* * * * *
"He's a capsuleer, Cryst, he has all the time in the world."
"That's what I thought at first but it seems I was wrong." She stopped to take a drink of her coffee and I began to suspect that we were finally getting to the crux of the matter.
"A year and a half back," she started, "Jace led a strike force deep into null sec, right next to the heart of Guristas territory in Venal. The goal was to disrupt drug trafficking supply line that the Guristas were running from their stations in, what was it... Y-4 something. He had about 15 battlecruisers and 10 cruisers along with a handful of destroyers and frigates. He was leading from his pride and joy, a Nighthawk class FCS. God he loved that ship.
"Anyways, a fleet of that size usually has trouble making it far without Guristas patrols detecting them and intercepting, but Jace has that talent of making ships under his command move like magic, plus he new the border systems extremely well from his deep space patrols of our own. He slipped through and destroyed 17 supply posts and platforms before the renegades even managed to get a fleet together to engage him. It was brilliant and op success."
She sighed. "But you know Jace; that was not enough. After he gave the Guristas the slip he took his fleet deeper into Venal instead of back to State space. His scouts detected some mining operations and colonies in a few systems and he decided that it would behoove him to destroy them. He gave some warnings before opening fire in every case but not a lot. He attacked 12 of them over three days before slipping past the pursuing fleet and racing back to Caldari space.
"He was lauded a hero when he returned, got a medal and everything. He was insufferable for weeks afterwards."
"Nice story but what does it have to do with the bind he's in now?"
"Well, it turns out that his attacks on those colonies cost a few people their lives. People who just didn't get out in time to the lifeboats or who got on the boats but ended up getting damaged in the blasts. And those colonies were not all populated by nobodies. One of the people that died in the attacks was the son of a fairly important member of the Dread Guristas elite. And he is very, very mad and very resourceful."
"I am starting to see where this is going, Cryst," I said.
She nodded and continued. "Just before Jace made a run for it someone tried to kill him on the capsuleer concourse. It failed and security took care of the would be assassin, but there will be more attempts. Bribing station officials is commonplace enough in the empires, imagine how easy it is out there?"
"Can't he just lock himself in his pod? Wait it out there where he's safe?"
"If he stays in the pod they'll just arrange an accident for the pod in the hanger and then he's back in the cloning vats and exposed again. And there will probably be someone with a needle or a knife waiting for him this time. He's in danger, Kirith, he needs help."
"All of his other friends are scared shitless of null sec and the Guristas now. Plus they are either broke or stupid. But you have contacts, don't you? You could find a way to get him out. Please?"
"I dunno, Cryst," I said reluctantly, "I've been out of null sec politics for a long time now, I don't know if I can help."
"Please Kirith," she said in a pleading tone with tears brimming in her eyes, "you have to. He's the father of my daughter."
* * * * *
I sat wearily on my bed beside my suitcase and called a number.
"Hello Kir!" a happy voice answered. "What's up?"
"I'm sorry, Sun. I gotta make a trip."