This is a collection of short in-character fiction pieces about Awakened Industries, a group of capsuleers and their crews living in the enigmatic and dangerous regions of Wormhole Space in EVE Online. None of the protagonists are actual characters or corporations in-game. All similarities with persons fictional or real are possibly coincidental and only sometimes intentional. - Emergent Patroller

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Warning
: The stories on this blog contain mature themes involving sexuality and violence and are not suitable for minors or sensitive people.

16 Jul 2014

OOC Entry 111 - Titles

When I wrote in a comment that I will have my next chapter ready within the week, I should have written within a week. I wrote that comment exactly a week ago and so I would have just about kept my word.

You may not believe this, but I struggled most with the title of the story.

Everything I could come up with sounded like some EVE expansion or the name of some movie with Tom Cruise as the male lead, and I hate Tom Cruise. I have hated Tom Cruise since I saw Top Gun with my very first boyfriend and decided that Val Kilmer is definitely way sexier and should have been the guy who wins.

Well, at least I didn't have to endure seeing the female lead getting it on with Val Kilmer and was free to dream my young girl dreams about him. Sadly he turned rather fat later in life.

But I digress.

I have long wanted to write a story with Gallente antagonists, and now I finally saw the opening to do so. It will tie in with things that happened waaaay back in my stories. I find that rather suitable for a story set in New-Eden that things the protagonists did in the past catch up with them in a bad way.

For starters, this chapter will not feature any of my main protagonists, but I am bringing back my favourite obnoxious support character. I am not sure yet for how long I will stay on this track where I keep my main capsuleers out of the narrative, but I feel like it could go on like that for a bit.

I think it can create some extra tension when the story is about people who can actually die instead of being revived in a clone through some technological wizardry.

Not that I haven't brought a few of those poor capsuleers very close to true death.

Oh yes, and then there is the unsettling death of a bunch of scantily dressed girls in that interlude I wrote last.

Let's see what becomes of that particular thread.

But for now, the story begins with some nice food.
 

The Chain of Being - Part 1


Adrain Sourail decided to finally break the awkward silence that hung over the table in the exclusive restaurant his superiour officer had invited him to for supper. He set down his wineglass and took a deep breath before speaking.

"Madame, I can't help to ask why you invited me here."

Dechenne en Chalune chewed and swallowed slowly. She half-closed her narrow eyes while she savoured the taste of her last bite and hummed softly in appreciation. Adrain wished the old intelligence director wouldn't draw it out so much. It was her signature thing to do. Always keep everyone guessing - and worrying - what her next move could be. She hadn't earned the nickname "Lady Anxiety" among the members of the department for nothing.

"Because you are my most valued operative of course, and I thought you would enjoy some good food and drink" The Intaki finally said and smiled.

Adrain looked at her cheerful expression with skepticism. Her matronly smile emphasized the wrinkles on her golden-skinned face. She managed to look like anybody's favourite grandmother if she smiled like that, but Adrain knew there must be something else to it. There always was with Dechenne en Chalune.

"Have you ever considered how much food tells us about a society or a culture?" The old woman continued after skewering a rubbery small cephalopod on her plate. "Minmatar cooking, for example, favours dishes which are intended for communal consumption. A lot of different small items of food which are arranged on big platters. Everyone at the table shares and exchanges."

Adrain wondered where this was going while the intelligence director put the marinated piece of seafood into her mouth and chewed languidly. She swallowed, sipped from her glass of wine and then carried on.

"They are also fond of strong natural tastes. Game, spicy vegetables, intense fruit flavours, bitter herbs, that kind of thing. The combination offers a lot of diversity and contrast."

She pointed at her own plate with the fork. "Quite different from our own style. In Gallente cuisine everything is about creating the most refined combination of tastes, subtly tailored to personal choice. There is diversity, but it is a diversity of choice for each individual." Dechenne en Chalune picked up some vegetables together with another piece of squid and ate it at length.

Adrain was wondering where this whole talk about food preparation was supposed to go, but he did listen intently. He knew his superiour. She hardly ever engaged in idle talk without meaning to get to a point. So far the Gallente agent failed to deduce what it might be though.

"I can see that you are becoming impatient, so let me come to the point." The elderly intelligence director retrieved a neocom from her handbag and slid it across the table.

Adrain skimmed through the Scope News item that was on display. Clearly Eifyr & Co unexpectedly announced a conference to present a revolutionary scientific breakthrough. The name of the main speaker caught Adrain's attention. "Hegomir Torstan? Wasn't he abducted by some capsuleers recently."

