Aboard Wraith, Hagliur, Metropolis
It wasn’t unusual to get a panicked comm call from her.
Rhavas’ time spent working on contract for Boundless Creation had begun opening various doors within the company, and he had found someone willing to give him a little more background and detail on Minmatar Starship Engineering. It wasn’t a formal education, but enough to get him by.
Widolden had finally told him about datacores, and their value. For Rhavas, it was another chance to parlay some of his knowledge to make money. She had referred him to one of her friends in R&D, Andur Oaldald.
Oaldald wasn’t known in capsuleer circles for reacting well to setbacks in her research. The downside you never heard about datacore work was that the scientists you worked with were a panicky lot that thought capsuleers were basically glorified errand-boys.
So, it had been no surprise when Oaldald called him for the fourth time that day.
What had bothered him was that she had specifically said she wanted him to meet someone. That wasn’t normal.
Upon landing and going through the usual rigamarole to exit the capsule, he dressed and went to meet her. As he opened the door to her office, he saw her standing nervously behind it, unconsciously wringing her hands.
Beside her stood a tall, pale Sebiestor man with sharp features and a severe gaze. He seemed more taskmaster than scientist. The man held out a hand. “Agar Edonbald. You’re Rhavas?” When Rhavas didn’t reach out to shake, Edonbald continued. “I’m Andur’s boss. Please, sit down. I have something we need your help with.”
Rhavas then did shake his hand briefly, and sat. “I’m listening.”
Edonbald hefted a neocom tablet in one hand while he gestured with the other. “You are of course familiar with the Seyllin incident. And with the inexplicable defeat of the Thukker fleets at Mekhios, possibly with some sort of superweapon. And with the Sansha incursions into New Eden – rumors even of Jovian involvement. And our files show you worked with the Sisters of Eve on some of the rogue drone incursions and have been doing some wormhole work, and so are familiar with the Sleepers within. Plus I saw the ship you came in – not one of ours, but a useful ship nonetheless.”
“What you might not know is that it is possible – even probable – that all of these things are related.”
Now Rhavas raised an eyebrow. “Even for New Eden, that’s a bit of a paranoid conspiracy theory, Mr. Edonbald.”
Edonbald nodded. “I know. That’s why I need you – to either prove or disprove some theories. You’ll be paid for your services, of course.” He looked across the desk at Rhavas with a hopeful expression.
“Fine,” Rhavas said. “What specifically do you need done?”
The Sebiestor smiled for the first time. “Excellent, excellent. Now, the other thing you may not know is that Seyllin I wasn’t the only planet destroyed that day. Six other planets were destroyed across New Eden, and there are rumors that there are some similarly scorched in wormhole systems. We’ve come to the conclusion that we think the Eve Gate is somehow tied to all of it as well – we believe it may be at the center of a circle of the shattered planets. What I need from you is for you to go and map them out. Take pictures. Take measurements. Try to find the place at the center.”
Edonbald lowered his voice. “I think there may also be some … darker implications around their placement. You see, where they are implicates our old enemies.”
Rhavas was not much of a political creature, and his family was fairly removed from the Amarr slavery issue for a Minmatar. But he took Edonbald’s point. “So you want me to look for possible involvements there, too.”
Edonbald nodded. “Yes.” He handed the neocomm over. “Here is what we have so far. It’s not much – just the list of systems, plus the fact that we know the planets are all the first planet of an A0-class blue sun.”
Rhavas flipped silently through the very bare data files. Other than Seyllin and New Eden, the planets and systems had almost no information other than their location.
“There’s only one complication,” Rhavas said as he stood and turned to the door. “I’ve applied for a new job, and that employer is very concerned about maintaining neutrality. That means I’ll be effectively banned from solo efforts in alliance nullsec if I’m accepted.”
Edonbald frowned. “That’s unfortunate. But we have plenty for you to do in empire with this as well. Find the ring’s center. Find out if there are other differences in those planets. Find the superweapon. Find evidence of empire involvement.”
Edonbald waved a hand to shoo him out the door. “Go. Time is of the essence.”
This is the first in a 12-part series. Next: Part 2: Gates.