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

13 Mar 2012

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.'

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