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Pod and Planet fiction contest 2013 - Logistics

#1 - 2013-11-07 06:35:25 UTC

While I understood why the Jovians created the audio synthesizers, I never cared about them one way or the other until I moved to Anoikis. I love the sound of wormhole activation. It's a "welcome home," the sound of entrance into the new and unknown, and the first warning of intruders, all rolled into one. I wonder if the excitement created by that sound will fade as it has in so many of my other careers in New Eden. Ah, the cost of being immortal, I guess.

CRACK. The comms systems from the bridge crew activates. "Sir, transition from K-Space compete. Subspace communications down. Data shows we are in a Class 2 with Class 4/High Sec statics. System effects: Magnetar."

This information is nothing new. I've been running logistics for several hours now. My wormhole static connected here and it beats jumping an industrial ship through several Empire low security space systems, which is where my other static connects to, or a Blockade Runner with less than one third the cargo space. While logistics is a necessary evil when living in Anoikis, I hate flying an industrial ship. No guns and a joke of a tank. The best you can do is increase your shields and put in some warp core stabilizers but I forgo the latter because I have so much to bring in and want to get it done as fast as possible.

CRACK. "Directional Scan shows a flight of Sisters Core Scan Probes" the report finishes.

I immediately ask "Are there any ships visible?"

CRACK." Only the industrial we identified as floating unpiloted inside a POS force field while scouting earlier."

"It's probably only daytrippers. Since we aren't in our system, we'll just break cloak and head for our static. We'll risk it and if we get these last few runs done we might be able to get into a combat ship and find them."

"Aye, Aye, sir." The ship breaks its cloak and begins aligning towards the saved coordinates of the wormhole to our home system. "Maybe we will get lucky since they only have core probes out and they will be so busy scanning that they aren't monitoring D-Scan."

"One can only hope" I respond as we come out of warp at the wormhole.


Reports come back on data from the home system. Everything is normal with no unexpected activity and nothing on directional scan. The ship holds cloak and waits out the warp core polarization. The latest in several consecutive trips to the POS is a repeat. Warp from the hole to the force field, unload the cargo to the hanger array, cycle the directional scanner a couple of times and head back out. As we jump back into the static the scan probes are still out without any new ships on scan. Off to high sec it is.


CRACK. "Sir, transition to K-Space complete. Subspace communications reestablished. Point zero five security system with fifty-four pilots in local. Five scannable anomalies in system. Directional scan shown no scan probes and all other traffic is unremarkable."

"Very well." We break cloak and set a course to Jita.

Back to the doldrum of Concord protected space. Yes, I wonder if that sound will lose its magic for me. I started off like many others. I've been a contactor running security and distribution for large corporations. I've mined for a smaller capusleer run corporation and even rose to the position of head of mining operations before tiring of it. I've played the market, running trade routes between activity hubs bringing in the goods each needed and hauling out that which was in excess, and eventually I found myself sitting in Jita. There I spent my time monitoring market activity and rarely undocked my ships. Then I began living as a nomadic explorer in Empire low sec space until I came to love that sound.

While today is a logistics day, I prefer to spend my time scouting and fighting. Some days that means, stalking in a cloaked ship through the chain of wormhole connections looking for the inattentive or unlucky. Some days it means jumping into faction warfare areas and going after any target of opportunity, preferably ones who can fight back, making it more fun. I could have joined faction warfare but I didn't see the point of fighting for the empires nor did I have any interest in moving out to null sec space and becoming beholden to someone else for the opportunity to dock up every time intel channels notified that there was a neutral one or two systems away. No, it's always back to that sound. I just hope that the realization for the possibility of loss helps keep it at bay.

CRACK. "Sir, we are jumping back into the target system. Fifty-two pilots in local. Five scannable anomalies still in system. Preparing to warp to saved coordinates of the wormhole."

"Very well, we'll jump on contact."


CRACK. The comms system gives a repeat of the same information heard several times tonight. It's the expected loss of subspace communications and the expected system data given every wormhole jump into this system. That same industrial ship is on directional scan. But this time the scan probes are gone. "Good maybe those daytrippers decided to go somewhere else" I say as we decloak and head for our static.


That sound again.

Back in the home system all is as expected, as well. The ship warps to the POS and unloads into the hanger array. Directional scan shows nothing so we warp back towards the wormhole for another Jita run. The warp drive spools up and the ship begin moving towards the saved coordinates. Just as it clears the force field, alarm claxons sound and the comms crackled to life. "Sir, we have new contact on D-Scan. Contact is Amarr Strategic Cruiser: Legion class."
#2 - 2013-11-07 06:37:39 UTC
"Understood. Stand by for evasive maneuvers." Then, the Legion disappears from directional scan again. Knowing it will do no good, I attempt to stop the ship midwarp, mostly just to be doing something. As the ship comes out of warp next to the wormhole, I attempt to align to the POS and warp to safety. The comms next reports what I see through the camera drone, the Legion decloaking next to me. Then come more frantic reports. "We're being targeted by the Legion. It has warp disrupters on us."

Calmly I reply, "Initiating wormhole transition" as I jump through to the hope of escape. As the ship come out of transition, I'm concerned with the cost of the ship, cursing myself for not giving up cargo space for warp core stabilizers, and being relieved that I have an empty cargo hold. Then I see the other part of the hunting party, a Proteus. The warp core is polarized for four minutes due to the multiple rapid jumps through the same wormhole so there is no going back. Getting no relief from the dread of loss, I cut the comms link from the crew and initiate warp to a planet, knowing it will do no good. Warp drive operations fizzle out as the Proteus targets me and engages a warp disruptor. I watch as my ship's shields fail and the armor and structure quickly follow.

As the ship explodes around me, my pod warps off to the planet. Coming out of warp, I immediately warp to another planet. I follow this protocol for several minutes in an effort to loose any pursuers; all the while, constantly monitoring the directional scanner. I'm convinced that no one is pursuing me but I also know the others are in cloaked ships. I take another gamble on a night of coming up short when I do and warp to the static back to my home system.


As I complete the transition to the home system, I see the tell tale distortion in space of a mobile warp disrupter and the Legion is still nearby. I hold my cloak while my pod depolarizes and jump back through the wormhole. As I complete the transition into back through the wormhole, I hear that sound.


Did I also mention that it is the sound of predators closing in on you?

I initiate warp to high sec static and the safety of Concord, taking my last gamble on this night of gambles. I warp off before the other ship can decloak and target me and I come out of warp without anyone near and uncloaked. I take no chances and immediately jump through to Empire Space. After loitering on the wormhole for a few minutes to see if anyone jumps out, I dock at a station in system to get another ship. I review my combat logs and see the name of my aggressor for the first time.

Being on the receiving end does not lessen my appreciation of the artistry to the attack so I initiate comms with the pilot and congratulate him on a job well done. After exchanging a few pleasantries, I close comms and begin the trip back to my home system via the low sec static.
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