Everyone seems normal until you get to know them.
To General Mako, all existence was but a stage, the players filling their various roles. Sometimes the actors were conscious of their role within the greater schemes of things, but more often than not in his experience, the players were but pawns to be moved to a more grand design; and were he to have his way, a scheme of his design. In his universe, he fancied himself a director.
The stage was set; fifty Naflgars in place, five hundred Hounds in a secured perimeter around their designated target station.
Stage lighting was masterful; a powerful wash of yellow from the system’s sun, white fill lights reflected from the stars, an eerie blue hue from the unknown wormhole casting a somber mood across the entire diorama.
A constant thrumming of fission engines provided a suitable bass staccato, an ominous soundtrack to the events unfolding.
He always envisioned the audience when executing his plans, picturing them gasping when appropriate, sighing when the play’s progression filled with emotion. He could only imagine their reactions at this, his masterpiece, but he was faced with a quandary.
Here he was, in the final act, finding himself unsure of the play’s resolution. The wormhole was indeed an unknown factor in the story, as was the appearance and disappearance of the unidentifiable scout ship. Futhermore, there had been no resistance, even now that the entire fleet had arrived, from the station they surrounded. Would they really give up without a fight? Would they really abandon it?
“Abort siege operation preparations.” General Mako blared to the entire dreadnought fleet.
It was inspired. It was beautiful. It was a worthy climax to the story being told. They hadn’t abandoned the station at all. No corporation would do such a thing by choice, especially in nullsec. He was on to their plan; keen to their intent.
They had retreated through the wormhole. He realized he had been overthinking, overanalyzing the entire situation. Sometimes the best moves were the simplest ones. It explained everything: the empty station, the scout, everything. By moving their fleet to the far side of the wormhole, VAF and their allies could wait in complete concealment until his dreadnoughts were locked in seige position. Without a proper support fleet, the dreads were vulnerable to concentrated assault. The lone scout reinforced his assessment; they would need visual data relayed to them when their enemy was at their most vulnerable. Undoubtedly, their station, now set to close range defense, would “miraculously” come alive, pounding the dreadnoughts while able to sustain their bombardment long enough for the VAF fleet to emerge from the wormhole.
General Mako allowed himself a heartfelt smile. Not this time, he thought with malice in his heart. He was the director. He was the one to spin the web of intrigue and deception; nobody else. He was the one who would bring this epic tale of glory and victory to its climatic finale!
“All ships, formation omega-charlie-sixer. Destination … wormhole anomaly.”
His imagined audience gasped, holding its breath.
Without a word, his entire fleet performed their synchronous dance, slowly making their way towards the wormhole. The music crescendoed as the fleet’s engines reached a feverish pitch, and General Mako breathed it all in with great relish.
When they were in position, Mako initiated the command for a fleet jump, but was interrupted. “Sir,” one of his scanning officers said quickly. Mako hated being interrupted when he was enjoying his own musings; it irritated him. “Sir, there’s a Republic Fleet Firetail in system, designation ‘Renegade’.”
Ah, so he had made it afterall. General Mako felt a wave of relief wash over him. He would’ve hated if the antagonist in this play hadn’t arrived for his death scene. What kind of play would that be if the good guy didn’t win in the end? How could his audience appreciate all the sacrifices he had made, how could they truly celebrate him, if there was no cataclysmic demise of the villain?
“Dreadnought squad six, linger, if you would, and welcome that Firetail.” he said with toxic sweetness.
After receiving acknowledgement of his order, and allowing the dreadnoughts of squad six time to break formation, he gave the order to jump.
As they accelerated through the wormhole, all Mako could think about was how majestic this day would be.
You have got to be kidding me, Roc Wieler thought to himself as he processed the data Aura was feeding him. Over five hundred and fifty ships, Hounds and Naglfars were insystem. He knew without a doubt that it must be Mako. So be it.
He checked the status of his Firetail, noting he was close to damaging his propulsion systems if he overheated them much more.
Giving the command to his ship, he raced into warp, the home stretch in his long journey, the final push to reach his dear friend Sam.
Sam looked out the station window. He never deluded himself into thinking he was a great strategist, but he was completely baffled as to why the majority of this hostile fleet was heading into the wormhole. Mind you, he was thankful for the temporary hiatus; living was always a plus. He saw a single squad of dreadnoughts break off, his immediate thought that they were to seige the station. It may take them more time, but they would be successful in pulverizing it to dust. However, they were not heading in this direction. It appeared as if they were on an intercept course, but towards what, PyjamaSam had no idea.
He almost missed a small flash in space, the telltale sign of a ship exiting warp. Station scanners revealed it was a Firetail. There was only one person he knew that flew that model of ship. Roc had gotten his message and PyjamaSam’s time here in I-UU15 was at an abrupt end.