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The Pact of the Masters - Yoshida - 06-16-2016

[Image: MI3Cd7U.jpg]

The slick frame of Democritus was carefully crossing the asteroids inside Kuryo Cloud. It stopped a few clicks outside Poena Outpost, in Kepler system, waiting for its guest to arrive. The person onboard activated the ship's cloaking device once it was in position before running another system check to make sure that the yacht would not encounter any problems from the intense radiation.

Several minutes later a small spacecraft of Kusarian origin appeared on the scanners. The man activated the Spyglass Scanner and verified that it was the ship he expected to arrive. Unaware of the yacht's existence the ship was simply hovering around.

Are you alone?

A male voice was transmitted in local frequencies, seemingly out of nowhere. A few moments later the other ship responded after the familiar sound of lighting up a cigar was heard.

Very much so.
Excellent. Let's begin.

The man said and he deactivated the cloaking device of his ship.

Oh there you are.
Ms [Ames], I believe we have not met before. In person at least.
No we haven't. A pleasure.
I have many names but I am commonly known as Goro Yoshida.
Good to finally meet you, Mr. Yoshida.
Would you like to come onboard my yacht?
Of course.

She quickly initated the docking maneuvers to moor with the yacht. Once the process was complete, the engines of the Kusarian spacecraft were deactivated and a woman with bright red hair emerged from the small hatch of the cockpit. With a twist, she gracefully landed on the floor. The Lane Hacker was patiently waiting by the entrance. He was wearing a luxurious black suit with white shirt and a black tie. When the woman approached him, he removed his hat and inclined his head in the gentleman style.

Welcome onboard the 'Starlight' Ms [Ames].
Fine pleasure to be here, Mr. Yoshida. Here.

The woman made an animalistic grin before nodding back. Then she pulled a small wooden box containing cigars, from the pants of her jumpsuit.

Cretans. Call it.. A gift for your kind reception.

Yoshida smiled and accepted the gift.

Thank you my dear. Would you like to give you a small tour?
Why, of course.

The woman said and smiled back. Her hair shimmered against the light and she removed the top part of the flight suit, exposing her scarred arms and tattoos. She definitely knew how to attract the eyes of those around her. Instinctively, she scanned the luxurious interior of the yacht noticing the baroque style blending in with modern ones. Mr. Yoshida obviously didn't mind the cost.

You can leave your belongings here, you don't need to take with them with you.
She eyed the docking bay. Well, all I got is this here flight suit... And [my Ship].
As you wish.

Yoshida said and walked towards the elevator. The doors automatically opened and he entered, followed by the sound of [Cathy]'s combat boots.

Second level.

He said and the elevator silently and swiftly started moving them to the second level. [Cathy] with a quick hand removed a cigar from one of her pockets and looked at Yoshida.

May I?
Of course, Ms [Ames].

The Lane Hacker said even though he abhored inhaling smoke. Once the doors opened he gestured to [Cathy] to step out first.

Thank you kindly.

She nodded and light up the cigar as she exited the elevator. A gallery of sorts expanded in front of her eyes. Digital tables were placed on each side of the hallway and some of them projected holograms while others contained and protected items of seemingly important value.

This is the top level, Ms [Ames], which contains a very interesting collection.

They started walking together on the hallway, briefly checking and commenting about each item presented in the tables. The lightning of the room was very weak, in fact most of it was coming from the digital tables.

This is a small piece of a Jump Gate. It is believed that this technology is coming from the aliens.
Hmhm. The female mumbled. Like them Alien gates in Minor?
Yes. In fact the aliens use the same technology in order to facilitate their own space jumps. I am sure you now realize why Ageira is so overprotective with its technology. It's not just a matter of exclusivity.

At both sides of the room, large windows were placed through the entire hallway and they revealed the dark matter storm raging outside the yacht. The occassional thunderstorms briefly illuminated the hallway in an unearthly and unsettling manner. [Cathy] walked towards one of the window and looked outside.

That's somethin' they would not want out of their reach. Ahhh, Kuryo.
That's why they have made those White Boxes. Even with our technology and former employment in Ageira, we cannot open every box. Most attempts fail.
She raised an eyebrow. A puzzle you fine gents can't crack? That must be an hell of a box.
Ageira recruits the top 1% of Liberty's university graduates. They are literally Liberty's intellectual elite. They are not an easy opponent Ms Ames. Quite the contrary.
Hmm. Her face turned sour as she turned around. Never was the puzzle breaker myself. Never really had the chance. My speciality is people. And what makes them tick.

