- by Necronomicon
The welder trips the auxiliary generator again, plunging the tunnel into darkness once more. “Damn it” the frustrated Necronomicon punches the hull plate with his bare fists until his knuckles start to bleed.
It is useless, the twisted plate is too strong to be manipulated by hand, and Necro knows it. He has been on this planet for 3 days now, slowly repairing the damage inflicted during his visit to Caldari Prime.
Trudging back to the pod bay door he starts going over the past few days, and how events had lead him here, the offer in the bar at Niyabainen IX Caldari Navy from the peculiar looking Gallente guy, seemed to good to be true at the time; “now look at me”.
Back onboard his Harpy class Assault Frigate, and warming in the soothing amubiotic bliss of his pod, Necro starts going through the ship logs again to try and ascertain exactly what it was that caused so much damage to his ship.
“20060113 12:04 – “Unknown hits you inflicting 948 damage”
“What the hell was it?”
He remembers setting Prime as his warp point and the warnings from the Gallente Navy Megathron as he uncloaked “Yeah, trying locking me biatch!”, and thinks he can remember coming out of warp, but he cannot recall whether or not he saw anything on his overview before the explosion. All he has been able to tell up to now is that something caused his ship massive damage to the point where all modules were put offline “This being the case, how did I manage to end up in this cave?” He gets frustrated at the lack of information once more.
“INCOMING TRANSMISSION SIGNAL”
The static on the planet’s atmosphere combined with being hundreds of feet beneath the surface cut the transmission before Necronomicon can reply. “Damn Gallente Ice mines, but I suppose if nobody can scan for me, I will be safe for now”.
Necro turns to his ship diagnostics, guns are offline, and still show a full compliment of charges. Shield Booster is completely burned out “Must speak to the Gistum about that damn ‘combat damage excluded’ warranty”
It was only a week before that his boss had advised him to fit the mobile pod bay to all his ships; luckily he had taken that advice, otherwise he would be in an even worse position than he was. “If I could just find out where that battery leak is, might be able to get this thing back in the air”
After warming his bruised bones for a few more minutes, Necro slowly activates the pod bay. As the last of the fluid is drained, the neural interface is unplugged and his naked body is slowly tipped out onto the pod bay floor. Feeling the cold, he rushes into his suit and enters the airlock once more.
He was beginning to regret using the last of his failing capacitor battery to move the ship further into the tunnels; light was required to work on the underbelly of his Harpy, and light is something he didn’t have much of. The generator finally spluttered into life “Note to self, turn the welder down a bit”.
The problem of how to get the damaged plate back into place was causing Necro a real headache, there was nothing onboard out around the ship which had sufficient strength to…..”Wait a damn minute, I wonder if…..common Necro mate you are starting to go craz…nah, screw it, it is worth a try”.
Four hours later and one of the Harpy’s 125mm Tech 2 Railguns is lying on the floor, wired up to the generator and pointing roughly back at the ship. Necro stands with an evil grin on his face “This is pure genius, reckon a single blast from this puppy will knock that plate back nicely….three……twooo….onAAARRRGGGHH!!” The railgun flies backwards smashing off the tunnel wall, Necro is thrown backwards with it, landing in a crumpled heap.
He regains consciousness a few minutes later, the generator has cut out again, he cannot see more than a couple of inches in front of him due to the darkness and dust thrown up by the blast. He finds the wall of the tunnel, and slowly starts moving along to where he thinks the ship is….BANG..”OW” and finds it. Moving along to the generator control panel, after a few false starts, the inspection light finally glows into life….”Well, cover me in bees and call me honey, it worked, right, let’s find this battery leak”
With a new found respect for himself, Necro starts looking round the aft of the ship for signs of further damage. A small trail of fluid catches his eye. “Acid, damn”. With a breach in the battery casing, he was sunk again. Didn’t matter if he could bring main ship generator online, without somewhere to store the energy, he would not be able to power up any more than one module at a time.
“Getting cold again, time to go back inside”
Back in his pod, and warmed again, Necro starts on reading the ship logs for the fiftieth time when…
“JO, WHERE ARE YOU?”
nothing, Necro sinks back..
“Just outside Luminaire now, boy, are you in trouble, you are all over Gallente Police and Navy Channels, we thought we had lost you, what the hell is going on?”
