Jin-Mei beyond the Limit

Hello everybody.

Early this year I wrote the story “Jin Mei leaving Home”. It is time for a follow-up story, so I hope you enjoy the sequel.

Main Characters:

Daiko Kobayashi - Navy Second Lieutenant; Navy Pilot at Jel VIII-20; entered service as Volunteer Cadet in December 123
Aiko Matsuyama - Colonel - Department Head at the FIO; chasing the culprits of the Terrorist Acts of 122 and 123

Recurring Characters:

Celes Aguard - President of the Federation
Katya Itzimaru - Freelance Pilot; partially working for the FIO
Hoshi Kobayashi - Mother of Daiko
Alma Larousse - Navy Pilot, Friend of Daiko
Yarren Matsuyama - Husband of Aiko; former Navy Officer


10.11.124 - Ation III

„…then he told me that he does not like women who are too engaged in their job.“

„Seriously? From which Century was that guy from?“

„I have no idea, but I tell you that I am done with dating at the moment.“

„Do not worry, that is nothing another hot chocolate can`t fix“

Alma raised her hand to get the attention of a waiter. When he arrived, she ordered two cups. A little later they got their drink. Daiko took the warm cup and held it in her hands before taking a sip. Then she looked to the right at the snowy panorama around.

The last half year had been good. After entering the Navy she had established her life on the station. But she had also learned to not let station life become too overwhelming and visit Planets in her free time. Alma Larousse, her best friend on the station, had invited her to visit the mountains here, because she loved skiing. Daiko was not a fan of that, but liked mountains anyway, so she had agreed happily.

Now they sat on the terrace of a cafe and although it was considerably cold, they enjoyed the moment sitting outside in their winter clothes and with a blanket around their legs. They looked down a valley surrounded by beautiful white mountains under a perfectly blue sky. Daiko leaned back and smiled.

She also needed a break. As much as she liked her professional life, it did not work quite as well in private. She had felt lonely and, as it is common nowadays, started to look for a date Online. The results had been quite bitter. The most recent one was the worst. He seemed to be nice from the first impression, but when they started talking during the first meeting, it became quite clear, that he had some very conservative ideas concerning the place of women in society. Jerk.

„Don`t give up, Daiko. Somewhere out there is the perfect guy waiting for you.“, Alma said.

„I am not looking for perfect. Right now I would be happy about a decent guy already.“

„You will find one. You know what? A toast to that.“. She took her cup and clinked Daiko`s. „To all the decent guys out there. May they stay single until we meet them.“


13.11.124 - M-MD3B IV

He walked down a corrridor on one of the better Decks of the station, where meeting rooms were located. Eventually he reached the door of his destination. As he entered the room, it was completely dark besides a bit light coming from the large window on the other side. In between he saw a long table with chairs on both sides.

„Are you here?“, he asked into the darkness.

„Yes. At the window.“, a voice answered.

He walked toward the window. „Light?“

„No. It is fine.“

He reached the other side of the room and leaned against the window frame. After a short look into space, he turned his head toward the other man, who sat on a comfortable chair. Ennar Aeboul. For long years Head of the Thukker Tribe already, sat there and calmly monitored the black void outside.

„So. What is so important, Derek?“

„We have some new information, that may help us with our problem.“

„Aha. What is it?“

Derek Tohl`Shar reached for a small pad and handed it to Aeboul. The latter grunted annoyed, since he had to turn on the light a bit to be able to read. His eyes were not the best anymore. After a while he looked out of the window as if he tried to remember something. Then he smiled.

„I have not heard that name for quite a while. Is this confirmed?“


„And you think you can trust them with it?“

„We have no better option. And so far I never had a reason to distrust them. After all they are my son`s Mentors.“


Derek took a deep breath. „Yes. But that does not change my opinion about them. I think, this is a chance, to approach the problem from a different angle. And maybe give us access to the Federation`s resources.“

„True.“, Aeboul said as he scratched his chin with his right hand. „Well, I agree. Establish a contact.“


16.11.124 - Villore

„I see your point, Senator. And I absolutely agree that the Office must be subject to control by the civilian Government and the Legislative. But we are walking a thin line between being held accountable and getting hindered to do our job.“

„Colonel. Nobody wants the Office to not do its vital duty to protect the Federation. But in my opinion it is obvious, that right now the Office is too detached from the Legislative. Insight into your activities is too limited and linked to too much Bureaucracy. And when we are getting informed, then the Information is often too outdated already to have any meaningful influence on what is happening.“

„I know that you will disagree with me on this, but I am afraid that it is in the nature of an Intelligence Agency, that any information concerning ongoing operations must remain classified in order to not provoke any security risk.“

„You mean Politicians can`t be trusted?“, the Senator said with a smile.

