Vulnerability Management 101

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

3 April YC 121

Gerhardt produced his datapad and connected it to the big screen on the wall which miraculously survived the carnage. It showed Victorieux’s fitting control centre. Ger walked over to the display and pointed at the rigs and low-energy slots.

“See this? The Phantom Lady is fitted for speed and agility. Although she is a cruiser-sized bird, the inertial stabilisers ensure that its align time is under three seconds. So it’s quite possible that we entered warp at the same moment, and I was never vulnerable to the Plunderers’ attack.”

“Okay, I got it. Still, it doesn’t explain how you got to the station ahead of me,” said I. Continue reading “Vulnerability Management 101”

Engineering Genius

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

3 April YC 121

Gerhardt grabbed the last remaining bottle from the bar, uncorked it and took a swig.

“Ah, that funky Gallente stuff, never liked it,” winced he and returned to his seat.

I took the bottle and tried the liquor. At first, it felt like a regular semi-dry wine but then a thousand tiny ice cubes scattered in my mouth prickling my tongue.

Noting my reaction, Gerhardt chuckled and said, “Good fun when you taste it first but it gets boring pretty soon. Seeing you have never tried it, you can keep the bottle for yourself.”

I thanked Ger and said, “So what about that shield boosting trick?” Continue reading “Engineering Genius”

Space Divers

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

3 April YC 121

“Space divers?” interrupted I.

“Yeah, it’s a kind of tourists who like to explore curious space objects in spacesuits,” explained Gerhardt. “That lot was interested in unusual asteroids.”

I remembered the coral-shaped asteroid near which I found Gerhardt’s yacht and said, “I guess, I’ve got an answer to one of my questions.”

“Yes, they provided specific locations they wanted to visit and Uitra was the second one on the list. The first place was a spiral asteroid in Unpas, and everything was normal there: they put on spacesuits with jetpacks, went to the rock, took selfies and returned to the ship. Then, they said they did not want to undress and go back to the lounge between the first two stops because it was just a quick jump between systems; they preferred to wait near the airlock.

“When we arrived to the coral-shaped ‘roid in this system, I told my passengers that they could go out. They asked me to wait because they needed to fix some equipment. I didn’t care because they paid for the whole day – it was up to them how to spend their time. About half an hour later I called them again and asked if everything was okay. They said that all was fine but one of the spacesuits malfunctioned. I suggested to take one of the suits I kept for guests but they wanted to try and fix their own. The repairs were going on for an hour or so and all the while they were in a corridor where I didn’t have security cameras. I decided to establish a video link and sent a camera drone to the airlock. When I got the picture I didn’t immediately realise what was going on: all three passengers were wearing their spacesuits and one of them had a laptop connected to the ship’s network port. When they saw the drone one of them stood between the camera and the guy with the laptop trying to obstruct the view. ‘What the hell are you doing there?’ asked I and at that moment the main engine switched off and the capacitor got completely drained. Do you understand what it means?” Continue reading “Space Divers”

The Phantom Lady

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

3 April YC 121

My heart skipped a beat but then adrenaline kicked in and I yelled, “Ger! Ger, can you hear me?”

There was no reply.

As Ampuhaukka decelerated and came out of the warp, I desperately cried, “Ger, hold on! I am coming back!”

Suddenly I heard Gerhardt’s voice, “Whoa there cowboy. Just keep calm and dock after me.”

“What?” I looked at my external camera just in time to see Victorieux disappear in the station entrance tunnel. My jaw dropped, “But how?..” Continue reading “The Phantom Lady”

A Friend in Need

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

3 April YC 121

On Wednesday the day didn’t start too well – I got an urgent summons to come to Ijumachi’s office while I was halfway through my breakfast. Regretfully putting the dessert aside, I dressed and hurried to the agent’s place.

“I have an urgent mission for you, Mr Korff,” said Ijumachi, “but before I proceed I’d like to commend you on the way you completed your previous assignment. We haven’t seen that gang ever since you tackled their leader.”

“My pleasure, Mr Vuonolailen,” replied I. “You should have seen the face of the pirate when I told him that it was a training warp disruptor that I ‘tackled’ him with.”

Ijumachi laughed, “Yes, that was a masterstroke. I guess he couldn’t stand the humiliation of having been duped so easily. You can almost say that we tackled him with a power of thought and some light effects. But mind you, don’t try that trick outside the training missions; always fit the real Tech I stuff.”

