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.

27 May 2012

OOC Entry 25 - Building Tension

Hello dear readers.

Well, this post is my 40th story publication, accompanied by the 25th OOC entry. Two nice round numbers, don't you think?

So I kept to my release schedule. It is not easy with job, relationship, social-life and actually playing EVE too, but the story lives in my head and I want it to get out there.

Mr. Splatus has commented how he likes where this story is/might be going. I will keep him and the rest of you dangling in a void for one more episode.

Oh if you read carefully and draw informed conclusions you could deduct what is going on, but it is not yet out there in the open.

Whoever guesses what is actually happening will win a one-shot story dedicated to them.

As usual, I will probably have missed a lot of mistakes in this installment. Typos, language errors, stupid literary compositions. Please if you find any, point them out to me. You can comment anonymously now, so I urge you to make use of that feature.

I know there are quite a number of you out there reading this, so don't hold back.

26 May 2012

Blog Banter 36 - Ever Further

I was almost worried about our most beloved Blog Banter Host Seismic Stan because of his prolonged silence. But here it is, the next Blog Banter about the history and future of EVE expansions. So without further ado, here is what we get to write about this time:

"With the Inferno expansion upon us, new seeds have been planted in the ongoing evolution of EVE Online. With every expansion comes new trials and challenges, game-changing mechanics and fresh ideas. After nine years and seventeen expansions, EVE has grown far more than most other MMOGs can hope for. Which expansions have brought the highs and lows, which have been the best and the worst for EVE Online?"

My shortest possible answer would be: Best Apocrypha, Worst Incarna.

Apocrypha came way before I started playing. When I did begin to play EVE I only knew of Wormholes as tunnels that lead from A to B. Sometimes B would be another system, sometimes it would be some weird location where you faced one of two options 1. You get killed by the NPCs 2. You get killed by the people who actually survive the NPCs

Despite all the "don't ever go there, you have better chances of survival in nullsec" warnings of my then CEO, I felt attracted to this dangerous frontier. Maybe it was because of his warnings?

However that may be, today I live there. I am one of the few EVE players (i think it was around 10%) who derive their whole gaming experience from this one expansion. Also, Apocrypha intruduced the T3 Strategic Cruisers, my most favorite ships in the game.

When I started playing, Dominion was live, but I hardly understood what that meant. The first expansion I experienced was Tyrannis. Many people were not impressed with it, but Tyrannis expanded something that is very much part of EVE: It gave a whole branch of the economy to the players. From that time on, scores of products were not just sourced to the market by some engine, but actually supplied by the PI installations of people.

Incursion was also nice. It offered the possibility for me as a rather new player to learn about fleet combat. How to compose fleets of different ships and make them work in different roles - an experience that was very valuable later when I moved into wormhole space. The fact that people suddenly died en-masse in PVE sites was funny and intriguing. I remember the posts on the EVE forums - full of rage - that complained about Incursion sites being too hard.

I also met lots of new people I would otherwise not have gotten in touch with. I know people who managed to graduate from incursion flying to becoming part of large nullsec fleets. So this expansion provided great opportunities for completely unconnected people to get to know eachother. These days it's a bit stale, with lots of site farming going on, but I gather that our latest expansion, Inferno, changed the conditions a bit and made it more random.

Actually, if Inferno would have been live when I started, my life as a player might have taken a different path. In the beginning I liked the idea of Faction Warfare a lot, but it turned out to be underwhelming after I tried it a bit. Too much established structure and repetition, sort-of like incursions have become.

Crucible was great. Not only did it fix lots of issues and re-align CCP to the core business of EVE, it also included a new class of ships that was designed by players. This expansion showed how great CCP is. I mean, how many MMO's do you know where players get to add new stuff. Sure the ships are not quite as they were intended by the designers, but still, the people who created the models for the Naga, Oracle, Talos and Tornado can be proud each time they see one of those ships in-game. The changes to graphics were also nice. The Gallente and Caldari ships got more character, and the experience of flying through space has become amazing. In the first days after the expansion I had a hard time doing anything meaningful because I was so busy looking at the stars.

To comment on Incarna is almost redundant these days. I do want to mention that the new character creator is great, and I do like that the new portraits look more like human beings and less like cartoon characters. Apart from that it did not contribute much.

I am more curious than ever what the future might bring. POSes need to be adressed, and at Fanfaest there were some interesting new concepts shown. I hope those changes will come soon, if not this winter, then next summer. Certainly the graphics will continue to improve. Will walking in stations make a comeback? How will the integration between EVE and Dust514 influence things? Will there be some more lore added to the game world?

Despite setbacks, and sometimes things being added with expansions where the impression comes up that CCP didn't really think things through to the end, the game remains fresh and ever-changing.

20 May 2012

OOC Entry 24 - Right on time

So this week I made it right on time. The first chapter of the next story is published.

In this one you will be introduced to one of the allies our protagonists have in wormhole space, to expand a bit on the whole backstory and introduce new characters.

I have the feeling that this is going to become a long one. While I am sure about what it will be about, I am still a bit unsure how I should approach it.

In the last longer story there were quite some space battles, and I am not sure whether I want to write about fights again. I guess people like them, and I also like action and exploding spaceships, but it should not become repetetive.

Most of all I want that story to be dark, unsettling, even scary. It is using elements of sick religious fanaticism channeled by a mutilated sadist who became insane. Too much action could detract from that aspect.

Well, these days I have comparatively long trips to and from work, so I will be doing lots of thinking about how I want to shape this latest story. I just hope I can come up with a good way to carry on soon enough to also write it, review it and publish it in time.

Jihad - Part1

Sandrielle found the person she had been looking for standing precariously right at the ledge above the station's massive shield generator. The pulsing light emanating from the powerful machine below, sharply outlined Sylera's silhouette in the opening of the maintenance corridor they were in.

'What are you doing all alone in here?' Sandrielle asked the young Amarrian while approaching her slowly from behind.

'Staring at the thing that separates us from oblivion.' Sylera replied dryly without turning.