„Would you in my position?“, the Officer replied, when she noticed that her communicator was vibrating.

„Please excuse me for a moment, Senator.“, she said as she got the communicator out of her pocket and distanced herself from the rest of the people. She saw, that her husband was calling.

„You just disturbed an important talk with a Senator. I love you for it. Is everything fine?...Really? I have not heard from him since, well, since it happened…Maybe he needs someone to talk to….Aha….Do you think it is serious?..Yes….Yes, do that….I have to admit, that I thought these times to be over….Yes…I love you too.“

Colonel Aiko Matsuyama put the communicator back into the pocket, but did not return to the event immediately. The yearly Intel Convention. Some kind of mix of celebration and informal meeting of members of the Intelligence and Political Community in order to get in touch with each other. Networking. She hated it, but it was a necessary evil.

She disliked it even more, when she had more important or interesting things do to. And right now she heard, that she had an appointment this weekend with an old friend. Well, maybe more her husband`s friend. But she wondered, what it would be about.


20.11.2022 - Lirsautton V

She liked to be at home. The house was located on the upper part of a narrow hill and from the terrace one had a fabulous view over the landscape. Sitting here in the morning for breakfast was a relaxing event that she would like to have every day, but her job required her to be in the capital most of the time.

“When does he arrive?”, she asked.

“Should be in an hour.”, her husband said. She smiled at him. Yarren Matsuyama. Three years older. Her husband for thirteen years now. There had been some troubling times at the beginning, but that was a thing of the past. A former Department Head at Navy Logistics, he had gone into early retirement a year ago and now manages the family estate.

Belonging to the Saan Go caste, his family were landowners and minor shareholders in the regional food industry. He would not have had to work if he wanted to. But he did, which was fortunate, for otherwise she would not have met him. For a moment she thought about the old times a decade ago and all the tribulations they had gone through. Their visitor, that they expected today, was a remnant of that time. She wondered, whether those times were about to repeat themselves.

“Come in. Take a seat. Make yourself comfortabe.”, Yarren said to his friend an hour later.

“Good to see you, Derek.”, Aiko said and gave their guest a hug. “It was a too long time, since…”

“Yes.”, Derek Tohl`Shar said. “Thank you. It was a difficult time.”

The Thukker took seat. He had not been here often, despite Yarren having been a Mentor for his son. A strange fate, that a young Minmatar boy had a Jin-Mei as Mentor, but he had never to regret it. His son had grown up to be a good young man. Until…that accident. That changed everything.

The first hour went by with smalltalk about all the things that had happend recently. Eventually Yarren came up with a new topic.

“I have to admit, that I was surprised, that you would come here. It sounded, as if you have something on your mind. Besides…that…”

“Yes.”, Derek said. “Where to begin? Maybe you have heard about the conflict between the Seykal Clan and the Angel Cartel.”

“The Gang War.”, Aiko said. “A different Department was working on that, but as far as I know, they did not deem it important. A classical territory dispute between the Angels and the no less shady Krullefor Organization.”

“At first we thought the same. But we were approached a bit more than a year ago by the Seykal Clan, that there had been more to it than just that. Allegedly, and I just repeat what has been told to us, the Cartel was running large Operations in the Skarkon System. Someone inside the Krullefor allegedly has been about to find out something, but was killed in early 122 on Muttokon II. Before one was able to verify any suspicions, Skarkon fell to the Trigs. For the next twelve months, Krullefor did not only fight against the Cartel for their own interests, but to also gain some information about their Skarkon Operations.”

“Interesting.”, Yarren meant with a raised eyebrow.

“Agreed.”, Aiko said. “But, to be frank, why are you telling us about it?”

