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Episode Five - Tactical Pursuits

Cloister Square
Utama Metro - Ramaxia
8 Bamx 2228 – 1700 hours

Midtown quieted in the hour before day-fall.

The Utama Gathering Yard hosted bizaki twice a day for their bizarix. Mornings saw the highest attendance due to non-locals arriving for work; the more intimate late afternoon stretching sessions belonged to the locals.

Ixo Gizul, the illustrious Sernatae Second, sat at her usual table on the Cloister lawn, watching the bizaki across the street. It was rude to approach her outside the Session Hall, and Eppis was grateful when Ixo noticed her with open arms.

“I received your message for a sit-down,” said the hizak. “I’ve yet to set an appointment date.”

Eppis waved a dismissive hand. “Disregard the request,”

“Regarding Obiz,” Ixo extended her arm, offering the empty chair at her table. “Your donation warned me you might seek to discuss her,”

“Obiz’s career path is not my concern,” Eppis said, then noted Ixo’s pointed stare. “The delivery of that sentiment was poor. Of course, I’ll always be concerned, but Obiz must make her own path.”

Ixo returned to her chair.

“We missed you last night.”

Eppis held back a sigh. “I don’t frequent such places,”

“You were expected,” said Ixo, laughing.

“I’ve been notified of that fact, repeatedly, today.”

Ixo raised her hands in defeat.

“What brings you to me, CR Banto?”

Eppis cleared her throat. “Last month—”

“-When you enlisted me in that touch of subterfuge regarding Vosk ISO?” Ixo shifted her gaze to the posing bizaki across the yard. “I learned of your journey between the poles. If I’m aware, then your kerma is aware.”

“She’s more than made me aware of her awareness.”

Ixo turned thoughtful. “Sofita’s aversion to Primaryship?”

“Is ended, it seems,” said Eppis.

Ixo’s thick lips spread in a smile. The two of them endured a shared destiny; each was coded at birth to serve as First Office of the Tenth. However, Eppis’s sustained health ensured Ixo would never ascend to the position, thus trapping the hizak into replacing her kerma in the Cloister.

“Do we know what prompted this reversal?” asked Ixo.

Before Eppis could explain, Zerix Julo appeared. A disarming bruise with a knack for going unnoticed, she’d been part of Fusada Kul’s inner circle in Orta.

“How’s your day going, Prime Gizul?” the Cloister Guard commander brought a fist to her midriff for Eppis. “CR Banto.”

“My day continues as always.” Ixo smiled up at her. “Is there something we need to discuss, Podpromad Julo?”

“We got a lone sentry in ISO that’s required to call in every seventy-five days. When she didn’t tag us before hibernating, we got worried.” Zerix grinned as if partaking in a lively exchange with a couple of hizak. “When she didn’t contact us after the new year, we tagged her back, got no reply.”

“Ominous,” said Ixo.

The brawny marix got down on one knee.

“A solitary assignment like that makes some bruisers eat their palm. I pulled footage from ISO after we found her dead in a service chute.” Her slim eyes shifted to Eppis while maintaining her conversational pantomime. “Footage shows our Promad getting attacked by divisional Komad.”

Playing along, Ixo pointed at nothing across the street.

“Will there be an impending zish’tilgul report?”

“One that comes without footage,” said Zerix, turning toward that nothing.

“Your solitary sentry,” Ixo played entertained, “was a Ninth Gen?”

“She was, Prime Gizul,” Zerix laughed as if prompted.

Ixo gave a smiling nod. “Then destroy all feeds for the month,”

“Already done,” Zerix said.

“By whose authority?” Eppis asked, a false smile on her face.

Zerix stood, ignoring her query. “We’re blaming the feed damage on the Vostulak’s magnetic disruption,”

“The damaged footage I reviewed shows the Promad suffering from a lack of hibernation,” Ixo crossed one leg over the other. “Mental taxation often leads to zish’tilgul. I shall process her demise as ramaxic’til, for the sake of her pod.”

“CR Banto,” Zerix glanced at the holographic time patch on the top of her hand as if being asked the time. “Kul’s presence in ISO is problematic.”

“The word you’re looking for is discerning,” Eppis said, curt.

“We’d like a meeting with Kul,” Zerix put her hands on her hips, nodding as if Eppis had inquired something of her. “Somewhere on the surface?”

