Welcome to `Station Keeping <http://tychoish.com/hanm>`_, a science fiction collaborative blog-fiction project of `TealArt.com <http://tychoish.com>`_. This episode, Nan's Loyalties is the 6th Episode in our series, and is the mid-season installment. Though I'm sure you can enjoy this episode independently of all the others, be sure to check out the other installments. If you like what you see please be in touch. If you'd like to join the writing team or submit just an episode, I'd very much like to be in contact with you. Enjoy!
Messages from the Underground
Nan rolled over for the third time in as many minutes, and tried to ignore in incessant pinging from her communications panel. She was stuck in that twilight space where her grasp of reality and the limits of possibility were tenuous at best.
She relents finally and stands up and stumbles over to the comm panel and activates it. The lights are low, but she's thankful when the video system doesn't come on. While audio were historically uncommon, they were not totally unfamiliar. "Hello?" she asked after a brief pause, where she realized that it was probably expected that she confirm the connection before the conversation.
Nan swayed a little as she stood, unsure of weather or not she should try and pull herself fully awake or not. After a moment, she remembered to say "Hello..."
"Ms. Gee, I can't tell you my name, but I'm with the Hanmist Resistance, and--" came a cracking voice. Nan would have cut him off sooner had she not been yawning.
"What do you want. It's the middle of the damn night up here." She wasn't sure what time it was, or even if night was the right word to describe the tim on the station. Hell, she didn't even know if this call was legitimate: the voice wasn't any that she recognized. Her caller knew more about her than she did him, if it was a him, and she wanted to even that playing field as soon as possible.
"We know your work, and we we're building a network of supporters. You're position on Hanm Centre will be very valuable to us when we come."
"Come? I haven' manded. Nan thumbed up the lights and squared her shoulders, in a hopes of sounding more authoritative.
"We support you, we support Hanm. We just want you to be ready for us when we come..."
"Oh come on, no one actually talks like that," Nan thought to herself. "How will I get in touch with you?" She said, hoping that the person on the other end couldn't hear her eyes rolling: it was probably better to play along with this, even if it were a prank, but she didn't have to like it. And hell, if there was a Hanmist movement around to talk to her, this couldn't be a bad thing.
"You'll know. Do we have your support?"
"I support anything that's good for Hanm." Just ambiguous enough, and true, ultimately she thought.
"Good, expect a package with more information soon. Hanm Will be free." the words were uttered with a dispassionate murmur that sent a tremble down Nan's spine.
"Ok, thank you." Nan responded politely before she cut the connection. "Log last transmission and send the details to..." her command was punctuated by a brisk entry of a code for her terminal in her office. There was supposed to be a way for her to do this verbally, but she always felt that it was easier and more secure to just enter the code by hand. Nevertheless, Nan's instructions to the computer were curt, but she was hopeful that she'd get back to sleep. She cut the lights and stumbled back to bed.
Gift boxes from the Underground
Nan almost tripped on a box as she walked into her office. "How'd they get that in here?" She wondered.
She put her bag down next to her desk and walked carefully back to the package. There was a blank piece of paper fastened to the top of the box. She lifted it carefully, and on the back she read: "Nan: Hope these help. Hanm will be free."
The memory of Nan's late night comm-call came rushing "I guess it wasn't a fake or a dream," she muttered as she set the paper back on top of the box. She sat down at the desk and called up the communications log.
Again Nan spoke to herself "What the hell am I supposed to do now?"
"Nan's Loyalties" was written by, `tycho <http://tychoish.com/tycho>`_, the creator of `TealArt <http://tychoish.com>`_ and [Station Keeping](http://tychoish.com/hanm"). He is a student and knitter by day and a science fiction writer by night, you can read his work elsewhere on `TealArt <http://tychoish.com>`_ and at `~/tychoish <http://tychoish.com>`_.