Stealing the Stolen

Communication Tower
The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Jita System – Planet IV, Moon 4
Caldari Navy Assembly Plant

20 June YC 121

“Why don’t we simply undock and explore Jita?” suggested Aura.

“No, with this kind of traffic there is nothing left to explore. Bare skies,” objected I.

“Then let’s go back to Uitra.”

“Nah, Uitra is no good either. All those eager Academy students keep scouring the space 24 by 7.”

Aura knitted her brow and then said, “Maybe not Uitra itself but Anttanen Constellation. Remember, when we were hunting asteroids, Uitra was swept clean but the belts in the neighbouring Unpas were barely touched. What if the same is true about cosmic signatures?”

“That may work,” agreed I. “Let’s go.” Continue reading “Stealing the Stolen”

Fitting Heron for Hi-Sec Exploration

Haikarat, Heron-class Exploration Frigate
The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

20 June YC 121

Aura made a serious face and started, “Firstly, the low slots. Republic Fleet Nanofiber Structures provide best velocity and agility improvement…”

“Best?” interrupted I. “Domination Nanofiber Structures have the same characteristics but cost 3.5 million less.”

“Oh, we can buy Angels’ modules of course,” backed down Aura. “I just thought that you wouldn’t like to deal with pirates.”

I snorted, “Ha, so you thought I would rather buy equipment from an ally of Caldari’s arch-rival. Anyway, the price is beside the point. Why would I want agility and velocity to do exploration?”

“Well, imagine you get assaulted by a hostile ship while hacking a container. Higher agility will allow you to warp out before you get warp-scrambled.”

“Aura, it’s hi-sec! No one is going to risk their combat ship just to pop a rookie explorer. Leave your agility pitch until I am ready to go to low-sec.”

“But what do you want to put in the low slots then?” asked Aura. Continue reading “Fitting Heron for Hi-Sec Exploration”

Aura the Explorer

Haikarat, Heron-class Exploration Frigate
The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

20 June YC 121

After graduating from the Academy I took a couple of weeks of shore leave. Initially I thought I would spend a whole month relaxing on a beach but quite soon I felt that something was missing in my life. Azure of the sea, a light breeze, gorgeous girls frolicking in the surf – I thought I would never get tired of that. But here I am, reclining in a deckchair on a beautiful tropical beach and thinking about pitch-black deep space, a thrill of MWD acceleration and, most of all, Aura. I knew she was switched off so that time didn’t matter for her and she wasn’t missing me. To my surprise, I discovered that I was missing her. Her acerbic comments, her artless excitement, her petty grievances – my life didn’t feel complete without them. As soon as I realised it, I put aside the unfinished cocktail glass and took the fastest route back to Uitra.

When I boarded my capsule and heard a familiar voice say, “Hello, Cap! Or should I call you Doctor now?” I knew that finally I was home. And it felt good. Continue reading “Aura the Explorer”

The Exam, Part 2

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

2 June YC 121

Having returned to Uitra, I warped to the mission location. About 75 km before the warp bubble collapse I received a message from Ijumachi.

Scanners are picking up 3 hostiles moving into their ships now, looks like they’ve noticed you. Good luck.

“Thank you, mate,” muttered I even though he couldn’t hear me. Then, turning to Aura, I said, “Let’s see how good your glamorous modules are.”

Aura leaned to me and whispered confidentially, “They are absolutely fabulous.” Continue reading “The Exam, Part 2”

The Exam, Part 1

Merimetso, Cormorant-c;ass Destroyer
The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Planet VI, Moon 4
State War Academy Station

2 June YC 121

I am glad that I am finishing my military training, and it’s for more reasons than one. Sure, there is a sense of accomplishment, but I am also happy to leave behind that artificial environment where make-work activities are valued higher than real-life problem solving. Take my last mission, for example – it was an abject failure. I was expected to scare the shit out of a pirate and persuade him to move his gang elsewhere, but when I left the mission area the bastard was dead and his gang is still in Uitra “under new management”. Nevertheless, the mission was considered accomplished because for the whole three seconds I managed to brush the hostile ship with a civilian stasis webifier. What a great achievement!

Having completed nine missions I was ready for a final exam. As it turned out, the exam was not ready for me – Ijumachi told me that he needed some time to organise a proper engagement that would test my fighting skills. Besides, the delay gave me an opportunity to study Caldari Destroyer skill. Why? Because for my final mission I was granted a Cormorant-class destroyer! As you can imagine, I was excited beyond words and spent the last ten days researching Cormorant fittings and tactics. On the eleventh day, still engrossed in forums, battle reports and dashcam videos, I was jerked into reality by Ijumachi’s call.