“Hmm, I can hear you much better now, you boosting or something? Don’t want the Navy swarming me where I am right now”
“Don’t worry Necro, we are bouncing off a Gallente industrial outside Duvolle Labs, they wont be monitoring this transmission”
Necro trusted Jo, he was a dab hand at tunnelling through communications firewalls, not even the poor fool on the Iteron knew he was being used as a host.
“What is your status Nec?”
“I feel like I have done ten rounds with an Amarr Slaver, and my ship looks like something out of ‘Matar Scrapheap Challenge’, does that answer your question?”
“What is your current location?”
“In a bloody big hole on Planet 3, no way of getting out at the moment, main battery is busted open, no modules online at present, oh, and one of my rails has decided to take a road trip down the tunnel”.
“How did that happen? Wait, don’t tell me, you decided to play the big guy out of Predator again didn’t ya?”
“What can I say Jo, chicks dig big guns. Anyway, it served its purpose, at least I got a complete hull now”
“I shudder to think. Ok, the lads and I are forming a plan, you stay put, will be in touch later, Jo out”.
Necro managed a smile, they had come for him. The last few months had been difficult for Necro in his corporation; he didn’t know how much a part of the team he was until now. If anyone was gonna get him out of this, the Mercenary Forces would find a way.
“Necro, didn’t you book a small Tech 2 Cap Battery out of hangar the other day….where is it?”
Necro suddenly feels a huge sensation of stupidity wash over him, checking his cargo logs
Dread Guristas Antimatter Charge Small 2000
Thorn Rage Rocket 500
Small Capacitor battery II
“DOH, I am on it Jo, my brain must have got a bit squished during impact”
“Drugs are bad Nec m’kay?”
He splashed onto the pod bay floor once more, back outside, the laborious task of wiring the battery in manually began. The ship was designed to run the battery in parallel to the main battery, but since the main one was damaged, it had to be removed from the grid.
Back in his pod after an hour, Necro punched up the core systems “84 cap? I have seen shuttles with more juice, suppose it will have to do.”
“How’s it going you slag, shame to hear you are still alive…..just kidding, what is going on?”
“You using Jo’s carrier signal?”
“Nope, I am in system, a friend of mine runs R&D missions from here, he has kindly set me up with a clean comms system in the back of his Deimos”
“Good enough. I am a bit bashed up, but managed to get myself 84 cap online, most of my modules are screwed, Afterburner seems to be salvageable, as do 2 of the guns, rockets are down and out, as is shield boosting.”
“Well, once we have worked out your exact location, Mada has put himself forward for running the gauntlet with an Imicus, he has armour rep and shield boost drones, and some tools etc for ya. Waiting for a gap in the patrols to get him in. We WILL get you out of there. Oh and by the way, Yatta aint happy with you, what the hell were you doing at Caldari Prime, why did you kill a Senator, and why are they saying you were with a Serpentis cruiser? BB out”
“What the…damn, he has gone”
Mordu’s frigates? Assassination? Something started to smell really bad, and Necro knew it wasn’t his pod.
Necro was one of a small amount of pilots who had been brought up through his military life to believe that the pod was a job, not a way of life. Most of his corp were of the same mind, and rarely remained in their capsules once docked.
Given that pod life severely drains the body of any physical energy, Necro was glad for this decision, there would have been no way he would have been able to survive outside if he had fallen in line with the majority.
His overview buzzed into life, dreading the flashing red of the police, or even worse, the navy, Necro closed the blast screen and waited for the flash…..it never came.
“Necro!! Hows it hanging?”
With no time to waste, Necro slammed the pod bay into action, and suited up. Madalaup was already outside when the airlock popped open. The lunatic had managed to slide his Cargo Frigate past possibly the largest Gallente security operation in Luminaire’s history, and managed to find me. Or at least Necro hoped he had managed to evade detection.
“You been a bad lad Necro, everybody is after you; the Minnies, Gallente, even the State has condemned you with the Empire following suit. But we still love ya you crazy son of a bitch”
“What ya got for me Mada?”
Mada handed Necro a cargo log….
Mechanical Parts 10
Hi Tec Arms 20
Gravimetric Sensor Cluster 2
Graviton Reactor Unit 1
Magpulse Thruster 4
Sustained Shield Emitter 2
Titanium Diborite Armor Plates 10
Guidance System 1
Hydrogen Batteries 2
Ukomi Super Conductors 20
125mm Railgun II 4
Rochet Launcher II 1
Gisti Small Shield Booster 1
Test Dummies 1
“Whose idea was the dummy?”
