Whispers

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Originally posted April 29, 2009



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Havohej set the datapad down and turned his eyes toward the large picture window. There was much activity here at the Republic Fleet’s Gulfonodi X – 13 station; lots of movement for him and his operatives to blend in with. Unfortunately in New Eden there were always plenty of other people blending in as well and there was always the risk of being discovered whether you wanted to be or not. He turned his tired, yellow eyes back to his visitor.

“You’ve done very well to bring me this,” the capsuleer said. “Knowing that my movements are still being monitored will effect the way I do business. Has there been any mention of me in the Amarr Empire?”

“Not that I’ve heard of, friend.” The visitor, Jaerl Orn, was wearing a Republic Fleet uniform; his rank insignia identified him as a lieutenant. His security clearance was slightly higher than most lieutenants, though, as he was attached to the Surveillance division. Havohej had done a lot of work for this man in the past, not all of it official, and the two had developed a close working relationship over the years.

“Good. Hopefully I can keep it that way for a little while longer…” The capsuleer looked out again at Gulfonodi… at Molden Heath… at his peoples’ home. In dozens of systems, there were planets, moons and colonies full of people who wanted nothing more than to be free. Free of pain, free of fear, free from the uncertainty brought on by the continued hostilities between the Empires. But the fighting brought billions upon billions of ISK in profit to so many corporations across New Eden that it looked impossible that there would ever be a real end to the war. And to make matters worse, the conflict distracted his people from what Havohej felt was a more important goal: bringing the seven tribes together again.

Millions of Nefantar and Starkmanir refugees huddled in the Wildlands, waiting for the Republic to open its doors. Sanmatar Shakor was doing everything in his power, even going so far as to conduct meetings in secret with Thukker leaders, but every public effort seemed to be met with subtle opposition. Of course, none of the politicians would come right out and say they didn’t want anything to do with the Thukkers or the refugees, but when every last cent of ISK that could be directed toward relief efforts and finding a place for the displaced Minmatar to call their own was pushed back into the war effort it was hard to believe that everyone involved has their people’s best interests at heart.

“No…,” Havohej mused, “they certainly don’t.”

“I’m sorry?” Lieutenant Orn said, not knowing what to make of the capsuleer’s mumbling. Havo blinked once and then visibly returned to the here-and-now.

“Nothing,” he said with a little shake of his head, as if to impart that it really was just a trifle. “Thank you for showing this to me, Jaerl. I can’t share my plans with you for fear of putting our friendship at risk by jeopardizing your career, but know that I am going to need friends like you more than ever in the coming months.”

The surveillance officer nodded and they both stood up. The capsuleer shook hands with the man and accompanied him to the office door. As soon as the door slid shut behind the departing visitor, Havohej returned to his seat. After a few moments’ thought, he reached for the intercom button on his desk. “Get me Wisler.” Jama’al Wisler was a Thukker he’d met on a pilgrimage to the Great Wildlands a few months before. The man had put him in contact with an old man who was instrumental in helping the pod pilot find his way. In return for this, Havohej had promised to get Wisler a posting somewhere in the Republic Fleet, which Lieutenant Orn had been happy to do for him. Now Wisler was assigned to a small patrol of frigates monitoring the border between the Republic and the Caldari State in Metropolis. Apparently they weren’t very busy, as it didn’t take long before Wisler’s likeness was projected above his desk.

“Havo! You never call me anymore; I thought you’d forgotten about me.”

“Of course not. How goes it on border patrol?”

“Quiet,” the frigate captain replied. Behind him, Havohej could make out two other men on the Slasher’s bridge. “I’d rather have been stationed on the Bleak Lands or Devoid border.”

“I’m sure you would, Wisler,” the capsuleer sympathised. “But maybe you can still do some good along the less-violent Caldari border…”

“Whatcha got in mind, podder?” Jama’al sat up a little straighter in his captain’s chair, keen on the prospect of participating in a little bit of capsuleer intrigue to break up the monotony of his Republic Fleet assignment.

“How often do you see Kaalakiota industrial convoys crossing the border in either direction?” Havo asked.

“Daily… why?”

