This is the fifth story in my "Real Life EVN" series. It was the first story written. In this series each story is almost directly inspired by in game events. The correct order of the series is as follows:
1. So Much For Impartiality
2. My First Rescue
3. The Maiden Voyage of the Indigo Star
4. Good Intentions Lead To Bad Consequences
5. A Trap
6. There & Back Again, An IDA Frigate's Tale
7. (No Firm Title)
"After easily moving alongside, you board the derelict vessel having only a little difficulty getting through the heavily damaged airlock. The ship's corridors are unlit, and all its systems seem to be off-line. You reach the bridge and, when you manage to get them back online, the ship's own sensors reveal no life signs aboard except your own. Suddenly your commlink beeps - your vessel's sensors have spotted several pirate vessels are entering the system! You have fallen into a trap!"
Pirates set traps. Everybody hears these wild stories, but nobody every puts any faith in them, and neither did I until recently. But now I do. We had just jumped into the Tichel system on our way to Port Kane to deliver some medical goods. The delivery wasn't due for nearly a month and with one jump to go I though I'd let my crew relax as we took a nice cruise through the system. I had just come back to the Indigo Star's bridge when Sam, my sensors and communication guy, noticed my entrance and called out:
"Hey Ragashingo, how was the nap?"
"Pretty good thanks. How are things out there?" I asked. Sam and I had known each other for a good two years and I could read his face like a book. He had found something and was eager to share his find.
"Oh pretty good. I do have something you might want to see." he answered, a big grin appearing on his face. I walked over to his station and took a look at his screens.
"An Argosy?" I asked him a bit confused "So what?"
"Don't give me that" he quipped back, that grin still on his face, he motioned to some stats on another screen "Look at its speed, energy output, shield status." The Argosy was was moving away from Viking slowly, but was also in a slow horizontal spin. Its energy output was far below normal, and it had no shields. It was disabled for some reason or another.
"Any other ships nearby" I asked Sam
"Well then, lets investigate." I said. Its not everyday you find a ship just floating out in space. A few years ago I would have simply alerted the authorities, but I guess you could say I had a change of heart ever since my previous ship, an IDA Frigate like my current one, was disabled and then destroyed in a cross fire between pirates and awe inspiring Vell-os. Within in fifteen minutes I had the rest of my bridge crew awake and on the bridge. Just under an hour later we made visual contact with the Argosy.
"Isn't that a sight..." I said upon viewing the drifting ship out the large bridge window "Nathan match its speed so we stay with it."
"Aye Captain!" came his quick reply. Nathan was fresh out of the Academy and hadn't yet unlearned the sillyness they taught there.
"Ok Sam, what can you tell us?"
"Well, sensors are showing a burst cooling line, and the ship's main reactor seems to not be there. I bet they ejected it after the cooling system died on them. I am picking up low power emissions from the ship's bridge though, maybe they're using the power directly from the solar panels to keep low level systems online?" he called back after a few minutes.
"Sounds reasonable to me. Nathan, start a docking maneuver, lets see if there is anybody on there to help out."
It only took Nathan five minutes to get the Indigo Star's docking port to hook up to the Argosy's but it took another twenty minutes before I managed to get inside. Their docking port's doors refused to open, having no power can cause things like that to a ship. I had to send three crew members to retrieve the bulky "emergency" door opening contraption. I say emergency in quotes because this same device is often used by pirates to force open docking port doors of their intended targets. The machine strained for a few moments and then all of a sudden came a loud howling sound of our air being sucked into the disabled ship.
"Close the doors!" I shouted to Emmit, the crewman operating the door opener. A few seconds later the seal was restored and the howling stopped. I called up to my bridge:
"Hey Sam, we just did something really stupid. Not one of us thought to check and make sure the ship actually has any atmosphere left in it?"
"Oops" came his reply, along with a chuckle. "Checking now! Ok, the bridge does have air, but the rest of the ship doesn't."
"They must have pumped it out and shut down all but the bridge's life support systems to conserve power. We have enough spare oxygen to re-pressurize that ship don't we?"
"Uh... Yeah, its a good bit smaller than us, it'll cost us next time we dock to get our supply refilled, but we can do it" Sam said after a few seconds.
"Ok Emmit, open it back up, all the way this time." I said warily.
"Yes sir." he said back.
