Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Vacation Ho!

"Shorts? Check.
Dressy stuff? Check."

Looking around my room, I made last run through my checklist of things to bring.

"Spare ammo? Check.
Sun Screen? Check."

Space is all good and well, but once in a while it is fun to go planet side - experience real sunlight, breath real air, and all that. And after all the excitement of the last weeks, not to mention the daily industrial grind, a vacation sounds just right up my alley.

"Holovids? Check.
Life Insurance? Check.
. . . aaand that's it."

Satisfied, I zipped close my bag and shouldered it.

"You're outta here?", called Eta out from her desk as I left my room.

"Yeah. Two weeks of lounging and mindless relaxation await!", I replied, adding "You should try it some day."

"Naah, I'd be bored halfway into the flight down."

I chuckled, "That's the point."

Eta grimaced, and I threw her a casual salute. "See you in 14, Sis. Don't blow the place to pieces while I'm gone, please?"

"Bah! You're no fun!"


And with that, the door closed behind me and I hurried to the docking level. I had a shuttle to catch!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Just. Awesome.

“Oh my gods. I still can’t believe it.”

“Yeah, me neither. Epic, all the way.”

“Where’s the bar - I need a drink. Or ten.”

It has been a while since the main offices of our corp saw that many visitors, and it had been even longer that we had Alliance members here as well, much less non-Alliance members. But now the rooms were filled with capsuleers, all in advanced states of exhaustion, and with no energy left for decorum. All that mattered was to get a stiff drink (which for some doubled as breakfast), a place to sit, and to reminisce the high points of the day while they were still capable of conscious thought.

“Did you see them when Dantae charged his Command Ship into them? He had three battleships and a Drake firing at him - and survived!”

“I’ll never forget how this single Drake took down one of their Abaddons!”

“If only they knew how close they came to winning. 6% structure left. SIX PERCENT!”

Sitting on a desk, slumped against the wall, I just uncompressed, aided by a glass filled with Arcturian Mega-Port. Words were failing me.

“Do you realize that if we lived in 0-sec, this would be something we would be doing every week? We wouldn’t even be noticing a single POS!” - “That’s why we don’t live there!”

“I think, at the end, the General passed out in his pod. Last I saw of him was his Carrier doing an emergency warp to a safe spot.”

“Where did the Supercaps come from again? And why?”

I thought of Eta, who was still out there, busily onlining modules to bring the POS back to full operation. She was never one for social gatherings, but had been invaluable as my eyes and ears while I was still stuck in our w-space system.

“Don’t know, some 0-sec alliance. They competed in the recent Alliance Tournament, that I know.”

“You should have seen it! Our attackers just wouldn’t give up! After they lost their two dreads and lone carrier, they came back in battleships!”

“I don’t know. First the 0-sec contact told Dantae that they were busy defending their own POS. But then suddenly - Boom! Supercap Hotdrop! Wish I could have seen it!”

“Gods, the repairing. THE REPAIRING! I don’t want to see another POS in my life!”

“Aw-right! I’m negative sec status!”

That was Heloisa, a 0-sec citizen who I met first in the Agony Unleashed classes, and who somehow had taken a liking to us. Right now she was high-fiving The Atheiist and Chi Ke, other random strangers and at the same time crucial persons this day.

Come to think of it, these Agony Unleashed classes had really paid off. Getting our pilots rallied in one point took a long time (as my fingernails did attest), but then it ran like a clockwork: Atheiist calling primaries and giving warp-ins, Heloisa acting as XO, calling secondaries and tertiaries, and everybody knew how to act in a fleet. Carebears with teeth, indeed.

“Can you believe it? They actually starting whining on comms on how we dared to call in help!”

“Our hit and runs really messed them up. Well, it helped that they were even less prepared than us!”

“I don’t even want to think about how close it got. Twice!”

I drained my glass, closed my eyes, and relied on the pressure of the wall to keep me awake. In a way, this attack couldn’t have come at a better time: as an alliance, we had lost our purpose, things had gotten too easy; and it was unclear who was really still with us and who was just coasting on the Alliance’ coat tails.

Not anymore.

“I still can’t believe we managed to finish the repairs with just minutes to spare.”

“Guess we all learned valuable lessons today.” - “Just don’t let us speak of them again. Ever.”

“Did you see the mail their Alliance boss sent to ours? ‘I think we need to talk, i think we have been mis-informed about certain details.”

Roaring laughter filled the room - this mail would be one of the things long remembered about this day.

I lifted my glass, and found that it was full again. Probably courtesy of my right hand. Thank you, right hand.

...damn, I better get a wrap on this before I crash completely.

As I got up, the words of an ancient Earth politician ran through my mind: “This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

“Listen Up!”

My shout was drowned out by the din, and I looked for an alternative to make myself heard. A nearby heavy object offered itself up to be hammered onto the desk I was standing on, gaining me the attention I required.

I raised my glass, discreetly dropping the former desk lamp onto the floor.

“Pilots - A toast! - Or, in fact, two toasts!

First: To unexpected allies!”

I nodded towards Heloisa, the Atheiist, and Chi Ke.

“At other times, we may not see eye to eye. But today, you helped saving the day!

Cheers erupted from the crowd, and I paused for a moment.


I looked around the room, searching out in particular the Gravimetrics pilots.

“...To the damn best Alliance I ever had the honor to fly with.