“Rumors, mostly. According to them, your Department led an Anti-Piracy Operation in April. And shortly later you got transferred to another Department. We are not sure about what exactly you are doing, but allegedly it has something to do with the Raiders.”

Aiko and Yarren exchanged glances. They knew Derek for quite some time and it was rather uncommon that he came out of the woods like this.

“I still don`t see, what this has to do with me.”, Aiko insisted.

“What if I told you, that eventually something was found. Something, that indicates a cooperation between Raiders and Angels. Right within the Empires.”

“Then I would say to you, that I would have to see what it is to determine its worth. Look. All I hear at the moment are vague insinuations about two known Criminal Gangs doing Criminal Stuff. Don`t get me wrong, but that is pretty thin. So thin, that the Republican Intelligence did not do anything about it, when you went to them, right?”

“Correct. And I do not blame them. See, I don`t expect you to tell me the purpose of your work. Yet. All I am asking for is, that you take a look at it, whether it is something valuable for you or not. But if so, then we are expecting, that you share your findings with us.”

Aiko looked at him. She did not know, what to make of this. It sounded like a random story. The FIO gets to hear random stories a lot on a daily basis, originating from concerned citizens. Almost all of them have no credibility. This here may be the same. But he seemed to be convinced, that he had something. And he was not a random nobody. Plus she did not risk anything.

“We will take a look at it.”


30.11.124 - Villore

She walked along a narrow subterranean corridor under the Federal Capital. She liked to be here. And although the works for a new Presidential Bureau Station were on the way in Sinq Laison, she assumed that she would still spend a lot of time here. Eventually she reached the door of a meeting room and a guard opened the door for her. The room was basically empty, except one person, who now stood in attention and saluted.

“Madam President.”, Colonel Matsuyama said.

“Colonel. Good to see you.”, Celes Aguard replied. “I heard, that you have news for me. To be frank, I thought we would see us earlier already.”

Aiko Matsuyama tried to ignore the side blow. But, at the end of the day, the President was right. The recent months had seen some investigations, but little results. Maybe that would change now.

“Madam President, we have new informations, that may advance our investigations significantly.”

“Where do they come from?”

“The Thukker.”

“The Thukker?!”, Aguard said with a rarely heard surprised tone. “Now I am curious to hear the story.”

“Madam, the Thukker are a set of various Clans with a rather loose organization, with some of them hardly identifying themselves as part of an overarching Thukker structure. But we were approached by a messenger from Aeboul himself, who offered informations. The short version is, that a Thukker Clan was involved in a long feud with the Angel Cartel. Although ths conflict was also about dominance concerning racketeering, there was an underlying issue of a cooperation between the Cartel and the Blood Raiders.”

Aiko made a short break and looked at the President, but her face was just a focused mask. “Please go on.”

“Our informations indicate, that the Raiders transported Slaves out of the Skarkon system, which they obtained from the Cartel.”

“You mean, the Raiders bought Slaves? Hm, I am not an Expert, but aren`t rather Clones their target goup? How does that connect to the events of 122 and 123?”

“This is the weak point, Madam. We don`t know yet, if it does. So far, this is just a simple evidence for cooperation. But according to our pre-invasion Data, two locations of the Cartel in the Skarkon System are known. If these locations still exist, we may find further evidence for what exactly has been going on there.”

“That is vague, Colonel. Plus we would have to send a Team to Pochven. I assume, that you have made your mind up about investigating there already. Although I basically agree, I can`t stress enough, how important it is, that nobody detects our presence there. Triglavian Technology and its mindless use is causing enough damage already. We should not escalate the direct hostilities with them any further.”

“Yes, Madam. We will use our assets of the Association for this Operation.”

“I do not envy them. Well, I approve of this Mission. But, Colonel, take care that things do not get out of control.”

“Yes, Madam.”

“And something else…”


“For the time being we keep our findings for ourselves.”

“But we got these informations…”

“Colonel.”, the President interrupted with a strict tone. She was the Commander-in-Chief now. “I am perfectly aware of the relationship of your family to the Thukker. But no matter what you may or may not have told them, we are keeping them on a short leash. If there is something, I don`t want half the Cluster to be in the know before we have done the next steps. We are doing the dirty work, so we also call the shots. Have I made myself clear?”

