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.

30 Jun 2013

21 - Re-Awakening - Part 1

'It is truly magnificent!' Hegomir Torstan exclaimed 'Their minds are linked with the consciousness of the Sleepers. Consider the profound potential of this fact.'

In the specialized medical bay of the carrier ship Euryale, equipped with a capsule control interface, two unequal capsuleers were linked to a system which simulated their link with a ship. One a lithe, feminine Amarrian with luxuriously long, almost white, hair and fine features, recently matured by her personal trials. The other, a Sebiestor, was of a more lean androgynous build and short red curls framed her boyish features. She was obviously older than her counterpart, but lacked the harshness that had engraved itself onto the young Amarrian's face. Both were wearing nondescript hospital gowns which turned them into standardized patients below their neckline.

The attending medic ignored the enthusiastic gushings of the elderly Minmatar scientist still wearing his long russet coat and looked at the holographic display which provided a constant stream of data about the condition of the two women's brains. 'It looks like they are still in a form of mental disassociation.' The balding round faced Gallente doctor observed. 'I doubt that it was such a good idea to disconnect them from their ships.'

'We had to bring them back. To study what happened to them' Hegomir Torstan replied with no hint of regret in his voice. 'In any case, for as long as they retain their communication link they will be able to talk to the Sleepers. Can you not see the opportunity this means for us?!' he exclaimed, frustrated at the lack of vision in this morose Gallente who probably never dealt with anything more scientifically challenging than emergency surgery.

'We have been promised revelations about swimming among the stars. Provide them!' An alien voice bereft of any human inflection or emphasis emanated from the speaker system of the sickbay and interrupted the potential argument about to flare up between the two men. It sounded vaguely feminine and had similarities to both Alira's determined tones and the softer, finer voice of Sylera, but it was neither.

The Gallente medical officer looked at Torstan with confusion on his face. 'How did they do that?' he wondered. 'According to my readouts they are catatonic.' he gestured to magnify the central cortex of both women in the hologram. 'And what are they talking about?'

'I don't know how it happened' Torstan replied 'But it is not the women speaking.' he paused and looked significantly at the doctor. 'It is them. The Sleepers.' Hegomir Torstan contemplated the cryptic statement with a furrowed brow..'I think I know what they want. Make sure I have a link to the women's neural interface.' the Sebiestor savant ordered and sat down behind a fluid-router console to establish a connection to the Arek'Jalaan research database. 'We will give them everything we know, and we will get even more in return.' he commented with unrestrained expectation in his voice.

The Gallente man looked at Savant Torstan sceptically, not moving, until the Matari man looked up from his console at him with unconcealed indignation. 'What?' Torstan asked irritated. 'Get on with it, or do you want that swarm of sleeper drones out there decide that they might just as well destroy us?'

Horrified the bald doctor shook his head and began to work.


Cedrien still had difficulty getting to grips with the scenery visible from his carrier's observation deck. Before his eyes lay the floating graveyard of hundreds, maybe thousands, who had died in their ships. The wrecks of his own defence fleet was a testimony to the inadequacy of Awakened Industries in the face of the adversary they had faced. The wrecks of the powerful Yanissary Order fleet – on the other hand – only contributed to the sense of disbelief.

Some of the most powerful instruments of warfare ever built by humans drifted shattered and flickering with plasma fire in the shadow of the vast alien structure which still obscured the light of the two suns in the centre of this trackless solar system. It was not so much the fact that this devastation had occurred, but how it had happened, which made Cedrien doubt everything he had learned about life in the Anoikis cluster.

Looking up at the vast circular complex and the dark biomechanoid shapes which moved here and there – disassembling the remnants of the mercenary fleet – made Cedrien wonder whether this was all but a cruel trick of his mind. Maybe he was actually suspended in the dying moments of his life and his fading consciousness had conjured up that surreal image before his brain would cease to think and dream for ever.

The growling, raging voice behind him seemed to confirm that he was in fact awake, though.

'Are you even listening to what I am saying?' he heard Arrakh scream as he slammed on the observation room's table with such force that the coffee service, tray and cups which had been provided out of common courtesy, jumped and clattered with the impact, spilling their hot content.

Cedrien turned and looked blankly at the tall, muscular Brutor man with his long mane of braided black hair. 'I can not explain it any more than you can.' he offered with a slight shrug and a helpless gesture. 'I am truly sorry for the losses you suffered Arrakh, but do you really think I had any control over them?' He pointed outside at the alien construct veined with pulsing light, looking more like something grown than something built.

Arrakh narrowed his dark eyes and pressed his full lips together angrily. 'If you had nothing to do with it, then why did they not attack any of your ships?' he shot back, but the worst edge was gone from the Matari capsuleer's voice.

Cedrien sat down in a high-backed chair and looked at the coffee spilled on the smooth table's surface by the outburst of his visitor, as if he could find and answer in the dark liquid. 'We have lost all of our pilots and crews who were not with me on this ship.' He looked up at the swarthy Matari. 'Two of my capsuleers got podded back to an uncertain fate out in New Eden.' Cedrien leaned forward and inclined his head slightly while looking at his guest intently. 'Do you really think, that I would have waited for all of that to happen if I had the power to summon Sleepers?' His last words were emphasized to drive home the utter impossibility of that suggestion.

