Another virtual screen snapped to life in front of me, automatically arranging itself among the flickering three dimensional headshots of Em, Dirk, CB, and the pilot we’d started calling Geed.
“Guys,” Geed said, “This is Zen.”
“Hi… umm…” the new pilot’s eyes tracked left, right, up and down, taking in our images on his own in-pod display. “What’s… going on?”
I grinned. “Let me get you up to speed, Zen.” I pointed at one of the other displays. “About an hour ago, Em and Geed had a bit of a tussle.”
“With bullets and missiles and explosions,” I explained, “which is kind of how we say hello out here, I guess.” I smiled. “Once that was done, they started talking.”
“As you do,” Em said.
“You do?” Zen asked.
Dirk shrugged. “Sometimes.”
“Anyway,” I continued, “we’ve been mostly swapping stories and explaining how things work in the war zone — the missions and objectives and such — we’re part of the Tribal Liberation Force. Geed seemed pretty keen on the whole thing and he mentioned his friend might be as well.”
“Meaning you,” Geed muttered.
“Nice.” Zen hesitated. “Does that mean you need to blow up one of my ships too?”
“Excellent.” His face went deadpan. “When it comes time, maybe just shoot Geed again. He likes it.”
“Well,” Em murmured. “He came in looking for a fight, and stuck it out. That’s definitely what you need out here. I kind of overthink it sometimes.”
“I just shoot what they tell me,” Dirk added, as unnervingly cheerful as always.
“That’s an approach I understand,” Zen said. “Not sure I get how the whole war zone thing actually works, but I make a pretty good blunt instrument.”
“There’s some good folks in our alliance,” Em said. “They like explaining everything.” His eyes flickered my direction. “Especially Ty.”
“Especially me,” I agreed. “You can hardly shut me up.”
“So…” Zen glanced in Geed’s basic direction. “I take you guys have been talking about us joining you?”
“A bit,” I admitted, aware that surprise news could easily shut down his interest.
“I’ve been reading their recruitment page,” Geed added.
Em’s eyebrow rose. “We have one of those?”
“Yes.” I managed an affronted expression. “We absolutely do. It part of my job as the… person who does things like that.”
“Right. That.” I tipped my head, frowning, then turned to Geed. “… what’s it say again?”
Geed’s eyes tracked left to right, below the line of his display. “It says you’re gonna punch me.”
“OH! Now I — well, hold on.” I squinted, remembering the CONCORD form I’d had to fill out. “I doesn’t say that exactly.”
“‘Our recruitment policy:'” Geed read aloud, “‘Only trust people you can physically punch.'”
“Right,” I said. “And we can’t physically punch you, so we won’t entirely trust you.”
“I don’t even trust Ty,” CB muttered, “and I’ve known him twenty years.”
“Exactly.” I grinned, turning back to Geed. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t shoot some Amarr together.”
So… yeah. It appears we’re recruiting a little bit. Merry Christmas.