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.

19 Mar 2012

OOC Entry 18 - Still thinking

Every day when I lie down to sleep I think about my characters and the story before I drift off into slumber. In my experience it helps to set your mind onto a particular subject on the verge of sleep if you want to dream about it. And dream about it I do. Impressions, whole stories (one of them was pretty coherent, I will make that a narrative once the next story is done) but I drew blanks so far on how I want my characters to rescue Sylera.

It is difficult terrain. They will have to go out to empire space for more than just a short visit. Some of them are wanted criminals there, and others have people with an axe to grind. There will be things to consider like CONCORD, gates, political powers and more.

The last story asked everything of the protagonists in terms of military strategy and fighting against a superiour opponent. The next one will require them to do their best in terms of covert operations in an environment that is not as conveniently isolated as wormhole space.

Also I needed to do some research on the Intaki Syndicate.

I have made some mental notes. I decided to give one of my most under-used character some 'screen time' and I will revisit some secondary characters from previous stories.

Stay tuned. I hope to have the first episode ready by tomorrow

14 Mar 2012

Blog Banter 34 - A CSM for all parties

This time the Blog Banter subject comes from CCP Xhagen. His question is:

"How would you like to see the CSM grow, both in terms of player interaction and CCP interaction?"

Some time ago, I had a short exchange about what the CSM is. But the question now is, what we players think the CSM should be.

In my view there are two functions that the CSM can ideally fulfill which would help both them as an institution of EVE and CCP as a company. One is focused on interaction with CCP, the other is focused on interaction with players. Both would contribute to the communication and mutual understanding among all parties.

The reality check sounding board

I have the utmost respect for a management that can build up, sustain and grow a niche game throughout the largest financial crisis Iceland has faced recently, and I acknowledge that the EVE developers want to do their best for the game and are certainly in it with heart and soul.

However, we have seen that CCP management is capable of making choices that hardly anybody but they themselves really want. We have also seen that developers can come up with 'great ideas' that leave players wondering whether they even play the game. That is a natural consequence of their job, which does not necessarily include playing the game on a regular basis and knowing every little daily grievance of someone who does.

Here the CSM can be a very valuable asset for CCP when used correctly. Have one of those great visions for EVE? Came up with a new feature? Check with the CSM what their take on it is, you might be surprised.
For this to work well, the CSM needs to be comprised of people from all playstyles and regions. CSM6 - while very effective - was not a group reflecting that properly. Neither was CSM5. Other people in this round of Blog Banter have already suggested equal representation either by playstyle or by region. I would suggest a mixture of both. The position of the CSM chair could then be scrapped completely. It would also make it easier for many players if they don't have to read through the pitches of every candidate but only those who run for their playstyle (Nullsec Sov Holding Alliances, Wormhole Settlers, Faction Warfare, Pirates, Mission Runners etc.)

The Unfortunate side-effect may be, that generalists don't get a seat, but it is a sacrifice I would be willing to make when in exchange I could be sure that there is guaranteed representation of all player base issues. That would make an effective reality check sounding board.

The peergroup messenger

EVE players are a paranoid lot who are prone to overreactions and conspiracy theories. CCP employees are sometimes not very good in communicating well what they are up to. The combination can be disastrous as we have all seen in 2011.

If the CSM sit together with CCP staff and get a good picture about what is going on, and then tell it to the playerbase they represent, a lot of those problems can be avoided. Devblogs could become shared reports, underwritten by a developer and a CSM member in mutual agreement. It would make a major difference and possibly save the devs a lot of questions and comments. Much of that would more likely go to the CSM member who gave a second opinion on it. In addition, people just trust others more if they have the impression that they share interests with them. Therefore it is likely that the responses would be less extreme.

Does that make things more tedious and complicated? Maybe, but it will also make them more transparent and prevent a lot of nerdrage that is based on misconceptions, miscommunication or distrust.

Of course, that would require socially savvy and active CSM members, but when combined with the system of equal representation suggested above, it would enable CSM members to focus on their peer group rather than having to act as go-between for all of the playerbase (or deny that they do, like the Mittani).

Ideally, CCP would offer the CSM a centralized platform to do their communication job: A site connected to the main EVE page where players can directly interact with the representatives, where the CSM members themselves can maintain blogs about their activities, where all the minutes can be found, and where CCP devs can post their reports together with CSM comments.

In summary

I very much am on-board with the system of equal representation of playstyles. How exactly that should be organised, I'd leave for a more specialized discussion about that. In general, the CSM should not become larger than it is to save money and effort in coordination.