"Correct. Wormhole dwellers to be more precise. Specifically a corporation called Awakened Industries under the command of this man." Dechenne reached over to touch the necom display which emitted the holographic image of a bearded Gallente looking man.

Adrain nodded gravely. "I recognize him. He was last on record interacting with one of our agents before she vanished."

The white-haired Intaki emptied her glass and leaned back in her chair. "Right, Nevire Chatal. So, where does that leave us?"

Adrain finished the article and stroked his chin in thought. "It looks like a group of lawless capsuleers lead by a former navy officer have dropped a major scientific breakthrough in the lap of a Matari megacorporation. In addition to that, they might be involved in the loss of an agent." he frowned for a moment. "If I am not mistaken then the agent in question was on the trail of a wanted capsuleer spy. According to intelligence reports, the same woman agent Chatal was after, was also involved in the abduction of Savant Torstan. Sounds like we have a challenge on our hands." Adrain smirked slightly "And an opportunity to tie up a few loose ends."

Dechenne nodded and displayed her grandmotherly smile again. "Like I said in the beginning, you are one of my most valued operatives. You are good at connecting the dots" she took the provided cloth napkin from the table to dab her lips. "Now remember what I said about food and its reflection of a society's values."

Finally Adrain understood her meaning. "The difference in culture. The recent political moves by Empress Jamyl have defused the conflict between the Amarr Empire and the Republic. Since then the cultural differences between the Gallente and the Minmatar have become more of an issue. Now some Gallente ..."he searched for the appropriate word "... renegades have provided a Matari scientist with the means to get ahead in the game. This might develop into an issue of federal security."

The smile of the old Intaki widened to the same extent as her eyes narrowed. "Which is where we come in. Or you more specifically."

Adrain looked at his superiour quizzically.

Dechenne en Chalune responded to his unvoiced question "I am sending you to that conference with the fake identity of a Duvolle Laboratories acquisition specialist. We need to know everything we can get our hands on about that new breakthrough in Sleeper research Torstan will be presenting." she waved her hand nonchalantly "I expect that the public presentation will only scratch the surface. Your job is to get your hands on the whole story."

"How far can I go?" Adrain asked. His demeanor had turned from slightly confused to fully professional in an instant.

"Any means necessary." his superiour answered matter-of-factly. "Just make sure it remains deniable." she smirked "I would hate it if I had a senator pacing back and forth in my office shouting something about a diplomatic incident."

"Understood." Adrain replied curtly. 

"Well" Dechenne en Chalune gestured at Adrain's almost untouched food. "Enjoy the meal. You are leaving tomorrow on the first liner to Eram."

***

"Seriously! Is all that excessive caution necessary?!" Agitated, Hegomir Torstan paced back and forth on the forward bridge of the Rapier class recon ship. "This is a nimble ship of Minmatar design. With my added modifications it should easily be able to evade every trap, and time is of essence here my Gallente friend."

Sitalaerd Baunee tried his best to concentrate on the tactical holograms displayed before his captain's chair. "You do want your research, and yourself, to reach Eram safely I would assume." he said dismissively and then issued the order to move closer to the wormhole in a spiral course.

The veteran Gallente captain did not want to take an unnecessary risk here. Most of Awakened Industries' crews were still not back home. Their stations were hardly defensible and none of the corporations capsuleers - including his commander - had returned to the Anoikis cluster either.

At least he had received word that the daring mission to rescue Sandrielle Jaunes was successful. Everyone would be due to return soon. The many Sleeper drones which kept circling their main control tower, still gorging their machine minds on all available information, created an effective deterrent against attack, but they were also an unknown factor. The former Gallente navy officer did not like unknown factors. If Cedrien Roucellis himself would not have agreed with the urgent demands of savant Torstan to be allowed a visit to the Arek'Jalaan facility in Eram, he would certainly not have risked one of their few remaining ships for something like that.

Particularly not at a time when they needed to rebuild their battered defenses. Even now, their station barely had the fuel to last through a full defensive reinforcement cycle despite the fact that the shield generators had been restored. Granted, Torstan's insights gained from communication with the Sleepers had helped a lot to make that happen, but that did not make this trip less risky in Sitalaerd's opinion.

"Captain. I just registered a Buzzard class frigate on long range scan for a moment." the crewman at the sensor station reported.

"Any new entry signatures?" Sitalaerd asked.

