Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 Chapter 9
Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15
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Club Luminaire in the Stacmon V Impro station was designed to invoke the Crystal Boulevard in Caille on Gallente-Prime. I've heard from others in the corp that its a pale facsimile to the real thing but I was impressed nevertheless.
The club's main dance floor was at the bottom of a large bowl with several levels of translucent balconies and terraces circling the walls. Laser lights reflected and illuminated parts of the structures in hypnotic fashion in time with the pounding dance music and crowds of people lost themselves on the floor in a haze of drugs, music, and physical contact. For others more interested in lounging and socializing the connected balconies provided couches, chairs and tables, bars, gambling booths, and various legal and illegal narcotics.
I had taken a chair at a small table at the edge of a third level balcony and ordered a drink from a scantily clad hostess. From my perch I could see Rusack in a corner across the club from me on the second level, only part of a clear column blocking my view. He sat on a large sectional with two women enjoying drinks and groping. Seeing him happy and carefree only made me angrier.
I was sitting there stewing for about two hours, watching Rusack get intoxicated and more aggressive with his companions (who I figured must have been paid escorts to put up with his drunken shit) when someone sat down in the opposite chair of my table and placed a noise canceler on the surface. I looked with a start and saw Nhi'Khuna sitting there, looking very out of place in her more conservative Amarrian clothes. I said nothing and turned back to watch Rusack.
"Revenge is like a fire; it burns brightly and hotly but in the end only consumes everything including itself, leaving nothing but ashes," she said philosophically. I continued to ignore her.
She started again. "You do realize that the protections provided to us pod pilots in stations by the treaties with CONCORD are null and void if you violate so much as a littering bylaw? And that the Gallente owners of this station will throw you in a cell and forget about you for who knows how long? Especially once they realize that the State is not all that excited about having you back anyways..."
"Really, I should thank him," I finally said. "After all, I'm rich and going to be richer than my father ever was in a year if it keeps up. I am an immortal pod pilot and I know no borders in this cluster. I am more free than any other class of human being.
"But that motherfucker down there shot my brother. I had to sell him without his permission into corporate slavery to save his life, and while he's doing great now you never know when some bullshit mid level bureaucrat is going to get pissed at him and he finds himself working 16 hour shifts of hard labour in a Nocxium mine.
"My brother's pelvis is artificial and he will forever walk with a limp; he's scarred from plasma burns and has to use a device to talk above a whisper. He will never know the love and body of a good woman because of me and because of that piece of shit down there."
"You're young still, you'd be surprised at what a good woman would love," she interjected. "Does your brother know you are here planning for revenge on his behalf." I didn't answer. "That's what I thought."
"It doesn't matter," I said hotly. "That man shot my brother nearly killing him. As far as I'm concerned, that cannot be forgiven and forgotten."
I held her gaze for a few seconds, waiting for her to tell me to forget it or to be fired from the corporation. I was ready for it; Rusack was finally in my grasp and nothing would deter me.
She sighed resignedly and said, "All right. But let's get out of here before he recognizes you or me and figures out something is up. We need to plan and we can do that on the capsuleer decks where he won't run into us by chance."
I was shocked. "You are going to help me? Wait, what do you mean he might recognize you too?"
"Rusack is one of our regular contacts for IPRC for doing business in Stacmon and Slays. When we need stuff through customs without extra scrutiny, we use him. However, he is just a small time crook that is easily replaced by any one of a dozen sleazebags we have to do business with occasionally. But a pod pilot as passionate and loyal as you? That's worth keeping."
"Come on," she said standing up and grabbing the noise canceler off the table. The flood of music slammed into me and I finished my drink and follower her out. I spared one last glance back at Rusack enjoying his friends and swore under my breath that his days of enjoying his life were numbered.