I am also very much for a CSM that actively communicates with the playerbase regularly, with CCP facilitating. Also, CCP should involve the CSM as much as possible in the planning and production phases of new features, fixes and changes. In the former to get player feedback, in the latter to inform the players about what is coming up.

I have the feeling that this way, the unique experiment that CCP started by creating the CSM, would reach it's full potential. EVE is the most community driven game on the market, therefore it would only make sense to develop a good method for interacting with that community.

13 Mar 2012

OOC Entry 17 - The last blanks filled in

Sorry for leaving you with the guessing game for so long. If you read the last story you will probably have wondered: How did Sylera end up in the commandeered Legion? Why did Cedrien not know about it? What happened to her after she blew the ship up inside the Janissary hangar? Well, this short epilogue finally answers those questions.

It also sets up the next part of the story, which I will not reveal here. You'll have to read that episode to get an idea what's going to happen next.
One thing I can tell you is, that one of the protagonists will have a moment of unprecedented weakness and a facet of that person is hinted at that was left unexplored so far

Another thing is, you will notice that not everything is spelled out in detail, and there are some references to the previous story (why does Sandrielle have shorter hair now?) I like to do this kind of thing: Back references, small details that make sense only if you remember what happened before. It is something I always enjoyed a lot in the stories of Gene Wolfe who famously requires his readers to piece together various bits of information in his stories to understand what is actually going on. While I am definitely not taking it that far (I wouldn't presume to have his skill either) I still like to play around with that concept every now and then.

So, I hope you enjoy reading, and I'll do my best to not make you wait for so long before the story continues.

12 - Receding Waters - An Epilogue

Slowly Sylera's consciousness emerged from the aftershock of the neural remapping. It was not the abrupt and disorienting awakening she had experienced before, but a languid process, as if drifting to the surface from the depths of a watery chasm. Only partially lucid, she remained immersed within a dreamlike tapestry spun from residual memories.

'Are you sure you want to do this. Suicide is frowned upon by your faith, is it not?' the slightly mocking question echoed through her fragmentary awareness.

Images of the Euryale's flight deck formed before her mind's eye. The palpable tension of the crew before the impending assault. Sandrielle aboard the Amarr cruiser.

'I come to you with this, Cedrien would not understand.' she remembered her decision. She was the reason why people died, why they sacrificed themselves. People she had not even met half a year ago. She had to die for that to end.

'They will have your clone in their hands. You know that.' Again Sandrielle's voice. More concerned than anything else.

Determination. The memory of it fortified her consiousness. She tried to will herself out of her sedated state. She recalled the feeling of simulated pain impulses. Sandrielle's Arazu shooting the Legion cruiser, completing the ruse the two women had conspired to enact. Far out in space where the Janissary boarding crew had been left. Stranded in a disabled ship that had quickly been reclaimed.

Her eyes opened, but she was unable to focus. Wavering shadows and dancing lights in a world of foggy obscurity. The phantoms of sounds which her brain tried to translate into something meaningful. Failing, her mind returned to familiar experiences that it could still grasp.

The warmth of Sandrielles palm resting on her cheek. The look of resolve in those dark eyes. 'We will come for you.' Never had Sylera heard so much tenderness invested in so few words, and never would she have expected that from this woman. All the aloofness was stripped from the Gallente capsuleer, none of her cynical, mocking attitude remained. Pure, honest compassion was all that Sylera felt conveyed by the other woman's words and touch.

Drawn to more intense impressions her memory returned to the last seconds of her previous incarnation. Steering the commandeered ship into the Janissary carrier's hangar. Her quick calculations of the most suitable moment for self destruction. The mental impulse that would detonate her empty vessel deep inside the enemy hull. The pain which ruptured through her very existence before it was all over. Her faculties coalesced into almost full awareness.

A medical facility. From the looks of it, most probably not on a station or a planet. Sylera's vision was still hazy and went out of focus, but she was aware of her prone position. Restrained inside an opened cloning vat resting horizontally.

'Lictor, she is awake.' A silken male voice speaking Amarr with a Ni-Kunni accent. Unsettling and cold despite it's smoothness. Sylera could not turn her head far enough to locate the speaker.

A strong-jawed man with bristly eyebrows overshadowing deeply set, dark eyes bent over her. He wore the cowled robe of a Lictor from the Ministry of Internal Order.

'You have saved us a significant amount of payment we would otherwise have owed those mercenaries.' there was no real thankfulness expressed in his grating voice. He stretched to his full height and looked down on her from within the shadow of his hood.

'Unfortunately you have not made our work easier.' he sounded vaguely annoyed. 'Your own suffering will also be prolonged by the fact that we will have to reconstruct from your nervous system what exactly the Minmatar did to you, rather than having the implants of your last clone body available.' There was no regret apparent from his words, just the dispassionate statement of a fact, like reading a verdict.

