[ That’d be 68,848 ISK.]
Good - this was actually less than I feared the repairs to my armor could have cost. While a Purifier is fast and nimble enough to easily evade a Sansha Lord’s lasers, the same can not be said for same Sansha Lord’s cruise missiles. Add in a couple of asteroids to kill your transversal, and you could end up quickly in a dead Purifier. If it hadn’t been for my Ancillary Shield Booster - an on-the-spot decision, which required gimping my tackle abilities - that specific fate would have visited me as well.
Speaking of which.... no. The closest station to sell more cap charges was seven jumps away, and I was in no mood for the round trip. The remaining full load would have to suffice. With my lack of skills, I’d be going to die with that load untouched anyway.
I transmitted the payment, and undocked as soon as the payment cleared.Traffic outside the station was virtually non-existant, and ordered my Purifier to head to the gate leading back into low security space.
The last couple of weeks were still a kind of a blur. I did remember sitting in a bar, waiting to meet a militia recruiter - only the next day to awake to be in a newly-founded combat corp, but still in the same alliance. Granted, this corp was run by a former corp member of mine, which may have swayed my assessment, but the choice had been somewhat surprising nonetheless.
Oh, Hi! Don’t mind me, you two Bestowers - I had learned the hard way that a frigate hull can’t withstand gate guns. Not even when the only objective is to get the target into aggressing, so that a gang member could take him out (which didn’t happen either).
Hmm, neat! One Bestower must have jumped shortly before me, because we managed to enter warp together, and he actually kept pace for a few seconds before falling back.
But if I were honest to myself, just being in a mostly-combat corp wasn’t doing it after all. While I liked the people, it was again me by myself in my waking cycle. And while I was being honest to myself, let’s put the finger on it: I was tired of being just a gang member. All my so-called combat prowess had been in gangs, with other folks doing the heavy lifting.
Welcome again, Bestower. I knew you’d be travelling through this gate. Shall we race again to the next one? Yes? Yes.
But maybe I was hobbling myself - not even hanging out in the main operation area of our corp. Just look at it: the whole of my contributions to our corporation’s honor record was a loss against a mere vexor.
Of course it didn’t help that I was on a crusade to learn the ins and outs of the Purifier. Even if so far it had been the outs. And lots of empty systems with no targets.
And thus, while I appreciated the gesture, I really didn’t see me flying a Phantasm anytime soon. Even if the BPC had been provided as courtesy.
Beat you again, Bestower! Another rematch, so that you can tell your folks in the VCRUZ alliance how a Purifier shadowed you?
And that’s why I was currently staging out of a wormhole, where ... wait a second. I saw you before, today, VCRUZ alliance. In that very wormhole I was currently squatting in. You had a Helios probing, which I failed to get because I warped to the wrong bookmark.
Were you maybe scouting out a resupply route?
Screw the race gate to gate: if I were right, I had only small window to get to the wormhole entrance without you seeing me.
Initiate warp to the WH entrance! Cloak!
As I sped away, the sensors reported the gate firing.
Dropping out of warp right on top of the WH. A quick interdimensional travel later, I took up station just a few klicks away from the connection. And waited.
And waited some more.
Had I been wrong? Or did they maybe see me and waited for me to lose patience? Would this be another day without even a single targeting attempt?
A signal flashed on my sensors - the WH just wobbled, indicating the passage of a ship.
Oh ho! Oh ho ho! There you are, Bestower! Just a few klicks from me!
The mental instructions flowed quickly: a command to the auto-piloting system to enter a tight orbit around the target, to keep within point range for now. Cloak disengaged, damage control unit erecting force fields inside my ship’s structure, target lock resolved, the warp disruptor oh-so-rudely emitting its unique brand of subspace noise.
The ship shaking from the launch of the torpedoes.
But the Bestower was still alive. My mental eyes were glued on the data readouts while the batteries pulled the next batch of torpedoes out of their magazines.
...and the torpedoes had covered just about half the distance when the Bestower entered warp.
A quick check of the weapons logs confirmed that I had had a point on the Bestower for at least 8 seconds. Which could mean only one thing: Stabs!
Still, I couldn’t help but appreciate the irony.