Just One of Those Days
There will always be times where you have to sit back and tell everyone that it is just going to be one of those days.”
DUVOLLE LABORATORIES FACTORY
GRISPIRE SOLAR SYSTEM
A faint “beep” made itself known from across the room, emanating from the cracked casing of a NeoCom which rested on the floor. I opened my eyes and immediately closed them again, shielding them from the bright lights pouring into my quarters from my hangar. I pulled the blanket over my head, and tried settling back into sleep, but another “beep” made itself known. I shifted in bed and slid my feet from under the blanket, only to sharply pull them back under the covers. I sat up, pulling the blanket more tightly around my body, my breath clearly visible. “God damn it,” I said to myself, “Climate control must be out again.” I wanted nothing more than to go back to sleep, but the offending device on the floor of my quarters, which I had thrown at the wall last night in a fit of drunken rage kept making its presence known.
After several minutes of fighting the urge to go back to bed, I dragged myself from the warmth of my covers, and made my way into the bathroom to turn on the shower. I shivered as I stood outside the cubicle, waiting for the water to warm. This was the fifth time in two weeks that the climate control system for my quarters had malfunctioned. For a Gallente station, especially one run by Duvolle Laboratories, CreoDron’s partner, and one of the most well-known high-tech Research and Development corporations in New Eden, the maintenance was a little bit on the lackluster side. Then again, I suppose that is to be expected from a station in low-security space. After a few minutes, I stepped into the shower cubicle, glad that the system responsible for heating water had not failed, as that would have made for an exceptionally unpleasant start to my day. I turned off the water, and grabbed a towel, drying myself before making my way to my closet. I got dressed and then tracked across the room to find my boots. Once I had found my boots, I went and collected the offending electronic device which had been responsible for waking me from the floor, and began checking messages, but not before lighting a cigarette. I spent a few minutes going through the normal corporation-related messages from Tarth and my other Directors, a couple of messages from Damon Stonehart, and finally the one that got my attention.
To: Jack Carrigan
From: Victor Carrigan
Subject: Got Something For You
Got a bit of a favor to ask of you and before you ask, no, it isn’t exactly Federation business, but could help out if you are willing to assist on this one. I was talking to Trianna the other day, and it seems that she had been talking to one of her friends, most notably the one you pulled off that luxury liner that the State was operating in our space. Long story short, the girl you two pulled off that liner got scooped up by State security forces and is being held at the State Protectorate station in Asakai. Well, turns out, she was doing more than taking off her clothes to entertain the officers on that ship. She was also picking the pockets of inebriated high-ranking Caldari officers, and had a datachip of great intelligence value. The reason I’m asking you, is because you have a better means of getting into Black Rise than I do, and have more friends out there that could probably help you get into some areas of that station that others couldn’t. Let me know if you’re interested.
I stubbed out my cigarette and thought for a few minutes before drafting a reply.
To: Victor Carrigan
From: Jack Carrigan
Subject: Re: Got Something for You
I don’t know how much more clearly I can put this, so I’m going to be blunt. What’s in this for me?
I laughed, as I was quite satisfied with myself. I stood up and slid my NeoCom into the pocket of my vest before making my way to the door of my quarters. I opened the door and stepped into the corridor of the station, making my way toward the main concourse. I walked through a small group of people, who judging by their clothing, were employees of Duvolle Laboratories. I didn’t pay any mind to them as I made my way up to the central terminal which was for use by corporate officials that were renting space in the station. After getting through the overly tedious user interface, I finally managed to get to the menu that allowed me to put in a maintenance request. After I had submitted my request, I navigated my way back to the main interface, and checked on market trends for Placid region. I was about to place a buy order, but a low grumble stole my attention from what I was doing. My gaze shifted to the source of the sound, and I found myself looking at my abdomen, “Hmm, probably should eat something.” I finished placing the buy order, and made my way over to a small restaurant and settled into a corner table for lunch. I thought about what Vick had said, and was surprised to not have had a reply to my message. The waiter brought a rather large sandwich and a glass of water, and placed it on the table in front of me before quickly dismissing himself to serve another customer. As I was about to take a bite, the chair across from me was pulled out, and a man sat down across from me, “There’s a Vengeance-class Assault Frigate and Taranis-class Interceptor, fit to your specification in the delivery hangar for you.” I knew that voice, and when I looked up, found myself looking at Vick, who had taken it upon himself to track me down in an attempt to make me see things his way, in person. “If you weren’t my brother, I’d kick your ass.” “Good to see you too, asshole,” Vick said with a smirk before handing a slip of paper with his order to the waiter, who had come back to check to see if I needed anything else, in attempts to secure a larger gratuity.
