Crimson Steel Ltd

A light in the darkness

A flashing red light is all that illuminates the small living quarters you reside in as you return to your home one wet Nar Shadda afternoon. The screams and wailing of a universe ready to self destruct is hot on your heels until you seal the door behind you and find yourself confronted with interspersed darkness.

If you strain your ears you can still hear the muted whispers of fear and anger amongst the ebb and flow of the crowds outside your domicile; but you shrug it off as your imagination and step through the night of your living room with practiced ease.

The holonet springs to life as you key in your registration codes and thumb through the messages. Your eyes catch the occasional glimpse of the oncoming doomsday; mimicking the whispers outside your door through the sinister electric blue holograms before you. Stories like another political activist being found guilty of treason, or a supply depot burned to the ground by ‘armed’ guerrilla forces trickle by like the rain rolling down the windows. Has it really only been three months since you read of the bombardment of Ralla 6 over a simple riot?

Your personal mailbox has the usual garbage of service solicitors and scams promising a better you for a minimum investment. There’s a note from a colleague about another brother in arms who is MIA from some border dispute on a distant world; a tragic occurrence to be sure but one that you’ve long since grown accustomed to reading about. A job offer or two tumble by but are quickly discarded once you realize the pay isn’t worth leaving the planet, or that the contact brokering the deal is an idiot who has amazed everyone with their continued existence.

You’re almost ready to give up and go to bed when you notice the last message sent was from Cabot, a broker who has never dealt you wrong and has always treated you well (even when the jobs fell through). You know he’s promised to keep you in mind for any special jobs he runs across, and you’re proud to admit that it’s because you know how to finish a contract without shooting yourself in the foot like the thousands of amateurs out there.

The message is simple and brief; there’s a planet on the rim that may be on the brink of open war and the Imperial Army has contracted Shattered Sun Incorporated to handle the situation before things turn out badly. While Shattered Suns is big and mighty (and frankly is less a mercenary organization, and more of a giant directory of generic names that could become an army with enough prodding), there are still too many little gaps to fill, and so they’ve turned to men and women like Cabot to act as subcontractors.

The piece of the pie that Cabot’s secured is a mere drop compared to what Shattered Sun’s is being paid; but the contract is to simply assist with some peace keeping while they send the bulk of their forces into some city that needs to be straightened out. It’s easy money and with Cabot; at least you know he’s going to get you paid…

You smile as you think about the last operation you had with him and the frankly extravagant taste of ‘the good life’ you got from the credits on that job. One of these days you’re going to have to learn to invest your money better; but for now…

“Meeting will be at the Blue Spider, the golden room” finishes Cabot in his message as he recites a time to meet him there at. His creased face gives you a tired grin before the message fades leaving you to the empty darkness of the room and the whispered cries beyond your front door.

Without thinking about it, you shut out the noise outside and reach across the holonet interface to begin keying in your reply to Cabot as you plan your route to the meeting later this week…

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JSpiegel

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