Arrakh sat down opposite from the former Federal Navy officer and shook his head slowly. 'No. I don't think so.' he admitted. 'But this thing, what happened here.' he paused to shake his head. 'Nobody ever did anything like it or even heard of anything like it being done.' The Brutor looked at Cedrien with intensity. 'You must know something.' he added.

'I might know who could be able to tell you more.' Cedrien admitted and his features began to acquire a shrewd expression. 'I might tell you.' he offered and quirked his lips into a slight smile. 'For a price.'

The powerfully build Brutor guffawed. 'Your fleet is devastated, your station has no defences left and you still try to bargain?'

Cedrien shrugged. 'I know you didn't come to destroy us, otherwise you would not sit here with me.' he observed calmly. 'If you change your mind, I don't know how those things out there might react.' he inclined his head in the direction of the observation window. 'I know that there is something you would like to know, and I also know that there is something I need done which I can not do myself.' Cedrien shrugged again. 'Sounds like a perfectly viable opportunity for a bargain.'

Arrakh chuckled deeply. 'Allright, you got me listening. What is it I can do for you in exchange for your great secret.'

'I need someone to convince the Amarr Empire that we do not have what they want anymore.' Cedrien said, now with an absolutely earnest expression. 'And to make this deal more easy to swallow, I can assure you, that I can't tell you what you need to know to do that without also letting you know how all this happened.'

'Sounds good.' Arrakh admitted.

'Oh and by the way.' Cedrien added as an afterthought 'You also get to be the hero who brings back the Minmatar Republic one of their most prized scientists and very likely get a pretty nice reward for that too.'

The Brutor capsuleer crossed his powerfully muscled bare arms before his broad chest and leaned back in his chair. 'Tell me more.' he replied with a broad smile.

21 - Re-Awakening - Part 2

In an isolated system of the Intaki Syndicate, in an unregistered cloning bay,  the infomorph calling herself Sandrielle Jaunes emerged from it's liquid cradle in a new body. It was an experience she had gone through many times before. However, the fact that her most recent “death” had ripped her consciousness from inside an advanced strategic cruiser added some complications. Because of the profound link those ships offered to their capsuleer pilots, such an abrupt disconnect never occurred without mental trauma. The ship would take some of its pilot's mind with it into oblivion, leaving the capsuleer disoriented and deprived of more recently imprinted reflexes. Not quite neural damage but still the effective equivalent of a minor stroke leaving the victim with a loss of memory and certain faculties.

Still, Sandrielle knew what that felt like, and it did not account for the severity of the disorientation she felt as she stumbled out of the opening technological chrysalis that had nurtured her clone.

Even in her weakest moments, the Gallente woman had an enviable amount of control over her body, but now her senses were clouded as if she had been immersed in alcohol rather than the viscous liquid of the clone pod. She seemed to be unable to find her sense of balance. Her muscles ached and tortured her with every little contraction. Sandrielle could hardly see, and when her legs buckled under her from pain and weakness alike, she hardly managed to steady herself on a nearby instrument panel to keep herself from falling.

With a pained sigh she fell, more than settled, into a chair fortuitously standing there.

What is happening to me. What's the matter with this clone. Did something go wrong in the transfer of consciousness? Sandrielle wondered while she struggled to think coherently.

Complications in the instant transfer of consciousness from a capsule to a clone were not unheard of. Especially when it came to independently operated facilities like the one Sandrielle had been using to keep her clones off the record. However, in this day and age the statistical odds were extremely low of something going wrong on the scale that Sandrielle experienced.

Sandrielle heard an amused chuckle.

There was someone with her. A man by the sound of it.

She moved her head into the general direction of the sound, but all she could see was a ghostly blur. A smudge only vaguely shaped like a human being.

'Madame Jaunes. Welcome back. Looks like we get an opportunity to balance the books today.' the voice smugly piped at her.

He spoke Gallente, but Sandrielle recognized a distinct Caldari accent. Her brain flickered through barely recovered memories. Sandrielle tried to regain her sense of self-control while slumped in a chair. Naked, weak and exposed like on the day she lost her virginity.

'Tradesman Aluvetti.' she sighed after her mind finally managed to match the voice with a person. 'What a surprise to see you on the site of my rebirth.' Sandrielle's muscles relaxed as her mind crept sluggishly along the paths of her nervous system to re-learn how her body was working. 'I am unaware of any imbalance.” a smile appeared on her face, both tired and menacing at the same time.

'Well.' The Caldari trader began. 'I remember a day when you put me through some rather unsettling experience.' Sandrielle could vaguely make out his shrug that accompanied the next statement. 'I just thought I should be returning the favour.' He paused and the human-shaped smudge moved closer and obscured the overhead lights. Sandrielle could smell him. A spicy fragrance common to male personal hygiene products.

'How does it feel to be completely powerless?' Aluvetti asked whimsically.

'What …?' What have you done to me? How did you find my clone? Sandrielle tried to formulate the questions but her unfocused mind failed momentarily to express them in words.

'What happened to you?' Aluvetti finished the question for her. 'I am afraid I have tampered a bit with your clone.' Sandrielle vaguely saw him straightening as he stood. 'I am not an expert on this, so I have no idea how extreme the effects are, but judging from your state you are pretty much messed up.' Another chuckle followed.

'I guess even in your current state you will remember that there are people who will pay an impressive amount of money for getting their hands on you. I can actually choose between offers. Looks like you made lots of friends during your career.'

