Chapter 57:


From Nowhere to Sender

Ever since she'd been jostled awake by Cade mid-morning, there'd been a constant throbbing coming from Lux's forehead. Unfortunately, sleeping the discomfort away became impossible after repeated attempts at kicking her companion failed to drive him away. Turns out she'd been sent for by Commander Heenan, incentivizing Cade to seek her out in the dorms before the day ran long. So while it took some time Lux eventually managed to drag herself out of bed and into a pair of pants. Evan's pants by the looks of it. Her fault for leaving them unattended on a bunk nearby.

She made a brief stop by the commissary but forwent eating anything due to lack a of appetite. Instead she settled for a cup of hot chocolate that she nursed carefully on her way over to the station's admin offices. However, as she was in no rush to see Heenan Lux made it a point to halt her progress whenever a sip became necessary to continue functioning. On one such sip her mind wandered back to the evening prior, specifically the restaurant with the awesome chicken. She recalled the entire evening without issue, wasn't THAT kind of drunk. Even if her throbbing head was trying to tell her otherwise.

On reflex she reached into her pockets to retrieve the ID again only to remember these weren't her pants, turning up a box of matches instead.

"Perfect timing."

Lux squinted at the source of the voice, managing to make out the form and appearance of a female security officer. They pulled a smoke out from somewhere on their person and promptly plucked the box of matches from her hand. It was as they brought the smoke up to their lips and lit it that Lux's recognized the form as Leora, looking far more put together than she was or felt. She caught Lux's squint and repaid the favor, looking her up and down.

"Morning to you too sweetheart."

She blew the smoke in the direction of a cracked window nearby.

"Your in uniform...they assign you to another roster already?"

"Relax, I'm filling in for one of our casualties yesterday."

"That's nice of you."

Lux accepted the box of matches back and took another sip of her warm beverage.

"Been meaning to head down South anyways. Business to attend to."

Leora shifted her weight from one foot to the other, casually producing a small ashtray to collect the dregs of her smoke.

"Appreciate the drinks last night by the way, helped drown out all of Sigurd's whining."

"Shit was rough yesterday, can't be helped."

Finishing the remainder of her cup's contents, Lux offered it to her fellow sharpshooter who responded by depositing her smoke inside it.

"Shall we?"


"You weren't the only one sent for, and I'm on a bit of a tight schedule."

The two promptly covered the remaining distance to the admin offices and proceeded to barge right into the CC's staffroom without knocking. The room itself being set up as a shared space, with a collection of desks lined up at the center of the room facing inwards. All sorts of potentially sensitive documentation covering them, not that either officer cared. Rather they both scanned the space for Heenan who was seated on the opposite side of the room discussing some manner of logistics with the room's only other occupant, another Convoy Commander. Wencelas Nocte if Lux's memory was to be trusted. A big IF given her current state.

"You two do realize we have rooms designated for meetings between Commanders and personnel."

"Maybe lock the door next time."

Leora was equally unapologetic.

"On the topic of time, I'm running short on it. Isn't that right Commander Wence?"

Lux internally patted herself on the back. Looks like your functioning after all, brain.

The men shared a look before returning their attention to the officers who'd been sent for.

"Out of consideration of the favor officer Scholz is doing us today, I think it best we take officer Ayfer's advice and lock the door next time. Now if you'll excuse me."

As Commander Wencelas left the room Heenan gestured for the girls to pull up a chair across from him. Lux took him up on the offer but not before placing the cup holding Leora's discarded smoke smack dab in the middle of the desk in front of her. Almost like one would a peace offering or souvenir. Leora on the other hand opted to remain standing and cocked her head in Heenan's direction, her way of saying he should begin. And so Heenan interlaced his fingers atop the desk's surface and proceeded.

"For starters allow me to thank the two of you for getting the convoy to Belveer, cargo intact. The rest of the crew played their respective roles of course, but those roles wouldn't have amounted to much if even one of those rockets hit home. Needless to say the higher ups made the right choice reaching out to the two of you for this job. As I'm sure your aware this entitles both of you to additional payment.

Heenan unclasped his hands and reached into a desk drawer to his lower right, pulling out a stack of pay slips.

You have the option of having it issued now or in Ms. Scholz's case we can have it waiting for you at your next station of arrival, if you could just inform me of your preference— "

"You said the cargo was intact."

Heenan looked up to meet Lux's gaze in lieu of finishing his thought.

"So it was true then, that C217 was never transporting Cinnabark I mean."

So she did know. Heenan swallowed before providing the official explanation.

"It was the belief of the higher ups that deviating from the contents of the manifest would minimize damage incurred by potential leaks. This order was several months in the making, precautions were necessary for the sake of the convoy."

Lux reached out and smacked the cup she'd placed clear off the desk, hard enough to see it deflect off one of the windows across from her.

"No your right, the fuck does it matter if officers protecting sham cargo die if it means a bunch of out-of-touch church assholes get their damn logs!"

She raised a hand abruptly to cut Heenan off from responding right away. Meanwhile Leora stayed quiet, finding amusement in the affect Lux's tirade was having on the older man.

"See what I did there? Dam, logs...or is it only the first part of the joke you found funny? But wait, thanks to those pious church officials declaring them terrorists we've already replaced what was lost and then some. All in a days work as they say!"

Heenan ran both hands over his face and braved a look over at Leora.

"Anything you'd like to add?"

"Nope, I'd say she got her point across. Although if it's not too much trouble I would like my pay slip sent ahead to Station Bodrum."

"That can be for you Ms. Ayfer?"

Lux having calmed quickly due to the lingering headache pinched the bridge of her nose and tapped the desk.

"Just hand it over..."

Heenan when about adhering to each of the officer's wishes before ushering them out. Now alone again he spied Lux's cup on the floor over by the window and went to retrieve it. After picking it up he lingered by the window, at first admiring the view of the New Kantler's skyline. He then dropped his gaze to the courtyard where various personnel often gathered ahead of each round of departures. Watching them go about their days got him thinking.

About how quiet things seemed from that office window, peaceful even. He couldn't help but recall the final moments of Guell Quay as he stood atop the bridge. But instead of gazing down at his opponent he'd been gazing up towards the sky. Perhaps that was where the peace and quiet he'd been willing to kill for resided.

To think, if the entity from Quiet Murn had only directed his gaze toward the sky in favor of the ground. The sight of that transitioning sky might have shut Murn right up. No words necessary.


"Uh, Lux..."

"What's up Esma?"

The communications officer had found her laid out in the shade of the courtyard.

"Evan wants her pants back."

"Can't be helped I guess."

Lux performed a kip-up to get back on her feet and began in the direction of the dorms, Esma close behind.

"Any idea where you're heading next?"

"Why, hoping to tag along?"

Lux smiled to make it clear she didn't mind.

"With no clear destination of my own I figured it couldn't hurt."

"Don't worry, it's the job of the destination to make itself obvious to you. Not the other way around."

Esma's face indicated she was having a hard time following.

"Doesn't make much sense right now I know, but you'll work it out eventually. In the meantime we'll keep traveling with nowhere particular in mind, spurred along by the ever-changing sender that is the LCF."

Lux turned around and smacked a friendly hand on her companion's shoulder.

"Look forward to working with you!"