OK, this is it! Whilst there is one more chapter left in this series, that one covers the aftermath of what happened when someone took down the capsuleer and how the decisions they make afterwards affected the outcome. I think there are three probable outcomes so have three alternate endings already written to post next week. However, this is Eve Online and when people try to guess what players will actually do, tits tend to get upwardly inclined. Oh well, we'll see I suppose. Best of luck to those who are coming to kill the capsuleer and may the loot fairy smile on you! - Drackarn
"Inspector, this is Senior Analyst Yan from deck 42."
"Yes Yan. Thank you for calling. What have you got?"
"Well sir, we've had a few pings from the target vessel. When it has warped, the capsuleer has had to activate his NeoCom for a few seconds. But nothing long enough to get an exact trace. We think he's in the Black Rise region but cannot be sure for certain. He's not passed through any regional gates lately. Hell, in fact we're not sure he's passed through any stargate at all in the last few weeks."
"Keep looking. He's out there somewhere."
"Yes sir, we've still got a lot more data to wade through. We'll keep you informed."
The Agent's cloaked shuttle warped towards the stargate, the sole pilot was half concentrating on flying the small ship and half on a monitor showing a live feed from a covert camera hidden in Inspector Avi's office. He knew his time was limited. The Navy Police were slow at connecting the dots, but they had the system finally. In minutes the law enforcement authorities would start heading this way in force to support the capsuleer's. He'd had a head start. His ship had been cloaked off the station at Jita 4-4 as the police made the discovery. He'd warped off instantly heading to the hi-sec border system of Nourvakiken and then jumping into the unsafe low-sec space of Tama. From there it was a handful of jumps to the target system. But this was pirate space. Snuffbox, Shadows of the Federation, Mentally Unstable Enterprises, Red Squad the list went on of capsuleer corporations that were known to attack neutral ships. As well as those pirates there was a war raging here. The State Protectorate battled the Federation Defence Union for control of these systems as well as numerous capsuleer corporation aligned with one side or the other. Whilst he was aligned to neither side, he could be still seen as a potential spy and attacked. Not that the capsuleers in these parts need a reason to attack, other than they could.
A few jumps later and he was in the heart of pirate space and one jump from his destination. He looked at the pilots visible on the local network, the vast majority were classified as outlaws by CONCORD. The massive stargate loomed in front of him as he approached the final jump.
"Capsuleers." he thought "Surely they'll take the money and to hell with what happens to the suspect!"
He activated his database and scrolled through a list of identities. "Dunraven! I haven't used him since the Villore incident." he thought. He entered a passcode as he got within 2500 metres of the stargate.
The shuttle vanished into the artificial wormhole created by the stargate in a flash of brilliant light. But the Agent did not appear on the other side, a capsuleer named 'Dunraven' appeared on the local network. The shuttle decloaked and warped to the bottom station.
Marcus lay on his bunk smiling. His date was arranged for tomorrow. They'd get something to eat late afternoon and then take the shuttle back to the Drake when it made it's return supply run. He was hoping that this one was going to be the best one yet. It had the potential.
This was an unusually long stay on the station for him at 72 hours. A mechanical breakdown had occurred on the Drake. Nothing too serious but the part needed to be replaced. The workshop on the station didn't have the part in stock but one could be brought over from Jita. Therefore the Capsuleer had decided Marcus should stay on the station and come back when the shuttle returned to the station to collect the part.
The first night on the hunt was a bust. The stations in this backwater system had slim pickings in terms of attractive potential female victims. Marcus supposed he shouldn't be surprised. He was in a dead-end system in the middle of a warzone. The system was crawling with Federation Navy outposts and capsuleers from both sides engaged here. He longed for a return to Jita. That station had an inexhaustible supply of potential victims. Beautiful, slender women looking to make themselves rich by seducing a capsuleer in anyway they could. But here, here he had limited options.
Then last night it had all turned around. He'd spotted her sat at the bar when he entered. Provocatively dressed and showing far too much flesh. Her golden hair tumbled down her slender back over the short lace dress. As he approached he could see her skin was smooth and flawless. A true beauty. Then, as he stood alongside her he noticed things that didn't quite fit. Her eyes were an amazing pale blue, but they showed innocence, not experience. The heavy make-up was over-done and tried to hide her true age. When she struck up a conversation with him she had said that she was 22, he was sure it was much less than that. 17 he guessed, may be even younger. A kid almost, looking for a way off this backwater station. She wanted a ticket to adventure. His capsuleer con had never worked so easily. She'd bought it right away. Excited at the prospect at joining him on his ship she'd literally thrown herself at him. He couldn't risk sleeping with her on the station even though she couldn't have made it any more clearer she wanted him. The way she'd looked at him as they parted in the corridor, it was a look of pure lust.
