It was cold already in the capital. Although not unusual, there had been rather mild winters lately and having the first frost before December was something, people had not expected. Sayuri walked through the streets of a suburb and enjoyed the clear, cold air. She was able to see her breath and smiled every now and then, when she saw a hidden frozen spiderweb or similar things.
Eventually she arrived at her destination. A small house at the edge of the city with a small piece of land before the entrance and a garden behind it. She saw a young boy standing at a window. He waved with his hand as soon as he saw her and she saw him shouting something to the others in the house, before he went away. In a way, she was coming home.
„It is so good to see you. I was a bit worried, when I heard that Yarren convinced you to go to space again.“, Aiko said.
„Nah, it is fine. And incredible, how many things I suddenly remember again.“
„Anyway. Come in. Make yourself comfortable.“
After she had been welcomed, she went inside, accompanied by the two boys. She liked it here. It was like a family to her. Yarren and his wife Aiko, her two children Masao and Hiroshi. She had been surprised, when they had got a second kid, since Aiko had been close to forty already. But she had managed it pretty fine and stayed at home for a whole year, although that had meant to stay away from her work. And she knew, how important her job was for her.
This was a very Federal family. She did not know anything about their early lives. Yarren came from a considerably wealthy family on Lirsautton, but had chosen to work for the FDU before he switched to the Navy. There must have been some interesting events about that, but he did not talk about it. Except a few teasers every now and then. Aiko, on the other hand, was, just like herself, from the Jing Ko Caste and had worked herself up the ladder. Her job at the FIO was something she was proud about. But not as proud as about her two children, that were 9 and 4 now.
When they sat down, they talked a lot about work and family and what they had done recently. There was time to play with the boys and have dinner together. Eventually, when the adults were alone in the evening, the talk evolved around more serious things.
„I have to admit, that I don`t really like the idea of you being out there again. The times are more dangerous than ever before.“, Aiko said.
„But it is necessary.“, Yarren noted.
„I bet, there are enough other people, that you can use for your recruitment program.“
„Not too many, that are actually willing to participate. Plus she has been in space before already.“
„Thank you for your worries, Aiko. But I am fine out there. And I don`t intend to go to NullSec.“, Sayuri meant. „Yet I am thinking about all the people, who sign up for duty. What is expecting them?“
t worry. We wont use them as immediate cannonfodder. At least I think so.“, Yarren replied.
„Hm? I thought, you need pilots to deal with the Triglavians?“
„Not only them.“, Aiko explained. „See, we and the other three large Empires all have the same problem. There are too many issues to handle with the resources we have got. And the Triglavians just made the whole situation worse. All these new pilots are needed to keep a reasonable level of order within the core systems.“
„Explain.“, Sayuri asked.
„Okay. Imagine, you are the President. Then you have got all the systems of the Federation to take care of. In a perfect world, CONCORD will police space and everything is fine. But we don`t live in a perfect world. Not all your citizens are angels and there is crime to observe and punish. On the one hand, umpteen individual Pilots who want to make a quick profit. And there are the large criminal organizations, especially Serpentis and Angel Cartel, who try to undermine the foundation of society with their business. So you need pilots to cooperate with our Agents to clean systems of minor threats and pilots for the Navy for larger operations against the Cartels.
And you are surrounded by other empires. And border disputes, especially with the Caldari State. So you need a lot of Pilots for the Militia. Then there is NullSec. A breeding ground for all sorts of human misfits. A lot of them come to HighSec to harass shipping routes or mining operations. And as if that is not enough, you also have to manage the Rogue Drones, the Drifters and now the Triglavians. And these factors interact with each other and create synergy effects. The appearance of the Triglavians, for example, has led to a surge in Pirate activities, especially by the Angel Cartel.“
„In short. We have no reserves anymore.“, Yarren added. „The blanket is too small, metaphorically speaking. We need a massive amount of new pilots to deal with everything. All the new people we hope that sign up will be needed to fill gaps, to do smaller and less dangerous jobs in the core systems or take the place of more experienced pilots, who in turn can be sent to the frontline. And maybe we can even create something like a reserve to replace losses with.“
„I did not know, that things were so serious.“, Sayuri said.
„At first, the Empires agreed to let AEGIS deal with the recruitment and finance all of that with increased taxes. But the people of the Empires do not identify with CONCORD a lot. So we begin recruiting ourselves, so we get pilots for the Navy and, subsequently, EDENCOM too.“
Sayuri had listened to all of this and had become more thoughtful by the minute. She has been spending a lot of time at the University and did not invest too much time to keep up with the recent events. Although there were things, that even she had not ignored.
„Say, does anyone know, what is happening in…Pochven?“, she asked.
„If I knew that, my next promotion would be secure.“, Aiko said with a smile. „I am not an important figure in the FIO, so they don`t tell me everything. But I will say this. The invasion was flawless. Scouting of systems, recruitment of local Pilots, probing attacks for intelligence and then the invasion in the border regions of the Core Empires. Add to that the division among the Empires and all kinds of Criminals or other individuals willing to fight for the Triglavians or take advantage of the chaos they create. Our weaknesses are their strength and they are very good to put that to use.“
„But we were able to contain the Invasion.“
„I am not sure…“, Yarren said. „…whether we stopped them or they just decided to take a break.“
For a while, it was silent. All three had thoughts about what would happen, if the Triglavians would start a second wave tomorrow. And what the chances would be, that mankind would earn a victory on the battlefield and defend its freedom.
„Anyway.“, Yarren broke the silence. „It is good to have you back. But be careful.“