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The first thing through his head when he walked in the room was “Minmatar.” Tribal decorations hung from walls, bare-bones metal furniture adorned the rusty floor, and of course a well-stocked drink rack sat in the corner. All it needs to complete this picture is a few solar sails. Behind the desk was a tall and lanky man. Pronounced features and tattoos on his face, dog tags around his neck, and a suit much too exquisite and lavish for a Minmatar to comfortably wear. The man was unquestionably Ossin. He beckoned Khis to sit down. “Your report was the best thing I read all day.” He began. “Devoted to the good cause, invisible to CONCORD, and capsule-compatible; I’m starting to think you don’t really exist, Khis.”
“But you read about the catch, didn’t you?”
“I can pay half of the debt for you. As much as it kills me to give money directly to Eilyin, I think you’ll be worth it.” He paused and leaned forward. “But I hope you don’t let me down.”
“When do I start?”
“As soon as possible. You need to have field training before you can jump in, and I want you to start the capsuleer mind training.”
“But I-“
“Don’t worry, I’ll cover the cost. In a few months, you’re gonna be a capsuleer, Khis.”
He leaned back in his chair and laughed. “And I’m gonna be one lucky SOB.” Ossin pushed the Comm. Button on his desk. “Can you send up Matti?”
“Yes, sir”, it responded. Matti? Where have I heard that before? I know that name, I know that face... MATTI? No, she couldn’t be. She went to empire, I heard she has a kid. She would never work for a criminal.
“Khis, something wrong?”
“Matti Las?”
“Oh, you know her.”
“I did, a while ago. Back when I ran supplies for the militia, she was my wingman. I haven’t heard from her in years, I didn’t know...”
“She got tired of running ammo. She wanted to make the big ISK.”
Doesn’t sound like the Matti I know.
The door opened and there she was. Just like he last saw her. Lanky, hair tied back, clothes too loose. She even had the same gun, too. She looked at him for just a moment before her eyes suddenly widened. “Khis? What the hell?” He stood up and they embraced. “I thought you were dead!” “I thought YOU went empire!” “No money running ammo. I needed the big ISK. Let me look at you.”
She stepped back and laughed. “What’s with the stupid tattoos?”
“Oh, I forgot...” Khis pulled a tiny needle from his jacket and stuck it under under his cheek. The tattoos quickly dissipated. “I needed to hide for a bit, can’t have everyone recognizing this beautiful face.”
She chuckled. “Come on, I have to show you the ropes. Follow me.” Khis shook Ossin’s hand again and Matti and Khis walked out, talking about the lost years. After they were out of earshot, Herekk walked in.
“So what do you think of him?” Ossin asked. “I think he’s a smart kid, don’t know him enough to think anything else.”
A concerned look swept across Ossin’s face as he spun his chair around to face the windows. Gazing at the stars beyond the glass, he said, “There’s no shortage of ‘smart’ kids in space. What I want it a wise kid; someone who will know what to do when he’s tested. I don’t like what happened to your last boy, Herekk, not at all. I don’t want another Ipsyse.” Herekk bowed his head and leaned against the wall, “Neither do I. I hope Khis isn’t just a fool with a big brain.”
“For your sake, Herekk, I hope so too.”
Khis wasted no time catching up with Matti. “So how long have you been working with SDA?” He asked.
“Almost two years. I started out what you’re doing; cargo running. It went great for a while, then a trusted friend sold me out to CONCORD, and, well, I can’t go back to highsec now. So Ossin has me doing his paperwork, training the new guys...” She yanked the gun from her holster and pretended to shoot. “...And wasting anyone who fucks us over.”
“My friend told me you have a kid.”
“Mm hmm. Three years old, the cutest guy you’ll ever meet. Matter of fact, he’s the main reason I took this job. His daddy bailed and I couldn’t keep my job. When he was only three months, we faced eviction, back planet-side. I sold stix and worked my way up the market, until Ossin noticed me and offered me a job. I left the planet the next day and haven’t returned.”
“You’re very fortunate.”
“Ossin seems to favor those who try to do right; a strange trait for a kingpin.” She dropped her voice to a whisper. “Don’t ask me how I know, but as it turns out, he was a street urchin on Amarr Prime. His family disowned him when he was discovered to have Gallentian father, and he made a name for himself sellin’ drugs on the streets and doing hit-jobs. He became so popular that he went to space, and got himself all this.” She motioned at the station around them.
“I think he hired me because of my family’s war history.”
“Yea, so do I. You don’t look like you could sell a gram.”
He chuckled, because he knew she was right.
The first place she took him was to his new quarters. Khis was glad that years of flying didn’t make him fat, because the walk alone was over 2 km, not counting the elevators and transports. Ossin’s subsection of the station was gargantuan, to say the least. Hangars, living quarters, offices, armories, safehouses, banks, restaurants, lounges, gyms, shopping malls, almost an entire sub-station owned by one man. Khis thought of the time it took to save up for his first little ship, then imagined the amount of ISK required to own and operate something like this.
Yet Ossin wasn’t even in the big leagues when it came to sheer ISK. Khis had heard about some of the sub-faction sized cartels, who own many stations and claim sovergnity over entire star systems. Ossin’s organization was downright puny compared to that.
“So what made you start with this kind of job?”
“I’m just a hardass, I suppose.”
“Ha ha, funny”
“No, I just gotta make more money, plain and simple. Got a debt to pay, better ships to fly and big plans to do. Oh, and Ossin said he’d pay the fee for capsuleer training.”
She looked at him in amazement.
“No way! Oh you smart little asshole.”
“Ha, when I’m flyin’ battleships, you can join my crew if you want.”
“I can’t believe it. Congrats, Khis. If anyone deserves it, it’s you. What are you gonna do? After you serve with Ossin for a while, of course.”
“What am I gonna do?” He looked at her and smiled. “You know what I’m going to do; you know me better than anyone. I’m gonna join the capsuleer militia!”

