It didn’t last as long as they’d hoped. The plan had been to inhabit a Class 1 wormhole for three weeks, reaping all the benefits from it that they could, exploring and mapping as they went along.
Week 1 had been busy and exciting, rife with new sights and new experiences. They’d spent some time getting to know each other as pilots, finally working together instead of being spread over the four major empires.
But week 2 had been a dismal affair. It seemed J120256 had nothing else to offer them. The Sleepers had vanished almost without a trace, and they had mapped every single signature they could find. Day in, day out, there was nothing new to see or do. They had run out of excuses to keep fueling Dauntless control tower.
Most importantly, perhaps, Kayleigh was broke. She had had to take on a loan from friends to replace the New Dawn and she was in effect penniless. The money being made in this system was trickling to nothing and was being split in too many shares to help her much in that regard. It was time to go back to known space and knock on some agents’ doors once more.
It was going to be hard to go back to Alenia. That empty apartment made her miss Nakatre more and more each day that passed. She sighed and tore her eyes away from the tiny window overlooking J120256, the system they had never bothered to name. It was time to board the Second Breath and go. All her ships had already been ferried back home, except for the Starcutter, which the XianKun sisters would be hauling along with them tomorrow, when the tower would finally be taken down.
At least tonight she would finally sleep in a decent bed again.
((OOC note: Yes, post is late by a few months, but in the interest of chronological sense I’m tampering with the post dates and will do so until I’m caught up to the “present”))
Day 9 of operation Dauntless, and things have been quiet. A little too quiet. You know I usually like things quiet, but it’s got to the point where there’s nothing at all to do.
We raided all the Sleeper structures we could find, harvested all the gas, and now our probes haven’t been finding any more signals out there. We keep analysing, of course. This is a big system. We get the occasional hit on something new. Or Sleepers try to slip back in. But yesterday there was nothing to do all day long, except look at the sights.
Not that the sights are bad. I do like the way the sun shines off the moon where we anchored Dauntless tower. However, it always feels cold here. I know it must be the colours, because I spend more time in the capsule than anywhere else and it’s always warm when we fly, as you know. The light is all harsh and blue out here. It’s beautiful, in its own way, but a far cry from the warm colours of Aunia and Vylade, where I started my piloting career, or even the brighter and lighter shades in Alenia. Sometimes this place feels downright lonely.
It’s not so bad today, though. Our newest pilot, Taejin, has joined us out here and found me an exit into another uncharted system, a J135422. There was a tower out there somewhere as well as some ships on scanner. They looked like they might be parked in space, so I went in and harvested some gas from under their noses before the connection winked out.
I wonder… were they asleep? Were they off in their tower having a drink? Were they writing home to their loved ones? I miss you.
It doesn’t look like there will be much more to do around here. We will pack up and leave by the end of the week, one week earlier than we’d originally planned. I’ll make sure to take a day off planetside to spend with you, no matter what.
Lots of love: -- Kay
PS: I’m feeling much better, since the day I lost the New Dawn. The odd feeling has disappeared and I no longer get headaches which is a big relief. I hope that never happens again. It was quite scary. Don’t worry, though; I’m feeling well. I’ve enclosed a picture of the New Dawn parked by the hangars, taken on the same day I lost it.
She bit her lip, ignoring the faint taste of pod fluid that it brought. Her hands were still shaking, but she’d be hard pressed to say if the cause was shame, anger, guilt, or all three at once. She could only be grateful that no one could see her flaming cheeks inside the pod.
She was still floating in space, now protected by the Dauntless tower shields. Unsure what to do, she simply hovered in space, trying to keep her voice as calm as she could whenever she had to speak to any of her corp mates in channel. She should probably dock up, leave her pod for the night, have a cup of tea and a lie down. Yet she couldn’t make herself leave the pod, walk the cramped quarters in just her flesh and bones, weighed by shame as she was. She couldn’t make herself run the risk of having to look the remaining XianKun sister in the eye.
The night the two sisters had shown up along with Loken and all four of them had gone out to clear Sleepers out of space, Kayleigh Jamieson-Read had made a mistake so grave, so basic and so costly that she could only wonder at the fact she hadn’t been fired yet. How could she have been so incompetent precisely then?
“Stupid, stupid, stupid!”
