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Kris Jendob
Cray


Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 28

 Post Posted: Sun, August 09th 2009 11:25am    Post subject: Ravelin
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The stench of a thousand different beings from a thousand different routes was almost putrid. The odor of the hoverbus was waging war for dominance with the scent of the bleach used not-often-enough to clean the inside of the transport. To say it smelled like a public swimming pool would have been an insult to all the fine, algae-ridden cesspools on all of Bastion.

In fact, the virtue of just associating the scene to a placid, cool, aquamarine pool made Kris Jendob shudder. It would be a while before he'd muster up the courage to go swimming again, armed with that thought.

“Coming up on Prominence Square,” the automated pilot at the front of the bus exclaimed. The droid's voice was far too cheerful for this dull environment.

Thank the gods, Kris thought. He took a few steps forward to the exit, despite notices warning no one should move in a vehicle in motion. He placed his hand on one of the many leaning poles, trying to mentally block out how filthy it must have been. Soon, he would be off of this ravishing example of interspecies poverty, and, with a little luck, would be able to end the day satisfactorily enough.

The others on the transport seemed to be anxiously awaiting his departure as well. For the majority of the bus ride, the people had been silent, perhaps for fear of speaking out of turn, which was probably the exception to the usual rule of public transportation, Jendob guessed.

He stood in the center of the bus, no seats left, as Near-Humans, Bith, and even a couple Rodians watched him. He didn't make eye-contact, leaving his eyes always focused on the city seen through the windows. He was dressed still in the uniform of the Imperial Navy, standing straight and hard-jawed, in stark contrast to the various low-lifes around him.

Kris was not a physically imposing man. He stood slightly shorter than the average Imperial recruit, and he was leanly muscled, like most fighter jocks. His dark brown hair was short and his face was shaved cleanly, in accordance with Imperial code. His appearance took no risks, and was not at all out of the ordinary. But, he did give an intense, attentive stare from his bright blue eyes. It was his presence and way of holding himself, therefore, that commanded the air of formality. And, obviously, the uniform.

The aliens' tendency to remain unspoken was because of – Kris had been told by his elders and his superiors – the rigid Empire of the past, which was outrightly xenophobic and intolerant of non-human races. That was years ago, too far away for Kris to remember, but some of the lower-class in the interior of the cities throughout the galaxy – those least informed of current events - still made sure not to act inappropriately around members of the Imperial military. Plus, Jendob figured, most citizens in this section of the city didn't see Imperial officials unless they were being taken to prison, much less a share a common bus with a fleet fighter pilot. They knew to mind their manners because they were not human, just in case. Old habits died hard.

In all fairness, Kris had seen the case against aliens in his own experiences . At this time the Imperial Navy's biggest expense of manpower and resources was in tracking down pirates; who else was there to attack? And while it was true that most of the pirates did turn out to be aliens, Kris was not a bigot. He had always been taught, from birth, to accept all forms of life, and he did. But, hearing tales from friends planetside, most of the terrestrial crimes committed were also by aliens. He could see why misguided individuals might justify their intolerant attitudes, but he didn't approve of it, and neither did the extant Imperial Remnant.

Still. It was uncomfortable to stand as the sole well-off man, outnumbered thirty-to-one by non-humans, in a floating metal box at dusk. Kris could handle himself well enough, but that wasn't really the point... it was just human nature, he supposed, to be untrusting and passively stubborn.

“Prominence Square,” the automaton announced with glee, yet again, before the bus slid to a gentle stop. Kris wasted no time in placing a boot on the steps, swiping his military identification card across the reader to waive the standard fare. “We thank you for your brave service!” Came the programmed response from the driver.

For a moment, good-natured Kris was about to reply to the emotionless voice, until he remembered the droid didn't care... along with the rest of the bus, most likely. He stepped down onto the metal street.

Surveying the unfamiliar territory, Kris sighed. The edge of the city of Ravelin, Prominence Square, was the closest Kris could get on a circuit hoverbus to his destination; a public bus would never be allowed to go anywhere near Ravelin Ridge. Prominence Square, however, was primarily filled with workers and shopkeepers. Although there was a dearth of wealth in this area of the city, and although it was primarily populated with off-world immigrants, it still was one of the better parts of Bastion's slums. That didn't really alleviate the weight on Kris' mind.


It took longer than he had anticipated to reach the outskirts of Ravelin, and by the time he had arrived at the gates to Ravelin Ridge, the sun had long since sank beneath the mountains. The stately lampposts rising on either side of the gate before him, glowing a soft white, indicated the well-to-do nature of the neighborhood. The gentle road leading up through the estates was composed of stones both large and small, decorative more than functional.

