Dedicated to: Loyalanon, The Conference Elite and the Savior of Highsec James 315
Special thanks to: Princess Suicide
“Hey Jeff! Pass me another beer will ya? All this rock chewing is making me thirsty”, Carl said. Jeff looked over to his Captain Carl, “Sorry sir the reserves have run dry, we’ve been mining for ages and I can’t even remember our last break.” The two pilots had recently saved up enough money to purchase one of ORE’s newest exhumer class vessels, “The Hulk”. It was said that this new ship was to have a mining yield not thought possible for a single craft. So Jeff and Carl sprung at the chance to get their hands on one the moment it was put up in a nearby market. They had to pay top dollar but in their eyes it was worth every last ISK spent. These days, all of the trade routes to Jita 4-4 we’re filled to the brim with pirates and other low life scum, so travel was very difficult for the non-wealthy but now they were going to be rich; it was going to be nothing but champagne and exotic dancers from here on out.
“Orca Command is saying that they keep getting weird readings on D-Scan”, Jeff said, pulling his headset off one ear. Carl looked over to Jeff, “It’s probably just more salvaging ships looking for scraps. They’re all over the place out here. Command is always a little dodgy during these ops because the CEO always jumps down their throats when he catches them asleep at the helm. Anyways, it’s High-Sec in a 0.7 no less, what is there to worry about?” Jeff thought for a moment, “Yeah… you’re right. I’ll go check down below for some more brew. Be back in a few.”
With Jeff exiting the bridge, Carl looked back to his control panel. The screen which showed his Strip Miners’ productivity beeped, announcing another cycle had completed. He glanced over to the Cargo Hold menu and touched the “Ore Bay” section. The bay was almost full; he’d have to jettison it for Orca to pick up soon. His new Hulk was definitely king in yield but man it was bothersome to have to keep watching the ore bay. In their last mining ship, Carl and Jeff would just turn on the Strip Miners and search the web but it would all be worth it because this ship was going to put them on the map. Carl leaned back and glanced out the port side view pane. Space was magnificent, endless and just chock full of possibilities. He stared out past the many mining ships of the rest of his fleet. Gazing at the suns of distant systems he’d always dreamt of traveling to, Carl could appreciate the beauty that the stars emanated but he couldn’t help but feel regret for not being more aggressive in life. He’d just figured he was only cut out to mine. It was an easy living, a safe one and well at the moment it was what he was good at. Besides he still had corp loans to pay off. So what other choice did he have? He closed his eyes and imagined the highly sophisticated life of the Amarr Socialites and how soon he would join them at their fancy parties. Now, it was only a matter of time.
Loyalanon strode proudly towards his Alliance Issue Catalyst. He’d received urgent reports from the top brass that CODE scouts in a nearby system had acquired targets. Settling into his pod, the neural interface cables connected throughout his body. Once again capsuleer and ship were one. Preparing to undock, he checked the most recent maintenance reports on his blasters and scanned over his ammo gauges. After running his pre-flight checks he opened his fleet comms to his Code brethren, awaiting his orders. “Listen up! Our scouts have sent word… there are reports of a large fleet engaging in illegal mining operations out in The Forge. It’s a system known as Silen and they’re in a belt orbiting Planet 5. Just over 4 jumps from our current location, this trip should be a short one BUT REST ASSURED GENTLEMEN, any trip regardless of length is worthwhile, so long as we’re spreading the word of James. AS I SPEAK these heretics BLASPHEME the ways of The Conference Elite and WOULD SPIT on the holy New Halaima Code of Conduct AND AS SUCH, WE WILL, bring the light of our savior to these few that have been left in the darkness. THEY WILL assimilate themselves into the shepherd’s flock OR SUFFER THE FATE OF THE BETRAYER! They have not been honored by the presence of our enforcement, AS THEY FEEL, our reach is not sufficient. Well I can assure you all that time is the false ally of all those found mining outside of our embrace because NOTHING AND NO ONE IS MORE ETERNAL AND EVERLASTING THAN THE CODE AND IT’S AGENTS! BROTHERS, run your pre-flight ammo and system checks. We undock in 2 minutes.”
“Orca Command to Hulk 7, you need to jettison your ore. I have not seen a can from your ship in over an hour and I am noting this in the contribution log. IT WILL affect your payout if it happens again!” Carl shook his head trying to ward off the fatigue that came from mining too long. The voice bellowing through the communication speakers on his desk had woken him, he’d fallen asleep. “Mining is so god damn boring. Where the hell is Jeff with my beer? That guy can’t do anything by himself”, he thought. Pulling his Cargo Bay up on a nearby monitor, he gave the orders to jettison the ore that it housed. “This is Hulk 7, Veldspar away”, closing the comms line he fiddled with his Strip Miners and reset the cycle time. His shift in the belt was almost over. He almost felt robotic; he didn’t even have any god damned beer left. What was he supposed to do now? Carl rose from his seat at the helm and began walking out of bridge. He’d go find Jeff and when he did, he’d damn well better have something alcoholic in hand.
