It was the 6pm rush hour, and many Rethans were running around trying to get home, or get to get to work to start their shift. But in a small, quiet cafe, four Ksa sat peacefully, watching the world go by. Their 12 hour shifts had finally finished.
They all had sugar-free drinks, with a side order of fried potato slices. Nenth, who hadn’t eaten since his shift began hours ago, had already eaten about half the plate.
“Leave some for the rest of us, dear…” Arksi smiled. “Plus, you don’t want to spoil your dinner.”
Nenth stole one last chip, then stopped eating. “Sorry, I am really hungry lately.”
“You’re not the only one!” Geekay smirked, as he stretched himself back then put an arm around Veekay. “So why did you invite us all here again?”
With a grin, Nenth took another chip and quickly shoved it in his mouth before answering. “Oh yes. I’m not sure if Veekay told you about our Ksa Leader Meeting the other night, did he?”
“Yes, he did!” Geekay exclaimed, as Veekay removed Geekay’s arm from his shoulder. “Told me you wanted to meet yesterday.”
“I got caught up with some additional work, unfortunately, so we rescheduled to today.”
“And I’m taking Nenth out for a late dinner after this,” Arksi beamed. “Tomorrow is our anniversary. Three years. We’re doing stuff tomorrow as well, but I thought a mini double date might be fun.”
“Well, aside from the important issue of our own freedom, that we’re about to discuss…” Veekay fiddled with his drink, awkwardly. “I agree, this is pleasant. Do you mind if we can get started, so you two can crack on with whatever you have planned?”
“Sure.” Nenth finally stopped eating chips and pulled a notebook out of his backpack. “At the last Ksa Leader Meeting, while we all agreed that everything was quiet, Veekay decided to bring up our lack of rights, compared to other Rethans. His words did not seem to enlighten anyone.”
Geekay scratched his head, feeling confused. “So you’re saying that everyone at the meeting didn’t feel the same way we did when you brought this up the other day?”
“Pretty much. In fact…” Veekay tutted. “Some of the Ksa Leaders were almost hostile about it. Claiming that we were spoiled. Granted, things have improved for us, but we have less control over our lives than we should.”
“Indeed,” Nenth continued. “Which is why I arranged this little chat. Somewhat disguised as a date. The issue is, we can bring up our problems, and the Vice General and perhaps several members of the Council will be on our side, but the general population simply does not give a shit. And because they don’t give a shit, the High General and the other members of the Council don’t give a shit either.”
“So you’re saying we have to raise awareness before we go any further?” Geekay asked. “That sounds… awkward. Us K-Class Ksa are simply not loved by the average Rethan, even though we were on the front lines when the Temthans dropped by.”
Nenth nodded, and pulled out a piece of paper tucked in the back of the notebook. “While you guys rank pretty highly on our own Ladder, according to my investigations, turns out the most popular Ksa are the N-Class, followed by the remains of the L-Class.”
“That’s not good at all…” Veekay grunted, his head dropping down. “We can’t get anything through to the N-Class. Even if Thitavee-En doesn’t mind us, the rest of them hate us. I still don’t get why.”
“What about the L-Class though?” Geekay exclaimed. “Surely they’ll…”
“Nope!” Arksi interrupted. “Family bias. Vok would just think we or General Elkay talked them into… Oh, hello!”
Veekay and Geekay both spun around on their stools, to see who Arksi was talking to.
The two Ksa spun back round, giving awkward glances at each other. Nenth rolled his eyes clicked his tongue – his standard “Let me do the talking” signal.
“Hello, Elar, what are you doing here?”
Elar, the notoriously aggressive R-Class Ksa, stood behind the two K-Class Ksa, sneering. “I thought Feyar told you not to discuss our position?”
“Feyar clearly said to not discuss our position at Ksa Leader Meetings. He mentioned nothing about discussing this with friends and family.” Nenth smirked. Elar though did not seem convinced.
“What are you four doing here?”
“We’re having a small double date. I have a few days off. Arksi, Veekay and Geekay got off their shift an hour ago. Arksi was telling them how we’re celebrating our anniversary tomorrow.”
Nenth and Arksi both expected Elar to at least congratulate them a little on their lasting relationship, but instead he growled and placed a claw on Veekay’s shoulder.
“Feyar clearly told you…”
“He did not tell us anything. Why are you here? Because none of us are on your watchlist currently!” Veekay shook off Elar’s grip on him. “You should not be following us!”
“You were put on the watchlist last night, Veekay, after your outburst at the Ksa Leader Meeting and for Teekay’s outburst during his status checking yesterday.”
Nenth suddenly stood up, anger flashing in his eyes. “Oh, so now you just put everyone on your damn list because we have opinions? You have no right to put Veekay on your list for stating opinions and facts.”
Elar looked confused. Few Ksa ever dared stand up to the R-Class, especially not younglings like Nenth. “You have no righ-”
“I have every right to report you to Feyar. As the leader of the Θ-Class, I outrank you, regardless of your position in the R-Class. If he agrees with you, then so be it, but I expect the correct paperwork informing me of these decisions on both mine and Veekay’s desks before anything else happens.”
“Not to mention,” Veekay added. “We are currently off duty, our work schedules are publicly available, you have NO RIGHT to be using our tracking devices to chase us down out of hours! This is the exact sort of thing that we are trying to fight against!”
For a moment, Elar said nothing. He then turned around and walked off. “Fine. I will get the correct paperwork. Have a nice evening.”
The four Ksa glanced at one another. Finally, Nenth sat back down, feeling deflated in spite of his small victory.
“I think we need to find a more private way to discuss this.”
Veekay nodded. “Indeed. I think we should head off now, leave you guys to it. Right, Geekay?” He grabbed Geekay, who was busy paying for the drinks.
“Yeah, definitely. You two have a lovely evening, right?”
“You don’t want to split the bill?” Arksi asked.
“Nah, it’s on us. Happy anniversary, you two!” Geekay waved as Veekay pulled him away.
“Thanks…” Arksi and Nenth muttered as they too got up to leave. “Stay safe.”