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Welcome aboard

He was not officially a wanted man. But if Eilyin was after you, you were pretty damn wanted. And now he sat in a shifty station bar, just one jump from highsec space. Khis shifted his eyes across the room quickly. Nobody was paying any attention to him, and he wanted to keep it that way. A dirty man with a dirty datapad in a filthy bar was as common as cigarettes, but no extra chances could be taken. He sat still in the corner, desperately trying to draw as little attention as he could to himself as he wrote on the datapad. “The criminal world isn’t so different from any other. Small differences, of course, separate the lawful from the lawless, but with the size of this galaxy and the demand for less-than-legal services, the line draws thin. Who can even tell what is illegal and what is simply frowned upon. The juveniles in the station smoke cigarettes as they stroll past security officers. Gylamine pads are sold from the friggin vendors. Hell, if you wanna KILL someone, just wait until they make a trip to 0.4. Before too long, I bet I can inject tripsticks in a restaurant and piss on the officer’s battleship. ‘Illegal’ has no moral value anymore. I hope you also understand that I did not enter this line of work to make a quick buck. Eilyin is still after my ass, and a conventional job simply isn’t going to pay him back fast enough. I may not be allowed back in high-security, not in this region anyway. I love you, and hope to see you sometimes. (P.S, Don’t tell anyone else about this. I only sent this message to people I trust to keep quiet. Just wanted to keep you in the loop.)” He glanced up again from his datapad. The bartender at the other end of the room paid no attention and the other patrons were too drunk to notice him. Good, He thought. Send to? He thought for a moment. Babyn. And Tuhust. And Gulthorne. Dad, too. They’ll understand. Keep Mom out of it, she wouldn’t take it well. As for Grandma and Grandpa... Khis rolled his eyes when he thought how they would react. Aaaaaannd, Send! The Datapad bleeped four times. Four messages sent out. He shut it down and stuffed it in his bag. A stout Gallente man walked into the bar; hair greased forward, reflective glasses and a scowl that all people he hung around wore. If the obvious look didn’t give him away, the tattoo he barely concealed sure did. A Snake entwined around apple. Only a man loyal to Ossin would display a mark like that. The man looked at Khis and walked over and shook his hand. “Hello Khis.” “Hello, Herekk. Good to finally meet you...”
Khis imagined that the criminal world was run by levels of trust and a military-style ranking system; a system based on corporate ladders and careerists, just like any job. Turns out, some criminals just want you to have a common enemy and prove you’re not police. After only a week of sketchy contacts, hidden conversations and research on the drug trade, Khis received a message from Ossin Abamorior himself. “A indirect interview is necessary. Station 14, Illus System, 13:00 Monday. Krogan’s Bar.” Brief but clear. At first he was nervous to make a trip back into Lowsec, even the desolate Illus system. Even in highsec, he wasn’t completely safe. Not all Bounty hunters and abductors are afraid of CONCORD. But he learned how to travel inconspicuously. Hunters almost never scanned the Interbus transports. The temporary tattoos that covered his face, combined with his hidden security-incompliant plasma pistol, provided him with a sense of security where CONCORD could not. And now here I am, conducting an interview Ossin’s main recruiter. He tried to act tough for Herekk, but hiding a childish grin was just hard to do.
“One, please.” Herekk held his finger up at the bartender nodded. “People in your position are very common,” he exclaimed, turning to Khis. “There is no shortage of desperate indebted men, especially since Eilyin so generously started issuing unpayable loans.” A single bottle rose from the pneumatic tube in the middle of the table. “Yet you have caught Ossin’s attention. He feels you would be important to have around. Tell me, why would he think that?” Herekk sat back in his chair and crossed his arms. Khis had no planned answer. Why WOULD Ossin think that? Then he remembered what he read on Ossin a few days before. “Ossin likes what me and my family have done. My grandparents pledged most of the family fortune to the Minmatar and Gallente armies, and my siblings all served their duty for the Republic.” Khis looked at Herekk with a sense of pride, and Herekk grinned slightly. “But you didn’t serve?” He asked.
“They wouldn’t take me. My juvenile report indicated patterns of recklessness and erratic behavior, and who wants a maniac soldier? It was embarrassing to be turned down, to say the least, but I supported the cause any way I could. Donations, supply running, I fought without firing a shot.”
“So I take it you’re a firm believer in the Republic and the Federation.”
“More a firm opposer of the State and the Empire. What the Amarrians do sicken me, and the Caldari are whores. They will cheat and exploit and kill for profit. My entire family has opposed them both for generations, and I’m proud to say that I have dedicated my life to eradicating them.”
“Men of your passion are hard to come by.”
“But that’s not the only reason Ossin wants me, is it?”
Herekk pulled a datapad out of his jacket and typed while he spoke.
“Vigor has a death-grip on the market in most of the deep highsec systems. And when I say ‘the market’, I mean the entire market. Boosters, crash, crash-imitators, Stix, if you want it in highsec, you go to Vigor. So far, neither Ossin nor any of his competitors, including Eilyin, have been able to achieve that level of success. Most of the shippers we hire get burned or caught, but I think you’re different. You have a clear head and a record to match.”
“Sounds easy enough.”
“You would need to make frequent trips through lowsec, as well as highsec, and be completely ignored by CONCORD.”
“Nobody is completely ignored by CONCORD or faction police. Sooner or later, I’ll be scanned down and discovered.”
“Vigor has a method to keep his shipments hidden from all scanners. Just recently, Ossin found out what it was. You will be flying undetected as long as you arouse no suspicion. That’s why you’re important.”
“You’re missing something else.”
“What’s that?”
“I’ve passed the capsule compatibility test.”
Harekk raised his eyebrows just a little bit. “It’s notoriously difficult. It requires high intelligence and incredible control over your mind. I take it you just couldn’t afford the training.”
“I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, and you damn well can’t afford the training on an empire salary”
“Capsuleers are hard to recruit. Ossin will be glad to know.”
“I have a problem to fix before I can start, though.”
“Eilyins debt?”
“He’s relentless. I can’t hide forever from him.”
“Ossin will no doubt be willing to pay for part of it when you start, as long as you remain loyal of course, and let you pay the rest from your significantly increased salary “
“When I start? So it’s been decided, then.”
“I just finished my recommendation report. Welcome to SDA Corp, Khis.”
They shook hands and Herekk stood up.
“Come to our base in the Relevaar system tomorrow. Don’t worry about hunters, an escort cruiser fleet will be waiting at the highsec border. Ossin will want to meet you personally, and you’ll have an assignment and ship waiting.” He took his drink and walked out. Just like that. And I’m now an outlaw. His childish grin could be held back no longer. “Bartender”, he said. “Give the most expensive shit you got.”


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StovAkor on :

Awesome I was wondering if Khis would make the jump to capsuleer. Looks like he's going to. I wonder how Schaa is fairing. Also, I gotta ask. What ship will Khis have and what did Schaa have before she was captured? You've never been very specific about the ships. I found that to be slightly annoying. Excellent writing as always. Lookin foward to your next entry.

Davis Burnside on :

I like to keep some specific details, like ship models, up to the imagination of the reader.

StovAkor on :

I can respect that. Thx for the explanation.

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