Warning lights blinked across Jan’s display screen, damage reports from across his ship summed up into three overly simple status bars; Shields, Armor, Hull. Already his Rokh class Calgary battleship had found that first bar fill with red, indicating the incoming damage from the hostile ships being applied against him was more than his shields could withstand.

Sparks arced through the gel of his capsule, the command centre, and escape pod from which he could command the crew of his ship as if an extension of his body, or, escape its destruction. The latter seemed more likely, through the cushioning gel, external sirens rang throughout the  indicating a hull breach. Not long now.

Jan had set out only a few hours before, for a short roam around a nearby region of Null Security space, its residents famous for their attempts to instil law and order in the region. A perfect hunting ground for a pirate like him.

Sirens screeched bringing him back to the here and now. Outside two Orthrus class fast attack cruisers flanked a Thanatos carrier and its support fighters. He wasn’t going to get out of this system with his ship. He’d already expended his one chance; a micro jump drive capable of blinking his ship across space out of harms way – one of the Orthrus had seen to that.

Suddenly silence, the roar of his capsules emergency ejection engines forcing it out of the disintegrating battleship, now falling away behind him, plumes of flame erupting from its hull in it’s final death throws. Jan set a course for the nearest stargate, his crew were gone, they didn’t matter really, easily replaced, more so than the battleship at least. His capsule lurched forward into warp as his overview the hostile ships scrambling to acquire locks.

He’d made it out alive, but he wasn’t safe yet, until he got back to high security space, or back to his pirate’s system, he would have to avoid any searching defence ships. Now with only the capsule’s measly armour and shields between him and the cold hard vacuum of space.

The capsule lurched, something was wrong.

“Too soon” he thought.

He knew of course exactly what it meant, somewhere in the space between him and the stargate sat a heavy interdictor, it’s disruption field playing havoc with the warp drive of his pod, it would force him to exit the warp tunnel thousands of kilometres from the gate. The moment contained a little humour for Jan, had he been in his Rocky still, the mass of his ship would have caused him to land deep within the HIC’s bubble, but his pod, being considerably less mass would be forced out of warp near the edge of the bubble – there was still one last chance.

The thrum of his warp drive faded away as he coasted out of warp and into the waiting HICs grasp. It wasn’t alone. Not good.

At flank speed bearing down on him was a Chimera class carrier. Already acquiring a target lock, its fighters were already waiting at the drop out point for his pod, ready for him. They were one step ahead and knew exactly where he would go.

“Okay then.”

He closed his eyes and tuned out the now familiar screeching alarm indicating his capsule was breached. A sharp prick at the base of his neck, a moment of pain as the toxins did their job. The familiar, encroaching blackness, after all, this wasn’t the first time he’d died.

 


 

A short story based on a defense fleet organized in 8P9 last night. A KOS Rokh warped to station – reasons unknown. While not 100% accurate to events, I couldn’t help but imagine the situation from inside a capsuleer’s pod as the events unfolded. – Momo