Sandrielle's hands clutched the armrest of the chair she was in. 'If I can just manage a few seconds of full control I can kill him. Naked and unarmed as I am, I can still do it.' she thought while trying to muster the necessary strength and control.

'Oooh' Aluvetti voiced with mock pity while pushed Sandrielle back into the chair when she tried to rise.'Are you trying to jump out of the chair and use your famous martial prowess to kill me despite the odds?' Sandrielle could see the smudge moving. Him shaking his head she guessed. 'I am afraid you wont manage.' the Caldari said 'I am not very sophisticated at this, but I am good enough to make sure your body and mind are practically infirm.'

Sandrielle had to concede that he was correct.


Deep in the massive Tomb Ship, Keram sat huddled in a blanket before a fluid router console. He cursed himself and his former pirate colleagues for forgetting to put any heating on in the cloning bay. The place was freezing and Keram was as naked as on the day of his birth.

Still, he had not bothered to get dressed. As soon as he had regained some control over his body he had stumbled to the nearby console and wrapped a blanket around himself. It had been left there by an unknown individual. Someone who had recently been sent back involuntarily to the spaceborne cloning facility. Another one of the outlaws and criminals who shared a stake in this ship hidden in the depths of an unsettled system. Far away even from the hunting grounds of the unaffiliated capsuleer alliances fighting over unclaimed space here in the Outer Passage.

The purpose of his hasted attempt to re-establish communication with the outside world was something that had been up until recently almost inconceivable to the outcast Amarrian: A deep-seated care about another human being. A Minmatar no less. All that Keram wanted to know was, whether Alira was all right.

Eventually he managed to establish a quantum-entangled communications bridge to the channels of Awakened Industries. At first he got some random comms-officer on the line who was so inexperienced with protocol that Keram had to assume he was the replacement of someone who was assigned to fill in for the person who was actually supposed to do the job. After several minutes of back-and-forth to clear up the confusion, Keram finally got through to Cedrien. He was relieved to learn that the Gallente commander was still inside the wormhole system. They had prevailed, but at what cost?

'Tell me she's all right.' Keram rasped, still hung over from his recent rebirth. A stupid thing to say, he realized a moment later. Cedrien would not tell him otherwise if Alira wasn't.

'Well, she is still in a very …' The holographic image of the bearded Gallente man inclined it's head as Cedrien groped for words. '… difficult state.' he finished.

'Define difficult.' Keram growled back. His personal feelings left no space for evasive nuances. Part of his mind was amazed at that reaction. It was not so long ago that he had lead a life where the loss of comrades – he had known no real friends – had been something he accepted with a shrug. How he had changed. Keram almost drifted off into a state of reverie, reflecting on that, but Cedrien's voice pinned his attention to the here and now.

'She is still linked with the collective consciousness of the Sleepers.' the Gallente man said. 'At least that is what Torstan tells me. Sylera is too.' The projection of Cedrien furrowed it's holographically rendered brow. 'Right now we are not sure whether we can risk to disconnect them or what would happen if we did.'

Keram pressed his lips together. 'So you are letting this Matari sociopath call the shots now?'

The image of Cedrien smirked. 'I guess he would call you a sociopath too.' The voice of Cedrien turned more earnest. 'We're grasping at straws here Keram. Nobody has ever done anything like this before. Also, maybe your transfer resulted in loss of memory, but we are basically shot to pieces out here. Almost of the civilian personnel has been evacuated. Most of the military personnel is dead. We are doing what we can here and we have very little to go on. I understand you got attached to Alira and …'

Keram cut the transmission and gritted his teeth in frustration. Then he called up the hangar registry of the Stormchasers, his old pirate crew. He needed a ship. A fast ship. Something that could slip through blockades and into wormhole space as quickly and safely as possible.

He was looking for someone still alive among his pirate buddies who owed him a favour.

29 Jun 2013

21 - Re-Awakening - Part 3

A Caldari without corporate affiliation or personal business was worse than nothing. Someone who could not fulfill a valuable or productive function in the greater economic scheme was dead weight, contributing nothing to common prosperity. Such failures would be forced to pledge themselves to others so they might be given at least some role in society no matter how menial.

They would give up the last thing they had. Their freedom of choice.

Some claimed that this was virtually the same as slavery like in the Amarr Empire, but Kassina Vikkonen could not disagree more.

In Amarr society, the masters were personally responsible for their slaves. In that religious value system – which Kassina had always found strange and archaic - the slave-owners had to feed, clothe and house their thralls. The way Kassina saw it – and Caldari society as a whole embraced basically the same view – neither the master nor the slave could ever reach their full potential as human being if they were not individually responsible for their own destiny. The slaves, because they were not free to follow their own chosen path, and the masters because they were tied down by a responsibility which was imposed upon them. Both sides became restricted in their freedom of choice, and because of that restriction, the full potential of the society as a whole could not be reached.

It followed from that view, that corporate executives and directors would gain the highest reward from the business they conduct. After all, they have chosen to carry the majority of the risk. No diligent employee would have a problem finding new work if their corporation went bankrupt. A failed CEO, however, was damaged goods and could spend the rest of their lives without another chance at coming back to the top. They better had savings and shares that yield them dividends, otherwise they could drop from the very top of society's ranks to the very bottom.

