2 – Dinda Universal Industry

6th August 3301 – 10:37

Commander Nosscar had left us almost immediately after having docked at Ravenclan’s Astro Lab but not before having reminded me to not sell the data contained in the CobraMkIII’s black box.
“This is exactly what they’re after… You sell it to Universal Cartographic and we might as well have let you dock at Watson Port and go straight to them” he said.

Commander Matzov had handed me over to Mr. Premji’s assistant, Shiv.
While walking us to what was going to be my quarters for the next few days, I noticed Shiv kept addressing Matzov as “colonel”. Funny how Ivan Matzov didn’t strike me to be the military type however the name was ringing a bell.

All I needed at this point was somewhere to put my head down and rest. I was quite shocked to see what my quarters turned out to be, a rather large and luxurious penthouse, with a stunning view outside the starport…

Condo view

Mr Premji was on a business trip and would be meeting me on his return. Meanwhile, he had left in the penthouse new clothes and an array of fruits I had never seen before.
I plugged the black box into the room’s computer and browsed through the hundreds of systems I had visited in the past months. There was probably millions worth of credits in there. I picked up one of the fruits and bit a large chunk out of it… It was bitter as hell.

7th August 3301 – 15:15

I received a call from Shiv this morning asking me to meet him at the starport’s docking bay 32.
I quickly made my way down to the platform and saw Shiv. He was standing in line with a dozen of other men and women and discreetly signaled to me to come and stand beside him. It seemed to me that they were waiting for someone important and I felt that I was probably about to finally meet Mukesh Premji.
Everybody was staring at the station’s entrance when a huge cruise liner appeared and maneuvered towards the docking pad…

Orca Docking01

Orca Docking02

The ship touched down on the platform and Shiv said to me: “He’s here”

Mukesh Orca

7th August 3301 – 21:04

A flock of suits disembarked the Saud Kruger Liner and amongst them was a short, young looking man… visibly in charge.
When the organized line I was standing with broke out and rushed towards the young man with frantic reports and numbers, Shiv rested his hand on my shoulder and told me to wait. The young dignitary walked straight to us, shook my hand and said: “When they first told me about Taylor Vauban, I thought I’d get to meet a lady… Ah, anyway… I hope Shiv treated you well…”

The bold young man invited us to his office where he introduced himself: “Mukesh Premji, chairman of Dinda Universal Industry, and I understand you have painted yourself into a corner…”
We spent the most part of the afternoon talking about him and his company. He described, at unbearable length, how he first took a low key mining company into the multi-billion business that it was today. Although he did say that I wouldn’t have been the first man that the Sirius Corporation would have asked him to protect. If I was prepared to follow his rules, I would surely be safe… unlike their last protege, who thought it would be wiser to start a bar fight and get himself locked up in Williams Reformatory.

Williams Reformatory… The Gangbetae System… It can’t just be a coincidence.
Could it be that the man I had once found, bound and gagged, in my cargo hold and delivered to Froude Enterprise was the very same man Premji was referring to? According to him, as if I really needed to know, it turns out that the man is indeed dead.

11th August 3301 – 12:04

I’ve been finding my way around Ravenclan’s Astro Lab for a few days now and I’m getting quite a peculiar feeling wandering through the different levels of the station. After having spent so long craving for a return to populated space, I have curiously ended up enjoying my own company a lot more than expected. My little excursions inside Ravenclan’s, more often than not, wind up in slight panic attacks and a walk back to the condo where I usually find peace staring at distant stars.

I haven’t seen or heard from Mr Premji since our first and last meeting. All I know is that I am working for him and Dinda Universal Industry now, and to some extend, for the Sirius Corporation who is paying me a weekly salary for staying put. Premji had made it perfectly clear that I wasn’t to venture out too far and certainly not to any system where my face was already known, including my own home. However he did promise to look after my family through monthly payments.

14th August 3301 – 13:49

I finally received a call from Shiv this morning. I was beginning to think that the job Mr Premji had in mind would only consist in remaining hidden in Ravenclan’s while enjoying the comfortable penthouse he had provided.
Thankfully I was wrong. Shiv told me to get to the Viper MkIII where the mission specifics had been uploaded.
I boarded the ship and initiated the startup sequence…

Haul Equipment

This is just terrific. I felt like back at Trevithick Dock, where I first boarded my grandfather’ Sidewinder and hauled my first few tones of scrap, minus the excitement.
This is still work I suppose, and if they need me to keep a low profile, I guess this is ideal work.

In a matter of minutes, I was already in Witchhaul and requested docking permission…

Hornby

I delivered the goods, refueled, and set course back to Dinda.
It might not have been the most thrilling job I’ve had in long time but it felt good to be back in a cockpit.
I jumped back into the Dinda System and lined up with Ravenclan’s Astro Lab. I thought I was done for the day when I received a new transmission from Dinda Universal Industry…

Eliminate Pirates

… I might get some excitement here after all, I just hope I’m not too rusty.

14th August 3301 – 22:31

I patrolled the Yimakuapa system for hours. Sure, there were a lot of wanted pilots cruising in the system, but I did not want to create havoc around me by racking up these guys’ bounties unnecessarily.
I was about to turn back to base when I picked up a new signature… “Bureau of Yimakuapa First”.
So, this is the group that has been poisoning Dinda Universal Industry’s trading routes?

Interdiction01

We’re back in business.
I am indeed rusty, without a shadow of a doubt, but I did blast this ship non the less…
And the next one… and the next…

Blast02

Blast01

The Viper MkIII might not be as nimble as my old Sidewinder and I might still need to loosen up a bit on the stick, but it sure packs a punch.
After a fair few wreckages left behind, I decided to head back to Ravenclan’s before attracting to big of a fish.