'It will take them a long time. I will endure. They will come for me.' Sylera inwardly prepared herself.


'That was the last time you acted behind my back.!' fury imbued Cedrien's native Gallente with an unusual harshness Sandrielle looked at him quietly. The shorter hair emphasized her large eyes, which lent her a demure appearance as she weathered the storm of anger from her commander with her hands clasped behind her back.

'I had ordered her to remain on my ship!' he continued his outburst while pacing back and forth in his ready room. 'Not only does she go against my orders, but you also support her in that insurrection!' he stabbed a finger at the woman standing on the other side of the room's only desk. 'We had a plan. We would lure them into the trap at the third planet by providing false intelligence. Why did you have to start your own scheme?' he stopped and shook his head.

Heavily Cedrien sat down in his chair, rested his forearms on the smooth surface of the table, and stared at her angrily 'What can you even say in your defense?'

Sandrielle met his infuriated gaze. 'She suffered. She felt responsible for all those deaths. She saw no other way out of it, and I felt with her.' she answered quietly.

'You felt with her?' Cedrien echoed. 'First, you let me bring Nevire to our home to lay a trap for her, without telling me.' the memory of pain fueled the anger in his words. 'You forced me into a position where I had to choose between her and a crewmember.' he added quietly, pain now obviously gaining the upper hand. 'And now you dare to speak to me about empathy!' rage returned in full force.

'I have reflected on my errors.' she swallowed and paused. 'I wanted to change.' her voice began to carry an undertone of desperation. 'You are different. I did not expect that outcome. She is still so young ...' for the first time in years Sandrielle had trouble keeping herself under control. She could not find the words for what she wanted to express.

Cedrien looked at her intensely. She appeared disheveled and confused. 'I have not seen her like this since the day we met. Is she really losing her composure?' He leaned back and took a deep breath.

'Sandrielle, I know you are dedicated to what we have built here.' he began, now sounding more conciliatory. 'You have risked your life out there in this last conflict, and I thank you for that.' he sighed and looked out the ready room's window. 'In fact, the choices you and Sylera made, did save many lives.' he focused back on her. 'But I need to be sure that you will follow my lead and not play your own game when we rescue her.'

It took a moment before Sandrielle understood the implication of his words, then she smiled and nodded. 'As you command.' she answered with relief.

Cedrien acknowledged her commitment with a nod of his own. 'One last thing.' he added. 'Tell me you can find out where they took her.'

The confident sphinx-smile he knew so well returned to her face. 'I have already sent word to my contacts.' she replied 'We know they wanted to take her to a facility in The Syndicate last time. I have many eyes and ears there.'

3 Mar 2012

OOC Entry 16 - Finally, but some questions left

10935 words, and that after I actually cut down a few scenes.

The longest story I ever wrote.

Not the longest story I ever told, though. When I was younger I was running pen and paper RPGs and I actually drew people into narratives that lasted years. Now that most of my RPG friends are either far away or of child-bearing age, this is not possible anymore. Well who knows, maybe I can draw you - the reader - into a long narrative.

I know that some people have been following the story from the beginning, and that means they are with it for four months now. Of course that's different than the old-school RPGs which I sorely miss. There your protagonists are actually living beings who act independently of yourself. Here I have to imagine people who are different from myself. Not that I do not enjoy that. Back in the days I managed to surprise my PCs (Player Characters in case you don't know the jargon) with rich personalities who were so far removed from who I am that it always brought a lot of enjoyment to all of us.

Mind you, the near future might bring a similar effect. I have talked with a fellow fiction writer about what he called 'colliding our stories'. His protagonists might interact with mine, and the outcome is far from certain. I am confident that this could become a great experiment.

Finally, I want to address the story at hand. If you paid attention, then you will learn how it was possible that Sandrielle could pose as the spy while she wasn't. Also, you might spot a few seeming inconsistencies in this story. I wont mention them now, but rest assured, they are not plot-holes.

This story will be followed by a sort of post-script which will reveal how some things came to pass that seem to 'not make sense'

I am not planning my stories meticulously in advance, they just pour out of me, but in telling them I absolutely know the reason for every little thing that happens.

Really, I do.

Also I re-used one of the crew characters I introduced before, and added a new one. I sometimes like to focus on crew rather than the main capsuleers and present the world from their perspective. I will do this more often as things progress, I guess.

So, now this has become my longest OOC post to go with my longest story.

I promise, the next one wont strain your eyes that much.

I hope you enjoyed it,  

As always, please feel free to comment in either way you see fit.