“Yatta’s, he said there was more chance of that getting this ship out in one piece than you”
“Typical. You know all this crap about what I did is bullshit?”
“Yeah, we didn’t think you would be that stupid, but then we know you a little better than most”
Being a mercenary, Necro was used to being kill on sight to a lot of corporations, up to now, he had always managed to skip past the regional forces, always keeping his standings towards them as good as possible; usually with some fast-talking. Now he had pretty much every pod pilot after his hide. Things were looking pretty dire, and he wondered how much his corporation were willing to sacrifice to help him.
The ominous buzz of the repair drones echoed through the tunnels, Mada and Necro safely in their pods away from the welding torches and plasma beams that scurried over the Harpy’s hull. After a short while, Necro’s ship was starting to look like it was just another badly looked after frigate, and so the module repairs began…
“Necro, seems like we got some good news and some bad news…”
“Good news first please Jo, I always like to end on a low”
“Good news is that most of the gang are now holding in Du Annes, we have a good spread of ships, KIA and the Merc Coalition have given you, and us a 24 hour head start to clear your name; took a bit of persuasion. Which leads to the bad news…”
“I think I already know”
“The Federation has put all Mercenary corporations on us, they have been ordered to hunt us down, and bring you to them dead or alive. As I said, I have contacted KIA, and Yatta has spoken to Seleene and explained that you have been fitted up. But the other merc corps are not talking to us, they see this as an opportunity to hit the big time. I think this is gonna get messy”.
Necro sat back in his pod, although the Mercenary Forces were a superb bunch of pilots, and did not really care too much for many of the smaller entities; he knew that if KIA or the MC guys did come after him, he would have no choice but to turn himself in.
“Have you had any luck on finding out what the hell happened?”
“Don’t know yet Necro, got Z and Sven snooping round Caldari Prime in coverts at the moment, but as you would expect, there is a huge police and navy presence; if there was any evidence, I expect they will already have removed it.”
Nothing was giving Necro any hope that he was going to walk away from this. Mada was busy outside replacing the missing/destroyed railguns, Necro was just about to join him when…..
“Necronomicon, thees eez Commandair Jacques Villevue of thee Fairderateeon Naveee. We know you are in theeere, shut doon your naveegateeon computairs and come out using throosters powair onlee”
“Necro is not here right now, please leave a message after the beep…BEEP”
Necro scurried out of his pod, and ran outside to find mada beating the crap out of a seized bolt on the Afterburner housing.
“They found is Mada, we are screwed, I gotta go out there, I have to, we are..”
Necro looked up at the tunnel ceiling, it wasn’t the first time Mada had hit him, and there was always a good reason for it.
“Bad’Boy has planned ahead, there is another exit to this tunnel system, a vent shaft that is big enough for our ships. It isn’t that far from the main entrance, but far enough away that we should be able to get to warp before they are on us.”
“But my ship is..”
“Your ship is fine, once I got this housing off, you will be up an running with guns, AB, and shield boost. I haven’t had time to replace the main battery, so 84 is all you got, use it wisely. Now for Christ’s sake, get a grip, get back in your pod and stall them”
Necro rejoined his ships comms system in time to hear the Gallente Commanders voice repeating..
“You have 60 seconds to begin making your way to the entrance, or else”
“Hello, hello, who is this?”
“Thees eez Commandair Jacques Villevue of thee Fairderateeon Naveee, you have had ampel warnings”
“I am sorry, I don’t speak French, do you want me to come outside?”
“Excuse me, I didn’t quite catch that…”
Necro saw light coming down the tunnel..2…5…8 beams of light darting about….SOLDIERS!
Launching from the pod bay door..”MADA!!”
Mada was already rummaging in the cargo bay of his ship, and emerged with 2 Hi Tech plasma rifles. Necro plucked his from mid air as it was thrown to him.
“Cross over formation, I’ll take left”
“Roger that Necro”
It was a good place to fight, Necro and Mada were soon up within the tunnel walls, rifles aimed down the tunnel towards the oncoming forces.
“Watch for anyone trying to get down that gulley on the right Necro, if they get behind us, we be dead”
As the advancing soldiers reached the open area of the tunnel, they slowed and began searching the darkness for signs of the mercenary. By the time they had seen the 2nd ship it was too late. Bolts of plasma were already in the air cutting anything in their path into pieces.
