Stubborn Dwarf

Region G-R00031 – Constellation G-C00324
Thera System

6 April YC 123

It took me three months to return to Thera and resume my scanning activities. The start was a bit slow as all the steps were not in my muscle memory yet, but at least I didn’t have to go through the whole video again. Now, the previous sentence might have implied that by the end of the day I was knocking off the signatures at a champion speed, but the reality is my work finished almost as soon as it started. The members of Signal Cartel do not leave new signatures in Thera unattended for too long so they are always in short supply. That day I managed to scan down just three new wormholes. The last one led to a Class 2 system, so instead of returning to Thera I decided to check for abandoned pirate sites.

“What’s the point?” snorted Aura. “You don’t have any Analyzers fitted.”

“Well,” said I zeroing in on a Central Guristas Data Mining Site, “not on this ship.”

“You don’t have another ship. Not in Thera, at least.”

I just winked and smiled mysteriously in response.

Having returned to The Sanctuary Institute of Paleocybernetics, the Signal Cartel Headquarters, I extracted the capsule from Tender Nosuri and loaded it into a new ship.

Aura goggled at it and asked incredulously, “Are you going to hack the Guristas site in that?”

I shrugged nonchalantly, “Yes. Why not? It does have a Data Analyzer.”

“That’s quite a change from your Cowardly Buzzard doctrine,” noted Aura looking curiously at the specifications.

“Ah, that one was thoroughly tested, so I wanted to try something completely different. This doctrine is called Stubborn Dwarf.”

Aura zoomed in onto one of the modules in the fitting window and asked sarcastically, “Do you even know how to use this?”

“Nope. But I will learn, hopefully, fast. In any case, the education will not be expensive. This whole contraption cost me just 10 million ISK.”

I undocked and flew back to the Data Mining Site in the C2 system. I didn’t cloak up as I didn’t have a cloaking device. I didn’t scan the cans as I didn’t have a cargo scanner. I warped straight to the site, chose the closest container and started hacking it.

After a few seconds Aura cleared her throat, “Ahem, didn’t you forget something?”

I raised my brow, “What?”

“Little things, like checking the D-scan now and then…”

“Nah, no use. Whatever I see there – Heron or Titan – doesn’t make any difference. I am staying my ground. Stubborn Dwarf, remember?”

“But if there is a Titan you’ll be killed for sure. That’s not Stubborn Dwarf, that’s Stupid Dwarf! Even if it’s not a capital ship but a cruiser, it is still ‘stupid’ with a capital ‘S’.”

I considered that argument while hacking the last can, “You are right about us being killed but I do not agree with your choice of the adjective. I would call it Berserk Dwarf, but I just like Stubborn better.”

“You talk so calmly about losing the ship. Before, you were much more precious about the Buzzard and, for that matter, your clone.”

“And there are good reasons for that. Firstly, this ship is eight times cheaper than the Buzzard. Even the meagre loot from this data site has already covered its cost. Secondly, it’s the doctrine. It requires to fight to death, and so I will. I agree that it is not the smartest choice, but it represents an extreme boundary of an explorer’s behaviour and I am keen to measure it in monetary terms. Finally,” said I warping back to Thera, “never before, I entered a wormhole without a cloaking device, but today – no cloak, no D-scan, no worries! It was such a liberating experience. Last time I had such a feeling was when I visited an illegal nudist beach on an Amarr planet.”

Aura did not share my enthusiasm and all the way to the station tried to scare me with the stories about failed brain scanners, lost mind backups and the Jovian wet grave. Seeing that I was not perturbed, she sighed and pointedly reminded me that I was now eligible for Tekufah’s award as I had scanned more than four signatures in Thera.

7 April YC 123

I was not in a rush to get a new Buzzard – my current one was still buzzing around – but I requested it from Tekufah yesterday just to placate Aura who was not very happy about my new doctrine. The response and the delivery were surprisingly quick – this morning I discovered that a new fitted Buzzard was waiting for me in Saisio.

Aura was pleased but still found a reason to grumble, “Why is it in Saisio? If it’s supposed to be an award for scanning Thera then I assume it should be delivered to Thera as a replacement frigate for potential losses.”

I objected, “Tekufah’s prize comes with no strings attached. I am free to use it for Thera scanning or any other activity.”

Aura mellowed, “That’s very nice of him. By the way, how will we call the new ship? Nosuri III?”

“No, this one is special. I decided to name it in honour of the Signaleer who organised and managed this very award program. This Buzzard will be known as Tekufah LVII.”

Aura looked dumbstruck but then managed to squeeze out a question, “But… but why Fifty Seven?”

I laughed, seeing her expression, and explained, “That’s because he has already handed out 57 CovOps frigates. You can say that he single-handedly encouraged 57 new pilots to scan at least 285 wormholes in Thera. That’s more than the number of wormholes typically scanned in a whole week!”

“A-a-and… won’t he be disappointed to see a ship named after him eventually exploded?”

“I don’t think so. This is Signal Cartel after all. The ships are our ammo. They may perish but the legend will live on.”

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