Koswin is still holding a grudge...
Hydrostatic pod fluid is an odd substance. It gets everywhere, as it's supposed to, but it's hard to get out of your hair. Osiph was frustrated with this fact ever since she became a Capsuleer, but after a long trip of shipping things out to the ass end of nowhere, she was in no mood for such difficulty. She cursed under her breath as she pumped yet another handful of shampoo as the warm water flowed over her in the small shower of the bathroom in her Captain's quarters. She just wanted to relax. She wanted a drink.
Dressed in a towel, she sat on the couch, watching the latest bounty reports flash on the screen before her. She sighed and lifted a terminal to contract all her cargo back over to her brother's ownership and jumped back up off the couch, pulling her towel off to dry her hair before she got dressed.
Parses had only one station and it was still fully decked out in Ammarian religious paraphernalia . The Royal Khanid Navy Assembly Plant, or one of them at least. A facility that boasted a fine output of the latest weapons and ammunition delivered straight to large storage facilities for use by the Amarrian Empire. Really, it was a backwater factory that employed the most unmotivated devotees to their religion that Osiph had ever encountered. The books were clearly altered to show a surplus in output.
At least they had a decent bar.
Amarrian bars were a lot different than most others. For one, you never saw any exotic dancers and the staff seemed afraid of everyone. They all seemed to be Matari for some reason. There was music, but it seemed that it was just instrumental, with the lyrics omitted. On the night in question, the doors slid open and Osiph stepped into a nearly empty establishment. She stood for a moment, surveying the room and settled at the bar after a moment to order a drink. As the bartender placed a coaster beneath her glass, she took it and spun around to look over the room, resting her back against the bar. She then noticed a man sitting at the other end, typing casually on a terminal. He seemed to be the only other Gallente man in the room and from the visible, metal ports in the back of his neck, she could tell he was a fellow Capsuleer.
He caught her staring and looked up from his terminal, "Hello!" he said, oddly jovial for an Intaki, but then again, so was she. An Intaki, that is, not jovial. At least not yet.
"Hi." She simply replied, "You look busy. Here on business?"
"Yeah, we're just trying to move into null sec and I've decided to help some corpmates haul some stuff in." he said, "Just trying to organize my cargo, you know. Plan my route and whatnot."
"I see." she replied.
"Just trying to fit Sain's cargo in somehow. It would be best to only take one trip instead of two. Trying to stay away from the local pirates." he then added.
"So you're taking my Brother's stuff in, eh?" Osiph said with a smile, "You better be careful with it. He'd be pissed if it went missing."
"Don't worry. I'll be careful." he said, reassuringly. Still, his eyes flashed back to his screen for a second, then he held out his hand, "Rekindle."
"Osiph. Osiph Darkwing." She replied, pausing for a moment, "I just shipped in all his stuff he wanted to bring down. He must be quick on the contracts."
"Yeah, I just got his request a minute ago. I might have to come back for it. I already have my director's stuff ready to go and she has quite a bit of luggage. Maybe it's everything she owns!" he said, "It's her I really don't want to piss off."
"And a Jump Freighter isn't big enough to haul both?" Ospih asked.
"Then I'd leave Sain's for another trip. Better safe than sorry." she advised.
As the night progressed, Osiph had taken a spot at a table across the room as the bar started to fill up. She sipped drinks all night, but nothing compared to what that Gallente man put down in him. By the end of it, Rekindle had become somewhat of a spectacle, belting out several shanties and ballads, even though no one had asked him to. When he was eventually thrown out of the bar, Osiph could hear mutterings of acceptance as he stumbled down the hall past the window she was sitting beside. He paused for a moment before passing, turned to look at her through the glass, and tried to wink at her with class, but instead blinked with both eyes that squinted with force. It was enough to entice a giggle from her as he continued on, finger raised high in the air,
"Aura! Fire up the Providence! I'mma goin' to Querious!" he shouted. Osiph noticed a couple of men approach him and each grabbed an arm to help him to his ship.
"You mean the Arc, sir. Right?" one asked him as they faded from earshot. Osiph sighed and hung her head.
"I really hope he doesn't do what I think he will."
The two men ended up doing most of the work in escorting Rekindle back to his Captain's quarters, using the man's hand print to open the door and allowing him to stumble inside. He surprisingly pivoted in mid stumble and turned back to wave the men away.
"Thank you good sirs. I shant be needing your assistance any longer." he said. Rekindle straightened up, finally taking a moment to actually look at the two who basically carried him here. Both were mercenaries dressed in black dropsuits, "My, my, aren't we looking dapper tonight?"
"Uh, thank you, sir." The one on the left said, his head tilted slightly, the only expression seen as his face was covered by his helmet.