“We?” Eppis smiled through her annoyance. “Podpromad Julo, you inform Bam Yuxi that any chance of her gurz in my chair died with Fusada Kul.”

Ixo kept her eyes on the stretching bizaki.

“If your muscle-bound cabal needs assurances,” Eppis added. “Then I’m open for a sit down on behalf of Sofita Kul.”

Zerix saluted the pair. “Prime Gizul, CR Banto,”

“Thank you, Podpromad Julo.” Watching Zerix jog back to the Cloister building, Ixo whispered to Eppis, “Yuxi continues to stand as a leader among Fusada’s chosen.”

“The audacity,” Eppis mused. “Sending Zerix Julo to inform me of her tacit awareness that somethings afoot.”

“Fusada chose well in Yuxi,” said Ixo with a laugh. “I almost grasp Iba’s attraction.”

“Iba was a relentless hizmarox, be it Bam or any bruise,” Eppis grinned at memories made amusing by time. “She plastered the walls of our shared space in Mynu with casti’s of half-naked marixi.”

“I recall many unscheduled visits to our room,” Ixo said, chuckling. “After Fusada began calling on Sofita,”

“Fusada brought one brute or another to Mynu. I anticipated her visits as they rid me of Iba for the day,” Eppis then sighed. “Youthful discontent aside, I miss Iba greatly.”

“Iba was a brilliant citizen,” Ixo said. “Her death is Ramaxia’s loss.”

“What was she thinking?” Eppis focused on the bizaki stretching in the park. “She had no business undergoing a risky surgical procedure with a toddling donat to consider.”

“Grief distorts our life choices,” Ixo offered sagely.

“A decade had passed since Fee’s death at Igitat,” she said. “Iba’s insane choice to undergo that procedure was—”

“-I continue to struggle every day,” Ixo spoke softly.

Eppis stared at the hizak, whose face became heavy.

“At least once a week, I entertain leaving the Cloister or retiring from Orta,” said Ixo. “I entertain acquiring a position at Igitat.”

Harvesting raw kyrsol from the planet’s outer core remained a hazardous enterprise, and Igitat Prime reminded them that no level of technological prowess could ever tame Ramaxicon.

During the Eleventh’s second production year, a siphoning plug at the Kyrsol Containment Sphere Center ignited at Igitat Prime. Like the Milwaukee Deep incident before the Tenth Gen’s birth, oxygen had entered an energy migration tunnel. However, at Igitat, the citizens living there survived due to safety protocols implemented by an hizak named Ergal Jakix.

Ixo stared at her stylish shoes. “I think by surrounding myself with the bizaki at Igitat, I might catch a glimpse of Prido’s soul in their eyes.”

The energist charged with maintaining Ergal’s barrier protocols, Prido Suv, had been one of Ixo’s most cherished bond partners. Thrown into a blast containment wall, the bizak had fallen asleep while concussed and lived another eight years before succumbing to the brain hemorrhage physicians warned her would transpire.

“My goal is preposterous on its face. Such is the insidiousness of grief,” the hizak’s sad eyes lifted. “Grief cripples the mind, Eppis. It’s incurable like the hizaxikogatix our dear Iba tried to overcome.”

The luxury of grief had always eluded Eppis.

“Forgive me, Ixo,” she said.

“My support of Sofita is absolute,” Ixo straightened up as if awakened. “I shall be your observer in the Sernatae’s chambers.”

Eppis started. “You’re in an ideal position in Orta—”

“-I will not be your liaison there.” Ixo shook her head. “If Sofita is to be Primary, she must contend with Fusada’s Chosen.”

Eppis balked.

“When we ascend,” Ixo reminded her. “Those chosen marixi will rule Orta.”

Resigned, Eppis stood with open arms.

As they embraced, Ixo whispered, “Rumor has it that you’re visiting a desire therapist.”

“Gossip cycles faster than the 23-hour day,” said Eppis.

“If your rumored ailment is a ruse,” Ixo cautioned. “I encourage you to consider another disorder. That condition evokes no pity amongst our caste.”

“Your concern comforts,” Eppis tugged at the hem of her suit jacket. “I’ve lived long viewing others from a superior position. I suppose it’s high time I experience being looked down upon.”

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A note from WriterObscura

Hey there, Ixo Gizul remains the voice of reason - though Eppis is rather reasonable.

Thank you for reading.


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