Marcus checked his watch. 24 hours left until he needed to prepare to leave. A few hours after that he'd be able to have some real fun! He smiled and closed his eyes imagining how a trickle of bright red blood would look against that stark contrasting creamy skin.
Inspector Avi woke with a start. He'd drifted off to sleep in his office chair and now the comms channel was bleeping again. It was Yan again.
"Yes Yan, what do you have?"
"Well sir, two interesting developments. Further analysis of the limited NeoCom ping has shown a bit more of the trace-route. We think the Drake is an absolute maximum of eight jumps from us, probably closer to six."
"Sixty jumps? That will be deep into null-sec."
"No sir, not sixty, six!"
"Six jumps from Jita? No way, you're guys have got to be wrong."
"I thought that too sir. I mean, some of the most wanted criminals in the cluster hiding a few minutes travel from Jita? But we did some digging. There is a system within that range that is inside low-sec, a dead-end one with a single stargate and multiple stations. All of the stations in that system have new missing persons cases open in the last couple of weeks involving attractive women aged 20-35. There is also one case of mother and step-daughter, and we know how he likes two at a time."
Inspector Avi's attention was completely focused on Analyst Yan now.
"Additionally, one of the stations ordered a GZ-4295b plasma compressor two days ago. That component is used exclusively in Drake class battlecruisers."
"The most common battlecruiser in the cluster though." Avi pointed out.
"Yes sir, BUT, having an entire replacement plasma compressor is virtually unheard of. They are easily repaired by nanite technology at a stations starship mechanics bay. That's why this station didn't have one in stock and has had to order one in. They are never replaced, just repaired by station nanite technology. The only reason to order a replacement unit...."
"Is if you cannot dock your Drake at a station and need to do the repairs in space!" Inspector Avi cut in.
"Exactly sir. And I also thought you'd be interested to know the part is being shipped to the system currently and it is flagged to be collected tomorrow. Some time between 16:00 and 18:00 Eve Standard Time."
Avi deactivate the comm link and ran through the facts in his head. The trace of the NeoCom ping, the missing persons, the replacement compressor, the proximity to Jita. He looked the system up on his datapad.
"Oh shit!" he exclaimed to himself. That system was occupied by the Gallente Federation.
"This is Inspector Avi. I need a Navy capsuleer-piloted Buzzard prepped and ready to fly in one hour."
He leaned back in his chair. This could all be over tomorrow he thought. If the part is being collected at that time, then the Drake must be at a close celestial at the same time. A planet or an asteroid belt maybe. But Inspector Avi also had a sense of foreboding about this. A Caldari Navy frigate going to a contested solar system in the warzone, occupied by the Gallente Federation with a serial killer inside a Drake class battlecrusier piloted by a capsuleer. This could be one epic shit-storm.
The capsuleer floated in his hydrostatic capsule deep inside the belly of the Drake. He'd been unable to leve the capsule for nearly two weeks and was worried what effect that would be having on his body. Capsuleers were told in training that providing the ship was resupplied when required, they could live almost indefinitely in their pods. However he didn't fancy living forever inside the confines of this capsule.
He checked the defensive systems. The shield hardeners were a mix of Caldari Navy issue and also pirate faction modified modules. As he activated them they made the shields of the Drake highly resistant to all forms of damage, but not immune. He powered up the missile launchers, they responded immediately. Like one of the shield hardeners, these were also military issue from the Caldari Navy. Expensive, effective, devastating, but would they be enough? He finally check the ammunition, Caldari Navy issue missiles again.
Satisfied the ship was ready for combat he brought up the images he received last night again. The girl in the pictures was blonde, beautiful and young. The Capsuleer opened the rest of encrypted document sent from the station last night. He read the attached message.
Look what I've found. Something special.
She is so soft and tender. Milky, flawless skin, ripe for slicing.
Young and innocent, but with a fire burning inside her. Oh the way she kisses and places my hands on her body desperate for my touch.
I promise you the best show yet tomorrow.
I think she'll last a long time.
The capsuleer smiled. He was looking forward to this one.