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Eve Online - Blazing

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7

In an unnamed station somewhere in empire space. 
Deetex was sitting at his desk, reviewing several official documents, a large condensing mug sat partially emptied at a corner. 
Suddenly his comm started beeping, an incoming transmission using one of the Sardaukar's private command channels. 
He put the documents away and pushed the mug out of view, on the other end of the comm line was Sardaukar supreme commanding officer, Burseg Dominic Tegrin. 
"Good evening General Seraphine, how are things?" 
"Hello Tegrin, nothing much going on right now" 

"knowing you you're probably well on your way ruining your lifetime supply of cloned livers" 

Deetex looked back at the room, at a sizable pile of emptied cans and bottles. 

"Not exactly" 

" How's Hasarith, has he lost that Deimos we issued him yet?" 
"Why not ask him yourself?" 
Deetex leaned back a bit, revealing his brother on the other end of the room. 
"Hey Boss, thanks for the bud of confidence there." 

"Truly a miracle, and mr Celdom?" 

"Epion is currently on a covert deep space assignment, there's no way for us to contact him without violating mission critical comm-silence." 

"That's unfortunate, but I support this'll do with just the two of you, I have an assignment with your surnames written all over it." 

Immediately Deetex slipped into his command mode. 

"you are to proceed back into Gallante space, the system of Oursuvaert, and collect our latest asset." 
Deetex swallowed. 
"uh, Gallante space, sir?" 
Hasarith interrupted. 
"That's a major trade hub, isn't it?" 
"Indeed, that wouldn't be a problem, will it? 
"I'll need to pull a few strings to get across the border in Niarja without being shot at, but it's possible." 
"Excellent, you will depart immediately, use a shuttle, for this you need to be fast and it has to be disposable." 
"A battleship with a microwarp drive is fast" Hasarith stated. 
"But hardly disposable!" 
"That depends entirely on whom's battleship it is." 

Deetex didn't comment. 
"And what of the asset, sir, what is it.?" 
"You will be approached by our contact once in system, he will contract the asset to you and brief you along the way." 
"As our directives pretty much dictate use of a shuttle, it's likely a ship we're picking up." 

"It is imperative you reach that system as soon as possible, so do depart with all haste." 

"Aye sir." 

-16 long jumps later- 

Two shuttles holding outside a jump gate, engines off. 
"Well Has, we're here." 
"That person of interest is supposed to contact us, right?" 
"That's right." 
"Going to be difficult, I've been receiving nothing but spam, advertisements and scam offers since we got here, it's almost like a form of ECM, in that it is clogging up my comms!" 
"Try to focus, he might toss us a private first." 
Deetex' console beeps, someone with a good standing checker. 
"See? There it is" 
Deetex opened the comm. 
"This is Baron Deetex Seraphine Harkonnen, Sardaukar Terrortroops General and Sierra Tango Oscar division commanding officer, with me is my brother and adjutant, Hasarith Seraphine Harkonnen. Now, please identify yourself." 

"What an Ammarian title, Tegrin never mentioned he would send over royalty. 
My name is Francis Versailles, Sardaukar Echo Victor Echo division intelligence handler, you must be here for the package." 
"That is correct, where is it?" 
"Hold on, not so fast, you're not going to ship it flying those bookmobiles of yours, is either one of you certified to fly black ops?" 

Deetex and Hasarith look at each other from the cockpit windows. 
"Technically speaking that's classified information, but I am certified, yes." 
"Good, gang up, and follow me, we're going to the navy assembly yard." 

On board the station they meet up. 

"So what exactly is this packet we're supposed to ship?" 
"whoever told you to ship it?" Versailles stated, as he thumbs towards a sign stating 'SHIPYARD ->' 
"Nobody told me much of anything, so I'm deducting based on circumstantial information." 
"Tegrin warned me about that, well, that, and your brother in general... quit odd, isn't he?" 
"I am right here, just behind you, you know?" 
"Yes, I know." 
"I'm also armed..." Hasarith added. 
"Again, I know." 

They reached the shipyard access door, thankfully without incident. 

"Obviously this is classified, and very important to us, so a mild case of discretion is advised. 
The door slides open. 
"Gentlemen, may I present the Sardaukar's latest development. 

A massive battleship came into view. 
"A brand spanking new Sin class blackops battleship!" 

Deetex' mouth fell open. 

"my.. god..." 

"You should see your face bro, you're drooling" 

Francis leaned against the bulkhead and grinned. 