The young Matari nodded affirmative. "Yes sir. One new wormhole is being picked up by our probes." the crewman paused and turned around to face the captain. "Sir, its graviton emission profile indicates a class six phenomenon on the Criele scale."

Sitalaerd frowned. "That could mean a scout for a major force." He considered the situation and finally shook his head. "We are in no shape to defend against anyone who would want to confront us now."

He turned to the communications officer. "Lieutenant Maillot. Notify the station crew. Tell them to go on full defence and prepare for evacuation. Inform commander Roucellis on fluid router about the situation too."

If this small exploration ship was the harbinger of an attack, him and his crew would not make any difference either. He pressed his lips together and looked at the wavering vortex before them. "Helmsman. Take us through. We will continue our mission."

"Finally" Hegomir Torstan threw his arms up with a sigh or relief.

18 Jun 2014

24 - Metempsychosis



'How many have died?'

Keram shrugged, unsure, while appreciating the backside of the naked woman gazing out of the wide panorama window of the observation deck into the endless depths of space. 'Fifteen-hundred, maybe two-thousand.' He did not sound particularly affected by the idea of so many dead people.

'And on their side?' she asked.

'Probably about ten times as many.' the Amarrian replied. 'A good part of them died when you turned off life support on that Nyx before self-destructing.'

'Self-destructing.' she echoed with a bitter chuckle. 'As if there was anything left of me to destroy.' She did not turn to face Keram, and if she minded him staring at her nakedness then she showed no sign of it.

The former pirate shook his head. 'I got to say, turning off life support was one thing, but locking down the escape pods, that was just cold.'

Now the woman turned her head to look at him. 'Do you realize how many I saved by letting none of them live?' she said with an intensity that belied the low whisper of her voice.

She turned back to stare into the void.

'Well.' Keram said with mocking cheerfulness. 'You clearly cared enough to commit mass murder.' He drew his eyebrows together and continued more seriously. 'Actually, so did we, and we sacrificed a lot too. Don't forget that.'

'Forget.' she repeated introspectively, hugged herself and shivered. It was not a tremor caused by chill. In fact the interiour of the Tombship was rather hot and humid due to its aged and struggling climate control systems. The woman ran her hands along her body like she had to remind herself that it was actually there. 'I remember my name.' she said only slightly louder.

'Good.' Keram answered sarcastically. 'I wasn't sure whether the burn scanner was still working properly.'

The olive skinned woman turned around fully and now fixated his eyes with her own. 'My real name.' she breathed in a low voice. Keram found that he could not hold her gaze. Since he had known her, she had never been a person he felt at ease with, but now there was something decidedly unsettling in her eyes. He distracted himself by looking lower and following the swell of her breasts while she slowly approached.

'The Hive had erased me. The Ida nuns gave me a new name, but it was not mine. When they released me to go back to the stars they gave me another. It was also not mine. Year after year I have lived a life as another woman. Now that they wanted to destroy me again, I finally remembered who I once was.'

Due to her tall Gallente physique she ended up face-to-face with Amarrian man and the intensity of her presence forced him to look into her eyes. 'I will not ever forget anything again.' she finally added.

Keram pressed his lips together. With uncharacteristic seriousness, and suddenly not interested in her body at all anymore, he finally looked at her directly. 'Sandrielle, or whatever your real name is, you know I have suffered a lot too. We all have. It is a fucked up universe out there, and being immortal does not make us gods. If anything, it makes us even more fucked up.' he put his hands on her shoulders. There was nothing but sincere concern expressed by the gesture and his voice.

'Don't go crazy on us Sandrielle. We need you. You are one of us. We came for you because of that. Tenshin Noy and all the men and women in his fleet came for you because of who you are. It doesn't mean shit who did what and when to make you that person. That you are here today and talking to me, alive, that's all that matters. If you lose it then everyone who died in that battle gave their life for nothing.' he grasped her shoulders more forcefully and almost shook her. 'Do you hear me?'

'Tenshin Noy?' Sandrielle looked perplexed.

Before Keram could reply, a multicoloured flare outside illuminated the Amarrian's aquiline features and he looked over Sandrielle's shoulder. 'What in the name of the empress' tits?' he growled and let go of Sandrielle to approach the panorama window.

At the center of the crackling energy field a spindly ship with solar panel outriggers floated motionlessly. Seconds later, space erupted with ships. A whole fleet with the massive discus shape of a red-and-green patterned Nyx supercarrier at its centre suddenly floated right in front of the Tombship.

