Sunday, May 5
Stories from 4TH District
A story from capsuleer pilot Sillanda Kachira, a story that got her a second place in the first 4TH writing contest. She decided to write about here earlier time in CAIN and Fourth District.
Sillanda had just finished her daily duty and walked back to her Captain's quarters, sitting herself down at her desk as the door closed behind her. It was a long day again and she still had to write up her report. She had always hated doing her daily paperwork; it had been one of the few things she hadn't missed about serving in the Fourth District. Few alliances were as strict as they were when it came to writing reports, but this wasn't her first time in the alliance; she had already had three stints in its service.
She started her report with the normal questions about hours in space, used ships...she had only undocked twice today, spending about three hours in space. She had been fighting some Sanshas in the morning that had tried to settle into 3KB-J0, piloting her ship the CNR Golden Hope. One of the vessels she was proudest of, the Golden Hope was one of her oldest and she had no better crew. As she wrote her report on the anti-Sansha deployment, however, her thoughts began to wander to a previous time.
It was a wonderful morning; Sillanda had just woke up from her quarters in 5ZXX-K, where she had been living for some time now. Where before she had only been serving the Caldari Independent Navy Reserve, now she was a proud member of the Fourth District, the alliance CAIN had recently founded. She got out of bed and began to get ready for her duty.
As she walked into the CAIN offices, she saw a smiling face, and it took her still-not-quite-awake brain a few moments to register that it was Shirukii, who was already waiting for her. “You really should go to be earlier,” chided the other pilot.
“I needed to finish this stupid report,” replied Sillanda angrily. She grabbed some food quickly as the two female pilots got ready for the upcoming work. Since Shirukii had joined CAIN, the two had become best friends, doing their best to contribute to the Reserve with their skills.
That particular day it seemed as if there was no work left for the two girls, so they checked for known enemies around 5ZXX-K, but it seemed that even their usual enemies were still asleep. With nothing better to do, they asked their agent in the Mordu's Legion station for work.
His job didn't seem that difficult: “destroy the thief, loot the reports, and bring them back to me.” Sillanda and Shirukii prepared to undock from the station. Sillanda was in the CNR Lando, her heavily-tanked battlecruiser, an inexpensive ship that she always felt safe in. She always seemed to have money problems, so she couldn't afford many other ships than her Drakes. She had a number for different uses.
She looked over at the shiny Maelstrom battleship that Shirukii was undocking in next to her, the CNR Rain. Despite the fact that Sillanda had been flying longer than Shirukii, for some reason she still found herself flying the worse ship. Sillanda initiated a fleet warp, setting the two of them off on the hunt for the thief.
Arriving at the agent's bookmark, they found that the thief was not alone, flying with a fleet at his side and trying to save his life from the two pod pilots. As she landed on the field of battle first, they opened fire on Sillanda; this had been the two Reserve pilots' plan, as the Drake's tank held much better against most enemies. The Lando's shields held without any problems and the two women began to pick apart the enemy fleet. Eventually, only the thief himself remained; at that moment, Shirukii's older brother Mookuh woke up and contacted the two, asking if they needed help. The two younger pilots always felt safer with him around, as he was an experienced pilot and one of the Fourth Districts best fleet
commanders, and they invited him to join their fleet; but when Sillanda asked what ship he would be bringing, all he would say was “you'll see.”
She didn't really like guessing games, but she knew that he'd likely be flying one of his new ships; while they talked, the two women had managed to take down the thief, barely managing to get him as he tried to slip out of Shirukii's range. Unfortunately, when his ship exploded he was still almost 50 km away, quite the trek for the two slow ships. Right at that moment, Mookuh warped in next to them.
Sillanda looked over and saw his new ship, rolling her eyes. “A frigate?” she yelled at him over voice comms. “You aren't serious about joining in that thing.” Everyone in the alliance knew she hated small ships – she always got sick in them, moving far too fast for her liking. As she complained, he was already on his way to get the reports from the distant wreck.
“At least he is useful for this,” replied Shirukii. The two women warped back to the station to dock up and wait for Mookuh to return, so that he could hand over the reports, but he never arrived. Sillanda undocked, but still couldn't see him, her scanner not showing any sign of his tiny ship either, and she noticed that he had left their fleet channel as well. On their corporation channel, all he said was “you need to catch me if you want them back.”
The two women grumbled angrily, but they wanted to show him that they were no longer helpless without him. They undocked again in their normal combat ships, Sillanda in another of her Drakes and Shirukii now in her favorite ship, a Stilleto. After a while, they managed to catch Mookuh in a belt, and in a second they managed to get him warp scrambled so he couldn't get away. Before they had a chance to ask him for the reports, though, a fleet of Guristas warped into the belt. Before they had a chance to react, the pirates locked up Mookuh's ship and he disappeared almost instantly under their missile barrage. He managed to get his capsule out, and Sillanda tanked the Guristas just long enough to get the reports from his wreck.
When they returned to the station, just before Sillanda retired to her quarters, she smiled and said to Shirukii, “he really deserved it.”
She smiled while the daydream faded; it had been so long ago that it had happened, during her first tour with the Fourth District. The alliance had just been founded, with only a few small corps that they had been living with in Pure Blind at the time. The years when Sillanda had been flying Drakes were long gone; she hadn't undocked in a Drake for some time now. For fighting Sanshas, her red and gold Paladin was way more effective.