“Yes, Madam.”


04.12.124 - Iyen-Oursta III

The Association. The Federal Investigation Office and, to a lesser extent, the Federation Navy maintained a group of Freelance Pilots and other Personnel, that were hired for missions, in which the Federation did not want to get involved directly. Credible Dementi were the two operating words here. The FIO had some liaison officers, who stayed in contact with the members, also called Associates.

Since the Association was an informal institution, there was no official gathering point. Personnel was contacted and meeting points getting chosen if need be. Shipyards were good meeting points, because due to the multitude of customers being there every day, a small group of travellers, who also arrived individually, got hardly noticed.

Right now a Captain in civilian attire had explained to the present Associates the details of “Operation Grapevine”. The attendees were not impressed.

“One does not simply walk into Pochven.”, Katya Itzimaru said. The Intaki Pilot was already plotting a course toward the destination in her mind and she did not like what she imagined.

“Indeed.”, another Pilot said. “Filaments are a bad plan here, so we will have to go through a Wormhole. Skarkon? Then I would recommend, that we go through Molden Heath. We need people to constantly scan the systems and two shifts of people for the mission itself, one of which being on call.”

The group of Associates made agreeing sounds. “There is another thing. Unless we are the first to arrive at the Wormhole, we will have to get past EDENCOM. Is there a way to make them turn a blind eye when we go in and out?”, Katya asked.

“We will attempt to make it happen. But do not count on it. On the one hand it would be good, if the Wormhole would be unguarded, because after all we want nobody to know that you are there. But, on the other hand, we would have to pull some strings, and that may attract more attention than we want.”

The FIO Captain looked around and saw many focused and also worried faces. He did not blame anybody. Low- and Nullsec and also Wormholes were well known environments. Pochven must be different. He had never been there, but reports from coworkers drew a picture of Wormholes with amped up hostility. Well, nobody doubted the lethality of Triglavian forces and the people in this room knew that.

“I have to repeat…”, he said. “…that you secure any still present structures at the target locations and obtain any and all available data and other informations from the sites. Nothing is trivial, anything can be important. We need to know and acquire everything.”

“What are you looking for?”, a Soldier asked.

“That is the interesting part.”, the Officer said with a smile. “We don`t know yet.”


10.12.124 - Skarkon

She was not a Newcomer in this business, but she felt a bit nervous and she noticed, that her heartbeat was faster than usual. All of that just because of the environment. Which was interesting and aesthetically pleasing, if one liked red. But, on the other hand, if they attracted too much attention, then their trip would have a sudden and dramatic end.

Eventually a Scout had found a wormhole to Skarkon, that originated in the Fegomenko System. The two Ships designated for the mission and the Teams of Associates had gathered as soon as possible. She had been pleasantly surprised, when she saw that EDENCOM was indeed not present yet. The passage through the wormhole was smooth. When they arrived in Skarkon, the two vessels of the Nemesis-Class, that were modified Bombers to hold Passengers and Cargo instead of Bombs and Torpedoes, separated. There was total radio silence and they would not meet again before they reached their Home Base.

One of the ships was steered by Katya Itzimaru. She flew to the designated coordinates and when her ship left the warp tunnel, she really saw something. A not too small space station in the middle of nowhere. The first impression was, that it was abandoned, but still in good shape. The invasion did not seem to have affected the place. Maybe the Trigs did not know about it or they ignored it. She saw an open Hangar and decided to land there.

„This is it.“, the Leader of the Team of Soldiers and Engineers said. „As soon as we leave the ship, we have three hours to investigate the place and collect all material that we find. And I mean everything that may be of even the slightest interest. Understood?“

„Yes, Sir.“, the group said unisono.

Katya was the only person, that had basically nothing to do, while the ground team forced its way through the installation and came back with crates and Datasticks filled with confiscated goods and information. She checked the surroundings and displays again and again. But she had no illusion, that any Trig Patrol that noticed them would finish them off quickly, if it wanted to.

