Friday, January 8, 2016

One Fight, Two Tales

Fiction Friday. Escape pod here.

This fight happened last weekend. No idea who the other guy was. Assumed they'd fought a bit earlier and the Corax won. The picture near the bottom is the actual screenshot I took after the fight.

One Fight, Two Tales.

The Capsuleer's Tale.

"Jump complete.
Corax on scan.
Narrow beam scan to the small plex. Yes, he is located in there.
Warp to 10. Don't want to get caught in the gate.
In warp. Activate DCU.
1au scan, still in there. Activate gate.
Corax. 13km off.
Start to target, pre-overheat guns, get point, web and guns hot.
Activate AB. Orbit set at 9000. Nearly locked.
Bang. First blood to me.
Damn those rockets hurt. Increase orbit to 12km, overheat AB to counteract his webifier.
Guns getting too hot, turn off overheat.
Low shields warning. He's winning.
Low armour but I'm making range. Rockets falling short now. I'm winning.
Both in structure. He's hitting me again. He must be overheating his AB.
Overheat guns again.
Shit this is going to be close!
Low structural integrity alarm. 5% structure. Next volley and I'm down.
My weapons cycled first! He's down.
Get the pod? No, targeting failed, he's out.
'GF' in local.
Check 1au scan just in case. In no condition to fight now.
Nothing on scan, no rush.
Scoop loot, head for home. I need repairs!"

The Crewer's Tale.

Elelle wasn't quite hammered but she was buzzed. It was quiet in the bar but that was no excuse to break with tradition. If your capsuleer got a kill, you took a drink. Elelle's pod jockey was having a very good morning. 15 kills so far and was probably hunting number 16. Her friend Deget had fallen asleep. He'd not learnt Elelle's trick. Before ordering check if your egger is out in the big black. If he's not out in space, order what you want. If he is, order something light as you might be drinking a lot of it!

She saw one of her fellow crewers, Gokestar, enter the bar and order a drink. As she walked over towards her, Elelle knew something was wrong. Gokestar was Matari and tended to crew on the capsuleers Minmatar vessels. Their capsuleer had been flying Thrasher class destroyers that day. She sat down next to Elelle.

"Bad day?" Elelleasked fearing the reply.

"Oddelulf and Aunur are dead." she stated with no emotion referring to her two inseparable friends. She didn't say more. Simply stared ahead and drank.

Gokestar, Oddelulf and Aunur were a well known trio. Ex-Slaves that had been freed together at the start of the Empryean Wars nearly eight years ago. They had got into starship crewing in the end being tempted by the vast pay offered by the Capsuleers. Elelle had known all three for several years and whilst they didn't crew together as Elelle tended to work on Amarrian vessels they had lived in close proximity for a long time.

"Which fight?" Elelle asked softly.

"The Corax. Damn it! That Pod Jockey knew it'd be a risk. Warping that Thrasher with hardly any tank on top of a Corax would always be a fight too close to call! Yet he still did it."

The two women fell silent for a while.

"Want to talk about it?" Elelle said finally.

"I guess. We'd just jumped into Hasama....."


"We're aligning to a small plex. Any idea what the egger's seen in there?" Gokestar asked from her station.

"Nope. Whatever it is, there is a good chance it'll be trying to punch holes in us so get ready!" Oddelulf replied.

"Are you serious? We're crewing for a negative 10 capsuleer. Everyone is always trying to punch holes in us!" Aunur laughed.

The three Mataris crewed the structural integrity station within the Thrasher class destroyer. A relatively small room located below main engineering. Their job was to maintain the integrity of the ship even under heavy fire. The ship was equipped with a damage control unit which they could use to reinforce the bulkheads, plug breaches with forcefields and direct minor repairs using drones and nanites. However these repairs were too slow to make a difference in battle and were generally more aimed at wear and tear and maintenance issues rather than battle damage.

"Its a Corax class destroyer apparently." Aunur said looking up from his screen. The Egger just sent orders to gunnery to swap to Republic Fleet EMP rounds.

The room went quiet at that. A Corax would be difficult. They would have similar optimal ranges and they were warping into the Corax giving it a slight advantage. It was also a more modern design and likely to be fitted with upgraded shields. A fair upgrade on the aging Thrasher class. Their Thrasher was fitted with an oversized afterburner. This meant there was not enough power for proper defenses. It relied on speed and putting out huge damage. Against Amarrian destroyers such as the Coercer it was deadly. Gallente blaster Catalysts and Caldari blaster Cormorants were also good prey. However this later design destroyers were more of a problem. Especially the Corax.

Gokestar instinctively looked towards the door to the corridor. She was planning her route. Out the door, right, left then right. Escape pods were there and it would be at least twenty seconds to reach the nearest. She went back to her monitors. Next job was to shut down non-essential systems. She wanted as much power and processing speed available so the routine maintenance drones and slower nanite repair systems could be paused.

