“Thanks to Suha, I’ve been able to gather a number of Gurista crews to help the Legion out with our raid. The Legionnaires are … they’re not very comfortable with working with the Gurista, but, well, if we are to live in Venal, we gotta change that anyway, and this is a great opportunity to do so. I don’t blame my men for their feelings of … caution, I guess, towards the Gurista. After all, they’d been raised to think of the Gurista as the bogeymen. That has to change. And it will, once this op concludes successfully and our people are brought back safely.”
-Duke Shasta Ardeind.
03 February 2021
Unidentified deadspace complex in Itamo
“Sir, I have to say, I don’t trust these Gurista,” one Legion company commander protested to his duke. Shasta, his senior staff, and the commanders of the companies assigned to the operation were walking down a hallway in a bunker erected by Legion engineers in the deadspace complex. “They’re just bloodthirsty pirates! Out for a payday … if Kyvon finds out we hired them, and decided to pay them a larger sum to turn on us … won’t they just turn on us?”
“No, Captain. Not if we show these Gurista that we’re on their side,” Shasta replied, continuing forward. “We can, and we will, show them that it would be beneficial if we work together. They have muscle that we need, and we have … how would you say it … certain economic and financial knowledge that would greatly benefit the economy of Venal.”
“But, sir … ,” the captain continued.
“Look, Captain. I trust the duke’s judgment. I hope you do too,” Praetor Darim said to the young officer. “And let me put it this way. The Gurista captains don’t know us that well, if at all. They have the same doubts as you. Our hope is that this op will go down successfully, and dispel any and all doubts that either group has. That way, we can work with the Gurista in the future, without having to second guess each other.”
“Captain, I understand your concerns, and they are duly noted. That said, I trust that the Gurista, though a bit … coarse considered with the Amarr that we normally work with, are people with integrity and honor. They still have moral values. They’re not like the Sansha or the Blood Raiders!” Shasta said. “I know that you distrust them, and I bet nothing I have said or can say will dissuade you from that train of thought, but at least wait until this operation is concluded. Watch how they work. If you still have questions and concerns after the conclusion of the operation, bring them to my attention then. Hell, I’ll even see if I can set up some meetings between you and some of the Gurista, just to see if y’all can … find some common ground.”
“I … I understand, sir. And thank you,” the captain replied. “But some of the other Legionnaires also have been bitching about this in the cantina.”
“Ok. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Can I have their names?” Shasta said. When the captain hesitated, Shasta quickly added, “No disciplinary action or any of that. I just want to be able to sit them down for a talk, hear them out. Find out their concerns, and see if I can dispel them.”
“Err … okay, sir. I don’t have the list right now, but I can give it to you after this meeting,” the captain replied.
“Alright,” Shasta replied. “You guys, any concerns? No? None? … Okay then.” The group turned and walked through the door to a large, empty conference room.
A few hours later, the Gurista captains began filing into the room. There were a total of thirty six captains, representing a dozen different outposts with a combined twenty nine frigates and seven cruisers.
“Thank you all for coming out today. I know that you all try to keep a low profile, so I can assure you that this complex is as safe as my Legionnaires could make it,” Shasta began, standing at a lectern in the front of the room. He watched the Guristas take their seats before continuing. “I’m here to present a business opportunity. Recently, some enemies of mine kidnapped a number of my supporters. We’ve tracked the kidnappers to a small deadspace facility in Jakanerva, five jumps from this location. I have asked you here to help us raid this facility. I am willing to pay well for your services, but before we get into the discussion of payment, Praetor Darim here will brief you on the layout and defenses of the facility. Praetor?”
“Thank you, Shasta,” Najir replied, taking the lectern. “The Legion was able to slip a Magnate-class survey ship into the target location a week ago. The Legion intelligence officers on the Magnate used the array of survey equipment on board the frigate to create a … rather accurate … at least according to our analysts, picture of the layout of the complex and the defenses that the facility boasts. There are four asteroid colonies, with a few dozen asteroids forming a ring around the colonies.” A holo of the facility popped up in front of the lectern. “As you can all see, the four asteroid colonies form a square. The arms facility is in the center of the facility. There are twelve hundred workers employed in the facility. They are … well, I believe the term is “wage slaves”. They’re neutrals. There are also four or five hundred enemy soldiers, with a squad of ten or twenty warclones in command. Then there are about a hundred hostages, who are not to be harmed under ANY circumstance.”