Sandrielle put her hand on the other woman's shoulder and immediately felt the tenseness of her muscles. It's nature indicated a dangerously self-destructive inner turmoil according to Sandrielle's well trained ability to read people. 'Come away from the edge.' she softly urged.

'We all live behind the shield projected by this generator.' Sylera reflected with a monotone voice. 'If it runs out of fuel, if the shield drops, we are all exposed and defenseless.' 

She finally turned around and her gray eyes stared coldly at Sandrielle 'What would remain if we were stripped of those defenses? If our home would be razed and it's remains scattered?' she pushed away Sandrielle's hand with her own. 'All of what we were would become part of that accretion disk out there and finally burn in the furnace of that star.'

'Tell me, Sandrielle.' Sylera continued and kept her eyes locked onto her opposite 'What would it all mean if nothing remained? Every atom transformed by nuclear fusion. Forgotten in an unnamed solar system in an unknown region of the galaxy.' Caustic cynicism imbued Sylera's words and her fair face was marred by a cruel smirk.

Sandrielle shook her head and then leveled her gaze at the younger woman. 'Don't think like that. There's only misery down that path.' she advised sternly.

Sylera pushed away the Gallente and hissed at her through clenched teeth. 'What do you know about misery. All you are occupied with is your schemes and your self-control.' Angrily she began to pace down the sparsely lit corridor.

'You should get some control over your self right now.' Sandrielle called after the enraged Amarrian. 'I know more about how you feel than you know.' she added.

Sylera stopped and turned around with a challenging expression on her recently matured features. 'Is that so?!' she shouted at Sandrielle. 'My family thinks me dead. They will be killed if they ever come to know that I am alive.' she clenched her slender hands into fists. 'Those people destroyed my mind.' her voice started to break and she uttered a heaving sigh. 'They destroyed my soul.' she began to sound as if close to tears. 'No technological trickery of Alira can give that back to me.' finally Sylera collapsed against the featureless bulkhead and buried her face in her hands.

Sandrielle approached and sat down beside her. 'Do you think I was always the woman I am now?.' she began, and stared into the nothingness where buried memories lie. 'I grew up on a mining colony in Faurulle system. A frontier location between Syndicate and Aridia. A young girl from a simple family with simple ambitions.' she took a long, deep breath. 'One day the capsuleers of The Hive came through our system.'

A grim expression darkened her subtly tanned face. 'I was there to hear my father beg them on an open channel to spare his life and the lives of his mining crew. They told him he could leave if he abandoned his ship, the rest of the fleet and our outpost.'

Sylera raised her head to look at Sandrielle in silence while the Gallente woman paused, reliving the painful memory. 'After they landed, they took all the adults and slowly roasted them to death with the turbine exhausts of their ships. The children were rounded up and brought back to their fleet.'

Sylera shook her head in disbelief 'Why? To use them as slaves?'

'No.' Sandrielle replied 'That is how the Hive grows. They abduct children, and over the course of years they break their will, erase everything that once made them who they are and then, finally, they make them capsuleers of the Hive. That is how I got my plugs.' she explained. “Most of the children die. Either because of the grueling conditions they are kept in, or suicide, or for the entertainment of the crews. I saw my younger brother die when they …' Sandrielle drew her eyebrows together in a mixture of pain and anger. 'He was only ten years old.'

Sylera's expression softened for the first time since they had rescued her from that secret research facility. 'How did you survive?' she asked with quiet compassion.

Sandrielle got up and looked down at the fair haired Amarrian. 'By always remembering who I was, and by knowing what I would never be: A victim.' she stated with grim determination 'And neither should you be. Now come, we should pick up your training where we left off.'

Sylera nodded, grasped Sandrielle's offered hand, and rose.


'Noble captain Roucellis and his Sebiestor prodigy.' the tall, powerfully built Brutor exclaimed with open arms and a broad smile on his tattooed face. 'Where did you leave that stinking Amarr pirate dog of yours?' he asked while he approached the visitors from the elevator door of his ship's bridge. Two stern-faced, armored women carrying heavy projectile rifles flanked him.

'Oh, right now he is sitting out there, cloaked, waiting for my signal to destroy your ship, Arrakh.' Cedrien answered flippantly and gestured at the wide bridge windows of the Loki they had boarded for a rendezvous in an unsettled wormhole system.

Arrakh burst out in laughter and hugged the much smaller Gallente man with such force that he gasped for air. 'It is good to see you again Cedrien.' the Brutor captain playfully punched the other man's shoulder to underscore his words.

'Come, let me serve you and your girl some spiced wine.' he offered and lead them to the sliding door of the captain's ready-room. The bridge crew and Arrakh's swarthy personal guards relaxed noticeably.

'She is not my girl .' Cedrien clarified as he fell into step beside the dark-skinned Matari, trying to match the large man's long strides.

'Still not?!' Arrakh shook his long, braided mane of black hair. 'What kind of Minmatar woman are you to not lay a claim on a man like this?' he berated Alira.

The Sebiestor pilot cringed with embarrassement and remained silent as they stepped into the captain's room furnished in traditional Minmatar tribal style. Martial trophies and clan artwork adorned the walls. The center of the room was dominated by opulent cushions arranged in a circle around a low table laden with fruit and cold roast. The small chamber did not look lived-in. As a capsuleer, Arrakh would rarely have use for it except for occasions like this.

Arrakh offered them a place before he sat himself and uncorked a bottle of dark spicewine that had waited there along with the food. He waved his guards away and they left to wait outside after a curt nod of acknowledgement. 

'Please eat.' he offered. 'Spending your life in dreary space stations and in capsule fluid offers so few pleasures as it is.'

Cedrien almost wanted to decline politely, but a direct look from their host silenced him before he opened his mouth. Alira, obviously familiar with the customs of Matari hospitality, took one of the succulent fruits after a short, thankful nod.

'So I heard a rumour you recently kicked the Janissary Order out of your home-system.' the Brutor began while he filled the metal drinking cups of his guests.

