Tweet of the Day: How many people needed for a space colony?
Bailey & Willingham Metal Works, 3rd Factory District, Capitol City of Progress, Libertas, Sphinx System, Argos Rho Cluster, Attican Traverse September 6, 2197
Our footsteps echoed through the abandoned factories. The moonlight from Libertas five small moons filtered through the broken glass panes above us. Broken robot arms lay dormant on both sides of the empty production line. The industrial decay clashed with Miranda’s blue sequin dress and my silver trimmed black tux. But something was amiss.
“Not a single speck of dust,” I said.
“I noticed. They probably employ maintenance drones to keep it that way,” Miranda said.
I nodded, “Talking of which.”
A blue spherical drone flew in our direction. It spoke after it scanned us, “Mrs. Lawson, Mr. Thompson-Ramos, please come this way.”
We followed the drone to a cargo elevator at the back of the factory. The elevator took us down several levels underneath the factory floor. As the doors opened a mixture of dance music and clatter of dozens of Quasar machines washed over us. Scantly clad waiters and waitresses walked pass with trays full of drinks. Above us dancers performed in floating platforms made of clear glass. Every single sinful activity the local government regulated or outlawed was on display.
A human hostess approached us, “Mrs. Lawson, Mr. Thompson-Ramos, Ms. Nyte is waiting for you in the Velvet Lounge. Come right this way.” She led us past rows of Quasar machines, a security door flanked by batarian bouncers and into a small room painted in deep purple. A few scented candles, one per table, lit the interior. The thick walls thrummed with the music from outside. A woman dressed in a black rhinestone studded dress stood up to greet us.
“Mrs. Lawson, Commander Thompson-Ramos, it is a pleasure to finally meet you,” she said with an outstretched hand.
Miranda shook her hand, “Nyte?”
“Anonymity has its benefits, Miranda. Most of the people I knew from the old days, well, they are no longer with us, but…I’m working for a for a beeter cause these days,” Nyte said.
“I take it you two know each other?” I asked.
Miranda winced, “Yes she was one of my assets when I worked for Cerberus.” I put my hand over hers and smiled. “So, what are you doing here, Nyte?”
“Doing what needs to be done Miranda and that is why I needed to talk to the Spectre,” she said.
Nye slid a datapad across the table, “We are well aware of your mission here, but there are a few things you should know before you attempt to retrieve your target, commander.” It showed a picture of Alana Petrova surrounded by a squad of body guards. “To get to her you’re going to need help. Our help.”
“And why should I work with you?” I asked.
“Do you know what the Lord Magistrate does with his political enemies?” she asked.
“If only. He declares them heretics, and under current Libertian law, heretics are outlaws, with none of the protections or rights guaranteed by the Systems Alliance or the Citadel Council. And when that happens you stop being a person and become a thing. A thing to be used or sold as your owners see fit.”
My disgust dripped from every syllable, “Slavery.”
“Dissidents are sold to off-world slavers. A neat way to dispose of them with the added benefit that all profits going to the Lord Magistrates coffers,” Nyte said.
A not so little detail the ambassador forgot to include in the mission brief. Which meant either the Alliance didn’t know, or worse, it didn’t care. It also showed that Nyte had done her homework. I’ve worked with batarian abolitionist before….
I glanced back at the entrance, “You’re a Chainbreaker.” And the Chainbrakers were number eight in the Citadel list of top ten terrorist organizations.
Miranda chimed in, “I trust her, commander. And besides, Spectres do what they must to get the job done.”
A wry smile appeared on Nyte’s deep red lips, “Like working with human supremacist groups to stop attacks on human colonies or cooperate with well known crime lords to enlist mercenary gangs to fight a galactic war.”
“My mission has nothing to do with you or any other illegal activities on this world,” I said in a deadpan tone.
“True but,” she raised a finger” any attempt to extract Miss Petrova will harm our operations here. I want to avoid that, at all costs. If that means working with a Spectre, then so be it,” Nyte said with her eyes locked on me.
She knew how to push my buttons. I looked down at the datapad, “Can I keep this?”
“Of course,” Nyte said.
“Nyte, if you don’t mind, the commander and I would like to take our leave to explore this wonderful club of yours,” Miranda said.
“Of course, you are my guests. The datapad has one time only comm number on it if you decide to cooperate with us. And no, you are under no obligation to work with us. If you decide to continue without our assistance we will not interfere. Things are complicated enough without having a Spectre as an enemy,” she said as we got up.
Outside we sat at one of the bars and ordered drinks. The datapad had little information except the photo and Petrova’s bio. But there was something about that image that looked familiar. I pulled the mission brief on my omni-tool, then sent a copy of it and data on the pad to Miranda.
“This is the same picture,” she said.
“One zoomed in on Petrova face, the other zoomed back to show her entourage. Look at the time stamp on the Alliance file,” I said.
“Zero eight, twenty-third, twenty-one seventy,” she said.
I took a long pull from my Mentirita, “Exactly. Which means our friends here leaked that information to the Alliance.”
“Could be,” she said.
“Do you trust her?”
Her blues sparkled, “She help me find Oriana. I owe her.”
“Well then, this mission just got a lot more interesting.”