Back to base

Job’s done.
It’s good to be back.

27th August 3301 – 23:45

Mukesh Premji, who had presented himself to be my ticket to a new life, had turned out to be a rather elusive man.
I’d been shifting cargo from several stations to the Dinda system and disrupting pirate activity for quite a while now without ever getting a pat on the back… let alone a single word from Mr Premji himself.

Lately, I was sent to pick up some lost trade data… not so big a deal, until I jumped back into Dinda and realized I was shifting illicit cargo…

sneak01

All I did was pick up some lost trade data from a nearby wreckage, only to find myself having to sneak it back into Ravenclan’s like a dirty Onion Head smuggler.

sneak02

sneak03

True, nobody had come for me so far but I couldn’t help thinking I was sitting on the wrong end of the law.

1st September 3301 – 15:33

Keeping a low profile can be a bit tricky when your mentor constantly asks of you to smuggle goods in and out of your hiding place or to steal trading informations from the competitors… at least I have learnt how to make good use of heat sinks.

This morning was a very different story, though.
While I was going through Dinda Universal Industry’s bulletin board on the computer, getting myself ready for the next dodgy task to come, the condo’s intercom activated. It was Shiv informing me to hurry down to the docking bays. Mr Premji was to leave imminently for Lembava onboard the Melville, his personal cruise liner and needed an escort out of the system.

I rushed to the Viper MkIII, powered it up and waited for the Melville to take off…

Orca leaving AstroLab

Orca escort

When Mr Premji’s Orca safely jumped outside Dinda, Shiv contacted me again through the voice comms system. I was now expected in Hernandez Port in the LTT 11478 system, about 40Ly from here, where I would receive further instructions…

2nd September 3301 – 19:01

Whilst on approach to Barba Hub in the LTT 11478 system, the onboard computer brought up an unexpected warning… “Illicit Cargo”.
Now this is new… I’m transporting cargo?

[000003]

I guess I’ll have to thank Shiv for this.
I checked the informations I had on LTT 11478 in my Navigation Systems and was only half surprised to see that conflicts had sparked around nearly every single station and outpost in the area.

After docking, I was greeted by men in uniforms and thanked for the precious data.
But the final nail in the coffin was to be thanked for joining the war effort.

I am now to travel to Chaudhary Enterprise to appropriately outfit my Viper and meet with my wingman.

***

Matzov strode purposefully into his offices, a picture of action and purpose.
“Cmdr Matzov! Matzov sir!” cried out Matzov’s assistant, Carpenter. “Not now Carpenter, sorry” Matzov replied as he barrelled onwards towards the door to his private office.
“Er, but there is someone waiting for…” Matzov didn’t catch the last of it as he shut the door… Only to find himself face to face with Shiv Premji, Doctor Mukesh Premji’s son and assistant.
“Hello Shiv, good to see you. What can I do for you? How is your father, and your studies?” he managed, hiding his irritation at the presumption of Shiv Premji waiting inside his personal sanctum.
“Ahh, Colonel, I am well. My father is well, thank you.” Premji flashed his famously infectious smile. “He has a little favour to ask. Well, more of a necessity than a favour…” Shiv went on a little sheepishly.
“Go on, whatever I can do,” hurriedly adding, “although things are very busy in the company right now. Very hectic indeed.”
“Well, he needs you to provide an escort to Amijara, as soon as possible.”
Matzov looked pensive. A little more than guardedly, he offered, “Yes. I suppose I can fit that in, alongside other business there.”
“Excellent, my thanks Colonel. I have the details here,” handing Matzov a dossier, which Matzov glanced over quickly. ‘A quick there and back for an unnamed VIP’ he thought to himself. ‘Not really a Mukesh Premji thing, but I will worry about why that is later’.
“Well, this looks all in order. Good day Shiv, and regards to your father” Matzov said as he slunk to his desk chair and placed the dossier to the side, before reaching for a contract from the pile. He was suddenly aware Premji was still there.
“Something else Shiv? I’ve missed something perhaps? I’m very sorry, I don’t have time for chit chat, there are systems in turmoil and contractual re-negociations to execute.”
“Yes, there was one more thing” the young engineer ventured in a tentative voice. It set Matzov immediately alert, for Shiv Premji was normally so enthusiastic and fulsome.
“A small matter of a special project for you. You must go to Chaudhary in LTT 11478 where my father’s man waits for you, with further instructions” he said, this time firmly, and with a slight edge to his voice, as if nervous of the reaction.
Matzov sat straight faced staring at Premji intensely, whilst he burned inside. A full half minute passed in silence.
“I really do not have time for this, no matter what the nature of this mysterious instruction” he said as flatly as he could.
“As I said, a necessity I’m afraid. Not a favour.” Premji managed with more conviction this time.
“As in something that head office believes is a necessity, or as in one of your father’s, um… unique, necessities?”
“Head office. You may call on them if you wish. Now I must leave, I am late for a seminar on modern FSD design and engineering” Premji stammered, shuffling toward the door, realising the anger on Matzov’s face. Of course, he knew full well that Matzov barely had the time to breath in this moment of difficulty for the company, let alone take up some special baby-sitting project, such as this one might be viewed.

As Premji slid out the door like a scalded cat, Matzov bellowed after him, a welter of pent up frustration, “I shall not forget this Shiv! Tell your father I will not forget!” thumping his desk for emphasis.

***

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