The Catalyst slid out of the docking bay and into the pseado darkness of space. Billboards and the lights of the station glistened off of the ship as it pivotted and aligned for the beginning of a long run into Amarr space. Mike reviewed the first part of the plan as he guided his ship from gate to gate.
“Okay, this time I do go get the excaped slave. It is the same one who escaped before and she was the source of the information on the Caldari payoff. If we don’t get her back to the heir then the deal may fall through. Make it look good, make it look real. Easy enough.” Arrival and checking ninto the Amarr station was the usual cold shoulder as his record was well known in this region. While he worked well enough hunting Serps and Guristas his past of also hunting slavers was common knowledge.
Opening a private comm line to Mar he got right to business. “I’m heading up to the agent now. You manage to get in touch with the reporters?”
Mar chuckled. “Roger that, mainly ‘human interest’ reporters who want to do a piece on ‘going faster'”
“Well just make sure they all have access to the right things at the right time. You may want to feed them some stuff about how racing is getting an upswing, give them a contact to get sound bites from, like Quintrella.”
“Who is that?”
“Am I the only one who follows sports around here? Quintrella has been champion racer in assault frigs and interceptors, Ms Speed herself. Given your love of the fast boats I figured it would be a sure thing for you to know her.” Mike rummaged tapped his comm. “I used to have her number here . . . “
“You’ve spoken with her?”
“Was working on a story. But anyhow, I’ll see if I can get you a current contact for her and it might give the reporters something to chew on until the main event.”
“Racing huh? Always thought I would make a good racer.”
“Ask her about it then. The league went quiet a while ago due to some sort of financial difficulties but I have always thought it could make another go of it.”
“talk. to. famaous. person. Got it. So I will keep lining up the audience but you have the fun part of managing the stage.”
“I’m on it. I’ll call and confirm once the first step is completed.”
They closed off the chat and Mike headed up to report in to the agent. This one had supercilious attitude that should have qualified him for a seat in the Amarrian High Theological Council as opposed to his current job of being the go between for a bunch of capsuleers. Mike grinned insolently as he sat down. “So, I heard you might have a job for me?”
“It is against our policy to allow a second chance to people such as yourself, but I am given to understand you excel at finding and retrieving small cargos.”
‘What sort of small cargo are we talking about?”
“A favored slave of one of the heirs, we have received information that she did not run as far as we had first assumed. IF someone moves quickly, and IF that person is not.” He sniffed, “squeemish then we can end this with a minimum of fuss. I might also add that the favor of an heir will go a long way towards swaying the opinion of those in power that you are beginning to see the light of truth.”
Mike smiled and bit back his first three choices of reply and settle for a nod. “We can only hope, eh?”
The relevant data was uploaded to Mikes comm and he headed back down to the Boomerang. On the way he tapped his padd that sent a simple one symbol message. ‘1’
One system away lovers embraced for what would be the last time. Their comms both chimed as the single digit appeared.
“I could be caught in a shuttle . . . “
“No, we already discussed all this with Free. If we do not make it look authentic then they may suspect something. All our people are volunteers, they know what they are going into. But if this exposes that ship think of the number of people who will be released. I love you Jaliti.”
“And I, you.” She kissed him one last time and climbed into the escape pod which he locked down and double checked for integrity before opening the hanger channel.
“Right, we have one shot at this play and we want to make sure it is a good show for the folks. Try your best to shoot down this Azariah. He will be returning the favor.”
“What if he isn’t good enough and we pod him?” One young pilot called from his Rifter.
“I asked Free about that, she just started laughing. But tell ya what. You pod him we will come up with another plan and I will buy you drinks for the rest of this year, sound good? That goes for any of you.”
A roar of agreement filled the hanger as the pilots climbed into their little frigates and started to assemble outside of the station. Kilm was the last to hit vacuum and he sent the guards out to patrol for their expected guest. “Redstock to squad 1, report.”
+ . . . damn it, lock him up. He’s coming right at me now . . . +
“Squad 1, move to squad 2’s position. Move it and be aware, target is in system”
+Roger that, Kilm? Nice working with you.+
“See you beyond the chains.”
Mike pivotted the Boomerang and kicked the afterburner again to head back through the pack. Eight ion blasters carved another rifter from the heavens and he grimaced. The overview lit as a new groups of ships arrived, one of them tagged as the probable escaped slave. He opened co=mm lines as a practiced eye checks cap, shields, and ammo. He activated a reload and swung wide around the new arrivals to buy time. “All I want is the girl. This doesn’t have to be your day to die.”
“She is NOT going back. Turn away from this now, capsuleer.”
Mike sighed and looked aorund at the wrecks already scattered in near space. “Bit late for that offer. Ready or not, here I come.” He kicked the afterburner into a high speed approach to close orbit of the first of the guardian rifters.
“This is you last warning . . .” Kilms voice was just a background to the roar of the ion blasters. ” . . . were betrothed since we were young. . . ” Another rifter popped and Mike looked for the next target, ” . . . now or face destruction.”
And then there was one.
Mike triggered a tight beam communication. “Well fought, now we finish this, be ready to eject when I hit hull.”
“I will do what needs doing. Just make sure 3 is as good as 1, for all our sakes.”
Mike swooped in and for the last time the ion blasters roared and another ship melted under the eight guns. One lonely pod flaoted free of the wreckage. “Aw damn boy.” Mike whispered, tears in his eyes. “You coulda lived through this.” He listlessly brought the pod into the cargo hold and confirmed the contents before warping back to the agent to turn in the ‘escaped slave’.
“When the Boomerang goes out, things come back.” Was all the message that he sent to the agent. His isk balance changed and he went to his ship to wait for the expected message.
There are some games within the game that some enjoy. Racing is/was an activity for a lot of folks and I, for one, would love to see it make a comeback. If you agree then make some noise and lets see what comes up.
Or look at this for another sort of sport.
Last is something common to a lot of corps, including even some carebear ones do some internal 1 v 1’s to keep practice up and generate some internal morale.
This is one of the great things about Eve, CCP may have made a game but they don’t mind if we make other games within it. We make our own goals, our own stories and it is all to the good. In channels I listen to folks talking about a quiet night where they only made a 50 or 100 mill. I feel good if I turn a profit of 3 mill in an evening? Do I feel like I am losing at Eve because of this? No. I am just playing at a different level, a different game.
Oh and I will try to get the next one done fairly quickly . . . all this to explain one winning . . . I am a fool sometimes