“And there it was, sitting innocently in the rays of the red giant.”
I waved my glass at my captive audience, knowing full well that most of their captivity was based in the rounds of free drinks I was paying for. But hey, if even some had any interest into the matter at hand, it would be a worthwhile investment.
Plus, the sooner I got tired of telling the tale, the sooner my closer friends and acquaintances would start answering my calls again.
“A perfectly normal Amarr tower, bristling with lasers, e-war batteries, and hardeners. Except…”
I paused for effect.
“None of the modules had been online during the days before. The owners of the other POS in the system even had taken the effort to anchor containers with Amarr tower fuel outside their force field, in an effort to help their neighbors.
“And this morning... not only were all modules offline, so was the tower itself!”
I think I heard somebody going “Ka-Ching!”, but even if nobody actually did, it was a too good of a cue to ignore.
“Exactly. Except there was one problem - I was in but one Pilgrim, and I had never faced a tower or its modules by myself before.”
A brief silence fell, which I used to moisten my throat.
“If I’m not mistaken, POS modules have just a few dozen thousands of HP. Any ship worth its while could hack that.”
I looked into the crowd - the speaker was a one-eyed Detei, who seemed to be as embarrassed to have to point out the obvious, as I should be to hear it.
I took another swallow.
“You’re perfectly right, Sir. It’s just that I never had run the numbers, plus I am inexperienced at using drones, so it actually took the encouragement of some random to get me to try the attack.”
“A random, you say?”, the Detei asked, and now that I was looking at him, he looked eerily familiar, but I couldn’t quite put him. No matter, though.
“A random pirate, if you really must know.” I raised an eyebrow at him. “Never turn down knowledge, or attitude, just because of its origin, is my stance.”
“I see.”, he paused, then continued, “well, go on.”
“I finally took a heart, uncloaked, and sent my Hammerhead IIs against the Large Ship Assembly Array, all the while hogging d-scan. And of course nothing happened.
“I relaxed a bit, and when the LSAA exploded with nothing to show for, I relaxed even more, and sent my drones after the Ship Maintenance Bay, Ammo Assembly Array, the Corp Hangar, and the Refinery Array. And that's when it happened.”
I ended on a leading tone, and took a deliberately slow swig from my glass, waiting for the inevitable response.
“And? What did happen?”
I looked at the speaker as if trying to remember.
“I was halfway through the Refinery's shield, when suddenly an Anathema showed up on d-scan , so I pulled in my drones and cloaked up for a while.”
I have to admit - I liked this part of the tale. People grumbling amongst themselves, knowing that I was withholding something, but reluctant to mention it, yet it might cut off their access to free booze. But it takes only one…
“Cut to the chase.” Once more the Detei spoke for the crowd - of course it’d be him. “What did really happen?”
I nodded in theatrical defeat, and discreetly gestured to the Bartender to give the Detei another one of whatever he had right now.
“Very well.” I took another sip, only to find my glass empty, so I signaled the Bartender for a refill of my own. “I had actually missed it at first, what with the background radiation from the giant, but when I resumed my work on the refinery, I realized that there was this cargo container floating next to the POS.”
I leaned forward. “At first, I ignored it, what with the Anathema possibly still in the system, but then I thought: To Heck with it! I can take an Anathema by herself, and anything heavier I will spot on d-scan. So I went for it, and opened that can.”
I took another deliberately slow swig. “It was a bunch of crap - the stuff you expect from a bear’s WH operation. Minerals, mining crystals, ship modules. Blueprints. Packaged frigates. Sleeper loot. T2 modules. Faction modules. A full set of Tengu subsystems.”
I leaned back, watching my audience starting to do the math. The first mouths started to drop…
Nonchalantly I took a drink from my glass before engaging my listeners again. “Yessirs, I was suddenly looking at 890M in loot, coming in at a measly 22000 m3.” I grinned at my audience. “And there I was, flying a Pilgrim with maybe 100m3 spare cargo left.”
“And how…?” I couldn’t make out the speaker. “How?!?”
I grinned again. “I think the Loot Fairy was trying to make up to me. Or make out with me, I’m not quite sure yet. Either way, there happened to be a hi-sec exit from the wormhole at that time, and while it was reaching the end of its lifetime, I knew that it had at least six hours left on it.”
“Unfair! That’s cheating!”
Taking a sip, I continued with more levity than I remembered feeling at that moment when I looked at that cargo can in space: “Maybe so, but you don’t argue with the Loot Fairy! Especially not while she’s french kissing you! So I walked out into hi-sec, bought whichever unpronounceable industrial the Caldari consider their biggest, threw a couple of extenders and rigs on it, and came back into the wormhole to haul it all out in one go. And got away with it!”
And died a hundred imagined deaths in the process. But that wasn’t something you could tell admirers. So instead, I just smiled at the group. “My biggest concern actually was that somebody would notice the public kill rights on me. One observant White Knight in the right place, and you’d be paying my drinks tonight, instead of the reverse.
“And the best thing…”
I smiled maliciously at the crowd, knowing that only a few would get the joke.
“…when I came back into the wormhole, the owners of the other POS - the active ones - had put out a third fuel container for their brothers in need.”
I drained my glass.
“Aren’t they just the cutest!”