It was rare for this many Bastards to be together all in one place. Word got round that there was some important news to be heard. No doubt, there would be some sort of address from their CEO with free beer to ensure a decent turnout. Most of the more well known Bastards were there; Fenneck, Fizzix, InterDict, Vig, Silv, Arrhideaus, Hermit, Tibbsy, Raven, Jaba, Jman, Jmarr, Blackler, Persephone and Nashh. Even z0de had made a guest appearance although he didn’t stick around and left early. Other Bastards’ pirates, too far away to come back had arranged for camera drones to be made ready to relay the information back to them.
The rowdy bunch had gathered in the old cargo container they had made into their impromptu office and meeting room. It was located at the far end of hangar B-6. Loud talking about nothing much at all was the order of the day, pirates swapping tall tales in response to even taller tales of daring do’. Nothing unusual in this part of low sec space and certainly not for this crowd.
‘Atten-shun!’ Viginti shouted over the loud hubbub; making some Bastards chuckle as Vig was almost like an Uncle to everyone here. Though one would add it was of the cuddly Uncle-with-the-shotgun hidden under the sofa, type of uncle. Everyone went quiet so as to listen to what their CEO, Flashfresh, had to say.
“Thank you Viginti”, Flash nodded for Viginti to take a seat. “I’ll keep this short and sweet. As most of you will have noticed Raelyf has been less active over the months gone by and this morning he regrettably resigned as a Bastards’ Director”.
There was a silence in the room. Glances were exchanged between some of the pirates.
Flash continued, slowly taking in the assembled pirates around the room. “Raelyf is not leaving, Raelyf is not dead, Raelyf will be back. Raelyf is doing something that hasn’t been witnessed for a long time in any profession certainly not ours: he is relinquishing some power. He has observed each and every one of you and he made the decision for Hermit to take his position. He submitted the nomination to me this morning and I support this decision, in full”.
A buzz sounded around the room as Bastards whispered to each other and some began clapping. Two of the camera drones, hovering bumped into each other with a clang. Flash raised both hands, silencing the room before he continued.
“I am sure you will all agree that Hermit is an excellent choice: he is active, leads by example, is well liked and has the right pirating spirit! Now please join me and raise your glasses in celebration of Hermits promotion!” Flashfresh smiled his big smile.
The Bastards stood up from their seats, cheering and clapping.
“Woot! Yeah! Good work!” Jman shouted. Persephone ran up and jumped on Hermit, squeezing him as hard as she could. She had been away for a while and had only just recently returned. Tibbs, one of Hermit’s closest colleagues thumped Hermit on the back. One pirate decided to let loose with his side-arm but he was quickly jumped on and disarmed. It looked like Captain Blackler though it was difficult to tell. Arrhideaus strolled over to where Hermit stood, now being crowded by fellow pirates; “Dude, man...” he started, “well deserved”.
Monitors, dormant until now, flickered into life as the other Bastards Captains, not physically present all linked in, eager to get their messages across.
Nashh had not left his seat and he was not cheering. He emptied the remainder of his drink, spilling some down the sides of his mouth, before letting his feet slip from the table. He sighed, wiped his face with both hands then slapped them on his knees. Stomping his feet he launched himself forward from his chair. Without stopping he marched past the group huddled around a smiling Hermit.
The newly appointed Director glanced over his shoulder, catching a glimpse of Nashh leaving. His smile faded but with many pilots wishing him well and pouring beer over his head his mood soon picked up.
It used to be his regular seat, but he hadn’t been in the ‘Long John Pub’ for some time. His assistants Morrigan and Aether had made sure to reduce his drink and drug habit.
Nashh Kadavr didn't have to look: the figure that stood behind him carried enough presence not to need any introduction.
“Is this seat free?” Flashfresh asked rhetorically.
Nashh didn't speak, he knew that it didn’t matter what answer he gave, Flashfresh would be sitting there regardless.
Flash signalled to the bartender for two more drinks. “I sense disquiet in you. You disagree with the decision?” Flashfresh asked politely as he took his seat.
“No, I do not.” Nashh cleared his throat, “He is the best man for the job”.
