The Test - A story by Ordo
Lieutenant Ordo walked through the loading bay calmly and composed for weeks she had been waiting for this day. Daily life of the station was starting to bring her down she was desperate to get back to where she belonged the vacuum of space.
She and her crew had been working around the clock training for this day; training for an Armageddon Class battleship isn’t easy. Simulation after simulation, hours of mock tests and having an instructor watch you fly was never enjoyable. Ordo walked passed the station bar, the time 13:55hours gave her 5minutes to get to the test. She resisted the temptation of going to the bar and joining those already feeling the effects of Amarr ale.
Suddenly her stomach tightened her legs no longer wanted to do take another step. She stood in front of a huge door with the symbol of Sehmy University on it. She took one deep breath and stepped forward. The door slid open with a quiet hum, Ordo quickly glanced over her shoulder how she wished she was one of those traders at the market with no major concerns other than who’s going to buy their products.
Taking a final breath she stepped through the door, suddenly the door slid shut with a soft thud. Panning the room she could see a lone desk in the middle of a huge room. The walls covered in insignia of Amarr Naval Squads gave the room a gothic feel the lighting was dim but the lone desk was lit by a single beam of light coming from the ceiling.
Sweat was visible on her forehead. Stepping forward into the dimly lit room Ordo gained a better view of the desk. Covered in a red fabric Ordo couldn’t help but wonder what was under it, she stepped closer…suddenly a gentle male voice came from behind her.
“Please take a seat Lt. Ordo the examination will start shortly.”
Without a word Ordo sat down.
“The examination is 2 hours long; please note that we have surveillance cameras watching you at all time to ensure that there is no cheating.”
Nodding Ordo lets out a small sigh and closes here eyes.
‘I hope every thing I learnt over the last couple of weeks is still with me’ she thought to her self.
A small elderly man approached her. He removed the red cloth that was covering the desk he gave a brief nod. The test had began.
Suddenly Ordo found her self of the command deck of an Armageddon, the military insignia had gone replaced with the electronic displays of the Arma but the desk remained. Suddenly the voice from earlier could be heard.
“Lt. Ordo… If you look in front of you; you will notice the desk has lit up with various symbols and a keyboard I will read out questions and you will use the keyboard and symbols to answer. Ignore the surroundings you find your self in they are just an illusion to help you relax.”
The next two hours dragged past. Suddenly the lights dimmed the desk lights disappeared and Ordo found her self again back in the gothic like room.
‘Is that it?’ she asked quietly.
“I’m afraid so Lt. Ordo, please don’t leave the station for two days while we compile the results you will be notified as soon as they are ready.” The mans voiced stopped. Silence filled the room.
Suddenly the door Ordo came through opened the busy station sounds filled the room standing up slowly Ordo made for the one place she really wanted to be the bar.
Two days had passed and not a word from the examination board. Starting to panic Ordo was unable to sleep that night.
‘What if something is wrong?’ she thought ‘What if I’ve done so badly they didn’t want to tell me the results?’ all these thoughts of failure were with Ordo all night. Suddenly her comm. line started to beep. She accepted the communication; a bright symbol of Sehmy University once again appeared it lit her quarters up she waited a few seconds for her eyes to adjust to the bright light. A figure appeared in front of her a Amarr male with a hood over his face that reminded her if Caya looked at her blankly.
“Lt. Ordo” a husky voice asked.
“I’m sorry for the delay in getting back to you with the results. We had a small problem with the computer system. Well to cut a long story short we had to start the result algorithm again so it took a bit longer than we hoped.”
‘Oh… that’s alright do you have the results ready now?’ asked Ordo.
“Yes I’m glad to inform you that have passed the level one Battleship command and are now qualified to fly Armageddon Class battleship. Congratulations.” The hooded male nodded quickly and the screen went blank.
A sense of joy came over Ordo, she got dressed as quickly as possible. Before heading out she sent a crew wide communication. Telling them to take the next transport ship to Nets where they were to wait for her and their new orders. As soon as the communication had been sent Ordo left her room and headed to the bar.
‘No let’s really celebrate’ Ordo said with a evil grin and bought a round of drinks for every one in the bar.
Four weeks after arriving at Nets Ordo and her crew were busy preparing for the launch of their new ship. All hands were busy moving the ships supplies to their designated areas while the slaves were busy fitting the seven miner two’s her father had given her as a gift for passing the battleship examinations.
Waking at 06:00 hours every day Ordo made the long walk down to the hanger to have hands on command of the fitting and preparation of the Armageddon.
Normally associated with war this new vessel was being fitted for the sole purpose of mining in relatively safe space while a series of tests were carried out on her configuration. Ordo worked the slaves hard making sure they worked a full day’s work before they were allowed to rest.
After five weeks of preparation all seven miner twos were installed and ready for use, fully stocked and manned the battleship/mining ship was ready for launch. The only thing hampering their departure was the fact that the micro-warp drive still had not arrived from Mora and the bridge was still half way through completion. Ordo and her Amarr crew had no choice but to wait for the parts to arrive.
Ordo walked the long corridors of the T.E.S. Encroacher alone. The ship was deserted while the parts were on route. Taking her time to become familiar with the ship Ordo inspected her Amarr crew quarters before making her way to the lower decks to the slave pits.
Her slaves would be clothed, fed and looked after while in space in the bowls of the ship. The lighting was dimmer; she made her way down the ladders and gang ways (no lifts went this low on an Amarr ship) as she kept going she noticed how the temperature dropped.