'Great!' Keram shouted and threw up his arms in defeat. 'So much for the secret hiding place of our clone store.'

***

'Sandrielle!' Tenshin Noy increased his pace to be the first to reach her after entering the expansive observation deck together with several of his commanders and the Awakened Industry capsuleers in tow. The Intaki was spurred on by the excitement of seeing the woman he had once loved back among the living. Upon reaching her, he immediately threw his arms around her now robed body and rested his cheek against hers with unrestrained affection.

The woman who had always displayed the most incredible self-control for as long as her wormhole-settler companions could remember, now appeared utterly surprised and incapable of any reaction. Then, tentatively, Sandrielle returned the hug. At last she wrapped her arms around him more tightly and kissed his face. 'Tenshin.' she breathed. 'It has been so long.' she ran her hand through his black hair and it looked like tears were clouding her eyes. 'I can not even say how that makes me feel now.' Overwhelmed by her own reaction she shook her head.

'Then say nothing.' Tenshin Noy replied with an affectionate smile and pulled her closer again. Tears rolled from his eyes, and against his shoulder Sandrielle spilled her own.

Cedrien remained at a respectful distance from the two former comrades, friends and lovers embracing each-other. Of all the Awakened Industries capsuleers he had known Sandrielle best. Yet he could not make sense of her reaction at that moment and wondered how she had changed. He looked at Keram with that unspoken question written on his face. The Amarrian leaned back in the chair he occupied at a seating area off to the side and shrugged helplessly. It looked like he would come up with something witty, but he never made it. Alira came at him faster than that and straddled him with her slender frame.

'It's good to feel you again.' she said with a saucy smile and a wink.

Keram displayed a crooked grin. '... said no Minmatar to an Amarrian ever.' he took the opening to finally deliver a snarky oneliner. The red-haired Sebiestor playfully slapped his face and then leaned down to plant a kiss on his lips.

At the rear of the group who had entered, Kassina Vikkonen smirked sourly. She switched to her native Caldari, addressing Shisei Kanioota who stood next to her and smiled beatifically at the emotional reunions. 'I reckon we can all be thankful for the passion of Gallente, Minmatar and Amarr people and the great adventures that has provided us.' The tall bounty-hunter frowned. 'As long as they don't forget to pay their debts to me.' she added.

Shisei's smile did not falter. 'Sarcasm? And I took you for such a strictly professional woman.' he paused. 'Sometimes achievement is its own reward.'

Kassina shook her head slowly. 'Spare me your Achura motivational quotes.' she sighed.

As Cedrien looked on, sadness cast a shadow over his features while he watched Sandrielle showing a side of herself that he had never seen and while Alira and Keram kissed wildly.

'She used to be very much in love with you.' a soft voice suddenly said next to him. He hadn't noticed Sylera appearing at his side. Bewildered he looked at the pale young Amarrian. 'I shared my mind with her. I felt the memory of it.' Sylera elaborated further and nodded in the direction of Alira and her Amarrian lover.

Cedrien nodded. 'I know.' he sighed heavily. 'But I couldn't. I am her commander.' He took a deep breath. 'And you might remember what happened to the last woman I loved.'

'You can not always live in the past commander.' Sylera said firmly. 'None of us can afford to do so. Actually, it was Sandrielle who made me realize that.'

Cedrien looked at the fine-featured Amarrian again, and she looked back up at him with those light gray eyes, smiling softly. Even affectionately, it seemed to him.

***

Darkness. Cold, damp metal against her skin. The skimpy dancing costume she had worn during the last moments she remembered hung in tatters from her. The depleted air stank of urine, faeces and the cloying, sweet odour of menstrual blood. She heard sobs and groans, pleas for mercy, names being called out, prayers and offers. A medley of female despair in all languages of the cluster. Slowly her fingers crept along the metal wall she must have been propped up against during her unconsciousness. She recoiled when she touched something that felt like hair.

For a split second the image of another young woman was illuminated by an impossibly bright light. It would have burnt itself into her retina, but before that could happen, she and everything around her had become vaporized.

***

With his chest thrust out in pride, the bridge adjutante approached the tall, straight backed figure wearing a long red coat trimmed with grey and white. He stopped at a respectful distance from the man viewing a tactical holograph of the fleet assembled at the newly spawned wormhole.

'Archdeacon-Commander. The Lord has accepted our sacrifice! Our scouts report that we have found the right place!'

'Finally our prayers were answered. Order the fleet to proceed and move up behind them.' The Archdeacon-Commander replied calmly.