Saturday, May 26, 2018

Mail from Moksha (Interlude)             

Detached Duty Scout Valo Arenson, 66CDC5, Age 38
Mail from Moksha (Interlude)

003-1109, Belaya, Port Crodo Starport Extrality, aboard Silver Starlight

Atopia had her feet up as she reclined in one of the lounge chairs in Starlight’s crew commons.  She was focused on the economic data displayed on the screen of her dataslab when Olivia came running down the ramp from the flight deck.

“Mom! Mom!” she yelled as she reached the bottom of the ramp, “we just received an X-boat message from Valo!”

Atopia tossed the dataslab aside as her daughter jumped onto the couch beside her with a bump.  She nearly laughed at Olivia’s enthusiasm, but felt a small tug at her own heart as well.  It had been nearly a year since Valo had taken his leave of her, opting to return to his home world rather than continue as her pilot.

Olivia excitedly snuggled up against her as she touched the controls in the lounge chair’s armrest to bring up Starlight’s message queue.  There were at least a dozen others that had piled up since she cleared it yesterday.  Atopia selected Valo’s message and entered the command to have the computer read it aloud.

TO:       Baronet Atopia Kesselring, Defender of the Imperium
             Belaya (1012 Belaya/Wayhaven) ITCC Office, Port Crodo Starport Extrality
             ##Shiplink## NAR1012:1108-03486-MI Silver Starlight

FROM: Valo Arenson
             Moksha (2216 Narmada/Wayhaven) IISS Base, Port Danforth Starport Extrality
             ##Shiplink## MOK2216:1071-00018-S Voidrunner

DATE:  311-1108

>> 2 Attachments <<

Your Ladyship,

Greetings from Moksha!  It is my hope this message finds you in good health and spirits.  I have a few items to touch upon in this message, so forgive me if I jump around a bit.

First and foremost, please extend my regards to everyone still working with you that I served with aboard the Golden Dawn, especially your daughter, Lady Olivia.  Her Ladyship, Baroness Olivia Servantes also sends her regards your way.  I do miss the comradery of commercial shipboard life from time to time, just so you know, but I’ve been busy, too.

The news of Baron Harper Willow’s death reached me several weeks ago.  Allow me to extend my condolences in your time of mourning.  While I might not have gotten off on the right foot with his lordship, he proved to be an excellent friend and coworker.  I will visit Kolan as soon as I am able to offer my respects.

As soon as I returned to Moksha, Her Ladyship pulled some strings with the IISS base commander here to get me on detached duty with an old Horosha-class scout ship that was going to be auctioned off on Narmada.  I rechristened her Voidrunner, and she does get around. These days, I’m running off-route X-boat messages and incidental cargoes between the nine worlds that are within two parsecs of here, along with picking up more workers from Barlow for your enterprise.

On the subject of your business, I have attached copies of the Fiscal 1108 business and financial reports for your company, Moksha Dawn Mining.  The executive summary is that things have been going as well as expected.  Some surprises are in store, though, such as the discovery of ore on the mining site that bears numerous rare earth elements including dysprosium, which is essential to manufacturing laser weapons.  Olga Belovol is working to expand the company to exploit that newly discovered resource, so MDM now employs over a hundred workers, providing badly-needed tax revenue to Baroness Olivia as well as padding the company’s bottom line.  Olga thinks the workforce will double, possibly even triple before the end of 1109.

Conditions on Moksha continue to improve in the wake of the Mercenary War that brought Year 1106 to a close.  Many of the former mercenary units have been incorporated into House Servantes.  In fact, Colonel Orem Kerimov of Gray Twilight has become commander of the Moksha Defense Militia and one of her ladyship’s trusted aides as well.  However, many more have entered the local workforce that’s working to restore and improve local infrastructure.  Admittedly, there are only about fifty-five thousand residents right now, but what you can see of the Port Danforth skyline is looking pretty good.

The starport is also getting a facelift and modernization courtesy of the Imperial Navy’s Narmada Construction Battalion – part of the payment from His Grace’s promise of support of Her Ladyship’s actions.  With all the construction going on, things do get a little chaotic at times – at least those times I’ve been on Moksha the past few cycles.

