“…but our ancestors fought on both sides of the Rebellion. Our accounting of the Book of Records confirmed descendants of combatants intermarrying into what would become the holdings of the Hibra of Sabusi and the Pserad of Zirsem. Thirteen and sixteen generations back, respectively, though thereafter they propagated even beyond the Kingdom. It was more father’s side, so I’m told, who wanted open borders. He said they must have felt the thrum of Athra in their bones.”
The interviewer shifted in his chair. A True Amarr, age obscured behind his bloodline’s cryptic physiognomy, he nodded mildly as he observed his subject. There was no mistaking her familiarity with the contents of her file, spending the last half-hour merely reciting a register of events which had long since been verified. She was relaxed, upright. The posture of an officer in a uniform of flesh and blood. He let her words hang in the air for a moment, waiting for the silence to draw more from her.
“I think it likely hereditary of the modern Pserad, and their minor branches, to feel the call of Creation and seek to know His many works. I’ve always assumed that is why father joined the merchant marine rather than the Royal Navy, rather than an aversion to active duty. I think he felt routine patrols wouldn’t provide him with the same sense of awe that the far-flung wonders of the Empire did. Mother’s side is much more orthodox. It’s a curiosity that her parents even considered him as a suitor, in light of how deeply her lineage values martial prowess. Then again, she was one tzengsich among the many officers and Uhlans…”
Her voice diminished, eyes expectant. The man across the desk from her smiled weakly with his hands clasped in his lap.
“You sound very proud of your family.”
“Many generations have served Holy Amarr with distinction. I hold my forbears in high esteem.” Her gaze remained dispassionate.
“Of course. Tell me: your application to Hedion includes a petition to the DED for a capsuleer pseudonym. It’s clear your family is very important to you. Do you not wish to honor your heritage… your parents… through your own accomplishments?”
For a moment, her breath held fast. Nodding slowly, she scrupled, “…it was a pet name, given to me by my mother as a child. I thought it prudent to protect them in the event the wages of…” She blinked, lips pressed.
The interviewer’s tepid simper persisted. He pushed himself out of the seasoned leather seat and took a few slow paces toward the curved wall of transparent alloy. From her seat, an inward-facing reflection stood before him, illuminated by pale golden glow that framed the panorama. He peered out, not to the flurries of station traffic, but the stars beyond. With a finger extended, he traced a vague path between them. “Across the expanse of Creation, the curse of the Jovians spreads. Madness, bloodlust, calamity. Millions upon millions of souls perish beyond Salvation. Driven by the thirst for power, they find too late that damnation is their only prize. Not so for the Chosen,” he turned, musing, “for ours is faith, the strength that preserves Holy Amarr. Your covenant with God, alone, stands between you and your doom.”
“Of course, Pardoner Ahashion.”
Impassive, he looked over his subject. “This is not your first application to Hedion, nor your first time through the classification battery. Highly unusual for someone your age to match their performance of a decade ago, and so roundly.”
“Yes, it was difficult, but I believe it was wholly worthwhile. The changes I found between the former and present program were insignificant, save for the introduction of new clone states. And physical conditioning is arguably the easiest portion. I find… that the social barriers are the most challenging.”
“Yet you would not have had to face them, had you elected to enroll in the program ten years ago. If you did not wish to confront the menace of the Jovian capsule then, why do so now?”
“After Her Holiness was coronated, it became clear that the threats arrayed against the faithful would not merely abate, but were rather emboldened. The Sabik, Nation, Tyrannos… the aggressions are mounting… and…” she drew a slow, measured breath. “It was the Exhortation of the Supreme Sobor… that assurance that I would not further the diminution of the Chosen through my own fallibility.”
At this, Pardoner Ahashion raised a brow, smirking. “Codicillary. Presumptuous. Perhaps also… the nacre of wisdom. Now, I’d like discuss your service record…”