Don’t worry about what people think, they don’t do it very often.
UNDISCLOSED 0.1 SYSTEM
ENROUTE TO CURSE REGION
My Vigil class, exploration fit frigate rocked again against the missile volley from the Serpentis ships. They had setup a gate camp on the jump gate I had just made use of.
It was terrible luck really. Had I been travelling the other direction, I tentatively could’ve broken through their blockade and accessed the gate controls before they could’ve locked me down. Unfortunately, it hadn’t gone down that way, and as I had tried to align the nimble frigate towards the next jump gate along my destined path, the Serpentis had surprised me with their competence.
Now I was suffering from my underestimation of them, two Daredevil frigates raking me with missiles and turret fire while keeping my frigate webbed and scrammed, allowing the turrets of the much larger Vindicator battleship ample time to track me.
Aura warned me that my shields had dropped as I felt the metallic structure of my ship groan and strain. It wouldn’t take long for that battleship to incinerate me.
I had decided to head towards Curse Region, following a lead I had received from a contact within Republic High Command. There was growing concern over the Angel Cartel’s technological advancements, rumours they had been reverse engineering Jovian technology and selling it to the Serpentis, whom they were known to be closely allied with. The ramifications of Jovian technology in the hands of such a widespread and powerful pirate ring were staggering, if true. It was my job to uncover what I may, being the poster boy for the Republic’s current “Anti-Pirate” campaign. A victory would further help to restore my tarnished reputation, whereas a failure wouldn’t surprise anyone, and the blame would fall squarely on my shoulders.
I hated the situation I was in. My heart was pure, my motives noble, yet no matter what I seemed to do, the bureaucracy and political machine of the Republic was destined to spin things however they best saw fit to protect their own interests. But was that beneficial to the longterm prosperity of the Republic? Were the secretive directives of a few influential members of parliament really what the foundations of democracy were intended for?
I was beginning to see Shakor as more of an impotent figurehead than anything, and felt empathy for him. Him and I were very much alike, men with the ability to see right from wrong, possessed of the desire to improve the quality of life for our people, to do what was right, and yet surrounded by those lacking the forward thinking ability to enlist true and lasting change.
It was a growing frustration for me.
My travels had been surprisingly quiet through most of lowsec; there seemed to be a mass emigration towards Empire space recently, though I couldn’t be entirely sure why. Did it have to do with the very thing I was being sent to find out? I supposed only time would tell.
The battleship landed another heavy salvo against my frigate, penetrating my hull, venting oxygen from my ship’s life support systems into space. I had Aura seal off those sections immediately. The ship wasn’t responding at 100% anymore, and scanning the damage control systems, I knew I was done for unless I took drastic measures.
I had finally managed to align to my intended gate, and fired an ECM burst. I knew the Vindicator wouldn’t be in range, but I was hoping to at least shake the two frigates long enough to make the jump to lightspeed.
I felt, more than heard the burst, and was elated when I watched both frigates lose target lock. I was free, and made use of those precious seconds.
Moments later, my ship shook violently as I sped through warp, and I encouraged the ship verbally under my breath to just hold on long enough to make it to a station.
As I half-expected, there was another gate camp setup, awaiting my arrival. I blazed forward, Aura activating the jump gate, and I was away without further incident.
Three systems later, I docked up at a relatively non-hostile station, and engaged them for repairs to my ship. They overcharged me, but given the remote location I was in, I was more than happy to pay their fee without argument.
During the forced downtime, I reviewed my intelligence reports on the Guardian Angels. I had transferred every piece of RSS data I had been provided onto my NeoCom, and while most was vague assumptions and spun yarn from aging pilots, I put together a disturbing theme: from all indications it did look probable that the Guardian Angels had indeed advanced ancient Jovian technology.
My mission objective was clear. Achieving that objective would be an arduous task, and I had no idea what was going to happen next, but if anything, I was sure it would prove interesting, as life often was.