Near orbit - Tanoo IV, Maikko’s hub of pleasantness
Maikko emerges from a medical bay, once again refreshed, recloned and free from the excesses of his last incarnation.
Glass breaks. Ambient mood music stops. Service drones reduce speed in the context of a non-systematic danger sound.
An undisguised sullen expression glares at Maikko through the soft lighting.
“Those aren’t cheap, Hettere.”
“Your charisma implants aren’t in, eh?”
Maikko activated his physiology scanning overlay.
**Flushed, increased heart rate, elevated cortisol, increased activation of the amygdala, insula and periaqueductal grey matter. Features of increased endogenous sympathetic output.
Facial expression and body language analysed.
Consistent with distressed emotional state. Threat of violence to others low.**
“I’ve watched you rot and languish in your isolated coccoons. Is this all you want Maikko? To sit on the pile you made, rough out one body after another until the end of time?”
“At the current rate of interest, I can continue this indefinitely. You on the other hand, could use a sedative. You’ve barely been contracted for three weeks and daily emotional outbursts are at variance with your terms of employment.”
“I can’t bear it Maikko! Look beyond the stars! You have been locked in time, uninterested in anything that stargate travel doesn’t bring. There is a dimension out there beyond anything you could have previously imagined. There are riches and opportunities to seize, Maikko. Instead you cycle through poisons and vices. It’s torture to see you with no drive, no purpose! Three weeks with you and your ugliness has pushed me to the edge.”
“Is this some baggage you’re carrying over from the elder invasion of derelik? I don’t need money. I thought a well trained Ammatar girl would bring with her some self control.”
Hettere glared at him. She could do nothing. He had all the aces, all the power on this platform. Every machine, every intelligent fabric and surface was bent to his will.
Maikko consulted Yaniv’s correspondence via his visual overlay and thought to himself. Long employment history with previous sovereignty holding corps… seen a lot, ideas… next time should arrange someone less otherworldly…
The physiology scanner whispered in his ear: “Love - 70% probability.”
“Oh no. Not me.”
“Hettere let’s plan that visit to the Ani constellation. You could gaze at ruined structures and other signs of your fallen culture. There is an excellent bar in the main trading hub Rens, I might lose you there. If that doesn’t appeal, the airlock is deactivated, I’ll be back in ten.”
Maikko stepped out to an information room. This was the third companion in as many months who had missed the modus operandi of the pleasantness orbiter, but this one was the first to speak of a viable alternative…
Maikko’s hand itched. As his itched the itch, he inadvertedly activated intergalactic comms, immediately began to reminisce…
“Ah, Vaari is still making announcements, bless his silken socks. Have a like. Elsebeth? She’s still around? Was she the militant one who trundled through minmatar space with that Electus Matari band? No business to be had…”
Maikko went through many announcements, bewildered at the scale of change over the last 7 years. Wormholes, tech 3? What margins do those carry? Rebuilding the derelik market? I’m in this damned hole of a region and I didn’t know about it!
ALARM - airlock open
One less thing to worry about, Maikko thought… but the seeds Hettere has planted had found ground in Maikko’s overly relaxed cerebrum.