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"What the FUCK?!" I yelled at her while raising my hands up to indicate to the goons targeting me that I didn't intend to try anything. My heart was pounding in my throat and my adrenaline spiked so much I was shaking. I thought for sure I was a dead man.
"Oh relax, if I wanted you dead then you'd be dead," Cryst answered. She kicked Jace's foot. "Him, on the other hand, had to go."
Things started to fall into place in my head. "I take it there was never any daughter."
"Of course not!" she laughed. "But I knew it was the quickest way to get you to agree to try and get him. You were always a sucker for anyone in distress."
"Why did you need me," I asked as I nodded at her uniform, "surely navy intel has the resources to extract one man out of null sec?"
She sighed deeply and the jovial attitude slipped a little. "Well, yes, you'd think so but the reality is a little sticky." She started to pace the floor a little while still being careful to not step in any of the pooling blood. "The story I told you was true: Jace did get in over his head out in null sec with the Obsidian Swords and the Guristas do, or rather, did have a price on his head. What I left out was that Jace bribed certain officials, officials that have been dealt with I might add, to avoid the mind wipe upon his discharge."
"His wipe? He skipped his wipe?!" My mind reeled at the implications. All the ship certifications, navy strategies, codes, deployments... all intact in a private citizen.
"Yes, the bastard skipped the wipe. We would not have found out had the idiot not offered to sell state secrets as soon as he got to null sec to the highest bidder," she added dryly.
"And that's why the Guristas were after him so badly," I concluded.
"That and the fact that he was an ass who blew up a lot of their installations."
"So why me, Cryst? Why get me to go get him when the state wanted him so badly?"
She twirled her gun on her finger. "It can get sticky with the capsuleer alliances." She grimaced in distaste as she continued, "They have gotten so large and organized that there is a threat that is one of these null sec coalitions were to declared war on the state that it could go badly, especially if the Federation takes advantage of the situation. Therefore we can't be seen to be infringing on their territory so making use of independent agents is advisable where possible."
She stopped twirling the gun and casually pointed it at my chest. "I debated killing you too to clean up loose ends but its harder to explain two dead bodies than to explain one while framing the other."
"You're framing me?" I asked incredulously.
"Of course! Its so easy! You have a record of going on stations and killing people, you have a history of conflict with the victim here," she pointed at Jace's dead body on the floor, "and you are a known enemy of the State due to your involvement with the Federal Defense Union. A few fake fingerprints, edited video feeds, and suddenly you are a wanted man and no uncomfortable questions about why the state killed an independent capsuleer."
I said nothing; I simply glared.
"Besides," she said with sultriness as she sidled up beside me to whisper in my ear. "I never kill an asset." She giggled and backed off and started to leave. "You've got five minutes before station security gets here, Kirith. Don't bother wasting time mourning for that asshole."