Chapter 25: Etching the MemoryMature

[Story]

"Well, this is the place."

Razor held up his hand as Ku'Thro and Ashley arrived behind him onto the scene of the partially collapsed hotel that nearly took him out. It rose twenty-seven stories, but various chunks of the building had collapsed to the surrounding areas, forcing them to step and weave as they drew closer. Razor examined the outer surface. It looked to have aged a century in the month since he'd been here.

"Or what's left of it anyway," he mumbled. It had transformed from a newly renovated, tan bricked masterpiece into a dull brown, cracked disaster. Vines protruded from the base and slithered through the debris like a swampy moss.

"Surprised the breeze hasn't knocked the rest of this thing down," Ashley said. "How the hell is this even standing?"

"Earth Occultics are far from your everyday techniques," Ku'Thro began. "The building hasn't actually been destroyed, it's just been...reconfigured...I suppose would be an appropriate term."

"So...like someone gave it a bad makeover?"

"More or less."

Razor plodded through the rocks drawing closer to the exposed main lobby, recalling the knowledge he'd gained on the strange occultic since his encounter.

"Earth Occultics takes something in one condition, and switches it out with something in another. In other words, unless whatever it was switched with was destroyed, the end result remains intact. At least partially, anyway."

"But what is there to switch? This building was newly built."

"Newly renovated," Razor corrected. "And only on the exterior. Those floor boards were breaking apart on my last trip."

"And you fell from the twenty second floor?" Ashley nodded upwards.

"Yeah."

"How did you survive the fall?"

"Being resourceful."

The interior remained just as low down and depressing to Razor as they had been when he'd first laid eyes on it some weeks ago. The same old chandelier had managed to remain but hung for its life over the main floor, casting no light when Ku'Thro attempted to flip the switch on the other side of the lobby. The wallpaper was the same dark, pink stained mess of vines and roses from a time period far out of this one. The air was just cold enough to provoke the occasional shiver as Razor proceeded right, past where the main entrance would have been and up a single flight of stairs where the elevators resided. He paced further up only to find that the only stairway leading to the upper floors was blocked by another pile of debris from the ceiling.

"No power and no stairs," he mumbled.

Ashley slid in behind him and attached a small device to the elevator door closest to him. She waited a few moments of silence before venturing back to the door in the middle and repeating the process.

"What's that?" Razor inquired

"In simplest terms, a portable generator," she responded. A few beeps went off on the device, drawing a small boast of victory from her.

"There's still some juice I can tap into."

"So what? Just attach it to anything and power?"

"If it has any juice left, yeah."

"Nifty."

"Damn right. Now if you'll excuse me, mama's got some abandonment issues to repair."

She drew her ear closer to the door as if she were listening for something while fidgeting with the device.

"Shh, don't worry. I know they left you, but everything's going to be alright now."

"Well, I know these things can be delicate so I'm gonna give you two a little privacy."

Ashley paid no attention as Razor spun around and made his way over to Ku'Thro who was idly staring about in the center of the lobby.

"She has a very special relationship with anything electronic," Ku'Thro noted as he drew closer.

"Hey, we all have our tastes right?"

A brief silence passed between them before Razor made the next statement.

"So, hunches?" he remarked, drawing a smirk from Ku'Thro.

"Yeah, hunches."

"Exactly what are you hoping to find here?"

"Anything that can help us track down whoever did this."

"This as in Blue Legion, or this as in this?"

"Both."

He nodded his head and took another glance around.

"This...Chaos," Ku'Thro attempted, "How many people do you suspect he's killed?"

"Before the massacre? Twenty-seven confirmed. I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and say it's probably a lot higher."

"And why do you think it's him? How did you even find his name?"

"Well, like you said in your visceral speech earlier, the Karra System worships him. He's all over newspapers throughout the system and the surrounding ones." Razor dug into his coat pocket and pulled out a data pad projecting various local news stories.

"They say he's leading a revolution. One that outsiders wouldn't understand. Just about everyone supports him."

"Just about everyone?"

"Anyone who's rich or well off would like nothing more for it all to end."

"I would imagine you wouldn't want things to change if everything's going your way."

"Oh it's not because of the way things were going. It's because of how they got into their positions to begin with."

"And how did they get into their positions."

"Well, let's start from the beginning. The Karra System is one of the most conflicted systems in the galaxy; probably the most conflicted system. It's the only independent system to be deemed Uncharted since none of the empires have been successful at getting a diplomat there, and the few times they have, there were far too many factions on opposing fronts to officially declare it. So it's a no man's land.

At the heart of the system lies the capital planet, Di'Capor: a planet made up of entirely water except for one large mass of land known as Arkna, and probably the most chaotic place in existence. What started out as a rich, prominent, independent civilization became an impoverished hellhole when a suphonn arrived with his private military and took over. He essentially came in, told everyone how things were going to work and anyone who agreed to work with him would become rich. Of course the populace wasn't happy, so they rebelled, but to no avail. About a fourth rose to his side, and along with much superior technology, he isolated himself from the rest with a giant wall that now divides the city. The people that rose to his side were let into his side of the wall, otherwise known as The Governor's District, and were allowed to harvest the profits from the water mining. Along with that, he destroyed all docking bays, resources, tools, and gadgets on the other side, meaning the remaining populace couldn't do the same. And as you can expect, anarchy eventually took over.

Meanwhile, the governor used his new profits to fund even more wars in the system. My best guess as to why he did so was to keep the other empires from the system."

"So then, this revolution has been going on since the governor took over centuries ago?" Ku'Thro inquired.

"No, this revolution started with Chaos. There have been plenty of civil wars fought throughout the system, more so when the governor was in power, but those are all previous conflicts, and only a few could be called revolutions. Most are just senseless bloodshed."

"Then tell me of the revolu-"

"Elevator's up!" Ashley interuppted.

Ku'Thro nodded in her direction before redirecting his attention to Razor and finishing his last statement, however before Razor continued speaking, another interruption came.

"Hey! Let's GO! This thing ain't gonna give off juice forever. We got twenty-one floors to climb and we're gonna be truggin slow. You two can have your story time in here."

With a nod, Razor and Ku'Thro walked over to the elevator where Ashley impatiently tapped her foot from the inside. They stepped inside and the doors shut slowly behind them.

The End

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