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.

22 Sep 2013

22 - Metamorphosis - Part 2



15 years ago ...

Bhikkuni Kalsang watched her young trainee while she was perched cross-legged on a rock. At moments like these she had to think back to the early days after they had found the girl. She had been strong even back then. Marked by abuse and neglect, but hardened by a life that few children ever had to endure, and fewer still would survive. The feral strength of her then lean teenage body had been cultivated over the years into the lethal grace of the young woman who now performed her training sequence under Kalsang's scrutinizing gaze.

Just like her body had matured and redeveloped, so had her mind. Back when they found the girl she was a savage creature. Very much like the insect which The Hive - her abductors - used as it's symbol she had no sense of self and a boundless aggression against everything that did not belong to her “swarm”. The weeks and months which followed her recovery from the crashed ship had been difficult, both for the girl and the sisters. More than one sister got injured because of the girl's ceaseless attempts to break free or at least hurt her caretakers. So much work had gone into healing the ravaged spirit of that stranded young capsuleer, but eventually they had managed to soothe her pain and free her mind from the harsh lessons imprinted on it by The Hive.

They had named her Keitu - the Intaki word for comet - because she did not remember any name of her own. The Hive had taken that from her too. The sisters taught her how to be a person again, and when she finally became an individual in her own right, she turned out to be a quick learner.

One good thing had come from the things which The Hive had done to Keitu at a young age: They had erased everything that she was before, emptied her completely and created within her a single-minded determination to dedicate herself fully to any task at hand. Once the sisterhood had broken the chains which The Hive had forged to bind this girl, she became an eager and quick learner due to this conditioning. Philosophy, martial arts, medicine, the art of psycho linguistics; whatever Keitu was taught, she picked it up at a speed that was almost prodigious. 

Right now, however, the young woman's actions interrupted Kalsang's reverie. The old Intaki spiritualist tapped her cane three times against the rock she was perched on. Keitu stopped in the middle of her sequence of movements. The evening breeze picked up and made the long grass of the forest clearing move like the surf of the sea. The trees all around rustled and groaned as they were moved by the sudden gust of wind, and Keitu's black hair swirled about her head as she turned to face her teacher.

'Stop!' Bhikkuni Kalsang commanded. 'What did I tell you about the form of the moon emerging from behind the parting clouds?'

Keitu relaxed her stance. 'That it should be executed in one fluid movement without any pause.' the young Gallente woman replied.

'Right. And what did you do right there?' Kalsang asked.

'I paused, my sister.' Keitu said humbly.

Slowly Kalsang slid off the rock. The years had taken their toll on the old Bhikkuni, but what the years had taken, experience and long training had done their best to compensate. With an agility well beyond what one would expect from a woman her age, Kalsang began the sequence and executed it slowly but faultlessly. 'The movement of the arms should be like swimming through the air, while your body moves forward. The power of the movement comes from the legs, and when your arms move backwards you settle your weight. Like this.' Kalsang stopped and touched her disciple to guide her through the movement. 'Do not use the strength of your arms to pull back, have them follow your weight as it settles into your root.' The old woman frowned momentarily. 'You are so tense Keitu. What is on your mind that distracts you so much?'

The dark haired Gallente stepped away from her teacher and bowed her head. 'Sister.' she said 'My mind is occupied with an announcement I saw in town.' 

Kalsang raised a thin white eyebrow and a map of wrinkles appeared on her forehead. 'Tell me about it girl.'

The olive-skinned Gallente closed her eyes and lapsed into a recall trance. Even her voice was modulated to almost sound like the recorded announcement she had seen on a holoprojector downtown.

'Intaki people. The savage and inhumane capsuleers of The Hive have invaded your homeland, the Intaki Syndicate. Those mindless killers have slaughtered hundreds and thousands of your kin. The Serpentis enforcers you tolerate, the Mordu's Legion mercenaries you hire, your own defense force. All of them are powerless against this threat. We are the capsuleers of the Rasen Zoku. We are your only hope against The Hive. Join our crews! Man our ships, and we shall liberate you from the terror of The Hive.'

Keitu stopped the recital, opened her eyes again and looked at her old instructor.

Kalsang exhaled slowly and shook her head. 'You think that by joining with those capsuleers you will set things right?' she asked. 'Have you learned nothing during the years with us?'

'No sister.' Keitu answered. 'It is not for my own peace that I want to do this.' She knelt before the old Intaki and grasped her wrinkled hands. 'You already gave me that peace. You have made me a person. You gave me a name. You taught me many things. But now I feel the need to repay my debt.' she looked down and tears rolled over her smooth dusky face. 'I feel like I owe so much to the Intaki way of life. I can not stand by to let the Intaki people be ravaged by the ones who took everything from me.' Pleadingly she looked up into the face of the venerable Bhikkuni. 'Who will be there to save the likes of me if The Hive wins?' Desperately she shook her head. 'I must do this.'