'We got lucky, and it cost us dearly.' Cedrien replied humbly between two bites.

'You know, if you would join with us, nobody would dare to attack you.' Arrakh looked at the Gallente capsuleer earnestly from under his bushy eyebrows while filling his own cup.

'If we would join with you, that would also put us at war with Rift Arrangements.' Alira remarked with a quick smile and took a swig of wine.

Arrakh waved a finger at the redhead after taking a deep gulp of his own. 'Sharp girl.' he grinned. 'You wouldn't have to worry about them. They are busy making fortresses of their wormhole systems where they can hide from us behind their stations' shields.' His tone turned more earnest. 'Trouble is coming, and it's coming for you. You should look for allies while you can.'

'What are you talking about?' Cedrien wondered and inclined his head quizzically.

Arrakh emptied his cup and put it down. 'One of our scout groups ran into a large fleet of Scions.' he began. 'They sent two of my capsuleers back to their clones in Empire Space and wiped out four ships with baseline crews.' he looked at his two guests significantly 'The one ship that got away reported that the Scions told them they are lead by a prophet. A prophet who is looking for a white haired angel. Sort of sounded like that Amarr girl you took under your wing last year.'

Alira's eyes widened and she turned to look at Cedrien. 'Sylera?' she wondered.

Cedrien put the drink down and rested his forehead in his palm, slowly shaking his head.

Jihad - Part 2

Ungrateful little Amarr princess.' Alira cursed over the channel she shared with Sandrielle. 'How many times have we saved her now? How many times have I saved her now?!' her face twitched slightly inside her capsule, subtly reflecting the Sebiestor woman's anger.

The conversation had started with Sandrielle telling about her last interaction with Sylera, and Alira felt offended by the Amarrian's dismissal of her efforts.

'She has suffered a lot.' Sandrielle replied from across the solar system they were scouting. 'Not everyone has the luxury of choosing to live this life out here.' A subtle jab at the Minmatar whose questing spirit naturally lead her into wormhole space.

If this were a conversation person-to-person rather than between two capsuleers cradled in their protective shells, Alira would have scoffed. The neural interface only translated the impulse into random noise. 'So what would her chosen life have been?' Alira retorted. 'Killing and enslaving my people as a good Crusader capsuleer would.'

'She is one of us now.' Sandrielle reminded her.

'Holefire!' Alira announced as the portal she watched oscillated with the passage of mass.

Inwardly she was thankful for the diversion. She hated arguments with Sandrielle. The Gallente woman always had the last word, and yet, Alira found herself drawn into such confrontations time and again by her impulses. Now, her senses focused on what could be an actual threat. The link she had with her ship responded by zooming in on the spatial rift.

The ship which appeared shortly after was an exploration frigate of Matari design. The wide hull and dorsal solar panels almost made it look like a flat-bottomed sailing barge of old. 'It's a Probe class vessel.' Alira reported. 'The markings identify it as a ship of Eifyr & Co.' her synthesized voice carried a hint of surprise across the thought translator. 'What are they doing here. All alone without a cloak?'

'I am aligning to your position.' Sandrielle responded from inside her own Arazu cruiser, that was hidden, like Alira's ship, behind the powerful distortion field of a cloaking device.

'No. Stay.' Alira stopped her. 'They are launching probes and preparing to warp. She ordered her mind to focus the ship's sensors when the small exploration vessel accelerated to warp speed.
'They headed to the closest planet from the sun.' the Matari capsuleer informed her companion. 'I will follow them, warp to me on my signal.'

By her will alone, she set her ship, the Sei'r, in motion. Her concealed Loki cruiser followed the unwitting reconnaissance craft to it's destination.

Alira's nervous system tingled with the feedback from the forces catapulting her ship across the interplanetary chasm. Inside it's pod, her body lurched slightly when the ship slowed down close to it's potential quarry.

'They are just sitting there in orbit.' Alira informed the other woman. 'I am at optimal range.' with a thought she transmitted her current position to Sandrielle. 'How long do you think it will take you to warp here?' she asked.

'If I decloak in mid-warp they will not be able to get out before I have their warpdrive locked down.' Sandrielle answered the implied question.

'Do it.' Alira replied. 'I will decloak as soon as you appear.' the voice synthesizer almost did justice to the excitement she felt for the hunt.


'We have replenished our supplies. Our stations have enough fuel thanks to our friend Arrakh.' Shisei concluded after looking over the inventory displayed on his portable neocom. ' We are certainly prepared for a protracted siege.' he added with an unreadable look on his inscrutable visage.

Cedrien leaned back in his chair and looked at the smooth ceiling of the conference room they occupied inside the Gallente-designed science station. At times of uncertainty, being in a place that was characterized by a design he was familiar with, put him at ease.

He tilted his chair forward after a few moments of reflection and looked directly at the Achura scientist sitting across from him. 'For the time being I consider it equally likely that Arrakh just came up with something to make us join forces with Arclight as I would count on an actual threat.

He leaned forward and intertwined his fingers. 'Our successful fight against the Janissaries has become known among well-informed circles, so has the fact that we now have our own carrier.' he leaned back again and sighed softly 'Larger alliances are becoming interested in us.'

Shisei's narrow eyes focused on his Gallente commander. 'What would be so wrong about joining a larger aliance?' he wondered pragmatically.

Before Cedrien could answer the neocom embedded in his desk chimed with an incoming message. He hit the accept.

'Captain Roucellis, our forward scouts are returning with a captured ship.' the communications officer informed him.

'Captured?' he inquired and raised an eyebrow. It did not sound like Sandrielle and Alira to capture, rather than destroy, a ship they'd encounter.

'Yes sir.' the officer replied 'According to Madame Jaunes it's a civilian vessel of the Arek Jalaan initiative.'

'That project of some Empire corporation to explore wormholes?' Cedrien asked rhetorically. 'Interesting. Prepare to receive them under full security, but remain courteous about it.' he ordered.

