The journey from the Block to the Bastion had been long but largely uneventful. Both Tannus and Brooks had assumed civilian clothing and appearance before catching the next express shuttle that travelled directly from the Block to Nova Casa and the Accord controlled space port. On more than one occasion Tannus found himself musing on how Brooks' civilian clothing looked little to no different from his combat attire, he still wore his tattered X-Metal band t-shirts and his battered and worn jeans, however his posture was far more relaxed, this was something Tannus was grateful for. He knew all about Brooks' discomfort while wearing the Wraith stealth-suits and the last thing he wanted was hours spent on the express shuttle with his partner adjusting his posture and making grunts and groans as if trying to prove his discomfort to all within earshot.
While Tannus had been happy to spend the journey looking out of the view windows at the many wonders and sights Honos had to show, Brooks was not so easily placated Instead the Human complained about one thing after another, if it wasn't about the extra costs involved in buying a ticket out of the Block, it was about the lack of Human jobs made available in the Anchorage Falls many factories. At one moment Tannus found himself needing to restrain his own body as he almost instinctually lurched towards the Human as Brooks actually attempted to justify the Reaver's need for political representation and separation from the Accord. Tannus had never heard such nonsense from a Hydan, but put it down to Brooks' Human biology; the Hydan had spent generations on board the Bastion and their vast space faring fleet, Humans however had not. Clearly the nonsense that burned his ears so was nothing more than a form of unusual 'cabin fever' or as he had heard others referring to it 'going stir crazy'.
After arriving at the Nova Casa port-terminal they were required to make a four hour stop-off as they awaited the next shuttle to the Bastion. The terminal itself was sheet white walls comprised of plasti-glass and blue trim. Tannus knew it was the Human attempt at both function and minimalism; just enough colour so it does not appear entirely white, but enough white to give their Hydan and Kratel visitors an illusion of cleanliness and sterility, promoting the idea among the other races that Humans are not the filthy unwashed that they appeared to be when they first arrived in the Outer Fringe all those decades ago. Tannus knew this was all image crafting, and if any Hydan needed to see the true Human that inhabited the world of Honos, they only need look at his travel companion. Humans were supposedly evolved from a primate based life form, and observing Brooks in his natural habitat as he attempted feebly to comb his long messy hair with one hand while scratching his chest with the other, Tannus was sure he would be forgiven in wondering just how separated Humanity really were from their primitive ancestry.
In stark contrast to the terminal, the shuttle to the Bastion had not an ounce of fallacy about it. The seating onboard was measured to allow for the exact number of passengers that would provide for optimal atmosphere burn and reentry. The outer hull was constructed out of a single sheet of Hydan-made composite and melded using techniques that were still largely unknown by their Human allies. Where Human craft were bloated space-whales designed for maximum seat space but with little attention towards the art of space travel itself, the very design of the shuttle itself was a masterpiece ensuring maximum surface area on every surface possible to enhance the solar-absorbing materials to work at full capacity allowing for every home comfort that a Hydan would expect after a life within their towering crystal structure that they called the Bastion. Once more Brooks continued to show his lack of appreciation as he shifted and fidgeted within his seat, complaining that the seats were too small or the unadjustable back tests were too uptight.
After a short and equally uneventful flight the shuttle arrived at the Bastion, it's opaque blue walls shimmered with energy that flowed through it's every part ensuring a constant and regular flow of power to the site was always present. Brooks stared out of the window in disbelief, he had been to the Bastion previously as part of his Wraith training, but despite this, every time he saw the structure with his own eyes it always took his breath away, a shining shard of blue energy gleaming within the depths of space itself. With a shake him of disapproval Tannus stood and lead the way out of the shuttle as they landed within the arrivals terminal and prepared for security to scan their bodies to ensure a zero presence of foreign bodies ranging from Honian fauna to the rarest of viruses.
As was expected the security check was both competent and efficient, but Tannus expected nothing less and would have personally filed a complaint report if he had experienced anything of the kind. Once completed both Wraiths were provided with the details for their temporary lodgings and set on their way. Tannus' inner voice shouted orders to him, telling him to leave right there and then, to make for the market district or even jump out of a shuttle bay into the vacuum of space, anything but stay where he was waiting for Brooks to say something emotional. Then it happened.
"So I guess this is good bye then dude?"
Tannus looked down at the Human with almost pity. The longing and sadness within Brooks' eyes was clear for all to see, and the human was obviously only a matter of moments away from making an overtly emotional scene right there within their residential lobby. Tannus said nothing instead turning 180 degrees away and began to walk away as fast as he could. Brooks called out after him;
"Oh I see! It's like that is it?" His voice sounded choked as if he was holding back big wet tears "Tannus! We were partners and you're turning your back on me just like that? Well fuck you dude! Fuck you!"
At the sound of his voice bring shouted Tannus spun around and sprinted towards Brooks forcing his palm across his mouth before whispering in his hear "don't shout my name like that Brooks! The less who know I am here the better".
Brooks looked bewildered, total confusion racing across his face as Tannus leaned in towards his an ear "I'm working".
With not even a backwards glance Tannus turned and left once more, the pang of guilt and remorse stabbing into his chest. He wanted to explain everything to Brooks, to inform his partner of the spent filter capsule and his theory of Hydan involvement with the Red Claw, more so his theory about why they were pulled from the case, or why head quarters had been unable to assess that the strike they had been sent on was nothing more than a diversion. Tannus had his theories, but he dared not discuss them with anyone especially Brooks for fear of involving the human in something from which there may be no escape. Tannus knew all too well that if his theories were correct, then Wraith Management would do everything in their power to make the issue and those involved disappear.
Mid stride, Tannus paused. He couldn't be right about this, of that he was sure, and his investigation would prove just how wrong he was. It wasn't possible, the idea alone implausible, no he was most certainly wrong, there was absolutely no way that the Wraiths themselves were involved in this and wanted to cover up one of their own involvement in this smuggling deal. The Hydan shook his head temporarily dismissing the idea, after all the Hydan despised the Kratel. What possible reason could there be for them to work together?
And so ends part 3 of Yet Another Day in the Block.
What do you think? Is Tannus right? Are the Wraiths covering something up? Is it one of their own operatives working with the Red Claw? After all it's not unheard of for the Hydan to work with the Kratel; especially if that Hydan believes themselves to be of True Hydan blood.
Until next time; stay safe and be excellent to each other!
- Your friendly neighbourhood Doctor Loxley