"Was my Arc readied?" Rekindle asked.
"Yes, sir. Your jump freighter was prepped for launch. We'll be ready to go in the morning."
"No! We go now!"
"But sir! You shouldn't be piloting in this condition!" the one on the right advised. Rekindle brushed him off, nearly falling over as he waved his hand.
"Nonsense! I'm perfectly fit to pilot a ship!" he said.
"Are you sure?"
"Alright." the left Mercenary said, "We'll be ready to go in a half hour."
"Tank you." Rekindle said, then slapped the controls to shut the door in their faces. The two seemed shocked for a moment as neither of them moved.
"Contact the fleet. Tell them the plan has been moved up. Thirty minutes." the Left one said.
"Roger." the other replied.
"You're sure it's the Providence that's packed up and ready to go? Not the Arc?"
"Yes. He's so hammered he won't be able to tell the difference. He'll think it's a Jump Freighter, gate into the next door low sec system to jump and we'll be waiting." he explained, his hand balling into a fist.
"Doesn't he know he could just jump from a High Sec system? You only need a low sec system to light a cynosaural field." the other asked, confused.
"Listen. Drugged drinks, remember? It's part of the plan. I'm sure he knows that, but he's highly suggestible right now." he said, "Besides, we will be on board to rewrite the commands from him to take us to the Chamemi gate instead. Even if he is sober, he just needs to undock and initiate warp."
"But if we're on the ship when our corp mates destroy it..."
"You are a Mercenary, right?" he asked, placing a heavy hand on his partner's shoulder, "We die. Then our internal implants will transfer our consciousness to fresh clones on board of one of our allies ships."
"Ah, right!" he exclaimed, "Nothing to worry about then!" The two continued on their way to the hangar where they watched the massive Providence freighter continue to be loaded.
Osiph stopped in the hallway a mere thirty minutes later to see a massive Providence freighter slowly exit the hangar force field as she headed back to her Captain's quarter's. She peered out the window and hoped it wasn't Rekindle's Freighter, as it would be going against her advice. Yet she continued to watch as the ship cleared the station, then flew off into warp...
In the wrong direction.
Confused, she lifted her terminal and accessed her system map. That was the direction of the low sec Chamemi gate. Definitely the wrong direction. Rekindle had renamed the ship as well: "The Drunken Intent."
"Well shit." she simply muttered and continued on her way, shaking her head.
He had only been in the ore anomaly for nearly ten minutes when Sain already started to fall asleep. He was eagerly awaiting his shipment of ratting ships so he could get out and start shooting some Blood Angels, curious as to how to fight them as they would be a new enemy to him. He knew he needed different shield resists than the pirates in their old home and had sent money to his sister to buy the right ones. He had thankfully finished shopping a few days ago and tasked his sister to get it all to the staging system where one of his corpmates could jump it in.
He woke with a start when he noticed his contract had been accepted by his own CEO and was enroute. Excitement built in his chest and his Procurer responded by turning on all of his shield hardeners for a cycle, then he forced himself to relax and turned them back off. Sain targeted another ore rock and started mining again, then connected to his alliance communication channel to see what was going on.
To his surprise, he found his CEO online and in channel. Sain was about to speak up to ask how it was going, but refrained when he heard what was happening.
"Oh. no. This is not good." Rekindle said. Sain's heart sank at his words.
"What?" Someone asked.
"Why did I take a full Freighter into low sec?" Rekindle cursed, "Why did I do this?"
"I'm shipping some of my corpmate's stuff and I took my freighter through low sec. I'm pointed and there's like 7 of them on me. I'm going to lose my ship." he said exasperated, "Koswin is going to kill me."
"Do you need help?" someone offered.
"No, you won't get here in time. I'm burning down fast." he said.
"How much stuff you carrying?"
"I'm, like, full. I think it's probably all of Koswin's stuff and some of Sain's" He said.
"What?" I ask, finally speaking up.
"Oh hello Sain. Yeah sorry about this." he said nervously.
"You lost all of my ships?" I demand.
"Yeah, I'm about to." he said nonchalantly, "Don't worry. I'll pay you back."
"What else did you loose?" I ask.
"Koswin's stuff. I think it's everything she owned." He said. There was a pause, some static, then he continued, "And I'm down. I was able to get my pod out."
"Didn't you scout your route first?" Someone else asked.
"I did! I thought it was clear!" he retorted, "Guys, at least this was a learning experience!"
It took a few minutes but a kill report was sent to the victim, who linked it in our comms channel. No doubt several people were quick to review it.
"Is this right?" Sain asked.
"Unfortunately." Rekindle responded.
