The Red War had died down. The Russians were no longer losing ground but had dug in their heels, while the Northern Coalition’s forward press had eased off. Certainly, territory had been taken, but the big push was over and the local channels of once-hotly contested systems began to cool. Large convoys and fleets had already begun redeploying to safer staging areas, and I came to understand that what I had witnessed in this last week was merely the afterglow of a white-hot conflict. With the number of hulking, broken wrecks my invisible bomber had piloted through, I could only imagine the scale of the destruction I had narrowly missed.
And in the middle of it all, a clue. PiratXYD was a former Caldari Navy pilot who gained significant rank before an unspecified “situation” had him booted out of the war machine. Now he made his living in the shame corners of lowsec, killing for money to pay for killing. In talks I could sense the inbred sense of pride and honor and as well the filter of pirate ruthlessness through which it was forced in his new profession.
He knew my Brother. They were in the same Corporation, a wormhole corp, for months earlier in the year. It is my assumption that he learned the types of wormhole and POS mechanics that made his toppling of my empire possible. And, according to XYD, he robbed the corp of close to a billion ISK. Ships, modules, resources, minerals, personnel, all had vanished, along with that bastard, in a single night in August. The very resources that were put to use in his plan for my undoing. Could I find an ally in this corp he had wronged? I had to know more, but the pirate knew the score and he was asking for 400 million for information leading to my Brother’s capture. I once had that and much more, but no longer.
I saw his skills did not far exceed mine. I also sensed he had a strong sense of pride in himself, and in his pirate infamy, so I did the only thing I could; a duel for double or nothing. I challenged him in 1-on-1 in T1 frigates, if he won I would pay 800m for the information, if I won it would be 200m, something I could afford if I sold everything but my Purifier. He agreed.
At this time I had moved further back toward the interior and was 20 jumps off the Amarr homeworld in Pelisle. Pelisle is home to Moira., the corporation that I had served in defense against the Sansha preceding my time in the wormhole, and despite the broadcast of my official death in the takeover, I had cleared the paperwork and was an active member once more, though rarely in the area for Ops. It’s not that I would cheat and call in backup, but Pelisle is lowsec and he’s a pirate, and pride or no pride it may be a trap; I want friends ready for warp-in if that’s the case.
Give me an hour and I’ll let you know how it goes. If there are no further blog posts, you will know what happened, but this is a chance I have to take