An Invisible Enemy

Derelik Region – Oraron Constellation
Jarizza System

25 March YC 122

Jarizza had just two signatures – one of them was a wormhole and another was Crumbling Sansha Antiquated Outpost.

“What do you think, Aura?” asked I, “Should we go straight to the wormhole or check out that relic site first?”

“Hi-sec relic sites are a waste of time,” replied she. “Even data sites are more profitable here. I would jump through the hole.”

“Yeah, that’s true. On the other hand, we haven’t had much luck in Anoikis. This may not be the most lucrative mission but at least it will pay for that Gallentean sparkling. Besides, I’ve never seen a Sansha outpost.”

“Oh, this one is crumbling and antiquated. If you want to see a real one I can get you in touch with a Sansha agent,” winked Aura.

“No, thank you. I am afraid I am not ready to bend the knee before Master Kuvakei. This individuality thing, you know, still possesses a certain attraction for me.”

After this exchange of pleasantries we warped to the Outpost. Compared to Regional Command Center that we visited in Gomati system, this site looked pretty shabby.

Crumbling Sansha Antiquated Outpost in Jarizza
Crumbling Sansha Antiquated Outpost in Jarizza

“Let’s see what’s left here,” muttered I and started hacking the first container.

The pickings were pretty poor – I got less than a million ISK-worth of loot. Noticing Aura’s sarcastic look, out of sheer stubbornness I willed Nosuri to approach the second can. At that moment I heard a sound that I hadn’t heard for quite a while – a little buzz which indicated that someone was targeting me. I looked at the overview to check who was yellow-boxing me but it was clear.

“Aura, have you heard…” started asking I when she screamed.

“Get out of here! We are under attack!”

I peered at the screen, “Under attack? By whom? There is no one on the overview!”

As soon as I said it, my HUD started showing a scrolling log of incoming damage inflicted by a fleet of Damavik-class frigates.

“Oh, shit!” gasped I and gave Nosuri a command to fly to the nearest station.

My align time was four seconds which felt like four hours under relentless barrage from the invisible enemy. As we were turning toward the station and gaining speed, Nosuri trembled from direct hits which started penetrating the shields and biting into armour. And all that time I stared at the battle log.

49 Blinding Raznaborg Damavik – Hits
(A sting on my arm)

63 Raznaborg Damavik – Penetrates
(A kick on my leg)

360 Raznaborg Damavik – Majorana Light Missile – Hits
(A punch in the gut, so strong that I groaned)

And so it went on and on for an eternity until after a particularly painful blow I finally heard the best words in the world – Warp Drive Active.

Relaxing tightened muscles and closing my eyes I said with relief, “Oof, that was close.”

Aura replied in a strange, strained voice, “I am afraid that your assessment of the situation, Captain, is inadequate.”

“What do you mean?” I opened my eyes and… involuntarily gulped the pod goo.

My dashboard was empty – the cloaking device, the analyzers, the auxiliary power core – everything was gone. It was only then that I realised that I lost synaptic connection to all those modules. I felt like my appendages, albeit artificial, were amputated.

Turning to Aura I asked incredulously, “Did they destroy all modules?”

Aura looked at me pityingly.

“Vlad…” she started saying in a constricted voice and finished in a whisper, “look around.”

I turned my head… and my heart sank. Where before I could see the interior of the frigate, now there was only black space dotted with cold stars. I was flying in a capsule.

In a stunned silence we approached the station and docked. My emotions were mixed. I felt sad because of the loss of my ship, the ship that I bought, assembled and fitted, the ship that I flew for just ten days but which became my home in the indifferent emptiness of space, the ship that I named Nosuri. I was also angry and bewildered – angry at myself because I managed to lose a ship in hi-sec, and bewildered because I didn’t understand how and why.

Only capsuleers could fly Damaviks but they had to be war targets to attack me with impunity, thought I mulling over this conundrum. But this means that by now they should have been destroyed by CONCORD.

That thought brought me back to reality.

“Aura, quickly, request a replacement corvette. We are going back. I want to see the wrecks of those bastards who blew up Nosuri,” said I.

Aura wanted to say something but then thought better of it and contacted the docks master. Soon enough my capsule was loaded into a new Ibis and I was on my way to the Sansha Outpost. When we arrived the only wreck I saw was Nosuri’s. I approached and inspected it – the sorry remains of my former frigate seemed unlooted.

“Strange…” mused I. “The attackers were not CONCORDed but they didn’t loot the wreck. Don’t you find it weird, Aura?”

“I think…” she started saying when once again I heard that target lock buzz.

“Fuck! They are still here,” shouted I and willed the Ibis to warp to the station.

While the corvette was aligning I looked around trying to discern the enemies through my camera drones, as the overview was once again frustratingly empty. All I could see were the shadows which were connected to my ship by missile contrails. A few seconds later I arrived to the station in the same manner as before – in a capsule. The technician who loaded my pod into the Ibis a minute earlier raised his brow but didn’t say anything.

“Ahem… I meant to say that I don’t think those were capsuleers,” continued her interrupted speech Aura.

“But who else?” asked I.

“Look here,” she opened the overview settings window. “Your tab has all ship types ticked except this one,” she pointed her finger at a line with an empty checkbox.

“Invading Precursor Entities? Who the hell are they?”

“You don’t know? Well, then let me tell you that your ship wasn’t destroyed by capsuleers flying Triglavian ships. Those were the actual Triglavians who invaded New Eden.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: