Claire’s eyes flickered open at the sound of the incessant alarm. Soft lavender light clicked on, illuminating the inside of her pod. True, it wasn’t a standard color, but she figured she could manage with a few extravagances here and there. She didn’t have a question on who this transmission was from-only one person had her personal Voice Com channels. With a thought, she brought her Comms online and the line crackled to life.
“Hello Claire, how are you? It has been quite a while since we last spoke.”
The voice on the other end had a somewhat folksy sound to it, but it came through strong, educated and more than a little self-assured. The VidLink was blocked at the source of transmission-she had never seen his face actually-though she smirked slightly as she saw the point of origin on the message - Yulai IX – CONCORD Bureau. Her Patron had a sense of humor, it seemed.
“Sir, are you sure that CONCORD, and the Yulai Station of all places, is the best place for you? I’d have thought that they’d have a price on your head for all of the ships you’ve blown up recently.” Claire asked, casually amused.
The answer came without even a momentary delay. “CONCORD has no issue with me. A quite transparent and easily understood organization, really. Kill a few non-Capsuleer pirates for them once in awhile, and they are quite content to let you do whatever it is you want to. Either that, or just grease the right palms… You are getting me off track. I assume that you wish to know why I contacted you after all of these months?”
“Yes, Sir.” That was an understatement. Her Patron had paid for her training as well as the initiation into her Home Planets' Capsuleer Program. He had even given her several hundred million ISK, and he had asked for only one thing. He had told her that someday he might need her services, and if he did, she was expected to appear. That was years ago. She had only been inducted as a Capsuleer fairly recently and had been expecting him to contact her every day since. What came next, however, surprised her.
“As you have probably realized by now considering the focus of the training I arranged for you, I thought I would need the services of a fellow Capsuleer as a complimentary scanner for me. I no longer need that service, or at least, I do not need it at present. I have in fact had the Contract you signed with me in regards to this matter invalidated.” He stated this calmly, essentially without emotion. To him it must have been nothing more than a business decision, but to Claire, this was her LIFE. Still, he wasn’t done yet. “I do however have a suggestion. A former associate of mine-a former Pirate, actually-has started a new Corporation in New Eden. It is part of the EvE-Scout Alliance. It is called ‘Signal Cartel’. I think it would be a good fit for you. I have noticed the business ventures that you have been involved with, and as this is a non-combat, peaceful exploration outfit, I believe it will be a good fit for you. Regardless, have fun with your new life as a Capsuleer. I am sure our paths will cross again, though hopefully not at the end of one of my guns. When they do cross next, by all means, call me Argos.” With a soft click, and without even waiting for a response, he closed the channel.
For a few moments, Claire was unable to even formulate a rational thought. Finally after what seemed like forever but must have been only seconds, she focused on what she had in front of her now.
She suddenly had so many choices, and honestly she wasn’t keen on taking the option that had been mentioned, this ‘Signal Cartel’ place, simply because of who had mentioned it to her! Still, she’d be a fool to dismiss it out of hand. With a thought, she keyed up the information on Signal Cartel. Mynxee was there, just like she had been told. An odd play for a Pirate, former or otherwise. Besides, why would a current Pirate, and a Stay Frosty at that, recommend this place to her? Claire was instantly suspicious. Was there some other agenda at play here? She was about to close down the viewer when another name caught her attention: Katia Sae, the famous explorer, had joined Signal Cartel.
Katia gave this place instant credibility in her Explorer’s heart. If she had signed up, maybe this wasn’t such a bad place for her after all. Claire’s eyes flitted over the information, her mind soaking in what they offered, what they were about. Exploring for the sake of exploring. Finding the treasures of New Eden. Cashing in when the opportunity arose, sure, but sometimes? Sometimes, just floating out there alone in the emptiness of space, basking in the wonders of the Universe. Without even realizing it, she had made her decision. Launching her probes, she began to scan for a WormHole Entrance into Thera. Signal Cartel awaited, and all the possibilities that she could dream of were hers to claim. The sky was full of stars, and she was intent on seeing what she could make of them all.