She still missed Shirukii; the two had been the best of friends until Shirukii had disappeared entering a wormhole three years ago. Many things had changed since then; Sillanda was back in the Fourth District, but they were in Providence now, holding their own systems, six of them in total. The alliance had grown and they found themselves fighting alongside CVA these days.
A new recruit had just joined the Reserve, and she noted that there were a few new people joining the Reserve the last few weeks. She made a note on her report; she thought it was way too easy for a new recruit in the alliance today. Freighter and carrier jump services, cloaking ships to get to their staging system jump bridges, and friendly-camped routes up to 3KB-J0. Sillanda looked up from her report and once again got lost in her memories, a smile crossing her face.
Shirukii had just joined the Reserve, and had been told as every new recruit had been that she needed to get into Ladel's hangar and paint one of his ships a different color. No one
had managed to get past Ladel's security so far – not until now. Sillanda and a few other CAIN members had been sitting in the CAIN offices in 5ZXX-K when they saw Shirukii emerging from Ladel's hangar with a pail of pink paint in her hand. The pilots looked at each other nervously, sure that Ladel would be really mad if he saw one of his ships repainted.
The next morning, the usual Triumvirate. Vagabond fleet showed up and Ladel called for a response fleet, undocking in his own Abbadon with other pilots in their own remote-repping battleships. As they formed up and waited for Ladel to undock, they heard him yelling suddenly. “My Abbadon, my Abbadon has PINK letters on it!” He ranted for a while, fired his security people and then disappeared into his hangar for the next few hours, cleaning his ship – no one saw him for the rest of the day.
When he undocked his Abaddon the next time, it still wasn't totally golden; the words “Ladel loves Kills” was still readable on its side. Sillanda wasn't sure if he ever found out who was responsible, but she thought it was probably better if he never did.
Sillanda looked back at her report; she wasn't even half through it, and she kept finding herself thinking about Shirukii. She resolved to get the report done and tried to remember where she left off. Moving ships? No...carrier jumping? No...ah, new recruits. She made a few more notes on the report.
Now she only needed to finish the fleet report. Ladel Teravada had called the fleet up this evening, the normal fleet the District fielded these days, Nagas with Rapier, Lachesis, and logistic ship support. When she had joined the fleet earlier she had waited to find out what logistics ship she would be needed in. Ladel had decided he wanted three Basilisks, so Sillanda had pulled the CNR Rep Me out of her hangar. Three Basilisks, one Lachesis, and one Rapier; Ladel was in the Rapier as usual. She made sure to put him at the top of her watch list, to ensure that he wouldn't die again.
She hated that she couldn't save everyone, but sometimes the enemy fleet just put out too much damage, more than she and the other logistics pilots could ever repair. She had only been piloting logistics ships in fleets for some time now; every time she wrote her reports she missed flying the ships she had in the past. She found her thoughts wandering again, thinking about old fleets.
She undocked from 5ZXX-K station in her Drake again to join up with a fleet under Ladel's command. Looking right and left, she could see two Blackbirds, another two battlecruisers, and two interceptors, one of them piloted by Ladel himself. Sillanda joined the fleet in a Drake for one of the first times in her career, previously only flying Caracals. At that moment she was both proud and nervous; she wanted to leave soon so she can finally show what she had learned in the past weeks. She was always eager to prove herself, always wanting to do everything perfectly in a fleet.
Ladel still yelled at her a lot, and she hated it, just because she wanted everything to go smoothly. But everything still seemed so complicated, so many things to pay attention to; shooting the right ship, flying in the right direction, staying at range...
They were leaving, Ladel staying in front of the fleet trying to catch any enemies near their home system. They were patrolling Pure Blind nearly every day, trying to make sure there were no hostiles living there. It wasn't always easy, with Triumvirate. still living just a few jumps away.
After some time, Ladel gave the fleet the command to jump through a gate and warp to him. They followed quickly and found him tackling a Sleipnir; Sillanda always wondered how he managed to find enemies so easily. They chewed through the ship's shields slowly, but the attack went perfectly and Sillanda was happy to see on the kill report that she had done the most damage to the target. It was the first time she had done more damage than some of the older pilots; she knew it had nothing to do with her training, but more to do with the range they had been fighting at. The Harbingers that the others had been flying were not able to do damage at the range her Drake could, but she was still proud of the accomplishment.
She looked at her report again, trying to finish the fleet section. She missed flying the Drake and Abaddon; she had flown them since Shirukii had disappeared, and she still felt horrible that she didn't seem to fly anything other than logistics ships lately. Since Shirukii had been gone, she felt like she was missing something in a damage ship; Shirukii had always flown the light tackle, grabbing the enemy. In logistics ships, she didn't need to worry about that, and felt better about it.
She continued writing the report, reflecting with satisfaction on the number of pilots the alliance could field these days. They had been fighting a 60-man Goonswarm fleet, but after the first dead ships on the Goons' side they had lit a cynosural field and CAIN found themselves hotdropped once again. But she was still happy; their reps had held up well and they had only lost one ship in the end, which had been tackled when the cyno field went up. She finished the fleet report and got to the last section.
It was Sillanda's duty to keep track of the capitals in the alliance, she began to tally the numbers in the Fourth District's growing capital fleet. The number of carriers and dreads were getting better every day, and the alliance could even field a few supercapitals now.
Finally, she reached the end of the report and closed the file, glad to put an end to the ordeal. As she did, she still felt the tinge of loss, wondering Shirukii still survived, lost in wormhole space