Better Smeg Than Dead
“Wonderful, sweetie,” murmured Erbo to Selena, as they left, arm in arm, from the dance competition that had been held at the Amarr Navy station in Bhizheba system. “There were some good competitors tonight.”
“Yeah,” said Selena. “What say we get on back to our quarters and snuggle awhile?”
“I’m all for that,” said Erbo enthusiastically.
They were just passing the Ralpha Dogs’ office on the station promenade when they heard the communications receiver crackle. “…Mayday! Mayday! Is anyone there? HELP HELP HELP HELP!”
“That sounded like Valorna!” said Selena.
“Yeah,” said Erbo. The two sprinted for the console, grabbing headsets. “Valorna? Is that your Mayday?” he asked.
“I’m in trouble!” came the response. “I’ve got twenty or so bandits on me, and I’ve lost cap twice! Smegging hell! HELP!”
“We’re on our way,” said Erbo, tearing off the communications set. “Selena! Get to your ship, double pronto! Be ready to fleet up and get out there after her once you’re onboard!”
“On it!” said Selena, as the two raced to the prep room. There, they shucked out of their clothes quickly, jumping inside the waiting capsules. Erbo fretted as the umbilicals were hooked up and the capsule closed and pressurized. As his enhanced senses came alive, the capsule slid along the deployment track, ready to drop into the waiting Syria Planum.
“Comm check, Selena,” he spoke.
“This is Selena,” came the response. “Mystic Sting ready to fly.”
“Syria Planum, ready to fly,” said Erbo, quickly setting up fleet communications between them and their hapless corpmate. “Sit tight, Val, we’re on our way. Selena, undock, and warp to Val the second you’re out.” He triggered the command to undock.
Selena was slightly delayed in emerging from the Amarr Navy station, so Erbo was the first to engage warp drive. As he streaked in, he assessed the situation quickly…a lone hidden jumpgate, with about twenty Sansha vessels bearing down on it, and Valorna’s cruiser Goodship Lollypop the only thing to stop them.
“I’m on them!” he said. Quickly, he targeted the five enemy vessels nearest Val’s position, and started guns working on them as soon as they were targeted. He released his drones as well, and five Hammerhead drones sped to the attack. Indications off to one side showed that Selena had arrived, and was doing her best to fight them off as well.
“Four more coming in from the side,” he reported. “I’m engaging them.” He brought the drones back into orbit around his wheeling Myrmidon and kicked in afterburners. The four approaching ships quickly fell to a series of iridium slugs.”
“Got five disrupting me!” reported Selena. “This whole group!” The navigation system displayed highlights by a group of five ships, almost directly astern of Erbo’s position and 75 klicks out.
“On it!” said Erbo, swinging around and firing afterburners again to close the gap. Valorna had recovered some composure by this point, and contributed her own firepower, making short work of the group.
Finally, there were no more red blips on the display. Erbo sounded the all-clear, and a palpable sigh came over the comm circuits.
“Thank God, you guys, I had no idea what I was going to do,” said Valorna. “If you hadn’t shown up, I’d have been in deep smeg for sure.”
“You’re lucky you caught us when you did,” said Erbo, maneuvering into position for helping salvage the various wrecks. “This scenario can be a tricky one.”
They worked for some time, tractoring and salvaging the wrecks as Erbo adjusted the fleet assignments. He had the last four wrecks, off at a distance from the main body, and his salvager made short work of them.
“Okay, Valorna, Fleet Commander,” he said, “get us back to the station.”
“Gladly,” she responded, as the three ships wheeled about and began to warp. “I don’t get paid enough for this shit.”
The three ships warped away from the hidden gate, happy to leave it behind.