Wednesday, January 1, 2014

YC 116

        “Es ist unser Bestreben, Zu seien wer wir sind
        Wir wollen mehr erleben, Zu schnell die Zeit verrennt.”
         -- Frontal, “wir sind wir”

It was with hesitation that I clicked off the hot water in the shower - it wasn’t very often that I got greet a new day with the luxury of nice hot shower. Usually it was a matter of getting up in a hurry, swallowing a pain killer followed by a measure or two of mega-coffee, and off I went. But not today - today, I had time. Sort of - there was a fleet waiting. And the smell of coffee coming from the kitchen. Reluctantly, I stepped out of the shower stall, grabbed a towel, and started searching for my clothes.

My nose hadn’t deceived me: Eta had probably woken up long before me and not just made coffee, but probably drank most of it as well. But maybe I could snatch the last cup while she was busy on her terminal, seemingly fitting - I squinted my eyes - a Sigil? With a mental shrug, I delegated that particular question to the back of my mind, and concentrated on my primary objective.

Coffee… Cup… Bliss!

“Look who’s back, being all undead!”, greeted me a happy Eta. “How are you feeling?”

I let the coffee settle in my stomach and send out its soothing tendrils before I answered.

“I’m good.”, I replied, cradling the cup. “Why shouldn’t I be?”

“Well, you did come home rather late last night.”, she pointed out, then paused. “Though you had traces of clone vat goo on you, so physically you can’t be hung-over.”

I smiled into my cup - it was one of the more confusing aspects of being a capsuleer. Your body might be fresh and clean, but your mind remembered the abuse you put your previous incarnation through. This sometimes made for … interesting … effects.

“No, I’m good. Really.” I confirmed, turning to face her. “Not even the usual headache.”

“Good… good.” She said the words, but her heart wasn’t into it.

“What?”

“Well…,” she began, then hesitated. “I thought that you wanted to spend the night… well…”

“With Mica?” I took a swallow of the coffee, knowing what she was hesitant to ask. But heck, she was was concerned about me, so might as well tell her. Even if it killed my good mood.

“Turns out that no longer being on shooting terms is not the panacea it is made out to be.” I studied my cup for few seconds, before returning my attention to her. “But we did have a good night: Good food. Drinks. Conversation.” I cursorily glanced down at myself. “Apparently even shopping. And later on we went out and shot fireworks at each other.” My eyes lost focus, reliving the night. “And then we went to see how far two intoxicated pilots could get into non-sovereign null-sec.” I giggled quietly when the memory came back. “The answer is: not very far. We died to a gate camp right away.”

A few seconds passed, then Eta cleared her throat. “And?”

“And?” I emptied the cup, and turned back towards the counter to refill it. “I woke up here in Sendaya, and she woke up wherever she had her clone.” Briefly my stomach clenched, and I busied myself with fiddling with the coffee can until I could face Eta again with a neutral face. “You know, having your clone contracts in different stations is a great way to avoid having to say awkward good-byes - I have no idea where she is now.” I shrugged. “It’s probably for the best.

She moved to respond, but I was faster. “But enough of that - what about you?” I asked with a bit of forced cheer, gesturing with my cup. “Why did you ask to crash at my place here in the first place? And are now fitting up this roly-poly excuse for a hauler?”

Her eyes narrowed, but reluctantly went along with the change of topic. “You remember that I mentioned how I was following GalNet during my hauls?”, she asked. I nodded and she continued. “Well, recently I came about one particular show which one night challenged industrialists to fit out a hauler, and take it into glorious battle.” She grinned at me. “They call it the ‘Fight Reckless’ challenge. And I thought - why not? So I came up with this.”

She turned her terminal towards me, and I stepped over to take a look, suddenly intrigued.

“Hmm, ok, Sigil, the tanky hauler.” I pondered at the fit on the display. “But an armor repairer instead of an armor buffer?”

“Power grid, or lack thereof.” She grimaced. “The way I see this, I’ll be the silly industrialist who jumps blindly into lo-sec, only to get engaged by a lone pirate or two at the gate. They aggress me, but suddenly - long point! They can’t leave! My armor repairer, fueled by my cap booster, keeps me alive while the gate guns rip them to shreds.”

“Ok.” In my mind, she didn’t have the chance of a deuterium pellet in a fusion reactor, but that probably was the point of this challenge. And in all truth, I wouldn’t have been able to come up with a better fit on the spot, so instead I let my eye get caught by her intended cargo.

“Tobacco? And Marines?”

“Well…”, she blushed slightly, “The original challenge asked for spirits and exotic dancers - but I couldn’t find spirits, and you know what I think about the dancers.” A nonchalant shrug. “But I found tobacco, which will keep the marines entertained; and the marines” - she winked at me - “will give me something nice to look at while I approach certain doom.”

I chuckled and ruffled her hair. “That’s my sister!”

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