Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 Chapter 8
Chapter 9 Chapter 10 Chapter 11 Chapter 12 Chapter 13 Chapter 14 Chapter 15
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I was about 70 km from the outpost and Jace and Pertins had their ships a full 20 km from it on the opposite side. I watched in confusion and then dawning horror as Jace brought his Harpy around for an attack run on the defenseless structure.
"Jace, what are you doing?!" I shouted into comms. "That's a civilian structure. We are not to engage it."
"Its a civilian structure with Gallente spies," he spat into the channel. "Read between the lines, Kodachi. Why do you think they bothered with the elaborate ruse of hiding our identity? I'll tell you why, so we could do what needs to be done without anything getting in our way."
"Whoa Jace, let's not get crazy here..." Pertins, the interceptor pilot chimed in cautiously.
"Crazy? There are three spies on that station with State secrets. Who knows how many lives, Caldari lives, will be in danger if we don't move right now while we have the chance?"
"The intelligence might have been wrong, Jace!" I yelled. "We can't go around blowing up innocent bystanders just because we think there might be hostiles near them!"
"Its called collateral damage, Kir. Look it up. Besides, they're only mortals," he snarled into the channel before breaking off communication.
His ship had closed the distances and let loose with a salvo of blaster fire into the unshielded mercenary ships in port. His weapons tore through the damage cruisers like a knife through butter and they exploded while still attached to the docking equipment. The station control, quiet until now, started broadcasting on all frequencies for help.
"Pertins, we have to stop him."
"No way, man, this shit is above my pay grade. I'm outta here." And his Crow aligned and departed into warp.
"Fine," I muttered to myself. I sent a message to my captain informing him I was moving to stop the Aegis from destroying the station which was outside mission parameters, and more importantly, breaking the law. I heard him on the bridge microphones express disbelief and order me to stand down from the engagement. I ignored him, the pleas from the waystation ringing louder in my ears. "I'm sorry, Captain. I must act."
I heard him give the order to override my command of the Iceheart and a few moments later the reports of failure from the bridge crew. Every pod pilot in the navy had secret techniques for disabling those insulting override controls that they passed quietly from one to another. The idea of them controlling your ship an anathema to what it means to be an immortal capsuleer.
I started locking up the Harpy and that brought Jace back on channel in a hurry. "Kirith, what the fuck do you think you're doing?"
"I can't let you kill those innocent people, Jace. Back off or else."
"Or else what?!" he asked incredulously.
As he brought the Aegis around for another pass at the damaged station, I opened fire. He was in a small ship with tiny signature radius but my tracking computers were reconfigured for maximum path detection algorithms and I was at optimal range for my antimatter rounds. My hardwired implants supplemented the fire control AI's calculations and I was able to pinpoint his vectored location within 10 meters at this range, more than enough. My six railguns were on target and his shields were destabilized by almost 50%.
"WHAT THE FUCK?!"
"I told you, Jace. Break it off!"
"You son of a bitch!"
I fired again to make sure he understood I was serious. The channel was filled with incoherent cursing and yelling as his shields were almost gone. I checked my bridge channel; the captain's pulse was finally up and he was yelling at his officers to retake control of my ship. I resented them for their efforts and wished I could shake them off like unwanted fleas.
"Jace, last chance. Stop your attack." I paused my weapon's firing cycle and waited to see what he would do.