Three crew members. That’s all I have on my Ares. Well paid, but stressful. Although they have a fairly secure job. The Ares is purely a traveler. Fast and safe from A to B. In this case, from our entrance to the entrance of our operation.
P A R A B E L U M goes to war. We against Hole Control, or more precisely Avanto. There is a score to settle there from last year. I’m late. The offensive started two days ago. The crew’s getting everything they can out of the Ares. Warp, jump, warp, jump. No rest. They sit in the inertial dampening chairs throughout, their bodies subjected to maximum stress.
In my capsule it’s cosy. Inertial dampers and the capsule fluid keep any strain away from my body. I can concentrate fully on the ship, merge with it. I lose the feeling for my real body. My consciousness passes over to the ship. I am the ship. Call me Ares.
12 more jumps. Avanto’s giving us a good fight. They’re undocking Capitals. Not surprising, since it’s their home system. Comms say we’ll have trouble breaking them. Legion and Machariels are take to the field by us. I haven’t flown a Machariel in a long time. I hope I’m not as rusty as those ships. You can tell they’re Minmatar, I’m afraid. No smooth steel like the Caldari, no gold alloy like the Amarr. What the Gallente build their ships out of is not entirely clear to me. Copper? That doesn’t really rust in space. Why are the ships green?
6 jumps to the entrance. The shortcut through the Low Sec is worth it. With less than 2 seconds to warp, the Ares is extremely fast. Virtually invulnerable. Except for smartbombs. They cost me my last Ares. And thanks to my stupidity, an Amulet clone. But the route isn’t a main route, so smartbombs are extremely unlikely.
There’s the wormhole. Through two more wormhole systems and I’m there. In and out. Um… I’m at the bookmark. But there’s no wormhole? Open the comms and ask.
Are they serious? Avanto rolled up the entrance eight minutes ago? There’s no new one? Avanto’s blocking the new wormhole. So I’ll have to wait. 18 jumps to Jita. Then I’ll just go and buy a legion, we don’t have that in the Ops wormhole.
Legion’s equipped. Not quite as planned, but I think 1.5 billion ISK is too steep. That would be three quarters of my cash assets. I’ve scaled it down now. 600 million ISK will have to do. We only live in a C2 with a static C3. There, the income is not quite as high. High enough for our everyday life, but we have to bake our rolls smaller.
Speaking of buns. According to Scotty, there’s a good breakfast bar here. Avanto still has the upper hand. Then off to the bar, let’s see if Scotty is right. After all, there are nearly 2,000 capsuleers with a lot of financial capital hanging around the station. And everyone is here to either earn ISK, or spend it. A good business basis for great and expensive gastronomic establishments. When does a capsule pilot get a good and proper meal? The capsule’s nutritional liquid is no culinary dream. Serviceable and tasteless. On most stations away from the core worlds, especially in the wormhole, there is mainly synthetic food.
A real warm roll, with real cheese. Camembert, soft and melting. Accompanied by a quafe. A dream. Almost better than sex. A taste explosion that makes your mouth water. You forget everything around you. Even if it’s not necessary. The breakfast bar is well furnished. Proper wooden furniture, form-flexible upholstery. Soft lighting, few holograms. And human staff, not robots. I didn’t look at the prices. It’s not going to be cheap.
There’s an entrance? In the middle of breakfast? Nope. Food first. I don’t spend a fortune on a roll and then swallow it hastily. Everthing has the right time needed. Three more bites and some Quafe. I should take a bottle of that for the walk. 0.85 ISK for a roll and two quafe? You could buy a house on a common planet with that. Or half a unit of tritanium. Expensive for ordinary mortals, practically nothing for me. Still, it’s a pretty steep price, proportionately.
Scotty needs to prepare the Legion. I hope the new crew is good. Otherwise they’ll be in escape pods faster than I can yell the warp order. Since the expansion of Jita IV – 4, the station has grown. It’s several kilometres from the gastro deck to the docks. Even with the turbolifts it takes several minutes to get there. I should have looked for something near the docks for my breakfast. But the cheese and roll…. Worth it!
The Legion does not match my sense of beauty. It’s not ugly, but like all Tech 3 cruisers, it’s kind of messy. But it sparkles beautifully golden. That awakens a feeling of sublimity. At least more sublime than me stripping down to my pants next to the capsule. There is little shame in being a capsule pilot. What’s a little nudity compared to immortality. Especially as my clone is somewhat tweaked in various places.
Drowning again. The capsule closes. I sit in the dark. At my feet I feel the liquid filling the capsule. It creeps up my legs. Reaches my belly. A little warmer would be more comfortable. The temperature is perfectly adjusted to one’s own body. For its functions, not for its well-being. 5 degrees more would simply be more pleasant. It reached the neck, the most sensitive parts are done. Breathe! Just breathe and soak the liquid into your lungs. No matter how long you’ve been a capsule pilot, the body always resists. Evolution didn’t intend for us to breathe fluids. But what does a capsuleer pilot care about natural evolution?
28 Jumps. Not exactly around the corner either. Legion’s a lot slower than Ares, too. The cloak protects me from our enemies. It’s also designed to withstand warp bubbles. I still hope our guys and gals keep the wormhole relatively clean. I’d hate to lose 600 million in a suicide entry. Let’s go.
I’m going insane! Not three jumps made and the entrance is gone. Avanto continues to hold the upper hand. Back to Jita. This time I find a bar by the docks. All of them serve Quafe. The crew must think I’m stupid too. But if I read the comms right, I can say goodbye to the invasion. Looks like Avanto’s have their system under control. We’re pausing the offensive for further deliberation. If I should take a bet, I’d be standing around all day doing nothing for nothing. I guess the Amarr holidays were forgotten and with them the available manpower of the opponents. I assume, there will be a tactical retreat.