She showed him some other parts of the station, introduced him to a few fellow haulers, and then took him to the ship bay. As the elevator was ascending to the boarding level, he asked, “So how exactly will I slip past security scanner?”
She laughed. “You’re gonna love this, boy. So scanners identify objects by two ways, right? They read the electronic tag signature of an object, which tells the scanner what the object is. Since the tags are possible to fake, the scanners also transmit a low-level energy field into the cargohold to determine the shape, volume, density, position, and makeup of objects. What the field does NOT do, however, is see INSIDE objects. Most objects have hollow spaces inside them, such as the ammo cache in turrets or ventilation pockets in fuel systems. Hell, you can even take the charges out of munitions and turn them into hollow shells. Since nothing is completely solid, we are able to open up commercially available products, stuff them up with drugs, seal 'em back up, and ship them through highsec. Since CONCORD cannot board ships without a search warrant, they can only catch unconcealed contraband.”
Khis was speechless. The genius and simplicity clashed into a near-flawless formula for shipping anything to anywhere. “But the problem is that you have to export a small amount of product for every shipment.”
“That’s why you have to fly huge loads at a time.” She turned to him. “Didn’t you tell me a long time ago that you wanted to fly a freighter?”
“Yea. I completed the basic neural training and everything, but I doubt I’ll ever touch one.”
She chuckled. The elevator slowed to a halt and as the doors slid down, Khis almost choked. Less than 50 meters away sat the nose of the most beautiful ship he knew;
a big, shiny Fenrir. “No. No FREAKIN way!” He turned to Matti and found she was laughing. “Good flying, Khis. Now go take a look inside.”


-3 weeks later-
-Saberuas System, Station EF-5P-

The first sensation was cold. But not a brisk cold or a shivering cold; it was a slow cold. One that freezes the muscles and disrupts the mind. It bit her skin. It shriveled her insides. What is cold? I can’t remember? Then the cold sunk and a warmth enveloped her. She suddenly remembered what temperatures were and how they felt. What else do I remember? She tried to move her body, and her arms and legs twitched a little. She tried to move her head, but something held it in place. Paralyzed? No, restricted. She felt something tied around her mouth and around the back of her head. A tube? What’s a tube? She struggled to open her eyes just a crack, but they burned and she couldn’t see anything but a blue blur. Neurons fired and connections were made in her mind- a mind dormant for too long that was suddenly given the jolt of life. Her conscious flashed before her for an instant, and she knew where she was:


Screaming with a chord tied to your face is tough. It’s even tougher when you’re floating in a vat. But she tried anyway. As fresh blood surged through her veins, her muscles awakened and her nerves cried in pain, a billion little pricks swam over her. “She’s active.” A muffled voice reverberated through the tank. “Dump it!” The liquid drained and the vat popped open. Suddenly the grace of floating in liquid ended, and gravity pulled her face-forward onto the hard concrete. No time for safety protocols, no time for post-awakening tests. As soon as she ripped off the tube and inhaled her first breath of real air, she was picked up by two guards. A towel was wrapped around her quickly, and they forced her to walk. Remembering the finer motor movements, like walking straight, takes a bit of time to remember, and Schaa found herself stumbling and tripping frequently. Guards don’t care for that too much, though, as she was jerked back to her feet and shoved forward. During the walk, she tried to concentrate on the past: Who is Schaa? Where did I come from? What did I do and why was I abducted? Her whole life snapped back into her memory. Memories form childhood flooded her mind. Remembered her first ship, remembered her first kiss, remembered her first kill. Then she realized what had happened; what happened with Khis. The stupid pilot, I just HAD to save his ass. Killed the mercs, but they blew up my ship. MY SHIP!? She focused as hard as she could. Podded. No, not podded. Abducted. Yes, they disabled my pod, stopped the self-destruct sequence. Took me, took me in their ship. The rest was foggy. Pried the egg open, tried to rip me out of it. But I fought back, didn’t I? Oh yes, I gave those fuckers hell. She looked down at her fingernails: Flecks of dried blood were still caked on. The rest was a blur that melded with her subconscious. She remembered the prick of the dart, and that was the last sensation before her memory ran out. The guards stopped in front of the door and swiped their cards. A short hiss, and it opened. The extravagance of the room, compared with the bleakness of the hall behind them, made Schaa realize where she was now. She knew the room, she remembered it well. And before she even looked at him, she knew the man sitting behind the desk.


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corporal death on :

yay!!!!!! finally a new story ^^

StovAkor on :

Rrrrriiiight.....So anyway, Great writing as usual Davis. I'm beginning to think you're a perfessional writer. Are you? Did you or are you an english major? And thx for the teaser about Schaa.

Davis Burnside on :

ha, no actually, i'm still in high school

StovAkor on :

Well you must be gettin good grades in english or writing. Where you from davis? I'm in Nevada, USA.

DGB on :

I'm livin in Tennessee at the moment

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