Alright, I´ve got more RIFT material for you guys. As always, first draft, unedited and completely un- spell-checked! ;-) If you´d rather wait for the fully edited novel, just skip this post. If you want to follow the process, read on!
So far, we´ve been following Sue and Dave on their journeys, and now it´s time to introduce another POV character. This is someone you may have briefly met before (you may or may not remember though), but as I´ve pondered the plot for RIFT, it has become more and more clear to me that this is one POV I´d love to see more of.
So, with no more chatter, let me just introduce the oldest man on the planet, Mark Novak.
RIFT- Scene 11:
He was late for his meeting with Head Servant Lunde, and he should have been in a hurry. Instead he took his time dressing after a long and invigorating shower. He figured the Head Servant would put up with it; after all, if not for Counselor Mark Novak´s mind, Lunde would be long dead, along with his wife and all of his mistresses, his children and his children´s children. Come to think of it, the Head Servant´s children´s children´s children´s would probably be long gone as well. He chuckled without mirth.
No, Moon people or not, everyone waited for Mark Novak.
He turned toward the mirror and looked at his face. Once it had been a young man´s face, and one women tended to fall for. Although it rarely changed much these days, it was a long time since his face had the features of a young successful scientist and womanizer. His ice blue eyes still had that particular twinkle, and his hair, long, blond, slicked back, showed not a single grey hair. Still, he could see where youth had lost, not to age, but rather agelessness.
He looked closer, put a finger up near his right eye. A wrinkle forming. Crow´s feet if he let it. He exhaled deeply. It would be time for another treatment soon. Another year of isolation, cryo sleep for weeks at a time, while the doctors worked their magic.
He had long abandoned performing procedures himself, but he still worked on perfecting small parts, little details, whenever he felt like doing a little work. Not that he needed to, it was just something he liked doing now and them, whenever his need to feel useful threatened to overwhelm him.
He wondered for a moment if he should call for a pleasure lady and some stimulants for after the meeting, but decided against it. He usually felt more tired afterward, and with another treatment coming up, he knew he needed all the energy he could muster. Besides, it just made him feel more empty, the kind of empty that only someone as privileged as he would ever experience.
He looked away, and put on his slippers. He should be grateful. The Moon people had given him everything in return for the treatments and his advice. He was a trusted citizen, a hero respected by everyone. The one who witnessed the Fall. The one who cleared the way and helped the Moon people come into their right. The one who gave every citizen the chance to live forever. Or as close to it as anyone could possibly know, given that he was the oldest man in the world. The one who enabled the reign of the Moon people through the power of life itself.
Something gnawed at him though; this constant feeling of… wrong.
That everything about this was so very, very wrong.
He had been a rebel once. He even brought his best friend into it, and look where that got him. His friend died, a broken man fallen from grace, held captive in a prison cell somewhere. And though Mark eventually got his revenge, in hindsight it all looked pointless.
No, he was done rebelling.
Leaving his luxurious apartment felt good. It was but a few minutes walk to the Palace, but he enjoyed the vigor and bustle of Legacy. Although most people here, at least those visible to him, never had to work, they still seemed busy with some thing or another. If he managed to suspend disbelief for a few moments it felt almost like walking through a prosperous city in the old world.
He hardly noticed as he walked straight through the gates and up the walk to the palace entrance. The Moon Palace Guard officer on duty saluted him, but Mark hardly acknowledged his presence. As the doors entered he strode through the great reception hall. Everyone he met knew him by sight, and moved out of his way. He ignored everyone as he walked to the elevator leading up to the apartments occupied by the current Head Servant.
Once the elevator stopped, he exited, and entered the Head Servant´s office, which took up the outer part of his apartments. The room was lavishly decorated, with gilded ornaments everywhere, in addition to the white and black of the Moon people covering the walls and ceiling. The carpet, oddly, was a deep crimson, and only a few people knew the symbolism. All of them Moon people, except Mark Novak. Earth history from before the Fall was banned from non-citizen schools, and nothing of Moon history before Descent was taught to them either. And while most Moon people children learned of the Youth Revolution already in first grade, the grisly details was a long forgotten chapter. But he knew.
«Ah, there you are, Counselor.» Head Servant Alexej Lunde said, rising from his chair behind the enormous oak desk. He motioned for Mark to follow him over to the lounge chairs in front of the ancient fireplace, an artifact salvaged from the ruins of the house of the last president before the Fall. Mark thought it fit right in here, although, he mused, Lunde probably didn´t even know that president´s name. He held back a chuckle. Mark knew.
«You look tired, friend. Is it time again?» Mark nodded.
«No way around it.»
«Well, don´t hold off for too long. Everyone depends on you, Novak.»
«Yeah… Although I guess there would be plenty of people ready to take my place if I didn´t take it this time.»
«Don´t speak like that.» Alexej said, a frown interfering with his otherwise perfect features. Movie star face, Mark thought. Too perfect. He half- smiled.
«Don´t worry, it´s just an old man´s grumbling.» he said.
«Well, you are old.» The Head Servant´s frown disappeared into a grin.
«I guess you are entitled to grumble.» He snapped his fingers, and a hologram appeared before them, showing a model of the continent. Still so strange, Mark though, to know that most people, citizens or not, would never see that image. They would only see the smaller version, the one showing less than a fourth of this.
«The Covenant,» Head Lunde said, as the model morphed into a three dimensional map seen from a birds point of view, with the Covenant in white, the border in black and everything else a dull brown.
«Surrounded by enemies. The coast held clean for the last century, but the land border…» he shook his head.
«We control the northern border, as we have for so long, although who knows what is brewing up there. The savages are a nuisance, but no threat. Can´t even speak properly.»
«French,» Mark said, «or rather what used to be French. Evolved.»
«I know, and you know that I know,» the Head Servant snapped, «but it´s a brute´s language. Primitive.» he sat back, and moved his fingers to enhance the westernmost part of the Covenant on the map.
«The Rift, though. There´s been more than a few episodes lately.» Mark nodded. He´d seen this coming.
«Four years ago, it was the aircraft. Luckily, we had an orbital platform nearby, and took it down before it reached visible airspace. Then, for the last two years, the number of incursions, both hostile and civilian have increased. Warden rangers consume twice the amount of Bliss now, compared to five years ago. The labs are hard pressed to keep up with demand. Some self-medicate though, but kissweed or whatever they do these days doesn´t fix their perception. Dulls it a little, I guess, but without Bliss, everything would unravel.» Mark nodded, impatiently.
«So what should we do about it, Alexej? Can we hold the Rift?» he said.
«We need to ramp up production. More Corpus initiates, more labs, longer hours. No way around it.» the Head Servant paused, before he stared back at Mark, jaw set.
«We´ll hold the Rift for a thousand years, Counselor. A thousand years.» Mark saw the legacy in his eyes then. The will to rule, the determination to use any means to achieve their goals. The legacy of the Moon people, born in the Moon dust, a force that had led them back to Earth, and one day would make them rulers of the entire planet. He saw, and shuddered. And yet, he was part of it, for better or worse. He had chosen sides a long time ago, and he meant to see it through.
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