A lock alarm bleeped, bringing Kayleigh out of her reverie. Serpentis reenforcements had arrived. With barely a second thought she sent her drones after the faster frigates, glanced at the displays to check on Nakatre and make sure she was doing alright, then went back to her thoughts.
She had a family dinner to plan.
Well, maybe that was a little too fancy a name for it, but the fact remained that they would be having Nakatre's sister for dinner. And that, of course, was the unusual and in fact unexpected development.
She had had nightmares for months after the first time they'd actually met face to face. You don't forget easily the sight of a gun pointed to your head, and Ayane had looked like she really might press the trigger. But she hadn't, and time had passed without further encounters.
Now Ayane was working for Nakatre in Stillwater and in a stunning turn of events had called up Kayleigh, arranged to meet (somewhere public, thank goodness) and... she'd apologised. She'd looked like she meant it, too.
So here was Kayleigh, trying to give the woman - her sister-in-law, really - a second chance. Hence a little family dinner. She'd be cooking herself, instead of ordering out, and it would be fun to drag Nakatre along into the kitchen to help out. She found herself smiling. Maybe the evening wouldn't be so bad.
Took me 45 [CENSORED] minutes to get as far as waypoint 3/10, after much pulling of hair and puzzling at the [CENSORED] directional scanner to find cans. And then what happens? Yeah, KillJoy, that was a [CENSORED] genius idea putting that waypoint there.
Sometimes you just have to take a break from the daily grind and go off on something different. After days of toiling first in EndLand for Nox and then in Ney for Ms. Estisen I was in quite a dire need for a break.
Opportunity presented itself one day when my good friend Quintrala was feeling a little low. "We should do something together," I said. The 'something' turned into a little expedition into wormhole space, since Quin had seen little (if any) of it, to date. Last night we took off, she in a Helios doing the probing and me in my best-tanking ship, which just so happens to currently be an Ishtar.
And yes, I know the Sleepers come after drones something awful. I made sure I carried in my hold quite a number of replacements, and I definitely planned on doing a lot of micro-management on them. It's not like I am much good with my guns, anyway. But I'm quite fed up of only seeing the gas clouds out there. I wanted to see something else.
So we took off on a little roam throughout Amarrian space, Quin probing and me either just chatting (girl talk!) or dispatching some pesky Sansha while she kept looking for an unstable wormhole.
We ended up finding one out of Sizamod. We took the proverbial deep breath and jumped in.
I always find the lack of comms unsettling out there, I have to confess. I'm suddenly straining to peer farther, or to make sense of the sounds my sensors are translating from radiation floating around. It all sounds so... eerie.
The place might have been empty of people, according to our sensors, but it certainly wasn't uninhabited. We picked up a Gallente control tower somewhere out there which we didn't dare investigate, of course. And Quin, brilliant in her probing, found us some Sleepers.
And this is where I cursed myself for being all sorts of foolish coming out and trying to take them on all by myself. What if they warp-jammed me from insane distances? What if my tank failed? But this was our little adventure together, and I was determined to learn some bravery from Quin!
After some initial scouting that Quin did, I crossed my fingers and warped into what the sensors were calling a Perimeter Ambush Point. Two Sirius cannons stripped me of shields pretty much with just one volley, which didn't do much for my self-confidence. Still... I turned on the armour rep before their next volley hit, just in case.
Good thing I did, because they kept hitting hard from far away. The frigates, however, were very much ignoring me, so I had to maneuver much closer. When they finally locked they were fast in getting close. I launched my drones and... well what I remember most about the rest of the combat is keeping an eagle's eye on the damage indicators on my drones and on my armour while Quin lay nearby, cloaked, making sure I had a warp-in point in case things got ugly and I needed to break lock.
Despite my best efforts I lost count of how many Warrior and Valkyries II I lost. Fast as they are, they often wouldn't return to the drone bay quickly enough and poof! We got three waves of Sleepers and then nothing. Just the damnable Sirius cannons still taking big chunks off my armour and me fresh out of cap boosters to turn on the second repairer when the hits were better aimed.
I warped out, to let my cap and shields recover... and in all honesty to recharge my courage a little bit. Quin kept an eye on things but in the absence of more Sleepers and seeing my cap and shields all green, I warped in at close range, convinced that within seconds my Ash Green would be just another wreck in w-space.
Was I glad to be proved wrong! Those bloody cannons had an awful time hitting me at such close range. Despite my fears, my surviving Valkyries made short work of them without my even needing to turn on the first repairer.
I'm so slow that by then it was quite late in the night. Quin uncloaked, did most of the looting and then we got nosy around the ruins for a little, taking pictures, after which we went back home, feeling great about overcoming our first little challenge in uncharted space.
All in all, we had a great time. Can't wait to go out there again with her.
Hurried footsteps trotting along a corridor; three sets of footsteps, in fact. A thump. "Watch it, punk!" Huffed breath. "Sorry, mister!"
Running, running, turning a corner. "There!" A girl's voice, this time.
Three sets of running feet draw to a messy halt, punctuated by gasps for breath. "Here, guys," again the girl, still somewhat out of breath. "DS 20. It's this boarding gate."
"Bordel, where's my ticket?" A boy, this time, and the sound of hands patting pockets. The girl, next: "For God's sake, we're late already!"
"Now boarding shuttle DS 20." The soft, efficient but bored tones of a flight attendant.
Three sets of tickets validated and three students let through the gate. "You're lucky to still catch the shuttle, young gents and lady. Your pilot got delayed and is only now getting connected to the shuttle. Enjoy your flight!"
"Connected?" The quiet boy, now, in a soft but low tone.
"Putain! We're going in a capsuleer shuttle? D'you think it's her flying us there?"
"Don't be silly," the girl again, in a practical tone. "I'm sure Ms Jamieson-Read has better things to do than ferry around you lot."
Kayleigh found herself thinking about the past week as she sat docked at the Caille station in Ney, waiting for her cargo to board.
Evaya Starflight, the first person who had taught her anything about flying interceptors, was back in space flying for Dragonstar after an absence of about two years. She hadn't changed a bit, either. According to comms she was right now busy at the wormhole trying to get RedKiwi dizzy by orbiting him fast, in the absence of anything juicy to shoot at.
Druif, too, had made a brief appearance just the previous night. Krak'a Tau and Kessica had also been spotted moving assets around, after being off the spacelanes for well over a year. Last but not least, Dragonstar founder and Kayleigh's old CEO - Kiarra - was back.
Funny how many people had approached the jin-mei in private with a worried look asking how she felt about that. It had surprised her mostly because she felt great! She felt happy to get her old boss back; they'd always got along well. Not to mention Kiarra had always seemed to know what she was doing, whereas Kay herself always felt out of her depth as a CEO. For now Kiarra seemed happy just getting back into the swing of things, but what would happen if in time she wanted the CEO office back? Kay smiled in her pod. She knew exactly what she would do, no regrets.
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.