“We have tried.
We have failed.
A family is only as strong as those who take part. Even a family has to let go of those who refuse to work with the family. With this symbolic act, Eth-il-Liccon is no longer a member of the family. He is free to do as he pleases. He will no longer bring shame upon the rest of us. Aliq-tal-ummar.”
A single flame illuminating the room extinguished with a single, soft breath.
Eth woke up with a start; a momentary panic as he tried to remember where he was; blankets tangled around his feet.
A quick breath.
A glance around.
Kicking the sheets onto the floor, Eth realized he was in his bed, in his apartment.
Damn his father.
Damn his family.
Eth hated that dream.
Standing, Eth walked into the bathroom, mentally vowing today would be the day he showed his family he was worthy. Today, first step towards returning home.
An hour later…
Standing in line, Eth mentally screaming, “Why had the deities cursed him today? If this old herg woman could make up her mind and order her coffee, he would not be running late for a meeting. Why were people always getting in his way, making him late?”
Stuck in traffic…
White knuckle, gripping the steering wheel, mentally cataloging the moment, “Are all of the traffic lights working against me? Red light! Red light! Another red light! And this car, this damn Big One Mouse!”
Hating the car given to him to go to the meeting, cursing those he now knew were against him, Eth looked for a path through the gridlock. Spotting an opening, he pushed the accelerator down, nudging the Big One Mouse deeper into traffic.
Another red light!
The car threatened to stall.
Stuck again, Eth looked up, wishing he had a hover or flying car. An angry horn behind him, a space in front of him. Looking at his skin watch, late for the meeting.
Fuming about the nature of fairness and life being against him, “Are you serious? Even gang-members had better vehicles than his.”
Pulling into a parking spot outside NiHo’s Noodle Shack next to four heavily modified hover bikes. A moving holo-logo Redhand logo, blood dripping on each bike chassis.
“Their bikes did not matter,” he thought as he checked his pockets, “they were gangers and he was part of the Organization. He would show them.”
A brief spike of panic, he couldn’t find the issta-cred-stick. Entering the alley behind NiHo’s, the panic subsided when he found the cred-stick in a different pocket. The stench of the alley causing him to gag slightly. Water, he hoped, dripped down on his head, cymeans had very sensitive scalps, causing him to flinch. He heard rough laughter of four gromathi down the alley. Adjusting his jacket, his very expensive mem-ware jacket, Eth strutted into the meeting.
“What?” Eth said in a panic, “I came alone. I don’t hear anything.”
Serrated knife in one hand, Eth watched the youngest gromathi gang-member advance. Eth put his hands up, hoping to keep the situation under control; this deal was going bad fast.
“Just a second, can we make the exchange? There is nobody here. Nobody came with me and nobody followed me here. I promise,” Eth said rapidly trying to control the panic and keep that kid away from him.
A gromathi with an augmented arm at the back of the meeting fell over, clutching at his neck. Eth continued to keep his hands up and back away faster from the ganger with the knife. Without warning Eth’s vision vanished, something wet splashed over his face, and slipped at the same time falling onto his knees.
Please don’t let this be the end, Eth thought.
What felt like an eternity later…
“Looks like you owe me again,” John said to Eth, “Quit sobbing, you can get another suit.”