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.

11 Nov 2011

The Wrong Crowd - Part 1

Alira was leaning backwards in a recliner chair, her legs stretched out and her unlaced boots resting on the handrail at the lower end of the sickbay bed. She absentmindedly cleaned her fingernails with a utility knife while she watched the sleeping figure stretched out there through lowered eyelids. Slowly she considered the finely shaped elfin features of the other woman. Her long ivory hair lay fanned out around her almost like a halo. A quick glance at the medical data readout told her that the slender girl was likely to wake up any time now. The Sebiestor woman had sat there for at least an hour, brooding over the things she would say to this Amarrian once that moment came.

She still didn't really know.
The medical staff were still off duty at this early hour, she was alone with the young capsuleer 'An Amarr loyalist capsuleer' she reminded herself 'How many of my kin might she have killed? How many desperate slaves who might have commandeered a ship to flee from their bondage did she catch and return them to face punishment at the hands of their masters?'

Presently the eyelids of the pale-faced girl fluttered and opened slowly. At first she only registered the room around her. The clean and austere interiour of the Caldari-constructed recovery ward caused a reaction more like confusion than uneasiness to express itself on her features. When her traveling gaze finally landed on Alira's functionally clad form, she jarred slightly and raised herself up on her elbows.

'Where have you brought me?' she asked apprehensively with a brittle voice.

Alira swung her legs off the bed's edge and heavily dropped her booted feet to the ground. She pivoted the chair into it's upright position, snapped her knife shut, and ironically sneered at the girl. 'Back to freedom' she replied.

The young Amarr woman drew herself up to sit straight and opened her small mouth in an expression of disbelief and surprise. She swallowed once. 'You are not one of the people who caught me?'
Sylera shuddered at the memory. The forced modification of her spinal plugs. The feeling of helplessness as the Minmatar scientists connected her to the invasive neural interface which made her an instrument without free will. She could not remember anything coherent from the moment on that her mind was overpowered.

'I am – as a matter of fact – one of the people who saved your life.' Alira answered sardonically and tucked away the knife in a breast pocket of her heavy utility jacket.

The brows of the young Amarrian drew together in a bewildered look. 'But you are …'

'Yes, Minmatar.' Alira interrupted 'Seems your treatment at least left you with a grasp of the obvious.' she leaned forward in her chair 'But I am not with the people who used you for their experiments. You are in an isolated sector of Wormhole-Space, and this' she made a short sweeping gesture into the room 'is the sickbay inside a control tower of the independent capsuleer corporation I am with'

The expression of confusion on the other woman's face changed into one of anxiety again 'So you are pirates.' She concluded hastily 'If you want money, my family will surely pay any ransom, even the Empire itself … I am …'

'Sylera Aulithe, volunteer for the 24th Imperial Crusade. We know' Alira interrupted her again. 'And we don't quite work like that. Although … ' she reconsidered for effect '… more ISK sounds much better to me than another Amarrian to deal with'

'Well, I am also certain that you will get a reward if you return me to my people. I am – after all – in the service of a legitimate Imperial …'

'Don't you dare speak of legitimacy to me in reference to your murderous Crusade' Alira launched at her with a suddenly intense glare in her angrily narrowed eyes. She stood up and was about to continue with a tirade when a swish of the sliding ward-door announced the arrival of a third person.

'Alira, they told me you were down here.' sounded Keram's voice from behind 'Come on we need to … Oh look what we have here! My favorite canbait has woken from her slumber.' Keram laughingly exclaimed after he became aware of the scenery before him.

Sylera relaxed momentarily at the appearance of another Amarrian, at least she was not completely at the mercy of hateful Minmatar. The menacing amusement on the aquiline features of the man, however, immediately dampened her relief again.
Even though she had only ever heard of Wormhole-Space incidentally, she was all too familiar with corporations of unaffiliated capsuleers. The majority of them were amoral, crafty and highly dangerous. Their only loyalty was to their own corporation, and even then many betrayed their partners regularly for ISK, or just because of sheer reckless abandon.
The young man now entering seemed vaguely familiar to her. She studied his unshaven face, the unkempt mane of dark reddish-brown, the sharp eyes like splinters of shiny carbon-compound. 'You are the outlaw Keram Themas!' she burst out as she finally recognized him from the criminal register she had always memorized. 'Excommunicated and declared Enemy of the Empire'

'You've come to collect the bounty?' Keram asked mockingly.

'Sounds like you are popular back-home' Alira wisecracked.

'Ahh well' Keram replied with a gesture of feigned humility 'She's Crusade. They get constant updates about types like me and are supposed to shoot us on sight. He bent over Alira. 'I don't remember this one, but back with the pirates we had us a nice collection of clone corpses. Quite a few of them were loyalist capsuleers.' he leered 'Their ships also make for great salvage and loot. They get the best Imperial Navy equipment on discount prices for their services.'

'You had a collection of corpses?!' Alira sounded disgusted.

Sylera glared at the man speaking so disrespectfully of her brothers and sisters dedicated to service in the name of the Empress. 'Even the Minmatar woman despises a vile traitor like that one' she observed inwardly.

Keram shrugged 'Sure, they are worth ISK.' he stated nonchalantly 'Biomass reclamation for cloning, you know. And then there are always the people with 'special' hobbies.' he grinned insinuatingly.

Alira shook her head in revulsion but Keram jostled her out of it. 'Anyway, let's stop gloating over this do-gooder here and get to work. The beta exit is about to end it's cycle and the two of us are on the scout roster.

Alira nodded affirmatively, laced her boots, and then they left Sylera to contemplate the disconcerting situation she was in.

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