"She's state of the art, equipped with multiple clustered railgun turrets and an Improved cloaking device, the command systems are top-of-the-line, and she has a full suit of armor hardeners and repair systems, both internal and external." 

"Remote armor repairs? not very economical for the capacitor I'm sure" 

"You'd be surprised, while running the cloak and integrated afterburners she might struggle a but, but with an additional booster charge she'll last longer then most other ships of her type." 

"why an afterburner, isn't the Dominix hull slow by design?" Hasarith asked. 

"The railgun turrets are *only* 150mm units, duals mind you, but small by comparison... that's how we were able to plaster on that much armor support units." Francis continued, ignoring Hasarith. 

"Frigates and cruisers then, what of Drone compliments?" 

"Ample space, the ship was issued a full suite covering most possible scenarios, everything from scouts to Heavies to Sentry drones... hell, she even has a set of TD300's" 

"Tracking disruptors? that could come in handy, if you get them to work right"Has stated 
"Though the lack of Battleship grade weapons might give the heavy drones a hard-time if facing Battlecruisers of actual battleships... not to mention capitols." 

"Indeed, which is why this ship isn't the only one we'll hand out today, mr Hasarith, please divert your attention upwards." 

Has looked up, straight onto the bow of a Talos class Battlecruiser. 

"Okay, that'll cover battleships quite nicely." Hasarith muttered in amazement, still staring up. 

"The Talos class is the latest in Battlecruiser development... not quite as resiliant as Brutix nor as flexible as a Myrmidon, but fast, and armed to the teeth with Battleship grade gunturrets and ample speed." 

Francis stepped closer. 

"While they are produced en-mass and not considered mission critical, do try to keep it intact would you?" 

"What is our mission anyway?" 

Francis handed him a holochip, Deetex plugged it in his wrist unit, which started projecting a small portion of the starmap with a course highlighted. 

"You are to take this ship through enemy lines into low-sec, where you are to use the ship's covert jump bridge capacity to bring a fleet of recon cruisers and bombers into the heart of enemy territory, you will use the Talos to break through the gate blockade" 

"What happens then?" 

"The mission requires cloaking capacity for all involved ships, if possible Hasarith is to aquire a similar cruiser and join the fleet, the Sin will provide the bulk of fleet coordination, but as it packs weapons similar to the cruisers it's direct involvement is not manditory." 

"Wait" Hasarith interupted. 

"We do not have any enemies in this sector, most are out in Caldari and Amarr space, who are we fighting?" 

"Under the phrase my enemy's enemy is my friend, we are assisting our duplicitus ally of the ORE syndicate." 

"They're going to love thanking a Talos hull for the breakthrough" Hasarith joked. 

"Oh? explain" 

"The Talos class was originally an ORE design, a type of quick-strike escort vessel for their deep-space operations... but was pretty quickly scrubbed after it's poor weapon systems and low structural tolerances were found inadequate when facing null-sec blockades. Gallante has since aquired the blueprints and revampt the weapons and powergrid." 

"It's still as fragile as a frigate, but at least it packs a punch now, fit it with an afterburner or a microwarp and it'll fly circles around a Megathron with just as much of a punch." Hasarith finished. 

"Fascinating I'm sure, however the Sardaukar's involvement must never be revealed." 

"Hence the requirement for cloaking vessels." Deetex summized. 

"Indeed, well, on that note it's high time for you to depart, you have the coordinates and a Fleet invite will await you once you're in the target system... one more thing though" 

Deetex halted in his stride and looked back. 

"What are you going to call her?" 

Deetex looked at the ship again, staring at it for a long time. 

"Calisto's Song..." he muttered, and headed to the docking platform. 

"what was that about?" 

"Calisto was the name of his wife, killed by pirates a few years back, left him devestated... they were using cloaks as well." 

"I see... and what will your hull be known as, for the time being?" 

"Oh I see how it is, nobody believes hassy-wassy can keep a ship intact, eh, sodding great reputation my friends gave me there." 

"I ment no disrespect, your part in this opp is a rather suicidal one however, now what of the name?" 

"something simple, Cinderfall I think" 

"Excellent, I'll register them in a few hours, more then enough time for the two of you to complete your assignments... and if not, whoever can tell what happens to the paperwork once it's filed, documents could mysteriously disappear in someone's spam folder, no?" 

Hasarith punched the man's shoulder. 

"Thanks chief, let me buy you a beer afterwards." 

As Deetex reached the bridge, officers were busy flitting about with their assignments and chores. 

"Captain on the bridge!" someone yelled, everyone standing at attention. 

