05 March 2010

Friday Flash Fiction 9: Polycarbon Engine Housing

     "Crap, not this again" muttered Gabriel as his viator ground to a halt in the middle of his tenth warp sequence.  Stranded at least six jumps from hisec; not exactly the place he wanted to be, but flying an old ship came with compromises.  He had saved some money years ago trading his Iteron III in for a blockade runner and even though the Tempest had lived up to its namesake it had made him a wealthy man over the years.  Of course at this moment all that left his mind as his only thoughts were disgust at his ships shortcomings.

     "Thank God for small miracles."  At least that rusty covert ops cloaking device he had salvaged from a Nemesis wreck afforded the relative safety he needed to work on his ship in peace.  Grumbling like a crusty miner Gabriel worked his way to the engine room, very much wishing he had been able to keep his crew at Unity Station.  Those Minmatar were the best crew he had ever worked with, but being stuck in the middle of a war over slavery was not the place for him.  So with little fanfare he left them in 9UY to be picked up by the vile Ushra'Khan and took off with his cargo alone.

       When he got to the engine room the tangle of exposed wires that confronted him gave no sign of the problem.  It was obvious that the PolyCarbon Engine Housing he had crammed onto his ship was causing the problem but since he never had the skills to fit them in the first place, there was no way he was qaulified to find the problem.  He started poking around like any layman does when he doesn't understand the problem.  Then he started kicking things, everything, out of frustration.  As if by a sick twist of fate, a siren went off that shocked Gabriel and chilled him to the core.  He hadn't heard that siren in months. 

     The Tempest had been uncloaked and was being targeted by a U'K Tarranis; had they known he was here or was it just coincidence?  It really didn't matter now as Gabriel sprinted to the bridge with all the physical might a space man could muster.  He jumped into his control chair, hoping beyond hope that he had kicked the right exposed wire.  In a moment of lucidity he realized that the interceptor targing him was alone and that he had equiped his ship to handle the rather weak warp jamming abilities of a craft this small.  If only his engines would fire up, the Tempest would be just fine.  Praying, begging, he hit the warp button and...

     The engines of the old Viator rattled and roared to life; Gabriel swore he felt every millisecond of use they had logged as they strggled to regain their energy.  The ship lept, then bolted into warp, just in time to see several U'K pilots land close by.  Gabriel could hardly breath as he careened out of warp just meteres from the gate.  He hastily requested jump clearence and didn't even check his sensors for three jumps while his nerves settled.  He swore this would be his last trip to null sec but deep in his heart he knew the riches were too much for him to resist. 

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