Of course, it’s not all coming up roses.  Many members of the former mercenary units that comprise the baroness’ combat and police forces were rivals before she took power, and sadly, personal scores are still in the process of being settled.  Also, it’s becoming apparent that many of the former mercs’ side jobs were either running or being members of criminal syndicates, including a couple that were tight with the Yellow Sail Syndicate. 

On top of that, while most of the fugitives from interstellar justice who had harbored here were pardoned by His Grace at the 1107 Subsector Moot, some of the more vindictive governments and persons in the sector have sent assassins here to exact revenge.  The Baroness intends to address the problem in the 1109 Narmada Subsector Moot, though I doubt she can muster enough support among the Peerage to make any kind of meaningful change to the situation.  Given that situation, I’d say TAS’ Amber Zone will probably stay in place for the foreseeable future.

With everything going on, I managed to find the place where I grew up, even though it has been abandoned for many years.  My parents both passed away while I was in the IISS, but I managed to find what was left of the old house – barely a week before it was going to be demolished to make way for new construction.  With the help of the IISS, I located their graves and had them reinterred at a new location.

It was during this time that I managed to reconnect with Bayla Motola.  Yes, she’s the one I mentioned before – my childhood sweetheart.  She left Moksha shortly after I did, though she became a colonist.  She is currently employed by MDM as a geologist and we spend time together whenever the Runner is in Port Danforth.  It is surprising for me to say it, but it is actually pretty nice to have somebody to come home to.

Unfortunately, I have to close this message so that I can have it transmitted to the next outbound boat.  I’m due out of port in a couple of hours with a personnel transfer and message run to the scout base on Dubna, so I’m keeping busy.

Clear skies to you, Your Ladyship!

Valo

>> End of Message <<

“I didn’t know Valo had a girlfriend,” said Olivia.

“He didn’t mention her much because he assumed she had married a long time ago,” said Atopia.  “Valo thought he had left everything behind when he joined the Scouts, but he couldn’t shake his feelings for Bayla.”  Atopia gave her daughter a squeeze which Olivia returned.  “And that’s why he went back after the baroness took over.  He told me about Bayla when he decided to leave us.”

“Doesn’t sound like he’s there for her all that much,” Olivia said.  “It’s like he’s leaving her all over again.”

“People who care for one another either learn to cope with separation,” replied Atopia, “or they break up.  Valo and Bayla have been apart for over two decades, and yet they’ve found each other again.”

“I suppose,” Olivia conceded.  “Will it be hard for you to watch me go when I grow up?”

“That won’t happen for a long time yet,” admonished Atopia.

“Just eight years or so,” said Olivia.  “Will it be hard?”

Atopia nodded.  “The hardest thing for me, ever,” she said.  “But you don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

Olivia looked at her.  “Mom,” she said, “I’m next in line for House Verne after Gerard.  I might have to leave – it would be a matter of duty.”

It took a moment for Atopia to accept that idea, but she slowly nodded.  “It would,” she said, “but I know you’ll do what you need to do, and you’ll do it well.  And that will make the parting a bit easier.”

“You’ll have dad to help you through it, too” Olivia added.

Atopia smiled broadly.  “Yes,” she said, “Yes, I will.”

Olivia stared off into space, thinking.  “I want to find someone like that for me,” she said.

Atopia’s smile faded somewhat.  “In good time, sweetheart,” she said as she ran her fingers through her daughter’s hair, “In good time.”

]: NARMADA [NARMADA/WAYHAVEN] (1918 B260997-D)  Date 001-1109
            ¶ The Imperial Interstellar Scout Service has released a Subsector Data update for Narmada/Wayhaven.  Although such updates are automatically included in starship library program updates, this notice is published as a public service.  The affected entry is for the Moksha (2216 Narmada/Wayhaven) Universal Planetary Profile to reflect changed conditions which are expected to be permanent.
            ¶ The new UPP for Moksha is as follows: C444464-9.  All TAS databases are in the process of being updated as the new information is received.  The change reflects the takeover of Moksha by Baroness Olivia Servantes in 1106, changing the government code from 0 (No Government) to 6 (Imperial Fief), and increasing the law level code from 2 to 4.  No other changes are indicated at this time.

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