Suspended in Thought — 3

Pluto?

Four hours had passed and still he waited. People had come and gone and Viktor was pretty sure that most of the people that had been there when he arrived had left or been attended to already. He sighed and shifted in his seat, watching the fourth hourly news report.

Just as he thought about getting up and leaving, a robot arrived. He was surprised. His bluff worked? “Viktor Nuruzur. You are ready to be attended.”, it spoke in a more masculine, deep voice. It’s appearance was identical to the robot that attended Alexei. His heart began to race. He did not think it would be possible that the governor would actually attend him.

He walked after the robot that hovered in front of him, and he could not help but smile. It was hovering at a followable pace. It turned one way towards a set of doors that were guarded by tall men with masks and guns. The robot bleeped and the doors swung open, the guards unmoving. Viktor scurried after it and the doors closed unceremoniously.

Inside he saw a hall of doors. Many, many doors. All of them identical. The walls were adorned with paintings and murals dedicated to the soldiers, workers and scientists of the Cevellian Republican Nations. He admired them all, as he had not seen anything similar in the past. One of them depicted a group of scientists, facing a desk on which there was a formula written. He could not read it as he passed on to the next.

One of the paintings depicted the lost planet of “Sanctuary”, one of the most beautiful planets the Cevellian Republican Nations had the pleasure of calling their own. Viktor had bumped into the robot as it stopped in front of one of the doors. Clearly, it was not the governor’s, as his name was not on it. It belonged to “Level 34 — Ana Figurea” and it swung open as the robot disappeared down the hall into obscurity, following a fleet of other robots, some with people following them, some not. Viktor entered and the door closed behind him.

A neat room welcomed him, bureaucratic to the core, as it contained a desk, a rug, two chairs in front of the desk, a display behind Ana that depicted the countryside of Fincastle and a painting of the governor on one wall. The walls themselves were grey with a subtle design embossed on it, many of the designs forming artistic versions of the flag of the Empire.

“Please, Mr. Nuruzur, have a seat.”, Ana said as she continued to stare at a screen in front of her, her fingers flying along the keyboard at an alarming speed. Viktor obliged her. She wore a pink blouse that left much to the imagination, her brown eyes were large and her brown hair was neatly combed, probably multiple times daily. Her glasses had information whizzing downwards past her eyes, as did the screen in front of her. Thin as her lips were, they were brightly red and invited Viktor’s eyes to look at them. They adored the attention.

“Hi, Ana. I am here to speak to the governor, it is-“ “I know why you are here, Mr. Nuruzur”, Ana interrupted him.

She removed her glasses, closed her eyes for a moment and then opened them to look at Viktor. “You have come on behalf of the Cyggan. Correct?” and Viktor could do no else but nod.

Ana nodded “Yes, we are aware, as is the governor. You have sent quite a few enquiries and requests. It seems it has been a total of 34. The requests of yours to the Chancellor have, naturally, not been forwarded to her. I believe you can understand why” Viktor nodded as she continued “We cannot have average Cevellian citizens wasting the time of our leaders as they attempt to restore the glory of the Empire. It is a long process. And your request is… quite peculiar in nature.” Ana donned her glasses and put her hands on the keyboard as she continued to speak.

“It says here you have been working on the observation post ‘Nike’ for 8 years, correct?”

“That is correct”, Viktor replied.

“Hmhm… and you conducted… 43 surface excursions, correct?”

“Yep”

“I see. We are aware that the information you gathered was very useful for the Empire on the xenos. It enhanced our knowledge on the xenos… is it ok with you to call them xenos?”

“Not really, no”, Viktor frowned “The Cyggan are a proud species. Call them by their name, as we would call us by ours”, he finished.

Ana sighed “I can see your fervour and dedication to the Cyggan is… strong. You have been working with them for a long time and it can make sense to have a bond with those we extract from Glugguld and examine. But your request is simply too… How can I put this?”

“Crazy?”

“I didn’t say that, but I would not disagree. Mr. Nuruzur, the Vailon Autocracy or Hegemony or whatever those…”, she shifted in her chair and continued, removing the glasses before she did “…are called are currently occupying the Blijh system where Glugguld resides. You are aware of this?”

“Of course I am”, Viktor raised his voice slightly “This is why I need governmental support for this endeavour. I couldn’t do it without the government. I need a team, I need a ship, and I need to make sure the Cyggan aren’t enslaved.”

“Have you… Have you thought about what you are going to do when you get there? We have never taken subjects from their solar system. You are aware of what might happen? The shock from the cultural disparity… the confusion… The rest of society… You know the stance of xenos in the Empire.”

“They’ll die if we do nothing! They’ll die if we remain idle! The Empire is sitting there, watching, rebuilding, as those Vailon bastards are probably enslaving them all!”

Ana closed her eyes and nodded. “I know, I know. I can see how you can have compassion for the Cyggan you’ve seen. The Cyggan you’ve studied… I will speak frankly, Viktor Nuruzur. I harbour no ill-will for the Cyggan, but the Vailon I despise. They have enslaved millions of our people. We need to focus on the Empire to take back the lost colonies, and we will do that in time. That is the focus of the CRN. Once we do that we can-“

Viktor shook his head and interrupted Ana “It will be too late, Ana. Too late. They are enslaving our people, yes. I know that, everyone does. The Cyggan’s were my life’s work. I have dedicated years to them, decades now. The humans that have been enslaved by the Vailon scum, they will be freed one day. But no one cares for the Cyggan. I do. I need to make sure their legacy is not lost forever. Do you really think there is nothing we can do?”

Ana sighed yet again and shrugged “There is nothing we, the Cevellian Republican Nations, can do to help you. Personally, I think that we should be more open-minded in this aspect, it would not take too many resources, really.” Ana leaned back in her chair “You see, the Panaxan’s for example. They did a great deal for us in the vassalization period back in the 60’s and even though there was a war, we saw past our differences and even fought united against the Vailon menace.”

“We even had a Cyggan scientist in the 30’s that surveyed the stars for us…”, Viktor added.

Ana then paused. She raised a finger and looked around. “Give me… give me a second…”, she turned in her chair and ducked down towards a cabinet that was behind her. Viktor remained seated as she disappeared partially behind the table.

After she had finished what she was doing, she rose from the cabinet area and then turned to Viktor “Again, Mr. Nuruzur, there is sadly nothing I can do” as she spoke she raised her eyebrows and looked down. Viktor was puzzled. “I… know?”, as she continued to wiggle her eyebrows up and down, with her eyes going downward.

Viktor looked down to his suit, which was looking alright, he figured. Then he noticed it. A small yellow ball of paper. He quickly shut his feet together. “Uh, oh, my shoe is open… please, uh… excuse me”, he bowed down and shoved the piece of paper up his sleeve. He stood up and bowed. “Thank you, madame. Miss. Misses. Uh, yes. Good life. Bye”, he turned on his heel and walked out towards the entrance he came, not looking back.

Did they have microphones in the offices? Were there cameras? He was not sure, but he wouldn’t turn back now. His heart spun around in his chest and he began to sweat. What could the ball of paper say? Oh… hopefully no one stops him. “Mr. Nuruzur!”, he heard behind him and he stopped in his tracks, his heart rose up to his throat, maybe even the top of his head. He turned around and it was Ana hanging out of the doorway, giving him a thumbs up.

This woman… scaring the shit out of him. She must get a kick out of it. Viktor smiled awkwardly and gave a thumbs up back, spun around, bumped into a robot, said “Sorry” and continued towards the exit.

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