Deetex casually sits on the command chair and sighs. 

"As you were" he mentioned. 

This ship was his now... 

"Sir, incoming transmission, someone named Hasarith... Seraphine?" 

"Put him on." 

Hasarith's visage showed on the large overhead display, sitting high and mighty in the middle of a small bridge, a wide console with two control levers and a hotas system covered his lower body from sight. 

"ISS Cinderfall calling ISS Calisto's song, comm test confirmation please?" 

"Cinderfall, this is the Calisto's Song, comm test confirmed, what is your status?" 

"All systems operating within nominal gradients, weapons primed and loaded, capacitor at full capacity and shields fully charged, return?" 

"Con, weapon and subsystem status please?" 

"Sir, weapons are loaded, we carry twenty six hundred medium sized spike rounds for our rail guns, and our drone bays are fully stocked and loaded, electronics are online and our power grid is fully operational, engineering reports the warp drive, jump drive and cloaking systems are fully intact and ready for service." 

"There you have our status, Has, are you ready for your suicidal part of our operation?" 
"Always ready to do my part, you know that." 

"Don't I ever, alright..." 
He paused, as he got up form his comfortable chair, taking a stance of authority. 
"All involved Sardaukar personnel, prepare for undock and warp, and ready yourselves for a fight." 

During the flight Deetex studied the mission objectives, the intentions of his supposed allies, and the known enemy formations and tactics. 
This would be a run-of-the-mill support mission. 

It was all so simple, any mercenary corporation would've accepted this assignment for less... And would've asked fewer questions. 
Something unknown was eating away at him however, something didn't feel right, not just having named his new ship after his deceased wife. 

The ship enter warp, the surge of power applied by the massive ship was felt all throughout. 

"Does this ship have anything like a private office I can use?" he asked out loud, not directing his inquiry to anyone specific, 
"Certainly sir" a young ensign responded. 
"Right this way please." 

"Continue on course, and alert me once we've entered the final star system." 

It took them longer to leave the bridge then it took to reach the office door. 

"Here we are sir, there's a food dispenser in the secondary entrance to the wardroom, which is right next to here. We can securely forward any message or comm line to your terminal over there, and your console has full computer access." 

Deetex looked around the large office, it was nearly as bit as the whole bridge on his last ship. 
"Thank you ensign, that would be all." he finally said, dismissing the eager young officer. 

After she left and the door lock indicated secured, he took a seat, and slotted the data chip Francis gave him into the terminal. 

The mission looked straight forward enough, get in range of the system, trigger a covert jump-bridge and lay in waiting for enemy forces to present themselves, then cause chaos. 
The flaky intelligence reports were troubling however, conflicting lists of formations and uncertain weapons and defenses reported. 
One thing stood out, the system itself, TD 128, was supposedly along Epion's route. 
'would we find Epion on the other side of the fire line?' Deetex wondered. 

Time passed quickly as he studied the available material, watching star system after star system shoot past as the ship warped and jumped. 
His mud was interrupted by the com system, one of his new bridge officers. 
"Sir, we've arrived at the intended coordinates, we're being contacted, there are several ships requesting a fleet formation and jump portal vectors." 
Deetex pressed the return button. 
"Understood, I'm on my way." 

Within minutes he was seated on the bridge again, forming the fleet and ordering formations. 

"Con, recalibrate sensor overview to modulation Papa Victor Papa, there should be a cyno online now." 

"Aye sir, cyno detected, locking on." 
"Prepare our jump bridge generator and fire when ready." 

"Won't that light us up like a Titan, sir?" a young officer asked, genuinely confused. 

Deetex didn't have to answer the obvious thankfully, one of his other officers did that for him. 
"This is a blackops portal, it won't show up on standard scanner, and takes a lot of time and effort with specialized equipment, we'll be long gone before they even get close." 
Another officer intertwined. 
"Flipside is... Only a hand full of ship types can use such jump bridges." 

"Speaking of which, look!" someone else expressed, pointing at the open viewport. 
A glooming cloud of gas and energy formed up in front of the ship, at it's heart a bright bubble of pocket space barely visible, showing the star field from the other side. 
The bridge lights dimmed a little for a moment, quickly restoring themselves to normal levels, showing clearly how much the ship's capacitors were being drained by this dark, strange technology. 
Just then did they bare witness to a fleet of ships pouring through. 
"Telemetry coming through now, fifteen cruisers and five frigates, looks like we have some twenty ships of mixed origins, sir" 
"Stealth bombers?" Deetex asked. 

"Yes sir, two manticores, a hound, and two Nemesis classes." 

