I had come to realize one of the interesting things that occurs when you chronicle your own life; shame. I’m referring, of course, to the whole ‘slavery’ episode.
I simply couldn’t write about it anymore. My therapist says it is possibly because I still haven’t resolved that entire debacle within myself. I think she may be right.
I never sold slaves. It is simply something I would not do. And yet, to this day, I still feel the responsibility was mine for having been so naive, so trusting.
Rest assured I never dealt with Minara Dawn again. To be fair, she never resurfaced. I believe she may have crossed one too many people, one of whom most assuredly wasn’t as rigid in his morality as I was, once upon a time.
My case quickly lost its public appeal; the networks stop giving it airtime, the newsvids stopped showing interest. There were far bigger things going on in the galaxy, particularly between the Caldari and the Amarr.
Sanmatar Shakor was also reaching his limits with governing, the internal struggles of the Republic proving to be a bigger challenge in those times.
So what happened to me?
Obviously, I wasn’t hanged or exiled for my crimes. Truth to be told, I owed a large debt to one Kainda Gordo.
She had managed to strike a deal with the Sanmatar for my provisional release, and had set me up as director of a nearly defunct corporation within the Ushra’Khan called Kinda’Shujaa.
Let’s leave it at that. For now.
I was still adjusting to the tasks required to successfully direct a corporation, not even having settled into my new office in Dal, when I got a now familiar comm.
Nashh Kadavr was requesting his rematch.
To be honest, dueling had never appealed to my vanity. I had better things to do with my time, namely fight the war. Just the same, I had given my word, so invited him to bring it.
He was 18 jumps out. “That’s a long way to travel for your own death.” I had commented, turning from my desk, heading towards my personal hangar, my Firetail class frigate The Renegade hovering anxiously, eager for battle.
I sat in a safespot in Dal, waiting for my prey. We had agreed to more rules this time:
- No scrambling
- No leaving (No excuses)
- And given the expensive nature of the Firetail fit (120 million isk), we would fight to 50% hull
- Warp in at 50km
He agreed, excited to fight my legendary Firetail. On my end, I was nervous as hell. We all know Firetails are DPS light, and very thin. They have speed and range, but really that’s about it aside from sheer sexiness.
I chose a customized fit for this battle. I loaded up a gravimetric jammer, damage control II, shield booster and standard missle launchers, along with the usual artillery cannons and other modules I fit. I figured I would test him at range and should he get close enough to fire at me, jam his weapons for good measure.
My chief mechanic had also informed me of recent breakthroughs in rigging technology, allowing me to viably rig any of my frigates affordably, adding extra performance tweaks to their fits. I did as much with the Renegade, fitting a burst aerator and a collision accelerator to the ship, giving it a bit more damage output and refire rate.
A Kestrel named Bloody Sunday warped in 50 kilometres off my bow. Nashh Kadavr had arrived. The duel was on.
I rolled the ship towards him, not firing my afterburner, conserving every ounce of capacitor energy I could until the fight began. I locked him at 35 km, and much to his surprise, set up orbit at 28km.
The missle salvos I unleashed were more damaging than I had anticipated, though had he fit a shield booster of his own, would be easy to tank.
I watched as he slowly closed the distance between us, now at 21 km. I fired my afterburner, and within seconds, was back out to 28km, well beyond the limits of his weapons.
I added the power of my 250mm artillery cannons to my volley and watched as his shields, then armour, began to fade away.
“Oh man.” was all Nashh could say.
It was always an iffy battle with the Firetail. It was a good ship for getting away from ambushes and the like, but not too good for solo PVP. As I mentioned, it yielded low damage output, typically meaning I either would get sloppy and make a mistake, resulting in the loss of an expensive ship, or I would run out of ammo, resulting in a stalemate or worse.
I made no mistakes in this encounter.
I overheated my weapons, watching contentedly as my autocannons peppered his ship, ripping plating from its mountings. He was close to hull.
I urged Aura to fire one more volley, then deactivate weapons. That is when his ship exploded.
“What the?” I exclaimed in our private comm.
“Well done, Colonel.” Nashh replied.
“I disengaged. I swear it.” I stammered, asking Aura for clarification.
“Thin ship.” was all Nashh replied.
Dammit. I had broken a rule. I electronically transferred him 10 million isk, not that I believed he needed the isk, but rather as a gesture for having broken the rules of our engagement.
“Thank you, sir.” he replied, acknowledging that he understood the sentiment.
“Would’ve been nice if I had managed to at least get a shot off.” he added, merriment in his voice.
We laughed a little together, enjoying brief camraderie, when I invited him to another match, this time against the same Rifter class frigate he had dueled me in before, Ripsack. He accepted, heading to Rens to purchase and equip a new Kestrel.
20 minutes later…
I closed to 500m range, my autocannons tearing into his shields. My own ship was already half into armour, debris flying around my ship, distracting me, causing me to panic.
I slowed my heartrate as his quad Arbalest rocket launchers continued to shake my ship, blowing chunks of it away with each successful salvo.
I was losing. We both knew it.
It was a moment when I would have to take a risk, see what kind of experience this Nashh Kadavr possessed.
I disengaged my afterburner, which had been alight during the entire engagement. My supercharged weapons still spit out hot death, but I overheated my low slots as well, my small armour repair and damage control systems suddenly performing well over capacity.
My new transverse guaranteed I was hitting much harder suddenly, and my overheated repair systems were able to sustain the increased damage output he was enjoying now as well in my slowed state, but it had worked; I was tearing his ship out from under him.
I watched his Kestrel blow while I was still at about 10% armour, my repair systems quickly changing that number to 25%.
I locked his pod for good measure, then we spoke.
“I can’t believe it.” Nashh said. “Good fight again, Colonel.”
I left him scrammed while I gave my egotistical speech. Easy to do when you’re the victor.
“I hope you’ve learned your lesson about challenging an officer of the Tribal Liberation Force. When next we meet, it will be on the fields of battle.”
I released his ship and warped back to my office in Dal.
Perhaps he had learned something for his next celebrity deathmatch.