"All of Koswin's stuff dropped in the wreck."
"Yeah looks that way." he replied.
"And all of my stuff was destroyed."
"Well damn." Sain said, somewhat deflated. Those days of waiting now wasted as he would need to go re-buy everything that was lost. A tinge of depression set in his mind as he docked his ship and just stayed inside his pod, "Does Koswin know?"
"Not yet." he said. I open a corporation chat channel and text the group the situation who are not on voice comms, hoping she was there, but there was no immediate response. It took a few minutes...
Koswin: You're joking, right.
Sain: He lost both of our stuff.
Koswin: How much did you lose?
Sain: I think it was only like a billion isk worth of stuff. How much did you lose?
Sain: I'm sorry.
Koswin: Not as much as Rekindle will be when I get ahold of him.
Sain: You know all your stuff was left in the wreck, right?
Koswin: Yeah and now some stranger has my Gila and is probably doing nasty things with it.
It took a few days but Sain finally got in touch with Rekindle again. He walked into the bar on the outpost they were all living out of and Sain found him sitting at the bar pouring over a terminal as usual. Sain looked him over and he seemed to look a bit younger. Maybe it was a fresh clone but he could be wrong.
"So about that Freighter..." Sain began. Rekindle sighed heavily.
"Look, I'm already getting enough flack from Koswin about that. She will never let me live it down." he said.
"No, well. I was looking at the killmail and I'm confused." He said, "Chamemi isn't even in the route to this station. You had a clear High Sec route all the way to the lowsec pipe. Why jump into that system?"
"I dunno. I thought I was in my jump freighter, I suppose."
"Yeah, but you can jump fine out of High sec. You only need low sec to light a cyno." I advise.
"I know that." he replied quickly, "I don't know. I wasn't thinking straight."
"Do you suppose the alcohol had anything to do with it?" Sain asked. Rekindle seemed taken aback, "My sister said she met you in a bar and you had to be, well, escorted out."
"I can normally handle what I drank." He said, defending himself, "I don't know why I was so, um, influenced when I left." he paused for a few moments, then added, "Those two chaps who brought me home were nice though."
"What two 'chaps'?" Sain asked.
"These two guys dressed in black suits carried me back to my Captain's quarters." he said, "I think they helped get my ship ready. I could have sworn I asked for the Arc and not the Providence though."
"Black suits? Like robes?" Sain asked.
"Armor I think." He replied, "With those funky helmets."
"You mean Mercenary dropsuits?"
"Yes!" Rekindle said, snapping his fingers, "Exactly!"
"Now why would two Mercenaries in Dropsuits escort you back to your room then help ready your ship?" Sain asked rhetorically. Rekindle just stared at his terminal.
"I dunno, man." He said with a sigh, lifting his drink to his lips to take a sip. Sain's eyes follow the glass, or more precisely, the ice in the glass. The wheels begin to turn in his head.
"Where does that ice come from?" he suddenly asks.
"Outside." Rekindle said, "In the ice anomalies."
"What about the station in Parses. Where do you think they get theirs?"
"Probably imported from somewhere."
"Who was mixing your drinks that night?" Sain asked.
"Who was the Bartender?"
"Some Minmitar guy. Why?" Rekindle asked.
"Did you notice anything odd about him?"
"He seemed scared and twitchy. Like the rest of the staff there." He said.
"They're probably all slaves. The twitches could be the withdrawl symptoms of Vitoc or something." Sain said, leaning back in his chair.
"Slaves do as their told." Sain said, "If that means mixing you 'special' drinks all night, then it could explain a lot."
"You mean I was drugged?" Rekindle asked in disbelief. He set his drink down on the bar and turned to hang his head in his hands.
"Why did you jump into lowsec in a tech one freighter full of expensive cargo? A system you didn't even need to go into? I'm sure you're smart enough to know at least that much common sense stuff. Even loaded drunk, something in your head should have told you it was a bad idea."
"I was drugged!" He shouted, slamming his fist on the bar, "I was drugged!"
"It also means those two Mercenaries were probably spies. They could have messed with your Navigation computer to force you to take the Chamemi gate."
"What? Yes! It was the spies! They did this to me!" he exclaimed, his expression now almost jubilant.
"Why are you happy about this?" Sain asked, skeptical, "You were played, cheated and plundered."
"Yes. But I was drugged!" Rekindle said excitedly as he stood up and put on his jacket, "That means It's not my fault!" Sain watched as he ran out of the bar yelling down the corridors, "Koswin! It's not my fault! I was drugged! It's not my fault! Do you hear me!?!"
Sain turned back to the bar as his usual drink order arrived, "It's still your fault for drinking so much of it though..."