That is where Tomoe Sairinen now was. After having lost all the assets of her corporation in a pointless crusade against a group of pirates and the even less sensible pursuit of that group of wormhole settlers, she had reached rock bottom. No surprise that the former young executive had pledged herself fully to Kassina Vikkonen. Not that the Deteis bounty hunter had any interest in making use of the Civire woman, but – and that was a surprise – Tomoe Sairinen was actually worth something to those wormhole settlers she had been chasing.

Or so it had seemed at the beginning.

As things looked now, Kassina was not so sure anymore.

After she had finally located the hidden space-borne settlement of Awakened Industries, she found herself between the fronts of a battle. She had decided that discretion was better for business than misplaced heroics and had decided to wait it out.

After all, she was a bounty hunter, not a mercenary.

When that alien structure appeared like a thunderhead above the fighting ships and spat out a swarm of spacecraft that looked more like living things than something that came out of a shipyard, Kassina knew that she was better off holding position far away from the engagement and hidden by a cloaking field.

Eventually the battle came to a standstill. Kassina was not quite sure who all the fighting parties were, but clearly Awakened industries had remained standing, even if badly battered and surrounded by those unknown biomechanoids which kept buzzing around the burning wreckage that remained like a swarm of alien insects.

Only then, Kassina tried hailing the wormhole corporation on the frequency she had been provided for contact. When she had received her answer she chose ten of her best men, landed her Tengu class strategic cruiser on the flight deck of the badly damaged Gallente carrier ship which was virtually all that remained of the Awakened Industries' fleet, and escorted Tomoe Sairinen to a meeting with the leader of this strange crew.

Things went downhill from there.

'I can only repeat what I have already told you a few times.' that irritatingly calm Gallente commander said tiredly. 'That contract was not issued by my corporation, but by an individual.' He stroked his close-cropped beard as if he were pondering the ramifications of that himself. 'And like I said, her ship and pod got destroyed and we have not been in contact ever since.'

Kassina leveled her pale-eyed gaze at the Gallente from where she stood on the other side of the conference table which dominated the room. Her escort platoon was spread out behind her, facing the Awakened Industry guards who stood behind their commander.

'That individual was a leading figure within your corporation. Her word should be the word of the corporation itself.' Kassina insisted sternly. The way how this man calmly ignored her obvious logic began to test her patience. He seemed to try and find a loophole so he could avoid responsibility. That only infuriated her further.

'That's not the way we work.' Cedrien Roucellis said curtly. 'We are not exactly under the jurisdiction of the Caldari Business Tribunal here.' he added.

Kassina Vikkonen pressed her lips together an took a deep breath. 'You should at least have the common decency to stand behind the commitments of your personal friends.' she suggested. If clear logic failed, Gallente can best be reached by appealing to abstract ideals. She had found that out during previous negotiations.

'Look outside.' The wormhole capsuleer gestured at the wide row of windows offering a view of the smouldering remains that were left from the past confrontation. Those enigmatic spacecraft systematically tugged and tore at the wrecks with prehensile mechanical limbs. 'Does that look like I have time to deal with some small issue like your bounty contract?'

He furrowed his brow and actually began to sound angry. 'My main starbase is in ruins. I have a fleet of Sleeper Drones around me who might decide at any time that we are their enemies after all, and the only thing that keeps them from doing so is the hunch of a megalomaniac Matari scientist and two catatonic capsuleers. Most of my crews are dead. The rest of my capsuleers are stranded out in Empire space and the one you had a contract with has not even answered any attempts to open communication with her. I don't even know where her clone is!'

He stood up and leaned over the table. Still considerably smaller than Kassina herself, he nevertheless managed to bear down on her with his angry dark-eyed gaze. 'So, you can either help me out here or you can wait until things get sorted, or you can take your ship and find your own way home.' He straightened and obviously prepared to leave.

'Aluvetti'. Tomoe Sairinen had been sitting the whole time at the conference table in front of the Deteis bounty hunter who had delivered her here. She had been staring morosely at the table's transparent surface, but at the Gallente commander's outburst she had raised her head and whispered a name.

'Mikkai Aluvetti knows where her clone is kept.' The Civire woman said, raising her voice.

Cedrien stopped and turned to look at her. 'How do you know that?' he asked with rekindled interest.

Tomoe straightened in her seat 'When I was on the trail of your corporation, my first lead was Aluvetti. I found out that he had been in contact with a number of operators running unregistered cloning services in Syndicate. Through another channel I learned that he had been looking for some wormhole capsuleer of a corporation he did trading for. Your corporation'

Cedrien looked impressed. 'That sounds promising.' He inclined his head and addressed Kassina Vikkonen again. 'If you want your money, I suggest you listen to what this woman has to say.' He smiled subtly. 'And if you find my missing capsuleer I'll pay you a substantial extra amount.'

'How substantial?' Kassina Vikkonen asked.

Finally they were talking a language she understood.

28 Jun 2013

21 - Re-Awakening - Part 4

The girl curled up in her grimy bunk to be alone with her pain and shut her eyes. She tried to be deaf to the whimpering, moaning and wailing of all the other children who shared this holding cell with her.

They all still tried to express their misery, their anguish and their fear. The young girl knew how useless that was. The more they cried, the sooner the faceless men in their dark armour would come and inflict more suffering on them. She had learned that, and she had learned to keep her agony inside. 

The faceless men would always select the ones who screamed the most and then they would do things to them, over and over, until they were either dead or stopped screaming. 

Most of those who stopped screaming were just too weak to do so, and then they would die anyway.

