I spent the evening staring at timers counting down on invention jobs on my NeoCom. The Nao sisters' odd behavior pestered the back of my mind and I eventually caved and opened my contact list, sending Osiph a text message.
SAIN: I can't believe you told them.
OSIPH: I'm sorry. It's no big deal. I don't know why you didn't tell them.
SAIN: I have my reasons.
SAIN: What exactly did you tell them anyway?
OSIPH: <laughing> They didn't say any details? You must be so confused right now!
SAIN: They're acting funny today. Sort of avoiding me and an overwhelming sense of pity.
OSIPH: Oh. That was not my intention. The story was meant as praise, not to put you down.
SAIN: Like I ask; what did you say?
OSIPH: You, sir, are in luck. Since the bar was otherwise empty that night, the bartender allowed me to buy the footage from the security camera. I wanted to keep it as proof.
SAIN: Proof? Of what?
OSIPH: Proof that you now have friends that actually give a shit about you. Enough to want to know about your past.
SAIN: I have friends....
OSIPH: I wouldn't count Mr. Belefonte as your 'friend'.
SAIN: Neither would I. I wasn't referring to him.
OSIPH: Mission agents wouldn't count either, nor do Brokers.
SAIN: Dammit woman! I do have a life outside of business.
OSIPH: Really? Who else do you socialize with? Do I need to send you a better charisma implant? What's your Social Skill level?
SAIN: That's not funny.
OSIPH: The point is that you've finally started to be involved with other people. You're doing more than just your job. It's a relief to me, honestly. Much better than your previous job, I might add.
SAIN: It is less stressful.
OSIPH: Hey, I hear there's an Exotic Dancer in station. I could make a call, pay for a fun evening with her. How long has it been?
SAIN: None of your business, sister. I certainly do not need you to make such arrangements. I am quite capable of doing so if needed.
SAIN: Just because I haven't been mining lately because of wars doesn't mean I'm broke.
OSIPH: Well, you should try it. It would relieve some stress. I know you need to do that at least.
OSIPH: Anyway, here is the footage. I asked the Bartender to delete the original. <Security Footage 11014738493>
SAIN: Thank you.
OSIPH: And Sain, keep in touch. I do enjoy talking to you.
I opened the linked video and leaned back on the couch of my Captain's quarters as the video started playing. Osiph sat beside me in the video, leaning back against the bar like I remember...
"What happened?" Amalea asked, leaning forward. I chuckled as I saw how close she actually came to falling off that stool
"That is a very good story. The one you're probably looking to hear." Osiph teased.
"One that will have to wait for another night." I said standing up. I watched as I
tapped my Neocom on the counter again on the way out of the bar.
"You aren't going to stay for the story?" Osiph called after me.
"I know what happens." I said, "And I doubt I can stop you from telling
it to them, can I?" Osiph shook her head and I left. She waited until the door closed before uncrossing her legs to lean forward. The Bartender seemed to wander off into the back, doing paperwork or something.
"So, now that Captain Serious has left, what do you actually think of my brother?" Osiph asked. The girls seemed to be caught off guard. "I know he's your boss and all, but how have things been going between you three?"
"Sain is, well, distant at times." Maya said, "Very 'to the point' type of person and always has his mind on his wallet, as any businessman should."
"I trust him because he realizes what's at stake, even after becoming a capsuleer." Amalea said. This seemed to interest Osiph.
"What do you mean?" She asked. Maya seemed curious as well.
"Sain was always wary about losing ships, even when the concept is inconsequential to a capsuleer. I mean all ships are replaceable with enough ISK. Even our own lives are. I know he has well over enough money to replace what he flies, yet he cares about his ships enough to not risk them." Amalea Explained. Osiph seemed confused.
"He cares about piles of metal and wires?"
"Not so much the ship itself, but their crews. The people aboard the ships capsuleers fly that most don't even realize are there." she said. Maya nodded.
"He mentioned it to me before but he wasn't very clear about it. I don't think he was fully aware of them at the time, but had a good idea." Maya explained.
"So he knows...." Osiph muttered, "Anyway, you wanted to know more about him?"
"Yes! Like how you became siblings and why he won't tell us about his past." Amalea spat.
"The part he probably wants to keep secret was the fact that he was Military back in the day. Used to be a combat MTAC Pilot in the Caldari Militia. I'm pretty sure he was trained as special ops too, but I'm not sure. I'm sure he missed his calling when they started making people into Mercenaries to fight planet side, but he chose to be a capsuleer instead, after what happened. I couldn't blame him, I suppose."
"What happened?" Amalea seemed to want to jump off her stool.
