Space was pretty much at a premium in this hangar. Or rather, there was still quite a lot of room for ships themselves, but as for a place where one might stretch her legs after being in a pod all day? There really wasn't much of that around. After having slept in rather small, confined quarters for the night, the jin-mei was already in a flight suit, stretching lazily as she surveyed the ships.
Most ships had Endless Night markings, some more scuffed and worn out than others, but a few had Dragonstar symbols. And all of them had an alliance logo conspicuously newly painted. And this structure in space belonged to Endless Night, technically, but really it had been a team-work effort to get it all in place.
She sighed as her slanted grey eyes gazed at some vacant spots. A week ago, or so, there would have been some WuXi vessels around, for sure. Such a new alliance - what, two, three weeks old? - and already some scuffle over possessions had put a wedge between WuXi and Endless. They had had their feelings hurt and had left in a huff. The alliance had dwindled to just two corporations.
That wasn't too bad. Despite the ability to work together, there had always been some tension between a few Dragonstar elements and a former Dragonstar pilot in the employ now of WuXi. That, at least, was one less worry in her mind. And yet... And yet she was sorry to see her team mates Demon and Searaph no longer in alliance comms.
Well, life went on. With a sigh, she got ready to board her capsule. Dragonstar and Endless Night had strong ties that went way back. Things would work out for the best, no doubt.
Kayleigh sat at her desk in the Dragonstar offices, arms crossed and legs outstretched, crossed at the ankles. The map of known space was showing in the little holo display, and though her slanted grey eyes were turned to it, they weren't quite seeing as alliance comms chirped discretely in the background.
She had just had a most unexpected conversation with a complete stranger. The man had called himself "The Agent" and had claimed to be sent by someone interested in her exploits out there in wormhole space. The fact that the man flew for Etherial Dawn had narrowed the field down to just one person she was aware of. So Ms. XianKun wanted to keep tabs on her, did she?
The jin-mei bit softly on the inside of her lip. What to do? What to say?
There were alliance ops out of the wormhole Endless Night had claimed to live in, and where just earlier in the day she'd been harvesting gas. She also wanted to join Nakatre and her people out there at some point - mostly for some quality time with her wife, but she also liked knowing the people who got to work with Nakatre day in and day out. And now this third option to consider: going off exploring with a complete stranger.
A complete stranger claiming nice combat skills, part of a somewhat well-known null-sec alliance... And the deal looked far too sweet. As in Kayleigh had the feeling she was getting all the benefit. Would it be a trap? Would it be for real? She owed a debt of gratitude to this woman, living so far away. To take the risk or not to?
The jin-mei smirked. Racers didn't usually even give it any thought at all. They'd just jump into it. Well, why go to such length just to trick her? It's not like she made much of an elusive target on her day-to-day activities, right? With a nod she made up her mind. She'd bite, and see where it would take her.
I haven't been able to stop blushing ever since I realised that it was true and people weren't just pulling my leg. Somehow I got mentioned in an official CCP Career Guide. As a Speed Specialist, no less, right along with my racing arch-nemesis Takashi Kurosawa.
I feel proud and self-conscious all in one. Looking for a hole in which to hide, really as I'm used to going through the game in a sort of anonimity, to be quite honest.
And yet... It's such a heart-warming feeling to know someone out there has noticed some of what I do :) I'm all giddy!
Does that mean I'm expected to go fast, now, everywhere I go? >.>
We heard from Kanunu again, still alive out in the same uncharted solar system, and still mired in signals, trying to puzzle through them.
Throughout most of the afternoon and evening Nox Draconum egged him on, tried our best to help him with remote advice. Then finally he reported he was chasing a signal likely to be a wormhole. I could swear I heard a collective sigh over comms, and there was certainly no mistaking the cheers when he found it and jumped through... to another uncharted system.
Hope was well up, however, now that he had found a way out. And indeed within less than an hour he'd found an exit through to Zahefeus, in the very-charted Khanid region. Kanunu is back with us and I will be able to sleep easy tonight.
Probes, solar system views, dozens- no, hundreds of signatures to sift through. I have a headache from looking so hard at the elusive red circles and red dots until they turn yellow or green. Some turned out to be wormholes into uncharted space, but (unsurprisingly) none into Kanunu's last known location.