The teenage girl had decided that she would not be one of those.

She put all the pungent odours of urine, feces, blood, sweat and the general stink of the unwashed bodies out of her mind, until the whole world was filled only by the pain which burned inside her like a dull furnace, fueled by the many sources all over her body. 

She did not feel where the blood seeped between her legs from the wounds they had inflicted on her insides. She did not dwell on the crushed bones of the fingers they had stepped on with their heavy boots. She did not specifically register the burn marks on her arms or the left eye which was swollen shut.

All of it became one glowing ball of heat and she curled herself around it.

In her mind, she stoked the furnace until it turned from a molten red into an angry orange and finally into a searing white that grew until it filled all of her world. It burned away the memories of what they had done to her, what they had done to her little brother, her parents, her friends. It cauterized her mind and at the same time became a tempering fire. 

Deep inside her, a hard sliver of herself was forged slowly and persistently into a sharpened blade.

One day she would stab them in the back with that blade.

The only thing she needed to do was to survive long enough for that day to come.

When a soft voice with a strange accent called her by a name she did not know, she was confused at first, but eventually Sandrielle Jaunes surfaced from a dream haunted by the past into the drug induced haze of the present.

She did not know for how long she had been unconscious. 

She vaguely felt the strap which kept the osmotic drip fastened to her arm where it constantly introduced a cocktail of substances into her bloodstream. The chemicals kept her body and mind in a state that could barely be considered wakefulness.

Then she became conscious of the other restraints which kept her body immobile.

She remembered being a prisoner of the man with the strange accent.

A Caldari.

If the Caldari wished, he could have her lucid enough to understand his words and follow a sentence or two until the rest was lost in the fog of the chemicals. She could even talk in a way. Simple sentences and short words. Everything else was beyond the grasp of her crippled consciousness.

'Madame Jaunes?' The Caldari jostled her again.

Sandrielle's eyelids flickered open but she could only see smudges of smeared colours and undefined blotches of light and dark.

'Ah, you are awake. Luckily not fully.' Mikkai Aluvetti snickered sarcastically. 'I have come to tell you that your period of waiting has come to an end.' he informed her in a cheerful tone. 'I have finally reached a satisfactory result in my price negotiations with several parties who are interested in acquiring you.'

Sandrielle tried her best to grasp his meaning. She wished he would not use so many complicated words. She remembered something vaguely. A yes, a bounty. 

Who was it again who wanted her? 

There had been so many.

'I am sure you will be glad to be reunited with some old friends.' Aluvetti continued with his mockingly cheerful tone. 'It looks like The Hive is, after all, willing to pay the most for you.'

The faceless men! 

Like wraiths from her dream they suddenly drifted through her fogged field of vision, and Sandrielle Jaunes felt something she had not felt for a long time: Fear.


It was impossible to say for how long the information had streamed through the multitude that she had become part of. Astronomical data, technical specifications, the principles of cloning technology and capsule control systems, complex theoretical physics and mathematics, even parts of history. 

It all flickered through the collective mind of the machine creatures that she shared a consciousness with until, finally, there was a moment of silence in the machine collective.

'Life, we have your answers.' the dendrites of the Sleeper mind sparked with impulses which her brain managed to comprehend as words.

Then, without further explanation, in an instant, she was one again.

'Welcome back Alira Tjalgard.' a vaguely familiar voice spoke to her in Sebiestor Tribal Dialect. 'You have been part of something that will enter history as one of the greatest scientific achievements of our century. Congratulations!'

Alira was still confused and disoriented. Where was she? Who was that white haired man with the narrow face and the vividly gleaming eyes bending over her? Then she remembered who she was. What she was. It all came back to her now that she was no longer immersed in the networked alien consciousness. She had been one with the Sleeper Drones, and with another.

Alira turned her head sideways. She was lying on some sort of bed. Instruments glowed and blinked around her. Next to her, in another bed, a young, fine featured, woman with whitish-blond hair stirred and opened her eyes. Sylera, she remembered. An Amarrian. The one she had shared the Sleeper consciousness with.

As if sensing the other woman's gaze, Sylera Alithe slowly turned her head and looked into the eyes of the Matari capsuleer. For a long moment the two women just looked at each other, both unable to turn away. The residual echo of the bond they had shared reverberated through them. Never before had an Amarrian and a Minmatar been so close. They had effectively been the same being, which in turn was part of a collective of living machines. That mutual experience now poured out from one to the other through their eyes. 

Neither of them paid much attention to the enthusiastic rambling of Hegomir Torstan who was now addressing both of them in Trade Basic, or rather gushed grandiose words regardless of whether they listened or not.

'I never knew.' Sylera whispered and she reached out gingerly with one hand.

Alira just nodded and then she also extended one arm until her fingers grasped the slender hand of the Amarrian, bridging the gap between their two sickbay beds.

27 Jun 2013

21 - Re-Awakening - Part 5

It was the stench that pricked her nostrils which brought Sandrielle back from her unconsciousness. Metal, wet with blood and sweat, urine and excrement. A smell of fear and death. She remembered it like all the other things from her time with the Hive. Memories that were etched into her mind forever, no matter how much she had meditated, conditioned herself and tried to forget. A past that had followed her at every step she took along the path of her life until this moment when it seemed like she had come full circle. Quietly she resigned herself to that realization.

