCon tickets here: https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/transmission/16493-CitizenCon-2948-Announcement
      You can find the April 2018 Monthly Report here.
      Przeczytaj całość
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