“I think I found it” I said as I recalled my probes. Wormhole Signature Tracing could be monotonous but it needed done and the Enclave paid quite well for each signature that you documented.
“Good, you going to check the other side?” Sarlee asked before I could turn my Stratios around. She’s been a good addition to our group, but she’s still so impatient.
“Yeah, Sar… Just Go back to Paleo Dock and I’ll see ya there.” I selected the signature that we just probed out and my beautiful, white cruiser turned on a dime and jumped into warp almost instantly, and all the while staying cloaked. “Damn, shes quick. Gotta love those Nano’s…”
“Ok, Dor… I’ll get you a drink and have them keep it cold.” Sarlee’s Astero frigate invisibly rotated toward the enclave’s home station and warped as well.
“Good deal, See you there.” I said as I continued my long cloaked warp across Thera, the monstrous hole that we now call our home.
I landed 20K off of the signature. It’s never smart to land on a Wormhole, as you just never know who might be there waiting for you, but all seemed quiet. It was a High-Sec Exit from Thera, and I needed to identify which system it exited to so my Corporation logs could be updated. “I hope it’s near Usi.”
I even said it out loud, knowing that’s where Sydney had set up a home base for her Planetary Interaction, manufacturing and research. She had asked me via Email to pick up some Blueprints and bring them to Palio as she promised my Corp CEO some help. She could then Jump Clone into Thera and start manufacturing them for the Cartel. Sydney isn’t a member of my corp. She’s a freighter pilot and needs to stay neutral to remain nominally safe in High-Sec. And… Well… I needed an excuse to check on her.
Slowly moving toward the hole my mind continued to wander. As I bookmarked the hole, examined it for size and wear before finally approaching it, my mind began thinking of the past many weeks. The Cartel was exactly what I was looking for, before I knew what I was looking for.
The Cartel is the Signal Cartel. A growing group of explorers who wish to see all of New Eden, and her Wormholes, documented. A place with a Credo to do no harm and to help those in need. A strange credo for such a violent place, but New Eden needs that kind of mindset.
Snapping back to reality, the wormhole’s exit came up on me quick, however I did manage to get off “Jumping. Sar! See you in a bit.” on comm’s before leaping through the event horizon.
“That sound still gets me” I can’t describe it, you just have to experience it. As I arrived in High-Sec, my computers analysed the local star locations and informed me that I was in fact in Ishomilken. “No way. Ha!” One jump out from Usi. That just makes this pick-up too easy. So, I examined the Hole again, checking it for wear and tear as well as estimated lifespan. All seemed nominal. Making this analysis every time you jump is not only good practice but it can save your life. If a hole collapses behind you… “You never know where your ass might end up stuck.” I mumbled as I bookmarked this side of the hole.
I quickly warped to the Usi gate and jumped after seeing no one on D-Scan. “Syd, you on Comms? Syd, do you hear me?”
“Dor? Dor! Where are you?” Sydney asked with obvious excitement in her voice. We’ve haven’t seen each other for weeks and while she was growing into quite a young lady, she still saw me as the woman who saved her and showed her what it meant to be a Capsuleer but who knows how long that will last.
“Syd, I’m in Usi right now. Found an exit next door in Ishomilken. I figured I would grab those blueprints, like you asked me to.”
“Wonderful! I’ve got them all boxed up. But you need to sit down and eat, I just got dinner ready.”
There was no getting out of this. When she invited you to eat, you ate. No excuses. Which, Thank God, has become less of a torment, as of late. Sydney’s cooking was very… Amarr’ish at first. Very plain, very bland… but since meeting Sarlee and a few of our friends she’s learned to use spices quite well.
“Copy that, Docking now” Well, good enough that I don’t even want to argue, anymore.
We had a great meal, I picked up the prints and we headed to the hanger. Sydney, turned and gave me one of her signature hugs. “Thank you, Dor. I’ve missed you.”
“Missed you too, Syd. You sure you’re ok, here?” I made sure that I asked for the millionth time.
“Yeah, I’m good. I keep my manufacturing guys busy, which keeps me busy. Be careful, Dor.” She said as I entered my Stratios.
“Always” and with that the door closed and I entered my pod. I saw her waiving as I began my un-docking procedures, so I waggled my cruiser’s body and she laughed. My ship turned and exited the Station silently entering the vacuum of space.
“Ok, setting course for Isomilken and then to Signature HEK-187 for Thera“. Thinking it, it was placed into the Navigation Computer and I engaged it just as easily. The cruiser leapt to warp and jumped through the gate into Ishomilken without event.
That’s when things began to go awry.
I warped to the wormhole and analysed it, being careful as always. BUT… I didn’t ask Sarlee for eyes on the other side of the hole. Normally, we worked as a team. One of us would jump out of the hole while the other kept eyes on the inside to make sure no one showed up to ruin our party. Seeing as I just spent a few hours with Sydney, I didn’t want to bother her and I didn’t call to my Signal Cartel mates, either and that was a mistake.
Jumping through the hole, I found myself in a Warp Interdiction Bubble upon appearing in Thera. It was placed there by one of the… more aggressive Corporations who also live in here with us.
“Shit!” My mind began to race. My heart was in my throat and my hands were shaking. I called out on comms to Sarlee, but by the time her pre-flight was done I would be exposed. Luckily, I was still hidden by the Wormhole transition and I examined my surroundings looking to see who was there, how many there were and their location.
“Think!” I murmured to myself. I quickly located a direction out of the bubble and, with a thought, steered my ship in that direction, Engaging my cloak and my sizable Microwarp drive. I saw the enemy as they saw me momentarily uncloaked as I began my escape. They attempted to swarm and drive over the top of me. This would deactivate my cloak, and I watched them intently as they closed on my position. But… My Strat was too nimble for them.
My speed increased enough to move me toward the perimeter of the bubble. They underestimated the distance my Strat, and I, could have traveled and missed their chance. As we exited the Bubble, I warped to the station and docked up; Sarlee was waiting for me as I exited my beautiful savior, and I rubbed the cruiser’s skin as Sarlee began to berate me for not calling for eyes on the hole.
“Hey, I didn’t have to say anything. Did I?” I defended myself, albeit poorly.
Sarlee shook her head at my reply. “Nope. Guess not. Come on, that drink is still cold” she said and began to walk away “I think I’m beginning to rub off on you, Dor.” She said with a giggle.
As I looked down at my still shaking hands… “Maybe you are… Sar, maybe you are.”
I’ve got the Blueprints at Paleo. Sydney should Jumpclone here in a day, or so, to start work on them. Let me know if I can do anything else.
Oh… And I got the snowballs.
I made sure I notified the Boss that I had picked up the package from Sydney, as I continued to rub the ships metal skin.
“Now I need that drink.” I turned and I chased Sarlee up the ramp.
Signal Cartel Contact Info:
In-game channel “EvE-Scout”