“Listen here, lady,” he sneered, slamming the file folder hard against the cheap plywood table, “I’m not playing games with you today. You know something. Spill it and this can be much easier.”
I didn’t flinch. I didn’t look at him, either; my eyes were fixed intently on the wall.
Scoffing, he opened the folder. “I’ve got two dead men downstairs. Two dead men and one woman in blue running away from the scene. You’ve got to know how that looks.”
My eyes rolled and and I looked the other direction.
I heard the muffled sound of him grinding his teeth. “I don’t know what kind of colony you’re from, but here we have less rules when dealing with suspects. If you think you won’t confess because you can keep your mouth shut, then you’re wrong.”
I finally snapped to attention and scowled. “You have nothing on me. I was in the discharge of my guild duties. You either let me go or you’ll have Judexes on your doorstep. You have no right. Let me go.” Clear. Concise.
And apparently aggravating. He hurled the folder across the room and slammed his fists on the table. “Murder isn’t your duty, sister!” With a sickening grin he pulled an energy pistol from his holster and laid it on the table. “Start talking or start losing fingers.”
I stopped and stared at the pistol. “Sergeant…” I said carefully, “Have you ever…dealt with a member of my guild before? I’m just curious. This is a rather advanced colony, so it wouldn’t surprise me if you hadn’t.”
He sneered. “Nah, they usually end up dead before they get here.”
I nodded and the light flickered slightly. “And no one explained to you why that is? Why they tend to kill us before bringing us in for questioning?”
He started to say something but the light flickered again and the pistol on the table made a slight humming noise. “What–“
“I’m sorry, Sergeant,” I said, taking a deep breath, “That you had to learn this lesson the hard way.”
Then the lights went out.
Where the Cables Don’t Reach
Technology is not for everyone. The Children of the Azure Soil are tasked with expanding the colonies of The Span. Doing so requires a reliance on survival skills and ingenuity, because until the infrastructure of a colony is realized, the pioneers out there are on their own.
Enter the Blue Hand; called such because of the blue-colored terraforming salts used to turn even the rockiest moon into a fertile landscape. Because of the tireless, hard work at all levels of technology, the Blue Hand are the underappreciated architects of mankind’s advancement.
Underappreciated is perhaps an understatement, however. The Blue hand eschew the use of technology beyond what is needed for a task. They embrace the “old ways” and practice the art of simplistic engineering. Because of this, they innately arouse the suspicion of others and, as such, are often mistrusted at first sight.
They lack the nano-web aura that surrounds all other inhabitants of the Span, and therefore are harder to detect by sensors. Instead, they implant their tools directly into their clothes and jewelry for easy use. They also specialize in shutting down advanced technology, which can–and often does–make them very useful for some of the seedier tasks that a colony might pay for.
The Structure of the Blue Hand
The Capital on Anshen is situated in a lush green valley. Farms and stone buildings sweep up the hillside to a fortress of stone and metal known as The Stone Temple, where all technology is utterly forbidden. The valley of Anshen is sometimes sought after by vacationers seeking to destress from their fast-paced lives.
The guild is led by Chief Animus and his Elders, who manage the services and factions of the Guild with ceremony and meaning. Just a few of them include:
Name: The Pioneers
Leader: Elder Jonah
The explorers and survivalists of the Guild, this faction is accustomed to harsh landscapes and dangerous lands. They take pride in their exploration of the unknown, and let it harden their defenses.
Name: The Shadow Tribe
Leader: Elder Lorelei
Those skill to be undetected is one which can be useful in the world of seedy deals and dark alleys. The Shadow tribe fills a need here, by using the survival skills and gifts of the Hand for espionage, sabotage, and assassination.
Leader: Elder Bronze
Maintaining and repairing that which needs to be maintained and repaired, this faction is called upon to fix the unfixable in these more modern times.
Name: The Mighty Oaks
Leader: Elder Kazmius
Under such terrible scrutiny as they often are, the Blue Hand cannot always turn to law enforcement for sanctuary. Instead, they can turn to this faction, who provide protection and care for the distressed and needy in their fortified monasteries scattered throughout the Span.