The Forge Region – Otsabaira Constellation
16 March YC 122
It’s a story of my life – when I roam through hi-sec looking for relic and data sites I normally get only wormholes; now that I was actually looking for a wormhole all I got was every type of cosmic signature except a wormhole. It took me several jumps until I found what I wanted in Onuse system – three wormhole signatures! There was also a Crumbling Guristas Stone Formation, but I couldn’t care less for those puny remnants of hi-sec pirate bases – Anoikis was waiting for me.
Having scanned down all wormhole signatures, I gathered the probes and warped to the first one. There I was greeted by a sight of a reddish pulsating rift surrounded by a white corona. Neocom said that it was leading to unknown parts of space.
“What does that mean?” whispered I. “I thought that all Anoikis systems were known.”
“It’s an old designation, remaining from the times when wormholes just appeared in New Eden,” Aura whispered back, then looked at me and asked in a normal voice, “Hey, why are we whispering?”
“I don’t know. Just trying to be as inconspicuous as possible before jumping through that hole. Yeah, I know it’s stupid.”
“It is,” wholeheartedly agreed Aura. “What isn’t stupid is using your new shiny CovOps cloaking device to achieve the same result.”
“Oh, shit!” exclaimed I looking at the HUD. “I need to get into a habit of keeping cloak on at all times during travelling. Do remind me, darling.”
“My pleasure,” said Aura, “unless you want Allison to do that.”
“Someone said my name?” suddenly asked Allison.
Surprised, Aura and I looked at each other – we were unused to being listened to by third parties. I then pointed a finger at Aura and answered, “It’s her!”
Aura made an innocent grimace and performed a hand gesture which could be interpreted either as “so what?”, or as “why did you dob me in?”
I gestured back meaning to say “No one forced you to say Allison’s name, I just told the truth and in any case what are you afraid of?”
After watching this demonstration of my sleight of hand Aura looked thoroughly confused and slightly offended. For a while we sat in silence, audial and visual.
Eventually I got bored and said, “Allison?”
“Allison, can you hear me?”
I shrugged, “Maybe one must pronounce a certain sequence of words to activate her.”
“Obviously, her name is one of those words. Is that right, Allison?” smirked Aura.
“Quite,” came a reply.
Aura’s eyes became perfectly round and she covered her mouth with a hand. There was another pause.
“Er… Aura, let’s not pronounce Alli.. I mean, her name until I read a manual,” suggested I. “Is that okay with you?”
Aura nodded energetically – that kind of body language was hard to misinterpret.
“Alright, then. Should we jump through this hole or check the other two?” asked I.
Aura shot a suspicious look at Allison’s CreoDronShell window and said, “Take this one – it’s the best you can find. I’ve just checked GalNet and found that ‘unknown parts of space’ means C1, C2 or C3 type of wormhole system.”
“Pardon my ignorance but why are these C1, C2 and C3 systems the best?”
“That’s because they have unguarded relic and data sites,” explained Aura.
“Are there guarded relic and data sites?”
“In Anoikis? Most of them are.”
“Oh. Right. That’s good to know, I guess. Thank you,” mumbled I. “So… Shall we jump?”
Aura shook her head in frustration, “Just do it!”
I took a deep breath and willed Nosuri into the wormhole.
Anoikis – Region B-R00005
Constellation B-C00037 – System J150859
As we emerged on the other side I was almost blinded by the light of a brilliant blue star in the centre of the system, the first Anoikis system I ever visited.
“Look, Aura, it’s so beautiful!”
Aura did not share my sentiments.
“Don’t hang around the wormhole entrance!” shouted she, “You have just 25 seconds of your gate cloak time remaining.”
“But why twenty five?” objected I. “The gate cloak lasts one minute and we have just arrived.”
“It’s not k-space, it’s Anoikis, stupid. The invisibility after a wormhole jump lasts only 30 seconds. So move your ass!”
I panicked, “But where should I warp? To the sun?”
“Anywhere, just don’t stay here. Oh, wait. Bookmark this end of the wormhole if you don’t want to waste your time on scanning it.”
I fumbled with the mental commands and requested the ship to warp to the wormhole which it refused to do as we were less than 150 kilometres away from it. I then corrected myself and created a bookmark in my personal folder.
“Right. Now, warp, warp, warp!”
I chose a random destination on the Warpout! tab on my overview and activated the warp drive.
“Hey, why are you still uncloaked?” Aura yelled at me.
“But I can’t do it in a warp…” I started saying and then slapped my forehead. “Oh, right, I forgot I had a CovOps cloak!”
Another mental command and the Buzzard shimmered and became invisible to radar and naked eye.
In the meantime, Aura continued badgering me, “What are you waiting for now? Bookmark a safe spot!”
“Oh, a safe spot. Yes, what should I call it?”
“Don’t think about it, just drop the bookmark! You can rename it later.”
“Oh, right, right,” mumbled I, bewildered, and dropped a bookmark.
At this point we were arriving to our destination.
“Just 0.2 AU from the celestial,” said Aura disapprovingly. “Anyway, don’t bobble here like a sitting duck. Anyone who warps here from the wormhole will uncloak and probably kill you!”
“But where should I go?” asked I, completely disorientated.
Aura rolled her eyes with a sigh, “To your safe spot, thickhead!”
“Ah, yes,” replied I trying to find the safe spot’s marker on HUD and turning the ship in all directions.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake! Don’t use your overlay, just call the window with local bookmarks and choose the right one out of two, will you?”
I stopped thinking. I just obeyed Aura’s commands and 30 seconds later I was floating, cloaked, at a nondescript point in space. Turning my head in all directions I tried to guess where the next hazard would come from and preempt it before Aura told me about it.
Aura watched me sceptically for a few seconds and then said with a smile, “Relax, you are safe now. Just make sure your cloak is up.”
It took me a while to realise that finally I was not in immediate danger of destruction and stop pumping adrenaline into my system.
Still throwing anxious looks at my overlay, overview and D-scan windows, I asked, “Aura, how come you know so much about exploring Anoikis?”
She made a surprised face and produced a book titled “Surviving Wormholes for Dummies.”
“Haven’t you read this?”
“Me neither,” said Aura and threw the book away, “But there is plenty information about J-space in GalNet. I thought you did your homework before poking your prow into a wormhole.”
I blushed, “No, I didn’t. I just wanted to see Anoikis.”
Aura sighed and said, mother-like, “Vlad, Vlad, Vlad, what would you do without me?”
“Well, I’d probably be younger-looking and enjoying…”
Aura knit her brow.
“…my new clone,” finished I with apologetic smile.