Yoshida accepted her comment and pointed towards an Ageira white box carefully lying inside one of the tables.

Sometimes brutal force is not successful. This one requires other keys in order to unlock its puzzle.
And? She kept watching the cloud and the discharges outside. What's in the puzzle box?
Outdated trade lane parts, Ms Ames. Trade lanes support the neuralnet of Sirius. The neuralnet contains information. And Information equals power. So you realize that our occupation as information brokers is not accidental at all. There is also something I left inside for you. At the end of this walk it may be yours.

Yoshida said mysteriously. The duo then walked a bit further. Holographs projecting leaked documents from major cyber attacks of Yoshida could be found in a number of tables. Further in, [Cathy] noticed a metallic plate inscribed with W.F.Cody's name and logo and nodded visibly.

I remember this.
You remember Mr Cody? He was the world's largest codename and equipments dealer.
Yep. After all, getting guns was somethin' standard in my ol' business.
Well... he was my biggest hit. The biggest hit in Sirius' history.
She chuckled. Hardware-wise? Yeah, it was.
If I wasn't famous enough, this extortion made me a legend Ms [Ames]. Over 4 billion credits worth of equipment were stolen... I kept this metallic plate used in his shop as a reminder of my achievement.
Hmm. Good hit no doubt. She exhaled some smoke.

They continued to inspect the collection for several more minutes. [Cathy] was particularly interested in the Azurite A6 samples and the three ancient scrolls protected under a heavy case which belonged to the ancient civilization called Dom'Kavash. After chatting about them with Yoshida, the Hacker eventually led her to a window.

Do you notice something outside of the window Ms [Ames]? Except the ever-going dark matter storm of course.
She looked again at the Cloud I know it very well, Mr. Yoshida. Kuryo. You know what it means, love?
Yoshida chuckled at the question. I am quite knowledgeable in Kusarian actually. Kuryo has a number of meanings.. such as sorrow, regret or despair.
I've been in this cloud more time than I could count. [Cathy] remarked.
And you are also speaking Kusarian Ms [Ames]? I am impressed. But there is something outside of our windows. You need to pay close attention in order to notice it.
Eh. She grinned. Poena, you mean?
Pity. 'Cause I can tell you somethin' 'bout Poena.
I would love to hear it afterwards. So what do you see?
Well, 'part from the broken lanes and death.. All I see is home, Mr. Yoshida. As I said.. I got a long story with this cloud.
The broken lanes. Do you know their history, Ms [Ames]?
Yeah. Somethin' 'bout the Kuryo cloud being formed and laying waste to them. There was an old lane runnin' from gate to gate. That's 'bout it.
You are well informed, I am once again impressed.
As I said.. This here.. She waves her hand to the window. T'is home for me.

RE: The Pact of the Masters - Eris - 06-16-2016

Yoshida nodded his head. It was now his turn to speak.

Ageira researchers predicted that a dark matter storm would arrive in Kepler, and lobbied Liberty's government to build another set of rings in Galileo. When the storm didn't arrive when it was expected, Ageira employees were blindly blamed and forced out of the corporation. Most of them were not even involved. They became the Lane Hackers of Leiden.
[Cathy] raised an eyebrow. Now that I didn't know.
This trade lane is a constant reminder of the despair, and injustice. It is a name we find quite fitting to describe our true origin, for those of us coming from Leiden. If Ageira Technologies has Liberty's intellectual elite on its ranks, then we have the elite of the elite. The best of the best.
She exhaled some smoke. So, it means you managed to perform my request?
We are getting close. Receiving intel from our informants takes time because they do it on a scheduled basis to avoid detection.

Her head twirled to the side to remove some hair in front of her face allowing Yoshida to notice a small part of the big dragon tattoo painted at [Cathy]'s back.

When I heard you are looking for your former colleagues, your old team, I came up with a very interesting idea. I am the best in extortions, a mastermind in operations. You are a natural killer, a strong mind. Both you and I excel in two distinct fields. So I was thinking... why not work together? If we do wonders separetely, who would dare resist us both?
[Cathy] raised an eyebrow. As one of your assassins you mean? She caressed the window and looked back at Yoshida. Cause I got to give ya a fair warnin'. She grinned and turned towards the window. I see myself as a necessary tool of the 'verse, Mr. Yoshida. With so much life runnin' rampant, creatin' chaos, confusion, war and pain.. Death must level the scale, don't ya think? So.. I'm not an assassin. I see myself more as a hunter. A deadly one.
I do wholeheartedly agree with you.

