“Warp drive active”
Aillel mentally breathed a sigh of relief as her pod entered warp. She didn’t know if she had actually slipped away during the destruction of her ship or if the other capsuleer let her go but at least she wasn’t being shot at right now. Hopefully there wasn’t someone waiting at her destination. She wasn’t even certain where she was currently headed. As soon as she had been targeted she had given the command to jump through a random stargate without verifying her destination in a vain attempt to save her ship. It had been futile of course. Her hauler had been slow even for a Bestower class transport. Even outside of combat she frequently felt it would have been faster to get out and push it into warp. On the other hand the ship had been cheap and disposable. Her cargo, a load of slaves, even moreso. This loss hurt her pride more then her wallet.
She kept an eye on the scanners as her pod came out of warp near the stargate. Not a single ship was visible, a lucky break. Aura automatically activated the jump sequence as previously commanded. On arrival in the next system Aillel quickly took stock of her situation. She only had a precious minute of cloaked safety to figure out her next move. No ships were visible nearby, while there might be something cloaked the pod was fast enough she was confident she could escape. She connected to the local comm network to see who else was in this system.
“Strange,” she thought to herself. “There’s no one here.”
She’d been traveling through the outskirts of Amarr space when she’d been hit. The empire claimed this area as their territory but it was only technically on their maps. It was too far out and too unimportant for the imperial navy or even CONCORD to patrol, not many capsuleers bothered either. Perfect for transporting “workers” from the Federation. Aillel passed through frequently enough to know the locals and would have expected at least a few to be around unless…
Aillel cursed her luck as she brought up the navigation charts and confirmed her fears. She’d inadvertendly jumped to one of the dead end systems in this area. No one ever came into these systems because there were few resources in them and unlike the one she was attacked in, it wasn’t even useful to pass through on the way to somewhere else. The lack of company was nice but it meant she’d need to go back the way she came in order to get anywhere, and the ones who had destroyed her ship might be hunting for her pod.
She considered simply self-destructing. It would guarantee her attackers wouldn’t have the satisfaction of killing this body, on the other hand they might not even be hunting her and she couldn’t remember where in the universe her clone was located. The time on her cloak almost out, Aillel decided to run for it. It would be faster and she didn’t have anything to lose. She plotted a course to the nearest starbase that had a PEND contract. Her other ships were further away and even the pitiful defences of a Corvette would be better then a naked pod. She ordered her pod to fly back to the stargate and jump.
“Bestowers aren’t welcome” came the terse message as she re-entered the system where her ship had been destroyed. Aillel recorded the message for future reference but focused on the issue at hand, warping to the next stargate and jumping out of the system as quickly as possible. Foregoing subtlety she warped directly to the next stargate, time was the only thing she had to lose if there was a trap. In the end it was a little anti-climactic as she arrived at the stargate and jumped out of the system without interference.
“The workers will complete the final system checks on your ship in just a few minutes.”
“Tell them to hurry, I’m eager to leave this dump” Aillel snarled over the communicator
“Of course capsuleer” the dockmaster said in the wary tone of somone used to dealing with insane demigods.
From within her capsule, Aillel submerged her consciousness into the infonet. Parts of her mind began searching for a replacement hauler, but most of her focus was on the capsuleer that had destroyed her ship and broadcast the warning. His corporation and alliance wasn’t one she recognized and she needed to learn more. It quickly became apparent a new group was moving into the area. Whether as an invader or ally of the locals she couldn’t tell. Regardless that part of space was starting fill up, she might need to reconsider using that route in the future.
“The work crews report your ship is ready for departure” the dockmasters voice intruded.
Aillel didn’t bother to reply, instead she ordered Aura to undock and set a course for Amarr. She was eager to get back into space. She had a starship again and the universe beckoned.