Part 1: In the Iron Republic Money Buys Everything
Ryuk was sitting in a beautiful office complex on the distant world of Druzi Prime. Across from him was a banking guild executive, and at her side was Childeen Blackheart acting as intermediary.
Ryuk had a bit of perspiration on his brow as he signed the paperwork. It would be an extensive change to his business model, and over ten thousand ghaz going from his operations directly into the Banking Guild coffers way more often than he would like to admit. But money was money, and the days past had affirmed for him the need to get the Iron Republic and the Banking Guild off his back.
They had been clear of course that this paperwork would not affect his status to the EEF. The EEFers would still hunt Ryuk as a warcriminal for blowing up a solar system. The Iron Republic was happy just to take a cash payment for the destruction, and the fees would be paid off by Ryuk’s Casino.
Again Ryuk worried for a moment, he trusted the Banking Guild to keep its word, but it was the Consent Decree he signed. It had stated that he would have all his funds frozen if he unleashed another weapon of mass destruction. He still quibbled internally over what that “really” means, but then again that was Ryuk’s nature.
The K’iorn hated ceremony, respect customs and social mores. He really preferred the Unity’s method of direct information interface without interference. But he was getting the gist from the banking guild representative that the consent decree would involve him getting in trouble for any attack destroying settlements and/or large amounts of people. Destroying planets probably fell into that category, but he wasn’t quite sure still so they gave him access to a Banking Guild helpline where he could ask questions.
He clutched the banking guild communicator tight, knowing he would need it.
With paperwork signed and a quick trip to the Casino to get everything settled done, Ryuk found himself once more on his way back to Refuge. He was happy, almost excited to get access to the funds that would allow him to move ahead with his plans for production and destruction.
But on Refuge all was not well. Deep within Ryuk’s undersea city, over one hundred children were strapped into chairs. The children varied in species, some were K’iorn, some Vlahadassi, a few Vorin, and many Earthers. Each was strapped to a padded chair. Over their faces was a commercially produced U-Mart Virtual Reality simulator, and their ears were plugged with the sound coming from the VR headset.
The room had a large haze of blue smoke. In the corners of the room, there were machines vaporizing up piles of morpheus cubes into the blue smoke. The highly addictive and dangerous morpheus cubes were illegal in most parts of Refuge, except the city of Neo Vargas where Ryuk had secured the supply. The kids were being shown monsterous images, terrifying creatures and hearing thoughs that would drive the to create nightmares on a massive scale.
Outside the room, a pair of K’iorn were looking in. They were dressed in a very traditional style, and tears streamed from their sapphire eyes. As one sobbed, the other wiped her eyes and walked close to the window. The pair watched until the room was filled with blue smoke so deep one could no longer see the children, and then the pair retreated to the airshafts. Sneaking through the airshafts the pair eventually returned to their nest deep in the heart of the mostly uninhabited city.
One of the K’iorn looked to the other, “Lies all lies. The monster Ryuk is a liar, he tortures our children not teaches them.”
The other K’iorn lifted up a springshot fashioned from nightmare flesh, sinew and bone, treated with her own vampiric blood. She touched one muscle group and the springshot opened up and she began loading darts. Then she touched another and it began to spool up ready to fire.
“You are sure your weapon will affect the Rabble?” asked the first.
“It will consume the part of their brain that holds the Unity uplink and replace it with a nightmare,” said the second as she tested the heft of her new weapon, “Its a simple enough fix, turn the Rabble into Instilled Nightmares and I can control them for now.”
“What about Heinrich? The Kasanthian Investigator? Won’t he be able to steal their control?” asked the first with concern.
“Maybe, but by then we will be able to raid the child-hold and rescue the children,” said the second with pride.