Fiction: Pride Before the Fall

Not contrary to my previous post, this one has been done for ages and it’s only just occurred to me to put it on my blog, enjoy.

xenophobia [zen-oh-fobe-ee-a]; Noun – a hatred or fear of foreigners or strangers

Karass had always been stuffed with self-righteous attitudes; the Caldari were the greatest race in New Eden and nothing would stop their military and economic juggernaut now that Tibus Heth was at the reigns. Like all Caldari, from a very young age he had been filled with stories of the Gallentean ‘attrocities’ committed against the Caldari, the millions of lives lost, the horror and poverty caused in the wake of the Gallentean attacks. Just hearing anything to do with Gallente made his blood boil with hatred; he was the perfect product of the Caldari regime.

His aptitude tests from a young age were outstanding, and soon enough Karass qualified as a pod pilot, excelling in the top 3 of his class. He knew what he wanted to do, and as soon as he could, he signed on for the Caldari militia. Space was a new challenge to Karass, but like every other obstacle he encountered, he broke right through it. Training in combat to a proficient level was done in barely any time at all compared to his fellow pod pilots; he was revered as an example to all others, the gold standard of the Caldari pod pilots.

When the time came, Karass answered the call of the militia; his mission was given to him. He and his comrades were to enter an area of contested space and take a number of key positions from the Gallente and to hold them until the threat was alleviated. This was his time, his chance to wreak ancestral revenge upon the Gallentean oppressors; his skills were second to none among his comrades, his ship was outfitted with the deadliest of equipment and his crew boasted outstanding efficiency as the result of unshakable loyalty, this was his life.

‘Plasma levels optimal, primary thrusters engaged. Buckle up ladies and gentlemen, we’re heading out.’ Thought Karass, his thoughts broadcast across the intercom of his Drake class Battlecruiser, “Wraak”.

The Drake headed out of the dock and sped up to over two hundred metres per second, soon accompanied by multiple allies, each piloting their own unique vessel, but each united in preparation for battle and the lust for it. Once formation had been complete, Karass initiated a fleet-wide warp; the Drake was among the larger ships in the fleet and so was one of the last to align to the gravity well and warp. The target area was over 50 AU away and so would take a number of seconds to reach the destination. In warp, there was always a sense of tranquillity in the whole of the ship. Nothing can be heard outside of the ship apart from the pod’s audio processors simulating the sound of a Drake class ship moving at 24 times the speed of light, which is surprisingly halcyon. The warp generator began to disengaged the depleted energy vacuum around the ship and the inertial compensation systems powered down in perfect harmony as they broke out of warp.

‘We’re in the hot zone now, keep on your toes; weapons crew report your status.’

‘Arbalests 1 through 6 armed and ready, three armed with EMP three armed with Explosive, Captain.’

‘Engineering, report’

‘Boosters, extenders and hardeners powered and ready, Captain’

‘Fire Support, report status.’

‘Ballistic Control Computer one-hundred percent synced, Captain’

‘Good luck everyone, after today, you are all heroes.’

Karass thought off the intercom, everyone on that ship knew what they had to do, to play their role flawlessly to the greater good of the whole vessel. Their fleet warped to the first position, they were the first to arrive, but soon after came the Gallenteans. There was the briefest of pauses, though not physically doing so, both sides were circling each other, sizing each other up and determining tactics. Karass issued orders across the fleet.

‘Interceptors, disrupt tracking on the larger ships and dampen their sensors. Support ships, prepare shield maintenance modules. Destroyers, web their interceptors and focus fire. Battleships and Battlecruisers, focus fire on larger ships. Lets put some elbow grease into this.’

Both fleets broke formation split seconds after each other; Karass was confident of victory as their numbers were considerably higher than the Gallenteans; he had heard of the lack of interest in the Gallentean militia, which only ever added to his disdain of the Gallenteans. Losses began to mount up on either side, Karass was taken aback by the skill at which the Gallenteans handled their drones and how so many of his smaller vessels had been lost to them. Still, the Gallenteans ranks were thinning quicker than his, the tracking disruption working well as little fire from the Gallentean ships were finding their targets. Karass opened up a comm link between him and the apparent enemy commanding vessel.

‘Turn around and leave you scum, if you disengage I may spare you.’

A response came after a few seconds. ‘Typical Caldari, your foresight is obscured through your arrogance.’

The responding voice came from an Intaki, wise beyond his years and obviously battle-hardened. Still, Karass paid little heed to his words as he was on the brink of victory. Just before he set his missiles upon the commanding ship he had just exchanged words with, his sensors registered multiple new hostiles right behind his fleet, close, seven thousand metres away. Karass racked his brain. ‘Thats absurd, what on earth do they have that can turn this around for them at seven thousand metres?’

Then it struck him, he willed one of his camera drones round to the rear of the fleet as fast as he could; what he saw spelt his end. Six Nemesis class stealth bombers began to orbit his larger ships, including his own. Alert sounds penetrated his brain as the torpedoes began their deadly flight; they slammed into the shields, Karass flinched as if he had been punched in the chest.

‘Captain, that was the last of our shields, we’re onto armour now!’ An engineering superior exclaimed down the intercom.

Filled with rage, Karass would not back down, this was his vengeance! ‘Fire it all! Fire everything!’

Soon, his heavy missiles powered towards the assailing Nemesis, however managed to do little damage as the Nemesis was too close and too fast for it to be in the effective explosion radius. A second salvo of torpedoes hit his armour; again, Karass flinched as his mind struggled to cope with the damage.

‘They’re using explosives Captain, we’re down to thirty eight percent armour, another hit like that and we won’t make it out sir!’

Karass knew it was too late already, even if he went to warp out now, aligning would take longer than it would take for the Nemesis pilot to fire his last salvo. Soon enough, he saw the three heat signatures register on his screen, the thrusters of the last torpedoes to hit this ship. He didn’t know why he was so worried, there was a Gamma class clone waiting for him back at base, but he would have to live with the deaths of every single member of his crew for the rest of his life. As he gazed upon his shattered fleet, the centrepiece of which an exploding Raven, he opened his intercom

‘I am not the gold standard I am believed to be, I have led us all to our deaths, I am sorry.’

He got no reply from any of his crew, he deserved none. This was the life of a pod pilot, living as an immortal surrounded by mortality. This was something they did not teach at the academy, how to deal with helplessness, the loss of his beloved Vraak. The first torpedo put him into hull integrity, the second down to forty six percent integrity; the last breached the hull and exploded near the main reactor core. The pod was ejected into the void, Karass looked on as the ship was ripped apart in a runaway thermonuclear reaction; the deaths that pursued were short and painless. Soon, his hated enemies were upon his pod. He didn’t even bother to move, there was nothing he could do; the sooner he got into his new clone, the sooner he could get in his Ferox and get back out into the fray a wiser combatant.

Ironically, it was a Medium Anti-Matter Charge that breached his pod, ammunition from the guns his tactics had reduced the accuracy of down to executive abysmal misses. Karass thought his last thought in his first brain ‘Fuck.’

Then, there was white.

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~ by Griffolion on June 26, 2009.

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