It was quiet around the table. Only the sound of ice falling in her glass could be heard in the dimly lit Captain's quarters on board a station in Aldrat. Our corporation had a station here and I had docked to run some research jobs to try and start manufacturing again. Maya and I stared at the large screen in the small room before us, watching advertisements for Quafe, bounties, and Concord roll by. I could see she was clearly upset after what happened, but I had no idea how to help. I've never heard of it before.
"Go over again what happened." I said, in a calm, comforting voice, "I want to get my facts right."
"Amalea was out mining ice in that Retriever you loaned her and went missing. Just over in Egyfe." she said, "I heard her snoring on comms and knew she fell asleep."
"And she just vanished?" I asked. Maya took another swig of Caldarian Whiskey and sighed.
"Yes. Comms shut off and I couldn't re-establish the connection." she said, "I mean I don't blame her for falling asleep while ice mining. You've even done that before. But to just leave and not say anything? And with your ship?!"
"I'm not worried about the ship." I said. It wasn't entirely true. If I could get it back, it would be nice, but its not worth losing a friend. Neither of us would be worried even if she ran off and got killed. I'd lose the ship but at least she would wake up in a clone vat somewhere right as rain. The problem is that the station that has her medical clone repeatedly states that her clone has not received any neural data and has been dormant for a little over a month since she first became a capsuleer.
A little over a month....Wait a minute...
"You don't suppose." I trailed off.
"What?" She demanded, "Say it, Sain!"
"Maybe her Pilot's license expired while she was in space." I guessed. We both sat silent while both of our cybernetically enhanced minds tried to comprehend the idea.
"License expired?" Maya asked, "Didn't an alarm go off to wake her up to tell her such an important piece of information?!"
"There is no such alarm." I advised, "As I understand it, the license is a code that allows linking of our pods to our ships, or allows operation of the pods alone in space. If it expires or we lose connection for some reason with our ships, there is a fail safe that will warp our ship to a random location nearby in space, then adjusts the chronoton frequency of the hull to phase out of normal space." Maya blankly stared at me and slowly blinked.
"What?" she asked, "Can't you just take your Heron out and scan her down?"
"No she's not out there anymore if that's the case. Her and her ship have phased out and vanished."
"So where is she?" Maya asked.
"She is wherever her ship warped her to, but has moved to another plane of existence."
"How is that possible? Is she cloaked?" she asked.
"No, but cloaking technology is along the same lines. I think it might be a part of the pod's subsystems that affects the ship it's connected to. It's lost Jovian technology after all, we just know how to duplicate it, not how it works."
"How do we fix this?" she asked quietly. I knew what was going on in her mind. I just could not afford a PLEX for Amalea right now. It's still war time and I can't mine, nor haul minerals or ore to sell. I just bought a Crane and fitted it with an advanced cloak so I could start Manufacturing. I could sell something, but that would mean taking a step back in my efforts. It sounds heartless, but the concept of well being is lost on most capsuleers because we are immortal.
"She should still be training her skills. As far as she knows, she went to sleep mining ice and will wake up when her license gets extended." I said, "I will try to afford a PLEX soon."
"I'm sorry, Sain. I shouldn't have joined your corporation with you. I should have stayed in your corporation so I could still be out there now. I'm good at ice mining too. I could be making some income at least."
"No, it was my decision to have you move over." I said, "Don't apologize. You've become the best Orca pilot I have seen and are valuable to the corp."
"I can still command from your corp." she rebutted, "Besides, I've never been in a fleet with other people in this corp yet to command. It's only been us, just like before. If I move back I can start hauling too. Shouldn't I be able to fly that Charon you've been drooling over and finally bought?" She had all good points and at the moment I've been wondering why I decided to have her move to this new corporation in the first place. I think it had to do with some method to warp a large ship faster using webifiers. I remember losing a Rifter trying it to Concord before realizing it was considered a hostile act, unless in the same corp. I had thought you could be in a fleet together and it would be fine, but I learned the law at the cost of a ship, and some security points...
She sees the gears turning in my head as I sit quietly and stare at the hologram of my docked ship hovering over the coffee table. Something else occurred to be as I sat staring, I glanced at her to see an expecting expression, as if waiting for me to give permission. But I realized, we've been stuck in this station for weeks now because of a war, and with her out of the corp, she could start traveling to Hek again, where her boyfriend works as a broker.
I was so stupid to not think of her personal life. My business mind had took over all aspects of my capsuleer life and I neglected her needs. There was no benefit to have her stay in this corp and many for her to leave right now. My personal corporation held by my sister would be perfect for her to stay in since it's so small, it would be pointless to spend money on bribes to concord to wardec. You wardec alliances anyway, not corporations, unless you are just doing it to be annoying. Darkwing INC. is not in an alliance and should be relatively safe.
"I suppose, if you really want to..." I muttered, taking a swig of my drink. A sneer appeared on my face, "You could always switch back to my old corp." Her face lightened as she nodded. At least she could get out and fly again, and not waste her license time. She wasn't ecstatic though, as something else weighed heavily on her mind.
"Soon we can rescue Amalea, right?" she asked.
"Yes. Soon. Unless something else intervenes." I said, finishing my drink.
"Something else?" she asked, confused.
"Have you ever heard of an entity called "The Player?" I asked, trailing off.