Ithica groaned as he sat up, his hands flying up to his head to cradle it softly.
“Urgh.. fuck me. What in the fuck was that?” he breathed, massaging his temples in a bid to ease the throbbing pain behind his eyes. Ithica hadn’t felt this bad since the last corp ransom party. They’d snagged a passing trader and convinced the terrified pilot that his cargo of beer and spirits would be much better off in the hand of the pirates than in the hold of such a ship. The trader, strangely, had also agreed. Quite vigorously in fact.
When he went on his way, cargohold empty, Ithica and his fellow pirates proceded to insist on sampling all the exotic drinks. After all, they were moral pirates and couldn’t live with the guilt of selling on poisoned beverages.
That night they made sure that every bottle was safe to drink however, in the morning, Ithica wasn’t so sure. He crawled to his quarters and stuck his head under the pillow until those assholes on the bridge stopped making the station spin so much.
Ithica squeezed his temples and gritted his teeth as the pain ebbed away. Opening his eyes he stared around him at his surroundings.
He appeared to be in some sort of holding cell based on the decor and the titanium chain clamped around his ankle. Ithica pulled his leg against the chain a few times but it didn’t give at all.
He humpfed as he slouched back against the wall.
The room was bland, featureless and grey. As if someone just hollowed a cube out of dull metal and put a door in it. The door was the only feature of the room that differed. It was also grey, however, it was a different shade of grey.
“Wonderful”, said Ithica wondering who he’d pissed off this time, “just wonderful”.
Just as Ithica was in the middle of trying to see if he could squeeze his ankle through the shackles the door slid open with a quiet hiss. He glanced up at the door as a figure strolled in.
He appeared to be around 40 to 50 years old with thin greying hair and wrinkles around his eyes. The man had a kind face but his eyes were anything but. Clenching a stun gun in his hand he stepped into the centre of the room, stopping a few paces short of Ithica, who was currently eyeing the stun-gun suspiciously whilst working out if he had a play.
“Who are you?” the man exclaimed, “What are you doing here? How did you get here? Explain yourself!” he gesticulated wildly with the weapon, a bead of sweat working its way down the mans forehead.
Ithica tried to stand up but his head had different ideas. He crumpled back down and tried to make it look like that was what he intended all along.
“Listen here, who the hell are you? Why am I here?” Where the fuck is here?!”
“Don’t play games with me, you know exactly where you are!”, the man stepped forward, weapon aimed at Ithica.
“Woah, listen here, old man. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I was just flying along through Black Rise when *poof* I woke up in some reanimation chamber in this god damned station.”
“Lies!” hissed the man, “You’re here to spy on us, to stop us!”
“I don’t know who the hell you are, why would I spy on you!?” Ithica said with a raising voice, “I’m not interested in your affairs so long as they don’t interfere with mine”
A flicker of doubt flashed across the mans eyes as he span round and strode out of the room, door hissing shut behind him.
Ithica realised he’d tensed up and the pull of the shackles was hurting him. He relaxed and took a series of slow breaths as he considered how much shit he appeared to be in.
“Damnit Dwaigon”, sighed Murrdurr, “How many times to I have to tell you, don’t call me that!”
“Call you what? Your actual name?”
“Yes, just call me Murrdurr”
“Jeez, fine. Whatever Rence, sorry, ‘Murrdurr'” Dwaigon sniggered while making air quotes around the name.
Murrdurr rubbed his temples with a pained expression on his face. He’d been a graduate from the prestigious State War Academy of the Caldari State, one of the best in his class. The aptitude tests had placed him into the logistics specialist stream where he’d received advanced training in the piloting of the specialist ships the Navy used to support their fleets during the war against the Gallente Federation.
Murrdurr was trained to operate these ships during fleet warfare, ensuring the survival of his fleet even under overwhelming odds.
He’d trained in a series of Osprey class logistics cruisers in a series of escalating wargames receiving commendations from his tutors and instructors. He was one of the first trainees to be granted pod time in a Basilisk and, according to his instructors, flew it to fine effect.
Upon graduation he was touted to be a shoe-in for the carrier program in a few months. That is, until the incident.
After the graduation ceremony Murrdurr and his fellow newly minted officers went out to celebrate. He’d got absolutely blind drunk on all sorts of exotic spirits. They’d been pounding shot after shot all evening, slapping each other on the back and guffawing loudly when someone had to make a dash to the nearest toilets, hand clapped firmly over mouth.
At some point he’d met ‘her’. He didn’t even know her, not that it’d have been real. She was stunning. Everything about her. Her eyes had glistened as she made eye contact with him across the bar. Her body was incredible and she clearly knew it, showing it off with a tight dress cut in just the right places to leave little to the imagination.
She’d had him over her little finger from the start. They went back to the dorms but she’d wanted to go somewhere more private. Drunk, eager to show off and not thinking with the right head he’d taken her and snuck her past security into the Navy docks and onto the biggest ship he had access to, a Navy Raven class battleship where the graduation ceremony had taken place earlier that day.
Next thing Murrdurr knew he woke up in a rejuvination bay with armed soldiers surrounding him and a very pissed off Admiral.
She’d been a Gallente agent, they said. Once he’d given her access to the ship she locked it down, turned the weapons systems on neighbouring berthed warships and activated the self destruct.
Twenty cruiser class ships and three battleships were destroyed by the missiles and the exploding ship.
Facing court martial he’d ran. He’d survived as a mercenary for hire for the defence fleets against incursions of Sansha’s nation into empire space. His training in the logistics ships came in handy. The Navy almost caught him once, prompting him to come up with a pseudonym and change his appearance.
The money was good but he hated the people, they were almost as bad as the military types he’d thought he’d left behind. Eventually, when moving through a dangerous area of space, he’d witnessed a gang of pirates attacking a lone industrial ship. Murrdurr been about to move along when the backup landed. A trap set for the now struggling pirates.
In his logistics cruiser he’d opened a communications channel with the pirates.
“Who the fuck are you?” came the reply
“Just a passer by, looks like you’re in trouble”
“Nothing we can’t handle”, said Ithica Hawk as the first of the pirate ships exploded. The swarm of drones Murrdurr could now see rapidly shifted onto another of the pirates.
“Doesn’t look that way to me. I’ll help you but I want a share of the loot”
The second pirate ship exploded leaving just four remaining.
“Fuck. Alright, deal whoever you are. If you doublecross us we’ll kill you”
Murrdurr cut the comms channel, locked up the remaning pirates and activated the remote shield transfer modules fitted to his ship.
With their shields being regenerated by the Scimitar class ship the pirates had been able to hold the field and pick off the hostiles one by one.
As the last hostile went down Murrdurr noticed his warp drive was offline.
His neocom flashed up indicating that the Ithica Hawk was opening a communication channel with him.
That had been how Murrdurr had first met the lowlife pirates and it wasn’t long until he was one of them too. After all, even criminals need logistics support.
Now here he was sitting in a station with Dwaigon waiting on Ithica who was supposed to have been here already.
“Where is he, do you know?” Murrdurr asked.
“No clue, he’s usually not this late. He’s an asshole but he’s a punctual asshole” Dwaigon said.
“Hmm, he’s not answering any messages. Have you tried contacting one of those locator agents?”
“Yeah, just there actually. Waiting to hear back.. wait, mail just arrived”
Dwaigon opened the mail on the desktop screen. Both pirates leant in to see the result, which wasn’t what they expected.
Ithica Hawk had vanished.