"Okay. You have my attention," she said as she glanced around the room, her gaze skimming across the network terminal.
Earlier, she'd been sent a mysterious message from someone within the VETO corporation, and letting her curiosity override her common sense, she responded.
He said he had a message, one to be delivered in person. In between patrols, she decided to fly over to Goinard just to see what the message was. A part of her was reluctant, thinking it was some kind of prank, but as she was lead deep within the secure perimeter of VETO's headquarters, she quickly realized it was for real.
As she was lead into the heavily fortified armoured security room, she felt a moment of unease. Video monitoring equipment lined the walls. Thousands of network lights flickered, fluid router cables shimmered around the room as data transferred between various data banks. The airlock door sealed behind her, leaving her alone with a young Brutor.
Drem Haklar pulled his headphones from his head as the door sealed behind her. He straightened up, setting his feet on the floor as he grinned, "Ah, I was right. You did change your hair color. I thought so. It was a while ago, no?" He spoke with a heavy Venal accent, flashing her a white smile between pierced dark lips.
She nodded, "Yeah, I changed it. And you are who exactly? And what do you have to give me?" she asked skeptically as she rested her hands on her hips.
He watched her curiously as he stood, gesturing to the seat at the other side of his desk, "Have a seat. My name's Drem. Drem Haklar. I uh... well. Probably should explain this place and what I do first. I'm the Secure Comms officer for our corporation. Our boss likes to keep a solid network of Intelligence. You're stood right at the beating heart of Veto Corp right now. This is our mainframe control room. The equipment you see around you is our main frame's communications layer. We're hacked into pretty much every fluid router network you can think of here, watching, listening, and recording."
"I see." she glanced around the room again as she took a seat at his desk, her nose wrinkling, "So you're spying....got it."
"So, my boss wants to do business, but wants to keep distance, as do you, from the mails I've intercepted and monitored. He's asked me to offer you our eyes and ears, for anything you might need."
She frowned, "You're reading my mail? That is private!"
"I read every one's mail, with my boss's authorisation. For instance, I know there's a few Angel Cartel loyalists who've been tryng to figure a way to infiltrate us for months, but their CEO is too much of an idiot to get to grips with it. I know about a certain Gallente clone who was visiting you, about a certain Cartel Loyalist who's fucking his sister."
She sighed a soft little sound, "So he just lets you read my mail!" she threw her hands up in the air, obviously frustrated with the situation, not really caring about the Angel Cartels.
Drem shrugged his heavy shoulder and smiled, "Nothing leaves this room, I'm paid a lot of money to ensure that. That's why the walls are so thick. This place has a suppression field, and ten metre thick walls, with one of the best electronic firewalls available. It's quite secure in here, the two weakest links ironically are you, and me."
"Wait. So why would he offer me intel? Whats the point?"
"He's extending an olive branch to see if you take it. It's a common practice. If business ties can be healed, then it's a start."
Kathetel frowned as the video went blank. "You were gone for twenty eight hours and this is what you come back with? A two minute video?"
"It's all you need to know."
He looked skeptic, "That one of the most powerful crime lords in low sec is offering to share intel with you." He laughed a sound of disbelief. "A loyalist. A known Amarrian loyalist. Why would he lift a finger to help the Empire?"
She made air quotes, "An olive branch." She said with a shrug.
"I thought you two weren't friends any more."
"This seems pretty friendly to me."
"Ethan has his quirks. Maybe it will amuse him, hell if I know."
"And what do you have to give him in return? Your intel?"
"No. Not that I have any yet anyhow, I haven't even formed the group, though I have a couple of people in mind for it. I don't have to share anything with him. I wont even see him, only Drem. He'd be my handler."
"It's too generous." He frowned in puzzlement.
"So you're saying it's a bad idea?"
"Not necessarily," he conceded, "Having someone who can operate outside of Empire law is not a bad thing. It's just odd."
She shrugged. "I told him I wanted no part of VETO, but he was more than welcome to come work for me."
"And why would he do that? You don't have the resources and ISK that VETO allows him."
"Well, he didn't accept it exactly. Yet, anyhow."
"But what makes you think he will..." Kathetel laughed, "Ah. He has a thing for you?"
"Something like that."
"Romantic," He said with a laugh, "No doubt he has been watching you? Were you his assignment?"
"For two years..."
"This should get interesting. I bet he thinks he's in love with you."
She rolled her eyes.
"So whats with the bandages?" he nodded towards her wrist.
"You can tell me now or I'll get it out of Red later. Your choice."
She frowned, "It's complicated."
"Isn't everything?" His smile widened.
"Drem and I got into a fight of sorts...he told me some things and thought I'd tell Ethan. He thought Ethan would kill him so...he was going to beat him to it. Right in front of me."
Kathetel quirked his brow, "He tried to kill himself and make you watch? But that doesn't explain your bandages..."
"I was stuck in the securest room in New Eden with no way to get help. Only he could open the doors...so I tried to force him to."
He clicked his tongue, "I see. So you hurt yourself to force him to open the doors to call for medics, using his affection for you against him."
She nodded, "Yeah, something like that. And it worked too. He survived. I woke up in VETO infirm the next day, the nano's healed most of it. So yeah. It worked out."
"I take it Ethan didn't kill him?"
"No. I guess he felt sorry for him," Shalee murmured. "Anyhow, he's a good kid, and good at what he does."
Kathetel smirked, "That crush run both ways?"
She argued, "I barely know him."
He shrugged, "Makes little difference. What I do know is that if I tell you to stay away from him you'll go to extraordinary measures to get close to him. So, do as you will, but be careful. He's so far off the radar that he isn't likely to make waves. As for your friend Tiger..."
"Precisely what part of 'hes a dangerous man stay away from him' did you not understand, hmmm?"