"On the whole, we're a murderous race. According to Genesis, it took all of four people breathing the same air to make the earth too crowded to stand."
I sat comfortably in my open capsule, lodged in the Hound I was flying. It had been a very long day for me: long, tense, and entirely too adrenaline filled how for completely uneventful the day had been. I reclined in my command chair reading the latest Harry Dresden novel. If not for the books I owned, the day would have been a total waste to that point.
When I had woken up from my slumber, I had kept the ship's stealth systems active, and everything else but the most basic of life support systems and internal lighting inactive. I'd groggily taken care of the basic necessities, such as using the facilities, cleaning up, and getting dressed. Once all of that was taken care of, I activated the ship from "Logged out" to "Logged in". Immediately, as was always the annoying case, there was a glitch in the software subroutines that forced every Covert Ops Cloaking Device to deactivate when the "Log" mode changed, and as always I immediately reactivated it, showing my ship to the rest of space for less than a second.
That was more than enough time for some paranoid raider on D-scan to pick me up. Thankfully, it hadn't happened yet, and I felt my chances were nearly a hundred percent that I hadn't been detected for several reasons.
On top of being cloaked, I always made sure to change "Log" modes where no one else was about. Unlike most of my corporation, I was enjoying the secluded and stealthy life. I had several "safe spots" sprinkled throughout this W-Space system we occupied, and logged at the ones where absolutely nothing came up on D-scan. Not ships, planets, moon, celestials...anything. In combination with the cloaking field I employed for my ship, it was an almost absolute surety that I'd never be detected by raiders whenever I changed logging modes.
The unfortunate side effect of this, in W-Space no less, that fewer raids happened in W-Space than I had been lead to believe. Those were the benefits, but there were also the downsides.
Just as I was getting into the novel, some noise came in over the comm line. I kept it active in case of situations like this. "True, I'm on my way back to the hole."
I snapped back to attention as I lazily orbited the Hi-Sec exit from that system, cloaked of course, at 25km. I didn't particularly like or dislike guard duty, but it allowed me to do several other things while helping my corp and giving me the opportunity for combat. "Roger that Ranger, how many jumps out are you?"
"Three," replied Ranger. As usual, transmissions from Hi-Sec to W-space came in garbled and distorted, but usually intelligible thanks to some handy filters on the audio bands.
I settled back into my command chair, no need to get all fidgety just yet. Picking my book back up with a huff of annoyance that never made it out over the audio, I continued reading. My sensors kept attuned to the exit wormhole, configured to transmit visual and audio signals as a virtualizations of wormhole distortion via transit.
Naturally, just as I settled in, I heard the telltale signs of Wormhole activity. "Ranger, did you just enter the system?"
"Roger." I paused, watching the spatial distortion intently. After a few seconds, a Purifier appeared briefly, re-cloaking almost immediately, and undoubtedly warping away immediately as well. An evil smile crept onto my face.
"Purifier. Stealth Bomber. Cloaked immediately and warped out. Probably thinks he got in unnoticed," I transmitted.
"Gotcha, coming up to the hole." There was a pause as Ranger undoubtedly warped towards the system entrance. "Uhh, there's a manticore here...annnd he warped away."
"Roger that...come on in, no one is going to attack a Megathron sitting on the hole anyways, and they're not likely to come in on seeing it either."
"Will you be watching the hole?"
"Yeah, I will," I replied. "You going to close this hole?"
***********************************After an hour of watching Ranger jump back and through the hole with his Megathron, eventually the sheer transited mass collapsed the hole. Luckily, Ranger ended up on the W-space side.
"Guys, I have a proposition," I transmitted over my corp comms. "We have a Sleeper stronghold I picked up earlier today. Damn robots show up at the weirdest times, but regardless, we have it."
"That Purifier from earlier is still in here with us I think. I want you guys to run that Perimeter Hangar and I'll stay there with you, but cloaked. I want to set up an ambush."
General agreement followed over the comms. After ten minutes, the fleet leader, 'Ghost', called out to me over the comms. "Ok True, we're here, warp to us."
"Roger, warping at 30." I settled back as I sent the warp command via my implants to the ship AI. There was a brief gravitational shift as the ship aligned, accelerated, and began compressing the space in front of it to travel faster than light. A few short seconds later, I emerged back into normal space-flight mode, hovering 30km above my colleagues. I carefully maneuvered my Hound to where I thought my compatriots would eventually arrive while dealing with the newly awakened Sleepers, and then set myself to be above them by 10 kilometers so that their proximity wouldn't interfere with the cloak, a field roughly spherical and 2500 meters in diameter.
I watched rather intently for any signs of enemy activity while they completed the site. Eventually, they did.
"Leaving for salvager," called Ranger. Inside of a minute, he returned with the salvage Catalyst we had set up for corp use, and quickly salvaged anything and everything possible from the shattered Sleeper hulls.
With only a few wrecks left to go, the suspected ambushers revealed themselves. A Manticore and a Purifier decloaked, lobbing bombs towards the salvage catalyst.
As the bombs sped towards their target, Ranger had already begun warping out, leaving the area of effect as the bombs exploded.
Unfortunately, Ghost was hit with the full force of two EM bombs, one from a Purifier and one from a Manticore. The Purifier and Manticore turned to warp out as Ghost starting warping away. Before either Stealth Bomber had managed to warp out, however, a third Stealth Bomber uncloaked, also an enemy, who targeted Moph and began launching torpedoes at the last remaining Drake on the field.
I brought my ship around towards the new Hound, de-cloaked, and warp disrupted him in an instant. I maneuvered closer, making sure remote sensor dampeners wouldn't disrupt my lock, and launched two sets of Bane torpedoes at our catch. Moph, when he finally managed to lock onto the Hound, began hitting him with seven sets of Heavy Missiles.
The target was down within twenty seconds. I was too close to be sensor-damped, no matter how much the enemy tried to squirm away. When the ship blew up, I immediately targeted and warp disrupted the enemy pilot's pod. "Moph, we need to hurry and kill him, my cap is almost gone," I called out. I jammed the launch buttons as often as possible, trying to get the torpedoes to fire faster as I saw my capacitor reservoir dwindle to nothing.
Eventually the cap ran out, and the warp disruptor deactivated. The enemy escaped immediately, pod damaged, but intact.
"Ranger, come on back. We blew up his ship. We didn't manage to get his pod, but I don't think they're coming back," I transmitted.
With that, I moved away from the wreckage and re-cloaked, secretly hoping that the enemy would come back so that I could blow up all their remaining ships.
They did not return however.
Computer: terminate recording.