Just Following Orders

‘Warp drive active’, Aurora chimed into my ears. I ponder for the moment the wisdom behind the choice of her voice, and wonder if it provides the same comfort for female capsuleers. I then drag my attention back to the present, scanning for pursuit.

Satisfied that there is none I pilot my pod to the nearest station. As I do so the comms unit bleeps. Confirmation of the insurance payment for my latest Dominix loss. I wonder for a moment what sort of message the relatives of my former crew will be getting. Then pull up the local market and start looking for a replacement

It had started out as a normal day. Deep in home space sitting in a Hulk crushing rocks. Since the installation of the new scanning arrays we’d spotted more and more of these anomalous belts. Being off piste they had a far greater concentration of ores, especially the ABCs we were looking for. Local chatter was the usual banter about what the profits from the mining operation were going to be spent on.

Then the intel channels started to command attention. A mixed roaming gang was six jumps out and apparently heading our way. The mining lasers powered down and the fleet moved back to the station. The call went out for RR battleships. Join the fleet and indicate your location and ship type. I jumped into a Dominix and sat back awaiting instructions.

The only entrance into our system was covered by a large bubble. Which should provide us with some time to get organised. Sadly our fleet was split, around a third were on the other side of the gate. Still, we’d an experienced FC so we should be able to make the most of it.

The command came to undock, and our motley crew of RR BS and support assembled outside the station. The intel reports had the enemy in the next system. A couple jumped in and we had a Sentinel on station. A number of the fleet started to engage and local climbed steeply.

“Warp to the FC on the gate. Warp to the FC on the gate.”

Most people followed the order blindly. Some continued to engage the Sentinel, but eventually complied.

Warping through space additional commands came in.

“FC is your anchor, FC is your anchor.”

The warp continued.

“Reps on the FC now, Reps on the FC now”

Coming towards the end of the warp in.

“FC down.”

We came out of warp at different times on the edge of the bubble. Some had already burnt into it and were heading towards the FCs wreck. I headed for a clump of other BS. I dropped out a set of Bouncers and started locking targets and directing their fire.

Target calling was frenetic and constantly changing. We never seemed to quite finish off a ship before switching primaries, but don’t question during an engagement.

Our ships were being picked off one by one. We’d not got close enough to be able to apply reps in any kind of organised manner.

“Dis-engage. Dis-engage”

I attempted to crawl back out of the bubble. A warp scrambler locked on and killed my micro warp drive. I was edging towards the bubble perimeter when my overview started flashing yellow. I was now the primary target. My shields melted fairly quickly. No worries about that, they aren’t really a concern. Then my armour started depleting steadily. Quite slowly though.

I abandoned the sentries and throw out a flight of light drones. Setting them on the single ship that had me scrammed. I saw it’s shields drop and the thermal damage begin to bite into armour. Then it disappeared from view. It had warped off, I must be close to the edge of the bubble.

I tried to toggle the MWD, but no cap. Damn, what had happened to it. Ah, the enemy had a Curse. I cleared the bubble as my armour finally melted away. I tried to warp, but there were now multiple points on me. The structure alarm sounded and I prepared for pod flight.

I felt the explosion, all the time, hitting warp. The pod lurched into space and left the battlefield far behind. I’d lost a ship, but survived with my implants. A partial success.

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