Comments

The following is a ‘fictionalized’ story inspired by true events. 


We met near a quiet little system not too far from the Jita-lopolis. I was a new bro dragging around hope and misguided enthusiasm in a starter ship with a civilian fit. He was CEO of a small indy corp hanging out in spawn systems looking for pilots like me to build his numbers. We hit it off. Not long after, I created a corp and the two of us became partners and formed an alliance. Like many young capsuleers I dreamt of space conquest and heavy wallets. He was bored of culling spawns looking for the occasional gem.

We packed up and set off to find glory. We wanted a place with less people and more opportunity and that led us to Solitude. A high sec island surrounded by low and null sec, Solitude offered a rare combination of safety and risk all within a few jumps of each other, where drug runners abound and outsiders routinely piss off the locals. We got our share of curious glances when we first arrived. Like any close, insular place Solitude has a suspicion of visitors borne of endless attempts to take control of the region’s unique resources. Our arrival set off alarm bells with our new-ship smell and “howdy neighbor” salutes in local. Eventually we settled in. Time passed.

We cobbled together a loose coalition of like minded folks. Blues were exchanged. Contracts flew back and forth. Buy orders led to sell orders. Business was good. Even the local gankers and CODE enforcers gave us some slack. We’d arrived. In hindsight our success was more wishful thinking than reality but at the time it seemed real enough. The first sign that trouble was around the corner was when my partner was dropped on in a belt by four strangers. They carried more firepower than they needed to deal with a max-yield fit Covetor, so when his ship exploded his pod was damaged by shrapnel and his re-clone back to medical interrupted. With the mutations that resulted my friend’s health deteriorated fast. It wasn’t long after that he ended his own life in a suicide gank against the same ships that had maimed him.

The first few weeks after his death were like endlessly waking up from a bad dream. Everything looked different. Conversations with corp and alliance members seemed full of sidelong glances and paranoia. Contacts with blued partners were tense. Within a month I’d lost our biggest customers to competitors and our income dropped to nothing. Corps started to leave the alliance. Never a fan of boosters, I figured they’d clear my head and get me back on track. One thing led to another.

It wasn’t long before I was mining low sec into the wee hours to support a habit. I got careless. When the same four ships showed up on grid I admit I hadn’t seen them show up in local. Too preoccupied with whether my supplier was going to meet me later to notice. Tackle led to shields gone in no time and by the time hull was at 10% I was making peace with having to pod back to station and reship. That’s when it got weird.

Instead of taking hull their leader Clawfoot chatted me in local. She offered an out. I wasn’t buying it at first, but as the haze in my head dully receded, knowing the pain that was coming without another hit, I agreed to dock with them at a nearby station. Clawfoot said she knew a way to get those contracts back I’d lost. Rebuild what was slowly falling apart. I figured what did I have to lose? We undocked and traveled to their hideout in deadspace.

It’s been six months. They keep me boosted and I’m surrounded by exotic male dancers with no ship and no idea where I am. The station is named Exotic Preserve.

If anyone knows where that is I need help.

Come get me.

Please.


Robert Miller is a writer in a small POS storage bay who uses a Council Diplomatic Shuttle to pick up pizza and other snacks in Jita between writing assignments. He can’t be reached as he’s been permanently bubbled.