Solar System: Uemon
Region: The Forge
Security Level: 0.2
Location: Perkone Factory Caldari State
Lights flickered then dimmed in the Perkone Factory Caldari State station's corridors, marking the midnight hour. The holographic walls lit as nearly one hundred photos with names beneath flashed onto the screens, an honorary tribute to those who had died within the last twenty four hours. Her blue gaze skimmed across the montage as she stopped to catch her breath. She'd been running the upper deck where most of her corp-mates kept small apartments.
None of the faces looked familiar, but she hadn't really expected to recognize any of them. They were strangers, mostly crew members of her corporation and alliance. Mortals. Brave men and women who signed up to fly with the capsuleers, knowing that they weren't likely to make it to old age. Or the next week, for that matter. It was always a risk, but their families were well compensated.
Capsuleers rarely gave their crew a second thought. Their own lives were practically immortal. Death was a temporary thing, less than a second while consciousness was transferred from a dying pod to a new clone. Though some higher ranking crew members were privy to escape pods, many were not. If the ship were to go down, so would they.
Capsuleers would never suffer such a fate. They were Gods.
And sometimes monsters...
Her brow furrowed as she took a moment to look at each individual face. When she flew for the Empire, crew members were rarely recognized. Many were slaves- though never on her ships. They were disposable, treated as another part of the ship, as if they were a thing and not a living, breathing person.
But here, they were recognized. Their sacrifice noted. Honored, even. She found it strangely comforting.
She rubbed the small of her back as she started walking towards her apartment, cooling down from her run. The corridor was quiet and empty. Most N.M pilots were asleep at this hour, and she had yet to sync with their circadian rhythm. As she turned the corner, she nearly collided with Mystical Might, a pilot she had known for nearly the length of her capsuleer career. Sometimes friend, sometimes enemy, his loyalties changed on the flip of an ISK coin. She drew up her hand and balled up her fist out of instinct- he had podded her last he'd seen her in space.
"Whoa," he yelped while grabbing at her hand as it came storming towards his face. "What the hell is that for?"
"For podding me, you leech!"
"Oh." He smirked, "That. It isn't my fault you warped to a gate in a pod. You should know better."
She pulled her hand back while glaring at him, "And you should know better than to kill so-called friends."
He folded his arms and leaned against the wall, "Hey now. You weren't the only one. Several of you warped in at once. Luckily I scooped up your corpse."
"Creep," she rolled her eyes. "I didn't think you were into that."
He held up his hands defensively, "I'm not. I was contacted by someone offering 150 mil for it."
"Who?" she asked.
"Hasan al-Askari Mujahideen. Whoever that is," he replied in a lazy, carefree voice.
"Fucking hell, Myst. That guy is crazy. He's been mailing for some time now begging for a corpse to do God only knows what with." She felt sick to her stomach. "I can't believe you sold me."
"Hey! It was 150 million ISK," he said, as if that made it any better.
"Whatever." She shook her head. "What are you even doing here anyhow? You don't live in Uemon."
"I do now."
"You joined Tri?"
She slung her head back and sighed deeply.
"So," he asked, "Does this mean we can be friends again?" He extended his arms, offering a hug, "C'mon. I've matured, I swear."
She eyed him for a moment then stepped closer as if she were going to hug him. Instead, she sucker punched him in the gut. "You should know better than to leave yourself vulnerable," she smirked as she took a few steps away, out of arms reach. "And yes. Now we can be friends."
He grunted as he grabbed his stomach, "Fine. I deserved that. We good?"
"Yeah, we're good." She started towards her apartment while speaking over her shoulder, "And don't sell any more of my corpses, damn you."
"Lucky for you I don't awox," he called out.
She rounded a corner and paused to admire the atrium that separated one row of apartments from another. Foliage hung from hovering planters in the center of the atrium, trees grew up from the bottom. She moved to the glass divider and leaned against it, peeking over to count the levels. Each floor would house a division of Triumvirate. She knew that the floor below No Mercy's belonged to VOLTA, but she was unfamiliar with the rest of arrangement.
A shadow fell across the atrium and corridors as a chimera floated above the dome overhead, blocking out the natural light from the nearby sun. She glanced up to admire the massive warship as it drifted across the station. Once it was out of view, she dropped her gaze and gasped when she spotted Garst across the atrium. Their eyes met and she stared at him for a long moment as something he said to her years ago whispered in the back of her mind.
"...all things must come to an end so greater things can begin. Change breeds strength, and you will be stronger for it."
Recognition flashed across his face. Of course he remembered her. She was foolish to believe he would have forgotten her, no matter how much she had hoped to slip in underneath his radar. His brow-line creased.
An explosion overhead lit the atrium in a myriad of colors. She glanced up to watch the wreckage raining across the dome, a thousand shards of metal cascading through the air. It was beautiful, though something deep inside of her knew she shouldn't appreciate the beauty of such brutal carnage.
She dropped her gaze, searching for him, but he was gone. An old memory echoed, "I would have moved the stars in the sky to get to you..."
She chewed her bottom lip nervously as a chill of unease slithered down her spine. "Well. Here I am. Let's get this over with, shall we Garst?" she whispered to herself as she stepped into her quarters.