“Mr Korff, I request your immediate presence in my office,” he said brusquely and hung up. Continue reading “The Exam, Part 1”

Glue, Part 2

CONCORD Cruiser, Threat Reclamation Team
The Forge Region – Anttanen Constellation
Uitra System – Asteroid Colony

22 May YC 121

The pirate’s hideout was some kind of an industrial asteroid colony. I didn’t notice any perimeter defences and focused on the lonely ship which was patrolling the area.

Asteroid Colony
Asteroid Colony

“Hello, stranger,” said I starting the conversation with a kind word.

“Fuck off, egger,” was the reply.

I looked at Aura and said, “I don’t think he is taking us seriously.”

She looked at me and said conversationally, “I think a couple of iron charges should attract his attention.”

“I like the way you think but, unfortunately, we have to use a webifier first.”

I willed Ampuhaukka into a 7.5-km orbit around the pirate, targeted him and activated the web.

“Hey, what the fuck are you doing?” shouted the pirate indignantly and targeted my Merlin. “Let me help you renew your clone, motherfucker!”

I was about to say something witty in response when I heard another voice in the local channel. Continue reading “Glue, Part 2”

Glue, Part 1

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

22 May YC 121

The captives that I rescued in the previous mission were all well-off businessmen who had been kidnapped and held for ransom. When the doors of their transport container opened and they found themselves in the Academy Station instead of the Guristas prison, the hostages were so elated that they went straight to the bar to celebrate their lucky escape. I found myself in the centre of their carouse as they thought that I was single-handedly responsible for their rescue. I decided not to confuse the escapees with the details of the operation and let them shout drinks for me all night long. The upshot of that revelry was that next day I woke up in the afternoon with a royal hangover. Having glimpsed my mug in the mirror, I shuddered in horror and took the day off.

A day of abstinence did wonders to my cloned body and on Wednesday I felt ready for the next assignment and called Ijumachi to check if he had a new mission ready. Continue reading “Glue, Part 1”

The Pacifist

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

20 May YC 121

I quite enjoyed firing missiles at Guristas and was looking forward to flying another combat mission with the launcher granted by Ijumachi. Unfortunately, he had a different plan for me.

“Have you ever participated in a fleet?” asked the agent.

“No. Why?” replied I.

“We need to close that gap in your education. It’s an essential skill for every fighter pilot because most battles are fought not by solo capsuleers but by fleets. Do you know the most important thing about flying in a fleet?”

“Er… Keeping formation?” I hazarded a guess based on my rich experience of watching space operas. Continue reading “The Pacifist”

Weapon of Choice

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

17 May YC 121

After the last mission I felt like I started losing interest in the advanced military course. Honestly, I wouldn’t say that flying a ship through radioactive clouds was a military or, for that matter, an advanced skill. It took me a few days to get my ass off the couch and drag my body to Ijumachi’s office. Annoyingly, the agent was his usual energetic self and greeted me as if he was eagerly awaiting my arrival.

“Good morning, Mr Korff. How very opportune! I have a mission just for you.”

“Good morning, Mr Vuonolailen,” I replied listlessly. “Have you found another cloud?”

The agent looked confused, “Cloud? What cloud? Oh, you mean the cloud you had to go through during the last mission?” He lowered the voice and said confidentially, “Look, I know it was a monkey job, but that was one of those screwball assignments that get included into the curriculum from time to time. Because some idiot some time somewhere didn’t have enough sense to warp out of a radioactive cloud and lost his ship, now all the pilots have to undergo a ‘hostile environment’ training.”

I waved my hand dismissively, “Forget it, Mr Vuonolailen. I don’t blame you but such missions are really dispiriting.”

“Well, I hope we can fix it. Have you ever used missiles?” Continue reading “Weapon of Choice”

Don’t Look Back

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

12 May YC 121

Two or three days after my last meeting with Ijumachi I called him to request a new mission. My call was answered by his secretary who advised that Mr Vuonolailen was on extended emergency deployment and should be back next month. As it turned out, it took him full four weeks to return to the Academy. I was not given a notice and was quite surprised to spot him in a cafe where I had my breakfast.

“Welcome back, Mr Vuonolailen,” said I approaching his table. “Do you mind if I keep you company?”

“Oh, Mr Korff. I am so glad to see you,” beamed Ijumachi. “Please, take a seat.”

“Thank you,” said I moving my breakfast tray to his table. “How was your deployment?”

Ijumachi smiled, “It’s actually classified information but I can tell you a few things; they will soon be in newspapers anyway.” Continue reading “Don’t Look Back”