Swinging Lucifer's Hammer
The following work of fiction is my entry into Mord Fiddle's Lives in Low Sec writing contest. It is based on several true stories.
The wrench slipped from his gloved hand and tumbled, end over end, down into the bowels of the Station dock. He sighed, and pulled another one from the tool-belt laced around his hips. Fourteen hours straight on the Secondary Plasma Coil Relays and still no blue light on the monitor. Once again, he cursed Muppets and the exodus from Osti that brought them to Lisbo. He banged the wrench into the side armor plate and watched the little flecks of Minmatar rust sparkle in the docking lights. A touch of sweat stung his left eye and he couldn't scratch it.
"Are you still pissed about Itsme and that blue freighter?" His wife's voice crackled in his CommLink and he reflexively glanced up into the gloom, he could barely make out the outline of the Archon above him. "I was never 'pissed' and you know it," he growled back. "Uh huh," She said and laughed, "Tell everyone else you planned it, but don't lie to me."
He sat in the Manticore cloaked off the hi-sec Gate, watching. They had talked about this, planned it - as much as anything was planned with Itsme - and now it was only a matter of things playing out. He watched the collected gate campers buzzing around the Gate. If he could spit, he would've. But the spit might pierce the hull of the stealth bomber. Fresh out of Syndicate and Curse, the Corporation needed an "incident" to spark things. This would be it. The freighter popped into local, blue as the balls on the Caldari Citadel... the freighter was already aligning. And then, like fucking Muppets, they took the bait. Blue on blue aggression. They both protested in channels. And Rixx watched two of his cargo'd ships explode. A small price to pay for being famous. He even figured he could get the ships back, they were clearly still viable on his scanner.
Blue light on monitor three. Just a few more tweaks and he could get out of the monkey suit. The CorpLink buzzed in his ear, "This is me." He held onto the wrench tightly, it might be the last one in his belt. "Carrier tackled, you coming or not!?", it was Itsme of course. He sighed and smiled all at the same time, "Where are you?" "Fleet is up, undock and warp to me, I can't hold him forever in this thing!", he sounded slightly less mad than usual. "On my way", he clicked out, already jetting back to the gantry and his Pod. "Was that Itsme?", Ana asked in his ear. "Fire up the Archon baby and get into fleet, he's got another one." He wasn't sweating now as he watched the Station crew pulling his Megathron into position.
Like a well-oiled machine the pieces fell into place almost immediately. Well practiced and maintained, the 'machine' was the Corp and the pilots that had joined since he started it back up again. Rogues, scoundrels, dregs, pirates, whatever the bastards in Empire decided to call them, each one was a proud, honorable in their own way, independent minded fighter. Wrangling them all into a cohesive machine, well that was his job. And in typical Lucifer's Hammer fashion, well, they were all drunk.
His mind felt the Megathron power up and start swinging into alignment, already the power of the Battleship coursed thru his veins. His muscles flexed and the beast responded. "The rest of the Corp is sleeping one off.", he said to Itsme as he waited to align. "No worries, Invicta is here with me." His "eyes" told him Jakkul was undocking next to him in his Baddon. "Well Jak's here and we're in warp."
He didn't trust Invicta as far as he could throw them. Itsme might be insane, but the man knew everyone. He could put a gang together faster than a Dramiel could get point, so it didn't surprise Rixx that he already had one on the Thanatos. They'd been killing Carriers at a steady pace since arriving in Lisbo, Itsme had the nose for it, and so far his nose hadn't let them down.
"You want me undocked?", his wife asked on their private channel. "No. Keep our retirement fund parked for the time being.", he tried to say it as nicely as the Megathron would let him. But flying Gal ships always put him on edge. "I know the drill", she said wistfully, "you hate it when I fight." "That's not it and you know it... hold on."
The fight had drifted since he entered warp and the Mega landed far from the desperate hulk of the Thanny. He only had one choice, so he pointed the beast towards the Carrier and unleashed some EC Drones in its direction. Hopefully he'd get close enough before the damn thing... exploded. Oh well, one less Spiritus Draconis carrier in system.
The Auto-Cannons thrummed under him, above him, all around him. The bastards were coming one by one into their gang. Two Drakes were already getting hammered and then the Claymore arrived. Immediately it started turning and aligning out, as if it had mistakenly landed in a social party for which it hadn't been invited. Itsme, Mtitus, Angor, Atro, Angor, Jushin and Dismo worked their magic like always and pinned the Claymore down. Nothing was getting away today. Rixx actually laughed as his projectiles tore thru the ships in front of them. He watched his friends, the Canes, Pests, and Ruptures firing into the night and he felt it. That thing he rarely felt in Null. This wasn't combat for God, or for ownership, or industrial might, or lining the pockets of the already rich, this was personal. These were his men, his friends, wronged by one Empire or another, tossed aside, stomped on, pummeled and forgotten. And as the Empire's Militia paid for their own arrogance with one ship after another he laughed like he had once long ago. It wasn't a happy laugh, it was madness.
The guns on the Megathron hadn't even been fired when the call came over Comms. "Rixx, you still around?", it was Jak. "I'm docked, but what'cha need?" "Remember that Rattlesnake that was with the Carrier and ran off? I've got him on scan."
The Tempest was already sliding into position and he just knew it would... "I took the liberty of fitting a Disruptor... so no worries.", as usual his wife had taken care of things just as he was thinking them. "I still think you can read my mind", he replied as his Pod entered the ship. It unfolded on the bridge and he blinked, "God knows what is going on in there!" She said laughing.
He ran into the Parlor, out of breath, his heart pounding in his chest. Even in the gloom he knew something wasn't right. His Father's shape against the writhing shadows of the chair, slumped, in his mind he already formed the heart-attack... but reality wasn't kind this day. He threw up his stomach, he felt ashamed, but it wasn't something he could control. His eyes betrayed him and he slipped on the insides of his Father. His ears betrayed him next, his Mother's screams pierced the night. He skidded across the room and ripped open the forbidden cabinet, his little boy hands grasping at the large, heavy, weighted blackness of the Brommel 820 his Father once used to kill a thundering Teradon. The mounted beast loomed above him as he dashed upstairs. His imagination wouldn't stop but he couldn't think. All he saw was red against the flashes of lightning thru the open windows. Six of them, Gal every single one. One of them was on top, moving, his Mother was strangely silent. He braced himself against the walnut wall and unleashed his madness. He killed every living thing in that room that night. The fire burned out his eye and ripped open his face. He went on living, but he was dead on the inside.
He settled into the couch and mindlessly watched the scrolling news. She sat down behind him and rubbed his shoulders. They didn't talk. They didn't need to.
After awhile he leaned back into her softness and barely above a whisper he said, "Fuck God" She kissed his shoulder and he could feel her smile on his skin, "Who needs him." The thought that they shared at that moment went unspoken, but they both knew what the other one was thinking. They always did.