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

For an introduction to this blog refer to this link. You may also want to check out the guide for new readers

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

21 Sep 2012

What once was lost - Part 2



When Alira and Keram entered the meeting room Cedrien had called them to, they found their commander in the company of Sandrielle who was just closing a fluid router link embedded into the long brushed-metal conference table. Clearly the Gallente woman had also been called from her sleep. Her hair was uncombed and she wore a simple billowing white blouse of a light fabric together with equally loose pantaloons matching the light gray of her soft slippers.

Cedrien himself looked wide awake wearing his normal 'on duty' clothes comprised of a faded pair of Federal Navy trousers, a simple black form-fitting shirt and a heavy reinforced-weave jacket. He was pacing restlessly at the far end of the room, stroking his beard and frowning worriedly. He stopped when the two capsuleers entered.

'There you are, please sit.' he motioned at two seats across the table from Sandrielle.

Keram slumped into one of the chairs. 'Ok, what is so important at this hour?' he moaned. 'More religious fanatics? Another mercenary fleet? Or have the creators of the Sleepers finally made an appearance?'

Alira did her best to hide a smile when Cedrien looked with annoyance at the Amarrian. She sat down next to Keram and rested her chin in her hands, looking at their leader expectantly. The former military man did not look like he was in the mood for witticisms at all. Whatever was going on had put him on the back foot. Alira knew that he usually only got that way when he was in the dark. Cedrien could look death in the eye if he knew it was coming, but it irritated him when there were too many unknowns in a situation.

'I have just received a number of CONCORD notifications. Several bounty hunter organizations have registered an official declaration of hostilities against Awakened Industries.' Cedrien informed them. 'I have asked Sandrielle to consult her network of informants immediately.' He gestured at the Gallente woman to cue her in.

Sandrielle nodded and began to activate the holographic display at the centre of the table with a few strokes on the table's interface. 'I have traced the origin of the bounty offer to the Minmatar Republic.' she began as five martial corporation logos materialized above the table together with brief paragraphs of information. 'I have just finished a conversation with one of my spies there.'

'Damn woman, is there anywhere where you don't have spies?' Keram muttered.

'Even in your bedroom.' Sandrielle replied with a provocative smile. Keram grimaced at her while Alira looked up to the ceiling to avoid meeting the Gallente woman's gaze.

'This is no joking matter.' Cedrien interrupted their banter. 'Continue Sandrielle.'

Again the Gallente nodded and proceeded with an earnest expression. 'My contact tells me that this seems to come from somewhere very high up. Probably Republic Security.'

'What would they want with us?' Alira asked with a puzzled frown on her face.

'It appears that they want you.' Sandrielle replied and hit another key on the interface.

Alira's mouth opened as she stared at a holographic image of herself. The offered sum was staggeringly high. Enough to be of interest for even the most well-paid capsuleers.

'The bounty is not all though.' Sandrielle continued. 'My informant tells me that Eifyr & Co has impounded all your clones.'

'What?!' Alira shouted, jumped up from her chair and slammed her palms down on the table. 'How can they do that? Capsuleer's clone contracts can only be touched when it's a matter of …' Alira paused and sat down. Realization made her angry features slacken. '… Republic Security.'

Sandrielle nodded slowly. 'That is why my contact thinks this is coming from the top.' she added.

'Well.' said Keram 'You can always have a place on the Stormchaser's tombship.' he offered unimpressed. He had lived without the possibility to have a clone at an official facility for a long time.

Cedrien shook his head 'That is beside the point.' he said. 'Someone holding a powerful position within the Matari authorities wants to take in Alira, and we do not know why.'

Alira shrugged despondently 'I have no idea what the government could want from me. I have never done anything against the Republic.' she said as she stared at the hologram of herself with the red “wanted” letters below and the flashing indicator that marked her as a criminal within the territory of the Republic. She could not believe it. Despite being a wayward drifter, she had always considered herself a loyal Minmatar at heart. All of a sudden it was as if part of what defined her identity had turned against her. She found herself thinking about Sylera. 'She must have felt even worse, dedicated to the Empire as she was before she got thrown in with us.'

