As the number display in the elevator counted down towards my destination, I used the privacy of the cabin to unceremoniously slump against the back wall: it had been another long day of ferrying stuff between the stars, and taming capricious agents who by corporate rule didn’t bother with little details like industrials not exactly being the best ships to send out mining.
A melodious *ding* announced the arrival at my destination, and I exited onto the quarters level of the Creodron Factory station in Ghesis. And this weren’t just the transient capsuleer quarters, No Sir! - the even more posh Guest Quarters it was! Plush carpet, original paintings at the wall, discreet security, an open bar at the corner - and this was just the hallway!
Good to see that the last weeks of endless missions had been good for something tangible.
Reaching the entrance to my actual quarters, I unlocked the door and triggered the opening mechanism - and stopped in the entrance. Where there should have been a dark and quiet room, I saw light and heard music. Pre-capsuleer instincts tried to draw a sidearm I no longer carried, while the post-capsuleer brain took inventory of the situation.
A wet towel on the floor, the computer display showing market graphs, Amarrian synth-punk on the sound system, and, hanging over the side of a high-backed chair, a pair of slender naked feet, bobbing with the beat. This meant....
“Hi Sis!” Eta’s red-haired head peeked over the back of said chair. “You live!”
“Of course I live!” Letting the door shut behind me, I entered the room, and slumped down on a couch. “Why shouldn’t I?”
Eta swiveled her chair to face me. “Well, rumor had it that you left our WH months ago, but nobody had seen you.”
“’s not true!”, I protested. “I am on comms every day!”
“You were,” admitted Eta, “or somebody sounding very much like you. But what _are_ you doing?”
I rubbed my eyes. “Earning standings, in case we need to anchor new hi-sec POSes. Plus, it's never a good idea to give Gallente itchy trigger fingers, undisciplined heathens they are."
Eta thought about that, then nodded. “Makes sense. Well, in that case I have something to cheer you up. Catch!”
She tossed a small object at me, which I managed to catch solely on account of my chest being square its trajectory. It was a credit chip.
Seeing my slightly puzzled look, she elaborated. “ISK. Your share from my Nanotransistors batch.”
“Your Nanotransistors... but I thought that batch finished two months ago?”
“I’m glad you ask!”, smiled Eta. “Remember my Fermionic Condensates batch?”
Oh, the Fermionic Condensates - who could forget! For days we walked carefully around Eta and avoided any mention of markets, reactions, or, for that matter, POSes. After losing a good 500M on that particular batch, she was even considering giving up reactions altogether; but eventually settled on just reducing her operation. By eliminating the fuel cost for one reaction POS, she was more or less able to compensate for the loss - or so she claimed.
"Well, after that debacle, I started a batch of Nanotransistors. But guess what!"
I had an inkling where this was going: "The market crashed?"
Eta nodded, "The market tanked - again! I would have been out another 200-300M."
"But obviously" - I held up the credit chip - "you aren't."
"Nope!", she beamed. "Thanks to the powers of Market competition."
That surprised me. "I thought you stayed away from it, on account of all the high-frequency trading."
"Well, true, but it was either that, or losing even more ISK. So I started some cheap low-yield reactions to tide me over, put up a couple of sell orders, and updated them once or twice a week. And lo and behold: the market recovered and I was able to make some profit after all."
"And now you'd like to be our official Mistress of Reactors _and_ Trading?", I couldn't resist teasing.
"Gods, no!" She shuddered. "Unless really necessary, I'll happily leave that up to the others who actually enjoy it. Speaking of which..."
She leaned forward, suddenly serious.
"When will you be back, and have some fun?"