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Ratmama’s squeak still makes me jump like a junior rat, RATSIGNAL: CMDR atomicweeasel – System Col 1456 Sector JY-D A 14-1 – O2 OK case #6
Patting the side of the Commander's chair and to no one in particular “Righto girl, let”s go to work”
“Navcomp input Col 1456 Sector JY-D A 14-1 plot course” The computer beeped its result, glancing down to the navcomp to see 4 Jumps on the screen. Nope, no way “Navcomp clear route, replot” This time I watched the navcomp do the plots. “Beep” Well. I’ll be jiggered.
“Go 6 Flynzilla”
“Tracks rolling 6”, well ole girl, 4 jumps eh! Let’s see what you’ve got under the hood. Rotating towards the jump point, lining up the crosshairs on the HUD, lift the lock on the throttle and pushing it into the red. The analogy that I mentioned earlier of my ship being a cat was totally appropriate. The raw acceleration pushed me back deep into my seat catching the compensators a microsecond off guard, giving the illusion of a cheetah sprinting towards its prey, the grin still there, eyes slightly wider
The time work routine of drop from witchspace, rotate to miss the exclusion zone around stars. The computer chimed out “fuelscooping”, “fuel scoop disengaging” a quick check on the chrono 2 seconds…2 SECONDS. A quick glance to the fuel gauge proved that it had filled the tank. I was in love, after all this time, this was my ship.
I managed to find an “alteration” on the holo-display that allows me to have the computer listen to the radio chatter and convert it into a scrolling litany of text. With a practiced eye I can see the chatter between Dispatch and the client. Always patient and alway reassuring the client, calmly talking and guiding the commands for the next steps. A quick beep on the comms panel showed the friend request followed closely by the wing request.
“Dispatch system confirmed, friend confirmed, currently in wing, however beacon is a no-show”
“Dispatch, beacon activated, 24kls out eta 3 1/2, minutes” Computer engage navlock.
There in front of me was an Imperial Clipper, wistfully remembering Black Bess and the fun I had in hazres’s, smuggling and generally messing about. The Clipper is Gutamaya’s mid-range ship. Sleek lines, curves, gleaming white, good in a fight utterly beautiful…and without fuel. Yep, I’ve been there.
Thumb the limpet controller, watch 2 limpets fire off
Computer open hailing frequency, the double click in my headset confirmed that we were connected
Fuel transfer complete
“Dispatch, Flynzilla client has fuel”
Thumb the controller again, my scanner has automatically registered what modules he has fitted, glancing down to see his makeup, and start my briefing.
My blood ran cold, next to the client, a Viper Mk4 has transitioned into realspace, in a panic the client fires off some shots, The Viper jinks around as if on strings, I am sitting there like a fat duck, getting shot at by the client and (as later i was informed) the Cat.
My finger clicks the pressel “CAT CAT CAT, jumping” Fortunately my last entry point was already selected. Lifting the gate, pushing the throttle fully home, and wait. Over the hailing frequency I hear “Woohoo I got him”, in my head please get me out of here now!
Time dilation is a well-established fact. This is triggered by the body being flooded by endorphins and adrenaline. Fight or flight, your body’s natural instinct for survival
My shields have been reduced to 17% and my internal components have taken a battering, but she held together. My heart slowed its staccato beat, and in a shakey voice“Navcomp, plot Fuelum” Time for repairs.
“Flynzilla this is Essext, move to secure channel for debrief”
My debrief to Essext was short and to the point, all the salient facts were covered. It transpires that when the pirate jumped into the same realspace as ourselves, the client and the pirate were firing, everywhere. When the client dissuaded the pirate, I was 2 jumps away, and another rat in an Anaconda was assigned to the case
He took me off the roster for the remainder of the cycle and advised me that i should file the paperwork However my jumps back to a station were fraught with worry. The cracks in the canopy were getting longer, she was groaning and complaining every light year. During transitioning she would make the most horrendous creaks and pops. With the last transition into realspace the welcoming sight of the Corolis station was enough to lift my spirits.
Foxtrot Lima Yankie this is Wollheim orbital, maintain current course, don’t forget to submit docking request before entering.
My fingers borne out of countless hours of submitting docking requests hit the send key and waited for the ATC to process this. Seconds later the “access granted” answer was superimposed on my cockpit The audible sigh, escaped my lips and with a gentle tug on the throttle, zero’d it and let the docking subroutine take over. Now that the adrenalin has left my body, my hands feel like lead weights, and the gentle throb of a headache has appeared just behind my eyes.
The recessed seats in the bar are a welcome pool of darkness. I am aware of the other patrons, however I am lost in my own private thoughts, even the waitress is concerned with my mood. My emotions playing havoc with my thoughts. Why would a pilot want to attack another pilot that has no weapons but it trying to help others? Of course I’ve heard other spacers tell tales of factions that take great delight in killing other pilots.
But this was different, and to be honest cant even remember why or when i picked up the data slate and started asking questions to the Fuel Rats that were on the air. . What alteration to the mindset can we implement. How can we bring about the collective gestalt to change this. Most of it descended into a mini-rant, some rats agreed that when you transition, to either go below the client and fire limpets upward, or even get behind then fire limpets. Even preselecting systems before transitioning. The rant went well into the night with far too much of the local brew fogging my brain.
The harsh fluorescent lights automatically clicked on at 0730 local and proceeded to pile-drive the photons into my skull. My eyes protested a the constant pressure of the lights. It was around this time my tongue explored the recesses of my mouth, and confirmed that all my teeth were there, with the remains of some unknown food wedged deeply between proved that somebody checked me into a room and somehow got me to eat. The remains of a Hagra-buiscuit meal still in the styrofoam carton looking like a A quick thank you to my guardian angel (Gentley_6401 and also my father)
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