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RSI.com The Knowledge of Good and Evil: Part One

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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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      Leir is an unclaimed system that some once thought would develop into a major hub for Humanity. Discovered by an ICC scanning team canvassing Banshee in 2677, the pathfinders were thrilled to discover an A-type main sequence star with three mineral-rich and potentially habitable planets. The system’s initial assessment sparked interest in both the public and private sectors. Imperator Illyana Messer VI, still tightening her grip on the reins of power, decided not to commit resources to the system, leaving Leir’s official status in limbo.
      Small time miners still went in droves. Many of them didn’t come back. Strange stories circulated and the system soon had a bad reputation both for danger and for its lack of basic services. There was only one settlement with any kind of longevity in the system. Located on the second planet, the settlement of Leir was a nexus of shiftless travelers, greedy miners, fugitive criminals and cold mercs looking to make a cred. Though the settlement was subsequently wiped out by the terraforming process, the name had been so firmly established in the public imagination that it became synonymous with the entire system.
      In 2743, Galor Messer IX decided to capitalize on the still unclaimed system and opened the floodgates of commercial progress. He authorized the auctioning of a terraforming permit for Leir II, the system’s clear crown jewel, in an effort to fund his legacy, a complete foundational redesign of UEE government buildings. The winning bid was so high that many assumed it was a mistake. Turns out, it wasn’t.
      The aggressive bid was the UEE’s introduction to Hatfield & Harding, a new venture between Clarence Hatfield, an eccentric trillionaire from Lo, and Olive Harding, a selfmade mining baron. The two had big plans for the planet. Now all they needed was someone to carry them out.

      THE NEW DOCTOR Hatfield and Harding scoured the universe and eventually found Dr. Marcus Fayel. A terraforming expert at UPARQ, his peers subsequently described him as brilliant, charismatic and ideal for the position. Dr. Fayel secured the job by the end of his initial interview.
      Once operations began, Dr. Fayel established Leir II’s first terraforming colony atop the planet’s largest mineral mother lode. It wasn’t long before a clandestine mining operation was up and running. For years, Dr. Fayel hid the operation from Hatfield and Harding and funneled the profits to himself and a close cadre of associates who oversaw the operation. No one knows exactly when, but the stress of overseeing a massive terraforming project and hiding an illegal mining operation got to Dr. Fayel.
      In 2803, the Hatfield and Harding board of directors named Dr. Fayel the company’s “Employee of the Year.” He declined an offer to receive the award in person, and instead sent a vid to the banquet. In it, Dr. Fayel consistently repeated the phrase “purity of purpose” and spoke in grandiose terms about the world “I am creating.”
      No one batted an eye, though. According to multiple banquet guests, Dr. Fayel was hard to hear over the roar of company board members, who were more focused on advancing their own inebriation than hearing Dr. Fayel.
      On May 3, 2812, the company abruptly lost all communication with their operations on Leir II. A few hours later, a looped message was broadcast from the planet. Dr. Fayel, dressed all in white, stood in the foreground while rows of workers stood in perfect order behind him. He announced that the planet’s “purification” was accomplished, but control of it would remain in his hands. He spoke at length about Humanity’s hubris and declared his intention to separate his believers from the rest of society. Dr. Fayel ended by declaring his intentions were peaceful, but that his followers would defend the planet to their death if anyone attempted to overthrow their authority.
      Hatfield and Harding were furious. The company had been hemorrhaging money for decades and were in desperate need of a revenue stream. Quietly, they scrounged together credits and hired mercs to retake the planet. Archival records would later reveal that the company’s executives doubted the workers would stand with Dr. Fayel when push came to shove. They had no idea how wrong they were.
      Though no one knows exactly what happened the day the mercs struck, scattered comms between them paint enough of a picture. The invading forces entered atmosphere and landed to find the population center deserted, only to be ambushed after they separated into teams to search for Dr. Fayel. The attack was designed to draw the mercs away from their ships and allow the craft to be taken intact. Some believe those ships constitute the backbone of the fleet that still patrols and protects the planet to this day.
      Word of the failed operation spread fast, and Hatfield and Harding were brought before a Senate subcommittee to discuss the events. Investor confidence plummeted along with their stock price. It wasn’t long before the company folded and the fate of Leir II was left in Dr. Fayel’s hands.
      Meanwhile, the UEE kept their distance since the system was officially unclaimed. Hatfield and Harding’s attempt to retake the planet only proved that the residents were willing to fight to the death to protect their new home. And after only recently ousting the Messers from power, the UEE had no stomach to use military force to impose their will upon more people.
      To this day, many have theorized, but little is truly known, about Dr. Fayel’s tactics to convince the workers to stand by him for this grand experiment. Some believe it was decades of masterful information manipulation and brainwashing. Others have wondered if some unknown event triggered a mass psychosis upon the workers operating in an extremely stressful environment. Records turned over by Hatfield and Harding did show that no workers had requested to leave the planet in the project’s final five years. It is unclear whether everyone truly believed Dr. Fayel or whether dissenting voices were imprisoned or faced a worse fate. Following the merc invasion, Dr. Fayel and his disciplines were effectively cut off from the rest of the universe, earning the name that is still used to describe them — the Outsiders.
      So the Leir System has subsequently languished. It doesn’t receive updated infrastructure and still lacks traditional trade routes and opportunities, all of which makes Leir one of the most fascinating systems around.