Shisei subtly raised his eyebrows with piqued curiosity.


Sandrielle had conducted many interrogations over the years and she could usually tell from the beginning what the predisposition of her subject was. There were those who are defiant because of loyalty or idealistic principles. Some would not give up their secrets because it would cost them in a material sense. Finally there are the ones who are ruled by fear. That last category is comprised of two distinct types. The first would resist because they fear the repercussions they would face for any betrayal. The second type fears, that giving up their secrets could harm others who they consider more important than themselves.

Such people usually want to tell what an interrogator wants to know, but they feel that they can not. No threat or intimidation would work on them. Not even torture, because they will endure anything to protect the lives of others.

The elderly Minmatar captain Sandrielle faced across the small room's spartan table showed every indication that he belonged to the latter category. She carefully inflected her voice and adjusted her body language to induce a feeling of safety in the man with his close-cropped graying curls and round pudgy face, gleaming with beads of sweat.

'A small crew.' Sandrielle stated calmly after looking over the security report on a small portable neocom she had brought. 'How did you manage with so few on a scientific exploration mission?'

The dark skinned man swallowed and wiped sweat off his brow. 'We lost some when we got close to a magnetar.' he explained 'We had a radiation leak.'

Sandrielle looked up from her portable with an expression reflecting compassionate empathy. 'A shame that you had to give them a space burial.' she referred to the fact that there were no corpses on the ship. 'I'd reckon as Minmatar they would have wished for a grave in their tribal homeland?' she added.

'We were not sure whether we would ever make it back, so we took a decision.' the captain explained.

Sandrielle nodded. 'It must have been strong radiation indeed to penetrate your fully active shield.' she concluded from the captain's statement and the analysis of the technicians.

The heavyset Minmatar captain swallowed hard. 'Please, you made a mistake by bringing us here.' he suddenly sounded pleading. 'Your pilots should have killed us, it would have been better for all of us.'

'Why is that?' Sandrielle inclined her head with bewilderment.

'Because they …' the man swallowed again and began panting. 'They are inside our heads.' he was sweating profusely now. 'They forced us to do it.' a rivulet of blood began to creep from his nose. 'I don't have much time.' the Matari breathlessly stated and heaved with a convulsion that ended with him vomiting blood onto the table's surface. 'They are in our brains.' he forced the words out of his blood-filled mouth before he collapsed.

Sandrielle jumped from her seat and was at the door in mere seconds. She hit the intercom there while the security door slid open. 'Erect a containment field around this room!' she shouted on an emergency channel.

The last thing she saw, before the room was sealed from her view, was the old Brutor captain exploding in a shower of blood and lacerated flesh.

Sandrielle cursed under her breath. She knew from experience who used destructive nanites like that.

Jihad - Part 3

The nanites are not as destructive as the last specimen we encountered.' Shisei commented while he gestured to enlarge the holographic image of a barbed corkscrew shape on the floating display dominating one of his laboratory walls 'They are however no less lethal.' he added and turned to face Sandrielle and Cedrien awaiting his research results.

'Introduced into the bloodstream, they are triggered by a specific hormone response.' the Achura scientist continued while the image on the screen showed the microscopic device lighting up as a particular molecule collided and docked with it. 'Initially it will draw energy from a thermic reaction as it breaks up the compound which triggers it.' he gestured at the animation. 'The waste products from that reaction trigger other nanites which have not been activated yet. Those in turn will consume oxygen from the blood, leading to dizziness and reduced brain function.'

The image zoomed out to show a complete body with a glowing circulatory system. 'This reaction continues while they gradually burrow outward, causing internal hemorrhaging. Eventually they will accelerate and explode from the host, basically cutting the victim apart from the inside.' the human shape on the screen disintegrated into a cloud of pixels, insinuating the gruesome actual result. 'If they embed themselves in another living being, they begin the cycle again.' Shisei concluded his presentation dryly.

Cedrien grimaced slightly while stroking his beard. 'How do we know those things were actually created by the Scions?' he wondered.

Sandrielle stepped forward and touched the transparent surface of the display. With a few gestures she conjured up the magnified nanomachine and another one appeared next to it. The second nanite was shaped more like the microscopic version of a tunneling drill head 'They are different than the ones we saw before, but the basic design structure is the same.' she explained. 'And then there's the implants.' she added.

'Indeed.' Shisei took over from her. 'From the …' he paused searching for an appropriate word. '… remains of the victims, we recovered brain implants that monitor thought processes. They were heavily damaged, but we assume they trigger the hormones which activate the nanites.'

Cedrien sat down at one of the laboratory's work desks and steepled his fingers. 'So it works like a sort of lie detector?'

Sandrielle shook her head. 'It's a bit more complex than that.' she began 'If the subject begins to think and say certain things, it will respond.' she turned to look at the display again. 'A very effective system to prevent someone from committing treason.' the Gallente woman added with grudging admiration.

Cedrien quickly shook his head as if to dispel the thought. 'So why would he talk at all?'

Sandrielle turned to face her commander with a solemn expression 'He wanted to warn us, and he sacrificed himself and his remaining crew to do so.'

Cedrien rested his forehead in one palm and looked up at her from his sitting position. 'This is insanity.' he muttered.

'No.' Sandrielle replied darkly. 'What we are dealing with here is fanatical conviction.' she paused and directly met his gaze. 'A thing way more dangerous.'


'In the name of God, stop this madness!' the gray haired Amarrian screamed as he struggled against the restraints of the operating table he was stretched out on. 'You are Amarr too, why are you doing this to us?!' he howled in desperation while the black clad Scion medics around him went through their preparations with unperturbed efficiency.

Prakevi looked down at the captive from the levitating harness carrying the mutilated ruin of his body. 'What do you know about God?' he replied with a sickeningly soft tone. 'I have seen and felt the might of a holy messenger.'

He smiled at the man sweating with fear. 'It is my duty to seek absolution from her and her alone.' He gestured at the bald headed and tattooed Scion disciples with the stump of his wrist. 'Those devout people embraced that sacred mission.'