"Very well, to the fleet, align to gate and prepare for warp, cloak when ready, let's not let anyone watching know we're not alone" 

The massive ship turned slowly as the engines began heating up, while the rest of the ships, twenty ships in total seemed to disappear. 

'Warp drive active' the computer announced. 

The gate should be abandoned, Hasarith did a tremendous job drawing attention and taking out potential risk factors, his Talos class was specialty fitted for fighting battleships and other hard targets, and he made excellent use of it. 
He should be home again by now. 

"Time for the pre-op briefing, open a secured line to the fleet." 
"Channel open, Sir." 

"This is fleet command, my name is Deetex, welcome ladies and gentlemen. 
This will be a danger close-fire support mission, our allies are in close pursuit of the enemy, which is believed to be heading to this system, in an attempt to block it off. 
Within thirty minutes, a formation of heavy transports and industrial ships will reach the gate, they are carrying modules, components and fuel for a Pod Operated Station, Pos for short... Obviously they will be carved to pieces before they can so much as align properly so we're here to break up the gate camp. 
Once the fighting starts, our long-range platforms will drop cloaks and will engage targets of opportunity, there will be no primary calls, this must not look organized. 
Once the enemy realizes our position and intent, they will send their fastest close-range platforms our way, at which point the rest of the cruisers will drop cloak and engage, my ship and crew will endeavor to keep you intact. 
Bomber pilots, once the fit shifts to us, you will engage their remaining hard targets, we will dispatch drones to keep any frigates or fighters away form you." 

He paused for a moment. 

"Once the transports are through it should take up to ten minutes to get the Pos fully operational, I have reason to believe a Cynosaural generator and a jump bridge module are part of their load out, so that means we, at that point, can leave, and have our allies jump in support. 
Is everyone clear on this, any questions?" 

No one responded, the mission and its objectives were clean and obvious. 

"We've arrived at 100 kilometers from gate, sir." 
"Cloak the ship, now we play the waiting game." 

As soon as it appeared, the Calisto's song vanished again. 

Several long minutes later the jump gate showed signs of activation. 
"This is it, weapons at the ready, stick to the plan." Deetex said. 

Indeed three battleships and half a dozen cruisers appeared in rapid succession, taking up camp positions near the gate.

"There they are, pick your targets and get ready." 
Another minute passed before the gate activated again. 

Dozens of frigates poured through, flanked by several destroyers and a solitary battle cruiser, all started firing on concentrated targets. 
The enemy fleet started firing back, the larger ships having significant trouble locking onto and keeping the smaller vessels in their sights. 

The fight lasted merely a few seconds when Deetex noticed it. 
"Why are the battleships moving with afterburners?" 
"Look at that Raven class back there, relative to the cruisers it's moving too fast." 
On que the conn officer pulled up more statistics on the large overview, including distance and transversal velocities. 
"You're right, can't tell for sure without more accurate scans, but she looks to be pulling half a kilometer per second." 

Squinting, Deetex stared at the view. 
"Show me the entire enemy fleet's movement patterns." 
Red dotted lines started appearing on the hostile ships, showing a chaotic but clear pattern of dissipation, with some ships keeping a consistent distance between their closest other. 

"Huh, clever... They appear to be moving into optimal firing positions for smartbomb deployment." 
"Smartbombing at such a scale could prove devastating to our allies, essentially a poor-man's doomsday device." 

"Indeed, contact our fleet, initiate phase one!" 

"Understood, dropping cloak and engaging." 

Another surge of power went through the ship as the cloaking field released substantial amounts of power to the rest of the systems, diagnostic consoles sprang to life as the ship and it's subsystems recalibrated. 

"Locking up random targets within our field of fire, on your command sir." 
"Target that cynabal class first, and fire when ready." 
"Roger, firing." the tactical officer replied, pressing a single large button on his console. 
The Calisto's song played to a ti, her eight rail gun barrels spewing shells at a high rate. 
Along side her the other recon cruisers starting dropping cloak and firing as well, more specialized their targeting scanners didn't need to recalibrate, and were picking up locks and holding them far more efficiently than any battleship ever could. 

"We've picked up a boogie, two enemy cruisers on fast approach, a Thorax and a Rupture class." the tactical officer reported. 

"Transports are three minutes out" another officer cut in. 

"Close range platforms, prepare to engage" Deetex ordered. 
"Look!" another officer yelled, pointing at the viewport window. 

Before them all the battleships and several cruisers apparently had reached optimal positions, lighting up the stars and ships with the dazzling thunderous flashes of Smartbomb area denial weapons. 

