Chapter 26 - Hero or Villain

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7th September 2311 10:36 EST - If Europa was the capital of the Human Confederate's future, it still paled in comparison to the illustrious and alluring architecture of Earth.

Even in the short time, Jason had been in Moscow, he had found it impressive and daunting. It spoke of the magnificence of many centuries of history and development while carefully hiding a mysterious dark side to its society. When arriving in Berlin just twenty-four hours ago, it too had a splendour and mysteriousness that equalled but differed from Moscow. Jason marvelled at its beauty and murkiness.

Apart from the underground, Europa had conformity, structure and an eagerness to be overwhelming to the little people that littered its streets. Both Moscow and Berlin had their conformity, and their structure, yet their archaic nature made them seem like they had glorious imperfections everywhere you turned. Like Europa, the buildings reached for the sky, and the traffic littering the heavens seemed to attempt to block out the sun, but walking through the lower streets underneath the recently refurbished Brandenburg Gate felt like Jason was stepping into two different time zones.

Earth, in its loss of identity between multiple eras, had something beautiful that Jason had not seen anywhere else before.

Apart from the weather.

Even in the few days on Earth, he had experienced, rain, wind, sun, sleet and a thunderstorm. Where Europa's weather was regulated and predictable, Earth was anything but. While the sun was out now, a glimpse of a darkened cloud in the distance had put Jason on edge.

Thoughts of the weather and architecture quickly fleeted away as he recalled his objective in the Central European State Capital.

Proviski had lit the way for Jason to come here and establish contact with Jacqueline Donnelly. The wild goose chase which Vladimir had set him on was bizarre and disconcerting. Donnelly had been out of official contact for months, yet somehow she had given Vladimir the instructions to send Jason to Berlin.

Standing outside of a bank, as people briskly entered and exited, Jason's nerves felt far more tense than normal. The security on the planet was state of the art. Wherever you walked, wherever you stood, the Earth security department knew who you were and whether you were authorised to be here or not. Jason was not.

As far as the Human Confederate and United Solar Military were concerned, Jason was still recovering from his last tour, so to be on this planet, where his every move was likely being scrutinised, meant he was placing a massive amount of trust in his godfather and the fake identity that had been established for his infiltration.

"Welcome Mr Standerwick" the soothing voice of a woman echoed through his ears as he stepped into the bank. It did not stir the calm that was intended. Who was Mr Standerwick? He hoped that the identity had been created specifically for the mission, but wondered if Mr Standerwick existed somewhere while Jason skulked around as his doppelgänger. Would Mr Standerwick be working right now in Titan or Callisto, unaware of his stolen identity, or perhaps drinking on a beach on Earth, just a few thousand kilometres away? If he did indeed exist, he was probably enduring the sites and sound of the prison moon Io.

"Ahh, Mr Standerwick, welcome, we have been expecting you."

The accented voice of a man walking towards Jason had brought him back to the here and now, realising that all thoughts of understanding his made-up identity were futile. He was on a mission, and nothing else mattered apart from the success of that mission.

The professional-looking man, in his tight-fitting black trousers and tailored black smooth jacket, extended his hand towards Jason, which Jason grabbed instantly and shook with vigour.

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