„15 minutes.“, she said and the Team Leader confirmed, that it was time to go. Eventually the whole group was back in the ship again and they departed from that place. It was still an abandoned place with nobody around except them as she started the Warp Drive. She made a sigh of relief, when she saw, that the entrance to the Wormhole was still there. On the other side, she plotted a course to the far end of the Wormhole. Passing it, she checked her Interface. No enemies around. They were back home.

„Ladies and Gentlemen.“, she said to the people in the Passenger Bay. „We are back home in HighSec.“

Via the Comm Channel she heard some people cheering. She smiled as she flew the ship homewards. She had no idea whether anything they had in the Cargo Bay was of any use, but at least everyone had made it back.


11.12.124 - Iyen-Oursta III

„How come, that they did not make it back?“

„We don`t know.“

Katya Itzimaru was angry. And worried. And sad. When they had arrived at their Base Station, they were the first of the two Teams to come home. They waited for the other Team, but nothing happened. Eventually it must have been too late to pass the Wormhole again. But maybe they had just been delayed and appeared in some other System. Yet, so far, nobody has heard anything.

„We had a Scout close to the entrance.“, the FIO Captain explained. „He saw both Ships entering but only your Team got out again before the entrance collapsed. We found the new entrance to the Skarkon wormhole already, but no sign of Team Alpha. Since we were not contacted yet by a Clone of the Pilot, they may still be out there.“

„Will you send someone to investigate?“, an Engineer asked.

„Of course not.“

„Of course.“, Katya replied silently. This was the nature of the Association. If one is gone, one is gone. The Federation will not lift a finger to get one out of trouble, unless it deems it to be of vital interest, that a group returns. Not that she had heard of such a case so far. This would not be an exception. Maybe the other team was still hiding in Pochven. Maybe they had technical problems. Maybe they were captured. Chances are, that they would never find out.


That evening, Colonel Matsuyama read the first report concerning Operation Grapevine. As it seems, it was a partial failure, since one of the two assigned Teams was missing in action and maybe lost. The other one had made it back from its destination and had brought back a lot of information and material.

As she skimmed through the list, she realized, that it would take a long time to evaluate all these items and determine, whether there was something that went beyond the normal level of illegal activities, that one would expect from the Cartel.


16.12.124 - Jel

Another day, another ISK. Or so they say. Daiko was on a routine patrol flight through the system. It was rather uncommon, that something happened here. Sure. There were those who tried to make a quick buck in the Asteroid Fields without mining permission. Moons were popular meeting points for young Pilots for a fake duel, to have some fun. But those were just minor cases, that were dealt with quickly and doing so was now normal for her.

The more serious crimes were not committed in plain sight, but in the depths of space. Where one would only be aware of that, if one actually looked for it. Of course there were people who did that and nothing else in every system. Which was the reason for her next radio transmission.

„Bulldog Four, here Doghouse.“

„Doghouse, here Bulldog Four.“

„Bulldog Four, a routine scan identified a signature 2 AU from your position. We send you the coordinates and want you to investigate the situation.“

Daiko noticed, how an Update was uploaded to her HDU. „Coordinates received, Doghouse. On my way to investigate. Bulldog Four, over and out.“

Her Tristan made a sharp turn, when the Navigation Computer plotted a course. She disappeared in a Warp Tunnel and less than a minute later she was at her destination. She assessed the situation and realized, that there was a wreck and a lot of debris. A Malediction Class Vessel was looting the wreck. She checked the displays. The Vessel had a transponder, that designated it as Friendly.

„Vessel VQF-3329, this is Navy Flight Bulldog Four. Identify yourself.“

„Navy Bulldog Four. My name is Mika Hertonen. I am a Freelance Pilot and currently investigating the wreck of the wanted criminal Nisa Bardent.“

Daiko rolled her eyes. A Bounty Hunter. If he was not lying. She checked the current list of approved Freelance Activities. The name Hertonen did not appear.

„VQF-3329. You are not approved for activities in this System. Align your ship with mine and follow me to station 8-20.“

„Yes, Mam.“

It took two hours to retrieve a female Corpse out of the destroyed ship, identify her and come to the conclusion, that she was indeed a minor Pirate with a bounty on her head. Nevertheless Hertonen had not applied for a FLEN-Permit, which stood for Freelance Law Enforcement.

