Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Recruitment Techniques

Captain Valith paced the bridge of his flagship impatiently, his salvage crews were taking a long time to scout through the single wrecked ship that floated just off the bow. A crackle of static breaks him out of his stride, turning to face the comns loudspeaker he stuffs his hands into the pockets of his Minmatar Militia officers jacket.

"Sir preliminary survey completed," the voice is distant and muffled from the proximity of the microphone to the speaker within his EVA suits helmet.

"It seems the reactor meltdown did a complete wipe of the main datacore, we ain't gonna get anything out of that anytime soon. However we did recover a single datachip from one of the crew quarters, its pretty messed up but I can transmit you at least one complete file for analysis, others may be possible under better conditions in the lab."

Valith sighed heavily, he had been hoping for more, the capsuleer piloting this ship had committed many crimes within the Republic and he was determined to trace and apprehend them, hard evidence however would turn this from a chase to a trap and Valith didn't like chasing.

"Transmitting data stream now, channel two,"


Crewman 3rd Rate Oskold (Ozz) Shikari,
20/11/113 22:38:20

The dark areas of the lower level of any station are a haven of vagabonds and ne'er-do-wells at the best of times, but Boundless Creation had truly created the Haven of Havens with the seemingly never ending labyrinth below the heaving market hub of Hek.

These narrow streets no longer held any fear for me, I was raised here, fought in many a schoolboy scuffle amid the abandoned warehouses of companies long since past. These days the hallways house those who do not wish to be found, the underhanded, the criminal and the downright immoral, they were probably always there but in my youth the true horrors of the world were safely hidden behind monsters and other scary shapes in the dark.

On this particular day I was headed deep into the rabbithole searching for nothing in particular beyond what may be there for the taking, I am not a thief by nature its just the only way to get by when you fall to the bottom of the ladder. It didn't take me long to notice the hooded figure trying not to be obviously following me, it makes me laugh, the harder you try to be unobtrusive the easier you are to spot.

My initial thoughts were law enforcement, as would any honest citizen doing something they knew they probably shouldn't be doing. It was unlikely though, Republic Security or even Boundless' own patrols almost never came down here, and when they did it was not hooded and discrete, it was hundreds of them in full riot gear. I sized up the hooded figure, either they would leave, I would evade them or at some point I would be forced to confront them. The cloak seemed to add bulk to what was probably quite a lithe fellow, a good 6 inches shorter than my 6'4" as well, this served to calm my nerves somewhat I could probably take him without to much trouble assuming he wasn't armed.

Three random turns later and he is still there, slightly closer now that I had started trying to shake him, definitely got me in his sights, my heart begins to pound, fight or flight? the question posed since time immaterial. I had slowed to consider my options expecting the stranger to follow suit and lurk in a shadow somewhere. I was wrong.

Turning I see the hooded figure rather closer than I had expected, a hand is extended from beneath the folds of cloak, small, very small hand wrapped in a skintight leathery glove. It catches my forearm with a grip like a vice, becoming less sure of my position now a voice emits from within the impossibly dark cowl, soft yet sharp exotically accented in a dialect of Matari that was uncommon in Hek, and undoubtedly female.

"Get off the street if you want to see tomorrows sunrise, don't you know they are hunting you? yet here you are wandering down the street like nothings wrong," The hissed warning curls though my consciousness, her tones cut through my confusion and I make to reply, but she cuts me short.
"Move it you great oaf!, you want to get the both of us killed?" she pushes firmly into the small of my back and I allow myself to be guided by her. "In there, the abandoned shop, no don't stand in the window!, how did you manage to live this long already? into the store room"

I am still trying to place her accent when the nevejam crashes into the base of my spine, the world explodes and the floor rushes up to meet me.

As my vision slowly begins to return a dark figure forms against the murky background, the hooded figure is kneeling on the floor just off to my side, beside her another form swims but refuses to hold a recognisable shape. My legs are still tingling from the aftereffects of the nervejam, when I try to reach out to massage some feeling back into them I realise I am shackled to a piece of exposed pipework, rattling my chains I look quizzically at my saviour turned captor,

"Whats with chaining me up? Did you really need to knock me out? Who are you and whats your game?"