Jikomanzoku did manage to find an exit out of J160014, the same into Maturat that I'd left through less than 24 hours before. That, at least, is one less worry for me.
I'm not sure what else to do. It worries me that we haven't heard a peep from Kanunu all day. Is he still alive? Is he just too far out for his signal to reach us? If he gets killed so far out there will he still be able to download into his medical clone?
I've given all my friends Kanunu's last known location in the hopes that if someone happens to find a way in by sheer luck they'll be able to help him out. At least one pilot I've never actually met before has offered to help. Thank you to all keeping an eye out for J210247.
I didn't wetgrave by sleeping in my capsule. That's something. I did sleep longer than usual and I can't figure out if it's something this J160014 place has done to me or if it's the capsule trying to take care of me.
I'm glad I did get some good sleep because I woke up to terrible news: Kanunu had not docked up in high-sec like I thought he had the previous night. He hadn't even moved over to the less-signal-ridden J160014. As I caught up with the faint signal of corporate comms, I realised Kanunu had in fact gone to sleep at a safe spot in J210247 - the place Jiko and I had found linked to J160014 and had elected not to sleep in because it was so filled with confusing signals that we couldn't find any other exits.
I have left a man behind in a horrible, horrible place and now he can't find a way out.
Of course I immediately checked to see if both systems were still linked, but they were not. There was nothing else I could do for Kanunu except show moral support as he reported finding more and more signals, pinning them down one after the other. The last I heard he'd mapped 29 scanner signatures, and still he could find no way out.
All I could do was launch my own probes and work on finding an exit for both me and Jikomanzoku. After pinning down a few more gravimetric signatures I finally narrowed down a wormhole signature and found a way out. Into known high-sec, no less.
Now I was faced with a dilemma. Jiko wasn't logged on to comms. No one had, in fact, heard from him all day. Should I leave, trusting he'd find his way out, or should I stay and risk another night of sleeping in a capsule?
In the end, and considering J160014 isn't really too confusing as signatures go, I elected to leave. Jiko has equipment with which to scan for an exit and in there he won't have too many conflicting signals to sift through, unlike poor Kanunu.
That's where I ended up. I lingered at the mouth of the wormhole, torn as I hoped Jiko would miraculously show up. But he didn't. So I left yet another corp mate behind, and it weighs heavy in my heart.
I clone-jumped out of my racing clone and hopped back into my Helios. I went back out. I don't care that the chances of finding an entrance to precisely the system Kanunu is trapped in are slim. I'm going to bloody well try.
I almost immediately found yet another wormhole opening into Ney. I hopped inside, deployed probes. J142649 seemed to be some sort of hidey hole for Sleeper among asteroids. I didn't stay long. I have to find Kanunu.
Tonight I get to sleep in Ney - I'm too exhausted to go on. Tomorrow I will be looking for my corpmate among the stars.
I should have known better than to venture into unknown space on a whim, knowing the bad luck I've been having all weekend long. While working with Feu on a gravimetric sign I'd pinned down in Ala, report came over corporate channel that local pilots in Ney were reporting finding a wormhole into the system. Kanunu and Jikomanzoku decided to practice their probing skills and undocked to pin it down. They managed to do so just as Feu and I were finishing up, and they went in to an uncharted system.
I forgot I wanted to be cautious. I forgot I was in the medical clone with all the expensive racing implants on. I forgot how badly the race had just gone for me, with all the glitches and mishaps. I boarded my Helios and set off to pin down the Wormhole. I forgot this was a highly traveled system with a Uni Caille station filled with eager explorers.
By the time I pinned down the signature, the sensors were already registering the anomaly as volatile, to say the least. I jumped through, knowing I'd be equipped to find a way out of there. I was still cloaked from my jump when someone showed up in a Kestrel and jumped back to Ney, collapsing the hole and leaving Feu alone back in Ney.
We went about pinning signatures down and found two other wormholes, one leading into Pochelympe and another into more uncharted territory. As we were charting this first one we noticed it might be uncharted but it certainly wasn't uninhabited: our onboard scanners were detecting no less than three towers anchored out there somewhere.
