Hedion 03

Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-11-10 17:13:09
Angel and Davis make the rounds with the McLeans and end up staying long enough for a quick meal down in the foamcrete addition, where a kitchen's been set up for general use. Mac scrolls through some pertinent messages on his vox, highlighting jobs he'll accept. Buck finishes off his third sandwich (what Hedion grows seems close enough to wheat), and Mira taps at her handheld, absorbed in a little holo-game.

Davis takes another bite out of his roast beast sandwich. Whatever local Hedion spices they have, they really add some bite to the meat. "So, what's your story, Mac? Tell me, what happened after the Groi tossed you through that gate?"

"Groi, huh?" Mac comments. He blinks down his readout and shifts to regard Davis. "A lot happened, that's what. Showed up out of the blue with no clue how to talk to anyone. They thought I was crazy and I wasn't arguing. I had seen enough shit before that gold bastard shunted me through to see to that. You know the general story of Bashakra, right? I eventually got to talking well enough and when I tried to tell them where I was from, they still thought I was crazy, except this time religious crazy instead of babbling in tongues crazy."

Buck's listening, but only because he's finally full and hasn't found anything more interesting. Mira's not playing her game anymore, and looks at her uncle with rapt attention.

"I met my wife on Bashakra," Mac continues. "Tyri was plenty religious herself, and between the two of us we managed to make some sense out of what happened. That didn't last long, though. The Imperium was another fuckin' shock to my system." He's speaking more to Mira now. "Mira, you were barely old enough to walk then, I don't know how much you remember-"

"Enough," she replies. "I'm glad I wasn't old enough to remember."

Mac nods and gives Davis a cautionary look. Don't push it. "My sister-in-law died during the bombardment, and the Imperials broke up the Bashakran families. They let Tyri keep Mira, maybe one of 'em had a heart, maybe it was a glitch in their system. I never made it into their system because... well, I suppose you know Sam Colt's immune to their weapons scanners. I escaped long enough to get nabbed by pirates. Ended up punching out of there over... fuck, I still don't know what the planets' names were back then. Skipped across three more on the run from pacifiers, finally lost them on Botane."

Mac nods to Buck. "By that point, I had their ways pretty figured out, and they never got me into their Cortex, so it was easier for me to move around maybe than most. I tracked down Tyri and Mira and we had Buck." There's a shadow that crosses Mac's face; if it was anything like his life up to that point, the reunion must not have been what he expected.

"It was nice, for a time. Then Brinai and her rebels came around, trying to muster up freedom fighters. I had seen 'em here and there while I was on the run. Bashakrans'll fight about anything with anyone. They couldn't decide how they wanted to fight the Imperium, so they fought about that, too. I tried to tell Tyri what she was up against, but they wrecked her home, man. I guess if they dropped rocks on Earth I'd feel the same way. I wonder maybe if I didn't come back if she'd have told Brinai no." Mac shrugs. "So. She runs off and freedom fights and it ends like you expect. I go under, I take Mira and Buck and disappear here. Eventually I figure out how their racket works, and I don't have loyalty to anything, so it's easy for me to keep my deals. I work my way up from there and here we are." Mac sits back in his seat again and crosses his arms.

Davis nods. "That's a hell of a journey. And you've done amazingly here, setting up a life for you and Mira and Buck. But those rocks, they're getting ready to drop them on Narsai. We are working with the Bashakrans and Brinai, and they're listening, fighting smart, starting to not make the kind of mistakes that -" his eyes flick to Mira and Buck, "Well, not making those mistakes anymore. Hedion figures large in what we're planning on doing next. We could really use your help, Mac."

"I told you you have it," he replies. Mac instinctively rubs his hand over his chest where his reminders hang.

"Yeah, but I mean beyond getting us and the Quises out, and taking down the four marks." Davis shifts in his seat. "We're going to need cooperative leaders, rebel leaders in the seats of power here."

"Leaders like me," Mac finishes. "Well, listen to this prospective leader; Hedion's not like Boranai or Whiirr. It can't just nuke its Gateways and declare independence. We import necessities to make up the slack from the shitty wheat fields. Hedion left on its own turns into a morgue."

"And that's why we need to co-opt the power structure, not knock it over," Davis says. "We clean out the corrupt leaders and put in our own. Make sure the people get treated better, improve the quality of life here, and get an economic power base for the rebellion. You know what it would take to help make that happen, and you probably know more about what runs Hedion, or at least Akis, than anyone else."

