Of WH mining and woePosted: 2009-12-08
It was a cold and black day. Not to say that it was colder or blacker than any other day, or if this was a day at all. Such is life in the wormhole.
The miner sat in the ancient hulk, bored out of his skull. Every three minutes, his ship would shudder and the console would tally the new ore in his hold. He would lazily instruct the cargo drones to pile the ore into a canister and jettison it into space. Sometimes, in jest, he would instruct the drones to jettison the container just so that the escaping air would propel the can into one of the other five antique mining barges next to him, then mentally smirk as it bounced off the shields to the indignant cry of the pilot. Then, a green light would snare the can, dragging it into the slightly less ancient hauling ship, a proud if aging Iteron mark V, piloted by the most attractive (read: only) female any of them had seen in the last three months of this expedition.
The asteroid before him silently imploded under the strain of the strip miners ravaging it, and the small group of barges slowly reoriented themselves to the next bistot asteroid, the strip miners for each ship crossing and forming a melodious pattern of whatever the hell the strip miners used to scrape the ore from it’s home; he had always zoned out when the station tech started droning about those scientific whatsita. For all he cared, they ran on pixie dust.
Shaking himself out of his boredom induced stupor, he ran a system scan again, a echo of fear running through him briefly at the thought of an unwelcome visitor. But the scanner was clean. It was always clean. That was the thing about this place. Everything was perfectly safe until you took your eyes off it, like the temporary station they had set up next to planet J-whatever, which the resident mechanic had assured him would never fail… a second time. On mention of the incident where the shields had sputtered momentarily, the mechanic would always point fingers at the sputtering machinery and claim mechanical errors, all of which he had seamlessly repaired with nanite paste and old quafe cans.
Breaking his train of thought once again, the man ran a scan of the system, mentally sighing as he scrolled through the list. Then, he stopped. Re-reading the entry, he confirmed that there was no error.
Sister class combat probes. Five of em. Son of a bitch.
Screaming through fleet chat the impeding danger, he aligned his ship to the nearest planet, ever so slowly engaging warp, glad he had badgered the bastard running this operation to provide him with the tools to soup up his aligning time. It was still far too slow, though.
As the other ships slowly aligned themselves to their own celestial targets, a ship he only vaugely recognized from fuzzy pictures arrived at the belt they had been residing in, deftly manuvering around asteroids even as the miner heard the computer wail about a target lock being established.
One of the new pilots screamed into all our heads, painfully telling us that the Loki had done something to his warp core, that he couldn’t run. Desperatley, the old miner ordered his ship to target the minmatar bastard. He routed power from his useless strip miners to the only offensive capability his ship had, some cheap and shiny electronic countermeasures that just might be able to help the stricken pilot. Engaging the sensor dampener, the ECM modules warmed to completion, but just as it was about to fire, the old man’s warp drive sputtered to live and he was unwillingly yanked from his soon-to-be dead friend and into the void. He was safe, but as he silently set a warp course to the temporary station, the screams of the unlucky rang heavy in his ears.
The old man sat in his bunk, staring at the now empty beds beside his, the voices in his head repeating their screams over and over, his last memory of his friends. The hauler had survived, taking a quafe break in the hangar, and 2 others beside me, experienced men, had survived. The loss of the other two companions, one who he had tried and failed to save, echoed through his frame as he sobbed, the cold unfeeling part of his brain reminding him that he was still alive and the profits from this weeks ore could buy quite alot of happiness.