Friday, November 22, 2013


Fiction Friday. Escape pod here if fiction is not your thing.

One of my proofreading volunteers was ill this week so I know I said I would release my second novelette/novella today but I cannot. Instead a funny thing happened to us on Wednesday and I'd thought I'd try to put it into a story.


The cruiser de-cloaked off the stargate and aligned towards the distant station.

"Sir, the system is hot. I'm picking up a dozen hostile capsuleers on the local channel. Gallente Militia."

The Executive Officer leaned forward in his chair and looked at his personal screen. The Ensign was right, there was one friendly pilot in the solar system, a few neutrals in the war and a lot of enemies.

"XO, the capsuleer has activated the warp drive. We are heading to the station."

The XO checked the system database. There was a State Protectorate Logistical Support station some 30 astrological units from their current position. The capsuleer, encased inside his hydrostatic capsule in the belly of the ship, was also a member of the State Protectorate Militia. Whilst Capsuleers rarely shared their plans with the mortal crew the XO guessed what the plan was. The war was going well for the Caldari and the State was paying generously to its capsuleer militia to further the war effort through various missions. In that station there were four State Protectorate missioning agents. When docked their capsuleer would approach these agents and collect a number of lucrative contracts. The missions could be anything, they may need to take out a Gallente officer in a nearby system or destroy a small outpost in space. Whatever the contract, he knew one thing, it would pay very well.

"Two million kilometres to station, warp drive systems commencing disengagement sequence." the helmsman announced.

The XO looked up at the viewscreen. After a few seconds the warp tunnel started to dissipate. At a frightening speed, the immense station came into view as their cruiser dropped out of warp and decelerated heavily. They stopped 1000 metres from the station. The XO leant forward and hit a button on his console.

"Nisuwa station. This is State Protectorate Vessel 'The Cinatit'. Requesting priority docking."

The XO leant back and smiled. They'd made it, in a few seconds their ship would be tractored into a docking bay and safe from the hostile forces roaming the system. Of course they would need to get back out of the system, but he'd worry about that later. A few seconds passed and nothing had happened. He leant forward again.

"Nisuwa station. This is State Protectorate Vessel 'The Cinatit'. We are a capsuleer vessel, please tow us in now!"

The comms unit activated as the station responded.

"Fuck off!" came the curt reply.

The XO stared in amazement at the console in front of him. The entire bridge crew had turned in their seats and were looking at him questioningly.

"Nisuwa Station, we are a member of the militia if you don't tow us in immediately will will report this to your superiors. In fact who is your boss?"

The tension on the bridge rose as the silence continued. They were vulnerable here sat outside the station. Had the XO's threat been enough?

"Sir! We have a Tristan class frigate landing on the station. He is 20km from our port bow. IDENT signature lists the capsuleer as a Djalis. Sir, he's Gallente Militia!"

The Captain opened the comms channel again.

"Nisuwa Station. Accept our docking permission this minute or...."

"Jacques Roden." Came the reply interrupting the XO.


"You asked us who our boss is. We had a little chat and agree that as we are Federation Defence Union our ultimate boss must be the President of the Federation. So there you go squid. Please feel free to send him a message."

The XO's face went white. Gallente militia controlled the station. Had the Capsuleer not checked this? A alarm went off signalling a tactical lock was being detected from a nearby ship.

"Sir! That Tristan has engaged us with a Graviton Beam, our warp drive is offline. We cannot warp off whilst he has that on us. We also have a Keres closing at high speed. IDENT of Crosi Wesdo. He's a different corporation, but he is also Gallente Militia." the tactical officer shouted.

The XO looked at the screen. A Tristan and a Keres. Two frigates against their cruiser. He was not too worried. The cruiser was a Gila, a variant of the Moa class hull used by the Caldari State. The Guristas faction had taken the basic Moa and given it a substantial overhaul to produce the Gila. It was a good ship and a match for two frigates.

"Well looks like we need to fight our way out of this one! Tactical, lock up that Tristan and fire the missiles. Also launch our drones at the Keres. Give they a reason to back up. Activate the shield hardeners."

The Tac Officer looked at him oddly.

"Is there a problem with that order lieutenant?" the XO snapped.

"Two minor ones sir. They are small issues really. We have no launchers fitted and our single shield hardener.... is.... well it is in the cargo bay according to my screen."

The XO opened up the ships diagnostics on his screen. His world fell apart. The Tac Officer was right. The ship had no fittings. It was a basic hull. No guns, no upgrades, just as if it had been rolled of the production line. For some inexplicable reason they were carrying a shield hardener in the cargo hold. The XO tried to apply logic to the situation. Why would the capsuleer bring his ship into low-sec without any fittings or weapons? Why would he warp them to a station that they couldn't dock at.

"SIR!" the XO glanced up at the viewscreen. From the stations cavernous undock tunnel emerged the sleek green lines of a Thorax class attack cruiser. Even from that distance the XO could see the heavy neutron blasters dotted along its hull. A fully fitted Gila against a Thorax would be an interesting fight with the Gila having the advantage. With an unfitted Gila it would be a slaughter.

"Tell me that's a neutral." he sighed in resignation already knowing the answer. It would be a massive coincidence for that ship to undock at this exact time they were trapped here.

"Sir.... negative. IDENT is Drackarn, a Gallente militia pilot with the Quantum Cats corporation, same as the Tristan pilot. He's aligning to us and accelerating heavily. He has a microwarp drive fitted. He'll be in firing range in 10 seconds sir. Sir, what should we do sir?"

The XO stood and all the bridge crew stood and stared. The Tristan pilot had radio'd back to station. That Thorax would be enough to destroy them but in moments they could have even more on them. The crew were scared, they were looking to him for hope.

"Open a ship-wide comm channel." the XO said in a commanding tone. A bleep signaled he was speaking to the entire ship. He stood up and address the crew.

"Crew, this is Executive Officer Goro. WE ARE FUCKED! RUN LIKE BUGGERY!"

With that the XO sprinted to the bridge door and disappeared down the corridor. The rest of the bridge crew looked at each other in confused shock, before realising the situation and themselves jumped from their chairs sprinted to the corridor and the waiting escape pods.

Outside in space the Thorax attack cruiser had reached optimal range and had opened fire. Its heavy blasters firing against the Gila's shields as the Keres and Tristan frigates assigned their combat drones to attack the helpless ship. Tiny trails left the stricken cruiser as the crew abandoned ship early. Some escape pods were jettisoned directly into the incoming fire and were vaporised. The vast majority of the crew survived thanks to the quick, if not a tad inappropriate, broadcast from the XO. He was sat in a pod with four others.

"What now sir?" asked a junior officer as a bright light shone through the single window. The XO could see the Gila explode in a burst of flame.

"Well ensign. Now we wait for the Sisters of Eve to pick us up. Who knows, we may get a ride on one of those fancy new ships. Then we look for a ship seeking a new crew. However, I think I might suggest we head over to Villore or somewhere. You know, find a capsuleer who actually fits their ships before heading into low-sec."

P.S. I undocked a Thrasher to take the top screenshot whilst formatting this piece.... only to find a Caldari Militia Tengu trying to dock!

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