“Kaalakiota’s intelligence division is very good at what they do. Perhaps if you could talk your squad commander into giving their tree a little shake once in a while, something interesting might fall out. Interesting enough for you to get a promotion and more exciting assignment; not to mention a gift of gratitude if it’s something that I find interesting as well.”

“Say no more,” Wisler said, nodding appreciatively. “I’ll see what I can do. Wisler out.”

Havohej stood and walked to the window. Every Amarrian and Caldari hull he saw entering and exiting the station angered him. Across the cluster, there were people — his people — suffering. Some of them still enslaved, some of them homeless, some of them not even knowing that there could be anything better for them in the world. And all the while, these enemies of his people could come and go as they pleased, right in the heart of his ancestral space. The time was quickly approaching when he would do something about it. He couldn’t make his government do the right thing, and he couldn’t wage a full-scale war against the entire Amarr Empire by himself, but he could spark a tiny light through the fog of war. Maybe if he sparked enough tiny lights, the way forward would be clear to more of his people and they would join him. Maybe… maybe not. But one thing was certain, Havohej knew.

He would kill millions of Amarrians and their collaborators along the way.

Havohej couldn’t force events to unfold any faster, and there were things he needed to have in place before he could begin his campaign in earnest. So to pass the time and ease his mind, he decided he would have to get out of the station for a while; he needed to log some pod time. He had spent much of the last week patrolling low-security Caldari, Amarr and Ammatar space in his Rapier-class force recon cruiser Zulfagar and his efforts had seen the destruction of a Cerberus-class heavy assault cruiser, but tonight he wanted to try something different. He’d come into possession of several ships of Amarrian design and rather than strip them down for scrap, he thought he might be able to put them to good use. After all, deception is another form of stealth and with what he had in mind, stealth would be of the utmost importance to success.

He had devised a number of unconventional outfittings for his new ships and was eager to test them in practical application. Unfamiliar with the feel of their interfaces, though, Havohej decided to start small; first would be Bad Juju, his Punisher-class frigate. A quick patrol of Molden Heath revealed no suspicious Amarrian or Caldari activity (thought there was a shady-looking Gallente poking about), so he set course for Derelik. The Ammatar Mandate in Havohej’s eyes was perhaps even worse than the Amarr Empire itself. The descendants of Minmatar who collaborated with the Amarrians and benefited from the suffering of their own tribesmen, today’s Ammatar may not be directly responsible for what had happened centuries before but the sins of one’s fathers leave a weighty burden not easily forgotten. In fact, some would say that their failure to rebel against their Amarrian masters after the Elder War constitutes a brand new batch of sins against their blood by the current generation of Ammatars.

In Ubtes, a quiet beep from his frigate’s long range sensors interrupted Havohej’s thoughts. There was a Hurricane-class battlecruiser somewhere nearby and it didn’t take long to narrow it down. The pilot’s record was brief, and Havohej thought it unlikely that a true Minmatar would wander so far from home on his own. Despite the Republic Military School ticker being broadcast by the Hurricane’s IFF transponder, he was suspicious. Quickly entering tight orbit around the battlecruiser, Havo activated his Bad Juju’s warp scrambler and hailed the suspicious vessel.

“Renounce all ties to the Ammatar Mandate and return to Minmatar space,” he demanded. “Now.” The Hurricane’s pilot did not respond. Giving the young capsuleer the benefit of the doubt, Havohej reiterated, “You have thirty seconds to renounce all ties to the Mandate and return to the safety of your own space, otherwise your vessel will be destroyed.” In reply, the Ammatar Hurricane pilot closed the channel and opened fire.

Staying alert for drones that were never deployed, Havohej systematically dismantled the larger vessel, worth over 100 times his own frigate. His Tech 2 autocannons quickly battered down the battlecruiser’s electromagnetic shielding with Republic Fleet EMP ammo, and after a few seconds he was pounding at the ship’s armor with advanced Barrage rounds. The battlecruiser’s 425mm autocannons weren’t able to track his frigate’s movement and the advanced Amarrian armor techonology served well to protect Bad Juju’s critical systems from the rockets and light missiles sent his way. The Punisher’s offensive systems aren’t designed to work with projectile weapons, so it took a little longer than Havohej would have liked but the end result was the removal of one Tier 2 battlecruiser from the Ammatar Mandate.

A small beginning… but a beginning nonetheless.