The howling started again but was quickly replaced by the quiet sucking of air as we let our atmosphere flow into the Argosy. Finally after the pressure had stabilized I stepped onto the disabled ship. You never realize how eerie a space ship is until you have to walk down its corridors with nothing but a small flashlight to help you find your way. The occasional pop, creak, or groan that rumbled through the Argosy's hull made me jump a couple of times. Eventually I rounded another corner and was startled by the sound and movement of a pressure door opening, I had reached the hall right outside the ship's bridge. I quickly step past the door allowing it to close again
"Hello? I'm the captain of the ship that docked with yours a few minutes ago, we're here to help." I called out to the hopefully still alive crew.
There was no response. When I entered the Argosy's small bridge I saw why, nobody was here. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a panel light up. I walked over and inspected it, it was the ship's comm panel, on one of the screen I saw a couple lines of text. The first one read "Bridge entry door activated via motion sensor" and the second read "Running program "Jolly Roger"" A few keystrokes later I had the code of this "Jolly Roger" program displayed on the screen, what I saw made my heart stop. It was a simply script that had sent a simple message to someone when I had activated the door. I moved quickly and activated the Argosy's internal sensors, I was the only person aboard. Suddently my communicator chirped and Sam's voice filled the small bridge.
"Ragashingo, I think we've got problems. Pirate ships just entered the system."
"Ok, I'm coming back. Nathan do whatever you need to do to get us ready to move once I'm back aboard! Sam put the ship on Red Alert, I think we just fell into a trap, and get Russel up there, I think we're fixing to need to shoot at something." I called out over my communicator as I stumbled back down the darkened hallways. I had to get back to the Indigo Star as fast as possible. Five minutes later I was on my bridge again.
"Sam, status report?" I asked
"The ship is at Red Alert we have undocked are moving away from the Argosy now." came his serious reply.
"Russel, how are the weapons?" I asked my weapon's officer
"Everything is powered up and ready to fire Ragashingo." he replied with an odd satisfaction. Weapon's officers do love their weapons.
"Sir! The two pirate ships, a Manticore and a Valkyrie just finished their jump in, they're near the Argosy, and they are on a pursuit course." Sam called out. "Both ships are firing"
"Nathan, punch the engine to full and get us to jump range! Russel, lock onto that Valkyrie and open fire when it gets in range!" I shouted.
"Aye" came their acknowledgments at the same time.
The acceleration alarms sounded throughout the ship, letting the crew get into position for our quick maneuver. With modern day inertial dampeners an IDA Frigate can fly with little or no noticeable acceleration apparent to its crew, but when performing an unrecomended full power engine burn as we were about to do people could still be thrown into the air and against a wall by the brutal Impact Drive Assemblies. I could feel and hear as Russel fired off missile after missile at the quickly approaching pirate ship, and the sharp impacts of both pirate ship's weapons. Then came another succession of quick thuds as the Valkyrie got into main weapons range and our two ships exchanged bolts of super hot plasma. Then the small enemy ship vanished off my tactical holodisplay and Russel let out a whoop.
"Take that you pirate! The Valkyrie is gone sir! Shields are stabilizing at 40" he yelled out.
Then came the loudest sound I'd ever heard. It was a bang and a thud and a screech all combined into one impossibly loud noise.
"What was that!" I yelled above a variety of alarms going off on the bridge.
"Shields are down sir, it must have been an EMP torpedo!" Russel cried out.
"Sir" came Sam's voice "another torpedo is inbound, impact in fifteen second!"
EMP torpedos are of course illegal, which ironically means that only the bad guys are "allowed" to use them.
"Sir! We're nearly at jump distance but the controls are locking up, that hit must have ionized us pretty badly, the primary thrusters are barely responding!" Nathan called out at nearly the same time.
Then came an even louder version of the first torpedo hit, combined with a loud groan as the Indigo Star's hull felt the torpedo's impact.
"We're at jump distance now Sir? Jump?" called out Nathan.
"Yes, jump now!" I shouted back as a third torpedo impacted the ship.
Agonizing seconds ticked by as the IDA Frigate's relatively primitive hyperspace engines charged up, and finally kicked in. The stars out the large forward window streaked and were then replaced with the brilliant white of hyperspace. We had made it!
It took days after we arrived at Port Kane to repair the damage to the Indigo Star. Damaged armor and hull plating had to be replaced, and many systems near the outer hull were simply fired by the multiple EMP torpedo's that struck us. But considering the beating it felt like we took the damage was actually not all that bad. The Indigo Star's heavy armor had stood up very well against the shield killing torpedos.
So, now I believe those wild stories of pirate traps, and sometimes I even take mental notes for future reference. But I still attempt to help every disabled ship I find, I'm simply a lot more cautious.