"How many times are you gonna ask before you hear me tell you 'yes'?" Mac says. "You're right, I'm the right man for this."

Davis nods. "Good, just making sure you know what you're getting into. Like, well, with this. It's probably not a good idea for one of Hedion's new power brokers to be a known Narsai'i, so making who you really are public knowledge probably isn't such a good idea. But, we're going to have to let the Pentagon and everyone back on Earth know. There's going to be questions, debriefings, inquiries, and, frankly, given how suspicious they are of us already, they're probably going to think that you're a big security risk. DoD bullshit never changes." He smiles at that. "So, what I'm asking you is, do you want Lieutenant McLean to stay MIA, and let them know we met a Bashakran power broker named Maq?"

Mac smirks a little. "McLean was never really missing, Davis. He's been here the whole time." He jingles his dog tags. "I tried to forget a couple times before, but these wouldn't let me. So I don't care if Earth forgets about me. I've never forgotten Earth."
Admiral Duck Sauce 2010-11-10 17:15:34
Davis smiles. "All right, Maq," he says. "You seem a lot more like a Bashakran than a Narsai'i to me, anyway."

"Seems to suit you well enough," he shoots back. "You got any more bookkeeping?"

"Maybe just stretch my legs a bit before heading back out," Davis says. "This place is the first patch of real green I've seen since we got here."

"Vomit green, maybe," Mira snarks.

"Well, why don't you show me around, then?" Davis says. "Tell me about this place."

"Sure," Mac and Mira both say, then look at each other. Then they look at Davis for clarification. "Me?" they both say.

Davis laughs. "Sure, the both of you. Buck, keep an eye on Angel. Make sure he doesn't get into trouble."

Davis walks the compound with the exile and the orphan. It's no Kesh estate but it's certainly well above the normal standards of the underhive. Apparently Mac has a soft spot for people left on their own, especially kids. Not like Davis couldn't tell from his life story or anything.

"So, how'd you carve this place out?" Davis asks, looking at a hacked-together chain-link trellis.

"Most of it was here already," Mac explains. "We had plenty of time, and once the business took off we had the money."

"What do you think about it, Mira? I've spent some time on Botane, it's better-looking than the hab blocks there, at least," Davis says.

"It's home," she says. "Oh, to hell with this chit-chat," she adds vehemently. "What's a Yoo-Ess-Ay-Eff and who the hell is my uncle to you?"

"Err, well, it's like the Turai, but on Narsai. They take care of the fliers and so on," Davis says. "He's a Narsai'i that wound up here long before we figured out how to do gate travel easily." He pauses, then takes a seat on a rock. "You've got questions. For both of us."

"Yeah," she says. "Uncle Mac, why'd you tell Buck and not me?"

"If you're looking for some kind of excuse or reasonable answer, I don't have one," Mac says. His glare at Davis does not go unnoticed. "You're mad I told Buck and not you, I get that. I had to tell someone, and now you and everyone else knows it, so what's the big deal?"

"I dunno," Mira says. "I felt like you didn't trust me-"

"That's your wounded pride," Mac says in a stern voice. "You're my family and you know I trust you, but I don't need to tell you how many times I took a shit this week," he analogizes. "Who I was on Earth - that's the word for Narsai, by the way - is just as important as how many shits I took this week, Mira."

Davis sees this argument resonate about as well as one would think with a teenage girl. "Maybe she thinks it was a bit more important than that, Mac," he says. "She's learning that her uncle, who she cares about a lot, is something different than who she thought he was. Finding out that you didn't grow up on Bashakra, that you're in fact from the Homeworld, that's a pretty big revelation, and maybe she feels a bit confused about what to think now." He looks at Mira. "Right?"

Mac gives Davis a half-amused, half-annoyed look. "Maybe you shouldn't stick your nose in our goddamn lady-feelings." He looks at Mira, who definitely looks confused. "You're sore I kept my past from you?"

"Yeah- yes," she states.

"You know I got no real excuse for it?" Mac says.


"You can slap me if you want or whatever," her uncle offers.

Mira shakes her head. "No. No, it was just a lot all at once."

Mac nods slowly. "I know. You got anything else you wanna ask me, anything digging at you?"

"Is it all true? What you said in the kitchen, what this guy's saying now?" Mira asks.

"Yeah," Mac replies. "I was born in a place called Kansas City. Buck's grandfather - your great-uncle - his name was John, he was... I guess like a Kansat. There - that's something not even Buck knows," he grins.

"John?" Mira smiles. "That's a weird name."