“Authorization verified, welcome to Ushra’Khan Alliance Secure Channel.” Aura’s voice was melodic, almost soothing. I had forgotten the affect her programmed personality could have on a nervous capsuleer.
I admit it; I was nervous.
I had made a career for myself in New Eden by this point in my lives, and was confident in my celebrity. But this was the Ushra’khan I was part of now; an alliance that had survived Band of Brothers, GoonSwarm, CVA and more. They were the oldest alliance in the universe, and I had finally achieved membership within their ranks.
“Roc Wieler requesting a scout in V2 Freedom Forge. I’m ready to jump clone in from Dal.”
I was used to dealing with small corporations and alliances, and not getting a response for hours, if at all.
“You’re about to JC in from Dal, Colonel?”
“Yessir. Need a scout please.”
“To V2 you said?”
“Ok, let me scout for you, erm, ok, you can JC safely now.”
There was chuckling in the channel from other alliance pilots. An unfamiliar flush of warmth worked its way up my neck to engulf my head; I was embarassed.
“Thanks for the quick response, though I was referring to a scout to get me from V2 to wherever our frontlines are located now.”
“Ah, you’re trying to get to N8 then.”
“I suppose I am, yes.”
“Just use the JB.” another voice chimed in.
Using my eidetic memory, I quickly scanned my long term recall, trying to bring to the surface any knowledge I may have had of that acronym. Nothing. He must’ve meant JC for jump clone. It was my chance to impress my new brothers.
“I am ready to JC now, sir.”
There was a momentary pause, so I initiated my jump clone transfer to V2. It was always unnerving to willfully leave one body behind, only to blink and be present in a new and unfamiliar shell. I couldn’t even remember what state of general health I had left this particular one in.
The mild sensation of nausea passed, and I quickly assessed myself. No implants, as I was in nullsec, body reacted within normal reflex parameters, monitors showed a complete and successful transfer of me.
Stepping out of the clone chamber, I immediately could feel the creaks in my joints. I also could feel the weight on my feet was less than it had been moments earlier; obviously I needed to hit the gym with this clone.
“I’m in V2 now, JC safe. Thanks for the scouting. Would it be possible to get someone here to escort me?”
It was disconcerting how very empty the clone bay was and realized just how accustomed I had become to be waited on hand and foot during my service in the Tribal Liberation Force. There was always hustle and bustle in every militia station no matter the hour.
“Way to go. We’re all very proud of you.”
My face burned more crimson. I felt very green suddenly, inexperienced by comparison.
“So can I get a scout to N8 then?”
“Use the JB.” a new and more annoyed voice entered the conversation.
I realized quickly I had overstepped my own personal knowledge limits and quickly asked Aura what a JB was.
“Jump Bridge, or JB, is used in systems of 0.0 security to quickly traverse multiple systems. A beginning and an end are required to establish a Jump Bridge. Multiple connections are commonly referred to as a Jump Bridge Network. Often employed by alliances and …”
“Thanks Aura.” I cut her off.
Once again, I reviewed my learned abilities and expertise. There was nothing within my skill set that would make me more proficient with jump bridges. I had a bit of cyno training, that was it. The technology was probably very similar.
“I have some cyno training, but no relevant skills for using a jump bridge.” I felt very pleased with myself and my response.
“Who the hell recruited this guy?”
I felt a churning in my stomach; that sensation where you don’t quite want to vomit, nor quite sit on the crapper and experience the explosive result.
“Roc, you don’t need any skills to use a bridge. You just warp to it, enter the alliance password, and away you go. Doesn’t get any easier than that.”
I could take a good ribbing. I had a sense of humour. I knew I was the small fish in this new, big sea, and I could accept that. Still, the conversation seemed to be trending towards condescension and belittlement, which wasn’t indicative (to me at least) of a high degree of professionalism within an organization.
Maybe joining the U’K was the wrong decision.
“Alright ladies, knock it off. Set a good example for the Colonel; he deserves that. Roc, let’s take this convo private, and I’ll help you get up to speed with life in nullsec.”
“Appreciate that, sir.”
“And yeah, knock off that sir crap. Doesn’t fly out here.”
I spent the next several hours learning the jump bridge network maps, where U’K stockpiled ship parts and resources, and various other daily essentials for life in Catch.