Only three more jumps, I thought to myself as I hurtled through space in my Firetail. Sabin had done great work; the Firetail was behaving like I remembered, smooth, effortless and deadly.
Two more jumps.
General Fist had sat me down and slid the dossier across the highly polished table towards me. I broke the seal on the envelope, the personal wax stamp of Prime Minister Shakor. Whatever the contents of this package were, it was obviously backed by significant political power.
I read over the documents, acknowledging my acceptance of the orders to Fist, whom undoubtedly was privy to the information already. I returned the documents into the dossier, throwing it into a nearby fireplace. The General and I stood, saluted each other and went our separate ways, not another word being spoken between us that day.
One more jump.
I sat down with Cytral and requested some leave time from my duties at Freeform Industries. I had been doing that a lot lately, and while Cytral had always been patient with me and supportive of my military activities, he did have to think of his company first. “Just make sure you’re back for the grand opening of the Academy, ok?” He finally said with a smirk on his face. Cytral’s latest idea was a training academy for new capsuleers, to teach them the fundamentals of survival in New Eden. To me, it sounded like EVE University, but who was I to shatter someone’s dream? I had even agreed to be the Warfare Training Officer in Cytral’s new venture. I guess it would indeed look bad if I couldn’t be there for the opening ceremonies.
“Will do, Cy. Thanks.” I said.
SISTERS OF EVE BUREAU
I had arrived. After being granted docking permission, I let the tow barge berth my ship, showered off, then quickly changed into my Colonel’s uniform. It was my first experience dealing with the Sisters of EVE and I wanted to make a good impression.
I looked at my chrono and quickened my pace; Sister Alitura was not one to be kept waiting I had been told. I was ushered into a cavernous room with a luxurious red carpet, dimly lit from hidden wall sconces. It was simply yet richly furnished. Sister Alitura greeted me, or at least I assumed it was her, being the sole occupant of the room. Her brown hair was tied tight to her head in a bun. She wore a simple dark red gown, almost matching the colour of the plush carpeting. A single horn-like implant dominated the majority of her forehead, and I forced myself not to stare at it as I sat down with her to begin our conversation.
“I ask for help and they send me a capsuleer.” She began, annoyance heavy in her voice.
“You are a capsuleer aren’t you? An immortal pilot who subverts the rules of life and death, who shapes the fate of empires? You’ll have to excuse my skepticism.” Disdain and sarcasm were evident in her tone.
I opened my mouth to speak but she continued on without missing a beat.
“I work with a humanitarian organization, the Sisters of EVE.” She paused here, evaluating me with her eyes before continuing. “I’ve seen your kind hasten the deaths of millions every day.”
I quickly opened my mouth to interject, to deny and defend myself against her. I was not the type of man who took the deaths of any lightly, and would not take her outright assault on my character.
Once again, she blazed forward, her words silencing me before I had made a sound.
“You expect me to believe you’re different? To prove yourself, your actions will have to do the talking. We’ve just received a distress call from a ship called the Damsel, and you just happened to have arrived at the most fortuitous time. Get out there and save some lives. Prove to me your not just another murderous liar with a god complex. With all the power at your disposal, you certainly could be a force for good. And one thing is certain; Good is in dire need of allies these days.”
She had laid it on the table bluntly, and I accepted her views, and her challenge, without hesitation. For the most part, I agreed with her opinion of capsuleers. I was sickened often by the disregard they showed for the lives they spent so easily. Perhaps in these Sisters I had found a philosophy that was in harmony with my own. I was eager to find out.
I saluted Sister Alitura, who did not return the salute but merely waved me away. Quickly changing back into my pod suit, my crew and I launched into space towards the Damsel.
Sister Alitura’s intel had been accurate, and the wreck of the ship was easy to find. Life signs, on the other hand, were not. I scanned the entire sector; not a living thing to be found. My heart sank as I opened a comm link to her, my first venture already feeling a failure.
“It seems Concord was faster to respond, but your backup was definitely appreciated. There were a handful of survivors picked up. They’ve been taken to various care facilities in the area – wherever vacancies could be found.” Abruptly, as I was becoming accustomed to with her, she closed the signal, the screen requesting the data from my scan of the area. I complied, sending the data, though I really couldn’t see what use it would be. With nothing left to do out there, I headed back to the Sisters of EVE Bureau to dock.
I was nearly 4 AU away when Sister Alitura commed me unexpectedly.
“We got some interesting information out of your trip. It seems no one fired on the Damsel. Something must’ve happened inside the ship. We’d like you to track those survivors down, see if you can get any information about the ship’s path, pilot or cargo. We need to know what caused this disaster.
Concord is the first logical step. I’ve gotten in touch with agent Tevis Jak, who may have information for you. His location is being updated to your NeoCom: he’s currently acting as an ORE agent. Go see if you can find a piece of this puzzle.”
With that, Alitura disconnected. I was really becoming irritated with her attitude. My orders had been to assist the Sisters of EVE in whatever way they needed, and to represent the Minmatar in the best possible light. Being treated like a slave surely didn’t count. It had dawned on me that Alitura and I, sorry, Sister Alitura and I hadn’t even exchanged a single word at that point; it had all been her ordering, me complying wordlessly. Yeah, that didn’t sit well with me at all.
I went to the location in my NeoCom, one system away, and quickly found the ORE ship Tevis Jak was flying. It was easy for me to match speeds with him, and send him a private comm with my Sisters of EVE encryption credentials.
“Ah, Sister Alitura said you’d be coming.” Tevis began in a very friendly voice. “You’re here about the Damsel, right?” he asked. I replied I was, and that any information he had on the ship would be useful to me: it’s recorded path, pilot, cargo, etc.
“That ship’s registered to a pilot under the name of Marihem Dagan.” Tevis replied. I made note of the information.
It seemed Dagan was still nearby, only a couple of systems away. I thanked Jak for the information and quickly warped away in pursuit of my only lead.
As we began reverting to realspace, warning alarms began blaring across the ship. My crew and marines quickly scrambled, preparing for whatever dangers would come our way.
Aura quickly displayed the threat to me; a hostile Caldari Navy gate camp. The Tribal Liberation Force was allied with the Gallente militia, and therefore an enemy to Caldari State.
I throttled forward knowing there was no going back. I would have to push my way through. Anything less and I risked losing my quarry, and giving Sister Alitura the satisfaction of being right was something I was not prepared to do.