Region C-R00011 – Constellation C-C00097
1 September YC 123
I had finished hacking a Ruined Serpentis Science Outpost and was heading back to base in Thera. The pickings were pretty slim – about 15 million ISK. I sighed, closed Evepraisal window and started browsing a corp chat. Aura immediately turned her attention to the screen. Unlike Allison, she was not allowed to participate in the chat, but was always eager to read.
“Hey, what’s that?” exclaimed Aura, pointing at the list of active users.
“That… thingy… attached to your name. Looks like a dunce cap.”
I found my name in the list and gasped, “It’s not a cap, it’s an antenna!”
“Looks like a dunce cap to me,” snickered Aura. “And why are you so excited about it?”
“Don’t you know? An antenna icon is added to the name of the pilot who scanned the largest number of Thera signatures in the past 24 hours! It’s a recognition of my hard work!”
“Hard work and you in one sentence? Must be an oxymoron. Anyway, how did you find time to scan such an outstanding number of signatures between watching holovids and drinking beer?”
“By combining the aforesaid watching and drinking activities to save time,” retorted I and stuck my tongue out at Aura.
“Well, if you want to keep your cap, Mr Top Scanner, you better grab that new signature before someone else has noticed it.”
I scanned the sig down, warped to the wormhole and jumped through it. On the other side I discovered a C13 shattered system with four abandoned pirate sites in it. The day was getting better and better…
Region Region G-R00031 – Constellation G-C00324
Thera System – The Sanctuary Institute of Paleocybernetics Station
2 September YC 123
Next day Aura found me sweating over an email to Signal Cartel CEO, venerable Katia Sae.
“What are you doing?” asked Aura curiously.
“Writing an email to Katia,” I answered glumly.
“I guessed as much. What I meant to say was why are you writing it? Isn’t it easier to call her? Or just walk a hundred metres to her office and talk to her?”
“No. This has to be written.”
“But why?” Aura furrowed her brow and then suddenly looked alarmed. “Hey, you aren’t going to resign, are you?”
“No, quite the opposite – I am asking for a promotion.”
“Promotion? Wow! Are you going to get a raise?”
“Yeah, twofold,” I said sarcastically.
“And how much are you getting now?”
I connected the tips of my index finger and the thumb and showed the resulting figure to Aura.
“Zero? But what’s the point of getting a promotion then?”
“Well, I’ll be able to take things from corporate hangars.”
I shrugged, “No idea. I have never actually checked what is stored there.”
“And do you need those… things?”
“Not really. So far I managed without them.”
“Then I don’t understand why you need that promotion,” said Aura, frustrated.
“You see, I organised a Buddy Club in the corp – a group of people who help new members to settle. We decided that there must be a minimum requirement for a Signaleer to be a Buddy, to ensure that Buddies have some recognised experience in the corp. And that requirement happens to be a C2 title.”
“C2? What does it mean?”
I shook my head, “Don’t ask. All I know is that the corp leadership gives it only to those Signaleers who have a proven track record of engaging in corp activities.”
“Okay, so what’s the problem? Are you ineligible?”
“No, I think I am eligible but… I don’t even know how to start the letter. I never wrote anything to the corp leadership.”
Aura froze for a moment and then produced out of thin air a book titled ‘Business Writing’.
“Here you go,” she said opening the book. “This must be easy. Write this: ‘Dear Ms Katia Sae’, comma.”
“This sounds very formal,” objected I. “I usually use this kind of address when I write to people I don’t know or when I am angry at the recipient.”
Aura threw the book away, “Let’s improvise then. If you don’t like ‘Dear Katia’, how about ‘Katia, dear’?”
I gave Aura a reproachful look, “This is too familiar. We don’t have that kind of a relationship.”
Aura rolled her eyes, “Oh, I don’t know then. I am just trying to help.”
I sighed, “I know. Let me just start with ‘Hi Katia’, although it doesn’t sound exactly right.” I looked critically at the lonely text line, dismissed second thoughts and continued, “Now, girls, I need your help to gather evidence of my ‘engagement in corp activities’. Allison, how long have I been in the corp?”
“Five hundred and forty nine days,” came an immediate answer.
“Aura, open my forum profile. How many posts have I published?”
“Nine hundred and nineteen.”
I stopped typing, “Damn, that’s almost two posts a day! I need to cut down the posting and double down on scanning. Although everything counts, I guess. Allison, how many caches have I sowed and tended?”
“Two hundred and twenty eight.”
“Oh shit! Already more than two hundred? I need to go easy on it or I will be in for another medal. The first experience was pretty cringe-worthy. Although I won’t let them play me for a fool next time.”
Having recorded all my achievements, I finished the email with ‘Kind regards’ and sent it. Three and a half hours later I received a reply in which I was told that it was about bloody time to get that title and that it was granted effective immediately. I made a deep breath and felt like a weight had been lifted off my chest. Not that I thought that my application would be declined but… you never know until you know.
Aura, who also immediately acquainted herself with the content of the reply, said in a formal tone, “Please accept my sincere congratulations on your promotion, Captain Vladimir Korff, C2,” and then added slyly, “By the way, now that you have access to the corp hangars, do you want to take a look at what’s inside?”
“I don’t see why not,” said I nonchalantly, grabbed the datapad with Aura and left the room.
When we reached the corp hangar entrance, I put my hand into a DNA scanner and held my breath. Five seconds later the screen flashed green and a pleasant female voice said, “Identity verified and access authorised. Welcome to the Signal Cartel corporate hangars, Captain Korff.”
We went through the door and found ourselves in a huge hangar. Aura looked around curiously, then wrinkled her nose and said with disappointment, “No Titans.”
We looked at each other and burst out laughing.