As Keacte dropped out of warp with his wingman JPD, he could finally see the extent of the friendly fleet – 25 Hurricanes huddled within the protective sphere of the POS – joining them was a trio of fleet interceptors buzzing around them and a further trio of logistic pilots – including hero-logi Oli Geist .
Glepp energetically came over clearly on comms – “Loon, deploy probes, scan those fuckers down – I want a drop on them – I want that fight in PVH with our bonuses! … Fleet – slow align to 6-Charlie – repeat – fleet… slow align to 6CZ gate – primaries will be the hostile logi pilots – I need their logi off the field as soon as we arrive – Have we got a dictor? … wheres my dictor pilot?!”.
“Recon, Loon in PVH of 6CZ, probes deployed, awaiting scan results, over”.
There was a deathly silence. “Where’s my dictor pilot?”
The comm crackled slightly and a very low voice came through – “Dictor in warp to the POS” – it was Magnus.
As he looked through the now slightly misted ‘cane into the blackness of space, he got lost in its beauty momentarily. He imagined what it was like all those years back when he looked skyward to space and dreamt of being a capsuleer. He was distracted from his childhood memories as he saw a short flash of light appear just ahead of him gradually slowing and leaving a perfect arc of trails behind him – it was Magnus arriving at the POS.
“Loon – wheres that drop?” hesitated Glepp.
“Scanning, pending result… 3 seconds… 2, 1 – 100% hit on fleet, in warp to result, over” replied Loon
Glepp calmly appeared over the comm – “Right ladies … I need my dictor bubble up on that fleet – Loon call the drop when you have it – I want my inties and dictor in warp to Loon on command – I need the remainder of the fleet to hold momentarily – do they still have a bubble up on gate?”.
“Loon in position at hostile fleet – it’s a good drop, warp to Loon at 10, Warp to Loon at 10 on FCs order – Carenthor Loon at 10 please guys, no decloaks please! – affirm – hostile bubble is still up – approx. 20 seconds left on it, over.. it’s now or never..”
“Full fleet power align 6-Charlie – Dictor and inties, warp to Loon at 10 – dictor bubble up on landing – Carenthor Loon at 10… NOW!”
Keacte grasped the throttle control in preparation for warp, rocking it forward fully; he felt the control tower grab slightly as the MWD kicked in – the turbulence surrounding them increased as the 25 ‘canes displaced the air, causing his ship to judder. The engine was loud, firing up as the ‘cane hit full speed. He looked out both left and right, and waited for the orders. Keacte could see the dictor and inties align out and then a sharp flash of light as they entered warp leaving just their ship trails behind – they were in warp to their target. Eyes down.
Glepps voice returned on comms shortly after the last ship trail evaporated into nothing – “Fleet warp to Loon at 10 on my mark, 3, 2, 1 – go, go, go! – warp to Loon at 10! Carenthor Loon at 10”
Keacte downed the throttle engaging warp drive, a few seconds elapsed before the familiar tone came through – “Warp drive active” – BAM! – As he entered warp Keactes weight doubled – his body and arms felt heavy but he knew it would only last a couple more seconds as he travelled the 40AU to the target.
“Bubble Up!” Magnus screamed on comm – “Bubble Up! Hostile fleet is engaging!” there was a slight pause….
“Scram on Logi, broadcast up – ill need reps!” – even under fire he sounded cool and calm.
“Scram on Logi – broadcast up – I’m taking damage – will need reps when ASAP!” – that was Yamir – he sounded moderately flustered.
Another voice came over on comms – “Scram on logi, broadcast up!” – Alu had caught the tertiary logistic pilot just as the Agony fleet dropped out of warp.
As Keactes field of vision improved, the view out of the cockpit was impressive – Keacte could see the carnage that had already ensued, the blackness of space flashed as the hostile 425mm’s Autocannons were piercing the shields of our fearless inties and dictor pilot. The sound was phenomenal. Keacte could see a plume of smoke coming from what looked to be Yamirs Malediction and thought to himself – “….good job buddy!”
Keacte quickly flipped down his target array, locked up the primary, deployed his drones. At that very moment, the friendly logi reps of Oli landed on our tackle fleet and we commenced engaging the hostile battlecruisers at perfect range. The hostiles must have fleet warped to the same location and were all bunched up within the bubble with a few bleeding to the edge.
As Keacte locked the primary, it disappeared from his targeting array – he hit the side of the console thinking that it was a glitch – it wasn’t – the combined damage of our fleet had alpha’d the primary. He switched to the secondary, and as quickly as he locked it, it disappeared from his target array in a cloud of dust – HSSR Rocks!
The hostile fleets reps weren’t holding – this was there Achilles heel – this fight was going to be over in minutes.
Glepp continued calling targets, and ships were going down almost as fast as they were being called. “Weapons free” called Glepp – this was perfect. Magnus was rolling bubbles at opportune moments catching pods, and the fleet inties were doing a great job of holding anyone who looked like they would get away.
Keacte was just bleeding into armor now, but was consistently calling for reps. Agony hadn’t lost a single ship and slowly the hostile fleet was dwindling in numbers – our combined damage effectively increased. It’s a twist of fate really.
As the last few ships left on the field were destroyed, a calm drifted over the fleet – albeit possibly induced by the Boosters as they wore off.
Some static appeared over comms and Glepps’ voice came through softly “Woo! Great job guys, pop the pods, scoop drones, loot the field, salvagers out please – Great Job guys, Great Job!”.
A few minutes had elapsed and there was much movement between the wrecks as the battlefield was cleared, with the tell-tale sound of salvaging lingering and pulsing around them. Alistones voice appeared “field is clear of loot and wrecks salvaged”.
Glepp called on comms, “Fleet return to Base, threat neutralised! Well done!”
Keacte flipped his targeting array up, loosened his collar and reached into the top pocket of his combat fatigues. He removed a small rusty tin of tobacco. It had an italic engraving on; “Carpe diem quam minimum credula postero” or “Seize the day, put no trust in tomorrow”.
He flicked the tin open and raised it upwards, to smell its contents. It was a fine planetside tobacco. It wasn’t that “GM’harvest” muck that was on sale in PVH. He slowly rolled himself a cigarette, making sure each strand of tobacco was spread through the paper as equally as he could within the dimly lit cockpit. He wasn’t a smoker, but always needed something to take the edge off after combat. His hands were still shaking as the side effects of the booster wore off – perhaps it was the adrenaline; he wasn’t quite sure. He popped the cigarette in his mouth and lit it and took a deep draw and exhaled. It felt good. He looked down at the cigarette as the grey ash appeared and flicked it to the flight deck floor.
After thirty seconds or so, he grabbed the ship control and reached over to the right and toggled the manual pilot override switch, whilst simultaneously turning the ship control hard to the left. He pulled the throttle back with his right hand – the ‘cane responded by slowing dramatically, and he pulled a sharp turn as he aligned back to the PVH station. As the ship levelled out, he downed the throttle engaging warp drive, and warped to station after a successful PVH defence CTA.