In a moment of distraction, she had lost the New Dawn, the very Loki she’d been so proud of. And she could blame no one but herself for losing a ship she’d worked so hard for and had paid so much for. She’d lowered her guard in a dangerous system while out at a place called “The Line” and had been jumped by six hostile capsuleers. Tor and Loken had warped back to help her but she’d been too far gone, and instead they’d ended up losing their ships and also their pods. All because of her.
Kayleigh herself had somehow managed to save her capsule. The ejection had felt different, somehow. For a start, she had a massive headache. One of the sockets which connected her to her pod felt… tingly, and not in a good way. The jin-mei didn’t quite know what to make of it. She could only sit and worry, and hope there was nothing wrong with her because out here there were no real medical facilities she could visit right now.
Outside, Yal was orbiting in a lazy circle. Kayleigh shivered and suddenly felt the need to have more of a skin around her. She willed her capsule to approach the hangar and boarded the Starcutter.
The Myrmidon-class battlecruiser was an old ship, as such things were counted among capsuleers. She hadn’t been flown in a long time, before Kayleigh had brought it back out of the Alenia hangars for Dauntless, but she felt comfortable tonight. Like an old friend. She wouldn’t be much help right now, fitted as she was with all gas harvesters and no weapons, yet being surrounded by the elegant Gallentean design gradually made Kayleigh relax a little more.
Chewing at her lip, she started planning for the next day. There was no way she was going to be able to afford another Loki so soon, but she could certainly work hard, make money go into SPHERE so they could replace their losses. Tomorrow she would start by probing a new exit, bringing in something she could shoot with, and then finding a market for all the odds and ends they already had gathered. It would be a start.
All things considered, Kay would have to count that as a good thing. While true that she would have loved to be back in Nox flying with her friends, there was no doubt that it was good to not have to jeopardise her fleet. She’d never been known for her fighting prowess.
But it was definitely a good thing that the peace SPHERE still enjoyed had allowed them to go on with their original plans. Operation Dauntless had kicked off shortly after the announcement that they wouldn’t have to fight, after all.
Proud to be a part of a corp that would so selflessly help her own friends, Kayleigh had plunged happily into this operation. It helped that it would be about living in uncharted space, an experience she’d enjoyed well enough back in the days of EndLand, but mostly she wanted to bond more with these pilots and wanted to help this outfit grow.
It had taken them two nights of arduous probing to find a suitable system in which to live. Then five of them had hauled and assembled what would be their home in unknown space, brought ships, fittings, perishables… Then sadly, amid the pressure of setting up in a hurry so they wouldn’t be vulnerable for long, an argument had ensued between Yal and Slayer. In the end, before their new home was fully erected, Slayer had taken his ships back outside to Mora and resigned his roles in SPHERE. By the next day, his name wasn’t on the roster anymore.
Even that blow hadn’t quite brought down the morale entirely.
The four pilots remaining in Dauntless tower seemed to be in good spirits. Kayleigh certainly was looking forward to the three weeks they were planning to stay there. Yal and Tor seemed to be enjoying themselves, as far as she could tell, though she hadn’t yet had much opportunity to mingle with them. Loken… he remained a bit of a mystery. She wondered how he felt, being the one male pilot among all the women, now that Slayer had left them.
She smiled, surveying their new home from the camera drones on the New Dawn. This would be the perfect opportunity to get to know her corp mates a lot better.
The diminutive jin-mei pilot floated inside her pod while she waited. Constantly on the periphery of her vision a set of numbers counted down the minutes while she absentmindedly browsed GalNet and kept an eye on the progress report for the stealth bombers she’d ordered bought and fit the previous day.
SPHERE had surprised her in the most pleasant of ways. As soon as they’d learned about Nox Draconum’s predicament, there had been a lot of contacting pilots and voting on a course of action. They had decided to help out by joining up with Nox for the duration of the war.
Kayleigh couldn’t help but feel touched by the gesture. Here she was, less than four months into a corp, and they were standing by her to the point of going to war for people they didn’t really know, just because Nox were her friends and meant so much to her personally.
And that was why she was keeping an eye on that counter. If the Rough Necks didn’t update the status of the war with CONCORD everything would be over at 17h11m, and SPHERE would go on with their lives as usual, having come just a little too late to really help. But if the war was to keep going, Kay would find herself among the ranks of Nox once more, and much sooner than she could have expected.
Feu D’Astres had got his hands on some intel, and was reporting heavy losses for the Rough Necks in one of their other three wars going on at the same time. That, and the fact that RN seemed to have got what they’d come for – namely the tower in Ignebaener – made them both think the war declaration wouldn’t get renewed.