Daiko sat at her desk and finished the paperwork for the case. This was something, she had not imagined, when she signed up for the Navy. Usually one imagines to be in space during a shift. But in fact the duty reports took an equal amount of time. On busy days even more than that.

She looked at Hertonen. She had mixed feelings about Bounty Hunters. On the one hand they did basically the same job as the Navy did. But he made it for profit, and that made her feel uneasy. For her and her coworkers, it was sometimes necessary to eliminate a violently resisting Pilot. For him it was the way he made a living to travel through known space and hunt down people. Meaning that the phrase „Dead or Alive“ boiled down to „Dead“ in 99% of the cases.

Well, at least this one had manners. Average height. Black eyes and hair. Caldari descent. But more charming, than most of his countrymen. There was something about him, that made him different from most others. Nevertheless she did not like to think about his profession too much.

„So, Mister Hertonen. I would like you to sign this form. For performing FLEN-activities without permit you will have to pay a fine of one Million ISK. I have to inform you, should you do that again, the fine will be ten Million ISK and a temporary ban from Federation Space. A third violation will result in a prison sentence and permanent ban from Federation Space afterward.“

„I understand, Lieutenant.“, Hertonen said while he signed the paper. „And I would like to apologize. Usually I am not violating the Law like this. I hope you can forgive me.“

„It is not about forgiveness, Mister Hertonen. Just about maintaining order.“

„Of course. Nevertheless thank you for friendly behavior.“

Daiko nodded with her head and gave the man a smile. He stood up and left the Office.


18.12.124 - Jel VIII-20

Slow days are a mixed bag. On the one hand it was nice, when things were quiet and one did not have a lot of paperwork to do and a bit time to socialize with the coworkers. On the other hand, it can be pretty boring and it takes forever until the shift is over. Daiko had been through with her work for quite some time already and reading some old news to keep herself occupied.

„Daiko?“, another Officer said.


„There is a visitor for you.“

„Ah? Ehm…okay. Let him in.“

A moment later she saw Hertonen approaching her desk, who immediately took seat.

„Mister Hertonen, was something wrong with your fine?“, Daiko asked with a mix of curiosity and confusion.

„No. Everything is fine. To be frank, I am here because of you and I wanted to ask you, whether I may invite you to a cafe after work.“

Daiko was completely taken by surprise. She had expected anything except that. She was not quite sure, what to say. To come to her workplace was a bit sassy, but also daring and she liked that a bit. She did not really like what he was doing for a living. But her first impression of his character had been good. She felt some warmth inside her body and hoped, that she did not blush.

After thinking a bit about it, she said: „In two hours at the Stardust, that`s three Decks below.“

„I am looking forward.“, he said with a broad taking smile and left again.

Five hours later they still sat in one of Daiko`s favorite Cafes and were talking about job, family, the places they had seen or still wanted to go to. Although he had seen more of the Universe than her. He had been a charming and interesting teller and she could not deny that she began to like him.

„It was a great afternoon, Mika, but I have to go for another appointment.“, she said eventually.

„I feel the same way. And I would like to see you again.“, he said.

Daiko looked at him with a benevolent, but also cheeky smile. She took a pen out of her pocket, wrote her contact adress on the bill and gave it to him.

„Me too.“


26.12.124 - Jel VIII-20

Late afternoon. She stood in front of the mirror and checked her outfit. Again. And again. She tried to look casual. But not too casual. After all, she wanted to put a bit effort into it, just to show that she deemed this to be important. But not too much, so nobody had the opinion as if she is desperate about this. Similarly she had been going for a „No Makeup“-Makeup. Of course she wore a bit, but barely enough to still be considered natural appearance.

Suddenly she heard the doorbell of her appartment. „Already?“, she asked herself and took a look at the clock.

When she opened the door, Mika stood in front of her with that smile she liked a lot. She did not told him, but sometimes he had the habit of slightly biting on his lower lip. That was not only cute, but also attractive. But he did not need to know that. Yet.

„Come in. I am almost done.“, she said. During the next ten minutes he sat in the living room, while she finished her outfit in the bedroom and bathroom. Eventually she was done and they left the appartment.

