For the best experience please read The Exile and The Hemit afterwards.
Things were quiet as ever around the ransacked and long forgotten sector which had come to be known as Hope’s End — a rather fitting name chosen by the sector’s current residence, an amalgamation of some of Abanancie’s most downtrodden and ill-fated inhabitants. They had all but given up on life itself, hopelessly grasping at whatever last strands of purpose and self-affirmation they could find to build a new existence on the ashes of the desperation and betrayal. I was not like them, however, I had long stopped dreaming.
Teagan’s hostel was one of the few “official” businesses within Hope’s End and definitely the most reliable. The building out of which he ran his business was once the sector’s Center of Commerce where all things civil and legislative had revolved; more importantly, it housed the sector’s Crystal Furnace which harnessed and redirected thermal energy for the entire sector. Teagan figured he could bring the furnace back online and maintain it. It was a bold idea, I thought, and I plainly told him so amidst calling him a fool for trying to build anything in this forsaken lifetime. I had agreed to help him but refused to join him. I came and went as I pleased and in time he proved me wrong — to a degree. A part of me wondered if he stuck with it just to do so.
I walked into his hostel that day…
“Not much of a yield today.” I pulled my dirt laden rucksack from my back and swung it around onto the shambled bar top in front of me. It rattled with the sound of crystals and thermoplastic containers. Teagan simply nodded his head before taking the bag and opening it for inspection. He reached in and pulled out a small faintly glowing crystal followed by packets of condensed food. A slow sigh escaped his lips and he shook his head. I knew that look: worry and woe.
“Well, I thought it wasn’t so bad.” I propped myself up on the nearest metal stools. It wobbled to one side due to one of its legs being poorly reattached and unevenly set.
He turned his back, taking the rucksack with him, and continued over towards a lockbox behind the counter in which he began to store the items, “yer the only one to return in several cycles. This ain’t bad but it ain’t enough.” He grumbled before standing and continuing on to another section behind the counter which housed a preservation unit and dispensary – both marvels of CyGen ingenuity to facilitate and revolutionize Abanian living. He turned the dispensary on and it hummed to life, before long he took a large mug and poured out a full serving of steaming liquid then placed it in front of me. Just then a light chime sang forth from the wrist unit Teagan was wearing and the short man turned sharply on his heel, “gotta change the batteries out…” He then disappeared through a nearby doorway without another word.
I wrapped my hands around the mug in front of me, peering down into it’s golden amber depths, and frowned at myself for my own ready-pessimism. Teagan’s little band of scavengers was mostly made up of over-ambitious adolescence and the fool-hearty whom had come to believe that the best way to take back their home and lively-hood was through force and small-time terrorism. Bolder actions meant they needed greater numbers but they hardly had enough people to take on a Cygen patrol, let alone a Hybrid horde if they come across one not to mention the lack of experience. I shook my head, taking a deep drink and savoring the warm liquid burning down my throat and warming my body; from what I figured if they were gone for more than a cycle without any communication most, if not all, of them were either dead or captured and there was nothing I could do about it alone.
Teagan returned, meandering up to the bar and leaning his arms against it. He looked on at the worn down mineral top and ran a hand through his unkempt blue-black hair. I took another slow sip from my drink before an almost crippling tension bore down on my right temple.