The soldiers returned fire, Necro pouring fire diagonally across the tunnel. Then suddenly..
The voice came from behind him, Necro slowly put down his rifle. There was no noise from either in front of him or to his right where Mada was. Necro cursed himself at the loss of his brother in arms who had given his life for him.
Slowly turning to face the Gallente Soldier, Necro knew the game was up.
“I will come quietly”
A single shot rang out, the soldier’s body smashed against the tunnel wall, Necro turned to see Mada leant against a boulder, a huge plasma burn on his shoulder, still aiming his rifle at where the Gallente had stood.
“I have never shot a guy from so close before, see how he bounced off that wall, cool”
“Shit dude, though I had lost you then, we need to get you in your pod fast”
Necro ran over and helped Mada towards his ship. Once in his pod, he would slowly be nursed by the fluids within.
“Ok, firing up main engines, navigation online, guns online, Afterburner and Shields up, we ready to go?”
Necro finished his own pre-flight checks
“Show me the way to go home”
“Stop singing Necro, it just isn’t right”
The two ships slowly lifted off the tunnel floor and head cautiously deeper into the planet.
“About 2 clicks, then we turn left into the ventilation system Necro”
“rgr that, following your lead”
Moving at almost walking pace through the tight ventilation shafts, the ships constantly bumped and scraped off the jagged walls
“Maybe these tunnels are big enough for Bad’Boy’s Taranis, but this Harpy is too damn tall”.
“Stop whining, and keep moving”
It was a while before Necro saw light around Mada’s ship, the shaft entrance was about 300 metres ahead.
“Now, BB tells me there is about 6 Navy Megathrons with some support cruisers and Interceptors, they are gonna be about 200 clicks off our port side. When we break cover, align for the first moon on Planet two, I will warp us out. On my mark I want you to punch your Afterburner, we need to get up to speed fast. 3..2..1..mark”
Necro summoned his ship’s computer to engage the Afterburner, both ship erupted from the shaft amid a huge cloud of debris. Planet 3 had been a testing ground for the Navy’s research department after the ice was mined out of it, and the surface was scarred and burnt.
“Shit, 2 Navy Taranis 30 clicks and closing”.
Necro started his firing solutions on the lead Interceptor, his ship was well designed to deal with this issue, but Mada’s ship was lightly armed, and even lighter armoured.
The 125mm Railguns burst into life, tearing huge lumps of armour off the Taranis on the first volley.
“Warp Mada…..WARP, get out now!”
Necro watched as Mada’s ship attempted to power up its warp field, only to see it collapse again.
“I am scrambled Necro, get them off me!!”
Necro looked to his overview to see 2 Ares class interceptors and 2 Hawk class Assault frigates approaching, the first Taranis pilot was now in his pod, the second was in close orbit around the harpy, moving too fast for the guns to hit.
“I cant warp, the Taranis that I took down must have been on you, warp out now, I will follow”
Necro again turned to look at Mada’s Imicus spewing flames from it’s starboard fuel tank, and felt a sensation of relief as he saw it changing course towards Planet two, and disappear off his display.
“Thank god for that, wait, screw god, we are on our own”
Although the Taranis could not get past the high resistances of Necro’s Shields, he was looking at the ever decreasing capacitor charge on his ship.
“That bastard is nossing me. Mada, I am down to 70% shields, cant shake this Ceptor, was a good plan, and thanks, but I think I am toast”.
The Taranis literally exploded off Necro’s port bow, smashed pieces of plate bounced off his shields.
“Go Neccy GO!!, we will show these nubs how it is done”
Black 1 and Bishop’s Vagabonds tore away towards the oncoming Ares interceptors that were almost upon Necro’s Harpy, both reduced to dust as they passed by them.
“Ok, nothing to tackle you now, warp to Mada, GO GO GO”
A few minutes later, Necro was alongside Mada’s beaten up Imicus and the two vagabonds at a remote safespot.
“Systems Check Neccy? Mada?”
“Cap back at 84, shields repaired, looking good”
“Amour and shields repaired, hull at 48%” Mada replied
“Lucky bastards, lucky you had us on standby” The two Vagabonds arrived at the staging point.
Necro was again warmed by the fact that yet more of his Corporation were willing to throw down on his behalf.
