Monday, December 22, 2008

The Station

This month's Eve Blog Banter comes to us by Roc Wieler of Roc's Ramblings. Roc's asks us to "write a story about a fellow EVE Blogger, or an EVE player whom has inspired you or affected you in some tangible way. After your story, describe why you chose them, and any Holiday wish you have specifically for them".

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One would think that abandon stations would be silent, but then one would be wrong.

There are creeks, groans, and numerous hisses from the super structure as the gravity from the nearby moon it orbits pulls the station in its slowly decaying orbit towards its ultimate fate as a shooting star. But that is years in the future; for now it is just an abandoned, if noisy, station.

Nih’Khuna treaded slowly down the corridor in her enviro-suit and mag-boots. No need for a full space suit here as the radiation of open space was still blocked by the plates of the station exterior. It was pitch black inside but her halogen lights on the side of her helmet provided enough illumination to make her way forward deeper into the relic.

* * * * *

The message had come unsigned and untraceable, but only a few knew the address to reach her directly. “Thought you might be interested,” said the note, accompanied by a few pictures and coordinates in quite space of the Minmatar republic. Nih’khuna was not an explorer by any stretch of the imagination but she did have a soft spot for abandon sites like this. Plus it actually looked less salvaged than most abandoned stations and it might even have something work taking.

* * * * *

She finally got to a control room and using her hand torch cut a large hole in the closed door. Fortunately it wasn’t a blast door or she would never get through with merely a portable hand laser. While she waited for the hot metal edge to cool from the new circular opening, she shone her lights through and inspected the interior.

Across the room she saw a dead body still sitting awkwardly in a chair perfectly preserved in the vacuum but this did not faze her. She was well familiarized with the characteristics of death in the void. Her attention was quickly grabbed by the banks of computer screens and boards, still intact and undisturbed. “Perfect,” she thought, “those will fetch a fine price on the market in Molden Heath.”

The improvised entry had cooled enough to allow her in and she was about to crawl through to investigate further when her comm dinged.

“What it is?” she asked crossly, annoyed at being disturbed.

“Sir, we have contacts,” he first officer reported gravely.

* * * * *

Nih’Khuna ran as fast as possible in the low gravity and magnetic boots. As she hurried through the confusing corridors her first officer continued to update her on the happenings outside.

“Two contacts, presumed to be large since we detect them already... scanner blocked by the station... sending out probe... got it. Two battleships for sure. Getting more telemetry.”

Nih’Khuna pondered the possibilities. Perhaps they were explorers that just stumbled upon the abandoned outpost coincidently at the same time she was here. Yeah right, her cynically brain whispered.

“Ok, we have confirmation. Two Raven battleships broadcasting State Navy codes. “ A pause. “They are locking .”

She had chosen to dock her Punisher combat frigate in the semi enclosed dock of the station so that it would not be detected on any long range scans or probes. It should not be possible for the ships outside to target lock her vessel amoungst the jumble of the station and docking facilities. That meant they were targeting the station.

Nih’Khuna ran harder.

* * * * *

“They’re firing!”

Moments later an explosion rocked the station so hard that Nih’khuna was lifted off her feet and slammed shoulder first into the bulkhead wall, her breath knocked out of her. As she struggled to her feet, she strained to ask for status.

“We’re ok sir, they are hitting the main bulk of the station. But hurry up! This place is a deathtrap!”

An accurate description, she thought wryly. She set off again as fast as her burning lungs would take her. It certainly seemed a lot farther back to the dock than she remembered walking. Did she get lost? Take a wrong turn? Panic started to set in.

No, there it is, she thought with a massive wave of relief. The sign on the wall pointed down a left corridor and she knew the dock was close.

“INCOMING!”

She didn’t have time to stop running completely and brace herself before the torpedoes impacted with the force of an angry god. She was thrown from her feet again and crashed into a jutting panel, bone in her foreman snapping like twigs. She screamed in pain and nearly blacked out, slouching down the wall and cradling her left arm.

Part of her wanted to tell her ship to take off and get out of here to save themselves. The station was breaking up; it was only a matter of time before the Punisher was trapped. She had died before; this time would be no different. Except that she wasn’t plugged into her pod and this death would be final. Can’t activate a clone without any consciousness, right?

“Sir? We need to go now!”

“I’m comin’,” she whispered.

She forced herself up and staggered down the hall in a haze of pain. Suddenly she was in the large open space of the docking bay and the scaffold leading to her ship was before her.

“Here comes another!” shouted her crewman over the comms. This time she held on for dear life with her right hand while standing still and as the explosion ripped through the station hulk she managed to keep from flying off like a projectile into the open bay. As she stood back up she looked at her ship and cursed. The last salvo had caused it to break the moorings and begin drifting away from the dock. Ten meters already and growing, she had to act fast.

“Lieutenant, open the hatch!” She began to run and at the end of the scaffold she launcher herself into the void at the side of her ship. The hatch there began to open and she sailed through the micro gravity into its maw and into her ship where she ended her flight with a bone-jarring crash as the ship’s artificial gravity kicked in and she twisted her ankle with another flash of pain.

“Get us out of here!”

The Punisher’s engines roared to life and she felt it leap into action. She couldn’t get up; there was no time to get to the pod. The crew would have to fly it out of here themselves. Her comm. Was still open and she could listen to the bridge crew.

“We’re clear of the station.”

“They’re locking us!”

“Set destination anywhere, just get us to warp! WARP NOW!”

“We’ve got incoming drones!”

“GODDAMNIT, WARP NOW!”

* * * * *

Nih’khuna’s arm itched beneath the cast and her ankle was cold from the ice compress. Her nurse was an ugly old Brutor that didn’t care for her at all. The pod pilot half wondered about jumping in her pod and self destructing to get a new clone body.

Her visitor took a drink of her coffee and sat back further in the uncomfortable chair. “So, Caldari Navy, eh?”

Nih’khuna snorted. “Not bloody likely. Those were two siege Ravens. The State does not send those ships on missions into hostile territory without serious escort. Those ID codes were spoofed.”

“So, a personal vendetta?”

“Absolutely. Someone set me up. Someone who knows me well enough to know I’d get out and explore that station. Someone who has a serious grudge.”

“Any ideas?”

“I have a few.” She crumpled the printout of the message she had received this morning in her good hand. The message said simply, “Hope you’re feeling better. KK”

“Oh yes, I have a few.”

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Dedicated to my old Strife Mercenaries Nih'Khuna who introduced me to Eve and gave my 5 million ISK back where I was a complete noob to get going and buy some skill books. He escorted me through low sec space in my Merlin with all my possessions and introduced me to the gang I flew with for the first two years of my Eve career. A good friend and an awesome CEO, Merry Christmas buddy!

Other Blog Banter Posts:


3 comments:

  1. Great banter. It started to get a little frantic there. Fun!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice interpretation of the Banter. I enjoyed it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Cool stuff! I loves me a bit of fan-fic with meaning to it :)

    Any chance of a part 2? :D

    ReplyDelete

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