Their allies would pay the price for their frigates, each one engulfed in full by the shockwave. 

"Tactical report!" Deetex barked. 
"We've lost our destroyers and thirteen frigates, the rest have sustained heavy damage." 

"And the enemy?" 

"Minimal damage, they must've tanked it." 
Beside them, one of the engaging ships, the Thorax, went up in flames, it's pursuing ships quickly returning to a cloaked state. 

"Sir, transports are inbound, less then a minute remaining!" 

Deetex fidgeted, running the scenario and all options rough his tactical mind. 
Finally he threw his fist in the air. 
"Change of plans, all ships break formation and engage, primary on the foremost Megathron class battleship, engage at once." 
He turned his attention to the bridge's Drone control officers. 
"Deploy the Garde's, get us some long range fire support." 
"Aye sir, opening bays, wire controll, stand by for instructions" 

"Comm, let our allies know our intent, tell them to follow our lead, inform them we have Armor rep equipment for those in need, get within 5000 meters." 

"Right away sir." 

In a flurry of movement his entire bridge crew sprang to life, leaping from console to console, screens flickering and flashing as new data kept pouring in. 
The ship rocked slightly as a torpedo impacted, passing through the shields but absorbed almost harmlessly by the Calisto's Song's mighty armor. 

Several cruisers were closing the distance, short-range weapons blazing, as railgun slugs flew past them hitting hard. 
After only a short few minutes, their primary target buckled under the prolonged fire, desintegrating as it's reactor breached. 

"Target cycle, Raven is primary!" Deetex yelled, followed by another torpedo impacting them, throwing officers around like rag dolls. 
"Shields have failed, armor is holding, firing up the repair module now." 
Deetex realized something he missed. 
"Engineering, cut thermal guards off of our afterburner and fire it up. 
helm, get us some lateral movement, maybe we can counter their tracking a bit." 

As the ship lurched another torpedo glanced off their hull, apparently damaging it's guidance sending it spinning out of control and exploding a fair distance away. 

"Sir!" one of the officer started yelling, as the Jump gate activated. 
In the blink of an eye, a fleet of freighters, industrials and transport ships winked into existence, pausing the battle for just a moment. 

"Continue with our assault, cover those transports!" Deetex barked, as he noticed they were aligning for a group warp. 

It took a long breathless moment before the transports warped off, both sides taking casualties. 

"We've lost a bomber and three cruisers, two damage dealers and an Ewarfare, our armor is holding at thirty three percent, capacitor is holding stable at forty percent." 

"Make the most of it, in two minutes time, disconnect the afterburners and turn us around." 
"Aye sir." 

Another bomb flew past, hitting a distant battleship hard enough to knock its shields offline and severely damaging the receiving ship's armor. 

Those faithful minutes took hours to elapse, the bridge was eerily silent as the gunners were shooting everything that had as fast as they could, drone control officers were fidgeting back and forth as their pets did their work. 

"Sir, I have a positive cynosaural field on our scanners, it's the POS!" 

Deetex jumped up. 

"All wingmen, lock onto those coordinates AND JUMP!" Deetex yelled. 

Within seconds each of the remaining Sardaukar ships vanished as their final volleys cleared, drones were left behind and missiles, now completely unguided simply scraped past their intended targets. 

In a bright thunderous flash they rematerialized elsewhere in the system... The shimmering silhouette of a Pod Operated Structure could be seen some distance away. 
The bridge fell completely still, not a one person so much as moved nor breathed. 

"Wait a minute..." Deetex muttered. 

"What's wrong with this picture" he continued, staring out of the viewport. 

Something was very wrong, sending shiffers up his spine. 

He peered, trying to see past the POS' massive shield bubble, trying to focus on it's central command column, past it's multiple rings of Capitol turret batteries! 

His officers noticed it as well, they had jumped to a cyno without verifying it's origin, right into the crosshairs of a force worse than a fleet of battleships. 

"Deathstar POS!" 
"It's a trap!" 
"Target lock detected!" 
"Incoming vessels, multiple target locks detected!" 

Deetex flung about. 
"All forces scatter, random destinations, cloak ASAP!" 

Two more of their cruisers succumb to the POS's massive cannons before the fleet chaotically headed in different directions each, alert sirens and warning beacons blared in a cacophony of noise. 

The op was over, they had lost... Stumbling blindly into a trap with open arms and closed eyes. 

"We have been betrayed" Deetex snarled. 
"Someone will pay for this..."