As time progressed and we couldn't find a more convenient exit back into known space, we moved over to the second uncharted system, J210247. This one didn't seem to be inhabited by anyone. It had, however, an inordinate amount of signals to chase. Hour after hour we worked, and all we could pin down were asteroid belts and gas clouds, but no exit.
Kanunu left to Pochelympe for the night. Jikomanzoku elected to go to sleep in his pod at a safe spot in J160014. I worked a while longer with no luck in finding a new way out. Being more experienced and having more probes in my hold, I'm going to stay the night in here. Tomorrow, Jiko and I will find another way out.
It's the first time I'm going to sleep in my capsule. I hope I don't wetgrave. If I do, you know I love you more than anything, Nakatre.
I'm having one of those days when quite frankly I'd be better off not getting out of bed. Let's see...
Didn't get much sleep - partly (I suspect) because my sleep cycles are a little messed up, as Apocrypha goodness has kept me up late gawking at stuff. Went off later than I'd like for archery practice. I was there for a whopping hour and a half to two hours, or so, and in that time managed to lose an arrow and break or damage three others. I won't even get into just how appalling my aim was, today. To finish the practice session with a bang I had a little episode with low blood pressure. Just great.
Having recovered from that, we went to lunch. On a miraculous lucky break Fiancé and I actually bumped into some friends with their little daughter, and lunch was actually nice. But later on as I tried to make dinner it all went pear shaped and dinner consisted of warm-ish steaks with half-burnt potato salad. Just great.
I've just now logged in to Eve and i'm not sure I dare undock, to be honest. I'm afraid if I do I'll get killed in a freak accident mining in 1.0 space, or something >.<
I hope things go better tomorrow. Kayleigh has a race to run for the League and in this luck I'd get stuck at some stargate and be overtaken by everyone, I'm sure.
It's funny how most signatures nowadays get left alone in Ney. I've been sitting at a Gravimetric site for the better part of an hour, now, and no one has come to see what it's about. Am I just getting lucky or is everyone truly off exploring uncharted territory?
I know most of the alliance guys are busy off who knows where. Chatter is filled with references to uncharted space, talk of dumping things in stations and plans for other encounters.
And I don't know why I feel slightly left out. It's too late and I'm too tired to go far from home, anyway. So why? Maybe I just envy them the fact they are adventuring into the unknown.
Last night Ney local was abuzz with chatter. Busy bees that the local Caille students are, within 5 seconds (I imagine) someone had found this in system.
It's a rather scary moment, after the horrifying images of Seyllin still burned into my mind, to find one of those in the system where you and your corp have made home. I don't think I've ever been so glad to be a capsuleer, to know I'd have the means to not only transport myself to safety but also bring along all of the Dragonstar employees and a fair number of refugees along with them.
But anyway, apocalyptic fears aside and because things seemed to be relatively safe I took the opportunity to take the Melted out there with some probes and try to pin this wormhole down. Which I did after a while; and it was still faster than many, many probing sessions in the past. I do believe I'm beginning to like these new probes.
As for the wormhole itself it was already very unstable when I got there. I found fellow racer Cai Lun there at the mouth of the thing and he reassured me it was quite safe, while I was still hanging around, taking pictures and hesitating. I took a deep breath and jumped through, only to find myself in Yezara, out in Khanid Kingdom high-sec. The first thing that crossed my mind was that with such random portals, the slavers must be rubbing their hands. No customs at wormholes, no police. Just grab a few unsuspecting souls and voilà, hop right into the wolf's den.
I jumped back while the thing was still there, swapped ships, went and sat at an ice field doing some thinking.
Such a strange day, waking up to the terrible, horrifying news of Seyllin, stuck in Ney myself with no real way of helping. When confirmation came of the final fate of Seyllin I, it was too late for anything. I still shiver when I think of the fate of so many out there.
In the end, staying at home staring at the news holos only kept chilling my heart. So I went out, hopping from star system to star system, trying not to look too closely at planets, haunted by images from the news.
I picked up the Melted from Amarrian space and flew it back, taking the chance to try out the new probes. They certainly seem to be a lot more effective.