'Maybe we shouldn't have fucked after all.' Keram mused. 'Sorry, I didn't know your people would take fraternization with Amarr that seriously.'

Alira blushed with embarrassment, but then she punched the former pirate on his shoulder when he burst out laughing.

Cedrien sighed and shook his head. 'I am dealing with a bunch of children.'

***

Hegomir Torstan had a serious aversion against Uinkin Hrul. True to the nature of his function, he was a conniving skulker. He lacked any form of visionary capability and only saw possible security risks where Torstan would see great potential. Hrul was of Sebiestor descent, like Torstan himself, but that was where the similarities between the two men ended. In the eyes of the ambitious engineer, Uinkin Hrul represented the antithesis of the Sebiestor ideal of innovation and creativity. All that man thought of was maintaining the status quo. It had cost months to convince Hrul of the merits of 'Project Turncoat' and even then he would only allow one isolated, covert testing mission. If Republic Security Services hadn't been so risk-averse and conservative, a bigger mission could have been fielded and it would not have failed as miserably.

Even the man's appearance was repellent. Hegomir could not look at that sickly pale rat-face with it's dark eyes gleaming with duplicity, so he did not face him but rather stood and looked out of the wide window over the city which lay glowing with copperish hues in the rapidly fading dusk.

Behind him the Republic Security Commander whined with his annoyingly high-pitched voice from the spacious desk he sat behind. 'I am aware that Halis Ettin is an employee of your corporation, but I can not allow you to see him before we have concluded his debriefing.'

Torstan pressed his lips together and clasped his hands behind his back. 'If you only want to make my life difficult and waste my time, I wonder why you have brought me here at all Security Commander.' he said calmly, yet clearly stressing his words to express his annoyance.

Uinkin Hrul got up from his office chair and walked over to stand next to the Sebiestor scientist. 'Don't worry.' he put a hand on the other man's shoulder. 'You can interview him all you like soon.'
The man tried to sound conciliatory, but Torstan could only feel indignation at his words and touch.

'He has provided us with the name of one capsuleer, and we have identified the corporation she flies with.' Hrul withdrew his hand and folded his arms. 'Eifyr & Co has been more than helpful and immediately impounded the capsuleer's clones.' He inclined his head to look at Torstan 'What I need you to do is to tell me how high the risk is that the test subject might have become compromised. Whether our enemies could know what we have done.'

Hegomir Torstan took a long breath and finally looked at the gaunt Security Commander. 'With all due respect.' His words were an empty phrase. Respect was the last thing he had for that man. 'I read the briefing report on my way here. Do you really think you can catch those people unprepared, or even find them?' he asked rhetorically. 'You must have noticed that they live in wormhole space. Your agents can not reach them there.' he added patronizingly.

'This is why we offered a bounty and had your corporation impound the clones.' Uinkin Hrul lilted, clearly satisfied with what he considered an ingenious move. 'She is a capsuleer. Eventually the reckless nature of those folks gets them killed, and then she will be in our hands.'

Savant Torstan just scoffed at him. 'Or she could just get a contract with a sovereign Caldari corporation where she would be out of your reach.' He wondered how a man with such a lack of foresight could ever have become the director of the Republic Security Service.

'Those are also not the usual capsuleers you contract to do your dirty work.' Hegomir continued 'Wormhole settlers are dangerous outlaws and among the worst of their kind.' he gestured dismissively 'Your bounty hunters will very likely end up dead if they even manage to find their quarry.'

Now it was Uinkin Hrul who began to sound annoyed 'If you know so much, maybe you can tell me then how else we should get to them?' he raised his voice and threw his arms up in anger.

Savant Torstan smiled and looked up into the darkening sky where one ember twinkled brighter than all the others. 'Indeed I can.' he replied. 'We need the help of people who have experience with wormhole systems. People who I happen to have good relations with.'

The intelligence officer followed Hegomir's gaze up and found the red dot of reflected sunlight in the orbit of their world. 'The Arek'Jalaan project?' he wondered.

'Exactly.' Hegomir replied. 'Now let me talk to my man, and in return I will get some people with real competence on the job.'

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