The Rats

13 May YC124
Jekhti Taht complex - Tower One, Dam Vishen Central District


Pitarion Fagar was the first out of the lift.

“Good morning, Mr. Fagar,” a tall, slender man in business attire said, pointing to a corridor with a folder. “The duke is expecting you. This way, please.”

Fagar nodded and headed for the crowded corridor, tapping a few keys on his datapad to bring up the most recent economic report. He skimmed through the report, though he had already committed the key details to memory. Never hurts to be prepared, he thought to himself. Be prepared for anything.

“Whoa!” A man shouted as Fagar bowled him over. Papers flew everywhere and a woman cursed as a stain spread on her blouse. She quickly bent over to right the overturned Starsi can and shoved fallen papers away from the growing puddle. The Deteis scrambled to his feet and shoved Fagar into the wall.

“Hey! What the ■■■■! You got no eyes, man?” The Deteis swore loudly and shoved Fagar into the wall again.

“Get your ■■■■■■■ hands off me!” Fagar shouted, struggling helplessly. “■■■■ you!”

“Hey, hey, hey,” Fagar’s suited shadow forced himself between the seething men. “Break it up!”

“Not my fault you popped out of nowhere!” Fagar shouted as the Deteis was shoved back by the shadow.

“Not your fault?! ■■■■, are you stupid?!” The Deteis responded by trying to break away from the shadow. The shadow, who had been whispering into a wrist mic, immediately shifted himself in front of the Deteis and shouted, “Get back!”

“You’re the dumbass, popping out of ■■■■■■■ nowhere. Course you got hit. Stupid ■■■■■■■■■■■■!” Fagar taunted, enraging the Deteis. A second suited man ran up and wrapped the Deteis in a bear hug and carried him back towards his office.

“Stop fighting! Stop! Now!” The shadow cried as the Deteis shouted obscenities and tried to break free of his captor’s grip.

“Serves you right, stupid ■■■■. Old ass ■■■■■■ …,” Fagar muttered.

The shadow turned immediately. “Hey, you shut up. Both of y’all, shut up!” A third suited guard ran up and began guiding Fagar down the hallway as the shadow pointed to both belligerents and continued, “Keep this up, you’re both getting disorderlys!”

Fagar raised his hands as the suit behind him shoved him forward. “Okay, ok! I’m going!” He said, bending down to pick up his datapad before muttering under his breath. “■■■■■■■ stupid ass ■■■■! Idiot ■■■■■■■■■■■■! Walked straight into me! ■■■■!”

“Alright, we’re done. We’re done,” the guard said, keeping her hand on Fagar’s back. “You need some time? The duke’s waiting.”

Fagar steeled himself. No. No reason to make him suspicious. “I’m good. Let’s go.” The guard nodded, strode towards the ornate wooden door, and knocked twice. She turned and waved Fagar in as the door opened.

Shasta rose from behind his ornate desk and beckoned for Fagar to enter. “Hey, Pit,” he said. “How are you today?”

Fagar forced the last of his rage down and smiled. “I’ve been good. Little dispute in the hall, but we’re all good.”

“That’s good, that’s good. Please, have a seat,” Shasta said, moving some papers. “So, how are our convoys to Eugales doing?”

“They’re good, sir,” Pit said, sitting down. “Not a single attack in the last week. We have two transports headed out tomorrow, both carrying bulk minerals.”

“Good, good,” the duke’s gaze turned stern. “I have a problem, though. You see, there WERE incidents last week.”

Fagar cocked his head. “We didn’t get any reports, sir.”

“No, you didn’t, because the attacks never happened,” Shasta said, hitting a buzzer under his desk. “You see, the Legion raided the headquarters of a pirate gang named the Flames of Pegeler two days ago. They found detailed plans for ambushes against two transports. Fortunately, the intel recovered at the Flames’ complex allowed us to pinpoint the location of the ambush squadron. We turned it over to the UNF, who were able to intercept and destroy the pirates before they could attack.”

Simultaneously, both the ornate wooden door leading to the reception area and the plain steel side door slammed open. Stern faced men and women in suits marched in.

“You see, Pit, since the beginning, I’ve suspected the presence of a mole. The ambushes were too elaborate, their intel too good.” Shasta said as a petite blonde woman entered through the ornate doors. He waved the woman in.

