A New Space Iteration


    Justin Gogas as Yardley Cole

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    Justin Gogas as Yardley Cole

    Post  Admin on Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:00 pm

    Pinerest was almost as palatial and comfortable as a manor in Islington Hills. It wasn’t opulent, but the grounds were extensive and well-groomed, the building itself was clean and bright and the staff were alert, kind and professional. It didn’t seem like a loony bin, at least not one typically described in literature and vids. The patients seemed calm. Efficiency permeated the walls.

    Lilan Dia sat across from Dr. Mores, who was reading from a datafile. The doctor found it odd that the actress would be here and asking about this particular patient. Still, no one else had step upped to claim him. “How was your, ah, trip, Miss Dia?” Mores asked as he skimmed over the file.

    “Very pleasant, thank you,” she answered with a warm and genuine smile.

    “I hear you’re still a sensation in New York,” the doctor noted. “It’s been…what? Ten years since you quit vids and moved on to the stage?”

    “That’s right. I’m enjoying myself a great deal.” The woman canted her head. “Doctor, about Cole…?”

    Mores put the datafile down to look at Lilan. “He could have left years ago. He’s no threat to himself or society. He functions well enough. I think he just…doesn’t want to face the real world. I can’t really blame him; he hasn’t had an easy go.”

    “I heard he was a navigator aboard a GAF ship,” Lilan said.

    “He was, for about three years. One of the best, too, I’ve been told. He was always twitchy, though. Didn’t have many friends. Not a great family history – hid dad was a drinker and abusive; his mom died early on. But his performance was exemplary, even if he wasn’t popular with the other soldiers. He signed up when he was twenty-two. Before that…I’m not sure where he was. He seemed to be doing fine, until one day he just went AWOL.

    “He surfaced about six months later, in Calivada. Wouldn’t tell anyone where he’d been. He was dishonorably discharged. I think he just wandered after that – he’s not exactly forthcoming about his past, though his psychiatrist has been working for years to get him to open up.”

    “How did he come to Pinerest?” Lilan asked.

    “About five years ago he was arrested for disturbing the peace – standing on a street corner ranting about something. It was the first time he’d ever acted out. We were the closest psychiatric facility, so they brought him here. And then, we received an anonymous payment for his care. This is a private facility, as you know. The credits kept coming in to cover his being here, so…we kept him. He wanted to stay and his bills were being paid, so…” The doctor shrugged. “We’ve done the best we can for him all this time.”

    “What, exactly, is wrong with him?” Lilan asked.

    “Mild schizophrenia,” Mores told her. “Nothing dangerous. But he insists there are voices in his head that tell him things. Tell him to do things. Fortunately, the voices are at least benevolent – they’ve never commanded him to hurt himself or someone else. Actually, they seem to tell him predictions of the future and suggest courses of action to either avoid negative events or encourage positive ones. Like I said, Miss Dia, he’s not in any way dangerous. Just sick.”

    “But…but he could be a Ghost with precognitive abilities.”

    A shake of the doctor’s head negated her suggestion. “No. We did tests. He’s not a Ghost. And his biofeedback as well as his extensive psychological profiling confirms the schizophrenia.”

    Lilan rose. “May I see him?”

    Mores stood as well, nodding. “Of course. To my knowledge, you’re his first visitor…ever. We sent comms. to his parents, but they were ignored.”

    Lilan followed the doctor down a wide, clean corridor to a set of swinging double-doors. Pushing them open, a large rec room was revealed. It had hanging plants, soft rugs, four vid screens and even a brand new food dispensary. There were about a dozen patients, all quietly occupied with various activities. One was knitting, another playing solitaire.

    She knew which Cole was immediately. He stood looking out of one of the bay windows. He was somewhat disheveled, with a couple days’ worth of stubble. He looked her age – mid-thirties at the latest.

    She walked over to him. “Yardley Cole?” she inquired softly.

    He turned and looked at her. “You’re Lilan Dia,” he said, with more matter-of-fact recognition than surprise.

    She nodded. “I am. I hope you don’t mind that I came to see you.”

    He shook his head, as though it was nothing that this was his first visitor in five years. He was, as the doctor said, twitchy, keeping his hands busy pulling on his fingers. “No, it’s all right. I wasn’t doing anything. Is something, ahm, the matter?”

    “No,” she said. “I actually wanted to talk to you about something. About Telvetica.”

    Her looked away, wringing his hands harder. “I don’t…uhm, I don’t know why you’d wanna talk to me about that.”

    “Because I’m interested to know what happened – from your side. It was before you joined the GAF, right?” When he nodded once, she went on. “You were eighteen or so. There was an earthquake near your home. It leveled a building – a warehouse where some Vosch merchants had set up their goods.”

    “I remember,” Yardley said faintly.

