Friday, December 30, 2011

Shooting For The Moon

My Taranis disappeared from the system with a flash. But wait! What was that appearing on my last second 360 degree scan report? An unnamed Vexor class cruiser? What was it doing out here in this part of the system? No asteroid belts around. Probably running a mission for one of those unfriendly agents that finds pleasure in sending fresh recruits into low security space to harden them up.

On the other side of the gate I went looking for another unnamed space vessel that appeared on my scanner. However, that Vexor was still hovering in the back of my consciousness. I had a hunch he was not on a mission.

I turned around and jumped again, adjusted my head and hit scan as soon as I was able to sort out what was what in my ship’s system interface. There it was again, this mysterious cruiser in this empty corner of the solar system. I ordered my ship's core scanner to report any cosmic anomalies, but the result was just more emptiness. I did a 360 degrees directional scan to look for any starbases, but nothing. I looked for wrecks, but there was none.

Was the Vexor a ghost ship? Had it been boarded by Sansha’s Nation? Was I witness to the beginning of a Sleeper invasion from the wormholes? What the hell was going on here?

I started a manual directional scan for the purpose of narrowing down the ghost ship. Since there was really nothing special in this part of space, except a planet and the already mentioned gate, I ordered the scanner to accept all results. Maybe I could get a clue to why this ship was floating around in empty space.

I twinned the tip of my moustache – in my mind, of course, since I was soaked in that awful pod goo – and smiled as I narrowed down the Vexor. A moon! I entered warp as I asked myself: What are you doing at a moon, Mr. Magical Mystery Cruiser?

The warp bubble collapsed and my overview grid loaded. The cruiser was 300 km away, keeping a steady course straight into emptiness at 200+ meters per second. A ghost ship. The pilot must have lost consciousness. Or maybe hot-wired himself into a holoreel? Oh, why bother with probable causes – I have a job to do! The Vexor must be turned into space junk!

Then, suddenly, when my Taranis got within 100 km off the Vexor, my Federation Navy Speech-To-Text-O-Matic Communication Transponder Mk. III made a silly noise (my customized notification sound) and spit out a sentence from the pilot of the Vexor:
Joachim Chelien > You waznt something?
An unnamed Vexor in the hands of a fresh recruit. I would be lying if I said I wanted a ransom. I lied:
Saftsuze > i waznt ISK!
There was no sign of a blinking wallet on my NeoCom. I was still out of range and that general statement about wanting ISK was merely a tactic of making myself not so scary. I’ve been known to look quite scary in a certain angle and a full moon light. He made no attempt to escape, just kept a steady course towards the emptiness. Oh yes, I would be happy to give him the experience of total emptiness!

80 km later: Locked, scrammed and three smoking barrels!
Joachim Chelien > I cant hit you
Three Ogre I in orbit. I laughed in their general direction.
Joachim Chelien > Maybe just now
The one hit he got. A pinch of red on my shields display.
Saftsuze > you can hit me with ISK!
Still no blinking wallet.
Joachim Chelien > Bye
I guess he realized it was time to meet the emptiness.
Saftsuze > bye *

* Must. Remember. To. Ransom. Pod.

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