The following is my entry for Mord Fiddle’s Lives In Lowsec writing contest. While generous poetic license, dialogue, and storytelling have been added, the basic premise of the story, that of being caught in an exploration Tengu by lowsec pirates is true.
Also, not one to refuse a challenge, I’ve decided to inject the amazing Rixx Javix into the story as well. I hope he takes my free range in fleshing out his “character” in stride ;).
Edit: Contest results in! Although I didn’t manage to snag 1st, 2nd, or 3rd prize amongst the list of heavy and very talented competition (hey, can’t win them all right?), I *did* manage to walk away with both the “Rixx Javix” Award of 250 mil and a pirate frigate of my choosing (Mr. Javix, I’d like a Daredevil please 😉 ), as well as Duncan Feldane’s “Jack Sparrow” Prize of a fully fitted (lol) Zephyr! Many thanks to both Rixx and Duncan for the generous prizes, and of course to Mord for getting this thing together.
Sirens wailed as another volley of autocannon fire slammed aginst the side of her exploration Tengu, pounding through the meager shields. Her mind was on liquid fire, choking on adrenaline as her assailiants came in for a tight orbit, unloading metal hail against her defenseless ship, making it howl and groan in protest.
The Loki had appeared out of nowhere, catching her heart in her throat as it disrupted her warp engines before being joined by a Hurricane and a Vexor, also pirates. The Loki held point now as the three of them circled, another volley rocking the ship sideways as the alarms screamed at her and more warning lights blasted through the darkness of her pod. Shaking, she felt her shields give way as another viscious round tore through the remainder and started to bleed into her armor. Her breathing went ragged as the sirens’ cacophony ricocheted off her ears and her fragile ship began to list sideways; screeching metal haunting her.
Two days prior:
She sat, staring over the rim of her glass at him across the bar; she couldn’t help it. She studied the way he kept laughing at something someone else in his group would say, or his habit of doodling unknown things on the sides of his napkin. He was just so…
“Soph”, a finger poking her arm.
“Soph!” The finger poked again. “Damnit girl you’re not even listening to…”
“Bets, thats Rixx Javix sitting over there” she said, shrugging off Bettina’s prodding finger and ignoring her, without taking her eyes off of him.
“Yeah, great. Soph, he’s a PIRATE. How is he not being arrested right now by the way?” Her friend huffed at her.
“Not that I think this will in any way disuade you, but he’s married you know.”
“Yeah yeah, I know. He’s just so damn…I don’t know, mysterious and dangerous looking to me. Bets comon! You don’t think he’s in any way attractive?”
Her friend stared at her in only half mock disbelief and shook her head. “If by attractive you mean ‘probably looking for someone to murder with a spoon’ then yes, totally with you on that one”
Sophia laughed and rolled her eyes at Bettina. She turned her gaze back across the bar to the silver-haired outlaw as he laughed heartily at the remark of some comrade and took a long pull from the beer in his hand.
“Whatever” Bettina continued “maybe waking up with my skin as someone else’s new face mask just isn’t my thing, I must be a weirdo or something.” She poked Sophia’s arm again.
Choking on her drink, Sophia stuttered out a laugh.”Well my dear Bets, we’re going to have to agree to disagree. And on that subject, I’m going outside to have a smoke.”
Ignoring her friend’s protests, she headed for the door.
She stepped out into the glass atrium attached to the bar and touched the end of her cigarette with her lighter, smiling to herself as the tip caught and glowed. Inhaling deeply, she tilted her head back to stare up at the stary view as she slowly exhaled, luxuriating in her satisfaction.
“You know those are bad for you”.
The deep, gruff voice behind her shook her from her reverie and she spun around.
He was standing right there, arms nonchalantly crossed over his chest, one silver eyebrow raised in slight amusment, and a smirk playing out on his lips.
She felt the corners of her mouth drawing up. “So I hear” she said smiling bemusedly. “Aren’t you…”
“…also looking to get out of that place and make some questionable choices? Yeah” He gestured towards the cigarette between her lips, “you mind if I…?”
“Oh, yeah of course” she stamered, realizing she’d been staring at him. Slightly mortified at her schoolgirl-crush behavior, she started to reach for the pack at her hip when he reached out, pulled the cigarette from her lips and brought it to his mouth. His eyes stayed on her as he took a long drag from her cigarette, handed it back to her, and exhaled slowly.
“I’m Rixx” he said grinning, this steely eyes still fixed on her. She felt warmth flushing into her face.
She laughed, a little too forcefully “Yeah, I know”.
‘Jesus, get ahold of yourself lady’ she muttered at herself inside.
“Sophia” She extended her hand, which he took in his and shook firmly.
“Pleasure to meet you Sophia” he said through his smirk. She felt the color in her cheeks growing a little warmer.