    “What happened just before the earthquake?” Lilan pressed gently.

    Cole’s eyes became glazed, unfocused. “They told me to go. To run to the building. Right before the earthquake hit. I did it. I ran the four blocks to the building and I went inside. Then everything shook. I saw a woman holding a baby get struck by a piece of ceiling and fall. The voices said to grab a folding table. I did it. They told me to stand over the baby the woman had dropped when she fell. I took the folding table and held it over me and the baby, and a roofbeam fell and hit the table over us. Then they told me to take the baby out of the building and I did. And I ran away.”

    “Why didn’t you stay and give the baby back to her mother, Yardley?” Lilan asked.

    “They told me not to,” he answered fretfully. “They said she had a destiny elsewhere and I had to deliver her to it. So I took her away and then a man found us and told me to give her to him. I thought he was the agent of her destiny, so I did it.”

    “That was fifteen years ago,” Lilan said. “What happened after that?”

    “Joined the military. Wanted to protect people. Did my best, but they told me to leave…said I had business elsewhere.”

    “Who…who are ‘they’, Cole?”

    “The Chorus. They see everything, know everything. They guide me. They make sure I’m always where I need to be. But they haven’t told me where to be in a long time. So I stay here, waiting.”

    Lilan looked carefully at him. “Cole, could you work as navigator aboard my ship? Would the Chorus allow that?”

    He blinked slowly. “I don’t know. The doctors say I can leave anytime. I just didn’t have any reason to. Why do you want me to go?”

    “Because you’re an excellent navigator, I need someone on comm. ops too, and because Kit Dillon is my engineer.”

    “Who is that?” His brow furrowed.

    “The baby you took from the earthquake, Yardley.”

    He tensed, turned to face the window, turned back to her again. “You know I…made a mistake, don’t you? You know the Chorus didn’t plan for me to give her to that man.”

    She nodded. “I thought you might like an opportunity to see her again and to watch over her. She’s sixteen now, and she’s very smart and a very talented mechanic.”

    Yardley bowed his head. “What if she’s angry?”

    “She doesn’t know you’re the one who took her from her family. In fact, she doesn’t know that she has another family. It’s up to you to decide if and when you tell her the truth about who you are. If you never do, that’s up to you. But at least you can be there for her and see that she’s all right.”

    Cole shifted from one foot to the other. “I don’t…people think I’m strange. I make them uncomfortable.”

    “That’s another reason I want you on the Embry-Riddle, Yardley,” Lilan replied gently. “I think you need to come back out into the world, and I think the crew of my ship are the kind of people who can understand and accept you. None of them are perfect. They all have their secrets and their bits of strangeness. Even I -….” She trailed off, looking away, surprised that she would even begin to acknowledge herself like that in front of him.

    “I know,” Cole said. “The Chorus told me two months ago. I just didn’t think it’d be you.”

    She looked back to him quickly. “No one knows. I don’t want anyone to know, Cole,” she said quietly but firmly.

    “No. No one will. I promise.” And Lilan knew he meant it. “But can I talk to you about it when we’re alone?”

    She chuckled wanly. “If you’d like. Does that mean you’ll sign on with us?”

    Yardley nodded. “Yes. There’s harmony in the Chorus whenever I think about it.”

    “Good. I’ll help you with the paperwork here, and then take you out to San Francisco. We’ll shuttle up to the Embry-Riddle day after tomorrow. Kit’s already on-board, giving her a tune-up.”

    Yardley, for the first time in five years, smiled.

    YardleyCole

    Posts : 19
    Join date : 2011-06-19

    First night of setup

    Post  YardleyCole on Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:49 pm

    "...Sir?"

    "Listen to me now, son. You caen't be saefe. Don't step a foot onto the sails or yaell regret it."

    When the froth would clear, there were only the two of them left. Adam boomed above the others, intimidating them all back. He was always anxious. His words moved a mile a minute and with great urgency. It takes great concentration to understand him, and he never, ever repeats himself.

    "We'll protect you, my love. This will be good for you."

    Auv'e was very soothing and elegant. It was a joy when she spoke. She's not nearly as negative as Adam is.

    It is pretty common for them to argue, although they never address each other directly. There is a low signal-to-noise ratio in the disagreement and the sea of other voices, but there was comfort in the disagreement. When Adam and Auv'e both agreed, that's when it's time to pay attention.


    "Will that be all, sir?"

    "...Oh, yes. Thank you." Yeardley grabbed the pouch on the counter and turned to make his exit, umbrella in hand. The pills jiggled against their plastic casings inside the bag. Besides the awkward encounter with the clerk, business transactions had not changed as much as he feared.

    "It's goonae raen, son. From now till the end, get ready for the storm."