"There was a battle on my home planet. I think it was a large platoon of Gallente Militia fighting against an invading mix of Caldari and Amarr Militia platoons. Sain was a part of the MTAC group that was deployed to an urban area when the fighting broke out. Several buildings were destroyed when an antimatter round went off inside the chamber of one of his fellow pilots and destroyed his suit, plus detonating all the other rounds in his clip, taking out their cover and causing them to scatter. Their cover just happened to be an orphanage where I was living."
"You were an orphan? How old were you when this happened?" Amalea seemed confused.
"I was ten or eleven at the time. Sain was very young as well and was recruited when he was fifteen or so. At this point in time, he was eighteen I think. The wall of the building came down on his MTAC and many of the children were killed. I was one of the lucky ones. I ended up in the basement and I started banging on the broken door, trying to get out, once I heard the fighting had moved on and things went quiet.
I must have stood at the top of those splintered stairs for hours and bruised my fists. I remembered that the stairs started shaking and I screamed when the door was ripped off by an MTAC with one arm. It must have had only enough power for that because it shut down and fell over, but Sain was able to jump out first."
"So he saved your life? While he was fighting your kind, he helped you?" Amalea stifled a gasp and leaned back in her chair.
"He had been knocked unconscious inside that machine for five hours before he woke up. His platoon left him behind thinking he was dead. He was in rough shape too. I remember he had a broken arm and blood all over. He was in much worse shape than I."
"So what did you do?"
"I was scared at first, but knowing that he did just save me, I decided to help him. We ran to a civilian shelter after I cut off his uniform jacket and told the medics there that he was my brother. Sain kept quiet and they patched him up. After that, we stuck together for a long time and he stayed in Gallente space. His Military had pegged him for dead, his family notified of his death and he didn't want to fight anymore after that so he stayed." Osiph said. Maya seemed confused.
"Why not?" She asked.
"He said he couldn't see the point to the conflict to begin with. He originally wanted to fight to prove himself to his peers and family, but after seeing the collateral damage first hand, he finally realized that casualties of a pointless war are unnecessary. Maybe he just doesn't understand the underlying reasons for the war, but he didn't want to kill innocents anymore."
At this point. Both sisters leaned back and took a mouthful of their beer and sat silently for a moment.
"Why is he so ashamed to tell us this?" Amalea asked.
"What Sain did would brand him as a traitor and Gallentian sympathizer. If his family or government ever found out that he was alive and did what he did, He would be arrested on sight if he ever went back to Caldari space. They actually did find out once he became a capsuleer but nothing could be done about it because he had chosen to go down that path. He may be Caldari by blood, but he has no allegiance to them anymore and the Caldari government and it's military have also made that perfectly clear by keeping his death certificate on file."
"He has no home?" Amalea asked, somberly.
"Well he obviously doesn't need one now. Before he was a Capsuleer, he got by pretending to be Gallentian, as my brother." Amalea explained. She leaned back again, crossing her legs and took a sip of her drink. With a sigh, she continued, "We lived on a few different planets for a while, moving around for a few years. He would get a job for enough ISK to get by, but then be let go because his background check wouldn't follow through as you would imagine. His career was a revolving door of different things. He even tried for police work and he was really good at it because of his military training, but they had to let him go because of policy standards and background checks being clean. We were very poor most of the time and had little money. We sold what we had to live, and it came very close to rock bottom several times.
Sain then took a temporary job for an Amarrian suspected to have ties to the Blood Raiders, yet never proven. He didn't know this at the time and took the job, even when he learned that it was to kill another Amarrian."
"Sain took a job as a hit-man?" This was Maya's turn to be surprised.
"This was how desperate we were. I was too young at the time to work and Sain wouldn't let me either. The client, Goddard Belefonte had requested him to kill his brother, Chadrick, the heir to their fathers estate. Chadrick had been a drunken layabout most of his life and also suspected to have ties to the Blood Raiders because of his rebellious nature, but those suspicions came from his brother pinning his own illegal actions on Chadrick. Sain only found out that Chadrick had been in the same MTAC platoon with him the day he was supposedly killed beside that orphanage when he had a pistol against his head and saw the man for the first time, instead of the outside of his machine. Unable to go through with it, Sain dug a little deeper into his employer and got the man arrested, only after Chadrick had found out that his brother also hired someone to kill Sain after he had completed his mission, to get out of payment. It was a very confusing arrangement, yet it was foiled in the end when things became clear."
"So Chadrick owes Sain a debt?" Maya asked, "It sounds like it's the other way around."
"No. It turns out that Sain not only spared Chadrick's life, but also protected him from the second assassin who made his move once he saw Sain back out of the deal. Sain was shot in the ordeal and Chadrick spent a lot of money in medical expenses to keep my brother alive. After Chadrick received his inheritance, he spent it all to ultimately put both he and Sain through the Capsuleer program and become immortal. It was the only way to really save Sain's life."
