Inspired By Images Entry – Playing Dice with the Rabbit

This is my entry to the Inspired By Images Of Eve Competition 2. More details and links to all entrants can be found at Starfleet Comms

–Playing Dice with the Rabbit–

I rarely stepped out of my pod for anything, ever since I took to the stars I have found the immortality somewhat reduced when I was simply human bound by gravity and the confines of a planet or station. Many mistook this for arrogance, I think it was more fear of what I had left behind and my distaste for how differently everyone treats you when they see the sockets. They might think I am ‘one of the gods’, but I feel anything but that.

It was a time like this that made it all the more apparent. I drifted quietly in a rough orbit of Sivala VI, I watched the chaotic swirls of the storm world with a mild envy. Though this shell gave me more sensations than anyone would hope to experience, I could not bare to feel the wind on my face, not in this body.

*Damage management system engaged, restoring main reactor* Finally the nanites had pieced together enough of my body to get parts of it functioning. I would still need to dock for a full repair, but for now this would do.

*Fusion Reactor cold start engaged* Many capsuleers would have abandoned a ship in this condition, I on the other hand had a job to complete. The battered victor of a calculated battle. I could have brought something that assured victory, but I enjoyed the adrenaline rush I got when I knew the battle would be close. I always knew the odds could turn against me, especially with the Guristas, they tended to be able to draw in pilots together more than the other factions. At least when I was up against them that was maybe I’d done something they had taken particular offence too.

*Power 10%, stabilisers operational at 5% capacity* I slowly lugged the Taranis out of its spin and levelled it with the marked axis of the storm world below me, trying not to strain the jets too badly. This little bird was amazing, and even more amazing was the way it held together without armour, and only 20 or so % hull integrity.

A light flashed on the inside of my capsule, I looked up slowly.
*Incoming call from Solus Epideme*
`You alive out there?’
`More or less.’
`Did you get it?’
`Yes, and it is still intact. You might have warned me the Guristas had substantial local patrols here.’
`Not my fault, they came in from Kubinen, CONCORD got some of them on the way through but unfortunately some got through.’
`What is so important about this cargo Solus? That isn’t normal behaviour for these guys.’
`Just don’t open it, you will be glad it is in state hands. That is all I can say. Just dock up and we will take it from there.’
`I might be a few hours yet, lets just hope I can get my warp drive online before they come back.’
*Warp-drive operational at 15%, charging capacitor, rate is 30% of nominal*
`—OK scratch that last comment, as long as they don’t show up within the next 30 seconds we are good’
`I am already good Eros, You on the other hand have some friends inbound, CONCORD are engaged on the Kubinen stargate once again. Multiple battleships. Good luck friend.’

The line dropped. I began checking my damage monitors with great vigour, I routed the nanites to repair only my capacitor, drive systems and armour. I would need as much speed as possible. I slowly engaged the main thrusters it felt very laboured, within 20 seconds I was approaching 100m/s. Small fragments of armour began covering the holes in my skin, and the ship began to come to life, It started to feel less sick and more beautiful as it did before.

*Warning, incoming contacts. Hostile ID codes confirmed*
4 battleships dropped out of warp 50 km away, one of them promptly exploded producing a forward projected burst of fire and smoke, another was clearly in some distress but the other two seemed to have gotten through totally unscathed. It would take them about 20 seconds for them to lock me, and another 40 seconds for their missiles to reach me. It is a good job they didn’t send any intercep…. crap. Two intercepters dropped out of warp and began a rapid approach, it would still probably take about 20 seconds.

Come on baby, The Taranis was feeling and looking better, though on the inside she was still quite broken.  I repeatedly tried to throw it into warp but the drive kept folding on each attempt. On the tenth attempt, with the interceptors closing on 20 km, My AI said the most wonderful words I had heard all day.

*Warp Drive Active, velocity set at 0.5 AU/s*
The Taranis dragged itself into warp, heading to the opposite side of the system. The route took me past the host star. It approached slowly, at this speed it was possible to appreciate how its colours changed, and  how the glow cast shadows over my vessel as I began inspecting the damage with my camera drones, making each ridge and dent more obvious than normal. The Guristas where long gone, I had to make several jumps in order to drop off my cargo, but CONCORD would not let them chase me. The star passed below and then behind me as I began to slow. I plotted a triangular warp pattern which would allow me to keep on the move while the Nanites strengthened the vessel. I wasn’t going to take any more chances.

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