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.
16 Jul 2014
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.