My FDl had returned from refit, damaged panels replaced and a fresh coat of paint all over, it had seen a lot of action recently and had earned the makeover many times. I was doing final checks before putting her in the hangar for the night, and watching what appeared to be an endless stream of battle-ready ships coming in to land, most had already put on their 'Sunday Clothes' and glistened under the harsh lighting with all of the charm and prescence of a basking shark, beautiful to behold - but so many teeth also, and always looking for their next meal.
I checked the time for the umpteenth time, an hour or so to go, I'd better prepare...
The most recent arrivals were landing, maybe they'd do a refit here, dirty and battle-scarred but landing with all of the grace of a ballet troupe, typical really that the Reapers would be last to show, they'd been a little busy! Looking out over the station I chuckled, even ignoring those ships already in hangars, those FDL's, Mamba's, 'conda's and 'vettes were sporting enough firepower to pacify a planet. A single blast from the station klaxon briefly distracted me from the mass of flying death spread out before me, a glimpse toward the mailslot - no green lights, now all red... The station blast doors started to inexorably close, no safety devices on those - anyone caught out would be crushed no matter how 'hard' the ship.
A brief, blinding flare of incandescent light preceeded a Beluga as it boosted through with so little room to spare I thought it may have been too late, he was fine - typical of Rick, veteran of many battles in that big, white whale, finding that last bit of 'action' had almost cost him dearly. It was good to see that he'd made it.
It was time, the Rock was full to bursting with ships from many factions, all here for just one reason... Emergency lighting illuminated the station with a baleful red glow, the ground crews and controllers no longer on station, the only sounds floating across the station were the ticks and groans of cooling plates and thrusters.
Oddly enough, the only place in the Rock that could accomodate so many people was 'The Ballroom' - a vast, almost hangar-like 'room' that had been created by a lot of effort in removing bulkheads and many offices for the sole purpose of getting all of these people in one place.
A gentle 'pop' drew everyone's attention to a raised platform (one of the station lift trucks provided the height) where a very familiar man faced the masses below, the murmur of background talking tailed off to silence...
Phisto, "everyone's Anarchist" , Sobanii lifted the microphone to his mouth... "Ladies, Gentlemen, Colleagues, it's fabulous to see you all here today, and you are most welcome! Today, The Nameless, by virtue of the efforts of all here, now controls all of the stations in Carcosa, Thank you, now lets PARTY!"
Scum, villains, dregs of society - call them as you will, a huge group of people had joined in several wars for 'control' of a system that gave the word 'freedom' more than just lip-service, and today - they celebrate