Intaki ...Liberation?

YC124-11-08

DP34-U V - Moon 1 - Intaki Commerce Trading Post

Alysha Tande sighed deeply, running maroon nails across her scalp, front to back, through her strands of golden hair until they reached an obstacle at the nape of her neck. The sigh broadened as she deftly removed the obstacle, catching it as her hair fought to get loose. Alysha tapped her nails against the hair clasp as she brought it in front of her and shook the rest of the hair out, willing the day to go with it.

“If I have to hear Alton Havery’s voice one more time today…”

Taking a deep breath, she rubbed a little below the nape of the neck, where her uppermost implant was. Although the capsuleer techs swore it wasn’t possible, the literal metal of the implant ached in a way that the Intaki pilot would only call bone deep.

“Nothing some actual rest won’t fix though.”

The mechanical sigh of the door to her quarters sounded behind her, and she closed her eyes with a deep breath in. No matter how freeing it was to be hooked to a ship with vacuum beneath her, there was something truly calming about unplugging and just being in her own space. Nothing quite as relaxing as being able to just look out the station windows and feel the gravity plating humming gently beneath bare feet.

“I just want to forget about this day, even for a little while.”

Alysha tapped the side of her boots and slipped her feet out as they obediently opened, touching that deckplate with her toes at first and then calmly breathing out. All she’d need now would be the sight of the stars, maybe a warm beverage and the arms of her husband. She stepped forward down the corridor to the living space, the door sliding open at her approach.

Immediately the peaceful feeling she had started to cultivate was assaulted by the monitors in the living space flashing those same scenes she wanted to forget, the room speakers playing the sound of the news reports, and loud. There, sitting in the middle of it all, her husband Cory John Tande, enraptured by the scenes and… smiling?

“…this is Alton Havery, reporting for the Scope.”

Alysha’s blonde eyebrow raised above her right hazel eye, which twitched involuntarily at hearing that sign off for one too many times today. Well, at least that was the end of the Scope report - and perhaps CJ hadn’t had the chance yet to watch it until now, she had to give him that grace at least.

Not even looking in her direction, the brown haired man moved his attention to another monitor, waving a hand to adjust the channel to another one. Solitude One - a channel run by those Federal citizens who lived out in Solitude region, where CJ was born and raised, sure, but also…

Oh no. Didn’t even think about how Solitude would take this…

Sure enough, the broadcast was immediately celebrating the military manoeuvres of the Federation, welcoming their involvement in cleaning up the capitalist refuse that had plagued Intaki Prime and her surrounding systems, glorifying the recent military occupation of a civilian location -

“CJ.” Alysha’s voice was quiet to start, a warning for anyone who knew her well, anyone who was paying attention at least. It seemed Cory John wasn’t, because he just waved a hello in acknowledgement. Alysha fixed him with her Look, but that didn’t work much either as he hadn’t even seen her, so engrossed was he with the propaganda.

Trying again, Alysha smiled in a way that didn’t meet her eyes, “Turn that off, please.” This time her husband looked up at her and smiled, happy to see her at least, and he replied “Oh, sorry love, let me just - “ and he tapped a couple of controls, sending the room into blissful silence. However his attention returned right back to the most definitely still active monitors, and it only took a beat for Alysha to realise he’d just switched audio to his internal Capsuleer receiver.

“Cory John Tande,” Alysha began, invoking the full name to emphasise the seriousness of the situation, “Turn off that propaganda right now or face the consequences.”

At last he turned to look at her, really seeing her and taking in her demeanour. Like a Serpentis in her targeting HUD, he suddenly seemed to realise the severity of his situation. Without looking away from her eyes, he swiped the controls and the monitors went dark to go with the blissful silence, the only light in the room now coming from the scant stars outside the window.

Alysha closed her eyes for a moment, breathing in the new silence, but that snatched fragment of peace could not last. She fixed her glare back on her husband and said volumes without uttering a word.

“I take it that you’re not pleased with the liberation of Intaki for some reason, darling?” he ventured into the silence. “I don’t know why the military bothers you so much, they’re taking care of a problem that until now diplomacy hasn’t been able to solve, so…” Cory John Tande trailed off, seemed like he was learning after a couple years of being married how to actually not space himself.

“Husband. The unsanctioned invasion of our shared bloodline’s homeworld is not a positive thing,” the statement was flat, factual, and it brooked no argument, “The fact that your upbringing in Solitude still blinds you to how Intaki are truly treated by the Gallente is beyond unbelievable.”

Alysha gestured to the blessedly dark monitors, “Forget what they’re selling this as, look at the facts, look at the literal invasion of civilian targets. If that doesn’t wake you up as to how you’ve been treated all your life, I don’t know what will.” CJ looked like he wanted to respond, but thought better of it. Knowing him like she did, Alysha kept her smile inward as she saw his mind working.

This argument wasn’t new to their marriage, it was in many ways a classic clash of Syndicate Intaki versus Solutide Intaki, one culture where oppression was ingrained versus one where it had been thrown off generations back. Alysha had been slowly working on his learned attitudes for some time now, and this might just be that moment where things shifted, at least that was her hope. For now, she maintained her frown at him while he looked at the ground.

There was a long moment of silence, the stars of Syndicate blinking noiselessly outside the station window, where they were not blocked by the dark of the moon. The two Intaki stayed that way for a minute, long enough for a sliver of light to brighten the edge of the moon, light that spilled into the window and reached Cory John Tande’s eyes.

“You’re right, love,” CJ began, and he stood up from the recliner, taking a step towards her, offering two arms open for an embrace, “I’m sorry.” Alysha let her stern exterior melt into a serious one, and stepped forward, arms around his neck, placing her head on his shoulders in acceptance. She let him hold her there for a long time, the arms strong and supportive as they always were, that last piece of rest, relax and reset that she had needed finally in place.

The moon’s light crescent had grown ten times by the time the embrace ended, and while both separated from the tight hug, she found her arms still held by his, and his hands squeezed her forearms. “I’m sorry,” he repeated, “Now, what do you want to do about it.”

Alysha knew that smile that she suddenly saw on his face, and smiled back with an equal promise that neither Tande would take this lying down.

At last. Progress.

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