When running in the park on a hot day, do not take off your shirt if you are a really hairy sumbitch.
I was getting sick of Sister Alitura. The more I dug my heels in to finish her mundane tasks, the more frustrated I was becoming. She was sending me all over Empire space to her various contacts, each of whom was in “need” of my special abilities. Really, it was a crock. Deliver farming supplies, drop off a rag doll to a personal friend, tasks that simply made me cringe at their abuse of my Capsuleer status. All the while, I silently cursed Shakor, thinking of how my bitterness would probably destroy the relative friendship we had built. Honestly, I didn’t care. This was pathetic at best. I craved action and excitement.
In Gallente space, some data finally came to light regarding Mordu’s Legion. There was no clear indication as to how they were involved, and it was my job to scout a known nearby outpost for information about their recent activities. Finally, something I could take to with gusto.
My Rifter reverted to normal space, and I started scanning the area. Moments later, Aura started warning me of multiple inbound hostiles; Mordu’s Legion had come home. Immediately, I was webbed, and they were moving into position for the kill. I accelerated towards them, targeting the frigate that had webbed me as my primary. That was when they started jamming me and my shields began to fail. I was impressed at their coordinated effort, but knew that once I countered their jamming frequency, I would tear into them with unrestrained fury.
Sadly, that moment never came. My shields peeled away well before I could get my weapons back online. Aura warned of one of the ships trying to warp scramble, and I knew it was time for me to go.
I reported my findings to Sister Alitura, who had more information about the rogue drone fiasco. Apparently, it was the same drone affecting all of her contacts. She wanted me to go to Caldari space and seek out her liason there.
Our eyes met, neither of us willing to break the gaze first. I would be shot on sight in Caldari space. I am sure she knew this. I challenged her with my stare and she didn’t back down. Finally, I chose to surrender this battle, my duty conquering my pride. I nodded to her and made my way to Caldari space, grinding my teeth all the way.
Seven ships and 100 million ISK later, I was more than pissed off. Shakor damn well better reimburse me for this, I thought to myself. This entire mission was a suicide run. No matter how fast I was, no matter how much I overheated my afterburner, the Caldari Navy was merciless in its pursuit and destruction of me. I was a lemming in my stubborness to succeed.
I had to find another way.
I sent a comm to Mynxee. I sent a comm to PyjamaSam. I sent a comm to my corp. Mynxee and Sam mocked me. “Welcome to New Eden, noob.” Sam had said. “Get over it, darlin. The universe doesn’t revolve around you.” Mynxee chimed in. My corp was busy mining. If I was angry before, I was enraged now. I cut the comms, realizing how fickle even friendships could be. In the end, you could rely on yourself and nobody else.
I was requisitioning a new Rifter when I got a call on my private comm; Nathan Carver. There was a name I hadn’t seen in over a year. Nathan and I used to be corp mates in the Cognitive Factor before the war started. COG was based in Caldari space, though I worked from the nearby Minmatar system of Korama while under their employ. I had made some good friends, and learned a lot about life in New Eden from their tutelage. When the war started, fate had a different path destined for me. I answered the comm.
“What’s up Roc? Haven’t seen you in Caldari space in a while.” Nathan said.
“How’d you know I was here now?” I asked.
“Are you kidding? The entire system knows you’re here. The Navy keeps broadcasting your presence across all the traffic bandwidth. Everyone and their brother will be shooting at you. Just thought you’d want to know.”
I sighed deeply. This mission just kept getting worse and worse. I was a declared public enemy of Caldari State, free to fire upon by any willing to claim the bounty they had posted on me.
On the one hand, it was finally starting to make sense why Shakor had sent me. Only a Capsuleer could pull this off, and even then, only a Capsuleer with experiences akin to my own. On the other hand, there are five fingers. I had an idea.
“Nate,” I began, hesitation clear in my voice. “I need your help.”
“You? Asking me for help?” Nathan Carver laughed. “The immortal Roc Wieler, Scourge of the Amarr, Hero of the Minmatar Republic, asking a lowly Caldari for assistance? Hey, look out the station window; I think I see a pig flying.”
I let him get it out of his system, knowing I deserved to be berated. I had always been a cocky pilot. I carried myself with a certain arrogance that either attracted or repelled people. But you know what? It worked. As I often said, the legend of a man is always more effective than the abilities of a man. I had built my career on it, though I was fortunate in that I could back up what I said most of the time.
“Yeah, alright.” Nathan said after a few more minutes of condescending sarcasm. “What do you need?”
“Is there somewhere safe we can meet? I really don’t trust open comms.” I said, my suspicious instincts kicking in. Trust nobody. It was one of the first rules of survival, and given the fleeting nature of my so called “friends” earlier, I had decided to let my instincts take over.
“Yeah, sure. Meet me planetside. I got a safehouse there we can meet at. Sending you the coordinates now.” With that, Nathan Carver signed off.
I booked passage on a planetary shuttle, being careful to hide my implants. I just wanted to blend in. I had even stopped and bought a wig from a nearby hair shop, and kept my sunglasses in the inner pocket of my jacket. I sported a long, blonde mullet; I didn’t even think I would recognize myself honestly.
After arriving planetside, I began to trek by foot, following Nate’s directions.
I was in the midst of crossing a highway overpass when I felt a sharp pang in the back of my head, then a holler. The shout was from two young punks driving by in their vehicle. I looked to the ground, picking up the small monetary coin the passenger had thrown at me, hitting me in the back of the head. It had stung, and worse, it was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.
I watched their vehicle come to a stop at a set of traffic lights fifty feet in front of me and began to sprint after them. Fate was with me that day, some would say, as I reached their vehicle, the occupants unaware. The damn fool teenaged passenger still had his window open.
I put my left hand forcefully down on the window edging, and snarled. As the youth turned in shock to see me there in all my mulleted glory, I tightened my right fist and drove it into his face; once, twice, three times.
As I continued to pommel the youth, they both panicked, not knowing what to do. The passenger clumsily tried to fend me off to no avail, while the driver tried unsuccessfully to close the window.
My mind reeled to thoughts of Master Cho, to Veshta Yoshita, to Mandi Kai, to Sard Caid. That was odd. I could understand the first few, as I had many unresolved anger issues surrounding them, but Sard?
Then it flashed into my mind. Sard had called me an old man. Sard had mocked me, boasting of how he would take my corpse. Yes, for all I liked Sard and enjoyed his company, he was a prick at times. Sometimes I needed that. Right now I used it as fuel for my anger.
I kept walloping the punk until finally the traffic signal indicated they could go, and go they did.
I shook my hand, repeatedly flexing and extending my fingers, knowing my knuckles would swell, but feeling deeply satisfied by the encounter. Perhaps next time they would think twice before engaging in such a stupidly juvenile stunt. Probably not. That was the trouble with idiots; they never learned. You just can’t fix stupid.
I double checked Nate’s directions, adjusted my wig, and continued on.