Opportunity Knocks

Adventurine Awaits - Nightcafe

Implacable dark had her and nothing more; until this moment. A cool rush of knowing from nowhere. A heartbeat, then the pain of waking life, if not yet breath.

Geana wretched the ectoplasm from her lungs as she lurched to a seated position without hindrance of canopy. This is not right, this process was nothing like any of the pods she had emerged from before.

“Take your time. There is no rush.” A woman’s voice, not unpleasant but with an underlying tone of boredom.

“Who are you?” She asked with vocal chords and muscles that had evidently not been in use for some time.

“An opportunity.” Came the reply. “You may call me Adventurine, Snowflake does.”

It clicked into place. This was the Gallente elite that somehow denied her right to reclaim her own jump-clones. The pang of rage towards her was short-lived, yesterdays ectoplasm, thinking of which the stuff she was sat in was rank with poorly reprocessed proteins and acids, she felt suddenly and irrationally ashamed.

“How did you find me?” She asked asked before she recalled her previous waking moments. “That ■■■■■!” she exclaimed as she recalled her fade to black at the navcon with Winter in the back. “Winter, not you.” she explained after a breath.

Adventurine head tilted towards a previously unseen intelligence uniformed figure in the shadowy far corner.

“Winter believes she is getting into the good Graces of the MegaCorps, as she should be.”

This answer raised more questions than her fast paced mind cared to articulate.

She settled for, “Why, did you find me?”

“Oh, just to administer your injector.” She gestured to an empty skill injector vial laying neatly on the antique pod coffin Geana remained in. “Must not let all that valuable education go to waste now must we.”
Advenutine leans forward conspiratorially, “I miss playing with my favourite.”

Geana must have confessed her confusion on her face. “Did you know that River purchased every available social training algorithm available for Snowflake to swim at the highest circles to ensure her safety from you?” Adventurine waited fro a response from Geana, but none was forthcoming.

“Then when I had you at the cusp of catastrophe, she did the most extraordinary thing, she invited you into her family fold, putting you under the protection of our agreement. I am rarely taken by surprise, but that was unexpected.” She seemed oddly pleased by that.

“What do you want from me?” Geana growled.

“From you? Nothing dear.” Adventurine rose gracefully from her seat on the coffin.

Blind rage returned in a rush as Adventurine turned her back on her to leave. Geana made to lurch from her confinement, snag a wrist or something, but in that moment the figure in the corner stepped into the light, eyes glinting hard, mouth a mean minus demanding her attention… and silence. Navy Commander Ortagan, in the wrong uniform. Total fatigue, she slumped back into her slim bath.

Backhanded Promotion

The room was cluttered with obsolete tech. Clearly this was a dimly lit repository of artefacts that no longer had research value to the owner yet did not want to release into the hands of competitors. Surprising then that security had been so light as to be none-existent. The crystal-plex glass slide aside at the wave of her hand.

Geana was propped up in a Caldari coffin seemingly unconscious. As she approached she noticed that someone had taken care to make sure she would not slip back into the fetid plasma goo she was sitting in.

She pulled the short hair that was plastered onto her face away from her eyes and and stroked her hair back, stimulating scalp simultaneously. Geana stirred in emergence from the soft reboot. “Snowflake?” She asked as she peered past groggily looking for someone else.

"Adventurine informed me of your status and location, I’m sorry, I have been far too lax with Winter. Here, let’s get to the comfort of our quarters.

A brief uneventful transit to Snowflake’s couch later Geana batted away her tentative ministrations. Much stronger in spirit than he had been minutes ago.

“Relax” Snowflake instructed, before pausing to acknowledge the incoming communication blinking in her sensory net periphery. She sighed before reporting the news to to Geana. “I’m sorry Geana, I need to attend to the situation River finds herself incapable of handling.” She turned to leave initiating the preparations required to activate the only battleship available to her service.

“Snowflake,” Geana forestalled her departure with a question. “What does she want from you, Adeventurine, what is her game?”