      LEIR I This small, rocky planet is naturally habitable, but not an ideal place to live due to its lack of infrastructure and amenities. A small mining population does call it home and is happy to trade with haulers.


      LEIR II (Mya) Descendants of the original Outsiders still control Leir II, though they call it Mya. Some of Dr. Fayel’s hardline stances have been softened since his death, but most residents still treat visitors with contempt and most of the planet is deemed ‘off limits’ to visitors. Some are willing to sell items, but all refuse to buy anything.
      Some visitors find the lack of commercial hustle and bustle unsettling, while others see it as soothing. Even without the appeal of trade, the planet is worth a visit solely for its stunning mountain ranges. It’s easy to see why so many believed this was a paradise worth protecting from the greater universe.
      Purporting to be a “pure” planet, its population centers are unique. Due to the lack of building supplies from the greater universe, many structures use the same type of rocks, or are even cut directly into the mountainsides.


      LEIR III The third planet in the Leir System is a rocky orb teeming with resources. Early scans detected an abundance of graphite and crystals, encouraging many miners to risk landing on the planet despite the deadly storms that plague the surface.
      Today, the planet has no permanent settlements since the large indigenous sandworms, known as Valakkar, seem to have a predilection towards destroying them. Some brave miners and outlaws do live in temporary encampments around the planet, but most embrace a nomadic existence and move regularly to stay ahead of the storms and worms.
      TRAVEL WARNING
      Though the Outsiders shun external influences, don’t assume they aren’t equipped to protect themselves. A local militia patrols the planet in reliable yet aging ships, and they are not afraid to engage those seen as a threat.


