[Ordinator] – Is that it?

[Cmdr Souvarine] – What?

[Ordinator] – Is that all you’ve got?

[Cmdr Souvarine] – Of course it’s all I’ve got! What bloody more do you need?

[Ordinator] – You think you’re the first freelancer who’s stumbled across one of these things and joined the dots?

[Cmdr Souvarine] – So you know about the stations?

[Ordinator] – Nobody knows. But we think. We suspect. Look, relations are cool between the Empire and the Federation at the moment. The only ‘official’ investigation into UAs on the Fed side had the plug pulled. Neither side wants to let the other know how much they know. But between you and I – yeah, we know. Of course we do. We’ve known about them for months. We’ve seen the correlation between UAs and the station blackouts.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – So what are you doing?

[Ordinator] – We, Souvarine. We’re waiting. Palin isn’t the only one working on answers. You want a bit of mystery? How about the disappearance of the Liberal Fed President Halsey and Starship One, a month or two before the explosion in numbers of UAs?

[Cmdr Souvarine] – They could think that was us.

[Ordinator] – I like the use of the word ‘us’ there, kiddo. Exactly. It suits our purposes for the Feds to keep on guessing about how much we know, and what our involvement is. We don’t need to mention that we don’t have a scooby ourselves about what’s going on.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – You’re just waiting?

[Ordinator] – What else can we do? They might be Federation drones, dressed up as alien. They might just as easily be sent from the Alliance – or something Sirius has cooked up. So in the absence of a threat to engage with, we’re watching and waiting.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – Great. What a waste of time.

[Ordinator] – Hold on.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – What for?

[Ordinator] – Just hang on a minute, before you go. What are you going to do now?

[Cmdr Souvarine] – I hadn’t really thought. I have a chum over in Fed space – he says there’s more work there.

[Ordinator] – So you’re going to go join your buddy? Ferry a bit of cargo around for money, maybe shoot some pirates? Maybe go off on another lonely trip, play the romantic adventurer again?

[Cmdr Souvarine] – I don’t know.

[Ordinator] – Course you don’t. You ever wonder what the point is?

[Cmdr Souvarine] – There doesn’t need to be a point.

[Ordinator] – Sounds like something your buddy Vex would say.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – How do you know about him?

[Ordinator] – We know about people we work with, Souvarine. That’s our job. Look, you’ve been mildly useful to us in the past. Don’t you think your time might be better spent nailing your flag to something, given the times we’re living in?

[Cmdr Souvarine] – Not really. I’m not joining your bloody White Navy.

[Ordinator] – No, I don’t suppose you are. Your parents would have liked that though. Luckily that’s not the only way to serve the Emperor.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – How do you know about my parents?!

[Ordinator] – Not a quick learner, are you, Sou? We know who your dad was. Not sure he would have liked what you’ve been up to for most of the last ten years.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – Sod this. I’m leaving now.

[Ordinator] – Sit down. You’re going to listen.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – …

[Ordinator] – Look, nobody cares about your little smuggling ring. Course we knew about it. We even know where you’ve stored that ship. You think we wouldn’t notice when a homeless orphan suddenly starts throwing millions of credits around? It wasn’t worth it – besides, it would have bothered the Feds far more than us.

[Ordinator] – But you’ve shown that you can handle staying under the radar. Bit of a show-off, maybe, but hopefully you’ve grown out of that. We need people who can stay under the radar, now more than ever.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – How?

[Ordinator] – The Navy is how we project force, but projecting force isn’t going to give us the edge if there’s a fight brewing. We need intelligence. Not the piddly stuff you’ve given us before, when it suited you, between shipments of Leestian Evil Juice. And not just information on what the Feds are doing. There are many more potential threats now – the Alliance has grown to many hundreds of systems, there’s Sirius vying for territory, there’s other Empire factions not so happy that Lavigny-Duval has been crowned Emperor. Not to mention the UAs. You’ve got a decent ship and you fly well. You don’t have to paint it white, before you ask. In fact, it would be better if you don’t even mention we’ve had this conversation.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – What do you want me to do?

[Ordinator] – You’ll get your orders from someone else. A civilian outfit, the IPEC. You’ll be paid, too. Well paid, if we can use what you bring us.

[Cmdr Souvarine] – Ok. I need to think.

[Ordinator] – You have a think. And before you go – have a think about getting your friend Dexter Vex to come along too. Arissa likes people like him. 

[Cmdr Souvarine] – Ok. God speed.

[Ordinator] – And you Souvarine. Don’t be a stranger now.



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