Chapter 2:


From Nowhere to Sender

Pardence's Crusader station, dubbed station Larnaca, shared the same overall layout and frontward appearance as all Crusader stations with small bits of individuality sprinkled from pillar to post. Most likely the result of station personnel with too much time on their hands or bar hoppers on their way back to the onsite dorms. Hell, many of the depictions could have just been straight up vandalism whose meanings went over her head.

Bypassing the wall of doodles the young woman climbed a small but wide set of stairs and approached the double doors. As it remained far too early to justify an exchange of pleasantries, she settled for a flippant wave of her ID at the pair of security personnel flanking the doors. Turning on her heel and backing through the doors she deposited her now empty cup into the trash chute just inside the doorway and quickly checked her person for any additional trash she may be unaware of.

Interesting enough she found a second ID card that definitely didn't belong to her or anyone she knew for that matter, along with a receipt for the hot chocolate. Now that's a cause for concern, since when had she ever requested a receipt for anything? Trashing the receipt and pocketing the ID she meandered over to the departures board steering clear of the early morning bustle of the station.

Failing to stifle a yawn, she scanned the board doing her utmost to recall the details of the manifest she had skimmed the night before. She could recall holding the manifest and she had definitely looked at it, or perhaps she'd been looking at something else and a copy of the manifest had briefly passed by her field of vision. Apparently her utmost didn't amount to much this time around.

"That you Lux?" A gruff voice suddenly cut into her train of thought, "Could hardly recognize you without a rifle in your hands." [Tristler Gandlin, 34, Security Division] 

Turning just her head Lux was greeted with a strong scent of smoke that would have overpowered a lesser person. Gruff voice, general vibe of a walking smoke cannister, old. Honestly Lux knew plenty of people who could fit that description but she still knew who it was.

"That's funny, you’re almost painfully easy to recognize Trist. What with that smoke cloud following you around at all times. Is that the smoke that's been in your hand since birth?" [Lux Ayfer, 17, Security Division] She gestured to the smoke clutched in his left hand.

The man met her retort with a shrug and a slow drag. Silence hung in the air for a moment before he gestured to the departure board above them.

"Well, take this time to acclimate, looks like we're both headed to New Kantler on the same ride."

"Oh joy, Cade already here?"

"Sure is, diligent as ever that one."

"Mind using your free hand to point me to the loading dock he's in?"

"Oh come on, I know someone must have taught you how to make heads and tails of the board."

Lux turned away from the board entirely and approached Tristler. Reaching forward she flicked the right breast pocket of his jacket hard enough to elicit the sound of crushed paperboard.

"I'm sure someone did, someone also taught me that opened boxes of smokes aren't permitted onboard convoys headed to cities in the Northwestern Commonwealth."

"Dock 4."

Lux offered her senior officer a wink and made to cut through the courtyard as a shortcut to where the loading docks were situated.

"I'm still taking your shit later! Your chances of getting it back just improved slightly!"

Ataga Corliss