As she opened her eyes, Sandrielle saw what she had expected. It was a cell, four by six meters, without any facilities whatsoever except one: Weapons. There they were, hung from the wall. Knives and clubs of various design, all close combat weapons. They wanted this to be personal. No killing at arm's length. Sandrielle knew that game, and so she looked around in the dimly lit room to see who her opponent would be.

When she located him huddled in one corner with his arms hugging his legs and his head buried between his knees she could not help but chuckle grimly. 'You really thought you'd get a reward for delivering me, didn't you?' the Gallente woman said while she got up and began to stretch her limbs.

Mikkai Aluvetti jerked his head up to look at her. His grimy face still showed the curved pathways tears had dug through the stains on his features and his blond hair was scorched in many places.

'You greedy Caldari moron.' Sandrielle said as she went through her routine of breathing and conditioning exercises, preparing herself for what had to be done here. 'The Hive does not even have any ISK. What they need they either steal or build themselves.' She shook her head after pausing to look at the pathetic figure the Caldari trader had become. 'They have never paid any ransom or any reward to anyone. The only thing you can get from them is weapons fire and death.'

'B... but .. I .. I had a contract with them.' Aluvetti protested with a quivering voice.

'Not worth the quantum states it's encoded in.' Sandrielle replied dryly and resumed her exercise routine. She found that the effect of the drugs Aluvetti had given her had worn off. Her body, mind and senses were fully recovered apart from a burning thirst that made her tongue feel dry and swollen in her mouth.

It would be over quickly.

'They destroyed my ship and killed my crew.' Aluvetti wailed at her. 'What will they do with us now?'

'With you?' Sandrielle completed her routine and lowered her arms, exhaling slowly. 'They will do nothing with you.' she said while she approached the wall with the assorted weapons and examined them to choose a suitable blade.

'I don't understand.' the Caldari shook his head in confusion and fear dilated the pupils of his blue eyes when he saw Sandrielle take a combat knife from it's place on the wall.

The dark haired Gallente woman turned to face her opponent and looked at him dispassionately. 'It's a selection procedure, you see.' she began to explain. 'There comes a point when each Hive child is locked up together with another. Someone they hate. They are given no food, no water, nothing. You will stay in the cell together until both of you die from thirst or one kills the other.' Sandrielle approached Aluvetti slowly and weighed the blade in her hand. 'If one survives, that child is kept in there for another day.' Sandrielle pressed her lips together and her expression darkened with the memory of past ordeals. 'You would be surprised how easy it is to drink human blood if it's the only thing you get to drink. Some even eat the flesh of their fellow prisoner.'

Aluvetti began to push himself up from the ground, trembling and his back against the wall. 'You mean? Wait! Can't we find some other way?!' he screamed in panic.

Sandrielle did not react to the question. 'The one who survives goes to the next round.' she said 'In the next round you get locked up with the one person you have the strongest personal bond with.'

Then, with two quick steps and a single thrust of the knife she ended the life of Mikkai Aluvetti. By angling the blade upward from it's entrypoint at his throat she made sure that the cold metal would sever the spinal cord at the base of his skull. She was sure that he did not feel much while his eyes glazed over.

She had never liked the man, and he had betrayed her, but he did not deserve to suffer needlessly here.

Sandrielle remembered how much she hated the briny, metallic taste of blood.

At least this time they would not have anyone available for the second round of the game.


Shisei Kanioota had an advantage that none of the other Awakened Industries capsuleers had. He was neither a wanted pirate, nor a disgraced military officer prosecuted by his own government and the enemy alike. He did not have to hide from powerful capsuleer alliances or the secret agents of the Amarr Empire. Certainly, as a Caldari he would not receive the warmest welcome in Gallente space, neither would he have any corporate privileges in the State itself after he resigned from Ishukone Corporation. Of course, it was also not quite clear whether the Minmatar Republic and the Amarr Empire would stand down and cease hunting the capsuleers of Awakened industries, but Shisei was still officially a Caldari citizen, and as such he was reasonably safe under the regulations of corporate sovereignty.

Another of his advantages was, that – as a former corporate prospector, explorer and engineer – he had good contacts with the House of Records. All interactions between the State's megacorporations and third parties were collected by that governmental body, and since Shisei Kanioota had interacted with foreign powers a lot in his line of work, he had contributed large quantities of information to the Caldari State's vast datastores.

In general, access to the House of Records was restricted to citizens with corporate affiliation, but Information Analyst Aikano as more than happy to bypass regulations when it came to his old friend Shisei Kanioota. After all, the amount of information on wormhole phenomena that the State could get it's hands on was limited. Certainly after the defection of Hilen Tukoss who took some of the most experienced explorers and scientists in the field with him when he left the Caldari State.

Therefore Aikano accepted gladly when Shisei Kanioota had suggested a meeting on the space station of the House of Records orbiting Oniteseru's second moon. The nature of the information exchange Kanioota was looking for disturbed him slightly though.

'Why is it that you are interested in The Hive, Kanioota?' the gray-haired Information Analyst asked the man sitting across from him in the spacious main assembly area of station level thirty-six. 'I hope you are not planning to do any business with them, because that would not only be pointless but also deadly.'

Shisei smiled ever so slightly and shook his clean-shaven head. 'No worries Analyst Aikano.' he comforted the older man. 'It is only, that we recently encountered a Hive battlefleet which attempted an incursion into a nearby wormhole system. They proved to be formidable opponents and I would like us to know more about them in case we ever encounter them again.'