Navy Stations were not necessarily known as cultural centers, but all the people living here needed entertainment. Live music events were popular and today they went to a Minmatar Folk Evening, followed by a trip to one of the local Restaurants, that she liked a lot because of the huge vegetarian options.

It was a perfect evening with entertainment and interesting small talk. She would not have thought it, but she was very fond of him. Did that go too fast? Maybe. But she felt good about it.

The next morning, she woke up late. She had no duty, so she liked to stay in bed a bit longer. When she let her hand glide over the bed, there was nothing. She opened her eyes, but the other half of the bed was empty. Mika had gone away. Suddenly she felt alone and disappointed.

She got up and went to the living room in her pyjama. On the table she saw a bouquet and, leaning on it, a written note. She sat down and took the paper.

„Dear Daiko. I am sorry, that I can not stay for breakfast, but I have an important task, that I am not able to delay. I did not want to wake you up on your day off, so here is a small gift as reminder, that I am thinking about you. Yours in love. Mika.“

She put the note aside and leaned forward, to smell the flowers. Of course he had quickly bought them at one of the shops, that had already open at the early hours. All the flowers, that got imported here barely had any scent. These were no exceptions. But she imagined, how he snuck out of the appartment, just to return and leave a small surprise. She leaned back again and smiled. She was happy. And in love.


29.12.124 - Villore

Being a high-ranking Officer comes with perks. One did not have to focus on doing the dirty work and a lot of details. That was, what Sergeants and Lieutenants were for. One was rather responsible for the big picture. Decision-making. Organization. Networking with other institutions. On the other hand one was dependent on one`s subordinates and that they did their job properly. It was possible to take a look at raw data. But this kind of micromanagement would have meant that the workload would multiply.

Colonel Matsuyama sat in her office, as someone knocked on her door. A moment later Staff Sergeant Bryson entered the room with a folder under his arm.

„Colonel, do you have a few minutes?“

„Yes. Come in.“

The Sergeant took seat, opened the folder and put a small pile of documents in front of Aiko and himself.

„Mam, I am not absolutely sure yet, but I think I may have found something.“

„Show me.“

„See. I was evaluating the data of the cargo storage and looking for recurring patterns in the arrivals and deliveries of goods. And I stumbled over a Recipient or Department with the designation 84. 84, just like other Recipients in the Data, received and delivered people, so at first I assumed it was one Department of Slave Trade focused on a specific customer. It probably still was.“


„But there is something special about it. In general 84 received the same type of goods as other comparable Departments. But first of all in clearly smaller amounts. Secondly, from partially other origins.“

Colonel Matsuyama looked at the documents and the Sergeant. He was convinced, but not completely sure. She agreed, that this was an interesting find. But if she wanted to convince anyone outside her Department, that this was important, there was more research to be done.

„Good work, Sergeant. I will call Captain Mandra, that we will focus on this for the time being.“


02.01.125 - Lirsautton III

“A happy new year, Mom.”, Daiko said, as her Mother Hoshi opened the door to the house. She hugged her and went inside.

Daiko was happy to have a few days off, so she could visit her Mother back at home and stay for a day or two, before she had to go back to her duty again. Her Mother was also happy that Daiko was here, since she missed her a lot despite the fact that she fequently got mails and video calls. But that was simply not the same.

She had cooked a proper meal. Too much of it and, as always, Daiko would not leave with empty hands but a nice package of all the durable homemade food and treats that she liked. Daiko had stopped insisting, that she is doing her own cooking. This was just her mother`s way to express her affection and also deal with the fact, that her daughter was living her own live away from her.

Eventually they sat in the living room and talked about the recent events. Daiko had already given a few hints, but had not gone into much detail yet.

“So, what about that young man?”, Hoshi asked.

“Mika is…interesting.”, Daiko said after thinking for a moment. “He is charming, smart, attentive. And knows how to make good compliments.”, she explained with a broad smile.

“I am happy for you that you have found someone nice. What is he working?”

Daiko had to swallow. His job was the one thing about him that she did not like to talk or think about, since she felt uncomfortable with it. He did nothing illegal, but maybe questionable from the point of view of a regular person.

“He is self-employed and running a small business in the security industry.”

