Quattras sat at a desk in his office in the Emperor Family Academy station above Oris, poring over a mountainous stack of papers, when he was interrupted by a quiet knock on his open office door.
“Dr. Peione? There’s-”
“Oh, Annette, glad you’re here. Have you got those research reports in from Horizons Station yet?”
“Well, no, sir. But-”
“Well I really need them ASAP. And these market projections are really limited in scope. I’d like you to get Robert to keep an eye on noxcium prices in Jita. Buy orders, not sell orders.”
“Of course. But there’s-”
“If you don’t have my reports, I really don’t have time to chat, Annette.”
“Sir, there’s someone here to see you.”
Quattras pinched the bridge of his nose, fighting to keep the frustration out of his voice. “Is it important? Who is it?”
“It’s Mr. Halcyon. He says-”
Quattras abruptly got up from his desk and breezed past his flustered assistant and into the lobby. His friend sat in a chair, comically small for his large frame.
“Deuce! How the hell are ya? Ancestors choke, I haven’t heard from you in weeks.”
Deuce rose and extended his hand. “Good to see you, Quat.” He smiled, but there was no joy in his eyes. “I was thinking we could talk alone, you and I…” He glared at Annette over Quattras’ shoulder.
“Of course. Why don’t you come on in to my quarters and we’ll have a drink.”
Annette rolled her eyes as she went back to her own office.
The door to the captain’s quarters slid shut with a subtle hydraulic hiss and Quattras padded across the room. He lifted a shapely bottle of some brightly colored Gallentean fruit liqueur towards Deuce, who silently nodded.
“So I take it you’re in trouble,” he said as he poured two glasses of the fluorescent liquid. “Otherwise I don’t imagine you would come all the way out here.”
Deuce stared into his glass for a long moment before taking a drink. “I’m closing it down, Quat.”
“You’re doing what? Closing what down?”
Deuce sighed and sat on the sofa. “Gentlemen of Fortune, Quat. I’m closing it.”
Both held their breath and dwelled on this for a moment in silence.
“Nope.” Quattras set down his glass and crossed his arms. “Fuck that. I put-”
Deuce waved him off. “It’s all but done. Trevia is all set with our assets, I’ll be signing the papers to dissolve 4TUNA for good come tomorrow.”
Quattras took a step back and sat on the edge of his desk. “Why though? I thought you and Kieran were doing well there.”
“Well apparently not that well. Kieran’s grounded.”
“A DED audit? I ran into that a while back; we can fix it.”
Deuce shook his head slowly. “Voluntary. Quat, he’s done. I think I’m done, too. Maybe when I’m a bit more… I dunno, liquid. But things being what they are, I’m treading water here. Trevia and I have a place on Oris. I figured we’d live there for a while, until I figure things out.”
Deuce raised his eyebrows, his blind eyes nonetheless afire. “You left, Doctor. I’ve gotta do what I’ve gotta do.”
Quattras nodded solemnly as he pressed a button on his desk. “I guess you’re right. Annette, can you come in here please?”
The young woman poked her head into the room wearing a broad disingenuous smile.
“Notify the Secure Commerce Commission of the Peione Foundation’s intentions to acquire Gentlemen of Fortune and its assets effective immediately. We’ll have Robert transfer over to smooth the transition and have them run neutral logistics for VSKY.” He turned back to Deuce emphatically. “Well now. It looks like my new investment is going to need a CEO. What’s your price?”