Prakevi's unsettlingly tender smile melted from his face and was replaced by an honestly sorrowful expression. 'It saddens me that you refuse to understand the importance of this quest.' his features acquired a more earnest cast. 'Unfortunately that forces us to make you into an instrument of our seeking against your will.'

'You are a blasphemer!' the Amarrian spat, and his narrow features now reflected defiance in the face of futility.

The entrance to the unusual and organic looking operating chamber opened like the petals of a biomechanical carnation. A tall figure entered, wearing the customary glistening, hooded coat of the Scions of Tranquility. Quickly the man approached Prakevi and leaned closer to the dark haired Ni-Kunni in his floating contraption.

'Prophet.' he addressed him. 'We have news from one of our spotter servants.'

Prakevi looked at him with heightened expectation. 'Tell me.' he demanded.

With a nod the hooded figure continued. 'We lost contact with them after they entered a starbase shield.' the man spoke briskly. 'However, we are sure that they encountered capsuleers of Awakened Industries.'

Prakevi's eyes gleamed eagerly. If he would still have hands he would have grasped the Scion's heavy overcoat with urgency. 'Show me where!' he demanded. Again the tall man nodded dutifully.

Following a subtle movement of his dismembered torso, the former scientist's hovering appliance turned to follow the messenger. 'Begin the procedure.' he ordered the medics before leaving the room.


From his hidden vantage point, the capsuleer in the small Caldari covert ops frigate observed as the swarm of heavily modified strategic cruisers began to move away from the Amarrian wormhole mining colony the Scions had ravaged. A dozen ships towed the chrysalis-shaped behemoth of an ancient Talocan battleship behind them with tractor beams. Scores more of the advanced vessels built from Sleeper salvage fanned out in a wide formation around that central alien craft.

'Arclight Eye to Arclight Vanguard. Do you copy Vanguard?' the capsuleer scout transmitted over an encrypted fluid router link.

'Eye, this is Vanguard. Report.' came the answer.

'The Scion fleet is moving, they have launched probes and are looking for an exit from this system now.' the recon pilot relayed what he saw.
'Copy that.' his recipient replied. 'There's only one way they can go from there, right?'

'Affirmative, there are no other wormhole signatures in this system.' the spotter confirmed after gathering one last readout from his own probes.

'Stay on them and keep reporting.' the disembodied voice of the other Arclight pilot ordered. 'I will inform captain Arrakh.'

Jihad - Part 4

Lost in thought, Alira looked at the Vherokior capsuleer's portrait. An attractive man, she found. Absently she traced the outline of his pronounced cheekbones on the surface of the neocom. His face had a smooth copper tint, a small mouth framed by a closely cropped black beard and slanted black eyes conveying a sense of wry intelligence.

'Why did he leave his pod?' Alira wondered. A question that had occupied her mind since they found out that the captured small exploration vessel had originally been piloted by a capsuleer.

Stripping the craft of all hidden Scion spying devices had been first priority after the crew died, killed by the insidious nanites in their bloodstream. It was clear why the Scions would remove a capsuleer commander from the ship. He would be too difficult to control. He could just destroy his current incarnation and return as another clone. Even if they had implanted him with the same microscopic killers, they would have been useless then.

That was not what kept Alira awake at this late hour. The circumstance which did not allow her inquisitive mind to come to rest was, that he had left his capsule instead of destroying himself when they came for him. The flight recorder data and the sensor logs gave a very clear picture of what had happened: Trapped by a squadron of the Sleeper worshiping fanatics, the scientific vessel was forced to surrender. A boarding party arrived and subdued or neutralized all of the crew and took them off the ship. Only then they found the pod chamber and realized the ship contained a capsuleer pilot.

And then he left his capsule voluntarily.

Both his pod's operational log and the ship's systems indicated, that the capsule control interface was deactivated by him.

Alira called up the pod's system log yet another time, sat down on an equipment crate, and rested her face in her palms while browsing through it again. 'Why would he read an old legend before leaving his pod?' she pondered the implications of the one log entry her mind had latched on to and never let go since. A detail that kept teasing her with it's incomprehensible role in the chain of events.

She stood up and started pacing aimlessly through the small pod chamber. She started thinking out loud with a concentrated frown on her pale face. 'So, his ship cannot warp. His defenses are no match for the firepower he is facing.' she shook her head in disbelief. 'So the last thing he does before disengaging from the neural interface and leaving his pod is to read an old legend, How Calith Raven stole the Sun.' Alira stopped, pressed her lips together and clenched her slender fingers into fists. 'There is something I am missing.'

Over and over she had read that ancient Minmatar myth about the man who brought peace to the warring tribes by stealing the sun from the sky. With this act he made them understand, that Matar was one world where each inhabitant was subjected to the same outside forces. That forged the Matari tribes into one coalition. Alira's mind raced through the associations 'Tradition … Cooperation … Recognition … Perspective … Allegory … Legacy ...' Each word carried with it complex thoughts, historical references and even impressions of daily social interactions.

Yet, there was nothing in that story which yielded an answer that would satisfy. Many basic concepts that could be hints, though.

Alira returned to the status console of the pod, and the log that was displayed there. She stared at the last entry where the neural interface shut down and made a backup copy of the current clone's memories. Then, finally, she saw it. 'Sunlight ... Shadow ... Hidden in broad daylight' she connected the dots.

Quickly Alira called up the ship's status logs. Indeed, the timestamp was different. The pod reported the disengagement of the pilot at a specific time. The ship's log – however – gave a different time for the moment when capsuleer control was lost. The date and hour were the same, but minutes, seconds and tenth of seconds varied. Not by much, but enough to exceed any possible lag between the two systems.

Alira's pupils dilated and her eyebrows rose as she allowed herself to be taken onto a wild chase by her heightened awareness. With a few quick commands she called up the ancient story from the homeworld. Quickly she flipped through it, trying out different permutations of the numbers yielded by the time differences in the logs.

