A Brief Respite
It had happened. Huola was rightfully restored to Amarr rule. It would be hard to count the cost, but anything that had happened was already done, so what would the counting gain? Canaith would let the living worry about yesterday. He would focus on today.
But as he powered up his systems, he realized that for the first time in weeks he did not know what to do. Seraghis had announced that the Alliance’s objectives were to help stabilize the back lines and to rest, but his drive needed an outlet. He needed a purpose. He was not tired.
He interacted with his display to send his Capsule into a Slicer frigate from his personal hanger, but what he saw when the ship undocked was the strangest thing. Huola was quiet. The system was nearly empty, devoid of gate camps, and without Minmatar attempting to hold the line. Local governments had changed hands and stations who had sworn loyalty to the Minmatar Militia yesterday were denying them access today. From the vantage point of his Capsule, the change of loyalties was a silly abstraction. It looked like someone had just flipped a switch and all the banners had changed.
There were reports of celebrations across the system. Canaith did not trust the reports, though, and would be suspicious of the celebrations even if the reports were true. The various ministries would have undoubtedly begun their campaigns to undo the damage that had been done by years of Minmatar lies. Some of the conversions would be shallow. Canaith hoped that some, however, would come to see the deeper truth, at least before the government of Huola changed hands again someday.
He docked his ship, the Lonely Spirit, minutes after undocking it. Huola had no need of him today. Then he remembered that he had been paid a great deal of Militia currency, called Loyalty Points, for his actions in the Siege. Today’s mission, then, would be working out ways to convert that currency into money and ships. He notified Meara of the plan, and they both went to work
Medley Moonbeam, called Moonbeam by her friends, was in transit via a shuttle pod to a Victorieux Luxury Yacht named Eternal Wind. Several months ago, Moonbeam had managed the ship’s construction at the request of Canaith Lydian as a gift for Meara Natinde. Moonbeam had been surprised at the request because this was no small gift. The Victoriex’s were usually pricey toys for the rich and famous, but what Moonbeam had heard was that Canaith had given it to Meara to ferry blueprints from the trade hub in Amarr to the more prosperous hub in the Jita star system. On Meara’s last visit, Moonbeam had inquired to find out if this was true. To the question, Meara had simply said “He wants me to safely ferry the blueprints to Jita the fast way.”
By “the fast way,” Meara had meant the 11-jump route that dipped into a low security system named Ahbazon, the gates of which were frequently camped by Capsuleer pirates. The “slow way” was a safer, 45-jump route. Meara had confirmed that the gates in Ahbazon had been camped on all but one of her several trips. Just hearing Meara talk about it had made Moonbeam dizzy.
Moonbeam was an oddity among Capsuleers because she almost never travelled in space. When Canaith and her first met, he had asked her why. Her answer was simply “I died once and did not like it. I do not want to do it again.” Something in that answer had struck a chord with Canaith, and he had used her as his Jita Financial Agent ever since.
A steward assisting on Eternal Wind’s shuttle pod pressed a button and politely suggested that Meara look out the Port-side windows that sliding panels revealed. She was impressed to see real windows instead of digital displays, and then gazed through them in the direction the steward had indicated. What she saw was an oddly beautiful cruiser a bit over 500 meters long. Compared to the monstrous freighters that frequented the station, the Eternal Wind was quite small, but everything about it was sleek and beautiful. Every inch of it gleamed and said, “I’m expensive.”
The shuttle pod glided along a gentle slope, attaching itself to an airlock just in front of a clear dome that revealed an oval Prominade beneath it. There was no jolt or discomfort. Everything glided gracefully and softly clicked, then a door opened immediately thereafter. A pair of stewards led Moonbeam into the Prominade where Meara and several crew members awaited her.
"Dear Friend,” Meara said, bowing slightly, “I am so glad you finally get to see this wonderful ship you made for me. Please let me show you around.”
Moonbeam’s jaw dropped as her eyes took in the Prominade. This was like no ship she had ever seen. This ship was obviously made for expensive recreation, and to Moonbeam’s surprise, it was full of people.
“Who are all these, um…?” Moonbeam managed to stutter, motioning the crowd with her arms.
Meara smiled. “These are some of the crew members and their families from our ships stationed in Domain.”
“Ours?” Moonbeam’s face showed curiosity. “You mean…”
“…Canaith’s and mine.” Meara interrupted. “We keep several vessels in Amarr, Ziona, and Shuria. Whenever I am making a Jita run, I send invitations to our operation managers. They reward some of the crew with what I guess you could call an all-expense paid luxury daytrip to Jita.” Meara chucked.
As they walked about the ship, Meara pointed, laughed, introduced, and entertained Moonbeam for the next hour or so, taking her to each new feature of the Eternal Wind and showing it off like a proud parent. They finally made it to Meara’s personal suite, which was adjacent to a smart-looking entry point to her Capsule. A large bath with real running water waited by the Capsule’s entrance port.
When Moonbeam gaped, Meara giggled. “It is my fancy pod goo removal system. I confess that I soaked there for much of the trip from Amarr.”
“Wait,” Moonbeam said, taking it all in, “You do not fly the ship from your pod?”
“No reason,” Meara answered with a broad smile. “The crew responds to my orders from here or from the bridge. Any interfacing I need does not require the pod. I mean, this is not a combat ship. It just flies.”
“But the gate camps…”
“I coordinate the engagement of the cloaking device and warp drive. Other than that, the crew is fine on their own. Escaping the pirates is the most popular event of the entire trip for our guests, or so I am told, though Canaith says I may just be hearing what people want me to hear. He may be right, though there seems no shortage of people who want to come along.”
Moonbeam considered what she knew about Canaith. Everything she had seen and heard today was not what she’d expected.
“That look,” Meara mused. “What are you thinking?”
“This is not what I expected from the reclusive Canaith Lydian, Meara.”
Meara bit her lower lip and looked at the ground. The pose almost made Moonbeam laugh out loud, but she controlled herself.
“Well,” came almost a child-like stammer from Meara, “Truthfully, I run most of the details of the business side of things. Holidays for our crews are my idea.”
“And this ship, does he ever fly it?”
“Oh, no… never!” Meara burst out, laughing. “Aboard this ship, our dear Canaith would vibrate out of his chair. It’s too…”
“Too fun?” offered Moonbeam.
“We will just say that it is not his style.”