Where was Monden right now?
He isn’t quite sure, but he feels comfortable and at ease. Sunlight from the outside shines through the windows in front of him, warming him up like a blanket would. But he feels something cold, the sensation coming from his left hand…Oh, A bottle of beer! Of course! It was oddly void of any branding, but that’s whatever, a beer’s a beer after all.
For a moment Monden thinks he is floating as he doesn’t feel his feet touching the ground. But turns out his feet are just propped up on a coffee table, and he sitting on a sofa.
There were only two distinct noises he was hearing. The cheerful laughter of a boy and girl - no older than 10 or 14 emitting from some distance behind him. Then the sound of air being cut in front of him, it was a boxing match being played on a holo-screen. He recognizes the two fighters, Koriq Narahu and Yalki Milter! It was practically a dream match to see these two legends in the ring together. Though it was odd, there was no sound of a crowd cheering or commentary from Kesa Negar or Trike Crudeo. On top of that, Milter was wearing his Lightweight championship belt during the match, certainly an odd sight.
“What did I say about putting your feet on the coffee table?” comes a voice to his left. It is a woman, dark-skinned complexion in a blouse and jeans. Monden however can’t get a good look at her face, it is as if it was entirely absent. In her hands is a platter and a beer bottle much like his, only her’s is in a cozy grip.
Monden smiles and removes his feet and places them on the floor, he feels carpet, soft and clean. The woman passes though and sits next to him in the couch. She leans forward and places the platter on the coffee table where his feet were rested up on. There is a large sandwich on it filled with all sorts of sliced meats and vegetables in some fine baguette style bread. It was cut in two with a noticeable difference in size, as, like a reflex Monden, reaches over for the larger portion.
His hand is gently swatted at by the women “Nope! That one is mine!”
Monden looks over to her, cross, as she picks up the larger piece “You think that little thing is gonna feed a man like me?” hHs tone carries a hint of humor as if it wasn’t a big deal.
“You should have thought about that when you left me to make it.”
Monden smirks “Hmph, touché.” The petty argument is swiftly diffused and Monden places his beer down and reaches for the small portion left for him. Taking a bite out of it he tastes nothing yet comments on it with sincere praise. “Mmm, delicious.” He takes another bite, puts the sandwich portion back down on the platter, grabs his beer once more, and leans back into the sofa. He tosses his right arm behind the woman’s neck and brings her in closer.
“Who’s winning so far?” she asks.
“Uh…Still up in the air, Mitler is looking good, but got knocked down last round. Koriq however has been knocked down in round 2.” Did Monden even witness this? Well, he was sitting here this whole time so he must’ve seen it…What round was it even? He sees the roundcard displayed beneath the fighters but Monden can’t seem to focus on the text. This doesn’t worry him initially, he just relaxes and enjoys the show as it is.
Snuggled to him, the woman asks “So when you gotta go back?”
Monden sighs “Three days…”
“News says it will be sunny tomorrow afternoon. How about we go to the park?”
“What about the day after? I’m taking Akels to a Mind Clash match after he gets out of school.” Akels, his son. Kid loved watching Mind Clash and begged Monden every time to take him to a show if one was local. Monden doesn’t much see the appeal in it but it is at least entertaining enough to sit though, even more so if his son was having a blast watching it.
“Heh, even on vacation you got a busy schedule…”
“Personally I wouldn’t mind having a schedule like this all the time.” Monden looks and smiles at the woman with a chuckle, then resumes watching the two fightings exchange blows. A silent minute passes before a faint ringing is heard. It sounds familiar to him…Someone is calling him! He pulls his arm out from the woman’s neck and gets up “Sorry, I gotta get that.”
The woman looks up to him “Want me to scream if one of them gets knocked out?”
“Go for it!.” Monden says as he walks over to a narrow hallway to the left. The feeling of carpet on his feet switches to cold hard wood as he steps into the hallway, then it switches to pain as he steps on something “God dam-" Monden bites his tongue before uttering the swear. He looks down and sees he has stepped on a small human…no, a toy figure. Monden squats down and picks it up to examine it, looks like a Federal soldier in uniform. He holds onto it and walks forward, on his right is a door with a poster on the front of it of a cartoon series called “Democratic Crusaders!” that shows the colorful cast of crusaders, from all walks of life in New Eden, and their signature Vexor-class cruiser flying off behind him. Monden leans into this room and places the figure on a desk littered with sheets of paper, folders and text books. Leaning out, Monden continues on his way towards the source of the ringing.
He enters a room, its it’s a bedroom, obviously one for adults as there’s a queen size bed to his right for two individuals, doorway to a bathroom to the left and void of any childish posters or toys. Directly ahead of him was a desk with a terminal on it - that’s where the ringing was coming from. Monden approaches and sees and a prompt on the screen that he presses as soon as he’s in range.
The screen switches to a camera feed of a Intaki man, sweating and flustered sitting behind a desk. Monden recognizes him as his CFO, Dorret Brilte. “Dorret, everything alright?” Monden asks
“No!” Dorret blurts “Everything is not alright! Have you seen the news Monden? They ■■■■■■■ did it, THEY’RE ■■■■■■■ doing it!”
