The first warning of the attack I had was a shudder rocking through the station, dangerously upsetting the cross-loading of the heavy torpedoes. I’d docked up in the PNQY station to exchange ammunition; substituting some of my incendiary plasma warheads for more precise, for ground attack anyways, kinetic penetrators. But when the entire gigatonne station rang like a struck gong, I pulled my attention away from the magazine waldoes to focus on the grander situation.
The local hypercomm node had shot up by two hundred users. Regional intel channels were awash with reports from covert ops craft in observation points around the system. A single hostile CovOps had lit a cyno gen, and a two-hundred strong force of hostile battleships had been bridged in by enemy titans. A second cyno went up as I watched, and the enemy capital fleet emerged to pound the system infrastructure hub.
I sighed mentally and fired a quick work-order over to the station shipwrights; substituting some modular systems with ones I’d purchased on the local market.
One of the often overlooked aspects of being a fully-wired Pod Pilot is how immersive that makes communications. Virtual telepresence was a simple matter when you’re already the brain of a starship. I selected my usual avatar, a four-foot black and red Deathwidow; the arachnoid for which my Widow-class hull was named. With the addition of a top hat, cane, and a monocle over one of the eight glittering eyes, I transferred my digital self into the alliance common lounge.
Yes, I work for some strange people. Or, in the vernacular of choice: “Some ruddy odd fellows”. I wonder what that says about me?
The usual crowd was gathered around smoking pipes and sipping drinks. I doffed my hat, acquired a snifter of fine Galente brandy from the simulacra bartender, and rezzed an over-sized armchair by the fire into which I could sink as received pronunciation accents discussed the events outside.
The Goon and Test fleets were unavailable to counterattack; being mostly in the process of loading out for further offensive operations against the very clowns that were right now dumping tonnes of ordinance into the station shields. A few small squadrons, battlecruisers at the heaviest, dove into the protection of starbase shields at the first local spike.
Like seafaring navies of old; we’d reached safe harbor and battened down the hatches to ride out the storm. It wouldn’t be long before it blew itself out and the damage could be repaired. Just as with planetary storms, these brief, dying gasps of military strength from the rotten core of the IT Alliance were an inconvenience, little more. No more a threat than the thunderstorm that uproots a few trees. As soon as it blew over we’d repair the damage and return to the inevitable conquest of the Fountain region.
I threw back the last of my brandy and reclothed my arachnoid avatar in two pair of white sneakers, matching white sweatbands around the last segments of the forward limbs. Grabbing a quartet of rackets out of pixelated nothingness, I looked around the room at my fellow chaps.
“Tennis, anyone?”