She looked back over her shoulder to gauge Geana reaction to her consider response. “It’s The Great Game, Geana; empire building and we are but a pawn promoted in a battle I fear is beyond my comprehension.” Geana’s expression of consternation and concern was both reassuring and worrying. “Take your time to recuperate, we’ve got this.” she said reassuringly as she left the Orders foremost warrior behind.

Mother of Dog

She had been back in her own quarters, her over-worn body was sonic scrubbed and somewhat restored when the Navcom bleeped. She had opened the cryptlock to discover the details of the mess River and Snowflake had made of the simple transport of a operative of interest to the Federation.

Snowflake was Ill equipped to hold off the wall of battleships preventing the transfer with her Praxis. So here she was in Broadside a Hyperion battleship with the punch to put this encounter with high reputation stakes to rest.

The last of the commando team of Raven class battleships melted under her plasma fire and River was free to complete her courier mission. Snowflake had already retreated her Praxis to dock to afford extensive repairs.

River had already jumped gate by the time Broadside rolled into dock. If she was quick she might get some more answers from Snowflake. Fortunately she was waiting for her as she entered the plaza.

“We need to talk. This is not the place.”

“Yes, Although I can not wait to express my gratitude for the help just now.”

“This was nothing, it is what I do, it is what I am trained to do. You may as well thank me for breathing.”

“I do, I thank you for the life in your soul.” Snowflake gestured a suggested course. “Let’s walk and talk.” She accepted and joined walked abreast taking her cues for destination from Snowflake. “I’m sure you have many questions.”

“I thought you were full of ■■■■ in your GalNet post claiming that the blue bloods fund Federal Intelligence. Turns out it was me who was wrong. How much control does she have over you?”

“All and none.” Typical evasive Snowflake. "That is, no more control than her family has over the rest of the Federation.

“Is she using me against you? Why did she find me? I don’t buy her cover about injecting skill points.”

“Did she do that?” a nod in the affirmative was all the answer Snowflake needed. “It makes sense when you know that the meta-materials in the skill-point injector vials chain everybody to the databases Phi-Oh constantly monitors. Our spines auric field transmits our vitals anyway, but the nanotech piggybacks on that signal for higher order body-area-networking.”

“What the ■■■■?”

“It not hidden, yet it’s not advertised either. The matrix has us all.”


Snowflake waited for Geana’s expression to morph from incredulity to anything else.

“No you idiot,” she said instead. "I mean, what-the-■■■■, I’m a Phi-Oh ■■■■■■■ subcontractor, why are you dishing out old news like it’s a bloody end-times revelation?
Phi-Oh datacentre’s whole bit is to predict behaviour and events before they happen. ■■■■, even the contract assassins get a victims eye view of the hits they successfully claim. The meta-materials and bio-sensors Phi-Oh tracks and crunches are humanity wide, even The friggin’ Trigs have them. They are probably older than the bloody Jove. Have you lost your ever loving mind Snowflake? What’s your deal?

She inhaled deeply, deliberately and not at all sharply. “Simply taking you step-by-step through your understanding of reality to make sure we a both on the same page. You are right to question my grip on reality, as I am yours considering your recent experiences.”

“What are you getting at?” Geana growled darkly.

“Your nightmares Geana, those you lived and experienced while induced to coma in the wet-grave. I share them, I live an echo of them every time I enter a pod. I recently realise that I’ve shared this grim phycometery with you a long time, perhaps from the start.” She searched Geana’s face for flicker, a hint of emotion, any sign or indication of just how she continued to function as a formidable weapon in the Federation’s arsenal while carrying the burden of horror they seemed to share. There was no hint at any level that she wished to share.

“There is a deeper mystery here, a soul level puzzle that defies measurement and or comprehension that I need to get to grips with. I’m asking; I’m begging you for your help.”

“Why me, why not go to River with this?”

“I did, it felt, wrong.” A pause for thought. “You are the source the beginning, the cause. Your story is in the main is yet to be told. If I am to understand my place, our place” she gestured generally, “in the universe we need to fully grasp yours. Will you, would you help me?”

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