Izain realized, too late, that he had gone insane.
The thought came to him as the Mayfire slipped into the Pencaris System. Everything went without a sign of trouble. Izain sat his usual post and pretended a sense of calm he didn't feel. When he had offered this unique opportunity to the captain, he hadn't fully considered all the things that could go wrong.
He'd had plenty of time to consider those potential problems since then. Until Lawrence had taken up the challenge of this job, Izain simply had not worried. He tried not to now. He had a good plan after all. He knew the people at Pencaris and how to work around them. He had done so often enough growing up.
He'd done so especially well when he left. Unfortunately, he had a powerful uncle who doubtlessly didn't appreciate all the fine details Izain had put into his escape from under his thumb. Izain had always been good at this work, but he and Uncle Lichad had never gotten along very well. Lichad wasn't like Grandfather, who had loved the adventure of being a pirate. Lichad wanted to rip every credit he could get from victims and had recently started selling them to slavers afterwards. Grandfather would have been appalled. After a couple years of the work going darker, Izain found he appreciated the old days. He had no respect for Lichad and no power to stop him, at least not while Lichad kept watch on him. Izain had decided the best way to survive --maybe the only way -- had been to get out. He had taken the quite logical step and left.
He was insane to come back. Granted, he didn't think he was going to survive much longer without doing something drastic anyway. His ability to keep pirates at bay had to be drawing notice. Singleton shipping would soon target the Mayfire and he couldn't be lucky every time they came into contact.
So he came back to Pencaris Station in hopes of doing something . . . something maybe his grandfather would have done.
This entire plan would be handled between he and Lawrence. She trusted the crew, and oddly so did he, but this work didn't need more than the two of them.
They were careful leaving the ship. Lawrence went first and took care of the usual docking business. Izain had instructed her where to wait for him. He left later, out the main airlock and off to the right as though he was checking something on the link between ship and station. Once off in the shadows he worked his way around to the area where crew changed into the heavier clothing worn in the bay. He borrowed a jacket that gave him just enough rank to go almost everywhere without notice and he hoped the missing jacket didn't draw much attention too soon.
He'd changed a bit in the four years since he left Pancaris. People who knew him well would recognize him, but he'd lost his tri-colored and shaggy hair, had the tattoos on his face removed, and even had his twice broken nose fixed. He supposed Lawrence would have been dismayed to see the younger version of himself. She certainly wouldn't have trusted him.
He found Lawrence in the little lobby where other off-ship people lounged, watching vids and discussing their travels with others. He didn't nod her way, but she stood. He could hear her following him out into the hall.
Around a corner and he got the door to a small storage room open without any trouble. The last time he'd been here had been on his way out.
"Everything checks out," he said, not wasting any time. "My fake ID will get me close to the Singleton offices. It will take me no more than fifteen minutes to get through the wall and hack into the power lines, and another half an hour to hack into their main computer. It is not connected to the Pencaris system except by the power lines and it is damned hard to hack a computer that way."
"But you can do it?"
She didn't ask more. "I'll time my visit to the Station Master's office one hour from now. Once you have hacked the computer you'll be able to stop them from doing anything against the station, right?"
"This is an odd time to ask such a question."
"I am going to glitch all their systems. The info I send to the Station Master will include both their less-than-legal dealings and the plans they have for Pencaris. It would be wise if he could move on those as quickly as possible."
"Why are you doing this?"
He could have told her about his grandfather, but that was both too long a tale and too personal of one. "I have come to realize that I don't like what they're doing. I started working against them already -- you saw that a couple times. Once they realized it had to be one of their own, they were going to start coming after me. I've never been one to sit around and wait for trouble."
Apparently that was a good answer. She gave a nod that seemed to be of approval. "Let me out. You be damn careful. I'll see you back at the Mayfire."
"I hope so," he said, which was the first and only sign of worry he showed. She apparently took that well, too. Maybe it made him a little more human and normal.
He let her out, counted to one hundred, and went out as well, heading to the left and into territory he had known very well all his life. Things didn't change on a station. He passed a couple people he knew, but they didn't take much notice of him. Station crew were ubiquitous here. As long as he acted as though he belonged, he wouldn't draw any attention.