Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Live Performance

        “Override D: Nickname for the practice of modifying a pod’s life-support system to administer
         doses of alcohol to the pilot while simultaneously providing the synesthetic experience of taking
         a drink. Occasional attempts at outlawing this modification are invariably met with hearty laughter.”
         -- The Dummy’s Guide to Capsuleers, Glossary

‘Go to this bar - it’s charming.’ they had said.

‘It has good food.’ they had said.

‘And eclectic live music.’ they had said.

So I had went to this bar. And it was charming. If your definition of ‘charm’ included a low ceiling, air conditioners barely keeping up with the smoke, and the clientele consisting to a good deal of tough women and men from the darker sides of the law. And the food was good in a ‘last bite before staggering home’ kind of way.

But on the other hand the selection of drinks was extensive, and the music was indeed both live and eclectic, even if the sets were short. Right now the stage was occupied by a man playing a monstrous harp-like thing, augmented with subwoofers, while his co-performer did something which looked like a kata with light sabers. Surprisingly enough, so far each set had drawn applause from at least one group of the patronage, even this one.

In other words: the perfect place to kick back after yet another day of not being fit enough for real piloting, meds be damned. At least my cough was getting better. I leaned against the back of my chair, signaling the bar tend for a refill, when my gaze was caught by the public-access message board located next to the bar counter: somebody had just put up a new announcement. I couldn’t read the text from where I was sitting, but the headline contained the words “Bastards”, “Roam”, and a date, and my interest was ignited. I heard about these roams before, and always itched to participate in one - alas, schedule had been against me. But this one I might be able to make... and if my eyes didn’t deceive me, the Bastard member uploading the announcement was just finishing up detaching his pad from the message board.

I grabbed a couple of peanuts from the counter, aimed, and managed to peg him into the back of his head with at least one of them. Only when he turned around - hmm, interesting tattoo! but what was it with men and their obsession with beards? - I realized that my move may not have been the best idea for this locale. But I was already on my feet and pushing towards him.

Oh, good! He seemed more amused than annoyed.

"You know," he said with only slightly narrowed eyes, "usually people just shout 'Wait!' if they want my attention."

"Well, I'm not trusting my voice here.", I replied, nodding towards the stage. "Besides, it worked, didn't it?"

"In a living-dangerously kind of way."

"Uhm... aaaanyway," I tried to focus, "this roam of yours", I pointed towards the board, "is it open for all? And how many ships would I need to stage?"

“Well - if you had taken the time to read the announcement before launching your peanut barrage, you’d know that it is indeed open for all. And as to how many ships…”

He smiled deviously.

“That depends on how long you can last. Override D is mandatory.”

He mustered me with a sharp look.

“You think you’re up to it?”

I returned his stare, holding it for a few seconds before answering.

“Challenge accepted.”

He laughed. “We’ll see, we’ll see. I’ll believe you when I see you at the roam.”

A mock salute, and he vanished into the crowd. And after reading the full announcement, I returned to my stool at the bar, already trying to think of what I’d have to do the next days. Meeting point was Evati, which was factional warfare territory. Right now it was in our hands, but even though Amarr seemed to be on an upswing, Evati could change ownership any day, and it was three days until the roam. Staging ships in a station I might not be able to dock in would be a rather futile exercise.

It really seemed that the best plan was to take an overview of the sovereignty map the day before the roam, and then take it from there.

I took a deep swallow from my refilled glass. I loathed staging stuff, especially late at night, but it would be nice to be able reship quickly - and I had a feeling that reshipping would be a common occurrence. And if it saved me a handful of jumps from my usual hisec staging station, it would be well worth the risk.

I took another drink, noticing with satisfaction that the harp-something group had finally finished their set. In their place, I now saw holo-projectors being powered up, with the woman stretching in the background. It had to be the performer: not many patrons wore ankle-long pigtails of an indescribable blue-green color, and electronic control units on their forearms.

Now, what ships to use?

The roam asked for frigates and cruisers, but I wasn’t quite feeling ready for cruisers yet. However, I did have a number of frigate and destroyer hulls plus fittings staged, so maybe if I took four or six of them and prepped them?

I chewed my lip, and in my mind the plan came together. Get out there the next day or so, make some safe spots, and then...

A cheer went up around me, and crystalline synth sounds drew my attention back to the stage: the performance had begun. It took only a few seconds before I found myself tapping my foot: the tune was quite catchy, even if the nonsensical lyrics were too girlie-sweet for my taste.

And for some inexplicable reason the performer was waving a long leafy vegetable in sync with the beat.

I settled back. This promised to be interesting.

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