Kris trudged up the short hill towards the guardpost, which was on an island between two gates, not unlike a large boulder splitting a creek into two smaller streams. He came to the plinth and stepped up over the garden, his boots making unfortunate victims of the poor petunias and Chandrilan moonlanterns below them. The maw in the post where the guard communicated with passers-by was above Kris' head; this whole thing had been designed to work with hovercabs and speeders, not pedestrians. Kris sighed.

The civilian guard turned from his cup of kaf and his evening newsflimsie. He stood and turned to look out his portal, looking down to the road of entry, then after a look of confusion, turned to look downwards to Kris. “Oh,” he remarked, his probably-fake Coruscanti prestige accent coming out a bit flustered. “You're... walking, down there,” he stated.

Kris just nodded, moving to present his identification. He didn't need any more delays. “Kris Jendob,” he said, inwardly acknowledging it came off rather brief, but time was not on his side. “I'm coming on personal business to the Jendob household?” Kris explained, hoping his entry to the estates would be swift and without trouble.

And, surprisingly, it was. “Hm,” the man pondered while pulling on his mustache, inspecting the picture. “Very well,” he said before handing Kris his card. The gates pulled themselves aside. “Welcome to the Ridge.”

Kris took his card, adjusted his backpack, and stepped off of the dais, his heels making a sound as he made his way up the cobbled street. First thing that went right all day... Kris thought, hearing the cynicism in his internal voice.

... and probably the last thing. Soon, he would be arriving at the door of his parents' house. Ams and Shayera Jendob. Moff Ams Jendob, couldn't forget that – the Moff himself sure would not let anyone forget it, especially his son.

Years ago, Kris had left for the Imperial Academy, much to the delight of his parents. But since then, he had done all he could to avoid meeting with his parents, his father in particular. He could count on one hand how many times he'd seen his parents over the last five years. Kris' old man was immutable, and his views never changed. He was always right, according to himself. And Kris hated it.

The last time they had all been together, at his father's fiftieth birthday – The Birthday - two years ago, dad and he had gotten into such an argument that a slightly-inebriated Kris had left, canceling his entire leave and returning to the Maelstrom for duty immediately. He hadn't come home or met with the two of them over the holidays or the New Years' Fete for the past two years. He'd only spoken to his mother once, on her fifty-first anniversary, to congratulate her for her belated fiftieth, as he had not celebrated that with her – something Kris' sister Kendra berated him for.

His twin sister Kendra was his only ally within his family. Usually, anyway. His mother Shayera was always loving, but she always took dad's side of the argument, always supporting him. It infuriated him by association. Kendra, however, had a bit more autonomy. Up until The Birthday incident two years ago, she had been his trusted confidant, and since then, the only person with whom he remained in occasional contact. But she was much closer to their parents than Kris was, and she was quick to attempt to set Kris straight when he behaved unfairly or inappropriately, in her view.

As Kris passed by the finely trimmed trees and arbors, he at last came to the house. It was modest compared to others in the neighborhood, but it was still middling spacious and ornate. There were rows of layered gardens, the moist, high-quality soil and verdant flowers almost twinkling in the moonlight. The first terrace, the closest to the house, was planted with the most delicate and impressive of blossoms, from deep royal to flaming passion flowers. The other two tiers were filled with more practical and spartan shrubbery, mostly stout, well-maintained pine trees, as well as sparingly-placed Tetan rosades. The main road branched off into a patterned drive, which in turn flowed smoothly into a faux-wood pathway to the front door.

Kris had almost forgotten what home looked like. In a way, he hoped he wouldn't remember how spectacular it all looked. He wanted to be hit by it all at once. He wished that they had made some kind of change to the exterior, to make it seem like perhaps he was not trespassing upon entrenched ground. But no, it was the same as ever; overwhelmingly beautiful. It remained to be seen if the warmth on the outside would mirror that of those inside the walls.

He walked up past the bushes, over the driveway and then up the steps, which cut the tiers of gardens in half, until he was on the landing. No turning back now. He breathed deeply one last time to bring some moisture into his mouth, then slung his bag off his shoulders, quietly letting it slink to the floor. No one but his sister knew he was coming. If it wasn't for her, he'd probably still be happily passing New Years' back with the fleet. Thanks a bunch, Kendra.

Kris was about to ring the doorbell when he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirroring effect of the glass door. He had worked up a sweat from all that walking. He took just a moment to allow himself to cool off, to allow the sweat to evaporate from his features. He ran a hand through his hair to put it back into place. As much as he didn't want to be here, he didn't particularly desire a repeat of The Birthday, so he figured it'd be best to start off on the right foot. And looking a mess was stepping on that foot, to the Jendobs. He probably would be flayed if any of them knew he had to walk through the Ridge, much less ride a public transport.