I finished my sandwich, and lit a cigarette, taking a drag from it, only to exhale the smoke through my nose. I looked over to my brother, “So, tell me again why you just don’t have one of your field operatives do this?” “Plausible deniability if things get messy,” he said with a snicker, “Then again, with you being involved, I can pretty much count on this getting messy.” “Well, it depends on how much you’re willing to liberate from your operations fund to keep this clean,” I replied with a smirk. “Name your price,” Vick replied. “Well, if you’re offering carte blanche,” I said, “I’m in the market for a new Tengu.” “That’s a little out of the price range at the moment,” Vick said, shaking his head. “Fair enough,” I said, “I’ll get it done. Let me go find Trianna. Last I saw her, she was crawling through the maintenance accesses on the Thanatos.” “Tell her I said hi,” Vick replied with a laugh. “Will do,” I said as I stood up, dropping a couple of credits on the table before departing the restaurant.
I stepped back into my quarters, only to find a maintenance crew in there, and half of my climate control system in pieces. At least this time, they were replacing it, because I was beginning to get sick of waking up with sweat pouring off of me, or damned near freezing. I made my way past them, and entered the hangar, where I could see Trianna performing checks on Huldran, my Caracal-class cruiser. She turned, and walked toward me, only to get wrapped up in a hug, “So, what did Vick want?” “A favor for plausible deniability purposes, as usual,” I replied, “He says hi by the way. He caught me while I was eating lunch.” “I swear, your brother is just as good at finding people as you are at disappearing,” she replied with a smile. “I need a ride,” I said as I started walking toward the weapons locker that was in my hangar. She smirked, “Where we going?” “Asakai,” I replied, “Apparently your friend got herself into some trouble due to her sticky fingers.” Trianna cocked her head to the side, “Isn’t that where that Titan was destroyed because the pilot fucked up when trying to bridge a fleet in?” “That’d be the place,” I laughed. I checked to ensure that my flechette pistol had sufficient ammunition, and looked over one of the prototype assault rifles that I had acquired before turning back to Trianna, “Here’s how this is going to work. You’ll be flying a shuttle with a falsified supply manifest which will put us at the delivery hangars for the militia. I’ll duck out and retrieve your friend, and then we’ll leave.” “Somehow I doubt it’s going to be that easy,” she replied. “We’ll leave in a few minutes,” I said to her as she started walking toward Stingray, a Gallente Shuttle that we pretty much had laying around.
ASAKAI SOLAR SYSTEM
BLACK RISE REGION
Trianna was getting irritated with the docking manager, “For the third time, I have a shipment of small arms for the militia, and have orders not to dock in the civilian accessible hangars.” “Listen bitch,” the docking manager replied, “You’re flying a Gallente Shuttle, in Caldari space, trying to dock at a State Protectorate station. How do I know what is really in your hold?” “Well, maybe if you knew how to read, and checked the fucking manifest, we wouldn’t be having this problem,” Trianna retorted angrily. “Calm down before I call for security to turn that beer can into a wash of molten slag,” the docking manager said in reply, “You’re good to dock in the delivery hangar.” I put my palm to my forehead, overhearing that exchange made me question the selection process for docking managers. My guess was that they had to have less than a double-digit intelligence quotient to get the job. Trianna called over internal comms, “We’re almost to the hangar, you ready?” “Yeah, just let me know when we’re in place, and I can pop the hatch,” I said, quickly checking my pistol and ensuring that my knife was still in place in its sheath. “External camera drones show the hangar being clear, and we’re in place. You’ve got a few minutes before anyone gets here, and I can stall leaving by creating some maintenance issues. Just be careful,” Trianna said. I snickered, “Aren’t I always? On second thought, don’t answer that.”
