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

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

13 Nov 2011

The Affairs of Insects - Part 2

Their small fleet was assembled at an exit Alira had found after long and tedious scanning efforts throughout a number of wormhole systems. As often, luck had played as much a role as skill. The lucky part was, that the isolated pockets of space connected by a chain of wormholes were largely unoccupied. In one of the wormholes they had encountered a small mining outpost, but the occupants were quickly 'convinced' that their best option would be to let them pass: Keram had gleefully disabled one of their mining vessels and Cedrien took the conciliatory role, offering them a truce. They had arranged for a meeting with the other party of their deal, and eventually their convoy, consisting of five capsuleer-piloted combat ships and two transport vessels with standard crew, had arrived at this portal to a nameless system in Paragon Soul, one of the fringe regions settled by capsuleer alliances.

'Alira, Keram, you take point and cloak immediately.' Cedrien ordered 'Sandrielle and me will take the transports out. Shisei, you'll be rear-guard. Position yourself behind the wormhole and also stay cloaked until told otherwise.

The other pilots confirmed, and soon after they had taken their assigned positions in the void outside the pulsating wormhole 'Transports, hold at the jump perimeter. If things go wrong, I want you to head back inside immediately. You understand?' Cedrien commanded.

'Affirmative commander' came the reply from the transport wing.

Of the fighting ships, only Cedrien and Sandrielle with their Proteus-class strategic cruisers were actually visible, flanking the two bulky Caldari transports. The light of the system's blue giant bathed them in cold radiance.

'Immediate scan is clear' Alira announced from her forward position. 'Where are they?' she wondered impatiently.

As if on cue, a small frigate appeared on scan and emerged from warp several scores of kilometers off Alira's bow moments later. An energy vortex like an open wound appeared in space, bleeding strands of luminous blue from a centre of angry red and ardent yellow.

'A cyno field!' Keram exclaimed.

A ripple went through the fluctuating locus of space-bending forces and a group of six large Amarr battleships stabbed into the emptiness around them, each at one corner of a rapidly expanding hexagon. The Amarrian hulls were not of the usual Imperial gold, but coloured metallic-green like the chitinous shells of beetles, streaked with the sharp-edged slices of crimson curves. Another, stronger, burst of energy sent blue lightning from the cynosural field and the vast, tapered discus-shapes of two Gallente-designed motherships were expelled into positions at the top and bottom of the hexagonal formation, dwarfing the now stationary Amarr vessels. The crackling opening in the stellar tapestry before them heaved one last time before it dissipated. Then, the light of the sun was blotted out by a massive dome-shape fringed with spikes the size of towers. It's ventral surface was structured like an immense ritual mask, frozen in a soundless scream, trailing a floating city-state behind it. The hovering giant now occupied a position behind the centre of the other ships' positions. It shared the same green-and-red colour-scheme with it's companions. The sheer mass of the assembled fleet lit up their sensory feeds as if they had just warped too close to a small moon.

'I'll be damned … yet again.' Keram commented breathlessly 'An Avatar Titan! I have not seen one of those since Empress Jamyl's coronation ceremony'

'Those guys sure know how to make an entrance' Cedrien observed with barely contained awe in his voice. 'It takes the resources of a small nation to assemble a fleet like this.'

'The Crimson Covenant is a small nation' Sandrielle informed them dryly.

Alira's voice reflected disbelief as she chimed in 'What do those guys need Tengu cruisers for when they have ships with such firepower?'

'Not all engagements out here are fought with massive supercapital ships and battleships like these' Sandrielle explained 'There are infiltrations, commando raids, and of course all kinds of support roles for smaller ships in fleet battles' she added while fighter craft were released from the two Gallente supercarriers, swirling around them like a host of angry mechanoid bees.

'I hope you really know what you have gotten us into here, Sandrielle' Shisei said with concern apparent from the tone of his voice 'There is no way I can jam that many targets if they decide to turn on us. Not to mention that the gravitational distortion from the supercapital's mass renders my ECM completely useless against those ships'

'Gaiden Manufacturing Corporation, who speaks for you?' a deep, rasping male voice demanded to know on the previously agreed communications frequency.

'This is Tifainne Musellindis of Gaiden Manufacturing' Sandrielle responded with her false identity. Keram had previously lifted a number of discontinued capsuleer records fitting their profile from a backup cache of the CONCORD registry, and Alira had hacked their nav-beacons so their ships would transmit the appropriate codes. If the other party didn't undertake an in-depth background check the ruse would work. 'Am I speaking to Shadowhunter of the Crimson Covenant?'

Keram scoffed on their encrypted internal channel. 'And I thought we had pretentious names back in the pirate fleets' despite his attempt at sarcasm, Keram's voice had the brittle quality of fear in it while their small fleet sat there in the shadow of what they were facing.

'The same' answered the commander of the Covenant fleet. 'We are registering the IDs of three more of your pilots on our scanners. Where are they?' The tone of Shadowhunter's voice made it clear that he would not accept any evasive answers.

'We deployed them throughout the system to watch out for any surprises.' Sandrielle lied. She carefully inflected her voice to engender immediate trust and convey credibility. The overconfident arrogance of the powerful Crimson Covenant commander would make him prone to underestimate a small band of industrialists.

At least that was what Sandrielle hoped to achieve.

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