“I know that two of you captains also command a small force of troops in addition to your standard crew. I’ll need each of you to divide your forces and land half of your force at each asteroid colony. The colonies each have only about 20 to 30 hostiles, but there will also be a few hundred neutrals in each location. At last count, there were two to four hundred workers in each colony. The Legion has three companies assigned to this operation. Each company will be embarked on a dropship. The dropships will land at the arms factory, and the Legionnaires will be responsible for securing the facility. Now, I bet all you captains are now wondering - what am I supposed to do? Well, the facility is defended by two dozen frigates and cruisers. Mostly Merlins, Kestrels, and Caracals, but a few Punishers are also in the defense fleet. YOUR job will be to keep the defense fleet away from the dropships. The dropships are only lightly armed. They can only BARELY defend themselves from drones, and lightly armed frigates. They CANNOT defend against the frigates in the defense fleet. If the landing is to succeed, the defense fleet MUST be eliminated, and that mission will fall to you. The operation will commence at 0700 hours in two days. I’m not up to speed on how you Gurista move between systems, and I leave your logistics to you, but I MUST stress that you CANNOT be detected by the State Navy or Customs. We will assemble at these coordinates,” Najir continued, as a pair of aides circled the room, handing out datacards. “There is a small facility there. We’ll have our final pre-op preps at 0650. At 0700, you captains will warp your vessels to the target location. The facility is NOT gated, so you will land in the facility. Immediately, begin drawing the defense fleet away from the arms facility and warp in point. Five minutes after the fleet begins warp, so at 0705, the dropships will enter warp and enter the facility. They will immediately attach themselves to the arms factory and the Legionnaires will begin boarding. We hope to conclude the op by 0800 hours. The duke has some … friends who will keep the State Navy from reacting until we are long gone.”
“What type of friends?” a Gurista frigate captain spoke up.
“Err … ,” Praetor Darim hesitated.
“Unfortunately, I cannot tell you this, as it is somewhat confidential. However, it will be a major distraction, and trust me when I say the State Navy will have its hands full,” Shasta added, moving to take the lectern. “Now, for payment. I know that all of you would want to be paid upfront, so the Legion is offering 1.5 million script to each and every vessel involved in this operation. We will add an additional 500,000 script to the payout upon the successful completion of the operation. The Legion will also pay ½ million script to the families of each and every Gurista who dies during this op, as well as the medical bills for any wounded Gurista. Any and all loot that we find at the target location will also be yours. I hope this would be an acceptable pay for all of you?” Shasta asked. The Gurista captains all nodded. “Thank you all for coming today. We hope that this will be the beginning of a great partnership between the Legion and the Guristas. Thank you! Thank you!” The Legionnaires began to file out of the room.
“Well, he seems to be better than some of the other people we’ve worked for,” one Gurista commented as they left the room.
“Yeah! That’s exactly what I was thinking,” another captain commented. “Hell, if this op goes well, I’d be willing to work again for him!”
“Hey, man,” a Legionnaire said, walking into the rec room in the bunker. There was a young Gurista member sitting at one of the card tables with his feet propped up, reading a magazine.
“Hey,” the Gurista said, not looking up. The Legionnaire walked over and stood behind the Gurista private.
“Whatcha reading?” the Legionnaire said. “Hmm … Bad Bunny? What’s this?”
“Magazine from the … ,” the private began.
“A porno mag? Who are these people?” the Legionnaire commented.
“Suha Raibuya and Avio Yaken,” the private replied. “Suha’s a guru who’s been raising awareness about the Gurista’s ideals and boosting Venal’s economy, and Avio is a capsuleer who’s also been working to boost the economy of Venal.”
“Ahh … let me see that!” The Legionnaire snatched the mag from the Gurista and began flipping through it. “Damn! This is neat! At least 10x better than the crap I’ve been finding in pirate wrecks. How can I get a copy?”
“Errr … The Venal Prosperity Network is selling subscriptions. You sign up, and they’ll send a copy of each edition to you,” the Gurista started.
“Up in Venal? Hell yeah, I gotta tell the Legion garrison in 6NJ to sign me up for one! Mind if I borrow this? I gotta show my buddies!”
“Umm … umm … ,”
“Thanks!” the Legionnaire said, running out of the room.
“Hey! Come back here! Oh, damnit! I haven’t finished yet!”