“We still aint out of the woods yet guys”
“Necro, got a plan already” Bad’boy started to explain.
“Now they know for sure you are in system, they have contacted CONCORD to allow all sentry guns to be set to Kill on sight for our corporation, this has already been approved. The federation has also applied to operationally shut down Luminaire to all civilian traffic and deploy warp bubbles on all the gates and stations. CONCORD are still mulling this over, but I expect they will agree. The only chance we have to get you out is now….Bishop?”
Bishop poured into the conversation in his usual manner.
“Yeah dude, I got like some insta bookmarks from Planet 1 to the Du Annes gate. Don’t worry, I didn’t make them, Jo did”.
A few seconds later, a can jettisoned from Bishop’s Vagabond, and quickly scooped up by Black.
“Ok, I have gang lead, gonna warp us to planet one at 100 clicks, turn and align to the Du Annes Stargate. When we hit the gate, we got a couple of seconds before the sentry guns target and track us. Quickest way to get through is set autopi….”
“We get the picture Black, lets roll” Mada interrupted.
Necro always liked being in warp, the serenity and peaceful howl was almost therapeutic. The tunnel finally started to collapse as the small rag tag gang approached Planet one.
“Two dreadnoughts 5 o’clock high 120 clicks, no point even worrying about them, by the time they have locked us, we will be in Du Annes”
The gang turned to head towards the gate, more Navy vessels warped in at 20 kilometres from the gang, only in time to see the four warp trails disappear.
“Get ready guys, hot ships coming through” Black was on a role.
“MMMM, flashy redness 4tw, shall we engage?”
“Shut up bishop, get through that gate”
Fortunately for Necro and the gang, the stargates that joined the Eve universe together are run by an independent entity how only adhere to strict CONCORD guidelines for ship passage, not even CONCORD can override these quidelines, and soon the ships were safely in the Du Annes system.
“Ok, align, Planet five”
Joseph’s Sacrilige loomed into view as the warp tunnel collapsed.
“Glad to see you Necro, good job on the extraction team”
“Roger that boss” Mada chirped in.
“Cheers guys, you really pulled out all the stops”
Necro was beginning to relax a little. He could see from his scanners that they were in one of their secret safespots. These were created by previous corporation members and friends, and were usually at least 150 light years from and celestial object. This one was over 250.
“They couldn’t find us if they used deep space probes, we should be ok here for a short while at least” Jo explained.
Another ship turned up on the scanner, Taranis class. Soon Bad’boy appeared on Necro’s overview.
“Wazzup guys” Bad’boy was his usual cheerful self.
“Poor Fed Navy, they looked really down in the dumps at the Du Annes gate. Local comms have estimated you are all at least 3 to 4 jumps away now and still running”.
“That’s good news, if they cant find us on scanner, and we keep local comms silent, they shouldn’t be even looking for us too hard in this system” Black added.
Another ship shows up on scanner, much bigger. A Munnin class Heavy Assault Cruiser appears….El Yatta.
“There you are you little shit”
Necro’s ship shakes
“El Yatta hits you for 386 damage”
“That is for pissing off on your own little missions without clearance” Necro could hear the anger in Yatta’s voice.
“Look dude, I am as confused as anyone about what is going on. I met with a Gallente in Niyabainen last week. It was a simple pickup job. 150 million isk to collect a sealed container from Caldari Prime and bring it back to him. Nothing more, nothing less”
“Christ Necro, that job is worth maybe 5-8 million tops, didn’t you think that there might be more to it?” Jo asked
“Look, I was skint, that last contract sucked me dry”
“Well, it looks as though you fell into a trap. Did you get a name for this guy in Niya?”
“No, sorry, you know how it is in our game, no names. He was a weird looking mofo though, not like you usual Gallente. Had a bit of a Matarish look about him, dark skin.”
Jo moved onto global comms…
“Z, Sven, you there?”
“Yes Captn, nothing more found here, sorry”
“I am not bothered about the site now. I need you and Sven to jump into Interceptors and head to Niyabainen 9 Moon 19 Navy. Be on the lookout for a Gallente male, dark skin. Last seen in the station bar. He is probably long gone by now, but it is worth a shot”
“Ok, on our way, Z out”
The Mercenary Forces ships slowly moved in the direction of the sun, plasma still leaking from Madaluap’s frigate.
“Right, our sources in the federation tell me that they have no idea where any of us are at the moment…..
And it ends there….