Marnora smiled widely as the reporter ooohed and ah-ed at the ship. Daredevils were not a common sight in this part of space and he was very proud of the ship. As they walked about it he spoke glibly of races and glory, of almost outrunning missiles and lasers, so fast was his ship. Finally one asked the question he had been waiting for . . . “Could we have a ride in it?”
Mike was summoned to the agents office and asked if he could fly a specific ship. Mike made a show of examining the ship before nodding. “I can fly one of those. What is the mission?”
The agent grimaced. “You seem to be the only pilot in system who can fly one of these. The ship is to escort a transport to a planet one system over. The transport will be dropping cargo to the surface at which time you will eject from the ship, warp to a nearby station and catch a shuttle back.”
“Escort and delivery? Easy enough. Why this ship, though, isn’t it a bit of overkill?”
“Anything that comes close is to be jammed and then destroyed. I hope that is clear enough?”
“Stop ’em, pop ’em.” Mike grinned. “I think I get that. I’ll have to doublecheck the fittings, of course.”
The agent tapped a control. “Make it fast, Captain, you must be in spce within the next fifteen minutes.”
“Oh good, no rush, then.”
Marnoras’ comm chimed with a ‘3’ and he smiled. “Now ladies and gentlemen, may I direct your attention to the controls attached to your seats. These allow you to operate the ship scanners this vessel currently has mounted. As part of the demonstration we will show you how fast a patrol vessel can find, scan, and arrest smugglers or other criminals. I doubt there will be any such activities in this little used corridor of space but I wouldn’t want to be putting you at any risk.”
“What’s that? Yes I can hear you if you speak clearly. No, I will get us out of any harms way and the joy of the Daredevil is that if I decide to leave we will do it fast. Now pay attention to the screens and let us find a nice safe target to scan.”
Mike double checked the fittings he and Ev had planned days ago and launched from the station. The transport launched behind him and a voice that could only be called ‘prissy’ initiated contact. “Caldari transport 719 to Scorpion escort. I hope there will not be any more delays?”
Mike grinned. “No, I’d say things be juss fine on this he-ah end. Y’all settle down and align yo-self. I’ll be closer to ya than fleas on a hound.” He let his drawl loose if only to tick off the unctuous transport pilot.
“”Please adhere to propoer radio protocols. Aligning to first waypoint.”
Mike chuckled and as he activated the fleet warp he allowed himself a soft ‘Yeeehaw” on the open channel.
They reached the gate and jumped to the next system. Mike ran the usual entry procedures, directional, local, nearspace, all seemed clear. “Align to the planet.” His voice had lost the drawl and he was getting his game face on.
“Aligned, Scorpion escort.”
Marnora tracked the new warp and followed. “Now take this big old transport. The one with the Navy Scorpion flying alongside. Whatever would an unlikely pair like this be doing on the border of Amarr and Caldari space? Warm up those screens, folks, there is a prize to the first one to get a reading on the transport.”
The Daredevil spun on its axis and hit warp and followed the giant pair of ships across the system. It came out in a small crowd of ships. The Scorpion and the Transport were the centerpiece of a groups of smaller ships. “I got a lock!” Squeeled one of the pretty reporters. “Oooh, they have a lot of passengers.”
Marnora winced. “Ma’am look at how closely they are packed, and not the inhibiting fields in place. You are looking at a slaver transport.”
“Slavers? But that ship is onrbit above a Caldari mining operation. Why would slavers be here?”
“If one of you others lock on the shuttles you will see that they are making a delivery . . . ”
“Mr Azariah, the frigate is too close, eliminate it.”
“No.” Mike kept it simple as he pre-activated the jammers and held a finger over the targetting activation.
“You have a contract, Capsuleer. Thaty frigate is scanning us and this was supposed to be . . . ”
“Supposed to be a secret? That Caldari use slaves in outlying mining operations. That you pay off the bribes in Navy vessels such as the one I am in right now?”
“You will never get away with this.”
“Save the threat.” Mike triggered the jammers locking down the transport so it could not fire on the frigate. “I quit.” Local space flashed as vessels began to arrive. As they tried to target the Daredevil Mike locked one after another and jammed their systems. “Mar, ” he called on a second channel, “I think we have worn out our welcome and I am running out of ways to convince folks not to shoot at you.”
“Roger that, one last pass and we will have everythign we need.”
“Make it fast.”
“Hey, this is me, I DO fast.”
“So the stories made the media, that operastion is busted and there are a few investigations being opened up.” Mike concluded. “Where do you want the Scorpion delivered?”
Free smiled. “What would I do with a Scorpion, especially one so infamous? You fly it, consider it payment.”
Mike leaned forward, “I wasn’t doing this for pay.”
“Then consider it a gift . . . from a friend.” This second smile looked far less predatory. “Does your friend Marnora need some compensation?”
“No, he is off trying to convince some reporter that he doesn’t do EVERYTHING fast.” Mike started to laugh.
It is amazing the lengths I will go through to explain why I have a scorpion.
Prefiring targetted attacks before you have a lockon is handy when time is of the essence.
Mar assures me that the Daredevil is fun to fly. I cannot afford one. (donations accepted, but I’ll have to write onther damn post to explain them)
Oh, there is still time to vote . . . especially if you are going to vote for me in the CSM elections
(Mar voted, quickly)