'That must be it!' she cried out. Energetically Alira began to open the box with the capsule interfacing kit, connected it to the maintenance interface and powered it up. Urgently she pulled her shirt off and reached around to plug the cables into her spinal sockets. As soon as she was connected she called up the Vherokior capsuleer's last clone status. Of course that information was encrypted, but Alira thought the words from the story which corresponded to the numbers from the time difference. The information began to flow into her mind and she laughed in triumph.


All of Awakened Industries' capsuleers had come together after Alira had eagerly called them from their sleep.

'Look here.' she enthusiastically announced and pointed at the presentation display in the technical staff meeting room. It displayed the mapping of the capsuleer clone's memory. The assembled group of pilots looked on with expressions ranging from quizzical to tired.

'They had very sophisticated sensors, and they picked up signals being transmitted to the Scion ships.' Alira started explaining.

She gestured and the display revealed the ship's specifications. 'They had their whole cargo hold crammed full of high performance wetware mainframes.' she continued. 'Within the Arek'Jalaan initiative their mission was to decipher Sleeper communications, so they were perfectly suited for finding out what the Scions of Tranquility were transmitting there.

Quickly the Sebiestor engineer stabbed a finger at the display. New graphics appeared which showed complex oscillations and modulations. 'The pilot dedicated all of his ship's computing power to the decryption of that signal.' she went on and looked back at her half-awake audience.

'When the Scions board his ship, he finds out that the signal is not simply communication to the ship.' with a few flicks of her wrist she distributed surveillance recording from inside the captured science vessel onto the screen. They showed the Scion boarding party in their heavy overcoats, wielding advanced weaponry they used to great effect. Subduing where they could, killing where they saw no other way.

After letting the recordings play for a second or two, Alira touched the presentation display again and colourful oscillating bands superimposed themselves over the imagery. Each one of them linking one Scion to the next and ever further. Alira's words now flew out of her at a rapid pace as she reached the crescendo of her revelations. 'No, the signal goes to every crewman. It is sent to a transceiver implanted in their brain, which processes it and sends it on to the next.'

Alira stood before her fellow capsuleers and opened her arms with an elated flourish. 'They are linked into a hivemind through their ships!' she finally declared.

'You woke us up to show us that the Scions of Tranquility are all brainwashed cultists?' Keram groaned tiredly from the chair he had slumped in. 'Thank you so much for letting us know.' he started clapping slowly.

Alira leaned on the meeting room's table and widened her eyes while she looked directly at the Amarrian. 'You don't get it.' she snapped and stood upright again pointing at the screen. 'That capsuleer gave up his chance for an escape to store the knowledge that he had deciphered their signal, and he wanted someone to find it.'

Cedrien shook his head to dispel the cobwebs on his tired mind and the confusion which Alira's verbal barrage had left him in. 'Are you saying we can somehow jam it?' he wondered.

Alira smiled mischievously at her captain. 'Much better.' she replied 'Thanks to the analysis, we can control the transmission.'


The whole technical staff had been mobilized and the ship hangar array was teeming with activity. Alira's teams were preparing all available ships for battle. Scouts had reported that the Scion fleet was only one system away, time was running out.

Sylera crossed the hangar deck with long strides, sidestepping technical crews and moving machinery while approaching the one she was looking for. 'Alira' she called out to the Sebiestor engineer running performance tests for different ship configurations at a large holographic simulator.

The other woman turned with an annoyed expression 'Can't you see I am busy?' she snapped quickly at the approaching Amarrian and turned back to her simulation.

Sylera grabbed the taller woman at her shoulder and twisted her around. Before Alira could protest, the Amarrian locked her gaze 'I need you right now to come with me and help me modify the electronic warfare modules of my ship.' Sylera commanded with an intense expression on her angular face.

Alira shook her off. 'I am not your Matari slavegirl to order around.' she shouted at Sylera and turned her back again. 'Fix your own ship princess.' she added, talking over her shoulder.

This time Sylera stepped forward to stand beside the Sebiestor. 'You don't understand.' she began, this time more pleading than commanding. 'I have an idea, a plan even.'

Alira sighed, leaned her back against the simulator console and folded her arms in front of her chest. 'Does it involve us having to come and save you again?' she taunted.

'No' Sylera shook her head. 'This time I will save you.' she looked into the Minmatar's eyes again. 'You know you can not win this battle. There are too many of them.' she paused and retrieved a data carrier from her pockets. 'But I can … with your help.' she extended her hand offering the storage device.

Jihad - Part 5

The bridge of the Talocan relic battleship was a mausoleum of ancient technology inexpertly, but reverently, patched over the years by the Scions of Tranquility. Prakevi floated in the middle of that site of techno-archeology, carried by his levitating harness, and stared out at an undulating opening in the very fabric of space and time. The largest fleet of Scion ships that had ever been formed was prepared to jump through and begin the blessed battle to claim the sacred messenger Prakevi had promised them.

The tall, gaunt-featured and bald Scion commander stood next to he crippled Ni-Kunni and, despite himself, felt nervous as he looked out at the squadrons of heavily modified strategic cruiser hulls.

'Prophet, those people ..' he began haltingly, his voice trembling with doubt. 'They violate holy sites.' he swallowed 'They are killing the children of our gods.' he shook his head in disbelief 'How can there be a true holy messenger among them?' he finally uttered the question he had been afraid to ask.

Prakevi turned to look at the man's pale, tattooed face and smiled benignly. 'They are nothing to her. Not even servants.' he cooed 'Once we arrive she will shed them like a butterfly sheds it's chrysalis.'

His bronze features formed a more severe expression as he looked back out at the wormhole. 'Once we arrive in her presence she will strike them down with her fury when her soul recognizes those who are truly devoted.'

'Certainly prophet.' the Scion commander responded with a stiff nod.

'Are you doubting my words?' Prakevi whispered inquisitively.

Quickly the man in the oily black overcoat shook his head. 'No, of course not prophet.'

'Good.' Prakevi nodded slowly 'Very good.'