STATE PROTECTORATE TESTING FACILITIES
ASAKAI SOLAR SYSTEM
BLACK RISE REGION
I opened the hatch on the side of the shuttle, and jumped down to the hangar deck. A quick visual scan of the hangar revealed that this was the central receiving point for all militia arms shipments, meaning it the area would in fact be secure. I made my way toward the door which would take me into the station’s corridors. If I went one way, I’d end up in the main concourse, if I went the other, I’d end up in the secure wing. I stepped through the door, and found that the corridors were fairly empty, which from this access, would not come as much of a surprise.
I took my time checking the doors along the hallway, until I found myself approaching a corridor that had a secure door at the end, which appeared to have a guard standing near it. I thought about how I was going to approach this situation, as the corridor was fairly narrow, leaving me little room for error. I then had another thought occur to me. I made my way back toward the hangar, where I could see a ground crew unloading small arms from Stingray. I calmly made my way over toward the security panel, and with a quick snap of my wrist, cut the monitoring line for the fire suppression system. I moved quickly away from it as the alarm started to sound. I sprinted back down the corridor, shouting to the guard, “Hey man, there’s a fire in the delivery hangar!” The guard started running down the corridor to make his way to the hangar, as he came within a step of me, I drew out the blade that I kept at the small of my back, and drove it into his throat. His hands went instinctively to his throat, but were too late to stop the strike from landing, and he tried to cry out, but only a muted gargle could be emitted, as I had struck directly below the larynx. He dropped to the deck; attempting to hold the wound closed, but it was evident he was dying. I lifted the burst assault rifle from him, as he would not need it any longer, and stepped through the door he had been guarding. I was in the control wing, which was where the docking manager worked, and where security personnel would be holding a prisoner awaiting transport.
I could see uniformed personnel running around, attempting to determine the cause of the alarm. I stepped into the docking manager’s booth, which overlooked the hangar. I walked up behind him, and pulled him up out of his seat by his head and neck, locking my forearm around his throat by grabbing the opposing bicep, “Where are the Staties keeping the transfer?” “I.. I.. don’t know,” he choked. “You’re lying to me,” I replied calmly as I applied more pressure, “I need to know where they’re keeping her and what ship she’s leaving on.” The docking manager grabbed my forearm to try to relieve some of the pressure, “Down the hall in the Customs inspection office. She came here on that Teyra in the bay, but isn’t leaving on it.” “Good to know,” I said coldly before sharply lifting and twisting with my arm, a sickening snap heard as the docking manager’s body went limp, and I dropped him.
I made my way back out into the corridor and started toward the Customs inspection office. I attempted to open the door, only to find that it was locked, which didn’t really come as a surprise. I knocked loudly, only to have a man of rather short stature open the door, “Can I help you sir?” “Yeah, actually you can. I’m from Ishukone Watch, and I’m here to pick up the prisoner you’ve got here, and the datachip she was carrying,” I replied as I subtly placed my boot in the doorframe so that he couldn’t close the door. “Sir, I wasn’t made aware of anyone coming to pick her up. I was told that she was going to be executed,” the man said with a shrug of his shoulders. I shoved him back through the door, slamming it closed behind me, and drawing my sidearm, “Get the datachip, and let her out of wherever you have her, and I might not decide to nail you to the fucking wall.” The small man’s gaunt features paled abruptly, and he swallowed hard, “Alright, fine, there’s no need to be hasty or violent. I’m just going to have to take the null crown off of her.” I snarled, “She better not have so much as one hair out of place. Or I’m going to cut out your intestines, and strangle you with them.” “Under my watch, she’s just been locked in that room,” he said, obviously quite nervous, “But on another shift, I heard a rumor that one of the guards was taking advantage of her null state.” “Get it off of her, and let her go,” I barked. The man was quick to comply, opening the door, and removing the null crown from the young woman. I snatched it from him, and then shoved him to the ground, emplacing the device on him and powering it on. “Enjoy the paralysis you son of a bitch,” I said as I walked toward the open door, and motioned for the young woman to come with me. I snatched the datachip off the desk and pocketed it before making my way out into the corridor.
