Fire Fade; Deciat
Python designate XS Colubrid
; Imperial Courier designate XS Vega
Science Vessel; Cargo Barge; Thargoid Cyclops
Let me start this one off with a little behind-the-scenes. I got my Pilot's license near two years ago. Space can get lonely, overwhelming, or just downright frightening sometimes. To save my mind from rampancy, every so often I must settle down in a station on the outskirts of the Bubble and kick back.. Take in the sights, get to know the locals, just take a step back from the concerns of life. As such, I spent the last few months in the Fire Fade system on-board Tsiolkovsky Ring. Wonderful place, really. With their relations to the Empire (however thin), they are very friendly- always helpful when I'd lost my way trying to get back to my apartment, willing to answer my myriad of questions at the local zoo (which I frequented), or a good conversation at one of the several taverns. As was my goal of relaxing, I made little effort to become known, for better or worse, to the local authorities. Just another wanderer, just the way I like it sometimes.
All good things must come to an end however. After many months, I began to miss the excitement of discovery and gunfire. I yearned to hear my engines roar to life. And so I left, saying goodbye to my friends with one more night of drinks. Early the next morning I returned to the hangar for the first time in what felt like forever. My Python, the XS Colubrid, still sat there as if I'd never left, and yet looked cold. The maintenance crew had taken good care of her. I paid a visit to the younger fellow at the check-in stand, must've been no older than 19, but smiled with eagerness in his eyes as I set a mug of the local ale on his desk and winked as he handed me my keys. It was the expensive kind, and I know he had little chance of ever affording one with the wages the new guys in the docking bay make, so why not. The familiar jingle in my pocket excited me as I walked up the cargo ramp and settled into the pilot's seat. I felt the landing pad shudder beneath me, the kid waving as he raised the mug to his mouth. Landing gear- Disengaged
I hear from the automated flight control tower. Landing Gear- Retracted
from Victor, and it's full-speed out the mail slot.
I'm a little foggy for a while (probably from last night's drinking), but after a few jumps around Imperial-controlled space, and it was time to dock quickly and refuel. Of course I always have a problem holding on to my Credits, so I wandered around the shipyard for a while while the maintenance crew took care of my fuel deficit. Sidewinder, Eagle, Type-6... Ew. Imperial Eagle, I have one of those. Viper, no thanks, been there done that. Now... This I might have to try! My 10M Credits burned a hole in my pocket as I stared at a new Courier, fresh off the line and all silvery-shiny. There wasn't much question at that point, my Colubrid was getting shipped back to Diabak. Soon as I had my new XS Vega A-rated, I was on my way to the Xing Hub in Aulis to test out some new weaponry.
It couldn't have worked out much better, really. When I arrived, the Cargo Tech informed me they'd just received a shipment of AX weaponry from the local foundry, and with the Courier's three medium hardpoints, I ended up taking one of each, along with a few experimental modules. Of course, with a Flak Launcher, AX missile pod, and an AX chaingun on-board, she needed some more love. It was a long journey as I jumped around the bubble, modifying everything from Vega's reactor core to her power distributor, and even her shields.
I finally arrived at my final destination, Deciat, looking to make the final modification to my drives. The nav-computer already had a route plotted to Farseer Inc, and I don't rightly remember why I looked over to my navigations panel. Force-of-habit probably. At that moment I noticed something a little out of place. A government megaship, particularly a science vessel, in orbit around one of the local planets. I'd only seen a handful before, so why not go investigate? It was a short flight over, no longer than a minute or two, but as soon as I dropped back into normal space I knew something was terribly wrong. There were two medical-emergency vessels circling the megaship, which itself was billowing smoke and flame, and covered in a green substance I'd only previously seen way back in early May with a destroyed station (See May 3, 3304 Rescue Attempt
). A tell-tale sign of a Thargoid attack, but here?! The aggressor was nowhere to be found, thank God. I went about my business, scanning various points on the ship, until I came to the comms uplink.
"It appears to be scanning us Sir, like it's looking for something.
What the hell did we pick up on our last stop?"
Interesting for sure, but the damage was done. I can only hope the crew was evacuated in time.
Still curious, I pulled my ship back up into supercruise and looked through the Navigations panel again. A cargo barge? Let's go check that out, might learn something else new, and I've never seen one of those before. Another short jaunt over, and I drop into normal space with the barge. The same smoke and flame as last time, and I'm filled with eager curiosity as I see something circling the ship, followed by abject terror as I realize what I'm seeing and start grabbing at my own ship's controls. The reason I didn't recognize the strange craft is because this is my very first encounter with a Thargoid vessel. I've heard of them plenty, seen plenty of pictures. I'm also very aware of their destructive potential. I switch between Vega's firing groups like mad, searching for the one with the Xeno Scanner I'd purchased earlier. Curiosity gets the better of me, and hoping my ship is quick enough I move in, finger on the scanner's trigger.
The scanner chimes to life just as the monstrosity turns to face me, drowning out the whistle of my scanner with the most horrendous deep roar I've ever heard, paramount to the bending of a large structure in an earthquake. Fingers slipping from my controls as I'm paralyzed with fear, it's all I can do to keep pressure on the trigger as I see a swarm of Thargons engulf what I know by this time to be a Cyclops-class Interceptor. As soon as the scan completes, I'm at full throttle away from the beast as it lets out another low roar.
Mind racing with the thought of what's behind me, in a moment of courage I switch to my Flak Launcher and AX missiles, turning around just in time to see the Cyclops and its compliment of Thargons disappearing into a wormhole. I don't know why I turned around in the first place because I know I stood little chance against even their weakest offense, and a wave of relief swept over me as my ship pulled itself back into supercruise. Next time, I told myself...