Although, he had already missed dinner. Kendra would be here already, and was probably already thinking Kris was going to bail out. Maybe he should just come back tomorrow...

No. Alright, now it was time. No more screwing about. Drawing into the same store of courage he used when stepping into his Starhunter, he willed his arm upwards to press the doorbell. He held his breath.
_________________
Kris Jendob
Starhunter pilot, Lieutenant, Dragoon Maelstrom

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Last edited by Kris Jendob on Fri, February 12th 2010 01:26pm; edited 3 times in total
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Kris Jendob
Cray


Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 28

 Post Posted: Fri, February 12th 2010 01:11pm    Post subject:
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Kris directed a large portion of his upper body weight backwards into the tree trunk. The painful pressure of the bark's ridges and grooves did its part in distracting him from the true source of his anger.

He only vaguely remembered walking to the Ridge's International Gardens. a central park in the middle of the community. His walk had been purely instinctual, directing him here when his higher brain functions were too busy being pissed off to direct something as minor as his motion.

Like most things in Ravelin Ridge, it hadn't changed much from the last time he'd remembered it. Despite being on the edge of an affluent neighborhood, it wasn't all that special. An intricate sculpted fountain was placed in the center. Its proprietary antigravity repulsors slowly and smoothly propelled the water towards the sky, allowing it to float up and over the centerpiece, traveling unattended in the air for half a meter in a sweeping arc until Bastion pulled it back down towards the collection pool. Kris had been fascinated with it when he was younger. Things didn't matter as much then. Not the big things, anyway.

Around the fountain were scores of plants and trees, all of them originating from outside of Sartinaynian - thus the name "International Gardens." But that wasn't all - there were small pools, middling artificial lakes, and vertical pillars of contained water around the central plaza, some surrounded by invisible containment fields and climate-controlled to permit alien life to thrive. There were varieties of Calamarian coral and Kaminoan fish, and everything in between, swimming or sessile, throughout. Kris was not a biologist and didn't care to be one, but the animals and flora were interesting. These habitats had been new installments in the years before Kris left Bastion. Now, all was dark and hidden, and not much was to be seen. He wasn't particularly in the mood to explore, anyway.

He had to have been sitting there for at least a couple of hours - probably more. He hadn't been to Bastion in so long that he couldn't really estimate the time from the moon's position - each planet's lunar cycle different, after all, and Kris had seen so many that there was no pressing reason to remember Bastion's. He was too lazy to pull out his personal datapad to verify the time. He figured it had to be going on two hours after midnight.

Kris continued to preoccupy himself, digging his middle finger into the tree's aged root, picking away the mulch surrounding it and the half-dead, partially rotted wood. He was doing anything he could to keep his thoughts off of his family.

It took a lot of effort to restrain his mind from wandering to his asshole father or flimsy scaffold mother. It was even worse to forget about his traitorous little arbiter of a sister. That was what drew his ire the most. She was so arrogant in assuming she could orchestrate a family get-together and solve ten years of problems that had never been fully addressed.

It was a good thing Kris wasn't thinking about it.

He especially wasn't thinking about the disapproving clicking and head shaking that must have been occurring in the Jendob household after Kris' departure. He wasn't thinking about the irritation he was feeling knowing that he could probably predict with decent accuracy the words that had been spoken.

He certainly wasn't dwelling on the idea that they were probably planning familial interventions for him. They always missed the point. They never addressed the problem, only patching the solutions. A true politician was The Moff Jendob.

Suddenly, Kris groaned viscerally as a small movement had jammed the center of his spine into one of the tree's points. And then, everything converged at once and he became furious, pounding his fist into the damned tree root, bringing on more pain and more than one small puncture wound, but it fueled him to hit it twice more. It was a primal, brief rage, and it felt good. He kicked his bag away with his resting leg, propelling it inefficiently a few feet. He pounded his hand into his thigh in response to its own soreness, spreading the urge.

As the adrenaline subsided and he again felt the throbbing pain in his back, he yelled out, "Damn it!" to the empty night, his teeth clenched. He seethed, anger steeping at his mother, at his sister, and hatred burning for his father. He wished above all things he could do away with the lot of them forever, erasing every moment from his memory, ridding himself of his history, even if he would lose all privilege of birth and rank in the Empire. He couldn't stomach it, not anymore.

He waited until the urge to continue lashing out subsided. He sat there for near to a minute, riding out the wave of pain, wincing, breathing shallow. He wasn't sure if he was so angry at his parents, or if he was angry at himself for allowing them to continue to flex so much control over him.

It had to be the latter. "Frak," Kris muttered as he got to his feet, hand on the ephemeral impression the tree's barb had left on his solar plexus.

