She couldn't help asking herself why exactly she hadn't come to Metropolis sooner. There had been some reason or other - distance, work, something - but as she hovered by the mouth of a freshly-probed wormhole she couldn't remember what had been important enough to keep her from this: flying with Kalahari.
The invitation had come weeks ago, and she'd delayed the actual travel plans - a fact she now regretted, looking over to the other Loki who'd just come out of warp. Kalahari's ship was almost like her own, but slightly different, much like sisters.
In they went, into a class 2 system which her instruments were naming J133417. As always she got that slight flutter in her belly, the thrill of being in an uncharted place, pristine. A dangerous place, too. Perhaps not so much from the mysterious residents (not on a class 2, anyway) but because a distraction, failing to catch a capsuleer threat on the onboard scanner soon enough might spell disaster for any expedition.
As it was, the place looked deserted. Kalahari and Kayleigh scanned down some signatures and warped into some sleepers. Side by side the Lokis made short work of them. The jin-mei was happy with the way the New Dawn was behaving, despite the speed at which it went through ammo. She was, indeed, having a really good time which was something she hadn't been having often lately. As they quickly salvaged the wrecks, Kayleigh gave it some thought.
Kalahari and her went way back, of course, to the very first few months after Kayleigh had graduated. Back then the racing league (still on its very first season) was a project of the Glamour Syndicate so Kayleigh had braved her innate shyness and had in time become a regular denizen of the GLS lounge. She'd forged a friendship with a core of Glamour Bunnies pilots, but with none quite so much as with Kalahari Wayrest. It was she who'd most taken an interest in her racing exploits, she who'd become her #1 fan and later even her #1 sponsor. All that while being a colourful, sweet, unwavering friend.
As the instruments warned her there was nothing else to salvage from that wreck, Kayleigh realised she wasn't just smiling fondly, she was also blushing at some of the old memories. She could almost hear the girls, "What happens in GLS stays in GLS." Her smile widened.
But Kalahari was saying something on comms so she turned her attention back to the present. "Yes, I'm done. All ready to go back home." The two sister Lokis warped out in tandem, leaving just an abandoned structure behind.
Whoever had worked on the reverse engineering of Sleeper technology for this ship had been Minmatar. For all the work that had been done on it, it looked at once alien and sturdy-rusty Matari-style.
"It's not exactly very elegant, is it?" The jin-mei frowned slightly at it through the glass separating her from the hangar where mechanics were still working on the finishing touches.
"That she ain't, cap'n."
The capsuleer crossed her arms and leaned a shoulder against the glass, slanted grey eyes narrowing a fraction as she peered at her newest acquisition.
The ship itself, a Loki-class strategic cruiser, was little more than a rod with one or two bits hanging off of it. And it was brownish, as if the rust had already started settling in despite the fact that the hull was brand new and freshly assembled together in that very hangar. It reminded her of a huge log she had once seen float downriver near her home, when she was a youngster still living dirtside. It certainly didn't look impressive enough for the amount she'd paid for it. For close to 600 million ISK she would have expected a far more stunning sight.
The stats on that thing were impressive in theory, however, and despite the somewhat ugly exterior she found herself itching to connect her pod to it and take it for a spin. At the same time, she felt uneasy with the idea. Except for the Rising Star, she'd never undocked in a ship so expensive. The Rising Star had had crazy speeds to her credit which had made her feel relatively safe - and even so the Ares had blown up into tiny little pieces at the hands of team Dirtside back in Season 5. This new one, while fast for a cruiser, wouldn't feel nearly as nimble.
Also... she hadn't yet acquired the guns which she wanted to mount on it.
"When will she be spaceworthy?"
"Technically, she already is, cap'n. The hull is sound; the crew you hired is already making itself familiar with the insides. It's just that some of the shield systems aren't online yet and the turrets haven't arrived."
"I see." The jin-mei pinched her lower lip gently between thumb and index finger, deep in thought. "Call a break for the workers. I want to take her out for a short test-drive."
When she finally spun on her heels to make her way to the hangars, Kayleigh Jamieson-Read was smiling like a child with a new toy in hand. The money be damned. With a spark in her eye she wondered how fast she could make that cruiser go...
We made history tonight. Possibly even twice. First of all, it's now official that Quin is the first ever pilot to earn a title in each of the three possible classes. Not only that, but with her insane clone-jumping technique she docked before Takashi - before anyone, really - in an assault frigate. That's not a sight we see often at all in the League.
I don't care that critics might say 'oh but Takashi wasn't racing as usual; he was anchoring the Venture assault frigate challenger'. I know for a fact he tried to catch her toward the end; he burned past me in the space of three jumps as if I wasn't there at all. Yes, my ego suffers each time he does that. It drives me crazy.
Nevertheless, he tried to catch up to her AF in the later stages and couldn't. All the records will say is that Quin's assault frigate beat him and everyone else to the finish line.
I should be happy, jumping for joy, throwing a party. I'm not. I mean, I was at the time. I giggled and cheered and whooped as much as any of them on our team comms. But now the blood has cooled, the adrenaline has worn off and I can only feel a heavy heart. That's because I know this will be the last race where I'll have Quin alongside me on the track. My good friend Quin is quitting the piloting side of the races.
Sure, she'll be involved in the organisation side of things - and I swear I fear the tricks her brilliant mind will come up with - but she'll no longer be suffering and cheering and stumbling right along with us on the track. It's-- I can't quite explain just how much of a loss this is to me personally and to the team as a whole. I can't find the words. There's just this heavy, heavy feeling in my heart, and it has cast a bit of a shadow over the celebrations I should be doing.
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.