The Black Mark

Sho left the office feeling uneasy about the course his brother had set them upon. Walking through the corridors of the Home Guard station he was oblivious to the chatter of the couriers, service workers and vendors passing by. Even the occasional stares and whispers went unnoticed. His thoughts kept chasing after themselves, dulled by the alcohol and nicotine they’d consumed for the last few hours. After nearly four decades he was used to Tai’s sudden change of plans and the resulting chaos it threw the family into. The family… Sho realized that he would be the one to have to tell their sister that things were changing yet again; Tai wouldn’t even think of her until he got notification through GalNet that she was tracking him through a locator agent. It wasn’t a malicious dismissal of her on Tai’s part, just his typical preoccupation with the task at hand.

Sho wasn’t concerned with his brother’s safety; the residents of Syndicate had more to fear. His current sense of unease was the feeling that they had been through this before. He couldn’t help but think that six months from now he’d be leaving Tai’s quarters again, the same thoughts running through his mind. Perhaps this time will be different, he thought. After all, Lucifer’s Hammer was a new corp with a small number of pilots. Rixx had set a vision for creating a truly elite group of small-fleet pilots and Tai was going to be one of the first pilots added to the corp. Sho, as always, would be on the periphery, helping however necessary. He didn’t need the glory or recognition that his brother seemed to crave.

Sho felt some emotion for his brother. What was it? Pity? No, although the hole in Tai’s heart was painfully obvious for all to see.  It was more a sense of thankfulness that his life was comfortable, predictable even.  While Tai continued to carry his personal loss at Seyllin, Sho continued to carry his brother through every change.

Lost in thought, he looked up to see he had arrived at the capsuleer airlock.  Passing through the automated security and decontamination chambers, he stepped into the lift.  As it whisked him hundreds of stories above the habitation decks he began mentally preparing the checklist of items to be transferred to customs for inspection.  He would have to let Tai know that the boosters in the hold of one of the ships would be “problematic” and sent him a quick notification from his portable NeoCom.   Settling down in front of the hangar interface, Sho called up the first ship Tai would need to move; a Scimitar-class logistics ship.  Pouring another glass of his brother’s signature spirit, Sho dimmed the lights.

He preferred the shadows.

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