[[ Autopilot jumping. ]]
Aura’s announcement barely registered with me - I was conferring with Eta as to what she could produce next. Nanotransistors were still a sought-after commodity, but we were getting uncomfortable: two months of a continuous price increase was just too good to be true. Granted, the price of the input materials was rising as well, but sooner or later it had to top out.
[[ Autopilot disabled. ]]
Ah, excellent - I had arrived. That was quicker than I expected!
...waitaminnit - that had been too quick. Putting Eta on hold, I shifted my attention back to my sensors
Aha! I was in Ashab, only one hop into my journey, aaand there was a Curse warp-scrambling me, and now launching Warrior IIs.
Wasn’t it a bit early for Hulkageddon? And did this pilot really think he could take out my freighter before Concord got him?
Anyway - I aligned my freighter back towards the gate and brought the engines to full power. Progress was slow however, a Crane from the same corp was enjoying himself by bumping me off course.
My shield was gone, and my ship informed me that I was taking armor damage.
Did we get war-decced, and I didn’t get the memo? But then the whole corp would be able to attack me, like the Harbinger who now had a lock on me, and they didn’t.
[ Hold on, I just switched into my Drake - I’ll be there in a few minutes. ]
Eta! I had completely forgotten that she was still listening in on comms. Her Drake could easily take down the Curse, but...
“Negative, stand down. We can’t have him get kill rights on you.”
[ Awww! ]
I heard her disappointment, but I knew she would obey. Another comms message came in - but this time it was a request for a private conversation, from a member of Brick Squad alliance. What the...?
Astroid Mistress > you ok
Druur Monakh > I'm only in 50% armor, but otherwise yes.
Astroid Mistress > why arent you heading to gate?
But I was heading towards the gate! That gate over there, which was still ... behind ... me.
Druur Monakh > Stupidity, I guess, I confused the gates :(
Damn! Hastily I changed course, pointing the ship towards to right gate this time - but my mistake had cost me precious minutes.
Astroid Mistress > I will help you
Druur Monakh > I'd apprecieate that
Astroid Mistress > I will try and bump you closer
Moments later, a shudder went through my ship - Astroid’s freighter had made contact, and propelled me towards the gate. But it was still a long way to go.
Might as well use the time to figure out why I was in this situation in the first place. ‘AMSF Celestial’ - the name didn’t ring a bell with me. Maybe my Combat Log would give a clue... He has kill rights on me?!
No wonder he caught me unaware - it’s the first time anybody had kill rights on me ever! But why?
A cursory check of the outside world - yes, I was still putt-putting towards the gate, and was about to hit structure - and I went back to investigate my foe. Let’s see what the public records have on him...
[ Eh, what? ]
“The carrier shoot in Teshkat, two weeks ago. He was one of the attackers we popped, and now he has kill rights on me.”
[ Geez - some people really know how to carry a grudge! ]
Outside, the gate loomed large in the sun, and I was actually almost in jump distance.
Astroid Mistress > I think you will be fine
Astroid Mistress > I would log when you jump
Druur Monakh > It'll be close :)
Astroid Mistress > I hope you make it
300 meters ... 200 meters ... 100 meters ... and Jump!
On the other side, I began the process of ‘logging off’: shutting down all communications between my pod and the ship’s system, to trigger the Concord-mandated emergency warp-and-cloak system. A cheap trick, to be sure, but then again attacking a freighter wasn’t exactly a heroic gesture either. I was just about to give the final instruction, when the Curse appeared on grid.
Damn! He must have de-aggressed sooner than I thought! Still - what choice did I have? I gave the command, and was instantly dropped into neural darkness.
Through the amniotic fluid, I could feel the vibrations of the warp engines, as they powered up - only to be disrupted by the Curse’s warp jammer. ..and yes, those other vibrations were caused by the projectiles renewing their assault on my ship. My attacker now had fifteen minutes to chew through the freighter’s massive structure before the emergency cloak would cut in. And I wouldn’t know the result until the 15 minutes had elapsed - nothing to do but wait, and reflect on what happened.
On the one hand, it was good to see that solidarity amongst freighter pilots still existed, even from members of more combat-oriented corporations.
On the other hand... aligning towards the wrong gate? Really?! Especially after all that pride for doing the Interceptor class?!