Knox Pashaa: Chapter 4

Knox entered the turbo lifts once again and exited into the menagerie of color and light that was the sector G Correspondence Wing Atrium. On every surface that could be afforded, screens, scrolling banners, and holograms were blaring out information to the hordes of alien beings moving with purpose through the lounge alcoves and moving platforms. The space was filled with concussive noise from reports, foot-traffic, conversation, and whirring machines.

He took a deep breath and plunged into the din. All around him were his people, beings from every corner of the galaxy. Hulking Bolmorreans, agile Ventoshi, swift Enzaki, and skittering Skivri were all working together despite decades of bad blood that still raged across the stars beyond the station; all working towards the same goal of spreading information. The good or ill effects on whomever or whatever they reported on were not their business. Their business was blackmail, plain and simple.

Beyond the sprawling mall of screens, business-beings, and information were the offices where Knox’s team awaited him for their meeting. But Knox took his time nudging through the swift current of the press with those mentioned checking data tablets and hammering out the details of their next lead or on telecom devices with their “clients.” Knox could not help but take it all in, glancing about the monitors that lorded over the room. The audio of each source and screen competed with each other, yammering into a cavalcade of chaotic noise, but Knox still read the subtitles and sweeping visual bumps of the stories broadcasting on every channel across the stars. He stopped when his eye caught a lesser screen bordered by claustrophobic ticker banners. He skirted a hologram and a group of reporters to get a better view to see the images.

Emblazoned in the center of the screen was a family crest, a very specific crest that was known by many in common and high society alike. It was the sigil of Gordall, a fubari noble family known most notably as those whose direct lineage were responsible for crafting a certain liqueur commonly called “Fubari Brandy” by those across the stars. The drink’s original name was Gordall Special Batch Villmillion Sentes and it generally came in three varieties X, XX, and XXX, though the general rule was that the more X’s served to denote the positive ends of age, quality, and rarity of the drink based in no small part on the euphoric effects, which, in the case of one fabled XXXXX batch could leave those consuming the slightest quantities into a marvelous lucidity of thought and action. In larger quantities the XXXXX could send one into an almost catatonic dream journey lasting anywhere from 8 to 200 hours’ time.

While the common varieties of fubari brandy were manageable for a dinner party without the threat of being rendered immobile in some dream state for a week or more, it was still considered a damn good beverage by all who tried it. Needless to say, any variety was expensive on the galactic market as the crafting process remained, in large part, a complete mystery to all but the direct Gordall lineage; a lineage that was believed to have died out some time ago making any bottle produced in modern times nothing more than a cheap imitation.

This information would be common knowledge to most of the galaxy’s society and Knox, adjusting the cufflinks of his burgundy suit as he contemplated this screen, believed himself a well to do Mirrani of society. The screen read:

“Possible Heir to the Gordall Lineage found after census data received. Located on distant colony of the Fubari Kingdom. Ownership of Gordall estates including ‘Fubari Brandy’ recipe and craft process is rightfully his.”

The image on the screen was a rotating bottle of unopened original XX batch, a blurb flashed across the screen that said “Worth 6,998,700 Ducats.” Knox smiled, before that moment he had no new leads, no idea what to say in the coming meeting, but now, he moved with a purpose towards the back offices.

The offices were always a strangely quiet place when compared to the enormous din of the atrium only a few meters away. Reporters and teams were segregated into cubicles and glass walled rooms typing on holoscreens or sat back on their data tablets. In some closed offices or far corners of the room a reporter might talk in hushed tones on some telecom device. These cubicles were the entire world for most reporters, reliant on the networks of various internets that synced on and off with the motions of the station through signals in space. They worked completely in the cyberworld, contacting, interviewing and compiling in their digital hives, sometimes even hiring dubious hackers when the station’s own team wouldn’t touch a job. Still, it made for an eerie silence of padding digits, one could almost hear the circulation of the air.

Knox enjoyed the success of his own personal touch when it came to his job, which was why, for the most part, he hated that he was assigned a random team from the hordes of reporters that spent their time “jacked in.”

He rounded the corner of the next stand of cubicles toward a murmuring group of voices and was met with the suddenly upturned and expectant eyes of three individuals.

By Jason Pratley

Jason Pratley joined the team sometime in 2013 when he created the concepts for the gods of ODR. He has since become the Writing Director and de facto loremaster for DDG. Check out some other stories and content at jvfpp.wordpress.com and goodevilcomic.com