The Star Fraction
Posted - 2004.03.15 18:11:00 - [1
OBE system, frontier, Caldari space:
Even the name is tinged with villainous notes on the star maps, while in-system a dirty grey nebula provides a backdrop to lacklustre celestial bodies and a psychic miasma of unwholesome ambitions and cloying tyranny. How many have lost their lives here? How many dreams ended in the sudden impact of warhead and hyper relativistic ordinance? What a place! Yet it’s the first step I must take on a pilgrimage to the underworld, the first trial, the first test, a doorway to another realm of altered states and strange perception.
Long range sensors pick up Forsaken vessels almost immediately and the subspace channel monitors howls and curses and imprecations from the emperor’s wardens at the gate to deep-space. They sound insane and witless these pilots of the forsaken imperium but it is a mistake to underestimate their capacity for spite and violence, and even as the insults cool against the background radiation of the wounded gray-swathed star, its clear they are working triangulation and cooperating in a search pattern to discover my location.
Never too soon work evasion; and I plot a non-linear warp course, once, twice, to send my Breacher frigate far beyond the range of ordinary pursuit with the minmatar drives thrumming a satisfying shudder through the delicate superstructure of the vessel and my heart racing to feel the raw energy of fusion-impellers screaming at maximum output.
It’s easy to despise battleship captains when piloting a beautiful minmatar attack frigate, and as my JFS “punch dagger” pirouettes in graceful arc to approach scanning range of the P3 gate I load Paradise missiles on the off-chance that the Forsaken fleet will make the mistake of giving me a Blackbird target to kill to slake my taste for violent murder in this most depraved of systems.
Scanning updates, 3 targets at the gate … Tempest, Raven, Blackbird. My heart leaps in expectation; the blackbird will be configured for fast lock, the Tempest and Raven are too clumsy to catch me, but combined with the EW cruiser will present a challenge. This needs to be a two stage manoeuvre, bait and switch, and if I get lucky … maybe the Blackbird will oblige me by dying in the service of beauty.
I set coordinates for the gate, range 60 klicks; close enough to die, but just far enough away to escape the touch of web and scrambler and meaningful malice on the part of battleship driving villains that lurk. Close to the gate I best-guess mark another navigation point and prepare a 180 evasion course in the seconds after sub-relativistic exit.
There they are; the Tempest is tight against the stargate, impossible to engage with missiles without damaging the hyperspace machinery, the Raven is further out, close against the Caldari state system guns in seeming mockery of lawful authority, while the Blackbird is closer, 30 klicks from my Breacher and already beginning weapons lock. No point wasting warheads, I will be in warp before they travel halfway to the target. Evade pattern, full reverse and emergency warp alignment. I close my eyes as “punch dagger” comes about and speeds to transition velocity and yes! Warp-speed before the Blackbird completes targeting solution, safe again against the rush of hypervelocity wave forms and ion-wake behind.
The sensor feeds fill my mind as the ship turns at my unconscious bidding to accelerate back towards the P3 gate at maximum sub-light velocity. The nav-point was good, I’m 1000 klicks out, no more than a few minutes journey time. Scanners at 1200 resolution show 2 ships, and now 1, it would seem they have taken the bait.
Well, fortune favours the bold, warp speed once again, 15 klicks from the gate as the projected point exit point. As always it’s a case of praying the sensors didn’t lie …
Scanning; 1 target, the Tempest with captain Perrinbaya at the helm and I feel much relief, since the heavy warship has no chance at this range to prevent my access to the stargate. Drives ignite as a I plunge towards the waiting warship and trigger a weapons lock for the idle joy of feeling the paradise missiles buzz with anticipatory fervour through the neurological fire control circuits. Seconds pass while the clumsy battleship continues to process firecontrol data even as my vessel is already stealing IFF signatures and weapon configuration codes for future reference. I smile with triumph as I flash by underneath the gun ports at 2300 mps and trigger the stargate in a blur of super accelerated particles and ion radiation.
Farewell Caldari State, the first test is complete.