They lingered, her hand still in his, his eyes still on hers, without speaking. After a long moment, he broke the silence
“I’m married you know”
She laughed again, this time a little bit more naturally, and let her hand drop from his. “So I also hear” she quipped again, smirking back at him and tilting her head to the side.
‘And holy shit, I’m openly flirting with a notorious MARRIED pirate. I am actually insane’ her internal voice hissed at her through clenched teeth.
Rixx chuckled and took a step back, letting the mood lighten a little. Sophia took another drag of the cigarette and passed it back to him
“So what brings you to civilization Rixx?”
He grinned, “Oh, you know, children to kidnap, housewives to ravish,” he paused “hunting for someone to murder with a spoon” he winked at her. “you know, business as usual”.
Sophia felt her cheeks burn “You’ve got good ears” she stated, biting her lip and looking away to hide her smile.
“And you’ve got great eyes” he said “but I won’t hold that against you.” She felt herself blush again.
“And you? What are you up to when not indulging in,” he winked pointedly “bad habits?”
“Why Mr Javix” she said in mock fluster, taking her cigarette back from him “I’ve got a strung hunch that a certain MRS Javix would be more than a little concerned at the direction this conversation is heading” She let her eyes stay locked on his, hoping to make him look away first. No such luck.
Rixx said nothing, but grinned a little more fixedly at her.
She caved. “If you must know, I’m out visiting an old friend before making a few low-sec pit stops to pick up some research jobs”
“Research huh? Didn’t peg you for a nerd” He stuck his tongue out at her as she playfully punched at his arm
Suddenly his arm went around her waist and pulled her close, and she felt her breath catch.
“Careful though,” he said his face close to hers “Theres Pirates about”. His grining eyes hardened for a second before softening once again as he let his grip loosen and pulled slightly away from her.
She felt her racing pulse coming back down to normal and regular functionality returning to her lungs. “Yeah, I’ll uh, try and remember my water wings” she said sarcastically.
Rixx grinned wolfishly, took one last drag from the cigarette, and passed it back to her. “Well Ms. Sophia, its been a pleasure talking to you”.
She felt herself grinning like an idiot. “Mr. Javix, its been…surreal talking to you as well.”
“Watch yourself out there,” his eyes holding hers as he started to move away. “Until next time”. And then he was turning, walking back towards the door and disappearing back into the bar and leaving her alone in the dark atrium.
“What. The. Hell. was that” Sophia set outloud, looking around her. She felt the schoolgirl crush still coursing in her cheeks as she stubbed out the cigarette and headed back to Bettina inside.
“Bets is going to kill me”.
She felt the ship violently shake again as another volley slammed into the raw, unfortified armor of the fragile Tengu, sending another wave of warning sirens blasting through the ship. Another volley, and she screamed out loud as she felt the ship groan and crumble against the onslaught of autocannon fire. Tears starting to fill the corners of her eyes, and she vainly tried to will the ship into warp for the hundredth time, her face crumbling like the ship around her, screaming “damn external forces!!” at the nav computer. She felt her hands shaking uncontrolably, and the adrenaline coursed through her veins. Another volley of Hail came crashing into the side of the ship, shredding the remainder of the Tengu’s armor and raking against the actual hull of the ship. The Tengu audibily groaned the gut-wrenching sound of twisting metal and screeching girders.
‘This is it’ she thought through her screaming brain. ‘This is how this happens.’
And then, the miracle. Her overview flashed as the Loki very abruptly warped from the field in a seemingly random direction and instantly disappeared from the local transponder list, leaving the Hurricane and the Vexor behind to finish her off. She paused: leaving the hurricane and vex….her eyes flew to her overview: no points.
On pure adrenaline reflex, she punched the warp engines as she felt the hull begin to give way around her, flames and gases venting into space, and screamed as she felt the battered ship enter warp towards the highsec gate. She could feel the ship dying around her as she landed gate spamming the jump button, and then…safety; Empire space. Weak from her adrenaline high, she started breathing again as she started hailing the local Fed Navy station for emergengy repairs.
She sat on the gangway in her hanger, legs dangling over the side, cigarette between her lips, with the oddly wrapped parcel sitting on her lap. Her docking manager had left it for her, with a note mentioning that it was dropped off after hours. Furrowing her brow, she pulled the bizarrely tied ribbon off, noticing the strange little doodles along the paper for the first time. As she tore at the paper, a bit of metallic surface shone through, puzzling her, and she ripped off the remaining paper.
She stopped short and shook her head; “that damn bloody pirate” she muttered to herself, as she glared down at the spoon siting amongst the wrapping paper in her lap.
Again, the events written about above did actually transpire for me while exploring low-sec. The Loki pilot had probably had the all-time best/worst timed DC ever, which allowed me to escape the two remaining, non-point-fitted pirates.
While I seriously doubt that Rixx Javix had anything at all to do with my Tengu’s close brush with certain demise, the idea of including him as this total character in the story was too good to pass up. Hope you enjoy!