They arrived an hour later to find Tanta sitting at a large comm panel. She stepped aside to let Cory take the control seat and gave him a few simple instructions as to what she wanted. He grinned and nodded admiring the panel as an antique lovingly cared for.
“Run a sweep, we want to make sure this conversation is private.”
He called up the protocols and whistled. “Under the wood panels is state of the art?”
“Best we can keep up with, yes, dear.” Tanta smiled and touched his shoulder. “What we show on the surface does not always go right to the bone, eh? Now remember my cues, I ‘spect we will need them, I do.”
Cory nodded and completed the security check. “Clear as far as I can tell.” He pointedly looked around the room.
Tanta nodded. “Part of dusting and cleaning a home includes a good sweep now and again. This room is clear unless you brought something in yo’self, unless.”
Cory sputtered denials while Tanta and Free laughed.
“Good then. Open comm one, please.”
The image on the main screen showed the briefing room that Free was very familiar with. The lights and shadows moved and one voice asked in an exasperated tone. -Well then who DID convene this meeting?-
Tanta stepped forward and her image appeared in the center of the room where normally agents would be briefed. “That would me, that would.”
One or two of the shadows gasped and another protested -impossible-
“And yet here I am. I am calling in favours you owes me. All of them.”
The room quieted swiftly.
-What do you want, Madam.-
“I wish two of your people to now work for me and mine. No ties, no restrictions. I have asked them and they agree so all there is left is for you to give your blessings and it is done, it is.” She stood looking about the room as though she could see into the shadows.
-Agents of the council never leave. They are ours until they die.- The oily voice whispered.
“That sounds like slavery.” Tanta pursed her lips as though she had bit something sour. “Are you sure that is what you meant to say?”
-THEY ARE OURS!- The voice yelled back.
Tanta looked to Cory and said “3x”
Cory tapped the keypad and the room changed as the dark pillar where the oily voice came from was suddenly lit . . . and empty.
“Now I knows he does not speak for all of you and now we all knows this room is empty, not a single one of you is here, just as is true for myself. By your code it takes a majority to pass such a decision and I am willing to have him set down as ‘against my request’. The question is . . . how will the rest of you decide, how?”
-How did you . . . – A slightly startled womans voice asked.
“His house 0n the lake has suffered a sudden power outage. I am sure that it will all be fixed quickly, but for now he will not be joining us.” Tanta looked straight were the womans voice had come from. “Now, Valery, how will you be voting? How?”
The silence stretched for a moment before the womans voice answered her. -They may go.-
-WHAT? A name drop and a comm closure and you yield? She is bluffing and you all fold like . . . – The voice was loud and aggressive and Tanto slowly turned to face the new pillar.
“You have only been on this council a few years, taking the seat from your father. You may want to think before you say something that cannot be unsaid.”
-I will NOT be bullied by some Gallente Witch with delusions of . . . – There was a loud thud and then a soft moan. -My pardon. I believe I will speak for my son on this matter as he is not well, right now. Madam, you have my houses assent. I did hear that the offer was all favours evened?-
She nodded to the pillar and smiled. “All, we will start with a clean slate moving forward, a clean slate.”
The voice addressed the others of the council. -I have been a bit in the background, of late, but that does not mean that I am completely gone. Take a moment, brothers and sisters and consider what we owe her. Also consider that she probably could arrange power outages for any one of us. Temporary or otherwise.-
-But that would mean . . . – Another voice protested.
“That I have people within your organisation but you have not managed any in mine. Yes, that is what it means, it does. And before you get any idea that this offer is your way to change that? I will take any actions by you to turn or double agent these two as a direct insult and attack upon me and respond accordingly.”
-For how long will this threat last?- Another voice asked with a subtle tone of derision.
“My health you mean? Oh, I may not last long but WE will.” She gestured for Free to join her in the image. “Speak your mind, child.”
Free looked around the room that had held mystery, her orders to hunt and kill all had come from these people and she felt . . . nothing. There was no fear, no hesitation, and no need for words. She just stood slightly behind Tanta and rested one hand on her shoulder, lightly.
-We have already lost, brothers and sisters. It is now just a question of how hard she needs to hurt us to make us realise it.-
The vote was completed soon after that and the room became silent but Tanta stayed put and asked Cory. “4R if you please.”
The Fathers voice answered, =I was wondering if you were bluffing, as my son said. Now I know.=
“We will be having a small ceremony, tradition and all. You are invited and you are welcome to bring your son if you think he will learn something from it. A weeks time?”
=I doubt he will learn but I will bring him just the same. There is always hope. Your home?=
“It will be a larger sized gathering, contact when in orbit and we will give directions.”
=I look forward to it.=
Tanta made a closing gesture and Cory shut the comm panel down. She slumped into a chair and breathed heavily. Free rushed to her side while Cory touched the buttons that summoned the med staff. They started to take her back to her room but she stopped them to give one last order. “Call Emé, he has a week to get here, tell him that he will be doing the History Toast.”
Free nodded, her face full of concern. Tanta was taken from the room and Free turned to face Cory. “Did she just . . . .?”
Cory shook his head. “What the hell are we getting into?” He sighed and started tracking down Mike.
Spies are a thing in Eve Online (Spais) Infiltrating another corp can be to betray, rob blind, get inside secrets. It has been done often and well. I have been in corps so infiltrated in both directions that battles were arranged up to what both sides would bring for a gud fite.
The best thing is a stringent entry requirement but a decent spy can still get past that. One corp I was in took a simpler approach. Trust in assets was not given so there was little or nothing to steal or betray. But I think the BEST way would be to be so much better than the folks who sent the spy that you were who they now set their loyalty in, giving up or even turning on their former masters.
But how would ever know for sure? You would not.
The next post, I hope, will be more eve and ships than the last few and then a big one . . . very Free and Tanta and politics. I was thinking about putting in a disclaimer but . . .nah.
fly it like you won it