      HEARD IN THE WIND “As I stood, gazing upon what I had perceived to be Humanity’s magnificence, a thought struck me, piercing my skull like a nail of light. It is only through purity of purpose that a planet such as this can be created to not only survive but thrive. I had been led astray. I had believed that I was righteous. I was not. But I will be.”
      – Dr. Marcus Fayel, Hatfield and Harding “Employee of the Year” acceptance speech, 2803
      “There’s a potential for greatness in this system. The second world, in particular, features stunning landscapes, appears to be overflowing with resources, and is ripe for terraforming. If easy access to the system is ever attained, the UEE needs to ensure everything is done to bring it into the fold.”
      – Katherine Oliver, ICC Stellar Surveyor’s initial assessment, 2677
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    • Przez Game Armada
      Hello everyone,
      Last week, Star Citizens from around the globe descended upon Austin, Texas for our biggest CitizenCon yet. We had an incredible and unforgettable time meeting all of you in attendance. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: having the opportunity to engage with you all on such a personal level is truly amazing. The interactions at CitizenCon recharge our batteries for the remainder of the year and beyond.
      This year’s format featured a wide variety of activities to choose from throughout the day. In case you missed anything while you were outside riding the life-size Drake Dragonfly, or in your kitchen restocking your watch-party munchies, we’ll be releasing a different CitizenCon 2948 panel to our YouTube channel every day, so you can still catch everything that went down over the coming weeks.
      Speaking of the Drake Dragonfly, we’re also excited to release a full gallery of attendees riding the to-scale bike at the event, so look out for that Comm-Link in the very near future.
      Also last week, Star Citizen Alpha 3.3 was made available to all backers on the PTU. Looking to put OCS up to the test? Interested in providing feedback on some of the latest features? Get in the game and try it all out. And if you’re looking to bolster your fleet, also make sure to check out the 11 new and updated flyable ships coming in 3.3.
      We also surprised the crowd at CitizenCon with a special reveal of the Anvil Valkyrie. The Valkyrie ups the ante on troop transport. Designed to safely deliver and extract up to twenty fully-outfitted soldiers (as well as vehicles) to and from the most hostile locations, this conflict-ready mil-spec craft is a formidable force. Both offensively and defensively dominant, it’s dependable to the end.
      If you have more questions about the Valkyrie or Kraken, make sure to submit your questions soon for our upcoming Q&A’s.
      Lastly, as we’ve all witnessed countless times on the Hub, our Star Citizen community has a wealth of talent and passion in delivering amazing videos, highlighting the beauty of the ‘verse. Last week, we sent out a call to all producers, editors, and camera operators to create a commercial for the Consolidated Outland Mustang Series. We can’t wait to see what you create.
      And with that, let’s see what else is going on this week:
      Every week on Calling All Devs, 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 talk about the ship pipeline, weapon reloading, mountains, and more. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and turn on the notifications to be among the first to watch!
      On Tuesday, our Lore Team will publish another in-fiction gem to help immerse you deeper in the Star Citizen universe.
      Thursday will welcome another episode of Around the Verse. Expect a lighter than usual episode due to much of the team still recovering/traveling home to their respective studios.
      Lastly, for the reasons just mentioned, Reverse the Verse will be taking the week off as we get back into the swing of things. Fear not though, we’ll be back next week, and we’ll see you in the verse!
      Tyler Witkin
      Lead Community Manager



      The Weekly Community Content Schedule
      MONDAY, OCTOBER 15TH, 2018
                  Calling All Devs   (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link)
                  CitizenCon 2948 Panel   
      TUESDAY, OCTOBER 16TH, 2018
                  Lore Post   (https://robertsspaceindustries.com/comm-link/spectrum-dispatch)
                  CitizenCon 2948 Panel   
      WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17TH, 2018
                  Monthly Subscribers Newsletter   
                  CitizenCon 2948 Panel   
      THURSDAY, OCTOBER 18TH, 2018
                  Around the Verse    (https://www.youtube.com/user/RobertsSpaceInd/)
                  Vault Update   
                  CitizenCon 2948 Panel   
      FRIDAY, OCTOBER 19TH, 2018
                  Roadmap Update   
                  RSI Newsletter   
                  CitizenCon 2948 Panel   




      Community MVP: October 8th, 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! Every week, we select one piece of content submitted to the Community Hub and highlight it here. The highlighted content creator will be awarded with an MVP badge on Spectrum and be immortalized in our MVP section of the Hub. Don’t forget to submit your content to our Community Hub for a chance at seeing it here!




      Synchronizerz PTU Org Event by Xenthorx

      Xenthorx has managed to capture some stunning moments from an in-game Org event on the Alpha 3.3 PTU.

      Find all the details on the Community Hub.



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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.
      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
      Join the brave men and women of the 2nd Fleet as they stand strong against the greatest threats the UEE has ever faced. Will you answer the call?



      Przeczytaj całość
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