Monden places his beer down on the desk and eases into the nearby office chair “Slow down Dorret, who are you talking about? What did they do?”
“The Capsuleers!” Dorret shouts, standing up “They’re ■■■■■■■ erecting extractors and factories all over the cluster!”
Monden already felt a chill go down his spine when Dorret mentioned Capsuleers. But it was all coming to him now… “No…I-I thought it was just a rumor that they’d start having planetary Interactions…”
“It sure as ■■■■ ain’t a ■■■■■■■ rumor now Monden! CONCORD has already given the green light and Interbus’ custom offices are already facilitating the transfer of billions of units of planetary goods. Prices across all goods are plummeting! Not to mention - the ■■■■■■■ rolling death squads of Capsuleers going around blasting custom offices out of the sky!”
“Yes! Plummeting! Base metals? Crashing in price right now.”
Monden feels sick in his stomach, his company, Lucrative Excavations dealt exclusively in Base Metals for the time being. He was hoping to build the capital to expand operations but it appears it wouldn’t have mattered anyway. Capsuleers have entered the market with their own high-end excavators that are sucking natural resources faster than any baseliner could hope to. Base metals wasn’t even worth that much originally, now with Capsuleers flooding the market? “W-What do we do Dorret?”
“You need to come back to Elarel II.”
“I’m…” Monden scratches the back of his head “Still on Vacation.”
Dorret starts screaming “MONDEN! DON’T YOU GET IT?! VACATION IS ■■■■■■■ OVER! THE SHAREHOLDERS ARE LOSING THEIR ■■■■■■■ MINDS RIGHT NOW!”
The woman’s voice echoes into the room “Honey? Everything alright?!”
Monden turns his head towards the door “Everything is fine!” then looks back to Dorret “Look, I’m with my family right now, I need you to relax.”
“Relax?! Monden, every second we waste we risk losing everything! I’m sorry - but you have to realize the severity of this! I’ve already called everyone in, marketing, human resources, logistics officers, the entire ■■■■■■■ board and now I’m calling you! I’ve sent a cab your way that will take you to the starsport. You need to be in a shuttle here, okay?” Monden breathes in and out, to anxious to answer. Dorret shouts again “Monden!”
“O-Okay! I’m on my way!” Monden jumps out of his seat and ends the call. He runs out the bedroom, through the hallway and back into the living room…Something was different, the sunlight was gone and now it was pouring down rain outside, complete with a gloomy sky.
As soon as Monden touches the doorknob to the front door, the woman calls out to him “Monden? What’s wrong? Going to the store?”
He freezes and slowly turns around to her “There’s uh…Some complications at work…Serious ones that I must attend to.”
The faceless woman stands there, silent before saying “…Didn’t you say you had three more days? What about taking Akels to the Mind clash game?”
Monden opens up the door “I-I-I know what I said! Just…I have to go! It’s important!” Monden steps outside and a storm is kicking up, ahead of him the cab that was called for him was already there, the back door was even opened already. He is in a suburban neighborhood.
The woman comes running out as Monden walks towards it “Monden!” she cries out.
Monden keeps walking towards the cab, a man in a suit walks up holding a sign in one hand and a hammer in the other, Modern watches the man plant the sign in his yard and does nothing but step into the back of the cab. Looking back at the house, the woman was nowhere to be seen, but he sees the sign the man planted that said in big letters “For Sale”
The cab drives off, without the driver asking for a destination. Monden takes a deep breath and looks around the backseat; there was a barrier between him and the driver and a small port for a phone attached to it. Looking out the door window the storm was becoming more violent, arcs of lighting in the distance and the sky turned purple. He then starts spotting objects falling from the sky, bulky metallic objects on fire, crashing down onto the surface. One of these objects suddenly crashes into one of the houses the cab passes, scaring Monden away from the window. He notices what it is, an excavator for digging up natural resources. Then another one on the other side of the street, then a factory crashes down into of another house, taking out their parked vehicle.
Then Monden starts hearing a ringing sound… It was coming from the cab’s phone. Monden quickly picks up and brings it to his ear “H-Hello?” He’s sweating, profusely.
A voice of a woman speaks in his ear “Mr. Searbier, my name is Doley Hendya, I work for the Pend Insurance. I’m calling to inform you that we’ve raised the interest rates on your insurance plan from 5% to 10%”
“W-What?! Why? Y-You can’t do that! This is robbery!” There’s no response aside from the click that the line was cut off. Monden James the device back in the slot and collapses back in his seat.
The ringing returns, but not from the phone just used, but from the personal one the driver had. He pulls it out and brings it to his ear. Three seconds pass before the driver extends it behind through a window in the barrier “It’s for you" he says.
Monden cautiously takes the phone, as he does he asks the driver, “W-Who are you?” but gets no response. He brings the driver’s phone to his ear “Hello?”
It was Dorret Brilte, his voice was winded “Monden…I gotta put in my two week notice.”
“What? Why? Dorret! Dorret! Speak to me!”
“Its too much sir, the medication is starting to do nothing for my blood pressure and I can feel myself aging quicker than normal, I’m sorry.”
