D-Day minus 1.
Y-4CFK – Planet 1 – Belt 1
“Prano. Is that name supposed to mean something? It's just another slave's name as far as I'm concerned. As for this datacore...” Karo said with a dominative chuckle as he turned his Pilgrim and locked on to Gigaer's Hurricane, “... you'll have to come and get it!”
Gigaer responded in kind by locking on to the Pilgrim and priming his combat systems. The Pilgrim could not match the Hurricane's offensive and defensive potentials, but the Pilgrim was made to cripple its target before pounding it into slag. Gigaer closed the distance between the two craft as quickly as possible so he could bring his 425mm autocannons to bare. Karo grinned. His repair systems had brought his electronic warfare systems back online and to full capacity. He felt like a spider allowing a fly to drift into its web.
The Pilgrim was rocked violently by Gigaer's opening salvos, and just as the Hurricane entered optimum ranges, a flood of exotic energies rushed out of the Pilgrim's emmiters and swallowed the Hurricane in deadly light. System after system malfunctioned and went offline, bringing the Hurricane's violent advance to a complete halt. Targeting systems overloaded and blew out the main relays, leaving him with manual control. Navigation and propulsion struggled futily to keep the ship at speed, but Gigaer was effectively stationary. Trying to reroute systems through each other only delayed the inevitable as his capacitor was being both crippled and sucked dry.
Gigaer's Hurricane was reduced to a floating can as the Pilgrim began its modest assault on the crippled vessel's shields. Normally such an attack would not succeed, but with Gigaer's power systems being put under so much strain, the shields were not recharging, and armour energizing systems were in a similar situation. If Gigaer could route power to his comms, he would have heard Karo cackling madly and proclaiming his Amarrian superiority over his Matari prey. Gigaer's shields began to buckle.
All Gigaer had was life-support, manual control over his turrets, optical sensors and shield emmiters. Gigaer linked his turrets to his sensors and set pointed those at the Pilgrim. Setting that aside for the moment, he routed his shield emmiters directly to his brain through his implants. Dropping into a trance, Gigaer felt the universe through his shields.
He could feel them shudder under the impacts of the Pilgrim's lasers and ripple as wave after wave of exotic energies and frequencies from the Pilgrim's electronic warfare systems distorted them. To Gigaer, it all sounded like two symphonies trying to impose their own sound over each other. Gigaer would have to orchestrate a new song to overcome Karo's overwhelming tune.
In his trance, Gigaer's mind danced among to waves of light and energy, trying to find a way to free himself. His mind raced as he manipulated his shields. It was all such a complex puzzle, and the Pilgrim's sound was becoming more and more deafening. What was left of his shields flickered and flashed as they complied with Gigaer's commands as best they could.
“I am Prano. I am the guiding light of my wayward people. I am the bridge to this world and what lies beyond, to this life and the next. I've come a long way, and I've trained myself hard. Many have sacrificed much so that I may bring my people back from the dark, and I will not let those efforts be in vain. I will not fail my mother, my father, my people and my destiny. Finally, and most certainly, I will not be defeated by the likes of you!”
Waves merged, frequencies coalesced and the sound of resilience boomed from Gigaer's shields, blasting away the dark tones of the Pilgrim and sent them crashing back at Karo. The Pilgrim's electronic warfare systems turned on themselves and began to rip the ship apart. Karo's laughter became seething rage and confusion as his systems began to self-destruct.
“What's happening? What have you done to my ship you mongrel?” Karo screamed over the comms.
“The spirits are punishing you for trying to kill their emissary. You've sinned against forces that make your god's wrath look like the cries of a tantrum-ridden child.” Gigaer responded as he manually aimed and fired his autocannons, still under the mind-expanding effects of the trance. The alpha strike from six massive turrets all hit home, ripping through nearly non-existent shields and thin golden plating, severing the capacitor from its conduits and housing. The Pilgrim lurched and went dark and still.
Gigaer took a few minutes to bring a few key systems online before he moved into range of Karo's ship. Using salvaging manipulators, Gigaer tore into the Pilgrim's hold and extracted the datacore. Gigaer set course towards the gate and warped away, listening to Karo's emergency assistance transmission, which was comprised mainly of raging Amarr curses and incomprehensible screams.
Rens VII – Moon 17 – Brutor Tribe Bureau
The Hurricane had barely made it into Rens in one piece, having to be towed into dock and told his ship would cost more to repair than it was worth. He left it to the deck crews to strip the ship down for materials and usable components. He'd need a new ship later.
Caldari datacore in hand, Gigaer made his way across the promenade towards a local bar. The Serpent Lounge. His contact was the proprietor there. He'd hand off the datacore and hopefully the contact would have new information for him about what he should do next. Gigaer smiled as he went over his journey thus far. “A tale of four datacores, one from each major empire in the galaxy.” A small laugh escaped him at the thought of being sent after a Jove datacore next.
Gigaer entered the establishment and made his way to the bar. The place was crowded but oddly quiet. Most Minmatar bars were much more lively. He weaved himself passed patrons, who were mostly starring at overhanging vidscreens and talking in hushed tones as newscaster voices spoke loudly and gravely. Gigaer would have liked to know what all the fuss was about but he was far too occupied with finding his contact.
Seliah stood behind the bar, looking up at the screen and preparing a drink. Gigaer stood in front of her and rapped a knuckle on the bar. “It's a fine day for destiny.” he said. That was the first part of a code Gigaer was to use to identify himself to his contact. Seliah was to respond with -
“If you have the stomach for it.” She half-nodded to Gigaer. Seliah was a beautiful Matari woman whose eyes said she's seen far too much and preferred to not speak unless necessary. She was all business. Gigaer produced the datacore, but Seliah only looked at it and smiled grimly. “Good work, Gigaer. But the contents of that datacore no longer matter.”
Gigaer was confused. “Why is that?” he asked as he took back the datacore and placed it in his pack.
Seliah pointed towards the vidscreens, and Gigaer finally looked up to see what all the interest was. The sight of two massive fleets, one Minmatar bearing the insignias of Thukker and Elders, and the other Amarr, flying the flag of Jamyl Sarum, battling furiously over Mekhios, rocked him. Reporters franticly conveyed reports of chaos in all four corners of the galaxy, as well as an attack on CONCORD.
Gigaer would later check the contents of the datacore, and find the Elders plans for the very incursions that were now being executed. “You completed your mission and the plan went forward as expected. You are to be commended.” said Seliah as she handed Gigaer an data disk. Within Gigaer would find a dossier detailing his new life. He'd be a pilot of COGNet Spacesystems Ltd. under his assuming clan name. COGNet was actually a front for an organization known as the Ushra'Khan, an entity that acted outside the law to take down slavers and acted as a sort of dark conscious for the Republic populace, much like the Defiants acted for the Republic establishment.
“Welcome, brother. A new age is beginning.” said Seliah as she moved off to tend to her patrons. Gigaer could only look around to the other Minmatar in the bar. There were many faces that displayed unease and fear. The future was always an uncertain thing to them, but now the uncertainty was taking on the colour of blood.
These are my charges, handed to me by destiny. I must lead them through the dark times ahead and along the path to spiritual enlightenment and harmony. That is my duty and I accept it with all that I am.
Gigaer took a silent oath and walked out of the bar, leaving the newsfeeds and worried souls behind. Every step filled him with more conviction as he made his way to market. He needed a ship, and there was lifetimes of work to be done.