Prison break

15th September 2008 – 7.32 am

'It's good to see you again, Penny Ibramovic.' My agent is always happy to see me, I'd better not tell him about the radioactive waste I just dumped in the station. For some reason there were no buyers on the market, so I had to ditch it somewhere and I made sure I flushed a few extra times, just to be sure. 'Can you head out and pick up some prisoners? I'll brief you with the deadspace coordinates if you take on the mission, and of course there will be the usual negotiable fee.' Being a helpful kind of person, who coincidentally is saving up to by a Raven battleship one day, I agree to the mission.

It's not long before I'm in the deadspace pocket with a dozen or so hostile ships between me and the slave pens in the distance, the thunder of missiles and cannon rounds on my shields reverberating in to the comfort of my pod. I may have glossed over some of the fine details of the briefing, unusually for me, as I was expecting I would simply be picking up the prisoners to transport them, not actually performing a rescue operation. Who would have thought a prison would be so well-guarded? Rescue missions are rather more fun, though, and my drones agree as they shoot out of the bay and start riddling the enemy full of holes. The fireworks of a missile fight flare and fade as ferocious flames consume the fallen foes. All that's left is to get the prisoners out of the slave pens.

A reasonable person would probably dock with the now-defenseless pens, free the prisoners and fly off to safety. However, reasonable people generally don't pilot a heavily armed Drake battlecruiser. Besides, I don't have the key and am not about to waste time searching through all the wreckage looking for one, that's the Marquis of Granby's job. I have to get the prisoners out of their gaol, and when your only tool is a heavy missile every problem looks like a giant set of crosshairs.

The simplest solution is clear. As my Drake slowly approaches the pens in the wake of the recent dogfight, I add to the smoke cloud around me and loose several volleys of missiles at the pens from my launchers. My timing is impeccable, as not less than a minute before I am in transport range of the pens, the structure disintegrates spectacularly in what must be the second-biggest explosion I've ever seen.

Most of the prisoners are easily plucked out of the smouldering remains of the slave pens with little more than superficial burns, the others I scoop in to the drone bay before they die from exposure in the vacuum of space, and I soon find myself heading back to the station, warp drive active.

Reporting back to my agent, he looks a bit concerned. 'Penny Ibramovic, you did a good job bringing back the prisoners, the navy thanks you.' I'm the darling of the navy, it's true. 'I've been informed that the prisoners are uncommunicative, as if they have been subjected to some kind of serious trauma.' Uh-oh. 'Did you witness any evidence of torture devices or other such cruelties that they might have been exposed to whilst in captivity?'

'Nothing that was obviously intact and in working order once I got close, sir, no.'

'Okay, thank you, cadet. It seems the enemy initiated a self-destruct of the station once it was clear we had discovered it, as a recent scan shows no solid structures left in that region of space, perhaps in an effort to avoid sanctions for using such deplorable activities banned by galactic treaties.

'I'll be in touch when I have more work suitable for a capsuleer with your excellent reputation.'

Another successful mission!

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