Just another night in a local Rens bar. War makes you thirsty, let’s leave it at that. It was well into the early hours of the morning, or the late hours of the previous night depending on your point of view. I couldn’t sleep. Wouldn’t matter anyway. I hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in I can’t remember how long. At least the crew was rested. Lights out was at 2200 hours. They wouldn’t be awake for another few hours to report for our next assignment. The bar was moderately populated given the time. A thick haze made the dark corners darker, and seemed to absorb and muffle the sounds as well. One conversation caught my interest though.
“That’s right, we fly with THE Roc Wieler. scourge of the Amarr.” The shadows were engulfed in the fog, but it looked to be two males chatting up a female. Finishing my drink, I slowly walked towards them. “It was crazy. There was easily fifty ships in that Amarr fleet, and we had maybe twenty, no fifteen!” So engrossed in their pickup, they didn’t even see me until I was almost on top of them. I cleared my throat. They both turned to see who was interrupting their courting ritual. The looks on their faces held sufficient shock. Snapping to attention with a crisp salute, they said in unison “Sir, Yes sir!”.
“Aren’t you supposed to be sleeping?” I asked. “I need my crew members fresh and ready at all times.” They look a little bewildered. “Did I stutter?” I barked. Their lady friend had silently vanished. “No sir. Heard you loud and clear.” one of them replied. “It’s just that, well…” I wasn’t in a patient mood. “Spit it out, son. And make it good. I don’t tolerate insubordination.” A heavy lump swallowed in his throat. “There was a memo sent out sir. Said you’d be flying this next one alone, so enjoy some RNR.” Without acknowledging him, I spun on my heel and stormed away, straight out of the bar, towards the hangar. I don’t appreciate my people knowing things before I do. There would be hell to pay for this.
Making my way to my personal hangar, I quickly let the security system verify me. The heavy, secured door withdrew on its tracks, a heavy thud marking it had finished its movement. I marched in, and nearly stopped dead in my tracks, my mouth hanging wide open. I heard a chuckle to my right. My head spun to find my chief mechanic standing there, wiping his grease govered hands on an even greasier rag. “She’s a beaut, eh C’mander? Arrived about 0100. Passed the security sweep, but I did one of my own ‘course.” I turned back to look at the Republic Fleet Issue Firetail frigate berthed before me. “Where did it come from?” He stood in front of me now, knowing my interest was fixed on this beautiful ship. “No idea. Like I said, they arrived a few hours back, and I wanted to make sure they were tip top fer ya.” He turned to admire the sleek lines of this vessel with me. My mind finally caught up to his words. “They?” He chuckled to himself, then led me to the adjacent hangar bay door controls. Hitting a few buttons, the massive partition began to part from the middle. Groaning hydraulics pulled the doors back enough for us to walk between before he stopped them. It was pitch black in the other bay. A few more switches, and gas powered lights began to flicker to life, their buzzing hum delaying my curiousity until they were fully powered. Once they were, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Berthed before me was a Republic Fleet Issue Stabber cruiser, as pristine as I had ever seen.
“Where did these come from? Command send them?”
“Wouldn’t if I know. Like I said, they just done showed up. Ah, there was a note. Whadin I do with that?” He began padding down his numerous pockets, finally pulling a sheet of paper from his back right pocket. Handing it to me, I eagerly unfolded it to unlock this mystery. A single line was written on the sheet, “Keep up the good work.” Nothing else. No signature. No trace as to who or where they were from. “That’s it?” I asked. He nodded. He began the process of closing the hangar doors. When that was finished, we walked towards the main hangar exit. “They pass my security check, and I ran them through all the usual tests. They’re fine machines, ready when you be.” He tilted his head back towards the Firetail, then walked away. It was a beautiful ship. It sorely looked in need of a test drive. I smiled at him, and was about to order him to give the crew some time off, a frigate is 100% pod controlled after all, when I remembered my initial reason for coming here. Before I could voice it, he jumped in. “I gave the crew some RNR. Figured you’d want to take the Firetail out.” With that, he waved and was gone.
There are few people with balls enough to give orders to my crew. Right now, I could care less. Right now I was going to enjoy some me time.