Yoshida sincerely said and both shared a moment where their evil selves came out, on the surface.

So you want autonomy? You want to bring that destruction and pain without checks?
She turned around and her eyes met his Define that last bit.. Without checks.
I know you want autonomy Ms [Ames]. And I am willing to provide that to you. You will be the new Master Assassin. The whole department will belong to you and to you only.
[Cathy] raised an eyebrow. That is a mighty fine.. gift. One without a doubt.. With strings attached.
As long as you abide by our rules and consistently bring havoc, destruction and chaos on our enemies.
Hm. I can do that. And more.
You will have access to the most advanced combat technology the best technology in Sirius. Combined with your extraordinary pilot skills... you will be unstoppable my dear. A beast unleashed.
Hm. She turned back to the window. Why you do this?
I think.. we should have a drink first, wouldn't you agree?
She shrugged. If you have whisky, I will have one.

She turned around with a grin in her face. Yoshida pointed [Cathy] to one of the two armchairs positioned in an overlooking position of the room while he went to make the prepare. Whiskey for [Cathy], Liberty Ale for himself.

[Cathy] sat and looked at Yoshida. Hmm. You do like the fine things in life, don't ya?
I live the life to its fullest, Ms [Ames]. And so are you. He said and handed her over the whiskey.
I think your question was a very easy one Ms [Ames]. As I explained before, I wholeheartedly believe we will do wonders if we cooperate.
She smelled the whisky, obviously showing off she is knowledgeable about it and then sips it and let it rest in her mouth. Dubliner Single Malt. Very nice. She gulped most of it. And yes, I agree. Together I think we are able to do.. surprisin' things.
If you stand as my ally, I will grant each and every wish of yours, as long as its in my power. My word is iron as everyone knows. He said and nodded his head before sipping some of the ale.
Hm. She gulped the last bit of the whisky, obviously used to the burn that whisky makes. You got yourself a deal, Mr. Yoshida.
Yoshida smiled. The pact was made. Now it remains to be sealed. You have just opened a new chapter in your colorful life Ms [Ames]. You asked me before what's in the white box. Would you like to see?
Of course. That puzzle has been itchin' me since you showed me.

The duo approached the glass table where the white box lied inside. Yoshida clicked a few buttons on the console and the box was raised up and came to their height. The Provocateur then gently removed the cover.

These are outdated trade lane parts as I have foretold... He said and picked up an artifact which seemed like a ring. And this... is the signature of the Master Assassin, Ms [Ames]. Wear it and lead the Assassins into greatness.
She eyed the ring and put it on, near her old golden ring. It was done. Hm. So. Where do I start?
Yoshida nodded and turned towards her side You now have both the tech, and the resources and the skill... He said in a curious way. But I have another gift for you. Something which will place you above the rest. A cut above the rest Ms [Ames]. Are you willing to tap and claim it?

She raised an eyebrow, clearly thinking on what Yoshida meant.

I welcome any advantage.. But that depends if that.. advantage has strings attached.
It does, as everything in life.
What is it then?
Some people do not calculate the sacrifices being made for access in those advantages. I think you are one of those individuals. You do not leave ideologies or publicly regognized good or evil to influence your decision. You simply do what is best for you. Once he finished, he produced a small vial containing an orange liquid. I would like you to have this.
[Cathy] grabbed the vial, carefully and looked at it. Liquid cardi?
Yes, at its purest form. It is a great boost for your mind, Ms [Ames]. You don't need to take it immediately. Just keep it in your flightsuit's pocket for me please. If the moment comes and you need some help, then you will know what to do... Consider it as a small, thoughtful gift from me.
[Cathy] nodded and placed the vial in one of her pockets. Aigh't. Now. Where do I start this show? Leiden?
Let's go. I am ready.

Not long after, the Democritus activated its engines with the two Masters onboard. In their way to Leiden, [Cathy] explained to Yoshida, some long-forgotten facts about Poena Outpost while Yoshida offered her some insights and ideas regarding her new position. It was a light hearted conversation with a bit of intimacy.