Today is Creativity Day. This is dedicated to the Nosy Gamer. I'm 80% sure he'll like it.
The air always smelt a bit of damp electronics. But that was a familiar smell. I'm not sure that I've ever been in a Matari Station that didn't. It was better than the incense soaked ventilation system of the Amarr. For now, I crouched beside a steam duct on a high catwalk and let the foggy vapor hide me from sight. You see, I want hunting and my prey had just docked.
It sat with dignity in its berth. A loading ramp snaked up to its side. Prowler's don't seem like much. Long, muscular cylinders they have a few solar panels. Tucked against the rear is a huge quad set of triangular engines. It is tricky to load them but with a bit of experience an amazing amount of goods can be tucked away and moved.
I watched a little line of pallets began to unload like ducklings. They hovered above the ground, latched onto each other. The station scanner flickered as each one as it rolled down the ramp. Straps kept the opaque containers secure on the overloaded pallets. They where well taken care of. A bit patched around the edges but the hover units had a nice hum to them as they skimmed across the grated walkway.
The last one trundled out of the hold followed by their pilot. I slipped back and darted down the catwalks. The station is a warren. It isn't quite the smooth, organic web of the Gallente, but it is utilitarian. That helped as I vaulted across a railing to land on another, lower catwalk. I loved being immortal.
But my target was moving. She pushed back her heavy lock of hair that had managed to snake its way out of her pony tail and scanned the film in her hand. I knew what she was looking at. I often had an identical film in my hand. It had taken me weeks to figure out who she was. It had taken months to figure out her pattern. Vherokior don't like people figuring out their patterns or getting in their business.
That might be why I missed him.
I was leaned against the edge of a hallway as the first pallet passed. "So, you are Wandering Rose," I said. She jerked to a stop and spun around. I grinned. I couldn't help myself. So I was to busy being pleased with my own cunning when a lot of very angry male stampeded in between us. "Hi," I said into more facial tattoo's then I had seen in quite a while. "I'm Sugar."
He wasn't impressed. Cold eyes. Stern mouth. Really, his face was like stone. Really, pissed off stone. I shifted and peeked around him. She had recovered and placed a hand on his shoulder. It was like someone turned him on. He looked at her and stepped back a bit, out of my personal space. That was good because about six of my corpmates were moving towards us at full speed asking if I was okay.
"Yes?" she asked.
She stared at me. I stared back. Some people clump all Minmatar together. It doesn't work that way. I mean, sure, we'll fight with each other first but that doesn't mean we're together. I'm not only Sebiestor I'm a tinker. That mystic and I were really close to oil and water. He was all into the soul and mind. I liked things to make sense.
"Yes," she finally said.
"Great. You've been undercutting me."
"Maybe you shouldn't have your prices so high."
I arched an eyebrow and crossed my arms. My prices high? Without me this place would be a ghost town and she'd be hawking her wares in empire paying more taxes to Concord then there were AU across Teonasude! I bit down and gave a lopsided smile instead. "I think my prices are competitive. However, I'm not sourcing my own stuff." Her eyes widened just a bit. I grinned. Got her. The only way she was selling ozone for the prices she was selling them for is if she, or her corporation were pulling the minerals out. Plus, they were doing it out in low sec, aware from empire and the ice rush in Teonasude. "I'm not here to fight."
"You are a pirate," he rumbled.
"Well, yeah, but I also run this market." She looked skeptical. "You sell here so you know a year ago it wasn't worth the time to dock much less sell anything. This is my home. The thing is I am a pirate. I don't have time to tend the fuel bay of every single cyno frigate that docks here. So, if you want to stock the ozone I won't undercut you."
"That is generous of you."
"Actually, it is. I could chase you right out of this market and let you enjoy playing ISK wars in high sec. But, really, what is the point? You want to bring stuff in here know I'm not going to get in the way."
"Just the undock," he growled again.
I rolled my eyes. "I didn't say I was a saint. Just think about it, okay?"
I slipped out of my corner and went to interceptor my corporation. They watched me go. They'd not talk till I was gone. But, I wasn't worried about that. It was easier not to explain to people that giving away business created more business. She wasn't dumb. And as for the undock... well... if she knew what she was doing she'll be able to dodge whatever comes.