I wrapped one arm around my leg, resting my chin on my knee as I eyed the manifest Lara had sent me this morning: three cruisers and a bc purchased, plus fittings, but scattered around nearby highsec systems awaiting collection. She'd appended a note that, while they were not far from my new base, they were certainly far removed from each other, and collecting everything without taking the far shorter routes through lowsec was going to be time-consuming at best. I suspected the tedium of piloting back and forth in a hauler would drive her a bit loopy.
I wasn't alone out here anymore. Sard Caid and Raxip Elamp had introduced me to friends of theirs who based nearby, and shortly after I'd clone-jumped away from Evati last night, Jorge Belda had followed, bringing with him my cat.
All the comforts of home.
I'd been managing corporation paperwork the last day -- now that Hellcats had an influx of new members, mostly fresh pilots straight out of the academy, Mynx had asked me to take on a few more roles to lighten her load, and I was happy to oblige -- attempting to ignore the increasingly oppressive atmosphere in Evati. I couldn't put my finger on it: it wasn't the war, which was still in effect, nor did it have anything to do with the immense fleet from Stella Polaris which had been lurking the area that day. The only source of annoyance I could really see was the rampant drama cases which had been afflicting our brother corporation for a while; I missed Jedziah, Sarge, Kalazar and others who had left amid what had been less shit hitting the fan and more a slow grind of slurry with occasional chunky bits through the rotors.
I needed space.
The crew I'd left in Molden Heath had been happy to see me, and we'd spent the evening on a girls' night out, effectively taking over a bar which maintained a large number of pool tables in a room to the rear. It had been ages since I'd played, and it was a relief to find I wasn't too rusty.
We were in for another surprise, however, as former Bastards member Antoniobanderas showed up briefly insystem. I'd missed Bandy, too, and we chatted a bit on the Local channel before he'd gone chasing the next shiny target.
It was like taking that first deep breath of spring air after a winter huddled indoors. Despite the area being filled with potential spies waiting to relay word of juicy outlaws to interested hunters, it felt so much clearer. I glanced across the hangar to where my Ishkur, Hooligan Spirit, hovered in her null-gee field and felt a stir of excitement within me. This was the way things were supposed to be.
I was ready to fly.