Disclaimer: Characters and Universe belong to whosoever the law says they do - where this is not me then I am content.

The start of a world changing criminal career.

An ordinary day

It's not the extraordinary days that lead to momentous decisions but the ordinary ones. That day was very ordinary.

Avon rose at the usual time, took the monorail to the Institute, got delayed at the outer terminus and finished annotating his paper well before he reached the central terminus. Nothing unusual. He sat silently, tucked into the corner of his upper grade partition, trying to screen out the inane conversations of those around him. Wondering, not for the first time, if the radicals were right about the Administration using suppressants and if that explained the mind numbing stupidity of the communications that eddied around him.

He arrived too late for any real breakfast, again, and had to satisfy himself with a cup of coffee and a protein roll that looked as if it had been produced a century ago and not stored properly. The credit machine froze twice as he tried to pay, tempting him to leave without bothering to do so but stopped by the thought of the adminstrative nightmare that would follow. As it was he had to endure the usual lecture from the clerk about the unreliable service provided by the central bank, and the standard moans about 'what they pay people like you for when you can't make anything work'. It took the coldest and most threatening look he was capable of to shut the fool up and get away before his roll gave up the ghost and degenerated into the dust it so obviously yearned to be.

He met the Director on the forecourt and exchanged nods, nothing unusual either. The man's sliding eyes and hurried greeting confirmed his fear, that their beloved and overpaid Director had lost another funding battle to the rapacious military. If Avon had had any doubt about it the proof was waiting at his station; another budget cut, more research cancelled, more projects abandoned. Since the end of the teleportation project there had been nothing of any vision to work on, and without work there was nothing.

Already the Board avoided him, knowing they wouldn't honour the promises made when they recruited him. There would be no glittering prizes, no fast track career, no rewards at all, intellectual or financial. The re-gradings were postponed too, so he could kiss goodbye to his promotion, his very well earned and already delayed promotion. But he wouldn't be allowed to leave, the teleportation project may have failed but he would never be free in case he took what little had been achieved elsewhere.

Just an ordinary day, an ordinary bitterness.

He left at the usual time, took the familiar route across the financial center with the standard delay as they skirted the delta warrens; the same pointless conversations swirling around him. In the shelter of his apartment he settled down to work for an hour or so on another proposal that would fail, before going out for food. The news reports were playing in every food shop; all full of ordinary stories, terrorists attacks Earth's supply lines, ungrateful governors railing belligerently against the Administration, heroic sacrifices to make Earth safe. All interspersed with intimate images of the tears of the tragic parents and stories of brave children who inspired the sacrifice. He listened with half an ear and then went home.

Tynus had left a message inviting him and his current 'fling', Tynus liked terms like that, to a social event at the Central bank. The message could wait, so too could the 'fling'. He'd go, she would like that, but Tynus was becoming a little oppressive in his attentions, so the message would wait. There was nothing in his life that wouldn't.

An ordinary day.

But somewhere in his mind a seed had spilt its containment, the first shoots had been working their way through the soil of habit and upbringing, and, as he slept, it reached the daylight of his conscious mind and bloomed that momentous decision.