“Talking about missions, what have you got for me today? I hope it’s gonna be a proper combat assignment this time; my rails are getting rusty,” I winked, “if you know what I mean.”

“Sorry, I have to disappoint you – this mission is not offensive. If it’s any solace,” smiled Ijumachi, “I can arrange a free oil change for your guns at the Academy workshop when you are back.”

I snorted, “Tempting. So what do you want me to do?” Continue reading “A Friend in Need”

Your Undivided Attention

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

25 March YC 121

“How are you?” were the first words Ijumachi said when I came to his office for a debrief, and I saw that he meant it as a question, not as a greeting.

I winced and grumbled, “Getting there.”

“I see,” nodded Ijumachi and patted me on the shoulder. “Losing a ship is the second worst thing that can happen to a capsuleer after losing his clone, but anyone who wants to pursue a military career must be mentally prepared to such loss. That is why the hellburner exercise is a mandatory part of advanced combat training. You’ve done well, Vladimir.”

“Thank you, Mr Vuonolailen. Is there anything urgent you need to discuss with me in regards to this mission? If not, may I ask you to postpone the debrief until tomorrow? I am a bit indisposed today.”

“Of course,” said Ijumachi. “Your video record should be sufficient for the mission report. In fact, I wanted to suggest that you take a few days of R&R before the next mission.”

I gratefully accepted that offer and returned to my apartment. Opening the door I looked around and realised that I couldn’t stand the thought of sitting there alone, not today. I went to a bar located on a busy street and spent the rest of the day drinking, betting on Splinterz, watching people going about their business – pretty much doing anything that could distract me from the thoughts about the last mission. I knew those thoughts would catch up with me later but I hoped I would be in a less fragile state of mind when it happens. Continue reading “Your Undivided Attention”

Angel of Mercy

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

25 March YC 121

“Mr Vuonolailen, what was the point of the yesterday’s mission? Shooting Arrogators is not what I expected from an advanced military course,” I asked a bit testily. “Surely, Mr Tarumo’s letter gave you a good idea of my track record which contained much tougher encounters.”

“That was just a quick test, Mr Korff. I prefer to verify my students’ credentials before sending them into the fray,” explained Ijumachi.

“Okay, I understand, Mr Vuonolailen, but I hope that the future missions will live up to the expectations set by the course name.”

Ijumachi smiled and said, “So you want me to set a high bar for you? Okay, how about piloting a hellburner?” Continue reading “Angel of Mercy”

The Swap

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

24 March YC 121

Three days after the encounter with Tahamar I was sitting in Tarumo’s office and discussing the implications of my discovery.

“We long suspected he was a capsuleer,” said Tarumo, “given the ease with which he escaped our traps and evaded surveillance.”

“So we can expect him to return soon?” asked I despondently.

“Not necessarily. Firstly, it depends on whether his capsule was equipped with the brain scanner.”

“Was it?” I asked eagerly. Continue reading “The Swap”

The Final(?) Battle with Tahamar

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

21 March YC 121

Two days after the drug bust I received a call from Tarumo who had a new mission for me. Another warehouse, thought I, and unhurriedly dressed up and walked to the agent’s office.

“Good morning, Mr Korff,” greeted me Tarumo.

“I hope it is, Mr Tarumo,” replied I settling in a comfy chair.

“Before the last mission I asked you to destroy all pirate ships that you would encounter. I am very pleased that you fulfilled my request. Apparently, Guristas had limited number of combat ships in Uitra and when you destroyed their outer defences they requested reinforcements from another system. All that time we were closely monitoring the pirate activity in the neighbouring systems and we managed to get leads to Tahamar’s whereabouts.” Continue reading “The Final(?) Battle with Tahamar”

Shortcut to Happiness

The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

19 March YC 121

At last, the wait was over – I got a call from Tarumo requesting my presence in his office.

“Where is that bastard?” was my first question when I stormed into his room.

“Good morning, Mr Korff,” was immaculately polite Tarumo’s reply.

“Yes, of course. Good morning, Mr Tarumo,” said I catching my breath. “So where is he?”

“We don’t know.”

I was flabbergasted, “You don’t? But…”

“Mr Korff,” interrupted me Tarumo, “I suggest that you take a seat and listen to the mission brief.” Continue reading “Shortcut to Happiness”