He thrust his chin at the wormhole before them. 'The blasphemers await behind this passage. Sacred providence has lead us to them.' he stated with clear conviction. 'The divine power is with us, and we will cleanse the capsuleer blight in it's name.'

The commander's eyes gleamed, invigorated by his prophet's words he nodded deferentially. He pulled himself up to his full height then. 'Order the first wave to jump.' he bellowed across the bridge of the ancient warship.

Dozens of flashes expanded like the waves created by a stone thrown into a pond, as the masses of passing ships were flung into the aperture in space-time. The vessels which towed the Talocan battleship began to move forward with the main body to prepare for the jump themselves, when suddenly alarms sounded through the bridge.

'What is this?!' the Scion commander demanded to know from a confused disciple manning a nearby tactical station.

'Your eminence, my prophet.' the pasty-faced heavyset man looked up from his display. 'A whole fleet of ships is warping to our position.'

Prakevi's eyes widened with panic. 'What? Not now! Not when we are so close.' he shook his head defiantly. 'Order the fleet to prepare for battle!' he screeched hoarsely.

The long, pontoon-shaped masses of two Archon carriers cast their vast shadows over the Scion fleet for only a few seconds after their arrival, then they jumped through the wormhole passage together with a wing of Proteus and Legion cruisers in full battle configurations, and a small squadron of blunt-nosed Phobos interdictors.

The passage of such mass, in addition to the large number of Scion ships that had traversed the conduit between the stars before, was too much for the unstable opening to bear.

With a last burst of excited photons, the wormhole collapsed. The expected battle was never joined.

Prakevi's expression of panic turned into one of despair, while a lone wedge-tailed vessel of burnished brass colour decloaked above the assembled Scion ships.


Sylera had volunteered for the position of forward recon and dutifully reported the position of the enemy fleet to the Awakened Industries capsuleers. As she had expected the Scion force was larger than anything they could fight sucessfully.

They had a carrier on their side, and the effects of the cataclysmic variable star would boost it's remote repair systems. They had capsuleer pilots which the Scions of Tranquility lacked, but still, their enemy had brought dozens upon dozens of advanced warships, and was linked into one shared mind.

But it was this very fact which would be the Scion's undoing today. Sylera moved her ship into position, close to the enemy, and prepared herself mentally for the harrowing experience, that she had to go through if she wanted to save her fellow capsuleers and everyone else.

When the first wave of the Scion ships which were modified to resemble the Sleeper drones, holy to their operators, jumped through the wormhole, Sylera knew she had to act. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath of the oxygen-rich capsule fluid, when suddenly alarms screamed in her consciousness..

With surprise and confusion the Amarrian looked on as an unknown attack fleet unexpectedly appeared from warp and jumped through the wormhole, closing it, and stranding her with the main body of the Scion fleet.

Now there was no way back if there ever had been a choice. Sylera willed her ship to shed it's cloaking field and waited for the enemy to lock on to her. She needed to link with the opponent's targeting systems, using the specially amplified tracking disruptors of her Pilgrim cruiser. Once the first ship had acquired a lock on her and began to fire it's weapons, she activated them.

Sylera's body convulsed and her mouth opened in a scream, that was swallowed by the liquid cradle she floated in, as she let all the agony and terror flow out of her memory. The torture which had almost destroyed her mind was carried by the powerful electronic warfare systems of her craft, and insinuated itself right into the mind-link of the Scion fleet until each and every disciple shared the experience she was reliving.


On the bridge of the Talocan hulk, the crew was as struck by the devastating feed which overpowered their minds, just like disciples all across the rest of the fleet. They – however – had something in their midst that kept them standing and gave them an outlet for their pain.

Raging with a hatred, that can only be brought about by such intense excruciation they leaped upon their panicked prophet who shouted orders for them to stop.

Soon, his orders became pleas, and his pleas became screams as they bludgeoned and clawed and ripped and tore until nothing but a mutilated carcass remained of the crippled, insane man who had once been the Ni-Kunni scientist Prakevi Suurakhandra.

16 May 2012

OOC Entry 24 - Setting the stage

I tasked myself with writing one chapter per week. Well I am two days overdue. I hope you can forgive me.

This week's chapter is a short transition piece. The kind I usually put in between longer stories to set the stage for the next arc. I am dropping a few hints here how they managed to restore Sylera in her pod, and there is quite some foreshadowing going on. She is a changed woman, that much is obvious. What that will mean for her relation with the others remains to be seen.

Also, the fate of the Ni-Kunni scientist/torturer who got cut to pieces in the last story is now revealed, and we meet some old 'friends' who are on a scavenging trip out in Known-Space.

Drop curtain. Ready for the next act.

P.S. I always feel so embarrassed when I find errors one day after I published something. Especially if those errors are easy to spot ... things like using the word face twice in one sentence <sigh>

15 May 2012

14 - Deliverance

The medical lab was one of the few sections in this devastated station where life support was still active. The way which lead them there from the nearest airlock had taken Alira and Keram past sceneries which could only be described as the results of a homicidal rampage.

'Was all that killing part of your restoration program?' Keram wondered over helmet comms while he dragged the corpse of a guard out of the way. The man's skull was nothing more than a jagged ruin. A laser turret had burned away most of his head.

Alira shook her head stiffly inside the pressure suit she wore. She was busy overriding a circuit behind an opened wall panel in an effort to activate the emergency airlock outside the medical facility's entrance 'I used the procedures I had lifted from the original system.' she replied. 'I included a neural mapping from her last ship's pod backup.' she fidgeted with a tool not quite suited for her gloved hands. 'Basically it should have reversed the process of her reconditioning, and make her wake up to full consciousness.'

Keram let go of the body and looked down the corridor marked with laser burns and littered with more corpses. 'I guess she must have one hell of a temper when woken up.' he remarked dryly and then turned his helmeted head back to the Sebiestor engineer. 'How are you doing there? The lock is clear.' He picked up his gun and walked over to Alira who muttered a curse.

