Lacham and I walked towards the commercial sector of the station. It was here that deals were done, ISK made, alliances forged or destroyed. We passed ship dealer offices, interstellar customs offices, ISK provider offices and offices for the protection of interstellar animals. The walkways were crowded with busy people, on the way to check newly delivered merchandise or whatever it is people do.
We walked along the boulevard towards the lower section of the sector until we got to an office with blacked out windows. There were no signs to say what type of business the owners of this office engaged in. No evidence that anyone even used it. Not from the outside at any rate. Lacham passed a datakey over an electronic pad and the door slid open. Even though the light from the windows was blocked by the blackened glass the interior was well lit and surprisingly orderly. A number of people were sat behind the desks, using datapads and computers. What they were doing was a mystery. Playing the markets? Lacham turned to me and raised an eyebrow.
‘Well, what do you think? This is headquarters of The Guristas Associates. This is the nerve centre of our alliance, where we collate data from our pilots on enemy movements and prime targets. If anything is going down within a 10 system radius, we know about it. We also have members of the White Rabbits in here, constantly checking and rechecking the market prices in the area. Buying and selling equipment and arranging transports. We keep our ears to the ground at all times, checking reports coming in from other alliances and factions, friendly or not. Basically, anything you need to know will come through here.’ Lacham explained.
‘It’s a lot more organised than I expected to tell you the truth.’ I admitted
‘The logistics of running an alliance this size is amazing.’ Lacham clarified, ‘The White Rabbits do a great job of keeping the rest of us in business. Without them the alliance wouldn’t exist. Most of The Black Rabbits and the Academy are ‘shoot on site’ if we enter concord controlled space due to being wanted men and women. Makes getting new ships into the system a real pain in the ass’ Lacham smirked.
‘Right’ I said lamely,
I remembered thinking about The White Rabbits when I was doing my research into The Guristas Associates, wondering if they had been duped or blackmailed into working within the Pirate alliance. My thoughts then had been wrong; they were a huge and very important part of the alliance.
Lacham wondered over to a desk in the corner of the room. Unlike others this one was a bit of a mess. An ashtray was over stuffed with cigarette buts and there were empty coffee mugs and files all over the desk. Shifting a pile of papers out of the way Lacham unearthed a datapad which he then thumbed into life.
‘Your application has been reviewed and I have decided to offer you the chance to fly with us. However be aware that flying with us means that you will become ‘Shoot on sight’ for most of what we call ‘High Sec’
‘That’s fine, is there anything I should know?’
‘Of course there is. Here is a datapad with all the basic information you will need.’ He tossed me a datapad’ Included in there are the passkeys to the private communication channels used by the academy and the shared alliance channel. This is where a lot of the data amassed in this office will be broadcast. Also the Pirates Warren is our unofficial meeting place, we have a special room in the back for conferences and for when other alliances come to meet with us. There will be guard duties involved but most of the time you will not be involved in any of that.’ Lacham said, lighting a cigarette. ‘One thing I have noticed from your file is that you seem to have a good aptitude for learning new skills. This will help you greatly within this alliance. I suggest you study this closely’ he tossed me another datapad.
‘What is it?’ I asked
‘This is the holy bible of ship-to-ship combat. This will tell you the weaknesses of every vessel in the universe. It also tells you how to tweak your ship to get the best out of it, more power, more computer memory, and the best weapons to use. Things that you need to know to fly effectively. It will take you a while to get the hang of it but I’m sure you’ll get there sooner or later.’
‘Thanks’ I said, pocketing the datapad.
‘One other thing, that business in your past, only I and Gig know about that, you can keep it from the others if you decide, but I will tell you this, keeping secrets from people you will, one day soon I am sure, need to trust with your life may not be the right thing to do, think about it.’ He got up and started to walk away, towards the back of the office.
‘Now get out of my sight,’ he said over his shoulder, ‘I have thing to attend to. Be at The Pirates Warren at 1800 and I will introduce you to some of your wingmen.’