Her hood is pulled back slightly now allowing what light there is in the room to illuminate some of her features, my first realisation was that she was no local girl, the high cheekbones narrow eyes and smooth pale skin spoke of a foreign land. She stares at me intently,

"You are restrained for your own, and my, safety I don't know how you will respond to our little chat, and I am not known for taking risks with my own safety. Who I am..." she mulls this one over a while,

"I am known as Evil Incarn8, my real name is unimportant to you, I am an independent capsuleer although I retain links to the Khanid Kingdom, my game as you put it, is how shall we say, recruitment" she grins at this comment.

"Yes recruitment is as good as any other way of putting it. Now to business I think,"

A capsuleer? but they are vastly powerful, vastly rich what was a capsuleer doing in this pit of squalor? and more specifically, an operative of the Khanid Kingdom was interested in me personally, this was more worrying than the other details.

"Your life is in danger, you do not have long to live, as we speak you are being killed by a viral agent in your bloodstream", she spoke in clipped tones, her grasp of Matari good yet the flowery accent spoke of a far different natural language for her.

"Other than your nervejam I feel fine, my last health scan was clear, how can you be sure I have anything wrong?" I was bemused, why should a capsuleer go to such effort to warn me of ill health?

A truly wicked smile grew across her face, "I am sure you are infected as I myself have just infected you."
She raises a hypodermic gun from her lap, the charge vessel clearly empty.
"This is one of the most recent strains of Vitoc, a rather useful, if unpleasant substance. Without antidote you will die a most horrific death within 24 hours, unfortunately this is no permanent cure, the antidote is more of a.. hmm, a stay of execution should we say, another 24hours of life. As such it forms a very neat method of controlling people without physical force, no point in escaping as you will only die and your captor holds the only key to staying alive. Elegant, don't you think?"

I am horrified by her words, my initial impulse is to run, my stomach turns over when I realise that's my worst option, "What do you want with me? why me, what have I done to you to deserve this?"

"So many questions, but alas none of them the correct one. What do I want with you? nothing, you are nothing to me. Why you? you made yourself an easy target, prime specimen; strong, plenty of stamina and educated just enough to be useful in a technical field. What have you done to deserve this? Ha, nothing at all, you probably don't deserve it, but since when has the universe ever had a sense of whats fair?"

"I am going to release your restraints soon, and you have a choice to make; You can run, see if you can make it to the door before Reggie here makes lunch of you." She motions towards the form beside her,  my vision has steadied enough to make it out now, a large; dog doesn't do it justice wolf perhaps, sits obediently beside her. Its head is held high, as high as the woman's own, it holds my gaze firmly, panting slightly exposing a row of razor sharp fangs. "Or", she continues, "you can take my offer, get out of this hellhole, see the stars, go to the edge of space to meet interesting people in exotic locations, I am offering you a job Matari, a job for life, a job you will only get one chance at."

So what choice did I have? I agreed to her conditions, she very graciously allowed me time to sort my affairs, to remove myself entirely from existence. It didn't take as long as I had hoped, seems I wasn't having much of an impact on the world around me. This sobering thought fresh in my mind I clutched my small satchel standing at the foot of the crew gangway looking up at a golden wall of armour plate. The Brutor crew chief smiled knowingly as I signed aboard a full 4 hours earlier than Evil had asked of me, I wasn't taking any chances however advanced she claimed this Vitoc stuff was.


"OK, kill the feed we don't need anymore of that", Valith shook his head in dismay, harvesting slave crews from within the heart of the Republic? the very guile, how very dare she? He skimmed over the preliminary reports from the encounter earlier that morning between his squadron and the sole capsuleer battlecruiser. He had lost 4 Rupture class cruisers, 3 Rifters and a Thrasher class destroyer for this, almost 100 good honest warriors lost fighting for the freedom of their brothers. Now it turns out the capsuleer ship was entirely crewed by Matari as well? counting crew as well as those being transported into the bowels of the Empire that left another 50 dead.

"Dammit all," Vailith cursed, hurling the datapad back at the startled comms officer he turned on his heel and headed for his personal quarters.

"Set course back for base," Vailith calls over his shoulder, "No point lingering around here, leave this mess for the vultures to deal with".

Alone in his quarters Vailith puts in a secure data link to the Concord database, "Pilot Ident 'Evil Incarn8', Search" the command is answered immediately the face of a young Khanid woman unfolds onto his screen.
Looking upon his face Vailith allows himself to grin despite the days setback,

"Once it has a name you can kill it, and now I know your name my dear".

Drawing his fingers softly across her image he cuts the link.


This story is effectively a prequal to my "Caught in the Trap" series.

1 comment:

  1. Good to see another great story evil :)