Sirens screamed, warnings flashed from the most recent directional scan’s readings and crew members scrambled in every direction aboard the Orca Command Ship. “OPEN AN ALL FLEET COMMS LINE! I WANT TO BE IN WARP WITHIN 30. ALIGN! ALIGN!” Barked the ship’s captain. “This is your CEO, we have hostiles inbound! REPEAT HOSTILES INBOUND, CLOSING AT 2 AU PER SECOND. ALIGN TO THE NEAREST STATION!” In response the fleet turned in unison, akin to some strange space ballet. “Sir, the fleet is prepared for warp. All but Hulk 7 are aligned out.” said a nearby crew member. The captain slammed his fist on the command desk. Livid and close to destroying the open communications button, he shouted, “GOD DAMMIT CARL, THIS IS NOT A FUCKING DRILL. MOVE THAT PIECE OF SHIT NOW!”
The forward scout had informed Loyalanon that their presence in system was known and that the fleet of mining heretics was scrambling to make warp. He’d been given the command to uncloak his Machariel and at all costs and ensure the command ship was unable to leave. He didn’t even think twice, his faith in the Code was unshakable and he knew what had been asked of him. He set a collision course with the fat greedy bitch, who was now, so plump full of ore. Thrusters exploded to life and giant plumes of exhaust flames erupted from them. At acceleratingly horrific speeds the Machariel was sent screaming towards it’s target. With one final permit scan, he confirmed in the Code Database that all of the ships that comprised this mining fleet were indeed unlicensed and so he pushed his ship to it’s limit. “OVERLOAD THE FRONT SHIELDS, ALL POWER TO THE FRONT SHIELDS! KILL THE ENGINES!”, he shouted. Having burnt out his micro warp drive, the ship fell silent as it’s engines disengaged and it careened towards it’s prey. The comm’s line crackled to life as his CEO advised the fleet that there was but 30 seconds remaining until they were on grid, “All guns should be set to overheat and all safeties set to red. Our primary target is the Orca, secondary on anything within range. Godspeed.” To that the comms erupted with the chants of the anxious code enforcers, “315! 315! 315!”
Carl and Jeff came back to a control room consumed by chaos. Confusion clutched both pilots as deafening warnings blared through every speaker. Every screen demanded their attention, all trying to force their eyes towards the imminent threat that was inbound. Frantically they began clearing the messages and looked to the fleet window. Their corp members had all aligned out of the belt and must have been for some time because they were 10km off their port. Time began to slow as the pair watched in horror as a large ship collided with Orca Command, subsequently sending the gigantic ships as well as a good portion of the fleet soaring in random directions. Immediately the ships unaffected by the ordeal grabbed warp and left grid. The bumped ships immediately scrambled to realign but all around tiny explosions began to herald the arrival of the catalyst fleet exiting warp and landing on grid. A hostile fleet of roughly 20 now shared the field.
The talons of helplessness clutched the souls of the pair and they could do nothing but watch as the first volleys rang out. Shields and armor plates were striped in an instant as the shots struck true, sending the targeted ships into structure. All communication lines suddenly came to life with the death throes of their corp mates. Grown men brought to childish whimpers died to projectiles as entire decks had transformed into utter madness as the air became congested with deadly shrapnel. The Command ship’s shields began to lose shimmer as they overloaded from the damage they’d been mitigating. No longer able to withstand the onslaught, massive holes were punched into the ship’s hull and the even less fortunate were met by space’s cold, airless bosom. No longer able to withstand the relentless assault, the engines went critical and the ship was consumed by a massive blast that sent scrap metal, corpses and defeat flying in all directions. All that remained of the once proud command ship, was the fireball birthed by it’s destruction.
“BRACE FOR IMPACT! GET THE FUCK AWAY FROM THAT BULKHEAD.” yelled Carl. With only moments to react, the two men grabbed ahold of nearby rails. The Hulk rocked violently as the first pieces of debris struck home. The ship’s shield warnings wailed as the impacts came wave after wave. Then it was over, the shields complained of severe damage but they had held.
Terrified and shell shocked the two risked a look out of the view ports. With no survivors, the asteroid belt had forcefully mutated into a graveyard for the industrial corporation. The wrecks of their fallen comrades were now metal coffins and tombstones signifying the final resting place of the thousands that had fallen.Having wrecked anything within range, the hostile fleet now turned to engage the overwhelming force that was the Concord Emergency Response Team. Carl and Jeff watched in awe as the Concord Commander spearheaded the assault, brawling it’s way through the fleet, terminating each ship one by one and both instantly found their new calling. With the fires of vengeance burning in their hearts, they swore revenge.
Sparks flared, fire erupted and raw metal was thrown in all directions. The Concord Police Force was bringing down Loyalanon’s ship all around him. Wrenching his emergency eject lever he had time for one last thought, “Should've bought a permit!”