Either way, Kayleigh had something to look forward to. If SPHERE were to go on the warpath, she would get to once more be a part of Nox, fly with her old friends, help defend the alliance she’d dreamed of and helped make reality. If the war ended, SPHERE wouldn’t join Nox but had operation Dauntless to look forward to and exploration of uncharted systems, a subject which fascinated her.
Coming back from a planetside conference, Kayleigh had returned to her office to find a message from Gareth. Nox Draconum was at war and the jin-mei was missed among the ranks of pilots in the alliance she’d helped bring to life.
On the one hand, the message had made her smile. Gareth had always had a way of making her feel welcome and wanted in Nox. On the other hand it had made her feel guilty. Nox needed her and she couldn’t help; not without risking CONCORD intervention, at any rate, which was something she didn’t exactly cherish.
And what was more, by getting involved she might attract attention to her own small corp and could risk getting a war declared on them. As she had given it more thought, she had realised her association with current Nox Draconum pilots was far too evident and easy to discover. It really would be best if she let her CEO know about this situation.
It was while she’d been writing to her CEO that she had found out about Tatsu no Tsurugi’s tower in Ignebaener being in reinforced status. The call had come up for pilots to help repair structures as soon as the tower would come out of reinforced. Torn in her loyalties Kayleigh had finally opted not to show. She had responsibilities in SPHERE and she couldn’t just jeopardise those who had taken her in after the whole mess at Dragonstar.
And so it was that she now found herself cloaked at a distance from the tower. A gang of Rough Necks pilots in battleships were pounding away at the helpless tower and some scavengers were laughing away in local chatter, getting ready to pounce for the scraps.
Nox pilots didn’t dare jump in there, outnumbered and outgunned as they were, but a neutral pilot like, say, one Kayleigh Jamieson-Read, could perhaps salvage something before the vultures got to it. After all, this was Nox property.
Not half an hour later, she had an Iteron Mk4 and was slow-boating it toward structures already unanchored. Heart pounding in her chest, unsure of how the Rough Necks or CONCORD would react, she approached a gun. Despite being bumped by a hostile, she managed to pull it in. No aggression, no police. She smiled, grey eyes hard as steel, and turned her sluggish ship toward the next structure.
More ships came and bumped her. At least three of the hostiles had her locked in their sights, perhaps trying to scare her into aggressing first so they could retaliate, or laugh whenever the local police blew her to pieces, but she knew better than that. Even if she wanted, she couldn’t do anything. She’d been in such a hurry that all she had had time to get fitted were some cargo hold expanders.
The going was slow and rough, being bumped constantly by the lighter hostiles. She filled her cargo with unanchored guns and warped off to the station. As fast as she could, she unloaded and warped back, this time directly to coordinates for laboratories.
She wasn’t so lucky, this time. The Rough Necks haulers were on the job and whenever she could get close to a structure after the bumpy ride, some hauler would already be pulling it into its hold. Much to her frustration, she was unable to save anything of real value. But she went back to the guns and got a few more, racing some neutral opportunists to them. Who’d have thought: the vice-champion of the ISRC league racing for leftovers in her hauler?
In the end, two and a half cargo holds worth of tower weaponry was all she could save. A poor showing, but better than a complete loss. As she met up with Critters in station to hand over Tatsu’s guns, she wondered if her little stunt would have annoyed the Rough Necks enough to retaliate in some way on SPHERE. She hoped not. Not for a few guns, at any rate.
First of all, my apologies for the delay. I'm used to sitting in front of a computer all day and doing little else, so the whole Fanfest experience drained me of energy toward the end, making me skip on my writing. I'll pick up where I left off, which I believe was me bitching about the weather.
After the miserable time I'd had on Friday with the weather, Saturday dawned such a gorgeous sunny day that it actually made me forget about going to the morning presentations and instead I took off for a walk by the seaside. No gloves, no scarf, and I even had to open my jacket some \o/ The bay was looking beautiful, with the mountains in the distance having been coloured a bit whiter the previous day.
So the first session I did find my way to was about Storyline Processes. Mostly Q&A, while I was hoping they'd actually talk more in detail about storylines and story-making within the game. It was still interesting, but most of it a repetition of what I'd already heard previously.