However, I got interrupted by cheers in alliance channel. Deathlords had found a wormhole. Trust pilots who really believe they are demigods to defy laws of physics and Concord warnings; they dived into it.
Soon reports were coming back of encounters with alien species and gas clouds! There were gas clouds out there to be had, and only a few in alliance with skills and equipment for it. I am one of them. I ran 17 jumps to get my harvester, then 25 more to where the wormhole had been found. Together with Deathlords, I jumped in.
It was strange being in a place where you knew no other capsuleer had ever been. I later wished I were sharing it with Nakatre, but first I had to deal with the pesky locals. Who are these - Sleeper, I hear people calling them? Nasty guys. They came after my drones with a vengeance, but they refused to reply to hailing calls.
I repelled the few frigates which came at my harvesting Brutix, while over comms the other alliance guys dealt with much bigger threats elsewhere in system. I finally sat in my cloud with Deathlords in his hauler by my side and I gathered gas.
It was eerily calm, out there. Nothing showed in local channels, because there were no gates, no beacons, no nothing relaying signals. It made my hair stand on end. I'm glad the wormhole held and we're all back in charted space.
The entire press conference after the race had been somewhat of a blur. Moreso than the race, actually. Maybe she was simply getting old and these all looked the same nowadays. The diminutive jin-mei now could finally go around more or less anonymously in the more select gathering afterward with just pod racers, some jet-set guests and the organisers.
She nibbled on a cookie despite the fact she really wasn't hungry. She could never really eat just after getting off a pod, and to add to that she still had too much adrenaline from the race coursing through her veins.
The first race was done. She felt rusty, she felt clumsy; she'd been overtaken not just by tech-ones but also by Quin's assault frigate. That was always a blow on her ego, only somewhat lessened by the fact the ship was piloted by such a close friend.
But she kept grinning when she was too distracted to school her face into a more polite smile. They had done the impossible as a team: they'd got the entirety of Scuderia Dragonstar in at the finish line before the legendary speed of Takashi Kurosawa. All of them! Even Arcmako, the rookie. Even Quin in a Jaguar. It was such an incredible feat of team work that it still had her somewhat stunned.
A big part of that had been Nakatre. A missing waypoint at a turnaround on the track had brought Nakatre from last of the Scuderia to being in a very important first place and able to pull the rest of the team up into recovering from the extra jumps they'd had to do, compared to most other racers out there. And the civire had held on to that place until the very end, when Demon had finally gone past her.
She watched as Nakatre came in from somewhere and swept the room with her eyes, no doubt looking for Kayleigh herself. The jin-mei made no move, just gazing at her wife across the room, a little smile playing with her lips. I am so proud of you, Nakatre, so happy you're racing again.. At this point those keen blue eyes had picked her from the crowd and she'd started walking toward Kayleigh. I love you so much.
For the first time in many, many months, they left the post-race party together to share the journey back home.
She couldn't sleep, try as she might and despite the warm, reassuring presence of her wife snuggled up with her. It was the night before, of course. Not only the night before a race, but it would be the first race of a new season. It was typically a night when she got little if any sleep.
This time, however, adding to her worries about the upcoming season she was worried about Nakatre and her new venture, Stillwater. Despite her promise years ago, Nakatre was going back to a life of crime. No deaths, she had assured Kayleigh when they'd spoken about it. No more murdering. Yet.. she'd once thought Nakatre would never again engage in crime of any sort. How could she possibly know things wouldn't spiral out of control? She just couldn't.
In the velvety darkness of the bedroom the jin-mei sighed. She didn't even notice her fingers played idly and tenderly with the civire's silvery hair.
What could she, Kayleigh, do? Absolutely nothing. It seemed Nakatre couldn't leave her Angel Cartel past completely behind her. The only thing left was to be there for her love, through thick and thin. But she worried. Crime had a way of getting out of control and ruining people's lives. She desperately hoped it would never take Nakatre away from her.
Blog posts are labelled according to a certain logic, most of it self-explanatory. Note, however:
In-Character: events that would one way or another become common knowledge out there. Fiction: most likely events that are not common knowledge. Do not assume you know this about my character unless you have good reason to. Out-of-Character: mostly ramblings from the player, not to be associated with the character herself.