“You can call me Verat.” she stated coldly at me having called her “darlin”.
Ever since I had docked at the nullsec station I had a great sense of trepidation, of not belonging. It was the type of primal response that caused my neck hairs to stand on end, that cast shadows in my peripherals where none existed. A psychoanalyst might dismiss it as a natural human reaction to a new environment, and that I would adapt as had countless billions before me, but that wasn’t it. I was rarely uncomfortable no matter where I was. Had I been a writer, I would attribute this sense of foreboding to the classic tool of foreshadowing in play, that ultimately no good would come of my time here.
I nodded and shut up. I had already gotten further than I had hoped for. I was in an Angel Cartel station and had the opportunity to earn some respect and trust among their ranks, something that would be necessary if I were to be of any use to Rixx Javix and Stay Frosty.
“I look out for talented people such as you who are interested in work. And times have certainly made our work interesting.
Since you’re an egger, I’m guessing you know your way around wormholes, yes? While they’ve been a great aid for our scientists, they’ve also brought some problems to our doorstop, some of which is not good for business.
Our explorers have discovered a wormhole in a nearby system, but we cannot spare the manpower to lock it down. If you help us out by scouting the area, then I may have other more lucrative tasks to follow.”
Recon. My earliest military assignments had been as a recon pilot. They had definitely done their homework on me and played it so subtly that the implications could’ve gone unnoticed. Basically, they were saying, “We know who you are. We know what you’ve done. You get one chance. Blow it and we space you.”
I agreed to her recon mission and undocked. Red warning lights strobed while hydraulic docking clamps released, and I performed one final pre-flight systems check on the Ripsack, my Jaguar class frigate, before departing.
I don’t know, Aura. Something’s off here. What’s your feeling on this? I thought.
You know I don’t have feelings. She replied in my mind.
Using the coordinates provided, it didn’t take long to reach the rendezvous. Unfortunately, as I exited warp, a most unwelcome surprise awaited me … the Sansha Nation.
I had plenty of up close and personal experience with the Nation, having narrowly averted a universal tragedy only two years prior (see the YC 113 album). There was no love lost here, that much was for certain.
Aura, power up the weapons systems, we’re going in. I aligned the ship towards the large force 90 km away, driving the engines to full power and burning hard. There was a half squad of frigates, a few cruisers, and even a battleship. I could feel my heart pounding. Between the superior forces in front of me and the constant threat of uninvited guests at any time (this being nullsec and all), my adrenaline was pounding, giving way to an all too familiar bloodlust that began to cloud my judgement. The Ripsack bore no crew. It was simply man and machine, melded together as one. Thoughts of reincarnation and endless vengeance upon the Nation ran through my head. I would pulverize them no matter how many of my lives it took until they were nothing but scattered atoms across the cosmos.
My teeth began to grind. I felt my hands balling into fists within the protoplasm of my pod, the rage continuing to rise within me. They would pay for all they had done to New Eden, starting here, starting now.
It would appear that the Sansha have beaten us to this site. I suggest we return to Abdiel Verat immediately. Aura interjected.
She was right.
I could feel the blood exiting my skull, washing away the fury within. This was a recon mission, not a search and destroy. My orders had been specific. The fact that the scenario had changed did not negate the objective. I was here to impress, not start a war between two prolific pirate factions.
Over the secure comm channel I had been provided, I reported in. Verat was quick to reply.
“Sansha. Alright, let me relay this information up the chain of command. Stick around; we’ll be calling on you to deal with this.”
I acknowledged, engaging my warp drive to begin a circuit of in-system safe spots while I awaited direction. A feral smile crept across my lips.
Looks like I might get my Sansha blood bath after all.