'How about you try a bypass on those micro-optronics while stuck in a pressure suit.' she bit back at the Amarrian.

Then she closed another circuit and the status lights on the small console came to life. The whine of servo motors became audible and the emergency pressure lock finally closed off the corridor. The low thrumming noise of pumps and the hiss of airflow indicated successful repressurization. Keram checked an environmental multimeter on his suit's wrist.

'Air pressure and oxygen levels nominal' he announced after a few seconds.

Alira disengaged the seal of her helmet and set it down on her toolkit. 'Right! Now on to overriding that next door ...' she stated with resolve and ran a gloved hand through her short red hair.


Keram nervously toted his gun. The place smelled of burned construction composites, scorched flesh and ozone. Destroyed instrument panels sputtered sparks and bled light from their optronic systems. The few still active consoles projected ghostly fluttering holograms. Flickering viewscreens lit up the smoke drifting through the laboratory. The subdued golden glow emanating from a shell-less pod in the centre of the medical facility was the only continuous source of light.

Alira had her pistol drawn as well, the toolkit slung. Slowly the two companions made their way towards the smoke enshrouded pod, spreading their fields of fire. They turned quickly every once in a while, to cover possible hiding-places behind furniture or consoles.

Arriving at the pod, Alira let her weapon sink and touched it's surface with a palm. With her eyes widened she stared at the floating torso inside. 'It's a man.' She breathed a sigh of relief, swallowed and curled her lips with revulsion 'He has been completely mutilated.'

'And he's still alive.' Keram added from his position at one of the few still intact medical status monitors.

'Let him be.' a frail voice hissed from the dark recesses of the medical lab.

Alira whirled around and pointed her gun in the direction of the unseen whisperer. 'Show yourself!' she commanded while Keram moved to cover her.

The pale figure that emerged from the shadows into the feeble light of the glowing pod hardly resembled the young Amarrian beauty Sylera had been. Her long hair was still caked in strands to her face and body. The once fine features of her face now had a hardness to them that made it look like a sharp edged porcelain mask rather than a human visage. Her eyes were cold embers set into this stony countenance.

'Leave him.' she snarled through clenched teeth. 'He does not deserve a quick death.'

Slowly Alira let her weapon drop and looked at the other woman with both relief and fearful uncertainty. ' Sylera, are you alright?' she asked haltingly.

Keram slung his gun and looked back at the amputated torso floating in the pod. 'Leave him like this?' he wondered with disbelief in his voice. 'Floating in there he'll be alive for as long as the pod fluid can replenish itself.' he shook his head 'That could be months even with the state this station is in.' He turned to look back at Sylera. 'Come on, let's just kill the bastard and be done with …'

'I said, leave him!' Sylera cut him off, and her voice tore through the room with an intensity that made contradiction impossible.

Wordlessly, with an awestruck expression, Alira turned to go and look for an emergency pressure suit.


In the liquid hell the angel had cast him into, Prakevi suffered for his sins. An eternity of atonement waited for him in this isolation. Forever, the memories of his misdeeds would be his only companions. That and the image of the angel. So pure and righteous in her wrath. She had taken apart his body and gave the ruin that remained eternal life, so his soul would be unfettered by the chains of mortality.

Shadows crept across the limits of what his eyes could still see in the murky glow of his personal limbo. A current stirred the liquid he floated in, and soon he was expelled from his fluid dungeon. He coughed up gooey phlegm after he landed hard on a cold floor. Was this a new stage in his trials?

A strong hand turned him over and he looked at a bald head covered in swirling black patterns. Was this one of the fallen who were tasked with chastising the sinners in their eternal damnation? A shadow fell over him. Another figure, wearing a heavy coat of glistening oily material. Bald and adorned with the same designs as the other.

The crouching one who had turned Prakevi over, looked at his companion. 'What shall we do with him?' he asked with a voice coloured by an unfamiliar accent.

'Kill him.' the other one replied coldly.

Prakevi understood. This was a test. A trial to see whether he was prepared to face the perdition he deserved. 'No!' He croaked hoarsely. 'I do not deserve death. The angel has condemned me to this. I must not reject my fate.'

The standing figure crouched beside the crippled scientist too, and looked at him with dark eyes. The patterns inked into his skin seemed to move and rearrange themselves on his gaunt face. 'What do you speak of.' he demanded with the same cold voice.

Prakevi smiled 'The angel from the realms beyond New Eden.' he insisted. 'Only she can set me free should she ever wish to return here through the portals that lead to the godly realms.'

The two bald figures looked at eachother. 'He knows.' the first one uttered with astonishment.

His companion nodded. 'He has been touched by a messenger.' he stated gravely. 'His words are prophecy.' he rose 'We shall take him with us.'

7 May 2012

OOC Entry 23 - Done and Done

So the latest story is finished as I had promised. You may think that some things are not really clear why they happen, like for example [Spoiler] how did Sylera get her control back and how could she take over the station? [Spoiler] But as ever-so-often, there will be revelations and clues in other stories.

If you read them all you might have a theory and it might actually be correct ;)

Also I made some room on the sidebar by getting rid of the OOC Entries list ... it started to become a bit stupid and so I just grouped them under a label.

Now I have some room, maybe I should add a list of my favorite blogs. The thing about such lists is, that I always forget something, and all my favorites appear on everybody else' favorites list already. Well, I guess it's just nice to show my support, even if my link list will look like the 100th version of the same.

I'll do that soon

Until then, fly creatively

P.S. Oh, and comments can now be submitted by anyone without registering ... should have done that long ago.

6 May 2012

OOC Entry 22 - Vengeance

It has been a week since the last episode, and in the tradition of weekly TV programmes I should come with a new one. Well, It has been written, but I still want to proofread it. Usually I do that two or three times and then I still find errors if I read the story again a few weeks later.

Like I have said before, English is not my first language so it takes me some time. So please bear with me.

I promise, by tomorrow the final chapter of the latest story will be online.

Oh, and the title of this post sort-of foreshadows what will happen.