He was in his favourite chair. His work chair. It was a solid thing, covered in real leather, not that cheap synth fabric. His large frame fit comfortably into it. The familiar smell of the chair seeped into him, once again.
Resting his arms on the chair, he reached into his pocket and retrieved a small laser pointer. He fiddled with the dial, turned it on, and aimed it at the huge unlit cigar at his mouth. The cigar ignited with a hiss. He took in a deep breath, and exhaled calmly.
The video screen in front of him lit up. One of his lieutenants was online. The lieutenant was a physically imposing man, powerfully built and wearing civilian clothes. Probably undercover. He was completely bald, but was wearing synth-hair, to further disguise himself.
"Sir?" the lieutenant asked meekly.
"Speak, Drake," The man said. He despised the little nicknames they had taken for themselves. Then again, "Thanatos" was hardly the best. But he had to do it, no one could know his name.
"We've found someone who managed to steal a very valuable ship, Sir."
"On our side, I take it?" Thanatos asked cautiously.
"Ah," Drake said nervously. "No, Sir."
"Then I think an .... invitation to join our ranks is in order."
"I'm trying to, Sir." Drake reached over to the screen, pressed a few buttons, and the screen view shifted to a man tied to a chair beside Drake. There was a large cut on his forehead, with blood flowing down onto the left side of his face. Several electrodes were attached to his torso. Burns on other parts of his chest indicated that the electrodes were used.
"He is proving amazingly resilient. He refuses to give us the codes. We think he may be part of another organization."
"What ship is this?" Thanatos asked, changing the subject.
"Erm, a GalEx transport craft, Sir. Very few of those after the company dissolved. Several modifications seem to have been made, fake compartments, scanner-proof materials and such. Adapted to smuggling, apparently."
"Valuable indeed," Thanatos agreed. A ship like that could provide all sorts of opportunities.
"Perhaps we should insist that he join us."
"Good choice, Sir." With that, Drake turned to the man. He reached for a remote on a table in front of the man and pressed a button.
"No, no, please, do-" the man pleaded before being interrupted by a jolt of electricity. The man screamed.
Drake turned back to the screen. "It's in progress, Sir."
Drake disconnected, leaving the screen blank.