'I understand.' Aikano nodded and the creases drawn onto his aged face by his worried expression vanished. 'As you know, The Hive is an alliance of capsuleers residing in the border regions of New Eden, beyond settled space.' The old Civire official activated his portable neocom to access the available datastores for background information. 'Unlike most of the other capsuleer Alliances, they do not lay claim to any systems according to the Yulai Convention, but that is not the only thing that makes them special. They are unique among the capsuleer alliances in their way of recruiting.'

Shisei raised an eyebrow. 'In which way?'

'The Hive does not accept trained capsuleers from outside their ranks, rather they train all their pilots themselves from a young age. They regularly conduct raids on ships and colonies for resources. One of the objectives of those raids is to capture small children. We do not know the details, but it is assumed that The Hive conditions those children through a process of brutal brainwashing and dehumanization to make them into members of uncompromising loyalty. Once they have a subject processed, they turn them into capsuleers.'

'They have the facilities to create capsuleers themselves?' Shisei asked with surprise. The technology to integrate a capsule control system with a human body and nervous system was not only highly restricted but also notoriously costly and difficult to set up. Only the largest corporations and government bodies among the nations of New Eden could boast such facilities.

Aikano nodded. 'Despite not engaging in any trade, The Hive is very rich in resources. They have industry on a scale that equals and even surpasses some of the Caldari megacorporations. All of their facilities are mobile, based on capital ships that form the backbone of their fleets. Because the Hive members are so absolutely dedicated to their collective, the amount of personal effort each and every one of them commits to the community is quite staggering.'

The elderly Caldari paused. 'It is rather impressive actually.' he added with an undertone that sounded almost jealous.

'So where do they originally come from?' Shisei asked.

'We are not sure. Their symbol – the ebailla swarm insect native to Orvolle VI – suggests a Gallente or Intaki origin. The ebailla has migrated all over New Eden aboard ships, though and is now found on many worlds, so that is only speculation. Some say, that the highly militaristic nature of their organization derives from the Caldari State, others speculate that the strict hierarchy and fanatical devotion to the collective might have it's roots in Amarr culture.' Aikano shrugged. 'All we know is, that they appeared seemingly out of nowhere about two decades ago and began raiding outlying colonies indiscriminately.'

Shisei furrowed his brow in thought. 'Has any capsuleer ever left The Hive?' he wondered.

'Not according to the records we have. It goes even further than that. In all cases we have observed, they rather self-destruct their capsules than risk capture.' Aikano said.

'Do you think it is a possibility for a Hive capsuleer to break the conditioning?'

Aikano shrugged slightly. 'Even if that would happen, the M.O. based on all intelligence we have on The Hive suggests that they would either kill a defector or at least try to retrieve them for re-integration into the collective.'

The Civire Information Analyst paused with a worried frown. 'You look concerned Kanioota. What is it.?'

'I might have a case on my hands that would create a precedence in that context.' Shisei replied with a subdued voice.

25 Jun 2013

OOC Entry 87 - The War of Asakai

-- Credit goes to Ali Aras of CSM8 and recently co-host of Declarations of War for providing the title of this post.

About a year ago I bet a corpmate with the challenge that by the time of the next summer expansion (this one 2013) the Goons will be destroyed.

Not as an entity in EVE, not even necessarily as a sov-holding alliance but as the major power player they have been in the past years.

Well, the jury is still out, but admittedly the Goonswarm Federation and the CFC have never come closer to being actually threatened in their existence-as-they-know-it than they are now.

The danger that they might actually be facing a foe that can successfully beat them back or even beat them completely has never been more real since the days of the Great War.

I have been out of the loop for some time, and many things have happened which lead to this. Back in the day when I made my bet, I could not know about the Moon Material Rebalance that would come with Odyssey and how it would reshuffle the deck of nullsec politics.

What I did base my prediction on was purely two things:
  1. Eventually there will come a time when the Goons will piss of more people than they can make friends with.
  2. There will be a time when a critical mass of players will be fed up with playing European Union in nullsec.
In fact, in retrospect, it almost happened like I assumed it would when Montolio - until recently leader of Test Alliance Please Ignore - tried to pick a fight with the CFC.

He ended up being declared crazy for wanting to do that and decided that RL is more rewarding than being called a loony in EVE for your efforts.

Then the moon rebalancing happened and suddenly the story had changed.

The OTEC cartel, which had guaranteed peace and prosperity for it's members, was no more than an attempt to monopolize 5mm screws while there are also 6mm and 4mm ones that do the job just as well. Sure Technetium would still be valuable, but certainly not the single bottleneck in production that it once was.

Promptly The Mittani declared the CFC "destitute" (I just love the dramatic choice of words this man has) and while he would not vilify TEST, he did declare that it was them who sat on the richest store of Moon Materials in the game and therefore they had to be invaded.

All of a sudden a sov-war had turned from "a tedious and unnecessary grind" into "economic survival." The suggestion of a major war - a suggestion that had lead to Montolio's deconstruction - had become the cause of The Mittani.


The truth about the RMT Empire

Ha! I got you with this sensationalist heading, didn't I?

Of course I am not one of the tinfoil-hat crowd who think that the CFC leadership are impersonating Scrooge McDuck and swim in RMT money.

