It was chaos in the station debarkation area. People cheering and pointing at news articles and tickers as they ran across screens all around her. A system had been taken back from the Caldari. Her only reaction was to hold the package a bit closer and give a cold eye to any drunken spacer who thought she might want to help him celebrate. If the cold eye was not enough then she was sure he would hardly remember how he got in the hospital. That only happened twice.
Consulting the base directory allowed her to call Andre. “I have a delivery from Mike Azariah.”
+Why doesn’t he just contract it like he did the Enyo?+
“I am to hand deliver these cookies. He did not trust them to the Contract system.”
+Cookies? . . . Cookies. OK. Where do you want to hand over the ‘cookies’+
She sighed and thought ‘Gallente’ “I called to make sure you were in. I am 20m down from your door.”
+Really?+ A head poked out, blond, close to platinum hair topped a face full of curiosity. “Well then? Are you going to come in?”
She followed him into the quarters and looked about. “I am not here to just deliver cookies. But here they are, he said they are Bacon . . . “
“Bourbon and Chocolate. The man is insane.” Andre took the package and opened it, offering her one before taking one himself. “It is his way of saying that it and you came with his blessings. Nobody else would make these or think they were appropriate so this is his method of introduction and me knowing you are not a fake.”
She shook her head and looked around. Mikes quarters centered on the kitchen. Andres was around the small table in front of the main comm display. Maps, hard copy maps, covered most of the table and the comm was showing a series of graphs.
“Sorry about the mess.” He said starting to straighten the desk and shove some food delivery cartons close to the garbage.
“Proves I came to the right place.” She pointed to the maps. “You follow the war as well as fly in it?”
“Odd way to put it. But yes, I do. Why?” He looked at her oddly and then back at the cookie.
“I need to know and be ON a planet in the next system that changes hands. I am chasing a slaving operation that is working the border wars. So which will it be?”
“Whoa. Warzones are a dangerous place for a . . . “
“Go ahead.” She interrupted. “Say something sexist.” She only shifted slightly but he recognized a fighting stance when he saw one.
“For a person to go in alone. And IF I knew what planet or system was going to fall with any reliability I’d be higher up in the ranks.” He smiled as he told her and then pointed at one system on the map. “But if I were a betting man I’d say this system here is the next one we will be going after. The Caldari are back on their heels right now and it is time to push the advantage.”
“You mean you might win this war?”
“No. We never seem to end it. It’s like a game. Just when we almost have it our momentum breaks or the Caldari get a new influx of podders. Both sides use spies and corporate espionage to the point of sending unarmed ships in to orbit and intercept comms, even substitute their own to speed the fall of a system.”
“So you are saying comms are compromised. THAT’S why Mike sent me in with a package and didn’t just send a message.” She nodded.
“The man knows more than he lets on, most times. Did you ask for someone on the Gallente side?” Andre brushed his hands free of cookie crumbs and pulled out a system map.
“I just assumed he . . . he would have set me up with Caldari if I asked . . . ” her voice trailed off. “I need to get into that system and onto the most populated planet.”
He shoved the map to her. “Ahead of you. Her is the system map and here is the planetary map. They don’t call it a number, it is Ergot.”
Sadly he shook his head. “And within a month it will switch again, back forth, back forth. ONCE we held all the systems, but it was just so tiring that we couldn’t keep possession for very long. And then there is the why’s of the fight.”
“Wisdom is not really a requirement for battle.”
“No, why we do it. Some are here for the fights, the thrill of battle. Some are here out of some sense of duty, honor. Others are just here for the money.” He touched a control and battle reports scrolled by, changes of systems from one side to the other every 2-3 months. “But when two armies meet in a field for battle, you know that the loser will always be the farmer who owned the field. Gallente pilots (like me) are in majority “individuals” as in we do gather in groups of people we like to fly with but its hard to organize us..it happens but is like herding cats for the fleet commanders”
He closed the list of systems and brought up a map, instead. “Caldari on the other hand usually have tight knit groups and/or corporations who fly together.” His comm buzzed.
She gestured to the door, offering to leave if he needed it, he shook his head.
+It is time, sir.+
“Right there. Get them undocked.” He closed the channel. “What?”
“Sir? I know the Gallente don’t really go for hierarchies but the military does have a rank system. Mike never said anything except you used to be a minor specific.”
Andre laughed. “And now I am not. I swear that mans mind is like a bag of greased marbles. Solid but always spinning about. If you need more, send a message and I will help as I can. My rank came from the old days of the wars and are more an indicator of how stubborn I am than of power of command.”
He saw her to the door and then turned towards the balcony to his pod, tossing clothes to the side as he went. “Comms . . . coming . . . logis, L up”
She stood outside the captains quarters for a moment before heading off for the interbus terminal, talking to herself. “Used to be minor specific?”
For all the talk of the War in FOUNTAIN there are more ships blown up in a given month in faction war regions than any old sov war. I won’t dare to compare isk value but for outright flying and fun OR making isk rather than spending it to line someone elses SRP . . . maybe you should take a look?
Used to be minor specific . . . .I don’t care if you get it, it makes me laugh.
My thanks to Andre for providing the references and some dialogue.
fly it like to are a winning cat being herded properly