It’s like a fellow I once knew in El Paso. One day, he just took all his clothes off
and jumped in a mess of cactus.
I asked him that same question, ”Why?“ He said, ”It seemed to be a good idea at the time.“
-- Vin, The Magnificent Seven
Rolling over onto my side, I opened my eyes - and immediately realized my mistake. Even though the lighting in these Minmatar-style quarters was dim, every photon felt like a projectile hitting squarely my pain receptors.
Blindly I fumbled around the side shelf until found the pain killer hypo, and a bottle of water. Hypo into the arm, water into Druur, and I laid back again to give both some time to do their magic, all the while wondering what I had gotten myself into this time. Not that I couldn’t remember last night - I knew better than that - but right now my memories weren’t too keen on staying in the conscious part of my brain, and frankly, I couldn’t blame them.
I did remember that it had started in a bar - we had chatted, enjoyed the view, partook in exquisite food and beverages, and in general had had a good time. At some point the idea must have come up to end the night with a little roam into the closest-by null sec area, because the next thing I remembered was us heading out in the very ships we had come, still fitted with firework launchers and whatever else we happened to have on them.
From Umokka we had headed towards Daras, with Pure Blind as our destination of choice. Once we hit lo-sec, we had quickly established the pattern that I’d jump my slightly more agile Rifter into a system first, to check the gate, and then my companion would bring up the rear.
And as was my wont, I had kept chatting with people in various comm channels, and while I had been too excited to not say what I was up to, I had kept enough sense to not go into too much detail, in case the whole adventure would go not just horribly, but embarrassingly wrong (the former was pretty much a given). Looking back, this made me giggle - my cryptic chattiness must have driven some of the other folks crazy.
As far as roams went, our outing had been rather disappointing: system after system of nothing. The had been a brief moment of excitement when we entered Pure Blind, and an Ibis had jumped through the gate with me. He must have been in a similar state of mind as us, as to my own surprise I did manage to nab him - not that I was particularly proud of shooting a rookie ship, but at least it was something. There also had been a Sabre landing on the gate seconds later, just as we warped off, but when we had returned, the Sabre was already gone.
Eventually we had found ourselves in EL8, which also was strangely deserted. The daily subspace beacon maintenance loomed and we were about to call it a night, when suddenly an Algos had appeared out of nowhere. I had engaged, by sheer muscle memory, and the space between us had lit up with projectiles, rockets, blaster charges, and fireworks. But to no avail: the Algos had been at only half shield when my Rifter exploded - just seconds before the beacon shutdown.
When the subspace systems had come back online, I had been alone in the system.
Had it been a set-up, or just happenstance? I might never know.
I had made my way back to Amarr then, even receiving an express trip courtesy of the perma-camp at the Torrinos gate in EC-P8R, and that had been it.
Lying on my bed, I rolled the memories through my mind. Back in academy, Sensei Da’Yo used to say: ”No embarrassment too big is, for lessons to be learned not.“ In this case, I had gone out and fearlessly, but not recklessly, jumped into systems, truly at peace with the possibility of losing my ship - and it had felt good. Chemically induced or no, if I could hold on to that feeling and remember it next time I was hesitant to engage...
I snorted lightly. As if things were ever that simple - but at least it was worth trying, no?
Right. Now that that was sorted, and the pain killer had also done its job, it was time to address the next pressing question.
If I had returned to Amarr last night, why was I waking up in Berta?