It All Sounds Like Some Bad Movie
Erbo stared at Alaz Chaktaren, agent for the Amarr Imperial Navy, as if she’d suddenly sprouted three heads. “You need us to fetch what?”
“The daughter of a prominent Holder,” responded the haughty Amarrian. “She is attempting to elope with a Gallente holo star. This is unacceptable to her family or to the True Faith, as she has already been betrothed to a young Amarrian man of proper social standing. We need you to bring her back, by any means necessary.” She leaned closer to Erbo, who caught a whiff of some unsavory Amarr cuisine on her breath. “And, if her swain can be properly ‘neutralized’…so much the better.” She laughed, a throaty laugh that gave Erbo the creeps.
Erbo briefly considered turning down the mission. After all, who was he to get in the way of true love? And he didn’t relish the thought of taking on ships and soldiers of his own kind. But they, and the Ralpha Dogs, desperately needed to raise their standing with the Amarr, if only to avoid getting blasted out of the sky when trying to operate near their own corporate headquarters. Frack it, he thought to himself.
“You can count on us, ma’am,” he responded. “We’ll get her.”
“Excellent,” said Chaktaren. “Go, and may God be with you.”
Depends on which God you mean, thought Erbo as he exited the office.
. . . . .
Docking control released the two Myrmidon battle cruisers, Syria Planum and Mystic Nightmare II, and they began drifting down and away from the Youl logistics station.
“I don’t much like the sound of this,” said Selenalore, over the private comm channel. “We’re going against our own kind again; how’s that gonna affect our standings with them?”
“Probably not enough to worry about,” said Erbo offhandedly. “Now, let’s go. Prepare for warp.” He triggered the command that started both ships warping, away from the Amarr station and towards the “Rent-A-Dream Pleasure Gardens,” a Gallente facility operating under franchise in local space.
“We’ve got company,” he said as they came out of warp. “Remember, try to target the destroyers in each wave last, as they send the signal for the next wave.”
“I’ll do my best, but I ain’t gonna be able to stop it if my drones decide to shoot,” said Selena.
“Do the best you can,” responded Erbo. “Three targets, inbound. Engage.”
The railguns on both battle cruisers spit fire as two swarms of drones rushed to the attack. In short order, those three ships fell, as did another group of four ships that appeared immediately thereafter. As the second destroyer flared and died, another ship warped in. Erbo recognized it immediately as a luxury model of Gallente cruiser–exactly what a famous holo star would be flying.
“There they are,” he said. “Target that ship and fire!”
As the iridium slugs began striking the shields of the cruiser, the general frequency began crackling to life. “Please…stop! Cease fire!” cried a feminine voice over the comm systems. “You can’t take me back there! I’m pregnant! The baby’s his! You–“
“What?” came Selena’s voice over their comm channel.
“Disregard that transmission,” ordered Erbo. “Continue firing.”
The cruiser flared as its shields died under the unceasing impact and its armor was ripped away. Finally, succumbing to the onslaught, it was ripped apart by a fireball. A standard cargo container popped free of the wreckage and drifted some five thousand meters away from the attackers.
“I’ve got the container,” called Erbo, locking target on it and engaging the tractor beam to bring it in to his ship. The container contained another, smaller container…a suspended-animation capsule, in which a young Amarrian woman slept, her face frozen into a look of anguish. Probably for the best, thought Erbo.
“No life signs from the cruiser,” reported Selena. “I think her boyfriend is dead. Boy, the Gallenteans are gonna be pissed.”
“Probably not,” said Erbo, “You know those holo stars; most of them tend to think with their dicks. I expect it’ll make a nice juicy splash of scandal on the tabloid news channels, and then they’ll forget it.”
As they moved to salvage the wrecks of the Gallente vessels, as was their usual practice, Erbo spoke again. “So…the silly little bitch was pregnant. With his child, no less. Selena, this is starting to sound like one of your romance holonovels.”
A cynical laugh came over the channel. “Well…not all of those stories can have happy endings.” The channel didn’t show it, but Erbo suspected Selena was looking daggers at him; her taste for cheap Gallente romance holonovels was legion.
“I dunno,” Erbo said. “They’ll probably kill her, for all I know. Do you know if the Amarr practice honor killings?”
“I have no way of knowing,” came the response. “But you never can tell with the Amarr. We can’t really understand them. We’re Gallentean, after all.”
Some days, thought Erbo as they prepared to warp back to the Amarr station, I wonder how much that really means these days.
. . . . .
“We’ve brought the girl back,” said Erbo, once again standing before the desk of Alaz Chaktaren. “She’s in suspended animation.”
“Outstanding,” responded Chaktaren. “You are indeed a faithful Amarr; your reputation will only benefit from the work you have done.”
“Um…” replied Erbo. “Begging your pardon, ma’am, but we’re actually Gallente by origin.”
Chaktaren looked more closely at Erbo, her eyebrow lifted. “Indeed? So I see.” She tapped some keys on her console. “It matters not. You are doing the work of the Lord, and you shall be duly rewarded for it. In this life, as well as in the next.”
Indeed, the reward was substantial, as Erbo later found out, not only in ISK, but in added standing with the Amarr. Still, he felt a little dirty for earning those rewards in such a manner.
For the good of the corporation, he thought to himself, heading back towards the docking bays. That’s why we do it.
But he was less than comforted.