As he stumbled off to grab his punted bag, he resolved he would have no more to do with his family. It wasn't worth his time anymore.
_________________
Kris Jendob
Starhunter pilot, Lieutenant, Dragoon Maelstrom

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Last edited by Kris Jendob on Fri, February 12th 2010 01:26pm; edited 3 times in total
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Kris Jendob
Cray


Joined: 17 Jul 2009
Posts: 28

 Post Posted: Fri, February 12th 2010 05:06pm    Post subject:
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Somehow, the hangover this time was not incredibly imposing. It, rather, had left Kris in a placid, uncaring state. It was rather different from his time in the park the night before. In more ways than one it was retribution from the night before, not limited only to the alcohol.

When he first built the strength to open his eyes and pull away from the protective embrace of drowsiness, Kris was aware he was sprawled out on a bed, face-down, on top of the untouched covers and spread. He rolled onto his back with a light moan and still realized he was in his clothes from the previous night.

The light hit his eyes and brought a sharp spike down into the center of his head. He shut his eyes tightly and pushed his lips together until he was acclimated enough to attempt another view. Squinting, he looked around the hotel room with a sigh.

He didn't remember much taking place after the International Gardens. He recalled that he'd booked a room for the night in the heart of Ravelin, before taking off on the town to find some solace. He wasn't usually a drinker - he'd gotten plastered several times when he was out with his squadmates and friends on leave, but nothing regularly habitual. He remembered how it felt last night to get drunk within a few miles of his parents - it felt like he was spiting them on their home turf, although that idea was ludicrous.

The silhouettes of memories trickled back into conciousness. He remembered sitting in the den, getting as inebriated as possible, resisting the advances of some of his fellow patrons while entertaining some flirtatious talk with others. He smiled a bit as he remembered that part fondly. The entire experience was decadent, and he knew it, but it felt justified to him.

He brought himself wobbly to a standing position, his bare feet contacting the thin, flattened carpet of the room. He grimaced at the probability that this dump probably hosted a nest of Imperial dormipedes and reminded himself to sterilize all his belongings before getting back to the fleet. An infestation like that on a fleet ship would be annoying as hell.

The clothes he wore stank of the smoke and sweat of the bar. The smoke was probably from some barely-legal spliffs that had been lit around him, and the sweat was partially his own, supplemented by the saturation of such things in those kind of dives.

Regardless of the cause, Kris was relieved when he stripped the soiled vestments off of his body. He nevertheless could feel the thin layer of tar over his chest and arms. He made a face. Last night must have been pretty crappy to willingly seek out a place like that, Kris reflected.


Kris returned to the room after he'd showered. The entire stall seemed to leak from every possible juncture, but the constant flow of water was enough. He felt somewhat better, his sense of vengeful entitlement and residual irateness fading. He allowed the warm steam to envelope and cleanse him until he felt merely jaded about the situation last night. He didn't want his father's tendrils to nag at him further in any possible way, and getting on with his life was part of it.

He leaned over the small table onto which he'd placed his datapad, water still dripping. He figured the moisture wouldn't affect the pad too much, so he decided to pull up his messages. He remembered seeing a communication from the fleet last night, and he remembered correctly. The message informed him he was required immediately back on the Maelstrom. It was a generic batch message sent to everyone on leave, he knew, but it seemed to have much urgency to it; it was rare to be recalled prematurely from leave nowadays. He didn't know the situation.

Kris was glad. Any opportunity to leave Bastion would be good. He'd hoped to catch up with some old friends while he was planetside, but every minute he spent here was another opportunity for his family to draw him back in. He'd have to forgo it, with gusto. The message said he was not required to arrive until the day after next, but he would have rather left sooner than later.

He toweled off his wet hair and body, then dressed himself in casual clothes: a dark short-sleeved shirt, navy blue short pants and running shoes. His uniform was uncleaned and wrinkled. It would be an embarrassment and a disgrace for an Imperial officer to advertise the name of the Empire thusly dressed, so he figured he'd change only as soon as regulation required. Besides, he didn't particularly desire to attract any more undue attention on the public transport system of Ravelin. Maybe he could achieve a bit of normality today.

He packed up his things until only the datapad remained. He felt a slight tinge of something in the back of his mind. It took him a minute to remember his absent promise to his mother, that he'd let her know where he was. He wanted nothing to do with any of them right now, but he had now let most of the blame rest on Dad. His sense of duty was poking at him, and as he walked out the door, before he finally placed the datapad into his pack he sent a blank message to Kendra. That would have to be enough.
_________________
Kris Jendob
Starhunter pilot, Lieutenant, Dragoon Maelstrom

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