The Forge Region – Ruomo Constellation
Itamo System – The mission location
Having boarded my faithful Yatagarasu I undocked and warped to the mission location to see what kind of menace was sleeping there. Again there was an alien structure but this time I didn’t waste time on sightseeing. My overview showed three hostile ships and only one was my old acquaintance, Circadian Seeker. Two others were named Seeker Escort and Seeker Retainer. Just like the Circadian they weren’t predisposed to diplomacy. All three targeted me and started buffeting my shields with rockets. “Okay”, thought I, “if you only understand the language of war, you will find that I speak it better than you,” and targeted the first Seeker.
A few minutes later all three drones were destroyed. I was about to take a good look at the Seeker enclave, but I felt that something was wrong. Then I realised what it was – silence.
“Aura,” said I, “are you always supposed to inform me that a mission is accomplished?”
“Yes,” replied Aura, “unless you ask me not to.”
“Have I asked you not to do that?”
“Then why don’t you tell me it is over?”
“Because I haven’t received a confirmation from the agency.”
“You mean that… Oh, shit!” exclaimed I. There were three more red symbols on my overview.
Apparently, those were the sleeping ones who were awoken by the little kerfuffle I organised five minutes ago. They were as friendly as the first group and there was only one way to deal with them – with the Gatling Railgun! Soon, three more wrecks decorated the cruel skies. But there was still no signal from Aura. I kept looking at the overview.
They didn’t make me wait too long – two more hostiles appeared on my radar. One of them was already a familiar Seeker Retainer, but another drone was new; it was classified as Seeker Guardian. This pair gave me quite a bit of trouble as I couldn’t get close enough to them – they were faster than I and could fire at me from beyond my shooting range. They just kept their distance eluding my railgun.
I cursed three times. Firstly, at the Seekers; secondly, at Yatagarasu; and finally, and most deservingly, at myself. Just as during my first encounter I forgot I had a gun, this time I forgot I had an afterburner. Activating the middle slot where it was located, I felt a gentle push of acceleration against my body. In a couple of seconds my speed increased by 50 per cent and the distance between the Guardian and Yatagarasu quickly reduced to the target orbiting radius of 5000 metres. The Guardian was tougher than his comrades but it was no match to the swift corvette. Yatagarasu buzzed angrily around the drone until the Seeker was reduced to the inert pile of space junk. The Retainer followed its fate a minute later.
Then I heard the best words in the world.
“Captain,” tweeted Aura, “the mission is accomplished. You can return to the station.”
“One moment, darling,” said I, “I’ll just take a picture of this enclave. It’s truly amazing.”
On my way to the station I checked my transaction log. There were two inbound transfers: operation bonus of 50,000 ISK from Annukka, and 80,000 ISK of bounty prizes from CONCORD. A feeling of accomplishment supported by the immediate material reward filled my soul with joy. I let Aura take control of the docking routine so that nothing could distract me from the warm embrace of daydreaming: I was thinking that a frigate was almost within my reach, and also that Annukka had finally earned her drink.