Saturday, July 25, 2015

Leaving So Soon?

        “Last day. Capricorn 29’s. Year of the city: 2274. Carousel begins.” -- Logan’s Run

“Oh, gods dammit!”

I cursed under my breath as I flopped down onto my couch. Kicking off the boots from my feet, I opened my jacket and rested my head on the back of the couch, feeling queasy.

It had not been a good month - I had had nothing but losses. And most of the time, I couldn’t even blame superior numbers (though it did happen) - often enough it had just been me doing simple mistakes. And sometimes, it had just been me in the wrong place, in the wrong ship, against the wrong enemy, who could shoot first.

I looked towards the wet bar, but forced my eyes away from it again. Getting drunk would be worse than just ‘bad’ right now.

I knew - it was my choice to prowl the factional warfare zone on my own, without backup or links; but in months like this, it was hard to keep going.

Suddenly, the quarters which had been sufficient for me for years, felt claustrophobic. I missed the sky, the rolling hills, the smell of the forest in the afternoon…

Fighting off an attack of vertigo, I made my way to the computer console, and activated it.

“Drake…”, I unceremoniously began the message recording. “Life sucks, and I’ll be at … our place for the next week. It’d be nice if you could drop by some time.” I paused, looking at the screen, unsure what to say more, then I added in a soft voice. “I love you.”

And before I could question myself, I finished the recording and sent it off. Ignoring my churning stomach, I went to pack the necessities I’d need for the week - it didn’t take long. Duffel slung over my shoulder, I stopped in the entrance doorway and I looked back at what I had called home for the last years. Strange how little impact my presence had made in those years.

I shook my head and stepped out, and the door fell shut behind me.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Fly in the Ointment

TomyLobo> Sending your ass where you came from

I laughed in my pod as the Loki entered the wormhole, its weaponless hull showing significant armor damage. Courtesy of my torpedoes. A buddy of his had shown up briefly before, in a Paladin, but he didn’t matter, staying at his safe spot 90km away The Loki Pilot wasn’t too bad, actually, requiring me to manually pilot in order to intercept him on his Micro-Warp fueled orbits. And he had the power of backup, whereas I was on my own.

Unfortunately for him, I had long stopped caring about numbers and combat record statistics. Instead, I was out here just to annoy him.

I knew that I had been too far away from this particular wormhole to give effective chase, but I went for it nonetheless. When I emerged on the other side, the Loki vanished from my local scan. Cloaked? Warped off? I didn’t stay to find out- instead I returned to the w-space system we had come from. Because that one, I knew, had a Paladin mowing through Sleeper sites.

I was under no illusion that I could take on a Paladin by myself, but maybe my torpedoes could make the crucial difference in breaking his tank against the Sleepers? Before they turned to kill me, of course.

I would never know: he launched a flight of light drones, which would be a death sentence for my Purifier. Back to d-scan then.

Hmm… the Loki was back on scan - probably scanning out  the other exits from this Anoikis system. I ignored it - if I attacked it, it would just play the same wormhole game as before. But there were also two Ventures on d-scan… i hesitated for a moment, and then sent out my probes to scan out the nearby non-combat sites.

Please please please … Yes!

My probes got a solid hit and I warped to the site where now three Ventures were going about their business.

I was under no illusions when I went in. My single point could not hold them, my torpedoes could barely scratch them, their combined drones could kill me in an instant. but maybe I could get off by sheer alpha?

…Nope. The Ventures warped out as soon as I decloaked and sent my torpedoes racing towards my closest target. I didn’t blame them - I’d have done the same.

But it also meant that my fragile-to-begin-with cover was truly blown. I started to warp around the system randomly, only to eventually return to the gas site I had chased off the Ventures earlier. When I had left, I had spied some abandoned Tech-2 drones. which could be beneficial to my cash flow.

Bad mistake. Their Paladin pilot had downshipped into a Destroyer, and was just waiting for me to go after those drones. The encounter ended quickly.

Yet, … I claimed victory. I had managed to distract their attention for quite a while, or so I liked to think, and them eventually podding me back to k-space was actually doing me a favor - I wouldn’t have been able to find my way back otherwise.

Op Success.

…except for that damn cloning headache…