Bhikkuni Kalsang looked deep into the black eyes of that young Gallente woman she had poured so much of her knowledge and her wisdom into over all those years. She remembered the day that the teenage girl she once was had first embraced her, wracked by deep sobs. Kalsang remembered the laughter she enjoyed when Keitu had first managed to even sway her own mind with the perfectly chosen words and appropriate modulation of her voice, proving that she had mastered the art of psycho-linguistics. She remembered how impressed she felt when she had seen what Keitu could do in spaceship fighting simulations, and the incredible progress the Gallente girl had made in martial arts training.

Finally Bhikkuni Kalsang nodded. 'If this is what you must do, then it shall be.' she helped the young woman up. 'Walk with me back to the convent. You should spend one last supper with your sisters to say goodbye.'


The present day

'You must be kidding Cedrien.' Keram transmitted across the communications link. 'That wormhole entrance will maybe last another hour at most.' Nervously the Amarrian looked at the timer displayed before his mind's eye. 'If we get cut off we will be stranded out here in the ass end of nowhere. Do you have any idea how far away from everything Omist region is?'

'All I know is, that it's pretty close to Tenerifis, and that's where Rasenzoku make their home these days.' Cedrien replied across the communications link.

'Yeah great.' Keram growled back. 'So if we actually find them before being shot to pieces by a bunch of local capsuleers, they might actually hear us out before podding us. Is that your plan?'

'Since when are you the one to be so risk averse?' Cedrien taunted.

'Since we are sitting in the middle of a warp disruption bubble with nothing but two frigates, in the name of the empress' tits.' Keram shot back.

Space around them seemed empty. The ancient gate that had been built centuries ago as part of a long line of connections back to settled space, floated in space more than a hundred kilometers away.

Some local capsuleer pilots had anchored a warp disruption field generator right at a point where it would drag passing ships into it's artificial gravity well. A standard trap in the outer regions of New Eden where the Yulai Convention served only one purpose: To register the official claim of capsuleers to dominion over an unsettled system. This particular one was claimed by a group calling themselves The Southern Cross, and it was the choke point between their claimed space and the handful of systems Rasenzoku called their home these days.

Systems like this one were highly contested. Capsuleer alliances kept fighting over such strategic points on the map of New Eden. Wars on a massive scale would start in such places.

Aware of the danger, the two wormhole capsuleers had taken small frigates out to this remote region through a convenient portal into New Eden. With the recent losses Awakened Industries had endured, it would be reckless to risk a full crew compliment in something that might possibly be a suicide mission.

When more than a dozen combat ships suddenly appeared on their sensor scan after hours of waiting, it seemed like that was exactly what this was going to turn out to be.

Only seconds later the combat squad appeared within fighting distance and began to establish sensor locks on the two frigates they found inside the warp-disruption field.

Unsurprisingly the incoming ships carried the sun-and crucifix markings of Southern Cross.

Keram resigned to a quick death and inwardly cursed his commander, but then a new ship appeared on his tactical scan and ripped open a tunnel through the space-time continuum. A new force seemingly appeared out of nowhere shortly after.

The squadron of advanced black ops ships which emerged bore other markings. Their hulls were coloured metallic blue with stylized white spirals. As Keram and Cedrien maneuvered to avoid incoming fire, a storm of destruction broke loose that blotted out the light of the local sun. The carnage was over in minutes with the spiral-marked ships being the only ones left on the field.

Again the two wormhole capsuleers became the targets. Gallente designed recon ships rendered their warpdrives inert and flooded their sensor systems. Minmatar vessels enveloped them with powerful strands of electromagnetic energy to slow their ships down.

Keram was expecting the wrenching sensation of clone transfer, but it never came.

'Who are you? What are you doing here, and why are you marked as allies on my targeting overview in the first place?' a harsh voice with an Intaki accent demanded.

'We are friends of Sandrielle Jaunes'. Cedrien replied on the hailing frequency. 'We hoped to meet you.'

'What do you want of the Rasen Zoku?' the disembodied voice asked.

'We are looking for help.' Cedrien answered. 'We need help to rescue Sandrielle from The Hive.'


4 comments:

  1. Did you think about doing these multiple timeline stories, but without the "notification" when it is actually happening? Let the reader figure it out. (I'm kind of intrigued to try it out.)
    The next chapter will be really interesting... Why would a capsuleer alliance help some strangers to free another capsuleer who in the past left them. Or was she their "spai" the whole time?!?

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    1. Yes, I have thought about it. I decided against it. I have the feeling the whole thing can be too cryptic and difficult to follow as it is already.

      As for the questions, I hope that I can bring past an present together in the next chapter, and that should answer them..

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  2. Had to re-read the chapter to get some help remembering what happened so far. :-)

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    Replies
    1. Well, I can finally say that I have the promised conclusion of that story arc published ... after three months :(

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