The three felt the destroyer drop out of warp smoothly. There was then a slight jerk as the ship was caught in the magnetic field of an acceleration gate.

"Ready?" Aunur said to nobody in particular as they felt the ship accelerate. Thown hundreds of thousands of kilometers by the structure.

Down in the deepest part of the ship they knew very little of what was happening. Their systems and scanners faced inwards. Keep track of the ships hull and structural elements. There was a low rumble that reverberated through the ship. The sound of the Thrashers seven 280mm cannons firing in unison. The next shudder indicated their own shields had been hit by returning fire.

A few more seconds of this back and forth and the return fire increased massively in sound and vibration.

"Shields are down. Armour is taking a pounding!" Oddelulf stated as they prepared.

A flashing red light indicated the armour plating of the ship was failing.

"Ready boys and girls!" Oddelulf shouted over the explosions and alarms "It's time to rock the rust!"

The three worked in perfect unison. The rockets of the Corax were a kinetic based warhead and were snapping supports and blowing holes through bulkheads as they passed through the armour. The trio struggled to hold the ship together.

"I've got big breaches in sector 4!" Gokestar shouted. "Anyone able to spare some juice?"

"Throwing some your way. I'm only getting the odd stray!" Aunur replied.

Their capsuleer was burning away from the Corax, their 10mn afterburner making them faster, although a lot less maneuverable than the Corax with its 1mn. Most of the fire from the Corax was striking the rear of the Thrasher that Gokestar was responsible for.

"I'm losing it! Structural integrity at 20%" Gokestar cried, unable to cope with the incoming damage.

"Frack it! We're done! RUN!" screamed Oddelulf and the trio spun from their consoles and ran towards the exit hatch. A massive explosion knocked them off their feet and everything went black.


Gokestar felt sick as she woke. Her stomach lurched. Gate travel! They had survived and just passed through a stargate!

She opened her eyes. It was dark. Only the feint glow of indicators on various panels showed in the dark.

"Oddelulf? Aunur?" she cried. No answer.

Feeling her way to the wall she moved by touch until she found the door and then the control panel beside it. She felt for the breakers and tripped them. The emergency lighting flickered into life. She gasped. The room was wrecked. Most of the next deck up had collapsed down on top of them. A huge beam running along the middle of the room had saved her from being crushed. She looked around. She saw Oddelulf's legs protruding from a deckplate. She rushed towards him but skidded to a halt a few metres before. The deckplate was laid flat and only a couple of centimetres above the floor. The space and amount of blood surrounding the plate indicated there was no way Oddelulf was still alive. She glanced around looking for Aunur. She spotted her slumped against the far wall. She quickly crossed the room. A few of the tiles from the ceiling plate covered most of her. She looked up as Gokestar approached.

"Oh thank god. Your alive!" she gasped, pulling the lightweight tiles off her. She looked down and was silenced. A long jagged shard of metal pierced Aunur from behind, the jagged, bloodied spike erupting from the middle of her body.

"Well that's not good!" Aunur sighed looking down with a half laugh that brought blood leaking from her lips.

"No. No! NO!" Gokestar repeated. "We can fix this." she said desperately looking around for the med-kit. The wall where it hung was buckled and she couldn't see it anywhere.

"No point, just hold me." Aunur whispered, more blood leaking from between her lips.

Gokestar slumped down beside her friend, crying. Holding her tight. The only other sound was the rattle of the air vent and the occasional spark of shorting electrics. There was a screech of metal on metal and the air vent was silent. A second later the emergency lights died.


"So what happened next?" Elelle asked softly.

"I woke up on a stretcher with an oxygen mask strapped to my face. The life-support systems had failed all over the rear of the ship. I'd passed and they'd got to me just in time. The capsuleer had docked back here and left the hangar crew to search for survivors and make the repairs."

The two women drank in silence together for a few minutes.

The screen above the bar flashed red indicating one of the capsuleers who belong to one of the corporations based at the station had lost their ship. They looked up and saw their Egger had been flying a Kestrel class frigate and it had just been destroyed by a Rifter class frigate supported by a Curse class Recon Cruiser.

"Well after all that I doubt he'll be going out again. Want to hit the club?"

Elelle nodded and finished her drink. Whilst going to a club midday might sound strange for most, for capsuleer crew it was common. The club's music was frequency modulated to produce a euphoric effect. The bar not only served drinks but a range of boosters and stimulants. There were even 'the backrooms'. Suites available for hire along with the companion of your choosing. For someone who needed to forget, it was the best place on the station...

...and crewing for Capsuleers, you always needed to forget.


  1. Brilliant! Well done!

  2. An interesting mix of upstairs/downstairs

    Damn, I hope I'm not the only old guy that watched that show

  3. I loved it! I'm CODE, would love to see one done about a gank!