Saturday, February 28, 2009

Dark Omen Chapter 5

Awakening from a daze, I pulled my scattered thoughts together, feeling somehow refreshed. The sensation of weightlessness as well as the embrace of the pod's hydrostatic fluid felt good. Using the external camera drones on ‘Darkness’ I viewed the stars around me, their alien beauty glittering back at me.

How long had I been out of it? The blackouts had been growing more frequent and the techs had been tweaking my implants to try to find the source of the errors. I checked the S.I.G.N. Sansha Interstellar Guidance Network and discovered that I was a very long way from home. Where was I? The system name registered as Evati (formerly ES9-4D6), low security in the Minmatar regions. Why the hell was I there? Pulling up the map, I laid in a course for LGK-VP in Stain.

A feeling of unease settled over me. I should go back. Why should I not want to go back? Why was I so far from home? My head ached dully, reminding me that I needed to report the blackout to the techs as soon as I returned. How long had it been since the last time? I checked my chronometer.

A chill ran through me. It had been a year. How had I lost a year? My head hurt. Focusing on piloting seemed to push the ache back. I was sitting in an empty space between planets, far from localized gravity signatures. Selecting the exit gate, I coaxed 'Darkness' into warp.

Bursting out into sub-warp speeds on the gate into Todifrauan, my ship came to a halt in time to watch an outlaw Rifter class frigate burst into shrapnel under the concentrated fire of a Jaguar Assault Frigate.

The I.G.N. pinged the craft with the ID of 'Pounce'. Not being Sansha its status was set to hostile in addition to being marked with the glaring red of Concord outlaw status. It nuzzled up to the flaming wreck of its kill to loot and salvage, apparently unaware of my presence. The urge to take advantage of this was overwhelming. I Targeted and proceeded to throw all my offensive systems on it, Lasers searing out into the sky while my Nosferatus, Webifiers and Warp scrambler all locked onto the craft leaving the usually nimble Assault ship dead in the water. But something about this felt wrong.

A memory surfaced, of doing exactly this to... what? Another Sansha ship? My temples throbbed sourly. An op, a hijacked transport, orders I had refused to follow and turning on my Commander, pursuit...

I knew this Jaguar. The feeling of wrongness in my gut continued to gnaw at me as my headache intensified. The Jaguar while boosting its shields hadn’t even targeted me, not fired a single round. Suddenly a frantic beeping serenaded me and a split second later the ship was rocked violently sideways from multiple Hybrid rounds smashing into the shields on my right flank from the Taranis which had just appeared right on top of us. Cursing under my breath I started throwing the Succubus in a series of wild twists and turns hoping to evade the deadly new threat.

The Interceptor quickly had me Webbed and Scrambled, and now the Jaguar joined the assault, pounding fire on my shields. My ship slowed dramatically under twin sets of combat tackle. I swapped my targets and wondered why the Taranis hadn't released its drones when a hauntingly familiar female voice came out at me through local clear comms. "Jorge, what are you doing? Talk to me."

That voice sent a jolt through me, clearing my mind a little, the uneasiness deepening. That voice pulled me back from the brink and brought memories flooding back. “Shae…” I managed to croak before agony erupted from my left temple. Half-blinded with pain, I fought with the ship's controls, turning off the guns only to have then reactivated. I tried again and again but nothing I could do seemed to be able to stop the ship from firing.

Round upon round battered my shields and despite the booster valiantly trying to keep up with the damage Shae and Mynxee started to hit armor, tearing great gashes in the mottled surface. “Jorge, stop firing. Don't make us do this.” Shae’s voice brimmed with emotion, but there was that core of steel that told me she wouldn't hesitate.

Fighting through the pain clouding my thoughts, I grimly kept my silence as I watched my armor integrity quickly drop to 0 and their rounds struck the Succubus’s superstructure. As it dipped to 24% I cracked a small smile despite the throbbing in my temples... and entered the ejection codes, throwing my pod into space thick with hybrid rounds, projectile rounds and laser fire. With a blinding flash ‘Darkness’ imploded, its integrity no longer able to hold up without the skill of the pilot.

As the link between the implants and the ship was severed pain blossomed within my head, bright spots fogging the edges of my vision. A Warp-Scrambler pulse whipped out and snagged my pod as Shae’s Taranis came in close and I heard her voice over the open comms again. “Jorge are you…there? Are you alright?" concern and doubt evident in her voice.

The bright spots turned black and blotted out the world. I could only utter, “Help me…” before I passed out, leaving my mind full of bitterness, confusion and regret.

4 comments:

Mynxee said...

Such a compelling story. I demand more!

cain jacobi said...

very gripping story. i agree with mynxee, i want to see more of this story.

Sard Caid said...

Crack the egg! Spill the yolk! Devour the contents and rejoice!

Great stuff, look forward to flying with you around MH.

InterDict said...

Awesome work, love the subparts from Shae too, totally hooked to hear more, bring them on!