Prologue Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12 Part 13
Part 14 Part 15 Part 16
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"In position on Nase gate," I reported to the fleet. The big Rokh battleship eased to a stop only 1500 meters from the stargate that would fling me to the Nasesharafa system at my command. Other ships in the fleet came to a stop around me, mostly cruisers and battlecruisers.
"Roger," fleet commander Greyhound67 acknowledged. "Hold until we see what this guy is going to do."
Flying with m3 Corp was a very different experience from my time with Strife Mercenaries. For one thing, its not that the raw skill of the pilots was better or worse, but the discipline was much higher and m3 Corp's fleet commanders had a higher expectation of pilot performance. For another thing, m3 Corp had a lot of friends from other nearby corporations and alliances whereas Strife was always more of a lone wolf corporation.
I joined the corp after talking to Max (and a thorough background check) and quickly started to rebuild my bank account and hanger contents. I started working for a Chemal Tech agent in Naseharafa (helped along by good reccomendations from agents I used to work for in Republic Fleet) and by working with other m3 pilots I soon got solidly back on my feet. A few weeks of hard work and I was able to purchase a brand new Rokh battleship as well as several other smaller vessels including a nice used Falcon recon cruiser that I had trained up for.
In between the constant battle against the hordes of desperate Sansha Nation drones there were occasional battles against capsuleer forces, usually roaming pirates / anarchists with time and ISK to burn. Sometimes they got the better of us, but usually our cooperation and numbers carried the day.
Thus how I came to be in a fleet on a gate waiting for instructions. The fleet was over half made up of pilots from m3 Corp, lead by one of our directors called Greyhound67, aka Grey. The other 5 ships of the 11 in fleet belonged to two other corporations that made their home in the Sukanan constellation. The fleet was hastily assembled when a Vexor entered through the gate system of Teshkat and scouts reported him as having a CONCORD sec status of -5.6. Just our type of target.
Grey was in a Falcon with covert ops cloak in Nase surreptitiously shadowing the Vexor. He was checking the asteroid belts and planets for targets to engage, hopefully unaware of the fleet that scrambled in his wake.
"He's warping to Tirbam gate, get ready to jump." Tirbam was a dead end system; if he jumped in there we could trap him. Tension rose but the comms remained quiet. Suddenly Grey ordered, "Jump! Warp to Tirbam gate and hold!" As one the fleet activated the gate and spun through the artificially generated wormhole to the target system. As my consciousness cleared in Nase I directed my ship to align and begin warp ramp up towards the Tirbam gate. Around me the other 9 ships did the same.
"He saw me jump in, he's approaching the gate, get ready," Grey said. My ship was slower than the smaller vessels but still arrived in time. The gate fired and seconds later my sensors picked up the hostile cruiser, followed almost immediately by targeting calculations. "Point," Max intoned. The fleet began fire as my lock resolved and I saw the shields of the target dip. I sent a mental signal to my 16 neutron blaster cannons and eight of them with firing arcs on the target erupted in super-excited particle explosions. The hyper charged magnetically coupled balls of electrons and neutrons ejected from the cannons at the speed of light and smashed into the Vexor, bending the very subspace structure of the atoms that made up its hull and armour. Vast swathes of metal composite disintegrated and the energy released blew massive chunks off the rest. One salvo and the Vexor has lost the rest of its shields and half its armour.
I detected the flurry of reconstruction nanobots trying to stem the damage to the crippled ship but the fleet's combined firepower was quickly overcoming it. Another salvo blasted from my weapons the the Vexor simply flew apart in every direction. The pirate capsuleer, obviously disoriented by the assault, was quickly locked and destroyed and woke up in some distant cloning facility somewhere.
"Good work, fleet," Grey congratulated us over comms.
A pilot who was acting as a scout for us back in Teshkat jumped into our channel. "Cyno in Tesh."