What I am aware of is the fact that a large number of the CFC playerbase maintain multiple accounts which are supported by PLEX that they are able to finance in-game because of the prosperous and secure position they have. What I do know is that the GSF had offered free skillbooks and carriers to anyone who would train for them. What I know is, that they have created an in-game lifestyle for themselves as a collective which can only be supported by a massive income stream.

The very real and actual threat to GSF and the CFC is not having to drop sov and go sleep in a cardboard box in NPC nullsec or lose RMT income. The economic threat they are facing is not being able to pay for the in-game equivalent of their plasma TV, five bedroom villa, three cars and holiday bungalow on the Seychelles anymore.

Tomorrow they might actually have to work for their ISK like every pubbie.

Imagine that.

The Mittani is nothing if not a leader who is aware of the needs of his constituency and what it takes to keep them satisfied. He can't afford to have the Goons in a position where they have to give up their perks. More importantly, he can't afford to have his allies reconsider the value of being allied to him.

Don't forget, many of the CFC are people who once were enemies of the Goons. Former members of the Northern Coalition who were ground to pieces and sued for peace with a more powerful enemy to be given a second lease of life.

There is no BoB

There is a persistent meme saying that Goons have become the new Band of Brothers. Of course that is not actually true. The organizational principles and diplomatic approach of GSF are very different from the old BoB Empire.

However, they have become some things that BoB once were.

They have become a seemingly unbeatable and unassailable powerstructure. They have become rich and powerful beyond the dreams of most other EVE players. Also, and there is the main factor, they have developed a level of self-righteousness and smugness that was so characteristic of the old BoB Empire.

I personally identify The Mittani himself as the main culprit behind this last and newest attribute of the Goons and their allies in the CFC.

This man has - very skillfully - constructed a narrative that has lead the GSF from being a collective of tongue-in-cheek trolls and iconoclasts into a new era of being a well-established community supported by a bureaucracy which rivals some small RL states in effectiveness and organization.

That would not be a problem in itself if it wouldn't have remained coupled with the rampaging adolescent offensiveness the Goons have made their calling card since their first appearance.

You can be a cheerfully destructive agent of chaos or you can be a sinister overlord, trying to be both at the same time will spread you thin, especially if there is someone who challenges you at one of those roles.

The Dawn of the (new) Iconoclast

Enter TEST. A large collective that now is what Goons once were: A mayhem loving chaotic mess of trolls, griefers, blobbers, scammers and general fun-loving-criminals in it for the lulz.

Compared to them the Goons began to appear about as inspiring as a European Council meeting when compared to Occupy Wallstreet.

The Mittani himself has used words to the effect of "we will take the fun out of their game" (sue me if i didn't get every single word right). This says very clearly how much the Goons have been divorced from what they once were. (Anybody remember Darius Johnson's line "We don't want to destroy the game, want to destroy your game" Quite a different approach.)

While The Mittani would do everything to keep his "ducks in a row" TEST basically just flipped it to the HBC and kissed the idea of big coalition metagaming goodbye.

Now this bunch of crazies is under attack by the most powerful coalition in the game. Interestingly enough, we see EVE history repeating itself. All kinds of entities come to the aid of TEST, not because they love them so much, but because they support their irreverent attitude which has become a staple of EVE gameplay; which - ironically enough - has been established by the Goons (among others).

They want to see the big power of the CFC tremble, maybe even feel fear for their existence. Just like once people allied themselves with the Goons just to bring BoB down.

Of course this alliance is a loose one, and entities like Black Legion are just as happy to blow up TEST ships as they are to blow up CFC ships, but one thing is for sure: This is a moment for another great experiment in EVE.

The last time the question was whether the Northern Coalition can be brought down. Before that it was the Empire of BoB.

Now the question is, can the Goons and the CFC be brought to a fall?

I personally have only one fear in all of this: I fear that there might be a stalemate and a peace that re-establishes the boring distribution of power in nullsec.

Every other outcome can only be more dynamic than what we have seen in the past years.

Right now it is.

I hope it stays that way.

24 Jun 2013

OOC Entry 86 - It's not like you need to know, but ...

... for the time being I have decided to not play EVE.

... or any computer games for that matter.

What my recent experience has brought home to me is that our lives are just so short and the thread we are spinning through time can be snapped at the most unexpected moments. Of course I sort-of intellectually processed that before. It even sunk deep to an emotional level when I faced possible death in a warzone. Still, nothing of the sort prepares you for the moment it actually happens that you come within a hair's breadth to actually dying.

So, life turned into a thing too precious to me right now to squander behind a computer screen.
I am telling myself that there well be plenty of time to do that when I am old and infirm, but while I am still young (ha! pushing 40) and able bodied (as in completely atrophied after months of inactivity forced upon me) I should be doing something more active with my life.

So I decided to get pregnant, have some children and settle down in a nice countryside home.


Ok I am just kidding. I have decided quite some time ago that motherhood is not my thing.

I did decide that I want to fully focus on my physical recovery and then go see some stuff in this world. Beautiful things and exciting things that are not made of pixels or part of an escapist fantasy.

I do want to continue writing stories though, because I enjoy the experience and can do it in my own time. Recently I re-read all of the stuff I wrote to get back into the mindset again, and I started writing a sequel already.

You can expect it up here soon.

It will be my lifeline to EVE Online, and who knows, maybe one day that lifeline will reel me back in.

Until then, I hope you continue reading and fly creatively.