It was another cold, black day.
That’s what he would be saying, if the tachyon lasers of an Amarrian dreadnought weren’t trying to crack their shields like an egg.
The lasers pulsed again and he heard muffled cursing from below him as the mechanic added more duct tape or repair paste to their flickering shield emitters. How the dread had found them, he’d never know.
The gigantic asteroid they had been mining for the better part of a week had finally collapsed, its infrastructure ruined, and they had been celebrating the occasion with ice cold quafe when the first warning lights started blinking and we were informed that our temporary little hideaway was under fire from a ship bigger and more expensive than anything they owned, excluding the station itself.
The Amarrian ship had come out of nowhere, with no escort, raising the question on how the bastard had survived this long, but an unescorted Dreadnought was still more than enough damage for five miners huddled in a small station. The pilot cursed again at the financial backer for this expedition, lamenting their meager funds that only allowed for two cruise missile launchers, both of which were easily subdued by the punishing force being brought to bear.
Suddenly, the mechanic’s cursing stopped, a fact which somehow worried the miner more than the cursing. He glanced out the viewport and couldn’t help but notice a distinct lack of lasery death spewing at them. In confusion, he looked around the bleak void beyond the shield bubble, wondering what had caused the zealot bastard to cease his crusade for the beautification of the wormhole or whatever the hell the bastard had been talking about before they jammed his radio, an act that had probably not improved the circumstances.
His eyes suddenly caught a flash of black on black, a shadow moving within a shadow. Squinting, the shadow’s frame came into view from the light of the firey planet they had anchored the station at.
It was cruiser class, that much he was certain of, but all the ships he had heard about as a kid looked nothing like this one. It looked almost… insectual, with a curved back of layered metal and a design that made any viewer feel uneased.
The dreadnought pilot certainly seemed uneased, although it was hard to tell, seeing as the thing hadn’t moved in the last seven minutes. The shadow that was not a shadow suddenly lit its engines, accelerating to speeds that seemed god-like to the veteran pilots of mining barges, settling into a tight orbit around the Amarr ship.
Autocannons and missiles rained down on the behemoth, and more ships appeared around it as ships of Minmatar design swarmed in and around the golden monster. The Amarr bastard gave a dying scream, or would have if the jamming signal the mechanic had rigged hadn’t completly shut down his outward brosdcasts. The Dreadnought exploded, a blinding white light against the black darkness of space, and when the pilot could see again, each ship, each one looking like the result of an explosion in various girder factories, had aligned themselves to the station.
A blinking light on a console near him indicated that one of their rescuers wanted a talk. Hastily screaming at the mechanic to shut the jam off, just in case, he shakily opened an audio link. A gravely tone came forward.
“This is Colonel Roc Wieler, current leader of the Tribal Liberation Force’s Wormhole Exploration Squad. You have five minutes EXACTLY before we leave this system and by that time I expect every Quafe can and cigarette you have in that floating pile of Caldari crap in a canister outside your shields. Some of us have been in this dead-end corner of space for a very, very long time and the cigs ran dry weeks ago, leaving us with very, very twitchy fingers over our fire controls. Do I make myself PERFECTLY clear?”.
After a very hasty “sir yessir”, said faster than the miner had ever heard himself speak, their remaining cans of Quafe and month supply of cigarettes was loaded into their shuttle and left at the metaphorical feet of the fleet that still looked like a floating junkyard to the miner. The comms crackled to life again.
“Ahhhhh….. that’s the stuff. Civvies, I don’t know how the hell you got here, how the hell you’ve survived this long, but I sure as hell don’t care. Now, before we take our leave, is there anything else you’d like to say to us? Perhaps along the lines of a ‘Thank you’?”.
The words flew past his lips, and at the time it seemed customary to utter the phrase “Merry Christmas”. The sudden silence of the comms seemed to speak differently, though. after an eternity all of thirty seconds, the comms cracked to life for a third time.
“The only, I repeat, ONLY reason that I’m not going to order the good men and women with me to burn through your shields and explain to you how much of a pile of shit that belief is is because fully half of those men and women are enjoying the first smoke they’ve had in weeks. Now, if you and your little deity wouldn’t MIND, we will take our leave. Unless you’ve got some sort of cross you’d like to throw at us?”
After fifteen seconds of shaking his head, the miner remembered that the chat was audio only, and a stuttery “Sir, nosir”, was beamed across the void as the ships vanished in all directions as quickly as they had come.