[Report Summary] Currently docked in Wilson Ring around Dulos 6, Dulos
[Incidents] Nothing to report.
[Signed] Cmdr William Gearwright of the ISDV Canonical Whimsy (Core Dynamics Eagle Mk2), Antfarm Consolidated of Dulos.
[Private Entry/Decrypted/Relp4432-RACK990] [embeds enabled] When I was a kid, a teenager I mean, back on Six I was always the one who could sense danger on a night out. A group of us would walk into a bar and I’d feel a ‘tingle’, a ripple of wrongness moving through me, and I grab the arm of the one nearest to me and start ushering people out. Something in the bar ‘smelt’ wrong, ‘felt’ wrong and I knew I had to get away. More than once this weird sense saved us all from a nasty fight and I used to thank my lucky stars that I was sensible enough to listen to this over-active nerve ending. But then, over the years, I seemed to have stopped listening. Maybe life became too routine or too busy or I got too damn old but I gradually forgot how to listen to the warnings. Well I’m listening now.
A few days ago I took a contract from the Old Man to recover lost MilTech, Nothing new there as I’d spent the best part of the previous week collecting lost data, artwork, and cargo for a variety of customers – some of them were even the legit owners of the cans I was running down, so I don’t think anything was different about the request to locate and retrieve 1t of lost can 1 system over. Hell, I didn’t even pause when I saw just how much the Oluf Worker’s Party were willing to pay for this can and, looking back, that should have been my first clue something was off kilter with the job.
LTT9494 is an hole filled by nothing but a star and it certainly seemed empty when I dropped in to search for the can sig. It took me a while but I found it, pinging weakly in the black, but when I dropped out it became clear immediately it was a sting. There was an Adder waiting for me, weapons stowed and broadcasting “Don’t shoot!” messages the second I folded out of SC. I didn’t wait. I didn’t reply. I just ran and didn’t look back. Still, the bastard hacked my comms and dropped a message on me claiming he was from the DDP back in Dulos and knew I was searching for the military tech for the OWP – he then offered to pay more, a lot more, if I handed it to them instead and all I had to do was agree to accept a change of contract. By the time I’d hit SC and the Whimsy screaming away from the Adder, I had already picked up a plethora of new signals, some small which could have been the can, other huge which the Whimsy calculated where deep system sweeps. I was being hunted.
All this time I’d been in touch with an old friend from Lugh over secure comms. I just know him as Charybdis and having seen him in combat I could see why; I was there naively defending the democratic ideal and I did that right up to the point Halsey murdered 9,000 innocent people, but Charybdis, well he’s different, he’s an interesting chap with complex motivations and I’m glad he was on the same side as me. We were talking when the deal started to go bad and I don’t mind admitting that I found myself wishing he was a lot closer than 150lys away when it did. He asked if I’d thought about jumping out and I’d by lying if I said that right at that point I was contemplating just that but with my thumb hovering over the FSD button, the Whimsy pipped up to notify me she had analysed the small & weak signals and identified one with a 97.64% probability of being the can I was out there for so I took the chance and went for it.
Let me tell you, she may be a new bird but the Whimsy didn’t let me down, I found the can (along with some others pinging away as ProtoTech), scooped and started the countdown to Dulos in less than a minute. When the Old Man said ‘fast’ I took him at his word.
I was 10k from Wilson when I began a manual system shut down ready for a silent dock and I’m glad I did. Maybe I haven’t stopped listening to that nerve after all, or maybe something about being double-crossed and hunted sharpens one’s focus, because just as I went black a wing of DDP long range fighters dropped out and began to fan out along clear search vectors all around the station approach. I was off sensors but I still had to contact the station which can be risky but I had one last thing in my favour – the Old Man had the berth pre-arranged and so I hit boost once and sailed past the DDP ships and patrolling SysSec like a whisper straight through the toast rack and to my pad. At times like that I like to imagine the faces of the ATC guys in the con tower, poor bastards.
I’m docked now, the cans long gone, removed from my hold and whisked away by a waiting ghost ground crew. No interactions between us took place with all authentications occurring over secure data comms leaving no records behind so that to all intents and purposes nothing happened and the records exist to can prove just that. In the meantime I’ve started the Whimsy on a self-diagnosis protocol just in case the Adder has transmitted any surprises and made myself a cup of tea while I wait, wait and think. Who the hell set me up and why? The OWP? The DDP? The like the DDP for it over the OWP but I can’t say I trust either of them. It’s starting to look like Dulos isn’t as ready for my return as I thought.
I think I need to talk to an old friend over a very, very secure comm channel. Maybe he can make some sense of this mess and then, after I’ve had some sleep, I’ll pick up these waiting messages from Paws, the explorer I met months ago as he headed out into deep space. I wonder what he wants?