Medical Bay 12, Ammatar Consulate Bureau Station, Kehrara, Derelik
“I’m afraid there’s not much we can do out here, but I’ve sent for some additional medical personnel from Pator and Ammold to see if there’s anything that can be done at all.”
Baud Alradulf was a slight woman with iron-grey hair and piercing blue eyes. While her face had the severe, almost angry cast typical of the Sebiestor, in reality she had been a good landlord for the corporation, thankful that there was a group of capsuleer pilots who would help to defend her station at need. She seemed worried now as she talked quietly with Rhavas at the door to the medical bay. “You can go on in.”
Rhavas entered the hospital room where the CEO lay, propped up in his bed, hooked to innumerable pipes and wires. While non-capsuleers would have found this strange or gruesome, for Rhavas it seemed relatively normal – after all, that was typical within the pod, and the medical equipment was clearly tailored to capsuleer patients. His boss simply looked asleep.
Unfortunately, it had been going on for weeks.
It was a strange malaise within the capsuleer community that seemed to often strike at the most inopportune time – either due to being damaged in their pod or due to some other effects of the unnatural nature of a capsuleer’s life. Little was known except that the pilot was not truly dead – they were effectively in a coma. Many came out after a few days, some a few weeks. But most that went longer than a month or two never regained consciousness, or if they did, they were not the same. It didn’t look like the CEO would be coming out of his unexplained slumber any time soon.
To make matters worse, the CEO’s #2 had been running out on ever longer side trips out into the deeps of space, not returning for long periods, and not interacting much with the staff when he was around. Finally today he had handed the baton to another man and left, saying he didn’t know when, or if, he would return. It was this handoff that had finally brought Rhavas to the hospital room tonight. The new CEO was someone he didn’t know, wouldn’t know if they met in a hallway of the station – a non-entity.
Despite Rhavas’ belief in some of his corpmates, and of the corporation’s mission as a whole, he had to acknowledge that it could not continue this way. There were too many new pilots, too many new FCs, and no one “in the pilot’s chair”. Many of his best corpmates were already looking for other opportunities, and two he respected had already resigned.
Rhavas had for some reason needed to come and say goodbye in person. In a short time, this man had shown him what a corporate direction could be, and taught him a great deal about some very important piloting tactics. He had provided an opportunity that had allowed Rhavas to be in the right place at the right time to learn from some talented pilots.
Rhavas sighed, unclipped the ID chip tag from his uniform, dropped it on the table beside the motionless figure on the bed, and left for his own living quarters.
As he packed his few belongings, he thought for a moment about calling Widolden, but quickly decided that would be a bad idea. He was already too much mixing business with pleasure at Boundless. No point making it formal.
He did open a comm channel, from the room, but not to her. Onscreen, The Quafe logo briefly flashed before his call was answered. The Gallentean man who appeared was a contradiction in terms. His dyed red hair was plastered flat to the sides of his head, but stood straight up in a spiky turf on top. His face was cris-crossed with silver tattoos. He looked for all the world like a refugee from a Matari drug gang, but for his Gallente features and calm, deep, smooth baritone. “Ardoroule Ophone, Legal.” And his title.
The man smiled. “Rhavas, is that you? Where have you been?”
Rhavas shrugged. “I’ve been in your station quite a bit, I just never stay very long.” He cut to the chase. “Ardy, I’m leaving my corp and need a new place to land.”
Ophone squirmed a bit in his chair. “Of course we’d love to contract you and the Percheron to haul for us. We’ve made some great profits together.”
Rhavas shook his head. “Not what I mean, Ardy. I need a place to call home while I figure out what’s next, and RMS doesn’t take students back.”
Ophone sighed. “I knew what you meant. It’s just … well …” he paused, then blurted, “we only hire Gallenteans. I’m sure you understand.” Rhavas shook his head. “Oh, I understand. I’ll talk with you later, Mr. Ophone.”
He abruptly disconnected the call, and visibly gathered his wits before opening another channel.
This time, a woman appeared at the other end. “Aresia, Production.” Unlike Baud Alradulf, Wallekon Aresia really was the stereotypical angry Sebiestor woman. She looked up from her desk and glowered through her eyebrows at him. Her voice was a clipped alto. “Rhavas, right? What do you need?”
“I’m submitting my reactivation papers this afternoon.”
She smiled. It wasn’t a pleasant smile. “Bring your Mammoth. Gulfonodi VIII. I’ll have people waiting to fit her out for refrigeration. The first load will be frozen meat en route to Hek. Hurry it up, we don’t call it Freshfood for nothing.” She closed the comm channel.
Rhavas tapped the screen of his neocom, submitted his resignation and sent a brief message to his comatose former CEO.
Boss – If you wake up, let me know. I enjoyed and appreciated the time spent, and wanted to be part of the mission and culture you set up. I want to see Operation Atilla achieved, and I want to be a part of it. But with the leadership now gone, I need to look elsewhere to learn. Maybe I’ll have more capability and firepower to offer when you awaken. Thanks. -Rhavas
He closed the door to his now-empty room, and headed for the hangar.