* * * * *
I sighed and rubbed my eyes. I just wanted to terminate the connection, forget she had called and go back to bed. But I felt I owed her and Jace at least a chance to plead their case.
"Fine," I said dejectedly. "Is Jace with you here?"
"No," she replied as relief flooded her face.
"I'm not promising anything," I warned, "but I'll hear you out. Send me your ID so I can let security know you are coming and go to the central lift in 10 minutes and take it to deck 32. I'll meet you there." I looked down at my nakedness. "Better make it 30, I need a shower."
"Thank you, Kirith. I really appreciate it."
"Don't thank me yet," I said as I hit the end call button.
* * * * *
Deck 32 of the station was the common area for capsuleers and other VIPs visiting the station. The Heydieles system in Essence region was not a major hub like Oursulaert, or Dodixie in Sinq Laison or even Stacmon and Orvolle in Placid region, but when Old Man Star fell to the Caldari militia a year back or so the FDU put a lot of effort into holding on to Heydieles and the two important Duvolle Laboratories stations in the system (in no small part due to donations from the corporation if you believe the rumour mill).
Whatever the reasons, Heydieles did not fall in the push last year by the State Protectorate forces and now that the Federal Defense Union was ascendant it was one of a few major centres of the militia war effort.
As I arrived on the level it was the midday of the station cycle and it was bustling with the usual crowds with some people doing some shopping in the handful of stores and others eating in the "open air" food courts and restaurants. Everything was very luxurious and elegant, a combination of usual Gallente aesthetic and catering to the patrons and their sizable fortunes as was common in the capsuleer class. The deck had a nice view too with massive transparent aluminum windows set at an arching angle over half the deck which let in sunshine and starlight and the vibrant colours of the region's nebula.
I strode over to the lifts where people arriving on the deck from lower decks were screened by security. I saw Cryst pass through and waved her over. It had been almost 7 years since I saw her and while I still had the body of a 20 year old from constant re-cloning, I could see that she had aged a little. A little less psychically fit and some grey in her dark close cropped hair that weren't there before. She was dressed in Gallente clothes but looked like someone from the State trying to dress Gallentean: too much flesh was covered up and the fabric was not as tight as one would expect in the Federation. Of course, no amount of clothes (or lack thereof as the case may be) could hide the Caldari heritage in her face.
Still, she was unmolested by the security guards. No one wanted to piss off a friend of a capsuleer, especially not here in the warzone.
We exchanged uncomfortable pleasantries and I led her to a restaurant and asked the host for a quiet table in a corner. He placed us on an upper level which had a great view of the skylights but a large person high planter between us and the next table on one side and a bulk head wall on the other. He took our orders (a plain omelette for Cryst and a Minmatar Goulash stirfry for me) and once he left I leaned forward. "Alright Cryst, let's hear it."