“Aham.”, Hoshi said. She knew her daughter long and well enough to realize, that this was not the whole truth, but obviously she was not ready to tell her everything yet. But that was fine. “You know, maybe you can bring him someday. I think he would like it here and I promise to not be too curious.”

“Thanks, Mom. To be frank, I thought about that myself already, but did not talk with him about it yet. I mean, it is all still pretty fresh.”

“Have you seen his place already?”

Daiko swallowed again. How come, that parents always know how to ask the wrong questions? She knew, where his residence was, but had not been there, since it was in LowSec Space. But she knew that rather sooner than later she would have to push herself into doing it.

“No, but I will be there next weekend.”


07.01.125 - Villore

Meeting rooms came in all shapes and sizes. This one was rather small, for a maximum of maybe ten people. Nevertheless equipped with a Holo Projector and, allegedly, also bugproof. One would imagine, that the latter was a given at the FIO, but in fact only these subterranean ones really met the criteria. Right now a small assembly of two Sergeants and two Officers were sitting there and taking a last look at their papers and notes. Eventually the door opened and their superior entered the room.

„A good new year, Ladies and Gentlemen. So, what do we have?“, Colonel Matsuyama asked.

„We have finished the evaluation of the findings in Skarkon and Sergeant Bryson will explain the results.“, Captain Mandra said.

„Yes, Mam.“, the Sergeant began. „We tracked all deliveries to and from Section 84. From the amount of delivered goods we assume, that there were never more than a dozen people present at the same time. We deduce this from the amount of food, that got regularly delivered on a weekly basis.

Secondly we assume, that these people were to be sold as Slaves. The arrival of these people is usually not noted, so it is possible, that the Cartel kidnapped these individuals themselves. The Section got regular deliveries of Subcranial Nanocontrollers. So either these individuals were free before and turned into Slaves there. Or they had already been in slavery before and their Subcranial Nanocontrollers got replaced with other ones. If the latter, it is questionable, why that would happen.

Thirdly the Section regularly received a Container of Veldspar. Which is highly unlikely, considering that there would be no need for such a delivery to a Section, that holds a small group of Slaves.

Eventually it has to be noted, that the deliveries of Subcranial Nanocontrollers and these Ore deliveries all originated in Kaunokka, probably from the local branch of Deep Core Mining there. They were transported with Interbus to a station in Skarkon and then probably picked up by a Freelance Pilot and then delivered to the Cartel Station.“

„So, what you are trying to tell me is, that the Cartel separated a small group of people from the rest of their Slave Trade to either apply or exchange their Nanocontrollers and provide other unknown goods that originate from a Caldari Mining Company, whose station is now occupied by the Triglavians.“, Aiko summarized.

„Yes, Mam. It should be added, that these Slaves were always sold to the Raiders.“

Aiko Matsuyama leaned back. What she had heard looked like a pattern and as if it was worth to further investigate. The problem was, that all the Data from Skarkon had been evaluated already.

„Suggestions for our next step?“

„Mam, the trace leads to Kaunokka and the DCMI, so we have to investigate in that direction. Interestingly enough, the Head of the station was killed shortly after the invasion, so we can`t ask him anymore. Their station was overrun by the Triglavians. It is rather unlikely, that there is still old Data. And if it was the case, the Triglavians will probably not let us search the Database in peace. If we want to know more, we can infiltrate DCMI itself. And we have to find out everything about that murdered employee. If we find something, then maybe in his personal belongings. Maybe he even has left something in his residence in Kaunokka.“, Captain Mandra explained.

„I agree. The problem is, that I need to sell Operations in Pochven and the State to the President. Which leads us to the question, how all of this connects to the EoM and the events of 122 and 123.“

„Mam.“, the other Sergeant said. „It is a bold assumption. But what if the EoM did not exist? Or, to be more precise, what if that part of the EoM, that was responsible for the incidents, never existed? What if it was a small group of individuals, that was forced into these actions and later got the label EoM attached to them?“

„That is some shrewd thinking, Sergeant.“, the Colonel replied. „Or some really crazy one. Well, maybe I can make something out of it. Give me all information about that DCMI employee as you can get your hand on within the next week. Then I go to the President and see, whether she allows us to proceed.“


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