Friday, November 30, 2007
9599 (4264 Gift, 5353 Guild, 196,552 total)
Only one day left. I think I'll make the 200k at least. That is if I can wake up tomorrow and get to work. Or maybe I should just stay up tonight. No. I'm tired.
Sleep. Sleep is good. I can do another few thousand words tomorrow and make my goal. And then what will I do?
I have some other things to get caught up on. And I would like to play with the DAZ studio stuff again. I have an idea I'd like to try, but I haven't had time to do more than think about it.
Okay, tonight's scene is toward the end of Working for the Guild -- which did cross 50k today. I might add a little more to the opening. I had ideas. Or I might not. It depends on how the writing goes tomorrow and if I get fired up for it. I often do on the last day!
He hadn't been called to see Commander Vaddon in several months. That suited them both, he realized. They were not comfortable with one another -- not even in the distant sort of way they had been before. The few times he had come to this office, he always remembered his old battle with Starlin. How petty that seemed now.
No one bothered him anymore.
The woman at the desk merely nodded and he went into the office. Vaddon looked up from his desk -- and for a moment he had one of those uncomfortable flashbacks where it was Claudian who looked up. He grimaced and knew that Commander Vaddon had caught it. He looked uncomfortable, too.
He gave a quick bow of his head and did so, watching as Commander Vaddon sat back in his chair. He frowned and then nodded as though he had come to some decision.
"The IWC are starting a task force to work on the mercenary problem," he said. "They want to work with the Guild. You are the one who will be working with them."
"Me?" he said, surprised -- truly surprised -- that Vaddon would trust him that much.
"Yes, you. You cannot stay here -- you spread your attitude like a disease, Zerod. I'm sorry, because you were a good assassin, but I cannot in good conscious send you out on an assignment that requires that kind of finesse and judgment. And you cannot stay here. You have lost your controls."
"No," he said, looking up into the man's face. "I lost my trust."
They were words Vaddon had not expected, but he knew the truth of it and he seemed to take it like a blow. Had that part not occurred to him? Maybe the problem was that Assassins closed themselves off so much from others emotions and controlled their own so well, that they no longer could make reasonable judgments on why a person might act the way he did."
"Pack your belongings. Take all your chits on the research you've done. You'll still have access to the computers, for whatever good they can do you. I think you've realized by now that these people have left no visible trails."
"There is an IWC ship at the station now, waiting for our representative. They will not leave without one. I will not allow them to come to the Guild House. I do not want to test how much they will take my answer of no. I don't want the IWC here. So be quick."
It was, he thought, as close to a joke as Commander Vaddon was going to make. He almost smiled and saw the corner of Commander Vaddon's lips almost curl up.
He stood, one hand on the chair to help him -- he still had problems, after all. "Thank you, sir."
He nodded. "It's the best we can do, I think," he admitted. "You've done all the research you can here. Far more than the people I have put on this matter. But I think, now, the answers are going to have to come from somewhere else. Set this right, Zerod Argentine. Help us reclaim our name and dignity."
He bowed his head, turned and walked to the door and then turned back. "Be careful, sir."
He nodded again. The door opened and Zerod walked out. He suspected he would not be coming back to this office again. It was, he suspected, a relief for all of them.
Working with the IWC. There was something unique in the annals of Assassin Guild history. Yet another odd thing to add to his own history within the guild.
He went back to his room -- grey, windowless walls, the simple bed and computer stand. He'd be glad to leave it behind. It had used to feel like a comfort, to be here in the place, safe and hidden away. But in the last few months he had printed out pictures of trees and put them on the walls. He knew it a sign of his troubled mind. He took them down now and packed them away -- to put on the walls of rooms in ships, which would be no better than this. He had no idea where he would be tomorrow or next week. Maybe he'd go all the way to the Inner Worlds Council.
No one came to see him off. He boarded the shuttle and sat down and watched while the huge grey building disappeared into the distance. Gone, and he couldn't say he regretted it at all.