    YardleyCole

    Posts : 19
    Join date : 2011-06-19

    The Frank redemption

    Post  YardleyCole on Thu Nov 24, 2011 8:51 am

    "2,000 credits each after the ship's repair and upgrade fund are taken out. It would have been 2,500, but Kit said the extra hull damage would run another 5,000," Lani said. Yeardley's face went blank while he was calculating how much room and board that would translate to. It wasn't much, but it could sustain a family of three for about a month in a meager apartment in a safe place. Two months if they pinched their pennies right.

    "...When does the payment go through?" he asked. "Right after they get dropped off, I call my contact and the money goes in immediately." Lani noticed that look on his face of pale, wide-eyed desperation. A lightning storm was happening inside his head, and she knew not to interrupt.

    Yeardley had not even thought about how much he was getting paid for transporting the Franks. There was no need to worry about money for the five years at Pinerest. Someone was paying the bills, but there was no personal income. Going from Pinerest straight to the Embry-Riddle, Lani would take care of everything and he didn't need to be concerned with funding.

    Mai Frank was sitting on the med bay bed whispering to the bishop while Sean was finishing the first nourishing meal since their long departure from Hobbes. Lani said to give them space, so he tried to stay away. His mind was more on Kit, anyway. He knew that he didn't make the strongest impression on her or the rest of the crew. Would he be the black sheep of the crew? Would it be lonely like his GAF stint? Would Lani's support be enough to protect him from being dubbed, "the freak?" Would would would...

    Adam's sudden booming voice sliced through his mind. "Mai Frank...You've gaet to help her." Adam told Yeardley what Mai had to do to pay the bit of the escape price. About the slimy dealer that violated her for a full hour. About Mai's tears as he penetrated her. About Sean's explosive anger brooding in the next room, quelled only by the promise of their new life on Earth and Mai's willful acceptance of the dealer's terms for their freedom.

    Adam told him what was in store for them on Earth. The corrupt embassy official sending Sean and Mai to the slums. Sean's beatings. Mai's prostitution. Their new son's slavery. All three's eventual suicide. Yeardley's heart turned heavy and he shudders, balancing against the counter in the mess hall.

    "Yieu know all this now. The god-man knows it tieu," Adam whispered. Adam never whispers. He feels a hand on his shoulder. "You must help them," Auv'e's soft voice beckoned.

    "But what can I do?" he thought. "Do what you can," she replied. He didn't have much - only information...and 2,000 of the Frank's life savings about to be deposited in his account. Yeardley rushed through med bay to the bridge where Lani was sitting where he could ask when the money was deposited. Once he had his answer, he ran back to the comm station, grabbed a sheet of paper, and started to write down his account information and an authorization code for the Franks to get 2,000 of their credits back. A note was added: "Don't trust the embassy. Seek out the Hobbes support group yourself." Minutes from locking into Epsilon Station, he ran back to med bay and waited for a break in Mai and Cleary's talk.

    He approached the huddled Mai next to the bishop, and Cleary looked up and asked, "...Is there something...?" Yeardley got on his knees and handed Mai the paper, but she stared back with a confused look.

    "Hi, I'm Yeardley. I know what you had to do to get here, and I know what you are in store for. This might help make things just a little bit easier." Her eyes welled up, and her voice broke as she said, "...Thank you." The clang of the Epsilon Station lock shook the ship, and Yeardley backed away so the rest of the crew could gather the Franks. He watched as they were hastily rushed out the door once the air lock disengaged.

    Yeardley dropped into his comm station seat, took a deep breath, then grit his teeth, feeling powerless and lost. Was extra money the only thing he could have done? Was money even the answer here? Maybe not, but someone took care of him for five years at Pinerest; it was his turn to pay it forward.

    It frustrated Yeardley to never know whether his actions have an effect. Maybe the Franks stay out of the slums and everything turns jolly. Maybe they get robbed for their 2,000 credits and all three are killed. Adam and Auv'e never tell him. Maybe Adam and Auv'e don't even know. After seeing the madness that Kit went through at the hands of Ignus, do Adam and Auv'e really know what's best for anyone? Her life was saved, but what kind of life was left for her?

    "Am I even following through like I am supposed to?" Yeardley thought. Save for the earthquake incident, Adam and Auv'e are usually vague and don't specify a direct course of action. Even if they do specify, it can still be interpreted. Was Ignus the right person to give Kit to? There might have been someone else more deserving awaiting the receipt of a child that day, but Yeardley gave her to the first person he saw. Concentrating hard, Yeardley tried to recall Adam's exact instructions, but it was a jumbled mess. Did he even hear Adam correctly in the chaos of the earthquake? Adam never repeats himself, so there's only one chance to get it right.

    Yeardley quickly took two pills, sunk into his chair, and rest his head against his arm. Filled with doubt and indecision, he watched as the wave patterns on the screen lulled him into a light sleep.

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