“Morning, Cami,” he said. Camishan Augukjoo nodded and sat on the couch by the window.

Fagar frowned. “Why’s she here?”

“She’s been a vital member of your team, hasn’t she? Helping plan transport routes?” Shasta asked, smiling.

Fagar shook his head vehemently. “Yes, she’s one of my route planners, but she’s USELESS! Doesn’t respond to instructions, always running off … this ■■■■■ has been causing delay after delay after delay,” he vented, jabbing a finger at Camishan as she reclined on the couch and smirked.

Shasta chuckled at the outburst. “I’m sure Cami has things to say about you too, but that’s beyond the point. She’s here because the leaked transport schedules were all reviewed or compiled by her.”

“So she’s a ■■■■■■■ spy, too - ,” Fagar started.

Camishan laughed loudly. “A spy? Me?” She looked at a suit standing next to her. “Took this fat tool long enough.”

A smile briefly cracked the bearded man’s iron facade before he reset his expression. Shasta rose to his feet. “Yes, Fagar, Cami is a spy. She’s one of my best,” he said before turning to the bearded man. “Good work training her, Robur.”

Robur inclined his head as Cami stood up and flashed a holographic ID at Fagar. “MISOD,” she said simply.

“Did you think I was stupid enough to not have counterintelligence personnel embedded in your subdepartment, Pit? One tasked with such a vital economic initiative?” Shasta said, coming around the table. “She’s not the only one, either, but her role was the most important. You see, not every schedule that crossed your desk was accurate.”

Fagar rose angrily, but Shasta pushed him back. “I ordered the creation and release of false schedules as soon as I suspected there was a mole. Legion units were tasked with surveilling the “refueling complexes” in the fake schedules and reporting which ones were visited by pirates.”

“Only the complexes listed in the schedules sent to one supervisor were consistently hit,” Robur interjected. “That supervisor was you, Mr. Fagar.”

“I confided in you, Pit. I told you how much the deal with the UNF mattered. You knew I had confidence in you! I trusted you, you bastard!” Shasta screamed into the stocky Gallente’s face. “Why?! You know how many people you killed?! For what? What’d they pay?? What was the price to betray me? To betray the dozens that you doomed?!?”

“Screw them! Screw them, and screw you! This place is worthless - YOUR ambition dragged US away from OUR homes! I was planning schedules for [insert company] for decades until you started that stupid feud of yours and got me fired,” Fagar spat back, his every word laced with venom. “Same for everyone on this hellhole that you care about so much. Trying to create a prosperous world and everything. ■■■■■■■■. We prospered until you came in. Now we struggle for everything. We’re living in fear of pirate raids, goddamnit! Beholden to warclones! Military full of convicts!”

“So you threw them to the wolves? Over five hundred people died! You … you callous bastard!” Shasta screamed. “For what? A personal crusade?! You could’ve talked to me!”

“Alright, boss. Alright,” Praetor Darim said, crossing the room to separate the furious duke from the target of his wrath. Darim gestured to the suits crowding the office. “Take him.”

“Talk to you?! It’s like talking to a ■■■■■■■ hat - it bounces right off.” Fagar continued shouting as a pair of burly Amarrians wrestled him to the ground and cuffed him. “Open mind my ass! You want a decision, you’ll make that decision, even if we hate it! All that matters is your ego. Always ■■■■■■■ right … always the best. You’ve killed more of your own people than I could ever! Just look at the Wall!”

Shasta shouted back, “Every name under those stars is a hero! Giving their lives to better this land!” He jabbed a finger over Praetor Darin’s shoulder as the veteran pushed him back towards the filing cabinets along the wall.

“Better this land?! Better your wallet! None of them would have died without you! You … ,” Fagar was cut off as a guard clamped her hand over the mole’s mouth.

“Alright, boss,” the praetor said, seeing Shasta open his mouth for another tirade. “Leave it. He’s not worth it.”

Shasta forced his mouth closed and watched as three Legionnaires half dragged, half frogmarched the struggling Gallente out the main door. Robur, Camishan, and Lieutenant Jaser Sallahi, the Legionnaire supervisor, gave Shasta a nod before following, leaving only Shasta, the praetor, and a Legionnaire standing guard at each door.

“You want to chat?” Darim asked, patting Shasta’s shoulder.

Shasta shook his hand as he shrugged free of Darin’s grip. “Not now, thank you.”