‘I must have past the engine room four levels ago’ she thought.
Another ten minutes passed before her journey came to an end. Now the lights were so dim she had to wait for a short time while her eyes adjusted to the lack of light. Even for a brand new ship the slave quarters looked warn granted it was the weakest part of the ship, no one really cares about the least valuable part of the ship, back on her fathers ships the cheapest drones were looked after ten times as well; safely stored away in the drone bay with the maximum shield strength constantly protecting them from the perils of space.
Small bunks lined the cold walls of the battleship slaves would sleep through the night while others worked all over the vessel later when their shift ends they would make the long trip down to the bottom of the ship while those who were once sleeping made their way to replace them. With only half the numbers of beds as there were slaves it was two to a bed rotating as they changed shifts there was little time for them to relax. Ordo shrugged the feeling of pity of with the simple thought of flying the battleship and returned to her quarters on the station.
Another day had passed before the micro-warp drive arrived at the station this piece of equipment would speed the process up of approaching belts and stations which meant more work could be carried out. The fitting of the micro-warp drive would take two days including test runs etc while the bridge was due for completion the day before.
Finally the day had arrived a sense of excitement took hold of the crew. The earliest shifts starting at 00:00 hours were still willingly working in order for a smooth trip. The launch was scheduled for 12:00hours.
Thirty minutes before launch Ordo made her way to the bridge. The newly fitted bridge was full of life, all the screens were flashing with various data and statistics.
‘How are the engines holding?’ asked Ordo calmly.
“Engines at 100% captain” came a sharp reply,
‘And the micro-warp drive how’s that holding Danama?’
A small smile came across this well built Amarr,
“Its doing us proud captain. The engineers have been working around the clock to make sure its all in working order. The final test was completed at 23:00 hours” replied Danama.
A sense of relief was now visible on Odor’s face.
‘Prepare my pod for me Danama.’ Ordo ordered in a smooth calm voice.
“Yes sir…I mean yes ma’am” quickly bowing his head Danama made three swift moves with his hand on a control panel.
A low hum could now be heard through the bridge. The lights dimmed. The floor in the centre of the bridge parted. Ordo loved this part of the launch sequence. Four small soft lights came to life; slowly the pod emerged from the ground. Neural links could be seen through the glass of the chamber. Approaching the chamber Ordo looked at Danama the pod opened waiting for its captain to enter. Stepping into the pod Ordo felt relieved.
‘I’m home’ she thought to her self.
Suddenly the pod came to life. The door sealed its self with no visual marks of the once obvious seal; neural links automatically attached them selves to the ports on the back of Ordo’s head. A warm sensation came over Ordo’s feet and slowly this feeling started to rise. The liquid was slowly covering all of Ordo. The “liquid of life” as it was affectionately called by Ordo and her crew served two purposes. One to filter out external noises so the captain of a ship could concentrate solely on her job at hand and secondly to give the occupant of the pod nourishment and the other required necessities the body and mind needs to survive.
Suddenly Ordo’s senses became enhanced she could feel the engine’s as they waited for the order to go, the external sensors and internal one’s were all a thought away.
After a quick systems check Ordo called up the launch sequence. In her minds eye a screen could be seen with a list of the steps required to launch the ship. Half way through the list Ordo requested permission to undock. A video image came to her an officer on the command deck of the station was looking at her.
‘This is the T.E.S Encroacher requesting permission and clearance to undock’ Ordo’s mouth didn’t move she simply thought it and the sound of her voice was sent to the command deck.
“Clearance granted Encroacher” the voice boomed.
The docking doors slowly parted the vacuum of space beckoned.
‘How fast shall I go?’ thinking to her self ‘I know’.
Suddenly the engines came to life the massive battleship started to creak. The docking clamps released the ship with a moan and slowly the Encroacher started to move toward those massive docking doors. With a single thought Ordo increased the speed of the Armageddon. Suddenly a display came to view:
FIVE HUNDRED YARDS…, FOUR HUNDRED YARDS…, ONE HUNDRED YARDS, CLEAR.
Ordo and the ship were clear of the docking bays and were slowly making their way to the warp point.
Another message came to view:
LAUNCH CAMERA DRONE?
Once again another thought and the drone was in space giving Ordo the best possible view of her new ship. The view was amazing, use to flying smaller ships Ordo could now see and understand why other members of her corporation praised the Armageddon class battleships.
One more thought and the map came to view. Zooming to a system on the chart the destination was logged the required calibrations were calculated all was set for the ten jump trip.
The engines came to life Ordo could feel them pushing out a massive amount of power, at the maximum speed Ordo brought the micro-warp drive online. At twenty kilometres from the station Ordo sent a ship wide message:
‘ALL HANDS PREPARE FOR WARP DRIVE ACTIVATION!’
Suddenly the ship lined up for warp to the first jump-gate of the short trip. With a quick scan of the ship with the camera drone Ordo pushed the engines to the limit and then engaged the warp drive.
At maximum warp Ordo used the camera drone to admire her new ship. With the back drop of a warp field the Armageddon no longer looked like a machine of war and bringer of death but of a machine of amazing technological marvel gracefully flying through space. Suddenly the warp engines carried out an automatic shut down and the ship returned to normal space. Forty kilometres form the gate Ordo once again activated the micro-warp drive. Heading for the jump-gate Ordo broadcasted an access code to the gate which would grant the ship access to the gate computer systems. At eleven kilometres the code was accepted Ordo gave navigation control to the gate and prepared for the short jump to the next system.
To be continued…