He looked at the comm with disbelief. “But I have never even heard of you.”
“That is not important. We tend to work behind the scenes. The point is WE have heard of YOU. That and that we want to support you in your efforts to bring pride back to the Gallente name. Through you and your associates we hope to help do that. So you must find a way to choose one of the people who answered the call to receive a simple gift of thanks.”
“From you . . . the Gallente . . .”
“Gallente Benevolence Association, yes.”
Mike wiped his hand across his face and nodded. “I’ll do it and thank you for the surprise. Why is it that you did not let me know earlier so I could get the word out?”
“Because this is not a lottery nor a gift for simply ‘liking us’ on some social network. This is a thank you for being there when you did not see a lot of opportunity for profit. You and yours stepped up, as you call it, and went without any thought of pay. Tell the truth, were you sure that you would be returning in the same ship you left in?”
He shook his head. “A good capsuleer, a realistic one, is never sure of that. I prepared as best I could. . . “
“If you had lost the ship, to whom would you have sent the bill?”
“I am still paying for failing to be there at Oruse. The toll on my heart for not trying exceeds any upon my wallet. Isk is a fickle lover but she always wanders back to me, eventually. “
“Gift the ship to one of your fleet, be they Gallente or no, if they came when you called then they are a part of this. We can not promise that there will always be gifts but we can assure you that this is not the last.”
Mike closed the channel and activated a random generator against the list of people in the Gallente Hero channel. “Victoria Stecker? The Gallente Benevolent Association has awarded you a Comet for your services this day.”
A side channel opened “This on the up and up, Handsome?”
“I swear, Cutie. I did nothing to influence the determination. You won this fair and square, what you do with it is totally up to you.”
She leaned forward a bit towards the comm. ‘What are you doing after this, then?”
Mike chuckled and tried not to be too distracted . . . .”Oh, errands. The usual after action reports. Maybe I will see abut delivering the Comet right to your doorstep and hand you the access codes personally. That is part of being Gallente . . .the personal . . .touch.”
Sadly, his errands and comms only got more crowded and by the time he delivered the Comet she was gone, he was forced to just set a contract in a border system so she could recover it without being chased by the local forces.
The aftermath. Accusations and blame . . . frustration and finger-pointing. Mike marveled at how the organized forces were reacting. People had arrived expecting the same sorts of stupidity that the Sansha had shown before and then been stunned to see that the carriers had enough sense to leave the field before they were lost, That if planets were not the targets then they had the sense to not be in easy to find places.
Pilots skilled and in possession of probes suddenly became an urgent need . . . and the time that that took to get organized was enough for the Sansha to put up their comm arrays. Mike looked at the map again and grimaced. This system spying would allow them to monitor everything coming into and going out of the route to New Eden. Why?
He double checked the sources to see if any new intel had been generated.
Nothing worse than a clever enemy when you are expecting stupid. The Sansha pulled bait and switch and dodged us , , , They won fair and square yet afterward I could see disgust with fleet commanders and the response of the defense forces. Speaking for myself, I was very impressed with the fleet “Sansha retaliation: and thank them for taking me and my Gallente Hero aboard.
Slowly we are getting closer to the full invasions . . .
and yes, it was a roll of a die (I am an old school gamer and still have such things on my desk) and a Comet went to one person of the Gallente channel. Don’t give me any grief about the ‘value’ of such a prize. 1) it was free and unexpected which puts it on the level of finding extra money in an old jacket pocket. (2) It is in character to be a Gallente Faction Frigate . . . and (3) I talk to folks who blithely speak of Billions won or lost, spent and earned. I don’t run in those circles. Wish I did. If you have some Gallente BPO’s or even BPC’s lying about then I will gladly accept them for future GBA incentives.