“Yes, sir. Well, you know where to find me,” he said, stepping back. He nodded, spun on his heel and strode out. Shasta collapsed into his ornate armchair as the two Legionnaires stepped out, silently closing the doors behind them. Shasta slammed his fist into his desk, dropped his head into the crook of his other elbow, and let the tears flow.

Meanwhile, in the Rowdy Town Bar and Grille in Dam Vishen's Residential District 2

Aka Johasaari handed the rag he had been using to wipe down the bar to a youthful brunette bartender and walked to his office in the back of the eatery. He grabbed a bag that had been sitting on his office chair before exiting, swinging by the hidden room in the side of the eatery to check on the secret pleasure hub before walking out the door. He strode down half a block, humming a jaunty tune as he walked.

He turned right and pushed a gate open to enter a little yard. He followed a small, meandering asphalt path to the front door of the small two story house, ignoring the beautiful flowers and neatly cut grass that bordered the winding path. Fishing his keys out of his pocket, Aka unlocked the door to his home and entered. He locked the door behind him and threw the keys onto his kitchen table before proceeding to his study in the back of the house. He set his bag on the floor next to the door before going into the adjacent bedroom, crossing to what appeared to be a blank wall and tapping it in a strange pattern. Suddenly, a faint click could be heard, and a panel of the wall seemed to swing inward. Aka strode over and pushed the panel, exposing a secret room behind the fake wall. He slipped in, closing the door behind him, and walked to the desk centered against the far wall and sitting down. He turned on the computer on the table and activated a holocamera. Seconds later, he was connected to a holocall.

“Brother!” Aka said joyfully at the other individual on the line. “It’s good to see you!”

“I can say the same for you, Aka,” Botu Akatti replied. “How is your operation going?”

“Unfortunately, our operative in the Duchy’s Ministry of Trade and Commerce has been apprehended.”

“Yes, I know. And the Flames’ new leader is … not as cooperative as Spiden was. It appears that they’ve scrapped our deal and are now working as privateers against the FRoRV,” Botu replied. “I have much work to do to rectify this situation. Are you exposed?”

“No, brother. I haven’t had contact with Fagar in a while, and none of the other members of the network have been in contact with the bandits. We’re still intact.”

“That is good.”

“How is your initiative going?”

“We hit an Archavoinet shanty town last night - a collection of asteroid colonies, really. Made off with a large stock of veldspar. It appears that the Dark Wolf Legion attacked it before to try and get information on the Flames, so we decided to masquerade as the Legion for our attack.”


“Killed most of the fighting age men and women, made off with the remaining adults and older adolescents.”

“And the kids?”

“Went in for a second sweep, this time without the disguises. Brought the kids to a different facility. They’re getting indoctrinated about the evils of the rogue Amarrian regime now. Shouldn’t be too hard. In a few years, you’ll have some more agents.”

“Good.” Aka smiled. Ideology would be such a potent tool. Better than the money that I’m relying on now. Greed is such a fickle thing. Suddenly, an alarm trilled from Aka’s computer. He pulled up the feed from his security system as his brother continued.

“Auctioning is set to start tomorrow. I’ve reserved some of the captives I think are the most valuable, and those that don’t sell well will either be sold to the Cartel as slaves, or I’ll keep them. Haven’t decided yet, but I - ,” Botu said until his brother cut him off.

“Sorry, man, but I gotta go. Got a meeting to get to. New recruit,” Aka said, smiling slightly before cutting the feed. He watched as a young Brutor woman got out of a white hovercar parked in front of his front gate and entered the yard before getting up and exiting the room. He carefully closed the door using a magnet hidden under his bed before walking into the living room just as the door opened.

“How was your day, honey?” Aka asked as the Brutor entered, putting her bag on the table next to his keys.

“It was good. Helped fix some technical issues. Not much,” the woman replied, leaning in for a kiss. “You?”

“Business was good,” Aka replied as he began unbuttoning his lover’s blouse. As she knelt down to begin undoing his pants, Aka could see part of her government ID in her bag.

AGE: 21

Aka smiled as Tali continued to undo his pants. Later, he would slip bugs into the bag, to gather information on the MIO’s Special Investigative Unit, or SIU, where she was assigned. Fagar’s apprehension was only a minor setback. His job had long been finished. Now it was time for the virus to spread. Now, the flow of information would truly begin.


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