After that I hooked up with Adrielle and Mori again (my trusted companions in this year's foray into Iceland) and we settled down for a few hours in tranquility for the final presentations. Hilarious, as usual. Oveur's beer ship has been branded into my mind :D
I have to say I was a bit disappointed that we got no earth-shattering announcements as has been the hallmark for Fanfests in the past. Nevertheless, the glimpse into Dust 514 only reinforced the temptation to go buy a console, which is something I've never owned in my entire life, and play a FPS which is something I'm generally really bad at.
Of all the things I heard and saw at Fanfest I have to say the news about the new mail system and the upcoming T3 frigates are the two that really have me jumping for joy. The new sovereignty system being brought to us in Dominion, while very interesting in and of itself, isn't really something that affects me at this point in time. As for planets? I couldn't get in the room for that presentation on Friday :( By the time I got there the room was so full that people were spilling onto the lobby and craning their necks to peek inside. I'm not exactly tall so I went to lounge on one of the bean bags nearby and sulked on the interwebs ;)
I have to say by the time the party started I was already very tired. Also I hadn't dropped by the hotel to drop off my stuff, so I was going around with my satchel on my shoulder. Not very comfy.
Röxör were amazing, of course. I still remember how sceptical I'd been about this dev band back in '07, having played in a band myself and having seen many terrible bands in my time. They surprised me then, and I have to say they were even better this time around. Hell, they almost had me dropping my bag somewhere and going off to jump by the stage, despite this being extremely unlike me. Almost. But not quite. By then I was so tired I could do little more than nod to the music and yell some lyrics.
After Röxör I hugged Adri and Mori one last time and took off for my hotel, exhausted, a bit deaf, but happy. And definitely wishing I could afford going to Fanfest every year, which I can't. So maybe in two years I'll make it back once more.
PS: Shyness is truly a curse. Despite seeing around a few names I recognised and who might even recognise my name back (depending on how good they are with names, I guess, since I'm not exactly an Eve celebrity) I confess I didn't have the courage to go up to them and say hi. I saw Verone, whose corp I seem to remember sponsored one of the past racing seasons, usually surrounded by a Veto posse ;) Roc Wieler, whose writings I read on and off, was seated not far from me at some of the storyline presentations. Lacrimae, who I met at a roundtable in '07, was going around posting stuff on twitter as it happened.
But I did end up making a new acquaintance. I'm shy, but I'm not rude ;) The guy sitting next to me on the plane from Heathrow to Keflavík turned out to be an Eve player - I think 90% of the passengers on that flight were, to be honest. He struck a conversation and it turns out his corp is more or less neighbours with some Nox Draconum people, even if they're *ahem* on different sides of the law. So a shout out to Darius Falc, who I really enjoyed meeting in real life, and who I hope to meet and not get shot at by ingame :)
And of course, last but not least, I really loved having someone to hang out with this year. My fun would have been greatly hampered without the company of my travel buddies Adrielle Firewalker and Mori Felding. I loved meeting you for real, guys. Maybe next time we can hook up at Heathrow again ;) And now we do know where to find cheap, warm food near the venue after hours *grins*
Now that I do have shower gel and shampoo in my room, the hotel doesn't feel so crappy. The wonders a nice, hot shower will do.
There should really be an official designation for the current weather over here. I propose the term "miserable fucking weather" should as of now designate what I had to go through to get to the Fanfest venue this morning. It's cold (which is in and of itself enough for me to dislike it) and then there's a sort of rain. How to describe it? It's like the rain hasn't really decided what it wants to be when it grows up, and is trying to make up its mind between hail and snow, but is failing to be either. It stings when it hits my face :P
Not very pleasant when you've just climbed out of bed. Ah, the things we do for internet spaceships ;)
I realise this post could do with some actual news, but I can't really come up with anything remarkably coherent, since I had no breakfast and am just now at lunch time finally getting a bite to eat after listening in to the morning lecture/welcome stuff. Maybe later I'll have any actual content beyond weather whinage <.<
It was freezing when I hopped off the plane, my hotel is a bit crap (not that I plan on spending much time there, come to think of it), but Fanfest venue looks awesome,
And I don't use the word "awesome" very often.
I've been too shy to sign up for something with the tempting title of "Battle of the Bands"... Hmmm....
Anyway, despite the freezing cold (seriously, I wasn't made for this weather!) I'm having tons of fun and finding it easier even than last time around to just talk to complete strangers about the game, Iceland and traveling :D
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.