Flashfresh nodded as he sipped his rum, served in a two-inch high, slim shot-glass. The caramel coloured liquid was one they both enjoyed.
“Your dedication to the Corp is not doubted.”
Nashh picked up his drink and peered at it intently. “I know,” Nashh said before emptying the glass. He held the glass up, and looked at the bartender, signalling him over for yet another top-up.
“You can leave the bottle my good man, thank you.” Flashfresh smiled politely at the tender, making it clear that he didn’t want to be disturbed again. The bartender melted away.
The silence that followed made Nashh uncomfortable and he shifted uneasily on his barstool. He knew he had to explain his actions earlier that day. There was no way Flashfresh would let him get away with disrespectful behaviour like that. Flashfresh looked calm and unarmed, but that didn’t mean anything; henchmen to do unspeakable things for Flash would be hidden from view until needed.
“I…” he started, “…think I need a break for a while”.
Flashfresh didn’t interrupt; he picked up the bottle of aged rum and carefully topped up both glasses before moving one of them closer to Nashh. Flashfresh then reached up and carefully removed his sunglasses. He nodded and winked, encouraging Nashh to continue. It wasn’t often that Flashfresh was seen without his ever present aviator style sunglasses.
‘I have a lot on my plate at the moment sir.” Nashh continued, “And I don’t feel I can fulfil my duties as recruitment officer at this very stage.” Nashh paused and waited for his CEO to respond. Flash merely raised an eyebrow and motioned for Nashh to continue.
“I am considering moving to null-sec for a little while; I have some friends that asked if I could help them out with some stuff. It would give me an opportunity to practise some things....”
Flashfresh reached over and put a hand on his fellow Bastard’s shoulder and smiled at him. “You will be sorely missed my friend, but I know you will return”.
There was a pause before Flashfresh pressed the issue that was bothering him; “You understand why Hermit was chosen as a Director, yes?” Flashfresh placed the shot-glass onto the table and steepled his hands in front of his face. Peering into Nashh’s eyes Flashfresh asked the question that Nashh had steeled himself. “This has nothing to do with your desire to leave Nashh?”
“No.” Nashh replied firmly.
“Do you wish to resign your commission as a Bastard Nashh?” Flashfresh asked before pouring and sipping another drink.
“I do not.” Nashh sighed, “If at all possible I would like to keep my place in the corporation, but I understand if you wish for me to remove myself entirely”.
“I have to say that the timing of all this is, unusual.” Flashfresh sat back and looked at Nashh. He mentally recalled his first encounter with him, the explosion of Flashfresh’s own ship, the camaraderie and the laughs.
Nashh was a pirate but cut from a different cloth that most. Flashfresh also remembered the drugs; the massive cocktail of drugs that was ingested by Nashh and his frequent ‘disappearances’ for days sometimes weeks on end.
“On my home planet,” Flash started saying with a far-away look in his eyes, “There is an ancient ritual called ‘Walkabout’, it is a common event among many of our tribes. This ritual requires a younger tribe member to set out on his own for six weeks or more with limited resources and go on a journey of self discovery”. “This journey of self-discovery is useful when your own life is still ahead of you or your life is so cluttered with the detritus of living that you can’t see your way anymore. One should always keep moving until one comes back.”
The pair of pirates sat in silence for a moment. Both taking a moment to reflect on the conversation and to enjoy their drink.
“How long was your walkabout sir?” Nashh Kadavr asked after a few minutes.
Flashfresh regarded Nashh with a twinkle in his eye. “I am still on it” . Flash stood up from his seat, with his glass still in his hand. “You’ll come back even better and stronger.” Flash emptied the remaining golden fluid before putting the glass on the bar. He removed a pair of aviator sunglasses from an inside pocket and put them on. “See you when we see you, son.” he smiled and disappeared.
In a strange way Nashh felt relieved, speaking to his CEO could be stressful at the best of times but there was an innate sense he just had a ‘real’ conversation with him. With his CEO’s blessing he pulled out his Neo-com and scrolled down his list of contacts, found what he was looking for and made connection…
“Rixx! How are you mate? Have you got a minute?