I heard a chirp in the earpiece of my headset, “Jack, you may want to hurry. They’re starting to suspect the alarm may be tied to us.” “I’m hurrying as fast as I can,” I said, as I started running toward the corridor that led back to the hangar with the young woman in tow. “Tell me Rosalie is with you,” Trianna said. “Yeah, she’s with me. Dogs had a null crown on her, and were taking advantage of her,” I replied. “We’ll find out who did what, and fuck them up another day,” Trianna said in response. Rosalie stopped in her tracks near the corpse of the guard I had cut down to gain access to the secure wing, “That’s the man who raped me. What the hell happened to him?” “He got in my way, and I stabbed him in the throat to make for a quiet kill,” I replied, “Quick, but excruciatingly painful way to go out.” Rosalie nodded and we continued toward the hangar.
I shoved Rosalie in through the hatch, “Strap in, because this exit could get a little hairy.” I pulled the hatch shut, and strapped myself into one of the jump seats, “Tri, we’re good for launch. Docking manager had a bit of an accident, so just get us the fuck out of here!” Trianna keyed up internal comms, “You know, I really don’t even want to know.”
As we launched out, Trianna checked her short-range directional scan, “Jack, we have company. Harpy-class Assault Frigate coming in hot, we might have some serious trouble in a minute.” The Harpy came out of warp, and just as it was about to achieve a tactical lock on Stingray a pair of Falcon-class Force Reconnaissance Cruisers dropped their cloaks, and applied electronic countermeasures to the Harpy. “I don’t know who the fuck those Falcon pilots are, but I’m getting us out of here,” Trianna said over comms, obviously trying not to panic. The inertial stabilizers softened the blow for Rosalie and I as Stingray launched into warp.
DUVOLLE LABORATORIES FACTORY
GRISPIRE SOLAR SYSTEM
It was clear that my maintenance crew was not happy when I stepped out through the hatch from Stingray, “What the fuck guys?” “Station maintenance pretty much tore up the climate control system, replaced it, and then tossed the junked parts into the hangar,” one of my techs replied. “There’s no winning with these assholes, is there?” The tech shook his head, and walked off as others were using power loaders to move debris out of the hangar. Trianna stepped down out of the ship, and hugged Rosalie, “Please tell me you’re okay.” “Honestly, I’m not. And I’m not in the mood to talk about it,” Rosalie said before walking off. I looked over, and shook my head, “Go talk to her, or find someone she can talk to. I’m going to go make contact with Vick and let him know this shit’s done.”
I made my way into the concourse and toward the restaurant where I had eaten lunch. I saw that Vick was already seated at a table in the rear corner of the restaurant. I seated myself, and handed him the datachip under the table. “Good work. I’ll make sure those two ships get transferred over to you,” he said with a bit of a smirk, “Although, the State is blaming some offshoot extremist Gallente loyalists for this, so the Federation didn’t escape the black eye.” “Fuck it,” I said with a smirk. Vick replied, “I mean for fuck sake Jack, did you have to kill the docking manager?”
“He shouldn’t have called Trianna a bitch,” I said while trying not to laugh.
Vick shook his head, also trying not to laugh, “I can tell this is going to be just one of those days.”