“Dorret! Listen, I don’t have a repla-" the line disconnects “■■■■!” Monden shouts as he tosses the driver’s phone aside.
The ringing is heard again, not from the Cab’s phone or the driver’s, but Monden’s. He reaches into the pocket to pull out his personal device and brings it up to his ear. “Hello?”
“Mr.Searbier, this is the Bank of Luminaire calling to inform you that this is the fifth and last time you have failed to meet the deadlines with the loan you’ve taken out.”
“I just need a little longer!”
“I’m sorry sir, but we’re sending agents to repossess assets right now to meet the payments owed. Unfortunately the only assets you now own worth repossessing are your two children.”
“You stay away from them! You hear me? Hello?” That same click is heard once more. Monden is hyperventilating at this point, he looks around as his world literally falls apart, streets cracking open, more excavators falling from the sky and this cab seemingly going nowhere.
He hears that ringing…Again, not from the three he just used. He can’t spot where it’s coming from but it grows louder and louder. Monden grabs hold of the handle of the door and jerks it towards him. Desperate to escape he keeps at it until he starts trying to kick it open with his bare foot.
It gives in and he dives out, but he’s not met with the asphalt of the street. He’s met with the dry hot sand of Elarel II. The sky is blank, aside from the sun shining brightly down on him. Looking around he saw his company’s drilling equipment, personnel, and office complex all sinking into the sand. Wanting to rush to the aid of a worker he realizes that he himself is trapped in the sand as he slowly sinks. He screams out for help and tries to claw for something to grab onto. Yet he sinks, and sinks, and sinks until the sands consume him
June 30th YC 120
Monden springs upward with a scream, sweating and breathing rapidly. As his environment comes into focus he slowly relaxes. He wasn’t on Elarel II, he was in a penthouse apartment on Nannaras X, Hoiyori. It was extravagant and followed some decorative design choices that followed suit with the Raata aesthetic the Zaibatsu tried to capture. He was alone in it.
What he had experienced was nothing more than a dream…no, a nightmare more like it. The pleasant parts of it slip away from his train of thoughts but the intense moments lingered. He peiced together what he knew was reality and wasn’t…His old neighborhood wasn’t destroyed by Capsuleer excavators , his children weren’t taken by the banks and Koriq Narahu and Yalki Milter never once were in the same ring as each other.
But Monden still heard that phone ringing, as well as the sound of thunder in the distance. To his left he saw out a porch window that it was pouring outside and to his left on the nightstand was a near empty glass bottle of whiskey, a shot glass, a clock that said “4:21am”, and his comms device. He grabbed his comms device and looked at who the hell was calling him at this hour. He was both tired and could feel his head on the verge of exploding.
It was Auljam Karvose…Lead director of the Karvose collaboration studio. The man to lead the creative sector of the Zaibatsu.
“Hello?” he asks, bringing the device to his ear
“Monden.” Auljam replies
“Auljam…Do you have any idea…What ■■■■■■■ time it is right now?”
“What even is time, Monden? It’s just some subjective tool of measurement Humans created to make sense of our progression in life”
Monden didn’t have an answer ready…Not that it wasn’t a thought provoking statement, just that it made no sense “…Are…Are you ■■■■■■■ high right now?!”
Auljam responds, with some regretful passion in his voice “No! But I’ve spent much time in my life getting high! And I can’t tell if that’s was worth it or not. I was successful when I was getting high but it was also my downfall! I’m scared I’ve made mistakes Monden!”
Auljam Karvose was a holo-reel director that at one point during his career, turned to drugs for inspiration. Under the influence the man made content that fans deemed to be high quality. However his use of drugs became his eventual downfall…
“Why are you calling me at this hour about this?!” another question pops into Monden’s head “Why the ■■■■ are you calling ME about this?!” Monden couldn’t understand what the hell Auljam was going on about, but knew that Auljam was eccentric
“Because I love you like a father, Monden.”
“…Goodnight Auljam.” Monden lowers the device from his ear and was to end the call before Auljam’s voice cried out
“Monden! Please! Wait!”
Monden brings it back up to his ear “…What.”
“I-I’m more scared of dying man, I’m scared of dying with regrets, i’m scared to die a washed up phony - and I have no one to blame but myself…Do you know how that feels? Do you have regrets at all, Monden?
Monden actually felt something at this moment that wasn’t fatigue or pain in his head. Did Monden have regrets in life? He recalled what he seen in that nightmare and realized he has plenty of regrets. Regrets about treating his company with more importance than his family, regrets about uprooting their lives just so he can fight a battle against the Capsuleers that he had already lost. Go bankrupt, then be bought out by the Zaibatsu to do the digging for them.
He feels an urge to talk about it, but with Auljam? He’s not exactly someone Monden considers a friend, but even strangers can be great listeners at times. What’s to stop this baboon from babbling on about it in other conversations? Hell…Maybe he’s lying and has blown out of his mind on some substance and won’t remember it in the morning.
A choice presented itself
- Open up on Auljam
- Hang up and go back to sleep
((It’s suppose to say "Open up TO Auljam, but can’t edit the text of polls))