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The drill could begin! Liftoff signal from the overseer.
It went as many drills might go: The Drillrat was guided to the Damsel without effort, it followed the routines and watched those big glowing balls of heat swish by, finally entering the poor choking Damsel’s system. Limpets were filled with fuel in a hurry, raced through the void to the rescuees ship and restored warmth, air and engines. The Rats feasted, many a Brandy bottle from Lave was emptied, as it should be after a successful Code Red rescue. Then the Damsel finally zig-zagged with it’s ship to jump out.
It looked like one of those happy days. Drillrat and Drillspatch exchanged congratulations over the comms, the Drillrat fired up it’s engines with fingers made unsteady by that excellent Brandy …
… and this was the point where it discovered that, in fact, it wasn’t able to initiate the jump drives.
The Drillrat lacked fuel. Oh how was it shamed! Good though that that Brandy smoothed out the harshest feelings, while the Drillrat gloomly called Drillspatch.
– I need fuel, it said.
– Yes sure, came the reply, with a laugh.
– No really.
– Really? oh well. Then … we have the Damsel here … she will come to your help. Damsel?
– What? Are you kidding me? Sure! On my way.
And so it came that the Damsel hurried to help out the Rat.
Through the clouds of that excellent Lave Brandy, the Drillrat, sitting in it’s quiet ship, realized which shame was heading it’s way. For a short time, the dark red glow of the close star shone in a tempting manner, as if it would call the unlucky rat: Come here … save you the shame … come closer … let me embrace you … But the Drillrat remained strong, and the moment of utter depression passed.
In the meantime, the Damsel had arrived in system and was approaching the Drillrat. Even instancing was no problem, the limpets were already crawling over each other to be the first on the client, as …
… the Damsel was thrown down in the darkness of a resistant, not easily solvable crash of the game. Rumours say it was the Drillspatch’s technokharma that saved the Drillrat from shame … since the very same Drillspatch, when drilling one day before, encountered a SSD crash on the side of the Drillclient immediately before the rescue could be finished.
Anyway, a Drill that turned into a Drillrat rescue suddenly had turned into a full-scale Ratsignal. As the call for Rats raced through the void, Rats all over the galaxy wondered why a Drillspatch raised a Ratsignal for a Drillrat. For a moment, the channels were clogged with squeaks. Only after a short while they understood that this drill had turned into a real rescue mission. Loosing no time, they sped to the rescue of their fellow comrade.
It could have been over now. If there wouldn’t have been a Code Red call almost immediately after the Drillrat had ben saved. 1:30 minutes of oxygen left!
So the freshly drilled and rescued Drillrat changed into a real Rat and headed to join the rescue. Together with the Rat Logan Aigaion, he followed the head Dispatcher’s guidance to get ten thousand light seconds between a station and a star, where the Code Red client had reported to be about to suffocate. The two Rats saw the Beacon coming up as they reached their positions; alas, it was eight thousand light seconds away! The fear must have damped the client’s senses when he had reported his approximate position. He informed them with a choking voice that he only had tiny 30 seconds of air left.
They ran. They ran as only Fuel Rats can run. Racing at neck-breaking speeds towards their clients beacon, not caring for the immense screams and hums of their engines, they heard the oxygen timer tickle down. The ozonic smell of overheating relays filled the cockpits.
And then, the first Rat dropped. A Limpet rushed into the preparation chamber, was filled up with high-pressure fuel, shot out while still dripping …
… and the client saw the ratship turn up in front of him, saw the hatch open and the white flash of the Limpet fired, and then, all went dark for him. Only a ship’s length before the Limpet could reach him, his ship exploded.
This was not a good day for the Rats. But they have tried. And that is what we do: Try, as hard as we can. And, usually, succeed.
Though not always. It’s a Rat thing.
CMDR Uvelius Sång, Drillspatch, singing off.
True story. Happened when I did and passed my DrillSpatch drill, if my mind doesn't deceive me there. Speak about drama!
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