3. Nadsar

January 19, 2007

The mag-trolley slid into the main station at the Acropolis. Nadsar spilled out with the crush of other passengers and scurried up to the even more intensely peopled promenades at the Pedestrian Level.

He felt he was drowning in a rough sea of bodies. Dark waves weighed upon him, closing in to suffocate and drag him into the deadly embrace of Enforcers. He could not pick out the assassins in the crowd but he feared they were there nevertheless…ready to descend on him.

Nadsar felt his face swelling from the bruises and cuts the Enforcers had given him. His labored hands hurt, too. The knuckles purpled, knotted and inflamed. He hadn’t soaked and wrapped them in days.

He must be quite a sight, he realized. Surely, the fourteen-year old in soiled worker’s garb stood out amongst the surrounding pedestrians, coiffed and fancied in their Temple-best. Nadsar understood that people see only what they wish to see. Were he female and so obviously abused, he doubted he’d be as invisible.

The indignity and discomfort was useful, Nadsar told himself. He channeled it into his anger. He let it fuel his determination. There was no turning back and too many people needed him to succeed. Nadsar knew that to survive the day only one course of action remained to him.

By providence, the pedestrian traffic’s current carried Nadsar through an expansive atrium. He’d arrived at the Acropolian Thermae.

His thoughts raced: he’d bath in its regenerative ancient springs. He’d clean his wounds. He’d transform into a more presentable emissary for the path he’d set upon. He’d make an offering to his Guardian Ancestors and pray the Goddess’ favor.

A line of Omni-Net obelisks guarded the Thermae’s grand entranceway. With the pai he’d pickpocket on the mag-trolley earlier, Nadsar. Hacked the obelisk’s access port. In moments the kiosk flickered with a familiar face. It was, however, not the face he’d hoped to greet.

“You must let me speak to the Consul,” demanded Nadsar. “He must help me!”

The well-manicured official on the viewer leaned forward, distorting the image.

Consul etaSade is occupied in Parliamentary. I have brought your situation to his attention as I promised. He’s instructed me to act on his behalf,” the aide answered in a calm reassuring and personable manner, speaking over Nadsar’s frequent attempts to interrupt. “Frankly, when I told him what you had to say he was appalled. He wanted me to assure you that he personally will see that the people responsible are dealt with.”

Nadsar felt his stomach uncoil. Hope flushed through him, quieting every pain and surprising him that he could still aspire to the feeling. Every suppress emotion erupted in a breath.

“My mother…they won’t allow her to go to the hospital,” he choked out between gasps for air. “The treatments…no good…They know we’re talked! They’re after me!”

“Try to stay calm, Nadsar,” interrupted the image. “I’ve got your coordinates and help will be there shortly. Stay where you are, understand.”

Nadsar managed an affirming nod and the kiosk blinked to dark.

Nadsar nearly fell backwards, e exhilarated that his ordeal was close to an end. His provincial matriarch’s faith in her honored Consul was well placed after all and her faith true to the assurance that etaSade would guarantee the well-being of his fellow clans people.

If only he had the weapons and the means, thought Nadsar, he would restore his clan’s honor by his own hand.

A curious beating of the air broke through the dark murderous thoughts swirling the boy’s mind. Aircycles whirl-hummed overhead. A Long fingered shadow spread across Nadsar drawing his gaze skyward.

Spellbound, he watched massive black-feathered wings fan against the curve of the gaseous giant Gaia and swoop across the sky, escorted by two Templar on aircycles. They disappeared behind the silhouette of the Parliamentary, on the far side of the great colonnade that ran the Acropolis.

Nadsar had heard of the mysterious arrival of the Dark Angel. He never dreamt he would actually glimpse Divinity. Court-at-Columbia whispered of ill-omens brought by the outcast of the Celestial Collective. Faith had not made clear the reason for the excommunication. Many speculated retribution from Heaven for His presence on Aideena, or worst, damnation passed onto their descendents for some unknown transgression.

As the Dark Angel’s shadow passed over Nadsar, he too hoped that some poor providence would not befall him as well.

Nadsar scanned the crowd. Pedestrians signed themselves and called to their ancestors for protection. Others just stood and stared blankly.

Suddenly, Nadsar was startled to see a figure, out of place amongst the flow of traffic passing through the atrium en mass to the colonnade. It moved against the crowd. He spotted a second one. Then, a third advanced.

His slender frame shuddered.

Was this the help he had been promised?

The figures moved easily but decisively to encircle him while not alarming the crowd.

Something in the back of his mind told Nadsar they were not his rescuers. Their dress and manner signaled to him that they were Enforcers.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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