"So they should be even then." Amalea said. Osiph just sighed heavily, rightfully so. I knew the man who did this to me did go broke again to do it, but he has an odd way to keep score of debts paid to one another. I knew what Osiph would say next.
"Chadrick is an odd man. His oddities had also transversed with his consciousness into his new life as a Capsuleer. He only accounted saving Sain's life to pay for saving his own life the night of the attack, yet not for outing his brother as a Blood Raider and traitor to his family. That's the debt that still goes unpaid. He sort of considers only a similar act to be sufficient as repayment, which is why, I believe, the man despises me and is suspicious of my every move. He thinks that the only way he can pay back Sain for catching his brother in criminal activities is to catch Sain's sibling doing the same."
"What?" Amalea asked, seemingly dumbfounded. I had to chuckle at this. She to found this man to be a little crazy.
"I assure you I am in no way affiliated with any criminal organization or do any illegal activities myself. I'm just as honorable as Sain, yet he feels like this is the only way to repay him, therefore he sticks around him and keeps contact until he does." Osiph explained. She was near laughing herself.
"This is ridiculous!" Maya laughed, "I knew the man seemed to be a pain in the thrusters for Sain but I never knew why he annoyed him so much."
"It was bad for a while after they first became Capsuleers. Chadrick kept doing missions and using the money to send escorts to Sain's quarters as gifts. He was frustrated when Sain turned them down and Chadrick even questioned Sain's sexuality. Don't get me wrong, Sain is as straight as they come, but the point was that it was forced on him and not to mention, awkward. You know Capsuleers don't have the best reputation and how do you think you would feel if you came back from a day of mining to turn in for a good night's sleep, only to have three half naked women knock at your door and look scared beyond belief as to what would happen to them." She explained. The sisters nodded slowly as they stared into their drinks, then a period of silence ensued. Maya soon straightened up and took a breath.
"So if that's what happened, why is Sain so ashamed to tell us about it. His past isn't so bad. He should be proud of what he did. He saved your live, chose to stop fighting and taking innocent lives and even in his most desperate hour and a lapse in judgement, he did the right thing and spared his target's life. Why the big secret?" Maya asked. Osiph finished her drink and took a moment to think about how to respond.
"Remember how I said he used to probably be covert ops?"
"Yes." Amalea replied.
"He and Chadrick had history before the whole assassination attempt and the MTAC Platoon. They used to be partners somewhat. When he was around sixteen, he was killing people and gathering intelligence for the Caldari Militia while Chadrick did the same for the Amarrian Militia. Since both factions were working together, they were often deployed together, yet had separate objectives. Sain hasn't told me much about this time in his life, but after I met him, he mentioned that he used to do very bad things for his government. Chadrick let it slip that he used to do this with Sain at the time, but what they did was classified. They were both MTAC Pilots undercover while not deployed as covert ops. One of the main reasons the Caldari government is so mad is because of the wasted money they spent to train him, only to have him defect." Osiph explained, leaning back once more.
"So he kept it a secret so we wouldn't find out about his time as a covert operative, so we wouldn't go looking into what he did and get into trouble with the Caldari Government? A sort of secret inside a secret?" Maya asked.
"Yes, exactly. He kept the secret to protect you from yourselves. I told you all of this because I trust you two as his friends to understand why he kept his secret and to trust you not to dig into that for your own safety. He didn't tell because he has trust issues, as you well know. Well, trust issues for big things like this. It's his nature, or rather, how he was trained as an operative. deception was a big part of that job."
"I understand now." Amalea muttered. Maya just nodded.
"We appreciate you telling us this, but this information was more private than we were expecting. Maybe even a bit classified. You know these bars have cameras. We should have used an isolation booth if you were going to tell us this much." Maya pointed out. The camera clearly picked up the loss of color in Osiph's face and she bolted upright, slapping her hand on the counter.
"Bartender! A word please!" she called. The man appeared from the back room and she whispered something to him. He chuckled and nodded, returning to the back room to probably retrieve the data module. He guessed right because the video abruptly ended there, returning my senses back to my own Captain's quarters. I set the terminal on the coffee table and laid back to stare at the ceiling. So they know. They know everything. Well, not everything. They don't know the specifics of my missions as an Operative. They don't know who my previous family is. And they don't know the real reason why I chose not to fight anymore. They know more than they need to at this point.
I contemplated leaving. Maybe just vanish and head out to null sec or something. Find a wormhole and see how long I could make it. But that would be hiding. It's not something he wanted to do. Maybe it would be best to just face them and live with it. If they really are his friends, then they wouldn't make a big deal. Maybe they just need time to sort out their thoughts and things will go back to normal.
Maybe this stupid war would end and I could get back out and mine...