“There was a time before Jita.” Under the buttery, gold light my dinner companion squinted at me.
I ignored his sarcasm. “Really. Shut up and listen to your history.”
Had no one ever told him to shut up before? The tribes must be getting soft. “That isn’t why I’m here.” He had long, unblemished fingers. It wasn’t the freshest clone I’d seen, but it was new enough to scream that Jita wasn’t his home. Like the millions of others that swarmed the interior and exterior of the station, Jita was a place to do business. That was fine with me. I welcomed all into my home.
“I know why you are here. You want to make ISK. That is why people come to Jita. To make it and to lose it. But here you sit all prim and proper ready to have a business meeting. Then you order a cognac from Yuali II and complain when someone tries to give you advice?”
He blinked at that. “I wasn’t complaining, Bizz.”
“Randomly ordering cognac won’t make you look like you know what you are doing when you try to haggle over biopaste.” I was feeling generous. His restaurant choice was excellent. Most wanted to meet in dirty bars where the synth boosters were not even real. Anyone who picked a restaurant that featured speared Dihra quail got a gold star. It didn’t matter if it was blind luck. Someone with that kind of blind luck had chance. Biopaste was an interesting product to try to trade in. Mixed with his restaurant choice and I was interested. “Drink your cognac.”
He looked at me and frowned. He had dark, gray eyes the color of a Drake’s hull and almost as flat. He picked up the glass and sipped without looking at it. His eyes widened. I shook my head. He had ordered disgusting cognac because it sounded good without any expectation to drink it. Still, I was a bit impressed as he forced the next swallow down.
Me? I had a flute of Hirizan white to go with my steak. It was a lovely, crisp, dessert white that wasn’t dry. I used it all the time to go with steak. People thought they were clever judging you by your wine choice. It was obvious that he didn't know that most potatoes out of Geminate planets made a white taste like red.
“The thing is, for a long time, Yulai was the center of the cluster. Everything moved through it. There was no reason why it should not. It was a beacon to anyone with the sense to make money. Unaligned, gates to everywhere, with Concord living in the hallways. It was beautiful. Or so I’m told.”
“People fucked it up. Smuggling, battles, power. They destroyed what they had because they wanted more. Some people would call it greed but really it is just a lack of regard for history. If they’d taken some time to do any research from the discovery of New Eden to the dark times where we lost the stars they’d have had more sense.”
“I don’t understand.”
I looked at him sadly. He didn't seem stupid but looks could be deceiving. “Now we have Jita.”
“What happened to Yulai?”
“It fell from glory. Concord destroyed the gates to kill the rot from within.”
Now he was interested. “Did it work?”
“Of course not. You’re in Jita after all. People just moved. It’s what we do. Adapt and ignore history.” While he puzzled over it I accepted the contract he had presented me when we sat down. I saw his eyes light up as the acceptance hit him. “I’m done,” I added as I watched him debate how to extract himself with his new found wealth.
“Thank you for the history lesson,” he said neat as an Amarr finishing a prayer. Then he bolted, face flushed with victory.
I watched him go. The contract had been a little bit different. He saved a lot on the brokers fees the open market would have demanded. A neat enough turn of profit for him. The biopaste I shipped down to Dodixie where the market waited at a twenty percent markup. He’d also forgotten to close his tab.
Not a bad turn around for a history lesson.