Jukkizaras’ face paled as he read the document.
“Oh… Quat, this is… Well, it’s a bit of a shock.”
I nodded solemnly, looking out the station window overlooking the docking port. “I know, J. Believe me, if I could keep your name out of it I would. But if I didn’t put your name on the subpoena proposal you would be summoned anyway. Your office was integral in The State’s side of things.”
The Chief Executive Panel officer hung his head, still seated at his desk. “I did my job, Quat. And I already paid dearly for that.”
Indeed he had. Once Principal Clerk for the most powerful organization in the Caldari State, Jukkizaras Aboraala now ran a small division, handing out security contracts to capsuleers well out of the spotlight. Many still blamed him for the dissolution of the Reform Guidance Board and the rise of the Provists – and by proxy the administration of Tibus Heth, a dark time of which few liked to speak.
“Most State officers who were in the field during the fight for Caldari Prime are long since dead, J. Executed outright or forced into suicide, or deceased under questionable circumstances. I can’t not call witnesses for the State. If I did, both sides would claim malfeasance.”
My old friend rose from his seat and joined me at the window. “I know you’re just doing what you believe is right. You’ve always followed your conscience, wherever that may lead.”
I pulled a smashed half-pack of Amarrian Spirit cigarettes from my jacket pocket and lit one, offering the pack to Jukkizaras. He shook his head and stared ahead.
“We both know the RGB had been a dead institution for a long time. But the Providence Directorate was instrumental in its dissolution and few of them are around to give an insider’s view into what was going on behind the scenes.”
“Who do you have as witnesses thus far?”
“For the State? Not many. Visiera Yanala, a Navy Commander in the operation. Kola Moiras, a pilot from 37th Squadron who seems to be in hiding somewhere. Tsuni Aina, a Stike Commander from Mordu’s Legion. I’ve got a half dozen loyalist capsuleers named in the subpoena, but some of them… If I have Diana Kim take the stand, it’s going to turn into a circus.”
“Alright, then. I’ll do it.” Jukkizaras sighed in resignation, his shoulders drooping. “There are a few respectable independent pilots I can recommend. Start with this guy – Tuulinen.”
I placed a hand on his shoulder and looked him in the eye. “This is going to put a lot of bad blood to rest, J. And I promise, we’ll keep your name clean.”
And I meant it.
We stood in silence for a long time, before I silently left his office and paged my First Officer. “Nelos, queue us a route to Luminaire. And send a message asking Deuce to come along; I don’t think the next batch of witnesses is going to be quite so cordial.”
From the office of Ikansur Haenobiber, Chief Operations Officer, Directive Enforcement Division
To Dr. Quattras Peione, SM.RB
After a thorough review of your proposal, the DED regrets to inform you that your suggested inquest into the events surrounding the Battle of Caldari Prime is antithetical to the current direction the Division is pursuing. While we appreciate the thoroughness of your proposal, it is denied until further notice.
Dictated but not read,